Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Joker's Last Laugh

The Joker's Last Laugh was the last Batman graphic novel that I bought in Toronto back in November. And of all of the Batman graphic novels I bought, this one is my least favourite.
It started out with a pretty good premise. The Joker has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, so he goes crazy and plans his last laugh. I think my problem with the whole thing was that it was a major cross over. The Joker's Last Laugh didn't just feature other villians from Batman; no it featured villians from all over the place in the DC multiverse. And I really don't know who the vast majority of them are.
Another thing that I didn't like was that Batman wasn't really a major part of this story. I bought it thinking it would be a fun battle between the Joker and Batman. But Batman only showed up every here and there. The Joker's Last Laugh was more about Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson. Well, and the Joker as well of course. I think Batman only showed up like two or three times in the story. And he never punched the Joker out the way they show on the back of the book.
So as far as Batman stories go, this one really wasn't one. If you like cross over stories, you'd probably like this one. But otherwise, you're probably better off passing this story up.

School Book: A Million Little Pieces

This is not the kind of book that I would normally pick up, but it is on the reading list for one of my classes next term, popular fiction.
James Frey's A Million Little Pieces tells the story of the author's time in rehab. When he was 23, he woke up in a bloody mess on a plane with no memory of how he got there. At the time he was addicted to alcohol, glue and several other drugs. He went to a treatment facility where he was told he could either clean up or die before his next birthday.
The book itself is a very brutal account of addicts and treatment. James was an absolute mess when he got to treatment. A Million Little Pieces does not shy away from the horror you go through while trying to beat an addiction. You are there when James wakes up, with a hole in his cheek and his teeth missing. You are there when he goes through root canal without pain killers. You are there for everything.
The one thing that surprised me was the presence of love in the story. I didn't think that James would fall in love while in rehab. That was a very touching addition to this story.
Of course, after reading the back of the book and thinking about it for a bit, I was a little bit confused why Frey's memoir would be on the reading list for a class titled Popular Fiction. The mystery was soon solved when I started reading the book. In the author's note that is included, Frey admits that he embellished the story a bit. How much I am not entirely sure, but if you are interested, you can find some information on wikipedia. It appears there was quite a controversy on this issue. It takes a lot away from the story when you don't know how much of it is accurate.
A Million Little Pieces is also written rather weirdly. There are no quotation marks anywhere in the book to denote dialogue, and whenever Frey lists things, there are no commas. This made the book a little confusing at times (the dialogue you get used to as you read, but the lack of commas makes you have to stop and reread some passages). This is a minor inconvenience overall, but an inconvenience nonetheless.
Overall though, I have to agree with the Los Angeles Times Book Review's quote that is on the cover of my edition: "Gripping. . . A great story. . . You can't help but cheer his victory." Even though it is now considered a work of fiction, it was a good story. And among all the controversy surrounding the book, Frey managed to succeed in fighting his addiction. And that in itself is a wonderful thing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Library Books: Powers Volumes 1 and 2

Powers was recommended to me at work by a patron. I had never heard of the series before and it looked interesting. So I got Volume 1: Who Killed Retro Girl back in October to give it a shot. It sat in my room for a couple of months. I was about to bring it back to the library, when I decided that I should give it a shot. (Besides, if I didn't like it, I could always return it as I was working today).

And then I started reading it. Who Killed Retro Girl? was amazing! Powers is about two cops who work with superheroes, trying to solve murder cases that involve those who are more than human. Right off the bat, I liked the feel of the whole story. But more and more, I started to really like the main characters. Detective Walker seems like a typical cop. But the further into the story you go, the more obvious it is that he's hiding something. His past is mysterious, and wow do I want to know more about him! And Detective Deena Pilgrim is spunky and fun, the opposite of Walker; with her, what you see is what you get.

I was about half way through Who Killed Retro Girl when I realized that I would need more! So I looked to see what else the library has. I was excited to go and get Volume 2: Roleplay while I was still at work (sadly, the library is missing volume 3, so I won't be able to read it anytime soon).

Anyway, Walker and Deena managed to solve the case of Retro Girl. So when I finished Volume 1, I started reading Volume 2 immediately after. And Roleplay was just as good as Who Killed Retro Girl? Roleplay started off rather differently than Who Killed Retro Girl; in fact, the beginning of Roleplay reminded me of an episode of CSI. But it has the same feel as Who Killed Retro Girl, and has a very interesting story.

Powers seems like an amazing story and I really hope I'll be able to read more of it in the future. What I have read so far has been great, and is definitely worth checking out!

Batman: The Killing Joke

I know, I know, another Batman story. What can I say? They're good reads. The Killing Joke was no exception. It was written by Alan Moore, and drawn/coloured by Brian Bolland. This was the deluxe edition, reprinted 20 years after it was originally made. My copy has the following quote by tim Burton: "I loved THE KILLING JOKE...It's my favourite. It's the first comic I've ever loved." While I don't exactly agree with this (My love goes to Knightfall part 1), The Killing Joke was pretty amazing.

When I bought this, I didn't bother reading the back of it. I just assumed it was the story of when the Joker killed Robin. While I was very wrong (Robin does not appear in this story at all) it was still a very interesting and involved story. The Joker believes that one bad day is all that separates so called normal people from the psychopaths of Gotham. To prove his point, he's decided to subject Commissioner Gordon to the worst day of his life.

This story is rather brutal at some points. To give Gordon a bad day, the Joker does some extremely terrible things both to Gordon and his daughter, Barbara. But The Killing Joke is extremely well written, and the art is fantastic.

Oh, and here's a bit of trivia: the original edition was not coloured by Brian Bolland. He recoloured everything for this deluxe edition. He also changed some of the drawings. So if you have both this copy and the original (which I don't, I just have the deluxe edition) then you can go through the books page by page looking for the differences.

The Killing Joke is a must-read for all of the Joker fans out there!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Library Book: Devi

I saw this graphic novel while I was at work yesterday. It sounded like it was a neat idea, so I decided to take a look at it.
Devi is a mortal woman who is chosen to host a goddess. The mortal woman is killed so that the goddess has free reign to go and stop the evil demons. Devi draws on the rich traditions and mythology from India. It is definitely a one of a kind read!
I thought it was really neat that Devi is also one of the first graphic novels produced in India. According to the introduction, Virgin Comics was developed in an attempt to revolutionize the Indian entertainment industry, similar to the manga of Japan. I'm very happy that they succeeded; if they hadn't then I would not have been able to read Devi in English. This book is volume 1, so I am hoping to get my hands on the next ones!
I also wanted to point out that it was rather neat seeing the Indian gods and goddesses in a graphic novel. Thanks to the religious studies course I took in my first year of university, I recognized some of the names of deities and other things from their culture (although that was a long time ago, and I could not recall everything I learned from the course). This really is a unique story that is worth checking out!

