torachan: tavros from homestuck dressed as pupa pan (pupa pan)
What are you currently reading?
Mayor of Castro Street is still in progress and I'm not sure I actually picked it up at all this week.

However, I did start two new books! I received the sequel to Escape from Witch Mountain in the mail the other day, Return from Witch Mountain, and read the first chapter. Honestly, it's a bit of a disappointment. I didn't realise this when I mooched the book, but apparently it is just a novelisation of the film, and thus follows the story of the first movie, rather than the book. I had assumed that Key wrote two books and both were adapted, but that's not the case. It's only like 150 pages, so I'll read the whole thing, but even just from the first chapter it has a totally different feel. (I am not sure I ever watched the sequel growing up, as it wasn't on heavy rotation on TV the way the original was, so the story itself doesn't hold the same nostalgia.)

The other book is Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, which I checked out because someone (can't remember who) on my flist recced it. I loved Aziz Ansari on Parks and Rec and loved his show Master of None, and while I haven't watched a lot of his stand-up because I don't really watch stand-up, I've liked what I've seen. So I was expecting to like this, and while I've only read the intro so far, I think I will.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished Mistletoe and Murder last night (stayed up until 4:30am this morning reading it, to be precise).

I am loving these books so much! The killers are never obvious but always make sense (I usually manage to guess before the girls do, but not way early in the book). I was not thrilled with the setting at first, what with them not being able to move freely about the college, and was worried they would have to rely on help from George and Alexander more than they did, but I should have known that Daisy and Hazel would find ways to keep getting back there. And I do like them working with the boys, though I hope it won't be something that appears in every book now. I'm ready for more of just Daisy and Hazel.

I really liked the addition of more characters of color, and I really like George as a character as well (more so than Alexander, though I like him, too). Also more queer characters! Though while I appreciate queer people showing up even as minor characters, I had really hoped when I picked up the series that Daisy and Hazel would eventually become a couple and that seems less and less likely as the series goes on. Slight spoilers not relating to the mystery )

What do you think you'll read next?
I read no manga this week, which I would like to change!
torachan: (Default)
What are you currently reading?
Currently still reading Their Eyes Were Watching God, which I hadn't picked up in a while but did read several chapters of it last night. I'm just about halfway through now.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished Raising Steam! Finally! Wow, what a slog. Considering it has my favorite character (Moist) and is my favorite type of Discworld story (new technology), it's sad to say this is probably my least favorite Discworld novel and I would only recommend reading it for completeness' sake. I have heard that the final Tiffany Aching book was better edited, so I do think I'll give that a go at some point, but reading this just made me sad for Pratchett and sad for Discworld that this was the last book in such a great series. Even setting aside the fact that his illness was almost certainly affecting his writing skills, it just feels so much like an early draft.

Once I no longer had that hanging over my head, I dove right into a new book and ended up finishing it up in just four days! That book was Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens. It's the first book in a murder mystery series set in a 1930s English boarding school. The narrator, Hazel Wong, is from Hong Kong and has been sent to boarding school in England. She and her best friend Daisy Wells have formed their own detective society, but until the mysterious death of one of their teachers, they've never had a real mystery to solve. I really enjoyed this a lot and have already loaded up the next book on my phone.

What do you think you'll read next?
Finish up Their Eyes Were Watching God (I'm going to try and read a bit each day; as it's a physical book rather than ebook, it's easier to neglect it) and read Arsenic for Tea, the next Wells & Wong mystery.
torachan: ryu from kimi ni todoke eating ramen (ramen)
What are you currently reading?
Nothing at the moment. Oh wait, no, I did start something, but only got a few pages in. It's a book I got from BookMooch a few weeks ago, The Sweeter the Juice, which I feel I must have put on my wishlist years ago after seeing someone post about it on 50books_poc or something. It seems interesting, but as a physical book rather than ebook, it's probably going to take longer to get through.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished reading a book. A whole other book. In like four days! Whaaaat?

The book I finished reading is the one I mentioned in my last reading post as something I was considering next, Francis Hardinge's Cuckoo Song. It was so good! I got totally sucked in and it was really hard to put down. I don't think I've been this into a book in a long time.

