I am really getting into the Anita Blake stories, and I found Circus of the Damned by Laurell K. Hamilton to be an incredible book. The story seemed t...moreI am really getting into the Anita Blake stories, and I found Circus of the Damned by Laurell K. Hamilton to be an incredible book. The story seemed to continue on in the standard that I'm beginning to expect from the series.
There was very little that I could find at fault with the story. Some of the writing was a little too descriptive for my taste. (I'm probably one of those rare people who doesn't like everything to be completely spelled out for me.) There were also times when it seemed like there were lines added for the purpose of filler.
The plot moved along quite well. The bad guys were fairly easy to distinguish from the beginning, but Ms. Hamilton did a good job in building the story around them. The book was definitely enthralling enough to keep me interested in reading more of the series.(less)
Charlaine Harris is a great writer, and she has done a terrific job on the series, but this book didn’t seem to take the reader on the same kind of ride that you would expect out of the Sookie series. The book had a bit of a darker element to it, especially given Eric’s sibling and the recent loss of Claudine.
I understand that characters have to go through certain things, but it seems unusual that everyone’s lives seemingly fell apart at the same time. I know that lives fall apart, especially in fantasy novels, but it just felt like the conflict that was required for this particular novel’s story to be portrayed ended up being forced.
With Sookie being forced to deal with some rather dark moments in her life, as well as go through the turmoil related to Alexei, it seemed like she lost part of the spark that made her such an interesting and lovable character. She was always so easy to relate to, even with her fantastical life. In this book, she just seemed to be out of touch with her own sense of self, which made the book harder to love.
Was the book worth reading? Yes, definitely. Still, I’m hoping that future books aren’t really as hard on the characters in them.(less)
Gossip Girl, the first of the Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar, was surprisingly fun to read. It didn't seem like my type of book when I firs...moreGossip Girl, the first of the Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar, was surprisingly fun to read. It didn't seem like my type of book when I first ran into it a few years ago, but I finally decided to give it a chance.
Even though I knew that they would be different, I was quite surprised by how different the book is from the television based on the series. Of course, that doesn't take away from either. (I'm new to both, so I'm not really "biased" towards or against either.)
The writing was fairly good, and the characters were pretty well-developed. I felt quite drawn in by the ease at which they were presented. The only thing that really bugged me was that everyone seemed to turn a blind eye to things that struck me as being serious to ignore (i.e. Blair's budding/full-blown bulimia). I know that sometimes people tend to brush these kinds of things aside, but it seems like eventually someone would say something. Even the wealthy/powerful aren't typically that oblivious.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read it that enjoys young adult fiction or chick lit, since I think it fits quite well into both categories. I also thing that this might be a good beach book if you're into reading on the beach.(less)
I had wanted to read this book since it came out, back when I was in high school. I finally got the chance and it was worth the wait. The Perks of Bei...moreI had wanted to read this book since it came out, back when I was in high school. I finally got the chance and it was worth the wait. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the most amazing and inspiring books that I've ever read. I can understand why it has amassed such a following.
Through the letters by Charlie, Chbosky is able to express the excitement and pain of being a teenager. This book doesn't gloss over tough issues like rape, abuse, and suicide. It actually deals with them in a way that so many other books don't. Actually, it is more respectful of them than even some therapists are.
I can honestly say that this book made me laugh and cry. It was so heart-breaking when a character would go through something painful, but it was also so wonderful because there was always a lesson learned from it. Chbosky gave insight and strength to the sufferers in a way that made them heroes, instead of just victims. And that was just beautiful.
I would definitely recommend this novel to young people and to adults. It is incredible and should be something that everyone tries to read at some point in his or her life. (less)
When I found this book at the library in 2009, I wasn't expecting anything miraculous or amazing. I had tried to read books on schizophrenia and schiz...moreWhen I found this book at the library in 2009, I wasn't expecting anything miraculous or amazing. I had tried to read books on schizophrenia and schizophrenics before, and had been sorely disappointed. What I found surprised me.
Susan Sheehan's tale of the life of one schizophrenic woman in a New York psychiatric hospital is enlightening and heart-breaking. It was amazing. The beauty of the book is that Sheehan seems to be the only person who doesn't judge Sylvia Frumkin (real name: Maxine Mason). Frumkin's decent into madness is chronicled as well in the book as you would imagine it being captured in a film documentary.
It is colorful. It is beautiful. It is probably the most wonderful book that most people have never heard of.(less)
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, especially after the disappointment that was Bloody Bones. Laurell K. Hamilton pretty much redeemed h...moreI was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, especially after the disappointment that was Bloody Bones. Laurell K. Hamilton pretty much redeemed herself in this book. The writing was much better, though there were some proof-reading issues.
The characters definitely became more defined than they had been in the past. Unfortunately, I still think that Anita Blake is too dependent on violence, but she the fear from the threat to her life did allow her to be a bit more human and quite a bit more likable. I definitely feel that Richard is excessive in his childish behavior, and I don't know that he could be the alpha that he wants to be. I wouldn't be surprised if (at some point) Richard ended up being as much of a monster as Marcus and Raina had been. His "inner darkness" seems to be more like an almost unrestrained abusive nature. Jean-Claude once again became the most likable member of the main character brigade, proving himself to be the better man.
