The 2012 Book Polygamist Awards!

Welcome one and all; ladies and gentlemen, and those in between; Bookbaggers of all shapes, sizes and reading patterns, to the 2nd Annual Book Polygamist Awards!

Last year the awards graduated from a simple jotting in my book journal, or list on Facebook, to its inaugural seat on Book Polygamist, and here they will stay for the foreseeable future 🙂

As with last years Awards there are the Annual Awards, which are the same each year, and the Special Awards, which reflect the uniqueness of the books that year (with a few which may also be repeated annually depending on what I read)

So without further ado I present The 2012 Book Polygamist Awards!!!

Annual Awards

Shortest Read:curses and blessings

Curses and Blessings for All Occasions by Bradley Trevor Greive – approximately 20 minutes

Honorable Mentions:

The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss – Approximately 1 hour off and on

Blue by Pat Grant – Approximately 2 hours

Longest Read:

Blood, Guts and Whiskey

Blood, Guts & Whiskey (Anthology) by Various – 40 weeks and 3 days!! O.O

Honorable Mentions:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen – 25 weeks

Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe – 41 weeks, 4 days and counting!!! -.-

Most Books Read by a Single Author:

cassandra-claresuzanne collins

Cassandra Clare & Suzanne Collins – 3 books each
(Cassandra Clare: City of BonesCity of Ashes; and City of Glass.
Suzanne Collins: The Hunger GamesCatching Fire; and Mockingjay)

Best “New” Author Award:

Each year I try to discover new authors (that is authors that are new to me) and then at the end of the year I compile a list of ones that I want to read more of, and choose one “winner” from that list. This year was a tricky one because I read quite a few debut authors, authors I had never discovered before, and starts to a series, but in the end I went with the author I was the most excited to discover, and one who had a significant backlog of works for me to feast on in the near future 🙂

tom-robbins

Tom Robbins (Still Life With Woodpecker)

Honorable Mentions:

Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)

Cassandra Clare (the Mortal Instruments series)

Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games series)

Lauren Groff (the Monsters of Templeton)

Gail Carriger (Soulless)

Special Awards

The Best End to a Series Award:

Unusually this year I only came to the end of one series, but it was such a good one I thought it deserved a reward. Unfortunately it is on its lonesome without any honorable mentions, but hopefully I will finish a series or two this year 🙂

MOCKINGJAY-jacket

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Best Start to a Series Award:Soulless_by_Gail_Carriger

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate, Book 1) by Gail Carriger

Honorable Mentions:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The Longest and Strangest Title Award:still life with woodpecker

Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

Honorable Mention:

The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss

The You’ve Gained Another Fangirl! Award:

As I said in my Top 10 Reads of 2012 this past year will go down in my own personal history as the year I was initiated into the Hunger Games Fandom, which definitely warrants a Special Award 😀

The-Hunger-Games-Trilogy-Classic-Box-Set

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The Tick That Off The Bucket List Award:

2012 will also be memorable because I finally read one of the books from my Top 10 Classics I Want to Read list. Since just recently I started reading Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, which was second on the list, reading all 10 may actually happen! Huzzah!

To Kill a Mockingbird

 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Blue Award:

Another highlight of the year was my Blue Period which was both an amusing coincidental reading pattern, and a shock out of my reading rut, leading me to some of my top reads of the year. Because of this I must acknowledge the book/graphic novel that started it all, as well as the other blue covered darlings that made the pattern possible.

blue_cover_lg

Blue by Pat Grant

Honorable Mentions:

Curses and Blessings for All Occasions by Bradley Trevor Greive

The Bippolo Seed and other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss

The Templeton Twins: Have An Idea by Ellis Weiner

Best Cover Art:The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus front cover. Image used with permission of Aleksandra @ Aleksandra's Corner

The Night Circus front cover. Images used with permission of Aleksandra @ Aleksandra’s Corner

The Night Circus back cover. Seriously go check out Aleksandra's Corner http://my-book-obsession.blogspot.com.au/

The Night Circus back cover. Seriously go check out Aleksandra’s Corner: my-book-obsession.blogspot.com.au

Honorable Mentions:

to-kill-a-mockingbird-by-harper-lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

sense of an ending cover

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

monstersoftempleton

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff

2012 has had its ups and downs, and while I may not have read the quantity of books I have come to expect, the quality of most of the books has been excellent. This has also been a year which sparked wonderfully fun new features such as the (now sadly deceased) Save The Words Saturdays; Notable Quotables; and Micro Reviews from Planet Procrastination, as well as the subsequent rise in followers, comments and likes these features have caused. For this I am grateful and I say a sincere thank you to all of my delicious, hilarious and loyal Bookbaggers, both new and old who have supported me in 2012 and beyond 🙂

Now almost 2 months into 2013 I already have high hopes for this year and cannot wait to see how it unfolds.

