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Kasei

Kasei's 2013 Read-a-Blog!

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Why hello there fellow Book Clubbers! I doubt if anyone remembers me, but I used to post here off and on and had a book (b)log (you can peruse it by clicking here if you like) and have been a lurker since 2007.

 

I have returned from an almost two year hiatus due to being busy with life and getting my career figured out (teaching/illustration...the latter still being a work-in-progress, but I'm determined) and I have decided it is time I picked up a few of my old internet haunts again. :)

 

Can't wait to get back into the swing of things around here, I have many fond memories of this place.

 

I mostly will be talking about books I am reading and posting reviews here, and in the interest of time I'm just going to use the same format I did in my old thread....I'm not nearly so hardcore as the rest of you with your pages of titles and blank posts reserved for later. ;)

 

 

That being said....here we go!

 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Currently Reading:

She Who Remembers by Linda Lay Shuler

Cujo by Stephen King

Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes

 

Sitting on the shelf in Que to be Read:

 

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Beowulf

Aesop's Fables by Aesop

 

Would Like to Read but do not currently have in possession:

 

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

London by Edward Rutherfurd

Cretaceous sea: A novel of time travel by Will Hubbel

Ice Hunt by James Rollins

Raptor by Paul Zindel

Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas J. Preston

West of Eden by Harry Harrison

The Land that Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman

Africa by Kim Donaldson

The Red Wyvern by Katherine Kerr

The Rover by Mel Odom

In Search of America by Peter Jennings

Long Night Dance by Betsy James

Eden by Olympia Vernon

The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander

Kushiel’s Dart by Jaquine Carny

The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Silverhair, Longtusk, Icebones by Steven Baxter

King’s Shadow by Elizabeth Alder

Between by Jean Thompson

The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy

Dragon’s Bait by Vivien Vande Velde

Firegold by Dia Calhoun

Pure Dead Magic by Debi Gliordi

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

The Merlin Conspiracy by Dianne Wynne Jones

The Book of the Lion by Michael Cadmum

Deep Dream of the Forrest by Malcom Bosse

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

 

 

 

Have Read since January 2013:

*A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin [revoew]

Battle of Evernight by Cecelia Dart-Thornton [review]

*Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss[review]

The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. LeGuin

Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin

Tehanu by Ursula K. LeGuin

Tales from Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin

The Other Wind by Ursula K. LeGuin

A Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

 

Recommended reads from years past:

 

*Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake [review]

*The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson [review]

*The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman[review]

*Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey

**An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina[/url]

 

 

Key:

* = recommend

X = I didn't care for the book

All unmarked books mean that I enjoyed the read

 

 

My reviews can be interpreted as such:

0: Paperweight

1: Could've done without reading this one, hardly any redeeming qualities

2: A "meh" book--unmemorable/had a lot of problems I couldn't read around

3: Pretty okay. You won't die if you miss it, but not awful.

4: Quite enjoyable, would read again.

5: You absolutely should read this. It reeks of awesome.(you may assume that any title with ** by it gets this rating from me)[/url]

Edited by Kasei

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Hi Kasei, I see that you are also reading a Stephen King novel (I'm reading 'The Stand' at the moment), are you enjoying it? I started reading 'Don Quixote' last year but gave up. I hope you better progress with this book than I did!

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I'm not nearly so hardcore as the rest of you with your pages of titles and blank posts reserved for later. ;)

 

Welcome back, Kasei! I never manage to do any lists, all I managed was to copy and paste the lists of what I read over the last 2 years. My reviews are always very short, and last year I didn't even manage to keep up with those!

 

From the books you mention, I have read Cujo and really enjoyed it, and read Peter Pan as a child but don't remember much about it. I have Dracula on my shelf waiting to be read, too - I meant to read it over New Year (I like a New Year horror/ghost story) but didn't manage it. Maybe it will be my Hallowe'en read instead!

 

Look forward to hearing what you think of your books over the year :)

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The Battle of Evernight

Rating: 3.5/5

Spoilers: I make some references to earlier books in the series

 

This is the third installment in Cecilia Dart-Thornton's Bitterbynde Trilogy...I feel kind of odd reviewing only the last book but since this blog begins in 2013 and technically I finished the other two last year, it will have to be so.

