I didn't really have extremely high expectations when it came to The Quick. Everyone who has read this book has seemed to agree that this book takes a...moreI didn't really have extremely high expectations when it came to The Quick. Everyone who has read this book has seemed to agree that this book takes a little while to get into. However, a lot of readers have reviewed saying that once you're finished with that tiny bump in the road (i.e. the first 100 pages), The Quick picks up. Sometimes you have those books that are a pain to get into, that just take longer than they should to read. But then towards the end you realize that all of that work and pain and endless suffering was worth it because you're rewarded with an amazing book. The Quick...was not that book.
While reading the first 100 pages, all I was thinking was "It's okay, just get through these 100 pages, then this book will be interesting." Then while I was 150 pages in, I let go of those childish notions and realized that The Quick was never going to pick up and that I just had to grit my teeth and bare the utter dullness for about 400 more pages. And I did.
The Quick was dull. There's just no getting around it. Sure, sometimes it stopped being so coma-inducing boring and just skipped right up to "meh" standards, but it never completely hooked me. Could it be because this book was about vampires? Maybe. Could it be because the characters were never really all that interesting? Definitely. Any potential that the characters may have had was squandered by a novel that didn't know what it wanted to be. Is it a Gothic historical fiction? Is it a fantasy novel? Is it a mystery? The world may never know. Mainly because they'll stop reading by that point.
So, what do we have in The Quick? Interesting plot that never amounted to anything. Characters that had some potential, but never fulfilled it. Writing that was somewhat elaborate, but nothing to write home about. Two stars solely for those little blips that were somewhat interesting (that then preceded to fall down back to that dullness).
ETA: And what the heck is up with the cover?! It's so blah, it should at least be--never mind. The cover is exceptional representation into what you get in The Quick...as you were.(less)
I sort of want to cry due to my utter disappointment in The Diamond Thief. It's just the potential in this book was so great. We have circuses! I frea...moreI sort of want to cry due to my utter disappointment in The Diamond Thief. It's just the potential in this book was so great. We have circuses! I freaking love books about the circus! They are probably one of my favorite plots ever in books! And then we have a historical fiction book with steampunk elements in it, a really intriguing cover. I mean seriously, what's not to like? It turns out...EVERYTHING! [insert bitter sigh here].
However, the biggest part of EVERYTHING, has to do with my intense dislike of insta-love. No, seriously, I hate it. Only the movie Titanic can get away with that kind of shit. Are you Titanic, Diamond Thief? NO, YOU ARE NOT! So, you shouldn't have gone there! And if the insta-love wasn't bad enough, it's the kind of insta-love that starts with insta-hate and then turns into insta-love the next time the two characters see each other because...who cares.
Yes, who cares about Remy? Who cares about Thaddeus...or J...or the professor...or anything else in The Diamond Thief? I sure didn't. Why? Because this book was boring. Coma-inducing boring. Mainly because the intriguing plot didn't really go nowhere for 90 percent of the book. Our main characters are doing some sneaking around...bad guys come...everyone's all "RUN!"...they get caught...they get away. Something boring that's supposed to be part of the plot happens. More scheming and sneaking, followed by more of the "RUN!" and then more of the getting caught. And this happens all the damn time.
So, The Diamond Thief ended up being meh all around. Which really sucks because I really wanted to like this book. But it let me down. I say skip it.(less)
Conversion is one of those books that for me, just gets a higher rating than it probably deserves due to two things: One, it was described as literary...moreConversion is one of those books that for me, just gets a higher rating than it probably deserves due to two things: One, it was described as literary and I tend to find books that are described as such somewhat boring. So, the fact that this wasn't was a pleasant surprise. And that segues into reason number two: this book was a massive page-turner! That's it. Those are the two reasons Conversion is mainly getting four stars instead of the three it probably deserves.
The good: I don't think I can accurately explain how much of a page-turner Conversion was. (And yes I'm harping on this...because there's not much else to harp about.) I mean, it's about the Salem Witch Trials. That right there just means that it already starts out with about a ten in the can-this-be-more-freaking-intriguing scale. But on top of that, you got weird stuff going on at an elite private school. And I love books about private schools. That whole world seems so otherworldly to my public school ass. On top of that, Conversion never really lets up through most of the novel. It just keeps building and building on its original premise that made me question my little sister and my dogs' sanity for having the audacity to even THINK about being hungry because can't they see that I'm reading an interesting book about the Salem Witch Trials and therefore, I shouldn't be interrupted? Yes, this book had THAT page-turner status.
