After reading this, I had quite a few unanswered questions. At times the story was all over the place and couldn't decide what path it was going to taAfter reading this, I had quite a few unanswered questions. At times the story was all over the place and couldn't decide what path it was going to take. It's left me confused about certain outcomes plus quite a few characters were introduced and I didn't always understand their significance with so little information being given about them.
Mainly I wanted to meet Celia's sire, learn about his relationship to Edgar, and more about these vampires in general but this was scuppered by the King of Rusland's actions.
The emotional relationships Celia had were interesting but the mystery behind her torture and her sister's death was never revealed. In fact her past although alluded to through dreams and little facts about her mother, isn't written in much detail. I would've liked more but I guess we'll see that in the sequel. Her siren status was new but didn't really fit with the rest of the book and just added more questions to the all ready long list.
Side note: It was also weird reading about characters whose names have a strong connection with me: Amy (my name) was the girlfriend of Kevin -my father's name -eww. I also don't get along with him so every time I read the name I couldn't help but feel a flare of anger. I tried really hard to not let that get in the way of my enjoyment of the book....more
Clear and direct techniques for approaching strangers and having meaningful and rewarding conversations with them, from an FBI agent in the BehaviouraClear and direct techniques for approaching strangers and having meaningful and rewarding conversations with them, from an FBI agent in the Behavioural Analysis Program. Conveying your intent, body language and tone of voice, are very important. Definitely something I would refer back to in the future....more
Evil humans, evil vampires, one very hot vampire bounty hunter, a disapproving mother and a half-breed vampire hunteress. Great stuff!
Loved it. ThereEvil humans, evil vampires, one very hot vampire bounty hunter, a disapproving mother and a half-breed vampire hunteress. Great stuff!
Loved it. There were many hilarious moments involving Cat's lethalness, she's a grim reaper or as Bones likes to call her the 'Red Reaper'. There were also some very sweet and passionate moments. Bones was the only one to accept Cat for who she was and what she could do, he was very patient with her. I'm starting One Foot in the Grave right now......more
Throughout the book there was an interesting theme of "what/who is good/evil?" going on, and just because you trust someone doesn't mean they are deseThroughout the book there was an interesting theme of "what/who is good/evil?" going on, and just because you trust someone doesn't mean they are deserving of that trust. Just because someone is a demon doesn’t automatically make them evil and not all humans are “good”. There was a grey area and plenty of stereotypical role reversals to keep me on my toes. The humans actually seemed more evil as they had a choice over their actions whereas not all of the demon species could choose, it was simply their nature. The demons were more humane (how ironic), they didn’t torture Tayla, their enemy but treated and healed her wounds but the humans tortured and killed Yuri.
I found it interesting that Tayla could probably best Eidolen in a fight, that's unusual in PNR. Tayla’s difficulty in reconciling what she was with what her father had done was done well, she was very strong to have survived all she had. The relationship between Gem and Tayla was very realistic, it mirrored my experience of when I found my half-sister and all the emotions I felt about her, her life and her experience with our father, and vice versa.
I was intrigued by some of the supporting cast; Gem and her unrequited love for Kynan but the death of his wife brings me hope that something might happen between them in future, and Wraith, I can’t wait to read his book –I’m a sucker for mysterious tortured souls.
The beginning of this book was unbelievably frustrating with the constant switching of POVs but this evened out with the reasons for this becoming clearer in the second half of the book, which was the better half by the way. I’m not usually one for half stars but I’d give this 7/10 so that’s 3.5 stars. ...more
Unconditional love and care for a child teaches him how to love, how to love his parent in return, and how to love his own child.
Case in point:
(ClickUnconditional love and care for a child teaches him how to love, how to love his parent in return, and how to love his own child.
Case in point:
(Click to enlarge)
My only criticism: When the mother visits her son's house in the middle of the night I expected an unknown, bleary-eyed woman screaming "Burglar!" lying next to him in bed. Possibly with smeared mascara and a strong whiff of tequila on her breath. Now that would've been realistic. And hilarious.
Thank you, Karen H., for recommending this heart-melting book to me....more
People should read this for Stephen Fry, Karin Slaughter and Julian Barnes's contributions, as these alone should convince EVERYONE, even cynical politicians, to preserve every single library, no matter how small. If you value books and are worried about their future, then this is a must read.
The Library Book is filled with essays, stories and autobiographical pieces by a range of authors and journalists from different backgrounds about the importance of libraries in the past, present (2012) and future. The proceeds of this book go to The Reading Agency, a UK charity which runs reading programmes in libraries, so even though it advocates using and preserving libraries, buying this will also have a beneficial effect.
Foreword by Rebecca Gray & Afterword: The Reading Agency by Miranda McKearney
This Place Will Lend You Books For Free by James Brown 4★ As this dude says "it's cheaper than Amazon." In my case, I spent £0.99 buying the Kindle edition and my library would've charged £0.70 to reserve the dead tree edition so for me this was true.
Character Building by Anita Anand 2★ Anand recalls herself as a voracious reader as a child, leaning to one side as she struggled to carry home piles of books.
The Defence of the Book by Julian Barnes 5★ A previously unseen extract from England, England. *adds to shelf* A dystopian view of future England and the role of the library. Having dead tree books makes it harder to control the truth whereas with a few clicks digital information can be distorted. Could've done without this cliffhangering mid-sentence though. I wanna know the rest!
The Punk and the Langside Library by Hardeep Singh Koli 2★ This personal experience shows the diverseness of the people that use and intermingle inside the walls of libraries and how it strengthens communities.
