Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
(Warning, there are some Spoilers below--nothing huge, but just as a heads up!)
Holy moly, I adored these books. I should have sat down to write something about each (or, that was the plan) but I pretty much had to just dive right into the next one. No choice in the matter, really. They were that good. I don't rave about a lot of books that I read, and there have only been a few I've reviewed on here that I've absolutely adored, but these are certainly falling into that category--right behind Hunger Games.
Anyhow, I won't get into the plot or anything--that's what amazon's for--but I will say it was unique and interesting. It swept me up and had me gripping the book, reading so fast just to make sure it was all going to be okay for Clary, Jace, Simon, and the host of other nicely actualized characters. My fav person in the books? Totally Magnus Bane. His antics and outfits had me in stitches. I've read a few other reviews of this book and am amazed at how many people have fallen for Simon. Now, don't get me wrong, he's a great guy, but it was totally Jace through the whole thing. Even with the kinda creepy incest thing going on. I knew it wasn't going to work out so that he was really related (duh). I'm afraid it's always going to be the dark and mysterious guy in books that I'm going to root for--it's not real life, therefore I don't have to make the "responsible" choice :-).
So there are a couple of things that I kept thinking while reading, that I would have done differently. I'm not sure they're weaknesses, just difference in taste. Anyhow, I would have loved these books to be in first person. I enjoyed the different character points of view quite a bit, especially in the last book, but it would have been fun, and provided some needed character insight into Clary's head. Or, maybe I just love first-person. The other thing was that there were a few circumstances where it felt like the characters were just meandering. Big stuff would happen and some of the resulting actions felt a little contrived. I'm still not sure why they bothered going to the Seelie court, for example (other than it provided a way for a most interesting kiss scene).
So, yeah, I'll be re-reading these. Very, very fun. Highly recommended to anyone who's looking for a fun read!
(On another note--it's supposed to be close to 100F here today. Welcome summer! It always amuses me that California has two seasons: winter rain and cold, and summer blasting heat. Nothing in between. And some places are still getting snow!)
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
- The giant cardboard sign outside my building proclaiming "Young Hall is a MORGUE!" Left by our friendly neighborhood Native Americans. Yep, I dig up your ancestors and study them! (I know I'm being culturally insensitive here, but really, #1, they're not actually related unless you go back 8,000 years or more, and #2, how else are we supposed to know about these people? Want to know about your ancestors? Well, we're going to have to study them! #3, I don't discriminate, I'd be happy to look at people from other areas, too, not just the Americas.)
- Older people who don't know what "teabagging" is and are using is liberally, like it doesn't have a really gross meaning. Ahh, gotta love me some lolz.
- Not funny, but I'm adoring the Mortal Instruments series! Future blog on this, but I haven't been able to put them down.
- Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to the new x-men movie? I can't wait!! A clear indication of my total geekiness.
- Dried cherries. I love thee! (but they don't love me, especially when I'm not thinking about it and eat way, way too many. Um. Bad.)
- I ordered some PTC taste-test papers the other day, and tried them out on my lab-mates. Awesome reactions. I may just have to record using them on my students this summer. It's awesome. (Think making a bunch of people suck on something a million times more bitter than a lemon. Hahah!)
Friday, April 10, 2009
In the past, I read most of the Wild Magic quartet and totally adored it. The remainder of the series is now waiting in my TBR pile (the one that threatens my life as I sit here at my desk). So when I found both of these books in the library sale pile, I was ecstatic. Pierce is a genius and I love her world she's created and used throughout her several series. It's fun, it's got magic, and romance, and all sorts of great characters. I launched into these fully expecting to love them. Sadly, that just wasn't the case. I read them, and both had really good, satisfying endings, but I really couldn't get behind the main character.
I spent most of the second book trying to figure out just what it was that had me so bored with her and the whole situation. The set-up was great--revolution, war, corrupt rulers and a queen trying to regain her throne with the aid of a really smart, adept spy (Aly). It's just that, well, it was too pat. Aly was always a step ahead and I never saw her really struggle. I don't particularly want to read a book about someone who can handle every curve-ball thrown at them--it's boring! I found myself rooting for the opposition about halfway through the second book, just so I could see Aly squirm and have to find a new, creative way out of the mess.
Here's the other thing I thought about while reading: making that MC identifiable for the reader. A character that's so strong, so smart, so cunning, that it's almost annoying? There's no way any teen (let alone adult!) who's going to be able to feel like they can get behind her and root for her. She doesn't really need rooting for! Now, don't get me wrong--I love strong female (and male!) characters. Capable young/older women who know what they're doing and work to do it. But there's a fine line between being a strong character and being one that's just too strong, leaving the reader to just feel like they're following along, not really pushing for her (or him) to figure it all out. It creates a lack of conflict, and a lack of interest. That's what really made me frustrated.
Anyhow, that's my take. Hubby bought me City of Bones for my b-day and I honestly can't wait to read it!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
- There is a pair of red-tailed hawks nesting in the giant pine tree in front of my house. This is absolutely amazing. Really. The parents are constantly circling outside my window and there is nothing cooler than watching these huge, magnificent raptors fly. This probably has something to do with my obsession with winged-things, but hey, it's cool. I need to find a way to see the babies without disturbing anything.
- I haven't heard anything back from my agent about my revisions. Yeah, I know it's too soon to start biting my nails. I'm still paranoid and repeating to myself that no news is good news. And here I thought waiting on queries was bad...
- Grant money! I got the official word today that I was awarded the NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant. This is totally utterly awesome. It still biggles my mind a little that people want to give me money to do science with, but hey, I'm not going to refuse it! This brings my grand total of grant $$ to more than I make in a year. It's a little strange. And I'm so going to buy like every color of sharpie the next time I go to the supply shop!
- It looks like I will be moving into Davis. This is sorta good, as I need to be closer to the lab. I'm just not going to get into what I think of Davis as a whole.
- My little brother will be coming home this weekend. It's only for 24 hours, and it's to help my mom move back out to be my neighbor, but it's always good to see him. Miss the little bugger!
Okay, enough positives. Things are okay. Knock on wood and all that jazz. Now I'm going to go try and write. It's been a week and I need to get myself back on this horse!