Good and bad. I don't know how to rate this. Amongst my GR friends this is Marmite -love it or hate, there is no in-between. I don't adore it but I doGood and bad. I don't know how to rate this. Amongst my GR friends this is Marmite -love it or hate, there is no in-between. I don't adore it but I don't loathe it either.
To begin with, I was bored to tears by the writing, of Melinda's life and Outcast status so I skimmed but I was curious as to how everything was going to play out with IT. IT is Andy Evans, Andy Beast, Andy the rapist.
Then little things got my attention: this girl's sense of humour (sarcastic, pessimistic and cynical), skipping school, blind teachers -this is going to sound contrived but there were some things about her and her life that reminded me of my high school self.
Speak isn't a normal everyday book, it's literature -there to be studied, to interpret the symbolism, to see the reflections of this and that and derive the lessons learned by reading it. In essence, it's a school book. And who liked school? Not me...but then my favourite subject was English Lit, I never missed a class so that probably makes me a freak for liking it on that level.
For example, Melinda fainting at the sight of the dead frog's hands and feet being splayed and pinned symbolised Melinda's rape, overwhelming her with the memory of that night.
Lesson: It's better out than in. Don't let it fester. Speak up. Stand up for yourself. You can survive.
I didn't always like the delivery of this message. Why is it always the art or English teacher making that connection with the student in need? Maybe it's got something to do with the expression of self. Still, it would've been different if it had been any other teacher, or person in general. However, I did like the script-like dialogue fashion Melinda's silence was displayed:
Each character interprets her silence differently, usually in a way that benefits them and harms her.
David and Ivy were interesting supporting characters and potential BFFs for Melinda. David in particular was quite fascinating. I wish we'd seen more of them, and I'll grudgingly admit Mr. Freeman, the art teacher did good too. He wasn't too hard or too soft, or too creepy in his efforts to get Melinda to open up and express herself and her emotions in art and life.
The ending wasn't quite enough for me. After the very long build up, we see the turning point but not the consequences. I needed to witness everyone's reactions, whether positive ("I'm so sorry for how I've treated you") or negative ("You lying attention-seeking whore!"). What happened to Andy the rapist? Where does Melinda go from here?
After writing this, I think I know my rating: 2.5 stars. Melinda and her school life were well developed, perhaps a little too developed possibly overlooking other angles and characters in the process. ...more
Beautiful. Evil, but beautiful. Evil because I now have Stockholm Syndrome. Beautiful because I didn't realise it was happening, the writing was so suBeautiful. Evil, but beautiful. Evil because I now have Stockholm Syndrome. Beautiful because I didn't realise it was happening, the writing was so subtle yet engrossing and real. Gritty.
I fell in love with Ty, the kidnapper. He was so kind, considerate and almost harmless really (Hello, Stockholm!). He'd saved Gemma's life so many times and eventually sacrificed his freedom for her. How can anyone not love him a little for that?
I understood his motivations. He was lonely and had been badly treated all his life. At first I had all kinds of ideas of what he was: paedophile, rapist, killer etc. He was none of those things. He just wanted to escape civilisation and when he spotted Gemma, who he believed was being neglected by her parents just as he was, he wanted to rescue her.
I can't understand why people compare this to Living Dead Girl. Ray, the kidnapper is all of the things I mentioned above. He was not kind, he raped, he's a paedophile and he murdered. I did not fall in love with him. It's not a fair comparison. They're completely different.
Although at times Ty seemed scary, he was vulnerable and fragile too. He cried. He suffered from nightmares. In some ways he's like a child himself, with his love of the land, his painting and his folk stories. His sense of fun can be a little strange but there are some funny moments. It's not all fear and confusion. Catching the camel was hilarious. She (the camel) had my heart from then on.
As you can tell I loved Ty but I also cared about Gemma. At first I just wanted her to accept her situation, to stop looking for trouble. The number of times she said "You're lying!" or "I don't believe you!" got on my nerves because she said it in relation to the simplest of plausible statements but when she calmed down she was so starkly honest with herself even when she wanted to go into denial. She was strong. Both characters were to have survived their traumas.
