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.

 

 

Lips Touch: Three Times - Jim Di Bartolo, Laini Taylor

I loved how Taylor infused fairy tales with Indian and Persian folklore elements. This is sweet, fresh, YA Paranormal worldbuilding here, friends, with lovely succulent prose, and I'll be looking forward to more of Taylor's works.

 

 

Reblogged from Books2day:

Reblogged from For the love of books:
Divergent - Veronica Roth

I can definitely see its appeal. This is about breaking labels because we cannot be just "smart" or "brave" or "kind" or "selfless" or "truthful". We can be all of that. So the very premise of Divergent, that, long ago after a bitter havoc, America (?) decided to separate people into only 5 factions based on one main virtue is just so ridiculous. SEGREGATION HAS NEVER BEEN A GOOD IDEA. Who would ever carry out this plan, in a not-too-distant future??? You can't isolate one personality trait and disregard other key traits. In Harry Potter it was kind of cute to belong in a House with a main characteristic, but it was still foolish to think that a Slytherin can't be kind too. And Hunger Games also had a ridiculous premise, but I enjoyed that book. So I just went along with Divergent. [shrug] Okay.

And it was alright to suspend my disbelief for a while. Beatrice was a not unlikable heroine. I enjoyed her making friends and slowly understanding herself. And *ahem* falling in love. Who wouldn't fall in love with her hot instructor? Although even the romance part didn't quite get me in the way that I like to be caught.

Overall, it was okay. I felt that the issues handled in this book, like breaking conventional labels was good. Some of Beatrice's (I don't like calling her Tris)friends were from other factions but proved to be open-minded, kind people and not brimming with prejudice, so that was nice. Also, I loved Four and Beatrice together

Even though they expressed their feelings too soon, IMO. It was just wrong timing okay.

(show spoiler)



But I still felt like how Beatrice handled her issues, of fear of losing control, of striving to do the right thing, was somehow lacking and could have been better.

I was frustrated by that ending. I know that in a war, casualties will be made. But, gah, I'll just hide my rant behind a spoiler tag.

First of all, I thought the Erudite were smart, so how could they not perceive that there were a lot of Divergents? In the first place, I find it hard to believe that there are so few Divergents since people have complex personalities! Like I said, the whole premise is ridiculous. And surely if they suspected Beatrice of being Divergent, then they would have picked up the tell-tale signs of her tests going awry and they could have spied on her harder? And the whole serum thing is too convenient and quite frankly they should have guarded the control room better. *mutters* Stupid villains.

Second, BEATRICE KILLED HER FRIEND LIKE OH MY GLOB. She spares her enemy then kills her friend like WTAF. I think Beatrice's reaction to it could have been better written. But I'm starting to think it could be attributed to shock, and I might see more of her PTSD in the next book.

Third, and most important of all, during the battle, it was Beatrice's goal to save the Abnegates and to not waste any more time. That's her excuse for killing her friend. BUT when she was confronted with Tobias/Four, she couldn't kill him and opted to be killed instead. HOW YOU GONNA SAVE YOUR PEOPLE IF YOU'RE DEAD, BEATRICE? I think that was a really big flaw, especially since she didn't know that brainwashed-Four wouldn't pull the trigger, right? All because of luuuurrrrvve. Gag.


*P.S. I also did not like how Beatrice disobeyed her mother's advice to keep to the middle of the rankings. To lie low and to avoid getting noticed. What did Beatrice do? She ranked number one. [Facepalm] She totally did not internalize the gravity of her mother's warning. How hard was it to stall for a few minutes in her fear simulation since she can manipulate the simulation? No, she had to do it in the easiest and fastest way. Ugh.

(show spoiler)



*2.5 stars It was okay. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't that great either. I constantly got that nagging feeling that it could have been better.

Love-shy - Lili Wilkinson This book did NOT unfold as I expected it to. Although the cover is accurate (and I only realized how fitting it was after I finished it), it completely misled me into believing this was going to be a light, straightforward, cutesy little YA romance between a girl out to fix everyone and a shy but intelligent boy.

