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SNEAK PEEK of The Archived by Victoria Schwab

I really enjoyed Victoria Schwab’s The Near Witch last year so I was so excited when I was able to read a sneak peek of The Archived, only the first 100 pages, but oh so good. It makes me want to wear a key around my neck and carry chalk in my pocket.

Details Please (Publisher’s description)
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

So What?
Like I said before I just read the first couple of chapters and was just barely scratching the surface of the story, but I can tell this will be a book to look out for. I really liked the whole premise about Mackenzie sending back the Histories that escape through the cracks in the Archive. Mackenzie has a start as a Keeper at a relatively young age and on top of that she is dealing with deaths in the family, and the lack of closure there. There is also Roland a really cool librarian who catalogs the dead, and hasn’t aged a day, and the mysterious Wesley with scars of his own. Also there are a whole lot of doors and shadows just waiting to be explored.

As a side note, have any of you seen the Japanese film Be with You, base off Takuji Ichikawa’s novel? When I started reading this that movie came to mind because in the film the mother dies and goes to a planet named Archive. I had always wondered why they named the planet Archive and now after reading this I understand. Two totally different things but I had such a eureka moment. Lol.

I’d like to imagine that Mio from Be With You escaped from the Archives in Victoria Schwab’s world and came back in the rainy season in Takuji Ichikawa novel.

Anyway,I believe that everyone is approved for the Sneak Peek on NetGalley so you guys should go seek it out. Then we can all patiently wait for January 22nd to come. So. Far. Away. 😦

I can’t wait to read the whole story.

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Details, Please (Publisher’s description)
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

So what?
I believe this is Clarke’s debut novel, and it makes me want to read more pirate books. Yes, please! Ananna of Tanarau wants to learn navigation, a ship of her own, her own armada and maybe become the richest woman in the world. Really, is that too much to ask? For an ambitious girl, Ananna wants to do so at her own pace and is not one of those cringe worthy characters who steps on everyone to get her way. She knows her worth, she isn’t superficial, and she can take care of herself (plus she has a cool pirate tattoo)…However, don’t ask me how to pronounce her name, I have no clue.

Naji on the other hand, for being an assassin has a bit of a complex. Don’t get me wrong, he is a pretty awesome character and is ultra-cool, but Ananna came across as the more reliable of the two. Both of them went through different places out of their comfort zone whether it be the desert, the ocean or some scary island both adapting well to whatever the venue. They had a mission to accomplish, and it was a joy to go along with them.

As far as assassin books go it’s much better than some of the most recent ones (Throne of Glass, I’m looking at you) and if you liked the Rain Benares Series by Lisa Shearin which is neither about pirates or assassins (but has both) you would really like The Assassin’s Curse.

So what do you get when you have a pirate and an assassin? Awesomeness.

Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I heard great things about Warm Bodies, but was very skeptical about a zombie romance book. Let me tell you right off, this isn’t a yucky kind of romance, something you would see on an episode of Taboo. It’s really just a quiet kind of love, a slow understanding of sorts between a zombie and the girlfriend of one of his victims.

Details, Please
Basically R is living his life in the way he’s accustomed, shuffling here and there, taking the occasional ride up and down the escalator, eating people, eating brains and experiencing other people’s memories…but on a certain night, he decides to keep a living girl safe, and not for a leftover snack. He honestly wants to protect her and I’m not sure he even fully understands why at first.

So what?
I listened to this on audiobook.I turned it on as background noise while doing homework and immediately got sucked in. I wasn’t expecting to be surprised. Needles to say I had to turn it off because then I couldn’t concentrate on my homework. I have to say that Kevin Kenerly does an amazing job narrating. I think listening to it really made me enjoy it so much more than if I had read it myself. I really encourage you to listen to it on your daily commute.

Basically a lot of what is narrated is in R’s head since he is unable to express it outwardly being a zombie and all, but for a dead guy R’s more alive than some living. I really loved R so much that sometimes the memories of other people made me want to rush past it, but I could tell that even those parts were needed in R’s story, because it wasn’t just about his journey. Also I can’t really say what happened at the end, because I’m not sure myself but it was an enjoyable experience getting to that point.This book could have been really corny, but it wasn’t. It was lyrical and poetic. It’s about what makes us human, about hope and tenacity.While writing this all I can think of are Albert Schweitzer quotes like:

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

 “A man does not have to be an angel in order to be saint.”

“The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.”

Seriously, I probably have no idea what I’m talking about but quotes like that came to me when thinking about this book. I wouldn’t usually use the word “beautiful” in the same sentence as “zombie,” but you know, for a zombie book, it really is beautiful.

The Scent of Green Papaya (1993)

I’ve been watching a lot of slow-paced television series with tons of fight sequences that could barely keep me interested, and then late last night I decided to watch The Scent of Green Papaya, a film with practically nothing going on…and I couldn’t look away. I had never heard of it, and I was a kid when it first came out. I don’t know what I was expecting when selecting it, but I came out really loving this lyrical film.

Details, Please
The story starts off in 1951 in Saigon with a little girl named Mui becoming a servant to a middle class family. Ten year old Mui is played by Man San Lu and is so intelligent and curious about everything. There is something so serene about this film and Man San Lu plays Mui with such a sweet and gentle sort of spirit. She is much-loved in the Trang household by the mistress because she reminds her of her daughter that died years ago.

I can’t say that something really exciting happens, because it doesn’t. The film is basically what goes on everyday in two different households. It is extremely slow-paced and yet I was completely interested in every little detail. My mom made a teasing comment about the actors having difficultly learning their lines, because hardly anything was said. Really though, even if nothing was said, it would still be a great film. It reminded me of a ballet. I don’t know if it was because of how graceful everyone seemed, but it was just beautiful to watch. Simple everyday things became so entrancing.

Everything about this movie is subtle, even the different love stories. Nothing is demonstrative. We have an unrequited love of the little old grandpa Thuan, who continues to try to catch a glimpse of his love who he hasn’t seen in seven years. He befriends Mui in hopes that he could convince her to get his love to come into the courtyard where he could see her.Then there is Khuyen the pianist whom Mui has had a crush on since she was little. She goes to work for him when she gets older, she is played by Tran Nu Yên-Khê. This film represents both the love that breaks you down and then love that helps you grow. It’s beautiful.

The Scent of Green Papaya directed by Tran Anh Hung won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. I would highly recommend watching, but perhaps not when you are really tired. Perhaps you could make some sort of game for whenever Mui decides to tilt her head…which oddly enough reminded me of Detective Goren from Law & Order: Criminal Intent…That being said, please do give The Scent of Green Papaya a try.

Warped by Maurissa Guibord

Details, Please
Having haggled with an older lady at an auction, Tessa now finds herself the proud owner of a couple of boxes of old books and an extra crate that contains a unicorn tapestry. After hanging it in her room she starts having odd dreams and memories of a unicorn hunt from a whole different time period. The Norns, who spin threads of Fate, are especially ticked off having suspected Tessa of stealing seven threads from them. Tessa doesn’t remember this, and what happens when she does pull a thread from the tapestry? Better yet, why is there a sixteenth century nobleman in her room?

So What?
Usually I would stay away from books with time travel and unicorns, but I think this book is creative and likable. It didn’t quite live up to all the hype surrounding it, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. I didn’t find it corny at all. The whole unicorn idea was believable, and I mean there are such things as unicorn tapestries anyway.

Also, the time travel was handled in a simplistic way and not at all confusing. Although, there were times where something was mentioned and I thought it would be important and then it wasn’t mentioned again… other than that, it’s a neat read. It’s lite fantasy and reminded me of a Disney Channel movie. So if Disney Channel movies appeal to you and you like the idea of unicorns and dragons, and a girl who lives above a bookstore give it a try on a gray day. Plus it’s a standalone.

Excerpt:

Up close, the tapestry’s deep, jeweled colors made kaleidoscope whorls of crimson and gold and emerald-green, while in the center, the unicorn, woven in milky white, blazed like a pool of moonlight against the dark.

“Gorgeous,” Tessa whispered.

It looked so real. The unicorn, with a long spiraled horn jutting from its tangled mane, was depicted rearing up on its hind legs as its front hooves raked the air. A violent, yet majestic strength was captured in the arched lines of its neck and the muscular shadows of its shoulders.