Oh another good thing was that there was very little romance. Huzzah for those like me who often find YA book romance to be slightly contrived!
The Meh: I'm usually more about the characters than the actual plot in most books. So, while the plot in Conversion really kept it going for me, in retrospect, I'm starting to see that the characters weren't really all that developed. I mean, for being primary narrator, you don't really get to know much about Colleen. I liked her enough (even if she did have some moments that made me want to push her off a cliff), but she never really lived up to her narrating potential (I don't care if she starts getting into Ivy-Leagues left and right; she had stupid moments).
The writing in Conversion was also kind of clunky. It didn't dampen my enjoyment of the book in one way or the other, but there was enough that it was somewhat noticeable.
One last thing that made me scratch my head a bit was the ending. It was sort of ambiguous. It wasn't a cliffhanger in a way that left me sobbing at the sky, yelling "WHY, GOD, WHY?", but I would have liked more answers than were given. Give me an actual ending otherwise, I start to feel as if you couldn't decide how to end it and took the cheap way out.
Oh and one other thing. What the hell was up with Mikey?! I feel like we're supposed to think he was somehow involved because he was acting really fucking weird, but it's never fully explained. Was it just a red herring? Or a concrete example of said clunky storytelling? The world may never know.
End of semi spoiler.
In the end, Conversion gets four stars because I really couldn't put it down. The storytelling could have been better, the writing could have been better, the characters could have been better...But did I mention that books about the Salem Witch Trials kind of pwn even when they don't? Because they do.(less)
I thought that Lucky Us started out really intriguing. I love historical fiction and I love books about sister relationships, so I had assumed that I...moreI thought that Lucky Us started out really intriguing. I love historical fiction and I love books about sister relationships, so I had assumed that I would love this one. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. In fact, I didn't even really like it all that much.
My main issue with Lucky Us was that it seemed somewhat rushed. Rather than have a full-fledged story with a plot, it seems as though this book was just snapshots of a life lived as opposed to a story about a life lived. Now, normally I don't mind books that don't have much plot as long as they have really interesting and/or unique characters, but Lucky Us didn't. The characters in this book were all bland. I had no strong feelings for any of them. I just didn't care about what they were going through.
I also felt as though the language used in Lucky Us was a touch too modern. I didn't feel as though it was taking place in the 1940s. Placing characters in situations that happened in the 1940s is not a historical fiction novel make (or at least not a good one). You have to follow through with their actions as well as their dialogue to make it all ring true. And I felt that Lucky Us just didn't do this.
So, I don't think I recommend Lucky Us. While it did have some interesting parts, for the most part it just meandered on. The characters weren't engaging, the overall plot wasn't gripping, and I found the writing to be uninspiring. I say skip it.(less)
I tend to love books about the circus. There's just something about them that's so magical even if there are not magical elements in the story. They'r...moreI tend to love books about the circus. There's just something about them that's so magical even if there are not magical elements in the story. They're just utterly captivating. While I did like The Language of Silence, I felt that that enchantment I usually feel when I read about the circus was missing from this novel.
The good: The characters in The Language of Silence were magnificent. I loved watching the protagonist go from meek, somewhat submissive Ellen into fiery and strong Eve. Her development throughout the entire novel was what really impressed me and kept me flipping the pages. I also really liked the supporting characters. However, while I usually love the supporting characters more than the main characters in books, I found that some of the supporting characters here weren't really that developed. I wanted to learn more about Jocko and I wanted to know more about why Nicky wasn't talking. I wanted to know some of Michele's backstory.
I also found that I was less intrigued by Lola and Razz than I should have been. Her backstory just wasn't all that developed and was a plot point in The Language of Silence that I tended to skip. I just found Lola somewhat boring when compared to Eve.
