Thursday, October 16, 2014

When do you DNF?

Generally speaking, I like to finish the book I've started. I feel like it's polite to the book. It went through all the trouble it takes to get publish, the least one can do is read it. That doesn't really make sense but go with it. However, sometimes, on that super rare occasion, I find that I just can't.
While waiting for my lovely autographed copy of The Blood of Olympus to arrive, I borrowed a book from work. Now, I was actually really excited to read this book. I hadn't heard of it before but the cover was beautiful and the premise was extremely intriguing. Oh how wrong I was...
I don't want to say the name of the book or the author because I really don't want to turn this post into a book bashing. As a whole, I don't really approve of that especially when I couldn't get myself to finish it. I only made it to chapter four of this book before I couldn't put myself through it any more. The story was vaguely interesting though very, very slow on the take off. However, it was the main character that really got to me. I might get a little rant-y here so I'm sorry in advance.
Being a girl myself (obviously), I like to read about strong, independent female characters. Characters who don't depend on men to save them and who don't rely wholeheartedly on their love interest to validate their existence. There's a reason why Hermione, Tamora Peirce's Alanna and Daine, and later Annabeth remain at the top of my list for favorite female characters. They can hold their own and they don't take crap from anyone.
But in this book, I just couldn't. Quick backstory: Late 1800s, her wealthy family and mayor father were losing power in a gang infested, dilapidating New York City. Her mother was violently and mysteriously murdered a year ago by "creatures" of assumedly magical and otherworldly descent and her eccentric godfather seems to have information as to why. Now, she was a trained and extremely skilled fighter. However, what got me is all her resolve fell apart the moment one pedophilic man set his eyes on her. He had been watching her grow up and sexualizing her every movement for years and she blamed herself for all of it. She fully believed that she was spineless and there was nothing she could do to dissuade his unwanted, horribly disgusting affections. She fully believed that it was her fault for being too pretty, for having curves, for generally being a girl. She felt that the problem was her and that she must have done something to attract his attention. This is so so so extremely wrong! It is never the victim's fault! I understand that things like this happen in real life, that somehow, psychologically the bad guy works his way into the victim's mind to make her think it's her fault. But it's not! It's just not. I have to emphasize though, that this character was highly skilled in covert actions and physical combat and she had several concealed weapons all over her body at all times. Apparently, none of that training or weaponry helped to strengthen her mind, boost her bravery, or improve her self-esteem. It was just so irritating to read about a girl who could essentially fight for herself but chose not to. This happened more than once and I only made it to chapter four.
I just don't understand why authors - all, but particularly female authors - feel the need to write such horribly weak female characters. It's just not ok and what message is that supposed to be sending to the audience that it's intended for? That it's ok to let people walk all over you and control you simply because they hold a bit of power over you? How about, no. I get that to learn to stand up for yourself when you're being victimized is easier said then done but I cheated a little before I officially DNF'ed this book. I read other people's reviews and a couple of spoilers (though not really spoilers because they were heavily foreshadowed) just hoping that she would grow a back bone and stand up for herself. Apparently though she never did and it actually gets worse as she develops a love interest and becomes infatuated with him while, on the side, the victim blaming just continues unhindered.
I believe I can officially add horribly weak female characters who outright refuse any hope of being independent to my list of bookish pet peeves. They are just so frustrating to read. I mean, if they start out weak but grow up throughout the book that's one thing. But to just not is just so...
I have a couple of other reasons for not finishing this book. I won't go into them because they would give away plot points but they all revolved around sexualizing women. It hurt to read so I just couldn't anymore.
Now you've heard one of mine, what are your reasons to DNF a book?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #10: Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Yay!! I love this week's topic! One (of the many) things I like about books is they can take you anywhere and everywhere without ever leaving your comfy bed/couch/blanket or wherever you read. Of course, it is definitely so much cooler to actually go and visit some of those places - providing they're real, of course - but sometimes, if you're like me, you've spent all your extra money on lovely new books and forgot to save for travels. Oops. I'm sort of terrible like that.
Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit
The Fictional
1. Hogwarts - Really now, what kind of booknerd-fangirl-Potterhead would I be if Hogwarts was not on my list. Who wouldn't want to go to Hogwarts and sit in the Great Hall - especially at Christmas with the giant Christmas trees - or drink all the butterbeer at Rosemerta's or just wander down Diagon Alley? No one, that's who. 
2. Camp-Half Blood - I probably wouldn't make a very good demi-god considering I have no athletic skills whatsoever. But yeah, Camp Half-Blood sounds like loads of fun. Especially if Leo's there. I love Leo. I mean Percy would definitely be my book boyfriend but Percabeth is just too perfect. Camp Jupiter sounds cool too but if I had to choose, I'd definitely be Greek.