I'm really glad I went into it unspoiled because the beginning was just so intriguing and I was right there with Triss trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I was at first a little disappointed with the answer, but soon got caught up in the rest of the book.

Non-spoilery summary: It's set in England after World War I. Eleven-year-old Triss falls into the river while on holiday with her parents and younger sister Pen, and when they pull her out she can't remember anything and strange things start happening. Her parents reassure her she's fine, but her sister now seems to hate her. Triss doesn't know what's wrong with her and fears she's sick and/or going crazy.

More spoilery summary! But really I think it's best read without knowing anything. )

My (spoilery) impressions ) Anyway, it's really good!!

I also read vol. 10 of Ore Monogatari!!

What do you think you'll read next?
I downloaded vol. 11 of Ore Monogatari!! today and since I'm still in the mood, that will probably be my nighttime reading tonight. I also found that 7 Seeds 31 is out, which I may read right away or not. I love that series so much sometimes I hold off on reading new volumes because I know I'll be left wanting more once I finish it. Oh, and there was a new volume of Shimura Takako's Musume no Iede as well, so there's that.
torachan: a cartoon owl with the text "everyone is fond of owls" (everyone is fond of owls)
Yikes, apparently I haven't done a reading post in almost four months. Basically, I wasn't reading much of anything, and what I was reading was just a few pages here and there of the same manga and book, so I didn't want to make a post just saying "read a few more pages of X and Y". But now I actually started reading stuff again, yay!

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Kurage Hime, which is one of the things I've been chugging along at all these months. I just started volume 13 and there are only 15 volumes out (and it's apparently on hiatus?), so I'm almost done with what's available.

I've been enjoying it at lot, though I am really torn about spoilers )

Anyway, I saw a bunch of people tweeting this week that the manga has been picked up for an English release (as Princess Jellyfish), which is great because more people should read it! The anime was cute (I actually saw the anime before reading the manga), but it's short and there's so much more to the story.

I'm also reading From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which is one of those children's books I'm very familiar with by name, but I don't think I ever read as a kid because I don't remember any of it. Carla had been wanting to reread it and we just happened to find a copy at one of the Little Libraries in our neighborhood, so I decided to read it, too. I've only read a few chapters, but I'm enjoying it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?
I read a handful of baseball RPF (Tim Lincecum/Buster Posey) fics in [personal profile] telesilla's high school AU series. I'd read the first one when she posted it a couple years ago and liked it, and hoped she'd write more, but for a long time she didn't and then I stopped using tumblr as much, so I missed the announcements for some recent fics she'd added this year, until I saw the most recent one, which also caught my eye because it's titled with a line from REM's Nightswimming (a good way to make me read your fic). So I clicked over to AO3 and read that, and then read a couple of the previous ones, too.

I also read the first issue of the Invader Zim comic! It's really just setting things up so far, so there wasn't much going on, but it seemed pretty promising. Anyway, I'm excited about Zim comics. :D It makes me want to do a Zim rewatch, even though we just did one not that long ago.

But the main thing I read was Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith.

The summary on Amazon is pretty good:
Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, "the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. "Las Anclas" now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.

Post-apocalyptic stories are probably my top favorite genre, and having it be set in Los Angeles? I really didn't need any more than that to want to give it a try. XD

I loved that we were just dropped right into the world with no exposition; instead all the little details about this world are revealed organically throughout the story. I really dislike exposition and am easily bored by long paragraphs of description, so this is my kind of writing.

The story is told through multiple POVs, changing from chapter to chapter, with the name of the POV character noted at the beginning of each chapter. I think there were about five POV characters, Ross, Yuki, Mia, Jennie, and Felicité, all of whom I grew to like by the end of the book, even those like Yuki and Felicité, who annoyed me at first. (I actually ended up liking Felicité the most, as obnoxious as she is. I'm really curious where her plotline will go in the next book.) I also liked a lot of the more minor characters, especially Mia's dad, the sheriff, and the bounty hunter.

I'm definitely looking forward to reading the sequel (and I hope the third book isn't too long in coming).

