Although I usually enjoy reading books about fairies but this book wasn't my favorite. Tithe follows the story of sixteen-year-old American Kaye FiercAlthough I usually enjoy reading books about fairies but this book wasn't my favorite. Tithe follows the story of sixteen-year-old American Kaye Fierch, a young nomad who tours the country with her mother's rock band. The book begins in Philadelphia, at a gig her mother's band Stepping Razor is playing in a seedy bar in Philadelphia. After her mother's boyfriend and guitarist, Lloyd, attempts to stab her mother under the enchantment of Nephamael (a knight of the Unseelie Court) her mother takes her back to Kaye's grandmother's house in New Jersey to stay.
Once at her grandmother's house, Kaye begins to look for her old "imaginary" friends she had during her childhood, faeries named Lutie-Loo, Spike, and Gristle. However, she fails to find them and, begins to suspect that they were simply figments of her imagination. Her suspicions dissolve when she finds and saves the life of Roiben, a faerie knight, by pulling an iron-tipped arrow from his chest. In return, he grants her three truthfully answered questions about anything she chooses, which she does not immediately use. Soon after this, Spike and Lutie-Loo contact her and warn her that Roiben is a murderer who has killed Gristle. As revenge, Kaye tricks Roiben into telling her his full name (she later learns that faeries can be controlled by their true names).
Later on, her friends tell her that she is a changeling and that she should keep her human appearance, because the Unseelie Court wishes to use her as a "Tithe" in order to bind the Solitary Fey to the Court's queen, Nicnevin. Since Kaye is not mortal, the ritual will be forfeit, and the fey whom the Unseelie Court wishes to bind will go free. Kaye attempts to control her newfound abilities by enlisting the help of a Kelpie to teach her how to use magic. She is soon kidnapped by a group of fairies, as planned and is taken to the Unseelie Court to go through the sacrificial ceremony. Before the ceremony Roiben takes her to be prepared, having a dress made for her and allowing her to stay with him the night, where they acknowledge their feelings for one another. At the climax of the ceremony, Kaye uses Roiben's name to order him to free her from her bonds before she is killed, resulting in a bloodbath between Roiben and the court before they flee safely. In the process, he kills the queen of the Unseelie Court and many of her guards.
Kaye and Roiben spend the day at Kaye's home, and discover that strange events are affecting the mortal world. Odd reports of mauling and kidnappings are reported on the news and Roiben makes Kaye understand that this is a result of the solitary fey being free for the next seven years. Kaye receives a call from her friend Janet, inviting her to come to a Halloween rave held at the waterfront, she tries to persuade her not to go but fails. After a failed attempt to receive help from her "imaginary" faerie friends, Roiben and Kaye attend the rave. They are separated, and Kaye successfully locates her friends, but briefly leaves them to apologize to Janet's boyfriend for bewitching him earlier in the novel. However, she finds that the kelpie who lives near the waterfront has taken Janet into the water to kill her. In the novel, it is suggested that Janet went with him out of loneliness and a desire to get revenge on her boyfriend for going off with Kaye. Kaye follows but is too late and she manages to convince the kelpie to relinquish her body. Roiben finds Kaye mourning for her friend and gets her home.
The next morning, she and Roiben travel to the Seelie Court's camp some distance away to see if Corny is there. They reach a dead end, but discover that the knight (Nephamael) has proclaimed himself the king of the Unseelie Court. Roiben is suspicious of the situation and thinks that it is a trap for Kaye and him. Later, Roiben's suspicions are proved correct when they enter the Unseelie Court. Nephamael, who had discovered Roiben's true name from Spike before killing him, uses it to take control over Roiben. He orders him to seize Kaye, but Roiben uses trickery to let her get away. Kaye then devises a plan to poison Nephamael, while Corny and Roiben amuse him. She goes through with it; however, before Nephamael is dead, the Seelie Queen arrives, hoping to take over the court (right after her arrival Corny goes insane and stabs Nephamael multiple times, ultimately killing him). Roiben prevents the Queen's takeover attempt by claiming the throne as his.
Part of the problem I had with this book is that I didn't really like the character of Kaye, nor do I like Corny. They both seem a bit trite, and Corny's character seems to be representative of what many people inaccurately think of gay men - weak, unable to control their desires, and like to be submissive. Kaye's mother, Ellen, is an example of many mother's who are too busy trying to live their own lives instead of taking care of her children. She is more interested in touring with her rock band, Stepping Razor, than taking care of Kaye, and only moves back with her mother when her boyfriend, Lloyd, becomes too abusive. The only character I really like was Roiben, who, though at first seems evil for killing Gristle, turns out to be somewhat of a hero and is very taken with Kaye. The book was interesting enough for me to want to read the rest of the series.
