Although The Boyfriend List didn't blow me away, I'm pretty sure my teenage self would've eaten this up. It's a convincing story of the trials and triAlthough The Boyfriend List didn't blow me away, I'm pretty sure my teenage self would've eaten this up. It's a convincing story of the trials and tribulations of being a teenage girl involving girl-girl friendships, the first forays into romance and boys, and the blossoming of her sexuality -and trying to understand all of this as well as coming to understand oneself.
Ruby Oliver A nice girl whose teenage voice and the situations she finds herself in feel authentic. She's honest but has a hard time seeing the truth of things. She's a terrible judge of character with an inability to express how she feels to the people who've wronged her so she comes off as a doormat with a bad reputation. Instead she internalizes her frustrations, turning her anger inwards resulting in several panic attacks in the 10 days of hell she experiences.
The Parental Units Ruby's dad -Mr. Positive and the calm, rational one. Advocates forgiveness and understanding. Ruby's mother -Mrs. Negative and the attention-seeking, loud and irrational one. Advocates expressing anger, jumping to conclusions and making judgements.
Together they're combustible, in an irritating I-hope-you-get-divorced kind of way. Arguments are the soundtrack to Ruby's home life. She has to put up with them interfering in every facet of her life, over-analysing her behaviour and each giving her conflicting advice. The reason for their unnecessarily overwrought reactions seems to be the mother's need to exaggerate with her father responding by trying to calm things down. These two alone are enough to send Ruby running to a therapist.
The Therapist Mostly unobtrusive though her therapy-talk became annoying really fast. I hated the leading questions and nudges for Ruby to come to conclusions on her own, even knowing they were necessary, because quite frankly Ruby wasn't so good at it. I pretty much wanted to take her to one side and point out where she was going wrong. But I'm impatient like that. It's an agonisingly slow process, getting to know oneself.
The "Friends" Paraphrasing Noel's words: Who needs enemies when you have Ruby's friends. Users and abusers, the lot of them. Respect and loyalty disappeared as soon as it was inconvenient. In a crisis you find out who your real friends are. In Ruby's case, she was surprised to find an acquaintance she previously assumed to be a whore that she used as transportation to and from school, actually saw Ruby as her one and only friend, and therefore valued her more than the rumours of Ruby's supposed wrongdoings. Outcasts she'd once thought creepy and weird turned out to be good people who came to her rescue in different ways. This opened her eyes to people, possibilities and opportunities beyond her small high school, helping her take that crucial first step away from her old clique-lifestyle.
The Asshole Jackson is the reason for this whole mess. His selfishness, immaturity and treatment of girls, is appalling. Girls aren't tissues to be used and disposed of in preference for a fresh one. The lies this guy tells, and his cowardly behaviour, is disrespectful and so shameful it's practically criminal. He deserves a taste of his own medicine. However, he and Kim appear to be a match made in heaven. They're both as bad each other. I really hope Ruby gets over him quickly, he's too toxic to moon over.
The Guys You Want To Know Even though Ruby's sworn off the male species for now, when she's ready there are interesting, mature, and above all, good guys for her to hang out with and get to know:
1) Noel - supportive and unafraid of non-conforming, he's the same age as Ruby and goes to the same school.
2) Gideon - older, an unlikely love interest who freely shares his wisdom with Ruby, inspiring her.
3) Angelo - considerate and polite but goes to a different school.
All three show a maturity, kindness and understanding worth exploring further. Noel especially, is good friend / love interest material. He intrigues me.
a) What's with all the footnotes? They're extremely important to read but they disrupted the reading flow and I gradually stopped referring to them.
b) There were times I was a little bored of the angst and the chick-litty-ness of it all. It's not my genre, I admit. Friends' high-rated reviews spurred me on to read this, ones who also share my propensity to avoid chick-lit.
c) I'm not sure why the word "shattered" was used so much, and in sometimes strange contexts, at least strange to me.
d) I turned the last page thinking there would be more to it and actually thought, "Is that it?" Perhaps I just needed a better closing paragraph.
Despite these I'm a little curious what Ruby will do next in her various relationships.
It's okay to rape your husband. (Source: Chapter 18 onwards.)
Up until this chapter The Duke and I was on the road to four stars. Four and not five becIt's okay to rape your husband. (Source: Chapter 18 onwards.)
