Spoiler Warning

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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

let's get this thing started

Markie's Review of Birth Marked

I don't have a lot to say about this one. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad - somewhere in between The Hunger Games and The forest of Hands and Teeth. It was an interesting premise and good writing. I look forward to continuing the story, but I have a feeling that by the time the next book comes out I will have forgotten 95% of what happened in this one.
P.S. Has anybody seen Jespy lately??

Friday, May 27, 2011

Discussion time

So, it's almost the end of the month and I was wondering if any of you have read the book and want to have the discussion this weekend. I was thinking Sunday night at 7pm pacific 8pm mountain. Let me know if this will work or if we need to wait another week.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hunger Games Cast

Okay so I admit I am a bit behind.  Three books to be exact.  But to be fair, I think we have had a decline in participation for awhile so I know I am not the only guilty one around this place.

I am going to actually download the latest book on audio and attempt to read/participate in a discussion if people are going to host something.

*But I digress.

The real reason for my post here is to comment on the Hunger Games Movie Cast.  Have you seen it?  If not, let me help you out:

Gale:  Miley Cyrus' boyfriend

Not bad, not bad.  He has broad shoulders, this should work out.  I haven't seen his, what I am sure is epic, performance in the Last Song but if he keeps his mouth shut he can't screw up Gale too much.  He is very pretty.

Katniss:  Jennifer Lawrence, cheerleader extraordinaire.

Honestly when I saw her blonde chick/cheerleader pics I was not impressed but then I ran across a few gems from Winter's Bone like the one above where I was like, hey.... this could work out after all.  I guess I wanted a brunette with olive skin, but it looks like she might have some acting skillz.  I am giving her the bene of the doubt and going to be optimistic here.

Haymitch Abernathy:  Woody.

Can anyone picture Woody Harrelson drunk? Wait, I mean, can anyone NOT picture Woody Harrelson drunk?  Honestly I was shocked by this but wow, great pick.  I have long-loved his ability to play both a total sleazeball and a completely nice, innocent and likeable guy.  Totally versatile, and totally perfect for this.  Plus he is aging pretty quickly so he is just about the perfect guy to play an older-seeming lush who can kick some serious a$$ if he needs to.

Okay so I don't really care about anyone else (though casting Stanley Tucci as Caeser Flickerman gives me great hope because I have never seen him in anything lame) but the REAL reason for this post is...

Peeta:  My FAVORITE child actor of all time, Josh Hutcherson

If he is not your favorite, you obviously have not seen Bridge to Terabithia, Zathura, or Firehouse Dog.  Only one of those movies is any good, but he is absolutely adorable in all of them.  Very sweet, but also capacity to play a tough guy character.  I cannot tell you enough how much I love this kid and I think that it is perfect.  He is THE ultimately likeable underdog. 

So.. your thoughts?


Monday, May 2, 2011

Book For May!!!!

Yay!!! I got the go ahead to pick the book this month and I promise it won't disappoint. Since our discussions have been getting smaller and smaller I wanted to pick something gives us a lot to talk about. I hope the next discussion will be an epic one!!! Anyways I loved this book it has action and romance and a great story too, I hope you guys enjoy it!!
Birthmarked By Caragh M. O'Brien

In a dystopian world of the future, apprentice midwife Gaia, who has served the Enclave faithfully along with her parents, is thrust suddenly into a crisis. She delivers her first baby independently of her midwife mother and takes it to the Enclave inside the Wall as the first of her monthly quota of three newborns. Then her parents are arrested and she learns that they will soon be executed. Gaia springs into action and smuggles herself into the Enclave to rescue them. What follows is an exciting, almost breakneck adventure, as Gaia tries to discover what information the Enclave wants from her and her mother and tries to save both of them from prison. Along the way there is a mildly romantic turn to the story as Gaia develops a friendship and attraction to one of the soldiers, a man with a mysterious past. This world is one in which a small society, composed of an elite inside the Wall and a subservient class outside, is completely cut off from knowledge of anyone or anything outside of its borders. The rulers are authoritarian and mysterious and resemble a monarchy rather than the strictly ideological communitarian system in Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton, 1993). The cliff-hanger ending sets up the action for a sequel. Readers who enjoy adventures with a strong heroine standing up to authority against the odds will enjoy this compelling tale.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Discussion for Airborn

Here's our discussion for Airborn.  So what did you think?

Not The Worst

This wasn't the worst book I read in the last 6 months. Compared to Dark and Hollow Places (new release in the Forest of Hands and Teeth Series) Airborne was a breath of mango scented fresh air. They were on a pretty cool deserted (mostly) island, trapped in a lagoon, with a village of 'others' that no one really knew was there. Kind of a weird combo of Gilligan's Island, LOST, Treasure Planet and Star Wars (thanks Markie). Miss Simpkins was fun, in a Mrs. Bennett sort of way. Mr. Cruse was like....well, um....anyway. I enjoyed reading it after I plowed through the first 1/3 of the book and got to some interesting stuff. I too couldn't figure out where I was at on the ship. I thought maybe it was just me, but I'm realizing some of you had trouble picturing everything what the author was describing.

I can easily count on one hand the number of books that I've just groaned over and hated. This was not one of them. On Good Reads, I'd probably give it 2.5-3 stars.

Saved by the Pirates

Narrowing your nostrils is highly unattractive. Why was the author trying to convince us otherwise?

Anyway, I actually liked this book, despite a few problems and a slow beginning. It had a good vibe about it. I felt happy as I was reading it. And it contained pirates. Bad ones.

