themadpoker: (reading)
Good! I did miss the wider ensemble featured in the first books but Beka's likeable enough that I'm willing to follow her adventures even when they take her away from my favoured setting. And Beka/Farmer was cute if a bit too obviously pushed for. Some critical notes:

Spoilers, spoilers, don't read this if you're not down with spoilers )

Wow, okay, I think I talked myself down to a lower rating. I was going to give this 4 stars but let's say 3 instead.
themadpoker: (reading)
Goodreads Summary: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


So I hear love isn't a disease? I guess I'd better go ahead and cancel that lobotomy )
themadpoker: (Default)
Shortish feelings on TVD 2.06: Plan B. I find it harder to be wordy on things I like, don’t know why. )

And now for some reviews. I spend approximately three hours on commute every day for school and I usually use them to get some reading done. If I run out of stuff to read sometimes I write reviews in my notebook! I thought I’d just go ahead and type a few up for sharing purposes. =)

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. A study in how to make starcrossed gangster romance unappealing even to a particularly receptive audience )

And now for some tl;dr on Naruto.

Naruto Volume 47. I should probably mention I usually only do bus reviews if I had a problem with the story. When I like stuff I’d rather just spend my time rereading bits. )

I also wrote up about half a review of Batman: Under the Red Hood the other day but I don’t particularly feel like typing it up and finishing it right now. Suffice to say I thought it was a decent movie, the art and voice acting were adequate, I liked the smooth acrobatic way they choose to animate their fight scenes and it felt pretty accessible to someone who doesn’t know much of DC canon. Worth picking up from the library if you like Jason Todd.
themadpoker: (squishy happy feelings)
It's 10:30 and I'm still going strong! But this may have something to do with the fact that I have kind of spent a substantial amount of today doing things that were not reading, whoops. ^^ Well now that I know about the read-a-thon next year I'll plan it out so I actually do nothing all day but read.

FARA: Oops, got one of my socks wet this morning, guess I'll just switch it out for another.
JODY: Hey Fara did you know your socks aren't matching?
FARA: You're right! Ehh, no big deal really.
ENTIRE SCHOOL: Hey Fara we're digging the mismatching socks!
FARA: You know, now that I think about it why should socks always match? Express individuality! Bring down the matching sock tyranny! TOMORROW I AM GOING TO WEAR POLKA DOTS WITH STRIPES.
FARA'S MISMATCHED SOCKS: Become a thing.

FARA: So guys, I'm pretty socially active and into charity and environmental concerns and you know what I think might provide a great platform for me to express these interests? Running for student council president!
FRIENDS: Vote Fara, she's Fair-a!
SCHOOL: Hey it's sock girl! Hi sock girl!
FARA: Hi school! I'd like to talk to you about my plans to get recycling bins put in all the hallways.
SCHOOL: That's great and we're totally interested! But before you tell us about that, what colour socks are you wearing today? We've got a betting system going on you see.
FARA: I AM GETTING PRETTY SICK OF BEING DEFINED BY MY SOCKS NOW. :<

FARA: All this fame I've gained from my mismatched socks will probably be handy when election time comes! But I am starting to feel like my socks are getting alot more attention then I am.
FARA'S SOCKS: Oh come on, it's not so bad, you're the one wearing us!
FARA: Yesterday when I was sick Jody took you to school in my place and our teacher gave you a gold star for being quiet and well behaved.
FARA'S SOCKS: Oh. Umm. Well we wanted to spare your feelings but I guess the truth had to come out eventually. If it helps, we think you totally make a better accessory then the empty air we had to go with yesterday.

ELECTION TIME: Draws closer.
FARA'S SOCK RELATED PUBLICITY: Grows.
DIRTY POLITICS: Happen.
THE QUESTION OF WHO WILL WIN THE ELECTION, FARA ROSS OR MELODEE SIMON: Is resolved with surprising results!
themadpoker: (Dramacon)
A manga about an author/artist high school duo who aspire to become successful manga artists! Who spend a lot of time referencing Death Note! It's not self-referential at all, Ohba and Obata have no idea why you would think so. o:)

This was actually pretty fun though very very boys centric. At the beginning I thought Mashiro reminded me a bit of a non-sociopathic Light with his whole life is so boring shtick but now that I'm done I think maybe Akito is more similar. Mostly because there was this bit where he gave out his Very Intelligent Theory of How Girls Work and I was like 'ooh hey Light Yagami's ridiculous belief in his ability to analyze all people everywhere! Haven't seen you in awhile, how's it going?' Also I had a brief moment where I was like you know I don't remember this weird view of intelligence and tendency to sort of skewed ideas of what's acceptable in girls in Hikaru no Go, what's up with that? Seems like a step backward. But then I remembered that while Takeshi Obata did the art for all three series, it was Yumi Hotta who did the writing for Hikaru no Go.