I hope you all read some wonderful, award-worthy books in 2012 and the remainder of your 2013 is fantabulous (or your own made up adjective for wonderfulness 🙂 )!

The Micro Reviews from Planet Procrastination go to Uranus!!!!

It comes to the point in every tragic saga of movies/books/TV shows etc. when the creators have obviously run out of ideas and flog one last installment with a truly terrible pun title which could’ve been brainstormed by a 10-year-old….. *cough*….

The Micro Reviews from Planet Procrastination go to Uranus!!!!

Code Noir by Marianne De Pierres

Even more exciting, engaging and confusing then the first Parrish Plessis book which together made it more addictive. This series is a unique Australian Sci Fi, with a strong, vaguely terrifying heroine, that’s worth a read, even if at times it does your head in.

Raisins and Almonds by Kerry Greenwood

A very entertaining an informative Phryne Fisher book. Explores Judaism in 1920s Melbourne, Zionism, and alchemy and has a very ingenious ‘murder weapon’. I’m a fan of all the Phryne books that I’ve read so far and would recommend them to anyone who likes a sassy, stylish female detective, and mysteries with a ton of class :).

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Another fun, exciting and intense book in the Mortal Instruments series. Further plot and character development drew me in and the action made be keep reading well after I should have put it down to get some shut-eye. It’s easy to see why this series is so popular, especially with teens/young adults and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was turned into the next big blockbuster movie franchise. I for one would welcome it more than I did the Twilight saga!

The Raven’s Heart by Jesse Blackadder

An amazing historical epic, especially for the author’s debut. Historical and fictional elements blended seamlessly into a very engaging story which twisted and turned like a raging river. The characters, especially Alison/Robert were intriguing, raw and deeply flawed which made them very believable. A tale of family secrets, power, betrayal and secret love but also a frank exploration of blood-soaked Scotland during the rule of the beautiful Mary, Queen of Scots.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Amazing. The epitome of the rambling epic but also a book that transcends the genre – part mythic fantasy, part road trip story, part murder mystery, part thoughtful examination of America and humankind’s changing values, plus a bunch of other elements twisted together to make a Frankenstein patchwork quilt of awesomeness. A book that I had to digest in small bites over time (16 weeks in fact) because it was like a big nourishing meal for the mind that you don’t want to end. Recommended for lovers of mythology, coin tricks, con jobs, the addictive voice of Neil Gaiman or anyone who wants a unique and insightful read.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

An insightful and important classic. Some of the language and themes are hard to stomach in this day and age but ultimately that makes the novel even more poignant. Even though there has been a lot of controversy regarding the use of the N word and so it has been removed from some schools, I think all kids should read it so they can see the prejudice and bigotry that was so prominent in the past and how in some ways society has grown but in others these evils still exist.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

A very exciting end to a fun trilogy…except the trilogy is now 5 books long O.o Not sure where it will go because City of Glass was so final and climatic, but as long as there’s still demon hunting, interesting looking faerie folk and funny dialogue I’ll be happy 🙂

So that was my final set of Forgotten Reviews, however in the meantime I have amassed a few more reviews, mainly ones which don’t really warrant a full-size one, plus I have really enjoyed writing these Micro Review posts and you, my clever and beautiful Bookbaggers seem to like them (in fact thanks to the first three posts I’ve received a couple of extra likes and followers which is always nice :)) so I have a question to pose to you all:

Should I continue writing Micro Reviews from Planet Procrastination posts on a semi-regular basis (i.e. once a month or after I’ve amassed a list of 5 or so)?