It started with an action scene (prologue)... and though parts of it were interesting, I had no idea what the H the author was describing. I could't picture any of it. It was all gondolas and bay doors and catwalks and portals and prongs and loops and wires and hoops and grapples and winches and propellers... DUDE! Just... stop. Just stop. I don't see it. This was a precursor to what would happen throughout the book. Long sections where I hadn't a clue what he was trying to describe, and I quickly gave up on ever figuring it out, I just let my eyes scan ahead until the dialog would pick up again. I'm glad to see others had this problem and so we can blame it 100% on the author and pat ourselves on the back for recognizing how bad he is at describing things.

Now, I have a sneaking suspicion that prologue was attached to the beginning to get the reader's initial attention, because I fully expected the adventure to continue, but instead, what came next was rather slow and dull. I mean, an air luxury cruise ship? Unexpected, right? I was thinking maybe an air pirate hunting ship, or an air patrol guard, and I was fully prepared to set a course for adventure, my mind on a new romance... but our hero, Matt Cruse, was merely a bell hop on a luxury cruise line?

About 25% (in Kindlese) into it, the pirates arrived and things finally picked up. There were definitely still problems with the scene descriptions, and some holes in the plot (ie. urgently needing to get Kate back to the airship asap so they could take off, but then discovering the pirates' hideout and suddenly having time to kill and needing to stall the pirates for an entire day), but it just turned into a fun read for me at that point. I liked the author's invention of Hydrium and that it smelled like mango, although I would have gone with dirty dishrag myself. I wasn't a huge fan of Kate at first, as she was so two-dimensional, a caricature of a modern woman more than an actual individual, but she grew on me as the story went on. Matt must be an old soul, since he felt more like 30 years old than 15 years old, but that can be forgiven. I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone, but overall, me likely.

Also, have you gize seen this movie? Best movie ever, by the same name.

PS. Anyone interested in picking the next book?


As long as we are pretending - pretending that balloons filled with an imaginary mango scented gas rule the skys, and pretending that there are winged panthers that spend their entire lives soaring in the clouds; we might as well go ahead and pretend that this story has some depth, more plot development, more interesting characters, more twists, and more fun.
For example, I pretended that instead of Hydrium Gas there was an all powerful force that bound everything together, that Bruce was a wookie, that Captain Walken had a good blaster at his side, that Kate was really Matt's sister, and that Szpirglas was actually his father. Really it was a much better story that way. Also, Lightsabers.

Cloud Cats Rule!

Am I the only one who kept trying to narrow my nostrils?  Yes?  K, never mind then.

The bottom line is that I loved this book.  I thought it was written well with some clever descriptions and phrasing stuck in here & there.  I loved the characters....Matt, Kate, Baz, Miss Simpkins & the Captain guy of the Aurora (forgot his name) come to mind.  It was entertaining and chock full of exciting situations Mr. Cruse needed to deal with.  What more does one want from a book, right?

It did take me a little bit, however, to realize I wasn't going to be able to place the time period this is taking place.  Then I started wondering "Is this one of those steampunk novels people keep talking about?"  Thank goodness my question was answered when Jen from Cakewrecks/Epbot (who is obsessed with all things steampunk) did a post of all her favorite steampunk novels.  Obviously Airborn was on that list or else I wouldn't be mentioning it now.    She loved it.    Although she also recommends some steampunk book by Scott Westerfeld and says "If you've read the Uglies series, then you know Westerfeld couldn't write a bad book if he tried."  <---makes me think she has horrible taste in books.

I do think the book tends to repeat itself quite a bit and some of the coincidences were just TOO coincidental but none of it seemed to bother me.  I just wanted to see how Mr. Cruse was going to get himself out of this one now.  The people who I think would simply FLIP over how awesome this book is are my 11 and 9 year old sons.  I may need to add this on to our nightly reading list.

I'll leave you with this... here is one person's idea of what the cloud cats looked like:

But oh how I wish they looked like this:

Regards, Landee

"That's my girl," I said, and took her hand.

That was the last sentence of the book.  He was always calling the Aurora his girl and now he's calling Kate his girl.  Can you say cheesy? ::gag::

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel was full of gag-worthy moments and vomit-inducing repetitions.  "Matt Cruse, light as air."  I know, I know, I know. 

The story started out a little slow but picked up quickly when pirates boarded their airship.  When they landed on the island things got pretty exciting.  That excitement remained until Kate and Matt accidentally beckoned pirates to rescue them.  Big oops.  It fell flat for me there.  I couldn't quite wrap my head around this uneventful, not-very-exciting way for the pirates and Matt and Kate to come together.  Oh well.  I did enjoy watching them squirm as they had to then pretend to be something they were not and devise a plan of escape.   

Still not sure how Matt escaped out of that hammock.  In fact, I'm not quite sure of anything in this book.  I felt like I was only half a participant in this story since I never grasped any of the author's descriptions.  The airship looks like what?  Wait, how did that happen?  He survived yet another death-defying moment how?  I'm not sure if I didn't have my brain fully screwed on while I listened to this story or what,  but I could not "see" anything.  I just had to be content to listen and hope the author got the descriptive parts over with quickly so I could get on with the dialogue.  

Kate.  Yeah, I liked Kate.  I thought her character was well developed and I enjoyed her ahead-of-her-time personality.  However, when she got herself into trouble for the umpteenth time I wanted to smack her.

The plot was alright.  Less life or death situations would have made it more exciting.  Matt was constantly being put in unbelievable situations where death seemed to be imminent.  The constant overcoming of the impossible grew tiresome for this reader and anti-climatic. 

I thought the cloud cats were totally stupid.  I thought they were supposed to be birds, not cats. 

Aside from these annoyances, I liked the book.   However, I hope they make-out more in the next one.