the reader in a quiet corner

hi, i'm ceecee. my reading interests can be described as eclectic.

i made this account just in case goodreads implodes, but will be eratically updating here.



The Sworn Sword (The Tales of Dunk and Egg, #2)

The Sworn Sword (The Tales of Dunk and Egg, #2) - George R.R. Martin I enjoyed this novella as much as, or mayhaps* even more than, I enjoyed [b:The Hedge Knight|11970747|The Hedge Knight (Tales of Dunk and Egg, #1)|George R.R. Martin||24981100]. I am strongly convinced it's because no one I cared about died. This being medieval fantasy though, and being George RR Martin, someone had to die. *shrug* I almost said the bad guy died, but, really, there's no labeling like that in GRRM's world. Longinch might've been unlikable but I'm pretty sure some hardcore fan can make up a sob story even for him. They did it with Ramsay.

Being a sworn sword is a tricky thing. You swear your loyalty to your lord, you want to protect the people who are under that lord. What if those two principles clash? How to result in peace without having to resort to war? The Sworn Sword tackles those dilemmas, and more. This novella also sheds even more light to the Blackfyre Rebellion, presenting quite legitimate reasons why some lords chose Daemon Blackfyre's side, and why some lords chose Daeron Targaryen's side. It's all very fascinating.

Just as with The Hedge Knight, this story was engaging from start to finish. I love how GRRM displayed the life of low lords at the time, the consequences of invasions and treason, and emphasized how it was really the poor folk who needlessly suffered in these squabbles between high lords. Once you are under some lord or knight and you are called to arms for them, what can one do? Trained or not, these common folk who are unused to wielding weapons, who make up most of a party's host, will be the unfortunate casualties of war. They won't be able to go home to kiss their wives or children, or even get married to their betrothed.

In the ways that Dunk and Egg saved the day, I have grown even fonder of them.

4 stars I liked how GRRM handled the issues at hand, his humor, and even the romance here was nicely handled. A must read for any ASOIAF fan.

If there's anything The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword taught me, is that GRRM knows how to make a satisfying ending that leans towards a happy ending. So this gives me hope regarding the ASOIAF series.
Oh, god, I really hope I don't eat my words.
* "Mayhaps", pffffft.

The Hedge Knight (Tales of Dunk and Egg, #1)

The Hedge Knight (Tales of Dunk and Egg, #1) - George R.R. Martin **THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD**

The Hedge Knight
takes places a hundred years, some say, eighty-nine years, before the events of A Game of Thrones takes place. In it, we are whisked through the Seven Kingdoms through Dunk, a hedge knight, who after the death of his master and sort of foster father, seeks to be a champion in the Ashford Tourney. He meets Egg, whom we all know as brother to Maester Aemon and grandfather to Mad King Aerys. And Dunk will become Ser Duncan the Tall, one of the most loved Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.

The Hedge Knight is easy to love because at its core, it's the story of an underdog. An honorable underdog who gets caught in circumstances where the powerful and mighty exercise their might and power unjustly and leaves the underdog in some deep shit. And quite frankly, that's a story I cannot resist liking. Why, even though it's such a cliche? This novella struck me as a typical underdog story. The underdog conveniently has a powerful backer in the form of Baelor Breakspear because the underdog has unfailingly displayed his honor as a knight. Be that as it may, it reminded me that you have a good fighting chance if you only stick to your principles, and if you're lucky, and that's a good thing! Granted, this is a much more simpler plot than the ASOIAF series, and maybe that's also why The Hedge Knight is easy to like.

So when Dunk defends this girl whom Aerion (Egg's other older brother) was abusing, and he had to do trial by the seven (which is rare and you need 6 other champions), well, that was a well-played storyline. Dunk is a lowly hedge knight, by Seven Kingdom Standards, so how will he find 6 knights who will fight for him? It's really touching when 6 strangers offer their lives to defend your honor, because they believe your cause is just. Underdog has a fighting chance at last! Hoorah! I was starting to think that GRRM does know how to make a happy ending.

