Review: Voyager (Outlander, #3) by Diana Gabaldon

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Date read: August 01 to 28, 2011
Read count: 2

I don’t think I will ever be able to write a decent review for this book. Just not gonna happen and I won’t even try. 5 stars say it much clearer than I ever could.

Original review can be found here.

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Review: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R. R. Martin

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Rating: (abandoned)
Date read: August, 2011
Read count:

If I had finished, I would have given this book a 4 or 4 ½ rating. It’s that good and well-written, which you don’t often see in fantasy. But sadly, I had to put it back on the self, as hard as that was, because I heard from a friend that main characters have a tendency to get killed off indiscriminately throughout the series. I just don’t see myself enjoying a series that does that so casually, and had I continued, I think I’d end up resenting all the work and effort I put into reading and then I’d probably end up hating the series. So it was best to leave while I could.

Maybe one day when GRRM is done writing and there’s a definite last man/woman standing at the throne, I’d pick up this book again.

Original review can be found here.

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Date read: August 11 – 20, 2011
Read count: 2

This is one of those children’s books that adults tend to appreciate more than children, partly because the language is aimed at adults and mostly because adults tend to understand and recall pain and grief better than children. They’ve had more time to process their emotions and memories.

But that is not to say children wouldn’t like or be affected by this story. Connor is very relatable as a main character, though he’s a tad too self-aware and existential for his age. However, given the circumstances he’s living with, it makes sense for him to be withdrawn and thoughtful and agitated. This is precisely why I think this story is written for adults. Connor’s inner turmoil and frustration are self-contained, until that last bit when he acts out but then he pulls himself together again. Not many kids his age can rein in their anger like that. But adults would understand that feeling, the impulse to lash out and pulling back at the last second.

Connor is forced to grow up quickly, confront the reality of his mother’s illness, and face a future without her. All of these things speak more to an adult, who might have already been through them, more than a child, who might be experiencing them for the first time or never have had to face such a hard reality.

Oh, and the monster speaks in riddles, as mythical creatures often do, but the riddles are contemporary riddles that don’t leave you more confused than the story.

And another thing, the last chapter will get you and it will get you hard.

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“I wish I had a hundred years,” she said, very quietly. “A hundred years I could give to you.”

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One of my favorite contemporary allegorical books of all time. Patrick Ness has created something truly lovely here and his prose is stark and deep and heartfelt, and I love everything about it. I still feel the effects of this book even now, several years later, just in passing.

Review: We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency

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Rating: (abandoned)
Date read: July, 2011
Read count:

The investigation and subsequent expositions started out promising while generating lots of interest regarding the masked anons behind Anonymous. Olson also goes to great lengths to describe what Anonymous and explain its “humble” beginnings. She then focuses on a few main players and delved deeper into their personal lives, motivations, involvement, leadership, and ultimate goals.

All of this was really interesting to follow along at first, but the more I read about the inner workings of Anonymous the less I was interested in the stories Olson was trying to tell. These so-called characters are ultimately selfish and nothing more. Once that realization hit me, I backed off from the book, though I promised myself I’d pick it up again… some day. One of these days.

Original review to be found here.

Review: The Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #1) by Glen Cook

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆
Date read: May 28 to June 01, 2011
Read count: 1

GrimDark as it should be written.

This book alone is a promising start to the series and the story continues to be more interesting as you move from battle to battle through the trilogy.

This was the book that made all of my other GrimDark reading experiences inferior.

Original review can be found here.

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Shadows Linger (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #2)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Date read: June 01 to 10, 2011
Read count: 1

The White Rose (The Chronicle of the Black Company, #3)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Date read: June 10 to 25, 2011
Read count: 1

Review: American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by Craig Ferguson

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Date read: May 01 to 07, 2011
Read count: 1

Exactly what you’d expect from Craig Ferguson: funny, well-written, bare-all, lots of heart.

I’m not an addict, but I know quite a few recovering ones, and we chose this book for our book club. Ferguson describes addiction and recovery and relapse in tangible prose that makes you think you can imagine what it’s like to have an addiction. That, to me, is an effective memoir. I say “effective” here because I’m one of those people who don’t particularly like nonfiction and steer clear of all memoirs. Only effective memoirs keep me turning the page, and this memoir is one of those rare few. It’s also one of those that I’d reread just for fun; can’t say the same for most memoirs I’ve read–had to read, was assigned to read.

Original review to be found here.

Review: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

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Rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Date read: February 20 to March 01, 2011
Read count: 1

I judge people by how much this book means to them. No joke.

Yes, the writing is lyrical. Yes, Nabokov is a great writer. But the subject matter remains creepy as hell. No amount of textual evidence or reasonable persuasion will convince me that this book is not creepy as hell.

Usually, prose comes before content for me. This is one of the very few instances where I cannot enjoy a beautifully written book because I cannot stand its subject matter.

Review: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Date read: November, 2010
Read count: 1

Much better than The Hunger Games. If you haven’t read it, you should try it. If you haven’t read either of these two books, try Battle Royale first.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write a proper review for this book. This always happens with books I really like.

Original review can be found here.

Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆
Date read: June 01, 2010 to June 01, 2011
Read count: 3

3 stars for the book alone, 4 stars for the ways in which it ties into the whole narrative

There’s a lot to like and a lot to hate about this book, which makes it great for book club discussions.

Overall, I thought it was a 3-star story. I liked it for the most part, but there were parts with which I had issues. The one extra star is because this book is the foundation of the series. You appreciate it more only when you look back and see how much the series has expanded.

It would be a mistake to label this book as romance. People who do that are missing out on an interesting story that spans three centuries.

There’s an important romantic relationship at the center that drives the story, but that’s only the least of it. There’s also intertwining historical story lines, the unease of impending war, and a time travel plot that forces the main character to choose between staying in the past or returning to the present, with all the emotional impact of contemporary literary fiction.

Once you get to the point where Claire goes back in time and you don’t buy it, it’s probably best to stop reading. This book is probably not for you.

I will admit that I would have given this book a 3-star rating after my initial read through. It just didn’t feel like there was much depth to the story overall. At the time, I didn’t know how great or important the events in this book were or how they’d come to affect events in later books and the Second Rising overall.

It wasn’t until I’d read Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager that I came to appreciate Outlander and all of its “wandering nuances.” It wasn’t until I finished these two books afterward that it hit me how immense the scope and breadth of the story are, how heartbreaking twenty years apart can be, how devastating the aftermath of war really is. I didn’t feel any of these things until I got through the first three books.

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Outlander and its fanbase, just a different perspective on the series as a whole. http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/2014/01/outlander-and-the-power-of-the-fan-base/

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One of my favorite quotes

I leaned back on my elbows and basked in the warming spring sun. There was a curious peace in this day, a sense of things working quietly in their proper courses, nothing minding the upsets and turmoils of human concerns. Perhaps it was the peace that one always finds outdoors, far enough away from buildings and clatter. Maybe it was the result of gardening, that quiet sense of pleasure in touching growing things, the satisfaction of helping them thrive. Perhaps just the relief of finally having found work to do, rather than rattling around the castle feeling out of place, conspicuous as an inkblot on parchment.