Up until this chapter The Duke and I was on the road to four stars. Four and not five because of:
➜ Anthony's behaviour after witnessing his friend's mouth on his sister's chest in the garden of a house party, challenging his FRIEND to a duel after Simon refused to marry Daphne on the grounds it would make her unhappy because he couldn't give her what she'd always wanted i.e. children and therefore happiness. If Simon really was a friend, Anthony would've asked more questions about the why and been more tenacious in getting an accurate answer instead of jumping into a duel where he'd be forced to kill his friend;
➜ The following duel scene the next morning when Daphne outright lies to Simon about others, besides Anthony, witnessing their intimate act to prevent Simon from being killed in the duel and to force him to marry her, followed by Simon omitting the fact he won't have children and instead says he 'can't' have them so he doesn't have to tell her his very personal reason why.
I swallowed these things hoping it would come out later and they'd forgive each other in the end.
What I was not expecting was Daphne's grotesque arrogance and selfishness in taking advantage of her drunk husband after she found out the truth, denying him sex and companionship, and not allowing him to pull out during sex so she could have the children she'd always wanted. They'd been MARRIED TWO WEEKS, there was plenty of time to discuss his problems, his worries, about even contemplating children and instead she takes the choice from him against his will as he struggles with her once he realises her intentions.
After what Simon's father did to him Daphne's behaviour is even worse because she knew about Simon's stuttering and his father's abandonment of Simon because of this. And then two months after Simon leaves her he finds he misses her and he CAN'T REMEMBER WHY HE LEFT IN THE FIRST PLACE, thereby excusing any wrongdoing on her part. But not only that, Daphne sends her angry brother after Simon without telling him she was the reason Simon left and not Simon himself.
So, four stars to one. If the gender roles had been reversed I'd expect more people would've been outraged at the rape. Completely ruined a perfectly good book, and my first, and possibly the last, by Julia Quinn....more
I really want to give this 4 stars because my brain switched off and went along for the ride, just enjoying the reading experience. However, I was awaI really want to give this 4 stars because my brain switched off and went along for the ride, just enjoying the reading experience. However, I was aware of a couple of points when I felt uncomfortable with what was happening (rape-y), it's pretty much anti-feminist (think: caveman patriarchy) and may be offensive to some, there's insta-love/Stockholm Syndrome, and it wasn't the best story in the world. It's certainly not for everyone. But again, I enjoyed it. I feel slightly guilty for doing so, like I'm betraying my sisters. A guilty pleasure, it is then....more
F814's past is extremely well-written. The 5-star torture scenes are eerily reminiscent of Captain Jean Luc Picard's "There are four lights!" (YouTubeF814's past is extremely well-written. The 5-star torture scenes are eerily reminiscent of Captain Jean Luc Picard's "There are four lights!" (YouTube), though Langlais's scenes are infinitely more horrific.
I'm pleased to say Solus is kind and and considerate of F814's past and her fears. He never crossed the line and F814's behaviour and decisions were understandable and felt fairly realistic. She's unknowingly tough. Her ignorance regarding her past, her identity and her extreme fear of things like showers, is extremely sad although her innocence creates that instinctual need to care for and protect her.
The only downside is some cheesy writing and a handful of odd extraneous words which appear next to those of similar spelling, if not meaning.
There's-nothing-better-than-a-good-fight Aramus is Jayne from Firefly and Serenity, and I suspect his book will be next. And then perhaps the deceptively harmless and human-like Seth's. ...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
Wolf seduced me. I freely admit it. I love shifter romances, and although he's not strictly a shifter, Wolf does possess wolf DNA. His personality andWolf seduced me. I freely admit it. I love shifter romances, and although he's not strictly a shifter, Wolf does possess wolf DNA. His personality and romance held all the yumminess required to have me falling head over heels. I didn't care that he and Scarlet technically spent mere hours in each other's company, and this is brought up many times, but they are quality hours. Wolf's behaviour spoke volumes.
My preference for Thorne over Kai is going to bite me in the arse. I'm definitely setting myself up for a fall there. Yeah, Thorne's firmly entrenched as Cinder's sidekick stuck in the friend zone, and he was slow to pick up on clues, but he's a relaxed guy (aren't all good thieves?) taking everything in his stride until the shit hits the fan. He's incredibly loyal, lively, funny and non-judgmental. Cinder's cyborgness didn't faze him, he was curious more than anything - contrasting with the general public's hatred, Cinder's stepmother leading by example.
Kai pales in comparison to Thorne, and he no longer interests me after his initial disgust upon finding out very publicly Cinder's lunar and cyborg status, and despite knowing he had no time to process the shock and ask himself whether it mattered when he took his feelings into account, his immediate reaction was off-putting. The “I don’t see that her being cyborg is relevant” comment came a bit late for me. I can't help but feel Cinder deserves better.
The humans and the lunars are the monsters here. Cyborgs, robots (I love Iko!) and the 'wolves' are the victims and act (or have the potential to act) with more humanity, dignity and grace than their creators.