 

In light of this though, here is a brief run-down of the series so you don't feel so detached: The Bitterbynde books are FULL of lore, legend, and myth. If you have ever had a passing interest in the world of fairies (or the fae)then you would love this series. It's set in a world called Erith and everything functions much the same as dark ages-era Earth. There aren't a lot of human magic-weilders, those other than healers who claim to use magic seem very much of the parlor-trick variety and are of little note. The world is instead full of other-wordly creatures known as wights of which there are the seelie and the unseelie--basically harmless and harmful, respectively. Everything from Kelpies to the Pied Piper to Lords and Ladies of the Faerie realm make an appearance in this world.

 

The authoress has basically taken loads of Scottish/Irish folklore and woven them all into a tale that follows a young adult lead who is basically learning everything along with the reader due to not knowing who or what they are. I won't go into detail about why so as not to spoil it for any potential readers, but basically this works really well for the first novel and it is for this reason that I feel the first book is the strongest of the three.

 

 

Okay, now the review of this book:

 

 

My overall response to this third book was pretty mellow. I mean, I was interested in what was going on in this book because of the events of the previous two...but not griping-the-edge-of-my-seat interested. It was basically just more-of-the-same type adventuring and there were no big mysteries left to figure out. Because of this, I basically spent most of the this novel just waiting around to see how everything would wrap up at the end. This made for a very slow read--I actually started this book back in Novemeber, which says a lot of how often I put it down since a YA book like this usually takes a weekend tops for me to get through.

 

I'll give it this, things picked up very suddenly as the book drew to a close and I absolutely did NOT see the ending coming. So much so that I was left feeling slightly dissatisfied at the vagueness as to whether or not what happened actually happened...but now that I think of it, in a way it kind of fit with the whole book-full-of-legends theme. The ending made you feel like you had just heard a story about the Fairy realm and, just like all other fireside legends, it was left up to you to decide if it were real or not. So I kind of liked that in hindsight.

 

I think the series as a whole is worth a read if you are a Young Adult Fantasy fan or interested in folklore of the Celtic variety, especially that which involves the fae. I had never been very knowledgeable about such things but after reading the first book I could definitely understand the fascination with them and actually felt like I could relate with people who believe in such things. This coming from someone who has always felt the idea of faeries was incredibly dim-witted and pansy-ish, I understand the alien/otherworldly quality of the lore now, so the authoress definitely did a good job with her research.

 

I suppose the main problem I have with the trilogy is that what I initially found so compelling about the main character was taken away about halfway through the first book and it suddenly became a much more stereotypical fantasy tale for me. I think the series would've been so much more interesting had it carried over more themes from the original first half--there was some really great potential for analysis of the psychological effects of society and gender on a person...but it soon fell to the more common romantic adventure themes often associated with these types of books and left everything else by the wayside.

 

In short, I'd like to be able to give this book a 4, but it lost so much of what was compelling about the lead character by the time it got to the third book that I honestly felt everything that happened in this third book probably could've been fit into the second one. Not that the plot wasn't interesting, just not enough to turn that half star into a full.

Edited by Kasei

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Thanks you guys for the welcome. :D It feels nice to be greeted here after so long, I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by. :)

 

Hi Kasei, I see that you are also reading a Stephen King novel (I'm reading 'The Stand' at the moment), are you enjoying it? I started reading 'Don Quixote' last year but gave up. I hope you better progress with this book than I did!

 

I have only read about the first chapter of Don Quixote and I don't recall minding it very much, but to be honest I've been distracted by other books lately an haven't picked up my Kindle in a while (Which is where Don Quixote resides). The only Steven King novel I've ever read was The Green Mile, and it is SO different from Cujo! I only picked up Cujo because a friend was getting rid of it and it was one of those books I'd always heard of but never read, so I figured I'd give it a shot. :) I'm about halfway through it and so far it's been about what I expected. Hoping for some surprises to come.

 

 

 

Welcome back, Kasei! I never manage to do any lists, all I managed was to copy and paste the lists of what I read over the last 2 years. My reviews are always very short, and last year I didn't even manage to keep up with those!

 

Oh man, my reviews can get so long winded! xD I always somehow seem to find time that I don't have to write them. I guess I like to pretend that people actually read all that stuff, haha. Though honestly I treat reviews as more of a book-journal than anything. I like to look back on them and recapture my immediate thoughts and reactions to books, it helps me remember the events of the story with more clarity, which is fun for me. I guess because I'm a book nerd like the rest of you. ;)

Edited by Kasei

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Hey Kasei, welcome back. :smile:

 

A good looking list you have there, I have read one or two of them. I loved 'American Gods' when I read it, and do thoroughly suggest you get your paws on a copy soon!

