Thursday, November 29, 2012


I downloaded Identities, by Susan Tsui when it was free.  I'd been paying attention to the author since I came across her novel, You Shouldn't Call Me Mommy on Goodreads.  I haven't read it yet, but it seemed really interesting, so It went onto my wishlist.  When I saw the Kindle download of her short story collection, I thought it would be a good way to taste a sample of Tsui's writing style.

The first thing I noticed was the loose use of the word "collection".  Identities contains only two stories.  They are about identities and they are great stories, but I kind of wish it was more obvious that I was only getting two.  On Goodreads, the collection has two synopses, but I've read synopses for many short story collections and you can't describe every story of a ten story or more collection, so often there are just two or three.  I noticed after I had already begun the first story that it also said 23 pages.  23 pages could be more than two stories and it sort of is.  At the end of Identities Tsui gives us the beginning of her novel.  It's on sale on Kindle right now... just 99 cents!  Should I buy it?  I want to, but my hubby and I were just talking about spending less on books....

Okay, enough personal stuff.  A few thoughts on the stories!

Desiree and Me

After a couple pages into the story, I had a feeling I knew what Desiree's secret was.  I wonder if she told her husband.  She wanted a family; she longed for something her counterpart couldn't wait to throw away.  She feels guilty, but not enough to ever reveal the truth.  What will it mean for her children?  Will she tell them?  Will they inherit her ability?  It was interesting to follow the main character's emotional journey.

All I've Got

This is another great story.  Another great emotional journey.  Tsui brings the supernatural element into the story subtly.  The supernatural is not the centre of the story.  It's about death and what you leave behind, from the perspective of family.  It's about loss, what you think you are willing to give up and if it is really worth it in the end.

Susan Tsui's stories were fantastic.  I only wish there were more of them.  I'm really looking forward to reading more of her work.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Ten Books I’m Excited For In 2013

This week The Broke and The Bookish want to know what books we're most excited to read in 2013.  My list might be different than what everyone else is putting down.  I honestly don’t tend to read a lot of new releases.  I might only read one or two a year.  So, I’m breaking the list into two parts –

Part 1 - Books that will be released in 2013 that I’m excited to read.

1. Dead Ever After, by Charlaine Harris - The final book in the Sookie Stackhouse series! (May 2013)
2. The Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare - The final book in The Infernal Devices trilogy. (May 2013)
3. Sever, by Lauren DeStefano - The final book in the Chemical Garden trilogy.  I'm so excited to read this one! (February 2013)
4. Divergent #3, by Veronica Roth - No title yet...  Also, another final book. (September 2013)

Part 2: Books that are sitting on my shelves that I need to read in 2013.

5. Everything's Eventual, by Stephen King
6. Bodily Harm, by Margaret Atwood
7. The Deception of Livvy Higgs, by Donna Morrissey
8. Fool, by Christopher Moore
9. The Thousand Orcs, by R.A. Salvatore
10. City of Fallen Angels, by Cassandra Clare

I was tempted to add Undead and Underwater, by MaryJanice Davidson (March 2013), but I'm not caught up in the series yet, so I don't know if I'd definitely read that book next year.  I'm often a mood driven reader.

What are you looking forward to reading?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Word of the Week(s)!

*I started Word(s) of the Week ages ago so that I could share all the new, brilliant, crazy words I kept coming across in my readings of fiction, articles, blogs, etc.*

This week (month) I'm thanking two brilliant ladies for words.

I don't know if this really goes
with the word...
From Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling:

Obstreperous (pg 53):
1. Attended by, or making, a loud and tumultuous noise; boisterous.
"The obstreperous mirth swiftly turned into yells of dismay."
2. Noisily and stubbornly defiant.

I think my toddler can be obstreperous.... 

Prurience (pg 216):  The quality of being prurient.
1. Uneasy with desire; itching; especially, having a lascivious anxiety or propensity; lustful.
2. Arousing or appealing to sexual desire.
3. Curious, especially inappropriately so.

From Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley:

Syndics (pg 31)
1. A government official, a magistrate, especially one of the Chief Magistrates of Geneva.
2. (law) An agent of a corporation, or of any body of people engaged in a business enterprise; an advocate or patron; an assignee.

Maybe I should turn this into "new words whenever I get time to share them"....?

Friday, November 16, 2012

How Many of Book Riot's Favourite Books Have You Read?