I am happy that there was some resolution to some story-lines that had continued for too long. Even with the heightened level of violence and sexuality, this book actually seemed the least soap opera like book in the series. It seemed to have a rawer edge that gave it more power than any of the previous books in the series. Hopefully, the edge will remain in the future books, but I have been disappointed in the past with this series, so I can't help but be worried that the future will hold some level of disappointment.(less)
I don't know exactly how I should describe this book. If you are familiar with the style of comedy that Chelsea performs, then you are pretty well pre...moreI don't know exactly how I should describe this book. If you are familiar with the style of comedy that Chelsea performs, then you are pretty well prepared for what you would find in the book. Her abrasive, irreverent, charming style flows in each of the essays of the book. Each essay gives people a better understanding of Chelsea's views on sexuality, relationships, and alcohol, as well as the support system that she's had in her life.
There are essays that are more disturbing than others. For example, in the very first essay, Chelsea describes walking in on her parents while they were having sex, taking a picture of them, then hiding in the basement because her father wants to punish her by hitting her. He doesn't get to do so that night,of the but, after charming her into letting him take her to school, he hits her that morning and takes her to school with a busted lip. Some might find this to be acceptable, but I felt like it was a bit abhorrent behavior. Of course, it wasn't as bad as when he made lascivious comments about Chelsea's body later in the book and how attractive he found her. He also made other comments in other essays where he comes off as homophobic and racist, including trying to call the police on one of Chelsea's boyfriends because he thinks he must have stolen a car (one that rightfully belonged to the boyfriend) because of the color of his skin.
Chelsea also has moments where she acts quite ignorant, and those were times when I almost put down the book. She is extremely judgmental, moreso than I ever expected. She makes slurs often, and is not above belittling those who try to be nice to her. She makes fun of her sexually inexperienced roommate for being a virgin, which is just as bad as when others mock her for her experience and comfort with being sexual. She is quick to play to stereotypes, including ones that are degrading to her own life, heritage, and background. Because of this self-deprecating style, she ends up coming off as someone who may have more issues with her self-esteem than you'd expect,
Potential readers need to know that the book, though marketed as being about her one-night stands, is more about Chelsea's friendships, family members, and longer-term relationships. She has more relationships in the book than she does one-night stands. People also need to be of the aware that her schtick about needing vodka or booze of any kind is also present throughout the book. I doubt of the anyone would be surprised by that, but just in case you are, you can't say that you weren't warned. Chelsea also admits to using a variety of substances and has friends who use illegal drugs, as well.
Other than the substances, the bigotry, and the other acts that I have mentioned, the book comes off as humorous and fun. Chelsea is more awkward than I would have expected. And her experiences explain a lot about her sense of humor. I don't mean for this to sound like a psychoanalysis of her, but I totally get why she is how she is now. Yeah, that still sounds analytical, doesn't it? I guess I would say just be careful not to judge this book too quickly based on what you think you know about her. (less)
As you grow up, you're taught that every scar tells a story and I believe that Caroline Kettlewell has proved that point.
This book is a remarkable mem...moreAs you grow up, you're taught that every scar tells a story and I believe that Caroline Kettlewell has proved that point.
This book is a remarkable memoir of growing up with self-mutilation. She tells of how it looked, felt, etc. It can get a bit graphic, but sometimes, you need the graphic stuff in order to understand the feelings.
I think that this book is exquisite. I think every self-injurer could identify with the feelings that Caroline went through. I think that non-'cutters' could identify with some of the feelings, too.
This book gives cutters a feeling of not being alone and non-cutters a way to understand what it's like to hurt so much that you have to hurt yourself.
There aren't enough words to describe how awesome this book is. I just hope that it helps you to understand how serious self-mutilation really is.(less)
There are some books that you randomly stumble across, not knowing if it will be so great that it is important enough to remember or if it will be dis...moreThere are some books that you randomly stumble across, not knowing if it will be so great that it is important enough to remember or if it will be disgusting enough to make you wish you could forget it. This is one of the great ones.
In a world where bullying is so normal that we have to dedicate days, weeks, and months to the repercussions of that bullying, it is refreshing to read a book that shows the pain that hate can cause and the love that can come from that pain. Watching the friendships and relationships tear apart and come together in this poignantly written book is something I don't think I'll be forgetting anytime soon. Jennifer Brown manages to capture the anguish of being an outsider, loss of loved ones, young people drawn to death and suicide, dysfunctional families, and the guilt of not noticing how distraught some people are before it is too late.
Valerie, the narrator of the story, was someone who society might teach us to hate. She was the girlfriend of a kid who went in and killed and injured classmates and faculty before ending his life, some of whom were on a list that he and Valerie had co-authored. She was someone who would be hard for society to forgive, but she was also someone who should be hard for society to hate. She is as much a victim as anyone else because not only did she suffer the years of torment from the bullying, she also suffered from the bullet wound from trying to stop the shooting, the guilt of not realizing that the shooting was going to happen along with the guilt of feeling it was all her fault, and the hatred of so many of the survivors. She was hated not just by people who had never liked her, she was hated by people who were supposed to love her and to have her back. It is heart-breaking to read as this person continues to suffer for something that she didn't mean to happen.
