You Had Me At Hello accomplishes what the most inspiring and endearing Rom Com’s aspire to: relatability, charm and contemporary timelessness.
The boo...moreYou Had Me At Hello accomplishes what the most inspiring and endearing Rom Com’s aspire to: relatability, charm and contemporary timelessness.
The book begins in present day. Rachel, our narrator, is an early 30 something staffer on the cusp of ending her 13 year long relationship with her fiancé Rhys. Thru Rachel, we are introduced to Ben, our prospective love interest and protagonist. Ben is Rachel’s long lost best friend from uni days with whom she hasn’t spoken for the past decade. When Rachel’s best friend Caroline mentions seeing Ben at a local library, Rachel sets out to the local to encourage a “chance” encounter. What follows is a story, told via a present day setting, and thru flashbacks, about what comes to pass when you encounter a lost love after 10 years and a mixed bag of life decisions.
Equal parts humorous, nostalgic, and romantic, You Had Me At Hello is the kind of treasure I love to find. The dialog was witty and delightfully frank. If you somehow manage to read this little gem without being charmed by these characters, there may be something wrong with you. A certain re-read if ever there was one. (less)
My love for this series continues to grow. Many of my favorite characters were reduced to small cameos, however, Ilona Andrews got back to the basics...moreMy love for this series continues to grow. Many of my favorite characters were reduced to small cameos, however, Ilona Andrews got back to the basics and knocked it out of the park as a result. Kate Daniels is a heroine you can root for, feel proud of, commiserate with and wish to befriend. If you are a fan of the series, you won't be disappointed. If not, get to reading!(less)
The story of Peter Pan never intrigued me as a child. I was always day dreaming about what I would be, see and do when I grew up; therefore the concep...moreThe story of Peter Pan never intrigued me as a child. I was always day dreaming about what I would be, see and do when I grew up; therefore the concept of living in a realm where you could forever remain a child was not appealing. It is only in adulthood, that I understand. But even still, the story of Peter Pan is not my favorite. I say this so that you understand my love of Tiger Lily was unexpected.
I can't even put my finger on what prompted me to glance at Tiger Lily, but I was a goner within the first few pages. Told from Tinker Bell's point of view, we are enabled to see a broad view of the underbelly of Neverland and the host of characters that reside within the magical realm.
Tiger Lilly's Neverland wasn't what I imagined it would be. It's dark, lonely and dangerous. The woods are only a place to romp and play within for those that are extraordinarily brave or oblivious. The residents themselves live with a constant undercurrent of fear whether it be of their fellow villagers, pirates, wild beasts, Englanders, or most fearsome of all, change.
We are also shown the characters we all recognize, though new, colorful sides of them are presented. Captain Hook, for instance, is a drunken, desolate man, who no longer recognizes himself as he was when he was a young, eager man searching for eternal youth.
On the other hand, Peter Pan, is everything we have known him to be, adventureous, impulsive, and charming. However, we also learn that his playful, seemingly spontaneous actions are driven from fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of growing up and the responsibility that coincides with adulthood.
But the biggest treat of all is a character barely referenced in the tale of Peter Pan, Tiger Lily. Tiger Lily is a lonesome character with a fierce will and a deep sense of compassion that she carefully keeps hidden. Adopted at infancy by the village Shaman, she is taunted and teased mercilessly. Many believe she is cursed. Her story is not a happy one. Yet it is evident from the onset that Tiger Lily has a thirst for exploration, and eagerness to discover the world and her place within it.
In spite of my knowing that Peter ultimately winds up with Wendy Darling, I couldn't help but feel the wrongness of such an ending as I became immersed in their story. The characters of Tiger Lily and Peter called to one another, each possessing characteristics the other lacked, delighting in all the traits that made them the same and failing in their ability to express either.
Ultimately, it was the choices of each of these characters, and those closest to them that made this book both heartbreaking and joyful. It's truly a beautiful and surprisingly haunting tale.(less)
This is book for anyone who had less than stellar high school experience. I for one despised high school. In fact, I hated school from first grade on....moreThis is book for anyone who had less than stellar high school experience. I for one despised high school. In fact, I hated school from first grade on. This was is no way due to the required learning. That part I loved. It was the evil little turds known as my class mates that made school so miserable. To this day I can’t pin point why I was the target of so much ridicule. I wasn’t the prettiest, or the most unfortunate looking. I wasn’t rich, but wasn’t dirt poor either so it’s not as though I had the best or worst clothing (which is sadly a driver to fitting in). I was athletic and I was intelligent, but I hardly boasted about either and it wasn’t as though several others couldn’t say the same. The only discernable difference I can ever recall having is that I was “mature” for my age and cared way too much about the opionions of others. This combo may have made me an odd child. Regardless, school was a horror. I often cried myself to sleep and dreaded having to attend school each day. The impending doom would make my stomach clench and the sense of dread didn’t ease until I arrived home each afternoon. In grade school, the girls would exclude me, whisper about me, tell troubled boys I liked them, would pretend to befriend me, only to embarrass me on the playground, and while the boys would gladly allow me to join in on a game of kickball, they would hardly defend me, or invite me to be a part of their inner circle. I spent lunch alone, and class time withdrawn. As I grew, the ridicule evolved. By middle school, I continued to be ignored, yet gossiped about by the girls, but my relationship with the boys changed. They started noticing I had boobs, and curves in places that some of my female classmates did not. They stopped allowing me to find solace in recess kickball, and instead opted for trying to lure me under the bleachers to make out. While I refused, it didn’t prevent them from telling others that I hadn’t, only adding fuel to the fire. By the time high school rolled around, I had a reputation for being “easy” even though I had only kissed one boy and he went to an entirely different school and was known by no one in my school district. I couldn’t trust anyone enough to bother with befriending them. Past experiences with girls made me believe that any female who was nice to me for more than a few seconds was just trying to get me to let my guard down long enough to make people believe whatever dirt she intended to invent and spread about me, and guys assumed I was an easy lay, so after accepting two dates with two different guys who only wanted to suggest parking at a local boat access as our date, I began turning down the attentions of any guy who bothered to show an interest. Needless to say, school was lonely, and I was miserable. So it probably goes without saying that I related to Elise and her story. I could understand how she felt before her attempted suicide because I felt that way myself. Sad, angry, hopeful that something miraculous would happen to turn everything all around or that if I said or did the “right” thing, I could turn it all around for myself. Praying to meet one person who bothered to look past all the untruths being said about me and attempt to get to know me for whom I was, and like me. That didn't happen for me until senior year, and it required an event that I'm not going to recount here to transpire in order to make it possible. So, I understood why Elise did what she did when she realized it wouldn't happen for her either. And while I personally didn’t resort to an attempted suicide as a possible escape (my coping mechanism took shape in the form of bulimia), I can more than sympathize with a need, dare I say necessity, for an outlet.