But typical GRRM kills off characters, even in a novella like this one. First he had to kill of Humfrey Bee-something, who was only fighting for his brother-in-law Humfrey Hardyng after Aerion cheated on his fight with Hardyng and this poor Bee Humfrey is a casualty of "fighting for justice". And then Hardyng dies too after sustaining mortal wounds. But some could argue that at least they died with honor. Honor, bs, they didn't have to die when their opponents had no casualties!

And of course, the biggie, The Prince of Dragonstone, Baelor Breakspear, Hand of the King, took a fatal blow to the head during the melee and died. Here was Dunk's hero and savior, a person whom everyone expects will be a great king, and he dies, and Dunk is troubled by that, because a prince died for a common hedge knight. I'm guessing Baelor didn't really expect to die, confident in the fact that Kingsguards can't hurt the blood of the dragon. But he died anyway (because he was lax?) TYPICAL GRRM. TYPICAL, TYPICAL. *shakes head*

So if Baelor didn't die, then maybe Mad King Aerys wouldn't have been born, or at least wouldn't have been made a king, and the whole ASOIAF series wouldn't have happened? Maybe. Alas, that's life. Dunk and Egg went on to have great and fruitful lives, influencing those who followed them, and the characters of ASOIAF will just have to manage with the hand they were given with.

*4 stars A very engaging short story of honor winning above all. But I hate that some characters had to die. *shrug*
Georgette Heyer's Regency World - Jennifer Kloester, Geraeme Tavendale I've always been pretty confused as to what the difference of perch-phaetons, coaches and other carriages, and also men's and women's clothings. SO I'm glad I read this book. It's really more of a reference book - which is why it's a must-have for GH fans - and it wasn't as entertaining, reading this chronologically. (The book kind of gets boring as it goes along). Still it's very useful book to help certain Georgett Heyer fans to better visualize the book they're reading. A good education on what it was really like in Regency times, and even interesting history lessons on the Who's Who in Regency era (whom GH almost always mentions in her novels).
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) - Douglas Adams
"It is an important and popular fact that things are not what they seem.

I think a lot of what the book is, hinges on that. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy cleverly explores ideas which spring from the question, what if things are not what we think they are? What if the earth was really a computer, and that humans are not the most intelligent beings on earth, and that the mice we experiment on are really experimenting on us? "Hah!" the mice will exclaim. "The joke's on you!"
The Universe is such a vast and complex thing literally anything is possible.

This is one of the things I like about this book. The play on words is quite an adept way of presenting ideas, which, in an off-hand, random and joking manner actually convey a deeper thought.

Most of you have heard of or seen the film version of this. What do you mean, you haven't? It stars Martin Freeman, Zooey Deschanel, and Alan Rickman's voice is in there, too! Watch it! I, for one, enjoyed the movie, and loved the supercomputer Deep Thought, even Marvin the Paranoid Android.

The novel might seem disjointed and simple at times, because it's trying to adapt the original radio series. At times I thought the jokes irresistibly funny, at times the jokes just went over my head. At times it reminded me of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie. I'll chalk it off as some sort of trademark British humor.

3.5 - 4 stars. I loved the ideas in this book, whether or not I agreed with them. I didn't really enjoy the writing style, but I did enjoy the thought behind it. If you've ever wondered about Life, the Universe, and Everything, you might want to check out The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. You might never look at the number 42 the same way again.

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5) - George R.R. Martin I was very happy to read Dany's and Tyrion's and Jon's POVs again, after their pronounced absence in [b:A Feast for Crows|13497|A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)|George R.R. Martin||1019062]. I never thought it was possible but I fell even more in love with Jon Snow.

It was a more enjoyable read than its predecessor, mainly because of the main POV characters, and because I just didn't enjoy Cersei and the Ironborn ARC in AFFC. I didn't even like the Dorne arc so much, because they are just these passionate, aggressive Sand Snakes who are bent on revenge, and I just don't like that, y'know? I'm phlegmatic. The fact that they see Doran Martell as weak because he didn't outright seek revenge for the death of his sister Elia just doesn't appeal to me. Doran Martell is a schemer, and I count that as stronger than Oberyn Martell's way, which was to seek revenge upon Gregor Clegane, kill him, and die in the process. Sure, Oberyn was brave, but I really hate unnecessarily putting yourself in danger. Some people's least favorite Martell is Quentyn, who gets his own POV chapters in ADwD, but I personally prefer him above everyone other Dorne character, maybe because I can relate to him more. He's ordinary-looking, he just wants a quiet, peaceful life. But he's a prince and much is expected of him so he tries to do what's "right".

