Required Reading 2013: August

Well July was interesting, and long. Don’t you think so?

And of course, I rarely blogged again, except I wrote one more extra entry in July than I did in June, so that’s something. It’s not like I have a lot of books to review, anyway, because I haven’t been a fast reader recently.

So here’s what I finished for July from my Required Reading list:

  • The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (4/5) – I really liked this – all that I expected of Dessen, which was very comforting because it felt like I was coming home (or at least, going to a very familiar summer vacation place).
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (3/5) – I was a buzzer beater in finishing this for our discussion. It was good — I loved the writing, but I’m not exactly a huge fan of the story. Still a good start for GGM for me. Not entirely convinced I’d read all his other books, but I’m open to it in the future.

I totally slacked off on A Clash of Kings, and I feel really bad because my buddies are pretty much on track while I’m still on the fourth chapter. Ooops. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood yet? I’ll keep on reading, though — don’t worry about me, buddies! :)Required Reading: August 2013

But anyway, August. I call August a blank slate month, because it feels like I’m starting anew with so many things. This month’s book selections are a bit of a mix, and I honestly just grabbed some books off my shelf without thinking too much about it. :D

August 2013 books!

  • Reread: Tall Story by Candy Gourlay – TFG’s book of the month. I read this in 2010, and I’m looking forward to reading this heartwarming story again. :)
  • Spillover: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin - I’m not giving up on this! I hope to finish this by mid-August. :)
  • Borrowed: No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July – borrowed this from Bennard, after I saw him give this 4 stars. I love the title, and the simple cover, and this one passage from the first story, The Shared Patio:

    Do you have doubts about life? Are you unsure if it’s worth the trouble? Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person’s face as you pass on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing. Stand up and face the east. Now praise the sky and praise the light within each person under the sky. It’s okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise.

    Sigh.

  • Beloved: The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde – I think it’s about time I read the latest Thursday Next novel. :)

I have a feeling GRRM will take up most of my time and I will probably not finish one of these books on time, but I can always hope. :) Just keep reading, just keep reading!

Oh and because it’s also Buwan ng Wika (Language Month) in the Philippines for August, I will be throwing in local stuff in the mix, at least, the light ones that will help me cleanse the palate every now and then. :) I will also hold some giveaways for new books released by my classmates in #romanceclass, so wait for those posts! (Promise, I’ll post about them :D)

I hope you have a fine reading August, friends. :)

2013 Must-Have Books

I almost forgot to come up with this list because of my recent sort-of blogging slump. Thank goodness for archives, though, because I checked my posts during January and found my 2012 Books I Can’t Wait to Get My Hands On list. In order to keep up with tradition, I am coming up with a list for 2013 so I can remember which books to pre-order for myself and use laser labels (assuming I have them, that is).

Besides, it’s fun writing this list.

Image from we heart it

Image from we heart it

And here we go.

Iscariot by Tosca Lee (February 5). I’ve heard of this book around…2009? Early 2010? And finally, it’s coming out. I am so, so excited for this. I loved Demon and Havah, and when I heard that Tosca is writing a book about Judas Iscariot, I knew I had to get it. I actually have a galley of this already, but I am so, so getting a print copy because it’s Tosca. And I’m pretty sure she’s going to tear my heart apart again with this one.

Iscariot by Tosca Lee

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The Song of the Quarkbeast

The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper FfordeThe Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde
Dragonslayer # 2
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Number of pages: 290
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

As the background Wizidrical Power slowly builds after the Big Magic, King Snodd IV of Hereford realises the man who controls Magic controls almost anything.

But one person stands between him and his plans for power and riches: Jennifer Strange, sixteen-year-old acting manager of Kazam.

It may involve a trip on a magic carpet at the speed of sound to the Troll Wall, it may involve a second Quarkbeast sniffing around town. It might also involve the mysterious Transient Moose, and a powerless sorceress named Once Magnificent Boo. But one thing is certain: Jennifer Strange and her faithful assistant Tiger Prawns will not relinquish the noble powers of magic to big business and commerce without a fight.