3. Middle Earth - Rivendell! Fangorn Forest! (Legolas!) Lothlorien! The Shire! So so many places! And the movies make them look so beautiful. Not that the books didn't too. There are whole chapters on just Middle Earth landscape in The Silmarillion. Middle Earth is just so pretty. Can I borrow Will's knife to cut a window into Middle Earth? Woah, crossovers, sorry. But really, if I had the Subtle Knife, I'd totally hack into other book worlds. I'd close my windows up though, don't worry. Since Middle Earth and the Subtle Knife aren't real, I'll settle for a trip to New Zealand instead.

4. Tortall - Tamora Pierce's Tortall books hold such a special place in my heart that to not include Tortall would be horrible. Her books together with Harry Potter were my childhood. It's not even really the world of Tortall that I'd want to visit. I want to meet all the characters. Alanna and Daine most of all but Jon and George and Thayet and Numair too! By the way, I'm really excited that Tammy is working on a Numair series. He and Daine were my original OTP.
"I thought they'd killed you. I lost my temper." - Daine to Numair in Emperor's Mage
[fanart from Kathofel]
5. Neverland - So many books and movies have made Neverland so appealing. Especially Jodi Lynn Anderson's Tiger Lily. JLA wrote such wonderful descriptions that I just wanted to live in her words. I've said it before but I love anything Peter Pan related. And if Colin O'Donoghue happens to be Captain Hook, I won't complain in the least.

6. Wonderland - Oh Wonderland - so much frabjous nonsensical nonsense. I love it. I could do without crazed queens with a fondness for beheadings but tea parties and unbirthdays 364 days of the year sound perfect to me.

The Non-Fictional

7. The Empire State Building - Can you believe that I literally live less than 10 minutes away from New York City and I've never been to the Empire State Building? I mean I can see it from my bedroom window. When I'm lost, I basically just have to look for it in the skyline and head towards it to get home. I take back what I said in #2 - maybe I can be a demi-god after all considering Olympus is on the 600th floor and the Empire State Building is like my personal homing device.

8. England - So many books have been based in or relate to England somehow. However, it was the Once and Future King and basically anything King Arthur related that originally made me want to visit England. I actually woke up at 4am when I studied abroad in London specifically to take a King Arthur tour to see Stonehenge and Glastonbury and all the Arthurian legend sites. I'd love to go back one day and see the other literary places I missed. Although, I can already cross 221 Baker Street off that list.
But, if you go, and you happen to be looking for the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens, don't ask the locals. They didn't know and I ended up lost. Though Kensington Gardens is probably the most beautiful place to be lost in.

9. Greece - I can relate this back to the Percy Jackson books too but it was The Firebrand and stories about Greek mythology and Troy that first perked my interest in Greece (more so than Rome. See? I'd totally be a Greek demi-god.) I always been a bit obsessed with mythology of any kind really. Sadly, the US doesn't have cool mythology like other parts of the world do. Plus Greece and the Mediterranean in general is just so beautiful. I mean, look at it:

10. Ireland - Sweep: Night's Child definitely isn't even remotely the best choice of book to describe Ireland but I really want to go there and I think it's the only book I've read that's set there. It's not even a very good book to be honest. Just something I read in high school. But by default, it's my Ireland book. It's super stereotypical but I've always wanted to search for fairies in Ireland. I figure if there's one place in the world where I'd be able to see one, it'd be there. Glastonbury Tor in England is said to be the entrance to the fairy world but somehow, I've always associated Ireland with fairies. To go along with my obsession with myths, I've also always had an obsession with fairies and fairy tales. I'm weird. I know.
While writing this post I've realized two things. One, I need a Signe Pike's Faery Tale-esque tour of the entire United Kingdom in my life. And two, I seriously need to read more books with real places. Fictional places, yeah sure, I'll think of a million of them on the spot that I want to visit. But books with real places that I want to visit? Not so much. I should work on that but it's definitely because of my favoritism for fantasy books over contemporary.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Revenge of Seven Review

The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore
Published:  August 26, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads: The worst was supposed to be over. We were reunited after a decade apart. We were discovering the truth of our past. We were training and getting stronger every day. We were even happy...

We never imagined the Mogodorians could turn one of our own against us. We were fools for trusting Five. And now Eight is lost forever. I would do anything to bring him back, but that's impossible. Instead, I will do whatever it takes to destroy every last one of them.

I've spent my entire life hiding from them, and they've stolen everything away from me. But that stops now. We're going to take the battle to them. We have a new ally who knows their weaknesses. And I finally have the power to fight back.
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
Number Three in Kenya.
And Number Eight in Florida.
They killed them all.
I am Number Seven.
I will make them pay.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This isn't going to be a full detailed review because this is the fifth book in the Lorien Legacies Series and I'm trying not to accidentally blurt out spoilers while at the same time needing an outlet to release my thoughts on this book.