It just seems so unfair, though, that he's introduced in the fifth book and dies in the same book. I mean, what was the point? Berric Dondarrion's story and cause was much more significant, but we don't get to read his POV, and yet Quentyn gets his POV? Somebody explain this to me. Which is why I can't really believe he's dead, or else his chapters and his whole character altogether was relatively pointless. Considering that everyone thought Aegon (Rhaegar's son) was dead but is actually alive, I don't see how GRRM can find it difficult to "miraculously" bring back Quentyn. Okay, after much reading of metas, I am now convinced that this Aegon is an imposter. Poor Aegon, though, I really liked him, but maybe he really is doomed. Damn you GRRM! Still, why put Quentyn in there only to kill him off? His entire storyline could've been told through a few paragraphs of flashback.

But I digress. A Dance with Dragons does not live up to its name, interestingly enough. It suggests that Dany will have much to do with her dragons, that she can somehow tame them, so she can ride them so she can conquer Westeros. But, gods, there's really little development. Dany has started this war against Qarth and slave traders, and she's struggling to bring peace to Mereen because she thinks she owes it to these people who call her queen and mother. Which was understandable: how can she call herself queen when all she's left behind is destruction? She ruined all these commoners lives, and she feels guilty about that. So she's busy cultivating peace, while her dragons continue growing, and growing unruly. How she gone conquer Westeros if she can't tame her dragons?

So I think Dany was stuck on a rut there.

Even though I really love the developments on Jon's arc, and Theon's, I still think that ADwD was slow going. Considering that AFFC and ADwD is really just one book, well. It's hard to write sequels, I know. I still feel that AFFC and ADwD contain more fillers than things that actually help the storyline move forward. I mean, come on, they're almost 2000 pages long! And that's all we get?

But what do I know? All I care about is how much I enjoy reading it.
The Universe Versus Alex Woods - Gavin Extence Well, here's the thing, if a book has:

*An introverted bookworm epileptic who loves learning about math, physics, astronomy, and who openly admits that his hobbies are definitely "gay" (in the high school context)
*Unexpected friendships
*Classical music
*Book discussions
*A dog
*Questions about Life and Death and the Universe

I am bound to want to pick it up. Especially with that kind of synopsis. It's one of those few synopses that are spot on. I am all about curious incidents and unexpected connections that form our world.

Also, if it has:

*A hero who writes to the wrongly imprisoned
*Terminal illness
*A furry animal friend dying

Well, of course, it's going to appeal to my sensitivities. It's bound to tug at anyone's heartstrings.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods is the kind of book that makes you think, compels you to reevaluate your beliefs and the lengths you're willing to take for a friend.

It starts off at the end, with 17-year old Alex held up at customs because he has 113 lbs of marijuana, and, oh, an urn containing the ashes of one Mr Peterson. How did that happen? Alex takes you back to 7 years ago, when he was struck by a meteor, and then we are treated to Alex Woods Growing Up.

Though I can't say this is a coming-of-age story, because Alex is pretty much mature for his age already. Instead, this is a story about how little incidents in our lives influence events in the future. You will have to ask yourself, if these series of incidents didn't happen to Alex, would his life have been different? If I had chosen to take the bus instead of walking, would I be with my boyfriend right now? And similar questions, which makes life so damn confusing and yet amazing. In a way, this book is a celebration of that.

I suppose people could easily compare this with Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and all those other books with introverted young men who are fascinated with math and sciences. Alex is introverted, but is it because he was struck by a meteor, became epileptic, held behind a grade, that he was isolated from his peers? Was Alex autistic? Personally, I don't think so. In any case, I found I liked Alex because he was such a nerd and didn't compromise his principles (such a precocious kid!) to be accepted. I also liked that he was thoughtful and yet sensitive.

