I like the character development in this one. None of them are perfect, even Maya and Daniel. Sam is my favourite with no filter on her mouth, willing to say what she really thinks of you to your face and doesn't apologise for it. She's gutsy and I like it. She also happens to be gay, not sure if that's stereotyping but anyway I sympathised with her back-story. Kenjii, Maya's dog, was also a comforting presence throughout -fiercely loyal and protective, the perfect scout when it came to detecting nearby cougars.
I wasn't as frustrated with this book as I was with The Gathering however, I still cannot stand Rafe. I wanted him out of the picture entirely and at one point I was cheering because I thought I'd got my way, then groaned. I don't understand why Maya constantly forgives him. Animal magnetism isn't enough. He may be doing the best he can under the circumstances, was even willing to sacrifice his life but his methods...he just rubs me up the wrong way.
Whilst Rafe was gone we got see how well Daniel and Maya worked together, how much they trusted each other and managed to care for and lead the group. And I don't think I was imagining it this time: Daniel has a thing for Maya and I think if Maya opened her eyes she might feel the same way, if it wasn't for Rafe. Even Sam noticed and almost outed Daniel's feelings. I hate love triangles but this is one of those extremely rare once-in-a-blue-moon moments where I'm hoping there is one. The only thing wrong with Daniel is his inability to tell Maya how he really feels about her and trying not to stand in the way of her and Rafe even when he gets bad feelings about him (his superpower, and he's usually right). He wants her to be happy.
This was a quick and easy read but I'm definitely not loving this trilogy as much as the first. I don't feel as sell-my-own-mother desperate to get my hands on The Rising as I did with The Reckoning. I can wait a year for the conclusion, even knowing we'll be seeing Derek, Chloe & Co. again. The plot and these characters just aren't as compelling.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Alexandre Dumas was born in 1802, the same year as Victor Hugo (they worked together, also with Alfred de Vigny). His father died when he was 4 so he had an impoverished childhood with little education. 'He joined the household of the future king, Louis-Philippe, and began reading voraciously.' Before he wrote TCoMC he had travelled to Switzerland and fallen in love with Italy, living in Florence for a year in 1841. In 1842 he visited the island of Montecristo.
(Click image for Google map)
Two years after TCoMC was published, Dumas built the Château de Monte-Cristo in 1846 and used it as his country home. He had to sell it when he went backrupt in 1850. Now it's a museum dedicated to him and his works.
It was known Dumas wrote for money 'at so much a line, and that he used at least one collaborator, Auguste Maquet, who would make chapter outlines for him and do research. He was once referred to as 'Alexandre Dumas and Co., novel factory'.
However, he sometimes had to be locked away in a room away from his mistress just so he could finish writing. Must've been a randy fellow.
Dumas died in 1870. Afterwards Victor Hugo wrote to Dumas's son 'praising Dumas as a writer of universal appeal and added "He creates a thirst for reading."'
'Briefly the story is this: Picaud, a young man from the south of France was imprisoned in 1807, having been denounced as an English spy, shortly after he had become engaged to a young woman called Marguerite. The denunciation was inspired by a cafe owner, Mathieu Loupian, who was jealous of Picaud's relationship with Marguerite.
Picaud eventually moved to a form of house-arrest in Piedmont and shut up in the castle Fenestrelle, where he acted as a servant to a rich Italian cleric. When the man died, abandoned by his family, he left his money to Picaud, whom he had come to treat as a son, also informing him of the whereabouts of a hidden treasure. With the fall of Napoleon in 1814, Picaud, now called Joseph Lucher, was released; in the following year, after collecting the hidden treasure, he returned to Paris.
Here he discovered that Marguerite had married Loupian. Disguising himself, and offering a valuable diamond to Allut, the one man in the group who had been unwilling to collaborate in the denunciation, he learned the identity of his enemies. He then set about eliminating them, stabbing the first with a dagger on which were printed the words: 'Number One', and burning down Loupian's cafe. He managed to find employment in Loupian's house, disguised as a servant called Prosper. However, while this was going on, Allut had fallen out with the merchant to whom he had resold the diamond, had murdered him and had been imprisoned. On coming out of jail, he started to blackmail Picaud. Picaud poisoned another of the conspirators, lured Loupian's son into crime and his daughter into prostitution, then finally stabbed Loupian himself. But he quarrelled with Allut over the blackmail payments and Allut killed him, confessing the whole story on his deathbed in 1828.'
