Wednesday 30 November 2011

My Book Boyfriend: Daniel Grey


My Book Boyfriend is hosted by the lovely Missie at The Unread Reader. Daniel Grey, from Ann Brashares' My Name Is Memory, is kind of intense, but you can't really blame the guy when he has more than a thousand years worth of memories rattling around in his head. The strongest of those memories are those that involve the girl he loves. The boy is devoted all right, seeking her out time and again and doing all he can to be with her. It's hard not to fall for all that love.

Swoon-Worthy Quotes

"I have fallen in love, and she is the one who endures. I killed her once and died for her many times and I still have nothing to show for it. I always search for her; I always remember her. I carry the hope that someday she will remember me."

"She is my  doing and my undoing."

"Every life I start with her, my original sin. I know myself through her."

"I did the searching and remembering, she the disappearing and forgetting. I hated to be the one to leave her... All I could think to do was love her. That's all a person can do."
 Images via Paul Wesley Source.

Monday 28 November 2011

Mag Monday: Take a Weird Break

I'm doing something a bit different for Mag Monday this week. I'm giving my love to a blog. But it's a blog about a magazine - and not just any magazine. It's Take a Break, which, as far as I can tell, is like the UK version of That's Life or Take 5... only 500 times the crazy. Take a Weird Break, meanwhile, is an amazeballs blog that catalogues all the crazy. And it's pure, rock-solid, shiny, sparkly gold. Highlights include...

Check out Take a Weird Break for more awesomesauce.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Reading Icons: Betty Draper Francis

Poor Betty. There's not much she can control in her life, except her looks, her kids... and her reading habits. And boy, does she control them. My favourite Betty quote was when she told her son, who was complaining about being bored:

"Go bang your head against the wall. Only boring people are bored."

Classic. I hope she doesn't get cut from the Mad Men, as has been rumoured, because I love her scenes. Not least because she's so darn pretty...

Friday 25 November 2011

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I feel like I'm the last person in the world to have read this book.

I put it off for a long time because (I'm embarrassed to admit) of the size. I love big books, don't get me wrong, but I love new books more, and tend to prefer to speed through three shorter ones in the time it takes to get through one massive tome. You might say I'm a tad impatient. But the other week, when I was trying to decide what to read, my fiance - who reads about four books per year and has managed to read this one - insisted I pick up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, coz he liked it so much. So I relented. I was curious to know what all the fuss was about.

I'd heard from the fiance, and others, that the first quarter is pretty slow going. And it really was. There were a few times when my eyes glazed over from boredom. While it laid the groundwork for the whole book (and, I'm assuming, the whole series), not a lot happens in the way of plot. Sure, we meet the main characters, but it takes an incredibly long time for them to finally meet each other and get things going. Even seemingly minor characters are given a detailed history, which I could appreciate on one level but also found quite tiresome on another, as I waited for the main story to start rolling. When it finally does, it's definitely a page-turner. It's an awesome mystery, with a fantastic cast of suspects and a fascinating set of clues.

But what really kept me turning the page was the chemistry between the two protagonists, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. As I mentioned, it takes awhile for them to hook up, but it's worth the wait. They work amazingly together, and I have to admit, though it made me impatient, the slow build to their meeting lays a strong foundation for the characters, both individually and as a team. I really liked Blomkvist, but like so many others it was Lisbeth Salander who really stole the show for me. She's definitely a strange and unique character, but she's super strong, got a lot of 'tude and can do some pretty clever things with a tattoo needle (this is significant in a spoilery way).

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo doesn't shy away from violence, and though I was prepared for some brutal scenes, they still managed to shock me. Certain parts are incredibly uncomfortable to read - as they should be - and while initially I thought it was unnecessarily graphic, these details did make events that unfolded later (and the reader's understanding of certain characters) all the more powerful. It is the kind of book that stays on your mind even when you're not reading it, with the kind of characters you champion forever.

Rating: 4/5

Spoilery Talking Points
  • I loved discovering what really happened to Harriet. I suspected just about every character of murdering her at some point, and it's to Larsson's credit that both twists - who was responsible for Harriet's disappearance, and what actually happened to her - came as surprises to me. While both things did cross my mind, there were so many other possibilities that I wasn't really expecting them. I love a good twist!
  • Maybe I'm dense, but I didn't really get what Salander was doing with the bank accounts at the end - or maybe I should say, I didn't get why she was doing it. I felt that wasn't really explained properly. Perhaps it's covered in the next book?
Eye Candy
I'd seen the trailer for the upcoming English language adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a few times before reading it, so I pretty much had the entire cast stuck in my head while reading the book.

Fine Print
Genre: Crime

Published: 2008

Get It: Better World Books

Wednesday 23 November 2011

My Book Boyfriend: Roger Sullivan


My Book Boyfriend is hosted by the lovely Missie at The Unread Reader. This week I'm a bit obsessed with Roger from Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, coz:

  • He's super hot: "The guy coming toward me was shockingly good-looking. He had broad shoulders, light brown hair, dark eyes, and he was already smiling at me." I pictured him as Zac Efron.
  • He's confident and friendly, never lies and never says "goodbye".
  • He's sensitive and a great listener.
  • He wears glasses to drive, especially at night, which makes him adorkable.
  • He's a bit of a history buff, loves discovering new things and dreams of being an explorer.
  • He has great taste in music (see playlists here).
Swoon-Worthy Quotes

“He stood and looked at me for a moment, taking in my outfit. 'You look hot.'
'What? Me?' I stammered, completely flummoxed.
'Yeah,' he said, still looking at me.
'Oh. Um, thank you. I mean, not that you don’t, but I’m not sure that you should—I mean …'
'Oh, no,' Roger said quickly, and I could see that he was blushing again. 'No. I mean—I meant what you’re wearing. Are you going to be too warm?'"

