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Asian heroine, swords and stuff, religion, love comes softly, world-building extravaganza, etc.

[ profile] rj_anderson told me about this book a while ago, and then she loaned it to me and then I took FOREVER to get reading it, even though I knew there were about fourteen things that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE about the plot. Well, now I am finished this book, and I can't WAIT to read Zoë's other ones!

In the mean time, though, Spoilers! )

9/10 for being one of the best fictional religious books I've ever read, for having a brilliant heroine and a marvelous back up dude, for making me VERY CONCERNED and then VERY HAPPY.
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by [ profile] laura_josephsen. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, LAURA HAS A BOOK!

(Yes, the title was too long for the subject box.)


I read this book as a first draft about ten seconds after it was done (lies: it was the next day, but I was VERY HIGH on finishing my first Novel (for NaNo), in a 10K sprint on November 30, so it's a BIT OF A BLUR), and my enduring memory of it is OB-Wan shouting (repeatedly) from the next room "WHAT IS SO FUNNY?"

This book is VERY FUNNY.

This is for two reasons. First, it's kind of a book about writing a book - cliches, recycled plots, things that are extremely predictable - and second, the POV character is wonderfully sarcastic.

We have, at the centre of the story, Persephone, the eldest of six girls, and her creative writing homework assignment: write what you know. Sephie is concerned that "what she knows" is boring, but that doesn't stop her from keeping a journal for a year, following what happens with her family and friends, and finding out that Real Life has its moments, even if they pass you before you realize what they are.

It's a contemporary novel about growing up (or not, as the case may be), about family and heartbreak and heartnotbreak and...books. It is so, so Not My Thing. And I absolutely adore it. Sephie is completely believable, her sisters and parents are amazing, her classmates remind me of home, and her teachers crack me up. I'm so please that this book is now a Thing People Can Own, because I loved reading it in its early stages, and now YOU CAN READ IT TOO (on sale, until Christmas, even!).

I can't give this book a rating. I've been thinking about it all night (all YEAR), and I just can't do it. I loved it SO MUCH though, on both a personal and professional level. And I would recommend it to any teenage girl, anyone who WAS a teenage girl, anyone who likes to write, and anyone who can appreciate the brilliance of the nickname "And-drama-queen" (which still makes me snicker, two years later).
grav_ity: (books 2011)

Victorians! Cross-dressing! Spies! Kissing! )

Ironically, Ying Lee commented on the last review about how thoughtful I was. At least I made a good first impression!

9/10 for ALL THE AWESOME THINGS THAT HAPPENED, and because soon I will get book three.
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I have a confession. I bought this book in JUNE, started reading it in the coffeeshop right away, and then got distracted by things like DRIVING ACROSS THE COUNTRY and GOING TO JORDAN and THE SCORPIO RACES and NANO and...yeah. Please understand that my insane life is not an indication of the quality of this book.

Somewhat hilariously, where I stopped reading the book for NaNo? Was precisely three pages before the book became ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Let that be a lesson for you: keep turning the pages.

Victorians, spies, girls who are awesome, intrigue, repeated use of the word pianoforte, etc.

My love for the Victorian Era, let me show it to you... )

So 9/10, for historical accuracy, Dealing With Stuff, corsets and waistcoats, and the parts where it's a VICTORIAN SPY NOVEL.

I am totally not thinking about fanfiction where 10-year-old Helen Magnus meets Mary Lang and decides that she should be a spy too...
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This book was very strange. Very beautiful. And very difficult to explain. We've been talking a bit lately about how difficult it is to turn off one's inner editor while reading, and I've decided that this is not really a problem I have. What I can't do, however, is turn off my inner bookseller. I have no earthly idea how I would sell this book. I'd have to leave out all the good parts. It's a love story, I could say. It's a love story about a girl who can't feel anything and a boy who doesn't want to.

Oh, and also there are demons. )

8.5/10 for being wonderful, complicated and real.
grav_ity: (The Hockey Book - Magic)
You know how sometimes a "middle book" is kind of pointless and filler-ish and doesn't really do anything, and sometimes it's "The Empire Strikes Back"?

We don't need no Death Star! )

8.5/10, for being a markedly better book than #1, for having scenes that made me laugh, for COSTUME PORN, for having fun immortals and for...MAGNUS BANE. ;)

That said, if any of them turn out to be Jack the Ripper, I am SO DONE. ;)

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I am going to attempt to review this book.

It may end badly.

If it ends at all. ;)

At least I've more or less calmed down... )

Everyone has (or could have) that one author. I always thought mine was going to be Marion Zimmer Bradley. I was wrong. Tamora Pierce always manages to work issues important to her into her novels, whether it's the use of fur or who a person loves, and it never feels soap-boxy or forced. I want to be like her when I grow up.

