Monthly Archives: January 2012

February TBR Pile

 

I have four books I am planning on reading this month. The most intimidating ones are these two, as they are the biggest!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
418 pages
Published 2011,  Hatchette Book Group

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
384 pages
Published 2011, Doubleday Canada

 

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
360 pages
Published 2010, Random House

Gone by Michael Grant
558 pages
Published 2008, Harper Teen

 

Why did I chose these books?

  •  Some qualified for the Big Book Challenge (400+ pages) and I think it’ll be a huge accomplishment if I read them all!
  • I’ve heard nothing but good things about Gone, The Scorch Trials, and the Night Circus
  • I know nothing about Daughter of Smoke and Bone but it was reccommended to me by the bookstore employee and it seems like it would be an interesting book! I love not knowing anything about a book because it makes the reading experience more enjoyable.
  • Dystopian challenges! Gone & The Scorch Trials

What are you reading in the month of February? 🙂

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Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

358 pages
2011, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

Description from GoodReads:

Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive.

My Rating: 3.5/5

My Thoughts:

Going into this book, I had high hopes. The concept sounded really cool and I had heard many positive reviews. However, I would have to say it did not live up to my expectations. I found it really hard to connect with the protagonist, Rhine, and often saw alternative plot directions that I thought would have been better. I really liked the character Jenna, but she stayed mostly in the background and I felt she had a lot of potential that was wasted.

I think the book has some good points, such as how it brings awareness to topics like living within a patriarchal system, companionship, individual vs communal needs, and the possible ugly side of scientific pursuits. I personally feel the book could have been a lot better if it wasn’t specifically written for a trilogy, but rather stuck to being one book. I would have liked to see more content, but the book itself is still a decent read.

Another book along similar lines is Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which I really enjoyed.

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Underground Time by Delphine de Vigan

Underground Time by Delphine de Vigan

257 pages
2009/2011 , Bloomsbury
Genre: Adult Fiction, French Culture

My Rating: 3.5/5 

Description (from Goodreads.com):

Every day, Mathilde takes the Metro to her job at a large multinational, where she has felt miserable and isolated ever since getting on the wrong side of her bullying boss. Every day, Thibault, a paramedic, drives where his dispatcher directs him, fighting traffic to attend to disasters. For many of the people he rushes to treat, he represents the only human connection in their day. Mathilde and Thibault are just two figures being pushed and shoved in a lonesome, crowded city. But what might happen if these two souls, traveling their separate paths, could meet?

 

My Thoughts:

This was my first French to English translation and it was pretty decent. The book itself is mostly build up, and the ending left me wondering if I had missed something. Upon reflection, I think this book is more philosophical than most, in that it is more about the emotions and the possibilities than the moment. The reader feels sympathy for the characters and becomes quite emotional. The writing style reminded me of Eden Robinson, in that each chapter is a collection of fragmented scenes. You get a glimpse at a situation, and then it changes to something else. It is like watching a movie made of separate, yet connected, clips. This method, I feel, adds to the intimacy of the situations.

Mathilde’s plotline was very tense. You could feel her stress and despair. So many women are in similar positions and I like how the book gave awareness of bullying towards women in the workplace. While a man could quit his job and still get by, Mathilde has three children. It was difficult reading her story at times because it felt like there was no solution. Thibault’s plotline was a bit less tense, but it had more despair. A great sense of loss is felt for both characters. Intuition and the ability to read between the lines is important for understanding this story. There is lots to think about after finishing the book.

 

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NANA vol 1 by Ai Yazawa

NANA vol 1 by Ai Yazawa

This is a shojo manga, meaning it is marketed to female teens and centers around romance and emotion. It is the story of two females, both named Nana. I think they eventually meet up but they didn’t in this volume. The background for each female was described and I think the goal of the volume was for the reader to get a feel for the similarities and differences between the two Nana’s.

Nana Komatsu is a light hearted, impulsive girl that wears her heart on her sleeve. Nana Osaki is a bit stubborn, private, and sings in a punk band. The two Nana’s seem to be quite opposite from each other! If you have read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, then this follows a similar idea with two people with the same name meeting (or so I assume).

The artwork is simple, but beautiful. There isn’t too much emphasis on backgrounds, save for a starry night sky here or there, but instead each person is detailed. The emotion is portrayed really well!

This was my first time reading a book from this series, and I will be continuing for sure! If you like girly manga then I think this would be a nice one to read.

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Easy Money & The Borrower’s Answer Book by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Easy Money by Gail Vaz-Oxlade


86 pages
2010, Grass Roots Press
Genre: non fiction, finance

 My Rating: 4/5

I was surprised by the size of this book when I picked it up at the library. Gail’s other books are much larger and detailed, and I was expecting the same from this. However, if you haven’t read any of her books then this would be a good place to start. It is a small but concise book about how to manage your money better. It starts off with the basics (needs vs wants) and progresses through debt and savings. I think it is a good, quick, read for someone wanting to get in control of their finances. If you read this book and like how she goes about doing things, then her other book Debt Free Forever is an awesome reference.

 

The Borrower’s Answer Book by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

132 pages
1993, Stoddart
Genre: non fiction, finance

My Rating: 3.5/5

I have a student loan, so I was hoping to get some tips out of this book about paying it back and possible other options. I didn’t find too much that I didn’t already know, but to be fair, this book was published before her other book Debt Free Forever (can you tell I like this book?). This book goes through various chapters on credit cards, loans, mortgages, and business loans. The information is useful, but I worry that some of it might be outdated. I also did not find anything on student loans, so I was a bit disappointed. Still a decent resource for learning about your options.

 

 

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Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz

Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz

302 pages
2006,  Hyperion 
Genre: vampires, young adult, fantasy

My Rating: 3/5

This book is more of a broad introduction than anything else for me. It introduces the vampire way of life, family names, and what it is like to become a vampire. These wealthy vampires add the aspect of frequent brand-name references and what we speculate the lives of celebrities must feel like. I felt the book dragged for the most part, but began to get better near the end. It set up the sequel quite nicely. The writing itself felt a bit choppy in the beginning but later in the book it either got better or I got used to it. It was a decent read but I was expecting more.

The main character’s name is Schuyler, which I found a bit odd to figure out how to pronounce. It was distracting. Another character had the name Jack Force, and anyone with the name Jack needs to blow me out of the water or be forgotten. There was a real mixture of memorable and forgettable characters. I will read the sequel, but I’m not racing out of the house to get to it.

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