Thursday, 30 April 2009

This made my day :)

Isn't it beautiful? I saw it this morning and I couldn't believe it! One of my little plants has already made a flower!! How awesome. I've spotted three more blossoms. I'm so proud of them!
Now, does it mean it's gonna stay little? I thought the plant should be grown fully before making flowers. I'm clueless about these things:P

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Three shades of disappointment

I've been avoiding talking about some books that have disappointed me in different ways and degrees. So instead of dedicating a full review to each of them I'll just briefly share why I wasn't so impressed like I had expected (damn those expectations!).

I'll start with the biggest disappointment which is The Owl Service by Alan Garner. In theory, it hit all the right notes:
- Carnegie Medal winner
- Use of Welsh mythology
- Reputation for being a haunting, but lyrical story.
Instead it failed to grip me completely. I kept reading, waiting to be charmed at some point, but it never happened. I feel like I must have missed something, and it bugs me. What I remember instead is a storytelling that was disjointed and confusing. For example the main characters' behaviour was puzzling. Many strange things happen, but instead of them trying to talk about it and understand what is happening straight away, they don't seem immediately concerned.
For this, and for many other reasons, most of what happened was lost on me, until I did some research on line to find answers to my questions.
There was never a moment when I felt really close to the characters, and that was a big factor. And the ending left more questions than answers.
So, in conclusion, it was a frustrating read. I so wished I understood it more, because I feel like I missed out on something special.
For a proper reviews on in and a complete different opinion, read Nymeth's. She obviously saw something in it that I didn't.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini was a different kind of disappointment. I didn't dislike it. I thought it was alright. Just alright, that's the problem. After all the magnificent reviews and feedbacks and sales etc...I thought I was in for an unforgettable read. I was sucked into it pretty quickly. I really liked the first third of the book, maybe half. Then it started to decline. I wasn't gripped or fascinated anymore. At times, I was even a bit annoyed at how blatantly dramatic it was.
I have to admit that it gave me a greater understanding of life in Afghanistan before and after the Talibans had taken power and I feel more emotionally connected with the Afghan people's oppression now. I loved being wrapped up in this country's scents, flavours and sounds. But I failed to connect with the narrator, probably because I never forgave him for what he did as a child. I know it's a story about redemption, about how hard it is for the narrator to even begin to forgive himself. But I guess he could have become a saint after and I still wouldn't have forgiven, maybe it's my fault again.
For full reviews and different views see here:
Maw Books Blog

The third and final disappointment is of a different kind altogether. It's a stylistic disappointment toward what announced itself to be an astoundingly beautiful piece of writing: The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. Shortisted for the Booker Prize. Recent winner of the Costa Book of the Year. It has being received amazingly well by the press and the public. So how come I didn't like it?
Because I thought the writing was pompous, overly metaphorical, and, after a while, tedious, in every sense of the word. There were some very beautiful parts, but the overall feeling was of heaviness, and (I don't like being so harsh but it has to be said) boredom. I read it all, because I was told there was some sort of twist, of big surprise. But again I was disappointed. I had consider the possibility of that twist already, which is never good.
I'm not saying this is utter rubbish. I know plenty of people who are completely enthralled by this kind of writing. I'm just not one of them.
Other opinions:

Please, feel free to agree or disagree with me and give me the link to your review. I'm happy to show different sides of the story!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Bits and pieces


Today I had more than one reason to be cheerful. Spring is in full bloom. My day in work went by pretty fast. We had a fire drill, so we got to close a bit earlier...AND I had two books that I was looking for just waiting for me! One was *actually* for me. I had requested to scholastic one of their ARC of What I saw and how I lied by Judy Blundell and I finally got it! The second one was the first chapter of the new Sarah Water, which has being printed in a lovely red hard-back edition which simply reads "The New Sarah Waters". I'd rather have the whole thing, but what you gonna do. I've started it already, it's about 60 pages, but the second chapter is going to be up on her website on Friday 8th May. Which reminds me...Virago press is giving their readers a chance to win the proper signed book on their website! They don't say if it's open to any country, but you can always try:) Open till May 1st.


