What a sweet book! I really enjoyed reading it so much. What a clever idea to have Cupid telling some of the story and about his involvement in the in...moreWhat a sweet book! I really enjoyed reading it so much. What a clever idea to have Cupid telling some of the story and about his involvement in the inner workings of romantic relationships. And I really enjoyed the characters in the book. I started getting emotionally invested in them and when Cupid started talking about Life Management (they're the ones that make all the bad things happen in life like accidents, mishaps, etc.) meddling in the characters' lives, I was on the edge of my seat. I simply did not want anything bad to happen to them.
Bette has told a heartwarming story here and even worked in a rescue dog being sought by one of the characters (a Bichon Frise who resembles Bette's own rescued Bichon, Katie). I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a story to warm the heart during the holidays. (less)
Simply put, this book is amazing! As a true lover of horror and the like, I think I love the end of the world, dystopian zombie/vampire tales the most...moreSimply put, this book is amazing! As a true lover of horror and the like, I think I love the end of the world, dystopian zombie/vampire tales the most. It has been done many times...probably not much better than Matheson's I AM LEGEND, but let me tell you...THE HALLOWED ONES ranks pretty high, in my opinion. What made it so good was introducing the phenomenon from the Amish community's point of view. Bickle has done a terrific job introducing the reader to the Amish world and then illustrating how they might react if something terrible did happen in the English (what they call us) world. And then she goes one better by creating some of the most creepy and frightening creatures I've read in awhile. As I was reading, I kept trying to visualize what they would look like. Every horrifying image I've ever seen in movies or read in books came to mind, but I still couldn't quite settle on the terrifying image my mind was seeing. Not only do we get all of this from the book, but we get a well-written book to boot. No cliche or run of the mill stereotyping. Also, the characters, namely Katie, are wonderful. When Katie goes against the Elders to help a young English man who is injured or ventures into town--alone--to get medicine and supplies, it's not hard to believe. Early on we learn that Katie is head strong and of her own mind. A girl on the verge of Rumspringa (a time when Amish teens get to go off and experience life in the English world), she is ready to explore and set out on her own. She just didn't intend for it to occur in quite the way it did.
I am so pleased with this book. It's not often that I come across a book in this genre (meaning horror/dystopian, although it is classified as YA) that is so well constructed and exciting and engaging as well. I highly recommend it.(less)
Michelle Franklin's Tales from Frewyn never fail to entertain and The Reporter from Marridon is no exception. It's a short story/novella that packs in...moreMichelle Franklin's Tales from Frewyn never fail to entertain and The Reporter from Marridon is no exception. It's a short story/novella that packs in a lot of fun.
I don't think I'll ever grow accustomed to how Rautu treats the Commander. I'm kind of a feminist so it is mildly irritating how he expects her to be at his service in all aspects, if you catch my drift. But I realize that it is part of his culture and his character so I will definitely not hold it against the story. Somehow I can't help but be reminded of Conan the Barbarian. Rautu conjures images of him when I'm reading. I realize Conan is not a giant, but the general mannerisms and attitude towards women (again, I know it's part of his culture, in both cases). I think what I love most about Rautu is his love of chocolate. I hear you, dude! And I'm totally in agreement with his dislike of white chocolate. I mean, white chocolate is okay, but in no way does it measure up to the real thing...good, old-fashioned medium to dark chocolate. (Okay, where's my Hershey's with Almonds?)
What I really enjoyed in this story was the apparent tie to our present situation with the paparazzi. Michelle does a nice job of projecting a reporter who does not care about anything but getting the story (not saying that all reporters are like that). The manner in which he is finally dealt with is especially satisfying.
Michelle has built a wonderful world with Frewyn and has created fun and interesting characters. I always enjoy reading her stories.(less)
There's an important lesson learned from this book. Telling white lies can come back and bite you in the ass...in a huge way.
At first, I didn't know...moreThere's an important lesson learned from this book. Telling white lies can come back and bite you in the ass...in a huge way.