What do you think you'll read next?
Up next for sure: the last couple volumes of Kurage Hime, the rest of Mixed-up Files, and three recent chapters of Attack on Titan that I haven't read yet.

As for ebooks, I did buy the sequel to Stranger, but I'm not sure if I want to read that just yet or something else first. When I was putting ebooks on my new phone (which I only just did this week, aside from Stranger, which I put on as soon as I got the phone), I actually found myself feeling excited about a lot of those books, so I might just pick one of those first? We'll see!
torachan: nepeta from homestuck (nepeta)
What are you currently reading?
Well, I'm sure you'll all be surprised to hear I am reading Kindaichi yet again. :p I'm on volume 21 and this volume finishes off the current case, so I think I will attempt to take a break for a bit after this.

Anyway, the case in question is The Magical Express, which is the first case to introduce Takato, a Moriarty-like character who will become a recurring villain for the rest of the series (even appearing in several of the new cases, though not (yet) in the 20th anniversary series).

Since I remembered his name, I knew he was the killer, but I don't remember anything else about the case, so while I know who did it, I don't know how or anything else, so it's still fun to read.

What did you recently finish reading?
I read this week's Jump and wasn't that excited about anything.

I also managed to finish up my library book right before it was due to expire. And I ended up really enjoying it! I wish the rest of the books in the series were out now. We'll see if I remember it when they actually do get released.

As I mentioned last week, the book was The Twelve-Fingered Boy by John Hornor Jacobs. I keep trying to think of something to write for a review and nothing is coming. I rated it four stars on Good Reads and left the review section blank. :-/ (I think I'm burned out on reviewing stuff, idk. I just feel like I have nothing to say anymore...)

Anyway, it's a YA novel about teenage boys with superpowers. It's fun and decently-written and sucked me in pretty quickly.

Oh, and I also read another cute Dave/Karkat fic:

Troll Disease (2499 words) by t34lbloods
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Homestuck
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Dave Strider/Karkat Vantas, Dave Strider & Karkat Vantas
Characters: Dave Strider, Karkat Vantas, Kanaya Maryam
Additional Tags: Pale Romance | Moirallegiance
Summary:

CG: ANYWAY, I’VE BEEN TALKING TO HIM ABOUT SOME STUFF BECAUSE IT’S MARGINALLY BETTER THAN SPEWING IT INTO THE SCORCHED WASTELAND THAT IS THE NOOKSCRAPING MEMO SYSTEM.
CG: AND THEN HE SAYS STUFF AND IT KIND OF.
CG: MAKES ME FEEL BETTER.
GA: That Does Sound Upsetting
GA: I Can See Why You Came To Me


Karkat and Dave stumble into moirallegiance.



What do you think you'll read next?
No idea. I'd really like to read another book and I have the second Newsflesh book open in ibooks, so maybe that? (I've read the first couple chapters already back in November or something, but just wasn't feeling it. I do want to read the rest of the series, though.)
torachan: a cartoon owl with the text "everyone is fond of owls" (everyone is fond of owls)
Title: Coraline
Author: Neil Gaiman
Number of Pages: 208 pages
Book Number/Goal: 10/10 for 2012
My Rating: 5/5

Summary: Coraline and her parents move into a large old house which has been converted into flats, resulting in a door in their drawing room that opens onto a brick wall. However, when Coraline opens the door without her mom around, she finds it actually contains a mysterious corridor leading to a world which is a mirror of her own, complete with another mother and father, who have buttons for eyes and pay her more attention than her real parents do. Coraline can stay forever in this other world where everyone and everything caters to her every whim...the only catch is she has to let her other mother sew buttons on her eyes just like theirs.

Review: Usually when a book is made into a movie, a lot of stuff is cut, but with Coraline it's the opposite. There's quite a bit that's in the movie that's not in the book, and it's not because they added stuff while cutting out other stuff. Because I'm used to books having more, and because I watched the movie first, I went into the book expecting it to be more fleshed out, so it was a bit of a disappointment in that regard. I wouldn't say I preferred the movie, though I do think the pacing was a little better, with her going to the other world a couple times before things started to go bad. I definitely enjoyed both the book and the movie, though.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Battle Royale
Author: Takami Koushun
Number of Pages: 624 pages
Book Number/Goal: 7/10 for 2012
My Rating: 3.5/5

Amazon Summary: As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains.