Two days after the Read-a-thon, I'm still thinking about it. I had a great time, and I'd like to thank all the people who took their time to stop by and encourage me. I loved it. But also, I'm already thinking about the next time. I think I'm going to properly schedule my hours, not to get too distracted. I'm going to carefully choose the books beforehand. I'm going to have ready meals at hand. And I'm going to host a mini challenge. The first ideas I've had is this:
Get people to choose a quote from the book they're reading at the moment. Post it on their blog. They will have maybe 1 hour or 2 to do it. Then in the following couple of hours anybody posted a quote gets to choose their favourite quote from other bloggers' quotes and declare it in my blog's comments. I'll randomly pick one name from the comments, and I'll buy the winner that book. What you think? Too complicated? Anyway, if it's a crap idea I have lots of time to think of something better:p


Remember when I found that envelope with seeds inside? Well, now I'm growing those seeds, and look what they've become! I've taken this picture a week ago, now they're even taller! But now I don't know what I'm supposed to do. Should I put them in a bigger pot? Should I use little sticks to keep them straight. I'm so afraid to touch them, they look extremely fragile! I think the smartest idea would be to look in a gardening book, wouldn't it? lol

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Read-a-thon: The end!

Pages read since last update: 24 + 108+ 14= 146
Total Pages read
: 612
Books finished: 2 + 2 halves (which should make a whole one but, er, no)
Mini-challenges: 0
Mini-challenges total: 4
food and drinks consumed: more grapes and tucs.
Number of times I filled my hot water bottle since the start: still 5.
Random thoughts: I'll leave it for the final meme. The only thing I want to add is that I've realise just now that I've been counting the pages all wrong so I have to back and edit the posts!! jayzes...

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
I don't know, it kind of flew by and I never thought I couldn't stay awake anymore. But I suppose hours 19-20, when I had my second cup of coffee, were the hardest.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Loser by Jenny Spinelli. Such a charming book!
Also: Graphic novels, graphic novels, graphic novels. You'll feel you are cheating a bit, but it'll boost your page-count enormously!
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I loved it just the way it was.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The feed blog was a great addition. And everything was so very well organized!
5. How many books did you read?
I finished 2 books, Loser by Jerry Spinelli and Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi. I read about 160 pages of The Poison Throne which I'm eager to finish (it's 468 pages long, but I had already started it before, so now I'm halfway throught it). The last hour I've read half of Laika by Nick Abadziz. Also I've read one short story by Charles de Lint "Big City Littles) and in the morning at the beginning, I finished the last 10 pages or so of Safe Area Goradze by Joe Sacco.
6. What were the names of the books you read?
Answered above.
7. Which book did you enjoy most?
I loved everything I've read, especially the two I've finished!
8. Which did you enjoy least?
See above.
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
me no cheerleader.
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
If I can, I'll do it again and again and again...Next time I'd like to be a reader, but also host a mini-challenge.

Special mention: I've won one prize at Bart's for guessing the covers. Yuppi! Also I think I might have been assigned a book at Debbie's but I'm not sure now.

And that's it. I got to Mabon now.

Read-a-thon: hour 22

Pages read since last update:104
Total Pages read
: 430
Books finished: 2
Mini-challenges: 0.
Mini-challenges total: still 4
food and drinks consumed: finished my 2nd cup of coffee.
Number of times I filled my hot water bottle since the start: still 5.
Random thoughts: Finished Loser by Jerry Spinelli! I never realised I'm such a slow reader. I shouldn't have counted the pages :P But I read the right book at the right time. It was all about redefining the concept of losing and winning so there you go. Now I have to rush to the final stretch!!!

