Archive for July 2009
Yes! I know! I joined another one! anybody else who is insane like I am want to join in too? go here
The goal is to read ONE book of Japanese origin. So my choice is:
All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe
However, if I do get to read more these will be my other choices:
Grotesque – Natsuo Kirino
Out – Natsuo Kirino
Crossfire – Miyuki Miyabe
Shadow Family – Miyuki Miyabe
The Devil’s Whisper – Miyuki Miyabe
So join in on the fun! I’m willing to try!
Today is Friday Finds and let’s see…as usual I found a lot but I’ll narrow it down to three that stood out for me the most:
The Black Tattoo – Sam Enthoven
London teen Jack leads a not-very-interesting life. His friend Charlie is none too bright and is blinded by his anger over his parents’ divorce. Jack stands by his best mate through thick and thin, even when Charlie, possessed by a demon, crosses into Hell itself. Khentimentu, also known as the Scourge, has been trapped in the roots of an ancient tree for thousands of years by a secret society called The Brotherhood of Sleep. Charlie, thinking he is being recruited into it, unwittingly becomes a host for the escaped Scourge, manifested in a writhing, black tattoo. With Charlie’s help, the demon kills all the members of the Brotherhood except the young warrior-woman Esme. When the demon and Charlie escape into Hell, it is up to Jack and Esme to rescue Charlie and save the universe from Khentimentu’s evil plan. Enthoven has created an interesting and original universe and a gripping story. Hell is a demon-populated Roman empire at its most decadent, complete with gladiators and an all-powerful emperor. (Amazon.ca)
I’m in the mood for some dark stuff. That suits it perfectly.
Jar City: A Reykjavik Thriller – Arnaldur Indridason (Author), Bernard Scudder (Translator)
When a lone septuagenarian is murdered in his apartment in the Nordurmýri district of Reykjavík, detective inspector Erlendur Sveinsson is called in, along with partner Sigurdur Óli and female colleague Elínborg. Everyone is related to everyone else in Iceland and refer to one another by first name, even formally. Erlendur is about 50, long divorced, with two kids in varying degrees of drug addiction. The victim, a man called Holberg, turns out to have been a nasty piece of work, and Erlendur is disgusted by the series of rapes Holberg apparently committed. The rapes and the deaths of a number of young women may be connected, and the search brings Erlendur to the forensic lab, whose old “jar city,” since disbanded, held research organs. Meanwhile, Erlendur’s daughter, Eva Lind, is pregnant and still using; she flits in and out of his life angrily, but may be crying out for help. Reykjavík’s physicality, and the fact that crimes are relatively rare in Iceland, gives things a defamiliarizing cast. The writing, plot and resolution are nicely done, but remain fully within genre boundaries.(Pub. Weekly)
There’s a trend in foreign detective novels so I figured I might as well jump on the wagon and see how it goes.
The Plantation – Chris Kuzneski
One by one, in cities across America, people of all ages are taken from their homes, their cars, their lives. But these aren’st random kidnappings. They’sre crimes of passion, planned and researched several months in advance, then executed with a singular objective in mind. Revenge. (Amazon.ca)
Like I said, I’m in the mood for real dark stuff.
These three are available at the library so I’ll have to wait until perhaps next week’s trip. We’ll see I have quite a bit to read (quite a bit being a major understatement!)
What did you guys find?
Today’s Booking Through Thursday and the question is:
What’s the funniest book you’ve read recently?
- Hmmm. I don’t really read funny books. There were parts in the book that make me laugh but if you’re thinking of being genre specific then that’s just not possible. However if you were to ask me which one of the recent books I’ve read that made me giggle and snort it would be Medicus by Ruth Downie. A lot of parts in that book just made me laugh out loud. One particular part where the main character is hopping about after being hit in the head and his toe got stubbed I was laughing so hard my boyfriend had to shut me up. Then there’s that toenail part (let’s just not go there) it’s actually making me smile and snicker even now.
What about you guys? what made you laugh?
First things first, I love the title “Rebel Angels” it’s magnificent. It just sounds..awesome. Second I love the cover. I liked the first cover (A Great and Terrible Beauty) and this one is just as good. Enough about that let’s just get on with the review.
It is strongly recommended that you read A Great and Terrible Beauty first as it introduces you to the characters and the actual start of the big picture. I really enjoyed this book a lot more than the first one as I had so many unanswered questions left when I finished it which is why I rushed like mad to find Rebel Angels. It does a good job giving you more information on The Order and the Rakshana and their little magic world that’s just behind “that door”. So now with that good amount of information the plot in this book goes very smooth and combined with the action and mystery, it makes for a very good Victorian Gothic style book to read.
There is enough mystery and intrigue in this book to keep you guessing who’s really the “bad guy” here and when you finally do figure it out you might probably feel a bit of shock at first because you thought you knew all along or you may not be surprised at all. It’s hard to say. I had quite a few guesses but my first initial guess was wrong so I suppose it was a pleasant surprise for me. If I was right it would have been predictable and perhaps boring. However I liked how you were given options on who might be behind it all so chances are maybe it’s meant to be written that way so it won’t be so predictable.
Gemma is extremely more likable every time she opens her mouth or has a witty thought. If you liked her in the first book, you’ll like her even more here. I liked her sense of independence and she did have this extra spark in her personality which made her stand out against the rest of the other characters. Speaking of wit, despite the real serious dark tones in the novel, there’s little bits of comedy here and there that made me chuckle several times. I think it was because you can also hear what Gemma is thinking and some of the things that run in her head is actually quite funny (especially when Felicity and Ann decide to pick at her and laugh).