Friday, December 12, 2008


I haven't been so thouroughly enchanted with a book in such a long time. Sure, over the last year I've read some good books. But nothing like Cornelia Funke's Inkheart.
From when I first opened its pages two mornings ago, I was spellbound. I loved the characters Meggie and Mo right off the bat. And really, what reader wouldn't? They love books so much, you just had to love them! But beyond their love of books, the idea that Mo could bring books to life, quite literally, was also fantastic. Who hasn't wanted to meet their favourite characters?
The bad guys were also wonderfully thought out. You don't get much more evil than Capricorn. And to think, this isn't an adult book! And Basta, Capricorn's lackey, he was wonderfully characterized, fearing all manner of supernatural threats.
Beyond the characters, the book was well written. Other than a few places where I thought I had missed something, the book flows beautifully. This is the kind of book I'd be afraid to read aloud, it is written in such a way that the characters could just jump off the pages!
The one thing that I thought that was weird about Inkheart is that it is book 1 of a trilogy, but after finishing it last night, I had no desire to read the other books. Yes, there is so much more that can be told, but I liked where it ended. I can make up my own stories for the characters in my head, decide for myself what I think happens next. And I have no desire to change this any time soon by reading the sequels.
But again, and I cannot express this enough, I thought the book was absolutely fantastic. I think it is the type of book that can appeal to all ages. Inkheart is a wonderful book that is going to get a special place on my bookshelves!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Batman and Son

I picked this up about a month ago. I have to admit, I was intrigued about the idea of Batman having a son. Especially one trained by the League of Assassins.

So after The Bloody Chamber, I decided to take a shot with this book. And I have to say, the first half of it was great! There was a lot of action all over the place, and a lot of confusion over the fact that Batman has a son!

But at about the time of the Joker interlude, things started to go downhill. The Joker story, The Clown at Midnight was extremely creepy. It wasn't altogether bad, but it didn't seem fitting in the middle of this graphic novel. It slowed the action down a lot, being an actual short story, not a comic book. And did I say it was creepy? I can't stress that enough.

When I finished reading the interlude, I thought I would get right back into the action of the main story. Well, things went back to Damien, Batman's son, for a little bit. But then there was a bit about this Bane-like figure. And then came the weirdest thing of all: the last chapter of the graphic novel was set in the future. Batman died somehow, and Damien took over as Batman. It was confusing and an altogether disappointing end to the whole story. I wanted to know what Damien's mother was going to do after the explosion!

Long story short, this graphic novel was okay. The beginning is a lot of fun, but the ending leaves something to be desired.

The Bloody Chamber

While I was studying for my Children's Lit exam, I came upon a reference I had written in the margins of my notes of The Tiger's Bride by Angela Carter. The Tiger's Bride was supposed to be a modern rescripting of a fairy tale, much like Bluebeard's Egg by Margaret Atwood (which we were studying). And so, after my exam, I decided to head to Chapters to get a copy of the book which The Tiger's Bride was in.
The Bloody Chamber is a collection of short stories by Angela Carter. There are eight tales in the book, all inspired by folk and fairy tales.
The first tale, The Bloody Chamber is based off of Bluebeard. The next two, The Courtship of Mr. Lyon and The Tiger's Bride are both based off of Beauty and the Beast. Puss in Boots is obvious. I'm not entirely sure what The Erl-King is based off of. The Snow Child is based off of Snow White, while The Lady of the House of Love is based off of Sleeping Beauty. The next two, The Werewolf and The Company of Wolves are based off of Little Red Rising Hood, and the final one, Wolf-Alice is based off of Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.
All of these tales were quite good, even though they are very heavy with description (which I'm not overly fond of). Most of them were of a sexual nature, which makes sense as they are based off of fairy tales (and most likely the originals, not the kid-friendly Disney versions). All in all, this was a good read, which really makes you think about the stories in a new light.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

School Books: Gallathea and The Spanish Tragedy Revisited

In preparation for my exam tomorrow, I decided to reread a few of the plays that we covered in class. Rather than rereading some of the good ones, I decided to revisit some of the plays that I didn't particularly care for the first time through.

The first play I revisited was John Lyly's Gallathea. The first time I read it, I found it strange. This time through, I thought it was a lot better. Yes, it still has some large problems. No one is properly characterized. Things don't come together as seamlessly as I think they should. Neptune randomly decides to disguise himself as a shephard for no reason at all. But this second time through, I thought it was a lot more fun. Maybe I was just a little more forgiving, or maybe it was because we analyzed it in class, but whatever the reason, I enjoyed this fun pastoral romp.

The second play that I revisited was Thomas Kyd's Spanish Tragedy. And I have to say, it was just as terrible the second time through! The only improvement in reading it the second time was that it was a bit easier to understand; my first time through it I had a hard time figuring out what was happening and why. This time through I understood everything perfectly, but the whole plot was still rather stupid. For one thing, the play is unnecessarily long. For another, there are large chunks that are terribly written! ("Speak thou fair words, I'll cross them with fair words;/Send thou sweet looks, I'll meet them with sweet looks;" II.iii, 34-5. What the heck kind of lines are these?) Oh, and my version has a whole bunch of additions, which are actually worse than the original written parts. However, I will say that the ending of the Spanish Tragedy is still pretty insane. That's about the only thing in the entire play worth reading.

So, to make a long story short, Gallathea is definitely worth a second look, while, in my opinion, the Spanish Tragedy is not.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Another List Update

I know I just did a List update a few weeks ago. But I think I'm due for another one. You see, I haven't read a whole lot off of the List (or in general) since that update. But I've been in the bookstores a little too much lately.

Since that update on the 18th, I have read two List books. And having finished "If I Were an Evil Overlord" today, the List is now down to 102 books. Yes, I managed to add three books onto the List since that update (well, now I am only up one book, but I had to read two to get down to 102). Adding to this problem, I also received the two reading lists for my classes next term, and picked up a few school books I hope to read over Christmas. Counting those school books I currently have, I have 105 books to read in my room right now. This does not include the couple of books that I have from the library (which I may return and get at a later date when I have more time).

So what are my plans for the next few weeks, once my exam is finished? Hopefully reading! I started another anthology today, and there are a few graphic novels I can't wait to read after my exam (last one Monday!). If I'm lucky, I'll also get through one or two list books before starting one of my school books. Whatever happens, I'm in for a busy December!!!!