And now I am going to take a break to watch episode 3.05 of Merlin, The One Where Arthur and Gwen Hold Each Other and Are Amazing And I Think It's Possible One of Them Was Crying. There might be other stuff going on there too, idk.
themadpoker: (bhairava/mitravinda)
Finished my first book of the read-a-thon! It was interesting doing a reread for something I'd read so long ago. The politics were considerably less complex than I remembered them being which is probably due to my first reading this in middle school when I had less experience with these kind of books. Basic plot of the story follows Lucien, a boy with cancer transported from our world to Talia, an alternate universe sixteenth century Italy. While there he runs into Arianna, a girl illegally camped out in the city of Belazza pretending to be a boy so she can get herself hired as one of the city's gondoliers. This plan goes down the tubes when she sees Lucien and gives him her clothes so he won't be identified as the non-Belazzan he clearly is and be executed. Lucien ends up getting the gondolier position she was hoping for and from there they get entangled in city politics that involve lots of body doubles, murder, and sixteenth century mathematicians.

My favourite character of the book was the Duchessa, a ruthless clever politician who enjoys escaping murder plots and allowing the perpetrators to squirm uncomfortably for hours by not letting him know whether he's about to die or not. Other interests include tightly holding on to her secrets, thwarting the ambitions of certain political families plotting to take control of her city and generally knowing more about what's going on then at least half the cast at any given time. I cannot at all remember the plot of the next book in series, City of Stars, but I hope she makes a reappearance.

This is a definite step up from my last two reads in terms of not boring me out of my skull. The plot moved at a good pace and what romance there was did not consist of the hero trying to murder the heroine and her getting past that because of how pretty he is. Not that I'm accusing any of my recent reads of doing this. *cough*TheIronKing*cough* Plus whenever I wanted a break I could simply stare at the cover for a few minutes which is seriously one of the nicest I've seen in awhile. I probably won't be reading the sequel so quickly because the copy I have has the old cover which is okay but not nearly as pretty as the resdesign. All in all, a decent start to my day of books.

Plus now that I've finished City of Masks I've picked out a selection of eight books I'll be choosing my reading from for the rest of the day. My next review may be on:

Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness by Nahoko Uehashi
Wayfarer by R. J. Anderson
Along the River: A Chinese Cinderella Novel by Adeline Yen Mah
Standing for Socks by Elissa Brent Weissman
Forever Rose by Hilary McKay
Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson
Bakuman Volume 1 by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
Stravaganza: City of Stars by Mary Hoffman

I reserve the right to change my mind at any moment and pick some book not on this list at all! But I probably won't. :)
themadpoker: (reading)
I've picked up the first volume of Mike Carey's The Unwritten because I heard it gets really meta about books and I love stories that get meta about books (yes I've been recommended If on a winter's night a traveller. I plan to read it someday when I find a copy with a cover that appeals to me because I am shallow enough that ugly book covers actually do contribute negatively to my reading experience).

Tiny reviewlettes )

All in all, I've been doing okay with my reads lately! I've got some stuff on my shelf I'm really looking forward to as well.
themadpoker: (Default)
Were you planning to see Avatar but got turned off by the skeevy racial politics? Is there an ALIENS AND COLONIALISM shaped hole in your life? Fear not! Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday will fufill all your colonial alien related needs!

J.Lo and Gratuity want YOU to read this book. )

Go read The True Meaning of Smekday! And then come back and tell me how grateful you are that I told you to read it. Or just tell me what you thought of it, whatever. =D
themadpoker: (Default)


First off, this was better than the first book. Or maybe I'm remembering the first book sucking more than it did?

...Nahh this one's just better. However, there are still many things wrong with it!