Read-a-thon: hour 19

Pages read since last update:34
Total Pages read
: 326
Books finished: 1
Mini-challenges: 0.
Mini-challenges total: still 4
food and drinks consumed: breakfast with grapes and cheese nachos. I shouldn't have had those nachos, I feel a bit funny now. Cup of coffee waiting to be consumed.
Number of times I filled my hot water bottle since the start: still 5.
Random thoughts: I was blown away by the sun rising at 6.30 am. A bright orange sphere on the horizon that appeared so suddenly I literally gasped. It looks like it's going to be the most beautiful day of the year. The book is still good. Me not so good, but holding on. Coffee ready at hand.
It's 7.27 now.

Read-a-thon update: hour 18

Pages read since last update:20
Total Pages read
: 292
Books finished: 1
Mini-challenges: 0.
Mini-challenges total: still 4
food and drinks consumed: Just water.
Number of times I filled my hot water bottle since the start: still 5
Random thoughts: I'm so glad I've picked Loser! It's so funny and heartwarming, it's hard to get tired of it. The sky has turned a pale pink, and lilac in the distance. I'm feeling peckish, maybe I should have breakfast!

Read-a-thon update: hour 17

Pages read since last update: 60
Total Pages read: 272
Books finished: 1
Mini-challenges: 0.
Mini-challenges total: still 4
food and drinks consumed: Just water.
Number of times I filled my hot water bottle since the start: 5
Random thoughts: It's 5 am. It looks I've no intention to sleep this time.I've picked a completely unexpected book to read after Embroideries: Loser by Jerry Spinelli (=>big font, short book). Saying I'm loving it would be an understatement. One hour ago the birds started singing. Now they are wide awake. Still pitched dark outside. I'm not hungry. Is it worrying?

Oh Nymeth is on now! I love the picture she posted. I have to steal it.

Duvet still not tempting.

Read-a-thon update - hour 14 - Mid-Event Survey

Pages read since last update: 110
Total Pages read: 212
Books finished: 1
Mini-challenges: 2 (Debbies) + Mid-event survey.
Mini-challenges total: 4
food and drinks consumed: A cup of coffee.
Number of times I filled my hot water bottle since the start: still 3, I'm warm now.

Time for the Mid-Event Survey!

1. What are you reading right now?
I've just finished Embroideries. It was effing brilliant!!!I was in stitches at almost every page. Now I want to dig up anything Marjane Satrapi has done (beside Persepolis, which I've loved too).
Still pondering on what should I read next.

2. How many books have you read so far?

Finished 1, in the midst of another.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Anything!I'm already very happy I'm still alive and kicking.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?

Yes. I asked for the weekend off at work :D

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

LOTS. But they were all voluntary breaks so all my doings.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

How time flies when I'm enjoying myself. I know, old news.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

No, it's great!

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?

Try to clear my head before starting. At first my thoughts were drifting away to other things too much.

Also I'd love to host a mini-challenge!

9. Are you getting tired yet?

A wee bit. Coffee is making me kind of hyper.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?

Not really. I'm the one who needs tips :P

Oh wait, I forgot I haven't taken my Eye Burrito out of the freezer yet!! It might come in handy.

Read-a-thon update - hour 12

Pages read since last update: 46
Total Pages read: 102
Books finished: 0
Mini-challenges: 0
Mini-challenges total: 2
food and drinks consumed: burger. Very filling, don't think I'll have anything else for a long time. Lots of water. Gonna make my first cup of coffee soon 'cause I'm faltering a bit. But it's only 12.
Number of times I filled my hot water bottle since the start: 3
Random thoughts: Oh I wish I were faster. The Poison Throne gets better and better the more I read. I've passed the first half just at about midnight! Very simbolic. But if I want a feeling of accomplishment I'll have to abandon it and get something short. Yes, I think I'll tackle Embroideries next. Accompanied by a cup of coffee with lots of honey!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Read-a-thon update - hour 8 almost 9

Pages read since last update: 36
Total Pages read: 92
Books finished: 0
Mini-challenges since last update: 0
total mini-challenges
: 2
Prizes won: 1
food and drinks consumed: Tucs, apple juice. Gonna make a burger soon.
Random thoughts: Gotta speed up! I'm loving this book, but the pages are loooong so it doesn't look like I've read much. Also there's 278 pages to go and at this rate doesn't look like I can finish it. Ah well. Tucs are yummi cream crackers which I should stop eating cause they're very very fat. Instead I'm planning a home-made burger, to stay on the healthy side:P
Oh and I've won a prize at Bart's!! So awesome! Dunno what yet.

