Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Empire Striketh Back Empire Striketh Back is the second installment in William Shakespeare's Star Wars. Everything I enjoyed about the first book was here in the second. I still love R2-D2's asides. I enjoyed the Shakespearean insults. While the novelty of writing Star Wars in Shakespearean language was starting to wear off, there was enough new stuff to keep me interested. Author Ian Doescher goes deeper into the character of Lando of Calrissian, more than what we learn about him in the movie. There were singing Ugnaughts. Best of all, Yoda spoke in Haiku. I loved the Haikus.

Doescher writes a bit of an Afterward explaining some of his choices in Empire and how this book differs from the first. I thought it was interesting (and I appreciated it as an Afterward, not an Introduction). I also thought it was interesting that one of his readers who was an expert in Shakespeare, has never seen the Star Wars movies (has he been living under a rock?). I really enjoyed The Empire Striketh Back and I look forward to the third book, The Jedi Doth Return. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Giver

The ending!  What happened?  This is the second book in a row that I've read where the ending leaves so many possibilities.  I know that technically Lois Lowry's The Giver is the first in a quartet of books, but after reading the description for Gathering Blue, I don't know if it has anything to do with Jonas.  So, that leaves me wanting to know what happens next.  As crazy as this kind of ending makes me, I also liked it.  I like the possibilities.

I'm not really sure what my thoughts are on the rest of the book.  I enjoyed it.  I can see why so many have loved it over the years - The Giver was published 20 years ago, before dystopian novels became a thing. The main character, Jonas, is thoughtful and introspective.  Initially, he balances what he learns with the way he grows up.  The more he learns about the truth, however, especially about his father, the more he wants to turn away.  This isn't a very action-packed novel.  The reader mostly orbits Jonas and his time learning.  The Giver doesn't need action, I wanted to know what Jonas was going to learn next, I wanted to know what his decisions were going to be.

Even though I can tell from the trailers that they've aged Jonas (he's only 12 in the novel) and that there is more action scenes, I'm interested in seeing the movie.  I want to see how they bring Jonas's internal world to life on the screen.  I've heard mixed reviews on the movie.  I wonder if they traded some of Jonas's thoughtfulness for action sequences.  I'll just have to wait and see.  The book is amazing though, enduring for decades.  I'm sure I've missed tons of stuff, I can see myself reading The Giver again and giving it to my kids to read.  I think it will still be in schools and read for years to come.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I was not ready for the story to be over.  I thought there were more pages until I checked how many I had left.  I discovered I had 10 instead of 50.  The edition of Requiem I purchased apparently includes an Alex story.  I knew it was there, but in the midst of the novel, running through the Wilds with Lena and trying to survive Fred with Hana, I forgot about it.  I only remembered it as I approached the end.  I knew it was coming too late though.  I thought there would be more. 

The ending was unexpected.  I appreciated that Lauren Oliver didn't make it neat and tidy.  I expected something like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games and so many Young Adult novels I've read recently, with an epilogue or something at the end that tells us how it all worked out.  That's why I thought there was more to the story. With so few pages left, Lauren Oliver couldn't end the story and give us an epilogue. I like the unexpected, I like that Oliver did something different. There's a certain artistry about her choice of ending. I am intrigued by the uncertainty, the lack of resolutions.  I think I like the possiblity that characters could easily live or die in the next few moments past the end of the story.

I really enjoyed the alternating passages between Lena and Hana. Pandemonium was different than Delirium and Requiem was different again. I felt sorry for Hana through most of the story. Then I felt less sorry for her. I think she did the best she could. Without adults to guide them through confusing emotional times, is it any wonder that the adolescent characters act out? I think it's good to have an adult to help talk through things, parent or not, but the cure takes that away. All these young people hear is that the cure will eventually make it all better and they just have to behave. Like that's so easy when you're seventeen, especially with no guidance. It still breaks my heart to think that parents aren't caring, aren't loving their children. That's really what starts Lena on this path, that they wanted to take her mother's love away. I like that love is explored in more than just the romantic sense. 

Requiem was an thrilling ride to the end. I enjoyed this conclusion to the Delirium series. 

I just kind of wish it was the conclusion...