There's alot of rehashing of the first book in here which wasn't as annoying as it could've been since it's been awhile since I read it so the recap was useful. Zoey was marginally less annoying though her friends still came out pretty flat. The Twins defining characteristic remains that they are twins. And they like boys. And fashion. And umm that's it. So basically they're like wind up Barbie dolls. Damien is still gay and possessing of a decent vocabulary (speaking of which if everybody in the book spends so much time reading Shakespeare and high class literature and whatever why are they so flabbergasted at words like abysmal? Are they reading the abridged versions for fourth graders?). Stevie Rae is still Southern.

Also Zoey has managed to get herself three boyfriends! One is imprinted on her, one reads Shakespeare, and one is her English teacher. You can see why she's having a terrible time choosing between them all.

Okay, possibly I'm being a little harsh on Erik Night. But he barely showed up at all and when he did all he did was read out some monologue from Othello so I don't have a lot to go on here. Besides, Zoey's clearly going to dump him (or be dumped, I'm cheering for the latter because Zoey the Special Boy Attracting Snowflake is getting old) seeing as whenever she's with him she's either rushing away or saying how nice he is (book code for boring and soon to disappear).

Shoot, I'm starting to pick up Zoey's annoying brackets habit. :/ Umm, plot picked up considerably; I wasn't bored with this one. Aphrodite is displaying the fact that she is Much More Awesome than Zoey to which I say rock on. I always liked you. Mostly in reflex to Zoey's constant refrain of insults towards you but clearly my instincts were spot on.

Final Rating: 3.5/5
themadpoker: (Default)
Here is a story. Once upon a time, a little lj blogger named themadpoker decided she wanted to explore some of this romance business she'd always heard so much about. She thought over what she would do very carefully and visited the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books website. Per their recommendations she picked up Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels.

Then she ignored it for a few weeks because it was a romance novel and she had the entire first season of Heroes to watch. Priorities, people.

Eventually one night, she decided to read the prologue. As a bit of a bedtime story.

And kept going. Much like the Energizer Bunny; she just couldn't STOP )

All of this and the romantic pet names. Of course I love this book.

"I love these pet names," she said, gazing soulfully up into his eyes. "Nitwit. Sapskull. Termagant. How they make my heart flutter!"
themadpoker: (Default)
Oh City of Glass. First you sucked and then Alec and Magnus Bane had a scene together and suddenly you started getting better. Coincidence? I think NOT.

Which begs the question, WHY did I not get more Alec? Or more Magnus Bane? Or more both? Because while Clary did manage to redeem herself towards the end of the book (why were you so boring initially Clary? Why?) and I transitioned from 'eww Jace, what a lame Edward-like individual' to 'what did you DO Jace, how is it possible that I like you now?' Alec and Magnus still managed to be about a hundred times more awesome in the grand total of three scenes they had together. Sorry.

Cut because just because I think it doesn't count as a spoiler if you can see it from a hundred pages away doesn't mean everyone thinks so. )

The whole book is kind of insanely predictable but after the first 200 pages that becomes less annoying (For real guys. The magic of Magnus and Alec: making literary flaws less irritating since 2007!). I kept reading unsurprised but still wanting to keep going. If you're willing to wait that long for it to get actually interesting it's a decent read. About a B overall.
themadpoker: (library)
So most of my personal reading stays very firmly in genre. If you go through all the books in my room (and there is a truly disturbing number of books in my room; even I at times am forced to acknowledge this) they will all be fantasy, YA, sci-fi or some combination of the three. I have tried mainstream literature and have generally found it not to be for me. I make an exception for the book I am reading right now: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon which I am pleased and slightly surprised to find myself loving wholeheartedly.

I mostly picked it up because I heard it talks about comics in a way that isn't all 'oh comic books, why are the kids degrading their minds with THAT' and it does but it's even better with that because it kind of writes itself like a comic book? I'm not sure how to explain it except that the central characters clearly fall into the role of hero and sidekick and there's the presence of comicesque adventures and plot. But it does this without ever losing it's grip on reality and it acknowledges it and I think it's absolutely wonderful in a way I'm not even sure how to express.

One of the things I wanted to comment on was the way he wrote Sammy Clay. Because the book started off with him but Joe ended up taking over the story and it made me kind of :/ for awhile until I realized about halfway through the novel that he was making Sammy into a sidekick. And it was from that point I really started to get the way the book didn't just write about comics -- and how much did I LOVE the sections where it introduced the comic book characters stories, seriously. The Luna Moth and Escapist chapters are still some of my favourite out of the book; I would read their comics if they actually existed -- it also wrote LIKE a comic. And later when one of Sammy's friends comment about his obsession with sidekicks I just kind of went '!!!! Validated reading, sweet!'

