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Books 96-110

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Sep. 18th, 2005 | 08:53 pm
mood: fullfull

Whoa, I totally have not been updating this. I finally passed the 100-book mark, but lo, it's looking doubtful that I will make 200 by the end of the year, esp. with school stuff going on and TV season starting back up. Damn it, I'll be lucky to get to 180 like I did last year. Anyhow, here's a big ol' update. 15 books, as opposed to the usual 5.

96.) Title: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice And Fire, Book One)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Marcia's Grade: A. Oh my God, the prologue and first chapter or so are really slow, so I was totally thinking I would be mystified as to why everyone and their mother recommends this series, but then, wow. Wow. Fucking wow! Dark and complex with really interesting characters, this was an awesome book. By the time I finished, I was more excited about a fantasy series than I'd been in years.

97.) Title: Prom
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Marcia's Grade: A-. This book is a major departure for Anderson, after Speak and Catalyst. She retains her wit, but the style and the subject matter are much more light and fluffy. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it. I enjoyed it a ton. It reads very fast, and the tone is kind of like a Joan Bauer book, and (if you've been reading my journal for a while) I love Joan Bauer books. A fairly satisfying read, just not life-changing on any level.

98.) Title: Well-Schooled in Murder
Author: Elizabeth George
Marcia's Grade: B+. Pretty decent Lynley and Havers novel. Not the best I've read so far, but not the worst, either.

99.) Title: Jubana!: The Awkwardly True and Dazzling Adventures of a Jewish Cubana Goddess
Author: Gigi Anders
Marcia's Grade: C. This book annoyed the hell out of me. I had to literally force myself to finish it. The author's Jewish-Cuban-American background is interesting, and this memoir could have been good if the author wasn't so fricking full of herself. By the third or fourth chapter, I wanted to strangle her, and it only got worse. Just because you're writing a memoir doesn't mean you have to spend every other sentence talking about how fabulous and unique you are. Ugh.

100.) Title: A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book Two)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Marcia's Grade: A+. I thought the first book in this series was amazing, but the second one is even better. Things just get more fucked-up and fascinating and even if you don't like fantasy, you should be reading these books. Yes, they're long but you won't mind, because you'll want to savor every single scene. (I went through several other books while I was reading this one, because I didn't want to be done too quickly.)

101.) Title: A Suitable Vengeance
Author: Elizabeth George
Marcia's Grade: A. This is my favorite Elizabeth George book I've read so far. It takes place before the timeline of the Lynley/Havers novels, and focuses on Tommy, Deborah, and Simon. It's got a great mystery and lots of intriguing background on the characters. Definitely worth a read.

102.) Title: Playground: A Childhood Lost Inside the Playboy Mansion
Author: Jennifer Saginor
Marcia's Grade: F. Horrible book. Horrible. I think this might be the first F I've actually given out in my comment reviews, but this book was abysmal. It has a fairly interesting premise, in that it's a memoir of a girl who spent a lot of her childhood in the Playboy mansion because her dad was friends with Hugh Hefner. It's poorly written through out, and every other page the author throws in this pop psychology crap about her relationship with her parents or Playboy's exploitation of women that you know she wasn't thinking at the time. This book is at once exploitative and boring. I hated it.

103.) Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Marcia's Grade: A+. This book is simply delicious. The characters are unique and real, and it's impossible to put down. Perfect, vintage Dessen. God, I love her writing.

104.) Title: Luna
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Marcia's Grade: B. This is an okay young adult book that deals maturely with an interesting (and all too often ignored subject): transgenered teenagers. I'm just not a big fan of the author's style. She uses a lot of awkward and heavy handed flashbacks, and the book is very short. I was left, by the end, wanting both more and less. Just not as great as it could have been.

105.) Title: A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book Three)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Marcia's Grade: A+. The third book in what has quickly become one of my favorite (if not my out and out favorite) fantasy series of all time. This volume is longer, darker, richer, and has some moments that absolutely shocked me, as well as some parts that were very beautiful. Sad, exciting, just a glorious pageant of war, love, lust, and emotion. I have the fourth book (which comes out in November) on pre-order at Amazon.com, and I'm counting the days until it arrives.

106.) Title: The Dark Is Rising (The Dark Is Rising Sequence, Book Two)
Author: Susan Cooper
Marcia's Grade: A+. I cannot express enough love for this book. Seriously. Why didn't I ever read these books when I was a child? This is my favorite children's fantasy in a long time. It's in the same illustrious league as Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books. This is the second book in the series, and it introduces Will Stanton, who is just an awesome hero. He's turning eleven, and he doesn't know it yet, but he's the last of a great race of immortals who fight for the Light. This book is exciting and well written, and much better than the first book in the sequence (which I did enjoy). Honestly, I just could gush about this book for ages.