* * *

The Last Dragonslayer was one of my favorite reads in 2011, and I’m not just saying that because Jasper Fforde is my favorite author. I absolutely loved Jasper Fforde’s YA debut, and I thought it was a hilarious and smart read. Silly me, though, that I didn’t know there was going to be a sequel to this. It totally took me by surprise, but I’m not complaining. A new Jasper Fforde? Of course I want that!

Jennifer Strange, the last dragonslayer in the Ununited Kingdom, is back, but she’s no longer the dragonslayer. She’s back to being the manager of Kazam, the magical placement industry where their sorcerers are hired to do various tasks in the kingdom for some moolah. The story opens with Jennifer, together with her apprentice Tiger Prawns, and the Kazam sorcerers, trying to find a missing ring for a whole wad of moolah. Jennifer thought this was good practice for their bridge building job due for the weekend, which could really put Kazam in the map. The job was a success, but it didn’t mean the bridge building gig was supposed to go smoothly. A magic license test later, Jennifer finds herself facing the possibility of Kazam being taken over by iMagic, their rival, arrested sorcerers, sorcerers turned to stone, and a prediction that the Great Zambini would return. For a while. And a Quarkbeast on the loose.

Okay, I just reread the previous paragraph and I realized that it doesn’t make any sense. Until you read this book, anyway. Fforde books tend to be that way — you’re better off understanding micrometers faster than in a Fforde book, but a Fforde book is just more interesting! There’s the usual fun chaos and hilarity in The Song of the Quarkbeast that is also present in all Jasper Fforde books. It takes a while to immerse oneself in any Fforde world, but it was kind of easy to get back into this, perhaps because the previous book was still fresh in my mind. Sort of. But it was fun seeing the familiar characters that I liked in the first book, as well as new characters. We see more of how magic works in the world. Reading only specific passages may sound absolutely absurd, but trust me, once you’re inside, it all just makes sense. Case in point (not spoilery, don’t worry):

Do I have to go down a well upside down while being sarcastic with a shoe tied around my neck? (p.39)

The scene: Tiger Prawns has to go down the well to retrieve the missing ring, and he carries a ball that lights up when he’s being sarcastic and he has a toddler’s shoe around his neck as a communication device so he can talk to the ones outside of the well. Did that make sense now? I hope so.

My favorite part in this book? The return of the Quarkbeasts! The Quarkbeast is my favorite character in the previous book, and since this is basically a book about those them, we find out more about it in this book. Who knew there were Quarkbeast flavors? (Up, Down, Charm, Strange, Top, Bottom) And that they’re still very scary and yet they’re friendly (well, it seems like it in the book). Here’s a passage about how important Quarkbeasts are:

“There can only be thirty six completely unique yet identical Quarkbeasts, and soon as the combinations are fulfilled, they will come together and merge into a single Quota of fully Quorumed Quarkbeasts.”

“What will happen then?”

“Something wonderful. All the great questions of the world will be answered…a Quarkbeast is more than an animal, it’s an oracle to assist mankind’s illusive search for meaning, truth and fulfillment.” (p. 172-173)

I know. It doesn’t make sense. But trust me, it’s hilarious.

However. As fun and enjoyable The Song of the Quarkbeast was, it didn’t feel as engaging as the first book was. Yes, there’s the usual fun, usual chaos and all the crazy things that sprung from the endless imagination of Jasper Fforde…but it just felt like there could have been more. I never had a clear picture of the story up until I was 2/3 in. Which may have been done on purpose, now that I think of it. Which is still good, okay, but I think it just pales a bit in comparison to The Last Dragonslayer.

Nevertheless, I still liked this. And of course I’m looking forward to the third book coming out this year, The Return of the Shandar. I still stand by what I said in my review for the previous book: if you’ve always thought of trying a Fforde but not sure where to start, or you feel intimidated with his adult books, then his Jennifer Strange books are a good ones to get your feet wet.

Oh, and after reading this book, I want my own Transient Moose.

Rating:

Other reviews:
boom

2012 Books I Can’t Wait to Get My Hands On

So hello, it’s 2012. I will be all cliche and stuff and say that I can’t believe we’re at a new year all over again. Didn’t 2011 just start yesterday?

