Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book Review: The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

This was a long one and finally I feel like I can get some reading done. Seven hundred and eighty three pages--I admit even the Harry Potter novels didn't take me this long, but cut me some slack--this isn't fluff and there are tons of detail between these covers. Now maybe I can get back on track for my goal. At least I am starting to finish books again. Admittedly, Julie and Julia is going a bit slowly, but I will finish it too...someday...

The Gathering Storm (Wheel of Time, #12; A Memory of Light, #1) The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Finally, I can say I have finished Gathering Storm. Talk about a long book. I loved it though. In fact, and some may disagree with me, I think I loved it more than the last several books written by Robert Jordan himself. To use Jordan's own metaphor; he had unraveled so many strings in the pattern it was getting difficult to see that there was any pattern at all and even more difficult to believe that they would ever be tied off.

This was the first book since some of the earlier books in the series to feel like it had a real direction and that the characters were finally moving towards something instead of floundering over Jordan's well conceived world.

Sanderson did an admirable job writing this novel from the notes left by Jordan and in many cases I felt that the book flowed more smoothly. I did have trouble with Mat's character and felt that he had lost something with that character, but all the others rang true. We spent the majority of the book with Egwene and her struggles to reunite the Aes Sedai, and also with Rand getting into his head as he heads towards Tarmon Gai'don. Rand is a difficult character to like as he tries to make himself harder and harder, but we begin to understand him more as the novel progresses.

All in all, I feel that this may have been one of the best books in the series and I can't wait for the next. Robert Jordan did an excellent job creating this wonderful world and all of its wonderful characters. I can't wait to see how this all turns out.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

Beastly Beastly by Alex Flinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are many different versions of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale out there and many of them have been novelized. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley is probably my favorite one, but there are a number of others. It seems like every time you open a review journal these days you see another retold fairytale, be it Beauty and the Beast, or some other one. Stories like this are timeless and that is why we continue to rework and retell them, even setting some of them in our time and world rather than the far off time and place of the originals.

Beastly is another retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but unlike many of its processors, this novel is told from the perspective of the Beast. We finally find out, what he did that caused him to become the Beast. Set in modern day New York City, Beastly is the story of the young man who is cursed by a witch to be a beast until he finds his true love, and can make her love him in return. Kyle Kingsbury had everything, wealth, power, and good looks, until one fateful night when a witch sees him for what he really is and curses him.

I do like these retold fairy tales. I like to see how authors can take a story that I am completely familiar with and create a new story, or tell me things I didn’t know about the old one. I do admit, however, there has been one exception to my fascination with these retold tales. I have never really been fond of any that take place in modern times. I found combining magical with the mundane world a daunting task for most authors, and had trouble believing it. In many cases I have trouble following the story—I want my fairytales to be “once upon a time” not the here and now. Alex Flinn, however, just might have converted me. It seemed so natural the way she incorporated the magical in to our modern world. I could even believe that a frog could be part of a discussion forum.

In the end, I loved this story. It was interesting to see the story from a new perspective, and it seemed natural that it should be set in the modern world. Alex Flinn did an excellent job!

On another note, they are making Beastly into a movie by CBS Films. It should be out in theaters in July 2010. Here is the link for the movie trailer from Alex Flinn’s website: Alex Flinn's Beastly Trailer

Cautions for sensitive readers: I don’t recall any offensive language in this book, but there is some mild sexuality. Kyle is a teenage boy and he briefly mentions encounters and urges—no descriptions are given though.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

One of those Years? Oh I Certainly Hope Not!

Okay, I need a little time to rant or vent or what ever you want to call it. My resolutions for this year were so hopeful. I had hoped to read 1.5 books a week, but when you have had 2 weeks like I have, I think it is realistic at this point to lose that hope.

First, I come home from an enjoyable weekend of celebrating the start of the New Year to the disheartening discovery that my furnace has croaked and the house is now without heat on some of the coldest days we have had this winter. Five spaceheaters and $9000.00 later I now have a new furnace, but being without heat from Sunday to late afternoon on Tuesday was not fun! On the bright side, the pipes did not freeze, but only because we came home just in time. That was week one of my new year.

Secondly, on week two of my oh so wonderful new year, my 2 year old son develops a severe allergic reaction to a medication he has been on and has to be hospitalized overnight. I spend from late evening Saturday night until evening on Monday in the hospital with my little one, hoping that the rash and horrible swelling will go away. It now appears to be clearing up and isn't as bad as what the drs. first thought it was going to be--THANK YOU GOD! Needless to say I am anxiously awaiting the enormous hospital bill that will soon arrive for me in the mail.

Being only January 14th at this point, I want to ask "What's NEXT? On the otherhand, I feel that I don't want to know, because it might be worse than what I have already dealt with. At this point I would just like to get some sleep, and at the risk of offending someone, I am saying screw reading for now, because I need to catch up on that much needed sleep. I guess I can mark off that resolution this year!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Posting! New Year's Resolutions

Ooohh! I know I have been bad and not posting anything recently. It can't be helped though. I have been so busy with the work blog and keeping that updated, that I haven't had time to do any blogging here. Actually, this blog was originally intended to be the testing ground for the blog I was doing for work, but it just faded into the background a little. Perhaps this year I should make some New Year's Resolutions.

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS

  1. Post more often--I have very little time, but I really should add more posts.
  2. Read and review more. I looked at my Goodreads.com stats for last year and I read about 1 book per week. Hopefully this year I can try to read 1.5 books per week. I better get started.
  3. I should probably read more nonfiction, but at the moment this doesn't sound promising with so many great fiction titles coming out.
  4. Get healthy. Hmmm... I know this one should be on here, but I have trouble giving up my favorite foods and finding time to exercise. I will see what can be done. (Doesn't chasing a 2 year old count as exercise anyway?)
  5. Watch more movies. I am feeling a little movie deprived. Time to see some in the theater.

Well, that is a start. Let's see how I do.

As for reading. I have started the book Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I haven't gotten too far and it is already due back to the library so it looks like I will be returning it before I finish it. I just don't think I can wait any longer to see the movie, so book might actually come after the movie.

I am continuing reading the House of Night series by P. C. and Kristin Cast. Don't ask me why I am continuing with it--I don't know, but I am. I am now on book 3 Chosen.

Finally the one I am really into, Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I have been looking forward to seeing how this series will end. Alas, I will have to wait for two more books though. So far this one has been exactly what I have been waiting for. Many of the loose ends are being tied up before the final battle. I can't wait to see how it all works out.

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