Summer Wrap Up Read-A-Thon

I decided to take part in the Summer Wrap Up Read-A-Thon hosted by In Between and Some Like It Paranormal. I needed a bit of a boost to get back to reading and finish some of the stuff I have borrowed from the library. This isn’t actually “end of the holiday reading” for me, since my summer holidays are over and I started work this week. I still decided to join and see what I could finish reading in a week.

Books I hope to finish

Salem's Lot Forsaken North End - Niskaan putoava taivas
Salem’s Lot by Stephen King – horror/adult
Forsaken by Jana Oliver – modern fantasy/YA
North End – Niskaan putoava taivas by Laura Lähteenmäki – dystopian fantasy/YA/Finnish

Books I hope to start reading

B.P.R.D
B.P.R.D: Plague of Frogs 1 by Mike Mignola et al. – adventure, horror or modern fantasy, I guess/adult graphic novel

Go ahead and join!

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

Summer vacation is over and it’s back to work I go! I’m a bit surprised as to how little I read during the holiday – perhaps I need the commute to read?

I am currently reading


Forsaken by Jana Oliver
(Known in the U.S. as The Demon Trapper’s Daughter)
From: The library

Riley Blackthorne is an apprentice Demon Trapper, following in her father’s footsteps. It looks like she has a hard time because many Demon Trappers are against a girl being trained to be one of them. I have read two chapters, and it seems like this could be interesting. I just get the giggles from the fact that the girl’s father’s name is Paul Blackthorne, who is the actor who played Harry Dresden in the short-lived The Dresden Files TV-series.


Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
From: The library

Yes, guys, I am STILL reading this! It just took me a really long time to get into this. I’m halfway through and I have to return it on Wednesday, so it looks like I’ll be reading it today and tomorrow. At least stuff is beginning to happen right about now, and my interest is piqued.

Last week I read

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – Read my review here

I also posted the July Wrap-Up.

“It’s Monday, what are you reading?” is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

July Wrap-Up

Huh. It seems like I didn’t read a lot of speculative fiction this month.

Fantasy / Sci-Fi


The Forest of Hands and Teeth
by Carrie Ryan
First published in 2009

This was a YA fantasy book about society after a zombie apocalypse. The zombie sequences were very good, and I loved the beginning in the village with the Sisterhood’s secrets and everything… but the book really dragged down for me every time that the obligatory love interest/love triangle was focused on. At the same time, I liked that the main character had desires and motivations apart from the love interest. I was entertained, but it could have been so much better.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare – review here

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott card – review here

Other

The Lake Murder on the Orient Express 13 Little Blue Envelopes
The Lake
by Banana Yoshimoto
First published in 2005

A contemporary book about an artist who has just lost her mother, and her budding relationship with a young man suffering from a childhood trauma. I find the mood to be one of the captivating things in Banana’s books, and this story is filled with her usual simple but poetic language which gives me a feeling of tranquillity. To me, there is always an undertone of positivity in her writing although her stories deal with hard subjects like death.

Murder on the Orient Express
by Agatha Christie
First published in 1933
Read in Finnish

I have loved Hercule Poirot ever since childhood, when I watched the show with David Suchet, yet for the longest time I didn’t know what this story was about. Then I saw the film perhaps two years ago, and it was great watching it without knowing the murderer. Now, reading the book, it was great to look for all the clues and false clues and hints that Christie makes the characters drop. Definitely one of the more intriguing Poirot mysteries.

13 Little Blue Envelopes
by Maureen Johnson
First published in 2005

A YA novel where an American teenager travels Europe following the instructions in 13 envelopes left by her aunt. I didn’t like the love interest, and I often found the main character annoying. She seemed to find it quite a drag to travel around Europe and see beautiful sights. Yeah, such a horrible thing to have to do. Also, being European, I imagine I’d get more of an exotic factor from reading about a European teenager travelling around the States.

Graphic Novels

Read this month’s graphic novel reviews here, including:

  • Chew, Vol. 1: Taster’s Choice
  • Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite
  • Locke & Key, Vol. 2: Head Games

I also read Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, and will share my thoughts on it in a future Graphic Reads post.

This post is linked to the Book Rat’s July Rewind/August TBR post.

2012 Sci-Fi Challenge 2 of 7: Ender’s Game

Ender's Game
Ender’s Game
by Orson Scott Card
First published in 1985

Ender Wiggin is Battle School’s latest recruit. His teachers reckon he could become a great leader. And they need one. A vast alien force is headed for Earth. Its mission: the annihilation of all human life. Ender could be our only hope. But first he must survive the most brutal military training programme in the galaxy.

So, on to the second read in this year’s Sci-Fi Challenge. I was really looking forward to reading Ender’s Game, and I was not let down. The book is very character-driven, which I thought was missing from my first sci-fi read this year, Solaris. There was no technical babble, no dry chapters of the history of something or other. The focus was on Ender and what was relevant to him.

Although Ender’s Game wasn’t originally written with the Young Adult audience in mind, it reads very much like a YA book. It also seems that many people have read the book sometime during their high school years or even earlier, so there has to be something that speaks to a younger reader – and I can see the appeal. The book is captivating: the writing is easy to read and the plot is fast-paced and exciting. The character is a young kid in a school-like environment. He is at the mercy of the whims of adults. He painfully stands out from the rest of the students which makes him an object of envy and hate. These are certainly themes that speak to a YA audience.

Ender has so many challenges thrown at him that he will have to solve alone. He’s only six years old when he goes to Battle School, but he has to face older bullies and overcome hardships that would break a weaker mind. I was always interested in seeing how he turns whatever obstacle into a victory for him and his team.

Card manages to make Ender very likeable – I found myself rooting for him from the very beginning of the book. There are the occasional parts from another character’s point of view, but the focus of the book is clearly on Ender. If Ender hadn’t been likeable, it would have been hard to enjoy the book. He is smart and does what needs to be done, but he isn’t ruthless – he cares about his fellow students.

I found it neat that the students use electronic “desks” to do their school work. The desks seem to be linked to a local network and all the programs to reside on a main server. While reading, I couldn’t help but think of the desks as iPad-like tablets and that the completed school assignments were saved to cloud storage. This made the book feel very current in its technology!

Ender gets 4 stars out of 5. The book is really good, and I only ever give 5 stars to my absolute favourite books.

Favourite character: Ender. I found him an utterly fascinating main character.

Next up: Most probably The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi