Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Top Ten (Spoiler-Free) Quotes of 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and features lists on different bookish topics. Today is a "rewind" day, so I chose quotes, and then refined it to "spoiler-free quotes of 2012" because otherwise there are too many to choose from. Some are insightful, some are inspiring, and some are just plain funny.

“Perhaps you have brain damage.”

“It would not shock me in the least,” I said.

“Would you like me to cut open your skull and check, my lord?” she asked.

Someone that short should not be that disturbing. “I . . . No. No, but thank you for the offer.”

“It is my duty to serve,” Lacuna intoned.

My life, Hell’s bells.

-Cold Days by Jim Butcher

“Hark,” he said, his tone very dry. “What stone through yonder window breaks?”

Kami yelled up at him, “It is the east, and Juliet is a jerk!”

Jared abandoned Shakespeare and demanded, “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Throwing a pebble,” said Kami defensively. “Uh… and I’ll pay for the window.”

Jared vanished and Kami was ready to start shouting again, when he reemerged with the pebble clenched in his fist. “This isn’t a pebble! This is a rock.”

“It’s possible that your behaviour has inspired some negative feelings that caused me to pick a slightly overlarge pebble,” Kami admitted.

-Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

“How do you feel about helicopters?"

There was a long pause. "How do you mean? Ethically?"

"As a mode of transportation."

"Faster than camels, but less sustainable.”

-The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

“No walking! No standing, no bending, no moving, no accessing the Shadow Roads,nothing. You don't swim for an hour after eating, you don't swan around like an idiot for an hour after narrowly avoiding death."

"Toby does," said Quentin.

"Toby is genetically predisposed to swan around like an idiot," Jin shot back. "Now sit.”

-Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

“No matter how long you train someone to be brave, you never know if they are or not until something real happens.”

-Insurgent by Veronica Roth

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

-The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“I believed in happily ever after as much as anyone, because Jane Austen, Prince Charming, and Hugh Grant promised me it could happen.

But maybe that particular delusion was universal.”

-The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

“There are some things more important than ourselves - more important than the limits of the present, and the whims of the now. There is a future to build and protect. And if we're going to make that future as reality, we have to stop fighting among ourselves. We have to end dissent whenever we find it. We have to trust one another again.”

-Partials by Dan Wells

“Given a choice between life and death, choose life. Given a choice between right and wrong, choose what's right. And given a choice between a terrible truth and a beautiful lie, choose the truth every time.”

-Blackout by Mira Grant

“Did those nice church ladies come by again?"

He nodded. "I asked them if a man died and then the woman remarried, and then the three of them met in heaven, would it be a sin for them to have a threesome, since they were all married in God's eyes. And they decided they were late to be somewhere else.”

-Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

What are your favorite quotes? And what did you pick for today's topic? Leave a link to your post at the end of your comment so I can check it out!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday | Books Before the Blog

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and features lists on different bookish topics. Today's category:

Books I Read Before I Was a Blogger

I have a tendency to harp on about my old favorites, so long-time readers will certainly have heard these before. But I can never turn down the chance to proselytize about my favorite books, so here you are!

Sunshine by Robin McKinley: one of my most worn-out comfort reads

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #3): probably my favorite book in one of my favorite UF series

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay: possibly my all-time favorite book

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastard #1): hilarious, disturbing, suspenseful, exciting. Just an amazing book.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1): another funny and intense fantasy

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card: a mainstay of science fiction

Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese (Mercury #1): a funny and clever story of the Apocalypse

Fever series by Karen Marie Moning: unbelievably gripping. I've never really thought of them as separate books (except when waiting for Shadowfever).

Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher (Codex Alera #4): best book of a great epic fantasy series

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: definitely my favorite HP book

What are your old favorites?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review | River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay

River of Stars
Guy Gavriel Kay
Published 2 April 2013 by Roc (Penguin)
Historical fantasy
4 stars

In his critically acclaimed novel Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay told a vivid and powerful story inspired by China’s Tang Dynasty. Now, the international bestselling and multiple award-winning author revisits that invented setting four centuries later with an epic of prideful emperors, battling courtiers, bandits and soldiers, nomadic invasions, and a woman battling in her own way, to find a new place for women in the world – a world inspired this time by the glittering, decadent Song Dynasty.

Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate of Kitai. That moment on a lonely road changed his life—in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later—and his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles towards the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north.

Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor—and alienates women at the court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.

In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars.

Bite-Sized Review
Guy Gavriel Kay has a wonderful way with words that is as beautiful in this book as in any of his others. With sweeping themes and characters that are painfully easy to fall in love with, River of Stars is  a masterpiece.

Chocolate (things I liked) 
-I have loved all of GGK's books, and in every case, one of my favorite things about them is the writing. GGK is an absolutely brilliant writer -- there's really no one better. So even the slower parts of the book are a pleasure to read and filled with meaning.

-In addition to being a spectacular wordsmith, GGK has the ability to bring broad themes to life. The pages of his books are filled with love and war, how things long past can affect the present, what duty people have to their rulers, and the difficulty of certain choices. It's especially brilliant because the conclusions the reader draws from the story seem completely natural and not forced at all, as they sometimes are in other books.

-It is heart-breakingly easy to fall in love with GGK's characters. In River of Stars, my favorites were Daiyan and Shan, who were both unorthodox and startlingly clever.

-GGK puts a lot of effort into making his novels historically genuine (which isn't necessarily the same as historically accurate), and it really shows. Especially after reading certain other books, it's really nice to see that much attention to detail in making so many aspects of the characters' lives fit into Song China.

-I loved the ending, though not everyone will.

Brussels Sprouts (things I didn't like)
-The only negative thing I have to say about River of Stars is that the first half was sort of slow. The plot didn't really start until the second half. Of course, I still enjoyed the first half, but I would have preferred if it had been condensed a bit.

River of Stars takes place about 400 years after Under Heaven. While it's probably helpful to have read Under Heaven, it's not at all necessary. I read Under Heaven several years ago, when it first came out, and have forgotten most of what happened, but I had no trouble at all following River of Stars.

Recommended for
Fans of historical fantasy, beautiful writing, and wonderful characters. People who have enjoyed the works of Brandon Sanderson and Neil Gaiman will probably like River of Stars as well.