Happy 2012!

And now I’m done being cliche, I will not stop blathering on and share some of the reasons why I’m looking forward to this year (even if the Mayans think the world will end by December) — good books for another year, they’re things to be excited about, yes?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (January 10). You know this isn’t even a question, really. Anyone who’s a fan of contemporary YA novels should be looking forward to this, especially because: (1) It’s by John Green and (2) All pre-ordered copies were signed by the author himself. You still have time to pre-order this if you haven’t — go and do it now!

Blackout by Mira Grant

Blackout by Mira Grant (June 7). If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog or my friend in real life, you would know how much I love the Newsflesh trilogy. So much that I’ve given away so many copies of Feed and Deadline already. Now the end is near, the end of this amazing trilogy is also near. I’m so excited for this that I already pre-ordered it on Kindle. :D

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (June 19). And more zombies! I haven’t read all of Courtney Summers’ stuff, but I liked Some Girls Are and the news of her releasing a zombie novel just tickled me pink. :) Or maybe that wasn’t the right term to use. But anyway, with a creepy cover like this, who wouldn’t be excited?

The Return of the Shandar

The Last Dragonslayer # 3: The Return of the Shandar by Jasper Fforde (November 2012). This is also really no question. I love Jasper Fforde, and I loved The Last Dragonslayer. I’ve yet to read The Song of the Quarkbeast, but since I’m a completist for Jasper Fforde, I must have this. :)

Thursday Next # 7: Dark Reading Matter by Jasper Fforde (July 12). And here’s another Fforde! I love that he has two-books-a-year release deal, so now we get to know more about what happens next to Thursday next sooner rather than later. Awesomeness.

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (January 17). I’ve read and loved Unearthly last year, and I’ve also already read and loved the next book. It’s probably high time I get myself a print copy of both books. I hope this one is as shiny and pretty as Unearthly. :)

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (June 12). I loved Rampant, even if I have never read the next book, I still think Diana Peterfreund is someone to look out for. And then, she comes out with a new book. That is dystopian. And is based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion which I also loved. How. Freaking. Awesome.

Discount Armageddon by Seannan McGuire

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (March 6). I haven’t read any Seanan McGuire books…oh wait, she’s also the same person as Mira Grant. One more time. I’ve never read any October Daye books and I plan to, one day. But I can’t deny being excited over Seanan’s new series. This sounds so interesting, and knowing the author, I’m sure it’s going to be great, too.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. While I didn’t really like Lola and the Boy Next Door as much as I liked Anna and the French Kiss, I can’t deny that I’m a fan of whatever Stephanie Perkins writes. I know that Isla brings us back to one of Anna’s friends in the first book, Josh, and it has that romantic feel of “I like this guy but he has no idea that I exist“. Aw. </3

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews (August 2012). A spin-off in Kate Daniels universe — how exciting is this!!!!! (Yes, the exclamation points should express my excitement even if it’s not enough :D)

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (May 1). It’s been a long, long time (okay, fine, two years) since I read Fire and Graceling, and I’ve waited for so long to get my hands on this. Finally, the wait is about to end! :)

Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra. And finally, I can’t ignore a local book coming out, yes? One of my favorite local authors is coming out with a YA book! We were talking on Twitter about this one time and I told her that I want to put her book in my list, and that would make her focus. So..here it is. Yay for more Filipino YA! :)

I’m pretty sure there are more books to look forward to in the coming year, but let’s be surprised at that, yes? I hope 2012 becomes a good reading year for everyone! What books are you looking forward to in 2012?

Faves of TwentyEleven: The Covers

And we’re at the last installment of the Faves of TwentyEleven series, hosted by Nomes of inkcrush! In case you missed the others, here are the other posts in my Faves of TwentyEleven series:

I had so much fun coming up with this list, and this last one is the first time I’m doing this. I’m not much of a cover person, as I have stressed in several posts before this, but I’m also one who can still appreciate nice covers. I think my opinion of covers is just a little better than my opinion about other things…like say, basement tiles. So now, here are some of my favorite covers for the books I read in 2011.

Day Five: The Covers

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