Levana's left herself deeply vulnerable by genetically engineering Lunars, turning them into 'wolves'. Dispatching Wolf's unit leaves them free for Cinder to use - a dangerous thing to do. You want to deprive your enemy of resources instead of handing them over on a silver platter.
Meyer might be biting off more than she can chew by using multiple POVs because it's going to require exceptional skill to handle and choreograph the 5+ POVs in the following books (Scarlet, Cinder, Wolf, Kai, Levana in addition to new characters). However, Meyer's managed to reel me in after an almost mediocre reaction to the debut with new intense relationships sparking with chemistry, camaraderie and humorous dialogue, not forgetting the torturous emotional turmoil and distinct characters bursting with personality. Scarlet could've easily been reduced to a crappy filler book without these things because on the face of it, plot-wise, not much progression has been made, though I don't feel I've wasted my time - that's a job well done.
The Love Triangle Heroine: 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien. She's young, fairly inexperienced in the politics of love. Physically and mentally bouncing back from her time as a slave in the salt mines surprisingly quickly with rapidly diminishing bitterness (view spoiler)[(another reason to be bitter: I'm pretty sure the King is responsible for her parents' deaths because they're fae) (hide spoiler)] as she keeps her feelings for both men on the down low until she can't deny how close she's become to the Prince from their actions. She doesn't appear to pick up on Chaol's gestures of understanding and affection, believing he's yet to trust her not to kill someone or escape at any moment, so she doesn't play the men off against each other.
Suitor #1: 19-year-old Prince Dorian. Seducer of all women and professes he will only ever marry for love. Spoilt but not cruel, he hates his father for his unending crimes against humanity in the name of conquering the entire world. Surrounded by the weak and brainless women of court he's eager to escape he almost forces himself to become besotted by Celaena's strong-willed, feisty and intelligent nature, so very different from what he's used to. His interest is part defiance of his father and his best friend Chaol, Captain Westfall of the Royal Guard, after they warn him away from her. Celaena herself seems dazzled by his handsomeness and wishes to have a little fun by indulging his attentions. In the blink of an eye we have insta-love. Oh, the fawning they did over each other, argh. For him, this would be a great match. Celaena has the power to transform him from a boy to a man, a man fit to be king. But I don't think Celaena would get much from such a union.
Suitor #2: 22-year-old Chaol, Captain Westfall of the Royal Guard, and Celaena's trainer. The more natural of the two pairings when you think of the considerable amout of time they've spent together training. Skilled and strong, Chaol secretly grows to like her, against his will, more and more, without letting his feelings be known to anyone. Both he and Dorian experience jealously over her, while Celaena remains practically oblivious of Chaol's interest. It's a deep, slow burn from afar. Celaena was interested in Chaol to begin with but his brusque responses, with only a hint of playfulness, gave her the impression he didn't like her despite him blowing hot and cold throughout the rest of the book. Perhaps he was too subtle. While Dorian stumbles about a bit (odd for a womanizer), Chaol is the brooding, cautious and trusty rock you can always count on.
The Winner: Inconclusive. Celaena drops the Prince like a hot potato once she's finally named Champion in a way that presented her as a cold-hearted, manipulative bitch. I actually felt sorry for the guy despite finding him to be too spoilt, immature and weak to be a worthy partner. Chaol appears to be happy Celaena is on the market again as the book closes but all I could think was, "Run away! Before she breaks your heart too."
An Inconsistent Heroine As the book opens, Celaena is smart, strong-willed, fiesty and bloodthirsty. She used her quick wit and smart-mouth to embarrass and infuriate. Basically, she was badass. Trouble is, that didn't last.
Most of the trials, training and associated fighting were offstage while Celaena turned into a vain Barbie doll going to a ball and seducing the prince. I don't begrudge her femininity or the chance to be pretty again after the ugliness she'd suffered but this is not what I signed up for. It was too much.
Then she turns her hand to investigating the mysterious deaths, sleuthing, unsuccessfully I might add.
Finally, the last hurdle, the duel takes place. And it's action, action, action. (Honestly, I was so fed up by now I didn't pay much attention.) Followed by, "You're dumped!" with no thought to the Prince's feelings. For all her agonzing over the fate of slaves and the harsh treatment she'd received I thought she'd know what "tact" was. She came off as the bad guy, the assassin without a heart, exactly what they'd all thought of her in the beginning. It made me wonder if she really is playing a game of politics, calculating every move.