The Rules by Lucy Mangan 4★ A charmingly funny list of rules in Mangan's library.
Baffled at a Bookcase by Alan Bennett 1★ [unfinished] Tedious and over-long, I lost interest.
The Future of the Library by Seth Godin 5★ I'd love to see Godin's ideas come to fruition on libraries teaching how to find and use information efficiently rather than just being repositories, encouraging a far more active role in communities.
Going to the Dogs by Val McDermid 3★ Ah, the ingenuity of children. In order gain access to the world of adult books the young McDermid tells the librarians her mother is bedridden and must supply her with books. They fall for it -hook, line and sinker.
I ❤ Libraries by Lionel Shriver 4★ Shriver argues libraries support publishers and writers when unless something is a bestseller a book may only remain on shelves for 6 weeks after release, and publishers refuse to keep backlists in print. She concludes with: 'I am bequeathing whatever modest estate I accumulate by my death to the Belfast Library Board.' I respect her reasons for doing this. Kudos.
Have You Heard of Oscar Wilde? by Stephen Fry 5★ Amazing. People should get this book just for this. The autobiographical piece explains so much about this man and his obsession with Oscar Wilde, his idol. (He even plays him in the movie, Wilde.) This is incredibly moving and inspiring, and exactly why access to books is so important.
The Secret Life of Libraries by Bella Bathurst 4★ Interested in the miscellaneous oddities of libraries? What people choose to do in them other than the obvious? This is for you. They can be more licentious places than the stuffy, church-like atmosphere suggests. Very interesting.
The Booksteps by China Miéville 2★ An extract from Un Lun Dun. A strange children's story of a crossover from real London to the mirror world of UnLondon.
Alma Mater by Caitlin Moran 3★ Moran argues that once you close libraries they will be too costly to reopen when things get better. So once they're gone, they're gone forever: 'Libraries that stayed open during the Blitz will be closed by budgets.'
The Library of Babylon by Tom Holland 3★ I skimmed this one a bit but it details the historical significance of libraries in the ancient world and how they were symbols of great power for many rulers: 'Knowledge was power - and power was barely worth having without knowledge.'
It Takes a Library... by Michael Brooks 1★ [unfinished] Lost interest.
The Magic Threshold by Bali Rai 1★ Not that interesting. Best quote: 'Technology has its place, but it would not even exist without books and libraries.'
Libraries Rock! by Ann Cleeves 2★ The end of this piece is excellent: 'And if libraries don't support these writers, publishers won't commission them. Without money, libraries are tempted to buy what is certain to issue - and that's the material that you can find in every supermarket, the bestsellers, the easily promoted. Libraries aren't supermarkets; they're places of cultural importance, where magic happens and where dreams begin.'
The Five-Minute Rule by Julie Myerson 3★ About the role the library played as a child when Myerson was an exuberant young writer, plus some tips on how to get started.
If You Tolerate This... by Nicky Wire 2★ Nicky Wire as interviewed by Robin Turner for The Guardian Wire's answer to the plight of libraries: 'higher taxation of wealthiest 10% of the country.'
Library Life by Zadie Smith 2★ Smith believes this shameful government is trying to hand off the burden of building and maintaining of infrastructure (like libraries and schools) to the people with the invention of the 'Big Society' so they're free to nationalise and save the private sector.
The Lending Library by Kate Mosse 1★ [unfinished] I gave up on this one. I think it was a supernatural murder mystery set in the 1950s involving a library but my attention wandered. It was also longer than most of the other pieces.
Fight for Libraries as You Do Freedom by Karin Slaughter 5★ A powerful, passionate and well-researched essay by an internationally bestselling author all ready proactive in the fight to save libraries by founding the 'Save the Libraries' project which has so far raised $100k. I wholeheartedly agreed with her hard-hitting and direct arguments. I must read this author.
I have no idea what my average rating of these pieces is but I do believe this is an important, timely book. It depicts the current crisis, gives us the historical importance of libraries, divulges a broad range of positive life-changing personal experiences with libraries and the negative effects should libraries go into decline, and presents the need for libraries to evolve and stay up-to-date. ...more
A single parent protagonist? And of under-18s too. Something different -Whoo-hoo!
The humour for me was hit-and-miss (Woobies? Seriously?) but what reA single parent protagonist? And of under-18s too. Something different -Whoo-hoo!
The humour for me was hit-and-miss (Woobies? Seriously?) but what really intrigued me was Jessica's relationship with her dead husband, Rich and his mistress, Charlene and their baby, little Richie. The emotional side of things. You can't help feeling for Jess while she's trying to figure out how to deal the mistress of her dead husband now permanently entrenched in her life as another new vampire, sharing the same master (jealousy but that's not irrational -she steals one man, she might steal another) as well as adjusting to the undead lifestyle and holding off the enemy Wraiths. What Charlene reveals about Rich changes the way Jess feels about him but ultimately the outcome of her marriage would've been the same.
Aside from the constant worry for their health and safetly and considering Jess is a widowed single mother, we don't see too much of the children. I know the focus is on the couple coming together being romance and all but I was desperate to know how they felt about the werewolves and vampires in their lives beyond the obvious "Coooool!"
I liked the origin stories behind the first vampire and The Rings as well as the concept of claiming and mating for 100 years. It cuts out the possibility of straying but could leave you in a miserable situation. Overall, this was an easy, fast and fun read....more
Metzengerstein is Poe’s first published short story, and it was not good. Seven pages of confusing, and almost nonsensical, Hatfields and McCoys tale of two feuding families.