It’s hard to describe my reading experience of This Song Will Save Your Life. It brought back feelings and memories I never really cared to revisit. But there was a comfort that came from reading it as well because I can’t imagine that anyone could write about such a wretched school experience if they themselves hadn’t suffered the same thing, and for any of you out there that may have also been taunted and teased in such a way, you know the kind of hope and comradery that can form among fellow misfits. This book is so unabashedly honest in the truths it unveils. That telling someone doesn't help, in fact, it is often more harmful than not, and the only respite comes at the end of the day when you can leave your classmates behind for a few waking hours. I’m so so glad that Leila Sales had the courage to write such a book and I hope that those who are suffering from miserable school experiences read this and feel a little less alone. I promise you, it gets better, but I’ll be honest, it requires graduating. A song, or talent for music, doesn’t always save a life, but I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many endless hours I spent listening to music. It was an extreme comfort to me then, as were books, and continues to be to this day. I could say more about This Song Will Save Your Life, however, I’ve rambled on long enough. Just know that this book is a gem, and I am thankful to have read it. (less)
Today I woke up groggy and exhausted and it’s all Stephanie Perkin’s fault. I began reading the much anticipated Isla and the Happily Ever After at or...moreToday I woke up groggy and exhausted and it’s all Stephanie Perkin’s fault. I began reading the much anticipated Isla and the Happily Ever After at or around 8PM. Every hour or so, I would look at the clock and have a small internal argument, trying to reason with myself to put the book down, turn out the light, and attempt to sleep. Otherwise, I would surely regret my lack of sleep coming morning. As soon as my mind pondered over this logic, I told myself to shut up. I knew, in my heart of hearts, I wouldn’t sleep even if I tried. I was too consumed by the characters. I’d dream about them all night, angsting over what would become of them.
I completed reading Isla and the Happily Ever After at approximately 12:47AM. Though my eyes are puffy, any my head is fuzzy, I do not regret the time I spent in Stephanie Perkins’s world. I was, and continue to, enraptured by Isla and Josh’s story.
We were previously introduced to these two characters in Anna and the French Kiss. Josh was a central character presented to us as the brooding, disdainful artist in a volatile relationship with his smarty pants girlfriend, Rashimi and a devoted and often comical best-friendship to St. Claire. Isla, was a minor character, mentioned only twice. First, when Anna finds her doodling a replica of Josh’s tattoo – which alerts us to the fact that Isla has a crush on Josh, and second when she comes to Anna’s defense during an interrogation with the headmistress. As Anna and the French Kiss ends, Josh has ended his tumultuous relationship with Rashimi, the school year has come to a close, and with it, the impending loss of his friends, all of whom were seniors. It’s left for us to assume that Josh faces what will surely be a lonely senior year.
Queue the opening scene to Isla and the Happily Ever After. In a chance encounter, Isla happens upon Josh at a Manhattan restaurant, aptly named Kismet. What follows is a rather hilarious, albeit adorable meet cute. Isla’s internal dialog quickly makes it know that her crush on Josh is anything but minor. She’s observed him in a way readers of the companion book will know was overlooked by even his best friends. Naturally, the Isla/Josh pairing becomes a ridiculously easy thing to ship. Their budding romance is utterly adorable and I was grinning like an idiot during the first 100 pages of the book. But the love story in and of itself is not what gripped my heart. It was the writing.
Stephanie has an uncanny way with words. She expertly writes each and every scene that allows us to recall our own experiences while sharing in the experiences of each characters. I didn’t just understand Isla’s confusion, hopefulness, anticipation, trepidation, etc. I felt it along with her. For the entirety of this book, I was Isla. And her story is magical and sensual. It was such a wonderful thing to experience. The European setting didn't hurt either.
And Josh…I wasn’t expecting to fall so hard for him. I didn’t think any Perkins character would be able to trump my beloved St. Claire, but I do believe Josh managed the task. Through Isla, I was able to see what I couldn’t see through Anna. Josh is dreamy, romantic, and more assertive- in that fabulous masculine way that sends women’s hearts a flutter.
Rainbow Rowell's writing is a time machine and I was grateful for the ride. As any blurb will tell you, Eleanor Park contains the story of a misfit an...moreRainbow Rowell's writing is a time machine and I was grateful for the ride. As any blurb will tell you, Eleanor Park contains the story of a misfit and the boy who saves her. What it doesn't tell you is that he saves her by loving her and by giving her someone worthy to love in return. Its very charming and adorable. Too charming for me to convey well, so I am going to share with you what I loved best and let you determine for yourself if this is your cuppa.
1. Eleanor & Park fall in love slowly, with weary hearts filled with hope, innocence and so much awesome I don't know how they managed not to burst. It transported me back to the third grade, when I would make eyes at Chance Johnson across the classroom, lunch table( anywhere I could see him really) and would talk to on the playground during recess. As I continued to read, it reminded me of my next big crush, and the one after that. Eleanor and Park's story made me realize how fleeting and precious crushes are. And how truly special falling in love can be.
2.Eleanor. She is big girl, with wild, curly red hair. She dresses like a hobo, in worse than hand me down clothes, because Eleanor is money poor. But believe me when I say she is character rich. She's sarcastic, self conscious and stubborn. Intelligent, brave and good. I'm so tired of reading the "I'm a self professed dork, yet every guy thinks I'm awesome and I'm super cool and hip in a quirky way that everyone accepts". It's not real. But Eleanor...Eleanor is real. I was in awe of her and it made me want to give Rainbow Rowell the biggest hug for creating her. Thank you Rainbow.
