While I enjoyed Graceling, I didn't love it. The best part about the book was the characters. Katsa and Po both face internal struggles of self-doubt...moreWhile I enjoyed Graceling, I didn't love it. The best part about the book was the characters. Katsa and Po both face internal struggles of self-doubt and both have become used to hiding parts of themselves away from others. Their strong emotional connection and the questions it raised for each of them were compelling. The development of their relationship from mysterious meeting to hidden secrets and beyond was more interesting than the actual story of the journey they were taking.
I found the world in Graceling to be fairly generic. Little is known about the inhabitants of the seven kingdoms beyond general descriptions of the kings in each. The setting is not described in much detail either except when it is a barrier to survival. The actual plot of the story didn't hold my attention until Katsa and Po met Bitterblue and then it was more the addition of another interesting character that caught me instead of the actual story. In some ways the action seemed to resolve itself too quickly because the solution just appeared or the character just suddenly managed to do what needed to be done.(less)
The Radleys is unlike any vampire book I have ever read. It is a family saga and could be written about many English families, if those families happe...moreThe Radleys is unlike any vampire book I have ever read. It is a family saga and could be written about many English families, if those families happen to be vampires. It is the relationships within the family that truly matter - between husband and wife, parent and child, between two brothers. It is the discovery of a family secret that changes lives and redirects many paths. The Radleys is nothing like Twilight or True Blood or urban fantasy novels featuring vampires. There is much less action and more introspection. There are moral questions and a strong attempt to blend in to the unblood English society.
Told in short chapters with shifting focus, The Radleys is a dark examination of life in English suburbia when keeping the family secret is held more closely than anything else. If you are a fan of all things English and vampires, I highly recommend The Radleys. I found it a delightfully dark change of pace from the other types of vampires stories that seem to be taking over books and movies these days.(less)
I think the only version of Beauty and the Beast that I have been exposed to is the Disney movie version. At least, that is the only version I remembe...moreI think the only version of Beauty and the Beast that I have been exposed to is the Disney movie version. At least, that is the only version I remember at this point which may be because my two year old has been watching it over and over and over lately. Apparently she has moved on from Mary Poppins...
Anyway, since the Disney version seems to be the only thing I have to compare Robin McKinley's version to, it is an interesting comparison. The first major difference for me is that Beauty has more family in the book than just her father. Perhaps she always had sisters in the traditional fairy tale version but this was new to me. I found the loss of fortune and the move to the country a great way to get some insight into Beauty's true character before she meets the Beast. Beauty's acceptance of her plain appearance and her willingness to do hard work are quite the contrast to Belle who feels above the rest of the villagers in her small town.
The character of the Beast has a very different personality in this book compared to the movie as well. In the movie, the Beast has a terrible temper and this starts the relationship off on the wrong path. The Beast in the book is kind and gentle from the beginning and it is simply Beauty's fear of him that prevents her from entertaining the idea that the relationship could develop into something more. Even as Beauty grows beyond her fear and develops a great friendship with the Beast, she is the one who cannot move beyond his physical appearance.
I greatly enjoyed this version which has more emphasis on family and takes the reader much deeper into the characters and their relationships than the Disney version. The division of the novel into three parts works very well, although the first two parts put together might equal the length of the last section. The very end felt a little rushed toward the 'happily ever after' but I think the majority of fairy tales are like that. Break the magic spell and boom everything is grand and happy. Sometimes I wonder what happens after that part!
Beauty is Robin McKinley's first novel and was originally published in 1978. I think the timelessness of the story and the writing contribute to it having been reissued in several versions. McKinley captures all the details in a simple manner that is charming and easy to read. (less)
I fell in love with Sarah Addison Allen's writing in The Girl Who Chased the Moon and I'm happy to say that The Peach Keeper provided me with the same...moreI fell in love with Sarah Addison Allen's writing in The Girl Who Chased the Moon and I'm happy to say that The Peach Keeper provided me with the same magic.
