Posts tagged ‘markuszusak’

December 25th, 2010

Five Challenge: 5 Most Anticipated of 2011

by Madeleine Rex

First, a reminder: I’m participating in Persnickety Snark’s Five Challenge. For the remainder of the year, I’ll post 5 books daily that were the greatest in whatever category. Today’s is 5 Most Anticipated 2011 Titles. I wish I had five times as many “slots!” There are so many destined-to-be-amazing books coming out next year! I am not including books I currently have ARCs of, such as The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Where She Went by Gayle Forman, etc (all three of which are great).

Note: Titles are linked to Goodreads. Synopses are from Goodreads as well.

1.Supernaturally by Kiersten White

No synopsis.

Aw, my dearest Paranormalcy has a sister! Or a brother. There’s no judging, as there isn’t a synopsis yet. Kiersten White is on of my favorite people, and her debut one of my favorite books. It makes you feel bubbly on the inside while handling some pretty serious situations. Supernaturally, I hope, will be Paranormalcy on steroids.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White; Review

2. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

No synopsis.

Naturally, I was excited to read the companion series to The Mortal Instruments, but I was even more pleased to find that The Infernal Devices is just as unique and extraordinary. The first book, Clockwork Angel was fantastic, and the series has so much potential. I can’t wait for the second installment!

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare; Review

3. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in the bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

“City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.”

OH MY GOSH. I have loved this series. I have stuffed myself with it. I cannot wait for this book! My friends and I will definitely be reading it the second it’s released, probably all bundled up in my bedroom. My parents will have to bring McDonald’s up there to keep us from starving. I’ve only reviewed the first book, but I will need to reread the series before this book is released, and I might write reviews for two and three then.

My little brother even loves this series. That’s saying a lot, as he’s not the most enthusiastic reader.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare; Review

4. Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore

“Book 3, tentatively titled Bitterblue and currently in progress, is a companion book to both Graceling and Fire and takes place in the seven kingdoms six years after Graceling. As you may have gathered, the protagonist is Bitterblue. Yes, Katsa, Po, and others from Graceling whom I’m not yet willing to name do appear in the book.” (source:…)”

I’ve loved the other two books in this series (The Seven Kingdoms), Graceling and Fire. Bitterblue is a fascinating little girl, but my excitement really comes from the fact that I’ve loved the characters, world, action, romance, etc in the other two books. Kristen Cashore has a gift. And I’ve heard that the characters I fell in love with in the previous books will return!

Graceling by Kristen Cashore; Review

Fire by Kristen Cashore; Review

5. The Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

No synopsis besides Markus Zusak’s one comment:

For three years now, whenever people have asked the terrifying question – “So what’s your new book about?” – I’ve stuttered my way through a whole range of incoherent responses. I’ve talked about a murderer. I’ve talked about a mule and five brothers, and a girl on a roof.

Of course, everything I just mentioned plays its part in the new book, but not one of them is the heart of it. I guess sometimes it’s easier to tell people what surrounds a story, rather than the story itself.

When all is said and done, I think I finally see that the book I’m writing is actually simple:

It’s about a boy.
His name is Clay.
He’s building a bridge.
And he wants that bridge to be something truly great and miraculous.

Doesn’t it sound fantastic? Delicious? Glorious? I have only read one of Markus Zusak’s books (which is a fact I really can’t explain) – and it proved to be the the best book I’ve ever read, second only to the books in the Anne of Green Gables series. The Book Thief is perfect in every possible way, and The Bridge of Clay has a similar feel about it. How could you resist that simple “It’s about a boy. His name is Clay. He’s building a bridge. And he wants that bridge to be something truly great and miraculous”? It’s much like The Book Thief’s “It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .”

Can we give Printz Awards for summaries? No? To bad.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; Review

It seems that 2011 is going to be the best year ever. I can’t wait. Only six more days, and we’ll embark on another journey, more fantastical and wondrous than the last.

February 9th, 2010

The Book Thief Giveaway… CLOSED

by Madeleine Rex


Okay, how could I not force one of the best books in the world on you guys?

Anyway, I’m giving away one brand-new, hardcover copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. For a review and synopsis, click.

The giveaway is open internationally, so anyone from anywhere is free to enter – by February 28th, that is.

To enter:

Leave a comment here listing your top three favorite books. They don’t have to be in any particular order. I thought I’d get a few book recommendations out of this!

If you want to be a step ahead the rest, for extra entries, you can do two things:

1) Tweet about the giveaway with a link to this post. +3

2) Blog about the giveaway and/or link this post in your blog’s sidebar. +6

(If you do either, leave a web address in your comment, so that I can take a look.)

So comment/post/tweet quick before you lose your chance to win a copy of a book you must read before you die. May as well get a move on, right?



