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Oct. 6th, 2010

Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: J.K. Rowling
Year of Publication: 2007
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 759
First Line: "The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane."
Summary: We now present the seventh and final installment in the epic tale of Harry Potter.

Source: Back of book

Review: Not my favorite in the series, but I still love it. I don't really know how to review this, I mean, it's Harry freakin' Potter (Very Potter Sequel, anyone?) but, yeah. Read it. But read the others first.

Worst part: The switch from tenttenttenttenttenttent to battle!!!!!!! was kind of abrupt.

Best part: J.K. Rowling is a genius. 'Nuff said.

Grade: A

Other Books by This Author: The entire Harry Potter series.

65 / 50 books. 130% done!

Oct. 5th, 2010

Title: This Isn't Home
Author: elaborationlove
Fandom: Inglourious Basterds
Characters/Pairings: Donny (person centric), Donny/OFC
Rating: PG
Summary: When Donny returns to Boston, what is left for him?
Author's Notes: I'm on a roll!
Warning: None.
Word Count: 100

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Oct. 5th, 2010

Title: A Little Help
Author: elaborationlove
Fandom: Inglourious Basterds
Characters/Pairings: Donny/Bridget
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Donny rescues Bridget after she is raped by Nazis.
Author's Notes: The rape is not actually part of the story -- but it is what happened prior to it.
Warning: None.
Word Count: 100

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Title: Changeling
Author: Delia Sherman
Year of Publication: 2006
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 289
First Line: "'Wake up, Neef. Spring cleaning today. Cobwebs to sweep, mice to relocate, turtles to wake up and polish. And you have to clean your room."
Summary: Neef is a changeling, a human baby stolen by fairies and replaced with one of their own. She lives in "New York Between," a Manhattan that exists invisibly, side by side with our own, home to fairies, demons, mermaids, and other creatures of Folk lore. Neef has always been protected by her fairy godmother, Astris (a very lovely white rat), until she breaks a Fairy Law. Now, unless she can meet the challenge of the Green Lady of Central Park, she'll be sacrificed to the bloodthirsty Wild Hunt. Neef is a native New Yorker, and she's determined to beat the rap -- but New York Between is a maze of magic and magical rules, and time is running out....

Source: Back of book

Review: I found this story to be really enjoyable. Unlike a lot of other modern fantasies I've read, it has a very story-teller feel to it. It has all of the elements of a fairly tale (except romance, which, while I was disappointed when I realized there was none at first, I gradually came to accept and even enjoy it as a fresh change). The writing style is very simple, but the text is appropriate for all ages. One of the nice things it that Neef's age is never quite explained. Her counterpart, it seems, is about twelve, but because of the aging difference, it's difficult to say how old Neef is. That way, if you only like to read about characters your age or older, you can easily imagine Neef to be at least fifteen, maybe even seventeen or eighteen (though I wouldn't say beyond that). The characters in this book were a lot of fun, for the most part. I would definitely love to live in Neef's world. I also found the story to be interesting, aside from the beginning, which was fairly slow. Definitely recommended, particularly for very young adults (11+) who are looking for a way to get into larger "chapter books."

Worst part: The only character I really didn't like was the antagonist (the Green Lady). Usually I really like this character in fiction, but I found she wasn't quite what I was used to. Fairly unrefined and with a heavy New York accent (apparently), which I felt was the total opposite of what she should -- and traditionally is -- be.

Best part: I like that the Changeling was made out to have a mental handicap, which could have been a result of -- or the misunderstanding of -- her being one of the Folk.

Grade: B

Other Books by This Author: Through a Brazen Mirror, The Porcelain Dove, and The Fall of the Kings.

64 / 50 books. 128% done!

Sep. 30th, 2010

Title: The Blonde Jew
Author: elaborationlove
Fandom: Inglourious Basterds
Characters/Pairings: Donny/Shosanna
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Donny thinks about Shosanna.
Author's Notes: None.
Warning: None.
Word Count: 100

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Title: Jane Austen in Scarsdale (Or Love, Death, and the SATs)
Author: Paula Marantz Cohen
Year of Publication: 2006
Genre: Fiction, romance
Pages: 275
First Line: "'So you want your kid to go to Harvard? Or maybe it's Duke or Stanford? Well, I"m gonna tell you how to do it!'"
Summary: Anne Ehrlich is a dedicated guidance counselor steering her high-school charges through the perils of college admission. Thirteen years ago, when she was graduating from Columbia University, her wealthy family -- especially her dear grandmother Winnie -- persuaded her to give up the love of her life, Ben Cutler, a penniless boy from Queens College. Anne has never married and hasn't seen Ben since -- until his nephew turns up in her high school and starts applying to college.

Now Ben is a successful writer, a world traveler, and a soon-to-be married man, and Winnie's health is beginning to fail. These changes have Anne beginning to wonder. . .Can old love be rekindled, or are past mistakes too painful to forget?