3. Park. He just might be the nicest, cutest, most interesting teenage boy in recent YA literature. Probably in real life too. He is type of cool that comes to mind when you think of the word hipster, but somehow never manage to meet, cause lets face it, a lot of hipsters are either pretentious or annoying posers. Not Park. Park is intelligent and well read. And by well read I mean that he reads X-Men, Batman and The Watchmen. I don't think he bothered with the likes of Moby Dick or philosophical tomes that make your head hurt while boring you to death. Park cares about people's feelings, likes to fly under the radar, loves his mama and breathes music. I have a bit of a crush on Park. And by a bit, I mean a big one.
4. This book has scenes that made the monotony of moments past feel special. There is a particular scene where Eleanor is flipping thru her dad's records and I was instantly transported to my childhood living room on Sunday mornings where I would listen to my own parent's records as they would get ready for church. Sometimes I'd lie on the floor and day dream, other times I would dance around and pretend I was giving a concert to adoring fans. It was one of my favorite things to do each week and I haven't thought about that favorite act since I was about 10 years old. There are several pivotal memories that this book stirs up which caused me to not only love Eleanor and Park's story, but reconnect with my own.
5. It embraces the concept of less is more. This book isn't preachy, but it shows the beauty of minimalism. It's reflected in the writing via style and description. This might not apply to everyone, but a lot of the things that you gravitate toward in childhood become something to overcome in adulthood. This came to mind when Eleanor describes drinking out of a jelly jar which prompted me to contemplate the idiocy that is glassware. As a child, I had two favorite things to drink out of...A plastic cup that was purchased at the theme park (It had an awesome logo, reminded me of a great day and somehow made my sweat tea taste better) and a glass canning jar because I thought it was pretty. I still have a thing for pretty glass canning jars, but I put flowers in them. And jam. I drink out of glassware because that's what my southern grandmother and mother taught me adult women drink out of, and have on hand to offer guests to drink out of. They would never have a cabinet filled with plastic cups and I can't help but think that's wasteful, plus glass is a pain to clean. This book re-gifted the small joys of childhood that are so easy to loose sight of when you become an adult and can purchase a happy meal whenever you want.
I could keeping spouting out my love list for this book, but I think it's GR rating speaks for itself. Sometimes these ratings really are based on merit, not just popularity and I believe that like me, fellow readers felt that Eleanor Park is special. And lovable. And fun. But also kind of sad. But mostly hopeful and sweet.
Oh what a reading experience Froi of the Exiles has been. I loved it, hated it and sometimes loved to hate it. Its books such as these that make me aw...moreOh what a reading experience Froi of the Exiles has been. I loved it, hated it and sometimes loved to hate it. Its books such as these that make me aware of how much I revel in reading the depravity of life with all its desire, love, violence, heartbreak and suffering. This beast of a book took me three days to read, once I finally resigned myself to reading it, and that was with me reading it from the moment I got home on into the wee hours of the night, and okay, maybe I snuck in some reading time at work as well. I couldn’t help myself! This story grabbed me by my hair and wouldn’t let go until I turned the last page and now…now I am left feeling dazed, confused, distraught, angry, you name it, I’m feeling it. And can someone, please punch Isaboe in the face?!
With that out of the way, I’m going use this “review” as a way of hashing out my thoughts, so there will be no summary here. Too many better reviewers have done so already and frankly, there is too much story to recount, I wouldn’t know where to begin or what to include. Therefore, I will forewarn you now, there will be spoilers ahead.
I’ll begin with the plot. I love Froi, Lumatere loves Froi, who doesn’t love Froi? I had high hopes for him. He came from wretchedness and I wanted to see him settle into Lumatere, find redemption for his past deeds as well as a place among the people there. Preferably one that would allow him to shine. He had so much of himself to offer. I’m glad Marchetta knew better. He doesn’t belong in Lumatere, in a land now filling with light. He would always feel separate. And of course he needed to fall in love with a mad princess. He is half out of his mind most of the time as well. Leave it to Froi to show us all the beauty a person can posess, even in wickedness. I was touched by his draw to Quintana and while I was initially saddened that he couldn’t have been loved by a “sane” woman, I quickly changed my mind. The bond he and Quintana share frees them from shame and I don’t think they would have found that with anyone else. And as wrong as this may be, I adored this scene…
“What are you doing?" she asked, trying to raise herself. "First, I thought I'd show you what a pity it would be if they cut off my wicked tongue.”
Personally, I think cunnilingus should be mentioned much more often in literature. Marchetta is a woman after my heart, and Froi is a wise man indeed.
Subplots. One I loved, the other two I could have done without. Its not that I dislike Beatriss, it’s more that I didn’t see how her story enhanced the overall story at hand. Yes, it demonstrates the long road to healing, but everyone else’s story was depressing enough without her drama and frankly, theirs were more interesting and demonstrated the same point. Then there is Isaboe. I couldn’t stand her in Finnikin of the Rock and Froi’s installment didn’t do much to improve my feelings toward her. Just when I found her bearable, I got the end, and now I’m back to loathing her. And while I have no idea why Marchetta chose to discuss breastfeeding, I’m going to chime in on these characters debate of Isaboe insisting that her two year old suckle her breast. If a babe can ask for it, it shouldn’t be getting it. Ahem. Luckily there was a third subplot, one that charmed me from the onset. We knew at the end of Finnikin of the Rock, that Lucien would have much to prove. And while he hasn’t done much yet, I believe he is well on his way. This is in large part due to his new wife, Phaedra. She brought out the worst in him, but also the best. Their story was one i silently adored. I often caught myself smiling during their exchanges.
Overall, there were certainly things that could have been omitted from Froi of the Exiles, there was a lot of traveling, and sitting about waiting for fallout, yet I felt like I was given a treasure. I deeply regret waiting so long to read this installment. It is nothing like the first. It is so much more dark, humorous, wretched, long winded, exciting, sad, sexy, more. In reading Froi of the Exiles, I not only became more enamored with characters we had met in Finnikin of the Rock, I also fell in love with the new additions, namely Quintana, Phaedra and Arjuro. I hope with all my being that they receive a happy ending that would most benefit them. I know Marchetta won’t let us down. If there is an author who can paint a perfect character and display their many facets, it’s her.