It wasn't. And I was pleasantly surprised by it.

In Love-shy, Penny Drummond is an overachiever, who dreams of becoming a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Her first step? To write the greatest feature article ever published in her high school paper. When she accidentally finds out about a student who is love-shy, she thinks this will be the scoop of the year, and to find and help this boy would be her biggest achievement that year. Her quest begins.

I liked how Penny was this go-getter. She can be quite mean sometimes, because she is too focused on her goal to care about other people whom she thinks as lagging behind. Truth be told, at first I didn't know whether to like her or hate her. She was certainly a different character.

Actually, almost every character here is either a love-em or hate-em kind of person. They're not two-dimensional cardboard cutout characters. They're flawed and endearingly human, which is great. Penny is bossy and sometimes inconsiderate, but she is focused and knows what and how she will go about achieving her dreams. Nick Rammage, who is the love-shy boy, is painfully neurotic and not really your typical hero of the story. This boy is really fucked up and honestly hard to like, though he gets somewhat redeemed as the story moves along. And if I really think about it, I could identify with his love-shyness too. I couldn't like how he freaked out just because the girl he liked cut her long hair short, and got mad at that girl because she looked ugly. GUYS, IT IS NOT A GIRL'S DUTY TO LOOK BEAUTIFUL FOR YOU. WE WANT TO CUT OUR HAIR AND DRESS THE WAY WE LIKE FOR OURSELVES, NOT FOR YOUR BENEFIT. GET THE FREAKIN CONCEPT. Which is what Penny tells Nick, and I think that part was handled well. Also, it was understandable that Nick would become the way he is because of his parents, but some of his behavior was inexcusable.

The characters are either obnoxious or charming. There are many different layers to a person, and these idiosyncratic characters are no exception. Though they had mostly unlikable attributes, Wilkinson managed to make me sympathize with them. And that's a testament to the author's skills. Hamish was a douche, but a well made character because he represented a lot of guys who need work up in their interpersonal relationships. Basically, you should not act like Hamish. But then, maybe he'll get lucky and meet a girl who loves anime and manga like he does and who knows what that could do to him.


As Lily Wilkinson says, Love-shyness is a real condition, as well as other anxiety disorders, and we should know how to help these people. Which includes not letting them get away with their bullshit. I was kind of shocked at the level of misogyny some of the love-shy guys in here said. If they think and feel that way about women, something really needs to be done. The themes on feminism and misogyny were handled really well here. As well as the actual condition, and the psychological aspect of it.

Finally, and most of all, this is a brilliant coming-of-age story. Penny starts off as this girl who is overconfident in her skills, but who is blind to her faults. The love-shyness article that she slowly became obsessed about helped her realize that people are important too, not just the scoop.

*4 stars These will be hard characters to like. Some love-shy boys do border on stalker behavior, but I understand how painfully hard it is to approach a person you like, especially when you have a preconceived notion of that person and you elevate him/her in your eyes. WHICH IS WHY YOU SHOULDN'T DEVELOP UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE. Things will never go the way you though it would.

But there will be funny moments too, and, yes, sweet moments that will leave you satisfied. Mainly because of that deceiving book cover, this might not unravel the way you'd think it would, but I think you'll still like it.

Can I just say that I LOVED Hugh and Penny. It was so obvious that Hugh liked Penny but she was too focused on her career path, and was slowly falling in love with Nick to notice. But I'm so glad Penny met someone who appreciates her the way she is. CAN I HAVE A HUGH FORWARD? DAYUM.

*P.S - Should all book covers be like this? So you go into a book with relatively low expectations, and then, BAM, you realized you've met your new favorite book.

*P.S.S - I find I've never been disappointed with Austaralian YA authors. They just write real, relatable and eventually satisfying stories.
The Shadow of the Wind - Lucia Graves, Carlos Ruiz Zafón
“Well, this is a story about books."

"About books?"

"About accursed books, about a man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of anovel so that he could burn it, about a betrayal and a lost friendship. It's a story of love, of hatred, and of the dreams that live in the shadow of the wind."

"You talk like the jacket blurb of a Victorian novel, Daniel."