You may think I'm as loopy as Ty but I wished for a happy ending. Gemma and Ty together. Maybe not out in the desert forever but living on the edge of a small town. Happily ever after. I can dream, right?
Stolen. Everything in this book is stolen, including Ty. Nothing belongs to anyone. Not even themselves. There's only the land and the sky. And survival. Beautiful....more
Wow, the beginning of this book really packed a punch, bolting out of the gate at top speed. I had no problems getting into it.
Evie’s teenage life isWow, the beginning of this book really packed a punch, bolting out of the gate at top speed. I had no problems getting into it.
Evie’s teenage life is more para than normal. She identifies and bags and tags supernaturals over the world for a super secret organisation with her special ability to see through all glamours. There’s nothing she wants more than “normal,” to go to high school and do proper homework, meet boys, and have nice, normal fun. I empathised with this desire but not quite being able to cope when she gets a taste:
‘I always thought the Center made me claustrophobic, but now I suspected I had the opposite problem. All that time today in open spaces and outdoors made me kind of twitchy, nervous to get back inside. How lame was that?’
Evie’s character was very likeable. She was self-aware and evidently knew what was really important in life. The way she treats Lend, in a rather mature way, valuing him for himself and his real appearance rather than what he projects. Lend is an insanely nice guy, insecure about his unusual looks. He's almost too nice and slightly boring although he has an interesting heritage. I felt sorry for his dad regarding his awkward relationship with Lend's mother. What an awful situation. To be rejected in favour of leaving her corporeal body behind and returning to the lake, and after only a year together living as husband and wife. So sad. He obviously loved her, and she just left him to raise their son, practically, alone.
I liked the two prophetic rhymes describing the opposing sides:
“Eyes like streaming snow, cold with the things she does not know. Heaven above and Hell below, liquid flames to hide her grief. Death, death, death with no release. Death, death, death with no release.”
“Eyes like streaming snow, cold with the things she does not know. Heaven above and Hell beneath, liquid flames will end her grief. With her fire, at last release. With her fire, at last release.”
I still don’t understand why the “Empty Ones” were created. Though the clue seems to be in Reth’s words: “You weren’t supposed to release them [souls of the dead], you silly child. You were meant to release me. Us.” What did he mean by that? (view spoiler)[Do the light fae want to die? (hide spoiler)] Reth is a frustrating mystery. He’s close-mouthed about everything important. If only he’d explained everything to start with much of what took place in this book could’ve been avoided.
I liked Paranormalcy, it was slightly different to the usual paranormal YA books around. One definite plus, no love triangle. However, I doubt I'll read the sequel not because I don't want to, I do, but because all of my friends who've read it have awarded it with less than favorable ratings and reviews, and I trust their opinions.
Other Favourite Quotes
“That’s because you have no idea how precious normal is.”
“You have lipstick here?” he asked, confused since I hadn’t brought a purse. “Oh, never underestimate the ingenuity of a girl in figuring out where to pack necessities.” [In her bra!]
Ever felt so rage-filled with the lust for violent vengeance that you've envisioned slaughtering someone? I've done this, we've probably all done thisEver felt so rage-filled with the lust for violent vengeance that you've envisioned slaughtering someone? I've done this, we've probably all done this at one time. However, we don't always act on it and instead find an outlet to work through it but Missy allows herself only one outlet, a painfully unhealthy one -cutting herself.
You could see some of her need to 'let out the badness' as she feels like she has no one to talk to when her parents are mostly too busy with work to spend time with their children and Missy has been at war (pun intended) with her younger sister since she started high school and turned into Missy's opposite, the barbie-doll cheerleader. What Missy didn't realise until later was that she always had someone on her side -Erica, the childhood friend she had pushed away but came to her aid at a crucial moment, saving her life:
"I want to die," Missy said, her soul naked and raw. "I'll be there in two minutes," Erica said.
I loved Erica in that moment.
