Lisa's Bookshelf

I'm a self-confessed nerd who loves to read, write, watch TV, and cuddle with my animals (and my husband too, of course). I have an eclectic taste in books ranging from classic literature to silly YA novels to epic fantasy and contemporary lit. I've joined BookLikes in order to stay in touch with my awesome Goodreads friends who have moved over.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 3 - Your favorite series

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone  - J.K. Rowling The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver - E. Lockhart A Game of Thrones  - George R.R. Martin

Harry Potter:

I don't think I need to provide an explanation.  It's Harry Potter.  Enough said.


Ruby Oliver:

The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart is my favorite YA series of all time (so far).  I love to laugh and all four books in this series had me laughing out loud.  Although these books are incredibly funny they also deal with some very serious topics.  I also loved the characters, especially Ruby who is both likable and relatable, and I thought the romantic relationships were done well.  If you like contemporary YA novels then you have to read this series.  


A Song of Ice and Fire:

While the fourth book was lackluster (with the exception of the last 20%), the first three books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series were fantastic, especially book three.  These are long books and I'm a slow reader, but I finished each of the first three books within a week of starting them.  The TV show is also awesome but no substitute for the books.  

Half Stars

Thank you Booklikes for allowing half stars.  You don't know how happy they make me.  

Reblogged from rameau's ramblings:


30 Day Book Challenge: Day 2 - A book that you've read more than 3 time

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1) - Tamora Pierce In the Hand of the Goddess  - Tamora Pierce

I have read the first two books in the Song of the Lioness quartet over 20 times (I lost count at 20).  I discovered them when I was eleven years old and I just fell in love.  I checked them out countless times from the library and racked up huge fines before finally buying hardcover editions in high school (yes, I still have them, and yes, they have the original 1980s cover art, though I didn't purchase them until the 90s.)  I've read them sporadically throughout the years and my enjoyment hasn't lessened with age.  Nostalgia, it's a powerful thing.


(Note: I strongly disliked the last two books in the quartet and have read them maybe five times, hoping each time that I'll like them better but I always end up disappointed.)

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 1 - Best book you read last year

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

I'm late to the game so I'll be posting days 1 and 2 on the same day.


This was a tough choice because I also read On the Jellicoe Road and Game of Thrones last year, two books which I absolutely loved, but Before I Fall edged them both out.  Oliver's debut just resonated with me.  I loved the characters, the writing, and the story.  So many tears were shed, but in a good way.


Honorable mention: On the Jellicoe Road and Game of Thrones.

By the Numbers: An Analysis of the Reviews Deleted in the Goodreads Policy Change.

Reblogged from Great Imaginations:

Ceridwen analyzes data from 12 of the 21 reviewers who had content deleted in the Goodreads policy change.

Reblogged from Khanh the Killjoy:

Book Import Complete

Yay.  All of my books have been imported from Goodread to BookLikes.  Unfortunately, the author and book links didn't translate well so I'm going to have to go through and take those out, but my reviews seem to be mostly intact otherwise, and they look better on the wider review space on BookLikes.  (Side note: Why does Goodreads make their review spaces so narrow?  I know I'm not the only one who is bothered by it, and it seems like such a simple change to make.) 


Now I need to use all those handy guides to personalize the look of my blog.  

REBLOG: A Note to "Older" Members from a Goodreads Refugee

Reblogged from Debbie's Notes



I'm sure all these goodreads posts are of no use to existing booklikes members.  And I've seen a few postings from them wondering about all these new followers (please don't blames us -- signing up for a booklikes account makes us initially follow 25 members that booklikes assigns us.  We'll eventualy sort it out to only follow others with similar reading tastes or whose posts we enjoy).


Please don't think we all came over here to post offensive, threatening material.  Allegations of bullying, rape threats, etc. sure do make good headlines.  And good headlines go viral.


Some of us never wrote reviews on goodreads.  Or had any shelf names worse than "Western" "Memoir" etc.


We already love booklikes for daily update posts and quick response to comments and email.  It's incredibly soothing compared to our experiences with goodreads.


We are booklovers.  Avid booklovers.  We're the ones who worked tirelessly making goodreads  immense database and membership a takeover target for amazon.  Now that amazon has our data, they don't want us.  Just to market our data to customers buying new kindles and amazon fire.  They killed Shelfari who used to be the kindle integrated book site and now are replacing Shelfari with goodreads.