The unicorn was in a grassy clearing, hemmed in by denser forest. In the background a castle sat atop a distant hill, with turrets outlined against a brilliant blue sky. The scene, Tessa thought, was like something from a fairy tale. But definitely one of the darker ones. And probably not one with a happy ending. For she noticed that a dark cut was stitched on the unicorn’s cheek, and from it flowed two crimson drops of blood. The unicorn’s large golden brown eyes seemed to glitter. Tessa squinted. She felt strange, breathless.

She reached out and brushed her fingers over the tapestry. The threads were warm and soft, almost velvety beneath her touch. Then it happened.

A tingling sensation ran up her arm, quick and warm and so lightning fast Tessa didn’t have time to snatch her hand back. Suddenly everything was gone. The tapestry, the car, even the ground was gone.

It was as if a black fog had swept her up and was carrying her far away. She was drenched in darkness, blinded. But she could hear something. In the black fog, a voice spoke. Words swirled around her.

Through warp and weft, I bind thee. 

2011 Year in Review

I wanted to try Jamie’s End of the Year Book Survey from over at The Perpetual Page-Turner. You should definitely go and check it out. I picked a few (okay, more than a few) questions.

1. Best Book You Read In 2011?

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

Undead And Undetermined by Mary Janice Davidson
Dead Surround by Celis T. Rono

3.Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

Divergent by Veronica Roth

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?

The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire
and the The Iron Fae series by Julie Kagawa.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Victoria Schwab, Lauren DeStefano, and Veronica Roth

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

8. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

River Marked by Patricia Briggs and Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

9. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter and One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire… Yes, go ahead and laugh. I have no idea why two of my favorite covers this year have girls lying on the ground. I have no idea what this says about me, but the second one… doesn’t it remind you of The Little Mermaid when she sings “Part of your World”?

10. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?

“Puck, didn’t you tell me once that the fey were born from the dreams of mortals?”

“Yeah?” Puck said, not getting it.

“Well, what if these things—” I jiggled the metal insect “—are born from different dreams? Dreams of technology, and progress? Dreams of science? What if the pursuit of ideas that once seemed impossible—flight, steam engines, the Worldwide Web—gave birth to a whole different species of faery? Mankind has made huge leaps in technology over the past hundred years. And with each success, we’ve kept reaching—dreaming—for more. These iron fey could be the result.”

-The Iron King By Julie Kagawa.

11. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The end of Double Cross by Carolyn Crane and the end of DreamFever by Karen Marie Moning had some crazy scenes in them.The first one made me so mad at some characters I wanted to throw things, and the second made me cry so hard I made myself sick. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I do recall my mother telling me to get a life.

12.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did, I signed up for both of Carl’s challenges (R.I.P. VI and Once Upon a Time V). The only one I didn’t really follow through on was the Haruki Murakami challenge, although I didn’t really sign-up officially. I just wanted to see if I could read the book my sister bought me. I know it’s my fault guys, because everyone seems to love Haruki Murakami and Kafka on the Shore. I don’t know if it’s because of all the metaphors…and profound stuff. Maybe I’m just shallow? Lol, I have tried and tried to finish….I’m still trying?

13. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

14. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?

I would like to read more books outside of my comfort zone. I also want to thank everyone on my blogroll. All of you have been so very kind to me in my first ten months of blogging, and I’ve learned a lot from all of you. I hope that we can continue to follow each others progress 🙂 Here’s to the New Year 🙂

How was your year in review? Any favorite books?

U-Turn (2008 4-prt Special Movie)

I was making a comment on u-turns when I remembered this special television project I saw a while back. It’s a Korean four-part mini movie that’s an advertising commercial. I know that sounds weird, because aren’t movies full of product placement anyway? U-Turn is more like a long entertaining commercial. I wish they’d do that here, it would be neat to see a commercial for light bulbs made into a mini movie with Stephen Colbert or something…but what do I know? Lol.

Details, Please
U-Turn is a comedy, drama and spookiness all in one. Ji Sub is driving home one day when a peculiar girl shows up out of nowhere and doesn’t remember anything. Who is she, and why did she appear to him?

Each part is a little over 5 minutes long.
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

P.S. I love So Ji Sub, but he’s sort of a yelling jerk in this…plus can you guess what they’re trying to sell?