fiveforsilver: (YW [Did I do right?])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
47. How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
Young Adult, Fantasy, 300 pages

Charlie has a parking fairy, which means that when she's in a car, there is always a perfect parking spot. And although Charlie is too young to drive and hates cars, that doesn't stop people around her from taking advantage of her fairy whenever they can. So she's doing everything she can to figure out how to ditch her fairy.

I've been meaning to reread this for a while. I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. It is fairly light and playful and has a refreshingly new premise. The characters act believably - incredibly stupidly at times, but believably, especially for high school students - and I love the universe that it envisions.

136-138

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

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

59-61

May. 15th, 2009 07:17 pm
fiveforsilver: (Chocolate)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
59. *Imaginary Friends edited by John Marco and Martin H. Greenberg (320) A/F/SF

I liked some of these stories a lot and thought some of them were just ok; I didn't actively dislike any of them. The writing is consistantly good through all the stories and authors. The unique takes on the idea of the imaginary friend was, for the most part, fascinating. I don't remember ever having an imaginary friend when I was young; it may be that a person who does will see this book in a different way, although very few of the stories have what one traditionally thinks of as a child's imaginary playmate.

60. *Love is Hell by Melissa Marr, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gabrielle Zevin, and Laurie Faria Stolarz (263) YA/F

Five stories of supernatural teenage love and angst:

Stolarz's Sleeping with the spirit is about a girl whose family moves into a haunted house, who then starts dreaming about a ghost. Slightly creepy but also moving.

Westerfeld's Stupid perfect world describes a future utopia where automated devices prevent anything bad from happening and everything is perfect, except during a two-week period when students practice "scarcity" to teach them about history. A fantastic story (as expected from Westerfeld), good from start to finish with some fascinating concepts played out in such a short time.

Larbalestier's Thinner than water is a village-and-fey story. Kept my interest but not my favorite.

In Zevin's Fan fictions, a girl falls in love with boy nobody else ever meets. Didn't make much sense, which is reminiscent of the book of hers that I readthe writing is strong and the characters are sympathetic, but the plot seems incomplete.

And lastly, Marr's Love Struck is about a girl and a selkie (or, selchie). Again, strong from start to finish. You're never sure quite what's going on or who to trust, just like the main character.

61. *The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn (256) YA/science fantasy

Warning: Review contains spoilers.

The next step beyond drivers' licenses and credit cards: a personal bar code tattooed to your wrist.

The government, the media, food production, schools, the internet, pretty much everything you can think is controlled by one corporation - Global-1 - and now they want to control people, too. The bar code tattoos are the next big thing, making everything from hospital visits to shopping transactions that much easier. But how do you know what information is in your file, who has access to it, and what they do with it?

I had high expectations for this book, both from what I had heard about it and from the description I read. Unfortunately, instead of being a tense SF book, halfway through it turned into a weird mix of paranormal and science fiction that just didn't mesh well. Throw in some bad science (the old "we only use a small percentage of our brains" rubbish and some fundamental misconceptions about adaptation and evolution) and it was hard to know quite what to think.

The basic premis is solid and the story could be fantastic: Kayla is about to turn 17 - the age when people are first allowed to get the bar code tattoo - but she isn't excited about it. When her parents got theirs, suddenly her dad's job started went south as he was passed over for expected raises and promotions, and he started getting depressed and drinking. Her mom became irritable and distant. Everyone Kayla knows who gets the tattoo seems to change, or something to do with them changes.

Kayla eventually discovers that the bar codes contain, among other things, a person's genetic information: her dad's file contains references to potential for scizophrenia, depression, and alcoholism, and obviously his employee had had access. She also learns that her mom - a maternity nurse - had discovered that "genetically inferior" children were being killed before they even left the ward. Kayla refuses to have the tattoo and joins Decode, the resistance movement.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Right up until they bring in the telepathy and telekenesis and premenotions, the Native American shaman, and the people trying to contact aliens with their minds. These things drastically decrease the effect of the story, as well as bringing up the previously mentinoed bad science. "Adaptation" and "evolution" don't happen in a few years (or even less) simply because people don't live with the rest of society anymore, and they don't happen to individual people anyway. And we already use all of our brains.

Overall, I was disappointed with this book. A story that could have been very interesting and address real issues being faced today got lost in the pseudoscience and mysticism, which was jarring and seemed out of context. I will not be rereading or recommending this book.



61 / 150 books. 41% done!


33 / 75 *new books. 44% done!


1 / 10 ^non-fiction. 10% done!


18188 / 45000 words. 40% done!