The other characters (except for the bullies) are also easy to care about. I also liked that it incorporated Kurt Vonnegut and how fitting his novels are to Alex and Mr Peterson's lives. And of course, the classical music. If a book makes you want to learn more about stuff, and makes you want to go read all of Kurt Vonnegut's books, then it can't be all bad.

Reading Alex Woods was enjoyable and thought-provoking (there's one major moral dilemma delved into here). And I love books that make me think. It makes that book stay with you for a while longer. The ultimate moral dilemma here, of course, is do we really have the right to our death? Assisted Suicide was new to me, but I found that it was not appalling at all. This part of the story was handled really well by the author. As a nurse, I've seen too many patients who suffered unnecessarily, sometimes because the family decides for them, or the elderly were too weak to decide for themselves. The only thing to do for them is to give them a dignified death. Since this was my first NetGalley ARC, I didn't know it had an expiration date, so I chose one of the ARCs I received and read it. I found I did not want to put it down.

The only thing I can really criticize about it is that sometimes Alex would be narrating too much, like detailed descriptions of what seizures are, the asteroid belt, etc. I found the dialogues are much more strongly written, and a more effective way of propelling the story forward, rather than plainly Alex telling us what he thought or learned. Aside from that, I really liked the book.

*4.5 stars A book that lingers, and made me want to start at the beginning again. A well-written debut book and a worthy read.

~The ebook was provided to me through NetGalley~
I believe it's still available until July 30.
Lady of Quality - Georgette Heyer This can't be Georgette Heyer's last novel! I've been rooting throughout the book that the secondary couple (Lucilla and Ninian, who, without them, the two protagonists wouldn't have met) to end up with each other! Though, of course, the main romance was enjoyable, too. I need my closure, you know, and I need to read that book about Lucilla Carleton and Ninian Elmore. So you see, there has to be a next novel. Heyer wasn't exactly averse to sequels, after all.

But, alas, I do understand the futility of demanding something from a dead woman. I might as well content myself with my head-canon*.

Even though I was grossly left hanging in this novel, I'm aware that Heyer handled it very well. Lucy and Ninian, are, after all, practically children, and still in that bickering stage. They grew up together, and people around them expect them to marry each other in the end. Which just sets their nettles quite high, they'll tell you! They bicker constantly (which reminded me of Ron and Hermione, honestly, and you know how that ended up). But they really do get along. They are made for each other, though they don't realize that yet. They have a lot of growing up to do, but I do believe, as Annis's sister-in-law believes, "The end of it will be, of course, that they will marry one another!"

Lucy and Ninian are one of my favorite couples that Heyer created, and they aren't even the main characters! There's just something in the way they're written, that you can feel the chemistry oozing from the pages, which just makes me like them and root for them. Their chemistry was just as palpable as the chemistry between Annis Wychwood and Oliver Carleton, who are what we're reading the book for, anyway.

3.5 stars To be sure, Annis and Oliver's verbal matches and romance were lovely to read, but I cared more about the secondary characters. Annis and Oliver, btw, find their match in each other, and live happily ever after, of course.

*I am happy to have seen Ninian maturing by the end of the novel, and he was handling his family's estate. Lucilla, also, was polishing her manners and becoming a lady indeed. Although in the book, Ninian was said to be taken in by Lucy's friend, Corisande, it was also said that it was just a passing fancy. Now, since Lucy will stay with Corisande's mother before she s launched into society, there will be a sort of love triangle. But in the end, things will work its way out and Ninian and Lucy will eventually realize that they were made for each other. How ironic, because they running away from it in the first place! Oh, how lovely. :3

Powder and Patch - Georgette Heyer I do believe this is the second romance GH wrote? Or at least, it was the second published, with the title "The Transformation of Philip Jettan" under the pseudonym Stella Martin, by Mills and Boon in 1923. When it was republished as Powder and Patch in 1930, they left out the original last chapter, which makes me very curious indeed what that original last chapter was. Please let me know what was in that chapter if you find it, dear Reader.

Anyway, I really don't think this is a strong Georgette Heyer. There was little, if ever, of the prosy, yet witty, narrations and dialogues I was used to in Heyer's later works. Since this is one of her earlier works, I suppose this is understandable. However, I did see little glimpses of Heyer here that would show in the novels that I would come to love. Most especially: the steadfast and intelligent male protagonist.

