Tag: book reviews

Monday Musings

June 18, 2012 Monday Musings 2

This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following:

“I read an article, this past week, about book covers, and the difference between print & digital covers; about how the digital covers have almost disappeared entirely, while publishers decide to just skip right to the content. What do you think about this? Do you think the book cover is “dead”? Do you care whether the “covers” on digital books exist or not?If you have the time, read the article and then share your thoughts! :D

While it would definitely bother me if the book cover was truly dead, it’s not just because I love book covers – it’s because the death of the book cover would correspond to the death of physical books.  There’s just something a physical book has that a digital book doesn’t, from the feel of the book in your hands to the distinctive smell of both old and new books.  As long as physical books are still in use, I don’t really care if digital books include the cover art.  It’s more fun when they do, but at the point I’m buying an electronic book, I’m connected to the internet and I’ve looked at the cover while deciding whether to get the book.  So if the electronic book itself doesn’t include the cover art, I still haven’t missed out.

What are your thoughts?  Does it bother you when digital books leave out the cover art?


Summer Reading Club and The Eyre Affair

June 17, 2012 Uncategorized 4

Title: The Eyre Affair
Author: Jasper Fforde
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary:  There aren’t many books out there which remind me of Catch-22 or Douglas Adam’s novels, but this is one of them and it’s hilarious.  Witty, fun, a great plot, and a happy ending – I loved it.

In The Eyre Affair, in an alternate reality London, Thursday Next works for a special operatives group devoted to literary crimes.  Theft, forgery, and violence related to great literary works is becoming more common in a world including a cult devoted to proving Francis Bacon wrote the works of Shakespeare and kids playing collectible card games based on obscure authors. And things are only going to get more exciting as the evil-for-evil’s-sake Acheron Hades begins kidnapping fictional characters from original works, threatening to re-write the classics if Thursday doesn’t stop him. Read more »


The Measure of All Things in the 526’s

June 14, 2012 History, non-fiction 0

Title: The Measure of All Things: The Seven Year Odyssey and the Hidden Error that Transformed the World
Author: Ken Alder
Source: library
Fun Fact:  Prior to adoption of the metric system, over 250,000 different units of measurement were being used in France alone.
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: The book started out really well, making a potentially boring topic feel exciting but by the end there was too much tangential information included and the plot started to drag.

In The Measure of All Things, Ken Alder describes the surprisingly difficult and adventurous process by which the length of the meter was determined.  Savants or learned men of France decided that the best way to develop a universal standard of measurement was to base that measurement on the natural world.  They selected one ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the north pole and tasked two savants with leading expeditions to measure part of that distance using triangulation (the rest of the distance would then be estimated based on their results).  Their journey started while the French revolution was taking place and over the seven years of their travels they faced challenges including civil war, wars with other countries, mountainous terrain, and malaria. Read more »


Monday Musings

June 11, 2012 Monday Musings 0

This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following: What is the longest book you have ever read? How long did it take you to read it?

As soon as I read this question, I knew the answer had to be one of the Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan, which started out around 600 pages and crept up toward the 1000 page mark as the series progressed.  It turns out that the longest one so far and the longest book I’ve ever read is Lord of Chaos, the sixth book in the series, which weighs in at 1011 pages!  Back in the day, by which I mean during summers in high school, I could get through it in two or three days of solid reading.  Now, without such convenient breaks from life, it’s likely to take me 1-2 weeks.

What is your longest read so far and how long did it take you?


The Pluto Debate in Mini-Reviews

June 8, 2012 non-fiction, Science 0

First, a quick reminder: the Dead Beautiful giveaway is still going on, from now until Sunday night, so be sure to head over to my new giveaway blog to register!  And now, on to the reviews…

Title: The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference 
Author: Alan Boyle
Source: library
Fun Fact:  Pluto is so tilted on its’ axis that sometimes the sun would rise in the south and set in the north for someone standing on Pluto.
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: More in depth look at the history of Pluto than The Pluto Files, with more personal back stories and smoother plot flow, but still presented in a mostly dry and impersonal way.
Read more »


Bookends About Fire

June 2, 2012 Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 5

Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Series: Graceling|Fire (you are here)|Bitterblue
Review Summary: A little too similar to Graceling and not quite as good, but still an enjoyable read.

Although written second, Fire is actually a prequel to Graceling with only one character in common between the two books.  Like GracelingFire is the story of a young woman coming to terms with her own power, in this case the power to control the minds of others.  Known as “monsters” people with such powers are feared more than respected and Fire (our protagonist) has to decide whether she is willing to use her powers to help prevent the overthrow of the king by rebel lords. Read more »


Another Group Read – Hyperion

June 1, 2012 Fiction, Science Fiction 10

Title: Hyperion
Author: Dan Simmons
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: Great, epic sci-fi tale with equally epic imagery.  Lots of world building, which I personally enjoyed, especially in the interesting format of short stories each told from a unique perspectives.

I read Hyperion for the Sword and Laser group on Goodreads and I will definitely be reading with them next month.  This was an awesome pick, some of the best sci-fi world building I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, and the discussions were also some of the best I’ve seen.  The story centers on a group of six pilgrims, making the last trip ever to visit a mysterious and probably malevolent creature known as the Shrike.  They all have a past history with the Shrike and the world on which it lives – Hyperion.  In this book, each pilgrim shares their story, slowly building up a picture of the future they inhabit, from its’ politics to its’ technologies. Read more »


A Group Read Review – Moments of Being

June 1, 2012 Uncategorized 0

Title: Moments of Being
Author: Virginia Woolf
Source: library
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: Amazingly well written, but too much work to read it!

Moments of Being is a collection of five autobiographical essays by Virginia Woolf, not intended for publication.  Editorial decisions interpreting Woolf’s drafts are clearly marked and it appears that few changes were necessary to make the essays feel finished.  The editor’s comments were somewhat dry and literary enough that they required as much effort to read as the essays themselves, but I appreciated knowing the context in which the essays were written.  The editor chose to present the essays in chronological order of their contents, not in the order they were written – a decision which made it much easier to understand the essays. Read more »


Monday Musings

May 28, 2012 Monday Musings 4

This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following: If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

I usually do.  Although I haven’t come across words I don’t know all that often lately, I did just finish Hyperion for a goodreads group read and that had quite a few words I stopped and googled.  And getting into historical non-fiction has caused me to do a lot more googling to learn about time periods and places.

How do you usually deal with unfamiliar words when you’re reading?


Bookends About Bound By Blood

May 27, 2012 Uncategorized 0

Title: Bound By Blood
Author: Leigh Savage, Kain Savage
Source: author giveaway on goodreads
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Review Summary: A collection of short stories with an unacceptable number of typos, underdeveloped and unoriginal plots, and reliance on shock factor to make things creepy which really didn’t do it for me.

This book is a collection of short stories by Leigh Savage and her late father, all about vampires and other creatures which need blood to live.  I won a signed copy on goodreads and had high hopes for the book, until it showed up and I discovered that the excerpts chosen for the bookmarks had typos.  Unfortunately, this was indicative of the quality of the editing throughout the book which was filled with typos as large as having sentences repeated and words missing or inserted. Read more »