Saturday, July 6, 2013

July Book Reads

Not all the reviews for my June books are up yet. I'm still working on the Annotated Peter Pan and on Screwtape Letters. Both should be done pretty soon but I like taking my time with Pan. There's a lot to dive into with that story and I want to make sure I'm soaking it all in. So, continue to look for those but in the meanwhile, I figured I'd start on my July list as well.

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Knights, damsels in distress, wars fought across generations and quests that seem dismal during the dark of night. Also, mice. Rats, birds, mice, frogs and toads. That is our cast of characters.

I see the cover of this book and I immediately think of my brother. He read them when he was a kid and when I got to be a bit older, he gave me some of them to read as well. Being the Harry Potter kid I was, though, I think I struggled to get into this story for whatever reason. Too many creatures talking, not enough of wizards casting. Although, I remember that I did read this book and the proceeding one Mossflower, then balled like a baby when a certain character died. Close to twenty years later, that's all I remember about the story. That being said, it's the same reason I picked up the book again.

I've always had trouble remembering details about stories. Books that I read as a child, I'm lucky to now even remember the main characters name. I'd like to think that it's because I've learned so much in life that little things like names and events have to get pushed aside in order to learn something new. Most likely, however, I just don't pay close attention to things because my brain likes to frolic off in fields of daisy’s or break into some horrible Disney movie song.

Side note: Is it just me or does that stupid Beauty and the Beast, Belle walking down the street song, get stuck in anyone else's head?

The fact that I remembered the character who dies and that I remember the main mouse to be Martin, speaks highly of this story in my mind. Little me wasn't big on details. Little me loved to read but tended to get lost very easily in other things. The fact that I deemed these details important enough to still remember, and to stick with me the way it did, is interesting. I'm curious to see how I feel about this book now that I'm reading it with the cynical and often times, critical, eyes of a mid twenty something.

Review Now Up:

John Dies at the End by David Wong

I know nothing about this book. Nothing. I was in Portland, Oregon over the weekend and attended a lecture done by Mark Oshiro and by lecture I mean the man read bad fan fiction to us. :P. When this book was brought up, he pretty much expressed in a sobbing voice that this book both broke him and blew his mind simultaneously. How can I not want to read it after that endorsement?

Like I said though, I know nothing about this book. I briefly skimmed the back cover but that is the extent of my knowledge.

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

This is a sequel to a book that I have previously read called the Lies of Locke Lamora. If you have not read it, go do it now. The first hundred pages or so are a bit hard to get through, I will admit, but after that, the book turns into a whirlwind of swashbuckling scoundrels who have no choice but to take on the likes of a one man mafia. If you're curious, here's the link to my Goodreads review ) but I'd honestly suggest to just go pick up the book and read it. Months later, this book is still ruining me for all other novels.

Because of that, I of course had to pick up the second in the Gentleman Bastard series. Come on. That's the title of the entire series. It's a name that is such an oxymoron that it makes me giddy and plays right into the fangirling part that loves her pirates and scoundrels.

Review Now Up:

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

John Green may be the only young adult author out there that I have immense respect for.  I have no experience with the other two authors so we'll see what I think after I read this.  However, Green's writing deals with teen issues without it being melodramatic. That's always been my complaint with teen fiction. The characters come off as whiny and self absorbed. That's not to say teenagers aren't. They completely are. But here's the thing. Teens also have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Everything is new. They don't know how to handle certain situations until they've experienced them and experiencing them can often be terrifying. Maybe I'm not so far removed from the teen generation that I remember how scary it was to be that age and how much I hated it at times. Nothing would set me off more than someone telling me that “high school is going to be the best years of your life” because all I could think at the time was “You got to be kidding me? This is as good as it gets?”. John Green, I feel, understands that there is a lot more to a teenage head space than the whiny and prepubescent/hormonal driven thoughts that most teen novels portray. And bonus? None of his book jackets look like the covers for a soft core porn novel. That right there should make you like him.

Furthermore, take a moment and examine the below picture then try to tell me he's not an amazing man.

Green also runs a YouTube series called VlogBrothers and is a out and loud and proud nerd. Watch his videos. Read his books. Watch his brothers videos and if you are a young teen, listen to both of their advice on what its like to be a budding Nerdfighter. Also, understand that when someone says that things do get better, what they actually mean is that the current situation does get better but new ones are always around the bend so hold onto what you love in this world and understand that fiction can go a long way with helping you cope.

Let it Snow is most likely going to be one of those books that I hug at night and love with a little sigh of whimsy. I don't think that it would have been anything I would have liked growing up but in hindsight, I really wish I had read him close to a decade ago (WHY DIDN'T YOU PUBLISH SOONER GOOD SIR?!?).

Review Now Up:

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Again, I know nothing. The only thing I do know about this book? It was a bitch to track down.

This is another young adult novel and since John Green's name is not plastered on it, I am nervous. As said above, teen novels rarely seem to be done right. I often cringe when I see people reading things like City of Bones or any of the other numerous books out there with pale pretty boys on the cover and some doe eyed girl in a nighty. I'm pretty sure this is not literature. I'm pretty sure this is some device used to brainwash the youth of the nation and make them into Barbies that have a vampire fetish.

Review Now Up:

Hopefully, Jellicoe Road is none of the above. The cover seems promising so at least there's that going for it.


Okay, now I'm really nervous. Why, teen fiction? Why is there so much of your suck in the world?

Remember to like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter or the various other time sucking social media sights out there.  

Also, if you have an good teen novels to suggest me, PLEASE DO!  I'm putting this in bold because I am going to force your eyes to read this and then use the force to get you to suggest books to me.  

I may love books a little bit.


  1. Hi Dana, Does it qualify as a teen novel if it is about teens? I just finished "Sea of Tranquility" by Katja Millay. I think it's a book you would like. I found it hauntingly beautiful.

    1. That's actually a really good question. I think teen novels become teen novels if they are written and geared towards that audience. That's usually how I classify it at least.

      Thank you for the book suggestion! I'm going to go add it to my Goodreads list right now. I'm a sucker for the description "hauntingly beautiful". :)

  2. I hope you LOVE it! Lately I've read a bunch of dystopian teen books (that I think were truly written for the teen market). My favorite was "The Scorpio Races" by Maggie Stiefvater. I also liked the "Matched" trilogy by Allie Condie, and the "Delirium" trilogy by Lauren Oliver. I found them far more interesting than the "50 shades of Grey" trilogies go. (However, I don't think I'll ever love a trilogy better than the Lord of the Rings) Oh..also, just finished "The Host" by Stephenie Meyer. I liked it better than the whole vampire thing. It was really quite thought provoking. I LOVE books.

    1. So I read the Host by Stephenie Meyer years ago and thought it was actually pretty decent. I remember being shocked because Twilight (themes and crappy dialogue aside) was just poorly written. When I went back to re read it this year, however, it didn't hold up for me. I think there are some books out there that sweep us away in stories and concepts and, at least for me, I'm disappointed when I go back. I'd be curious to know what you think if you ever re read it.

  3. Oh I agree...back 100 years ago when I was a teenager I was mesmerized, scandalized and enthralled with Kathleen Woodiwiss' books (The Flame and The flower, The wolf and The Dove, Ashes in the Wind, etc)...When I re-read them a couple years back I couldn't believe I was ever that in to them. The heroines I used to love just seemed immature and stupid, the the heroes were even worse. I guess as we change, so does our perspective.