Here's the deal: Philip and Cleone are in love with each other, but Philip is, as they say, a country bumpkin. Everyone agrees that Philip is a good man, but as he is (he is too arrogant in his ways), he cannot be with Cleone. They think Philip needs to strike the balance between a polished gentleman, and the steadfast and honest man that he thinks he is.

After sorely losing in a duel, Philip decides to go to Paris and acquire polish, to show them all. Remarkably, he succeeds, in the space of six months. Which, I have to agree, is really rather unrealistic. How does anyone acquire great sword skills, a great taste for fashion and clothing, and a popular reputation in Paris, all in 6 months?

In any case, Philip did. Cleone, in the meantime, regrets having forced Philip to acquire polish, hears the gossip that Philip fought in a duel in Paris for a French lady. She thinks Philip has changed for the worse. There's no use waiting around for him, so off she goes to London to show Philip she can go on without him, as he so obviously did.

But really, these two people love each other. Philip just wants to know if Cleone loved him for who he is, or the fop she wants him to be.

And then commences a series of misunderstandings, which I think didn't stretch into a melodrama, thank God. Thanks to Wise Elders, and an Intelligent Hero, the misunderstandings were cleared up, and they lived happily ever after.

Many dislike Powder and Patch, I've read, because of Cleone, and mayhaps because of her contradictory nature. For my part, I do sympathize with her. I suppose any woman would like to change something in the man she loves, but Cleone soon regrets this. She was also hurt because she thinks Philip flirted and even fought duels for other ladies. I was a bit surprised though, that she would accuse Philip of having a tarnished reputation.

There was also the instance when Cleone, rejecting Philip, secretly wanted him to master her and overcome her fences. When Philip goes to Cleone's aunt, Lady Malmerstoke, dispenses a bit of eyebrow-raising advise: In a sense: That women do not like gentleness in men, and want them to master women, of all words. Now, I certainly do not want any man to lord over me!

However, Lady Malmerstoke admitted herself that she was not that kind of girl in her younger years, and explained to Philip that girls are very much capable of holding two contradictory thoughts together. Which I think was a funny scene and rang true. I suppose that what she meant was, sometimes, women want men to assert themselves. In Powder and Patch's context, Philip was not really that assertive, he just acted like Cleone was his for the taking and therefore did not make much effort to woo her.

*2.5 stars It was light, funny romance, but I really hate misunderstandings and such. I don't think Powder and Patch was strong. The ending felt a bit of a rush and too neatly tied up, though I was still happy that Philip and Cleone ended up happy together.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - Ana Juan, Catherynne M. Valente "I understand now," September said ruefully.
"What?" said Saturday.
"What the sign meant. To lose your heart. When I go home, I shall leave mine here, and I don't think I shall ever have it back."

"I will keep it safe for you," Saturday whispered, barely brave enough to say it.

I think my frozen heart melted a little bit.
A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin *3.5 stars And after 2 months I finally finished it. Wasn't really thrilled with the introduction of new POVs, so I guess that's why it took me so long. IMO, this series could need a bit of a trim. It was still enjoyable to read about the world of Westeros and Essos and everything, but if this goes on, I will despair that I won't be able to read the end of this series. And you know how much I need canon, and closure. Now with all these characters, how will Martin ever wrap their storylines up?

Henceforth will be a bit of detailed commentaries on characters/storylines. Spoilers may abound.

The Iron Islands - Not really a fan of pirates, so I didn't enjoy this arc. It was enough in the previous books where the goings-on in the Iron Islands were mentioned in passing, but we still got the general idea. The general idea of it is, they elected their new king via a king's moot, which I thought was a bit similar with the Entmoot in [b:The Two Towers|15241|The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)|J.R.R. Tolkien||2963845]. It was an interesting sort of democracy, where they vote according to who offers the most pillages of gold, jewels, etc. Which I thought was not dissimilar to my country's form of democracy.

Anyway, was it really necessary to devote those chapters, just to make the point that these pirates know about Dany's dragons, and Euron has the audacity to think he can make Dany his wife and take her dragons so he can rule Westeros? I am looking forward to how Dany will smash this evil bastard.

