Sunday, March 24, 2013

TSS: Packing books



Hello everyone,

I’m posting a bit earlier today but I have a good reason for it. You see…we are leaving on a trip later today and I want to make sure that everything is left tended. I am very exited to go, it will be my first time in Europe!! And even though the forecast announces a bit of rain, it is all in the positives, compared to the negative temperatures we are still having around here.

Anyway, I’ve been planning this trip for a month now, and I already know what I was going to pack, clothes wise that is. But I spent the last week thinking what exactly should I bring to read. You would think is an easy enough task, but as it turns out is not!

You see, we will be gone for only a week, but is a week full of long flights, long waits at the airport, trains, etc. And you have the fact that it is me we are talking about, so going without at least one book seems ludicrous to me. At the same time, since we are going for a wedding, most of our packing space is dedicated to fancy clothes, and I was told to leave some empty space in my bags since they have at least 4 books for me to bring back.

So you could think that with that my problem is solved, because I will arrive and there will be books waiting for me, right? Wrong! First of all, we won’t see the family until the third day of travelling which means a plane and a train in between, not to mention the inevitable waiting time, since they make me arrive super early to the airport to check that all my documents are in order (the perks of being a Colombian, sigh).

And then you can tell me, yeah, but you have a new e-reader, don’t you? You can “pack”  a bunch of books in that thing…true, very true, but which ones? I guess by now you have realized I am a huge over thinker to say the least.

At the same time that this was going on in my head, I happened to open my new account with OverDrive at my local library trying to get a copy of Dark Paces since I loved SharpObjects, something you probably already know with my review. Turns out they have tons of books both on EPUB versions and Audio. Now, I have never tried and audio book before since I always felt that unless I wasn’t doing anything else (quite rare in my life) I wouldn’t actually get the whole book, it would be like skimming it. But this is the perfect opportunity to give it a try, on the plane, listening to a book instead of the movie. I took out Cinder. I’ was curious about this one for a while, so two birds, one stone…well, one iPod, but never mind that.

Finally, along with my first audio book ever (I started it just to see if I liked the voice) I also got all the Beautiful Creatures books and the second and third book of Master Li and Ten Ox series.  All of them light, fun simple reads that seemed appropriate to me for vacation reading.

What about you, how do you choose what to read on a trip? Do you always pack a back-up book?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sharp Object by Gillian Flynn





What's the book about?

Camille Preaker is a journalist living in Chicago. When a second girl is murder in her hometown, Wind Gap Missouri, her editor prompts her to go back to cover the story thinking this might be a big break for the paper. Camille isn't really looking forward it. A bad relationship with her mother, a bunch of memories that she has spent a lifetime trying to forget and a town to small to let her completely succeed at it. While trying to unveil the mystery a lot of the pain she left behind comes back to haunt her.  

What was the thing I liked the most? 

I love a good thriller. I just love it. It's been almost 6 months since I read The Ice princess which I loved and this one hit right on the same spot.  The characters built up smoothly but intriguingly enough to keep me interested. I have to tell you at a certain point I was sure I would give a 4 for this book and then it had a twist I did not see coming, which is way it gained its final star. 

What about the main character?

Camille is not a hero that is for sure. She is the protagonist but she is broken in so many pieces is impossible to count. Funny enough she is stable enough to guide us through the story. She can talk about herself and her past as if she was talking about someone else, with such detachment that I needed her to say that she was talking about herself before I realized it was the case. She has the worst relationship with her mother you can imagine and its from this ill relationship that all her issues come from. 

The 10% moment

Camille has left Chicago and although she could’ve arrived immediately to Wind Gap she stays in a motel to get “ one more night”  before facing her mother. The next day, she even does an interview before going to her mother’s place. Then and only then she will notify her mother that she is planning to stay with them. It is pretty obvious that they are not in the best terms possible. Some clues as to what the abductions of the girls were like are given, but a sense of mystery hangs in the air. 