Since this edition includes the story, Alex, I thought I would write my thoughts on the short story/novella here as well.  Sometimes I am unmotivated to read the short stories and novellas of "trilogies" if I've already finished the main books.  I know what happens already in the plot and, in general, it doesn't add anything to the story for me or my enjoyment of the series. 

Alex was a good story and a great character.  Alex, the story, kind of changed how I view the character. I was thinking he had gotten harder, and he did, maybe just not as hard as Lena saw him. Alex gives the reader insight into what his time was like in the Crypts, Portland's prison, and how he escaped. What I was hoping for was maybe how he got to be where Lena was in New York and how he felt when he saw her with Julian. I was hoping maybe since the story is listed as #3.5 on Goodreads, it would give us some information as to what happened after the end of Requiem. It doesn't. Alex is a good story, but I wish I read it before Requiem. It didn't really do anything for me. It was well-written and enjoyable on its own, but I wouldn't suggest reading it as a concluding story to the Delirium series. Skip to the end, read it first, then read Requiem.  If there is anyone out there who feels different, I would like to hear their opinion.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Delirium Stories

Delirium Stories is a collection of three novellas/short stories written by Lauren Oliver as companions to the novels of the Delirium series.  I read the stories as I read the novels.  Hana and Annabel were read after Delirium and Raven after Pandemonium.  After I read each story, I wrote down a few thoughts, as I often do with short story collections.


I enjoyed Hana as a character in Delirium, but I think I like her more now. From Lena's perspective, it seems like Hana is a willing participant of everything. Hana is willing, but she also sees how Lena is growing and changing. Hana sees Lena moving away from her. 

Hana has her own experience with a boy, one many of us can relate to, but is put into a different perspective in the context of Delirium. She never tells Lena. If she did, maybe Lena would understand Hana's decision.


Though I thoroughly enjoyed Hana and learning about all the things Lena didn't know happened, Annabel was exciting.  It was sad, but also full of hope.  Annabel is Lena's mother.  This is her story, told beautifully.  From Annabel and her own mother's perspective, we can maybe see why some people wanted the cure so desperately.

I loved everything about Annabel.  I loved her determination, her emotion, and her honesty. I love the story of how she met her husband of how they never spoke of it.  I also loved Thomas and getting to know him better.  He was just a name in  Delirium, in Annabel, he was a person, who had suffered loss and wanted to help the world.  Reading Annabel is a highlight in the whole series.


Raven. Oh my. There is so much. So much you don't know while reading Pandemonium. Raven is a mother/big sister to Lena, but she's so much more than that. There is so much information in this story. If you didn't read it and just read the novels, would there be surprise? I guess I'll find out soon since I'll be starting Requiem shortly. Raven is such a wonderful, complex character. She's so compelling. Even though Lena is looking for her mother, I want her to stay with Raven. Raven has dreams and hopes and fantasies. She has new complications. I don't know if it's because I've read Pandemonium, but Raven is my favourite story of the three. Raven went back for Lena. Annabel didn't.

I really enjoyed the Delirium Stories. I'm glad I read them interspersed with the novels. It added to the overall feel of the series. If you decide to read the Delirium series, pick up Delirium Stories too.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Spin Number

The Classics Club spin number is in and it's 17! 17 gives me Animal Farm by George Orwell. That's going to be so easy. I honestly was planning on reading that book this month anyway. I actually just posted about how I haven't read it yet, a couple weeks ago. I'm excited to be reading my second book by George Orwell. It's been a long time since I read 1984. I'm going to have to pace myself though, since the post isn't supposed to go up until October 6th!  

What classic will you be reading? 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Two Swords

The Two Swords was exciting, I found myself yelling at Drizzt and so many of the other characters out loud.  My Hubby is extra happy that I'm moving through R.A. Salvatore's popular series so he can talk about the books with me.  I love when a books excites me, makes me invested in the characters and the decisions that make.  While I think Drizzt took too long to get back to Mithrall Hall, I understand his choices and was glad with what happened when he finally got there. 