Allen brings sights, sounds, scents, textures, and flavors off the page in a way that I have not experienced with any other author. She uses beautiful phrasing that places you in the heart of Walls of Water experiencing everything alongside her characters. Those characters are highly flawed and emotional. Their expectations and experiences leave them so vulnerable to each other and I felt their fear and insecurity as they were drawn together. The story itself weaves together events from the past and the present as secrets long buried try to come back to life. The Peach Keeper is a story of friendship lost and regained, of finding one's path, and finding love in unexpected places. Allen breathes life and magic into her words, giving me hope that anything is possible.(less)
The wizards believed in Order but then one defied the rest and brought Chaos, threatening to destroy the world. One sanctuary remains, a safe haven wh...moreThe wizards believed in Order but then one defied the rest and brought Chaos, threatening to destroy the world. One sanctuary remains, a safe haven where one special person can develop the magic that might save them. When Tabitha Serannon takes a ring that isn't hers and sings an ancient song, she releases a power that she doesn't understand and cannot control. Will she learn to balance the Light and the Dark before it is too late? Or will the entire realm fall under the rule of the Darkmaster and all hope be lost?
The Riddler's Gift is a fantastic fantasy tale! It reminded me of the epic adventures written by Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan. There are many characters to get to know and different story threads to follow but Hamerton has written them in such a way that there is no confusion. Shifts between places and people flow easily. Each detail is important and nothing has been left to chance in the connections between the stories.
The overall story drew me in quickly. Unfortunately, I had very little reading time when I was reading the first paperback so it seemed to take me forever. This had nothing to do with the story though -- I really wanted to be reading it! I finally got some solid reading time when I got to the second paperback and devoured it in just a couple of days. The small sections within chapters actually turned out to be a bonus for me when I was reading the first part because they were natural breaks where I could leave off even if I'd only had a few minutes to pick up the book.
The Riddler's Gift has magic, battle, good, evil, self-discovery, a guide, a journey, and even a bit of romance. In short, it is everything one would expect in an epic fantasy novel. It is also wonderfully crafted with the true voice of a story teller.
I am looking forward to continuing the adventure with Second Sight.
I received this book directly from the author in exchange for my honest review.(less)
I have never seen either of John Edward's shows, Crossing Over with John Edward and John Edward Cross Country. I have never read any of his other book...moreI have never seen either of John Edward's shows, Crossing Over with John Edward and John Edward Cross Country. I have never read any of his other books, had a reading with him, or gone to one of his events. I simply tell you this to give you a frame of reference for this review. Essentially, I began reading this book knowing very little about John Edward other than recognizing the name as being a famous medium.
When I was offered this book for review, I was interested because of the subtitle. Connecting with my intuition more strongly sounded pretty good to me! Based on the title alone, I was expecting a book that would guide me in personal development. While I did find some of that in this book, I also got a lot of information that was aimed at people wanting to do psychic readings for family, friends, and even paying clients. Although Edward repeatedly insisted that his intention was not to encourage people to attempt to be professional psychics, he felt the need to discuss that situation often throughout the course of the book. While I understand his desire to express the seriousness and ethics related to developing these skills, the constant tangents related to these warnings interrupted the flow of the rest of the information for me. It was almost as if Edward was writing two separate books, one for someone wanting to develop personally and one for someone wanting to do readings for clients, all the while claiming he was only writing for the first purpose.
I think the biggest problem for me while reading this book was simply that I did not connect with Edward's style of teaching. He uses so many metaphors and analogies to describe the same information that much of the information seemed to get lost in translation for me. I also found it hard to follow the flow of the book as he seemed to jump from topic to topic and back again.
The best part of the book for me was the exercises. These seemed to be very straightforward and I think working with them will help me to develop a better sense of my own skills.