"That's probably because I work in a bookshop and I've seen too many. But this is a true story.”

The Shadow of the Wind has been shelved and listed as a book about the love of books. Yes, but as it went along, it became more than that, and I admire Zafon's ability to balance the different themes in this novel.
“As it unfolded, the structure of the story began to remind me of one of those Russian dolls that contain innumerable ever-smaller dolls within. Step by step the narrative split into a thousand stories, as if it had entered a gallery of mirrors, its identity fragmented into endless reflections.”

The story:
When Daniel was ten, his father took him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a bookworm's heaven, literally a library of rare or forgotten books - in other words, heaven - so he can choose one book and protect its memory. By providence or perverted twist of fate, he chooses Julian Carax's "The Shadow of the Wind", unknowingly plunging himself in the middle of a real life story of passion, murder and revenge. Who is the mysterious man who burns Carax's novels? Why is a seedy police inspector keen on finding Carax?

My impressions:
Maybe it's because of the Spanish influence, but this read like a soap opera to me. A boy born out of wedlock, his mother marrying another man for security, the boy adopted by an influential and rich man who falls in love with the daughter of that rich man. You really have to read it to see what I mean, and I assure you it won't be a waste of time. Unless you're squeamish around really passionate people. I must say that I was a little miffed that the protagonists who are so young could just go up and have sex without protection. I mean, seriously guys. But this was the 1920's so I guess there wasn't much contraceptives back then. So, duh, of course the girl would get pregnant. But that's passion. [shrugs, and rolls eyes]

And what's a soap opera without that mindblowing plot twist? Although when I found out about it, I cursed myself for not seeing it coming. Of course Julian and Penelope would be siblings! Only a soap opera would have a plot twist like that. It didn't surprise or shock me at all. If truth be told, I kind of relished it.

Since this book's primary premise was to find out the mystery of Julian Carax and the man who burns his books, Carax's overdramatic history kind of put me off, thus the minus one star, though I enjoyed it for the most part.

What I really enjoyed was Fermin's side of the story. Fermin was a street beggar who purports to have been a secret agent during the Spanish Civil War, and who was tortured by one Fumero, incidentally one of Julian Carax's buddies during high school. Fermin throws these japes on society which are just dead on, though sometimes pessimistic - how to treat a woman, the b.s. of priests, and society in general. And even though sometimes he can be a perv, or tragic, he was mostly hilarious.
“There are yokels out there who think that if they touch a woman's behind and she doesn't complain, they've hooked her. Amateurs. The female heart is a labryinth of subtleties, too challenging for the uncouth mind of the male racketeer. If you really want to possess a woman, you must think like her, and the first thing to do is to win over her soul. The rest, that sweet, soft wrapping that steals away your senses and your virtue, is a bonus.”

“Television, my dear Daniel, is the Antichrist, and I can assure you that after only three or four generations, people will no longer even know how to fart on their own. Humans will return to living in caves, to medieval savagery, and to the general state of imbecility that slugs overcame back in the Pleistocene era. Our world will not die as a result of the bomb, as the papers say - it will die of laughter, of banality, of making a joke of everything, and a lousy joke at that.”

"Like the good ape he is, man is a social animal, characterized by cronyism, nepotism, corruption and gossip. That's the intrinsic blueprint for our 'ethical behavior'"

"But in good time you'll see that sometimes what matters isn't what one gives but what one gives up."

"People with no life always have to stick their nose in the life of others."

AND THERE ARE JUST SO MANY OTHER GREAT QUOTES! My ebook is filled with highlights. I want to have a copy of this book, reread it and fill that with post-it notes on my favorite passages.

I also really loved the book's well written characters. Almost all of them have rich back-stories, some amusing, some presenting that character as ultimately a tragic person. Some "horrible" characters are redeemed, some are punished just as they should, some are just pitiful. Even minor characters are alive and likable, which I think is an attestation to the author who can write such characters. And it was great. Although I find it hard to believe that a man like Fumero could be allowed in the police force when he was a psycho, a cold-blooded murderer who shot his good-for-nothing mother. But even Fumero was a well-written villain with a sympathetic backstroy.