I didn't enjoy Rage as much as I did Hunger, maybe because cutting is not something the author has personally experienced (see Author's Note) though it's evident that it's been extremely well-researched but I did feel Missy's pain and embarrassment regarding a mother of all acts of bullying and the cyber-bullying afterwards.
I was unhappy that my thirst for righteous karmic justice for Missy wasn't quenched. People deserved to pay and although I commend Missy's strength in turning the other cheek, I wanted them to feel her pain. To suffer as she had at their hands. Perhaps that's me being bloody-minded but I secretly hoped something nasty befalls those that hurt her and wished her dead.
Missy's blinding rage, the urge to hunt and kill her enemies, her blood lust, I could fully understand and couldn't fault her for it. I could even forgive her if she'd acted on it. Her bullies as well as the bystanders should understand this isn't acceptable because you can never predict what someone is capable of in retaliation, why we should always strive to treat others as we want to be treated. Just in case.
I was glad to see that her being recruited for the position of War (and Death's handmaiden) helped her accept herself as she is with Death's help. Which reminds me there are some funny pokes at Death: i.e. Missy slamming the door in his face, lusting after and kissing him, etc.
Despite my disappointment in my unfulfilled need for vengeance this is still a great book with amazing insights into the world today and would definitely recommend it to others. I'm looking forward to Loss on Pestilence, who intrigued me with his mental as well as physical illness in this instalment....more
EXHIBIT A: First published in hardback with this cover:
It's a mirror image of a statue symbolising the ident**spoiler alert** A review in book covers.
EXHIBIT A: First published in hardback with this cover:
It's a mirror image of a statue symbolising the identical twins on opposing sides in the book. It screams dark, gothic and mysterious.
EXHIBIT B: Now available in paperback with this cover:
Now this is an image of two very different girls with an airy fairy silver leaf design which is also present on every page.
I wanted to read EXHIBIT A but when it came to reading the story I got EXHIBIT B. I'll explain further. When I read the description and saw the cover for A I was intrigued, believing it would be an edgy Victorian story. Instead I got a deeply dull fluff piece where all the protagonist, 16-year-old Lia, does is walk, talk and worry. Step, blah, frown lines. Step, blah, frown lines.
I didn't finish. 160/352 pages read. Frustration won. I was defeated when I flipped through the rest and found more of the same. Oh wait, one character dies but I felt nothing even though the author attempts to elicit sympathy for their plight. It didn't work on me.
I don't have any guilt at not finishing this. There was nothing to keep me entertained. No wit, no romance -not really anyway except for an all ready established relationship with 19-year-old James from whom Lia distances herself. Alice, her twin becomes more and more...well, evil. It would've been interesting to have seen things from her perspective. Overall, a stupendous waste of time. ...more
"The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club."
The alternati"The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club."
The alternative could be fatal.
And who do you think, out of the Glass House group of friends, would be interested in such a thing? Did you even have to think about it? Of course, it's Shane. The lure was something innocent, learning martial arts. From a vampire. In a public place and escalated from there.
It's all about Shane, this book, in which we finally get to hear his inner most thoughts via his POV and the depth of his struggles with his past and his desperation to avoid changing into his father, Frank Collins.
Ever feel like you're missing something? I was constantly reminded that I'm not a Twi-Hard by the never-ending references to the Saga, especially BreaEver feel like you're missing something? I was constantly reminded that I'm not a Twi-Hard by the never-ending references to the Saga, especially Breaking Dawn (I think). How can the author refer to things (view spoiler)[imprinting -something to do with cementing a relationship? (hide spoiler)] and not explain them enough for me, someone who only made it half way through New Moon, to understand what the heck you're talking about.
I got the feeling that the editors went over this with a fine tooth comb so as not to have any lawyers screaming and suing. Referencing Meyer herself will probably stop them from shouting "Plagiarism!". It's all very well tipping your hat to a favourite book (Twilight and Blood and Chocolate) and movies (The Princess Bride) but you shouldn't really base your book on another where you're constantly referring to it -we usually save that sort of thing for non-fiction, essays and reviews.
