I wish I could give 4.5 stars because I don't quite love it enough to say it's a full 5. But it was very, very good. Anybody who thinks they can turnI wish I could give 4.5 stars because I don't quite love it enough to say it's a full 5. But it was very, very good. Anybody who thinks they can turn this into a movie (the rights have been secured by some movie studio) are NUTTY. Best of luck with that pipe dream. I could totally go for a sequel to the book. Not sure where Meyer would go, but I'd read. ...more
This book was beautiful! I loved every page. It's a young adult novel, but the only thing that identifies it as such is the ages of the main characterThis book was beautiful! I loved every page. It's a young adult novel, but the only thing that identifies it as such is the ages of the main characters. ...more
Crewel is the most original novel I've read in a long time. It'sEDITED TO ADD FULL REVIEW! SEE BELOW!
Okay, I lied. I do have to jot down a few words.
Crewel is the most original novel I've read in a long time. It's certainly the most original YA novel I've encountered in, oh, ever.
I've never been caught up on a book craze. I've watched my best friend get caught up in Nalini Singh's Psy-Changling paranormal romance series, my roommate (and the rest of the world) get caught up in the Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games craze, and while I've read all of them, I wasn't obsessed. I waited patiently for the next book in the series to come out and sometimes I didn't even read it right away.
I think that's all about to change.
This book is amazing. I have so many feels for it right now that I can't even fathom writing a full review until I've had a chance to think for a bit. All I can say for now is that Crewel belongs on your "to-read" lists. Put it there. NOW.
I want book two right now. Right this very instant. Please?
Okay, I purposefully made myself wait a little bit to review Crewel because I wanted to write a real review - not just a bunch of semi-coherent fangirl squeeing.
I think I might be ready now.
Crewel's premise immediately caught my eye due to its reference - at least in my mind - to the Fates or Moirai who control destiny in Greek (and subsequently just about every culture ever) mythology. The idea of women being called to weave time and matter in a present day setting fascinated me. I was very eager to see how Gennifer Albin would put that idea to paper. The result is The Matrix meets The Hunger Games with shades of the premise of The Handmaid's Tale (or at least what I think of as the premise as I've never read the book), complete with a relatable heroine, moral dilemmas between one's duty to self vs. society, an incredibly vivid post-apocalyptic dystopia and, oh yes, a rather delightful little love triangle that's more scalene than equilateral.
Although, Crewel is book one in a trilogy, so there's time for that to change.
The story begins with Adelice Lewys being called by The Guild to serve as a Spinster, a double edged sword that gives women in a strict patriarchal society the illusion of freedom and power. Adelice isn't interested in that illusion, however, which is why she was purposefully trying to fail at the testing that weeds out the Eligibles from the regular girls. She fails at failing, however, and the Guild comes, resulting in a mad dash escape attempt by her parents that leaves her father dead, her sister captive and her mother MIA.
The beginning is one of only two minuscule quibbles I have with this amazing book. I think Adelice as a character and Arras as a country would have benefited from a couple of chapters of further exploration before we are thrust into the action of the story. Adelice in particular is somewhat illusive as a character for the first few chapters and as much as I fell in love with her fairly quickly, I really didn’t know who she was as a person before being taken from her family by the Guild.
But truthfully, that concern was barely a blip on my radar while reading.
En route to the Coventry where Adelice will presumably spend the rest of her life, she meets the first player in the love triangle, Erik – although she doesn’t learn his name until later. She’s thrown in a cell for the first few days as punishment for her attempted escape and as she’s finally released she meets the second player in the triangle, Josten. It’s really amusing to watch Adelice interact with boys for the first time because she’s never had experience with them before. I appreciate that Albin doesn’t write Adelice as a tongue-tied idiot around members of the opposite sex. Her awkwardness is quickly outweighed by her curiosity and yet she never comes across as desperate or boy-crazy.
God bless Ms. Albin for this.