Predictable The mystery behind the deaths of the would-be champions was insanely obvious. We knew early on who's responsible, who's pulling the strings (view spoiler)[(The King, such a hypocrite, and we know how he rolls now don't we? Worse than Cain and the Duke sacrificing his entourage like that) (hide spoiler)], and I had a vague idea of the how. Not so mysterious. Perhaps because the reader gets the advantage of seeing things from multiple points of view I'm being too harsh on Celaena's ability to figure this all out (view spoiler)[ but using the Princess as a red herring failed miserably. Celaena should've known the Princess would never risk so much for short-term gain, that would be stupid, something she definitely is not. (hide spoiler)]
Conclusion I itched to DNF this, and to award 1 star, for the absurd (and painful to read about) love triangle, but I recognised the potential of the beginning and that of the world-building, as under-developed as it was. I wanted more action, politics and mystery, and much, much less romance. No romance at all would be fine. It's not a requirement for every single book.
*Thank you to Bloomsbury UK and Netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.*["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I decided to read this after hearing of the author's death and seeing this book's popularity. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it. The story seemed prettI decided to read this after hearing of the author's death and seeing this book's popularity. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it. The story seemed pretty pointless to me. There's no moral and the boy learns nothing. It's a snapshot of a boy's imagination. However, I did enjoy the illustrations of the monsters. Having been published in 1963 perhaps this book is a product of its time, lovingly remembered by those who were read this as children and who wish to pass it on to their own offspring. Or maybe it just wasn't for me....more
Damn this seductively beautiful book cover. *sigh*
Confused and worried about the yo-yo ratings given this by my friends, I was hoping my experience woDamn this seductively beautiful book cover. *sigh*
Confused and worried about the yo-yo ratings given this by my friends, I was hoping my experience would fall closer to the positive end of the scale and since I decided to participate in a read-along with THT I gave it my best effort. And a challenging read it was. I dragged myself, kicking and screaming to page 80 whereupon I began the process of DNFing when I realised the griffin, much-loved by many reviewers, had entered the picture. One last chance was given for Stormdancer to win me over. Unnecessary animal cruelty sealed its fate.
The insurmountable problems I experienced while reading Stormdancer:
• Ignorance. I don't enjoy feeling stupid. Too many foreign words were introduced without explanation (some of which were repetitive). Later, I learned there was a GLOSSARY IN THE BACK. Reading the e-ARC, this was a bit of a problem. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out how to find it and refer to it in a timely manner or use Google I continued reading, hoping it wouldn't matter. IT DOES MATTER. DON'T READ THE EBOOK, read a hardcopy. To my dismay I found myself calculating how much Japanese culture, media and language I have consumed (view spoiler)[(I've watched Pokémon TV series and Studio Ghibli movies. Owned a Tamagotchi. Read and enjoyed Battle Royale and watched the movie. I'm aware of things like manga, animé, shibari and hentai.) (hide spoiler)] because I understood just one word: katana. A sword. The rest...who knows what it said or meant because it went right over my head.
• Authenticity was always going to be an issue being that the author is neither Japanese, and as far as I know, didn't spend considerable time in Japan. Artistic license is allowed and I definitely noticed non-Japanese references like the mention of pandas. I can't speak to how authentic Stormdancer is, but having recently read Across the Nightingale Floor, also by a Western author, I'm wary now of authors writing books set within histories and cultures they haven't immersed themselves in and admittedly know little about.
• World-building. Wading through the info-dump, compounded by my ignorance of the language, consisting of detailed stories and myths I couldn't fathom or hope to remember, was nearly impossible to read. Real myths or part of Kristoff's fiction? Important to his story or not? I didn't know. The author certainly succeeded in convincing me I was an alien introduced to an entirely different world.
• Slow pace. Very little happens in the 90 pages I read. I liked three of the scenes: the drunken gambling, the playful puppy and the childhood memory about the heroine's unusual ability to communicate with animals via telepathy. Golden nuggets of awesome in the writing of those scenes lured me into continuing. That, and the Guildsmen reminded me of Hellboy's Karl Ruprecht Kroenen. I'm not sure if that was intended or even an accurate interpretation, its just what I imagined from the description. Anyway, not much else happens between receiving orders from the Shogun to find and retrieve a griffin and actually stumbling upon one.
• Unnecessary animal cruelty. If communicating with the creature was possible, why not give it an ultimatum -i.e. stop thrashing about which will cause us to crash our airship or we'll have to clip your wings, which is it? Such a simple step and one which would've preserved this mythical specimen, perhaps the only one of its kind left, to present to the Shogun in perfect condition. I hardly see the Shogun being able to ride the griffin into battle, as he wished to, now the poor creature's wings have been clipped.