At first, I didn't know what to think when I started reading. I thought it was going to just be a book about a woman being stalked by a guy she told a little fib too, which enraged him and turned him into a stalking psychopath. Man, was I ever wrong. Instead, the plot became a miasma of white lies snowballing one right after another. I can't go into much detail because I don't want to give away major plot points, but let's just say that in this book, seemingly harmless lies led to big, big trouble.
Now let's talk about Katrina, the female protagonist/main character. I have seen a couple of reviews that stated something along the lines of, "How could Katrina let herself be such a victim?" and other statements along those lines. While I did find myself scratching my head over a couple of decisions she made, I can't say that she didn't react and behave like any woman would have. She lost her beloved fiance and had been alone for two years. I could totally understand her wanting to move on with her life. That she plunged into her new affair with Jack so quickly not knowing anything about him might seem strange, but how many of us run background checks on potential boyfriends. Not many, I would guess. The point is, the entire premise of this book was Katrina's telling a white lie and the subsequent things that happened as a result of it. When a person is constantly trying to cover a lie they told, they're certainly not going to be making very clear or smart decisions.
In the end, I think what White Lies is trying to point out is that Katrina's white lies, told in naivety and as some kind of protection, were far different from the lies told by others in the book, with malice and deceit behind them. I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a very engaging thriller. It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.(less)
As I was reading this book, I was reminded of my love of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Beneath the Slashings is similar to those boo...moreAs I was reading this book, I was reminded of my love of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Beneath the Slashings is similar to those books, as it is set around the same era and it's told from a young girl's point of view. Grace is a girl to admire. Having lost her mother when she was six years old and then been separated from her father for three years while he served in the Civil War, she has had a lot of sorrow in her life and reasons to be afraid. When her Pa returns from the war, she learns that they will be leaving the comfort and safety of home to live and work in a lumber camp. Her fears multiply and an animosity toward her father, not present before, develops. The book has a nice little mystery to keep the reader guessing, but it's Grace who really steals the show. As she lives and works among all the men of the camp, she learns to be more trusting. She also learns to do many things she never thought she could when she meets an old Ottawa woman. Ultimately, Grace grows up a lot in her time at the camp and her life is better for it.
Beneath the Slashings was a great read for me, not only because of what I said above, but because it is set in my beloved home state of Michigan. Hearing mention of Saginaw county, Manistee, and Grand Rapids brings me back to what I loved learning about Michigan when I was a child. In all, this book is a great coming of age story for the middle grades that teaches the reader about courage and friendship. (less)
I wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to join the tour for this book. Before I read the synopsis, I had visions of a horror strewn blood bath. T...moreI wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to join the tour for this book. Before I read the synopsis, I had visions of a horror strewn blood bath. That was before I looked up the meaning of sundered. (sunder--to separate; part; divide; sever) As I began reading, the name made sense. The Sundered Ones in the story are separate from the humans in physical appearance and in power. And as the author stated in her guest post, Harry doesn't really know what their powers are...no human really does. And not knowing what you're truly dealing with is dangerous.
It would be difficult to go into too much detail about the story because that would give far too much away so I'm going to focus on what I did like. I enjoyed the easy, laid back flow of the characters and their dialogue. There was no stiffness that I have found in other SciFi books I've read. Harry is a riot with his internal monologue. I love when he calls the professor at the Academy a douche (in his head). That's not the only funny thing he says or thinks. Harry is just a riot. His interaction with the Sundered One he claims, Aakesh, is priceless.
Which brings me to the claiming of the Sundered Ones. It seems the humans can "claim" them. To me, it almost seems like slavery. It was never more evident than when Harry is reciting a rhyme they learned to keep track of the tiers of Sundered Ones. It goes like this:
Fifth-tier's strong and lifts big blocks, not too bright but strong as ox. Fourth-tier's fine with clever fingers, painting, sculptures, make good singers. Third-tier's quiet, good for play, safe for children every day. Second-tier's wild, feral, free, eats everyone, but works for me. Claim the rest with little work, but they die soon, so best not shirk.
