Monday, January 30, 2012

Reviews vs. Reactions

If I were to ask, "What is a review?," how would you answer?
Well, Meggie, I have a question for you: If books are subjective, what are book-reviews? 
Also subjective...or objective?
For me, as a blogger, when I write a review, I feel like I'm giving a slightly-glorified opinion. 
I have no intention of being scholarly, or academic, or unbiased, or objective, and I hope I haven't given off that impression. I don't write for PW, or SLJ, or any other professional company or organization. Because of this, I don't feel the need to make my reviews sound professional. Coherent? Yes. Respectful? Yes - hopefully. Persuasive? ...maybe :) But "Imagination in Focus," my blog, is the little corner of the universe where I can post about my reading experiences. That's it. And I hope that what I write is meaningful to you all and may prompt you to either pick up the book I've reviewed, or not. But I don't blog in order to persuade you, or get you to feel the same way.
For me, fun-reading is not an objective experience, because I feel like literature, as an art form, is a very subjective thing. It's all about interpretations and feelings. And I don't know about you, but when I read professional reviews, I find that the reviewer writes as if making statements of fact, or declarations, or other telling-sentences. And that's what I would expect from a paid professional. That's certainly how I'd write, if I were in that position.
But here, when I write a review for a book, I'm basically telling you how the book made me feel, as well as the various reactions. I guess, then, that instead of saying "Review - Legend" maybe I ought to say "Reaction - Legend."
So here's the breakdown of my review/reactions:
How I, as a reader, reacted to
 - the overall plot: Was it exciting? Was it dull? Did it drag in the middle? Sometimes I'm so busy telling you how I reacted to the plot, that I forget to describe the plot for you. Oh, bother.
- the main character(s): This is what I would call the most subjective aspect of reading. It all boils down to the characters, and whether or not the reader likes the protagonist. For me, if I don't like the main character, I might as well stop reading. But the kind of character I like may not be the one you like. Characters like Jace Wayland, Noah Shaw, Prince Ash, Finnikin, and the like drive me absolutely batcrap crazy. On the other hand, these may be the kind of characters you love. It all depends. 
As far as characters are concerned, I'm old-school. I like my heroes to be heroic. Did I say perfect? Absolutely not - que aburrido! But there are some flaws I don't like to see in a hero
And usually I like the conflict in a novel to be plot-induced, rather than coming from the characters' actions or behaviors. I try and stay away from "angst," as well. But that's just me.
 - the love story/romance angle - let's face it: nearly all YA books (paranormal, dystopian, or fantasy) have some sort of romance angle. Usually I mention something about this - whether or not I found it believable, or appropriate (given the characters' ages and backgrounds), or sweet, or maddening, etc.
- the writing style - here is another example of subjectivity: how I react to the style of writing. Sometimes I like the flowery, descriptive-prone writing style; sometimes I like the writing style to give me the scoop and get on with it. It all has to do with the story, for me. I've been bored to tears by books that are what I would call overly descriptive, and I've been unable to wrap my head around what's going on in a story because of not enough descriptions. 
What I [usually] avoid:
 - Summarizing the plot. Most of the time, I post the Goodreads summary of a book before I delve into the "review." I usually don't summarize the story in my review. I assume that if you're reading the book, you have either read the summary I've pasted at the top, or otherwise have a basic knowledge of the story. I assume that if you want to know more about the book, you'll follow the link to Goodreads. Maybe I ought to do a better job of summarizing the book in the review. Not sure.
So the bottom line is: 
When I post a book review, I'm basically talking about how the book made me feel, and how I reacted to it. I'm realizing that this may not the most informative way to review, but to be honest, I used to try and structure my reviews to be informative, and those were the book reviews you could stretch around a 1-mile track. Just because of who I am, where I come from, and what I do for a living, I do try to mention content in the novels I read, or provide links to sites that do a more appropriate job of gauging content in books - just so that the information is there for those who are curious.
But when I review a book...I'm posting my reading reactions. My opinions. They have as much or as little value as you allow. As for me, I like reading about other people's opinions of books, especially those of like-minded readers, because they also help me to know which books to check out and which to avoid. I can't tell you the last time I actually read a professional review from PW, SLJ, or...some of the bigger blog/websites who fancy themselves professionals...Que aburrido! 
But readers' reactions and opinions, especially the quirky, humor-prone or short-n-sweet ones? The matter-of-fact and detailed ones? Oh, I could type all night about those! 

