Archive for June, 2009

Bookathon: Alex and the Ironic Gentleman

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Book Three
Starting time: 12:45 PM
Ending time: 4:13 PM

Title: Alex and the Ironic Gentleman
Author: Adrienne Kress
Genre: Humor
Pages: 308

Summary: Alex Morningside loves her sixth grade teacher, Mr. Underwood, so much that when he is kidnapped by the bloodthirsty crew of the pirate ship Ironic Gentleman, she sets off to rescue him. There are plenty of adventures on the way.

Thoughts: Basically, what Jess said when she reviewed it. An enjoyable read, and a bit reminiscent of Lewis Carroll, which I appreciated. I was glad when the whimsical narrative settled down a bit, and laid of the wacky asides and Significant Capitals, because those aren’t devices I’m especially fond of. And I’m baffled as to what time period the book takes place in, as it’s got modern bits (movies, cars, etc) but much of it reads like Ye Olde Fashioned pirate stories. (Though that’s not a very important detail to be concerned about.) The cast of the book was pretty fantastic, the little old ladies were truly menacing and creepy, the climax and resolution were great, and I will probably pick up the sequel when it’s out in paperback.

My favorite bit was the one with the Extremely Ginormous Octopus.

Four cupcakes.

Bookathon: Little Brother

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Book Two
Starting time: 9:57 PM
Ending time: 3:26 AM

Title: Little Brother
Author: Cory Doctorow
Genre: Contemporary, borderline Aliens Among Us
Pages: 380

Summary: Teen hacker Marcus is in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets accused of terrorism, and is dragged off to a secret facility. When he gets back, his home town is a virtual police state. After everything he’s been through, Marcus can’t handle that, and he declares war on the Department of Homeland Security.

Thoughts: My feelings about this book are certainly mixed. I liked the characters — a stunning success on the race, gender, progressive lefty scorecard — and the prose, though there was something mildly off with the pacing. This book was recced to me as both good and important, and it is both of those things. That said, I didn’t enjoy it very much. I had a visceral reaction to the terrorism at the beginning, but beyond that… Hm.

I read mostly for escapism; that’s why so much of what I read is sf/f. When I’m looking at things like race and gender, I’m much more comfortable with looking at story subtext and seeing how that reflects the culture. But there is nothing sub about this text, and while important and engaging, it’s also a bit lecture-y. I agree with it, and I’m glad it was written, but it was an obvious case of story built around an agenda, not agenda built craftily into the story. So while it’s a good book, and I will happily loan my copy out to anyone who is interested, I doubt I will read it again.

Final thought? My favorite bits were the asides on math and cryptography. Sort of Neal Stephenson for the YA crowds.

Four cupcakes.

And now, because it is 3:30 AM, I shall go to bed. I think tomorrow I shall start with something light-hearted and whimsical.

Bookathon: Dawn, Diary 1

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Book Two
Time Started: 11:30 pm
Time Finished: 12:40 am

Title: California Diaries: Dawn, Diary 1
Author: Ann M. Martin
Genre: Teen drama llama.
Pages: 180
Summary: As Dawn moves from the middle school to the high school, she finds her world changing as her circle of friends shift to include some and exclude others.
Thoughts: The CA Diaries series was a Baby-sitters Club spinoff that featured Dawn and her California friends in a somewhat more adult setting, with eating disorders and drinking and words like “breast” and “gynecologist.” Shocking! I’ve been reading through all the BSC books, including spinoffs, here, but I’d never read a CA Diaries book before. It didn’t charm me. Dawn is pretty much horrible (and seems to have lost all of her interests and convictions from the BSC proper), all the girls treat each other like crap, and the scene where a 17-year-old ogles a 13-year-old’s bra-less breast through her wet t-shirt is way gross. The brightest spot was Dawn’s brother Jeff being a hilariously sullen little brat. I love that kid.

Two cupcakes.

ETA: I am heading to bed now, because I have to be up for MoCCA Fest tomorrow, but when I return tomorrow afternoon, the reading and blogging shall recommence!

Bookathon: Magic or Madness

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Book One
Time Started: 8:30 pm
Time Finished: 11:20 pm

Title: Magic or Madness
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Genre: Contemporary/urban fantasy.
Pages: 290
Summary: Reason has spent her whole life on the run from her grandmother Esmerelda, but when Reason’s mother goes crazy, Reason finds herself trapped in Esmerelda’s world, with two new friends and the terrifying knowledge that magic is real – and dangerous.
Thoughts: Really, really excellent. Very exciting and creepy, and the characters are great. The world-building is also phenomenal. I want to know more, but alas, I will have to wait until this weekend is over to get my hands on the other two books in the trilogy.

Four cupcakes.

