Friday, June 26, 2015

Reading Through the Classics: Flatland

TITLE: Flatland
AUTHOR: Edwin A. A Abbott
GENRE: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Parody
PAGES: 118
SUMMARY ON GOODREADS: "Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it … and you will have a pretty correct notion of my country and countrymen."

Narrated by A. Square, Flatland is Edwin A. Abbott's delightful mathematical fantasy about life in a two-dimensional world. All existence is limited to length and breadth in Flatland, its inhabitants unable even to imagine a third dimension. Abbott's amiable narrator provides an overview of this fantastic world-its physics and metaphysics, its history, customs, and religious beliefs. But when a strange visitor mysteriously appears and transports the incredulous Flatlander to the Land of Three Dimensions, his worldview is forever shattered.

Written more than a century ago, Flatland conceals within its brilliant parody of Victorian society speculations about the universe that resonate in Einstein's theory of relativity as well as the current "string-theory" of nature.

This odd little book. I don't remember where I first stumbled upon it, but it was on my TBR list and info said it was short, so I picked it up. It's a parody first and foremost. It's sort of written like a guidebook. It actually reminds me a lot of Diane Wynne Jones' A Tough Guide to Fantasyland (which is brilliant btw). It's interesting mostly in how it shows some of the issues going on in society back then and that authors using books to comment on these issues in fantasy is certainly nothing new. I highly recommend looking at the notes in the front. They're actually pretty interesting because it goes into the history of this story and Edwin Abbott's life. 
I'm not sure who, I'd recommend this one for. Hardcore sci-fi fans maybe? Those interested in parody fiction? It's not a terribly well known classic so I'm not sure how widely available it is. My library system only had one copy and this system incorporates ten libraries. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Review: Heartburn

TITLE: Heartburn
AUTHOR: Nora Ephron
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
PAGES: 192
PREMISE: A woman tries to move on from heartache after discovering her husband cheated on her.
MY REVIEW: I picked this up for two reasons. Reason one: it was on a few book lists I've been going through this year to narrow down what adult books to read and what not to bother with. Reason 2: it was written by Nora Ephron. Yes, THAT Nora Ephron. No one told me she wrote books! I was curious right away based on that.
I definitely do see this as Ephron's style. If you're familiar with her movies, this book will be like watching one of them. There's jokes, there's some sly commentary on human behavior and romance. There's the gay best friend. There's...little plot.
If you're a Nora Ephron fan, this is the book for you. It's got everything about her movies just in writing. It's also a good one for those who like books that comment on things like relationships.'s just an okay book really. Some good food for thought here and there. But it didn't really knock my socks off.
WHO SHOULD READ: Nora Ephron fans, The Break-Up fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five food porn books

Monday, June 22, 2015

Book Review: Written in Red

Title: Written in Red
Book 1 in the Others series
Author: Anne Bishop
Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: 2013
Premise: A human prophet finds refuge in a area designated as protection from human law under the species known as The Others.
My Review: I've been meaning to read Bishop for YEARS. I keep hearing how awesome her stuff is. Reading this one, I'm definitely looking into more of it and get why she has a huge following.
This series is a bit simple at first. It's a bit like True Blood where supernatural creatures are known to humans and the world is different as a result. Only it's about ten times more darker then True Blood (no sexy vampires. The fantasy creatures here are treated as legit scary and not romance fantasy fodder). The world is much more complex and the relationship dynamics are less romance focused and more character relationship focused. might be a tad slow moving for some. I admit, it slightly stalled in some places.
But overall, I'm kind of in love with this series now. I'll definitely be looking into more Anne Bishop in the future.
WHO SHOULD READ: Anne Bishop fans, urban fantasy fans, True Blood fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five awesome world settings

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mini-Review Catch Up

It's time to face facts: I'm behind on the reviewing. So, I'm going to just do little mine reviews here and then tomorrow start reviewing the books I've finished this week. Then I'm going to try try try to keep up on this stuff.

Darker Shade of Magic Book 1 by V. E. Schwab
Pub. 2015
-Loved it. But I adore this author so this is probably no surprise to anyone.
Rating: Four and a half out of Five

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
Pub. 2015
-Engrossing historical fiction as always from Wein.
Rating: Four out of Five

Sekret Book 2: Skandal by Lindsay Smith
Pub. 2015
-Eh. Wasn't as good as the first one. But it did end in a satisfactory way so mission accomplished.
Rating: Three and a half out of Five

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
Pub. 2015
-Like most short story collections. Some were great, some were okay, some I kind of wish were actual books.
Rating: Three and a half out of Five

Discworld series: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
Pub. 1989
-Hilarious! One of my favorite Discworld books yet.
Rating: Four out of Five

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
Pub. 2012
-Eh. Got what the author was doing but it wasn't my cup of tea.
Rating: Three and a half out of Five

Night and Fog Book 2: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
Pub. 2015
-Loved it! No sophomore slump here folks!
Rating: Four out of Five

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Pub. 1958
-Was much like how I feel about the movie: dated but with good commentary that everyone seems to miss because they're too focused on gushing about the style of Holly.

