Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Round Up

The Numbers:
Total Books Read This Year: 14
Total Books Read This Month: 7
  • Library Books: 0
  • TBR Pile Books: 2
  • Fiction: 6
  • Nonfiction: 1


I really enjoyed the Dresden series this month! I read four of them after all! I also really enjoyed Cheever's American Bloomsbury, my only nonfiction this month.

Pleasant Surprises:

East by Edith Pattou has been on my TBR forever! It's a fairy tale retelling, which I love, but for some reason I've been putting it off. It was very enjoyable, and I recommend it!


I wasn't impressed with Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, though I'll probably continue to read the series. I'm really sick of love triangles amongst average teen girls and supernatural it just me?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Reading Through 2012-6

Completed This Week:

American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau: Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work by Susan Cheever
If you managed to finish reading the subtitle I'm sure you have some idea of what Cheever's nonfiction multi-biography is all about. In truth, this has been on my TBR pile for a while but reading March inspired me to actually pick it up! I'm glad I did.
American Bloomsbury is a bit scattered, very superficial (it's only 200 pages, I know that's not a lot of room to get in-depth!), but very entertaining and interesting. Towards the end Cheever does insert herself into the story, which did turn me off a bit, since I'm sure you can fill 200 pages about these legendary writers and Transcendentalists without describing the author's "research" trips with her kids and dogs. Not that I wouldn't enjoy those stories, I just found that they didn't really fit into the overall telling of Cheever's story.
Cheever focuses quite a bit on Thoreau and his infatuation with Fuller, as well as Emerson's infatuation with her. Unfortunately Fuller's significance to history is never quite explored; but Emerson's, Alcott's, and Thoreau's certainly is. If you want a quick glimpse into a grouping of 19th century authors and their world, I would recommend it. You might also want to check out this quick review.

East by Edith Pattou
I do love fairy tale retellings, and this retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon (or Cupid and Psyche, or vaguely Beauty and the Beast plus tasks) is quite an enjoyable YA novel. Set in 16th century Norway, East takes the reader all throughout Northern Europe and even into France as young Rose sets off as a captive with a White Bear and then sets off to free him from a troll queen. I did find it difficult to imagine her family quite as literate as it was, but I enjoyed the cast enough to overlook it. Pattou definitely has a romantic style of writing, which makes even the most gruesome or harsh scenarios seem a bit "soft" but gives a far more emotional and poetic image to the book.
I haven't read many, but this is my favorite retelling of this tale. I do wish it had a little bit more...I don't know, pizzazz? It was a great and enjoyable retelling, but it doesn't quite capture the heart and imagination the way my other favorite retellings do (Daughter of the Forest and Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marrillier, Beauty by Robin McKinley, and Fitcher's Brides by Gregory Frost).

Death Masks by Jim Butcher
Okay, let's just admit I enjoy this series.
In this fifth addition Dresden faces a duel with an ancient vampire, hunting down the lost Shroud of Turin, and a band of thirty bad-ass fallen angels. And dodging the cops. And the return of his half-vampire girlfriend who "wants to talk." I really wonder about all the stress Dresden is under, but obviously his coping skills aren't the best...since he just seems to spiral into further trouble with less sleep and self-care!
While these books do feel somewhat episodic I kind of hope that there is an overarching storyline that I will pick up on sooner or later, that ties them all together. I also think Murphy didn't get enough "screen time" in this novel of the Dresden Files. I do love Murphy.

Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
Another foray into The Dresden Files this week! This one follows an entropy curse surrounding an up and coming progressive porn film director and his well as guardian puppies from Tibet and some secret family history for Dresden that is dramatically revealed to him by White Court vampires! Exciting.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Reading Through 2012-5

Completed This Week
Summer Knight by Jim Butcher
I have completed the fourth book in The Dresden Files! Quite entertaining. Although my overall feelings about this author/series haven't changed. It's rather too formulaic. And I just can't get into urban fantasy, so that's another hit. But...I just keep reading them don't I? It's a fun series, give it a shot!

This particular book takes our protagonist into a war between the Winter and Summer Courts (the Fae, Seelie/Unseelie) addition to a war between Vampires and Wizards (which he caused), the rapidly approaching deadline he has with his murderous fairy godmother, the fact that his girlfriend is becoming a vampire, and his dead ex-girlfriend just showed up. Yup this book has a whole lot of drama. Overkill? Perhaps. Will I read book number five? You know it.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
I kind of dragged my feet through this one, which is disappointing because I've been lusting after it since it was published, and I just love the cover for some reason. I just felt sort of...bored by it. The characters were pretty flat and stereotypical (but not archetypical!). Nevertheless by the final chapter I certainly had an opinion on who should win in the love triangle and fully despised the bad guys! I just never really liked the protagonists. Oh well. I can't have everything.

Anyways, Clockwork Angel is about Tess-an American in London who is kidnapped and forced to "Change" which reveals to her her own latent shapeshifting powers. She escapes with the aid of a secret organization of Angels (well, descendents of Angels) who are sworn to keep the balance with Downworlders (baddies like vampires, warlocks, etc.). In return for her aid in securing information about her captors and their nefarious plans, they help find her brother. Unsurprisingly, the cast of main characters (about ten or so) are all under 25, hot, powerful, etc. etc. Sometimes YA gets a little trying. With that said...gosh I love Henry! Who is a total secondary character who hardly gets any development!

Currently Reading

Yup still trying to read Blade of Fortriu by Juliet Marillier. I did pre-order her book that's coming out (in the US) in fall! I am excited. Maybe I'll even have finished this one by then. Ha!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Reading Through 2012-4

Completed This Week:

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
Grave Peril is the third book in The Dresden Files. My husband really enjoys this easy urban-fantasy series, so I've been reading through them too. I'm finding a very consistent pattern in these books. Our protagonist, Harry Dresden, Wizard, is confronted by strange happenings that seem to occur all at once and may or may not be related. He stumbles along until he is forced into a confrontation that he has no hope of winning...then it all comes together. He figures it all out (and then explains it a few chapters later) and somehow squeaks through a nasty situation using questionable tactics (his magic is supposedly only for good...yet he kills so many people). Of course it's emphasized that he's such a good, self-less, chivalrous guy. Which I do find's just so much "telling" and not "showing." With that said, this is an enjoyable urban fantasy series (of fluff).

Currently Reading:

Still trucking through Clockwork Angel and Blade of Fortriu, will I ever complete these books, who knows?