Dorne - It was nice to read about Dorne, and Myrcella. But again, it makes the series too damn long. The more characters I know, the more I know how hard it is to read them die.

I am liking how Dorne ties up with Dany, just like with the Iron islands arc. My theory is Quentyn is Daario in disguise. Hopefully I'll know soon, In ADwD.

Cersei - Ugh, she is such a Bitch. I know how some fans like her because she's this woman fighting against the prejudice regardng the female sex,etc etc...but she is evil. She was utterly unlikable. She thinks she's clever when she's not. Basically everything Tyrion says about her is true... Strong female character? Not sure on that one, but she is unmistakably a villain and most likely irredeemable. And btw, Cersei, it's not Margaery who is the young queen you should be wary of, it's that girl Across the Narrow Sea who has three growing dragons! I love how everything comes crashing down on her in the end [of AffC].

Jaime - As much as I like and want the Jaime and Brienne ship to happen, I don't think it will. Jaime's still hung up on Cersei, although that was a nice gesture he did in the end. I am starting to really like Jaime.

Sam - That was confusing with the whole tie in between the Prologue and the last chapter. Did I read all that many chapters just to be in the exact same predicament: Wondering who the hell was that shady alchemist in the prologue?

Btw, congrtas for the sex, Sam, my buddy.

Sansa/Alaynne - I'm starting to think Sansa is the better version of Cersei, both using feminine wiles to survive the game. I have no idea why Sansa is not freaked out by Petyr kissing her - a lot of times! - the pedophile. Although I really like Petyr, he's clever and evil and without conscience but he doen't hide the fact that he's a dick, because he's too damn useful to the Seven Kingdoms. But still, Sansa is pretending to be Petyr's bastard daughter and Petyr, her "father", kisses her! This is some weird shit I guess I'll have to tolerate.

Arya - I suppose it is very fitting that Arya should, in the end, arrive in a place where they worship Death. After all, Arya learns from Syrio Forel that there's only one god: Death; And with Jaqen once again Arya learns the power of Death. It's still surprising that Arya ends up in a temple, though, becoming somewhat a monk or Silent Sister. She ends up in some very unexpected places, but not altogether unpleasant.

Brienne - WHAT. THE. HELL. No, Don't tell me she died. Or that Podrick died. Or even Hyle Hunt, who I was beginning to like, and I was beginning to ship Hyle x Brienne too!

Brienne is supposed to reunite with Jaime! And Podrick should be Tyrion's squire again! *Rolls on the floor in severe tantrum mode*

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
"No one in the world gets what they want and that is beautiful."

I'm a 90s kid, so I would have appreciated more if I read about 90s nostalgia porn, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Power Rangers, or Britney Spears or Spice Girls or Goosebumps and Gameboys and Floppy Disks (although, yeah, floppy disks existed in the 80s, too).

Nonetheless, I mostly enjoyed the 80s and sometimes 70s pop culture references, although the only video game I knew was Pac-Man, and I liked the references to Neon Genesis Evangelion and other 80s anime. What can I say? I like reading about pop culture.

In Ready Player One, the world has come to a major decline, but they are still able to support advanced technology like the OASIS, the only thing that keeps people going. Like it says, it's an OASIS, where you can be whatever you want to be and live in a virtual world of your fantasies. AND IT'S FREE. Talk about wish-fulfillment. The OASIS is what we are all still waiting for. After all, they can really play Quidditch there, and we can be witches and wizards or elves and hobbits. You get it. WE NEED THIS THING.

The hero, Wade Watts needs to solve the riddles to get the ultimate prize the creator of OASIS left when he died: To inherit his whole fortune, including the virtual paradise he created. He's competing against corporate bastards who will do everything in their power to seize OASIS and transform it into an ad-infested site where only an elite few can access.

It was pretty slow, sometimes. It was hard to like the way Wade narrated sometimes, because he gives a lot of details without much insight to it. I'm sure name-droppings of past games, consoles and shows are enjoyable to people who actually get it, but to me, I only wanted him to solve the riddle and find the Egg!

