Saturday, August 31, 2013

August 2013 Wrap-Up

Here's a summary of my book-related activity for August.

Books I read (linked to the reviews)

The Unknown (Animorphs #14) by K.A. Applegate (TBR pile)
Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Lizzy Speare #1) by Ally Malinenko (review copy)
Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth (TBR pile)
The Show (Northwest Passage #3) by John A. Heldt (review copy)
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1) by Louise Rennison (re-read)
The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler (NetGalley)
Wanted! by Caroline B. Cooney (NetGalley)

Books I bought

Warm Bodies by
Isaac Marion
Zealot: The Life and Times
of Jesus of Nazareth
by Reza Aslan
Is Everyone Hanging Out
Without Me? (And Other
Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Books I've been approved for on NetGalley

The Troop by Nick Cutter

Other ebooks I received for review

Progress on challenges

I completed the following letters for the A-Z Book Challenge: none

I read 0 books for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge.

I read 0 books for the Anne Rice Challenge. You can still sign up!

I read 0 books for the Debut Author Challenge.

I completed the following squares for the Book Bingo Challenge: read 2 books everyone but me has read, read 4 books that are released in 2013

I read 0 books for the Nerdy Non-Fiction Challenge.

I read 1 books for the Dystopia Challenge.

I read 5 books written by women.

I read 3 books for the Seriously Series Challenge.

Progress on my TBR pile: I added 4 books to my to read list and removed 7, so my pile decreased by 3 this month!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Andalite Chronicles by K.A. Applegate

Title: The Andalite Chronicles
Author: K.A. Applegate
Publication Date: December 1997
Length: 326

At the beginning of the Animorphs series, the Andalite Prince Elfangor crashes his ship on earth, and before he dies gives five children the power to morph, so that they can fight to defend their planet against the invading Yeerks. The Andalite Chronicles is Elfangor's story, his hirac delest (final statement), transferred from his mind to his computer in his final moments.

It's interesting to see Elfangor, looked up to by Ax and the other Animorphs as a hero, when he was just an aristh (a cadet). Aside from this backstory, this book gives us a bunch of other context for the main series: we get to learn more about the Taxxons, more about how the Yeerk who would become Visser Three managed to take over an Andalite host, as well as a rather mind-blowing fact about one of the main characters that I can't say any more about without a big spoiler.

The Andalite Chronicles isn't part of the chronology of the main series, meaning you could read the series without reading this book, but you should definitely read it. It's well-written and action-packed, and who doesn't love a tonne of back story?

4 stars.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wild Children by Richard Roberts

Title: Wild Children
Author: Richard Roberts
Publication Date: October 2011
Length: about 344 pages (ebook)

Wild Children is almost like a collection of related, longish short stories. It is divided into acts, which follow different characters, though there's overlap between them. In each act, we learn the stories of children who became wild children. It's said that becoming a wild child is punishment for sinning, and the type of animal they become and the degree of the change depends on the type and severity of their sins, but it's the big, powerful church saying that, and it's not clear how much of what they say is true.

Some of the main characters include Bray, a Donkey Girl who can't accept her lot in life; Hind, a Donkey Girl who seems strangely satisfied with her life as a rich man's pet; Coo, a Dove who provides spirtual guidance to other wild children; Jinx, a Cat who falls in love with a Donkey; Left and Right, twin wild children; and Elijah, probably my favourite, a religious man who is convinced that the church is right, until he starts turning into a wild child and everything he believes is brought into question.

What was interesting in this book was the philosophical aspect, the exploration of what it means to be a wild child. Along the way, many characters answer this question, and all have different answers. This was an interesting and unique read.

4 stars.

Full disclosure: Free ebook copy received from the publisher through NetGalley.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Title: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publication Date: June 1, 2009
Length: 178 pages

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is an interesting sort of spin-off. It takes a minor character from Eclipse, a young vampire named Bree, and shows us her side of the story. She's part of an army of newborn vampires being raised to attack the Cullens. The vampires in this army are pretty clueless, since they've been lied to their whole (second) lives about both basic facts about vampires (they're told that they'll die if they go out in the sun, so that they're kept under control), and about the Cullens (they're told that this battle will be an easy victory for the army). Bree and Diego start to see through these lies, but not soon enough to save them.

I wish I'd read this right after reading the Twilight Saga. I found that I couldn't remember any details about Bree or the battle, which would have helped my appreciation of this story. That said, I still really enjoyed it. In general I like stories that show events from a different perspective, especially when they give the reader a whole new outlook on who the "bad guys" are in a story.

Also, Freaky Fred. I love him. Best vampire special power ever: the ability to make people around you feel disgusted. You'd be surprised how useful that can be, as Fred demonstrates in this book. He's definitely my favourite character here.

4 stars.