If I Were an Evil Overlord

I have been reading this book on and off for at least six months. If I Were an Evil Overlord is an anthology edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Russell Davis. I picked it up on a whim one day while I was at Chapters. I like the anthologies Martin H. Greenberg puts together, and I really liked the sounds of this one. So, what the heck? I figured it would be a fun read.
There are fourteen tales in this book by fourteen different authors. They range from more serious to highly hilarious. Out of the fourteen, I really enjoyed eight of them (so that's pretty good for an anthology - I liked more than half of the stories). The eight I really enjoyed were the following: "If Looks Could Kill" by Esther Friesner, "The Man Who Would Be Overlord" by David Bischoff, "Ensuring the Succession" by Jodi Lynn Nye, "Loser Takes All" by Donald J. Bingle, "The Next Level" by David Niall Wilson, "A Woman's Work . . ." by Tanya Huff, "To Sit in Darkness Here, Hatching Vain Empires" by Steven A. Roman, and "Stronger Than Fate" by John Helfers.
The first three stories I listed were all read when I first got the book. "If Looks Could Kill" was hilarious, although it wasn't really about an overlord, but a hero's sidekick. The next two stories were what I expected of the book: stories of people who became evil overlords or who were overlords playing with their worlds, changing fate. They were both excellent.
The last five stories I listed were all read over the last few days. I've been studying for an exam, and I used this book as a study break: for everytime I went over my notes, I read a story. (It ended up being about equal: it took me about a half hour to read over my notes, and about a half hour to read a 20 page story). "Loser Takes All" and "The Next Level" both had to do with video games. They were both excellent reads. I especially liked "The Next Level" because of its weirdness. There were some things going on that didn't make a whole lot of sense, but it made for a good story (it also kind of reminded me of the game Assassin's Creed, which I recently played for the first time ever earlier last week). Tanya Huff's "A Woman's Work . . ." was extremely well written (well, I expect no less from Huff). It was a serious take of a woman overlord, and it was both excellent and inspiring (inspiring for a story, not for me to become an evil overlord). "To Sit in Darkness Here, Hatching Vain Empires" was also quite good. It featured an overlord who was a little too ambitious; he blew up the world accidentally.
The final story that I mentioned was one of the two that I read today at work. I almost got in trouble for reading it while on break; I couldn't put the book down and ended up a few minutes late getting back to work. "Stronger Than Fate" easily featured the best evil overlord out of the whole book. He magically managed to withstand everything, braving death itself to keep his empire within his own hands.
The other six stories that I mentioned weren't amazing, but for the most part they were still enjoyable. Most of them were a little too silly for my liking (I mean, who has rehab for overlords who have "lost their evil?"). But all in all, I thouroughly enjoyed this book. It was a great idea, and an entertaining read.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Batman Secrets

Batman: Secrets was one of the graphic novels I bought while I was in Toronto. I bought it on a whim because it sounded really interesting. It also featured some really cool looking artwork of the Joker, which helped me decide to buy it.
Secrets is, obviously, about the secrets that everyone has, those secrets that you think could destroy you, but in reality might not be as big as you think they are. It starts when the Joker is released from Gotham and meets with Batman. The Joker kills the DA who let him go, and while Batman is wrestling the gun from his hands, their fight is photographed by a couple. One of the pictures looks like Batman was threatening the Joker with a gun. The photo gets released to the media, casting a lot of doubt on Batman. The Joker then decides this is fantastic, and goes out of his way to make Batman look like he is no longer the good guy.
As I said, some of the artwork is fantastic. I wasn't fond of how Batman looked in a lot of the pictures, but the Joker looked fantastic. Overall, this was a quick read, a rather interesting story that is worth picking up.

School Book: Eye of the Crow

Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock is the last school book I had to read this term. This book is the first case that Sherlock Holmes solved as a boy.
Eye of the Crow starts out with a murder to which there are no witnesses. A young lady was murdered in an alley. Bloody tracks lead back to an Arab man who works at a butcher shop. As far as the police are concerned, case closed.
But the young Sherlock Holmes isn't convinced that it is as simple as that. But his involvement makes him the Arab's accomplice in the eyes of the police. So soon young Sherlock is on the street, avoiding the police while trying to solve the murder before the Arab swings. And he makes a startling discovery: there were witnesses! The crows saw the entire murder!
Eye of the Crow is not the typical book that I would normally read. When I first started reading it, it was rather slow paced from the get go, taking quite a long time before it picked up enough to keep me interested. And even though it picked up a bit, it still seemed rather slow throughout.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The List Update

Wow, I haven't done an update on The List since September! But I thought, having come home from Toronto with a number of new books, an update would be a good idea.

While in Toronto, I ended up coming home with a grand total of 9 new books, 5 of which are graphic novels. One of them is Knightfall part 1 (because it is awesome!) so I am only adding 8 books to The List. I'm really excited to read a couple of them, like the Mabinogion (which is a collection of Welsh folklore) and Watchmen (the graphic novel).

When I got home, I rewrote The List, removing the scratched off entries and adding in the new stuff. This was also an opportunity to reorganize it, so anthologies are together, followed by older books (such as the Mabinogion), graphic novels, and then everything else. Graphic novels are sort of a new edition to The List; prior to this version, there's only been the odd one every second List or so. This version of The List has 6!

So, along with a few other books that I have picked up over the last few months, The List is back up to 101 books. That means that since reading The Gypsy Morph, I've added 12 books onto The List. It hasn't helped that I've been reading mainly school books and library books - The Gypsy Morph was actually the last book that I read off of The List! I better get cracking!

Monday, November 17, 2008

School Book: Spud in Winter

Sorry, this image is from Amazon; you cannot look inside the book by clicking on it.

So another school book, once again from Contemporary Children's Lit. I read Spud in Winter by Brian Doyle over the last few days. I tried reading it a week or two back, but didn't get very far. So I started it again while I was away, reading the bulk of it while I was flying home, and finishing it earlier this afternoon.

Reading Spud in Winter reminded me of another book that I read earlier in the year before starting this blog, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. There wasn't a lot of dialogue. The story was told from the main character's perspective with waaaay too much detail. And as I found out from reading Richard Wright's The Weekend Man, I hate too much detail from someone's perspective with very little dialogue.

Luckily, Spud in Winter is a better story than those two books. But it wasn't terribly good. The book follows Spud Sweetgrass as he tries to protect those he loves. After having witnessed a murder and knowing who the culprit is, Spud has to decide whether to tell the cops, identifying himself as a witness (and possibly putting Connie Pan, his friend and love interest, into danger as well because she also knows the culprit), or to keep quiet and hope the whole thing blows over. Yes, it managed to tie everything up nicely in the end; but getting to the end was a bit brutal. The plot itself was rather boring. A lot of things that were described (like the Laneway Man) weren't terribly interesting to begin with, so when they were tied up at the end, I really didn't care. However, the characters were kind of interesting. Some of the things they said and did were kind of funny. And a lot of their names were great (who doesn't like B. Faroni?)

As far as books go, this one isn't really the greatest. There's humour in it from the characters, but not enough happening in the plot to keep you interested.


This book is a little bit weird, in the whole scheme of this blog. It wasn't on the List, but neither was it a library nor school book. I borrowed Twilight from my cousin so I could read it before the movie came out. I finished it a few nights ago, but was away and didn't have time to post.
How do you approach a book like Twilight? Everyone I have talked to absolutely loves it. A friend of mine said she read it, and immediately went out and bought the sequels that were available at the time. The hype about the movie is phenomenal, with so many people extremely excited for it.
So what did I think? Honestly, it was just ok. Not fantastic. Not phenomenal. Definitely not the best book I've ever read (not even close). Just ok.
For those who don't know, Twilight is a vampire romance. Now don't get me wrong, vampire romances are alright. But this one wasn't spectacular. It focuses on Bella, a normal human girl who has no survival instincts whatsoever, and Edward, the vampire she loves.
I think part of my problem is that I am exposed to vampires a little too much. I am an avid fan of Vampire: the Masquerade, White Wolf's famous role playing game. And having read Twilight, I would bet money that Stephanie Meyer was heavily influenced by it. For example, one of the vampires, Jasper, can influence people's emotions, much like the Vampire power presence.
I also found that the book was terribly boring through the first 2/3rds. It was only the last little bit that was fun. All the rest is a lead up to Edward and Bella getting together, which you know is going to happen eventually. I give Edward points for trying to resist his attraction, but again, someone needs to teach Bella some sort of instincts.
So again, Twilight is alright. It isn't the greatest book you'll ever read. But if you like vampires, and you like romances, then there's a good chance you'll enjoy this book. Especially the romance lovers. But if you're not a big vampire and romance lover, then this is not the book for you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