First off, my reaction to finishing The Revenge of Seven went something like this:
I wish I was exaggerating when I say that's exactly what I went though. I literally dropped my book, said "what the f*ck?" and ran downstairs to ask my mom if that's really how it ended. (Note: She had already read it and is the one who actually got me into reading this series. It's sort of a thing we have going to read the books one after the other.) All she had to say was, "I told you you wouldn't like it." Thanks, mom, for the words of encouragement when my brain is crushed.
I won't say much about the plot of book. I will say that it takes place right where the last book leaves off. The Garde is split up after being betrayed by one of their own. Now, they must regroup to figure out how to fight Setrakus Ra and stop the impending invasion of the Mogodorian fleet to save humanity. In short, a huge undertaking for five Loric teenagers who have no one for guidance anymore and their few human allies. The book is split up into POV chapters alternating between John (aka the first Four), Six, and Ella. Surprisingly, we don't get chapters from Mariana aka Seven considering this is her title book. I thought that was pretty strange but considering her state of mind for most of the book, I guess it's understandable.
Honestly, I'm not usually one for reading books on aliens and space invasions. I was actually horrified of aliens when I was little. Driving home from my aunt's house past an international airport was borderline traumatic for me. I may be exaggerating a little there but groups of lights in the sky at night was not something I wanted to see when I was eight. I blame my dad and his habit of watching scifi shows while his young, impressionable daughter was in the room. But I digress. I actually really enjoy Pittacus Lore's series. It's definitely a fun, entertaining read and there's so many of them! In between the release dates of the main books of the series, smaller mini-stories get published that just add to the world and characters of The Lorien Legacies. Unfortunately, I think the movie was such a flop that everyone forgot that the books are actually good. Don't judge a book by it's movie, people!
I definitely recommend this series to anyone who likes science fiction. The characters have a kind of X-Men-ish feel to them what with their special powers and all. There are touches of romance here and there but that's not at all what the books' focus is on. I would have to warn that anyone deciding to read these books better be ready to do yoga or tai chi or something else that's calming. The cliffhangers at the end of these books are Mark of Athena bad if not worse because they'll happen literally in the middle of a scene. I thought I had at least another chapter to read but I turned the page and it was a preview for one of the mini-stories instead. Now I have to wait a whole year for the next book. Hence, the gif reactions.
Does anyone out there read this series? I really need to know if you do. I can't be the only one!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #1: The Blood of Olympus!!

Hello and welcome to my first Waiting on Wednesday!! Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to feature books that we readers are impatiently waiting to get on hands on.

I do realize that as it's after midnight, my first Waiting on Wednesday is actually on Thursday. I blame work on this as I tend to blog after I come home and I had a closing shift tonight. However, closing is what made me want to do a WoW post because as I was finishing some stuff in the backroom, what do I come across but boxes upon boxes of... The Blood of Olympus!!!  Now the boxes were labeled with the strict warning to "not open until October 7, 2014 or there will be blood." Seriously, it said that. (Plus, you know, it's actually illegal to open certain boxes of books before their release date. Rick Riordan books fall under that category as do anything by J.K. Rowling or other major authors.) However, that didn't stop me and a fellow co-worker from pausing and admiring the boxes. So close and yet so far...
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Summary from Goodreads:
Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.
So... why am I waiting on this book?
The last one then no more Percy... I am dreading the feels this book is going to put me through.
The cover actually makes me a little nervous because that's Jason in the middle of it. I have nothing really against Jason but he's not Percy. If Percy isn't the one who saves the day/world/gods/etc., I'll be upset.
Some things that I want to happen (in no particular order):
- Percy needs to discover Nico's secret
- Leo has to find his way back to Calypso
- Frank has to figure out the burning stick thing because I don't necessarily think it means his actual death
- Percy learns to think twice about the consequences his actions have (i.e. - scaring Annabeth when he killed Ahlys, forgetting about Bob and his promise to Calypso.)
- Nico's POV chapters (Rick Riordan basically said that this was going to happen in a tweet, but I really want to hear Nico's POV.)
- more Reyna
- someone whacks Octavian upside the head for being annoying
- Bob gets to see the stars again
I'm sure I have more things that I really want to see but those are the ones that came to mind first. I'm also doubly excited for this book because I preordered a signed copy of it. Yay!!! I'm also prepared to go through book major withdrawals afterward. I purposely haven't read my copy of Percy Jackson's Greek Gods (also signed because Books of Wonder is awesome) yet because I know I'll need some kind of Percy-ness after finishing The Blood of Olympus.
So, what are you waiting for this Wednesday Thursday? Are you waiting as eagerly as I am of The Blood of Olympus? If you are, what are your theories? I want to know!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #9: Top Ten Books that were Hard for Me to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

I haven't done a Top Ten Tuesday in a couple of weeks now. I really wanted to do the lunch table one from a few weeks ago but I got busy and then it was suddenly Friday and not Tuesday anymore. I'm thinking maybe I'll do that anyway as a separate post. I really need to get up on the blog scheduling thing but... Queen of Procrastination here. Yup it's my unofficial title and I tend to do a good job at keeping it. I keep telling myself that I'll stop procrastinating so much and start planning ahead but guess what? I procrastinated with that too. Oops.