But enough about me!

Now for the actual review! (more spoilers than usual)(also flailing) )

So I am standing by last night's rating, which was 10,000/10, for being about hope, love, girls, awesomeness, and for making me cry like a crying thing for the last fifty pages or so.
grav_ity: (aly married a crow!)
You guys, I CAN'T EVEN.

I don't even know where to START.

10,000/10, and THANK YOU, TAMORA PIERCE, for not pulling punches, for making me laugh, cry, rage, grow, despair, rejoice, and for having SO MUCH BELIEF in what girls can do.
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I was never really a horse-book kind of girl )

I am not saying a single word about the ending. But trust me: it's worth going out RIGHT THIS MOMENT and buying it.

10/10 for reasons I cannot adequately explain, because I knew three chapters in that I would never find the words and when I got to the end, I still hadn't.


On a completely shallow note, the book is also physically beautiful: the colour of the binding, the impressed title on the front, the mottled look of the end paper...I may or may not have held it up to my nose in the store and inhaled.
grav_ity: (books)
Well...that happened.

I am someone who does not let inconsequential things like boys and near death experiences stop her. )

So I'm giving it an 8/10 for being interesting, well-developed, mostly brainy and self-rescuing, and for not pulling any punches (even though I kind of wish it had, sort of...)


Lucky Charms, shower, bed. On the bright side, at 5AM I can get The Scorpio Races (even though I can't start reading it until 9:30...and that's assuming we can extract it from the stock room...).
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(Aside: this might be my favourite summary of a book I've ever written!)

"Daughter of Smoke and Bone" is kind of like the TARDIS.

First you're all "Hey! It's bigger on the inside!"


I was, as the saying goes, unprepared.

Once upon a time, an Angel and a Devil fell in love. It did not end well. )

I kind of want to dress up as Madrigal for Hallowe'en, but I don't know if anyone would get it...)

10/10 for the sheer power of awesome, for not being overblown and for the ending (HOLY GOD, THE ENDING!)
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Okay, I read "The Lost Hero" under weird conditions (ie. really fast while doing other fannish things at [ profile] sache8's house at Christmas), so I didn't really love it. I enjoyed the Kane Chronicles a lot, but they were definitely missing that certain je ne sais quois that the Olympian books have. "The Son of Neptune", on the other hand? SOLID GOLD OF AWESOMENESS.

Welcome to Alaska. We're beyond the help of the gods. )

9.5/10 for being hilarious, brilliant and excellently paced; for including Canada; and for making fun of the Romans. ;)

(ARGH, my "Zeus is crazy!"; "We don't use the c-word to describe the Lord of the Sky!" icon is gone...)
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Jack the Ripper, everything is cooler at boarding school, fish out of water, a murder mystery with some funky bells and whistles, BEST. FRIENDS. EVER., etc.

Spoilers below!

The name of the Star is what you fear. )

I'm going to go with a 9.5/10 for bizarre nostalgia, geographical awesomeness, tremendous Briticisms and for making me want to write cross overs with Helen Magnus.


The Name of the Star comes out on October 4.

Special thanks to [ profile] nataliesee for sending me this book!
grav_ity: (books)
Alternate history (WW I), steampunk, Girls Are Awesome, Boys Are Awesome Too, semi-real politics, friendship, messed up science, general fabulousness, etc.

I may be as excited as Emma, though for different reasons. )

9/10, for being a magnificent ending, and for the amazing, amazing world we got to see.

OH, and the illustrations were GORGEOUS.
grav_ity: (books)
This book had a special place in my heart before I bought it. A whole year before I bought it, actually. Because when, in January of 2010, I started adding authors to my f-list, they were all effectively "cold calls", writers I was a fan of or books I was looking forward to. I started with the Merry Fates, who led me to [ profile] rj_anderson, who led me to [ profile] erinbow, and so on...but [ profile] soniag was different.

Back in 2003, when I started watching Stargate SG-1, I made friends with the absolutely amazing [ profile] dm_lunsford, and when I started adding authors and really tried to get serious about writing, she said to me "My friend Sonia has a book coming out in 2012! You should add her!". Which makes Sonia Gensler the first author I had a personal connection to. I AM SO GLAD I GOT TO READ YOUR BOOK!

