fiveforsilver: (Xmen [Angel])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
119. *Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Leviathan, book 2
Juvenile, Steampunk/Alternate History, 481p

121. *Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Pegasus, Book 1
Young Adult, Fantasy, 397p

ARC from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

Sylvani, king's daughter, is preparing to be magically bonded to a son of the king of the Pegasi, as is required by the treaty between their kingdoms. To everyone's shock, at the ceremony it turns out that Sylvani can mindspeak with her bonded pegasus. Which is impossible. Except it isn't.

I was concerned about how McKinley would be able to put the pegasus - froo-froo fantastical creature to the extreme - into a serious novel. There was no need to worry, though; McKinley's nonhuman characters have always been at least as well developed as the humans. The Pegasi are amazing.

I read this knowing that it was Part 1 of an as-yet-unfinished tale, and McKinley mentioned on her blog that the ending is unsatisfying, so I knew what was coming. But I was still surprised and upset at the cliffhanger where the story stops. I loved the book, but I expect the next time I read it will be right before Book 2 is released, whenever that will be. I can't wait.

121 / 160 books (76%)
59 / 80 *new books (74%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
32402 / 48000 pages. (62%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m

(#120 left out because there are two #64s)


Nov. 12th, 2010 09:12 pm
fiveforsilver: (Books [Hot cocoa])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
106. *Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Leviathan, book 1
Juvenile, Steampunk/Alternate History, 448p

Alek, the young heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run after his parents are assassinated. Deryn has disguised herself as a boy in order to join the British air fleet. Although they're on opposite sides of a war that's just beginning, this is the story of how they meet.

It is also the story of giant mechanical monsters and enormous genetically-engineered creatures, with which the war will be fought.

Not surprisingly, Leviathan is a fun read with great characters and vivid worldbuilding, aided by Keith Thompson's stunning illustrations. While I was expecting a young adult book and the writing and plotting lean more towards juvenile, it's an excellent book and highly recommended as the first in the series.

107. Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
Protector of the Small, book 4
Young Adult, Fantasy, 409p

107 / 160 books (67%)
56 / 80 *new books (70%)
3 / 7 ^non-fiction (43%)
28356 / 48000 pages. (59%)
Audiobooks: 54h19m


Feb. 9th, 2010 05:01 pm
fiveforsilver: (Doctor Who [sonic screwdriver])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
14. The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld
Sequel to Peeps
Young Adult, Science Fiction, 286 pages

Not quite as good as Peeps, but a fun and solid story with striking characters.

15. *The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforder
Thursday Next series, book 3
Adult, Fantasy, 375 pages

16. *My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
Young Adult, Fiction, 403 pages

17. *Nation by Terry Pratchett
Adult, Fantasy, 367 pages

I can't say I particularly cared for this book. I read it because I saw the play with some friends and they said the book was better. Well, yes, the book was in fact better than the play.

18. Lythande by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Adult, Fantasy, Short Stories, 237 pages

Anthology of short stories about Lythande, a woman who must stay disguised as a man or lose her sorcery and her life. I used to really like this book, but now I only really like the last two stories.

The Secret of the Blue Star
A look at how difficult it can be for Lythande to have to hide the truth from everyone.

The Incompetant Magician
Lythande performs a task for a fellow magician in exchange for a remnant of her past. The story itself isn't very interesting, but the end is kind of sweet.

Somebody Else's Magic
Lythande's secret is threatened when she aids a dying woman and is bound by somebody else's magic. A frustrating story with disgusting attitudes toward women and a weird ending.

Sea Wrack
Lythande decides to help a fishing village rid itself of a murderous mermaid. Not terrible, but again there are some odd attitudes toward women, or rather girls.

The Wandering Lute
Lythande attempts to disenchant a lute and has amusing adventures on the way. There is a sequel story, The Gratitude of Kings, that isn't in this book. I like both stories; there are several entertaining characters and situations.

Looking for Satan by Vonda McIntyre
This story isn't told from Lythande's perspective but that of Wess, a girl from the north who has come south with her companions to find their kidnapped friend Satan. They meet Lythande in the city and Wess and Lythande strike up a curious relationship. It is without question the strongest story in the book and far and away my favorite.

19. *Revenge of the Judoon by Terrance Dicks
Young Adult, Science Fiction, 102 pages

The Doctor promises Martha an adventure-free vacation. Not surprisingly, things don't go as planned.

This was a surprisingly solid story for so short a book. A quick and fun read.

19 / 160 books. 12% done!

7 / 80 *new books. 9% done!

0 / 7 ^non-fiction. 0% done!

