fiveforsilver: (Prufrock [do I dare disturb the universe)
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I wanted to post this before the year ends. I'll put in the final tallies later.

160. The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones
Young Adult, fantasy, 480 pages
Chrestomanci series

161. The Boy Book by E Lockhart
YA, fiction, 224 pages
Sequel to The Boyfriend List

More fabulous writing from Lockhart.

162. The Boyfriend List by E Lockhkart
YA, fiction, 229 pages
Prequel to The Boy Book

Roo (Ruby Oliver) has had a difficult month. Her boyfriend dumped her for her best friend, all her friends stopped speaking to her, and a very embarrassing piece of paper was copied and distributed around her entire school - the boyfriend list. It was homework for her therapist. It was a list of every boy she ever kissed, went on a date with, or did anything else even remotely approaching boyfriend territory.

I just love Roo's voice in this and The Boy Book. In this book, each chapter is one name from the list and along with the present-day story of how she's in therapy, dealing with her former friends and crazy parents, and trying to move on, we also get the back story on each guy, and the story of the falling-out with her friends. There are at least three timelines twisting around each other, but it reads effortlessly.

162 / 162 books. (original goal: 150)

83 / 83 ^new books. (original goal: 75)

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. (fail)

48039 / 48039 pages. (original goal: 45000)


Dec. 23rd, 2009 11:23 am
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[personal profile] fiveforsilver
158. *The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E Lockhart
Young Adult, Fiction, 342 pages
SantaThing gift

Frances Landau-Banks, aka Frankie, aka Bunny Rabbit (to her family), is going to be a sophomore at boarding school this year. It's the same boarding school that her older sister went to (they overlapped last year), and the same boarding school that their father went to when he was their age (and he hints at stories that pique Frankie's curiosity). She decides rather unexpectedly to make her mark at the school.

This has got to be one of the best-written books I've read, possibly ever. Even when the story didn't particularly interest me (I mean, boarding school? really?) or when I didn't especially care for the characters (I've never cared for "popular" kids, or for pranks either), I still wanted to keep reading it, just for the wonderful way the book was written. My sister recently lent me two other books by Lockhart and they are now at the top of my TBR pile.

159. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Young Adult, Science Fiction, 335 pages
SantaThing Gift

I read this first in March and reread it just now. It was nearly as creepy and just as amazing the second time through.

159 / 159 books. 100% done!

81 / 81 *new books. 100% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

47106 / 47106 pages. 100% done!


Dec. 21st, 2009 12:12 pm
fiveforsilver: (YW [Did I do right?])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
151. Sorcery and Cecelia, or the enchanted chocolate pot by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevemer
YA, historical fantasy, 326 pages

152. *Conrad's Fate by Diana Wynne Jones
Young Adult, fantasy, 393 pages

I thought I read this once before (and really, really liked it) but I remembered almost nothing about it. I liked it this time, but I think I'll need to read it another time or two before I really get what was going on.

153. Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Young Adult, fantasy, 534 pages
Tortall (Beka Cooper)

154. *The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevemer
Young Adult, historical fantasy, 326 pages
sequel to Sorcery and Cecelia

155. Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Young Adult, fantasy, 563 pages
Tortall (Beka Cooper)

156. Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
Adult, Science Fiction (humorous), 365 pages

157. The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce
Young Adult, fantasy, 539 pages

157 / 157 books. 100% done!

80 / 80 *new books. 100% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

46429 / 45000 pages. 103% done!


Dec. 21st, 2009 12:04 pm
fiveforsilver: (Firefly [stick])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
146. *Fire by Kristin Cashore
Young Adult, Fantasy, 461 pages
Companion to Graceling

Fire is a monster - an unnaturally beautiful creature who can control the minds of people and animals around her. Fire is also human. As a human monster, she is mistrusted, hated, feared, and desired. Her father was a monster and also a moster, cruel, controlling, and indiscriminate in the use of his abilities, but Fire was raised with human morals.

It's not easy to describe this book, because the story is less about people running around doing things then about the various characters learning about each other and themselves. And yet the story moves quickly and there is certainly action, since Fire's country is at war. Fire is a wonderful book.

147. *Makers by Cory Doctorow
Adult, Science Fiction, 416 pages

I liked the idea of this book and I would have enjoyed the main story and the geekery of it, but there is an odd obsession with weight and obesity starting on the first page that I found very off-putting. I suppose the idea is not inappropriate in a "near-future fable", given current political and social views, but the way it's handled made me cringe. Frequently. Fat people are (ironically) 2-dimensional characters, called "the obese" or, later "the fatkins", no matter who's talking. Doctorow assumes that all fat people want the same thing (to be thin) and will do any idiotic, untested thing to get it. And to assume that being thin will make people happy is just plain stupid. But of course they get what they deserve in the end, right?

