Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Light Fantastic and Going Postal: Book reviews

Title: The Light Fantastic
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: ages 13 and up

Summary: "What shall we do?"
said Twoflower. "Panic?" said Rincewind hopefully. He always held that panic was the best means of survival.When the very fabric of time and space are about to be put through the wringer – in this instance by the imminent arrival of a very large and determinedly oncoming meteorite - circumstances require a very particular type of hero. Sadly what the situation does not need is a singularly inept wizard, still recovering from the trauma of falling off the edge of the world. Equally it does not need one well-meaning tourist and his luggage which has a mind of its own. W
hich is a shame because that’s all there is…

My review: This is the second Discworld novel I have read and I am now a full blown fan. This one was lighter, and funnier than The
Hogfather. You can tell these are early series books, not only because of their life tone but they're shorter too. :P The story is simple but quirky and the characters are fantastic, even Rincewind the cowardly wizard, and especially the enchanted temperamental luggage. This is a fun read filled with snappy little quips that you should definitely pick up if you have the chance.
Content: Language
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommend: Yes~!

Title: Going Postal
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: ages 13 and up

Summary: Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses - until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into...a government job?
By all rights, Moist should have met his maker. Instead, it's Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, who promptly offers him a job as Postmaster. Since his only other option is a nonliving one, Moist accepts the position - and the hulking golem watchdog who comes along with it, just in case Moist was considering abandoning his responsibilities prematurely.
Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may be a near-impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office building; and with only a few creaky old postmen and one rather unstable, pin-obsessed youth available to deliver it. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him. Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, money-hungry Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical head, Mr. Reacher Gilt.
But it says on the building Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Glom of Nit...Inspiring words (admittedly, some of the bronze letters have been stolen), and for once in his wretched life Moist is going to fight. And if the bold and impossible are what's called for, he'll do it - in order to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and specially deliver that invaluable commodity that every human being (not to mention troll, dwarf, and, yes, even golem) requires: hope.

My Review: The 3rd book in my Discworld reading, and another fab outing. This one introduced me to Moist Von Lipwig, lovable con man, and his new life after death job at the post office. Throughout the book he thinks up clever little ways to get people to like him, and become successful. He's obviously driven when it comes to a difficult task, there's always a sly way he goes about getting people to do things for him. He's never entirely honest, and nor does he [spoiler] change too much in the end. But really once you get to know him would you want him too?
We've headed into the later years of discworld which means 1. Thicker spines. The funny thing is each time I read a new discworld book, the style is fresh, it feels like he's trying out some new form of writing, so that it never quite reads like the other ones. Being relatively new to Discworld this may be because I've been doing a lot of hoping around from the early years to the later. Perhaps when I read them all I'll find a common thread, a slow change from the first book to the newer ones that tie the different styles together.
Again as far as plot it's pretty much him working on the mail room, and that leaves itself open for plenty of shenanigans, but there are bits of conflict near the end, and a fun little love story for romantics. The characters are all suitable missing a few marbles, or very devious, and I wouldn't take them any other way. This is Discworld, larger than life, exaggerated beyond compare, and it's utterly brilliant.
Content: language
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommend: Yes!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Musing Mondays (Jan 30.)

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. This weeks musing is: How far along are you in your current read before you start thinking about what you’ll read next?

I am continuasly thinking about what I'm going to read next. I'd have to say when I'm starting a book, I'm already thinking about the 3rd book I'm going to read after.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Musing Mondays (Dec. 12)

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. This week's musing asks...I once knew a man who read about WWII. He read everything he could get his hands on on the subject. He had a whole wall of books that were all about WWII. It amazed me. How could he continue to find one subject that engrossing? My mother, on the other hand, loves to read best sellers. I’ve known other people who read science fiction to the exclusion of everything else; for others it was philosophy, self-help, or history.

So, to the questions…

What kind of books do you like to read?
Why? Provide specific examples.

Well as anyone who reads this blog will know my genre of choice is mystery. Mystery books are my one true love, ever since I was a little girl and my sister read to me my first boxcar children book. Oh how I loved those ageless little sleuths. I have a whole bookshelf dedicated to my Mysteries. Mysteries are fascinating to me because I love to see the puzzle unfold, and how it all connects together in the end. My second favorite would have to be clever fantasies or clever science fiction. I love a time travel story, especially if it's timey-wimey because again, I love to see how it all connects in the end. My last book of choice would be classics, or everyday stories that are interesting, and make you feel warm and cozy inside.


And Then There Where None By Agatha Christie

The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

What Could Go Wrong by Willo Davis Roberts

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Clever Fantasy/Science Fiction

Charmed Life, Witch Week, and Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

My UnFair Godmother by Janette Rallison

Classic/Everyday novels

The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Persuasion, Emma, and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnett

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WWW Wednesday (Dec.7)

WWW Wednesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

What are you currently reading? The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett...I'm only a couple pages in an already all sorts of weird things happened. Me gusta. >_<

What did you recently finish reading? Goodbye Mr. Chips by James Hilton. I cried, but more on that later...