I don’t want to go too deep into plot details/spoilers from here on out, but suffice it to say that Adelice’s skill and her sharp tongue/quick wit put her at odds with her fellow Eligibles, the head Spinster and the face of the Guild, Mr. Cormac Patton. Her only allies come on the form of Enora, her mentor, Loricel, the Creweler, Erik and Josten. As the story progresses we follow Adelice as she navigates the world of the Coventry and the Guild, trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to keep her squarely under her thumb. She learns that she’s not just any Eligible and that the Guild has really big plans for her.
Well, as big as they can ever be for a woman in Arras.
Before I gush about a few specific reasons why I enjoyed Crewel so much, I’m going to explain my one other quibble – the exposition. There are a couple of chapters where Adelice and Loricel are talking and through an extensive game of twenty-questions we learn a lot about how Arras was formed and its relationship to the Earth we know. We learn what the weave is – in a deliberately vague sense – and the purpose of a Creweler in keeping it functioning. These are heavy info dump chapters and as a reader, I was very aware of their purpose. It wasn’t bad so much as noticeable because throughout the rest of the novel Albin doles out the exposition quite artfully as events are unfolding.
Then again, Loricel is a very old, very wise woman who has taken it upon herself to teach Adelice about her future as a Spinster, so in that sense the chapters function exactly as they’re supposed to within the narrative. So, take that as you will.
No, onto some specifics that I loved…
Adelice Lewys. I love her. LOVE HER. I’ve read the two biggest YA series that have come out in recent years and the biggest problems I had with both of them came down to the heroines. I couldn’t fully relate to them because I couldn’t wrap my brain around their attitudes regarding their own self-worth. Adelice was a breath of fresh air for me – much like Katy in Obsidian – because while she didn’t think she was the most beautiful creature on the planet, she wasn’t crippled by constant thoughts of how plain and ordinary she was. Like most girls, Adelice felt that she lacked in certain areas, but when Erik and Jost showed an interest in her, she didn’t doubt that she could be a desirable creature to either of them.
She doubted her sanity in pursuing either of them, but that’s different issue altogether.
Part of Adelice’s journey deals with how her actions affect her family and friends. While she is very concerned as to how the Guild can use her loved ones against her, she works toward goals that spell freedom for everybody – including herself – rather than contemplating grand schemes that leave her dead like some kind of martyr. Adelice doesn’t mask cowardice behind self-sacrificing delusions of grandeur.
Lastly, Adelice acts. She doesn’t wait for things to happen to her, she makes them happen. She doesn’t let her fear make her afraid of trying to create her own destiny.
Now the boys…Josten and Erik. I have to admit, I love them both. I have my preference as to who ends up with Adelice, but both characters are compelling. I was especially impressed with Josten’s past – there’s a twist in it that not something I’ve come across before. Erik is all charm and smoothness, navigating and circumventing the system from a place of prominence, while Josten is rougher around the edges, fighting his battle from the ground up.
Both boys are made of win and again, I appreciate the fact that Erik and Josten don’t fall into the traditional good boy/bad boy roles. They each play both sides of the spectrum and as such are fully rounded characters.
I could go on waxing poetic about this book for pages and pages. I could go on about the fascinating world of Arras and how I would leap at the opportunity to read an actual history book of the region so that I could learn how the society became so sharply divided upon gender lines. Adelice briefly mentions her grandmother telling her about a time when children weren’t segregated by gender and there were no Purity Protocols to follow and I’d love to read about the politics involved in that change. I could go on about the concept of Arras and the idea of certain women being able to alter the very fabric of its existence. I could talk about the evils of the Guild and how their quest to map Spinsters calls into mind the idea of genetic mapping and designer babies. There are just so many fascinating concepts within Crewel that I just can’t say enough good things about it.
Crewel is one that will stick with you for a long time after you’ve finished reading it and if you’re anything like me, you will be counting down the days until the next book is available.