After the End 2: Until the Beginning by Amy Plum
Pub. 2015
-Good satisfying end.
Rating: Four out of Five

The Girl at Midnight Book 1 by Melissa Grey
Pub. 2015
-Fun and entertaining, if a bit business as usual when it comes to YA fantasy.
Rating: Four out of Five

Lois Lane 1: Fallout by Gwenda Bond
Pub. 2015
-Pretty much everything I wanted when I heard about the scenario of Lois Lane in high school.
Rating: Four out of Five

Undertow Book 1 by Michael Buckley
Pub. 2015
-Was expecting better. Honestly this is way too similar to Alienated for my taste. But to the author's credit it's a little better then Alienated. I was probably just expecting too much because I love the author's Sister's Grimm series so much.

Okay. I think that's all of them. Hopefully we're now back to regularly scheduled reviewing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Book Review: Say You're One of Them

Title: Say You're One of Them
Author: Uwem Akpan
Published: 2008
Category: Adult
Genre: Short Stories, Realistic Fiction
Premise: A trio of short stories centering on families in Africa
My Review: First, I feel I should apologize for the randomness of my reviewing as of late. I have been reading. I just...haven't felt much like reviewing much beyond posting what I'm reading on tumblr. I'm trying to shake myself out of this and catch up on stuff. Honestly, I think it may be time to move on from this blog and stick to the tumblring. I don't know. I'll see how it goes till the end of the year and decide what to do.
As for this particular book, I did the audio version. Honestly...I don't have that many feelings on it. It was a read through the library find (and was a Oprah's Book Club selection at one point). I got what the author was doing. Knowing what I do about Oprah's taste in books, I definitely get why she picked it out. This is right up her alley.
But personally, I just couldn't get into it. I don't really know many readers who would either except for super serious lit readers who like super serious lit. For you, I totally recommend this. There is some lovely writing in it. It's just...not for me.
WHO SHOULD READ: Oprah's Book Club fans, literature fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five shrugs

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Book Review: Miss Mayhem

Title: Miss Mayhem
Book 2 in the Rebel Belle series
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Published: April 7th, 2015
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Premise: Harper has just started to get used to life as David's Paladin when Ephors decide that instead of killing David, they'll train him. They just don't trust her to protect him and decide to put her through trials to prove she's worthy of the job.
My Review: It's always a pleasure when a favorite series returns and doesn't stop being awesome. This second book is just as action packed and fun as the first book.
There was literally no plot stall here. That is a hard thing to do, but Hawkins did it and I applaud her for it. She trusts that readers are smart enough to remember the first book and so we aren't loaded with info dump after needless info dump. It it actually has something to do with the situation at hand, past details are brought up, but for the most part, there is no drag. We get more Bee this time around (yay!). We also get a bit of a peek into the other side and their motivations. This is all done with the great action and humor that made the last book so enjoyable.
Even better, is there were some things that happened that I WASN'T expecting. It's pretty rare when a YA book can honestly surprise me, but this one managed it and it did it in a pleasing way. I can't wait to get my hands on the third book after that cliff hanger.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Rebel Belle, Hex Hall fans, Buffy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five southern belles kicking ass

Reading Through the Classics: Mansfield Park

Title: Mansfield Park
Author: Jane Austen
Published: 1814
Category: Classic
Genre: Romance
Premise: Fanny is brought up by her rich relatives.
My Thoughts: This is an interesting Jane Austen book. I personally find it to be one of Austen's most socially commentary books so far. Money is a thing brought up time and again. Actually, money seems to be a huge thing in Austen's books. Far more so then romance frankly. I find it interesting how most adaptations of these works don't touch the money issue. By interesting, I mean, awfully telling.
I kind of see why this one isn't the most liked of Austen's books. The characters are all pretty heavily flawed and it doesn't have the easy tied-in-a-ribbon romantic happy ending Austen's previous books have had.
Honestly...I'm not sure if this can be classified as romance. It's more interested in social commentary then giving the romantic happy ending.

Best Quotes:
-A large income is the best recipe for happiness I have ever heard of.
-Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.
-Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.
-A fondness for reading, properly directed, must be an education in itself.
-No man dies but on the stage, Mr. Crawford