Brown did any amazing job crafting a tale that would lead even the hardest of hearts to feel empathy for the villains--all of them. If you tend to cry when reading or seeing anything emotional, then you might want to keep some tissues around because this book is a bit of tearjerker. It not only covers the shooting and its aftermath, it gives a great back-story of why it is so hard for Valerie to hate Nick and why it is so hard for her to feel trust around the people who had tormented her.
This book is an absolute must-read, not just for teenagers, but for everyone. It has a lot of heart in it and would probably move anyone of any age. It does have some violence and other disturbing content in it, so those who are easily triggered might want to stay away or read with caution. Mostly it has a lot of self-discovery and some subtle lessons about how to find your way in a world that isn't always as forgiving or as comforting as we wish it would be.(less)
This was a pretty good book. It was yet another book that I had never heard of before spotting it on the bookshelf at the local library. It was quite...moreThis was a pretty good book. It was yet another book that I had never heard of before spotting it on the bookshelf at the local library. It was quite a bit better than many of the books I find that way, and many that I've heard of beforehand.
The characters are interesting, though many aren't sympathetic. Of course, I don't think that they're supposed to be considered sympathetic, since this book is clearly pointing out the spoiled nature of the private school system and what a life of privilege is like in New York City. Most of the characters that I was turned off by when they were introduced turned out to be the schmucks that my gut had been telling me they were.
There were times when unimportant parts of the book seemed to drag on, but there were also times when it seemed like some (more important) things were just skipped over completely. I guess that inconsistency is part of why I didn't give this book more stars. It was a bit of a sloppy story, which is something that I don't enjoy.
The best way to describe this story is that it is basically a grown-up Clueless, moved to the Upper East Side from Beverly Hills, and dealing with spoiled socialites (and wannabe socialites) getting their kids into private school school to gain the approval of their peers, as opposed to socialites in the making trying to gain the approval of their peers at their high school. The same conniving and petty crap that you would expect from high school students is exhibited in so many of the characters. Most, if not all, of the characters are willing to sacrifice any sense of morals to get ahead. While that made some of it humorous, it also made it a bit disturbing.
If you enjoy random chick lit, you will probably enjoy this book. It's also possible that if you like stories about sociopaths, you will enjoy this book.(less)
For the most part, I thought this was a really great book. It definitely is worthy of the four stars that I'm giving it, but it is the worst book (so...moreFor the most part, I thought this was a really great book. It definitely is worthy of the four stars that I'm giving it, but it is the worst book (so far) in the Bloodlines series. I really enjoy the series and Mead's writing, but this book just didn't make me feel the same kind of rush that the previous 3 books did. That doesn't mean that I won't end up loving the last two books, especially considering that in the Vampire Academy series, my least favorite book was the fourth book. Maybe I just have a problem with that part of the arc in stories? Anyway, I digress.
The story was intriguing and it was definitely filled with drama, which was in keeping with the past stories. Unfortunately, it didn't have the same level of wit that I had come to expect. It was rather dry when it came to that, and the drama that happened was a lot more predictable than it should have been. The whole series has sort of been building to what happened in this book, so it didn't end up really shocking me or anything.
I can say, without a doubt, that I absolutely hate Zoe and think that both she and Sydney's father are extremely most despicable characters. I know that Zoe is motivated by jealousy and was raised by a bigot, so her motives might not completely be her own, but she was given a chance to grow and change and she didn't, which makes her actions that much more abhorrent. I already knew I didn't like Sydney's father before this book, with his previous love of a rapist and his somewhat subtle emotional abuse of his daughters, but this book made me realize what a schmuck the dude really is. I hope that Sydney's mom gets custody of Zoe, if for no other reason than I know it would make Zoe and Jared so horribly miserable.
I'm glad that Adrian was finally coming to terms with the fact that he had been living an extremely self-destructive life. I hope that he can learn how to use spirit while being on medication at some point because he really deserves to have some sort of normal life. I'm sure that his decisions to go on the medicine and, later, to go back off it will be dealt with more in the fifth or sixth book...or at least, I hope that that's the case. I think that the way his lack of faith in himself was portrayed was extremely poignant. A lot of times when writers choose to write about a mentally ill character, they don't completely "get" what having a mental illness is like, but Mead did an excellent job in portraying what it was like for him. Kudos for that.
There seemed to be too many characters in the story. I know that all of the VA and Bloodlines stories have featured multitudes of characters, but there were so many in this book that it felt like some weren't getting the level of attention that they deserved. Hopefully that won't be an issue in the next two books.
Overall, even with the stuff that I didn't like about this book, I found it entertaining, easy to get into, and easy to read. I think it is definitely worth reading and I'm glad to see at least one paranormal romance series writer getting it right. (Some of the fails that have befallen other writers in the genre had made me start to lose hope.) I would recommend this book to fans of paranormal romance stories, especially within the young adult age group.(less)