Overall, I found The Language of Silence to be an okay read. It definitely isn't as captivating or enchanting as The Night Circus or Water for Elephants. But if you're more interested in the women's fiction angle of this book as opposed to the circus angle, then I think you'll be satisfied.(less)
Words cannot even begin to describe how frustrating the beginning of The Miniaturist was for me. It's one of those books that's incredibly slow to sta...moreWords cannot even begin to describe how frustrating the beginning of The Miniaturist was for me. It's one of those books that's incredibly slow to start. It took me like three days to finish the first 100 pages and every time I had to pick this book back up, I was filled with dread and images of better books I could be reading kept popping into my head. While it was slow to begin, there were still moments of The Miniaturist that would intrigue me. The moment I started to think "I just can't take this anymore! I'm putting it down and writing a DNF review!", it would start to get semi-interesting that I then thought "Wait, what if it gets better?" So Part I of The Miniaturist was all sorts of torture for me. However, once I finished slogging through Part I, I finished the rest of The Miniaturist in one sitting.
While the mystery of who exactly the miniaturist is and how exactly said miniaturist knows the things that it knows is kind of the root of The Miniaturist (hence the name and all), what kept me reading was the family drama. I'm such a sucker for family angst and opening of closed doors, and secrets that have the potential to ruin things. So that was the aspect that really turned this book into a page-turner for me. I also liked that all of the women refused to abide by the societal norms imposed on them. This novel really does have a feminist slant to it and I loved that. The author really knows how to weave an interesting plot...when she wants to (and yes, I am still fiercely bitter over Part I).
Now, a lot has been said over The Miniaturist's historical accuracy. Considering that before I read this book I knew little to nothing about Amsterdam in 1686, things didn't seem that inaccurate to me (take that with the biggest grain of salt ever). However, even I noticed that the vernacular was more modern than it should have been. So every time I came across a phrase that was more new millennium as opposed to old Amsterdam, I was jarred back into 2014 in the most unfortunate ways.
In spite of its flaws (or maybe because of them), I still found The Miniaturist to be an okay read. Once I finished slogging through the wretched beginning, I found myself engrossed into all of the family drama and due to this kept turning the pages at a rapid pace. While I didn't find the whole miniaturist as intriguing as the angst, it's still not one of those books that I regret reading. (less)
So, while reading The Golem and the Jinni, one of the main things I noticed was how much it reminded me of The Night Circus. Not in terms of subject m...moreSo, while reading The Golem and the Jinni, one of the main things I noticed was how much it reminded me of The Night Circus. Not in terms of subject matter, but more in terms of layout. Both these books have been described as literary fantasy and also have a plot that is more of a backdrop than a main element in its story. Sure, it brings up themes of love, religion, life, death, moral responsibility, but The Golem and the Jinni is, at its core, a character study. So, if you disliked The Night Circus because you felt like it just blathered on with nothing of importance happening until the end, then skip The Golem and the Jinni because you probably won't like it. I, on the other hand, don't mind character studies with a smaller plot when those characters are endlessly fascinating.
The Golem: I loved Chava. I was just so endeared to her. I just felt for her. I didn't feel like she was just an innate people pleaser. I got the sense that she actually wanted to help people. Sure, seeing as how she is a Golem it's natural for her to want to please people as she was created for that particular purpose, but I like to think that Chava took it above and beyond. She wasn't just obeying blindly. She had a true desire to want to help. I found her to be the most intriguing character of The Golem and the Jinni. And I wanted no harm to come to her.
The Jinni: I'm much less in love with the Jinni. In fact, I found him to be an overly angsty, irrational, annoying playboy who should be perpetually stuck in his stupid lamp. In fact, I remember trying to rush through the chapters that had to deal solely with him so that I could get back to the chapters that were through Chava's perspective. When you measure Chava and Ahmad, Chava is slightly higher. In fact, when it comes to the mythology of how the Golem was created and how the Jinn lived and was subsequently changed, I found the Golem's backstory to be more interesting than the Jinn's. And I don't think that has anything to do with Ahmad himself (his attitude and all around jerkiness is all him, though), but more with the fact that when it comes to the actual build up to the Jinn's story, I wasn't all that impressed. Things actually got better when Chava and Ahmad's storylines started to interweave. Ahmad was only likeable when he was with Chava.
The Golem and the Jinni: When these two characters started to interact, that was when my love of this book was cemented. I'm not one of those annoying fangirls who just loves to pair off relationships...at least not when it comes to books. In fact, I'm ambivalent to 95 percent of the romance when it comes to books (I fangirl like nobody's business when it comes to TV show ships, though). In fact, the reason why I even liked the romance (if you can even call it that) was because it was so understated. The Golem and the Jinni is so far from insta-love that a word needs to be invented for the opposite of it and then have a picture of the cover of this book right next to it. There was such a slow build up to their relationship, first as acquaintances who just happen to be the only non-humans in a 5 mile radius of each other, to friends who value each other, to maybe something more (if you choose to see it) and that's how I like my romance...and my friendships.