Read-a-thon update - hour 5 and 1/2

Pages read since last update: 40
Total Pages read: 56
Books finished: 0
Mini-challenges: 2 (intro and Bart's)
food and drinks consumed: Tucs, apple juice, more ham,cheese and tomatoes on bread. Full for now!
Random thoughts: Starting to enjoy The Poison Throne. Lots of mystery and intrigues at court, with some fantasy elements thrown in. Must go for a walk before it get's dark. It's 17.40 pm now.

It's Read-a-thon time!

I'm so excited! This morning I've taken my time in bed, trying to sleep as much as possible so that tonight I won't be knackered at midnight as usual :P
And then I've made myself a yummi breakfast with honey tea, ham cream cheese and tomatoes on toasted bread, and apple juice, and I had it on bed surrounded by books. That put me right in the mood.

So after a couple of hours of reading here and there I figured it was time to do my intro-meme:

Where are you reading from today?

My house in Dublin. Probably mostly from bed cause it's comfy, but I'll move to the couch at some point. It's a sunny day so I'm thinking of going to the nearest park, but I'm afraid it'll be too cold, so I might just as well stay in :D

3 facts about me …

I can't wait for the summer.
Love swimming and sunbathing
and reading on the beach. That's 4 already...

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

Potentially all the ones on my shelves, they are mostly unread books so I only need to choose. I'm leaning toward the following for now:
The Poison Throne
Embroideries (for when I get tired of little words with no pictures)
The House at pooh corner (when I get tired of the adult world)
The shadow of the wind (if I feel ambitious and not tired after reading The poison throne)
I've used "tired" too much. Must be more optimistic.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

Yes, read lots! Blog less. Last October I reviewed books as soon I finished. But as much fun as that was, it took a lot of time from my reading so I won't do it.

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?

I'm not a veteran, only done it once as a reader. If you're doing for the first time my advice is not to set too many goals because they might take the fun out of it and stress you out too much. Also, check out all the mini challenges that are on. It's great for when you want to do something different and it makes you feel part of a big group of (crazy) people even more!

Friday, 17 April 2009

"Try Something New" mini challenge wrap-up post

Finally here is my post on Nymeth's "Try something New" mini challenge. Of course I had to be true to myself and not be on time...but aaaanyway.

My challenge-mate was Natasha from 1330V. We decided to read some short stories, as we both felt they weren't in our usual reading comfort zone. Then we interviewed each other about what we read. I'm really curious to read her answers!

Now. When I thought about short stories I instinctively picked Tapping the Dream Tree by Charles de Lint. As I read a couple of stories, though, I realised this was too close to my comfort reading! Yes, they are short stories, but it's fantasy! Duh! So, since the challenge was encouraging us to try something really new, I picked a collection by Alice Munro in the library, called Open Secret. I never read anything by her before, but I had always wanted to try something. I read the first 3 stories. Wasn't impressed. They had great premises, alluring writing, all very readable. But they left me cold when they ended. Dunno why. Maybe I wasn't in the mood. Maybe I was too eager to go back to my Charles de Lint. Which, to be fair, had waited patiently its good amount of years ( 3, to be precise!).
All this to say "Yes, I've tried something new, now can I talk about Charles de Lint again?". Or better "I would have talked about Alice Munro, but Natasha wanted to know more about Tapping the Dream Tree, how could I say no?" *big grin*

Here we go:
Q: Why did you pick up this collection?
A:It's been sitting on my shelves for 3 years now! I bought it in this little second-hand bookshop in Galway, owned by this lady who sat behind the desk with her narky dog on her lap all the time. I hope to go back one day to that shop, it was great!