Holy cow! Moral of the story: Being merciful is a death sentence.
One of the characters, Madame de Villefort, is also based on someone from these archives.
Some consider TCoMC to be children's fiction for the for fairy tale and Disney-like quality of the adventure / romance / revenge story. However:
'...not many children's books, even in our own time, that involve (view spoiler)[a female serial poisoner, two cases of infanticide, a stabbing and three suicides; an extended scene of torture and execution; drug-induced sexual fantasies, illegitimacy, transvestism and lesbianism; (hide spoiler)] a display of the author's classical learning, and his knowledge of modern European history, the customs and diet of Italians, the effects of hashish, and so on; the length, in any case, would immediately disqualify it from inclusion in any modern series of books for children.'
Yes, Eloisa James gave Dr. Gregory House a happily ever after. Her intention all along according to the 'Historical Not...more3½★ Meet Piers AKA "The Beast".
Yes, Eloisa James gave Dr. Gregory House a happily ever after. Her intention all along according to the 'Historical Note' at the end.
They share the same scowl, a limp and use of a cane resulting from the same infarction in his quadriceps muscle of the leg producing constant pain, his abhorrence of lying patients, and misanthropic, blunt, bad-tempered, narcissistic and playfully insulting nature. They both have "ducklings" -a group of doctors who follow him in order to learn how to better diagnose patients because Piers is the leading man in his field. The name "Cuddy" is also mentioned and Sebastien appears to be Piers's Dr. Wilson.
Sebastien: I know that you have an affinity for unhappiness. In fact, paradoxically, you don't feel truly happy unless you are unhappy. The way to do that is to push away the people who give a damn about your nasty hide. Me, for one - except that I'm impossible to dislodge, so you seem to have give up on me. [...] Piers: My leg hurts like a son of a bitch. Sebastien: You and your leg can keep each other company at night, then. No room for a woman, given the terrible injury you've suffered.
Addiction to pain relief is the only thing they don't share, only because Piers's father was the addict and Piers wishes to never become like him. Instead Piers swims every morning in an ocean tide-filled pool to help relieve stiffness and pain, giving him a swimmer's body and great upper body strength.
After silliness in the first 50 or so pages with names like "Mrs Flaccide" (I feel sorry for her husband), and doctors Kibbles and Bitts (I kid you not), and the back-and-forth about Linnet's terrible downfall and what to do about it, the book took off.
The sexual chemistry between Linnet and Piers is palpable as they challenge each other with witty insults. Piers immediately sees past her beauty to her brains and her power to manipulate his sex, and she looks past his beastly demeanor to the man underneath. They get to know each other via their barbed conversations which lead to their daily tension-filled, fan-worthy, swimming lessons.
For most of the book I was merely entertained. The innkeepers' ghastly treatment of Linnet, her suffering and Piers struggling to care for her by himself, led me to become emotionally effected. Homicidal anger at the innkeepers for their inhuman actions, empathy for Linnet's pain and sympathy and admiration for Piers.
We get two romances for the price of one since Piers's father sobered up from his addiction, which caused him to permanently injure his son years earlier, and seeking forgiveness on his visit with his son's prospective bride. Whilst there Piers's mother shows up and upon finding the Duke she does everything she can to make him feel guilty and jealous, while Piers also refuses to forgive and forget. It's pure torture for him, but it all works out in the end. Speaking of which, the closing pages were lovely, and smile-enducing as the cycle begins again with a new generation inheriting the traits of their parents.
At the beginning of the story I wasn't happy Linnet's father and aunt pressured Linnet to lose her virginity to the Prince, and if not him then they were going to take her to a brothel catering to women. This is after they'd accused her of being a "loose" woman just like her philandering mother. I know women had little control over their lives, but I can't turn off the revulsion I feel every time it's replicated in historical fiction.
The level of historical and medical details included I was surprised at, as James stated A Kiss at Midnight wasn't set in a particular year/era, therefore not historically accurate and yet great care has been taken to ensure When Beauty Tamed the Beast is the opposite. I'm pleased she's made this change. I certainly think this sequel is an improvement on the debut.(less)
What the hell happened? This isn't what I've come to expect from this author at all. Excruciatingly slow and boring at times, just be...more2 stars, barely.
What the hell happened? This isn't what I've come to expect from this author at all. Excruciatingly slow and boring at times, just begging me to DNF. I was ready for the book to end halfway through.