The ending of the novel leaves you with wanting more. You know that the fight isn’t even over. They’re just taking a break before the big one begins. If you have ever seen Lord of the Rings The Two Towers remember the ending? yeah, it feels like that. You know there’s something big that’s going to happen in the grand finale. I’m really looking forward to how this ends.
I give this book a 9 out of 10.
Today is Wishful Wednesday and what I want to buy for this week but probably won’t get until much much later are:
Black Magic Woman – Justin Gustainis (caught my eye, heard some people talking about it on Twitter)
Moonlight (Dark Guardian #1) – Rachel Hawthorne (saw this somewhere on a blog and added it to my list, sounded really interesting and they don’t have it at the library)
Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires #1) – Rachel Caine (Another one that caught my eye. Not offered at library either. Hmm seems my library has been slacking off a bit when it comes to these kinds of books)
What’s on your wishlist?
Today’s also Mailbox Monday and my own Library Finds. I put them both together today as they’re both small this time around!
The only thing I received last week was Intertwined by Gena Showalter (Thanks Harlequin Teen!)
and at the library I took these out:
The Godfather – Mario Puzo (for Suspense & Thriller Challenge)
Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side – Beth Fantaskey (YA Challenge)
The Other Queen – Philippa Gregory (Last one of the Tudors by Gregory!)
Contagious – Scott Sigler (WOOT! can’t wait to read this one, sequel to Infected)
The Poet – Michael Connelly (Suspense & Thriller Challenge)
that’s it! not bad for the week
Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about online book sites…
Do you have an account with an online book database site (LibraryThing, Shelfari, GoodReads etc)? If so, do you have a preference? Do you use it for – your own record keeping? finding new books to read? social networking?
*blushes like mad* I have an account with all three. Only because I post reviews on the books I’ve read. However I have broken it down so I use them each for a different purpose:
Shelfari: I started with this one. Its’ wishlist is …LARGE. I use this one the most to add books on my wishlist that are only available at the library.
LibraryThing: I use this wishlist for the books I want to buy also, I use this one for their images of bookcovers to save and put into my blog when I do my reviews.
I don’t use any for social networking. I used to, but noticed some of the groups I have joined are filled with elitist book snobs that are holier than thou and think you should only read “this one” because they say so. Bleh. So I stopped joining those groups.
However if you want to see what I’ve been reading/have read just look me up if you’d like All three accounts are under Sensitivemuse. Shelfari has the bigger list as I joined that first long before I’ve heard of the other two.
The thing I like about books situated during World War II is, it’s filled with drama. Most of the drama is usually heart wrenching and sad – naturally, given that during those times, the world was not a very nice place to live in. Even the after effects of war results in dramatic impact on every day lives of people. Shanghai Girls follows the events of two sisters during World War II from China to their journey to the US.
I recall reading some other’s reviews where they did not really understand the close knit family relationships and traditions in a family like Pearl’s and May’s. Therefore it’s hard to identify what they are feeling and going through. It’s different in my case, since I come from an Asian background (well, half of me is). I understand and relate to Pearl but also to May in many ways. Me, being the youngest in the family, yes I was indulged and spoiled rotten by my parents and other family members. On the other hand as I grew older, I became my parents’ caretaker while my other siblings go to live free and wild. In that case, I understand the life Pearl leads through in the book as she adheres to Chinese tradition and takes care of nearly every member of the “family” while her younger sister goes out and has the life only Pearl can dream of.
I can’t really relate to the sisterly relationship between the two although from what I hear, my sister has done sacrifices for me when I was young (although I was too young to remember). I think the reason why I can’t really relate to that part is because our age differences are rather large so it’s hard to understand each other when she’s twice as old as I am.
I admire Pearl for her steadfastness and quiet strength and the ardous events she goes through to protect her sister. You sympathize with her a lot because of her sacrifices and all the crap she is put through in order to be together with her sister. May on the other hand, I find hard to like. She’s a spoiled selfish twit that seems to think only of herself and screws everything up in the end and you wonder how Pearl never had the urge just to kill this stupid woman for ruining her life (you’d have to read it to find out). I like the relationship between Pearl and Sam, they seemed to be well made for each other and made a great couple. Joy was another character I hated a lot. I suppose it would be unfair to judge her this way as she was just a young dreamer filled with these visions of grandeur of Communist China and just could not understand what her parents went through but she was just another person I felt like slapping across the face with an encyclopedia.
The story is very well done. Some parts are just heart wrenching and sad, some are very tender and loving. In other words, it’s such an emotional roller coaster which makes this story extremely dramatic yet realistic. It’s a story of a relationship of two sisters who make it through thick and thin, through very horrible circumstances, yet they survive because of their unconditional love and loyalty to each other. I admire these two qualities in these two women which gave them the strength to carry on with their lives. There are very strong emotions in this novel and you can actually feel them as you read.
Other things to note about this book; I love the cover. I love this kind of art I think it’s very beautiful and eye catching. It’s a suiting cover as the girls worked as “Beautiful Girls” for posters and ads during their time in Shanghai. The next thing I want to add: I wonder if there is going to be a sequel to this book? it does leave a little bit of a loose end in the finale that leaves room for a second book to follow. If it is the case, then I will be reading it, definitely.
I give this book an 8 out of 10.
Wahoo! I finished Shanghai Girls! I will be posting my review shortly. I did have trouble finishing it as I had a lot of interruptions and the hot weather was a bit of a bother. Now the problem is, which book to read next? I have so many that have been started and are aching to be finished. I have read a few pages into Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side and it’s been entertaining. I think tonight I may go into The Luxe. I need something a little light after that heavy dramatic reading from Shanghai Girls.
How’s everyone else doing?
I will be returning comments hopefully tonight, if not tomorrow. I have lots to go through! thank you all. I love comments