Source: Back of book

Review: If you are looking for something actually related to Jane Austen's pieces, this is not it. While the structure, plot, etc. is very like an Austen novel, there are very few mentions of her/her works. After reading the book, I feel like part of the plot was missing -- perhaps something having to do with more insight to Ben and Anne's past. All-in-all it was not a bad read, just something that wasn't great, or necessarily well-planned out in terms of plot. Characters were pretty well-done and I was very satisfied with how Kirsten was dealt with (you will understand if you read). Again, though, if you are looking for something that has a lot to do with Jane Austen, this is not the book for you.

Worst part: That thing the book was lacking -- I have no idea what it was, but it was definitely lacking something.

Best part: Anne was very real to me. Ben, of course, wasn't. But it was nice to have a very real character rather than a Mary-Sue. She did have her Mary-Sue moments, but generally I feel she was a three-dimensional and realistic character.

Grade: C+

Other Books by This Author: What Alice Knew, Jane Austen in Boca, and Much Ado About Jessie Kaplan.

63 / 50 books. 126% done!

Aug. 25th, 2010

Title: Eyes Like Stars
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Year of Publication: 2009
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 356
First Line: "THe fairies flew suspended on wires despite their tendency to get tangled together."
Summary: Enter Stage Right

Beatrice Shakespeare Smith (Bertie): Our heroine.
Nate: A dashing pirate who will do anything to protect Bertie.

Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed, and Peaseblossom: Four tiny, mischievous fairies, and Bertie's loyal sidekicks.

Ariel: A seductive air spirit. Disaster follows in his wake, but Bertie simply cannot resist him.

Welcome to the Theatre Illuminata, where the the characters of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. The actors are bound to the Theatre by The Book, an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of the actors, but they are her family. And she is about to lose them all because The Book has been threatened, and along with it the Theatre. It's the only home Bertie has ever known, and she had to find a way to save it. But first, there's the small problem of two handsome men, both vying for her attention. The course of true love never did run smooth...

Source: Back of book

Review: The plot of this book, I feel, was not well organized. It was incredibly original, but in many ways, not executed well. I'm planning to get the sequel out of curiosity -- specifically for Nate's situation. The writing style was very different from most other YA books. Bertie as a character was not terribly original, but not disgustingly cliche, either. Perhaps not as much Shakespeare and other plays as was expected or even necessary, but interesting if you're into theater.

Worst part: Sometimes the plot was hard to follow, though I'm not sure why.

Best part: Nate's character was pretty well-developed. This, I felt, was particularly interesting. Also, the cover art is gorgeous.

Grade: C+

Other Books by This Author: Perchance to Dream, the sequel to Eyes Like Stars.

62 / 50 books. 124% done!
Title: The Curse of the Romanovs
Author: Staton Rabin
Year of Publication: 2007
Genre: Fantasy, historical fiction, YA
Pages: 271
First Line: "'Mama! Mama! -- it hurts! Please, God! Mama, come kill me!"
Summary: Alexei Romanov, heir to the Russian throne, is in deadly danger.

It's 1916, the struggling Russian people are tired of war and are blaming their Romanov rulers for it, and some are secretly plotting to murder the young heir and his family. But nobody outside the palace knows that Alexei suffers from a terrible bleeding disease, hemophilia, which threatens to finish him off even before the family's enemies can. The only person able to help Alexei is the evil and powerful religious mystic Rasputin -- and now Rasputin is trying to kill him too! Desperate, Alexei flees through time to New York City in 2010, using a method taught to him by the mad monk himself.

In New York, Alexei meets smart and sassy Varda Rosenberg, and discovers she is a distant cousin. Varda is working on a gene therapy cure for hemophilia, as the disease still runs in the family. When Alexei learns that history shows that his entire family will be assassinated in 1918, he and Varda travel back in time to the Russian Revolution, with Rasputin hot on their heels. Will they be able to rescue Alexei's family before it's too late?

Source: Back of book

Review: First, let me just apologize for the typing quality of my last review. Having just copy/pasted to use the template for this review, I saw there were numerous typos. For this I am sorry. Now, the book about which this review is, was not bad. It seemed to take forever to get going but once it did, I was fairly satisfied and interested. Rabin admits to altering many of the historical facts and dates in numerous pieces after the book (which are interesting, for the most part -- if you read this book, read the pieces after the actual story) which was somewhat disappointing to learn, but she does justify many of the alterations with reasons. The book is "rated" for readers 12 years and older, but if you are a parent of a 12-year-old, I may give the book a read through first, just to be sure the child is emotionally ready for it, particularly the pieces after, but the ending of the book as well as other parts sprinkled throughout. It can be a difficult book to read emotionally if the reader becomes attached to the characters. Recommended for those interested in the Romonov's history.

