Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “ambern”

ambern’s #CBR4 Reviews #27-52

Yay, I finished!  And I apologize but I’m going to be lazy and post the links to my reviews here.  I have been really awful about keeping up my reviews this year and have been rushing to finish them today.  Anyways, congratulations to everyone and have a great new year!

Book 27: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Book 28: Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by JK Rowling

Book 29: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

Book 30: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

Book 31: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

Book 32: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling

Book 33: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling

Book 34: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

Book 35: Blind Fall by Christopher Rice

Book 36: A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz

Book 37: Outwitting History by Aaron Lansky

Book 38: The Saucier’s Apprentice: One Long Strange Trip Through the Great Cooking Schools of Europe by Bob Spitz

Book 39: Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

Book 40: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Book 41: The Woman Who Dies a Lot by Jasper Fforde

Book 42: The Secret Life of a Boarding School Brat by Amy Gordon

Book 43: My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer

Book 44: Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

Book 45: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Book 46: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Book 47: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Book 48: How to Mellify a Corpse by Vikki Leon

Book 49: The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

Book 50: The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy by Maya Slater

Book 51: Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg

Book 52: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

ambern’s #CBR4 Review #26 Bossypants by Tina Fey

Another book that has been reviewed numerous times for cannonball; I’m not sure what else I can add to the discussion.  I love Tina Fey and her book was a breezy and funny read.

Bossypants consists of stories from Tina chronicling her life from childhood through 30 Rock and playing Sarah Palin on SNL.  While an undoubtedly awkward person, Fey doesn’t ever seem to wallow in misery and stays true to her weird and hilarious personality.  The most memorable part for me has to be the moment that she realized that homosexuals are real people and not her props.  It makes me wonder how many people have to grasp that little bit of reality.

I was afraid that the book would be a little too personal but thankfully it wasn’t and it gave some interesting insights on what it is like to be a woman in comedy.  I have heard that crap about women not being funny all my life but in my head it was just curmudgeonly old men who were angry at their increasing irrelevance.  But Fey being told that there could only be so many women in a sketch put a whole new perspective for me on the industry.

Anyways, this book was hilarious and I am glad that I avoided reviews for it beforehand so that I didn’t have unrealistic expectations.  While not my favorite autobiography, I will certainly be reading this again and am looking forward to the last season of 30 Rock.  Hopefully she will get a new project soon after that wraps.

ambern’s #CBR4 Review #25 The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan

This is the final book in the Kane Chronicles and as ambivalent as I have been about the series I think I’m a little disappointed that there are not going to be more installments.  Sadie is still annoying but I do enjoy the Egyptian mythology and hope that he uses the same idea with another set of characters.  The ending is pretty open so I wouldn’t be surprised if Riordan chooses to do just that.

Just eight months after discovering that they are the latest in a long line of magicians, Carter and Sadie Kane are about to fight chaos itself.  Apophis is set to rise on the Autumnal Equinox, which is in just three days.  The magicians are divided: some believe that the Kanes are destroying Ma’at and are trying to undermine Amos’s leadership and those that do stand with the Kanes are being destroyed by Apophis’s minions.

Carter and Sadie are having trouble with their allies as well.  Walt is close to death and they are no closer to a cure for his hereditary disease, which is made worse each time he uses magic.  Zia is also acting strangely and has been unable to control her fire magic.  Add to that the usual problems that arise when dealing with the gods and the inexperience of their remaining recruits and it seems unlikely that the end of the world can be prevented.

As I said, Sadie is still annoying.  I will never understand why Riordan had to make her so grating, but I liked the book despite her.  The series is wrapped up well but still open to the possibility of another series.  All of the threads come together as they should, if a little predictably.  Overall a good, but not great book and I remain curious to see if Riordan decides to create another Egyptian mythology series.

ambern’s #CBR4 Review #24 The Moonlit Earth by Christopher Rice

Megan has just lost her job and is forced to move back to her hometown and accept her cousin Lucas’ help.  Both Megan and her brother Cameron despise the world that they grew up on the periphery of—one of extreme privilege and prejudice.  Cameron shows up unexpectedly at her welcome home party and gives Megan cryptic warnings about Lucas and his intentions.