What do you think you'll read next? Well I guess the rest of my library books, which would be Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, and after that I was thinking about re-reading a childhood favorite, or perhaps a famous classic...I never am very certain.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Musing Mondays (Dec.5)

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. This weeks question is...How many books do you read in a week? Month? Year?
It fluctuates. A lot. Sometimes I can read two books a week. Sometimes 0 in a month...then about 4 a month. A year, well my grand total this year is about 30 so far...pretty depressing. Also none of them are books I wanted to get done this year. Guess that's what happens, so many of the books I wanted to read were quite heavy...metaphorically and literally.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hogfather: A Book Review

Author: Terry's in big red letters on the book cover over there. Makes you think the book is called Terry Pratchett and it's written by Hogfather.
Genre: Fantasy/comedy
Reading Level: Ages 12 and up

Summary: Who would want to harm Discworld's most beloved icon? Very few things are held sacred in this twisted, corrupt, heartless -- and oddly familiar -- universe, but the Hogfather is one of them. Yet here it is, Hogswatchnight, that most joyous and acquisitive of times, and the jolly old, red-suited gift-giver has vanished without a trace. And there's something shady going on involving an uncommonly psychotic member of the Assassins' Guild and certain representatives of Ankh-Morpork's rather extensive criminal element. Suddenly Discworld's entire myth system is unraveling at an alarming rate. Drastic measures must be taken, which is why Death himself is taking up the reins of the fat man's vacated sleigh . . . which, in turn, has Death's level-headed granddaughter, Susan, racing to unravel the nasty, humbuggian mess before the holiday season goes straight to hell and takes everyone along with it.

My Review:“You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?”
Terry Pratchett's engaging and hilarious novel not only presents you with a lovely and quirky fantasy, but also plenty to talk and think about when you're finished reading. The discussion of belief, blind faith, and it's importance to humans, and the existence of the world even, are very prevalent, and put about in a way that you hardly realize that's what you've been reading. I loved the parts where they explained the origins of the Hogfather, and how (not unlike our own) started off as something much darker, before it became the happy little festival that is so well known. It's clever, touching, and so well written.
The world in this book is fully released, probably because this is the 20th book in the discworld series. But you don't have to read them in order. Since Discworld is an alternate universe it's fun to see all of "mythologys" in play as their world (which is flat) travels through space on the backs of 4 elephants on the back of a giant turtle.
Discworld is populated by hundreds of characters, and this book has quite a few of them on its own, you jump from each one of their stories quite a bit, and I wasn't entirely sure if it a was sequential, so that was a bit confusing. In a good way of course because you wanted to know what was going to happen and near the end you are largely rewarded. I feel like this is one of those books you have to read again to fully appreciate, and that you'll get a lot more on the second helping then you did on the first.
The main protagonists Death and Susan, both relatives, and both holding fantastic power are wonderfully imaged characters. Susan is a bit stodgy, a common side affect in fiction when someone who isn't normal tries so hard to be. But she was fantastic, perfectly capable of setting aside normalcy to beat up monsters in a cellar with a poker if the occasion called for it. Also her hair did itself. You can't help but like someone like that.
Death is brilliant, and talks in CAPS so you don't miss anything he says, and he's hilarious, and dark, and surprisingly has a "heart". His attempts at portraying the Hogfather, especially in the "Maul" are some of the best parts of the novel to get you laughing.
There are fumbling wizards with a temperamental giant computer, some ill fated thieves, a creepy man-child, a Death of Rats, talking Raven, and oh yes, a god of hangovers.
Seriously what more could you ask from a book.
Content: language, violence
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Recommend: It reads slightly like the Hitchiker's Guide to The Galaxy. If you liked that I'd safely bet you'd like this.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Undomestic Goddess and Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging

Author: Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Comedy
Reading Level: Vocab wise, anyone, content wise Adult

Summary: Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

My Review: Much like Shopaholic this was easy to read and funny. Not as funny as shopaholic and I didn't like it as much, but it was okay.
It wasn't very believable, as the main character who's supposed to be a lawyer, actually fakes her way through cooking, and then gets insanely good after only 2 weeks. Wow... it should only happen to me.
Also I didn't like the ending, I felt i
t was too predictable (and no I'm not talking about romance wise) and a bit of a cop-out for the main character. It was also cliche. The seemingly innocent character, a blackguard all along...hohum.
The middle dragged. Terribly. Then it got boring near the end and I didn't care.
But the beginning was funny.
Content: Harsh language, and a scene I hadda skip over because I don't care about anyone's blimey amour midst the shrubbery.
Rating: 1 and a half stars out of 5
Recommed: Kinsella fans...possibly
Author: Louise Rennison
Genre: Comedy
Reading Level: Vocab wise 10, content wise 14

Summary: There are six things very wrong with my life:

1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.

2. It is on my nose

3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.

4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.

5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.

6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.

In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones's Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it's "Fabbity fab fab!"

My Review: Yes, that up there really does summarize the book. It really was just the ramblings of a 14 year old girl. A rather dim if not funny 14 year old girl. Seriously, I do not know why a girl her age, in public school, is so dim. I mean seriously, she just lets guys do whatever to her, it was so frustrating she didn't kick that Mark character.

Also Georgie, her friends, and seriously anyone besides her Dad in this novel had no aspirations. At all. In fact I don't think it even mentioned there interests. Does Georgia have any?

The writing was super easy, and as I said, funny, but in the end it was all empty calories.

Content: kissing, lots of kissing, it was kinda gross. Georgia lets guys touch her inappropriately which made me really mad I wanted to slap her...

Rating: 1 and a half stars out of 5

Recommed: Not really