I didn't buy the romance. The writing concerning Diego was stilted. I couldn't care less about him. Eric and Iona's chocolate scene held more passion and intrigue than Diego and Cassidy's. Reid and Peigi's as well as Xavier and Lyndsay's pairing also drew more interest from me than this book's main couple.
Wild Cat seemed drawn out to fill pages. The plot was contingent on compassion and forgiveness towards those that kill the ones you love which wasn't written in a way I could accept and believe. I'd need to feel more than a little pity to let a murderer who'd likely kill again, go free. They got seriously lucky on that score.
While I enjoyed the imaginative, quirky and humorous writing style of Warm Bodies, the events and dialogue defied believability and I just couldn't fi...moreWhile I enjoyed the imaginative, quirky and humorous writing style of Warm Bodies, the events and dialogue defied believability and I just couldn't finish. But I did go and see the movie which I managed to sit through, though I did do a fair amount of cringing, it cut out the more unrealistic elements of the story, e.g. the school for zombie children to teach them how to hunt and feed.
Nalini Singh is an infuriating, genius of a woman. She is the master of creating and sustaining political intrigue and frustrating mysteries, all the...moreNalini Singh is an infuriating, genius of a woman. She is the master of creating and sustaining political intrigue and frustrating mysteries, all the while skillfully conducting the actions of a small army of entertaining characters. She tantalizes and titillates the brains of her readers, challenging us to spot important information, to guess at what will happen next, manipulating our senses and emotions.
There are many questions we're all asking, the main one being: Who is the Ghost? In this book, Kaleb becomes the more likely candidate by revealing his true power and skill during an emergency rescue mission but I believe him to be a red herring, although I am interested in what his real endgame is. Despite Vasic's weary, defeated outlook his conscience also rules him out. I want to know more about Zaid Adelaja and whether he could be alive. He was the first Arrow, the son of the "father" of the Silence protocol, and someone important to Alice -he could be the Ghost. The Ghost handed Alice over to Judd and SnowDancer for safe-keeping. It could be him.
I'm extremely disappointed in Ming's pathetic plan to snare Sienna. He's supposed to be the ultimate and supreme strategist. Instead of trying to seduce her with reason alone he should've incapacitated her, implanted the control chip, force her to divulge her secrets and turn her into the weapon that would destroy her friends and mate. What an idiot. I look forward to his death.
I wasn't as interested in the romantic coupling as I thought I'd be. Adria certainly deserved happiness after Martin and Riaz had a unique hurdle to overcome but it was Adria who was unexpectedly the one required to break down and take that leap of faith. The elderly human couple was so sweet an example of a relationship without a mate bond being just as devoted and loving as a couple could be.
My favourite quote can be applied to many situations within this book:
"Some things need to broken to become stronger." ~The Ghost
Bonds, alliances and information networks have expanded and tightened. The civil war has begun. The Psy are on the brink self-destruction. Will Silence perish? And will the Net go with it? So many possible outcomes. I can't wait to find out what will happen.
Who is going to have the next book? At first I thought it would be Amara, then Vasic, and then Kaleb finds the object of his long search...Who is she? Faith's cousin, Sahara, who went missing 9 years ago, perhaps? So many mysteries. Evidently, this series still has life in it because this is book 11 and I'm not tired of it yet.(less)
"It says here Jamar bought a toilet seat for fifty thousand dollars," Ascanio said. I looked at the screen. "It says it's from Amarna, from the eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt." "It's a toilet seat," Ascanio said. "It's four thousand years old." He looked at me incredulous. "Some ancient Egyptians sat on it and took a dump." "I assume so." "He paid fifty thousand dollars for a used toilet seat." [...] "You could buy a car for fifty thousand dollars. A really nice car." Ascanio's eyes lit up. "A Hummer. You could buy a converted Hummer." "You don't need a Hummer," I said. "Chicks dig the Hummer." "You don't need any chicks either." "He gave me an injured look. "I have needs."
While Fury's Kiss is gut-bustingly funny, dominated by a super kickass female character and demonstrates in-depth character growth and development, I'...moreWhile Fury's Kiss is gut-bustingly funny, dominated by a super kickass female character and demonstrates in-depth character growth and development, I've finally deciphered what bothers me about works by Karen Chance.