I'm really not sure why I picked up this book but I knew I wanted an "adult" book to read amidst all the young adult literature I had been reading. UnI'm really not sure why I picked up this book but I knew I wanted an "adult" book to read amidst all the young adult literature I had been reading. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in this book. I could not at all relate to the main character/author. Yes, her life was monotonous, but whose isn't much of the time? And while the premise of reading about her cooking all the recipes in the famous Julia Child's cookbook seemed intriguing, I really should have thought about the recipes I would be reading about. As a vegetarian, many of them were offensive to me and were downright disgusting. There was no need to kill animals to use the ingredients she used to create the recipes, and honestly, who would want to even eat many of the foods she had prepared. I can understand wanting to cook, or even wanting to add some excitement to your life, but this seems such an odd way to do so.
Julie Powell is an almost thirty year-old woman that works for the state of New York, as a secretary helping families deal with 9-11. She is married to Eric Powell, her college sweetheart, and they live in the pleasant area of Queens. While on a trip home in Texas with her family, Julie sees the long forgotten book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child. From this, Julie decides to take up the challenge of completing 524 recipes in 365 days. After deciding this, Eric Powell convinces her to start up a blog, letting everyone be a part of this adventure. She starts off her first blog with this, “A book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking… The contender, Government drone by day, renegade foodie by night. Too old for theater, too young for children, and too bitter for anything else, Julie Powell was looking for a challenge.”
She starts off by doing recipe after recipe, some working, and some not so much. The whole time blogging every detail, and making sure not to leave out her opinion. People slowly started to follow her, but not many. When she would be having a crisis at home, sometimes she would miss a day of cooking, or a day of blogging, and people would start to get upset. People would leave comments such as, “Oh thank GOD you’re back! I thought you were dead!!! I missed you SO much!” At first Julie found this comment touching and was excited someone cared, but then slowly decided that this comment was creepy and she didn’t like it. Slowly but surely people started following her blog.
Julie would mainly cook for friends not just herself. She cooked for her parents, brother, best friend, and even a reporter that wanted to interview both her and Julia Child’s publisher together, but it didn’t work out, so Julie cooked for him anyway. She went on adventures with poaching eggs, extracting bone marrow, and gelatin. The whole time, with her blog followers and husband by her side. There were many moments that she broke down crying, or started yelling at random people on the street.
This sort of thing went on for the whole year. But the readers multiplied, and would be there for Julie when she would fall down, and pick her up again. A lot of people started doing the Julie/Julia Project on their own as well, and would ask Julie for encouragement as they encouraged her. Near the end of the project, Julie got an offer to have a book published if she wrote one about what she was doing. This sounded like a good plan. But, two years after she started writing the book, Julia Child passed away in her sleep. Julie went and wrote some touching words on her old blog in memory and thanks for everything that Julia has done and accomplished.
“I have no claim over the woman at all, unless it’s the claim one who has nearly drowned has over the person who pulled her out of the ocean.” She goes on to say, “Julia taught me what it takes to find your way in the world. It’s not what I thought it was. I thought it was all about – I don’t know, confidence or will or luck. Those are all some good things to have, no question. But there’s something else, something that these things grow out of. It’s Joy. Thanks for everything.” ...more
**spoiler alert** This was such a sweet book without a predictable ending, which made me like it that much more. I was so engrossed in the characters,**spoiler alert** This was such a sweet book without a predictable ending, which made me like it that much more. I was so engrossed in the characters, especially Cameron, and the stepfather, Alan.
Jennifer Harris, a lisping, chubby nine-year-old being raised by a distracted single mother, is an outcast at school and the target of cruel and incessant teasing. Life would be unbearable except for the companionship of her childhood friend Cameron Quick, who is ostracized himself because of poverty and his quirky personality. Jennifer and Cameron are soul mates, drawing strength from each other to endure the painful struggles of growing up as social pariahs. Cameron, however, has difficulties at home far greater than any he must face at school. His father is an abusive reprobate, and one day, the entire family inexplicably vanishes.