School Book: The BFG

Roald Dahl's The BFG is a very odd book. That's really the best way to describe it. I have never read a Roald Dahl book before, but I can only imagine what the others are like.
The BFG tells the story of the Big Friendly Giant (duh!). He is the runt giant, quite a bit smaller than the 9 other nasty giants. One night he sees that the little girl, Sophie, has seen him, so he wisks her off to Giant Land. They become good friends and together plot to stop the 9 nasty giants from eatting human "beans."
The BFG is a cute book. It has some very good messages within it. But it's a bit tough to get through, mostly because of the way the BFG speaks. He gets words all mixed up, and also has some strange ways of describing things. I think children will really like the book because of this. But for adults, once you get passed that, it's a great book.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

School Book: King Richard II

King Richard II was an extremely strange and hard to follow play. In my opinion, it is not one of Shakespeare's best. Richard II is one of Shakespeare's historical plays, following the last few years of King Richard II's life. (I believe it leads into King Henry IV parts 1 and 2).
Unlike Edward II by Christopher Marlowe, Richard II didn't seem to flow as well. There were many instances where things happened that didn't really seem to make sense (maybe this is in part due to the historical facts around Richard II - I don't really know his history).
There was one spot in particular that I found especially confusing: Act IV. Act IV is where Bolingbroke gets Richard's crown. Well, the beginning of the act has so many people come out of nowhere and challenge one another, it's extremely difficult to follow. The fact that they're calling one another liars the whole time didn't help either. Again, this may come more from historical fact, but again, I do not know the history of Richard II.
Characters coming out of nowhere made this play really tough to follow. I had to flipback to the List of Roles all the time in an attempt to figure out who everyone was. Other than the few main characters, there seemed to be a lot of minor ones who would randomly show up for a scene, then disappear (again, look back at Act IV when everyone is challenging one another).
Maybe reading it through a second time will help straighten things out. But as of this moment, I can say I was not impressed with this play. Definitely not one of my favourites.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Library Break: Batman: Vampire

Batman: Vampire is something special. I noticed that right away when I first picked it up at work. Batman: Vampire starts out as the tale of Batman vs. Dracula. Dracula has come to Gotham City, and only the Dark Knight can stand in his way. But at the end of this first tale, Dracula manages to change the Dark Knight into a vampire himself.
The second tale has Batman struggling to uphold his moral code: no killing. But how long can he hold out when the blood of the living calls to him? At the same time, the Joker has taken control of the last nest of Dracula's children, and has urged them to grander targets, taking out all of Gotham's mob families. This tale ends with the unthinkable: Batman succumbs, killing the Joker and drinking his tainted blood.
Finally, readers are left with the third story: Batman has been staked for an unknown period of time, and now crime has run rampant. In a desperate plea for help, Alfred removes the stake, unleashing the terrible monster that Batman has become. Who now can save Gotham from the fallen Knight?
Batman: Vampire is a terrifying tale, showing that even the Dark Knight can be corrupted, can become one of the monsters that he strives to protect Gotham from. An alternate history to the Batman timeline, this is one book that all fans of the Dark Knight should read.

Library Break: The Rope Trick

I read a couple of Lloyd Alexander books from the library (The Fortunetellers and The House Gobbaleen. I really enjoyed The Fortunetellers; The House Gobbaleen was just alright) because I was looking for a book to compare to The Black Cauldron for a paper. I think I've found that book in The Rope Trick. The Rope Trick tells the story of Lidi, a magician who is trying to discover how to do the world's rarest trick: the rope trick. On her journey of discovery, she encounters the Added Attraction Daniella, a girl who can tell the future, and the fugitive Julian. Together with her canvasmaster Jericho, they journey through the land of Campania, meet a troupe of dancing pigs, and must save Daniella from kidnappers.
The Rope Trick is a fun read. It is a journey of discovery for Lidi, where she learns that everything she needs is within her. I think it will also be a good book to compare to the Black Caulfron because it is similar in many ways, and yet different. The Rope Trick is low fantasy, while The Black Cauldron is high. But both are quest stories, with quirky and strong willed characters. Both are definitely worth reading!

Library Break: Batman: Knightfall pt. 3

I read this last week and forgot to write about it here. Part 3: Knightsend ends the Batman: Knightfall saga. This is the story of how Bruce Wayne reclaims his place as Gotham's Dark Knight.

After a long and slow recovery, Bruce Wayne is almost ready to resume his place. But he knows he has lost his edge, and he is afraid he will not be able to reclaim it. To that end, he asks Lady Shiva to train him.

As Bruce Wayne is struggling to survive Shiva's training, Jean Paul Valley is spiraling further and further into madness.

Knightsend is the explosive conclusion to the Knightfall trilogy. I didn't think it was nearly as good as Broken Bat (because I doubt that anything will be able to compare to that), but it is definitely worth the read!

Friday, October 17, 2008

School Book: The Black Cauldron

I started reading The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander two nights ago. It is one of the books we're studying in Contemporary Children's Literature, so it is am extremely easy read. And I absolutely loved it! The Black Cauldron is a high fantasy, similar in some respects to the Lord of the Rings; there is a band of unlikely heroes who end up saving the world. But unlike the Lord of the Rings, The Black Cauldron can stand on its own.
The story mainly follows Taran and his friends as they search for the evil Black Cauldron. They must fight their way through the evil hunters of Arawn, survive the three sorcerresses, and all the time they have to be careful of whom to trust. Adventure and excitement at every turn of the page, this is an unforgettable adventure for everyone!
However, I do wish I had read the Book of Three, the first book in the Prydain series, before this one. The Black Cauldron alluded to events that had already happened, and talked about characters near the beginning as if they were people you knew. But once I got past the first couple of chapters, I found that this stopped and then the story was able to stand on its own.
All in all, I found The Black Cauldron to be an enjoyable read. It is simple, but highly entertaining. I think it is something that everyone, young and old, should get their hands on at least once in their lifetime!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

School Book: Hamlet

Well, this is the third time I've had to read Shakespeare's Hamlet. And although I would have preferred my professor choosing something else, I have to admit I really like this play. The first time I read it, back in grade 12, I didn't really care for it. But when I reread it for class last year, I thought it was great. The plot is well written, the characters are all distinct, and it is fun (even for a tragedy).

I did notice a bit of a difference between this edition (The Arden Edition) and the one I read last year (The W.W. Norton Edition). Specifically, my favourite soliloquy seemed different ("To be, or not to be..."). But all in all, I enjoyed rereading this. It is a wonderful tale, and definitely worth rereading time and time again!

School Book: The Spanish Tragedy

I don't know why I'm even bothering to comment on this one; it's been about a week since I read it, and I absolutely hated it! It was painful to even get through it! The Spanish Tragedy was written by Thomas Kyd. It seemed similar to Hamlet at first, but not nearly as good. The characters were boring and similar to one another. The beginning of the play was incredibly dull, having to do with a battle and whatnot. And the first couple of murders didn't really have a good reason to happen. I will say though that the ending was kind of funny. It was a play within a play, and although my copy was translated, the original is supposed to be happening with every character speaking a different language!