P.S. Anyone dying to discuss spoilers, please do so in the comments, I have so many things I want to jabber about!(less)
I have avoided this book like the plague for two years. At best, I knew the reading of it would cause me to bawl my eyes out, and at worse, John Green...moreI have avoided this book like the plague for two years. At best, I knew the reading of it would cause me to bawl my eyes out, and at worse, John Green would maintain what had become his very formulaic writing style, that would un-doubtidly reduce me to exasperated sighs. Both proved to be true, and I loved The Fault in Our Stars all the more for it.
Let's get real, John's writing is a bit pretentious. His characters are mostly the same (fictional versions of he and his brother Hank). But another truth is that John and his brother Hank are ridiculously funny and interesting. They take ordinary, and often overlooked observations and somehow turn them into fascinating, or at minimum hilarious topics of conversation. I always enjoy his dialog and find myself wishing people actually spoke in such a way in real life. For those of you who haven't read a book written by John Green, you should be forewarned that doing so will require you to dust off the ole dictionary, and more often than not, he gets the mental wheels turning about unanswerable questions such as " why are we alive?", so be sure you find expanding your vocabulary and philosphizing appealing. These things both excite and tire me. Having to google SAT type words because John insists on writing characters who speak like overly educated, jaded old men can also exhaust me. Hence the other reason for my two year avoidance, but I digress because somehow, John's writing formula worked for me this go around.
Chances are, you've read the summary. This sucker has been a best seller for what seems like a small eternity; therefore, I feel no need to tell you this is a book in which the characters have cancer. Its obvious. And I probably don't have to tell you that this book grapples with impending doom, It does. But this book also made me laugh, often. And a wee bit giddy. It especially got those philosophical wheels turning.
Is this John's best work to date? I don't know.I hold a special place in my heart for Looking for Alaska. It became pretty apparent after reading all of his subsequent books that his characters do not vary, and in many senses, neither do his plots. But John did accomplish something in The Fault in Our Stars that made it feel less like his other works. For once, John's hero made me swoon. I have never swooned over any of his previous narrators and I think it was wise to make his narrator a female for once so that we could see his typical male from a strong female perspective.
If you want an emotional roller coaster of a read, or are in need of a good cry, this will fit the bill nicely. If you want a never before touched upon account of cancer, you should accept that such a book doesn't exist, and certainly won't be found here. However, having grown up in a family filled with health care practitioners and having spent my entire career thus far working in hospitals or for them, I have to say that I am wholly impressed with John's portrayal of what it is like to live with and die of cancer ranging from overly animated nurses, to picc lines and drainage tubes. Vomit, amputation, exhaustion. Anger about being robbed of the opportunity to live. Resentment towards your own body for betraying you. Sadness about all that you'll miss. And guilt about who and what you leave behind. I found The Fault in Our Stars to be poignant and thought provoking. I basically fell in love with it, even if it did make my face and eyes swell from shedding too many tears.(less)
Good Oil is the perfect read for woman-kind as I imagine it will speak to us all in distinctive ways. My reading of Good Oil took me on a trip through...moreGood Oil is the perfect read for woman-kind as I imagine it will speak to us all in distinctive ways. My reading of Good Oil took me on a trip through memory lane, yet many of these character's frustrations haunt me still. Womanhood/adulthood is a juggling act after all.
[Book:Good Oil] introduces us to Amelia, a fifteen year old store clerk navigating her love/obsession for her 22 year old Co-worker Chris, while trying to cope with the injustices inflicted upon teenagers everywhere. With her sharp mind and keen observations, Amelia provides readers with a lovely, and some times cringe worthy glimpse into her fictional world that is doused with so much authenticity that I felt as though someone had stolen my own diaries. Nevertheless, Amelia wasn’t the only character who struck a chord. Just as Ameila spoke to my 15 year old self, Chris wispered to my 22 year old alter ego. His indecision, fears and heart break reminded me of a not so distant past where the tethers of childhood could no longer hold me steady, yet the oppressive fear of the great un-known had the undeniable ability to hold me back.
Filled with insightful musings on family, friendship, feminisim, literature and more, Good Oil made for an all together perfect reading experience. One that I plan to revisit many times over. (less)
As a lifetime nerd, I love meeting and/or reading about individuals who are not afraid to raise their nerd flag and fly it around. The best type of pe...moreAs a lifetime nerd, I love meeting and/or reading about individuals who are not afraid to raise their nerd flag and fly it around. The best type of people are those who are not ashamed to be who they are, imo. And no one, I mean no one, has that issue in Past Perfect. I loved so many things about this book; I’m not sure what I loved best, that is how much I loved it.
As a southern girl, I am all too familiar with visiting historical homes/villages. We Southerners are all about our history for some reason. I don’t know why, it’s just sort of ingrained in us. I can’t tell you who my mayor is, but I can tell you the story behind every plantation within 3 counties. For me, the ability to recall such seemingly inconsequential facts about my home just lets me know that I am in fact home. And my boyfriend must agree, because every year he participates at the reenactment of Stones River. Southern history is simply a part of us and knowing about it, remembering it, and reenacting it, ties us to our home. It doesn’t mean that we agree with past events, we just respect the fact that our history happened. So it may go without saying that I squealed with delight over the colonial reenactment village setting of Past Perfect. After all, I dreamed of wearing hooped skirts that squished out my boobs from age 6 till, well…sometimes I still do. However, for those of you who are not southern, and who may not be able to find any love for history, take heart. I’m certain you could still find some love for Past Perfect. If On the Jellico Road ever decided to breed with the Georgia Nicholson series and produce offspring, Past Perfect would be what sprang from their loins. It has fantastic characterization, numerous humorous bits of dialog, witty observations and is just plain fun to read.
