Spoiler Warning

Book reviews and discussions may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bunnies R Us

I was getting nervous about this being too serious of a book for this club but then I started thinking about Fiver and Hazel and how much you would love their little saga.

So to keep us focused on this story I am going to periodically ask you some trivia questions.

Today's trivia:

Which of the following is the correct usage of the term Owsla?

a) The Owsla are always circling the micela

2) I have a lot of Owslas on my kneesla

blue) The Owsla are very helpful in keeping crime out of rabbitville

iv) Get Owsla here I am trying to read

PS The people who get the most amount right throughout the trivia period will get a prizela at the end. And if you haven't gotten it from your library you are lazy because thing ain't been checked owsla since the year I was born.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Book for March Announced...

In case you gize are confused about how the books are chosen...

We are no longer nominating books as a group, and then half-heartedly voting. Instead, I thought we'd try taking turns choosing the books. I asked Q/Flem to go first, and she announced her book choice on Monday...

Watership Down by Richard Adams

As always, don't wait until the last minute to read it, especially if you are planning to go the library route.

Monday, February 23, 2009

No Surprises Here

For those who have paid any attention to my comments for the last few months, you will not be surprised at this month's pick:

Watership Down

Before you go tharn about the journey of a bunch of hrair hlessil, don't give me any of that hraka until you kick back fu inle´and silflay with the book in your hand.

It is a long book but I swear to you it is worth it. When you read that last page you will experience deep joy and sadness all in one. I dare you not to cry.

If not you are dead inside.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Graceling Discussion:

Discuss Graceling in the comments of this post.

A few things to think about...

(As Markie asked...) What is your natural grace?

What do you wish was your natural grace?

Why do you think the people who had graces were dissed?

Compare/contrast yourself to Katsa. Do you cry a lot?

Who were you're favorite characters in the book and why?

What was your favorite scene in the book? (hehe)

Was there anything in the book that made you go whoa wha... ?

Would you recommend this book to friends? What about to young adult readers? Explain yourself.

Finally, here's some "fun" questions I fandangoed from here.....

1. If you were cornered by an army of the king’s soldiers, would you

a) Fight each and every one to the death (not yours, theirs)

b) Make a mad dash for it?

c) Surrender peacefully with your dignity, but trembling inside?
d) Play dead?

2. Choose your preferred weapon:
a) your own two hands and brute strength
b) dagger
c) bow & arrow
d) none—you’re a pacifist

3. Do you know how to build and light a fire without matches in the snow?

4. Would you rather:
a) Fight a mountain lion?
b) Fall in love?
c) Overthrow a corrupt king?
d) Sleep?

5. Your best friend is:
a) a studly warrior prince
b) a horse
c) a bookish, but sweet prince
d) your nursemaid

7. Do you enjoy martial arts?

8. Regarding strangers on the internet, do you:
a) Approach suspiciously, if at all?
b) Try to read their minds?
c) Avoid them when possible?
d) Befriend them immediately— what’s the harm?

Jespy's Grace: Reviewing Books

Is it possible to like a book if the main character bugs the S* out of you? What if a few of the secondary characters are likeable, clever, funny, and don’t cry hot tears into their lover’s necks? Can the secondary characters rescue the book from the buggy main character who is trying her hardest to bug the S* out of you?

This was the root of my problem with Graceling.

I wanted to like Katsa, and I did in the beginning, but gradually, that changed. See, I was promised a strong female character, and didn't get one. It’s not that I think the author lied to me, it’s just that I have a different definition of what makes a strong female character than she does. Physically, she met my expectations, but emotionally, Katsa was a wreck.

If the situation calls for tears, I have no problem with the characters shedding a few hot ones. But the amount of crying Katsa did in that book… tears of sadness, tears of joy, tears of confusion, tears of betrayal, tears of astonishment, tears of triumph, tears of reunion. Enough already. Enough. This is not Grey’s Anatomy. I also didn’t understand, and couldn’t relate to, her highly emotional internal/external struggle with whether or not to marry/do Po. Those two things seem contrary anyway. She’s supposed to be SO women’s lib that she won’t ever marry, but the idea didn’t even occur to her that she could just do Po with no strings attached(<--an idea I don’t condone for young virgos, but maybe I’m holier than the average reader). I also did not dig her cliché women’s lib butch haircut.

Btw, if I had liked Katsa, I could have forgiven any other problem I had with the book.