My favorite character would have to be Julian Carax's father, the hatter. The hatter may not have been noble, no, but he was painted as really human. He was first presented as a monster and all of his neighbors believe so. People who knew him only remembered the bad things he has done. He was too pious and rigid, but in the end his was a tragic story. Only when he grew old did he realize his son's importance. He was able to build a respectable relationship with his ex-wife, but in the end died of loneliness. Oh how I cry for this man.The hatter was a truly well created character, which showed that we are twisted little creatures but there is some good hidden inside of us.

And lastly, this has also been a coming-of-age story for Daniel. I liked Daniel although his naivete was sometimes infuriating. Not to mention that totally misleading comment of how he died. He "died" and was reborn. Great. Thanks for making me worry about nothing, Daniel. From his naivete he has slowly taken responsibility for himself and tried to redeem himself from his cowardly actions.

*4 - 4.5 stars A cleverly written novel about a story that mirrors the story within that story, with rich, tragic and well-written characters you will love, and a mystery that will keep you in the edge of your seat. It balanced melodrama with humor, which is always a crowd-pleaser. If you don't mind melodrama and love the kind of book mentioned previously, try this one a shot.


How To Be A Gentleman : A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy - John Bridges, Bryan Curtis I skimmed through this on Booksale and had to keep myself from laughing out loud and encouraging people's judgmental stares.

I could think of a few men who need to learn from this book. Sure, some advice are common sense, but common sense really isn't that common. I had an itch to buy this and give this to a guy I know, but I'm sure he isn't worth the effort money.

Some snippets:
1. A gentleman says "please" and "thank you," readily and often.
2. A gentleman does not disparage the beliefs of others-whether they relate to matters of faith, politics, or sports teams.
3. A gentleman always carries a handkerchief, and is ready to lend it, especially to a weeping lady, should the need arise.
4. A gentleman never allows a door to slam in the face of another personmale or female, young or old, absolute stranger or longtime best friend.
5. A gentleman does not make jokes about race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation; neither does he find such jokes amusing.
6. A gentleman knows how to stand in line and how to wait his turn.
7. A gentleman is always ready to offer a hearty handshake.
8. A gentleman keeps his leather shoes polished and his fingernails clean.
9. A gentleman admits when he is wrong.
10. A gentleman does not pick a fight.
Deathless - Catherynne M. Valente
Sometimes love stories are pure, and gentle and innocent. This is not that story. ~Little Red Reviewer

Also, this is about a War. I still need to collect my thoughts on this, so I'll leave that little piece of review for now, which I believe is very accurate for this novel.
The Melancholy of Mechagirl - Catherynne M. Valente After reading her Fairyland series, I promptly fell in love with her writing. So I decided to have a Catherynne M. Valente reading marathon. I don't know why I would ever choose to read this anthology first rather than her other novels, but, whatever. Maybe it was because of the Mechagirl. I love Japanese culture.

Some of her short stories were semi-autobiographical. She lived as a Navy wife in 2003, and her years in Japan really did something to her. You'll find out when you read this anthology, and her afterword.

I skipped the poetry parts, except the titular one, because I'm not much for poetry. Basically, I could only ever read haiku. And of course I still need to decipher The Melancholy of Mechagirl.

The rest of the book was word candy. My favorites were "Killswitch", a really short story about a mysterious game, and I could really relate to the outrage of the players of this game; "Fade to White", a dystopian story, maybe alternate universe wherein Japan and Russia won the wars in the 40s so on; and "13 Ways of Looking at Space/Time", where Valente cleverly retold famous creation stories with a twist of scientific terminologies.

*3.5 stars Maybe not for everyone who are not familiar with Valente's works yet. (Again, why did I read this first???) But her fans won't be disappointed.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There - Ana Juan, Catherynne M. Valente I thought I was in a reading slump and couldn't enjoy reading a book anymore. Turns out, I only needed to read these kind of books. *Status: In love with an author*

Unteachable

Unteachable - Leah Raeder On hold, currently at the 40-50% mark.