Overall, this was not my favourite play by a long shot.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

School Book: Edward II

Earlier this week I readthe play Edward II by Christopher Marlowe. I have to say I really enjoyed it! This was the first work that I've ever read by Marlowe, and it was extremely well written. The characters were well defined, the verse style was easy to understand, and the plot was interesting. I also didn't find the characters' names too confusing, so that was another big plus. Edward II is a historical play, and it is based off of the life of Edward II of England. See here for the wiki page). It was a very enjoyable read (although the ending is a bit gruesome when you stop and think about it!)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

School Book: Abel's Island

For Contemporary Children's Literature, I had to read Abel's Island by William Steig. It is a fun little story about a mouse who gets marooned on an island and is trapped there for over a year, trying to survive and escape.
Looking at it from the perspective of the class, I can see how Abel's Island would be attractive to children. It is a chapter book, but definitely not a difficult read. It has lots of adventure, and a fun character. But I have to say it wasn't my favouritest book. I didn't like the way it felt like the author was talking down to me the whole way through the book (I am more of a fan of The Wind in the Willows style writing, where the book is written in a more mature fashion). The back of the book compares Abel's Island to Charlotte's Web, which I also don't agree with (and I think that children agree with me on this one, as Charlotte's Web is still widely read while I have never heard of Abel's Island before this class. But I could definitely be wrong on this point).
All in all, this was an okay read. Not the best book in the world, but definitely not the worst.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Library Break: Batman: Knightfall

I have read parts 1 and 2 of the Knightfall series. And I have to say, I absolutely loved Part1: Broken Bat! Bane released all of the villians from Arkham Assylum, using them to wear out the Dark Knight. Batman, who was already in rough shape from the previous few weeks, is slowly but surely worn down as he goes after the escaped villians. He has no time to rest, even though his body desperately needs it. There were many fights when Batman should have been able to take out the thugs no problem, but he was only able to by using the last of his strength. Depleated, there were many images of him hiding in the shadows, exhausted. Yet he always managed to find the strength to continue as there was no one else.

It was the strangest story to read: with Batman barely managing to remain on his feet. And finally, when Bane struck, Batman was at his weakest, and he lost! Bane attacked Batman at home, when the Dark Knight was mentally and physically exhausted. Batman tried to fight back, but there was no strength left in him. And so Broken Bat left me with this image: Bane literally breaking Batman! It is a sad and terrifying image: no one should be able to break Batman!

So of course I had to start reading the second graphic novel in the series: Who Rules the Night. It starts out where Broken Bat left off, with Bane gloating over the fallen Knight. And so there is a desperate attempt on the parts of Tim (Robin) and Alfred to save Batman from being paralyzed for life. Fighting the clock, they manage to get the medicine they need, the only one that can help heal a broken back.
But now Gotham is in ruins. News that Batman has fallen bursts open the flood gates. Crime skyrockets. With no one to stop them, criminals everywhere try to carve a piece out of the city. And Bane lords over everyone, proclaiming the city his.
Into this dreary night comes Batman's chosen successor, Jean Paul. Jean Paul takes up the mantle of Batman with the help of Robin, but quickly proves to be a much darker Knight than that of the real Batman. He slowly decides to disobey Bruce's command not to engage Bane directly, deciding that taking down Bane will be the best way to stem the tide of chaos that has taken over Gotham. He modifies his costume, and becomes increasingly violent. Robin desperately tries to reign him in, but Jean Paul will not listen.
Jean Paul fights Bane twice. He injures Bane a lot, but almost dies in the process. For this reason he modifies his costume again, needing more than just the claws he had made the first time. It is during his second encounter that Jean Paul manages to bring Bane down. At the last moment, he decides not to kill Bane, but instead leaves him broken, much like how Bane left Batman.
It was a great story, and I can't wait to get a hold of part 3. But I definitely didn't like part 2 as much as part 1. There wasn't enough Bruce Wayne in part 2 for starters, which, although understandable, still made me sad. And I think I liked reading the downfall of Batman rather more than the aftermath. Jean Paul seemed rather unstable, and also kind of scary. I know Batman is not made of teddy bears and gum drops or anything, but he does have his code, and it never seemed like Jean Paul held up to it. (I know, that was the point, but I didn't like it).
Finally, I now have a reason to hate "Batman and Robin" even more. They totally butchered the character of Bane!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

School Books: Romantic Comedies (First Impressions)

I have decided to review the first couple of school readings together: dramatic romantic comedies. For my 16th Century Drama class, we are reading John Lyly's "Gallathea" and William Shakespeare's "As You Like It." I am going to call these "first impressions" because this is the first time I have read the two of them. (I will be rereading them for this class at least once more).

I found "Gallathea" extremely strange. It was rather hard to follow, with scenes and characters seeming to come randomly. The main plot, of Gallathea and Phillida having to disguise themselves as boys to avoid being sacrificed and falling in love with one another was rather funny. But I didn't like the happenings of the Dryads and Cupid. It seemed unnecessary filler. And the brothers who were looking to find someone to apprentice them, that also seemed like unnecessary filler.

On the other hand, I thought "As You Like It" was great! The play was well written (of course! It's Shakespeare!) and the plot was extremely entertaining. Everything seemed to have a purpose - nothing came across as unnecessary filler. The whole story came together beautifully in the end.

That was what I thought of the two romantic comedies. If the professor gives me any neat tidbits, I will post about them later on here. I will also be watching a few film versions of "As You Like It" by the professor's suggestion. I will probably be reviewing them on Shauna's World once I do.

The Boy from the Sun

I absolutely love this book! I think it is an extremely fun, rather trippy book that is about the power and fun of the imagination. I recommend it to everyone who has children, or takes care of children. It is simple, but it is fun.
It has also won the Governor General's Award, as well as a second award where children were the jury (I am blanking on the name). That means that both adults and children loved the book!
I first heard about the book last year in my second year Children's Lit class (I am now in the 3rd year class). Our professor read it to us one day when we were covering picture books. I fell in love with the book then! So I was extremely excited to find it on this year's course list - it meant I would be able to own a copy! :)
Duncan Weller came to my Children's Lit class today to talk about all three of his published books ("Night Wall" and "Space Snake" as well as "The Boy From the Sun"). He was a lot of fun listening to. He's worked incredibly hard on all of his books, and I really wish him all the best with his future endevors! (I'm also hoping to pick up copies of his other work when I can!)
Check out his website here!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Gypsy Morph pg 285

Alright, after asking around a little bit, it appears that all of the copies of The Gypsy Morph cut out randomly on page 285. Brooks' official website says that the chapter was planned that way - the character doesn't make it, and ends mid thought. I'm of the opinion that it should have ended with a dash then, to signify that the thought was cut off. But if that was the way it was planned, then so be it! (I just think the way it is it looks like the printers made a mistake or something!)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

School Books

As I mentioned in my Library Breaks post, I am going to be reviewing everything that I read on this blog. As school is starting up again, I think it is only fair to include School Books, especially since I am taking english classes and many of the books I will be reading will not be text books in the traditional sense. I may not review everything, but I will definitely be posting on some of my favourites (stay tuned for Duncan Weller's The Boy from the Sun!)