My current idea (which I decided upon with advice from my best friend, Sarah :)) Is that I will do Micro Reviews for some of my reads that don’t really require a full review, and then do a full one for books that I think need expanding upon. For example I currently have a backlog of around 10 reviews, but since a lot of them are shorter books only about 4 or 5 of those really need the space of a large review and the others would be perfectly content sharing a Micro Reviews post.

As I like to get the opinion of my readers (coz its you that I write for after all) I thought I’d put it to you in a little poll:

The poll closes in a month so you have plenty of time to vote – and I’ll probably remind (*cough* pester *cough*) you all a few times before then.

I hope all my beloved Bookbaggers had a lovely holiday season, whatever you happen to celebrate (or not celebrate as the case may be) and as always:

Happy Reading! 😀

From Ashes to Glass; From a Raven to a Woodpecker

This past couple of weeks, when I haven’t been working at my new job at the Mt Lawley campus of my college or working on an assessment (holiday homework is the pits!) I have been able to relax with some reading and as a result I finished two books a couple of days ago – City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare and The Raven’s Heart by Jesse Blackadder.

Both books were very enjoyable and eventful (especially at the tail end) and I will review them soon (i.e. once I have finally posted my belated Top 10 Heroes/Villains and have written a review for The Night Circus ; Code Noir and Raisins and Almonds).

When I finished City of Ashes I immediately knew which book I was going to read next because the Books-Borrowed-Off-My-Bro pile only has three titles on it, and since one of those titles is the next in the series after City of Ashes it was safe to assume that since it shared the same author, virtually the same title and the same publisher details as its two predecessors, it was going to win the eeny meeny miny moe just like the ones before it. Knowing this I’m not entirely sure what possessed me to go through the process anyway, but being a creature of habit I did and sure enough, City of Glass, the third book in the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, was the victor.

 

 

The very next day I reached the end of  The Raven’s Heart, a Historical epic set during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots and the process for choosing the next read was not so simple as my Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read pile next to my bed is quite perilous. After a tetris-style re-shuffle on my bookshelf I was able to remove some of the books from the pile so the choosing process was a bit better, and as I mentioned a while ago I have the publication details written down in order to make my job a lot easier, so the pile was soon whittled down from 17 to one, the one being Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins.

 

 

I had never heard of Still Life With Woodpecker or Tom Robbins when a friend of the family (and second mum of sorts :)) gifted it to me for my 25th birthday last year, but from what I read on the back cover I was certain it would be a very unique read.

Here’s the blurb so you can all see what I mean:

STILL LIFE WITH WOODPECKER is sort of a love story that takes place inside a pack of Camel cigarettes. it reveals the purpose of the moon, explains the difference between criminals and outlaws, examines the conflict between social activism and romantic individualism, and paints a portrait of contemporary society that includes powerful Arabs, exiled royalty, and pregnant cheerleaders. it also deals with the problem of redheads.

As you can see, it isn’t any ordinary book but is just the kind of strange, creative and cheekily humourous literature that doesn’t come around too often and which I love. The other night I read the first 9 chapters (they’re of the short and punchy variety, ranging from a page or two to only half of one) and drank it up. The use of language is a feast of carefully constructed lines just begging to be quoted and the storytelling is intriguingly unique, but in my half-asleep state I don’t think I gave it justice so I think I’ll be re-reading the start in the light of day.

Sorry again that I have been so absent. I will try my hardest to get back into the swing of regular posting, especially with reviews and until then:

Happy Reading! 🙂

Quote

Notable Quotable #7

Not that traditional princess behaviour was like Isabelle at all. Isabelle with her whip and boots and knives would chop anyone who tried to pen her up in a tower into pieces, build a bridge out of the remains, and walk carelessly to freedom, her hair looking fabulous the entire time.

REVIEW: City Of Bones By Cassandra Clare

 

I have made it quite clear before that I am often guilty of judging a book by its cover – If I like the cover art I am more likely to read the blurb and if the cover art annoys me I will likely not give the book a second glance – but I have not admitted that I also judge a book by the quoted people on its cover. If an author I like or admire has said something glowing about the book I am much more likely to read it, and likewise if an author I dislike is quoted I am more hesitant.