I think I would have liked this book without that (unnecessary and cringe-inducing) subplot but it was so annoying and distracting that it overwhelmed many of the good aspects. I won't be reading it again and I don't recommend it.

148. *Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson
YA/Adult, Fantasy, Short Stories, 297 pages

Of the five stories in this anthology, I quite liked Phoenix by Peter Dickinson, absolutely loved Hellhound and First Flight by Robin McKinley, and didn't particularly care for Fireworm or Salamander Man by Peter Dickinson.

149. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
Adult, Science Fiction (humorous), 396 pages

150. *The poison eaters & other stories by Holly Black
YA, Fantasy, short stories, 158 pages
Early Reviewer

It was like reading a book of fables, but I couldn't work out what the morals were supposed to be (which may be a plus, actually). There was a real mixture of stores I liked and stories I didn't care for but regardless, it was a fun little book and a quick read.

150 / 150 books. 100% done!

78 / 75 *new books. 104% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

43383 / 45000 pages. 96% done!


Dec. 21st, 2009 11:57 am
fiveforsilver: (Books [PotS])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
141. Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
Young Adult, Fantasy, 409 pages

142. *Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
Adult, Fantasy, Short Stories, 389 pages

There is some wonderful imagery and ideas in these stories, but Link has a problem with endings. The stories either sort of fade away or just stop with no resolution. And the final story, the titular story, was a great idea with a twist that surprised me and I really wanted to liked, but it was ruined at the end by an annoying patronizing moralistic bit directed at the reader, who the author clearly thinks must be too stupid to realize the clever thing she just did there.

Overall, like I said before, I wanted to like these stories, but there were only one or two that I cared for and I don't plan to read any more of her work.

143. Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey (176)
144. Dragonsinger (240)
145. Dragondrums (193)
Young Adult, Fantasy

Remember what I said about being patronizing and thinking readers are stupid? I've always thought McCaffrey had that problem, too. This trilogy are the only Pern books that I like, and them just barely, since even they have the same issues. The same things are explained over and over again, or in ways that really seem to be talking down to the reader. I like the story and some of the characters, but I often consider ways that I would rewrite sentences or whole paragraphs to make them sound better.

I'd still like a fire lizard, though.

145 / 150 books. 97% done!

74 / 75 *new books. 99% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

41655 / 45000 pages. 93% done!

139, 140

Nov. 8th, 2009 10:15 pm
fiveforsilver: (Books [PotS])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
139. Page by Tamora Pierce
Young Adult, Fantasy, 288p

Page covers Kel's second, third, and forth years as a page. She passed her first year's probationary period and has gained acceptance from many people, but she still must fight prejudice from some quarters, including several teachers, a gaggle of fellow students, and conservative nobles who oppose any change in the status quo.

This book has its ups and downs. The dialogue occasionally knocks me out of suspension of disbelief by being sounding too modern and there are long stretches of time that are glossed over or simply absent because the book covers three years and occasionally this is jarring. However, overall I enjoy the book.

140. Squire by Tamora Pierce
Young Adult, Fantasy, 380p

Kel passes the big exams and has become a squire. Lady Alanna is still not allowed to be near her (for fear that she'll enchant Kel to succeed), dashing Kel's hopes of being her squire, but instead Kel is chosen by Alanna's friend Raoul to squire for him and travel with the warriors of the King's Own.

This is one of my favorite Tamora Pierce books - Kel is my favorite, in my opinion the most realistic and the least Mary-Sueish of Pierce's heroines, in part because she has no innate magical ability and therefore must figure everything out without that kind of help (or crutch). Squire is my favorite of the Protector of the Small books, possibly because Kel is such a quiet and serious character most of the time and in Squire, with Raoul and the men of the Own around, her sense of humor comes out.

140 / 150 books. 93% done!

73 / 75 *new books. 97% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

40248 / 45000 pages. 89% done!

Audiobooks: 26h30m


Nov. 5th, 2009 12:45 am
fiveforsilver: (Text [the muttering retreats])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver

136. The Last Colony by John Scalzi
Adult, Science Fiction, 320p

137. Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi
Young Adult, Science Fiction, 416p

138. *Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Young Adult, Fiction, 371p

Micah lies almost constantly, to almost everyone. This is her attempt to tell her story without lying.