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Hello Kasei, good to have you back! I remember you being on here :) I hope you have a great reading year in 2013!

 

I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of Cujo, it's one of my favorites by Stephen King. I'm also eager to hear what you make of Don Quixote, I've hesitantly decided I should try and read it this year, I've heard great things about the novel.

 

Would Like to Read but do not currently have in possession:

She Who Remembers by Linda Lay Shuler

 

As far as I remember, you are the first person I've come across with who's mentioned this book on here in any way! I know Jean M. Untinen-Auel has her fans on here, and I've always thought it was a shame nobody seems to have heard of or read anything by Linda Lay Shuler because as far as I know they write about similar things. I love that book, I've read it a few times and it has a very special place in my heart :) I hope you get your hands on a copy soon enough! :)

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Hello Kasei, good to have you back! I remember you being on here :) I hope you have a great reading year in 2013!

 

[in reference to She Who Remembers]

As far as I remember, you are the first person I've come across with who's mentioned this book on here in any way! I know Jean M. Untinen-Auel has her fans on here, and I've always thought it was a shame nobody seems to have heard of or read anything by Linda Lay Shuler because as far as I know they write about similar things. I love that book, I've read it a few times and it has a very special place in my heart :) I hope you get your hands on a copy soon enough! :)

 

You know, I think it may've been because of you that I added this book to my list years ago, haha! xD Just goes to show how slow I am at checking things off of my reading list. I once read a quote that I feel belongs in all of our signatures: "I was born with a reading list I will never finish."

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Name of the Wind

Rating: 4/5

 

Okay, so before I start let me just preface by saying that I have been trying to read this book since 2009. I had a friend who was always talking about its merits and so it's been on my list for a while...but it is a hard book to get your hands on, it would seem! Between libraries being in constant demand and my tendency to read multiple books at once, it seemed I was always having to turn it back in before I'd even picked it up. So to say that I had built up a lot of anticipation for this book is an understatement....and we all know what happens when you build something up so much.

 

Now, do not misunderstand me--it was a really fun book to read and very easy to get into. I enjoyed meeting the characters and getting to know the world in which they operate. It absorbed me for a weekend and left me daydreaming for a week, which is always a welcome after-effect that follows any good read. I guess after how much my friend raved about it I was just expecting more to happen. Not that a lot doesn't happen, it just happens subtly. This book sets the stage for what I feel is going to be a very grand series of adventures. This is the character background-and-introduction book.

 

The story is told in first person, unusual for a Fantasy novel, from the mouth of the main character many years and trials into the future. The reader is not given a clear account of his age at the present, we only know that he is in hiding and giving his account of his life's events to a traveling chronicler who has sought him out for this reason. We are given to understand within the first chapter that our hero is (or at least at one point in his life was) a powerful and well-known figure of his time, if sometimes infamously. The true grab that the author uses to keep us hooked is this promise of more ahead as the main character references instances later in his life and the big questions of how on Earth he came to be where he is now.

 

 

The majority of the book is spent detailing the hero's school days as the youngest student ever at a University and his rapid advancement in that setting. While this is interesting, it smacks a bit Potter-ish at times, making me feel like I was anxious for the author to traverse less well-trodden areas with his character. The growing-up-impoverished-because-his-family-was-killed-by-the-bad-guys thing didn't help the analogy I had subconsciously made between the two series. It is for these two reasons that the book does not get a five star rating from me. Though please don't be fooled, I immediately put in a request for the second book as soon as I finished this one. It is quite entertaining. :)

 

 

This book basically tells the story of our protagonist's childhood and coming-of-age as he lives through many varied seasons of life and experiences. He is a flawed person and readily admits it--however I am very hopeful that his pride and occasional pettiness is addressed later in the series as it sometimes irked me a little when he would behave thus and go un-rebuked. Not to say that he was always behaving wrongly, I was usually on his side, but I found myself feeling he was being quite hypocritical at times when he would despise another character for doing certain things and then got away with doing those same things himself when put to question. But I digress, he is after all human and we are all guilty of such things...

 

...so long story short, a good read that will leave you wanting more. :)

Edited by Kasei

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hi Kasei good deep reviews! I quite fancy The Walmart Effect.

 

Thanks! I'm glad someone reads them. xD Sometimes I think I get a little too into writing reviews, they are so long and I don't ever mean for them to be. :(

 

And yesss the Walmart Effect is so good, you've read it then? If not you absolutely should, so interesting!