Review: While I had heard of Battle Royale for quite some time, I only found out what the plot was when I started hearing people compare The Hunger Games to it. For some reason, I had always thought it was a yakuza movie, possibly because I was confusing it with Battles Without Honor or Humanity. Anyway, when I saw people saying The Hunger Games was a ripoff of this, I was curious.

As it turns out, it's totally not. They both feature teenagers being forced to fight to the death by the government in a dystopian world, but they are very different. (And I do find it totally believable that Suzanne Collins was unaware of Battle Royale before writing The Hunger Games, since as I said, even being into Japanese media, I had no idea what it was about myself. It's not like someone saying they've never heard of Pokemon or something.)

Battle Royale takes place in a not-very-well-fleshed-out dystopian AU where Japan is the Republic of Greater East Asia, a totalitarian nation semi-closed off from the west. Every year fifty classes of junior high students are chosen to compete in "The Program", which involves them all fighting to the death. Unlike in The Hunger Games, where the fights are televised and it's a form of entertainment, The Program is all very hush-hush, though the winner is shown on TV at the end. Instead the purpose is simply to terrorise the citizens and keep them in place.

I found the world-building to be rather lacking, the overwhelming cast of characters (most of which had little to no characterisation) hard to keep track of, and the writing extremely clunky (I read what I think is the first translation, so I linked to the revised version in this post because perhaps that's better; however, I could tell from the way it read in English that the problem was not entirely with the translator and the original was bound to be just as bad), but it was still a good read and I did enjoy it.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Number of Pages: 400 pages
Book Number/Goal: 6/10 for 2012
My Rating: 5/5

Amazon Summary: Spoilery for the previous book )

Review: This book was just as exciting as the first two and overall I'm pretty happy with the ending. I think that's really all I can saw without spoilers! )
torachan: (Default)
Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Number of Pages: 391 pages
Book Number/Goal: 5/10 for 2012
My Rating: 5/5

Amazon Summary: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Review: Damn, this was even better than the first book! Partly, I think, because I was 100% unspoiled and thus had no idea what was going to happen or even what was the plot. So much I wasn't expecting!

Spoilery stuff )

Can't wait to start Mockingjay!
torachan: (Default)
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Number of Pages: 384 pages
Book Number/Goal: 4/10 for 2012
My Rating: 5/5

Amazon Summary: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

Review: I went into this knowing at least one big spoiler as well as a few things from fannish osmosis that finally made sense (like all the jokes about Peeta's camouflage), but other than the basic "in a post-apocalyptic future, kids fight each other to the death" I really didn't know much about the actual plot and I didn't really have any idea of what to expect.

As it turns out, it's a really awesome book! I'm glad I wasn't any more spoiled than I was, because while of course you know Katniss has to survive, all the "how" was really interesting and I found it hard to put down. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next one.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Witch Eyes
Author: Scott Tracey
Number of Pages: 336 pages
Book Number/Goal: 25/50 for 2011
My Rating: 3.5/5

Amazon Summary (edited for spoileriness): Braden's witch eyes give him an enormous power. A mere look causes a kaleidoscopic explosion of emotions, memories, darkness, and magic. But this rare gift is also his biggest curse.

Compelled to learn about his shadowed past and the family he never knew, Braden is drawn to the city of Belle Dam, where he is soon caught between two feuding witch dynasties. Sworn rivals Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe will use anything--lies, manipulation, illusion, and even murder--to seize control of Braden's powers. To stop an ancient evil from destroying the town, Braden must master his gift despite a series of shocking revelations.