5006 / 48000 pages. 10% done!
Audiobooks: 9h03m


Aug. 25th, 2009 09:15 am
fiveforsilver: (Cooking)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
114. ^*Mind-Rain by Scott Westerfeld (ed) (out of order) (240) YA/NF

Essays and short stories related to Westerfeld's Uglies series. They were really fascinating to read, including some totally different perspectives on the characters. For example, who is the real hero of the series: Tally or Shay? It was a great read, including the two short that were the inspiration for the series.

115. *Saga by Conor Kostick (334) YA/SF

Sequel to Epic. A secret probe has arrived on New Earth, which excised Epic from their computer system and installed another game, Saga. The people of New Earth are becoming addicted to Saga like a drug. Can Eric and his unusual new friends save two worlds?

Saga was quite different from Epic; although it was set in the same universe, it was almost entirely set within Saga and the main characters are NPCs, or characters from the game. It's a good book, I liked it nearly as much as I liked Epic.

116. Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (212) YA/Fan
117. Searching For Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (242) YA/Fan
118. Calling On Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (244) YA/Fan

119. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (546) A/Fan

I felt like rereading this and I lent my copy to my sister, so I read it at the bookstore over the course of a few weeks. I really like it.

120. *^Mark Bittman's Quick and Easy Recipes from The New York Times by Mark Bittman (330) NF

Technically I didn't read every word of this, but I skimmed every recipe and marked all the ones that looked interesting. I have various dietary limitations, so a lot of recipes are difficult to adapt or even just impossible for me, but this cookbook has lots of recipes that I plan to try. It's also fun that all the recipes (supposedly) take about 30 minutes to make, or if they take longer, it's "largely unattended".

121. The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman(122) YA/Fic

121 / 150 books. 81% done!

67 / 75 *new books. 89% done!

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

34524 / 45000 pages. 77% done!
Audiobooks: 26h30m

Currently reading:
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (started a while ago, haven't gotten very far yet)
Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear (almost done, having trouble getting through the last few pages)

I said I wouldn't buy any books this month, and I haven't, but it was easier this month when only one book that I want came out. Not buying books is going to get harder starting next month when all the new books I desperately want start coming out.


Aug. 15th, 2009 06:42 pm
fiveforsilver: (Witchblade [Sarah/computer])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
Final books of July (yeah, I'm a bit behind) :

107. *Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (403) YA/SF-Fan-Fic

Short stories about geeks and nerds of various stripes. Some of them are more-or-less realistic, some of them aren't realistic at all, most of them are hysterically funny. Authors include MT Anderson, John Green, David Levithan, Garth Nix, Cythia Leitch Smith, and Scott Westerfeld.

108. *Fathom by Cherie Priest (384) A/Fan

For an unknown purpose, a sort of earth elemental convinces a man to build a tower in a specific place. In pursuit of a way to awaken her father (Levithan), a kind of water goddes takes a drowning girl and changes her into something new. The girl's cousin is turned into a statue and set in a garden near the shore for reasons which we don't find out until much later.

The book follows a number of different threads and it's not obvious until far into the story how they relate and who is good or bad.

Actually, it's never entirely clear, but if I were a human living in that world, I know who I would want to win.

It's rare to find a book where not having answers is as fascinating as having them would be. But in this book, in which very little has concrete explanations and most of the characters aren't human (even if they once were), the story is more important than the explanations, and I loved it.

109. *Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (320) A/Mys

Hey, more standard Stephanie Plum. Lots of crazy grandma in this one, a little more Morelli than Ranger as I recall, and some amusing computer geeks to add to the weird.

110. *Doctor Who: The Pirate Loop by Simon Guerrier, read by Freema Agyeman (2:20) A/SF

This one was odd (well, they're all odd, aren't they?) but fun.

110 / 150 books. 73% done!

61 / 75 *new books. 81% done!

3 / 10 ^non-fiction. 30% done!

31248 / 45000 pages. 69% done!
Audiobooks: 26h30m


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!


Nov. 12th, 2008 06:53 pm
fiveforsilver: (iFrazz)
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
First books of November:

131. Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (212)

Old favorite. Picked it up when I wasn't feeling well.

132. *Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (192)

Nick sees his ex walking toward him and asks the girl standing next to him if she'll be his girlfriend for five minutes. Norah sees someone she hates walking towards her and decides to take him up on it. Unfortunately, it turns out to be the same person...

My sister recommended this book to me and I really enjoyed it. It alternates chapters between Nick's perspective and Norah's perspective - and they aren't just one after the other, they overlap a little, or sometimes a lot, so you get to see what each person is thinking about the same situation. Which is really interesting when, for example, they're having a conversation and one of them thinks it's going really well and the other is wondering what the heck is going on. The voices of both characters felt very genuine, very real.