I totally knew what was going to happen with Delly and Cottie.  It was just so obvious to me.  I didn't guess the part with Cutter, though I knew at some point something was going to happen with the sword, since there's a graphic novel I bought my Hubby titled Cutter.  I guess that's what happens when you're just halfway through such a long series.  I also knew that if Drizzt and Catti-Brie didn't make a decision in this novel, they never would.  There was so much going on, but I enjoyed every word.  I'm excited to see if the Bouldershoulders will bring Cadderly and Danica (from The Cleric Quintet) further into the Drizzt series.

Though The Hunter's Blade is a trilogy within the grander Legend of Drizzt series, I don't feel like the trilogy stands on it's own.  Icewind Dale and The Dark Elf Trilogy stood alone very well.  They were series within the series, but had their own arcs that concluded by the final book.  I feel like there is too much left undone in The Hunter's Blade.  I'm sure the next group of books, Transitions will deal with all the upheaval and loose ends, but I just would have liked The Two Swords to feel more finished.  It's a similar feeling I had when I finished Pandemonium, but that book had the excuse of being the second book in the trilogy.  The Two Swords is the third book.

I was thinking about taking a break from the fantasy books, but with so many unanswered questions, especially about the Orc King, I think I'll be returning to Salvatore's novels soon.

Friday, August 08, 2014


The ending changed everything for me. I could have said that Pandemonium can be read on its own, as a complete novel, without the "second novel" feeling middle trilogy books often have. I could have said that. I almost still want to say it. It's just those last few lines, a handful of sentences changes the entire novel for me. Part of me wishes Lauren Oliver could have saved it, left it for Requiem instead. Maybe I'm too critical of endings. 

I loved Pandemonium. It is a wildly different story than the first book in the trilogy. In Delirium, Lena learns about love and how to love. In Pandemonium Lena learns how to fight and how to survive. In Pandemonium, she is the one to teach about love. We see two sides to Lena. We see what happened to her right after the end of Delirium, who she met, how she survived. In alternating chapters, we see Lena now, undercover in a different city, pretending to be cured, infiltrating a pro-cure group. 

Lena, thinking that Alex is dead, meets a new boy. Apparently, when the description/ synopsis of Pandemonium was first released, there was an uproar from fans, upset, distraught, over the fact that Lena could possibly move on and find someone else. For me, this is a realistic part of the novel. I know it's more "romantic" to think Lena will love Alex and only Alex forever until her death, but in real life we wouldn't expect that, so we can't be surprised when an author makes that decision. I'm glad that I'm reading the story now and was spared all the complaining when the Delirium sequel was released. 

The edition I read of Pandemonium was an enhanced eBook on my Kindle app. I was interested to know what "enhanced" meant. When I saw the Pandemonium eBook on sale, I knew that this was my chance. I wonder if other enhanced eBooks are different.  This edition included videos of Lauren Oliver describing certain important scenes and what inspired them.  I found the videos interesting, but I was not always happy with their placement.  Several times the videos came before the scene she was discussing, thus spoiling the scene right before it happened.  The most often broke the flow of the story.  I liked the videos themselves, I liked hearing Oliver speak about her inspiration.  If they came after the scene, it would have been much better. 
Pandemonium was fantastic.  It had me on the edge, eager to know what happened next.  It's a good thing I have Requiem.  I'm also interested in reading more by Oliver.  I  know she has more books, I'd like to see what other worlds her imagination has created.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Let's Spin Again!

It's time for the Classics Club Spin!  This will be the fourth or fifth time I've participated.  This is how it works: 

  • Pick twenty books that you have left to read from your Classics Club List.
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog by next Monday, August 11th.
  • Monday morning, the Club will announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce.
  • The challenge is to read that book by October 6, even if it’s one you dread reading!

I've decided to change the way I make my list.  Previously, I filled certain categories.  This time, I'm using to give me a list of twenty from my remaining books. Here goes!