Some of us are here just to protect our book catalogs, as in we seriously have no idea what will or won't be deleted at goodreads.   Likely very quiet members at that.  


read more


Hello all you familiar avatars.  I'm in the process of figuring this site out and until I do my blog will be a bit sparse, but I'm here reading your posts.  The worst part about losing Goodreads is losing the community of people so I'm happy to see that so many people have come over here.  While I won't give up on Goodreads completely until enough of my friends have left, I'm glad to be able to keep in touch with the people who have left or are planning on leaving.  Happy reading and chatting.  :)


P.S.  If this site takes off I'm definitely going to explore the logistics of making a new theme.  I'm not too crazy about any of the pre-existing ones.  

A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin If the first 80% were as good as the last 20% this would have been another five star read. Unfortunately, this was not the case so three stars it is and only because the last 20% was so good. Someone needs to tell Martin that there are some stories that don't need to be told, or at least don't need to be told in detail.
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin


Finnikin of the Rock - Melina Marchetta

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I rate Finnikin of the Rock two stars. This should have been a five star read. It's written by Melina Marchetta whose contemporary novels rank among my favorite YA books of all time, and it's fantasy which is my favorite genre. But alas, this turned out to be one of those situations where the whole was less than the sum of its parts.

I'd like to start out with the things that did work for me about this story. First and foremost, Finnikin doesn't sound like a girl despite being written by a female author. Marchetta is able to write convincingly from a male perspective, something I'd already discovered while reading The Piper's Son. I also appreciated that there was no instalove between Finnikin and Evanjalin, even if I wasn't on board with the relationship. Marchetta's writing style is still praise-worthy. The dialogue isn't anachronistic nor is it stilted and awkward. Anyone who has spent any time in the fantasy genre has probably stumbled upon a novel or two where the author, in an attempt to make their story sound medieval, does away with contractions entirely, and over uses old fashioned words like "thee" and "thy," and ends up with an awkward mess that is neither medieval nor readable. This was not one of those novels. But for me, the positives end there.

Marchetta's contemporary novels are some of my most loved because of the characters. She has such a talent for creating characters that are relatable, lovable, flawed, and nuanced, which is why I was disappointed that the characters in Finnikin of the Rock fell flat for me. I did not find them relatable or likable, and there were many instances where their actions and thoughts were unrealistic. For example, a would-be rapist is forgiven much too quickly and without any repentance on his part. Not only is he forgiven but his actions seem to be forgotten because none of the characters, including the victim, are uncomfortable with him and victim going off alone together within a couple months of it happening.

Evanjalin was the most problematic character for me. Her attitude was insufferable, and her lies were unnecessary and, at times, cruel. She ends up creating problems by keeping the truth to herself. Even more irritating was the fact that no one held her accountable for her actions. Typically I love strong female characters, but Evanjalin's strength seemed inauthentic. It felt as though Marchetta set out to write a strong female character rather than writing a multifaceted female character who is strong. It was her one defining characteristic. Nearly every character gushes about how strong she is, which got tiring after a while. I get it. She's strong. So were a lot of other characters but no one except Evanjalin seemed to acknowledge their strength and the hardships they endured. Note that the gushing began before her identity was revealed and cannot solely be blamed on the fact that she's their queen.

I wasn't happy with the way the messages in this novel were presented either. Instead of organically unfolding as a consequence of the plot, most of the messages were told to the reader in the form of one character (usually Evanjalin) lecturing another character (usually Finnikin) about some topic. In one particularly clunky example, the story completely stops while a group of characters get together and lecture each other about sexism, which is almost absent from the story as a whole. Although I agreed with many of the messages, I thought the delivery was preachy, and I wished that these messages had more of a connection to the actual storyline.

In terms of world-building, I was also disappointed. The world Marchetta created was far too small in size and population to justify its diversity, and while I appreciated that each kingdom had a distinct flavor from the others, they were shallowly constructed. The religion was also problematic, first in its presentation, which was confusing in the beginning because it needed more explanation, and second in its execution. Halfway through the novel, there is a huge religious revelation, which fundamentally changes the entire belief system, and everyone just accepts it as truth without any sort of evidence. Even if there had been evidence I would have a hard to believing their acceptance because most people tend to hold on strongly to their beliefs. Religious reform is never quick nor is it ever smooth.