Loved this book. Such a tremendous end to a fabulous trilogy. More to come, but for now to bed so I don't change my mind and hate the book in my fatigLoved this book. Such a tremendous end to a fabulous trilogy. More to come, but for now to bed so I don't change my mind and hate the book in my fatigue. ;p...more
I really enjoyed this book. It cracked me and my friend up as I read it to her over the phone while she was doing an overnight. Don't worry. It took lI really enjoyed this book. It cracked me and my friend up as I read it to her over the phone while she was doing an overnight. Don't worry. It took like five minutes, not the whole night. It's a fun little book for people familiar with Shakespeare. I think it's more entertaining if you know the characters in question. ...more
The pace of this book isn't breakneck. Lawhead tells his story slowly, but I was never bored. I really enjoyed discovering the characters in their modThe pace of this book isn't breakneck. Lawhead tells his story slowly, but I was never bored. I really enjoyed discovering the characters in their modified settings/names. Despite the title of this book being Hood, it was not all about Robin/Bran. I can't wait to read the next one!...more
I'll start right off with the bottom line: READ THIS BOOK. Not only is it a fast, entertaining read, it will make you think.
I’ve put off writing my reI'll start right off with the bottom line: READ THIS BOOK. Not only is it a fast, entertaining read, it will make you think.
I’ve put off writing my review of this book for over a month because it’s so hard for me to discuss it without getting overly political. I happen to feel quite strongly about the book's central message, but I don't want to do a disservice to the book by getting on my soapbox. In my opinion, whether liberal or a conservative, Christian or atheist, we’re all humans and we can all benefit from exploring the themes Moore discusses in Gaymerica.
What I like most about this book – aside from the fact that I completely, 100% agree with the message of equality and acceptance it presents – is that it doesn’t condemn the very things that have made 2047 America the hostile, fearful environment it has become. Capitalism isn’t evil, Christianity isn’t shunned and not everybody in Gaymerica is, well, gay. Moore expertly depicts how extremes in thinking, either left or right wing, are detrimental to any society with the gentle way he exposes Corwin to new experiences.
I’m also very comfortable recommending this book from a technical standpoint. Gaymerica avoids the same traps of self-publishing with his command of the English language, grammar and punctuation. Gaymerica is a book that any publishing house would be confident and happy to attach their name to.
Moore tells his story through satire – a great choice, in my opinion because it allows him to discuss some pretty explosive and controversial topics without bashing the reader over the head with his views. Considering the plot, Moore could have written Gaymerica as a political thriller, but in doing so he would have lost so much of the human element that gives the story its heart. Life, the whole human existence, is so wonderfully absurd and Corwin’s journey is one any of us could go on.
I pretty much devoured the last 1/3 of this book. I had to know what was going to happen, even though I had a pretty good idea from watching the serieI pretty much devoured the last 1/3 of this book. I had to know what was going to happen, even though I had a pretty good idea from watching the series.
I loved this book. I can't wait to continue with the series. I could tell this was Goodkind's first novel. As a writer, his prose was a little...lacking? Clunky? I'm not sure what the right word is, but regardless I was completely charmed by it. Whatever Goodkind lacked as a technical writer, he more than makes up as a storyteller.
ETA: Unpolished! That's the word I was searching for when trying to describe Goodkind's prose and dialogue. It's unpolished, but in a way that becomes strangely endearing....more
I was incredibly excited to get an ARC of The Eternity Cure and I’d resolved to read/review it before it was released.
Nothing like waiting until the lI was incredibly excited to get an ARC of The Eternity Cure and I’d resolved to read/review it before it was released.
Nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh?
My procrastination had nothing to do with the book, however, because as soon as I got around to firing up my Kindle and started reading, I didn’t stop. As with The Immortal Rules, Kagawa crafted a story that was unique and engaging and really kept me turning pages.
Er, pushing the arrow button.
After leaving Eden at the end of book #1, Allie sets off to find her sire, Kanin. She’s drawn to him because of their shared bloodline and even sees through his eyes in the night as she sleeps. She knows that he’s in trouble – captured by Psycho Vamp Sarren – and she’s determined to find him.
She feels she owes him that much.
Truth be told, I think Allie’s just looking for a new family. As much as she tried to be a detached Fringer during the first seventeen years of her life, and then a detached vampire, Allison can’t help but want people, family, a connection. She had a facsimile of that with Zeke and the group of humans that she helped get to Eden in the first book, but that was always a pipe dream, tarnished by the fact that she constantly had to choke down her Hunger and keep her true self secret.
Perhaps Kanin is a second chance at a family that she’ll never have to give up.