So what's your review style? What do you seem to talk about the most in your reviews?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Mailbox [1]

This week I have two new books to show off! Can't believe it's going to be a whole week since ALA Midwinter - time sure flies! 
While I don't have 70 new books to show off, I do have two pretty awesome ones that I'm excited to add to my shelves:

For Review
Above World - Jenn Reese 
^ special thanks to Jenn Reese & Candlewick! 

Look at this! LOOK! It's the complete Lord of the Rings trilogy in one super-volume! Just how Tolkien would've wanted it. He always intended for the story to be one  [massive] volume, so I just had to add this to my collection (plus it was cheaper than buying each of the three books separately). And it even has a concordance in the back! I don't think I've seen any book, apart from the Bible, that has a concordance. That is LEGIT.
So what did you all get this week?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to stop #143 on the Young Adult Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer, and Down the Rabbit Hole.

Up for grabs this time is an ARC of Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Just fill out the form to enter. While I always appreciate followers, you do not have to follow the blog to enter. But is nice :)

And while you're at it, check out some more giveaways!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A True and Honest Confession...

...that has nothing to do with blogging. Or reading, really.

Sometimes it feels like pursuing the dream of being a published author feels like lassoing the clouds...

I've mentioned, over the years, that I'm an aspiring author. In that regard, I'm one of many such blogger-aspiring authors. We read, and many of us also write. And though I'm slowly crawling out of a reading/blogging slump that encompassed most of 2011, one of the benefits of not reading as much as getting to work on some of my manuscripts. The ones I'm talking about are a dystopian story and a high-fantasy story.
I've wanted to be a writer ever since I discovered the works of Lloyd Alexander and Brian Jacques back in elementary school. In addition to loving the characters from those worlds, I was inspired to create my own, to populate my own worlds. And over the years I've tried to suppress my desire to tell stories, mostly because the world of publishing is such a hard (and often devastating) industry to break into. I still can't stop.
But lately...I don't know, I'm just feeling more and more unsure of my chances. I feel like I'm allowing myself to be beat before I even enter the ring.
I try very hard to stay away from author blogs and author websites. That may sound like a weird thing for an avid reader and aspiring writer to say, but when authors talk about how long it took them to find an agent, or how long they had to wait until their story was published, or how many rejection letters they freaks me out. It makes me think, "gah, should I even bother?"

But I've (accidentally) found two author posts that really forced me to look in the mirror. One of them is here. The author makes a vague reference to manuscripts she originally wrote that never ended up being published. And that makes me of the stories I'm working on right now - my fantasy - will it, too, never see the light of day?
I understand that not every manuscript is publishable. I understand that a lot of manuscripts are little more than springboards that will lead to newer, better, stronger manuscripts, and those will be the ones to try and get published. And I know that I may sound arrogant or ridiculously wishful, but I cannot bear to think that my fantasy may never see the light of day.
I'm writing this one so slowly, so deliberately. Sometimes I'll leave it alone and not touch it for weeks because I can't give it the attention it deserves (see, I'm not able to sit at home and write and the bills to magically pay themselves. I actually work during the day). But this story feels right. It feels like it needs to be in print. But, because it's one of the few manuscripts that I'm close to actually completing, does that mean it will be doomed to never reach publication? Is it to be little more than a springboard? And will I be the only person to ever know it exists?

There are days, like today, when I feel like, "why should I even bother working on this anymore? I'm probably going to be the only one who will love it." When it comes to my fantasy, there are so many conflicting feelings I have over it that I have to keep myself from going off-topic.
So while I'm glad that it looks like I'm out of my reading/blogging slump, I fear that I'm descending into a writing slump as well. All these author posts talking about how they had to rough it and tough it out and take rejection are probably intended to inspire, but for me, they're like sucker punches. I don't know what to feel about my writing future at this point, and that's unnerving.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book review: LEGEND

Legend (Legend, #1) - Marie Lu
Genre: YA dystopian
Publisher: Penguin
Source: ARC from BEA '11
Legend @ Parental Book Reviews
Recommended for: all ages

