Friday, May 18, 2012

What I'm reading...and rereading

Posted by Simcha 5:02 AM, under | 9 comments

I know had promised you guys some reviews of the books I've read but I decided that instead I want to talk about some of the books that I'm currently reading, and rereading. If any of you have read these book I'd love to hear your thought on them (though no spoilers, since I haven't finished yet)


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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss


I had read The Name of the Wind a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it. The sequel became one of my most anticipated book and I rushed out to buy it as soon as it was available. And since then the book has been sitting on my shelf untouched. See, the problem is that even though I loved The Name of the Wind I don't really remember it very well anymore. So while I really do want to read The Wise Man's Fear I don't want to ruin the experience by spending the first few hundred pages trying to remember what happened in the last book and who all the characters are. For that reason I decided that it would definitely be in my best interest to reread The Name of the Wind.


I'm glad to say that The Name of the Wind is just as good the second time around, though there is one small thing that's been niggling at me, which I don't remember being bothered by before. And that is the face that Kvothe is just so darn perfect at pretty much everything. He is a prodigy student, he's a master musician, he excels at everything he tried his hand at and comes out on top in every altercation. His overwhelming perfectness is making him less believable to me as a character, and a little annoying as well. I'm even beginning to feel some sympathy for his evil nemesis, Ambrose Jakis. I suspect that Kvothe would probably grate on my nerves as well if I had to spend a significant amount of time with him.


I'm curious if any of you who have read The Name of the Wind were bothered by this as well.


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Black and White by Jackie Kessler


I got this book out of my elibrary without knowing anything about it, other than what the book blurb said. I don't remember ever hearing of this book or author before, but it sounded like it would be a fun read, and so far I am really enjoying it.


Here's the description:


 It's the ultimate battle of good versus good. They were best friends at an elite academy for superheroes in training, but now Callie Bradford, code name Iridium, and Joannie Greene, code name Jet, are mortal enemies. Jet is a by-the-book hero, using her Shadow power to protect the citizens of New Chicago. Iridium, with her mastery of light, runs the city’s underworld. For the past five years the two have played an elaborate, and frustrating, game of cat and mouse.

But now playtime’s over. Separately Jet and Iridium uncover clues that point to a looming evil, one that is entwined within the Academy.  As Jet works with Bruce Hunter—a normal man with an extraordinary ability to make her weak in the knees—she becomes convinced that Iridium is involved in a scheme that will level the power structure of America itself. And Iridium, teaming with the mysterious vigilante called Taser, uncovers an insidious plot that’s been a decade in the making…a plot in which Jet is key. They’re both right. And they’re both wrong. Because nothing is as simple as Black and White.
I haven't gotten too far into the book yet and I really hope I have a chance to finish it before it expires. So far the story has been switching between the POVs of Jet and Iridium, both in the present time, where Jet is trying to capture Iridium, and to the past, when the two were roommates, and best friends, at the superhero academy. I've enjoyed the way the story has played out and that the characters seem to have some depth and complexity.  I'm really looking forward to continuing with this book and seeing if it delivers.


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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed


Ever since I read Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods I've kept my eyes out for other travelogues about people's experiences hiking. It's something that I'd love to do myself some day and for now I just enjoy reading about other people's experiences. What interested me about this book in particular is that Cheryl actually hikes the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own, without any previous backpacking experience at all. Now, if only I was brave enough to do something like that. 


But what I hadn't expected to find in this book was the whole painful backstory that led to Cheryl's decision to hit the trail on her own for three months. The death of her mother that left her devastated and broken, even four years later, the breakup of her marriage to a man that she still loved and the flirtation with heroine, which let her escape from all the pain she was feeling. I quickly discovered that this wasn't just a book about hiking and that it had very little in common with Bryson's story of hiking the Appalachian Trail. But even though I didn't realize what I was getting into when starting on Wild I quickly became invested in Cheryl's story and I'm really hoping that she comes out on the other end somewhat healed. And I'm really hoping she gets back together with that wonderful husband of hers, though I'm fighting the temptation to Google her to find out. I'll make myself wait until the end of the story.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Free Read: Glitches by Marissa Meyer

Posted by Simcha 4:01 PM, under | 1 comment

Remember when I had told you guys about that great scifi Cinderella story I had read, in which Cinderella (or Cinder) is a cyborg? Well if this sounded like the kind of book you would enjoy, or if you have already read it, then you should head over to Tor.com where Marissa Meyer, the author of Cinder, has posted a prequel to the story.