The List Update

And with the conclusion of The Gypsy Morph, that brings the List total down to 89 books!!!! I've really read a lot of books over the summer, and even with the library books that I have read, I've managed to make a bit of a dent in the List so I am happy! :) I won't be able to read as many List books over the next few months due to school, but I may be able to knock off an anthology or two.

The Gypsy Morph

This one took me a little longer to read; I've been extremely busy all week, and wasn't able to read the way I did last weekend.
The Gypsy Morph picks up at the end of The Elves of Cintra. Angel Perez has helped the elves Kirisin and Simralin find the Loden Elfstone. Yet Angel was badly wounded, so in it up to Logan Tom to help the Elves save their city and the Ellcrys.
Meanwhile, the Gypsy Morph is getting as many people together as possible so that he can lead them to a place of safety against the coming destruction. He knows with certainty that everything that has happened to date will pale in comparison to the coming storm. He knows what he has to do, but he is operating almost solely on instinct, which is making people question him. But he is the world's only hope for a future.
The demons and their army of once-men lie in wait for the activation of the Loden, and also ready to chase Kirisin wherever he may go. Logan Tom has to help everyone, and hopes that the Word's promise of revenge will be fulfilled. And Angel Perez, now healed with the help of an elf, helps lead the children and protect the Gypsy Morph. The final book of Terry Brooks' Genesis of Shannara series brings everyone together, sometimes in very surprising ways! I enjoyed reading it, but overall I think my favourite of this series was The Elves of Cintra.
Oh, as an afterword, my copy of The Gypsy Morph has chapter 25 ending abruptly. The last sentence ends in the middle of a word! I'm not entirely sure if this was a printing error or what, but I have asked around on the internet for what page 285 is supposed to say. When I find out, I will let you know!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Elves of Cintra

Yes, I know. I read this book in just over 24 hours. I started reading The Elves of Cintra almost right after I finished Armageddon's Children at just before midnight last night. And I finished it about two minutes ago.
The Elves of Cintra picks up right where Armageddon's Children left off. Logan Tom has found the Gypsy Morph, but almost immediately lost him. Yet there is no time to worry about it right now; an army of demons and once men have appeared and are attacking the city. Logan has to fight his way free and help the Morph's family get away as well.
But as the title of the book suggests, most of its story is more concerned with Angel Perez, charged with helping the Elves save the Ellcrys. She has joined forces with a couple of Elves while the rest of the Elven nation tries to thwart their efforts by order of their King. With no one to turn to for help, and hunted by demons, they set out on their own to find the mysterious talisman that will save the Elven nation from destruction by the demons.
The Elves of Cintra continues the masterfully told blending of two of Terry Brooks' epic series. I cannot wait to see how everything ends with The Gypsy Morph!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Armageddon's Children

After two years of waiting, I have finally read Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks. Armageddon's Children is the first book in Brooks' Genesis of Shannara series. As I said in my last post, I have owned the book for almost two years, and I refused to read it until the final book in the trilogy was out. Now that The Gypsy Morph is out, I can read the whole story uninterrupted.

The reason I hoarded both Armageddon's Children and The Elves of Cintra until The Gypsy Morph was released is that the last trilogy that I read of Brooks' was also released over a period of two years; when I opened Straken and started reading, I couldn't believe that I had no clue who the first character that I encountered was! Prior to that moment, I was certain that, even with the time in between reading Tanequil and Straken, I remembered the story well enough to proceed. After that moment, I vowed that I wouldn't let that happen again; I would wait until all the books of any new trilogies were released before reading them. (This is much like I said I would do for the Harry Potter series if and when I ever decide to read it).

Armageddon's Children is the first in a series of books in which Brooks bridges his Word and Void series with his Shannara series. Armageddon's Children opens in disaster: the world and future that Knight of the Word John Ross was trying to prevent in the Word and Void has happened. War has destroyed civilization as we know it. The land, water and air lie poisoned. Mutants have evolved out of people as a result of the poisons. Those people unaffected by the poisons, for the most part, live in walled complexes, trying desperately to cling to life as it once was. Demons, the Void's servants who have evolved out of humans, and their armies of once men ravage the countryside, attacking the complexes and killing most while enslaving others. Those enslaved are brought to slave camps to live out a horrible existence at the hands of the demons and once men.

It is here that we find Logan Tom, one of the last Knights of the Word. Logan is given the task of finding the Gypsy Morph, the one born to Nest Freemark nearly a century earlier. The Morph is said to be humanity's last chance at survival. There is a larger disaster coming, and the Morph is the only one able to lead a handful of survivors, not all of them human, to a place of safety where they can survive. Logan is tasked with protecting the Morph so that it may complete its task.

Half way across the country is Angel Perez, herself another Knight of the Word, given the task of finding and helping a people born of legend. For with them lies the Ellcrys, which must be protected at all costs.

Armageddon's Children offers a terrifyingly bleak view of what nuclear war would do to life as we know it. Yet it also offers a view of the hope and determination that is the foundation of the human spirit. Even at the verge of total annihilation there are those who refuse to give up hope, fighting for survival, fighting for the future, fighting for love.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Gypsy Morph is Here!!!!

I wandered into one of my local bookstores yesterday and I couldn't believe it: the final book in Terry Brooks' Genesis of Shannara trilogy was there! It was out several days before it was due to be released according to Brooks' site (August 26/08). I'm just excited because now I can finally read Armageddon's Children, the first book in the Genesis trilogy. I've been hoarding it until book 3 was released.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Library Break: Worldwired

Well, here it is: the end of the Jenny Casey trilogy. Worldwired is about the aftermath of Scardown: what happens after the Toronto disaster and the starship Calgary going down. The alien Benefactors are here, but strangely silent. The UN is looking into the Toronto disaster. And Jenny Casey and her friends are still stuck in the middle of everthing.
I have to say that I liked Hammered and Scardown better than Worldwired. I think that Worldwired had too much going on with so many different characters that it wasn't able to follow Jenny Casey as much as I would've liked. But it was still a good story that was definitely worth reading. Elizabeth Bear did a great job with the whole trilogy! There were many great characters, and even though not all of them made it, it was great to know their stories. And I still like it that Jenny Casey's parts were written in first person.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Elizabeth Bear's Website

Oh, in case anyone is interested, here is Elizabeth Bear's website:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Library Break: Scardown

As I had to wait a few days until I got Scardown, book 2 in Elizabeth Bear's Jenny Casey trilogy, I thought I would read something else. I got through one chapter, but then I couldn't keep going; I NEEDED to know what happened next, and I didn't want Scardown to come in and then have to wait to read it until I was finished another book. So I waited. And it was worth the wait!
I just finished Scardown a few minutes ago, and it was great! Scardown picks up right where Hammered left off. It was a little bit all over the place at first, but by the middle of the book, I needed to know what happened next and didn't dream of putting it down! (Although I had to as I worked all day today).
Many of the characters from Hammered return in Scardown and the story of Jenny Casey is expanded upon. But as political intrigues expand and explode, it becomes clearer and clearer that Scardown is about much more than Jenny Casey's life, but is about a world crisis that is rapidly drawing nearer. Scardown was an excellent read and I can't wait to (momentarily) start Worldwired!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Library Break: Hammered

Hammered by Elizabeth Bear was one of four books that were recommended to me from the library recently. After reading The Weekend Man, I needed something that was faster paced and had interesting characters and dialogue. I actually decided to read this book first because of the cover quote by Mike Resnick: "Very exciting...very impressive debut." And I absolutely have to agree! Although it wasn't possible, I didn't want to put the book down! (And I am hopefully going to have the other two in the trilogy by the middle of this week!)
Hammered tells the story of Jenny Casey, formerly Master Warrant Officer of the Canadian army. Casey survived the army although lost her legs and her left hand in service. She was the only person to successfully adapt to her metal limbs, but now, thirty five years later, they are slowly killing her.
Hammered was full of many other interesting characters, from Razorface, the Connecticut warlord with a face full of metal, to Richard, the only successfully sentient AI. It was a masterpiece that remained glued to my hand all night until I was able to finish it a few minutes ago, leaving me aching to know what happens next!