Aakesh's reaction to this is to say to Harry, "You do not see how degrading it is?" It's obvious that the Sundered Ones do have negative feelings about their place in society, if you can call it that. There really isn't much society in this book because the world has become so surrounded by the black water. Land is few and far between and the cites are brown and dirty. The dystopian elements kept reminding me of that Kevin Costner movie that everyone hated, "Waterworld" (I actually liked it). But it is excellent world building. I could really see in my mind's eye what the author was describing. The black water reminded me of that bog area in Lord of the Rings, I can't remember if it was in The Two Towers or The Return of the King. You know the one with all the dead people in it and it tries to drag Frodo down into it. Creepy.
I am really impressed that this is Reid's first novel. She really knows how to tell a story. I recommend The Sundered to anyone who enjoys the speculative fiction genre. (less)
To say that this book was a difficult read would be putting it mildly. When I was offered a spot on the tour, after I read the synopsis, it reminded m...moreTo say that this book was a difficult read would be putting it mildly. When I was offered a spot on the tour, after I read the synopsis, it reminded me of another multiple personality book I read years ago called "Sybil" by Flora Rheta Schreiber. The only thing similar about the two books is that both women were abused at a young age and both developed multiple personalities to cope and protect themselves from the abuse. Not to discount the trauma that Sybil suffered, I have to say that the abuse Jenny Hill was subjected to was far, far worse.
I know it really shouldn't shock me that things like this occur, and have occurred, in our society for years, but I'm still in a state of disbelief that anyone, including a child's own father, could sexually abuse a child beginning at infancy. What comes into the equation in Jenny's story is something called Satanic Ritual Abuse. Of course, we've all heard stories and accounts of the practice in the news and such, but it always seems like a horror movie. Not real. Unfortunately, it is real, or was. The level of abuse--emotional, sexual, physical--that Jenny was subjected to was horrific. Not only the horrendous abuse, but also the witnessing of the murders of animals and another child. It's a miracle that Jenny survived.
As I said, an extremely difficult read. I found myself in tears many times as I was reading. But this is an important read because we need to be aware that things like this go on in our world. It reminds us to be aware and watchful of children who may be showing signs that something is wrong. Don't just overlook it. It's also a cautionary tale for parents. Know what your children are doing and where they are going. Of course, back in the 60s, parents weren't as careful or aware of what could happen to young children, but it's still hard to believe that Jenny's mother did not think it was strange that her six year old daughter was gone all the time or that she returned home looking ravaged. That her mother was indifferent and mean to her daughter is just another layer of abuse that Jenny suffered, not to mention that she probably knew that her husband was sexually abusing Jenny, but instead of reacting and taking action, she only expressed jealousy.
Ultimately, "Twenty Two Faces" is a story of survival. Jenny did survive and went on to live a somewhat "normal" life, if it's possible after what she went through. She lived to tell her story and by doing so, she may just succeed in helping others and perhaps preventing abuse like this happening to others. (less)
I'm going to refer back to Gemini's terrific guest post (http://thetruebookaddict.blogspot.com...) in this review. I too was struck by the film, Brave...moreI'm going to refer back to Gemini's terrific guest post (http://thetruebookaddict.blogspot.com...) in this review. I too was struck by the film, Braveheart. It is my favorite film and probably always will be. And, as Gemini also felt, it was this film that led to my obsession and further investigation into the personages portrayed in the movie. I immediately did a lot of non-fiction reading on William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. In addition, I was very curious about Edward I (Longshanks), Edward II, and Isabella and so, did more reading on them as well. Since then, I have been intrigued to read historical fiction that features these people who held such interest for me. The King Must Die is one of those books.
I've said this before and I'll say it again. Good historical fiction, whether completely accurate or not, will (should) invoke such passion in the reader that he/she can't help but go off on a quest for more information on the subject matter and/or the historical figures depicted there. Whether this quest comes in the form of reading more historical fiction portrayals of the subject, as to get different points of view, or taking it a step (or two) further and devouring every non-fiction source a person can get their hands on, for it to occur at all is a bow to the genre. Gemini has made her characters so real and interesting, I certainly can't help but want to read more about them. Especially in the case of Edward III. I found him so interesting as he grew from a 14 year old boy into a king, husband, and father. I also like that she explored a different avenue than the portrayal of Isabelle as an evil witch who wanted her husband dead. Another great aspect of historical fiction novels is to read the differing points of view of the authors who write them.