Book Riot has compiled this fun list of its readers' favourite books.  I saw the lists on Literary Musings and What Red Read, so go see what they've read too.  I've italicized the books I've read.  I've linked to my thoughts on them where available.
  1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  4. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien
  7. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  10. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  11. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  12. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  13. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  14. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  15. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  16. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  17. The Stand by Stephen King
  18. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  19. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  20. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  21. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  22. The PIcture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  23. The Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  24. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
  25. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  26. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  27. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  28. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  29. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  30. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  31. 1984 by George Orwell
  32. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  33. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  34. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  35. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  36. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  37. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
  38. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  39. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  40. Ulysses by James Joyce
  41. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  42. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  43. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  44. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  45. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  46. Dune by Frank Herbert
  47. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  48. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  49. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  50. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (13 votes)
So, I've read 13 of the books.  I own quite a lot of the books on the list, but just haven't read them yet.  Which books have you read?  Are any of them your favourite?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Night of the Living Trekkies

The lead character's name is Jim Pike.  Jim Pike!  Awesome. Night of the Living Trekkies was awesome.  Let's talk about how amazing all the Star Trek and sci-fi stuff was first.  The whole thing takes place at a Star Trek convention called GulfCon. There are costumed geeks everywhere.  They are constantly making hilarious and often relevant Star Trek references.  Many of them also introduce themselves using their "character" names instead of their real names.  Sometimes we find out their real names and sometimes we don't.  What I didn't realize until about a quarter of the way in was that each chapter title is the name of a Star Trek episode. (I've never been good at remembering names of episodes for any show.)  Somehow that made the book even better.  Every Star Trek, Star Wars, sci-fi moment had the geek in me jumping up and down.

In Night of the Living Trekkies, Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall bring the fabulousness of Star Trek together with the insanity of zombies and the zombies in this novel were great.  I'm not a huge zombie fan, but I like a well-written zombie novel, with an interesting cast of characters.  I also appreciate twists on the standard zombie mythos.  The Trekkies zombies are not your ordinary zombies.  They seem to be at first, but there is so much more.  I loved it.

If I had the time, I could have easily read the book in one sitting.  The story was engaging and the writing was fluid.  It was one fun, exciting thing after another.  Anderson and Stall knew what they were doing in creating a flawed, yet loveable hero, a kick-ass romantic interest and an intelligent sister.  The supporting cast were creative and varied.  The villains were a mix of expected (in a good way) and unexpected (also in a good way).

I think this was the first time I've read a novel written by two authors (I don't think Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters counts). So I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of writing style and story flow.  After the first two chapters, I thought I'd be able to tell the difference from when one author was writing to the next, but after a couple more chapters, I knew I wouldn't be able to tell. I don't even know if they took turns writing chapters or if they were involved in each equally.  Now I'm curious.  How do collaborations like this work?

Fans of zombies and Star Trek are going to love Night of the Living Trekkies.  If you're a zombie fan, but don't know as much about Star Trek, I think you'll still enjoy the book, but some of the references might be a bit lost on you.... Or you could watch only Star Trek for a month, then you'd know everything!  I could keep going about all the great little and big things in Trekkies, but instead, I'll just say, read the book! 

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Casual Vacancy

Vaguely Spoilery

In the first thirty pages of The Casual Vacancy, I must have read words like penis, erection, vulva, breasts and all sorts of "adult" words several dozen times.  It was wildly advertised that J.K. Rowling's new novel was for adults, but just in case the reader didn't know, she makes it obvious right away. 

If the beginning of the book moved like the middle and the end, I would have liked The Casual Vacancy a lot more.  It wasn't a story I expected. It was rough and violent.  It wasn't tempered by magic like Harry Potter.  Though, I think people sometimes forget how dark Harry Potter actually is.  His parents are brutally murdered by a megalomaniacal serial killer.  He is taken in by relatives that treat him like a burden and obviously don't want him.  There is bullying.  There are slaves.  There is war. So many people die.  The magic is what makes it less scary; there is no magic in Casual Vacancy. This is reality.

There was a lot of setup and character introduction in the first fifty pages.  Maybe it was more. It actually reminded me very much of a Stephen King novel.  He often introduces loads of characters (just have them die brutally.) Rowling didn't give us one person to root for, to focus on as the "hero" of the tale.  She gave us several people, some you liked more than others, who felt very real and part of a community.  I think there was one real villain, however.  I could not find one thing redeeming about Howard Mollison.  I have to say, of all the characters, I really connected with Sukvinder on a personal level.  I've never gone to her extremes, but many of her problems brought back memories of my own high school/teenage issues.  I also wish that the Weedon's story wasn't so tragic and that Krystal and Robbie could have had a happy ending.

Everyone seemed so trapped in Pagford. This sense of being trapped actually reminded me of a specific Stephen King book, Under The Dome.  In both books, we have a big fat guy trying to control a small town (though admittedly, Howard is no where near as bad as Big Jim).  Everyone knows everyone!  That kind of community might drive me crazy.  Kay Bawden couldn't talk about her work without people figuring out who she was talking about!

I think a lot of the people in Pagford would benefit from a change of scenery.  Whether a move, or just a vacation, weekend trips to London!  Can you always exist the same small town for your whole life?  If you're like some of the people in Pagford, you might go crazy....  There was a lot of crazy in Pagford. Rowling did not disappoint.  She went into the darkest parts of a person's mind and pulled it out for us to see.  Rowling did not hold back.  She can still craft a powerful scene.

Rowling is a brilliant writer.  I enjoyed The Casual Vacancy immensely.  If you only really like sci-fi and fantasy type genres, this may not be the book for you.  If you just like to read a good story, then you'll enjoy the stories woven together in The Casual Vacancy.

Other Thoughts and Opinions:
Bridget's Books
The Blue Bookcase
Night Sky Reviews
Literary Musings
Tea and Text