Anyway, this week's topic is books that were hard for me to read. Now that doesn't necessarily mean that I didn't like the books (though for some of these I really didn't). They were just hard to read, for various reasons.

Top Ten Books that were Hard for Me to Read

  The Ones with the Weird Language
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - So technically, I'm not done reading this book. I haven't DNF'ed it yet though. I started it for a book club in August but only got up to like page 60 or so. It's not really a bad book, it's just not my norm and I'm having trouble wrapping my head around it. It's historical fiction and it definitely read as such. What's really getting me though is all the plane vocabulary. My interest in planes and my general knowledge of them reached just about 0% so to have a character who explains in detail the ins and outs of planes, their types, and how she's directing air traffic is making it very difficult for me to read.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner - What with the movie out (which I still haven't seen) I figured I'd read this book. In short, I didn't not like it, I just didn't love it and it took me a long time to get into it. The characters seemed a little flat to me and it took me a long time to get used to their slang. I get that the slang was supposed to help immerse the reader into the secluded world these boys have been living in but, honestly, just say it. Their lives were shit not "klunk."
 The Ones that were Epically Long-Winded
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley - I really, really, really want to finish this! I've started it so many times but it's just such a large book! I watched the mini-series when it first came on TV and I loved it. I was also in the middle of an Arthurian legends obsession that I haven't completely gotten over but that's beside the point. Every time I start this, I can't get past the first chapter. Morgaine's narration is just so long-winded. I will finish this though... eventually.
Wicked by Gregory Maguire - Now, I only read this once and it was a long time ago. My memory of reading this being bored through a lot of it but wanting to finish it just because it's related to The Wizard of Oz which has always been one of my favorite movies. (I should really read the book too, oops.) There was just a lot of politics going on in this book which I wasn't expecting when I started it.
Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull - This was the first book of Brandon Mull's that I've ever read and I got it as an ARC copy from work. Technically, I liked this book. There was a lot of really interesting world building and concepts that I found really cool. My only problem with it was book was about 500 pages when it really didn't need to be. It was wordy and overly-detailed to the point where I started skimming pages just to get back to what was important.
 The Ones that had Horribly Annoying Characters
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare - If you've frequented my blog before, you might know of my dislike for this book already. I realize I'm definitely in the minority when it comes to this one. After reading The Infernal Devices and absolutely loving it, I couldn't wait to start on The Mortal Instruments. Saying I got through this book, is saying a lot. I just, I couldn't with the  characters. Some of the choices they made were just so dumb I really wanted to knock some sense into them.
Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple - This is not a book I would have picked up if it hadn't been chosen for a book club I was a part of. It was interesting to read since the first part of it was made up emails and letters and other correspondence of Bernadette. However, the problems that surrounded Bernadette just seemed too upper class suburbia for me to relate to. Like really, there was a whole part complaining about blackberry bushes ruining the view or a garden or some silly thing like that. If blackberry bushes are your biggest concern, go pick them and make blackberry pies. Just stop whining about it.
 The Ones that Just Needed to End
Seeing Redd and Archenemy by Frank Beddor - I really loved The Looking Glass Wars which is the first book of this trilogy. But the second two, just seemed unnecessary. Yes, there were plot holes from the first book that needed to be filled but Seeing Redd and ArchEnemy just didn't do the first book proper justice.
 Something Blue by Emily Giffin - Okay so I'll admit that the only reason I read Something Borrowed was because I liked the movie. (It had Snow White from Once Upon a Time in it and Jim from The Office how could I not like it?) Something Borrowed was pretty okay but Something Blue, not so much. I didn't really like Darcy as a character to begin with when I read the first book. So reading a whole book all about her pretty difficult. It took a lot of redeeming just to get me to sort of like her.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - I didn't finish this one. There was a lot going on but none of it was particularly interesting. I feel like this whole book could have been edited down to about 200 pages and readers would have gotten the gist of it. I was down to the last hundred pages when I gave up and stop caring about what was going to happen to the characters. I'm hoping something was just lost in translation since this was originally written in German because the concept of the book is really cool. I just couldn't get myself to finish it.
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