Review: This isn't a book I would have picked up on my own, but it was the first book for [personal profile] rachelmanija's Permanent Floating YA Diversity Book Club, so I decided to give it a go. Aside from the fact that the romance is between two boys, there isn't a single original thing about it. I felt like I was reading an amalgam of a bunch of current supernatural-themed things, including Supernatural, but also Lost Girl and Twilight, which are not terribly original things to begin with. But despite kind of rolling my eyes at everything, I found myself getting drawn in, and as it is unsurprisingly the first book in a series (no one has any love for stand-alone books but me, or at least no writers/publishers), I will definitely be checking out the next one when it's released. If nothing else, it's nice to see a book with gay characters that's not about being gay (as much as I do enjoy those stories, too).
torachan: (Default)
Title: Almost Perfect
Author: Brian Katcher
Number of Pages: 368 pages
Book Number/Goal: 21/50 for 2011
My Rating: 1/5

Jacket Summary: Logan Whitherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. Since then–much to his friends’ dismay–he has been despressed, pessimistic, and obessed with this ex, Brenda.

But things start to look up for Logan when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Tall, unconventionally pretty, and a bit awkward, Sage Hendricks somehow appeals to Logan even at a time when he trusts no one. As Logan learns more about Sage, he realizes that she needs a friend as much as he does, if not more. She has been homeschooled for several years, and her parents have forbidden her to date, but she won’t tell Logan why. The mystery of Sage’s past and the oddities of her personality intrigue Logan, and one day, he acts on his growing attraction and kisses her. Moments later, however, he wishes he hadn’t. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she’s actually a boy.

Review: I would never say that people should not write about disprivileged groups they're not a part of, but this book is an example of why such books are often best avoided. Sadly, this book has received a lot of praise and even won awards.

It is written by a straight cis man and it shows. This is not a book about a trans girl; it's a book about how hard it is to be a straight cis guy who falls for a trans girl. This is an intensely hurtful book and one I would never recommend to a trans teen or even a cis queer teen, because the homophobia is just as bad as the transphobia, but unlike the transphobia, left completely unchallenged. In fact, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.

The protagonist's homophobia was relentless, and it's not that it's something uncommon in a teenage boy, in fact quite the opposite. But to have this sort of thing, especially in a first-person narrative, seems to assume that the audience is not going to be queer people, but rather straight people who probably identify at least a little with what the protagonist is saying. It's very alienating to read.

The transphobia is bad, but as I mentioned above, is actually somewhat less than the homophobia, because Logan does learn to mostly see Sage as a woman, even if he still sees her more as someone who will eventually become a real woman when she gets surgery. The homophobia is never challenged. In fact, it's implicitly reinforced by Logan's growing acceptance of Sage, since he is able to stop questioning his sexuality and see himself as really 100% straight and not one of those gross disgusting queers despite his attraction to Sage. I kept hoping one of the other characters would be revealed as queer, but no, there are no queer characters at all in this book.

Then there's the plot itself, which is formulaic, and of course ends up with Sage in the hospital after some guy nearly kills her when he finds out she's trans. I mean, how could we have a book about how hard it is to be a cis straight person who knows a trans person if the trans person wasn't horribly injured in order for the cis person to learn a lesson?

And as if that wasn't enough, the book is filled with all sorts of misinformation about trans people (well, trans women; trans men don't exist in this universe, either). For example, at one point Sage takes out a picture of another trans woman, a friend she's met on the internet. This woman is described as looking like a man in a dress, complete with wig and visible stubble. Sage says this is what trans women look like if they don't transition in their teens.

There are plenty of other problems with the book, including fat hatred and racism (combined in one character!). While Logan's friend Tim is not a stereotypical Asian character (in fact Logan introduces him by saying he's not a stereotypical Asian, bleh), the author couldn't be arsed to do two seconds of research on Google to find out the correct spelling of the name he was using. TokuGOwa is not a Japanese name. Like, at all. At first I hoped it might be just a typo, but it appears more than once. Anyway, while Tim may not be a stereotypical Asian, he does get to be a stereotypical fat kid, face constantly covered in food crumbs until the love of a good (white) woman finally gets him to clean himself up.

