Anatomy of Literature

A little nerdy bundle of crazy fun with way too many books in my TBR pile to be buying more. That hasn't stopped me before, though.

Clockwork Princess

Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare A wonderful ending to a wonderful series, filled with lots of humor, sadness, happiness, and twists and turns. Cassandra Clare really outdid herself with this one.

Saga, Volume 1

Saga, Volume 1 - Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples I was forced to read this by many people, and I'm so glad they did. It's a well written series with so much action, realistic reactions, humor, and craziness. It's weird, but in a compelling way, so much so that I was not able to put Volume 1 down until I was completely through. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples introduce you to a world, a conflict, and a family you can actually care about.

Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations)

Theft of Swords (Riyria Revelations) - Michael J. Sullivan This book has a little of everything in it: a little mystery/whodunit, a lot of action, a bit of magic/mysticism, and a lot of normal topics/concerns that make up a modern culture. I was hooked from the first page. Royce and Hadrian are two clever and well-rounded characters, and the added dashes of humor give them an even greater appeal. I love the fact that even though they are "thieves" in a sense, they seem to end up doing what is right regardless. Their relationship with one another is fantastic, very bromantic and caring, and a lot of what keeps the story going and keeps the reader enthralled. And while I mostly enjoy fantasy books, I loved the fact that this book was more adventurous, and worked so well that way. The setting, as well, is incredibly diverse and complex and quite detailed, and I have so much respect for the author for not separating the world into "Bad" and "Good", as a lot of fantasy-esque and adventure-laden novels do. I think embracing the gray area in behavior is what makes any book more human and more approachable and understandable. It's really brilliant and everyone should read it RIGHT NOW.

Kings of the North: Paladin's Legacy

Kings of the North: Paladin's Legacy - Elizabeth Moon After getting past the initial confusion as to what title was what and what character was who, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. This second installment provides a good mix of fantasy, politics, and even a bit of a love story. I enjoyed the lack of gender distinction in titles, as well. It's refreshing, really, for those under certain superiors to view said superiors merely as their superiors, not female or male. I believe that gave the story and the world an overall balance and increase in credibility. A lot of military fantasy novels don't handle gender the way she does, so I can greatly appreciate and admire that. The viewpoints switching as often as they did also allows the reader to really get into the head of different characters, which makes their interaction with one another and with other characters a lot easier to understand and to follow. There is also significant character development because of this, despite the fact that nothing extremely climatic occurs in the second book. I can't wait to see what comes next.

Friends with Boys

Friends with Boys - Faith Erin Hicks I loved this book. Coming from a home school background, I definitely understood the transition Maggie goes through with being in high school all of a sudden. I also enjoyed the added side plot of her mother taking off, and the comic relief her brothers bring to the story as a whole. It's also nice to see a sister-brother relationship that isn't antagonistic. They may joke around and fight, but they do genuinely love one another and look out for one another. I also appreciated the fact that the book touches on a lot of teen issues, like bullying and popularity, and portrays homeschooled kids as pretty much no different than public school kids, in terms of experiencing such things and being affected by them. I adored this book, and definitely recommended it to my sister, who's now going through the same thing as Maggie.

Captured

Captured - Julia Rachel Barrett This short novel classifies itself as "erotic romance", though personally I thought it leaned more toward the romance side than anything. That's not a criticism, but more a praise on the author's part for keeping the story in focus, and maintaining the idea of a nonphysical connection between Mari and Ekkatt over a sexual one. Everything moved a bit too fast for my liking, but then again, I'm used to 800 page novels or five-part book series where each book is at least 500 pages. I definitely felt the connection and understanding between Mari and Ekkatt, though I still feel that Ekkatt changed his mind about her a little too fast.

However, despite that small little aspect, I loved the book. I normally do not "do" romance in the least bit, but this was very raw and real (as raw and real as it gets in terms of sci-fi, anyway), and Ms. Barrett definitely provides her readers with a connection and a sympathy for both characters. You're definitely going to be rooting for them in the end.
SPOILER ALERT!

Switched

Switched - Amanda Hocking This novel was definitely an interesting read. It's one of a very few number of books I sat down and read within a single sitting. It has a "Princess Diaries"-esque feel to it, with Wendy, the protagonist, entering a monarchistic new lifestyle based on desperation on the part of the one seeking her out. I enjoyed the fact that Wendy's familial interactions didn't change with her status change. She still had an absent (well, dead) father, a distant mother, and a "brother" who cared for her and tried to make life easier. Also, the recreation of the troll legend was brilliant, in general. I love when writers humanize mythical/horror creatures other than the media popular vampires, werewolves, and zombies.

One of the aspects of the book I can appreciate most is the personality depth to each character. Hocking hints at a three dimensional storyline for each, instead of shoving random characters at us to appease the storyline of the protagonist. There also is no "good" character and "bad" character, but characters with good and bad tendencies and parts of their personality. For example, Kim, Matt's mother and (spoiler alert) Rhys' mother, can be condemned for her treatment of Wendy, but can also be understood for her despair in knowing her child was a boy and not feeling any connection to Wendy at all. Wendy's real mother can be condemned for her coldness and authoritative manner in dealing with Wendy, but also can be understood given her history in making bad choices with men, and in the fact that she is trying to preserve her people's history through her daughter.