The slow build-up doesn't just pertain to the relationship between Ahmad and Chava, but also to The Golem and the Jinni as a whole. This book just isn't tons of amount of action. The world building, the mythology, the characters, it's all slow going. However, it never once felt dry or boring. I never once rolled my eyes and thought "Ugh, plot, where art thou?" Again, I was less than impressed with the Jinn and Ahmad as a whole, but not because I felt like it wasn't going anywhere. Despite the slow build up, The Golem and the Jinni is still a page-turner. In fact, the slow build up adds to its page-turner status because as a reader I felt like I had to know more about its world and I had to know it now.
So, in the end, I found The Golem and the Jinni to be fantastic. I loved every minute I spent reading it (even while I was hoping that Ahmad got trapped in his lamp again in the beginning). It was just such a beautiful novel. If you're a fan of books that delve deeply into it's characters and examines their thoughts, their flaws, and their world, pick up The Golem and the Jinni. If you're more interested in a something that has a lot of plot or are one of those people that didn't really like The Night Circus, I say move along and pick something else as this might not be your cup of tea (and that's totally okay, too). (less)
For me, The Storyteller went through pretty much the whole gamut of stars. At the beginning, I felt it was pretty good and therefore, a somewhat 4 sta...moreFor me, The Storyteller went through pretty much the whole gamut of stars. At the beginning, I felt it was pretty good and therefore, a somewhat 4 star book. When Leo was introduced it became a 3 star book. When Minka's story was narrated, it pushed The Storyteller into 5 star territory. However, once I actually finished it, I started realizing that the only reason I would be giving it a higher rating than I felt it deserved would be because it was so utterly compelling. And that didn't sit right with me. So, 2 stars it is.
Where do I begin? Okay let's start with what I liked. Again, I really liked Minka's story. I didn't realize how disappointed I was in the other aspects of the story until we really got into the nitty gritty of Minka's life and her time in the concentration camps. In fact, I was so absorbed into Minka's narration that once I was thrust back into Sage's world, I was sort of put off (in fact during the Minka chapters, I was doing that really unattractive mouth-open-while-reading thing, and when I went back to Sage's chapters I was doing that equally unattractive excessive-blinking thing as I tried to get re-accustomed to my familiar surroundings) and wanted to get back to Minka's life.
Another good thing was that The Storyteller was incredibly compelling. In fact, that can pretty much be said about every Jodi Picoult book. She really knows how to hook a reader in. You could completely hate the novel you're reading, but she writes it in a way that would make you berate yourself if you put it down. At least she does if you're me.
However, those two things couldn't save The Storyteller for me. When I finished, I realized that in the grand scheme of things, Sage wasn't really all that interesting. Once you factor in Leo and his completely unnecessary angst, she becomes even less so. I thought she was bad while she was pining for Adam. Leo pining for her was so much worse. And it was worse because I hate insta-love with a blinding passion. I hate it when it's in a YA novel. I now realize that I hate it doubly when it's in an "adult" novel. I'm sorry, but you've known each other for how many days and you're desperately in love? First of all, grow the hell up and second of all, I don't buy it. The romance aspect really killed this book for me.
Having a few Picoult books in my belt, she's known for having this huge twist at the end of her novels that make me feel manipulated and annoyed because most of the times her twists don't make any sense at all. However, that didn't happen with The Storyteller. This is because you can see this so-called "twist" from a mile away. Seriously, I knew how this book was going to end the minute Josef starts recounting his childhood. So, I didn't feel manipulated, but I did roll my eyes at the predictability of The Storyteller.
Overall, I found The Storyteller to be just okay. It would've made a decent historical fiction novel if Picoult wasn't so damned determined to cram a cliched romance into every single novel of hers. If she kept the focus on Minka and her past instead of Sage and her I-love-you-even-though-I've-only-known-you-for-two-minutes, waste of a detective boyfriend, this book would've been quite good. But she didn't...so I feel like it's not. Read another book instead.(less)
I should probably point out that Etiquette and Espionage is more this side of a Middle Grade book as opposed to an actual Young Adult book. Not that t...moreI should probably point out that Etiquette and Espionage is more this side of a Middle Grade book as opposed to an actual Young Adult book. Not that there's anything wrong with Middle Grade books, but it's just when it comes to proper enjoyment, for me that comes more from YA books. I've yet to read a Middle Grade book that I didn't find underwhelming. Unfortunately, Etiquette and Espionage was not an exception.