I desperately wanted to like this book for its uniqueness amongst other young adult novels, even adult ones, in not only setting a tale in a non-traditional (i.e. non-Western) place but going back to feudal times, adding steampunk and griffins -a tall order. With such lofty aspirations Stormdancer was either going to be award-winningly brilliant where we'd all be toasting Kristoff's genius, or quietly hoping to forget this overly ambitious experiment. Sadly, I'm in the latter camp. Sorry.
***My thanks to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the e-Arc in return for an honest review.*** ________________________________
Man, this book has qualities I wish Cinder had. Not that Cinder was bad, I just found it difficult to fully understand what it meant to be cyborg justMan, this book has qualities I wish Cinder had. Not that Cinder was bad, I just found it difficult to fully understand what it meant to be cyborg just from Cinder's (likely abnormal) experiences. Not so here. You see I'm fairly new to the concept so I needed it spelled out for me. I get it now. The idea of cyborgs is an intriguing one with many areas to debate and explore. The history and creation of Langlais's half man, half machines struggling to recover their human sides were interesting. I'm glad this isn't a stand alone.
Joe a.k.a. X109GI, is mentally halfway between Seth (very human) and Solus (very robotic) and has managed to recover a small part of his humanity that's until he meets his woman who teaches him jealousy and love. Chloe is a human bereft of life, safety and happiness until she meets Joe.
Chloe's reactions towards the end aroused strong emotion. I felt so sorry for her and completely understood her pain and confusion. But way to get mad! Her homicidal rage certainly rebutted any suspicions she was weak. However, if I understood this correctly there were some continuity issues (view spoiler)[regarding Chloe knowing of being abused and raped on multiple occasions before the memories were forced on her and she remembered it all (hide spoiler)]. Still, I quite I enjoyed this novella.
Solus's book is up next -Yes! (His name sounds like "soulless", does it not? How apt.) Take that, 'cyborg snob'. You will succumb to faulty programming lowly human emotion.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I laughed, I cried. Korean, Japanese and Indonesian culture and characters. I loved Dali's comparatively different approach to danger (magic + brains)I laughed, I cried. Korean, Japanese and Indonesian culture and characters. I loved Dali's comparatively different approach to danger (magic + brains) and other things from Andrea (bullets) and Kate (magic + sword). Jim's low key but effective presence and reasons for being unusually submissive around Dali made complete sense. I could not be happier. My copy is highlighted to death. A most excellent shortie. I very rarely rate them 5 stars. Happy, happy, happy!...more
Revived committed suicide early on, but somehow it was saved. It was... Revived. Dun, dun, dun.
The Science. Oh dear god, the science!
"Revive" is a druRevived committed suicide early on, but somehow it was saved. It was... Revived. Dun, dun, dun.
The Science. Oh dear god, the science!
"Revive" is a drug which brings the recently dead back to life though it heals no wounds and cures no disease.
Adrenaline, anyone? Has this not been discovered in this world yet? Why yes, it has. Daisy has epi-pens on hand for a deadly allergy. So how is it any different from adrenaline? There's no answer because Revive's discovery was never explained. Nor is the state of any "Revived" individual. Are they the living dead? Still human? Able to reproduce? No idea.
Also: A bus crash with no survivors would mean lots of corpses with fatal injuries. Only those who'd died by passive means, like asphyxiation, might be revivable. (Yet they tried the drug out on a child with a foreign body piercing his brain. *facepalm*) Then again, in this experiment, no other treatment can be performed in addition to Revive's administration. No CPR. This means no circulation of oxygenated blood to the brain, heart and lungs -critical organs this drug needs to work on. So how is it going to get to its target destination from the injection site? No defibrillation to restart the heart. The drug would have to be administered with 5 minutes of flat-lining to avoid risking brain damage or brain death. But it would do no good if Revive can't be transported around the body in order to do its job. Actual revival rate: MINISCULE. Viability of drug (under these conditions): NONE.
In conjunction with other resuscitation methods it would probably act like adrenaline, possibly keeping someone alive long enough for surgery. But for the sake of secrecy and the experiment the success rate of the drug would be so close to zero it wouldn't be worth using.
That CPR trick at the end is: (a) MEDICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. 12 minutes dead (timed anyway, death had to have occurred much earlier - see below) with no intervention? Nothing you can do, they're dead and gone. (b) LOGISTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. (view spoiler)[According to Wikipedia, anaphylaxis can occur 5 to 30 minutes after exposure, and hundreds of bee stings would've accelerated the process. Say it took 10 minutes until death, plus 12 after. Communication boyfriend-friend-agent-aeroplane, finding a suitable place to land, landing and finding/flagging down a car near a small town -30 mins at least. Driving 100mph for 20 miles equals another 12 minutes. (hide spoiler)] Not enough time for help to arrive and still be of any use.