Once the tricky beginning and middle parts were over, I was able to enjoy the climax up to its resolution and ending. Believe me, it was a treat, and if they ever make a movie of this, I'm sure I'll watch it. And, because I love a well-made resolution, this book gets 4 stars.

"As terrifying and painful as reality can be, it's also the only place where you can find true happiness."

The Off Season  - Catherine Gilbert Murdock In a way, this book is better than Dairy Queen. DJ is just amazing. One of the best heroines around.

I just didn't enjoy this book as much as I did Dairy Queen, okay? And it's not because of that heartbreaking ending, I swear. I pretty much understand why it had to end like that. Off Season was heavier about issues, and I had to postpone finishing this a couple of times. My life wasn't exactly happy, and to read Off Season was like adding more to my burdens.

*4 stars
Norwegian Wood - Jay Rubin, Haruki Murakami Warning:

Suicide Count: 4
Sex Scenes: Well, I didn't count, but there were plenty, and the last one most astounding of all even more astounding than that lesbian rape scene. More on that later.

Not a great way to start off a review, but it's kinder to let you know what you're in for, you know?

This is the first Murakami I've read, and I can't say I'm rushing to read more of his books, but I also can't say that I'll stay away from them. I mean, this novel has become one of my fast faves, yet I'm still wary of reading more Murakami. I always get the feeling I have to be mentally prepared for whatever I'm going to read, because, as Norwegian Wood proved, it really does make one's mind reel.

But it also gives you an onslaught of lovely prose. Idk, I guess I'm just really partial to the kind of melancholy I associate with the Japanese.

Norwegian Wood gets its title from the Beatles song, which is the favorite song of one of the leads, Naoko.

It's also very apt, especially since the first line goes like this

"I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me..."

This is the story of Toru Watanabe and the people he meets along the way, in the years 1969-70, amidst student revolutions and an ever-growing liberality of the youth. In a way, it's a new adult novel, in which it deals with how adolescents on the verge of adulthood find it difficult to step up to the demands of adulthood. Like I said, there were plenty of suicides in this novel, one, Naoko's boyfriend, and the other, Naoko's sister. Both suicides I think have deeply affected Naoko, and in turn, affected Toru.

Though Naoko and Toru weren't very close growing up, they were bonded by the suicide of their close friend Kizuki. But Naoko is a deeply troubled girl, more than Toru knows. Naoko admits herself to a rehab, and Toru and Naoko continue their relationship through letters.

Meanwhile, Toru befriends Nagasawa, a brilliant but without-conscience guy, together they conquer the nightlife. I love how Murakami presents Toru's one night stands. Especially with that random girl who recently broke up with her boyfriend.

The other one is Midori, my favorite character, for the sole reason that she can say whatever I dare not say to other people. I must admit it's unbelievable that real people talk the way Midori does. I know I've had issues about unrealistic dialogue, but in this one, I'm strangely enchanted by it. Idk, I'm just biased, I guess. Stop reading this review now because I'm really biased.

Some people criticize this for being just a love story. I don't mind it at all. I love love stories. But there are other things, between the lines. Toru must choose between the past and the future. To remain stagnant, or to go on with life.

Which is presented by, the love story! On one hand is Naoko, whom Toru understandably is reluctant to break his bond with, the other, Midori. I put Norwegian Wood on my adorable couples shelf, because Toru and Midori are just so cute, okay? Toru is just better with Midori around.

Which is why I am so astounded by that ending. What could Murakami possibly mean with that ending? Could it be that Toru hasn;t fully opened to Midori, yet? That he is still reluctant to choose a progressive life? Why would Toru lie to Midori, saying he and Naoko only slept once? Sure they had intercourse once, but Naoko gave gim blowjobs! And sleeping with Reiko is just so random and WTF-ish.I kind of pity Midori after that. Somehow, I get the feeling that I missed something. Which is why I have to read this novel again, in the distant future.

For now, it's enough to say that I enjoyed the prose, and the story.

*4.5 stars In a nutshell it was sad and beautiful and redeeming and wonderful. Except for that bizarre ending (which is like the flaw you have to accept in a person you love).
We - Yevgeny (Eugene) Zamiatin I'm pretty sure most of what it's supposed to tell me went over my head. But I can tell there's something great in there. At least it was better, or rather, I enjoyed it more than [b:1984|5470|1984|George Orwell||153313], the latter being more popular, I think, but a bit too familiar after reading WE.

