Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

Everything related to the site and its lovely bloggers.

March 20

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Recent Arrivals: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty - Book Cover

First line: Madeleine Tully turned fourteen yesterday, but today she did not turn anything.

Initial thoughts: I read the description and was immediately intrigued by the premise of the story (plus it brought to mind ‘The Lake House‘—a movie I secretly love) in that it’s about two people connecting with each other from two impossible places (in this book’s case, rather than across time, it’s across dimensions or worlds).

The first few pages have a nice, easy writing style and made me smile more than once. I’m worried that it might switch from a quaint, balanced sentiment into something overly maudlin, though, because we already get a glimpse into Madeleine’s life and it seems anything but glamorous. Only time will tell.

Depending on my mood after I finish Madapple, I might just have to give this a quick read—but I’m being cautious because I’ve learned this is part of a trilogy which means I’ll either be left hanging or yearning for more without a quick fix. Must prepare my mind for that.

Book description:

Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in cramped quarters in a rainy corner of Cambridge, England.

Meanwhile, in the Kingdom of Cello, Elliot is searching for his father. He disappeared a year ago, the same night that Elliot’s uncle was found dead on the side of the road. Official word is that a third-level Purple is responsible, but talk around town is that Elliot’s dad may have murdered his brother and run away with the high-school physics teacher. Elliot refuses to believe this, and is determined to find both his dad and the truth.

When Madeleine and Elliot begin to exchange messages across worlds—through an accidental gap that hasn’t appeared in centuries—the large and small events of their lives start to intertwine. Danger Colors are storming across Cello (a second-level Gray will tear you to pieces; a first-level Yellow can blind you), while Madeleine is falling for her new friend Jack. In Cello, they are searching for the tiny Butterfly Child, while Madeleine fears that her mother may be dangerously ill.

Can a corner of white hold a kingdom? Can a stranger from another world help to solve the problems—and unravel the mysteries—in your own? And can Madeleine and Elliot find the missing pieces of themselves before it’s too late?

Book Details: 384 pages; Arthur A. Levine Books (an Imprint of Scholastic); Pub. April 2013

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March 12

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Back on the Bandwagon

by Ann-Katrina

For the past several months I’ve been taking a break. A break from pleasure-reading, a break from blogging, and just an overall break from internet life. It’s been great, but I’m beginning to get restless. That means it’s time I hop back on the bandwagon.

Over the next few months I hope to have a new design up (not too different in feel from the current look—I love people knowing that this is a warm and friendly place where commenting and interaction are encouraged) and I’ll also be publishing a few reviews that have been waiting for transcription in my reading notebook.

I’m also planning to host some giveaways and other contests to say “thanks for waiting” and a few other things. In the meantime, I’ll just have to settle for posting up some recent arrivals. (I love getting books in the mail.)

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September 16

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Keeping it Together: How I Manage My Reading the Analog Way

by Ann-Katrina

A couple weeks ago, Liz Finch asked me how I keep track of the books I read. I started this system a while ago, but it’s evolved and I figured it might be a good idea to share it with the world.

book-journal-collage

Here’s a breakdown of what I use:

  1. A pen that makes me smile (in this case, Dong-A Miffy Scented Gel Pen in Lavender Purple)
  2. A quality journal (I prefer Kikkerland)
  3. An inexpensive spiral or composition notebook (New Leaf makes some cute ones)
  4. Index tab stickers (one of the greatest inventions ever—pictured JStory Index Fun Rabbit)

And if I’m feeling particularly spunky, I might use some Post-It flags and highlighters, too.

Now to explain as best I can why and how I use all of those things…

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January 17

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SOPA & PIPA Will Break the Internet

by Ann-Katrina

I’ve been reading a lot of hullabaloo about a couple things going on in Capital Hill right now and it all seems to center around SOPA and PIPA, Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act respectively.

You may not think this affects you because you’re just a reader or book blogger or whatever (to be honest, I didn’t think it affected me either), but believe it or not, it does.