Final thoughts

Wow, just wow. I had 50 pages to go and I realized it was midnight between Sunday and Monday. I knew I had to go to sleep but I just couldn't help myself I wanted to know what happened at the end. At the same time I was afraid of continuing because I kept telling myself this cannot get more twisted right, and then off course it did. I confirmed it was a good book when the next day the first thing that came into my head was the book. Everyone is full of issues in the book, but you keep saying it can't be that bad...oh but it is!. It was a great debut novel if you ask me, and I'm already in queue for the author's second book Dark Places 



Sunday, March 17, 2013

TSS: You are what you read


Ok you guys, I know I did not post anything last Sunday. My PC was bugging (it would seem it would never end!) so let's say my priorities were somewhere else. But I have been reading. Proof of that I present to you not one, not two, but 4 reviews! How about that? We have Destined and Hidden for my Sequel Challenge, The Clearing from LybraryThing and Downbelow Station from the Sword and Laser Book club.

Now, I would like to talk to you about something that caught my attention this week, and maybe you've already heard of it. A group from the University of Cambridge recently published an study about how private traits might be predictable form digital records. This is very interesting in a world where our digital records are more and more common. You can try simpler version of it by going to www.youarewhatyoulike.com It will basically use your Facebook likes (some of them) and try to predict some of your traits. I did it and it was (in my opinion) 60% accurate.



I'm sure you are wondering why did I wanted to share this with you since is not necessarily bookish. Well, in a way it is; you see, most of my likes are related either to music or to books and it was with those likes that I'm assuming the system used (it doesn't tell you though). The website "predicts" that I am spontaneous and flexible, although they are very clear by saying that your likes might not reflect your personality correctly and thus your score can be wrong, and this off course makes sense (when was the last time you disliked something you used to like?). You see, I am not flexible, far from that, I like my things organized, on scheduled...but then...I do read a lot of fiction and is easier to pinpoint what I don't read (self help for example) that what I do read. So I can't help by wonder which of/if my books are telling this algorithm that I'm spontaneous! I wouldn't stop liking them, but I would like to know.

So what about you? What do you think your books say about you? Have you tried the website? If not, would you?

Have a lovely week! Spring is almost here!!!! (sort off, is still snowing a lot around here)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh






What's the book about?

Is the year 2352 and humanity has conquered the stars. Exploring the wide space we have come to build stations farther and farther, but we have also discovered a couple of planets that are habitable. Amongst this there is Pell, a planet already populated by the gentle Hisa. Pell has become a neutral point between the Earth Company (the original explorers) and the Union, two entities at war. A dense political, economical and moral plot develops in front of us.

What was different of this book?

The book starts with a long prelude that will set the reader in the present situation. There is a lot of politics involved and you will want to pay attention otherwise as you move in the book you will find yourself looking things up that were explained at the beginning (been there, done that). There is a very nice character build up and I particularly liked Joshua Talley. However I had a lot of problems falling into the plot. The first part (book I) is so heavily charged with situations and yet slowly paced that I was struggling through the pages. Keep in mind that I usually read at night so a lot of times I would just fall asleep with the book. 

What about the main character?

Since is hard to pin point a main character here I will just talk about my favourite character, Talley, while trying not to give away much of the punch. He arrives to Pell Station with a huge influx of refugees from attacked stations. He is presented as an Union prisoner of war, who was rescued by a Company fleet. Through the book we learned that this saving had a big price and it took its toll on Talley's mind. He opts for an Adjustment (mind erasing if you will) and tries to restart his life in Pell. I liked him because although broken in a lot of senses he is very sensitive and tries very hard to learn who he is above all. He is grateful to those who helped him and I liked the twist in his story a lot.

The 10% moment

We are still in book one at this point, and as I mentioned is very slow paced (in my opinion, although I've read some reviews that disagree). We are getting to know the characters although the image we have of most of them during book I will change drastically in book II (i.e: The Konstantins vs the Lukas). But I have to tell you, if it wasn't because in the opening podcast of the S&L they insisted it would get better I would've not continue reading it.

Final thoughts

I have the feeling is a very good book. It just wasn't a good book for me. I liked all the political, environmental comments, but I think it was so fully charged with prose around it that I got tired before getting to the point. More often than not I would have to go back in the pages because my mind just didn't register something was happening. The same way when you are in a room full of people is hard to notice the details. I liked the Hisa characters but I did not like the fact that they spoke what is known as broken English when they were talking to themselves. Someone in Goodreads mentioned that this is common amongst oppress people, but once again it was trying for me. That said, I found there used of "I love you" you be adorable. 

I also loved the idea that such a renown science fiction piece was the work of a woman (yei! us!) which made me feel even worst for not liking it. 

For all of these reasons I'm giving it a 3/5