Etiquette and Espionage was a cute book. It had a really great premise. It had a mildly intriguing character with Sophronia (who had mildly amusing moments), a mildly intriguing plot with the prototype, mildly interesting supporting characters, and it was overall mildly entertaining. I just didn't have any wow moments or any real in depth moments. I liked the book fine, it just didn't produce any intense feelings (good or bad).
I have yet to read Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series so my mild disappointment in Etiquette and Espionage doesn't stem from having high expectations due to reading that (according to the reviews) fantastic series. Again, Etiquette and Espionage was cute and fluffy and it did have some page turning moments, it was just a tad bit dull. The build-up was okay, but the ending was abrupt. I still plan to check out the next book in this series since I did like the characters, I just found the plot a little lacking. Maybe it'll be better with the next one. I definitely plan on checking out her Parasol Protectorate series since the general consensus is that those are way better than this. (less)
So, I'm just going to come out and say it: I found Promises to Keep sort of...blah. It wasn't a remarkable book, but it wasn't a horrible book either....moreSo, I'm just going to come out and say it: I found Promises to Keep sort of...blah. It wasn't a remarkable book, but it wasn't a horrible book either. And so I'm left trying to review a book I didn't like, but didn't passionately hate either...I'm worried my review will be blah due to this but anyway here goes nothing.
Promises to Keep starts off incredibly slow. In fact, I put it down like 3 times before I decided to stick with it once and for all. In fact, the only reason I kept reading this book was because of the character of Mara. Her backstory was incredibly intriguing and I found myself wanting to know everything about her situation and her family, while with Roz, although I was sympathetic, it just seemed like the same old plot that's in every southern historical fiction novel. In fact, I actually kept thinking that Promises to Keep seemed familiar. It has shades of books such as The Help and Saving Cee-Cee Honeycutt only since I didn't find this book half as good as those books, it just seems sort of "been there, done that."
However, my main issue with Promises to Keep is the way it was marketed. Here's the thing: Absolutely nowhere in any description of Promises to Keep is there any mention of this book being Christian Fiction. That bugs me. Call me close-minded or whatever, but I don't actively seek out Christian books. I don't want to be preached on. And while I'm sure that there are tons of good Christian books out there, I have no desire to read them. So, I felt slightly manipulated when Promises to Keep started to veer that way through the second half of the book. Mainly because the description and the first half of the book don't give you any inclination that it's actually going to go that way.
So overall, I found Promises to Keep to be kind of a dud. I didn't find it all that interesting and major eye-rolling occurred at the circumstances within the book. I say skip it.(less)
So, I automatically have a soft spot for any book that yanks me out of the particularly brutal reading slumps that I sometimes find myself in...those...moreSo, I automatically have a soft spot for any book that yanks me out of the particularly brutal reading slumps that I sometimes find myself in...those times where no book seems even remotely interesting and I have to force myself to read. Luckily for me, I decided to give Orphan Train a chance. It was the first book in weeks that I didn't feel the need to put down almost immediately because it just wasn't enthralling enough (and I've read the beginning of about 30 books during this time).
The reason I think that I found this book so captivating is because the idea behind the orphan trains is absurd, even moreso when you consider that they actually existed. I mean, the Children's Aid Society basically deposited these children to anyone who wanted them...good or bad. There didn't seem to be any actual background check on who these people were, whether they would be a good match for a child, etc. These kids were just thrust upon strangers seemingly without consideration to how it would affect the children. I just find that appalling.
Anyway, Vivian's story was absolutely enchanting...despite how horribly it started out. Molly's story, however, wasn't nearly as captivating or interesting as Vivian's. I think that's the problem when you have a historical fiction novel with shifting narratives. The past is always going to seem more intriguing than the present, no matter how much the present may tie into the past.
Besides the fact that Molly's narration wasn't as great as Vivian's, the only other issue I had with Orphan Train was the ending. It just didn't seem as developed as the overall story and it fell a little flat. Then again, Orphan Train is one of those books that starts off so strongly that you don't want it to end, so that might have had something to do with it.
