Mini Book Reviews

After finishing The Book Thief, I began reading this monstrosity known as The Second World War by Antony Beevor. That took me about ten days to read, to where I came to the following conclusion:

The Second World War by Antony Beevor gave me a comprehensive overview on WWII from the European and the Pacific theatres, both of which demonstrated complex and convoluted events where leaders backstabbed and mistrusted each other. Not to mention the rape. God. Rape happening with both Allies and Axis soldiers. It’s like, really? I know the soldiers suffered and all, but it’s bloody ridiculous. Aside from that, I enjoyed reading about Winston Churchill and his relationships with the other leaders, Joseph Stalin and his generals that developed rivalry with each other, Adolf Hitler and his thousands of cronies who I could never keep track of (Himmler, Goring, and whoever? Don’t ask me who did what.), and Franklin Roosevelt and his military officials. Oh, and I learned a lot more about the Holocaust. And Patton. He rocks. That is all.

After finishing that 850+ page book, I decided to continue on with my backlog, of which I am devouring YA novels. Over the weekends, I read three and started on a fourth. I read:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It was a good read. I admit, I read it with wariness because I wasn’t sure if it’d lived up to the hype. It didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t a book that made me go asdfjkl;asdfjkl;!!! Plus, I didn’t really cry with this book. I guess after reading all those Lurlene McDaniel’s books growing up, stories about cancer and terminal illnesses are familiar territory for me. The snark level and the black humour in this book was perfect, though. And the character interactions were done well.

Fan Art by Sarah Tregay. This LGBT YA novel was another great read, one of the better LGBT YA novels I’ve read recently. In fact, this is actually and ARC, and I wrote my full mini-review at Goodreads. TL;DR ~ Loved the characters and the interaction, but felt like the overall plot was just bloody convoluted to the point where the last half of the book dragged on forever.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Aside from wanting to type “Roswell” for “Rowell”, I didn’t really like this book. I did like how Park was half-Korean, but I feel like the author (who’s not Asian) didn’t capture the Korean heritage well through Park and his Mum. I kept wondering things like, “Where’s the effing kimchi?” Yes, they lived in Nebraska, but a lot of Koreans I know will figure out a way to make kimchi with American ingredients, but I digress. Going back to the book . . . I didn’t feel like the romance really worked in this book. If anything, I think I’d like this book better if Eleanor and Park had just remained friends.

And with that said, I am now reading Divergent. I expect to be done with the trilogy in a few days because I can’t put the book down. HOMG. It’s like Hunger Games/Percy Jackson/Leviathan series all over again! My only problem: not having enough time to read!

Khaos Komix Kickstarter Goodies

Back in September, I saw that Khaos Komix finally had volume 3 out and was going to release volume 4 soon. I contacted Tab to let him know that I wanted the two books I’ve yet to own in my collection, but then I saw that Tab started a kickstarter project, so I opted to “upgrade” my options.

Khaos Komix Kickstarter Goodies

The goodies finally came to me. This collection consisted of:

* Khaos Komix volumes 3 and 4 signed by Tab
* A Khaos boxset
* PDF files of volumes 1 through 4
* Khaos timeline
* PDF file of Khaos timeline
* Certificate
* Buttons

I’m a happy fan. :D I had to wait a few months for it, but I wasn’t in any hurry and it was worth waiting for these goodies! Plus, I’m glad I got to participate in my first kickstarter project. Huzzah for me!

The Book Thief

In 2013, I actually kept track of what I read — books, ebooks, mangas, comic books. I did a lot of my reading on my Kindle Paperwhite, due to convenience. I read 101 total, but the actual number is closer to 150+ since I didn’t count all the manga scanslations I read over the year. In fact, my original goal was 50 books, but I went over it. I decided to set my goals for 50 books again for 2014, and I finished one book today, a book I started in November 2013. I cannot recall taking that long to finish a book, but The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was just not a book I could rush through. I am not sure why — maybe the pacing was just too slow at the beginning? That’s how it felt to me since once I read about 60%, the rest of it I was able to zoom through. Regardless, though, it was a beautifully written book.

The way I described this book to several people is that it’s like a young adult version of Slaughterhouse-Five. Both books use WWII as its time period, both books take place in Germany (well, Slaughterhouse-Five takes place in Germany part of the time), both have a similar tone to them (the black humour and the surrealistic narration), and both reveal the plot throughout the story. However, Slaughterhouse-Five did not make me cry. The Book Thief broke me at the part where Liesel found Max in the Jewish March through Molching, and my heart cried at Himmel Street’s “climax” towards the end. Yes, I knew it would occur since Death kindly reminded me every chapter or so, but reading the actual scenes brought tears to my eyes. Liesel and her relationships with Hans, Rosa, Rudy, Max, and Ilsa were all portrayed realistically and with the right emotion and words. Zusak really amazed me with his characterisations and the wacky plot structure.