Q:How much of the collection have you read?
A: Most of it. I have only three left to go.

Q:How does Tapping the Dream Tree compare to other books by de Lint that you've read?
A: I have only read The Blue Girl so far. It's a YA and it's set in Newford, just like the stories in Tapping the Dream Tree. The Blue Girl is one of the most captivating book I have read recently, but I have to say, most of the stories in the collection are up there with The Blue Girl's level. Same charm, same sense of wonder and excitement. Of course, the themes are more adult, and maybe more complex. But they all retain the magic that I loved in Blue Girl.

Q:What is your favorite story so far?
I've already talked about "Pixel Pixies". It won me over COMPLETELY! Bookshop - check. Brownie (or hob, as he is called there)- check. Fairy creatures walking among us as humans - check. It seemed tailored especially for me.
But I'd like to mention another story which could compete for the top spot. It's called "Granny Weather". Its main heroin is Sophie Etoile, a painter who can travel to dreamland whenever she sleeps, where she has created a whole new world called Mabon. Jilly Coppercorn is convinced she has faerie blood and I'm inclined to believe her. In this story, Sophie is visited by a bogle from fairyland looking for help. Apparently Granny Weather has been eating bogle babies, and now the bogles are calling for Sophie's help to stop it. The thing is, Sophie had already helped Granny Weather once, when the bogles wanted to steal the moon. And bogles are known to be liars, on top of being nasty, ugly little creatures. So, what's the deal this time? Has Granny Weather turned into the evil witch of fairy tales or there's something else going on?
I don't even know where to start naming the things that make me love this story so much. Sophie, for one thing, is such a fascinating character. When she sleeps, she visits this world she has created without even wanting to. And the world now has a life of its own which exists beyond Sophie's control. I love this concept. Then there's Granny Weather. She lives in a cottage with chicken legs, and hides great powers behind the frail old lady's look.
You think she's so helpless until you look into her eyes. There you find all the mysteries of the world lying thick and dark and you realize she's much more than what she seems to be. Powerful and earthy. Formidable. The proverbial goodwife, living in her cottage, deep in an enchanted forest.
The sole inclusion of these two great characters would be enough. Then there's the whole excitement of the adventure, which could go wrong in so many ways.
And the feeling that you're only starting to know these people. That they're part of a greater tapestry of stories and connections that I'm eager to become familiar with.
I also find irresistible how de Lint can use elements of fairy tales and folklore, and make them feel completely new and fresh. Or maybe I just get easily excited when magic is given so many ways to express itself.
I'm going to share another passage, the story's final paragraph, because it explains what I mean better that I ever could. It's Sophie's talking about painting:

Jilly's right. It is magic, set free from the dreamlands by our imagination. Any act of creation is, from the fine arts to building a mudpie or a cat's cradle.
And if that's faerie blood, then we've all got its potential somewhere inside us, just waiting for us to call it up. Don't ever let anyone tell you different.

Q: Can you give us a favorite passage or line?

A:The one above is a great one!

Q: Would you read more short stories by de Lint? Are you eager to pick up more short stories in general?

A: Definitely to both questions! I want to read every single Newford book de Lint has written, and possibly the rest as well. And I am, really, looking forward to reading more short stories in general. I have a couple of collections I've set my eye on already.

Q: Would you recommend either The Blue Girl or Tapping the Dream Tree to others who don't read fantasy?

A: Yes Yes Yes! The beauty of these stories is that they use magic to embrace a multitude of themes that could touch a wide range of people. They're about being true to oneself, trying to do the right thing at the right time, finding confidence in one's potential...And they are very accessible. They are after all "urban". They all start off a very real setting, which could help the newcomers to adjust to the introduction of magic in the stories.

Q: [This is a question I share with Natasha]. What is your general attitude towards short stories? And has this book changed this attitude?