A special thank you goes out to my friend Tatiana for recommending it to me. I LOOOVED it! (less)
I was prepared to like The King of Attolia, even love it. What I wasn’t prepared for the feelings that occurred while reading it. I was constantly dou...moreI was prepared to like The King of Attolia, even love it. What I wasn’t prepared for the feelings that occurred while reading it. I was constantly doused with a sense of anticipation, giddiness and frustration. It made me want to simultaneously devour this book and draw it out.
Having read predecessors The Thief and The Queen of Attolia, it’s safe to say that I was fairly engrossed in the world Megan Whelan Turner has created prior to reading this installment to her series. I have come to know the kingdoms of Sounis, Eddis and been privy to glimpses of Attolia. I’ve learned about their mythology and religion, and remained in awe of Turner’s ability to create such an intricate world filled with multi-dimensional characters. I even came to care and root for a character that I initially found arrogant and a bit annoying (I’m talking about you Eugenides). But even though Turner was able to implement all these success into enjoyable reads, I still doubted her. I doubted her because she included a romance that I couldn’t fully buy into and it wasn’t until I was mid-way through The King of Attolia that I realized that I had been had. I couldn’t believe, that I, a fairly astute reader, had been played, just as many of the characters in this series are played, and you know what? I loved it! I loved that Turner built in a plot point that would allow readers to feel exactly as so many of the characters often feel within this story, not through them, but with them. If that isn’t brilliant writing, I don’t know what is.
I’m not going to summarize the plot, the blurb and several other better reviewers than I have already done so. All I’ll say is this….Megan Whalen Turner is an author to respect, this series is one to read and re-read. These characters will engrain themselves into your heart and you will burst with pride at their successes. Everything about this series is clever, intricate and wholly entertaining. Read it, I promise you won’t be sorry. (less)
I’ve been wracking my brain all morning trying to write an apt summary...moreSome books leave awesomeness in their wake. Under the Never Sky is one of them.
I’ve been wracking my brain all morning trying to write an apt summary to describe what transpires within this book. The one provided by goodreads is just as chaotic as Under the Never Sky’s first chapter. Filled with names of characters we don’t know, discussing a world we don’t understand. Yet I’m going to try anyway. I don’t want readers to give up on this book two chapters in as I thought of doing.
Under the Never Sky takes place in the distant future. Our world has been ravaged by atmospheric storms, forcing individuals to live in self sustaining nuclear proofed structures called pods. These individuals, referred to as dwellers, are not accustomed to life outside the pods and do not leave their premises. To ensure quality of life, and attempt to strive off insanity that coincides with self-imposed confinement, the dwellers have created virtual worlds, known as realms in which they can enjoy entertainment, adventure, mundane activity and even sex. Naturally, if a dweller were to leave the safety of the pods, death would seem immanent given their lack of survival know how. Yet pod living is not the only lifestyle that exists in the world of Under the Never Sky. Others have managed to survive the storms, and have chosen to live outside the pods, as nature intended. These others are known as savages. Unlike the dwellers, their access to technology is limited, but they aren’t exactly void of perks…
Under the Never Sky tells the story of Aria, a dweller girl, and Peregrine (aka Perry), a savage boy, who meet under coincidental circumstances, and are bound together by a chain of events resulting from their first encounter. Filled with action, friendship, love and adventure, Under the Never Sky makes for an enchanting reading experience. Just stick it out through those first few chapters. I promise goodies lie within, including a horrendously embarrassing period lesson and some sexy time. Kudos to Rossi for adding both elements into her story. She is a literary badass. (less)
I loved every second I spent reading Divergent. Its quick, fluid pacing, combined with edge of your seat plotting and heart rending characters, lent i...moreI loved every second I spent reading Divergent. Its quick, fluid pacing, combined with edge of your seat plotting and heart rending characters, lent itself well to this dystopian debut.
Divergent takes place in a Dystopian Chicago. It has long been discovered that the cause for the worlds’ strife and political unrest wasn’t due to race or religion but rather the personality traits of human beings. Thus a new government was formed and divided into factions that were created according to those virtues that leaders found to be the most prudent. Those of Dauntless value bravery and live a life dedicated to service through valor. Erudite values knowledge and are a faction devoted to studies. Amity values love and happiness, Candor – Honesty and Abnegation values selflessness above all else, thus making them best suited for leadership roles in government as they are uncorrupt able.
At the eve of the choosing ceremony, the event in which young adults choose the faction in which they will live, we meet Tris Prior. Tris is a 16 year old girl that has grown up in Abnegation, but has found the factions ideals difficult to live by. She often feels out of step and ponders what it would be like to live a life afforded by other factions. However doing so would mean betraying her family. While her upcoming aptitude test could support what she has always known, that she doesn’t belong in Abnegation, she also fears what the results with say. But when her results come back inconclusive, Tris must make her choice without a guide.
Tris’s choice and the consequences that follow kept me turning the pages into the wee hours of the night. I simply couldn’t find a stopping point! Tris was a character that I could root for and the world that Roth has created is intricate and entrancing. I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel.
Side note: I’m normally peeved to read books that are the start of a trilogy, but at nearly 500 pages, Roth gives plenty of meat to her story to keep readers satisfied. (less)
I read books for a variety of reasons, to be entertained, find inspiration, expand my world view, have a cathartic cry, etc. I read the works of Lani...moreI read books for a variety of reasons, to be entertained, find inspiration, expand my world view, have a cathartic cry, etc. I read the works of Lani Taylor for her rare ability to string words together in such a lovely way that you feel as though she could write about poo and it would still be one of the most breath-taking pieces written. I simply cannot fathom such a talent. Moreover, I can’t comprehend how one can possess such a vivid imagination and manage to fashion it into a believable reality. Lani Taylor can and does.
Set in modern day Prague, “The Daughter of Smoke and Bone” tells us the story of 17 year old Karou. She spends her days attending art classes, drawing and mending her recent disappointment cast by her good for nothing ex-boyfriend. Sounds fairly standard, no? But Karou possesses a secret life. A life she dare not share beyond the fantastical pictures that lie within her notebook. Pictures that are replicas of Karou’s hidden world. A world in which magic exists and enables Karou to traverse the globe through secret portals. Portals that Karou must enter to complete the errands tasked to her by her demonic family. A family which has raised her with care since her infancy.