I do think that you should give this book a try if it interests you. Not everyone has the same learning style and I think Edward would probably connect very well with other people. It is just clear to me that his teaching style and my learning style are not a match.(less)
Elizabeth loves this book right now. It is a really cute Christmas story. I love the illustrations. A couple of the rhymes seem a little off and it ti...moreElizabeth loves this book right now. It is a really cute Christmas story. I love the illustrations. A couple of the rhymes seem a little off and it ties my tongue in knots at times if I try to read it too fast. A very fun book that I think we will be reading for a long time.(less)
Each book in the Noble Dead saga pulls the reader deeper and deeper into darkness and secrets. Leesil and Magiere know so little of their pasts and ea...moreEach book in the Noble Dead saga pulls the reader deeper and deeper into darkness and secrets. Leesil and Magiere know so little of their pasts and each thing they discover only seems to lead to more questions. Details uncovered along the journey reveal that they have been guided and used for far longer than they suspected and they still do not understand why. There is some larger purpose to their journey that remains a mystery.
My comments about the characters, emotions, and action in reviews of previous books in this series continue to hold true for Traitor to the Blood. The characters are complex and full of conflicting emotions. They hide things from themselves and each other which only leads to more conflict. Their concern for each other sometimes leads to action without thought with the inevitable consequences.
The Hendees have created a dark world full of conflict and pain. But the bond Magiere and Leesil share provides some hope that together they can find the answers they seek and perhaps do some good along the way.(less)
Sister of the Dead begins the morning after Thief of Lives ends. This is a series that absolutely must be read in order or it will make no sense. I am...moreSister of the Dead begins the morning after Thief of Lives ends. This is a series that absolutely must be read in order or it will make no sense. I am so glad that I am reading the books now instead of when they first came out because a waiting a year between books would have ruined the flow of the story for me.
As I get deeper into this series, I am enjoying it even more. The characters are all complex. They all have their own secrets and moral codes. Each has a past that they would rather forget but which calls to them. The choice of whether to continue on their current path or step off into the darkness doesn't simply occur once but instead over and over again in so many small choices that are made. Unknown forces try to shape events to their purpose but must contend with free will at each crossroads.
The action seems to be non-stop even when I thought Magiere and Leesil were going to get a small break to rest or talk things over. Their journey was full of obstacles and the simplest of tasks became difficult. Emotions are constantly running high, leading to short tempers and inner conflict.
Each time I thought I knew where the story was heading the authors threw in another twist. Once it happened I could see how things were leading up to it even while pulling me toward a different idea. This kept the book and the series unpredictable.
This is a great dark fantasy series and I'm looking forward to reading the next book(less)
Grave Dance is the second book in Kalayna Price's Alex Craft series. I loved the first book in the series, Grave Witch, and am very happy to say that...moreGrave Dance is the second book in Kalayna Price's Alex Craft series. I loved the first book in the series, Grave Witch, and am very happy to say that Grave Dance met the very high expectations I had for it.
It has been a month since Alex worked her last case and she is ready to get back in the game. The Nekros City police bring her in to consult on a possible serial killer but the only remains of the victim are feet. Since Alex can't raise a shade with just a foot, she must rely on the magic of others and her investigate skills to solve this crime. Her lack of knowledge could have deadly consequences for herself and her friends.
Price created wonderful characters in Grave Witch and they become even more complicated in Grave Dance. Death and Falin Andrews are back to confuse Alex a bit more with conflicting feelings. Each of them reveals a bit more about his past and his nature in this book. I love how Price is taking the time to reveal secrets instead of having Alex discover too many things all at once. Alex learns much more about her history in this book as well. It will be interesting to see how what she learns plays out in future books.
While some of the action in this book takes place in Nekros City some of it takes place in the realm of Faerie. The expansion of Alex's world and the collision of the two realms brings in more characters and more magic. Price paints each scene with detail even as the action continues at a fast pace.
The books of the Alex Craft series are ones I don't want to put down once I start reading them and Kalayna Price is now an author on my "Must Read" list along with Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong. I don't know how many books are currently planned for the Alex Craft series but I hope we get to have adventures with Alex and her friends for a long while.(less)