A: I generally shy away from short stories. I like the feeling of a longer read, where I can slowly get attached to characters and situations, while short stories, being short, can't give me that feeling. Also I usually like to read just one thing at a time, and reading a collection of short stories all in one go is something I'm not very good at. So I don't go and look for them willingly.

That was then. Now I think I can say that my attitude has changed. I've realise just how much I loved these stories, that it feels unfair to dismiss other collections who might give me the same, or even greater, rewards. Beside, I've finally come to terms with the fact that I can just read one story every now and then, and enjoy the story even more! I feel I'm ready to venture in these new dimension eagerly! I'm also willing to give Alice Munro another chance, if somebody has some great story to recommend.

Phew. Done. Sorry about the long post, I can get carried away easily when talking about something I really love like de Lint's writing! I had to stop myself from going on and on about all the other stories, so be grateful I ended it here :P

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

YA book Tournament!

Renay is organising it and we need judges and suggestions!
The idea is to read YA books published in 2008 that haven't received much media coverage/attention but deserve more. The judges will be reading the books in pair, then decide together which book should pass the next round, till there's only two left, ready for the final battle. I think it's sound fun, especially since the whole thing is about reading YA books and reviewing them with somebody else.

It'd be great if more teens participated, so don't be shy! We need as many as we can get:)

The list of possible books to read are still under discussion,so if you think you've read a book published in 2008 that hasn't got much attention, but it should, then please suggest it!

Renay has created a google group to discuss all these things in preparation for the tournament, it's called NERDS HEART YA. Go on, you know you want to join :)

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Two Jenny Valentine's Books: Ten Stations and Broken Soup

This post is all in praise of Jenny Valentine. So be prepared. There' s not gonna be any criticism or any shades of disliking here. I just love this author so much, I'm gonna share it with you once again.
After reading Finding Violet Park because of the amazing cover art, I discovered her addictive writing. Now, after reading more of her work, I can happily say I'm a fan.

When the World Book Day books came out this year I was pleased for two main reasons:
1) The format of the books. No more thin, impossible-to-pile-in-neat-stacks books, but bookseller-friendly double volumes, which don't slide off every two second. They also occupy less space and cost the same as one book, thus giving the chance to kids (and me) to discover more than one author.
2) Jenny Valentine's Ten Stations.

I had no clue what it was about, just that it was a special short story written for the occasion.
Imagine my delight when I found out, reading it, that it's a follow up to Finding Violet Park! I got to meet Lucas again, together with his little brother Jed (now 7) and his granddad Norman and I got to know Mercy a bit better, although at times I wish I hadn't.
The story tells of how one day Lucas and his older sister Mercy decides to give their mum a break and bring Jed and Norman to the Science Museum.

"How hard can it be?"

Very, is the right answer.

I found this short story funny in a tragicomic sort of way. The characterisation is again the best part of the story. The adventure in the London Tube is another chance for Jenny Valentine to develop her wonderful characters. While putting them in a puzzling situation which could have turned into a nightmare, she shows us more about their lives, their weaknesses and their relationship with each other. The stars here are of course Jed and Norman. The funniest parts are all about them and their interaction with the surrounding.
With Jed and Norman getting on escalators, for example, can be a tricky experience:

You'd think Norman's brain went to sleep before they were invented.
"Moving stairs?" he said. "I can't be doing that."
"You just close your eyes and jump" Jed told him, and they did it, and Norman toppled a bit and then levelled out and smiled at his feet. It occurred to me that Jed knew best how to teach someone about escalators because it wasn't so long ago he'd learned himself.

But also walking through a crowd, waiting for a train, getting on a train, and make sure you're all still together when you get off, are no easy feats.

If you haven't had the pleasure to meet Lucas and his family yet, this is the quickest way to do it. I doubt you would regret it.
If you have read Violet Park and liked it, then this is obligatory reading!