I recommend The King Must Die to all lovers of historical fiction. It is written by an author who is clearly passionate about her subject matter and it shines through in every word on the page. I look forward to reading her future (and past) works.
Note: Be sure to read the excellent author's note at the end of the book which sheds some light on the historical facts behind the story.
I could not put this book down! As he did with Juana of Castile in The Last Queen, Gortner has once again taken a historical queen and made her as int...moreI could not put this book down! As he did with Juana of Castile in The Last Queen, Gortner has once again taken a historical queen and made her as interesting and exciting as any modern day heroine. It's interesting to me how little I knew of Isabella of Spain; one who was so instrumental in allowing Columbus to open the way for the future settlement of what would become America. Of course, that is what we were taught when I was in elementary school so many years ago. The implications of what came after Columbus's discovery is entirely another story. And yes, this is a fictional depiction of a historical figure, but there is no denying the historical accuracy here. Gortner does his research well.
Isabella rose to power in a tumultuous time in Spain. To say that she was a steadfast and determined woman is saying little. The conventions of the time did not allow a princess to choose their own husband and yet she did. Spurred by her own will and her strong Catholic faith, Isabella was a force to be reckoned with. Her marriage to a prince of Aragon was a love match, yes, but also a strategic move for the uniting of Spain. Together they brought about the change of many conventions in Spain.
However, her reign was not without its blemishes. The Inquisition and the expulsion of the Jews are two events that have brought much negativity to history's portrayal of Isabella. However, Gortner has succeeded in depicting a possible reason for her decisions by giving us a multifaceted woman who believed in compassion and yet was driven by a faith that had no tolerance for other religions. To truly judge a person's actions, we would need to know more about the real person and yet we must rely on the history books. Gortner has done a good job of giving us a very human woman who truly felt her actions were for the good of her kingdom.
I have now been inspired to read more about the history of Spain and its ruling class. Once again, historical fiction has done its very important job; that of leading us to further learning about history. Something only a well written book can do. This is that book.
Note: There is an excellent author's note at the end of the book with further resources for reading about Isabella and her times. Also, a special note about a cause dear to my heart. The plight of Spanish greyhounds. Be sure to check it out.(less)
Don't read The 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook if you're hungry. It will have you rushing to the kitchen to eat God knows what and you still will not be...moreDon't read The 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook if you're hungry. It will have you rushing to the kitchen to eat God knows what and you still will not be satisfied because it's not what's in the book. You've been warned!
This cookbook is an amazing concept. It's the marriage of books, recipes, and book reviews. Each recipe matches a theme or an element of the book it's paired with. We get delicious ideas for food to make while also learning about books and what some book bloggers thought of them. I think it's brilliant. I thought so last year with the 2011 edition and I'm of a same mind with this year's edition.
The books featured are predominantly of the young adult genre with a few middle grade titles and a couple of adult titles thrown in. If I had one suggestion, it would be to add more adult titles for those of us who read more adult books than YA. I can think of some amazing historical fiction titles that would be great in a future Book Blogger's cookbook.
I recommend this cookbook to anyone who loves to cook, or loves food in general, and to those who love books. I'm looking forward to the future editions. Keep them coming, Christy!
This is more of a short story or a novella than a novel, but it packs a lot of punch. Anyone who loves zombies will enjoy this little book. I'm a big...moreThis is more of a short story or a novella than a novel, but it packs a lot of punch. Anyone who loves zombies will enjoy this little book. I'm a big fan of the AMC television series, The Walking Dead, and this book reminded me of it in some ways. However, Lamberson cleverly added some elements to the story that make it even more frightening.