(Huge thanks, also, to Michelle for MAILING ME the book, because it's hard to get in Canada, and for proving once again that we are kindred spirits by packing it in a bubblewrap envelope.) :)

I'm also really glad that Sonia talked me, however obtusely, into watching/reading Jane Eyre. Because that really came in handy while reading "The Revenant". :)

(I may have, I think, figured out why Chapters wasn't eager to carry this book on the shelves. Residential Schools are an extremely hot button issue in Canada right now, and that may have made it difficult to get the books into our "mainstream" bookstore franchise.)


historic, heroine with flaws, a pleasant amount of Shakespeare, not your typical boarding school thriller, that is how you deal with uncomfortable history, etc.

I loved this book before I even opened it )

9/10 for being difficult to describe, hard to put down, full of Shakespearean goodness, and for not having crazy relatives in the attic.
grav_ity: (books)
(This is another ARC review, so I've done my best to keep it spoiler free. I've skated over the BIG things anyway. But a few things probably made it through. Be warned.)

10 Things I Loved About "Every Other Day" (By Page 10 of the Book)

1. Non-white heroine.
2. Creative superpowers.
3. Snappy internal monologue.
4. Hellhounds are an endangered species.
5. She thinks of them as 'hounds (and yes, the apostrophe is why I love it).
6. Bizarre pragmatism.
7. "Left with nothing but my own bloody fingertips, I let out a war cry of my own, raked my nails over its face and fought like a girl." (I think I love her...)
8. Hilarious descriptions of her superpowers by herself.
9. She's the bait and the rescuer all at the same time.
10. The really cool slow build of the "people like me" theme.

And that was only Chapter One!

Yeah, it's crazy. But sometimes, crazy is all you've got. )

So this book gets a 9/10 for a fabulous "insert" world, an awesome heroine, an outstanding supporting cast (SKYLER!!!), a great ending, and for keeping the romance to a minimum. :)

(I can't tell you why it doesn't get a 10, because that would be a spoiler.)

(Oh, and the cover art is REALLY GREAT.)


Every Other Day comes out on December 27, which seems like an odd day for a book, but WHATEVER. I will definitely be adding it to my list of "books I want to hold someday".
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That might have been the strangest book I've ever read.

I did like it. I am also really glad I didn't read it in high school.

I am kind of surprised that Bronte managed to come up with a character I wanted to punch in the neck more than Mr. Rochester. And boy, did I ever want to punch St John in the neck.

I...seriously, this is what happens to you when, in your childhood, you spend six months of the year with a basement full of dead people (and, to be honest, the other six months stuck living in Bradford have got to suck as well).

Next up: more conflicting feelings as I take on the 2011 movie adaptation. Um, tomorrow. After I sleep. Curled up with a stuffed antelope called Nikola.

ETA: I've figured it out! She's totally the Olivia Dunham of 1847 (once you adjust for, uh, well, inflation, I guess). Now everything makes perfect sense (and it explains why everything else about the story makes me so DESPERATELY uneasy while simultaneously wanting everyone to hug).
grav_ity: (books)
Seriously, who sits down one day and thinks "I should re-write Hansel and Gretel"? AWESOMESAUCE.

girl power, fairy tale retelling, Buffy wishes she was this cool, again with the present tense, sisters are forever, much more amazing than Supernatural ever was on its best day, werewolves that don't suck, etc.

(Spoilers below!)

And, as always, never take candies from strangers. )

My only real recommendation for reading this book is to not start it in the middle of a thunderstorm after a tornado warning has been issued, because it will stop you from going out to buy the candy the book will make you crave. ;)

9/10 for girls who are awesome, girls who are less awesome, siblings who love each other, small towns, and gorgeous, gorgeous imagery.
grav_ity: (books)
It's the story of a wall. And a door. And a pattern. And time. And a girl. And a boy. And, naturally, it's a story about love. Because most of the good ones are.

(It's also another entry on my list of Books With Amazing Cover Art. And now that I'm finished reading it, I'm pretty sure the picture on the front blows my mind even more.)

But I am getting a little ahead of myself )

I hadn't planned to stay up this late reading, and then I hadn't planned to stay up this late writing the review, but I just REALLY LIKED THIS BOOK and felt the need to finish it and then SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE. I know I've been overgenerous with the 10 this year, but I'm doing it again: 10 out of 10 for an amazing girl, an absolute dork of a boy, familial bonding, brilliant geek references, and a plot worth staying up past midnight for (two nights in a row).
grav_ity: (books 2011)
There are two books called "Starcrossed" out in the last twelve months. This is the one that's not about Helen of Troy. ;)

Instead, "Starcrossed" is about a thief-girl with a complicated past who ends up over her head in an intrigue to overthrow the magic-quashing, religiously intolerant government.

Spoilers )

So 8/10 for a great cast, creative magic, well constructed story lines, and politics.


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