The second book in line is also the second book Jenny Valentine's has published. It's called Broken soup and it boast another wonderful cover art. It's both different and similar to Violet Park.
Broken Soup is narrated by a girl, Rowan. She's a teenager, who, after her older brother Jack dies, is practically left in charge of her 6 year-old sister Stroma. Her mother has let herself slip into a dark abyss of sorrow, and her father has moved out. So Rowan experiences what it means to be a single parent at the age of 15, while still going to school and having to do homeworks every day. It's exhausting, but she can't bring herself to tell her dad the truth about her mother's depression.
One day, while queueing in a grocery shop, Rowan is approached by a good lucking guy with an American accent, who claims she had dropped something. Too embarrassed to say no, she accepts the object she hasn't actually drop and puts it in her pocket.
The object is a negative of a photograph.
Because of this simple act, her life changes. Slowly and gradually, but it definitely does. She meets Bee. Wonderful and friendly Bee, she is a breath of fresh air for Rowan's bereaved and lonely life. She starts hanging out in Bee's house and meet her unconventional family. But more importantly, she decides, thanks to Bee, to go forward and find out who the mysterious guy is and what the mysterious negative holds.

The charm of Jenny Valentine's style relies in the characters, I've already said that. But of course is not just that. It's in the way she describes emotions, which belies an attentive observation of human nature. It's in the metaphoric language, exemplified in the title, which can say so much with very little words. It's in the palpable love for all her characters. And in the fact that I feel I should reread this book right now to be able to explain why it was so good, because there's so much to highlight and to appreciate.
Oh, and there's a bit of a surprise ending, which combined with everything else that happens before, is a wonderful heart-warmer.

There. I found another comfort author to read when everything else around seems awful and unbearable. I almost feel reluctant to read her new book, The Ant Colony too soon, because I should save it for when I really need some comfort reading.
Till then, I hope to have converted as many booklovers as I can :)

Jenny Valentine doesn't seem to have a website, but she's on bebo! Check it out!

other blog reviews:
Broken Soup:
All my little words
Wondrous Reads
About Books
In the tower

Ten Stations:
Wondrous Reads

Have you also reviewed Ten Stations or
Broken Soup? Please, let me know!

Herding Cats II - Attack of the Hairballs!

And it's here again! Last time I managed to read only 2, but they were among my favourite reads of the year, High Fidelity and Fingersmith. So if I can just equal that, I'd be happy. I'm expecting a mindboggingly long master list to choose from, but the most fun part is to choose the books to recommend. So here we go.

Here are the rules Herding Cats II (April 1st, 2009 - December 31st, 2009):

1. Make a list of five books you love. Directions:

  • Five. I'm as serious as a beached whale.
  • All titles must be books you've read in 2007, 2008 or 2009.
  • Please don't list a series; just the first book. If you really want to list a book in the middle of a series, you can, but it has to be that specific book.
  • Feel free to share why you're putting the book on your list, because I am nosy.

2. Post your list:

  • in your own journal, in the comments here, whatever is fine. Share the list here.
  • Lists should be public (no locked entries, no logging in to view).

3. Browse the new book list. Stay a while. Read a few (eta: if you want; not even reading is required this time around if you don't have time to commit to a new challenge but still want to share your favorites).

4. If you review your books, you can share the reviews. You know, if you want. No pressure. Definitely not.

Five Books I Love:

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli My very first post! I don't think I've blabbed enough about it here. I thought it was wonderful. So read it.

Hellfire by Mia Gallagher So completely absorbing and mesmerising.

Gold by Dan Rhodes A gem of a book that every fan of Nick Hornby I think should read. And everyone else too.

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull Where urban fantasy began.

Finding Violet Park (for US readers: Me, the Missing and the Dead) by Jenny Valentine Among the best YA I've recently read.

Provisional List of Books I might read:

Life as We Knew it
Invention oh Hugo Cabret
Amulet of Samarkand
Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Shadow of the Wind
Tender Morsels
The Ice Queen

(still to be decided...)