Why give it two stars instead of one? Wikipedia. Yeah, I shouldn’t have to resort to another source in order to understand the story, but I identified the important pieces but didn’t know how to put them together. Once I did, it all made sense.
Vengeance was had on the young head of the Metzengerstein by a manifestation of the dead Berlifitzing patriarch in the form of a demonic horse, who had previously resided (and moved) inside a tapestry. That kind of reminded me of the film adaption of Roald Dahl's The Witches with girl living inside the painting.
Anyway, had this story been written more clearly, it would've been an awesome Halloween read. I loved the imagery of the horse's gothic triumph at the end.
Meh. The writing was pretty bad. It plainly said that it was unsure of its audience. One minute it read like it was for 9-year-olds and the next they'Meh. The writing was pretty bad. It plainly said that it was unsure of its audience. One minute it read like it was for 9-year-olds and the next they're talking about uncircumcised penises and people poking out the eyeballs of innocent children. (Those two things aren't related by the way. Just thought I'd let you know, in case you were wondering.)
I didn't care about Kaye's smoking, drinking, shoplifting and truancy etc. It didn't bother me because it was realistic, and I sympathised with the situation concerning her mother.
Kaye's sexuality seemed stifled even for a young adult book, which frustrated me because it was difficult to figure out whether she was actually attracted to Kenny or Roiben. Corny (what a nickname, but then who wants to be called Cornelius?) however - yay for a gay character who doesn't fit a particular stereotype. He's just an ordinary guy with insecurities.
But there was one thing that baffled me. One of Kaye's friends drowns but she doesn't think to give them mouth-to-mouth and try and revive them. Guess they weren't that good of a friend.
I liked the descriptions of the Unseelie Court and it's fey but most of the book was set in Ironside (our world). Kaye didn't slip down the rabbit hole until halfway, when I was about give up on this due to boredom.
Speaking of the rabbit hole, Tithe reminded me of Alice in Wonderland except Kaye/Alice is fey rather than human so she's an outsider in the human world despite growing up there and an outsider in the fey world because she doesn't understand all of the rules there.
The different elements of this book didn't really come together in a way that worked. It was unsatisfying. The highest praise I can give it: I love the beautifully striking cover accurately representing what's inside.
Out of the all the characters Roiben and Kaye's mother were the most fleshed out, the others were thin throwaways. The ideas in Tithe were interesting but the writing could've been better. I'm the first to admit that the fey aren't my favourite supernaturals but I didn't completely hate Black's incarnation of them. Despite my less than warm reception of the book, I do believe it would make a good movie (by Tim Burton?). I won't be reading the sequel....more
Vampire tales of loneliness, revenge and what love means.
Frater's superb characterization continues to thrill me, though now I''Life: thick and red.'
Vampire tales of loneliness, revenge and what love means.
Frater's superb characterization continues to thrill me, though now I'm a little scared of how she's able to so exquisitely bury inside the hearts and minds of vile predators and abusers and paint them in all their terrible glory. It's not often that stories are told from the villain's perspective, especially ones that I actually appreciate, but these I did.
Part I: The Ache of Loneliness
★★☆☆☆ The Whisper An introductory story of a night-loving mortal woman coming upon a male vampire.
★★★☆☆ The Two Mothers Before you think it, there are no lesbians here! A vampire woman longs for a child, spots one suffering from leukemia out walking with a mother willing to sacrifice everything for her love of him, including her life. I found it interesting how the mother was willing to share her child with another and let him call her "mama".
Part II: The Revenge of the Vampires I love a good "revengeance" and Frater delivers in spades. This quote explains this section perfectly:
"When a woman says no, it's really best to leave her alone. You just never know who you are fucking with."
★★★★☆ The Predator
'She was undermining him. He was so frustrated, when he lay in his bed during the day trying to sleep, he would fantasize about taking her forcibly right there at work. He could feel his hands closing over her neck, pushing her back onto a copier as she cried out in terror. Sometimes, that was his only solace when she ignored him. No matter what happened, he would always conquer her in his dreams.'
★★★★★ Vengeance Sitting in a chair with a gun is an old man waiting for his annual visit from the wife he vilely abused. Every year she beats him to within an inch of his life for his awful violence towards her (rape and beatings), her children (the girl he molested, the male he rendered infertile) and the full-term unborn child he killed. By far my favourite story of the collection.
Part III: The Inner Sanctum Trilogy
★★☆☆☆ The Aspect of Her Eyes A male vampire speaking of his love and admiration for his wife to his female progeny while watching said wife hunt their next meal.
★★★★☆ The Memoirs of Moniki Memoirs of a 5-to-7 year old girl neglected and abused by her alcoholic father in the 1930s. Helped by a genetically-engineered rat created by the Nazis and rescued by the female vampire admired in the previous story. Contrasting the abuse Moniki received by her biological father and the endearing love by her new vampire parents was interesting, though I'm not sure the girl's loving grandmother would approve of her new life even though she's now safe and happy since they probably qualify as 'the devil' she feared.
★★★☆☆ Blood and Love Our vampire couple showcase their enduring and all-consuming love for one another, paling in comparison to human love. ...more
Good lord, that was bad. But I can understand why some like it. The humour, frivolity and flippant nature of the characters towards all things supernaGood lord, that was bad. But I can understand why some like it. The humour, frivolity and flippant nature of the characters towards all things supernatural just wasn't to my taste. Where were the disbelievers, those ignorant of the paranormal or the crazy fist-shaking fanatics hell-bent on ridding the world of evil doers?