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the si
nister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

The NUMBER ONE thing about dystopian novels, for me, is believability. It's the reason I loved Divergent and the reason I'm nixing Wither and Delirium, based on other trusted reviews. I have to believe that this future is plausible. And not in some slight, "absolute power corrupts absolutely!"-kind of way. Simp
ly put, Marie Lu created a futuristic scenario that seemed believable. Dystopians, though, don't always have to sell me something, and actually, I prefer it if they don't, or make me feel like I'm listening in on a lecture. So maybe it wasn't a symbolic criticism of communist totalitarianism, a la Brave New World, maybe it wasn't an attack on the education system's literacy issues like in Fahrenheit 451, and it wasn't...whatever The Giver was supposed to be. BUT...I can imagine a world like the one presented here, and what's more, I could watch the characters interact, run, fight, and learn with them as they unravel a network of secrets. This was my kind of novel.
And while Legend is one of a handful of dystopians centering aro
und a militaristic society, it was one I could believe. I loved Marie Lu's futuristic Los Angeles - perfectly gritty and captivating at the same time.

Know what else was believable about Legend? The characters. Marie Lu did a fabulous job alternating narratives between Day, the Republic's most wanted criminal, and June, a young military prodigy. Usually I like either a 3rd person narrative, or just one narrator in first-person format. Here, though, it worked fabulously. Both characters were interesting at BOTH times. And I liked how June was portrayed, in a way, like a product of the system, manipulated for so long. Yeah, she sits by while some seriously disturbing things happen around her, but what's more believable - immediately questioning the society you were brought up in and turning against it, or having to learn the truth the hard way?
Won't say that much on Day - I liked him, and I especially like the way Marie chose to portray him. He had spunk and a bit of an attitude, but he never crossed the line into 'bad boy land.' Thus, he was a character I could care about, root for, and follow.
I have to give a quick mention to the villains of Legend. Commander Jameson reminded me a great deal of Dr. Cable from Uglies. Such an evil you-know-what, but dynamic, nonetheless.
Unlike a lot of other readers, I don't require a lot ou
t of villains. I'm comfortable with them being evil-without-a-reason. I don't need to psych all the characters I read. They just need to keep my interest. Commander Jameson, while assuredly evil, was also dynamic and captivating. That's all I need in a good villain.

Legend, right at 300 pages, isn't a particularly long novel, but that's okay! One thing I like about Marie's writing style is her ability to say what needs to be said, quickly, and move on. Hey, not every novel needs to be Divergent-length. Just because it's short doesn't make it any less captivating, or any less skimpy on the details. Everything you need to know is answered, in some way, in the novel. Other things will probably be unearthed mor
e in the sequel, which I cannot wait to have!

So if you consider yourself, AT ALL, to be a fan of dystopian, and if you're like me and getting tired of novels that are ROMANCE-first, dystopian-second, definitely check out Legend!

Ahh, it feels so good to give out a 5-star rating again!

Legend @ Amazon
Marie Lu's website

US vs. UK/Aus cover. Which do you prefer?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In My...Suitcase!

Just got back from ALA Midwinter!

Recap will be posted later, but here are the books :)

Here was the whole stack...about 70 books, way more than at BEA!
By far, my favorite publishers were Candlewick, Harcourt, and Macmillan. Their representatives were so friendly and knowledgeable. It was absolutely great to talk to them.

The Storm Makers - Jennifer E. Smith
Three Times Lucky - Sheila Turnage
When the Sea is Rising Red - Cat Hellison
Everneath - Brodi Ashton
Seraphina - Rachel Hartman
The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind - Meg Medina
Lucky Fools - Coert Voorhees
Long Lankin - Lindsey Barraclough
When You were Mine - Rebecca Serle
BZRK - Michael Grant
The Drowned Cities - Paolo Bacigalupi
Froi of the Exiles - Melina Marchetta

Sweet Evil - Wendy Higgins
For Darkness Shows the Stars - Diana Peterfreund
The Demon Catchers of Milan - Kat Beyer
Arise - Tara Hudson
Partials - Dan Wells
Struck - Jennifer Bosworth
Renegade Magic - Stephanie Burgis
After the Snow - S.D. Crockett
Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo
Fracture - Megan Miranda
Switched - Amanda Hocking
Of Poseidon - Anna Banks
The Faerie Ring (hardcover) - Kiki Hamilton
Cinder - Marissa Meyer