“The Daughter of Smoke and Bone” tells us the story of what happens when an Angel and a devil fall in love. As Taylor herself says in her opening line, it does not end well.
As I’m sure none of my words on this unexpected idly gorgeous book will ever aptly speak to the brilliance that lies within its pages, I’ll let the book speak for itself in one of my most favorite passages here:
"this, she thought, isn't just for today. It's for everything. For the heartache that still felt like a punch in the gut each time it struck, fresh as new at unpredictable moments; for the smiling lies and the mental images she couldn't shake; for the shame of having been so naive. For the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve--like the souls version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable."
And another here:
"She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust."
I hope you read this remarkable book and enjoy it as much as I did. (less)
Saving Francesca is still my favorite Marchetta book to date, but Looking for Alibrandi comes in a very strong second. Regardless of how drastically...moreSaving Francesca is still my favorite Marchetta book to date, but Looking for Alibrandi comes in a very strong second. Regardless of how drastically different Marchetta’s heroines are described, I always identify with them. They are so wonderfully complex, yet simply described. I want to befriend them, at times I wish I was them. I love reading their stories as they go along their respective journeys, which are always emotional and strife with life lessons on love, fate and family. I may even be a wee bit envious of them as they are extraordinarily clever, especially given their age.
I’m not nearly gifted enough to pay Marchetta her due praise, so I won’t try to summarize this glory of a story. But if you’ve read and loved Marchetta, this will only inspire further fangirl worship, and if not, you really need to get on it. (less)
How does one pen a review for such an exquisitely layered work of art? Revolution reads like sadness feels. It’s throbbing, aching, raw, desolate and...moreHow does one pen a review for such an exquisitely layered work of art? Revolution reads like sadness feels. It’s throbbing, aching, raw, desolate and poignant. In short, it’s lovely and extraordinary in scope.
Revolution is a juxtaposition between two 17 year old girls set worlds and over two centuries apart. Nevertheless, these girls are bound by their love of music and a tangible guilt they both feel as a result of their own perceived selfishness. Andi and Alex each provide an astonishing portrayal of a haunted soul struggling for redemption.
Andi lives in present day Brooklyn. When her grief for her deceased brother, Truman, isn’t coercing her to numb herself with anti-depressants, Andi struggles to keep her head above ground and her suicidal thoughts at bay. If it weren’t for her guitar, Andi feels as though she would cease to exist. When news that she is failing school reaches her noble prize winning father, he whisks her away to Paris. He hopes the time away will provide Andi with a revived sense of direction. If nothing else, he will be able to keep a watchful eye on her to ensure she completes her senior thesis. It is in Paris that Andi discovers an antique guitar case, complete with a secret compartment containing the long lost diary of a girl who calls herself Alex.
Alex lives in Revolutionary France. As the daughter of a poor, unknown playwright, Alex must earn her way by reciting Shakespeare, Virgil and the lot. A simple twist in fate secures Alex the position of caregiver to the dauphine, Louis-Charles. However, the country is in an increasing state of unrest, and Louis-Charles is the very representation of power and oppression. Struggling with her own desires and the ever increasing love she feels for the dauphine, Alex will have to make a choice that helps change the course of history.
Andi blew me away with her unapologetic tale of self-destruction. Her loss touched my heart, and her love of music was palpable to the point of becoming its own character. All the same, it was Alex’s story of betrayal and redemption that kept me turning the pages. Each of these girl’s lives are filled with loss. They have been exposed to the volatile and often brutal side of human nature, and yet each continues on without knowing what they move toward. Revolutionis vibrant and surprisingly candid. Filled with dozens of tiny little nuances, it dazzles the mind with its vivid and seamless depiction of a disheartened modern day girl who collides with the all too distant past. There is undeniable beauty in the gutter, as Donnelly shows us all to well. Meticulously researched and thoughtfully penned, Donnelly proves herself to be a truly gifted writer. All in all, this was a wonderful book to get lost in. (less)
Several terms come to mind when describing Jellicoe Road, but perhaps what works best is clever. Melina Marchetta has a masterful way with words. Her...moreSeveral terms come to mind when describing Jellicoe Road, but perhaps what works best is clever. Melina Marchetta has a masterful way with words. Her writing is simple and yet effective. She’s down to earth, whilst being thought provoking. Lamb dressed as mutton. I could go into a plot summary for you, but I think it would ruin the experience; therefore, I’ll say this:
There is a story within a story that inevitably intertwines the past to the present, and both are vivid and remarkably told. The dust jacket and/or blubs will present this book as a mystery, but to be frank, that’s a bit false. All mystery dissipates 150 pages in, with the first 50 pages being a bit of a confusing mess. I’ll admit, I had my doubts about Jellicoe Road in the beginning. The narrative hops around way too often, in no seeming order, and there were times when I had no idea who was speaking. But I pressed on, hoping that the story would reveal itself in time if I could only endure for a little longer. I’ll note here that Marchetta has this way of luring you in against your will. In this instance, I was compelled by Taylor Markham, even though there were times that I was a bit put out with her. She’s just so lost, so solitary, so angry and she’s been so betrayed. You want to slap her, then give her a hug. Though, as Marchetta has proven with her other works, her narrator is never the only character to shine albeit they shine through a rain cloud as her characters are almost always emotional train wrecks. Nevertheless, everyone is complex in their own unique, intriguing way. You get the sense that these people exist, somewhere along the Jellicoe Road. Their stories begin to feel like your experiences, their pasts become your memories. You can’t help but fall a little in love with them.
All in all, Jellicoe Road won a Printz Award for good reason, and if you can just stick it out for 50 trying pages, you will be more than well compensated. (less)
Reread: First I must begin by thanking my amie T for recommending this jewel of a book. Melina Marchetta is on par with our beloved E.Lockhart and I o...moreReread: First I must begin by thanking my amie T for recommending this jewel of a book. Melina Marchetta is on par with our beloved E.Lockhart and I owe you for introducing her phenomenal writing to me.
