And I’m Back!

Hello Internetland!! It has been quite a long time since I’ve updated, but I have a good excuse! I’ve been away at grad school for the last eight months earning a Master’s of Library and Information Studies degree. Now you’re probably thinking, pssshh, she could have TOTALLY updated her blog during school. Nuh Uh! Grad school is time consuming. For realz, yo. I was spending 15+ hours a day at school some days. It was intense. I did have some time to read leisurely, but I didn’t have time to review the books I read.

So, I thought I will do a bunch of mini reviews of the books I read since starting school!

In reading order (sort of):

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

  • I can’t believe the ending. Seriously, what?! Other than the ending of the series I enjoyed the stories! It was interesting picking out all the little Christian allegories. One thing that I thought about after reading was about Susan. A lot of people think she wasn’t allowed to go to Narnia in the end because she grew into a woman and was more interested in lipstick and boys. I feel differently. I think the reason she wasn’t able to go to Narnia in the end was because she stopped believing in Aslan and Narnia. If she had believed in Narnia she would have been on the train, and therefore would have been able to go to Narnia with the others.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  • I actually listened to this as an audiobook! It was interesting to listen rather than read a book. As for the story itself, I enjoyed it and found it to be better than the movie by far. There are so many little things they leave out in the movie that are important, such as the little gifts they get while in the arena, and Katniss’ and Haymitch’s relationship. I also thought it is a lot more sinister than the book. The end scene with the dogs was freaking scary in the book! I have decided to wait to read the next two books until after their movies come out. I always dislike the movie if I read the book first, but always like the book and the movie if I read the book after.

The Story of Libraries by Poopface– I mean Fred Lerner

  • I wrote a whole report about this book as an assignment during the school year. This book is a non-fiction history of libraries starting from Sumerians to modern time. I thought it was very informative, however, I feel Lerner is a bigot. He doesn’t talk about libraries anywhere but America and Europe, and he basically said that women are the reason libraries aren’t respected or funded in modern times. I may or may not post the report I wrote at a later time. I’ll have to edit it and shorten it, though.

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

  • What can I say about this book? I was so excited to read it, and had to wait months for a copy to become available at the library, but when I read it I was underwhelmed. It was just not as interesting or exciting as the first book. The author does a good job of psyching you up for the next book though, so maybe the third book will be better.

A Wizard from Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin

  • A dear friend of mine gave me the whole Earthsea series for my birthday last year so I decided to read it while away at school. I only got through two of them, and honestly, I can’t remember what really happens. In this one there is a wizard… he’s being followed by a dark shadow, literally, some creature made of darkness is following him. The story follows the main character from childhood to adulthood and it’s all about his quest to defeat the darkness that follows him.

Tombs of Atuan by Ursula LeGuin

  • this is the second book in the Earthsea series, and I think I enjoyed it more than the first. The main character is a priestess and it is interesting following her story. Eventually she meets up with the wizard from the first book and they become friends.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

  • During the school year I went to a library conference at the Edmonton Public Library and Cory Doctorow was the keynote speaker. It was fascinating to listen to! His book, Little Brother, relates directly to what his talk was about — security on the internet. Little Brother is about a boy and his friends who are seriously in the wrong place at the wrong time and they are mistaken for terrorists. All but one of the kids are released, and the main character makes it his personal mission to get his friend back by totally messing with The Man’s mind.

Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina

  • I got a Kobo Glo for Christmas last year and Lady of Devices was one of the free ebooks you could download from the Kobo website. I am a fledgling steampunk enthusiast and found the idea of a steampunk novel thrilling! This book is all about a young lady who’s family comes across some hard times, and she if forced on to the streets where she adopts/is adopted by a small gang of street children. She becomes there leader and helps them survive by creating interesting devices that help them win against other street gangs. I have downloaded the next two books, but I’m waiting to read them until the semester starts. For one of my classes I have to do a project where I have to read a certain amount of YA novels under the same theme. My theme is going to be steampunk.

Out of Time by Monique Martin

  • This book was another free ebook from Kobo. It’s about time-travel. I actually really enjoyed it! The main characters are a middle aged professor and his young female assistant. I know this sounds like a bad pr0n, but I assure you it’s better than that! There’s mystery, excitement, and it’s set in the 1920s! How awesome is that?! Very awesome, in case you weren’t sure.

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

  • During the school year I got a part-time job at the University Library as a PAC Request Retriever. Basically, people who are too lazy to go up to the stacks to get their own books put in a request, and then I go and get the books for them. I found Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series while up in the stacks and started reading like crazy (even though I had assignments to do >_>). Bitten is the first in the series and follows a female werewolf (the ONLY female werewolf) named Elena, as she tries to live a normal life, away from the Pack. Despite her best efforts she gets caught up in a war between the Mutts and the Pack and has to fight to save herself and the man she truly loves.

Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

  • Stolen is the second book in the Women of the Otherworld series and, again, follows Elena. The difference in this book is there are other supernatural creatures as well: witches, half-demons, shamans, sorcerers, necromancers, basically anything you can think of. In this book Elena is kidnapped by a supernatural creature collector and the Pack needs to team up with a menagerie of other supernatural beings to save their friends and family.

Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong

  • The third book in the Women of the Otherworld series is about a witch named Paige, who we first meet in Stolen. In this book Paige is taking care of a young witch named Savanah who we also meet in Stolen, but someone is fighting for custody of Savanah. Paige finds herself teaming up with a sorcerer (witches and sorcerers are like oil and water. Absolute hate for each other) in order to protect Savanah.

Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong

  • I can’t really talk about this book without ruining something from the third book, so all I will say is this book is awesome.

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

  • I read this book upon coming home for summer. Tamora Pierce has always been one of my favourite authors and the Song of the Lioness was one of her series that I started when I was in high school and never got the chance to finish. Finally, I finished. The story is all about Alana, a girl who wants to become a knight. Her and her twin brother switch places and she gets to go to the castle (disguised as a boy) to learn to become a knight. The series follows Alana’s journey to knighthood and beyond. I don’t want to give too much away, so you should go read it! Very exciting! Excellent, strong female protagonist. Love stories. Mystery. This series has it all. Oh, and Magic. Yeah. MAGIC.

Inferno by Dan Brown

  • I just finished this book yesterday, so I will do a proper review within the next few days! Be sure to watch for it!

Over the course of this summer I will be doing a lot of reading for my Young Adult Literature class, and I am going to start a page for my LIS 515 book reviews and for article reviews. I am excited to get back into reading and look forward to reviewing some books!


Shadow of Night Giveaway!

Hey Internetland!

Just wanted to inform people about a great giveaway that is happening over at The Ravenous Reader blog. She is giving away a bunch of Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness related stuff, Buttons, temporary tattoos and a signed copy! You can see the blog post here! It’s also an INTERNATIONAL contest, which is fantastic!

So go check this out!!

A Discovery of Witches

Witches, Vampires, and Daemons, oh my!

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is not your typical boy meets girl story, that’s for sure. But I can tell you this: If you liked Twilight you will like this, and if you didn’t like Twilight then you’ll probably like this. For one thing there are no sparkly vampires. Score! In fact, the vampire in this story, Matthew Clairmont, makes Edward Cullen look like the whiny little bitch he is. Oops, excuse my French, please!

A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Harkness is an historian of magic and science and this is her first work of fiction. She uses her knowledge of magic and science to create an impeccable blend of the two and to create a cast of characters who are also knowledgeable on the topics. The main character is an historian of alchemy, so we can see where the inspiration came from.

Speaking of the main character, Diana Bishop is a very dynamic character. She is, as mention earlier, an historian of early science, specifically Alchemy. She is also from a very prominent witching family. Her distant ancestor was Bridget Bishop, the first woman to be executed for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. Despite being from a long line of powerful witches, Diana refuses to let magic into her life. She lives on the cusp of the magical and the mundane, always teetering between one and the other, never finding a true balance.

I find myself able to relate to Diana very well and I felt a connection to her character, even though the only thing we really have in common are our love of tea. Harkness does a wonderful job of writing the character so that the reader is empathetic towards her and is able to feel a connection with not just Diana, but all the characters. When Diana cries, loves and fears so does the reader with amazing emotional clarity. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever loved a fictional character as much as I love Matthew and it’s all because of Diana’s love for him.

The relationship between Diana and Matthew develops slowly, realistically, I should say. At first they are simply interested in each other on a platonic level but gradually they begin to realize that they are in love with each other. One of the devices Harkness uses to show their relationship develops is the way Matthew’s gaze feels on Diana. Witches are able to feel the looks of other creatures (vampires, daemons, and witches) and vampires usually have a gaze that feels like ice cubes. Matthew’s gaze goes from ice cubes to snowflakes. This is a sign that they are becoming more comfortable with each other and that Matthew’s feelings for Diana are softening into love.

One of the things I like about this book is the concept of the secret world of witches, vampires and daemons. I think that’s it very well thought out because of the way the three groups interact with each other. There is a deep felt prejudice that all the races feel for each other and one of the controversial issues that Matthew is trying to figure out is whether witches, vampires and daemons have commons ancestry instead of evolving from three separate sources of genetic material. (Matthew is a professor and geneticist at Oxford, btw J)

Another one of the things I really like about A Discovery of Witches is the analogy between vampires and wolves. There are no werewolves (yet) but the constant comparison between wolves and vamps is a decent substitute. There are too many instances of this analogy to give you an example but the book is littered with them.

The last thing about this book that I want to write about is the plot and the conflict. Now, I am quite intuitive when it comes to story plots and conflicts. Usually I can figure out the who, what, where, when and why, but in the case of A Discovery of Witches I found myself never really knowing where the book was going. In a way it was frustrating to have to wait until the end for the reveal, but it was also refreshing because I, for once, didn’t know what was going to happen before it happened. The conflict in the book is also deceptive. At first you think it’s a conflict between Diana and Matthew, and then you realize it’s a conflict between Diana, Matthew, and some wizard named Peter Knox… or is it? I don’t think we’ll find out the real conflict until the second book is released in July 2012.

I am very excited about the release of Shadow of Night this summer and if you want to know more about Deborah Harkness and her books please visit her website. Also, if you want some information about Bridget Bishop (yes, she really WAS the first woman executed for witchcraft at Salem) you can read all about her here.