Plot-wise, I felt it lacked a clear, overall focus. In the beginning, we’re supposed to be wondering who’s behind the “mysterious failed kidnapping of elderly, retired King Whatshisface.” I sort of cared in the beginning, only because the author told me I was supposed to care. But there comes a point when the author should have stopped telling me I should care, and started showing me why I should care. The character behind it all turned out to be much more interesting then his earlier mentioned devious deed, I only wish we had gotten to see more of him. His demise was way abrupt and anticlimactic.

Here’s what I liked about the book:

  • The concept of people born with graces, and that they are easily distinguishable by their eyes.
  • The backward view society had of people born with graces.
  • The bad guy, the clever way he hid his grace, how his grace worked, and how Po could overcome it.
  • The idea of a main female character who kicks A** (Unfortunately, as before mentioned, Katsa fell short for me.)
  • The first several chapters, and the actiony chapters that included King bad guy.
  • Po and his hawt piercings and rings.
  • The ambiguously gay duo, Raffin and Bann.
  • The cover



The Survival Grace is RAD

And I wish I had that right now cuz this cold has got me in the tank. Snot rags, fever, chills,......very glamorous. Going on day 3. Katsa never got sick.

I hearted the book. Maybe Jenny did us a favor claiming it was major lame. Expectations. Here we go:

1. Katsa kicked A (and when I say "A" I mean "alot"). I love me some girl power.

2. Po was hawt. I'd love to feel the coolness of his many rings anytime.

3. What in the ayche was with the cutting of animals? That was never essplained. Lamerz.

4. Was anyone else as irritated as I was that she cut her hair like a boy?

5. Giddon was cool. I wish that he coulda found love with some other girl.

6. How GAY was Raffin?!! Ha!

7. Having Po go blind is fine. Having his eyes "dim" is no good for me.

8. Katsa needs to get over herself and marry Po. However I think it will happen in the next book, which I look forward to discussing on this book club in the future.

I'm off for more kleenex.

Flem's Graceling Review

I expected a more "bad seed" type book by the title alone. Perhaps because of my recent encounter with the book "The Changeling" (unrelated to the movie) I expected Katsa (too close to Katniss maybe) to be a weirdo stolen from birth character.

I was pleasantly surprised when she was a likeable character. At least until she turned down the title to princess and went ahead with her sleeping together with no attachments decision.

I loved her gift and the twist on it (here, here Markie) and Po's talent as well. Sort of smacked of Edward. I thought the bad guy's gift was cool but felt that his motivation was whack. I mean I would totally use that gift to get gain too, but why slice up the little animals? I get it, he is one dimensional, pure evil, etc., but couldn't he just be a molester? Isn't that evil enough?

I heart X-men so this is no surprise that I would like the plot and characters, and the Hunger Games element of awesome clever chick overcoming nature and evil man was great, but the romance lost its charm midway for me. I am always semi-irritated when a female character is oblivious to feelings of male adolescents (Hunger Games suffered from this malady as well as Twilight) because no teenage girl floats around totally disinterested in relationships. Maybe because my mom was so flirty it was always in my mind as a young person but I cannot relate to a girl who "never thought about him that way" but this book saved it because at least she liked Po right away. The guy beforehand, the one on the action squad with her? The fact that she was shocked he was "in love" with her and she didn't have feelings towards him seemed kinda lame to me.

On the romance end, I did like that they were friends first and fought a bunch before they got all romantic, and I liked that they had that common persecution complex.

Things I did not like:

--That all men except the pansies were evil. So Po and gay alchemist were totally the exception to the rule and all other men with a traditional mindset (hello it was supposed to be kinda medieval, right?) were totally unlikeable threw me off.
--She felt that a relationship would ruin her career. The point seemed anachronistically feminist. Probably a great book for a single woman who doesn't want attachments, but for a happily married woman with four kids and a career I didn't connect with it.
--Again the cutting animals bit. Ew.
--Blindness. This ruined the book for me. Call me superficial, but I liked the shiny eye guy. Couldn't her gay bff fix his eyes? That would have been awesome.
--A prince living in the forest shack. What, his family couldn't know he was blind? If they were trying to make a point that superficial stuff is not important, then why was he hiding his blindness from his family? Annoying juxtaposition for me.

Things I liked:
--Power corrupts
--Cool gifts and twists
--The term Leonid. Kind of reminds me of spock.
--Cover pic.
--Po, pre-blindess
--Katna making it through the mountains. In the snow. Uphill both ways.