(although how many years will it be before I finally pick this up again, I wonder?)

I thought I could get into "New Adult". NA is supposed to be about the trickiness of being an adult, how to handle colleges, family, relationships, idk. That is what New Adult is about, right? Haruki Murakami's novel "Norwegian Wood" comes to my mind, which accurately portrays the difficulty of becoming an adult, but then, it was slightly depressing, but brilliant.

All I saw here was a romance. And I am so picky with romance. To be fair, this was really well written. The prose was nice. The problem is, I just couldn't care about Maise and Evan. Like, they're in love, okay. You meet this person for a short while, feel an instant connection, okay. Like, it doesn't hurt that these two people are gorgeous, so of course they can instantly be attracted to each other, okay. However, as the story progressed, I couldn't feel the chemistry, and I wondered how their love story could be made believable.

Maise was likable to a point. There are plenty of 18-year olds who are aware of their sexuality and use that for their means and I'm okay with that. And I really like that she has these ambitions and opinions about film making. And, yes, she is 18 and an adult. But if I dreamed of getting into a good film school, would I risk my senior year in high school - risk the scandal of an affair with a teacher - just to be with this man I barely know because I feel something akin to love for him? I wouldn't, but that's just me. What I couldn't get into was Maise's "I'm pretty even though I don't wear make-up while the other girls are commercial beauty types" attitude. See my statuses on this.

And Evan is really something altogether. A dreamguy. Too good to be true. Like he is soooo considerate of Maise, while Maise hasn't done much for Evan yet. Although there must be an explanation to how fucked up he is, but I just didn't get to that part yet.

All they've done so far are sneak off to kiss and have sex (and they're well written and numerous love scenes, btw), and maybe their relationship will develop into something much deeper, I suppose, but I just don't care anymore. I don't feel like rooting for these two people like I did with The Sea of Tranquility, so I'll just put this on-hold. And the books I usually put on hold never get read again, but, we never know, right?
Nevermore - Kelly Creagh I have to admit I wouldn't have looked twice at this book if it weren't for the glowing reviews it received from friends. Look at that cover! I know, I know, don't judge a book by its cover.
On the other hand, when I found out Edgar Allan Poe's works inspired this novel, I was immediately intrigued. Besides, this also featured a pairing between an emo/goth and a cheerleader, which I thought pretty novel accompanied by the glowing reviews, I decided to give it a try.

Although it was a good book with good characterization, I had expected to be pleasantly surprised with the way the author would incorporate Poe's works in the story. It was not what I expected. I thought it was nicely done though, but didn't completely arouse excitement in me.

Isobel and Varen are paired up for a project (how convenient!) to write about an author of their choice, and they initially don't get along. She's a cheerleader, he's a goth, high school stratification will play its part. Isobel isn't that bitchy I-am-mighty type of cheerleader that a lot of books and movies seem to portray. She's a girl who's really good doing flips, and she can be badass too. They both eventually learn to drop their prejudices and like each other. I actually liked them together, although it was unclear to me how they could fall in love within the time given to them.

Now with regards to the Poe aspect, I liked the visuals it gave me. However, nothing is properly explained. Isobel is unwillingly plunged in Varen's world, but we don't know why. How can Varen just give that precious book to Isobel's care? How did Varen change his mind about Isobel and din't he care at all that she would be involved and get in trouble? I guess I just wanted Varen's POV in all this, because with only Isobel, I was just thrust into one situation to another with Isobel barely getting out of the scrapes.

There were too many conflicts (Isobel's parents, the project, Reynolds, Isobel's boyfriend, etc) I guess I just wanted to be immersed in Poe's world without having too much to do with Isobel and Varen's high school life. And when I was in Varen and Poe's dreamworld, I felt it wasn't enough.

The characterization here is a strong point. I felt Isobel was an admirable heroine, and her friends and family were nicely drawn out too. 3.5 stars

Underdog - Markus Zusak As much as I love Markus Zusak, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to.

Of course, after reading The Book Thief, nothing compares. And I understand that this being his debut novel I can hardly expect something as grand and heart-wrenching as The Book Thief.