In Meyer's short story, Glitches, Cinder is brought to her new home by the man that found her, after having undergone extensive surgery. There she is introduced to her new stepmother and stepsisters, who are less then pleased at this new addition to the family. Except for Peony, who is delighted by having a new playmate with whom she could pretend to dress up for the ball, and dance with the handsome prince Kai.


    “Are you ready to meet your new family?” 
    She tore her gaze away from the window, where snow was heaped up on bamboo fences and a squat android was clearing a path through the slush, and looked at the man seated opposite her. Though he’d been kind to her throughout their trip, two full days of being passed between a hover, a maglev train, two passenger ships, and yet another hover, he still had a nervous smile that made her fidget. 
    Plus, she kept forgetting his name. 
    “I don’t remember the old family,” she said, adjusting her heavy left leg so that it didn’t stick out quite so far between their seats. 
    His lips twisted awkwardly into an expression that was probably meant to be reassuring, and this ended their conversation. His attention fell down to a device he never stopped looking at, with a screen that cast a greenish glow over his face. He wasn’t a very old man, but his eyes always seemed tired and his clothes didn’t fit him right. Though he’d been clean-cut when he first came to claim her, he was now in need of a razor. 
    She returned her gaze to the snow-covered street. The suburb struck her as crowded and confused. A series of short one-story shacks would be followed by a mansion with a frozen water fountain in its courtyard and red-tiled roofs. After that, a series of clustered town houses and maybe a run-down apartment complex, before more tiny shacks took over. It all looked like someone had taken every kind of residence they could think of and spilled them across a grid of roads, not caring where anything landed. 
    She suspected that her new home wasn’t anything like the rolling farmland they’d left behind in Europe, but she’d been in such a foggy-brained daze at the time that she couldn’t remember much of anything before the train ride. Except that it had been snowing there, too. She was already sick of the snow and the cold. They made her bones ache where her fleshy parts were connected to her steel prosthetics.
Read the rest here

Monday, May 14, 2012

Some Cool News and Updates

Posted by Simcha 4:26 PM, under | 6 comments

So before I start making excuses as to where I've been for the past couple of months, I have some cool news to share with you.

I just found out, thanks to Aleksandra, that The Impossible Cube, by Steven Harper, includes an excerpt from my review of The Doomsday Vault, inside the book.

See for yourself! (luckily I was able to snap a shot of the page on Amazon, just in case you had your doubts)


Yes, my review is actually inside of a real, live book by a major publisher! This means that I am now a published reviewer, and the pressure to write a book of my own is off. It's all very exciting and if I had a job I would totally buy each of you a copy of the book, personally autographed by me. (OK, I'm lying. That would only happen if I won the lottery. Maybe)

And that leads us to the reason that I haven't been around lately. Unfortunately my job search has taken longer than expected and I just haven't been in the right head-space to write book reviews or blog posts. I also wanted to avoid having my frustrations leak into my posts because that wouldn't be much fun to read about. After a while I also became kind of intimidated by the idea of sitting down to write a book review, because I was so out of practice. Now that I haven't done it for a while it seems so hard. The voices in my head that usually chime in with comments while I'm reading have even started to fade away. But I think it's time to get back in the game because I've really missed blogging and chatting with you guys. Plus I have so many books to tell you about.

While I probably won't be posting as regularly as I had been before I am going to do my best to start reviewing again. I'm going to begin with a few mini-reviews so I can catch up with all of the books that  I've read over the past few months before I forget about them.

And finally (yes, this lengthy monologue is coming to an end) I'd like to thank those of you who stopped by to check up on me when I hadn't posted for a while. It was nice to know that I wasn't forgotten.

Now, all of you go out there and show your support by buying a copy of The Impossible Cube! Or at least the first page.

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