The next morning, still reeling from her encounter with him, Megan wakes to news that her brother’s hotel was bombed and that dozens were killed.  What’s worse is that Cameron is seen exiting the hotel moments before the explosion with an unknown Middle Eastern man.  Cameron’s job as a flight attendant makes him even more suspicious in the minds of the FBI and Hong Kong police.  Despite what everyone is saying about her brother though, Megan knows he is innocent and flies to Hong Kong to figure out the truth, which leads her down a frustrating and dangerous path that she isn’t really ready for.

This is yet another Christopher Rice book that didn’t disappoint.  I have been reading him for a while now but was disturbed to find out that I missed his last two books, a mistaking that I am rectifying now.  This novel was as intense and well written as usual—I always get sucked right into his stories and stay up all night trying to finish them.  There isn’t much more to say: if you enjoy Rice, you should read it, if you’ve never read him before give him a chance, I think few would be disappointed.

ambern’s #CBR4 Review #23 The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

It’s 1996 and Emma has just received a new computer from her father as a guilt gift.  When she installs AOL, Emma discovers a weird site called Facebook that shows her 15 years into the future.  At first she believes that the whole thing is a joke that her friend Josh is playing on her, but his bewilderment over the site convinces her that this isn’t payback of any kind.  (Things have been tense between Josh and Emma for months, since she rejected him romantically.)

The two quickly become obsessed with Facebook and their futures.  Josh becomes a graphic designer happily married to the prettiest girl in their school (a girl he has been too nervous to even talk to) while Emma ends up unemployed and in a miserable marriage.  Understandably upset, she does everything in her present to change her future, frustrating Josh who doesn’t want his chance at a great future ruined by Emma.

At first I had some trouble getting into the book; it was a little heavy-handed with the whole “it’s 1996” thing.  But Josh and Emma’s awkwardness with each other and their obsession with Facebook won me over—it just seemed real.  I can’t relate to the Facebook addiction because I’ve never been on it, but like most people I would love to have a chance to see into my future and try to change it for the better.  Overall it was an interesting book and a quick read, a nice distraction.

ambern’s #CBR4 Review #22 Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

The newest Sookie Stackhouse.  I get excited every year when a new entry to this series comes out and even though they haven’t been as fun as they used to be, they are still a nice escape.  As usual, if you haven’t caught up with the series, there will be slight spoilers.

Deadlocked picks up a couple weeks after the events of the last book; Sookie is settled with her fairy roommates, her best friend is expecting twins at any moment, in fact, everyone in her life seems to be settling down with their partners.  Except Sookie.  Her relationship with Eric has been strained since she severed her blood bond and she has become wistful for a life that she cannot possibly have with a vampire.

Her troubles with Eric are increased when she arrives to a party for Felipe de Castro, the vampire king of Louisiana, Nevada, and Arkansas, who is in town to investigate Victor’s disappearance.  There, Sookie finds Eric drinking from a half-were woman who is later found dead on his lawn.  Everyone is pulled into the investigation, but Sookie’s worries over her grandmother’s final gift to her, the fairy-made cluviel dor; a prize that many would be willing to kill her for.  Sookie is again pushed into a mystery that she wants no part of.

This entry is definitely not as good as most of the previous ones, but it was still entertaining for me.  I love the characters, especially Sookie and Eric, and I am even fine with the more mundane aspects of them that Harris throws in.  My biggest complaint was the lack of Eric, but I understand that it was necessary to show the isolation that Sookie has felt from him.  There could also have been more humor, there was far too much betrayal going on, and Harris hasn’t been lightening the mood like she used to.  Overall though, I enjoyed it and will be anxiously waiting for the final chapter in this series.

ambern’s #CBR4 Review #21 Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

I am still having a ridiculously hard time in school so I decided that a book about the apocalypse would provide the pick-me-up that I needed.  Damned if it didn’t help.  I’m sure pretty much everyone reading this has already read Good Omens, probably multiple times.  It’s just one of those books that is impossible not to like: smart, funny, and extremely British.