Bookathon: The Invasion (Animorphs #1)

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Book One
Time starting: 8 PM
Time finished: 9:45 PM

Title: The Invasion (Animorphs #1)
Author: K. A. Applegate
Genre: Aliens Among Us
Pages: 184

Summary: Evil, mind-controlling slug-aliens are trying to take over Earth. A good alien dies trying to stop them — but not before giving five ordinary kids the power to morph into animals. And now those five kids are all that stand between the rest of the human race and total enslavement.

Thoughts: Apparently, all my friends grew up on this series, but I totally missed it somehow. It was definitely the shortest of the books in my TBR pile, and the one aimed at the youngest crowd. The prose was very clean, and the change in narration styles when the POV character became an animal was really well done. The cast is multiracial, with girls kicking as much butt as the boys, so it gets a thumbs-up on both of those counts. A fun, fast read. I’d give it to my younger relatives for sure.

Four cupcakes.

48 Hour Book Challenge starts…

Friday, June 5th, 2009

NOW! Well, for Jess at least. 8:30 EST. Let the games begin!

Becky’s Last-Minute TBR Stack

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Becky: to be read pile

Because I have no digital camera, and am not terribly organized, here is a web-cam captured image of my TBR pile! (And here is me making a stupid face at my pile.) My list isn’t nearly as extensive as Jess’s, but here goes, in no real order:

  • Lust by Robin Wasserman
  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
  • Alex and the Ironic Gentleman by Adrienne Kress
  • Monster Hunter: Nightmare Academy by Dean Lorey
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Te Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
  • Drift House by Dale Peck
  • The Invasion (Animorphs #1) by K.A. Applegate

How many of these will I complete? I have no idea! But it will be fun to find out. Thanks again to everyone who’s agreed to sponsor us (and feel free to keep offers rollin’ in! It’s for a good cause, after all.). The fun on my end will begin in half an hour or so…

The countdown has begun…

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Are you ready for the 48 Hour Book Challenge? I am ready for the 48 Hour Book Challenge! I’ve pulled out all the books I’ve had lying around waiting to be read, purchased a couple more, and added in all the eligible swag from last weekend’s Book Expo America (which was amazing).

Here is the Pile Corner of my room:


Fuchsia: Books for the 48 Hour Book Challenge. This stack has grown since I took that picture, but between a lack of batteries, an ancient camera, and a persnickety printer/scanner/whosit, it’s too much of a hassle to take another one. You will just have to imagine the new and even more precarious pile!

Green: Books I deemed either too old or too young for the challenge, even though adult books are technically eligible. I have since transferred some of these to the 48 Hour pile.

Blue: Comics that need to be read and filed, and Bloom County collections and naval history books that need to be read and returned to friends. Also a huge book on Greek mythology because I like reading redundant Greek mythology books, and my NYCC badge from four months ago.

Orangey yellow: Other random BEA swag. Yes, that is the Catching Fire logo. (A formal review of that book will be going up next week.)

White: A light-up Wonder Woman tiara, and a My Little Pony. Irrelevant, but awesome!

Also pictured: a bin and two bags full of yarn, my super awesome turtle bag, keys.

And here is the list of books in the 48 Hour Pile:

The 13th Reality by James Dashner
Alphas by Lisi Harrison
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party by M. T. Anderson
The Brain Finds a Leg by Martin Chatterton
California Diaries by Ann M. Martin
– Dawn, Diary 1
– Sunny, Diary 1
– Maggie, Diary 1
– Amalia, Diary 1
– Ducky, Diary 1
– Sunny, Diary 2

Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech
Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
The Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
Exposure by Mal Peet
Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier
Ophelia by Lisa Klein
Over Sea, Over Stone by Susan Cooper
Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The Pharoah’s Secret by Marissa Moss
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Tombstone Tea by Joanne Dahme

Sponsors or potential sponsors who are moaning and clutching their wallets right now, never fear! I will not read all of these books! I will probably not even read most of them. This is just to give me some choices. The California Diaries books will serve as a sort of refreshing sorbet between courses of longer books. (If I run out of those, I’ll be digging into my roommate’s Sweet Valley Junior High collection.) See, I have strategy.

I will probably be starting around 7 or 8 pm tomorrow night, which means you still have plenty of time to sponsor one of us!

The Hunger Games

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Hi, everyone! Reminder: you can still sponsor us for the 48 Hour Book Challenge!

The Hunger GamesBy Suzanne Collins [LibraryThingAmazon]

Katniss Everdeen is a poacher in the poorest district of Panem, the country that exists where the United States used to be. She’s been single-handedly supporting her family for five years, and would do anything for her little sister — even take her sister’s place in Panem’s brutal Hunger Games, in which tributes (more accurately described as sacrifices) from each district are forced to fight each other to the death. On national television. At first, no one takes Kat seriously, but even as she proves herself a formidable opponent she rages against the system, knowing that if she survives and wins the Hunger Games, she may lose her humanity altogether.