107.) Title: Greenwitch (The Dark Is Rising Sequence, Book Three)
Author: Susan Cooper
Marcia's Grade: A-. This is a fine book, but it was very disappointing coming on the heels of The Dark Is Rising. Here, Will meets the Drew children from Over Sea, Under Stone. It's a short, quick read, with an interesting view of ancient Cornwellian (sp?) folklore, but for me, there was way too much of the Drew children (who I find somewhat annoying) and way too little of Will. I'm excited for the next book in the series, though, which I just checked out of the library and is winking at me from my To Be Read pile.

108.) Title: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeannette Walls
Marcia's Grade: A+. I was afraid that this book would not live up to my expectations, because I had read so many great reviews for it. I needn't have worried. This is a beautifully written memoir about the author's life with her alcoholic, big-dreaming father and selfish, artistic mother. The parents in this book are neglectful, but Walls manages to convey that they did love their children in their own way, and it's very well-rounded in that it portrays both the suffering her parents caused her and her siblings, as well as the love they offered. The prose is spotless. One of the best memoirs I've read in a while, right up there with Angela's Ashes and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Really can't recommend this enough.

109.) Title: The Historian
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Marcia's Grade: B. An okay read, if somewhat of a disappointment. Unlike The Glass Castle, I don't believe this book held up to all the hype. The dry, Victorian memoir style didn't really appeal to me, and while there were certainly parts of the book where the plot moved quickly and I had a hard time putting it down, there were also long periods where it was incredibly boring. I think the book was too long; Kostova doesn't know how to make a doorstop-length book work the way, say, George R.R. Martin does. There's an enormous amount of pages, but a lot less substance. There were lots of places where I wanted more detail, and I think the ending (especially for such a huge book) was too quick and easily resolved. This would have worked much better divided into two books, or even a trilogy. If you love vampires, read it. If you want to have something to talk about with all your friends who have read it, read it. If you're looking for great literature or edge of your seat adventure, skip it.

110.) Title: A Game of Sunken Places
Author: M.T. Anderson
Marcia's Grade: A-. This is a cute, tongue-in-cheek children's fantasy/adventure book, by one of my favorite snarky authors (try his YA vampire novel, Thirsty for the best laughs). Loads of fun, if a bit too short. I would have liked to see the world and game he created explored in more detail.

Whooo, that's it. So there were some great books in there (the George R.R. Martin books, The Truth About Forever, The Dark Is Rising, and The Glass Castle) as well as some clunkers (Jubana!, ewww, and Playground, quadruple ewwww). I'll try to read faster and update more regularly on my 5-book-an-update schedule in the future. I'll leave you with

What I'm Currently Reading:
Black Ice by Anne Stuart
Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas

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Comments {3}

the amazing kitty witch

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from: tigerkat
date: Sep. 19th, 2005 01:22 am (UTC)
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I really want to read the Cooper series I've heard such good things about and I've just lately been able to really get into fantasy books. Always loved fantasy as a child just had trouble with some of the books.

Also I think I might try the Dessen book. I've wanted to read her books for awhile I just never know which one to start with.

I enjoyed Prom as well. It wasn't life changing and I thought the kids where I work might be able to relate more to the characters in that book.

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maybepinkreads

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from: maybepinkreads
date: Sep. 19th, 2005 01:37 am (UTC)
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The Cooper series is definitely worth a read. I loved fantasy books when I was younger, but I think I might have tried to read these at one point and gotten bogged down in the language. I'm certainly enjoying them now, though.

Yeah, I think Prom is a lot more relatable for many people than Speak or Catalyst. It's not life changing, but it's definitely not without meaning, either. It's got a great cast of characters, and I think there's a lot to be learned from the protagonist, as well, and her decision to dump the loser boyfriend and try college.

You really should read some Dessen! She's one of my favorite YA authors, hands down. The Truth About Forever is probably a good place to start; while it tackles some issues (the author's grief over her father's death), it's not as dark in its subject matter as some of her other novels. I'd recommend introduction to her work, even though it's her latest.

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the amazing kitty witch

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from: tigerkat
date: Sep. 19th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
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The Truth About Forever is the only one we don't have in the library. I swear that we did have it, just it isn't here. LOL

I had problems with fantasy books for awhile because sometimes, like in the Pern books, when things were sooo different than regular Earth it really threw me.

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