Underdog is just about a boy and his ordinary life, and also his aspirations. It's almost autobiographical in writing style. There's no Big Baddie, nor a big climax. Just a book about the head of a 15-year old boy.

Cameron Wolfe is a sweetie, sometimes I couldn't believe he was real. (Yeah, he's fictional, but you get it). The thing is, there just wasn't more to the story. By the end, very little has progressed. The parts in every end of chapter where Cameron narrates his dreams didn't make sense to me, and didn't seem to lend much to the plot.

*2.5 stars In the end, it was "just okay". Although we do get to read Zusak's style of writing and kind of learn how he grew as a writer, which was a treat.

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness What started out as a promising novel ended up being a tedious and poorly executed story. I really wanted to like this book, because the concept of being able to hear everyone's thoughts and they yours, is such a great premise. Also, reading a male POV is always interesting.

I really liked Patrick Ness's writing style, the word choices and composition and such, which reminded me a little of Markus Zusak's contemporary young adult books. The first few chapters were amazing, when Ness was explaining about Noise.
“Men lie, and they lie to theirselves worst of all.”

“My name is Todd Hewitt...It’s a trick Ben taught me to help settle my Noise. You close yer eyes and as clearly and calmly as you can you tell yerself who you are, cuz that’s what gets lost in all that Noise.”

“The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.”


Those are just a few of the really great lines here. Men's thoughts are chaotic, unorganized, and I could see very well how Noise affects Todd's and everybody else's lives. With all that Noise, how do you not lie to yourself?
You can see why this book was so promising in the beginning.

So here we go, Todd Hewitt is 12 years old and 12 months old, and he will be 13 in the 13th month. When a boy turns 13, he undergoes this mysterious ritual and become a man. That's how it is in Prentisstown, a town in an alien planet, where earthlings fled to escape the chaos of Earth and start anew. Also, in Prentisstown, there are no women.

Like I said, very promising.



****BUT (and spoilers and profanity ahead)****



There's always a but. I didn't like the running around and getting away from the evil people chasing them bits, which comprised like two-thirds of the book. First we find out that what Todd knows is bull and he should run away now. From the very first, Todd is told that he should forget everything he knew about Prentisstown and the history behind it, but does he do it? No. From the start, Todd knew what the boys did to become a "man" but we readers are still left in the dark. However, this doesn't seem to affect Todd in any way. He outright denies this truth, which I thought stupid. It could also be attributed to the fact that he's running for his life. But whatever, I didn't like it.

Also, from the start, Todd is given his mother's diary, which does contain the Truth but isn't given much importance throughout the story except maybe towards the ending, and I think this is where I felt disconnected from the characters. The running away was given more importance than the diary, which potentially can reveal a lot of things, which could help them fight back the evil men of Prentisstown. I understand Todd doesn't know how to read, and his pride makes him reluctant to even try to decipher what he needs to read. But he's met this girl who can read it, but, no. The evil men of Prentisstown are on their backs, and "there's no time to read the diary." Like bull. The withholding of the truth became aggravating, instead of heightening the suspense for me.

The men of Prentisstown comprise like maybe a hundred men, maybe half of that are 15-year old boys, and they organize this army to...what? It's still unclear to me how they could take over the entire planet when they're so few. And how the hell did they cross the wide river or swamp of whatever so quicklywhen the only bridge from Prentisstown to the other towns was burned down Like W.T.A.F. I immediately could not believe that the rumors of a thousand-man army was approaching, because it seemed improbable. (Which later we found out as an outright lie and just a rumor to spread fear). There just was no logic behind their motives and they're just two-dimensionally evil, that I didn't care about the conflict in this book at all.

But Todd and Viola just kept on running. There wasn't even an interesting bit of Todd showing off his hunting skills and wilderness survival skills because they almost always bump into other people and villages who help them, but they eventually need to leave "ASAP" because they're being chased.

Run, run, run, that's all they did. I grew impatient with it.