Despite similarities to "that damn series" this was a fast and easy read due to the engrossing writing. I can't be too positive about all of the characters though. I don't like Pietr, he's Edward in Jacob's werewolf body, ugh. The whole pulling away to keep you safe thing -gimme a break. The change in Derek's character was interesting but I'm finding it hard to reconcile his character in the two books because they're so different even though they're supposed to be. (view spoiler)[Was there any indication of what he is and what he was doing in the first book? Because I don't remember there being any. (hide spoiler)] It kinda threw me but it made for good reading.
The characters I like are: Max -I loved his undiscovered depths. Everyone assumes he's a man-whore but he's an adorable hero-in-the-making, Amy -the physical abuse by her boyfriend and the effect it had on her was very well done, Cat -her straightforwardness and her bravery, and Sophia -she's become really helpful and I'm guessing she'll be needed in the final instalment.
As for Jess, I got annoyed with her for not putting things together faster even though her memories/actions/emotions were being manipulated. The clues were so obvious. Hello? Derek, derek, derek. Blood, blood, blood. Simple.
Dr. Jones was odd at the end. It was stupid for Jess to spill her guts like that to a stranger when she knew there was stranger-danger. (view spoiler)[I'm guessing Dr. Jones is pretty high up in The Company if even Wanda was shocked by her roughness. (hide spoiler)] Why not tell her sister instead? She's a smart girl who isn't asking questions, and why not? Plenty of suspicious activity going on around her and she doesn't notice? Hmm. Hopefully she and her father will finally be clued into the situation in the next book.
I'm so glad Bargains and Betrayals is coming out in August, I hate unfinished stories. Thankfully this is a trilogy which is good because I really dislike the near-cliffhangers.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Someone pass me a knife, I need to add a number to the body count...No? Okay. Maybe later.
My experience with this is one of enjoyment despite my homiSomeone pass me a knife, I need to add a number to the body count...No? Okay. Maybe later.
My experience with this is one of enjoyment despite my homicidal streak rearing it’s bloodthirsty head whilst reading it. There are some typical YA stereotypes but there are differences that set this apart from the rest. The setting is not Earth, nope, we’re in the future and we’ve left those Earthlings behind to start a better life after fighting for equal rights between humans and shifters. However, the setting feels like Earth which honestly I didn’t mind, there’s too much other stuff to hold the attention though we are reminded by technology and history that this is set a couple of hundred years from now.
Multiple POVs is not something I’m fond of but it totally worked in this. It’s completely character driven and seeing into the minds of the characters was revealing in what was an intricate chess-like game of power-playing. Pieces had to be strategically placed to gain the upper hand and you never quite knew what was going to happen.
Each and every pawn character had an individual personality which is quite a feat with so many in the cast. They all had their motives, pasts and plans for the future. I’m going to give a special mention to Stefan -the opposite of Henry, Britta -Laylah's understanding BFF, Jacques -Henry's Beta and Laylah's guardian and even the villain –the single-mindedly evil Alpha Zina.
As you’ve probably guessed Werelove: Dusk Conspiracy incited very strong emotions in me from the beginning. My protective instincts came out in force for 17-year old Laylah.
From the moment she was conceived Laylah's been in danger. She’s the daughter of a panther mother and werewolf father, and to some is considered an abomination or at least a person of interest (to the wrong people). She's also the target of a hate campaign against her father, Henry for his choice of mate.
Henry. $%&@#! Deep breaths, deep breaths.
Reasons to cause him harm: He suppresses and hides Laylah's nature from her, surrounds her with rules so restrictive she can barely breathe, ordering the staff to lie and basically imprison her in her own home. Whenever they came face to face (a rare event) he was a cold, heartless bastard. Nothing she said or did was ever good enough and everything was her fault. He constantly slapped her down leaving her with no confidence or self-esteem. She was a possession he didn't care for. Where's that knife? I'm getting worked up again.