Overall, I found Orphan Train to be an intriguing page-turner. It's definitely made me want to learn more about the orphan trains and to check out non-fiction on the subject. Plus, I now want to read more books and feel like I finally curbed that brutal reading slump. And that's always a win.(less)
Why is it that some of the books I've read lately have started off wonderfully and then tapered off while they've reached the end? It's starting to di...moreWhy is it that some of the books I've read lately have started off wonderfully and then tapered off while they've reached the end? It's starting to discourage me just a little bit. Unfortunately for me, The Chaperone fell into this mold. It had a brilliant beginning, a great middle, and a "just okay" end.
The Chaperone was very compelling while Cora and Louise were in New York. I loved the dichotomy between the somewhat prudish married older woman and the younger modern teenager. However, I realized that the book got a little less interesting when Cora went back home and the author decided to condense the decades within the last 3-4 chapters. I would have rather spent all of my time in New York with Cora and Louise than getting whiplashed from the time jumps into the future.
Another issue I had with The Chaperone was the lack of Louise Brooks. I just think that the author could have put an actual fictional character in her place and the story wouldn't have suffered anything. For a book that banks a lot on Louise Brooks' name, it certainly doesn't take much advantage of it.
Overall, I thought that The Chaperone was just okay. While I do think that it was well-written and it did keep my interest throughout, ultimately I think it's a bit forgettable.(less)
I was born and raised in Connecticut (and a big chunk of that happened to be in Hartford), but I didn't hear about the Hartford Circus Fire until abou...moreI was born and raised in Connecticut (and a big chunk of that happened to be in Hartford), but I didn't hear about the Hartford Circus Fire until about three years ago when I went to the Manchester Public Library for the first time and saw about 50 copies all around the library (In fact, there are 145 copies in that one branch alone). I was intrigued about what had happened, yet I didn't check out the book. Instead, I went to wikipedia (I know, I know...) to get a broad overview about what happened. That satisfied me at the time. Well, the Ringling Bros. circus showed up in Hartford a few months ago and that brought all my intrigue on the fire back, and now here we are.
The Circus Fire is a heartbreaking book. It's heartbreaking that 167 people died and it's even more heartbreaking that a bit chunk of the deceased were children. Then, you have the fact that most of the people who died didn't die of smoke inhalation. Some of them were trampled to death, but most of them were burned to death. However, I think the most heartbreaking thing is that these deaths could have been prevented. This wasn't the first circus fire that the Ringling Bros. had experienced and other circuses were using some chemical to fireproof the big tops. Yet, the Ringling Bros. circus didn't do this citing that they couldn't get the materials because they didn't have military priority (which Stewart O'Nan just proves is crap). It's enough to make anyone angry.
The most intriguing part of The Circus Fire were the mysteries that surrounded it. The cause of the circus fire, the true identity of Little Miss 1565, the identities of the other five victims who were never identified, these mysteries were never solved. O'Nan writes this story with chilling detail and painstaking honesty. It's hard to read about those people who pushed others out of the way so they could get to the exits first, but it is uplifting to hear about those who risked their lives to try to save the others who were still trapped inside.
The Circus Fire is a heartbreaking book, but I commend Mr. O'Nan for knowing that it was a story that needed to be told without trying to exploit the survivors and their grief (the way another Circus Fire book did). This story is saddening, but not without hope. He brings the events that happened to life for those who weren't there to see or feel the effects of the fire. I urge everyone to pick up a copy of this great book.(less)
Revolution is one of those books that starts off absolutely amazing and then ends up being a bit...off-putting towards the end. That leaves me with th...moreRevolution is one of those books that starts off absolutely amazing and then ends up being a bit...off-putting towards the end. That leaves me with the very hard decision as to what to rate it: three or four stars. Ultimately, I'm deciding on rating it four stars because I'm feeling generous today, but really it's more like a three and a half star book. Now that that little disclaimer is out of the way, let me continue on to say that there were parts of Revolution that I absolutely loved.