Having read two of Kagawa’s books, I feel I can say with some authority that she really likes to take her time with her plots. In any other book, finding Kanin would have been the introduction and the real plot would have started when she did exactly that. Under Kagawa’s guidance, however, The Eternity Cure stays focused on what it’s really about – Allison’s journey. Despite the fact that she’s constantly moving, Allison is not at the whim of her plot, her plot unfolds around her as she goes. As such, the book is half over when Allison and Jackal (what an unexpected and surprisingly enjoyable development) are reunited with their sire.
Zeke also makes another appearance and I found that I enjoyed him much more in The Eternity Cure than I did in The Immortal Rules. He seems more adult in this book and the connection that he and Allie share feels more genuine and organic. By the time I got to the end, I found that I really cared about Zeke and wanted him to stay around.
As much as Allie drives the plot of The Eternity Cure, it moves a lot faster than The Immortal Rules. I was immensely glad of that as I really didn’t need to have a play-by-play of Allie and Jackal’s trek from DC to New Covington.
There were a couple of plot contrivances that I would have liked to see handled differently. Zeke’s miraculous healing abilities could have been set up better – or at all. I don’t think it would have given away anything if Kagawa had mentioned the medical experiments that he’d volunteered for in Eden prior to his Lazarus-like return near the end. The fact that Sarren stayed in New Covington after his desperate escape from the Vampire Towers was…convenient.
Also, I really hate that Allison refers to Sarren as Psycho Vamp. There’s something really pedestrian about that.
Those are minor, but in light of how much I loved this book and how skilled Kagawa is as an author, that’s the best I can do.
Speaking of those skills, like The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure just feels solid. There’s this intangible difference between a green author’s debut and an author who has really honed her craft and Kagawa’s definitely honed. I love that and it deserves to be addressed. Details are richer, plot unfolds more smoothly and the world is vibrant and alive. Awesome.
Now, I have to wait for the next book and after the plot twist at the end, I feel that it’s going to be a very, very long wait.
Less Than Zero is one of those books that I don’t know how to rate because its worth can’t be measured in simple terms of ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ It’s one thLess Than Zero is one of those books that I don’t know how to rate because its worth can’t be measured in simple terms of ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ It’s one that I don’t know how to recommend to friends because I can’t tell them that they’ll enjoy it, but I still think it should be read. What I can say without equivocation is that it is effective.
Less Than Zero is the second book by Bret Easton Ellis that I’ve read and while American Psycho was a thought provoking and often shocking experience, I think Less Than Zero is the better of the two and to really explain what Ellis does so well with the latter, I’m going to have to compare it to the former.
From reviews I’ve read of American Psycho, the message and meaning of the book was lost on some because of the extreme violence perpetrated by the main character. I’d argue that they were idiots for expecting anything different from a book with the word ‘psycho’ in the title, but that’s neither here nor there. The fact remains that Ellis’s commentary on the completely shallow and soul-sucking world of Wall Street/the quest for the ‘American Dream’ in the 80s fell on deaf ears of those who couldn’t handle the visceral images he described. I would fault him for embracing the shock value so hardcore that it muddied his message if I didn’t think that that was at least half of the point.
In Less Than Zero, however, Ellis uses a different tactic to get his point across and in so doing demonstrates his talent as a writer. Where American Psycho was frenetic and dense with the inner monologue of the main character, Less Than Zero is sparse and detached. It’s a quick read at just 208 pages, some consisting of nothing but back and forth dialogue with minimal description.
And that’s exactly as it should be.
The main character of Less Than Zero is Clay, a Beverly Hills rich kid who can’t relate to anything or anyone. It’s not that he doesn’t fit into his world, it’s that he’s lost the ability to be affected by it, to feel anything. Ellis presents us with a litany of causes – drugs, money, absentee parents, the glossy, flashy, shallow world in which he exists – but no one thing is the culprit for Clay’s state-of-being.
It’s just the way it is.