After our heroes, Walker and Boone, lose their crew, they set off on their own. They decide to head to Hollywood because Boone, "wants to see America." The idea is against Walker's judgement, who would much rather go to Canada. Along the way, they meet a preacher who is still tending to his flock...of ghouls. Oh yeah, their called ghouls in this story, not zombies. They are warned that the left over police forces have probably formed militia or something to that effect and that they should avoid them, if at all possible. It turns out that they're not so easy to avoid. They find themselves in the midst of the Founding Fathers' Order lead by a woman that evokes thoughts of Sarah Palin (yikes!). Some of her new world order consists of making abortion illegal and rewriting textbooks to eliminate evolution in favor of creationism. Yikes again! As Walker reflects later on, "With the human race the minority group among biped, we needed to stick together, but the same old differences kept us apart: sexual politics and politics of power. It must have been November already." Frankly, I find this element of the story even more scary than the (zombies) ghouls.
Carnage Road is a quick, entertaining read. I really recommend it to anyone who likes zombie stories and especially to anyone who might be afraid of what our world would be like if there was a zombie apocalypse.(less)
I loved this book! I can easily see why Straub and Stephen King have collaborated because the feelings this book evoked in me are very similar to what...moreI loved this book! I can easily see why Straub and Stephen King have collaborated because the feelings this book evoked in me are very similar to what I have felt while reading some of King's works. King and Straub are definitely kindred spirits. I just love the creepy and this book delivers big time in that regard. It's really hard to believe (well, not really) that the 1981 film based on this book is from this book at all. There is so much here that would have made the film better, but I digress. Straub takes his ghost story and turns it outside, inside, upside down. We have ghosts that are 'werewolves' and 'vampires', figuratively. It is alluded to in the book that perhaps ghosts such as these are where the old legends come from. We have mutilated livestock/horses drained of all blood...and humans too. Then there are seemingly benign girls and women who, with a certain knowing smile or look, give the chills as well. It's the subtlety of the writing, I think, that makes what would not normally be scary really damn scary. I think the tenets of this story are 1) if you do something bad, it will come back to haunt you and 2) don't sit around telling ghost stories. You just might find yourself in one.
I can't believe this is the first Peter Straub book I've ever read. It certainly will not be my last (since I own all/most of his books, reading them won't be a problem). If you haven't read Ghost Story, I recommend that you do posthaste!(less)
I really enjoyed this book. I have a lot of interest in Scottish history because of William Wallace and Rob Roy so any chance I get to read a book wit...moreI really enjoyed this book. I have a lot of interest in Scottish history because of William Wallace and Rob Roy so any chance I get to read a book with Scottish characters and set in Scotland is wonderful. Set in 18th century Scotland, with settings in England and the American colonies as well, Sound of the Heart is an exciting historical tale with two extraordinary characters, Dougal and Glenna. I'm not usually big on romance in novels, but the relationship between the two main characters is so sweet and genuine, I couldn't help but enjoy reading about their times together. Graham has taken one of the difficult periods in Scottish history, the time of the Jacobite rebellion, and turned it into a story of personal triumph and love. She has written the dialogue in Scottish brogue, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I likened myself to a Scottish lassie as I experienced the Scottish intonations in my head.
I highly recommend Sound of the Heart to anyone who enjoys Scottish history with a bit of romance added to the mix. Now I must check out Graham's first novel, Under the Same Sky. She is a talent I will not soon forget.(less)
This is going to be a short review because, frankly, I don't quite know what to say. Someone may call me out for saying this, but I can't help but won...moreThis is going to be a short review because, frankly, I don't quite know what to say. Someone may call me out for saying this, but I can't help but wonder why this book is so touted. I admit that Holden Caulfield is a unique and entertaining character. I couldn't help but smile and chuckle every time he said "crumby" or "phoney" or "goddam" for the hundredth time. But as I read, I started to notice that Holden seems very dissatisfied with everything and everyone around him. Like his sister says, "You don't like anything that happens." I started to form an impression that Holden is bipolar. He certainly has some kind of mental disturbance going on with himself which I think stems from the loss of his younger brother to cancer. Back then, there really wasn't so much openness toward mental illness. And people didn't yet understand the effects of a death in the family on a young child and that said child might need counseling to help him/her deal with the loss. Holden needed that kind of help and when he didn't get it, he blasted the world, so to speak. But I think his 'dislike' of everything is really him reflecting his despair on the world. There is also a part toward the end where sexual abuse is alluded to and that could also be at play in Holden's character and his behavior.