This book is bad. The other two books I've read about trans teens, Luna and Parrotfish, both had their own problems, but were miles better than this. Maybe next we can have a book that's actually about a trans character AND written by a trans person. (Luna is by a cis author and is about the sister of a trans girl, while Parrotfish is about a trans guy but is still by a cis author.)
torachan: (Default)
I'm not doing a proper review post for these because I've already posted reviews for the later ones in the past and I just don't feel like it! But I wanted to make a note, since my count is going to skip a bunch. :p

Anyway, I really enjoyed rereading these. The series has a lot of problems, but I do like it a lot, and while books 1-4 were somewhat fresh in my mind from playing Lego Harry Potter, it had been long enough since I'd read the last three books that I really couldn't remember much at all, so it was almost as good as reading them for the first time.

And now I will probably be reading HP fic for a while...
torachan: charlotte from bad machinery saying "oh the mysteries of the moth farm" (oh the mysteries of the moth farm)
Title: I Shall Wear Midnight
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 368 pages
Book Number/Goal: 8/50 for 2011
My Rating: 5/5

Amazon Summary: This is the final adventure of the young witch, Tiffany Aching, and her obnoxious, fawning, and yet lovable small blue companions, the Nac Mac Feegles. In many ways it's a coming-of-age novel, as Tiffany is now on her own. Known as "The Hag O'the Hills," she spends her time tending to the messy, menial, everyday things that no one else will take care of, such as fixing bones or easing the pain of a dying man. But as she tries to serve the people of the Chalk hills, she senses a growing distrust of her, and a loss of respect for witches in general. Along with the Nac Mac Feegles, she has to seek out the source of this growing fear. Tiffany discovers she may have been responsible for waking an evil force when she kissed the winter in Wintersmith. The Cunning Man is in need of a host body and is searching for Tiffany.

Review: I missed the other junior witches and wished there was more of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, but I loved Mrs Proust and Letitia and especially Preston. The actual story with the Cunning Man didn't grab me that much, though. I think of the four, Wintersmith and A Hat Full of Sky are my favorites (especially A Hat Full of Sky). One thing I really didn't like about this one is that I hate when the plot of something requires everyone to hate/misunderstand the main character. I actually find it really hard to read. So all the parts where people were being affected by the Cunning Man and turning against Tiffany were really unpleasant. (Also the stuff with Roland.)
torachan: (Default)
Title: Wintersmith
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 295 pages
Book Number/Goal: 7/50 for 2011
My Rating: 5/5

Jacket Summary: When witch-in-training Tiffany Aching accidentally interrupts the Dance of the Seasons and awakens the interest of the elemental spirit of Winter, she requires the help of the six-inch-high, sword-wielding, sheep-stealing Wee Free Men to put the seasons aright.

Review: These Tiffany Aching books just keep getting better and better. I loved Miss Treason and her Boffo, and Annagramma. And omg Horace! Horace was the best! And I'm liking Roland, too. (And of course Tiffany and Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, as well.)
torachan: (Default)
Title: A Hat Full of Sky
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 350 pages
Book Number/Goal: 6/50 for 2011
My Rating: 5/5

Jacket Summary: A real witch can ride a broomstick, cast spells and make a proper shamble out of anything. Eleven-year-old Tiffany Aching can't. A real witch never casually steps out of her body, leaving it empty. Tiffany does. And there's something just waiting for a handy body to take over. Something ancient and horrible, which can't die. Now she's got to fight back and learn to be a real witch really quickly, with the help of arch-witch Mistress Weatherwax and the truly amazing Miss Level... 'Crivens! And us!' Oh, yes. And the Nac Mac Feegle - the rowdiest, toughest, smelliest bunch of fairies ever to be thrown out of Fairyland for being drunk at two in the afternoon. They'll fight anything. And even they might not be enough...

Review: I liked this a lot more than the first one. I hadn't been planning to read it all in one day, but I read the first hundred pages on the bus yesterday, then kept reading a chapter here and there when I got home, and finally just ignored everything else to finish it. :p I loved Miss Level, and of course Granny Weatherwax.
torachan: maru the cat sitting in a bucket (maru)
Title: The Wee Free Men
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 318 pages
Book Number/Goal: 1/50 for 2011
My Rating: 5/5

Jacket Summary: There's trouble on the Aching farm - nightmares spreading down from the hills. And Tiffany Aching's little brother has been stolen away. To get him back, Tiffany has a weapon (a frying pan), her granny's magic book (well, Diseases of the Sheep) - and the Nac Mac Feegle, the Weee Free Men, the fightin', thievin', tiny blue-skinned pictsies who were thrown out of Fairyland for being Drunk and Disorderly...