Bullied at school and with only one friend (Britta, I love you!) –the only one she was allowed, Laylah's life is barely worth living. As a result of being sheltered and beaten down, she's fragile and vulnerable. In both human and were society she'd be considered an Omega and yet her father is Alpha. In some ways she's lucky to have Jacques and Naiya as surrogate parents but they can only do so much for her without disobeying her Alpha father. Their struggle to do what’s right, to protect their charge but also having to hurt her in order to keep their positions and prevent less caring people replacing them was well done.
I'm desperate to give this 4 stars but the language lacks some finesse and I was somewhat uncomfortable with the 22-year-old Donil's over-familiarity with an incredibly naive and repressed 17-year-old Layla, however his gentleness and caring attitude towards her is exactly what she needed in order to learn and grow into the adult she’ll legally be in just a few short months. His advances though felt too predatory and I’m not going to lie –“paedaophile” did pop into my head whenever he was around.
Villian, Zina is obsessed with werewolf Henry, believing he should've picked her -a pure werewolf rather than Helena, a panther. In her mind it's not too late she just has to destroy the obstacles in her way -the wife and the mongrel child. No one knows what she sees in Henry, he's an asshole but then crazy people have their crazy reasons. She goes after what she wants with maniacal glee -manipulating, torturing and murdering her way into getting what she wants.
The time after the major battle confused me. Rushed as it was, I was unsure of what had changed other than Henry’s slightly less spiteful approach to his daughter. Despite this I'm impressed with the political manoeuvring, social interactions and the general choreography of characters. I’m eager to read part two in Werelove saga, Werelove: Midnight Revelations upon it’s release in April 2011.
Waterboarding babies. Shit. I’m not a parent but in that moment I doubt a person could feel anything but a strong urge to protect and defend. Highly dWaterboarding babies. Shit. I’m not a parent but in that moment I doubt a person could feel anything but a strong urge to protect and defend. Highly disturbing. I was reminded of Milgram’s experiment on obedience to authority figures and the Stanford prison experiment, both very famous psychological studies about the pressures of conforming to a specific role, whether dominant or submissive and highlights the extraordinary strength it takes to break away from it. If the mother of that baby refused to obey by not drowning her baby in ice-filled water, the consequences could’ve been dire.
In the minds of those living in the compound there's this life and nothing else. They refuse to believe that life outside could be any better than the life they’re living now, even when that means torturing and killing your own children or handing them over to paedophiles and rapists. Frustrating, but then they've been indoctrinated from birth, raised not to question the order of things and are told to believe everything is "God's Will".
Very few are strong enough to refuse to continue with the farce that rewards a handful of old lecherous men and condemns everyone else, especially the young and defenceless. If you rebel, you'll be lucky to receive a quick death, if you’re really lucky you get married off to a nice man with only a couple of wives, and if the universe is smiling down on you and the planets are in alignment you might escape with your life and live to breathe another day only to look over your shoulder for the rest of your days.
I’ve noticed that in some of the negative reviews of this book people expected or wanted a realistic depiction of polygamy and that’s not what this is about. The Chosen One reflects the sensational, the newscaster’s dream: the paedophile cultists e.g. Warren Jeffs, sociopathic religious extremists who warp the media’s perception of this way of life so people wrongly come to automatically associate the word “paedophile” with “polygamy”.
Polygamy is not inextricably linked with religion and paedophilia, it is simply, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time." That is all.
If you want a more modern and realistic view of polygamy then this isn’t for you, watch HBO's “Big Love” instead.
Despite this, the book does bring up some important positive and negative points concerning polygamy, for example, more caregivers to bring up the children, sharing a husband can lead to tension and jealousy, etc.
Also, the choice of not using any form of contraception lead to Kyra's 3 mothers having had 19 children, meaning that each child has less one-to-one time with a caregiver and everyone having little-to-no alone time, with the older children forced to act as parents themselves. (On a personal note, I find having so many children incredibly selfish and irresponsible in this day and age where infant mortality is now quite low.) Add to this the overcrowding as each mother has one small, decrepit trailer to house their growing number of offspring. Unless of course their husband happens to be an elevated elder or an Apostle or the Prophet, in which case they'll have a luxurious mansion.