Worst part: The grandfather complex was not discussed at all. I really felt it should have been.

Best part: The last few parts were very well written (aside from the very end) and definitely served to increase the emotional bond with the characters.

Grade: C+

Other Books by This Author: Betsy and the Emperor and Black Powder

61 / 50 books. 122% done!

Aug. 10th, 2010

Title: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Author: Rebecca Skloot
Year of Publication: 2010
Genre: Nonfiction, biography, science
Pages: 328
First Line: "There is a photo on my wall of a woman I've never met, its left corner torn and patched together with tape."
Summary: Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells -- taken without her knowledge -- became one of hte most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If ou could piel all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they'd weight more than 50 million metric tons -- as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in virto fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions

Yet Henrietta Lacks remins irtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the "colored" ward of Johns Hopkis Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with greezers full of HeLa cells, from Henrietta's small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia -- a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo -- to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Henrietta's family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after hder death, when sicentists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliant shows, the story of hte Lacks family -- past and present -- is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

OVer the decade it took to uncovery this story, Rebecca became enmeshed int he lives of the Lacks family -- especially Henrietta's daughter Deborath, who was devastated to learn about her mother's cells. Deborah was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned herm other? Had they kille dher to harvest her cells? And if her mother was so importnat to medicine, why couldn't her children afford health insurance?

Source: Back of book

Review: My first college assignment for Hollins University. Although it was an interesting read, I found myself easily distracted through the first quarter of the book or so. Afterwards, it was difficult to put down, except during the bits concerning law and scientific history, which interested me less than the story of Henrietta herself and her family. Deborah is a very likable person, and Rebecca's narration of her journy with the Lacks makes you feel as if you were there, too. I'm not sure I learned a whole lot from this book -- at least, I'm sure I won't remember much of the technical things. But it was terribily interesting while reading it. Anyone should read this -- black, white, North, South, East, West, male, female (although I have a feeling a woman might get more out of it than a man), this book is really something everyone should read.

Worst part: Definitely the medical/scientific/law history stuff. That didn't keep my attention at all.

Best part: I was particularly interested in Deborah's life, especially as a teenager and the situation involving Galen. I also really liked Bobbette, Deborah's sister-in-law.

Grade: B++

Other Books by This Author: None, but she has written several articles for various publications.

60 / 50 books. 120% done!
Okay, so I'm always having story ideas, and I write them down and lose them. I need to find a solution for that.

HOWEVER. I just had a fanfiction idea. Which I'm sure is not original at all, but that's okay.

So, what if Edward Cullen didn't exist in the Twilight universe? What if it was only Cedric Diggory? What if Cedric was thrown out of the wizarding world because he did something bad? If he teamed up with Voldie, got caught, and was exiled? If he teamed up with Voldie because when he was Avada'd in GOF, he didn't really die, and he ended up making a deal with Voldie. What if people who are Avada'd are put into some sort of limbo until something else happens? What if you can communicate with your killer while in limbo and that's how Cedric made this deal with Voldie? Or what if he just wasn't Avada'd seriously enough and didn't make a deal with Voldie but lived anyway and then went to Forks, WA in order to avoid being killed again by Voldie?

I've never really done well at outlining stories, and I should do it more, because I suck so bad at it -- but also, because I never stick to my plans. And I wish I did, just until the end, then I can modify it. Anyway, I'm finding this "what if" outlining thing to be helpful and it's developing quickly in my mind and definitely more fully than it usually does. Maybe I'll attack this idea. I would do it for the Twilight Big Bang, but I don't think they allow crossovers.

Anyway, instead of Edward having a secret that he's a vampy, Cedric can have a secret that he's a wizard. And of course, Carlisle adopts him because he understands the whole mythological plight thing, but it's not in 1918 or whatever, it's in the 1990's or whenever HP was about. But then there's the aging thing. . .I could disregard the whole 1990's time line of HP, I think. There's nothing really in the books that makes the timing important, except for generation stuff, but that can always be adjusted. And I am so excited. Okay. I can totally do this.




Okay, so what if it was DRACO, instead. Then it could be Hermione/Draco/Bella. The problem with that is, I don't want the story to be all Twilight-bashing and crack!fic because I do like Twilight. It's entertaining, even if it's not quality literature. But I wouldn't want Draco to end up with Bella. OH MY GOD. THIS COULD BE WHERE CEDRIC COMES IN. Oh, I'm genius. I never liked Cho anyway. Seriously, she's a bitch. I hate her. Oh, I'm mean.

Dude. Why don't I have decent time to write this stuff? Maybe when I get the laptop tonight. . .although I can't clean my room and write at the same time. And I would do like a voice recording of writing, but I really would hate that. I can't tell stories out loud. My mom's good at that, but not me.

Ohhhhh, I like this. I will be doing this more often.

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