1. Discourse on Method, by Rene Descartes
2. Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
3. The Wings of the Dove, by Henry James
4. Three Series, Complete, by Emily Dickinson
5. Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller
6. The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
7. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
8. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
9. Dracula's Guest, by Bram Stoker
10. Queen Mab, by Percy Bysshe Shelley
11. The Weapons Shop, by A.E. van Vogt
12. Northhanger Abbey, by Jane Austen
13. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
14. Daisy Miller, by Henry James
15. Stories, by Hans Christian Andersen
16. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, by Tom Stoppard
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
19. The Waves, by Virginia Woolf
20. Lyrical Ballads, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth

I think gave me an interesting mix.  There are a couple I was planning on reading soon anyway, some I've been avoiding.  One I was thinking of taking off my list because I can't get into it.  I have mixed feelings about the poetry.  I've already started Dickinson's work, but was taking it slow, as there a lot of poems and I don't know if I'll want to rush it.  My intention was to read the Lyrical Ballads in the same way. We'll see what happens if one of those numbers come up.  I'm excited for Monday!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Guardians Of The Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy was amazing. Amazingly awesome. I loved every minute of it. It was serious and sad and funny. I laughed out loud at so many different points. I loved Peter Quill and his mother. Gamora and Nebula were amazing.  I loved Groot and Rocket, Drax and the prisoner with no leg. I loved the head that people mined.  I loved Nova Prime.  I could go on and on.  I could talk about the movie, about the amazing effects, the sets, the planets, the father(s).  I could talk about Marvel crossover and that I can't wait for their next film, but it's going to be a while.  So, I'm going to stop.  I can only gush for so long.

Monday, August 04, 2014

12 Years A Slave

12 Years a Slave was an incredibly intense movie. It is a serious, wonderfully done film. When I see movies like 12 Years a Slave, I can't help but think of the artistry and skill that went into making the film. Every scene, every character, was amazing. This is not a movie for a relaxing movie night. Intense emotions are stirred, prodded, and pulled out as you watch Solomon Northup move from day to day, moment to moment. 

The contrast between the north and south at the time is jarring. That so many people belonging to one nation could behave and believe so differently... Well, I guess this still happens in countries throughout the world. It's just a startling thing to see both the black and white people behave so fundamentally different. 

12 Years a Slave is a book, Solomon Northup's autobiography. Why had I never heard of this book before? I feel like it should be part of the curriculum. If not in high school, then in university. Post-university, I've read hundreds (thousands) of different blog posts and had never seen this book. Where has it been? I can't speak to the quality of the book, since I haven't read it, but since the movie was so moving, then I imagine the book is fairly amazing. 

One non-serious thing I have to mention is Brad Pitt. As soon as I saw him, I thought, of course, of course, he's going to play the "hero" white person. I won't get into what the character does, but when I saw him, I just knew. I mentioned this to my Hubby, who watched the movie with me, and he said it was Brad Pitt's production company that made the movie. I should look that up. 

Every accolade 12 Years a Slave has received, I think it is more than deserved. It is a brilliant and powerful film. I'm interested in seeing more movies created by Steve McQueen.

Friday, August 01, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire

That's it. I have finished Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series. City of Heavenly Fire is the sixth and final book. It was full of excitement and adventure. It took Clary, Jace and their friends to places I didn't expect. I'm not sure how I feel about the story though. I really enjoyed it up until the end.  I had the same issue with the final book in Clare's The Infernal Devices trilogy


The ending of City of Heavenly Fire was too perfect. Like Clockwork Princess, I found that it was written to make the fans happy, the epilogue especially.  Every reader's hopes and wishes for the characters were there on the pages.  Maybe I've just become a cynic over the years.  I just expected a little more of the unexpected, a little more shock and awe.

I also felt like there was a little too much setup for Clare's next series, The Dark Artifices.  I understand and even appreciate a little setup.  I loved Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorns.  I loved Brother Zachariah.  However, I don't think we needed to see that Carstairs file.  It could have been part of the prologue of the next book or something.  It just took too much away from the main story, because even though the contents of the file are brought to our attention, what happens after will only be known if you read the next Shadowhunter series.

Spoilers End...

Even though I didn't really like everything about the epilogue, I enjoyed the book as a whole.  I liked Edom, the way that the group got to see the consequences if everything went wrong.  I loved the characters growing up, understanding themselves and each other.  I loved Magnus.  I wish I could have seen Magnus speak with Zachariah, but maybe in other book. So, while I wasn't entirely happy with the ending, I still very much enjoyed the book and the entire Mortal Instruments series.  I'm interested to see where the Shadowhunters take us next.