Congrats! And thanks to all who entered. I’ll be giving away The Goose Girl [Review] by Shannon Hale someday, but I don’t even have a copy, so it’ll be awhile! Have a wonderful Sunday!

January 18th, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Published: March 14, 2006 by Random House

Number of Pages: 560

Rating: 5/5


“… it was raining on Himmel Street when the world ended for Liesel Meminger.

The sky was dripping.

Like a tap that a child has tried its hardest to turn off but hasn’t quite managed.”


The Book Thief is undoubtedly my second favorite book of all time (if I combine the nine Anne of Green Gables books). When I finished it (in the middle of my Language Arts class), I set it down, stared at the cover for a moment, and turned back to the beginning. I then read it again. The book is phenomenal. It’s a masterpiece; a story of history, family, friendship, love, and disappointment. Most importantly, it’s a story of words, a story of a little girl who found solace in books during one of the hardest times a child could live through.

Last summer, at a Rex family reunion, I sat on a table, my aunts clustered around me, and we talked about books. I kind of stand out in my family. The Rex family isn’t small, but I’m probably the only one of the grandkids who would sit down there and just. Talk. About. Books. My aunt recommended The Book Thief. That was months ago, back in June, and I didn’t get around to checking the book out until I saw it on the return shelf at the school library. I looked at it contemplatively. I read it. I loved it. So, I read it again. I also bought my own beautiful hardcover copy. (When I got it in the mail, I found a heart-shaped sticky note, scribbled on it, and stuck it to the book. The sticky note read: “Here lies the second most beloved book on the planet.” Now, that note sits on my bookshelf beneath the book itself.)

The Book Thief helped me to gain an interest in World War II. I should have expected that I would be interested afterward, since books do that to me. Rilla of Ingleside (Anne of Green Gables #8) got me interested in World War I, Gone with the Wind in the Civil War. I suppose I just need to care about people going through those wars, or the problems they face as a result of said wars, to really care about the wars themselves.

Anyway, The Book Thief revolves around a girl by the name of Liesel Meminger. Death is the narrator (which is a brilliant idea by the way – and Zusak manages to give us little tastes of “Death” in the most fabulous way), and he began to take a special interest in Liesel and her story after he saw the death and burial of her little brother. He also ran into her on two other occasions.

At the beginning of the book, Liesel is prepubescent. She’s young, and her mom is in the process of handing her off to foster parents – Hans and Rosa Huberman. Needless to say, she is unhappy when she steps into their home, a little house on Himmel Street, just outside of Munich, Germany. She’s told to call them Papa and Mama. She has no trouble at all calling Hans “Papa” (he’s wonderful), and she eventually begins to consider Rosa as her “Mama”. Her story, though, begins before this – with the death of her six-year-old brother, and her first book theft. Liesel arrived on Himmel Street not alone, but with a book – stolen from a boy – called The Gravedigger’s Handbook. From that book, the Book Thief’s story sprouts.

I’m going to post an excerpt here from the book. Actually, it’s a quote by Death, and it’s part of what caught my eye in the beginning:

It’s just a small story really, about, among other things:
A girl
Some words
An accordionist
Some fanatical Germans
A Jewish fist fighter
 And quite a lot of thievery

That list, right there, is perfect. Those points make up The Book Thief’s moving tale.

The Book Thief is not an entirely happy story. It’s honest and good, though, and managed to make me love it. To make me feel happy because I was reading a story that touched me. A story that seemed to love its readers back – it gave us so much happiness amidst the sad and seemed so happy to have us reading its words.

You know how certain scenes you read can simply tear your heart out? Tear it out, but keep it pumping? Beating and harder than ever? The Book Thief had a priceless scene of that nature. A scene that made me cry, though it wasn’t just emotional in a sad sort of way – it was meaningful. If the characters’ emotions couldn’t make you burst into tears, the message easily could. I loved it so much, and my mind is locked on it now. Trust me – that scene alone is worth reading the book.

The Book Thief is a hunky book, but I never felt it was slow. I am, however, more tolerant than some people I know when it comes to pace. I was hooked. Entirely. I think I kept reading even at the “dullest” moments because I loved the characters enough to be interested in their lives. Not just the climactic or dramatic moments. I was interested in their work and school, and most importantly, I was interested in their everyday thoughts.

The format of the book is unlike any I’ve seen before, and I thought it was so darn cool**. This book is original and shows that Markus Zusak really, really knows how to write a book.  

I can easily say that this book deserves the 5/5 rating more than any other book I’ve reviewed on Wordbird – more than pretty much any other book I’ve read, actually. It punched me in the stomach, and all I could think about when it did was that I hoped it would leave a permanent bruise.

*Some time, I’m going to collect some favorite quotes from this book and post them.

**To see Part 1 of the Prologue, click. (There’s a link to Part 2 at the bottom of the linked page.)