Francesca’s life leaves a lot to be desired. She has just begun her junior year, attending the recently defined co-ed school St. Sebastian’s. She, along with 29 other unlucky sods are now co-existing with a bunch of hormonal, testosterone fueled blokes who are under the misapprehension that by divine right of possessing a penis, they are somehow superior. To make attending a new school with a bunch of sexist, flatulent filled pervs worse, Francesca isn’t sure of which of the females in matriculation she should adopt as her fellow females at arms. There’s Tara Finke, the feminist dejour, who always has someone to chastise and who might as well call herself a lezzie and be done with it, or Siobhan the slut who spends her weekend hooking up with losers only to end up drunkenly crying into the toilet, and then there is the accordion playing Justine that practically has nerd stamped across her forehead. These facts alone would make any normal, insecure female fraught with discomfort and turmoil but as life would have it, things can always get worse. And for Francesca they do when her rock/nag of a mother decides to not get out of bed one morning, or the day after.
Saving Francesca tackles what happens when a lost girl is forced to come to terms with who she is while simultaneously tackling life’s many dramas. Francesca’s forced to come into her own and find her path, while struggling to maintain some semblance of her family intact.
Marchetta has created a beautiful book that addresses everyday personal issues on life, love, friendship, depression and more with a flawless grace interwoven with a remarkable humor. I laughed till I cried and sometimes I just cried, but overall, I enjoyed every word told in Francesca’s voice.
Moning is fearless. She certainly isn't afraid to torment her characters. Prior to reading Faefever, I felt as though Mac still had some growing up to...moreMoning is fearless. She certainly isn't afraid to torment her characters. Prior to reading Faefever, I felt as though Mac still had some growing up to do. Some of her choices rankled and I falsely believed her peppy optimism was a form of denial or would be the cause for her destruction because who could be so damn peppy in a world such as the one Moning has created if they had a clear understanding of what they were up against? Apparently the answer to that question is Mac. My heart and my respect, for whatever its worth, have gone out to her. She may not have embraced her circumstances with as much finesse as I might have originally preferred, but I'm now glad of it because Mac's many blunders allowed her to steal my kinship without my even noticing until something wretched was upon her.
I'm not going to discuss plot points of this book, there are so many, and they occur at such a break-neck pace, that I can't recall them all, or in what order they occurred. Besides, my head is still in a tizzy. All I know, is Faefever is the best in series thus far. The characterization has continued to escalate, though I would like to note that Barrons still makes me want to beat the piss out of him, then kiss his wounds. But what continues to awe me is the realism that exists within this supernatural world. Moning writes life, filled with real people, who experience honest realities and her writing is all the more special for it. I get tired of reading story after story where the heroine always wins the guy, or the battle, or the friends. Mac has no friends beyond those who offer their assistance in exchange for a service only she can provide and Mac is perhaps the least qualified to win the war she has been forced to fight. She is the least experienced player in the game. But the great thing about Mac is that she doesn't stop trying, doesn't stop finding someone worth fighting for. I only hope that Moning hasn't broken her completely with the events in this book. (less)
I was on pins and needles waiting for this book. My agony only increased upon my wretched curiosity that lured me into reading the fir...moreRe-read in 2012.
I was on pins and needles waiting for this book. My agony only increased upon my wretched curiosity that lured me into reading the first chapter of Magic Bleeds made available on Ilona Andrew’s website. Not only did it fail to satisfy my Curran craving; it increased my torment ten fold. Agh! Luckily, good things come to those who wait, or rather, have a book store within driving distance that isn’t opposed to breaking on sale dates. Magic Bleeds gave me everything I wanted, plus a few things I hadn’t thought to ask for.
I told myself that I would take it slow, that I wouldn’t fly through the pages, but alas, as with all the other books in this glorious series, it’s impossible to put it down once you’ve gotten started. The book opens with Kate attempting to salvage the dinner she laboriously prepared for Curran after losing yet another bet to the Beast Lord. A dinner that every reader has been angsting over. A dinner that will determine the future of their relationship. A dinner that Curran is three hours late for and counting. Horror of horrors, Curran stands her up. What?! WTF?! Worse, when Kate calls the Keep, she is told that Curran will not speak to her and requests she direct any communications through his chief of security, Jim. Crushed and dejected, Kate begins plotting his death. When rationalization sets in, she rules that thought out, opting for storming the Keep, inflicting physical violence and demanding an explanation that would likely cause an interagency scandal in the process. But rather than risk her hide, Kate decides to put her heart on ice and ignore him. Thankfully, fate has other plans. As always, Kate’s life is never simple. There’s a new villain in town, bringing about plagues and destroying well versed opponents as though they were nothing more than annoying gnats. Naturally Kate receives the case, much to my delight and her annoyance. Kate’s only hope is that the case doesn’t involve a shifter, and it doesn’t, it involves several. Haha! With one dead shifter, and several MIA, Curran’s intrusion is sure to follow. Yay! True to form, Curran breaks his weeks of silence to offer Kate the assistance of The Pack. Initially reluctant, and oh so jilted, Kate declines. But logic trumps heartache when an undead water mage interrupts their heated debate to attack Curran. Curran may have saved Kate’s hide once again, but Kate knows she isn’t the target. Someone is targeting Curran, and though she is loathe to admit it, Kate can’t bear the thought of something happening to Curran. In attempt to watch his back, Kate accepts the Packs assistance, but refuses to speak to Curran, opting rather to work through Jim, per Curran’s request weeks ago. Curran doesn’t understand why Kate refuses to speak to him, and he is not taking this slight lightly. In fact, he is furious, and a bit jilted himself. Curran insists that he did show that night. Albeit, he arrived four hours late, but he did show, and never received her inquiring call. Now Kate is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Does she follow her heart, and give Curran and herself a shot at true happiness, or follow 25 years of conditioning, and keep herself and those she loves at arms length? All this would be so much easier to rationalize if the latest monster of the week wasn’t her all powerful and unflinching aunt.