Once - Anna Carey
Seeds of Rebellion (Beyonders, #2) - Brandon Mull
Every Other Day - Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Gilt - Katherine Longshore
Chronicles of Egg: Deadwater and Sunrise - Geoff Rodkey
Insignia - S.J. Kincaid
Belles - Jen Calonita
The Catastrophic History of You and Me - Jess Rothenberg
Waking Storms - Sarah Porter
Dust Girl - Sarah Zettel
The Book of Blood and Shadow - Robin Wasserman
The Hunt - Andrew Fukuda
Down the Mysterly River - Bill Willingham

Enchanted - Alethea Kontis
Wonder Show - Hannah Barnaby
The False Prince - Jennifer Nielsen
Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers
Illuminate - Aimee Agresti
The Springsweet - Saundra Mitchell
Prairie Evers - Ellen Airgood
Monument 14 - Emmy Laybourne
Ripper - Amy Carol Reeves
The Story of Us - Deb Caletti
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone - Kat Rosenfield
The Difference Between You and Me - Madeleine George
Losers in Space - John Barnes
The Gathering Storm - Robin Bridges
The Deserter - Peadar O Guilin

Kiss, Crush, Collide - Christina Meredith
Fear (Gone, #5) - Michael Grant
Pretty Crooked - Elisa Ludwig
Arcadia Awakens - Kai Meyer
A Confusion of Princes - Garth Nix
The Calling (Darkness Rising, #2) - Kelley Armstrong
Until I Die - Amy Plum
Faery Tales and Nightmares - Melissa Marr
The Sweetest Spell - Suzanne Selfors
Hemlock - Katherine Peacock
Such Wicked Intent (His Dark Endeavor, #2) - Kenneth Oppel
Storyhound -
Bitterblue (Seven Kingdoms, #3) - Kristin Cashore


In addition to nabbing great books, I also got to meet some great bloggers and Goodreaders as well! I had a great time with Lena from Addicted 2 Novels, Sasha from Sasha & Em: A Tale of Two Bookies, Michelle from Windowpane Memoirs, Jess from Gone with the Words, and lots of others :D But I spent the most amount of time with the lovely Christie at The Fiction Enthusiast, whom I've "known" on the blog circuit for a few years now, and my buddy Lyndsey from Strangemore (and Goodreads!) It was a BLAST.
BLOGGERS AND GOODREADERS: If you live anywhere near Anaheim, CA or Seattle, WA, you have *got* to make plans to attend the next ALA events! Annual will be held in the summer in Anaheim, and the next Midwinter meeting will be in Seattle. These are incredible events for all kinds of book lovers - librarians, bloggers, or readers. I saw several groups of kids affiliated with schools who were going around the exhibit hall as well. To me at least, ALA Midwinter was a much less hectic, more organized event. I highly recommend attending the next conferences if you live in the vicinity. And of course, there's always BEA '12 in NYC!!! So I'll see you all in New York!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

gone to ALA Midwinter!

From Friday-Sunday, I'll be attending ALA's Midwinter Conference "deep in the heart" in Dallas, Texas.
Will resume regular blogging next week!
(And I'll actually be able to do a Mailbox post!)

I'll be tweeting about books, authors, and such here:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Top 10 Maggie Moments from "Downton Abbey"!

Has anybody else caught the Downton fever?I love all of the characters in the huge ensemble cast of "Downton Abbey," but for me, Dame Maggie Smith steals the show each week. Almost makes me forget about a certain Minerva McGonagall...almost (:

So here are the Top 10 Maggie moments from season 1 of "Downton Abbey"

Seriously, who needs Betty White when you've got freaking Maggie Smith?

So put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

weekly HOBBIT video #3

Here is the third production video/making-of documentary, originally uploaded by the production team of THE HOBBIT!