Epic science fail on the science fiction front.
Realistic contemporary YA front Great. There were definitely some perfectly portrayed emotional moments concerning (view spoiler)[The Big C (hide spoiler)]. Even though I guessed correctly about what was up with Audrey it didn't take away the fact that I haven't encountered this issue in paranormal or sci-fi YA before. It was different, new.
Daisy's parental figures, there are three, were all present and/or made an appearance. No disappearing parent syndrome, although caring Mother #1 was replaced by robo-Cassie a.k.a. uncaring Mother #2, or the fem-bot as Daisy calls her. Then there's Mason who I suspected had difficulty staying objective instead of treating his "daughter" like a lab rat, as he should.
Matt, Daisy's love interest, isn't a jerk. Nor is he abusive. He does act out, but he has every reason for doing so, and he apologises for his behaviour. Overall, he's responsible and caring.
Megan is a teenage transgendered character, something I've never encountered in fiction. She's my first. There were a couple of moments I really felt she was a flamboyantly camp stereotype, most commonly attributed to gay males, but I overlooked this for her valuable insight and understanding.
The only thing I didn't get were the cultural references to music. Way before my time (I'm 25).
The Conspiracy While I anticipated parts of it I wasn't frustrated by its small element of predictability. It was satisfactory.
Readability Despite the science fails, I kept reading. And eagerly, too. That says a heck of a lot. High quality writing, a fast pace and it demonstrated an excellent understanding of difficult emotions, like guilt and grief.
Cringe-worthiness: Some. The ooey-gooey crush developing into a romance, the divulging of dangerous secrets when it wouldn't benefit a certain party, and a little Mary Sue-ness.
Anyone who's seen this movie will know what I mean. Presenting a fake family unit to the outside world, selling the perfect family to the public when in reality none of them are related or romantically involved with each other, and all of them employees of the same organisation. It's all pretend. David Duchovny is Mason, playing the role of Dad, with the same ensuing emotional development of deepening attachment to a character, but in this case, of the father-daughter variety. Fake names, documents, moving house every time the cover's blown, again, all reminiscent of the movie.
The head of the organisation in the book is nicknamed "God" for playing god by resurrecting the dead. His employees are his "Disciples", and Revived children, "Converts". It makes a surreal sort of sense.
Conclusion Usually, failing so completely on the science will earn a book 1, maybe 2 stars, and will be forever consigned to the shit-list shelf. No, 3 stars this time. Even though the romance seemed typically thin at first, it grew into something real, while the emotions of all involved were also authentic. I didn't hate the characters, a common complaint with me. Being a stand alone also helps its case. If I see other works by Patrick in my local library's catalogue, I wouldn't say no to reading them, but I wouldn't trust the science!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Seraphina is perfect. Rachel Hartman's beautiful writing is simply astonishing with her multi-layered world-building, an expertly articulated plot, sySeraphina is perfect. Rachel Hartman's beautiful writing is simply astonishing with her multi-layered world-building, an expertly articulated plot, sympathetic characters who possess distinguishing personalities and the ability to grow and develop, and three-dimensional antagonists with meaningful agendas and a sharp sense of purpose.
I enjoyed the differences in cultural complexities between nations and species, and I laughed at a certain dragon's terror and wonder at experiencing human emotion for the first time. But in observing this I also found it heartwarming. It showed another side to his otherwise antagonistic character, acting as a vehicle for growth and completely changing my perception of him. I also felt the same way when an important dragon in Seraphina's life finally reveals all to her -that was a bittersweet moment, if ever there was one.
As for my criticisms, there was a distinct lack of a map. (I thought they were mandatory for all fantasy novels). Its absence was noticeable as it impeded my sense of the lay of the land and the locations of the nations located therein. I was also perturbed at encountering the 'Cast of Characters' and glossary at the end of the book instead of the beginning. Not very useful there, now is it?
There is a love triangle, albeit an unusual and tolerable one. We have a man engaged, facing an arranged marriage to his cousin with whom he'd been brought up, and is now falling for Seraphina. That's not your usual young adult love triangle set-up. In fact, every negative, clichéd and contrived trope you've come to associate with young adult novels happily do not exist within these pages. Hurrah! SO PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not dismiss this book on the love triangle alone, you may be pleasantly surprised. Had I known beforehand that this device had been used I would've avoided reading this great work, and I would've been all the poorer for doing so. I can only think of maybe one or two other authors who can create worlds as richly detailed and nuanced as Hartman (and in only one book too!) and I feel that anyone even slightly interested in Seraphina should take a chance and read it.
