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Mith's Bookshelf

Just testing the waters here, and still hoping GR gets it together soon!

Currently reading

Jay Kristoff
The Dream Thieves
Maggie Stiefvater
V.E. Schwab
All the math a bookworm ever needs...
All the math a bookworm ever needs...
Fortunately, the Milk - Neil Gaiman, Skottie Young I've come to realize that I have sort of a "love-meh" relationship with Neil Gaiman's books.

While I absolutely adore his books that are targeted towards a younger audience (Coraline; The Graveyard Book; Fortunately, the Milk), I somehow cannot bring myself to be more than mildly interested in the others, which are mainly for adults (American Gods, Anansi Boys, Good Omens).

Maybe it's because Gaiman is PHENOMENAL at writing for kids. His words, the imagination behind his stories bring out the kid in you that the jaded experiences of life has buried deep within. It is a pleasure to just open this book and get lost in a time-travel adventure involving pirates, a Stegosaurus, volcano Gods, globs of gooey aliens and confused piranhas, all because someone went out to buy some milk, one day.

I wish Gaiman wrote more books for children. This is SUCH a delight to read. And the accompanying, brilliant, almost Tim Burton-esque illustrations by Skottie Young make it even more so!

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell 3.5 stars

YAYs -

* Cath - a slash fanfic writing hermit with zero social skills, who just wants to be left alone in her room with her laptop and her Simon Snow memorabilia (I can relate to that, more than I'd like to admit)

* The thinly-veiled nod to Harry Potter in the form of Simon Snow and his magical world

Simon Snow is an 11-year-old orphan from Lancashire who is recruited to attend the Watford School of Magicks to become a magician. As he grows older, Simon joins a group of magicians — the Mages — who are fighting the Insidious Humdrum, an evil being trying to rid the world of magic

(The "spells" made me laugh out loud! Observe - "Up, up and away!", "Presto chango!", "Olly olly oxen free!" and a seventh-year spell that requires you to click your heels and say "There's no place like home!")

* The (slightly unbelievable) character of Levi.

* THE COVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3<br/>

NAYs -

* The utter lack of exploration of any relationship apart from Cath's and Levi's. Seriously, even that of Cath's and Wren's (her twin sister!) left much to be desired. Her absentee mom? Nada. She came in abruptly and left just as abruptly. Nothing beyond that.

* Abrupt dismissal of Cath's Fanfic Magnum Opus. Where the hell is the story she was desperately trying to meet the deadline for? Whatever happened to it?!

* Extracts of Simon Snow books added in between chapters. While entertaining, they were unnecesary and jarring.


One line review - A cute, charming, frothy, fluffy read that could have been better but is quite fun nonetheless.
All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill 3.5 stars

The writing is pretty good for a debut author. Plot is intriguing but the execution somehow felt a bit flat for me. The reasoning behind James's action could have been explored further, but overall an engaging enough read.
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith I'm going to be honest here - I hadn't even heard of this book until the Internet went crazy over the reveal that Jo wrote it.

Two things -
a) Jo wrote this.
b) It's a whodunit involving a private eye.
So, naturally, I simply HAD to read it.

Somehow, branching out (again) and writing a crime-mystery novel seems natural for Jo (because, come on, who saw that Peter Pettigrew plot twist in PoA coming, amirite?). Not surprisingly, she manages to pull it off with panache. For those of you who have read The Casual Vacancy, after the bleak world of Pagford, it is a pleasure to see Jo's dry wit on paper again. While it is certainly less "adult" than TCV, fair warning - there is still a healthy sprinkling of f-bombs throughout the book (but, honestly, that should hardly matter at this point)

Imposing and, yet, vulnerable at the same time, the bear-like protagonist of the novel, Cormoran Strike, private eye, is immediately likeable. He is exactly opposite to Poirot in appearance but just as sharp when it comes to details. It is such fun to watch him piece together the clues to the murder of one Lula Landry, along with the help of his personal assistant, Robin, who, I might add, is perfectly adorable. The relationship between Strike and Robin is extremely endearing, and can I just say, I ship them SO HARD!

While the plot of the book is not exactly fast-paced, it has enough things happening to keep the reader from getting bored. Fans of Agatha Christie will find nothing new in this novel and, indeed, will have guessed the killer(s) way before the big reveal, but Jo has taken a tried and tested story and turned it into a refreshing read nonetheless, with her trademark writing. The level of detail in each description is amazing and her gift of creating solid, complex characters - as always - astounds. Observe -

“Another minute passed, and then a small black man was suddenly crossing the floor towards Strike, catlike and silent on rubber soles. He walked with an exaggerated swing of his hips, his upper body quite still except for a little counterbalancing sway of the shoulders, his arms almost rigid.

Guy Somé was nearly a foot shorter than Strike and had perhaps a hundredth of his body fat. The front of the designer’s tight black T-shirt was decorated with hundreds of tiny silver studs which formed an apparently three-dimensional image of Elvis’s face, as though his chest were a Pin Art toy. The eye was further confused by the fact that a well-defined six-pack moved underneath the tight Lycra. Somé’s snug gray jeans bore a faint dark pinstripe, and his trainers seemed to be made out of black suede and patent leather.