What in the Middluns is the Matter with Jenny?

A Review of A Review

And I quote:

You gize, it wasn't good. And when I say it wasn't good, I mean something much meaner and more severe than that.

I think Jenny is dead inside. She expects far too much out of her books. She has no empathy for a poor girl who considers herself a monster killing machine and then is thrown into an emotional tailspin when she meets the love of her life. She also led me to believe that this medieval birth control would involve some kind of a contraption. I was sorely disappointed to learn it was just her eating some kind of a flower at dinner time.

And sorry, but I like it when people smile into each other's necks and cry hot tears. Sorry. But I do.

A Review of the Book

Good stuff:

I wanna be graced. And I want the survivor grace. That girl can do anything.

I also realize that there will never be another Edward, but Po was pretty darn close. I want him. In a bad way. I missed him when they ditched him at the cabin. I loved him raising his hand in response to her calling his name in her mind. I loved him casually leaning against the table with his shirt open. I am glad that I now associate the name Po with hawtness rather than that creepy little Teletubby.

Bad stuff:

I hated Po going blind. HATED IT.

The second they said "eye patch" I knew King Leck was graced. They were idiots for not figuring that out sooner.... especially Po with his Jedi mind tricks.

I hated her getting so incredibly pizzed that he didn't mention he could read minds. I thought that was one of her unnecessary hissy fits.

I hated that she refused to marry him and "shall marry no man." W/e Katsa. Get over yourself. What in Leinid's name makes her so special? Oh right, she can kill any man in a matter of seconds. Fine. But still.... don't be such a feminist.

Graceling - The Ricky Braddy of Literature

**This is Markie's Review of Graceling**Spoilers ahead!!**

I was not planning on reading this book after Jenny's description of how bad it sucked, but when it came right down to it, I couldn't NOT participate. I just can't quit you SRBC. I bought the Book on Friday and finished it this morning. And guess what? It didn't suck... for me anyway. I actually really enjoyed reading it. It was a bit like Ricky Braddy of American Idol fame; I very much enjoyed his performance, but he was way under-hyped, and he is ultimately forgettable.

Perhaps it was because my expectations were so low, but I found the story engaging and well written. I think I liked the concepts the book introduced more than the actual execution of the story. I liked the idea of select people in their society having special Graces (smacks of X-Men or Heroes only in a medieval rather than futuristic way). I thought the most brilliant concept in the story was Katsa's gift. I had some sympathy for her, having this gift of being able to kill people, and how it accidentally manifested itself, and how hard it would be to live with that gift; how people would be afraid of her, and how she was used by the king. Then I thought it was a great development to discover that her gift was not killing, but survival. It made me happy. I like how her character evolved through to story to be more accepting of other peoples friendship, and begin to accept her own self-worth.

I also liked Po's gift, and enjoyed the battles between him and Katsa. I totally bought into their relationship and liked how it developed, although I would liked to have seen them get married in the end and have a little Graceling of their own. I have no idea whether or not the author intends to continue this story in future books, but I hope she does. I'd read the sequel.

So those are the good things I liked. On the down side the story did get a little slow, particularly toward the end. I was wondering how they were going to defeat the evil King with his gift, and I was gearing up for something either epic battleish, or extremely clever, and I was disappointed in how quickly and easily the author took care of him. I think the story would have played out much better if Katsa had found Po first, and then together they schemed some brilliant and climactic ending for King Leck.

While I found this book an enjoyable read, it's not going to be one I'm likely to read again or even remember much in about about 6 months. I enjoyed it more than Uglies, but not nearly as much as The Hunger Games.

I think the food for thought in this book is:
We are all born with gifts - various strengths and talents - kind of like Graces right? So what are your Graces and how have they impacted your life and relationships with others?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Don't be like our US senators...

...read Graceling by Kristen Cashore.


You only have 2.5 days left to read it, so hopefully you've been good lil American book clubbers and have at least started reading it, cuz if you haven't, there will be no bail outs this time around.

The good news is, I heard back from numerous book clubbers who loved it, liked it, or not-so-badded it. See, I set your expectations low, and now it'll be a pleasure to read. Plus, let's not forget that one virginal love-making scene.<--added incentive.

In other news, I have signed a Smart Remarks Stimulous bill that will go into effect Feb 23rd, 2009. No need to read it. Everything will be fine. Things will be nice and stimutated around here in the near future.