Ellis gives us the impression that Clay wishes things were different. Flashbacks to a previous summer in Palm Springs are sprinkled throughout the narrative and the reader is left to assume that Clay wants to go back to those supposedly better times, but those times don’t seem much better . Or maybe those flashbacks are really about showing the reader where Clay’s detachment and disaffection began. That’s the brilliance of the book – you can take it to mean either or both at the same time.
One of the things I appreciated the most about Less Than Zero is that it’s not an anti-drug manifesto. While all of the characters are generally strung out on something – one in particular is in way over his head – Ellis doesn’t take the easy way out and claim that the drugs alone caused the problem. Clay does too much cocaine, but there are plenty of times where he doesn’t do any simply because he doesn’t want to. Drug use is a reaction to the problem, not a symptom or cause of it.
Ellis’s use of words in Less Than Zero is just as evocative as it is in American Psycho. I felt the desolation and detachment that Clay felt. I felt his numbness. Ellis ignores traditional rules of grammar to great effect in his use of run ons and sentence fragments. Clay’s life becomes a series of events that don’t affect him, they just happen around him. He has brief moments of being scared or angry, he describes a breakdown he has in his therapists office and again at his former elementary school, he musters up a sense of indignation over the gang rape of an underage girl that his friends – acquaintances, really, as he doesn’t feel enough for any of them to really call them friends – orchestrate and he has a sense of true horror and dread over the lengths his childhood friend Julian is willing to go to feed his drug habit, but he doesn’t do anything about it.
He just…continues on.
I didn’t get the impression that he doesn’t want to. He does. I think that Clay really, really wants something to feel different and to matter, but he doesn’t know what and he doesn’t know how to find it and even if he did, he knows that in the end it won’t matter. It can be lost and losing things is painful. One of the best passages in the book comes near the end between Clay and his ex-girlfriend Blair.
“What do you care about? What makes you happy?”
“Nothing. Nothing makes me happy. I like nothing,” I tell her.
“Did you ever care about me, Clay?”
I don’t say anything, look back at the menu.
“Did you ever care about me?” she asks again.
“I don’t want to care. If I care about things, it’ll just be worse, it’ll just be another thing to worry about. It’s less painful if I don’t care.”
The book culminates in a really horrifying day that begins with a quest to get money back from his friend Julian. Clay witnesses the worst of his world – Julian being pimped out to the highest bidder to cover his drug habit, the discovery of a dead body in the alley that his friends would rather mock and study in horrified fascination than call the cops about, and the gang rape of a twelve year old girl that disgusts completely disgusts him. Clay has countless opportunities to take himself out of the situation, but he doesn’t because – as he puts it – he wants to see the worst. He wants to know if the world can really be that dark.
What’s most striking about that day is the fact that the book doesn’t end there. It covers a few more days of Clay’s Christmas vacation from college and he continues to see all of the people who committed the worst atrocities on that day and they interact as if nothing has changed.
I could go on forever, pulling examples of what I found so fascinating about this book, but this review is already really long. I’ll leave you with what is said on the back of my copy of the book.
Set in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, Less Than Zero has become a timeless classic. The coolly mesmerizing novel is a raw, powerful portrait of a lost generation who have experienced sex, drugs and disaffection at too early an age, in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money in a city devoid of feeling or hope.
That is not hyperbole. That is exactly what this book is. Less Than Zero is an experience. It’s not a book you read to escape or relax, it’s a book that you read because you want to be moved. To be affected.
In all of the ways the main character can’t. ...more
Pushing the Limits is not my typical read - no supernatural, no fantasy or scifi, no mystery or acWelp. I devoured that one.
Can I have more, please?
Pushing the Limits is not my typical read - no supernatural, no fantasy or scifi, no mystery or action - but that didn't stop me from eagerly turning pages until the very end. Katie McGarry didn't reinvent the wheel in terms of setting or plot, but her characters, Echo and Noah in particular, wouldn't let me go.
The plot of Pushing the Limits follows tragic good-girl-with-a-mysterious-past Echo and tragic bad-boy-with-a-violent-past Noah as they're forced together by their mutual guidance counselor and find love and healing across social lines. While the details of Echo's memory loss and scars, as well as what happened to Noah's parents intrigued me, the parts I enjoyed the most were the sessions with Mrs. Collins, the guidance counselor, and the one-on-one time Noah and Echo shared.