Stop Internet Censorship

These two bills will basically give the government the right to deny access, for however long they feel like it, to any website it so chooses whenever it so chooses without prior warning or explanation to the website owner. That’s a generalization, but that’s essentially what it boils down to.

So, if you or one of your favourite bloggers were to link out to a website that was hosting something deemed to be pirated, access to the website that did the linking could be blocked. Just for linking to a site that MIGHT have pirated material on it. Heck, the blogger doesn’t even need to be the one to provide the link…it could be a commenter or guest author or a spambot.

Millions of people, especially small businesses, to include small publishing houses, indie authors, and bloggers in general, will be adversely affected by this. They won’t have the resources necessary to fight should their site (and livelihood) get shut down. They can have their payment processors* cut all ties with them. Oh, and they can be sent to prison for up to 5 years. (What due process?)

All over one little link.

Or if that doesn’t get you, how about the larger sites that have become a major part of your internet life? Sites like Google, or YouTube, or even Amazon or Barnes & Nobles. Yes, even these sites could be blocked because, guess what?, they allow user submitted content and should one of those users post an unseemly link in the forum or publish a video with a copyrighted song playing in the background, POOF goes the site.

To me, that’s just plain stupid and infuriating. Whoever came up with it (eh hem…RIAA, MPAA, major publishers, television networks, etc., I’m looking at you) needs to yank their heads from their rear ends and wake up. Breaking the internet is not the answer.

In protest, I’ve decided to join the likes of Reddit, Wikipedia, and WordPress and go dark tomorrow from 8AM through 8PM.

I urge other bloggers to join in and help spread the word to kill these two bills where they stand, for should they pass, blogging and socializing on the internet will become a lot less fun and a lot more like an unnerving dystopian novel. (I swear George Orwell must have been psychic.)

*If you sell digital goods, for instance your ebook, directly on your site, yes, this affects you, too.

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January 16

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Recent Arrivals: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

The Alchemy of Forever cover

First paragraph: I feel as though I’ve been waiting for the masquerade ball for my entire life. At fourteen, I am eligible for marriage and finally old enough to attend. The torchlight flickers on the sandstone facade of Lord Suffit’s palace on the Thames, and the roses woven into my hair are heady and sweet. I remember to push my mast up over my face before I walk through the great arched doorway.

Initial thoughts: Let me say up front that I’d not heard word one about this novel. Never read anything by Avery Williams before and, in general, have been out of the loop. But when I checked my mail and saw a package from Simon & Schuster and with tucked inside a book with a very pretty cover, I couldn’t resist checking out the back cover and blurb. (By the way, the picture does not do the actual cover justice.)

My first thought was, Hmm, this reminds me of that episode of The Outer Limits where the cops were chasing those spirit orb glow-y things that kept leaping from body to body. Before you think that’s a bad thing, it’s actually not. The Outer Limits happens to be one of my all time favourite shows. So while the gist of the story sounded quite similar to that episode, it was different enough to grab my attention—different in a way that made me want to read this book—like—yesterday.

As luck would have it, the book doesn’t appear over-long, so it should only take a few hours, however, it’s the beginning of a series, so I’m a little worried that this won’t be a fully contained story. I saw a lot of that going around last year—an almost story with a cliffhanger ending in an attempt to shove you into the next book—but the good news is that I haven’t seen it too much with stuff put out by S&S.

Book description:

Her first love made her immortal…

Her second might get her killed.

After spending six hundred years on Earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world’s riches, but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to take the bodies of other humans by jumping from one vessel to the next, ending the human’s life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she’s done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.

Then sixteen-year-old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body while trying to save her. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she’s inhabiting–and falling for the human boy who lives next door. Buy Cyrus will stop at nothing until she’s his again, and every moment she stays, she’s putting herself and the people she’s grown to care for in great danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that’s eluded her for centuries: true love?

Book Details: 246 pages; Simon & Schuster; Pub. January 3, 2012

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