And what was up with the preacher Aaron. I swear he only survived because the author wrote him that way. Like W.T.A.F. who survives a crocodile attack, huh? He's mad, I get it, but how the hell did he keep up with Todd and Viola. And why was it so necessary for Todd to be able to kill another man? Was this supposed to accentuate that murder is evil? What was really the point of this book? That Todd stay true tom himself, stay pure, by refraining from killing another being? That's why it's titled "The Knife of Letting Go", wasn't it? Because it really kind of focused on the knife. If Todd murders someone, he falls.

But that's just it, Todd has killed someone. An innocent Spackle, a native of the planet they landed on, and Todd kills this alien because he was raised to believe that Spackle were the cause of the war, way way back. Remember when Todd was told to disregard everything he's been taught about Prentisstown? Does this not fit exactly that warning? But Todd kills the alien anyway, for the simple motivation of...killing...and proving himself...and God, he deliberately disobeyed the advice given to him, and this scene just was senseless.

I cannot even begin to comprehend that WTAF-ness of Aaron's explanation. It was mad, but just stupid mad, not even evil genius mad. Mayor Prentiss is stupid evil, this whole hating women because men can't their thoughts but women can read men's thoughts was stupid. Killing off the women was ludicrous, killing off the dog was enraging.

There were times when I could care about Todd, but most of the time I just wanted to slap him. And because I could not care about the story when all they did was run and hide in villages and run again, I could not care how Viola and Todd created a special bond between them.

Also, I think the explanation for the whole Noise thing was disappointing. So when they arrived in the planet, it just happened. Men were able to read each other's thoughts, but they couldn't read women's thoughts. But women can read the men's thoughts. That seemed so illogical to me. How women able to hide their thoughts? Is it a genetic mutation thing? The Noise only affects the XY chromosome? And this is shelved as Sci-Fi? There was nothing logical in the world-building!

In the end I just could not care for the story.

*2 stars* Because the writing was good, but the story was not.

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking - Susan Cain I'm glad this book was written, finally.

"Quiet gives not only a voice, but a path to homecoming for so many who've walked through the better part of their lives thinking the way they engage with the world is something in need of fixing. ~Jonathan Fields

The Mystery Knight (The Tales of Dunk and Egg #3)

The Mystery Knight (The Tales of Dunk and Egg #3) - George R.R. Martin **POSSIBLE SPOILERS**



I didn't enjoy it as much as the first two novellas. For me it served as a way to emphasize even more the significance of the Blackfyre Rebellion to the ASoIaF series. This was all about the Blackfyre Rebellion all over again. Will GRRM ever stop talking about this? Of course not, because it somehow plays a big part in Dany's quest to seize the Iron Throne. Why would GRRM devote more time to the Blackfyre and Bittersteel and secret plots to "put the real descendant on the Iron Throne"?

Maybe it's just a good story to write: Plots and conspiracies to seize power. Court intrigue. These things never end, certainly they don't in Westeros.

In The Mystery Knight, Dunk and Egg accidentally find themselves embroiled in a second Blackfyre Rebellion. Dunk proves he's a lunk here, because once you see someone with purple eyes, how can you not grow suspicious that he has Targaryen blood? Once you read that the hedge knight John the Fiddler has purple eyes and that he's treated higher than a hedge knight deserves, of course he's a friggin high lord! I still love you, though, Dunk.

What I really liked about this novella though, is it didn't follow the usual story of the handsome dashing man as the hero of the story. John the Fiddler or Daemon II might have become the hero, but one could argue he was doomed from the start. I still liked him, though. He wasn't a douche, and when he found out that his followers were bribing the other knights to lose in the tourney so he could win, he remedied that.

Which brings me to Glendon. Initially we find him as an angry young man, pimply, a little stout, and with nothing to boast of but his skills at riding. Not sure how I should feel knowing he payed his knighthood with his sister's maidenhead, but Dunk and Egg liked him all the same, maybe because he was honorable enough not to take a bribe. So I like him.

*3.5 stars I'm not much into subterfuges and plots mainly found here. It wasn't as riveting as the first two books, and it's like the book ended abruptly. But I still liked the development of Egg's character here, and still a worthy read.