My words do not do this book any justice. I do highly recommend it to those who like historical fiction, unusual plot structure, and a unique narrator. If anything, just read this book at least once.

2013 Book Meme

Since I’ve actually kept track of what I read this year, thanks to Goodreads, I decided to do this book meme found here.

Best Book of 2013
This was a toughie for me since I read a couple of great series, and I tend to lump the books in the series as a whole. So I then thought about what book in the series I like the best, but since these are series, I just can’t choose a single book. Therefore, the best book(s) of 2013 are: Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan and the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld.

Worst Book of 2013
The Diary of the Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney falls in this category for me. I am fond of children’s book, but I ended up really hating the protagonist within the first few pages, so I just decided to stop reading it. Sure, I can see why kids like it, but I sure don’t!

Most Disappointing Book of 2013
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett took the cake for me. I wanted to like the book, because I do like the characters and all, but the writing style of defining every word on a page just got to me. So I was disappointed that I couldn’t get into the series by that.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins was also that for me. It wasn’t horrible per se, but after the first two books, it just left me quite disappointed.

Most Surprising (in a good way) Book of 2013
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi ended up being a good read for me since I wasn’t expecting it to be that good! Same thing with A Chinese Life by Li Kunwu. Both of these graphic novels introduced me to a country and culture I wasn’t familiar with, so I liked the educational value of them as well.

Book You Recommended to People Most in 2013
Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan and the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld were the series I recommended to my friends. I just couldn’t believe how much fun I had reading these, and I wondered why I hadn’t read them sooner! I love the modern interpretations of the Greek myth Rick Riordan showed in the Percy Jackson books, and I love the alternate history of WWI Scott Westerfeld crafted with the Darwinists and the Clankers. Just absolutely brilliant.

Best Series You Discovered in 2013
See the previous question :D

Favourite New Authors You Discovered in 2013
Rick Riordan and Scott Westerfeld hands down!

Most Hilarious Read of 2013
Uh, I went through my list, and I have to say none of the titles really stood out as a hilarious title. But if I were to pick a scene, it’d be the whole “Dam” incident in The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan. It was just “dam” hilarious.

Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book in 2013
The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. The world in the book and the situations Katniss was put in were enough to make me read these two books on the edge of my bed, and I really couldn’t stop reading because of the intensity of the plot!

Book You Most Anticipated in 2013
The Sandman and the War of Dreams by William Joyce. Unfortunately, I haven’t read it yet. Will remedy that soon, but I really was looking forward to that book!

Favourite Cover of a Book You Read in 2013
I never really judge book covers . . . so N/A on this one.

Most Memorable Character in 2013
Katniss Everdeen from the first two books of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I really admired her strength in those books. I just hated her change in the third book.

Most Beautifully Written Book in 2013
Though I haven’t finished it yet, I have to give props to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It really is beautifully written for me. I especially like how Death narrates the book, so it gives it a more surreal quality to the writing.

Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2013
Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan and the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld did impact me in literary way, but I have to say that Quiet by Susan Cain impacted me on a personal level since I learned a lot about introversion and how it applies to me!

Book You Can’t Believe You Waited Until 2013 to Finally Read
Everything I mentioned above. Really. I don’t know why I waited so long to read some of these series, and I am glad I did!

Leviathan Squeeing

In May, I devoured The Hunger Games Trilogy, and in August, I did a Percy Jackson and the Olympians marathon.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading a lot of BL Novels, that are quite mediocre, but is something I consider to be fast and easy read. Two days ago, I started on The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld.

OMG. As a fan of alternate history, steampunk, and young adult, this trilogy was something I’d looked forward to reading, but at the same time I was worried that it’d be a colossal mess. My fears proved to be wrong, and I was swept away in a thrilling adventure with Prince Aleksander and Deryn Sharp, and their world of Clankers and Darwinists. I adored the whole premise of the plot, filled with a fascinating world where DNA fabrication is the way of life with steam-powered machines. I enjoyed watching Alek and Deryn grow into their characters, as well as the diverse group of the supporting cast. I geeked over all the historical figures that appeared in the trilogy, and it was a good refresher for the WWI era.

Bottom line, I am glad I read this trilogy. I just wished I’d known about it earlier!