I always appreciate authors who write characters - especially teenagers - that are real. McGarry's teenagers drink, smoke, do drugs, have sex, but all in the way that teens do. Echo isn't suddenly a bad girl because she gets drunk at a party and Noah isn't irredeemable because he smokes weed.
I give McGarry kudos for writing a bad boy that actually deserved his reputation. Noah's not a saint. While he might have been on the fast track to All-American Golden Boy status, his parent's death changed everything. He does become (justifiably) violent, he does have a temper, he does sleep with any girl he happens to be interested in, he does smoke weed, he does have tattoos, he swears a lot and he's got very little interest in school and preparing for a future that he doesn't think that he'll have.
As he and Echo get to know each other, he's not perfect and doesn't say the right thing all of the time, but he listens to her in a way that her friends and hideous wannabe boyfriend won't. McGarry doesn't have Noah change for his good-girl, but rather return to the person he used to be.
As a former member of the popular in-crowd, Echo is essentially crippled by her new outsider status - not to mention the scars on her arms that she can't remember getting. I had a much harder time relating to Echo than Noah, but I am not as petrified of authority as she is. The opening chapter, where Echo, her father and her step-mother are in a group therapy session with Mrs. Collins made me cringe. I couldn't understand how Echo could let her father dictate her life like he did. Then I saw how the same things happened with her friends, her ex-boyfriend Luke, basically everyone she encountered, and I realized that what Echo really needed was a backbone.
Noah helps her find it - or rather, he helps her find the girl that she used to be as well.
Romance novels always claim to feature two people who need each other for whatever reason, but Pushing the Limits really delivers. Noah's I-don't-give-a-fuck attitude clashes with Echo's need to please and as they spend more time together, they balance each other out and it's wonderful to read.
The end doesn't tie everything up in a nice, neat bow, with all wrongs being righted and all amends being made. Echo gets the answers she's been searching for about the night she got her scars, but her reunion with her mother is far from satisfying. I personally thought she was far too forgiving with her father and step-mother, but I have a cold, dead heart. ;P Noah doesn't achieve his exact goal, but he manages to find a solution that's far more realistic for his situation. Despite that vague summary, I was completely satisfied with the way things were wrapped up.
If I were to have any criticisms it would be that some of the dialogue felt wrong - more than once I had a "teenagers don't talk like that" reaction. Some of the characters were so extreme - Grace, Echo's father - in their refusal to accept or listen to Echo that I almost had to put the book down. Both of these "complaints" are minor, however, and I am anxious to read more of McGarry's writing. ...more
If you're looking for a book that delves into the resistance activities of the White Rose in Germany during WWII, this is not the book for you. If youIf you're looking for a book that delves into the resistance activities of the White Rose in Germany during WWII, this is not the book for you. If you're looking to know more about Hans and Sophie Scholl, the siblings who died together for their beliefs, this book is perfect.
The collection of letters and diaries are in the Scholl sibling's own words and depict two like-minded individuals who believed above all in the beauty of Nature and strove to forge a relationship with God.
Despite the fact that everyday, Hans and Sophie were faced with atrocities that flew in the face of Nature and the God they so desperately longed to know, they maintained their faith. They believed that the German people, and humanity as a whole, deserved better than Hitler and the Nazi regime.
What I loved most about this book was the unabashed honesty with which Hans and Sophie expressed themselves. Whether in a diary entry for no eyes but their own or in a letter to their parents, the Scholls expressed their frustrations, joys, fears and longings with incredible candor that I found humbling. As I reached the entries just before Hans and Sophie's arrest, I was teary-eyed because I knew with each dated entry that their demise was imminent.
The book is set up very well, switching between Hans and Sophie in chronological fashion. Jens includes copius notes to give the reader additional information that fleshes out the world Hans and Sophie lived in, as well as the people in their lives. On its own, this book isn't enough to satisfy my curiosity about the White Rose, but it's a wonderful companion to other books on the topic. Hans and Sophie Scholl were amazing and inspirational and I've learned a great deal about myself having read their thoughts and feelings. ...more