Library Breaks

I have decided that I will be writing a review of all the books I read on here; this will include library books. All of the books that I review on here from the library will have "Library Break" in the post title. I am saying this now because I currently have a bunch of novels from the library, and am getting a few more this week. (Yes, I managed to stay out of the bookstores, but I cannot stay away from the temptation that work affords me!)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Weekend Man

I started The Weekend Man by Richard B. Wright before I went to camp over the weekend. I've had it for quite awhile, having purchased it from the used book sale at work (the library) a few years ago. Reading the back, the book appealed to me; it is about a guy, Wes Wakeham, who is trying to figure out what he wants from life. I thought that that pretty much describes me at the moment, so I would give it a shot.
Well, I had to brute force my way through this book. The only reason I kept reading was that I wanted to see how it ended. It turns out that I really didn't care. The book buries you under mounds and mounds of description. There was barely any dialogue; what was present felt like it was thrown in because the author had to. The back of the book describes Wes as"a decent man with an ironic sense of humour." I found that I truly didn't care about or for him. He might be decent to those around him, but he generally wasn't very charitable to those around him in his own thoughts. (And of course, the reader gets to hear all about Wes Wakeham's thoughts on everything).
Save your money. Save your time. Don't bother with this one.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

To Die For

I would have finished Linda Howard's To Die For last night, but I was too tired. So I finished it just a few minutes ago. I do not really like reading romance novels, but I do like Linda Howard's stuff. She is the author of Heart of Fire, which is probably my favourite romance novel to date. (I like that it is told from both the woman's and man's perspective. That made it really entertaining!)
To Die For was not told from the man's perspective, but instead was first person from the woman's, in this case Blair Mallory. The very beginning of the novel wasn't terribly appealing to me, but by the end of the first chapter I was hooked!
Nicole, a woman who was copying Blair's image, was shot, and Blair was the only witness. In comes police lieutenant Wyatt Bloodsworth, a man whom Blair had dated a bit until he mysteriously ended their relationship. Cue fireworks here.
I think the main thing that appealed to me was the dialogue between the two main characters, Blair and Wyatt. Some of the things that Blair thought during the narrative were also hilarious! The two of them argued constantly and it was highly entertaining!
I also liked that, for a romance, there wasn't way too much sex. Yes, sex did happen, but it wasn't graphic like some of the books I have read in the past.
So, to make a long story short, this book was alright. I enjoyed it for what it was.

Upcoming Break from List Books

While working today, I had four books recommended to me. Being library books, I am thinking that I may take a break from my list books in order to read them. As this site is about reviewing the books that I read, all four of them will be reviewed here as well. I have not quite decided when I wil read them; I may wait until I am down to 90 books left on the List, or else I may read them one at a time between books on the List. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Garden of Shadows

Garden of Shadows is the first book I have ever read by V.C. Andrews. And I absolutely loved it!!! Right from when I first started reading it, I didn't want to put the book down!

Garden of Shadows tells the story of Olivia. Tall and deemed ugly by everyone, she believes she is given a chance at love when she marries Malcolm Foxworth. But right from the beginning of their life together, Olivia finds out she is sorely mistaken; Malcolm never said anything about love during their whirlwind courtship. Garden of Shadows tells the story of everything Olivia must do for her husband, her family, and for herself. This is the tale of how Olivia becomes the strong Mistress of Foxworth Manor, a woman to be feared by even her own family. I thought it was an amazing read and I recommend it to everyone!

I just wish I could keep reading this series, but right now I shouldn't - I have far too many other books to read!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Aeon Flux

Okay, this book is not actually on the List. I picked it up from work the other day (I DO work at a library), and I decided to write about it here, just for a brief break from the List.

First of all, I wasn't sure I'd even read it. The cover said "Now a Motion Picture," so I thought it was just the graphic novel adaptation of the movie. Thankfully, it turns out to be a little prequel story. But I think you do need to see the movie in order to read this, otherwise you won't understand it.

I did enjoy reading the story. But I did NOT like the artwork (it's a graphic novel). I especially didn't like the way all the people looked.

So, in my opinion, if you liked the movie, this is worth reading. But do not get this for the art.

The Halo Graphic Novel

I wasn't sure if I was going to include graphic novels on the List. But then I decided that they are, by definition, novels. And I don't read a whole lot of them, so why not use them as a break when I need a really quick read?
I was also really happy when I picked this up in Minneapolis a month ago; I was able to pay the American price ($24 I think) rather than the Canadian price ($40).

The one thing I was rather impressed with was the art. In two of the four stories, the artwork was AMAZING! (In the other two, not so much). There was also a gallery included after the stories with pictures from many different artists, and many of those pictures were also amazing! (I also found out that this is where one of my favourite pictures comes from, which I have included here).
However, I didn't really like the stories. The first one was incredibly hard to follow. It was supposedly about one of the Elites from Halo 2, showing how he lost part of his jaw. I scanned through the pictures a couple of times and I couldn't find where he loses part of his jaw. (There was one really cool part that looked like the flood he was fighting had a chance to bite it off, but I'm really sure he didn't).
The second and fourth stories had the worst drawings. The second one wasn't bad, and it was kind of fun. The fourth story was just okay; I really wasn't impressed with it.
But the fourth story was hands down my favourite! It was the story of how Sgt. Johnson escaped the flood from Halo 1. There were no words in the entire story, yet it was amazing! The artwork (as mentioned) was phenomenal. And they didn't NEED words at all!
So, overall, I totally recommend this for any Halo fan. While the stories might not be super fantastic, it is worth getting just for the artwork.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The List Update!

Well, having finished Lamb, I am pleased to say that the List is officially down to 95 books! I have successfully brought the List down from July 6th. Yay!

Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

I wrote a review of Lamb by Christopher Moore on Monday on the Read 'Em and Eat 2008 blog ( On there, I said that I was enjoying the book, but I didn't like the modern story of Biff stuck in a hotel room with an angel, forced to write his version of the gospel. On further reflection, that's not true; it was the incident with the first wise-man that didn't really sit well with me. It was while I was reading this afternoon that I figured this out; the incident ended, and then I found myself really enjoying the book. The other two wise-men seemed to fit more with Jesus: a Buddhist monk and a wise-man from India. The first one had been a magi, and he seemed to teach Biff a bit more (like alchemy).