I think I loved Sammy more than I did Joe throughout the book. Not that I disliked him because I liked him alot really and I loved his relationship with Rosa Parks but even when I was reading him it was very clear he was talented and charming in a hero kind of way and well it's sort of like Smallville. Clark is fun to watch but I am so very much more interested in the other, less clearly designated 'main character' figures.

Also Tracy Bacon! Okay, I'm not going to even talk about their relationship, just have this awesome beautiful line from Chabon instead.

They lay there for a few seconds, in the dark, in the future, with Sammy's sore fingertips in Tracy Bacon's mouth, listening to the fabulous clockwork of their hearts and lungs, and loving each other.


I stopped reading so I could write that down in my journal, I want to remember the phrase 'fabulous clockwork of their hearts and lungs' forever because it's gorgeous.

Okay now, further thoughts upon finishing the book!

I love everybody in this book. If any other character did what Joe did I would hate him -- staying away from Sammy, Rosa, and Tommy for 12 years. 12 years! - but I can't because he's Joe and I love him a ridiculous crazy amount.

A man in love at twenty feels more alive than he ever will again - finding himself in posession of this buried treasure, Joe saw more clearly than ever that for the past dozen years or so, he had been, more or less, a dead man. His daily fried egg and pork chop, his collection of false beards and mustaches, the hasty spongebaths by the sink in the closet, those regular, unquestioned features of his recent existence, now seemed the behaviour of a shadow, the impressions left by a strange novel read under the influence of a high fever.


I could just see that so clearly and it made me pause for a second to just bury my face in my hands and be sad. Chabon is so good at hitting you quietly, all the little things have strong emotional impact.

And he had this brilliant theme running throughout the book where he was just basically like 'yes comic books are escapist. So what? That's the POINT of art, to be escapist'.

Better yet, I will quote him:

The shaping of a golem, to him, was a gesture of hope, offered against hope, in a time of desperation. It was the expression of yearning that a few magic words and an artful hand might produce something — one poor, dumb, powerful thing — exempt from the crushing strictures, from the ills, cruelties, and inevitable failures of the greater Creation. It was the voicing of a vain wish, when you got down to it, to escape...

The newspaper articles that Joe had read about the upcoming Senate investigation into comic books always cited "escapism" among the litany of injurious consequences of their reading, and dwelled on the pernicious effect, on young minds, of satisfying the desire to escape. As if there could be any more noble or necessary service in life.


<333333

And let's go back to Sammy again for a second. At the end of book he leaves and my inital reaction was one of 'No! Don't leave Joe and Rosa! They love you, stay!' But then I thought about it and I thought about how Sammy hadn't been happy for TEN YEARS and I was like 'okay, okay leave. Find your own hero quest. Go and may horrible people never inflict themselves upon you again' (Speaking of which the scene where the policemen come to arrest him and Bacon, and the rest of his friends had me nearly crying. I was so angry at them and hurt for Sammy and when he left Tracy Bacon afterwards I UNDERSTOOD why he did it while simultaneously going ';_;' And oh my God, the Senate commission. I actually sat there at and swore at them after I read that scene. You know you're too emotionally invested when fictional cruelties have you resorting to unmentionable language).

In conclusion: READ The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. It is heartbreaking and beautiful and hopeful and has comics. Do it for the good of your HEART.
themadpoker: (Default)
Once in awhile I think to myself 'Zeineb, you spend an awful lot of time going on livejournal and posting any old thing that pops into your head. I am sure your friends can not be all that interested in your various headaches, volunteer, and bus adventures. Let us be frank, you are not all that interested in your various headaches, volunteer, and bus adventures. Don't you think the courteous thing to do would be to post something of substance and interest to others? The talented individuals on your f-list do so, you could at least make an attempt.'

Seeing as my only talent is reading voraciously my only possibly reply to such thoughts is a book review.

I looked up from the journal, glanced out the kitchen window, and thought about Hannah's first garden. A rectangle of ordinary flowers and vegetables. It had been a tamed thing once, not like the wild, circular garden it was now. )

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