Everything was designed to be quirky, to draw a laugh or a smile from the reader. From the melodramatic evil Lolita determined to take over the world any way possible, seducing and killing her way to her goal, to declarations that the world's about to end and the requisite tentacled monster. Basically it's a parody of old-style rural horror with a modern twist.
The zombie cows and turkeys were new and exciting but in general the humour didn't get many laughs from me. The two months of reading this hasn't been fun. I'm not sure why I forced myself to finish it today but I did it. Hallelujah.
If you like or are in the mood for an ultra lite camp and goofy horror in the same vein as Shaun of the Dead (which is much better than this book) or the Scary Movie franchise then you'll probably enjoy this....more
Won this book on First Reads and just started reading it.
Edit: My mother caught me reading this (she was intrigued by the black people on the cover -Won this book on First Reads and just started reading it.
Edit: My mother caught me reading this (she was intrigued by the black people on the cover - she's Bajan) and asked to borrow it, now I'm wondering whether I'm going to get it back so I can finish it.
Edit #2: Okay so I got this back a few days and I started reading it again from the beginning. I didn't get very far and have decided to put it down indefinitely. Despite loving the sense of humour, I was pretty disappointed that the main character never makes it to the UK. I live here and was looking forward to a foreigner's perception of my home country. Also I was a little unsure of the realism of walking off with a stranger to a strange place without anyone knowing where you are, I wondered why she didn't act on her "he could be a serial killer" thoughts. Plus, if I had spent what would have been a lot of money and was going to be taking my first trip abroad I wouldn't be wasting that kind of opportunity for an unknown man. If she had made it to the UK and then abandoned the tour for the seemingly interesting stranger I might have felt differently. But what really made me stop reading were the over-the-top cringe-worthy thoughts and antics, I found it too painful to continue.
There is potential here especially with the incredible sense of humour but the thoughts, actions and behaviour of the characters need to be toned down and made more rational for it to appeal to a wider audience....more
This was a toughie. The Tale of the Vampire Bride puts a different spin on Dracula from a view of a new "bride", Glynis, and is made up of mostly herThis was a toughie. The Tale of the Vampire Bride puts a different spin on Dracula from a view of a new "bride", Glynis, and is made up of mostly her journal entries and letters.
I wanted to seriously give up about 10% in and briefly hated the author for subjecting my mind to such cruelty. Yes, I know this is horror but I figured it would be just blood-and-guts, not the personal kind of horrors happening one after another in such a short space of time that would be everyone's worst nightmare.
The beginning is deceptive -just a loving but argumentative family travelling Europe in order to find their daughters husbands after Glynis offends every suitor with her outspoken ways. And they're unwittingly led to the home of Dracula. He takes Glynis to be his fourth bride but she fights him and his rules at every turn. He attempts to break her using various and sickening methods. He doesn't value life and has no concept of compassion. She refuses to give him the satisfaction of breaking her and suffers the consequences along with her vampire sisters (the other brides).
Glynis is an incredibly strong yet vulnerable character. She's a modern woman, a feminist who believes she should have the same freedoms as any man. She's intelligent, charming and witty. Her strength of will is formidable and her bravery, admirable. I was on her side from the very beginning.
I don't want to give too many details away because I appreciated this book so much more for having no idea what was around the corner as I read it. It's not predictable, you can never tell what will befall Glynis next. The writing is amazing. I found myself right there with Glynis, every step of the way, and despite being set in 1819, I never tired of the language or of the politeness and propriety of the time period as I usually am.
Due to my discomfort I sometimes wished the book was shorter, not because it wasn't of good quality I just wanted Glynis's suffering to end just like she did, whether that meant her escape or her death. However, she did experience some better days (or should that be nights?) in the hell of her captivity. It does get easier to read as you go on.
It must've been fate for me to read this when I did because the same day I picked this up I had read a magazine article on Natascha Kampusch's 3,096 Days, the real-life story of her kidnapping and years of imprisonment by Wolfgang Priklopil and her escape in 2006 when she was 18. I found myself comparing her views of her kidnapper and Glynis's and they were quite similar.
It's surprising to me that people can survive so much without breaking. I admire anyone real or fictional who can bear such trauma and still be intact when they come out the other side.
Warning: To those of you who avoid books with rape, it does contain more than one rape scene but it's not overly described and does have a purpose and although horrific, I wasn't offended by it's use....more
The flaws in Bitter Night I accepted due to being the first in the series with sequels usually surpassing the first. Crimson WiGrade: F for Epic Fail!
The flaws in Bitter Night I accepted due to being the first in the series with sequels usually surpassing the first. Crimson Wind doesn’t follow this pattern. No, it goes the other way. It may be unfair to make this judgement after only 74 pages but I don’t think so.
Characters: Max is a tough bitch, an Uber-Alpha. It’s over the top. Alexander is also supposedly Alpha but um, he’s a bit wet and dull. We didn’t need his POV, it only served to add pages where none were required. Giselle is presented as the powerful witch presiding over the group when in fact she is Beta to Max’s Alpha, which is confusing considering their history as torturer and victim. The characters are misrepresented, under-developed and unappealing though the cast is a large one so there’s little time to get to know them all individually.
Romance:Forced. Max is reluctant to be with Alexander...because he’s a stalker. He worships the ground she walks on. She doesn’t say or think this. It’s my opinion of him. We’re told they have this hot sexual tension between them when there’s no evidence of that. There’s more chemistry between her and warrior angel, Tutresiel. Their witty banter was the only element I enjoyed which covered a very tiny percentage of the book.