I found myself reading the afternoon away once Jesus and Biff moved on towards the second wise-man; I didn't want to put the book down! So it appears that Lamb just took quite awhile for me to really get into. My comments from the Read 'Em and Eat blog do hold up though: it was no non-stop laugh fest. But it was still rather funny, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who won't take it too seriously. As Christopher Moore says in the afterword, it is just a story, afterall.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Read Em and Eat 2008

I may have mentioned it before, but a lot of the books I review on here are also featured on the Thunder Bay Public Library's blog However, I go into a lot more detail on this blog than I do on the TBPL's. So if you're looking for more reviews on books, or just looking to see what other people are reading this summer, go and check it out!

Legions of Hell

Well, this is another book that I decided I could not go to sleep before I had finished it. So once again it was 5am when I went to sleep.
C. J. Cherryh's Legions of Hell was a very interesting read. It's not every day that you come across a novel with Julius Cesar, Cleopatra, Napoleon Bonaparte and a whole host of others running about in a shared Hell. The book was a bit slow to start off, but after I made it about a third of the way through, I found that I didn't want to put it down! Legions of Hell is mainly the story of Brutus, the man who helped assassinate Cesar - but who did not remember anything beyond his 17th year. In Hell, Brutus and Cesar are both given a rare chance to change the history between them for the better.
I am going to complain about the ending though. It didn't really wrap the story up. I'm sure that was because Baen Books or C. J. Cherryh want the reader to keep reading the series. But I was really looking forward to seeing how some things would be resolved; I was very disappointed that that resolution never came.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bookstore Adventures

Well, I am proud of myself: I went into not one but THREE bookstores yesterday, and I didn't buy any books!!!! And believe me, it's not because there were no books that I wanted....

My friend and I first decided to go to a local used bookstore. While there, I found a book that is in the same series as the one I am currently reading (Legions of Hell by C. J. Cherryh), so it was tempting to buy that (even though I figure I am better off reading the one I have before deciding whether or not I want more). Next we went to Chapters, but nothing really caught my eye (except for a few books I've wanted for awhile). And finally we went to Coles in the mall, where I found You Suck! by Christopher Moore for only $7.99. But I managed to leave it behind! (I figure I'll go back in August and if it's still there for cheap, then I'll pick it up).

Go me!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Snow Queen

I finished Mercedes Lackey's The Snow Queen last night at about 3:30 am. I just didn't want to put it down, I enjoyed it so much! It was a really happy read, a love story, where everything turns out alright in the end (well, it IS based off of Fairy Tales....most of which turn out alright in the end). There were some parts that were really predictable (a lot of Mercedes Lackey books are like that), but others really took me by surprise. I also really liked that this was the first Tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms that featured a different Godmother than Elena (although Elena is still in the book of course). This was an excellent read...and it makes me want to reread the actual fairy tale The Snow Queen to see how much of it Lackey used!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Starcraft Ghost: Nova

Alright, so I started reading this a few days ago while on a work break. I got through the prologue, but then didn't pick the book back up for a few days. Then today I picked it up again and read the first chapter before heading out to Sleeping Giant for the day. Finally, on the way home, I started reading. And I found that I couldn't put the book down!
Nova is one of the most powerful Ghost operatives of the Terran dominion. But she was originally a child of one of the Terran Confederacy's ruling families. This book details how her psionic powers manifested themselves, and how she went from her priviledged life to embrace the anonymity of being a Ghost.
Keith DeCandido did an amazing job bringing Nova's back story to life. After reading this, I am now even more disappointed that Starcraft Ghost has been put on hold indefinitely!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Bookstore Delimma

Well, it appears I have to stay out of bookstores! I wandered into Chapters yesterday to kill some time, and ended up wandering out with two more books! So the List is back up to 99 books!!! This is also because I have been extremely slow with my reading (and busy!) So I have decided that I am going to attempt to stay out of the bookstores until the first week of August! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Michael Crichton's "Next"

Wow am I slow! I finally (just) finished Next. I found it a bit of a confusing read, as there are many characters who seem unconnected. But it was really good. Pretty much all of the characters were eventually connected in some way and the plot did come together rather well from a bunch of seemingly unrelated stories. Next also really makes you think about a lot of the issues surrounding genetics, the patening of genes, and the disconnect between the legal system and the people the legal system is supposed to serve.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm Home!

Okay, I am going to level with everyone: I managed to not read ANYTHING while I was away. I brought four books that I was looking forward to reading, and I didn't find the time to pick any of them up! To make matters worse, there are now 98 books on the List! (I bought four books, but one I have read in the past, and the other is not fiction, so both do not make it onto the List).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Minneapolis Time!

First of all, I'd like to apologize...this post is similar to the one I just made on the Read 'Em and Eat blog....but I'm going into a more detail here because all four are on the List. Whenever posts are similar on the two blogs, there will be more detail here.

I'm headed to Minneapolis tomorrow morning and I was able to decide on only 4 books to bring with me. Usually I bring way more with me than I have time to read, and I'm sure this is no exception, but I'm proud at being able to limit myself to only 4....(although I'm sure I'll pick up one or two while shopping.....)

First I chose to bring Michael Crichton's "Next." I started reading "Next" about a week ago but haven't had much time to finish it; hopefully somewhere in my travels over the next few days I can remedy that. I have read only one other Michael Crichton book in the past ("Timeline") and it was good stuff, and so far "Next" hasn't disappointed me! I can't really tell what exactly the overarching plot is at this point, but "Next" has to do with genetics, monkeys, and the controversies genetics are bringing up (such as who owns your tissue?). It's very interesting, and I can't wait to see how everything comes together!

The second book was also an easy decision: "If I Were an Evil Overlord" edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Russell Davis. I've been reading this short story collection off and on for the last few months and it's a great read! I think my favourite story so far was the first one, but there was one I read recently that was also awesome. I'm about half way through it right now, but I don't mind if I don't finish it; I like anthologies for when I'm in school because I can read an entire story without taking TOO much time away from my studies. (I have a hard time putting a book down if I'm too into it - especially if the chapter ends on a cliff-hanger!) Most likely I'll be finishing this book in September, after school starts, but I've been bringing it to work lately, so I figured I'd bring it with me this weekend, too.

The final two books I decided to bring on a whim: "Starcraft Ghost: Nova" by Keith R. A. DeCandido, and "Lamb" by Christopher Moore. I've read most of the Starcraft books that are out (not "Nova" or the new Dark Templar trilogy; the Dark Templar trilogy is only on book 2, so I'll pick them up and read them once book 3 is out), and most of them have been really good. Actually, out of the four I have read so far, I found "Liberty's Crusade" and "Queen of the Blades" amazing (well, because I like Starcraft); this surprised me because they follow the game really closely and I thought it wouldn't be fun to read what you've already played. Wow was I wrong! They added more detail and were spectacular reads! Only one ("Shadow of the Xel Naga") was bad because it seemed to be written by people who had never played the game before. I'm hoping "Nova" will fall into the former category and not the latter.

My aunt really recommends "Lamb," saying it is a hilarious read. I figure I could use a good laugh. "Lamb" tells the story of Jesus from the perspective of Biff, his childhood best friend. It sounds like it will be a neat take on the gospel, and judging from the titles and covers of some of his other work (I haven't read anything by Moore yet), I'm in for a great time!

I'm not sure which of these latter two I will be reading after I finish Next, but at least I'll have a bit of choice while I'm away!