When I look back at all of the books I've read, even ones from years ago, I notice that I can tell you something about what went on in that particular book, even if it's general. With Chance's books I struggle to remember why I've given them all high ratings because I draw a blank when I poke my memories of them. That in itself gives me pause, instantly devaluing my ratings. Reading Fury's Kiss after the author's 3-year hiatus (I haven't read Hunt the Moon yet) has made me realise why.
From the get go it's action, action, action! Any lulls in the high octane speed are filled with funnies and perhaps angst. The adventure zips all over the place, jumping from one line of thought, or POV, to another. Questions I have about what's happening aren't always answered and I frequently find myself at a loss as to what's going on and why, and explanations given can be mind-bending and brain-breaking. Frustration bubbles and I found myself frequently putting the book down. In the end, I decided to turn the brain off and go along for the ride, but I was still left flummoxed with unanswered questions and a desire to have read more about some things and less of others.
For example, the child Vampire Dorina chose to protect from LC in the beginning, what happened to it once they made it through the portal home? What's the story behind the golden Irin child Vampire Dory cried from the past? Was there any connection between the Irin Vampire Dorina met in the past and the Irin Human Dory met in the present? As for desires, I wished for more interaction between Dory's two halves, but what I was really waiting for was (view spoiler)[their merging (hide spoiler)]. This is what I was desperate to read and I resented everything else for preventing me from doing so. Impatient, I know.
So much happened between cover to cover it's almost sensory overload. Exhausting, for 500+ pages. Focus is appreciated, so is knowing the who, where and when of the differing POVs and thoughts Dory reads via telepathy.
Again, hilariously funny, great characterization and development, but things were ignored or merely sidelined, as Sandra mentions Claire gets little page time.
Fury's Kiss while enjoyable, eliciting many a laugh, is jam-packed, stuffed to the gills, and still doesn't manage to incorporate everything. Priortization and simplification, of the plot and magic mechanics, probably would've helped my understanding, digestion of information and future memory of the book itself. Forgetting 99% of this one by the time #4 comes out is likely. But the most important things to remember are:
(view spoiler)[ ❶ Vampire Dorina and Human Dory will one day merge. ❷ Dory is now a (temporary) senator, for politcal reasons. (I sympathised when she fell on her face and fainted when her Consul announced it. LOL) ❸ Dory and LC are now a couple. ❹ Dory is Ray's master. She has more respect for him than most senators and consuls. (hide spoiler)]
Hopefully, typing those out and my status updates will jog my memory.
Customer: Do you have any Robin Hood stories where he doesn't steal from the rich? My husband's called Robin and I'd like to buy him a copy for his birthday, but he's a banker, so...
This little book is full of the weird, the wonderful and the hilariously funny things customers say in bookshops. The cover is beautiful and I love the little illustrations alongside the quotes, especially this one:
Favourites that aren't in the book, from the website:
a customer reading a book about the nativity. Customer *to her friend*: Don't you ever get the feeling that Baby Jesus is somehow related to Herod? I always think that he's going to go: 'JESUS. I AM YOUR FATHER.'
Child *to me*: Does Santa come to your bookshop to get gifts for kids? Me *nodding wisely*: Yes. Yes. He absolutely does. Child: That's awesome! Me: Yes, it is. Child: But... Me: But what? Child: But... Santa's really fat. I don't think he could squeeze through the gaps in the bookshelves. Me: It's ok. He sends us a list before hand, and we leave the books by the door. Child: That makes you Santa's elf! Me: Yes... yes, I suppose it does.
I've been following the blog and Facebook Page, nodding when I've come across something I've experienced as an ex-bookseller and laughing when it's so absurd and is, as Neil Gaiman has quoted on the cover, kinda sad.(less)
My mother is the only reason I managed to finish this book. She loved Divergent and has just finished re-reading it but for some reason she wanted me...moreMy mother is the only reason I managed to finish this book. She loved Divergent and has just finished re-reading it but for some reason she wanted me to read this one first so I had to force myself to finish.
This time around I had no connection to the characters. They seemed drastically different. More juvenile with lots of sulking and ruminating on problems. Everything is seen through the lens of Tris and Four's relationship which acted as a means of constant personal conflict. I had no patience for the angst that came out of that conflict, or for Tris's new-found suicidal nature. I was here for the dystopia, for the tragedies, hard choices and sacrifices to be made. One of the few good scenes is when the Erudite deliver a message to the Divergent (which are more numerous than first thought), to Tris, via a kind of suicide note, and Tris is forced to make a split-second decision of who to save and who to sacrifice. That was startling and gruesome, and exactly what I was looking for.