Plot:To find, save and bring Max’s family back to Horngate. Procrastination. By the time I gave up, Max hadn’t made it out of Horngate for this mission. She wasn’t even prepared to leave yet and I was almost 25% in. What took place in this time wasn't very interesting to me. It was just a lot of foreboding nonsense. However, I was intrigued by the fact that Max hadn't interacted with her family in 30 years which threw me. I was curious as to how Francis was going to make that work.
World-building: I was unconvinced by the world created in Bitter Night and wasn’t reassured in this one. It’s too easy to poke holes in it. There‘s a melding of mythologies that doesn’t quite work. The angels seem out of place. It’s a closed world where everything supernatural is a secret from the main population. However, Armageddon has now been unleashed on the world but we’ve yet to see the effect it has had outside of Horngate. Perhaps if I had read on this would’ve been rectified. On the whole, there are just too many questions and not enough answers.
As someone with hayfever who has to suffer through the annual sneezing season, I thought this might address the anxieties children might have about it, like I did. I dreaded periodically interrupting my teachers with my deafeningly loud sneezing fits. Self-consciousness led me to devise a way to blow air out of my mouth at Formula One speeds in a quieter manner, while desperately trying to stifle any followups.
Singing, one of my favourite activities, was impossible in summer. Break times were hell. We were always forced out onto the grassy fields - the home of the pesky pollen spore - instead of the perfectly acceptable concrete playgrounds. Teachers who liked to teach outside on particularly warm summer days were glared at with unspoken hatred.
Gaiman addressed none of this. Instead he exaggerated the effect of the sneeze. At least sneezes don't literally blow people away, he seems to say. That would be really bad.
Adam Rex's illustrations, on the other hand, I loved. A broad array of dozens of anthropormorphized animals kept me entertained as I challenged myself to identify them all. Not always an easy task with a tapir, a platypus and a Japanese macaque among them....more
In this installment we discover the consequences of the unsupervised actions of the autopilot versions of Paul and Dallas in Bermuda before their bodies/psyches were reintegrated, making for hilarious reading. I can say 'hilarious' since it turned out all right in the end. Dallas and Paul are so sweet together. The former worrying over his subconscious greed, the latter trying to figure out if they'd hooked up, and them both obsessing over each other.
You know, I had to up the star rating on the last one to 5 stars because it was so awesome. I find it so hard to discern "I love it, I love it!" and "I love it!", a frequent problem I have with books by JCP.
*Warning:Much violence described in this review. Not for those with weak stomachs. Seriously.
Weak and cowardly - that's what the people of this book*Warning:Much violence described in this review. Not for those with weak stomachs. Seriously.
Weak and cowardly - that's what the people of this book would believe of us in the developed world today. We'd call ourselves civilised and our forbears barbarians, but humanity's managed to survive through some exceptionally horrific times. Many lessons can certainly be learned from our history.
Some Survival Tips:
✻ Expedition of exploration is code for "suicide mission". ✻ If a relative or close friend is/could be in a position of power and authority, run far away and go into hiding. ✻ Never love anyone. They can be used against you or slaughtered in front of you. ✻ Never own anything worth killing for. ✻ When war breaks out, relocate from the warzone. ✻ Be willing to switch religion at a moment's notice. ✻ Any weapon you possess may be used against you. ✻ If you're an executioner, always keep your blade sharp. ✻ Hide all books in a fireproof place, behind lock and key.
Funny, informative and riveting. One Bloody Thing After Another reads like an adult version of Horrible Histories, divulging all the best bits and possibly the least well known parts of our bloody world history in an engrossing and funny manner. Illustrations and maps of territories belonging to different empires throughout the ages are included. All were perfectly rendered on my Kindle.
Events are covered up to 1900 and range from the natural disasters like plague, earthquake and volcanic eruption, to the man-made horrors of war, genocide, serial killers, assassinations, and the crazy inventive methods and devices of torture. Brief but detailed summaries of events are given in easily digestible chunks, each one taking up only a handful of paragraphs so it was hard to get bored. Origin stories of certain fictional works are described, for example, Gilles de Rais was the inspiration for Bluebeard by Charles Perrault.
The torture. Yikes. Be careful what you invent in the way of devices because someone might turn around and use it against you, as in the case of the Brazen Bull. I wouldn't mind if the Wall Street Bull was converted so we can roast a few fat cat bankers. I'll provide the marshmallows.
While we're on the subject, I'm calling shenanigans on the double standard regarding female torturers and serial killers receiving lame punishments when their male counterparts were tortured and killed for their crimes. Examples:
❶ Elizabeth Báthory had her servant girls 'beaten and their lips pierced with pins' and 'red-hot irons were pressed on to the feet and mouths'. 'Victims were dragged naked into the snow and had water poured onto them until they froze to death. One servant girl was stripped, covered with honey and left overnight to be stung and bitten by insects.' At age 44 her husband died (1604). New servant girls were acquired and 'daughters of the gentry were invited to live in her castle.' 'At least 300 girls and women, nobly born as well as commoners ... were put to death in an inhuman and cruel manner. She cut their flesh and made them grill it; afterwards she would make them eat bits of their own body.'
Punishment: 'Lifelong house arrest in the castle where she had committed her foul deeds.'
❷ Darya Saltykova in 1756 inherited 600 serfs from her husband and promptly started torturing them for pleasure. Several years and the unexplained disappearance of 138 girls later, she was found guilty of murdering 38 serfs.
Punishment: 1 hour in a pillory in Moscow and imprisoned in an underground cell in a convent where she experienced total darkness until death in 1801.