Review: I liked this a lot, but then I would have been surprised if I hadn't. It's Pratchett, after all. Although it is a Discworld book, it didn't really feel Discworldish to me, and I can't really explain why. I had the same feeling with The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. It's not just that it's mostly cut-off from other Discworld locations and characters... Anyway, it's a fun book and I'm looking forward to reading the rest in the series.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Shizuko's Daughter
Author: Kyoko Mori
Number of Pages: 214 pages
Book Number/Goal: 49/50 for 2010
My Rating: 5/5

Jacket Summary: "Your mother would be very proud..." Yuki Okuda heard these words when she was achieving in school, excelling in sports, even when she became president of the student council. And she could always imagine the unexpressed thought that followed: "...if your mother hadn't killed herself." But Shizuko Okuda did commit suicide, and Yuki had to learn how to live with a father who didn't seem to love her and a stepmother who treated her badly. Most important, she had to learn how to live with herself: a twelve-year-old girl growing up alone, trying to make sense of a tragedy that made no sense at all...

Review: I liked this a lot. I kept feeling surprised at it for some reason and finally I realised why. It felt very normal in a way I am not sure I've ever seen in a book about Japan written in English (as in, not translated from Japanese). Even when the author isn't white, if they're writing for an English-speaking audience, there's often a tinge of exoticism (sometimes more than a tinge), but there wasn't any of that here at all. Sadly, the cover illustration tries to make up for that by showing a girl in kimono, despite the fact that the book is set in the '70s and the only people ever mentioned wearing kimono are Yuki's grandparents, and her father and stepmother at their wedding ceremony.

One thing that bugged me was that there was this chapter where she seems to totally have a crush on this girl and I thought that's where the story was going, especially since later she still has no interest in guys and this is pointed out several times. But then later it turns out that she was just ~damaged~ from her father's betrayal and didn't want to fall in love, and then she does and is happily heterosexual. If I had read this before Yuletide, I would have totally nominated it. (Maybe I should tag this so I remember to nominate it next year.)
torachan: (Default)
Title: Skeleton Man
Author: Joseph Bruchac
Number of Pages: 114 pages
Book Number/Goal: 47/40 for 2010
My Rating: 5/5

Summary: When Molly's parents don't return after a trip, she is placed in the care of a mysterious "great uncle" who's appeared out of nowhere. Everyone else believes his story, but Molly knows something isn't right. Soon she becomes convinced that he is the Skeleton Man, a monster from one of the old Mohawk stories her dad used to tell her. With the help of a rabbit who guides her in her dreams, she begins to make plans to escape and rescue her parents.

Review: This is a super short book, but I really enjoyed it. The story is pretty creepy (both the retold tale of the Skeleton Man that Molly relates as well as what happens to her in the present) and I really liked Molly. I also liked how matter-of-factly Mohawk culture was treated.
torachan: a cartoon owl with the text "everyone is fond of owls" (everyone is fond of owls)
Title: Blueback
Author: Tim Winton
Number of Pages: 151 pages
Book Number/Goal: 46/40 for 2010
My Rating: 3/5

Jacket Summary: Abel Jackson loves to dive. He's a natural in the water. He can't remember a time when he couldn't use a mask and snorkel to glide down into the clear deep. Life is tough out at Longboat Bay. Every day the boy helps his mother earn their living from the sea and the land. It's hard work but Abel has the bush and the sky and the bay to himself. Until the day he meets Blueback, the fish that changes his life.

Review: I read a couple books of his short stories a few years ago and really liked them (especially The Turning, which has some of my favorite short stories ever) and so I put a bunch of his other stuff on my wishlist just at random. Not sure I would have chosen this book by the summary, but it turned out to be interesting and I enjoyed it. The summary makes it sound like it's a story of a boy and his BFF (Best Fish Friend), but it's really more just about the story of Abel's life and his love for the ocean in general.

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