In many ways, this book was exactly what I was expecting. In other ways, it wasn't what I was expecting at all, and I feel struck by a sort of mental whiplash caused by trying to figure out and keep track of what was true and what wasn't.

It is skillfully written and utterly fascinating.

138 / 159 books. 87% done!

73 / 75 *new books. 97% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

39580 / 45000 pages. 88% done!

Audiobooks: 26h30m


Nov. 5th, 2009 12:40 am
fiveforsilver: (Holiday [Halloween cat])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver

131. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Adult, Fantasy, 405p

I was so tired from the job I had last month (among other things) that it actually took me about three weeks to read Sunshine. Usually it takes me about two days.

Still one of my absolute favorite books.

132. The Magician's Ward by Patricia Wrede
Young Adult, Historical Fantasy, 288p

133. A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny
Adult, Fantasy, 280p

134. Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Adult, Science Fiction, 311p

135. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
Adult, Science Fiction. 343p

135 / 150 books. 90% done!

72 / 75 *new books. 96% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

38473 / 45000 pages. 85% done!

Audiobooks: 26h30m


Nov. 5th, 2009 12:24 am
fiveforsilver: (Xmen [Angel])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
129. *Fledgling by Octavia Butler (320)

I liked this book, the worldbuilding and characterization were very thorough and the plot was captivating. There were some aspectes of the story that were disturbing, though I suppose that is hardly surprising given the author.

130. The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley (216)

Anthology of short stories by Robin McKinley. They're all beautifully written and none of the stories are particularly tense (sometimes to the point of being anticlimactic, unfortunately).

The Door in the Hedge
The kingdom borders the fairy land and the occasional infant boy and teenage girl are kidnapped by the faeries. Nobody expects the beautiful, accomplished (though surprisingly not Mary Sueish) princess to be taken, because the faeries have always before been careful not to end families, and she is the only one. But, of course...

The writing, the language of the story is typical fantastic beautiful McKinley. I used to like this story - at least, the first half of it - but this time reading it, I couldn't help but wonder about all the unanswered questions. Why do the faeries have to steal children? Why do the people living in that kingdom stand for it? Neither is adequately, convincingly explained and if you really think about it, it's horrifying.

Even so, there really are no "bad guys" in this story, and it just sort of meanders along from start to finish. Unfortunately, though, the resolution doesn't really make much sense or explain things.

The Princess and the Frog
This story is much better - we're dropped into the middle of a conflict of wills where an evil smiling wizard or mage or what-have-you is slowly, insidiously taking over the kingdom from the inside. The princess is spunky and holds her own as well as she can, and the frog is great. Once again the climax leaves a little to be desired, though.

The Hunting of the Hind
The princess in this story is one of my favorite fairy-tale princesses. She is reminiscent of Aerin from The Hero and the Crown, the all-but-forgotten daughter of a king's second marriage who nonetheless loves her country and her family. For her beloved brother, she embarks on a quest that a dozen men have already failed at.

As with the other stories, I like the first half of the story but the second half doesn't quite live up to it. There is too much love at first sight as a replacement for plot and the climax is wanting. Also, I always thought there was more chemistry between Korah and Sellena than between any other pairing.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses
The twelve princess dance holes through their slippers every night and a retired soldier takes the challenge of finding out how and why.

Definitely the strongest story of the bunch, start to finish. There are a few unexplained bits, but overall it works. This is my favorite story in the book.

130 / 150 books. 87% done!

72 / 75 *new books. 96% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

36846 / 45000 pages. 82% done!
Audiobooks: 26h30m


Sep. 23rd, 2009 07:58 am
fiveforsilver: (Xmen [Angel])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
127. Skinned by Robin Wasserman (384)

Reread before reading the new sequel (original review here).

128. *Crashed by Robin Wasserman (448)

Sequel to Skinned; Crashed is a continuation of the story and not a stand-alone book.

Lia has changed. Instead of arguing against the differences between mechs and humans, she is actively trying to convince new mechs that those differences are real and important, as Jude finally convinced her. But her loyalties are being tested constantly, and when she is unwittingly involved in the beginning of a holy war against mechs, she must decide finally if she will follow Jude or betray him.

While Skinned looked at the implications to self, family, and "normal" life and how all these necessarily change when a person's body so dramatically changes, Crashed is more about societal prejudice and trying to stay human when maybe you aren't anymore.

I like Crashed, though not as much as Skinned. I am looking forward to the third book in the trilogy, to see how everything is going to be tied up.

128 / 150 books. 85% done!

71 / 75 *new-books. 95% done!

5 / 10 ^non-fiction. 50% done!

36310 / 45000 pages. 81% done!


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