133. ^*Bogus to Bubbly by Scott Westerfeld (224)

I'm classifying this as non-fiction even though it's about half non-fiction and half fictional non-fiction. In Bogus to Bubbly, Westerfeld talks about how he came up with the idea for his Uglies series and for various things in the books, including the slang, the names, and the technologies. He also includes "instruction manuals" for some technologies, like the hoverboards, and "history" passages, such as how future generations would view what happened in the books. It was an interesting, if quick, read.

134. Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (242)

Another old favorite, sequel to Dealing with Dragons.

135. The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld (304)

Sequel to Peeps, or at least, a related book that happens at a later time. It's about different characters and a different aspect of the vampire parasite. I like it, but Peeps is far superior.

136. *Star Wars: Shatterpoint by Matthew Stover (410)

This book was fast-moving and action-packed. It was dark and intense, with many deaths and frequently no clear right or wrong answers - even the questions were unclear, which is often true in moral dilemmas. The setup made sense, some of the characters had interesting stories and motivations, and the end worked and was satisfying, even if it wasn't exactly a happy ending.

It all seemed a bit heavy-handed, though. I can't really remember any happy or funny or even really very neutral scenes in the book - almost the whole thing is depressing, stressful, angry, horrifying, or some combination. Anything positive gets cut off pretty much before it starts. And it also seemed to happen rather fast, although granted there is a lot that happened prior to the beginning of the book - the setup I mentioned - that we only hear about.

137. Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (244)
138. Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (255)

Third and fourth books in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. The first two are definitely my favorites, but I like all four, and Morwen in particular (main character of Calling, along with her cats) is a wonderful character.

138 / 150 books. 92% done!

66 / 75 *new books. 88% done!

6 / 10 ^non-fiction. 60% done!

37287 / 40000 pages. 93% done!
fiveforsilver: (Books [open book])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
These are books that I'm not going to finish, for one reason or another:

Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland (137/unfinished)

LibraryThing Early Reviewer book

I tried, I really did, but I gave up maybe a third of the way through. I just don't care. I don't care about the main character, the two men she's intensely attracted to I find repulsive, and nothing is happening. Also, I really don't care if their world is overrun by evil fallen angels. I gave the book to a coworker who may appreciate it more than I do.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (audio/unfinished)

I love this book on paper, but the lady who is reading it has an uncomfortable, grating voice, especially when she's reading someone else's dialogue besides Tally. It got to a point where I just couldn't deal with it anymore. I don't know how someone with a voice like that got into the business, frankly.

Knave of Dreams by Andre Norton (audio/unfinished)

Once again, I tried, but this book really lost me from about the first chapter, in which the main character learned a whole new language in about two days, without any magical or scientific aide.

He (the main character) is also rather an idiot. Ok, I grant that he's been thrown into a new and strange situation, but he has a tendency to jump to some very odd conclusions on the one hand, but at other times get exactly the right conclusion on half the information. I give up.

Currently reading (and loving):
The Magician's Ward by Patricia C. Wrede
The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia


Jul. 31st, 2008 03:51 pm
fiveforsilver: (Doctor Who [the Doctor])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
88. *The Professor's Daughter by Joann Sfar (64)
Graphic Novel, recommended to me by my sister. Beautiful illustrations and a fantastic, hilarious story. I recommend it to pretty much anyone.

89. *Doctor Who: Pest Control by Peter Anghelides, read by David Tennant (2h24m)
The Doctor and Donna land on a planet being colonized by the Second Great and Bountiful Human Empire. It's the middle of a war. But who is the real enemy?

Overall I found this a predictable and not terribly exciting story. It's always fun to listen to David Tennant read, though.

90. Peeps by Scott Westerfeld (304)
Reread. Without question one of the best YA vampire books. Westerfeld is a superb author.

91. *Torchwood: Hidden by Steven Savile, read by Naoko Mori (2h16m)
Naoko Mori has a lovely voice, but the story didn't make much of an impression. I didn't write a review immediately after I listened to it and now I don't remember what it was even about.

92. Soul Music by Terry Pratchett (373)
This is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, Discworld book. I love Susan and Death of Rats is fabulous.

92 / 110 books. 84% done!

43 / 75 *new books. 57% done!

3 / 10 ^non-fiction. 30% done!

26157 / 33000 pages. 79% done!
Audiobook time: 17h40m


Jun. 29th, 2008 09:14 am
fiveforsilver: (Jekyll [silence speaks])
[personal profile] fiveforsilver
70. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (425)
71. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld (370)
72. Specials by Scott Westerfeld (372)

Got the box set for my birthday. I adore these books.

73. Extras by Scott Westerfeld (417)

74. The Last Slice of Rainbow by Joan Aiken (144)

74 / 110 books. 67% done!

29 / 75 *new books. 39% done!

3 / 10 ^non-fiction. 30% done!

22511 / 33000 pages. 68% done!


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