*2.5 stars I'm really sorry I didn't want to delve deeper into it. Maybe one day.

And that concludes my goal of reading the Big Dystopian Threesome. (Although I may have to reread [b:Brave New World|5129|Brave New World|Aldous Huxley||3204877] again because I only read - and loved - the abridged version?)

Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen, #1)

Dairy Queen  - Catherine Gilbert Murdock May 2013 This book is as lovely as I remember. I feel goooood.

Sept.2012When you read about people loving a book, it's hard not to expect to like it. I've read so many books which people gushed over, but when I read it, I was like, meh. Thankfully, Dairy Queen did not disappoint. What a lucky day to have found this on a dark corner of a bookstore. I was never so entertained as much lately, nor did I read a book more quickly. It just made me feel good. I'm sorry it had to end so soon.

DJ Schwenk, the heroine, is charming and utterly likable. I just wanted to root for her up to the end, tell her off when she doesn't say the things she needs to say, but relieved to find out that she turned out just fine.

I can't wonder why this book is a highly recommended YA novel. It's full of the good stuff, the real stuff, on how it's hard to handle family, friends, school and crushes. DJ's cow metaphor is something to think about.

Everyone I looked at, their whole lives, did exactly what they were supposed to do
without even questioning it, without even wondering if they could
do something different.

Basically, that's what this book is about. Being brave enough to look for something you're really happy to do, and do it. Which I really love. That, and the importance of saying things you should.

But it turns out that even if I don’t talk a lot, when it’s something that matters I still have a lot to say.

And what's a book I enjoy without it having that cute romance? Brian-the-jock (could-it-be-that-you're-actually-a-nice-person? Brian) and DJ have such a good chemistry, they look so cool, able to joke with each other like that, and Brian able to say what's on his mind, and DJ who finally has someone to really talk to. Their relationship isn't based on physical appearances (though it's not hard to argue that these two are actually good-looking people), it's not insta-love, and they both just mutually respect each other, despite differences, and the occasional conflict, which they patch up like an old married couple (ugh, how cute is that!) The development of their relationship is something that I respect. I wouldn't mind a Brian Nelson of my own. Not at all.

Dairy Queen is a book one must not miss. And 5 stars, because, it doesn't try hard, it's an awesome YA novel, and, the cuteness.

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1) - Susan Ee After reading [b:Daughter of Smoke & Bone|8490112|Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)|Laini Taylor||13355552], I thought angel PNRs aren't that bad. And, really, Angelfall could be a [b:Days of Blood & Starlight|12812550|Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2)|Laini Taylor||17961723] companion book, or sequel, whichever you prefer. It was interesting to read about a post-apocalyptic world brought about by angels of all things, which I thought was a pretty cool fresh take on PNR.

Although the plot was quite familiar (the girl teams up with the boy to achieve different goals, meanwhile developing feelings for each other), and really not something I'm a fan of, it was still an enjoyable read. Another problem I had was Raffe's way of speaking. For an angel, I really wanted a little bit of finesse or formality in the way he speaks, instead he spoke like a regular teenager or 20s something guy. Seriously, though, Raffe? With a name like RAFFE (Good glob, my friend's dog's named Raffy), of course I would get that he was RAPHAEL THE ARCHANGEL. Had he been named RAFA, though, I would not have minded, because, come on:

*I am officially dreamcasting Rafael Nadal as Raffe*

Anyhoo I liked reading about ways in surviving a post apocalyptic world, which somehow involves the fortunate circumstance of a mother willing to enroll you in every self-defense class just in case of such emergencies. Seriously, I need martial arts classes. I LOVED THE TWINS, like it's a given that in every series redheaded and mischievous twins will always capture any reader's heart. What a cop out! Also, I like the weirdness of the ending, and how the author wasn't afraid to show a bit of gore.

*4 stars It features a kick-ass heroine, who, though not immune to luurrve, still knows what her priorities are; gore and weird experiments, demons, angels in 1920s gangsta getups, and diverse characters. An entertaining and worthy read.