Monday, January 9, 2012


The Faerie Ring - Kiki Hamilton
Genre: Young Adult historical fantasy
# of pages: 363 (ARC)
Publisher: Tor Teen (Macmillan)
The Faerie Ring @ Parental Book Reviews
Recommended for: All Ages

In an effort to crack down on in depth-but-rambling reviews, I'm going to structure this by pros & cons

Premise: The Faerie Ring has a lot of positive qualities. For one thing, Tor Teen knows how to write a synopsis that draws in a reader: "Prince, pauper, thief...all must work together to secure the treaty..." As soon as I read this last sentence, I was hooked. I had to get my hands on this book. And the premise was very interesting. I'm sure we've all read faerie books before, but I can't name another one off the top of my head that takes place in Victorian London and attempts to create a shaky relationship between the British crown and the faerie courts. I would say that the story's setup was rather original (no modern-day teenage girl finding out she's a faerie princess, in other words). In fact, the whole setup was very promising and I was resolved, no matter what, to see this story through to the end. More on this later.

Readability: In addition to a genuinely interesting plot, The Faerie Ring has what I'd call a good readability factor. It's the kind of book that I can easily recommend to a wide variety of readers: middle school and high school alike, as well as adults. For me, that is a huge deal and a big plus in this novel's favor. I like books with zero content, and not because I'm a rigid prude or anything like that, but it is always good to have books that I can easily recommend. And it's not just a content issue: The Faerie Ring had enough action and suspense and very little romance that I think boys and action/adventure-preferring girls will be able to enjoy this novel as well

Plot issues: The more I delved in to this, the more convoluted and "messy" the plot became. About 100 pages from the end, I had no idea who had this dadgum ring that everybody's chasing around, and I didn't really care, either. I just wanted it to end.
That's rarely a good thing for a reader to say: "I just wanted it all to be over." And yet that's how I felt. It's hard to describe without going into spoilery details, but it seemed like the characters - heroine Tiki in particular - just started taking 1 chapter to do something that she could've done in 1 page's worth of time.

Believability: But the main thing about the plot had to do with believability. I just couldn't totally climb on board with a lot of things that happened in this novel because they seemed so far-fetched.
Tiki is a barrister's daughter who knows how to read (at a high reading level, I might add) and dance and is skilled in etiquette, yet through totally random circumstances she finds herself a street urchin pick-pocketing with a family of other orphans to make ends meet. I never felt enough desperation for her circumstances. They always made stole just enough money, had just enough food...they seemed like a very functional family. I argue that among street urchins in Victorian London, 'functional' might not be desired result. At one point, the orphans find a dress so that Tiki can 'go undercover' (for lack of a better phrase) at a royal ball held at Buckingham Palace. With a bath, a cute hairdo, and a dress that's been hemmed just right, Tiki manages to fool everybody (including two princes) into thinking she's part of the landed gentry. Um, really...?
So much of this 300+ page novel just seemed like a stretch to believe. Everything was a little too easy, a little too convenient.
And while I wasn't moved by the love story element, there wasn't really wrong with it, either. Same old scenario: girl holds the guy at arms length and basically acts crabby until 2/3 of the way in, then decides she's in love and has been all along! Okay, I guess. It's better than having a content issue.

But that's me. I've lost count of how many books I've read since August 2008 when all this started. I feel like I've read it all before, and as a result, it takes way more to make an impression on me. So would I recommend The Faerie Ring?
Absolutely. There's nothing particularly wrong with it - it just didn't hold my attention.
But I'm older, I'm pickier, and I'm just ADD-enough that unless there genuinely well-written dialogue, or a fight scene involving a sword, or SWEET romance (not inappropriate and not clean-but-crabby) or talking mice...I get distracted.

Although The Faerie Ring didn't end up holding my attention for a number of reasons, I'm almost positive that you won't be as picky or easily-distracted as I am, so give it a go. It's a quick read that is fairly original and good enough for all 11+ages.

Book Quote of the Week!

Book Quote of the Week

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."

From: The Four Loves
C.S. Lewis
Adult nonfiction (apologetics)

Friday, January 6, 2012

2 weeks till ALA Midwinter!

It's just 2 short weeks till ALA Midwinter in Dallas, TX!

I am so stoked that a major literary event will be taking place only a few hours from where I live! Most major book events, it seems, are either in Houston or Austin, so I'm glad Dallas got to have the spotlight, too. Way to go, METROPLEX! (Now about those Mavs...)