The book flows well in terms of plot line, though I did find the descriptions of Wendy's physical interactions with Finn to be a little over-exaggerated and unneeded sometimes. Other than that, fantastic novel, excellent cliff-hanger ending, and I cannot wait for the second installment next year. I will definitely be reading it.

Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices)

Clockwork Prince - Cassandra Clare Without giving away any super spoilers, I will say that this book takes the love triangle of Will-Tessa-Jem to a whole new level. Which I enjoyed, because it didn't pit Will against Jem in terms of good/bad choice or anything like that. If anything, Mrs. Clare presents both of them as equal opponents in the competition for Tessa's heart. We also find out a lot more about their relationship (Will and Jem's) and more about what being a parabatai means. I also greatly enjoyed the character development of Jessamine, Charlotte, and Magnus. Well done, Mrs. Clare!

Aside from pacing in certain areas and maybe a bit of over description, I adored Clockwork Prince. Once everyone is able to get their copy of the book, you literally will not be able to put it down. I promise this. The dialogue is as hilarious but well-written as ever, and if you haven't already, you'll begin to draw parallels between Will in The Infernal Devices and Jace in the Mortal Instruments. Also, I quite enjoyed Tessa's development in Clockwork Prince. I love the direction Mrs. Clare is taking her. She is definitely growing up, I will tell you. Two of her more "intimate" scenes in the book will have you fanning yourself, trust me.

All in all, wonderful book. And regardless of all that I have read about Shadowhunters, I STILL want to be one.

Hidden Heart

Hidden Heart - Camelia Miron Skiba I really enjoy romance novels like this. While a good majority are very cut and dry, this one takes you on an emotional journey with Tessa and Alessandro, and the very unconventional development of their relationship. It moves from majorly being a sexual attraction to something deeper, something that heals Tessa and Alessandro both, without them even realizing it. I also liked the fact that we get to see this develop in a woman not from a first world country, one with different ideals and different morals and an entirely different approach to life and love and family.

This books goes on such an adventure, but one that is more mental and emotional than physical. There are plenty of twists and turns, a couple surprises, and an ending that will leave you satisfied but still wanting more. Ms. Skiba outdoes herself with this novel, delving into modern Romanian life and portraying a successful business woman in a post-Communist country. I will admit, sometimes the timeline confused me a little, but overall, it was beautiful written, and woven together carefully and intricately. You won't be able to put the book down once you start, trust me.

Sisterhood Everlasting

Sisterhood Everlasting - Ann Brashares Personally, I think it was really well done. The author took the entire story full circle, and kept with the tradition of the previous books. The beginning is shocking, and that's all I'm going to say in terms of spoilers, but she carries the rest of the story very well. The insight and emotions of the characters really comes through stronger in this one, possibly because they are older, yet we still see the 16 year old girls in them from the first book. It's lovely, really, and so heart-wrenching at the same time. I definitely shed many a tear reading this. It was amazing, nonetheless

The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan First of all, let me say that any books with Greek mythology are a must read and usually a favorite of mine. I was unsure about this book at first because of the Hercules-type storyline, but upon reading it, I was blown away. I wish this had been around when I was a kid, because I would have really enjoyed it then. The humor spans all generations, it has action, and it has a good plot line and the pace is set at a decent speed. I chose to read this before seeing the movie, and had to finish all five books once I got started. Riordan definitely can write an enthralling tale, one that attracts both kids and teenagers. I was thoroughly impressed, especially by the accuracy of the mythology he used (though some was tweaked for the purpose of the story, which is understandable).

City of Ashes

City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare This little short was just what I needed. I like that I read this after reading Clockwork Angel, because for some reason it fit better. I have no clue why. But I love these little shorts and I hope that they keep coming, both for Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices!

Magnus and Alec are definitely my OTP for MI, though. Well done, Mrs. Clare!

Never After

Never After - Dan Elconin This book was extremely clever, funny, adventurous, and overall and exciting and attention-grabbing read.

Fables: Peter and Max

Fables: Peter and Max - Bill Willingham, Steve Leialoha Overall, it was dark, entertaining, and really insightful in terms of the story of the Pied Piper. I loved the duality of the two brothers, and their relationship progress as the book goes on and as they age. Also, many other well-known fairy tales are included as accents to the central story of the two brothers, which was really entertaining and insightful. I enjoyed it, mainly because it was nice to see a different format to Willingham's graphic novels. That being said, I do think that he is better off at writing the graphic novel versions of Fables. The book reads a bit choppy, to be honest, but the characters, their development, and the storyline as a whole were fully fleshed out. I also don't recommend reading this before reading any of the Fables graphic novels, because you will be very lost in terms of a few aspects of the overall Fables storyline. The book CAN be read apart from the series, but I strongly suggest reading it after just so you understand the context of the Fables world.

Currently reading

The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Witch & Wizard by Gabrielle Charbonnet, James Patterson