I'm a music lover (although, I think most people are). Seriously, forget my cellphone. My iPod is my most prized "can't live without it" technological toy. That and I'm slowly (but surely) learning how to play the acoustic guitar. Due to this, Andi's whole foray into the origins of her favorite guitarist personal and professional life delighted and intrigued me. It also endeared me to Andi quickly. If I hadn't already been endeared to her, I might have found her semi-annoying with some of her "melodramatic rich girl" moments. But I didn't. In fact, I was drawn to all of her problems and my heart hurt a bit when I read about what happened to her brother. However, that was nothing compared to how I felt reading Alexandrine's diary. I loved her relationship with Louis Charles and I was sobbing throughout the last few diary entries and was completely horrified at the rest of them. It was just so heartbreaking.
Now, the shifting narratives is something that is hit or miss with me with, most of the time, being a miss. My main issue with them is that when I'm completely absorbed with a particular character's storyline, it tends to shift and I'm left with this desire to skip the other character's narrative to get back to the one that I originally found more intriguing. Either that, or I forget what happened prior to the shifting narrative. But in Revolution, I loved both Alexandrine and Andi's narratives so much that I didn't get whiplash (and annoyed) the way I usually do.
While I had much love for those aspects of Revolution, the last 100 pages, left me scratching my head a bit. I'm not going to spoil if for anyone, but I was put off by how the story, out of absolutely friggin' nowhere, veered a little too much towards fantasy realm-ish for me. I kept thinking, "Seriously?! No, seriously?!" and that dampened my enjoyment of the book. And then after that happened, the book ended. The ending was incredibly abrupt. I didn't get any sense of closure. I'm sure the character did, but I was left thinking, "That's it?". I would've liked maybe a hundred pages more so that Revolution could've felt a bit more complete.
So, as a whole, I did like Revolution. It was a page turner and it's made me interested enough to pick up some non-fiction books about the Revolution. The book did have some great moments, but it also had some "seriously?!" moments that left me incredulous at what happened. I am looking forward to reading A Northern Light and The Tea Rose (both of which are on my shelves) especially since fans say those are a bit better.(less)
Okay, so I absolutely adore circuses. That's a bit baffling to me considering that I've been to probably one circus when I was about four and the only...moreOkay, so I absolutely adore circuses. That's a bit baffling to me considering that I've been to probably one circus when I was about four and the only thing I remember was dropping my popcorn into the space between the bleachers while wondering if the same would happen to me if I didn't move carefully. So, needless to say my love of circuses comes from books and movies and not from any wonderful personal experience. Anyway, so I had a feeling I was really going to like The Night Circus. And I did. It was unlike any circus I've ever visited (y'know, the numerous ones I've visited in books).
The circus in The Night Circus is like the circus that anyone would imagine only in their wildest dreams. It's huge, with various tents housing various magical tricks and people. The circus in The Night Circus is described in vivid detail. It's just so easy to picture regardless of how out there this circus actually is. In fact, some people might find the circus a little too descriptive, a little too wordy, and due to that might find the book to be a little slow-going. You have to have a love of descriptive writing and a fascination with circuses to really enjoy The Night Circus.
Besides, the circus, I also really liked the wide array of characters. They were all so wonderfully different. However, my favorites would have to be Poppet and Widget. It could be my love of Young-Adult books shining through, but I found them to be the most interesting and well-developed of all of the characters. I also really liked Celia. However, I thought that her "romance" with Marco was barely touched upon. Now, I'm not the biggest romance fan, but considering how much the romance was talked about in the synopsis, I assumed it would play a bigger role in the The Night Circus.
Another thing that was barely touched upon was the battle that was supposed to take place. I assumed that it would be this long, angsty, heart-wrenching epic battle. It wasn't. At all. In fact, it shouldn't have even been called a battle considering it was barely a blip on the radar. Don't get me wrong, the mystery of what really makes the circus go 'round was intriguing enough, but I would have loved the book if there was some big battle to accompany it.
Besides some flaws, I really did enjoy The Night Circus. It was so intriguing and made me wish for a circus to pass by my friggin' town already, so that I could maybe visit it once. At least I know I wouldn't be overly worried in falling between the space of the bleachers this time...Anyway, if you love beautiful, descriptive writing and love circuses, The Night Circus is definitely for you. If you're looking for something with a little more plot and some more action within a circus, I suggest you look elsewhere (and when you find it, please let me know, cause j'adore circuses).(less)
While reading Mothers and Daughters, I found it a bit hard to relate to. Not to say I didn't like it because I did like it quite a bit, but this book...moreWhile reading Mothers and Daughters, I found it a bit hard to relate to. Not to say I didn't like it because I did like it quite a bit, but this book focuses heavily on two of the three main characters feelings as a mother. Now, I'm in my early twenties and parenthood is nowhere near at the forefront of my mind during this time. So, while I thought those passages were intriguing, I didn't relate to them at all. Again, I mention that even though I didn't necessarily relate to Sam and Iris' storyline, I did like them.