As for Marcus the robot, Marcus the mouthpiece -I found his character difficult to comprehend. He's an empty character the reader is supposed to hate but it's hard to do so when he doesn't show emotion or react to anything despite being publicly beaten by his own son. He has no comeback. He says nothing. Why did he submit Four to repeated physical abuse? There's no answer because he doesn't acknowledge he did it or the accusations. Other than a hate figure, he's a mouthpiece for plot progression. Without him we wouldn't find out the secret to this dystopian dynamic.
Peter is an odd one. I guess you could say he's a frenemy -an enemy who can also be an ally under the right circumstances. I wonder how close he is to his family. Does he love them? Love seems an alien thing to him and now that he's been reunited with them, will he fight for them? Will he change?
As I grew closer to the last page and freedom, I swore if Roth introduced zombies outside "the fence" the book would meet the wall at lightning speed. It didn't happen but it was close.
The ending is drawn out and predictable, concluding with a revelation, plus cliffhanger. By now I just wanted this book to be over. I'm only mildly curious:
- What the relationship is between Tris and this Edith Prior.
- About the significance of being divergent in light of this new information. How can that help whatever's left outside the fence?
Insurgent feels very padded. Not a lot happens for a long time. It needed to be tighter, punchier, be a more faithful continuation of Divergent's story and characters, and less about romantic entanglements.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book is all about th...moreWeird, wacky and whimsical worldbuilding, Batman!
Silly, stupid and senseless.
Depends on your outlook, and sense of humour.
This book is all about the worldbuilding. Forget about the plot, there isn't much of one and it isn't introduced until quite late into the book.
Croak is a town filled with places and characters with names linked to death e.g. Kilda, Mort, Corpp's (pub), Dead Weight (gym) etc, etc. Every single inhabitant, 82 including our MC, is an oddball and a former delinquent just like Lexington is at the beginning. A rebel without a cause. Punching, kicking and biting her way through life much to her own chagrin. She hates being unable to control her violent outbursts. But this makes her an exceptional Killer Grim -someone who separates the soul from the body at the precise moment of death with a single touch while her male 18-year-old partner, Driggs is a Culler who harvests the souls and transports them back to the Bank to be released into the Afterlife via the Atrium where Mr. Tell Tale Fart a.k.a. Edgar Allan Poe, Elvis and many a dead US president like to hangout to greet the newbies and socialise with the Grims.
Lex's new summer job seems to have a calming effect, giving her purpose and a sense of fulfillment. The town accepts, welcomes and understands her wild nature so she quickly feels at home despite the lack of internet and cell signal.
There's much to laugh at; the absurdity of death detecting jellyfish, the unsettling chemistry between Lex and Driggs and their inability to deal with it, but this balances out the horrors of reaping the horribly disfigured, the young and the murdered. Lex struggles to adhere to the rules by doing her job and only her job. She itches to chase after murderers and deal out some justice although she believes it's also unfair that people like John Wilkes Booth don't go to hell and reap a little of what they sow. And then Lex finds out why Killing is an intensely different experience for her in particular. (view spoiler)[She can damn people, anyone, whether living or on the brink of death. Condemn their souls to be locked out of the Afterlife. Burnt from the inside out -an exceptionally painful way to go.
I think it's a cop-out that this ability was stolen from her before she had a chance to decide what to do with it, if anything. It would've created conflict within herself and with the Croakers as they compare her to the serial killer from the 1800s and the current one. (hide spoiler)]
The romance with Driggs gets a tad uncomfortable with a stalker/paedophile vibe at one point which he fully admits. The plot served only to sever the only connection the MC had to her old New York City life: (view spoiler)[by killing off her twin sister (hide spoiler)]. No attempt was made to mask the identity of the serial killer so there was no mystery there.
Humour is subjective. Sometimes I enjoyed it immensely and others it was over the top and irritating. The same goes for the worldbuilding. It gets a little complicated which along with the absurdness of it all, makes everything harder to comprehend. However, the unusual writing was fresh and exciting and encouraged me to read more.
Croak is like Dead Like Me on steroids. And LSD. I didn't hate it although I can't say for sure whether I'll read the sequel or not.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)