However, although my emotions were aroused quite strongly and all of my senses were titillated throughout, and there were harmonious moments when I wanted to point to a particular section and say, "Yes. This," I cannot definitively say, "I'm in love with this book." I love it, but I'm not in love with it, though it pains me to make that distinction, and is the reason for my 4.5 star rating. I feel I'm somehow defective in my reaction, but I have hope I will have more love for the sequel.
I would recommend this to those in their late teens and beyond, for those younger may find the language a challenge and may require a dictionary of some form at their side.
*Fans of Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series may recognise many similarities regarding species interaction/interbreeding, the differing approaches to emotion, emotion as a sign of disease/madness, and rehabilitation involving the excising of emotions and memories....more
Charismatic and funny characters with a mixed race, part Japanese protagonist, made this an engaging and joyful read. I loved the show-stoppingly beauCharismatic and funny characters with a mixed race, part Japanese protagonist, made this an engaging and joyful read. I loved the show-stoppingly beautiful Angela's lazy, sleepaholic and anti-social character. Kami's self-respect, self-awareness, common sense and individuality were appreciated. Brennan was obviously determined to set her heroine apart from the clueless, unhealthy role models from other books.
The love triangle didn't bother me until the end because it was weighted in Jared's favour so there wasn't much angst. Jared's apparent but unexplained dislike of touching Kami was distinctly unusual, because what teenage boy doesn't want to touch a girl (or another boy)? This led to a distancing of the two characters which was a bit angsty.
I'm not happy with the way things ended (although it was a healthy decision Kami made) because it's not just a normal cliffhanger, it completely opened the door to unoriginal love triangle angst characteristic of many other YA novels. This does Unspoken a disservice because the rest of the book was highly enjoyable.
The mystery is a little thin on the ground but as the focus was on establishing the personalities of the characters I didn't mind so much since the culprit(s) wasn't obvious and events weren't predictable.
The mention of a political science class confused me since we don't study that in the UK (or at least that's not what we call it) and Unspoken is set here. I'm also aware there were some Britishisms others may not understand though I don't think it's prohibitive to enjoyment.
I'll most likely wait for reviews for the sequel from those I trust before I decide to invest in something I could quite easily hate....more
Chicken soup for the soul. The Grinch himself would be hard-pressed not to empathise with Ivan's story. With a gorgeous cover and a heartbreaking memoChicken soup for the soul. The Grinch himself would be hard-pressed not to empathise with Ivan's story. With a gorgeous cover and a heartbreaking memoir of a lonely, caged gorilla living among other mistreated "circus" animals, delivered via emotionally-charged and insightful writing, Ms. Applegate forced tears from this stoic, 25-year-old pessimist.
I am Ivan. I am a gorilla.
It's not as easy as it looks.
People call me the Freeway Gorilla. The Ape at Exit 8. The One and Only Ivan, Mighty Silverback.
The names are mine, but they're not me. I am Ivan, just Ivan, only Ivan.
Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot.'
By reading The One and Only Ivan we walk a few miles in Ivan's shoes, so to speak. His wistful words touch your heart. His friend, Stella the elephant, twists your soul with her story and sentiments. Ruby, the baby elephant, you're desperate to save from Stella's fate. My arms ached with wanting to hug these (obviously wild and dangerous) creatures.
'Every night, when the stores close and the moon washes the world with milky light, Stella and I talk.
We don't have much in common, but we have enough. We are huge and alone, and we both love yogurt raisins.
Sometimes Stella tells stories of her childhood, of leafy canopies hidden by mist and the busy songs of flowing water. Unlike me, she recalls every detail of her past.'
The graceful language is simple and concise yet colourfully illuminating. No words are wasted. The author implies rather than tells, allowing readers to draw our own conclusions. The lovely illustrations are sparse but functional. I knew early on this would be a five star re-read. Ivan's philisophical observations, his acceptance of his circumstances, his stubborn desire to never remember his wild and free childhood before he was captured, his all-consuming, engrossing characterisation, and the way he changes to become the silverback he's always wanted to be, like his father, when he meets Ruby -make this a page-turner.
'I am never angry.
Anger is precious. A silverback uses anger to maintain order and warn his troop of danger. When my father beat his chest, it was to say, Beware, listen, I am in charge. I am angry to protect you, because that is what I was born to do.
Here in my domain, there is no one to protect.'
At page 72, my heart clenched and my eyes misted over with the introduction of baby Ruby, her distress and Stella's comfort...I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Ruby's a curious innocent you want to protect, and Ivan and Stella do their best.