However, I was fascinated by Violet's storyline. Call me ignorant, but I had no idea that the Children's Aid Society even existed, let alone how heartbreaking the whole idea is. I can see how people could think that it was a good idea (like today's foster care system, the Children's Aid Society basically took children away from parents who were poverty-stricken, neglectful, or otherwise unfit to be a parent, only the choice to give up the child was solely of the parents). However, the fact that there were purposely no records kept about where the children were going or who was going to care for them is just very distressing to me. Due to this, I was drawn to Violet's storyline. In fact, I think I would've preferred if the whole book was about Violet and the Children's Aid Society, but then it wouldn't have been named Mothers and Daughters.
While I did like the storylines, one major problem that I had with Mothers and Daughters was the jumping around. One minute we were dealing with Violet's point of view, the next minute it was Sam narrating during her one day narration, then it was Iris narrating from where she was and then her point of view from the past. It became a bit confusing to figure out who was narrating from what point in time. I got a bit of whiplash.
Regardless of this, I did somewhat enjoy Mothers and Daughters. It really was a well-written short, intriguing novel about Mothers and Daughters. So, I do recommend it. (less)
So, I have raved to anyone and everyone about how much I loved Kate Morton's The House at Riverton. Seriously, that was my favorite book for 2009 and...moreSo, I have raved to anyone and everyone about how much I loved Kate Morton's The House at Riverton. Seriously, that was my favorite book for 2009 and one of my favorite books ever. I also loved The Forgotten Garden, though I didn't rave about that one quite as much as I raved about The House at Riverton. However, The Distant Hours deserves the most praise out of all three books. Why? Well, because it takes what's amazing about The House at Riverton (the moodiness, the atmosphere) and what's tremendous about The Forgotten Garden (the airiness, the enchantment) and puts it together into one fantastic novel.
I loved every single word of The Distant Hours. Yes, the book is long as hell, but every single page was worth it. Book lover that I am, I loved the character of Edie and could completely understand why she would be so enchanted with Milderhurst Castle (as I am also a Gothic Literature Lover or GLL as I like to call it) and her fascination with the written word was something that I could relate to. I was so connected to everything in this book. MILD SPOILER: LIKE VERY MILD: During one part, Edie is talking to Saffy and Saffy is concerned that Percy will catch her doing just that, and I felt just as worried as Edie that Percy would catch the two conversing and Saffy wouldn't be able to tell her story. I just didn't want them to be interrupted. END OF EXTREMELY MILD SPOILER.
I was so enchanted with The Distant Hours. One of my favorite things about it was the whole history of The Mud Man. It came to the point where I really wished that book existed because it just sounded so utterly fascinating and captivating. (And since we're being truthful, if J.K. Rowling had written The Distant Hours, The Mud Man would be a published best-selling novella by now. So, maybe it's foolish, but I want The Mud Man published.) The same thing happened in The Forgotten Garden. I found Eliza's fairytales enchanting and just as enjoyable (if not more) than the overall story.
There were a lot of twists and turns in The Distant Hours. And no I'm not going to mention not even one of them. However, I will say that I discovered one of the twists before it had been revealed, but there were many more were that came from (but not in that annoying "mystery writer" type of way. Each of these twists seemed necessary and weren't necessarily red-herrings). Every time I thought that I had something figured out, Morton would throw a curveball at it and everything would unravel again (again, not in the annoying mystery writer way).
So, I definitely, whole-heartedly, recommend The Distant Hours. It was an amazing, enchanting, captivating read that just flew by since you're desperate to figure what really went on. Read it if you want a read with any of these things. Also, The Distant Hours is best read in the evening in the middle of a storm (rainstorm, snowstorm, sandstorm, it doesn't really matter), just to feel the full effect. I read some of it yesterday in the middle of a snowstorm, at night, and ended up creeping myself out just a little. Anyway, read The Distant Hours. It was amazing and Kate Morton is an amazing writer.(less)