Because this will be my first time at an ALA event, I'm not entirely sure what to expect. I know they have an exhibit hall like at BEA, but I also understand that there are way more conferences. One of my friends who attended last year said that ALA is (because of the name) more of a librarian-oriented event (which will be really cool because I'm now training to be a librarian!) rather than a blogger-heavy event like BEA, and if so, then that's just swell (BEA got to be a wee bit too crowded for my Adrian Monkish personality)...

I know that my good friend Christie from The Fiction Enthusiast will be there, but is there anybody else who will be attending? I'd love to meet you!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Unfinished and Abandoned books [2]

Unfinished/Abandoned books is a semi-regular feature where I attempt to be as brief as I'm able and give mini-reviews for books I haven't technically finished. Sort of like a self-progress-report.

In this case, all of these books are in the 'unfinished' category, because I have every intention of finishing them - someday. I've just had to put these aside and try something different.

The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson
Last page read: 146/370 (ARC)

For about 100 pages, I was completely absorbed. Then something happened and I got tired of the story. Not enough action (for a book about Jack the Ripper, there sure was a lot of talking and sneaking out and general 'teens behaving stupidly' and not a lot of plot progression). I just felt like the whole story was floating in stagnate water. Basically the 'teens behaving stupidly' label covers all of the little points I was going to make about this book. I just don't have the patience or the interest to read about kids who do stupid things, like run around London when there's a serial killer on the loose, or a character who has random make-out encounters with a boy with a bordering-on-disturbing fascination with the Ripper murders. It must be the accent, right? Right. Actually, it's more the completely random 'relationship' factor that made me lose interest. And to be honest, I just got tired of waiting around for something to happen.
Anyway, I still want to know what happens, so I have nothing against attempting to pick it up again and skim.

The Carrier of the Mark - Leigh Fallon
Release: October 4, 2011
Last page read: 109/343 (ARC)

I haven't picked this up since August. I don't know why I had such high expectations for this book, but now that I think about it, I believe they were rather unrealistic expectations. Maybe it's because, in a weird way, I hold foreign authors in higher regard, so I expect more out of their books...?
I actually want to give myself credit for trying. I tried harder to stay interested in Carrier than I think I have ever tried for any other book. You know, I like Meghan. I even like Adam. And I have been yearning (yes, *yearning*) for a decent book about elemental forces like air, wind, fire, and water. This seemed like such a winner. But Carrier ended up being a little too 'stereotypical YA' for my taste. And while Meghan isn't an idiot in the obvious way that Rory is in The Name of the Star, she didn't really say 'unique' to me. And I'm one of those pesky readers who is not impressed when characters are 'mysteriously drawn to' the love interest. See, I was the girl who - in my sociology & family studies class - wrote my essay about why Renee Zellweger's character from Jerry Maguire was a codependent mess for that whole 'I love him for the man he almost is' declaration.
So I'm coming out and identifying myself as someone who is NOT impressed by high physical-attraction/inexplicable romances. I want my characters to be fully aware of why they are attracted to the love interest. Girls who are 'inexplicably drawn to' the love interest do not impress me, and neither do romances where the characters spend 80% or more of their time together smooching. Not impressive, either. Were there other meritorious parts to this novel? Definitely. I do want to make it clear that there appears to be more to Carrier of the Mark than a rather formulaic, emotion-based romance. But it got a little hard to me to see the other stuff because I was so distracted by the romance angle.
So basically, Carrier just felt like the kind of novel I've read so many times before.
Does that mean I hated it? No, actually. I still think Carrier is alright, and I think that when the summer rolls around and I have more time at my disposal, I'll pick this up again and finish. I still think Leigh Fallon (and her accent) are grand!
But it was a little slow and familiar.

Weekly HOBBIT video #2

Here is the second production video/making-of documentary originally uploaded by the production team of THE HOBBIT!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Quote of the week is BACK!

For 2012, I'm going to begin resurrecting my 'Quote of the Week' feature that I started way back in 2010. Only this time, the quotes are all going to come from novels (as opposed to random-but-inspiring quotes)

Book Quote of the Week

"It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities"

From: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J.K. Rowling
Young Adult Fantasy

What better way to usher in the new year than with some words of wisdom from good ol' Dumbledore?
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