"He looked over at me. 'We're doing this?' he asked. And for the first time since the trip began, it felt like we were doing something. The two of us, making a choice, taking a leap, together.
I nodded. 'We're doing this.'"

"'God,' he murmered into my hair when we broke away...'I've been wanting to do that for a long time.'
'Really?' I asked, almost afraid to believe this.
'Oh yes,' he said. 'Since Kansas. At LEAST.'"

“'The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren't looking for them. Columbus and America. Pinzón, who stumbled on Brazil while looking for the West Indies. Stanley happening on Victoria Falls. And you. Amy Curry, when I was least expecting her.'
I smiled back at him while feeling sharply just how much I was going to miss him. It was almost a physical pain. 'I'm on that list?'
'You're at the top of that list.'"

Monday 21 November 2011

Saturday 19 November 2011

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist, hosted by Book Chick City, is a weekly meme that keeps track of the books we want! Here's what I'm currently coveting...

Summary: Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers... 
To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene's parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman court of intrigue. She can't hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her hands, nor can she stop the emperor from using her powers for his own ends.
But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother's dreams. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or
Reviewer who made me want it: Small Review

Summary: Fermion Quirk's twin brother, Boson, is dead. These last few months he'd spent most of his time with the birds; he said they were angels and brought him his visions. Most of Carrick says the boy was a monster, but a few say he was a saint-in-the-making. The townspeople all look at Fermion now, and wait and wonder if she will go mad like her brother. Pa will talk about anything but Boson, and Moo's stopped talking entirely. Soon a voice starts rising in Fermion, telling her that's she's the only one who can save her family. The voice says the cure lies on the other island, far out in the sea. But the Quirks have always been bog-folk: they don't go to sea. And even if Fermion manages to get to the other island, then what will she find?
 Reviewer who made me want it: Stephanie at Read in a Single Sitting

Summary: Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Reviewer who made me want it: Missie at The Unread Reader

Summary: Ryan Mills is torn with guilt over the death of his best friend, and it's all because of Emily Wintraub. If Ryan hadn't seen those incredible gray-blue eyes, hadn't pegged her as a Potentially Amazing Woman, he would never have gone looking for her at the party that night. He would never have left his wasted friend Michael alone, when Michael needed him and asked him to stay. And if Ryan hadn't left, Michael would never have driven off, totaled his car, and taken the cosmic rocket ride into death.
As far as Ryan's concerned, when you’ve done something terrible, you don’t deserve to be happy. He tries not to fall for Emily, but he can't help it. Before long, he is "completely, gonzo, out-of-control in love."
Ryan then learns that Michael died with a secret. Still grieving, he feels compelled to take on his friend's unfinished business. When Emily begins to question where his commitments really lie—with her or with Michael’s memory—Ryan is forced to examine his choices. What does he owe to Michael, to Emily, and to himself?

Reviewer who made me want it: Candace at Candace's Book Blog

Summary: In this startling new vision of a cultural classic, Wendy intends to live happily ever after with Peter Pan. But Time, like this tale, behaves in a most unsettling way.
As Wendy mothers the Lost Boys in Neverland, they thrive on adventure. She struggles to keep her boys safe from the Island's many hazards, but she finds a more subtle threat encroaching from an unexpected quarter…The children are growing up, and only Peter knows the punishment.
Yet in the inky edges of the Island, the tales Wendy tells to the Lost Boys come true. Captain Hook is real, and even the Wonderful Boy can't defend his Wendy against this menace. Hook is a master manipulator, devising vengeance for his maiming. Insidious and seductive, Hook has his reasons for tempting Wendy to grow up.
Revenge is only the first.
Reviewer who made me want it: Melissa at Books and Things

Friday 18 November 2011

Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

There are some books that are so lovely, they actually make you do a happy sigh and smile as you close them. This is one of them.

That's not to say it's all fairy floss, sunshine and unicorns. Quite the opposite - Amy and Roger's Epic Detour tackles some pretty serious issues - like heartbreak, death and grief - but it does so in such a tender, realistic way that it's not morbid or depressing at all. The story focuses on Amy, who is just barely recovering from her father's death in a car accident three months prior. She hasn't gotten in a car since, let alone behind the wheel, so when she has to get their car across the country, Amy's mum enlists Roger, an old family friend, to drive.

Roger and Amy haven't seen each other since they were kids, but being crammed in a car together for hours on end certainly helps them get to know each other pretty damn quick. They're both dealing with their own issues, but as they open up on their crazy detour, they make discoveries about themselves and are able to move towards feeling better - not to mention towards each other. Ahem.

Before reading this I was worried it would be a bit angsty and emo, given the subject matter, but as Roger and Amy zig-zag across America, they encounter a lot of amazing places and quirky characters, and it's actually a really fun ride. Amy and Roger are themselves very likable characters, and Matson's writing is clean, straightforward and well-paced. I loved the scrapbooky details scattered throughout - the photos, playlists and random notes enhanced the story and enforced the feeling that you're taking this journey along with Amy and Roger. In fact, this book will totally make you want to take a road trip. And see America. And listen to new music. And make awesome playlists. And eat lots of junk food. And kiss cute boys. And cry a little. And smile a lot.

Rating: 4/5

Eye Candy
Roger is supposed to be jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and the guy who instantly came to mind was Zac Efron. Swooon... Amy, meanwhile, is a cute redhead, so who else could I picture but my favourite adorable redhead, Emma Stone?! Nobody, that's who, coz Emma Stone is the shizz.


Fine Print
Genre: Young Adult
Published: Simon and Schuster, 2011
Get It: Book Depository

Some awesome people have handily compiled Roger and Amy's playlists on YouTube. Listen while you read for extra fun.

Thursday 17 November 2011