In all, I would have to say that the book is a great character study, but I was expecting it to be much better.(less)
I love the Arthurian legend. Any story surrounding the legend, whether it be about Arthur himself, or the other well known characters (to us that know...moreI love the Arthurian legend. Any story surrounding the legend, whether it be about Arthur himself, or the other well known characters (to us that know the legend well), is always of great interest to me. While reading The Dragon's Harp, I found myself drawn to watch a favorite Arthurian film for the hundredth time. The film is "Excalibur" and I first saw it when I was twelve. It was the movie that hooked me on all things Arthur. I am pleased to say that this book has joined the ranks of my favorites surrounding the legend.
The Dragon's Harp is the first book in Rachael Pruitt's planned five books series, Era of Dragons: The Lost Tales of Gwenhwyfar. In this book, we learn the coming of age story of Gwenhwyfar (or Guinevere) and her relationship with Merlin. Yes, in The Dragon's Harp, Merlin is Gwenhwyfar's uncle and it's an interesting twist on the traditional legend. It is from Merlin that Gwenhwyfar learns about her power and how to control it. I much prefer the Guinevere character portrayed as she is here--strong, likable, humble, and honorable--rather than the religiously obsessed, bitter, and shallow character in another favorite book, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (sorry, that's just how I see her in that book). Gwenhwyfar takes center stage in this retelling and it is up to her to save her people from the evil bent on their destruction. I can't wait to continue reading the series to find out how it all turns out for her. What is great about this first installment is that there is no cliffhanger so we don't have to chew our nails while waiting for the next book.
This is a terrific first novel for Pruitt. She has outdone herself with the creation of a strong Arthurian premise with dynamic characters and writing that draws the reader with its descriptive and imaginative flow. Bring on the next book!(less)
I really liked this book. I am so impressed by the historical fiction that is being written these days. Pretty much every book is well-written and cap...moreI really liked this book. I am so impressed by the historical fiction that is being written these days. Pretty much every book is well-written and captivating and The Flower Reader is definitely up there with them.
This is the first novel I have read which features Mary, Queen of Scots. I was not overly fond of her in this book. I realize that this is an author's portrayal of her and may not be entirely factual, but Loupas is so good with her character development, I'm quite convinced that Mary may very well have been this sort of person. Of course, royal personages were often impertinent due to their social standing, especially female rulers who always had to stay a step ahead of the men who would try to place them under their thumbs. The behavior might very well have been a front to conceal weakness. All this being said, I am very interested in reading more fiction featuring Mary in the future.
The main focus of the story is Marina Leslie of Granmuir, called by her nickname, Rinette. Rinette was raised by Queen Mary's mother, Mary of Guise, and this fact leads to a rivalry between Mary and Rinette which manifests in Mary's ill treatment of Rinette after her mother's death. Mary of Guise entrusted a precious object meant for her daughter only to Rinette and it is this action that is the center of the story. There is much intrigue surrounding this object and Rinette is caught in the middle of it all. After her husband is murdered, she is determined to find out who murdered him and to also hold on to her precious Granmuir. Rinette is a strong woman who goes after what she wants and uses the object as a bargaining chip to that end. Rinette is also a flower reader. She can read 'prophecies' in the flowers. This adds another interesting element to her character. Is she really reading fortunes in the flowers or is it just her subconscious speaking to her? At one point, she even questions this herself.
"I was never entirely sure whether what I heard was truly the flowers, or just my own secret thoughts and hopes and fears rising up out of my heart when I stilled myself to listen."
The Flower Reader is rich storytelling and its characters are real and interesting. The historical details were obviously meticulously researched. Throw in some intrigue and scandal and we have a book that will appeal to all readers, not only fans of historical fiction. I look forward to future offerings from Ms. Loupas. (less)