His face contrasted strangely with his taut, lean body, for it abounded in exaggerated curves: the eyes exophthalmic so that they appeared fishlike, looking out of the sides of his head. The cheeks were round, shining apples and the full-lipped mouth was a wide oval: his small head was almost perfectly spherical. Somé looked as though he had been carved out of soft ebony by a master hand that had grown bored with its own expertise, and started to veer towards the grotesque.

Brilliant. I loved it. Looking forward to the sequel!
Mistborn: The Final Empire - Brandon Sanderson Utterly unique and original fantasy. Brilliant. LOVED IT right up until the part near the end where it all went to hell.
The Rithmatist - Brandon Sanderson Starts off slow, but builds enough steam towards the end to make way for an oddly satisfying cliffhanger
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman, Neil Gaiman 3.5 stars

A surreal story remotely similar to Coraline's world, and just as chilling.
More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops - Jen Campbell Not as laugh-out-loud as the prequel, but still plenty good fun :)
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops - Jen Campbell SO. MUCH. FUN!

(phone rings)
CUSTOMER: Hi there. I have a complaint I’d like to make.
BOOKSELLER: I’m sorry to hear that; what seems to be the problem?
CUSTOMER: My daughter’s been having nightmares about The Gruffalo.
CUSTOMER: What are you going to do about it?
BOOKSELLER: Well, I hasten to add that I have never heard of a child having nightmares about The Gruffalo before. It’s certainly not meant to be a scary book, and I’m sure the person who recommended this book to you didn't intend for this to happen either. When did you buy this book from us?
CUSTOMER: We didn't buy it from you.
BOOKSELLER: ... Right.
CUSTOMER: I’m calling from Canada. I've googled all the bookshops I can find, and I’m calling you up to request that you stop stocking the book immediately.
BOOKSELLER: ... Right.
CUSTOMER: So, are you going to get rid of the copies that you do have?
BOOKSELLER: No, I’m afraid we won’t be doing that.
CUSTOMER: And why is that?
BOOKSELLER: Because this appears to be an isolated incident, and the book is loved by many of our customers.
CUSTOMER: Right .... I see. Well. I’ll be splitting my daughter’s counselling bill and sharing it out amongst heartless booksellers like you!
BOOKSELLER: Out of interest, how many bookshops have agreed to get rid of the book so far?
CUSTOMER: I think you’ll find that that’s besides the point.
(Phone goes dead.)

Another Little Piece - Kate Karyus Quinn I think the pretentious poems in-between chapters put me off more than anything in this book.

A weird, confusing and frustrating read. I'm surprised I was able to finish it! Give it a miss.
Someday, Someday, Maybe - Lauren Graham Who knew Graham could write, as well?! A pretty decent, if clichéd, read.
Spirit - Brigid Kemmerer 3.5 stars

It pains me to sat that I didn't nearly enjoy this one as much as its predecessors, mostly because half the time I just wanted to give Hunter a good shake and ask him to get a grip. And the whole Kate thing, if it had to end THAT way, was unnecessary, superfluous etc. etc.

It says something about how I felt reading Spirit, when I say I enjoyed the little Novella at the end regarding Nick, more than the Spirit. I cannot WAIT for Secret!
And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini Anyone seen the 1997 animated movie, Anastasia? There's a song from that movie that goes perfectly with this book -

Dancing bears, painted wings
Things I almost remember
And a song someone sings
Once upon a December

Someone holds me safe and warm
Horses prance through a silver storm
Figures dancing gracefully
Across my memory

Far away, long ago
Glowing dim as an ember
Things my heart used to know
Things it yearns to remember

And a song someone sings
Once upon a December...

Ah, what a book! WHAT A BOOK! If you ever want to take a break from reading about fairies and dragons and pirates and magic, and just want to read about ordinary people and the complex, intricate and profoundly extraordinary lives each of us lives, pick up a Hosseini book.
Inferno - Dan Brown This book just does Not. Seem. To end! Been more than a week and the end is still no where in sight. 75% through and I am so done!


PSA : Colossal waste of your time. Don't bother wasting money on this. READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL

To sum up my feelings about this "book", here's Namratha's brilliant review - http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/604063940
Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn As unfair as comparison is, I didn't like this one quite as much as Gone Girl. Perhaps it was because it's pretty easy to figure out the killer(s) quite early in the book. Or maybe it was because while Gone Girl evoked a wide range of emotions in me - made me feel sorry for the characters and root for them (except at the end) - all Sharp objects managed to make me feel was a deep, horrifying disgust. I quite loathed all the characters, MC included.

One of the reasons I enjoy Flynn's works is that she brings out the (absolute) worst in the female half of the population, which, in my opinion, is not covered enough in today's literature. The other reason happens to be her beautiful, descriptive writing (she can even have a simple scene of someone taking a bath make your skin crawl).

If reading about the worst of human psyche is your thing, give this a whirl.