This was the case with City of Bones. On the front and back covers as well as in the page of praise inside, Stephanie Meyer of Twilight fame raved about the series, and the cover and blurb have been fashioned to appeal to the same demographic (teenage girls who like girl meets supernatural being styled romances). Now, I have been quite open with my disdain for the Twilight Saga in this blog so it will come as no surprise that I had a few worries about this book, and the series in general. However my brother (who has no interest in Twilight-esque novels and whose taste in YA is similar to my own) greatly recommended The Mortal Instruments series, and I have heard great things about them in general so I suspended my doubts and dove in.

What I found pleasantly surprised me. Yes, there was an element of Forbidden Love that has become such a cliché in YA literature lately, but it was not of the breed that really irks me, and was more true to the reality of puberty so it could easily be forgiven. Besides the Forbidden Love (which was less prevalent than the very brief blurb insinuated) I was quite impressed with what Clare has created. Her world is a clever combination of the real urban environment of New York paired with the hidden world of Downworlders (Werewolves, Vampires, Warlocks and a fascinating array of demons and half-demons) and the Shadowhunters that are trained to kill any Downworlders that break the Accords (a treaty between Downworlders and Shadowhunters). Her descriptions of the  physicality of different demons and locations hidden by glamour were evocative and fit perfectly into the urban setting. The settings are clever with a certain cheeky logic to them: from a diner that serves such delights as locusts with honey, whole raw fish and blood of various beasts, but then had a perfectly normal human menu on the back; to an abandoned building adopted by werewolves as a makeshift hideout with a glamour proclaiming it Jade Wolf Chinese Cuisine that is so complete that sometimes fledgling lycanthropes even deliver the occasional order of mu shu pork.

The plot moves very quickly from the set-up into the full-on action sequences. Clary Fray is the book’s leading lady, an ordinary teenager who knows nothing of the city’s secret underworld until she follows a couple of suspicious looking teens into a back room of the Pandemonium Club because she sees one of them draw a knife. Upon following them she sees a very strange altercation between the group and a blue-haired boy their companion (a gorgeous girl) lured into the room and subsequently witnesses the boy’s murder. When she tries to alert someone she discovers that no one besides her can see the mysterious trio, and at least one of the apparent murderers (a gorgeous boy with tawny hair and golden eyes called Jace) is very interested in her ability to see him. Meanwhile Clary’s mother has been acting cagey and after forbidding her to go out the next night (which she disobeys) calls her in distress, warning her away from their apartment before the line is cut short. When Clary, accompanied by Jace reaches the apartment it has been ransacked, her mother is missing and a monstrous beast attacks her.

From that point onward Clary is thrust into the world of the Shadowhunters (or Nephilim) a race of humans with angel blood that use runes inscribed into their skin and enchanted weapons to fight malevolent demons and other Downworlders. From Jace, his companions Alec and Isabelle and their tutor Hodge, Clary learns about the way of the Shadowhunters and her ingrained but forgotten connection to them while they try to uncover the whereabouts of her mother and the evil actions of a rebel Shadowhunter thought to be long dead.

There is plenty to like in this book (and hopefully the rest of the series), especially for teens and lovers of supernatural action, but unlike some tales in the same vein it isn’t simply love and action scenes with some filler masquerading as plot. The characters are well-developed, with true-to-life teen issues of identity, friendship and hormones making them seem more than just attractive teen warriors. The relationships and interactive dialogue between the characters are believable and there are some great witty one liners.

ultimately it’s not an intricate piece of literature, but it is a very well-constructed example of a genre that is growing from strength to strength, and it is highly enjoyable. I hope I enjoy the continuing installments just as much 🙂

I give City of Bones by Cassandra Clare:

4/5 Stars

The first Free Pick – just movin’ on to the next City :)

The other night I finished City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (review to follow shortly) and was super excited to choose my first book for Free Pick February 🙂

There were way too many to choose from if I took all four piles into account, so to narrow it down I decided to just pick from the pile that City of Bones came from – the books-I-borrowed-from-my-little-bro-pile – and since City of Bones was such an enjoyable and addictive-ly fun read, (and I borrowed the box set of the first three books in the series) without a thought I picked the next installment – City of Ashes.

More supernatural excitement 🙂

I am at the halfway point in another book I’m reading and a fair way into another one so maybe (probably) I’ll finish them before the end of the month and will get to do more Free Picks 🙂

Happy Reading!