❸ Ranavalona proclaimed herself queen of Madagascar in 1828 and began torturing, crucifying and beheading Christians. 'Brigands, runaway slaves and rebels were flayed alive, sawn in half or had their testicles slowly crushed.' *winces* She also tested for treason in arbitrary ways similar to the identification of witches, one of which involved 'progressive amputation'. 'After each amputation, the victim was invited to confess their crimes.' Most died from shock and blood loss.
Punishment: In 1861 she died in her sleep. No punishment meted out.
Hardly justice for those that suffered at their soft, pampered hands. Perhaps being rich has its perks.
But successful innocent women were also suspicious. Poor Hypatia, 'head of the Platonist School in the city [Alexandria, Egypt] and possibly the first major female mathematician' was rumoured to practise witchcraft. Of course, she was. She was also vocally against the persecutions of Jews. What happened to her? Apprehended, taken to a church to be stripped and beaten to death. Charming.
Boudica and Joan of Arc also met violent ends, but they participated in and started wars so it was a hazard of the job. Surprisingly, there were methods of violence against women I had never considered, for instance the ripping out of foetuses and either killing them or sewing them to the mouths/breasts of their mothers. Sadistic. Breast mutilation and removal, also quite common. And now my mind is conceiving of methods not mentioned.
I apologise to friends and followers for my over-eager and excessive status updates for this 190-page book clogging up your feeds. Honestly, I tried to limit them in number and keep the most gruesome parts out to protect any weak stomachs.
Boring history is boring no longer with this book. Anyone even vaguely interested should give it a go, because I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Currently available for £1.09 in the UK Kindle Sale!...more
**spoiler alert** As expected this was not a good book but strangely it also didn't feel like the worst, that title went to the last two Anita adventu**spoiler alert** As expected this was not a good book but strangely it also didn't feel like the worst, that title went to the last two Anita adventures.
First of all, I could not believe the opening scene was a sex scene and it was so long I got bored and started to read only the speech and none of the descriptions.
Secondly, there was also a lot of repetitiveness of certain words and phrases mainly with sex scenes -the way the men are described and the way other marshals/cops/bodyguards react to Anita, both within the book and the last few books.
Thirdly, there was barely any plot. Basically Jason's father is dying of cancer and Jason wants to make peace with him and have his 'Hallmark moment' before he dies but his father is a homophobe and believes his son is gay so Anita goes with him as his girlfriend. Jason has twin cousins who look exactly like him and is mistaken for the cousin who is about to get married but has run off with some Master of the City's wife, he's kidnapped and tortured by the Master of the City's flunkies to the point of death. Oh and we have a visit from Marmee Noir which seemed forced and more than a little confusing. That's about it.
The only scene that I was only vaguely interested in was the one with Richard in it, where Anita fed on and took his (formerly her) anger/rage and he received the ardeur or at least his version of the ardeur. Does this spell the end of Anita's sluttish behaviour? Please tell me it does. If she can feed on anger rather than lust she can cut down on the men right?
I'm beginning to believe Hamilton has lost her touch and will never get it back again. I hope I'm wrong and will continue to read her Anita books but I will not be buying them. I pray that Skin Trade will focus more on the plot and less on the sex. ...more
I laughed and laughed and laughed through this one. Some may not appreciate MacAlister's brand of humour and her tendency to write fluffy light readsI laughed and laughed and laughed through this one. Some may not appreciate MacAlister's brand of humour and her tendency to write fluffy light reads but I enjoyed this immensely.
There's a great cast of characters and despite this being a historical romance, Noble's son, 10 year old Nick stole the show. Such an amazing child. And it was Gillian's accepting and loving attitude, her willingness to include him on nearly all of her adventures and her steadfast refusal to be parted from him helped Nick let it all out. I cried when he did. I loved both of them in that moment. Her quirky nature helped her understand her step-son in a way that few others would.
Gillian's a mess though. Her curiosity and over-excited approach to life leads to much trouble. So many accidents. Always her fault. Lots of eye-rolling from me on this but in an affectionate "here we go again" way. She just doesn't understand why she can't speak her mind or do what she wants to do, like check out that pretty blue vase over there. Ooh, I wonder what it feels like. Why is my hand wet? Argh, blue paint. Oops. Is that a handprint on my dress? *facepalm* She doesn't like to pretend. What you see is what you get with her. Her motto should be Carpe Diem because she always lives up to it. And she gets what she wants because of it.
Noble, you poor bastard. Not many men would put up with a wife who cavorts with their enemies and disobeys him at every turn. Who occasionally knocks him unconscious or has tea with his former mistresses (which is not done by the way. It's just not done!). His anger and rages over this frighten the staff into covering for her and providing distractions because they've fallen for her just as he comes to in the end.
Noble was damanged just as his son was by his former wife and Gillian was the perfect cure. She didn't care that he was branded a wife-murderer by society, she didn't believe he was capable of such a thing. She had faith in him. She wasn't prim and proper -the kind of girl he sought but she brought life and happiness to his dark and depressing life. When he thought she was being manipulative and purposely cruel she was in fact desperately trying to help him, fighting to save the future of their marriage, their family's future. Solving the mystery he couldn't (who murdered his last wife) after 5 years of trying. You go girl!
This book would be nothing without the servants. My god, they're good. Tremayne #1, Tremayne #2, Tremayne #3 -Gillian's names for the triplets that worked for Noble, who never stop fighting amongst themselves. They took to her like ducks to water. Crouch, the "pirate" butler with a hook for a hand whose penchant for Cockney rhyming slang was excellent.
Speaking of language, in this it was used to perfect effect. The dialogue in particular. There are long conversations -all dialogue and absolutely no narrative. Sometimes two going on at once between different people, that are crafted in such a way that you could easily follow and always know who was talking without being told. I admire that kind of ability.