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You know, I think it may've been because of you that I added this book to my list years ago, haha! xD Just goes to show how slow I am at checking things off of my reading list. I once read a quote that I feel belongs in all of our signatures: "I was born with a reading list I will never finish."

 

:D Oh I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. I know I've added tons of books on my wishlist because of the recommendations on here. It's a whole other thing to find the time to actually read all of the books! :giggle2:

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A Wizard of Earthsea

Rating: 4/5

 

A great little read! This is one of the parents of modern fantasy, written in the 60s when all there was to read was bad fantasy for adults, silly fantasy for kids, and Tolkein. It is aimed at teenagers so it was a refreshingly fast read, simple but fun to follow along with.

 

The main magic of the book is using the true names of things to control them, so I feel like that is where Name of the Wind drew a lot of its inspiration. And while I know that this book came first it *did* make it harder to read and enjoy the book coming down from my Name of the Wind high. If you do read this, perhaps try reading NotW after or at least put more distance than reading them back to back. The writing style is very different from NotW though, which helped. Wizard of Earthsea has a more classic style of story telling feel, much like the way Narnia or The Hobbit was written.
 

I did like the world it was set up in and the island of Roke as a place of learning--the whole idea of most places in the world only being accessible via boat was interesting. There were some characters I really wanted to see more of. For instance, I certainly wished to see more of the rival character story arch played out...am hoping he will make an appearance in the later books, which I will definitely be reading.

 

It doesn't get five out of five only because I reserve that rating for books I feel everyone should read, books that I want to shout their merits from the rooftops--but please don't misunderstand and infer that this book is sub-par in any way; for what it is, it's a great book and I will be sweeping through the series as soon as they come in from the library. :) Wise Man's Fear will have to wait.

 

Edited by Kasei
formatting issues

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I love the Earthsea novels! I've got the Earthsea Quartet which is four novels in one. I don't recall much happening with the rival character in the other three novels I've read, I read it a while ago though but I don't think it plays a big part or I would've remembered it :(. Great review, btw :).

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I love the Earthsea novels! I've got the Earthsea Quartet which is four novels in one. I don't recall much happening with the rival character in the other three novels I've read, I read it a while ago though but I don't think it plays a big part or I would've remembered it :(. Great review, btw :).

Aw, sad to hear it--just finished the second and am almost through the third and I must say I want to see more Tenar and Ged interactions at this point, the Jasper story arch is moot for me now. xD

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The Tombs of Atuan

Rating: 4/5

 

Fun. Just fun! I loved how this book was told from an entirely different place and perspective than the first book. Sparrowhawk wasn't even in the thing until the last portion of the novel. It reminds me a bit of The Horse and His Boy from the Narnia series--very removed and from and not starting the same way as the previous book.

 

The book did drag a bit after the first few chapters because it just seemed to be more of the same--more explainations of a dreary life with mysteries that we were given little reason to care about until Sparrowhawk showed up....however, once that happened everything just fell into place suddenly and took off, which was exciting. :)

 

I really liked the main character and loved how we got to watch her character grow and mature over time. She learned lessons and changed her thinking because of what she learned, and you could see/read it in her speech and actions, it was cool! And I really liked how quickly and believably she and Sparrowhawk bonded--they both needed each other and had to put a lot of trust in one another to get out of their situation alive, it was truly exciting and I was really sad to see the story end just when it did. Would love to know more about what followed in the months after all of that.

 

So, in short, 4 out of 5 for the bit of a drag that was the first portion, but definitely another good installment in this series! I am starting to wish I had read these a long time ago, they belong in my nostalgic recollections alongside Narnia and the Hobbit.

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Been flying through the Earthsea series...this last one felt so different than the previous three. Being written 20 years following its predecessors will do that to the tone of a novel I suppose. I kind of miss the storytelling of the first three, though honestly I loved the fourth book up until the last few chapters where it sunk a few points due to what felt like an incredibly hasty wrap-up. ...but I digress, I shall review later. Gonna go ahead and dive into the last book since I have it with me. :)

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Man, it has been a busy couple of months to say the least. Pretty much had not managed to find time to read since my last post. However, I managed to have all of yesterday to myself and breezed through A Wise Man's Fear, which was nice. Always feels good to finally be able to give back a book you've had checked out for months. Finishing up the Earthsea series right now by reading the Other Wind. So far it's off to a good start! No time for a review at the moment, just updating. :)

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