The story begins with an angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowley, discussing the ineffable plan shortly after Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden of Eden.  The two continue this discussion throughout the next 6,000 years.  Things come to a head once the Antichrist is born, even though he is promptly misplaced and raised without influences from heaven or hell.

11 years later the Antichrist, Adam, is living an idyllic life for an English boy, he has his gang of friends and is unaware of his powers.  Despite this, the apocalypse is moving forward as planned and the world is destined to end on Saturday.  Aziraphale and Crowley, along with Witchfinders, professional descendants, Adam and his gang, and the four horsemen are all doing their part in fulfilling the predictions of Agnes Nutter, the only truly accurate prophet known to the world.

What is there to say?  I love this book and I wish everyone would read it.  It is smart and so funny that I scare people on the metro with my laughing.  I’m glad that I live in a world where writers like Pratchett and Gaiman exist and that I can get swept up into their ridiculous logic.

ambern’s #CBR4 Review #20 Forever Princess by Meg Cabot

The final volume of the Princess Diaries series picks up over a year after the last one, right before Mia’s graduation from high school.  She hasn’t been writing in her journal because she was busy completing her senior project—a romance novel.  Of course she has led her friends and family to believe that she wrote about the history of Genovian olive oil pressing to ensure that they will not ask to read it.

Mia has been accepted into every school that she applies for but is reluctant to go to any of them because she feels that they only want a princess at their schools and her novel (submitted under a pseudonym) hasn’t been accepted by any publishers.  She is still dating J.P. but doesn’t feel as happy with him as she was with Michael, and J.P. doesn’t smell as good either.  So when Michael comes back from Japan, Mia is eager and nervous to see him.

While she wants to focus on Michael and how he feels about her, Mia has several obligations to worry about: her birthday gala, prom, graduation, choosing a college, and the outcome of Genovia’s first elections.  High school is almost over and she is realizing just how scary it is to leave it behind and become an adult.

I love this book and feel that it wrapped the series up well.  While I would love to have more of these characters, there is closure for everyone so I can’t be too upset.  Overall this is a silly series that I just can’t get enough of and I will miss the intensely crazy Mia Thermopolis.

ambern’s #CBR4 Review #19 Princess Mia by Meg Cabot

So after the events at the end of the last book, Mia’s life is in upheaval and she refuses to get out of bed.  It gets so bad that her parents have to resort to something that was a long time coming—they bring her to a psychologist.

While Mia hoped that the accidental kiss with J.P. wouldn’t bother Michael, he decided that they had too many issues to be anything more than friends for the present.  Lily refuses to even talk to her, leaving her without her best friend or her boyfriend for support.  After wallowing for several days, she is unceremoniously brought to Dr. Knutz’s office in the hopes that she will start to shower again.

Aside from losing two of the most important people in her life, Mia faces more humiliation from a new spiteful website, and the increasing anxiety over a speech that she must give to a prestigious female organization.  To help her cope, Mia discovers new and unlikely friends and a diary from an ancestor that has a profound impact on her life.

This is one of my favorite books in the series, probably because there is very little of Lily in it.  Or it could be how Mia’s depression is portrayed.  I can remember having thoughts just like that in high school (and beyond) and times where it seemed exhausting to pretend to be okay.  In the end there is hope for Mia, and a lot of relief.

ambern’s #CBR4 Review #18 Princess on the Brink by Meg Cabot

Mia is a junior now and while she is saddled with Precalculus and Ms. Martinez the unsupportive English teacher, she is excited about the new school year.  That is until Michael drops a bomb on her—he is moving to Japan, immediately.

Over the summer Michael built a prototype of a robotic arm that could revolutionize heart surgery and a Japanese company wants him to oversee the building of a working model.  It is a great opportunity and he will get course credit, but he will also have to be gone for at least a year.  Obviously, this news sends Mia in a tailspin.  To keep him in the country, she even seeks out Grandmere’s advice—that’s how desperate she is.  Of course this advice is a step that Mia isn’t sure that she is ready for, but if it can keep him in the country she will consider it.

I’m not going to lie; there is quite a lot of drama in this one.  Mia really isn’t equipped to deal with something like this and she has never been really good at taking sound advice.  I still liked this one, but would recommend reading the next part right after, the ending to this book is a little upsetting.

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