Magic Bleeds was a delight. While I must confess, Magic Strikes is still my favorite in the series, this book was absolutely wonderful. *spoilers ahead*. I simply adored the fact Ilona Andrews had Kate meet Curran half way and finally deal with him on Shape Shifter terms. It was fraught with sexual tension and spiced with humor. Their story continues to make me grit my teeth, swoon, laugh, cry, and swoon. For those of you who worried that Kate and Curran finally coming together would ruin the heat, fear not. Andrews doesn’t let us down. If anything, I think the tension increased, as these two now know what they stand to lose. Furthermore, Curran admittedly in love is even more delicious that Curran in frustrated romantic confusion. Oh how enticing he is! His character development has taken him to new heights as has Kate’s. I cannot wait to see how Kate copes with her new status as Curran’s mate and female Alpha of the Pack.
I have only one complaint, and to be honest, I feel bad for complaining because Ilona Andrews gave me everything I said I wanted. But like a spoiled reader, I have to make one request; can we get more Jim, Derek, Doolittle, and Raphael in the next installment? What you provided to us was beyond fantastic, but I missed them, and I don’t like being peeved at Raphael. Also, love the addition of Grendel, and well done with Saimon. He makes me laugh with his peevishly pervy ways. Is the next one done yet? (less)
Where to start, where to start? I think I shall devote this review to a bit of fangirl squeeing.
When I finished Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1), I was on the fence about how I felt about it. I needed a nudge to push me past my distaste for the writing style. I'm over it, and that nudge was at the hands of fantastic storytelling laced with blood, guts, cursing, humor, steam and smash hit, winning characters. The world building and plots of these books is incredible. Each book stands alone, presenting a monster of the week type format, while also contributing to an overall series arc. The end result leaves me feeling satisfied, but chomping at the bit for more. The book's plots are original, fast paced, and interesting.
On to the characters. Kate Daniels has endeared herself as my favorite heroine, period. She's intelligent, kind, but can kick major ass and is anything but nice. Unlike a majority of Urban Fantasy heroines, she doesn't suffer from excessive manners. If she wants to kill you, she'll tell you to eat shit and die, then make you eat shit and die. I like that sort of directness in a person, especially in a female. She has a huge capacity to love, but would prefer not to fall in its clutches for no other reason than to spare those she loves from the evil fate that surely awaits her. But what ultimately won me over, was the fact that she doesn't make foolish choices because of this fear. She loves anyway, she recognizes the raw need, and gives into temptation. As a result, I have yet to grit my teeth at her, not even once. That has never happened to me ever. I understand and agree with her every choice. How awesome is that?
Curran, oh Curran, you make me swoon. Like Kate, I struggled with my feelings for him throughout the book. I wondered, "Does he really love her, or is it a game?" So naturally I wasn’t bothered by Kate's reluctance towards him. But the end of Magic Strikes leaves no room for doubt. Curran loves her, and would go to hell and back to keep her safe. How do you resist a hottie that would die at your feet? Yet more than anything, what I love most about Curran, is his subtle charm. He isn't showy about his feelings. He doggedly pursues her, but presents himself in such a way that is endearing, while also leaving you questioning his sincerity. It makes for an interesting, chemistry filled courtship and I am eating it up!
Having two amazing characters is more than enough to make most books float, but this series has them in abundance, which ultimately allows me to look past the bundle of questions I still have. Derek warms my heart and evokes a maternal instinct from me. I want him to smile, be happy and safe. Raphael makes me laugh at his attempts to help Kate provoke Curran,then can make me squee like a love struck girl in his determination to woo his lady love, Andrea, who I also enjoy immensely.
This series just has it going on. It makes no pretenses. The characters don’t contradict themselves by refusing to behave like badasses while being badasses. They embrace what they are. Dark in theme, Andrews doesn’t spare her readers on gory detail, which only enriches the plot, ensuring readers understand the significant danger these characters face. And yet, Andrews expertly weaves these dark themes with demonstrations of love and friendship and humor so subtle that you don’t notice it until you laugh out loud. I cannot wait for the next installment!
Before I begin, I’m going to evoke my 13 year old alter ego… Curran loves Kate, Curran loves Kate! Okay, so he didn’t say those exact three words, what...moreBefore I begin, I’m going to evoke my 13 year old alter ego… Curran loves Kate, Curran loves Kate! Okay, so he didn’t say those exact three words, what he actually said was “As you wish” but he said it after reading The Princess Bride and everyone knows that is how Wesley told Buttercup he loved her. SQUEE!!!
Okay, now that I have gotten out of the way, this book and this series are so awesome! God, I still sound like a fan girl, but it doesn’t make what I say any less true. Look into the eyeballs of my avartar and believe me.
These characters sneak up on you, rip you open, and embed themselves into your heart and mind. I feel like I’m Kate, and that all her friends also belong to me. It is such a blast to lose yourself in a story that way. And what a story it is. Much like some of my other favorite UF favorites, Kate Daniels’s world provides a tons of lore from a variety of sources including Greco Roman, Hindu, and a bevy of others I can’t think to mention. Even better, they are presented in such a unique, exotic magical world that still manages to feel somewhat familiar as this same fantastical world exists in a post apocalyptic Atlanta, GA. Genius.
The writing practically flies off the pages it moves so quickly. Blink and you’ll miss something vital. In fact, I’d say reading these books is much like sex. The beginning is foreplay, turning you onto the story, and then the action starts and provides you with an ending that leaves you feeling tired and satisfied and just blissful. It’s a mental shag these books are. Love em! (less)
Oh how I laughed and laughed, cringed in shared mortification, laughed, despaired over mutual heartbreak, laughed, became over-wrought with neurosis,...moreOh how I laughed and laughed, cringed in shared mortification, laughed, despaired over mutual heartbreak, laughed, became over-wrought with neurosis, laughed, cringed, sympathized and laughed.
Jessica Darling says what most of us are shamed to think. She isn’t noble, far from it, but she’s deliciously flawed in a true, human way. We all say the wrong thing at inopportune times. Many of us, myself included don’t know when to shut up or back down. We may even jump in the sack with a subpar guy for fleeting, spur of the moment reasons. We obsess over the most obscure words behind our hearts desires messages. In short, we are loons, doing our best to get from one day to the next all the while trying to find our path in life and reason for it all. Jessica will make you feel less alone on your journey.