And what would the book be without the humour? Wow. Discovering a naked Noble tied to a bed staring up at his achingly beautiful wife trying not to get a hard-on in front of his shocked son while his wife bends over revealing cleavage, looks at his crotch and declares his penis broken (she's never seen it soft). Oh, look it twitched. Maybe it's not broken. ROTFLMAO!
Noble Intentions is my favourite MacAlister book to date. I've only read her Aisling Grey series but this surpasses those. Definitely a future re-read....more
**spoiler alert** This one, I think, was the most harrowing and painful to read out of all three and I'm so glad it didn't get a happy, happy, happy e**spoiler alert** This one, I think, was the most harrowing and painful to read out of all three and I'm so glad it didn't get a happy, happy, happy ending. It was realistic and I liked it.
Even Katniss's nightmares, confusion and depression contributed to this being real. So many books ignores the repercussions that violence can have on it's characters.
Finnick. I fell hard for him and then...I was so upset. And to a lesser degree, Boggs which happened so fast. In the blink of an eye. Gone. War sucks. An understatement but I can't think of better words right now.
The choice of who Katniss was going to pick wasn't much of a choice in the end was it? And was only given 3 pages at the very end. I wasn't on the team that "won" her eventually but I accepted it. That there wasn't much between her and Gale made this easier even though I was dying for them to be together all the way through.
I thought it was funny that Snow's death happened without anyone watching, giving it less importance. I did want to know a little more about the aftermath of Coin's death and the trial though. I wanted Katniss to explain to them her reason for it and see everyone's reaction. I also needed to know some details of the Games with the Capitol's children and Katniss's views on it.
In my quest to read something by a present day Barbadian author, I came across this free read by Margaret Sisu. Few can write a decent short story witIn my quest to read something by a present day Barbadian author, I came across this free read by Margaret Sisu. Few can write a decent short story with a satisfying ending. Sisu delivered the goods, providing a commentary on 1950s African American life and the hypocrisy of clergymen - the evil done by supposedly 'good' men. I'm pleased to say that there's none of that white-man-hates-on-black-man trope here. (Huh. I think the only other majority black cast fiction I've read without this trope is Alice Walker's The Color Purple.)
Although I'm not a fan of the spooky ghost story, it wasn't laboured in any way. Sisu got down to business and I appreciate that.
Ginny is a soil scientist forced into a lengthy vacation. She spends it in an old homestead on the outskirts of a small town in Alabama. A strange incorporeal voice and an oddly barren and unmarked grave send her investigating the former owner of her vacation home. While we follow Ginny in the 1990s we also have the 1950s point of view from Herman, the man whose grave she's curious about. His story is that of a scapegoat. And no, he isn't unjustly judged by the racist white man, he's judged by a black conservative preacher.
Herman is an honest outcast. He sets himself apart by his self-educated freethinking and erudite ways. Attending church is unnecessary to him because God is everywhere. Why pray in church when he can pray from the comfort of his property? When he isn't working he's reading, writing poetry or chatting secretly to Ebony on one of her regular visits to his place.
These innocent visits are moments of freedom for Ebony. She rails against her father's restrictive post-high school plan for her: to stay in the close-minded and claustrophobic town, marry and have babies. At odds with this are her dreams: to escape to the big city and become a singer. In Herman she has a friend who listens and understands. Herman is enchanted by Ebony's voice, her beauty and her spirit. He's shy when it comes to sharing his poetry and he'll do anything to make her happy, including driving her out of town so she can follow her dreams.
What Herman didn't bank on was the vindictive animosity of her father. On the basis of a man's poor eyesight, Mr. Preacher Man riles up the locals into believing Herman raped and murdered his baby girl. Some decide it's time to go a'huntin'. Frightened and unwilling to give Ebony up, Herman runs. Unfortunately he trips and accidentally shoots himself dead. What rankles is the twist.
On Ebony's arrival in New York City, she calls her father to tell him she's okay. He knew she was safe and well, yet he takes his anger out on an innocent man, causing his death. Because if the accident hadn't happened we know Herman was going to die the minute his pursuers caught up to him.
Afterwards, the preacher has the nerve to drop a major guilt trip on his daughter by visiting her with the news that Herman had committed suicide due to his unrequited love for Ebony and proceeds to sever all ties with her. This is the reason why Herman's spirit cannot rest.
Back in the 90s Ginny finds and meets Ebony, informing her of the truth. Ebony returns to the small town to quash the vicious rumour that still prevails. And Herman's barren grave becomes as lusciously green as his father's beside him, as he's finally at rest....more
Some of the teen-speak annoyed me as well as the assumptions and judgements about others. I don't remember being that bad as a teenager. Also I feel lSome of the teen-speak annoyed me as well as the assumptions and judgements about others. I don't remember being that bad as a teenager. Also I feel like I all ready know what will take place in the sequel, I'm not sure whether that was the intention of the authors to make it obvious but anyway other than that it was an okay book. ...more
City of Glass was so much better than the first two books. The first third was blah, the second third the action ramped up, then I got to page 369 - tCity of Glass was so much better than the first two books. The first third was blah, the second third the action ramped up, then I got to page 369 - the revelation that implied a possible happy ending, I was glued to the book from then on.
***Major Spoilers Warning***
I really loved Alec and Magnus in this especially their public display of affection in the hall and Alec introducing Magnus to his parents - finally.