This story is loosely based on a real gorilla called Ivan, and other elements of it are real too. I've come away thinking the human race are scum that should be exterminated to allow all animals to live natural, peaceful lives without fear of human murderers and torturers. Me, the meat-eating non-pacifist. I suddenly feel the need to contribute to an animal welfare charity. That's probably the message working its magic on me.
I highly recommend this captivating book to everyone over the age of 12, because the beginning is full of the depressing reality of cruelty to animals despite the sweet and somewhat predictable happy-ever-after ending. Even those with hearts made of ice can't fail to melt whilst reading this.
Allison is working in a bookstore when zombies attack sending her and the rest of the staff behind the reinforced door to the backrooms. There they wait for rescue and struggle to subsist on what they have. Allison discovers a wireless internet network and searches for information and other survivors which escalates into blogging her experiences while others from around the world comment. The pace picks up when a zombie squirrel* enters the picture and shatters all illusions of their relatively safe existence thus far, and Allison continues to post as survival forces her to travel.
Personalities and physical descriptions are fully formed. Most of the characters are quite distinct apart from the Black Earth Wives, the remains of a religious community who evolve into faceless, cardboard-cutout zealots hellbent on stamping out the sinners and the damned (zombies) and re-populating Earth by means of kidnap and rape of surviving men and women, and those who refuse are either burned alive or sacrificed to the walking dead. Nice.
Roux/Allison shied away from giving details in certain areas. Apparently being able to clean your ears is more important than having tampons. Things like intimacy and sex are omitted or very briefly mentioned at the wrong moments. Allison's relationship with Collin is ambiguous for a while because not enough information is given. Are they together? Are they having sex? Do they even have condoms? We find out later there was a limited supply of condoms but at a point when this was no longer an issue for Allison.
There's a strong focus on relationships. Allison's need to reconnect with her mother -a cancer sufferer, the trials and tribulations of two marriages and an engaged couple, plus Allison's own romance issues, and the responsibility of caring for children. It get's pretty messy. I'm disappointed by the out the author gives for (view spoiler)[Collin and Allison from his marriage by pairing his wife and nephew up and leaving them elsewhere. It's inexplicable when Lydia obviously wanted Collin. I guess there wasn't time to explore that side of things (hide spoiler)].
Allie makes some understandable mistakes, however, some of her decisions are either TSTL or extremely rash. In particular, her decision to sneak out and leave the group to go it alone, which under the circumstances I can understand why she would want to do this but it seemed an incredibly stupid thing to do and perhaps selfish for depriving a group she's come to know and care about of a valuable resource. Her sadistic revenge on the thief I tried to put down to adrenaline and stress but it's hard to forgive when she had the option to kill rather than torture and maim. Roux appears to realise she's turned the audience against her heroine and has Allie feel remorseful and shock at her own actions at a later date. After this her likability fell through the floor. And her crazy, outlandish heroics fell on deaf ears.
Far more detail is given at the beginning with a slower pace becoming increasingly rushed to a short, summarized ending. Frustrating and unsatisfying. I felt Julian was short-changed and deserved more page time to discover his motivation for leaving his only family and how he felt about it. I'm not even sure we get a proper physical description other than his injuries. (view spoiler)[I was sad at his passing. (hide spoiler)] Mourning deaths is almost non-existent, once they're gone, they're gone although only unnecessary and useless characters die (view spoiler)[except for Julian, a doctor (hide spoiler)]. Zombie cliche alert. "MY SON ATE MY BABY GIRL!" was as close as we got to heart-wrenching grief.
*Eating meat will have to be a thing of the past if animals can be zombified. Also, the human race may be f*cked. Maybe it only affects mammals though. That would explain why the fish and birds seemed unaffected. Then again, the squirrel is the only infected animal we come across. So, can animals be infected, or not?
A tale of two halves. First 50%, 1 star. The second, 4 stars.
Five years ago, when this was first published, the language used, in the first half in paA tale of two halves. First 50%, 1 star. The second, 4 stars.
Five years ago, when this was first published, the language used, in the first half in particular, wouldn't have seemed so cliched. The pace was slow and I didn't feel anything for the characters. But when Annabelle meets the pack things start to change. And then something devastating happens and Anna's emotions reached out and grabbed my throat, squeezing until my eyes watered. The only thing I didn't like about that part: when Kieran and Annabelle reunite they don't talk about the (view spoiler)[miscarriage (hide spoiler)] or address the effect it's had on them and how they'll proceed with their future.
As for Ryland, I suspect the author's going to do a Kleypas and turn our wannabe rapist into a hero. It takes immense talent to accomplish that and considering his behaviour throughout Shewolf I'm not confident his change in character would successfully win me over and convince me he's a good guy deep down.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more