131-134

Nov. 6th, 2008 07:00 pm
blue_ant: (maxxie [dancing again and again])
[personal profile] blue_ant
131. Going Under by Justina Robson
I totally love this series. It's got just enough science fiction to keep the fantasy from driving me nuts. But by saying that, I'm not giving the book enough credit. It's an extremely fun read, well written and keeps me engaged. I enjoy that the main character, Lila Black, is not perfect. She has her own issues and spends lots of time trying to sort them out -- along with a bunch of other things. All the characters are well developed and we learn more about them, as well as the places Lila inhabits/visits, as the novels go on. I look forward to the next novel in this series.

132. Bloody Confused! by Chuck Culpepper
I can see, quite clearly, why a lot of football (soccer) purists would be upset with this book. First of all, he calls it soccer (as he should), second -- he never really mentions MLS (who can blame him, it's about England and football) and third, he talks about American sports. All of these things are positives, no matter what others might think. This is not for the hardcore fan (unless you're an open-minded fan who wants to know what it's like for non-expats just getting into the sport or someone who also enjoys American sports, such as myself), it's for the casual fan, the non-fan and the general sports fan. And that's what I like about the book. Culpepper's writing style draws you in and keeps you reading. It's not a great treatise on the wonders of English football. It's a love story -- a man and his team. It's something any fan can identify with. And, of course, Culpepper does address the issue of the fact that he chose a team. But, in the end, it's clear (at least to me and perhaps to Culpepper, and the friends he makes along the way) that the teams choose us.

133. How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
My sister told me I was going to love this book, and she was right. Larbalestier has created a wonderful world within the confines of her novel. In some ways, it reminded me of her husband's (Scott Westerfeld) Uglies series -- but in all the good ways. The story focuses on Charlie and her problems with her fairy. She runs into trouble: with friends, boys and, of course, trying to get rid of her fairy. But Larbalestier writes Charlie in such a way that you never really get annoyed with her problems. Instead, you want her to win -- to figure out how to ditch that fairy of hers and get the boy in the end. I almost hope she writes more in this universe, maybe not the same characters, but the same world. Even if she doesn't, this is a great and fun fantasy novel.

134. Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
Before reading this, I'd skimmed over some reviews (I think on Amazon) and they were mediocre, sort of in the middle. I can see why, there are some plot holes, but overall, it's a cute book that deals with some very real issues. The idea is that our hero, Russel, is gay and hasn't told anyone -- not his friends, family or anyone. He looks at stuff on the web and suffers through the tortures of PE, but keeps his secret safe. Until one day he meets someone in a chat room and ends up agreeing to meet them. I won't spoil anything, but it's an interesting idea, made even more interesting because the entire story is told from Russel's point of view. We don't have the omniscient narrator trying to tell us what's going to happen. We have to go through things the same way that Russel does, and I think this is one of the novel's strengths. There are a few glitches, especially relating to the boy that Russel meets online and then in person and to his friends. But overall, it's a cute book that has a very nice (if slightly convoluted) point.



134 / 150 new reads. 89% read!

115-116

Oct. 7th, 2008 08:44 pm
fiveforsilver: (Flowers [close-up])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
115. *How to Ditch your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier (300)

I really enjoyed this book. It is fairly light and playful and has a refreshingly new premise. The characters act believably - incredibly stupidly at times, but believably, especially for high school students - and I love the universe that it envisions.

116. *Chalice by Robin McKinley (263)

I'll have to read it a couple more times to form a full opinion, but having read it once, I can say that I definitely liked it and I look forward to reading it again. The feel of Chalice is much more like McKinley's earlier books, such as The Blue Sword, rather than her more recent (and modern) ones. It is a lovely book.



116 / 150 books. 77% done!


57 / 75 *new books. 76% done!


4 / 10 ^non-fiction. 40% done!


32040 / 33000 pages. 97% done!

38-44

Apr. 14th, 2008 10:14 pm
fiveforsilver: (Firefly [Simon])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
38. *Feed by MT Anderson (320)

Excellent book. Absolutely not what I expected.

39. The Princess Bride by William Goldman (283)

I always forget how much less stupid book-Buttercup is than movie-Buttercup. Also, this is one of the few instances where I love both the book and the movie.

40. *My Own Kind of Freedom by Steven Brust (168)

Free e-book, Firefly novel. In character, fitting plot and motivations, enjoyable story. Available for download here.

41. *Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier (271)
42. *Magic Lessons by Justine Larbalestier (275)
43. *Magic's Child by Justine Larbalestier (291)

I bought these, but I sort of regret it. I liked them well enough, but now that I've finished them all, I doubt I'll ever read them again. I'll probably be passing them on soon.

44. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi (394)

Reread. I love this book. There's going to be a sequel sometime in the near(ish) future. I hope it lives up to TAD.



44 / 110 books. 40% done!


17 / 75 *new books. 23% done!


2 / 10 ^non-fiction. 20% done!


13294 / 33000 pages. 40% done!

Currently reading *Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest (285)

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