Loved Simon's joke about Sebastian and Jace that Clary was appalled at: “So technically,” Simon said, “even though Jace isn’t actually related to you, you have kissed your brother.” He always manages to sum everything up so well. Sebastian was certainly creepy. He knew Clary was his sister but he still tried to seduce her. Ick.
I also loved Raziel's line to Clary after he did some smiting of the arrogant and presumptuous Valentine: ‘That was the justice of heaven. I trust that you are not dismayed.’ Brilliant.
Oh and when Jace and Clary are sleeping hand in hand before the night before the battle - that was sweet and so were the many touching moments they had together.
Although I liked this book there were still some things that annoyed me. I wondered why Clary didn’t come up with a rune that meant “awake” to help her mother, or may be she tried and I missed that bit.
Clary was given plenty of clues as to what Jace was throughout the books most notably Ithurial’s vision of Jace with angel wings. I had an idea when the Inquisitor died for Jace in book two, she wouldn’t have done that if she thought he was evil. Plus his physical abilities that no other Shadowhunter seemed to have.
On top of that Clary knew there was something wrong with Sebastian but she didn’t question his interest in her until much later. Things like this made me quite impatient for Clary and the others to realise these truths.
This third book made reading the first two worth it. A brilliant end to the trilogy.
I actually read most of this fable whilst simultaneously watching the 1999 film adaptation with Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Next Generation, X-Men).
II actually read most of this fable whilst simultaneously watching the 1999 film adaptation with Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Next Generation, X-Men).
I didn't realise until I read this that some of the humorous bits had passed me by in the adaptations and found myself laughing at Scrooge's very uncharitable and gloomy nature, and later the reactions to his death.
My absolute favourite character was Scrooge's nephew and his persistent attempts to befriend his uncle, always offering an invitation to Christmas dinner every year. I loved his perceptiveness in observing and understanding Scrooge's behaviour (and taking it without offence). It was spot on.
Scrooge: "What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to merry? You're poor enough." Nephew: "What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough." Scrooge: "Bah! Humbug!"
However, the narrative was very wordy so I did resort to skimming quite a bit of the descriptions to get to the good stuff i.e. the dialogue.
It was a good seasonal read to get me in to the spirit of Christmas. 'And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!'...more
Sold is a lyrically beautiful and graphically descriptive story of an innocent 13-year-old Nepalese girl from the mountains, sold by her oppressive gaSold is a lyrically beautiful and graphically descriptive story of an innocent 13-year-old Nepalese girl from the mountains, sold by her oppressive gambling addict step-father and trafficked into India to become a prostitute in a brothel run by a woman with no morals. There, Lakshmi's body is sold for the price of a Coca-Cola - a luxury she'd once cherished as a poor country girl. When she'd left home, she'd believed she was to become a maid in a rich woman's household in the big city where she could save and send money home to her beloved mother and her baby brother. The reality is soul-crushing. She's told so many lies she doesn't know what to believe.
Justine Eyre's narration is wonderful. I truly believed she was from that part of the world, but it turns out she's just great with accents. I was transfixed by her voice. Lakshmi's pain and horror at her situation is palpable. What makes it worse: once a prostitute, always a prostitute. There's no going home to your family if you manage to escape. You'll be shunned for bringing shame and dishonour to them. The only way out is HIV and death. As Lakshmi's fellow prostitutes fall prey to these, she eventually becomes the one to have resided in the brothel the longest. She survives her sexually-transmitted disease and endures the daily humiliations in the hopes of one day being free.
My only criticism: that Americans were Lakshmi's saviours. The white man. Considering the Author's Note at the end, describing how ex-prostitutes patrol the Nepal-India border and the work of various organisations (like this one) who work with the governments of these nations, it would be much easier to infiltrate these despicable places if the 'rescuers' were Indian themselves.
Length, laziness and/or problems meeting the deadline killed this short story, originally published as part of The Mammoth Books of Scottish RomanceLength, laziness and/or problems meeting the deadline killed this short story, originally published as part of The Mammoth Books of Scottish Romance. Quite frankly, it's an embarrassment to the author as I suspect Ms. Barbosa is capable of producing something of much higher quality.
We witness little of the requisite growth of affection between the main characters nor enough endearments to seduce readers into believing in their burgeoning but ultimately contrived relationship. Time spent together on stage is short and therefore gives the impression that any and all relationship progress is insanely rushed.
Poor structure sees us meet the characters after Duncan catches Reva/Jamie during a raid on his homestead and both feel attraction at first sight. He holds her hostage hoping to loosen her tongue with kindness so she'll spill the names of the other raiders. Jump 6 weeks into the future, they have a one night stand with I Love Yous after which the heroine escapes captivity only to be reunited with Duncan two months later, rounded off with a happy ever after.
Strangely, Duncan didn't feel lied to, used and abandoned when Reva distracts him with sex to escape. Being a virgin apparently gave her a Get Out of Jail free card. Her excuse was her heritage. As a member of the family that slaughtered his kin and injuring himself in battle, Reva/Jamie believed he'd never accept her or stop hunting her fellow raiders and family members - his mortal enemies. Understandable.
Duncan claims he'll overcome his grudge for the love of his good woman. I would've loved to have been in his head when faced with those who'd killed his father and stolen his livestock. Swallowing those insults to his honour would be painfully challenging.
Described events between the two families are actually based on real Scottish history, if not these characters or their romance. Normally, this would garner my favour not only for the story but for the author as too many fail to do a little research for their books. It's a shame The Reiver was so underdeveloped as it had the potential to be something more....more
While I enjoyed the imaginative, quirky and humorous writing style of Warm Bodies, the events and dialogue defied believability and I just couldn't fiWhile 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.