I did, however, wonder how everyone’s fed, clothed and sheltered. Where did the money come from? Who was footing the bill for the land devoid of condoms, and therefore an ever increasing population? They do keep costs down by leading rustic and prudish lifestyles with few mod-cons by making their own clothes, growing their own food, etc. but that only goes so far, at some point you've got to spend some money. For example, the trip to town to buy fabric and afterwards having lunch in a restaurant.
This book covers a number of distasteful topics which some readers may want to avoid:
Forced marriage, Paedophilia and Rape, of unwilling wives. (Forced marriage is illegal in the UK whether the marriage is to take place here or abroad, the law protects the victim no matter their age.)
Blackmail, of those who disobey or their relatives. Husbands can be forced to leave the compound and have their wives and children given to other men who are encouraged to treat them like shit.
Beatings, as a means of control and punishment.
Murder, of runaways, those that attempt to rescue anyone on the compound, those who disobey, and of disabled babies -very Spartan of them.
Incest, not a routine part of the compound. It seems it's more to satisfy Kyra's 60 year old uncle's lust for her 13-year-old body.
One of my favourite parts of this book was Joshua's admission to wanting Kyra and only Kyra for his wife. How romantic is that? Aww.
My rating is 3.5 stars because although we were given a look into what life might be like for those oppressed and used in the cults that make the headlines the writing wasn't as emotive as I would expect it to be apart for the baby torture. This book had the potential to bring me to tears but it didn't quite do it even with the desperate way it ended....more
Strange, my copy is called Diary of a Crush: American Dream. I loved this when I read it as a young teenager, so much so that I wanted to go on a roadStrange, my copy is called Diary of a Crush: American Dream. I loved this when I read it as a young teenager, so much so that I wanted to go on a road trip across the States too....more
This sequel trilogy to Darkest Powers is mild in comparison. There's no lethal danger. (view spoiler)[No one dies. None of the kids anyway. (hide spoiThis sequel trilogy to Darkest Powers is mild in comparison. There's no lethal danger. (view spoiler)[No one dies. None of the kids anyway. (hide spoiler)] Sure, some are injured and there are some close calls but considering the stakes I'd expect there to be more casualties.
I like the character development in this one. None of them are perfect, even Maya and Daniel. Sam is my favourite with no filter on her mouth, willing to say what she really thinks of you to your face and doesn't apologise for it. She's gutsy and I like it. She also happens to be gay, not sure if that's stereotyping but anyway I sympathised with her back-story. Kenjii, Maya's dog, was also a comforting presence throughout -fiercely loyal and protective, the perfect scout when it came to detecting nearby cougars.
I wasn't as frustrated with this book as I was with The Gathering however, I still cannot stand Rafe. I wanted him out of the picture entirely and at one point I was cheering because I thought I'd got my way, then groaned. I don't understand why Maya constantly forgives him. Animal magnetism isn't enough. He may be doing the best he can under the circumstances, was even willing to sacrifice his life but his methods...he just rubs me up the wrong way.
Whilst Rafe was gone we got see how well Daniel and Maya worked together, how much they trusted each other and managed to care for and lead the group. And I don't think I was imagining it this time: Daniel has a thing for Maya and I think if Maya opened her eyes she might feel the same way, if it wasn't for Rafe. Even Sam noticed and almost outed Daniel's feelings. I hate love triangles but this is one of those extremely rare once-in-a-blue-moon moments where I'm hoping there is one. The only thing wrong with Daniel is his inability to tell Maya how he really feels about her and trying not to stand in the way of her and Rafe even when he gets bad feelings about him (his superpower, and he's usually right). He wants her to be happy.
This was a quick and easy read but I'm definitely not loving this trilogy as much as the first. I don't feel as sell-my-own-mother desperate to get my hands on The Rising as I did with The Reckoning. I can wait a year for the conclusion, even knowing we'll be seeing Derek, Chloe & Co. again. The plot and these characters just aren't as compelling.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more