Overall, I found this to be a very frustrating read. I'm sorry to say there is a Marchetta book in existence that I did not enjoy. I may still pick of Froi of the Exiles because it's purported to be a stronger book than Finnikin of the Rock, but my expectations are low.

The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton, Nina Bawden

The House of Mirth has cemented my love for Edith Wharton and I can now officially count her among my all-time favorite authors. Wharton's writing is top-notch, filled with wit, literary allusions, and historical references that show her intelligence and education. The House of Mirth is both a critique of the upper class New York society at the end of the nineteenth century, and the story of the rise and fall of Lily Bart, a socialite in that society.

This was not an easy book to read, not only because it is the sort of book where the sentences need to be savored and devoured, but also because it is a tragic story. From the very beginning there is a sense of impending doom that follows the reader until the very end. As the story progresses, the tension builds, and the anxiety felt by Lily and her friend and suitor, Lawrence Selden, becomes increasingly more palpable.

In some ways Lily Bart is not the most sympathetic of heroines. Her fate is largely determined by her own poor decisions, and there were several instances where I wanted to reach in the book and shake her. Her inability to choose between her desire to marry for love or for money prevents her from ending up with either. Yet, I could still sympathize with her plight because Wharton does an incredible job of showing how Lily is product of her environment, and how the society she lives in is also culpable for her fate.

Lily also has many personal flaws, which also make her less sympathetic including vanity, arrogance, materialism, and obliviousness to others' feelings—particularly those whom are socially beneath her—and yet there is a lot to admire about her as well. She is intelligent, though naive, and there is a strength in her that keeps her from taking the low road on several occasions, and keeps her striving to better herself and her position, despite her misfortunes. Lily, like many other characters in this novel, is complex and full of contradictions as are people in real life.

All in all, this was a fantastic, though depressing, read. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book or Wharton's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Age of Innocence, which I also adore, to anyone who enjoys the classics.

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier, Sally Beauman Rebecca is one of my favorite books of all time. It has beautiful writing, compelling characters, a swoon-worthy romance, and an intriguing mystery. I loved it the first time I read it for a comparative lit paper in high school over a decade ago and I love it just as much today, even knowing the ending. This book is for anyone who loves gothic literature.
Dead Ever After - Charlaine Harris

I know there are many people out there wondering how I could possibly rate this book three stars given the conclusion to the love polygon. The answer is simple. Going into this novel I had zero emotional investment in any of the characters or in any of the relationships. Had this happened four books ago, I would have been possessed with the rage of a thousand suns and this review would have ended up being one long rant about the idiocy of Harris's decision to end the series the way she did. But the last four books did happen and the characters had already been thoroughly ruined, and frankly I couldn't care less who Sookie ended up with. I was merely reading this book so I could say I finished the series. So in this case a 2.5 star rating is more insulting than a one star rating because it just shows how uninvested I was in the characters.

So why rate this book this book 2.5 stars? I do feel like it was improvement over the last couple books in terms of pacing. The mystery was better developed and there was a lot less filler than in the previous book. The various story lines and character arcs were better integrated as well, and plot points stayed relevant throughout the entire book. Also, the fey were mostly absent, which was a breath of fresh air. Reading this book made it clear just how much the faeries bogged this series. Was the story perfect? No. There were some plot holes and unanswered questions, but my incredibly low expectations were exceeded.

As for the characters, Sookie remained pretty unlikable but somewhat less judgmental than she was in the previous books. Harris continued in her desecration of Eric in order to justify the romantic ending. Bill continued to have absolutely nothing to do and really should have been allowed to bow out a few books ago. It was nice to see some of the other characters gain redemption like Alcide and Amelia who haven't always been written in the best light, and I liked seeing all of the familiar faces.

The romantic ending was unsatisfying to say the least but I can't even say I was disappointed because that would suggest that I had hope. Going into this novel I was 98% sure who Sookie would end up with, and I was 100% sure (without having read any spoilers) of one character who she wasn't going to end up with. Harris dropped some pretty obvious hints in the previous four books so I was not surprised, and, again, the characters had been so thoroughly ruined that I just didn't care.

I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone other than those who, like me, just want to be able to say they finished the series. I doubt the ending will be satisfying to many people and the characters are consistent with their incarnations in the last few books, which means they were uninspiring. It's sad to see how far this series has fallen.

Currently reading

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