Jennifer is devastated by Cameron’s disappearance, and eventually is led to believe, from two of her classmates, that he is dead, and her mother never denies this, instead telling Jennifer to move on. Jennifer is so devastated she passes out at school and cries for weeks, unable to move on. When her mother remarries and Jennifer enrolls in a new school, she resolves to go on with her life and remake her image, losing weight, taking on an outgoing persona, and renaming herself Jenna. Although she must constantly be vigilant to prevent the old Jennifer from showing through her façade, things appear to be going well. Jenna is pretty and popular, and even has a boyfriend named Ethan. Ethan is handsome and popular and is Jennifer/Jenna's first boyfriend. Jenna has two best friends, Steph, who goes through boyfriends quickly and is stunningly beautiful, and Katy, a red head who is unsure of herself and never seems to have a boyfriends. They are also friends with Gil, freshman Dave and junior Dave. Cameron, eight years after he dropped from sight, reenters her life. Cameron’s return forces Jenna to come to terms with who she really is and to examine the true nature of friendship. Cameron, we find out, has been following Jenna for a few months. He has come to find her while leaving his family back in California. His mother still allows his abusive father to return periodically, though they are divorced and she has had two more children, leaving Cameron with 4 siblings at home. Jenna recognizes Cameron immediately and is thrown off by his appearance, believing he had died. He enrolls in her school and is quickly noticed by the girls since he is tall and handsome. But he only cares about re-establishing his relationship with Jenna. We soon find out that he had an apartment and a job but can no longer afford the rent and is homeless. His return forces Jenna to return to her old rituals of eating sweets and fats for comfort. She remembers the day when she and Cameron had to run away from his father because he had tried to make them play doctor and Jennifer had found a way for them to sneak out the window. In the end, Cameron knows he must leave in order to return to his family in California, but weeks later he sends flowers to Jenna and her parents with a note to her leaving his address and promising he will always let her know where he is.
Jenna and Cameron are separated by circumstances, each mindful of the need to become, and to allow the other to become, the best person they can be, even if it means they cannot be together. Years pass as the childhood friends live their separate lives, and although Jenna feels that it must be love which binds them, she wonders if her connection with Cameron can really be called love, when they never see each other and rarely even talk. Still, there is something undeniably precious, strong, and pure between the two of them, indefinable, but eminently significant. Cameron’s place in Jenna’s heart "is tender, a bruise of longing, a pulse of unfinished business." In the end, Jenna concludes that the mark she and Cameron have left on each other "is the color and shape of love." Cameron, the one person in her life who knows her completely and affirms her despite all, is "as much a part of (Jenna) as (her) own soul," and their love continues on, personified in memories, elusive and evolving, forever.
**spoiler alert** Although this series is not my favorite, it has enough action to keep my attention through the remainder of the series. This time, t**spoiler alert** Although this series is not my favorite, it has enough action to keep my attention through the remainder of the series. This time, the Midnighters are fighting a half human, half darkling. Touching Darkness begins shortly after The Secret Hour ends. It starts with Jessica's meeting Jonathan in the secret hour. As they return home, Jonathan discovers a "stiff" - non-midnighter - outside Jessica's house, taking multiple exposures of her window across midnight. Meanwhile, Dess has been having strange dreams, which have led to some theories about co-ordinates affecting the secret hour. She discovers a GPS co-ordinate finder in her father's map drawer, and begins to use it to map the secret hour.
Investigating Jessica's stalker, Melissa overhears someone thinking about Jessica. She and Rex visit his house in the secret hour and discover people there are using dominoes with lore symbols on them to communicate with the darklings at midnight, with the help of a 'halfling' -Anathea- a girl who has been merged with a darkling. Melissa discovers that the halfling is sick, and that the darklings will soon try to take Rex, another Seer, to replace her. They steal some of the dominoes so that the darklings will not be able to communicate about the Midnighters to their human allies. They also find that the house belongs to Ernesto Grayfoot – a cousin of Jessica's friend Constanza Grayfoot, who says that even though her grandfather used to live there, he left nearly fifty years ago – around the time the Midnighters seem to have disappeared from Bixby – and now the rest of her family avoid the town at all costs – her father was even cut off for moving there.Meanwhile, Dess discovers a house in which another Midnighter – Madeline – has lived hidden for nearly fifty years. Madeline explains that fifty years ago, when the town's population boomed suddenly, someone let out the secret of the Midnighters to an outsider - Constanza's grandfather - who learned how to communicate with the darklings, and got rich doing their bidding. The darklings used him to kill off the Midnighters, leaving only the new, younger generation, who were seen as harmless with no one older to teach them. They also made the halfling using a young girl called Anathea, to communicate with the darklings better. She also explains that her house is in a contortion in the secret hour which hides her, and that Dess must keep the knowledge of it hidden from the others so that the darklings do not find it.
After ransacking Constanza's house, the Midnighters learn that the darklings are trying to prevent a new runway being built outside Bixby. From Madeline, Dess learns that she needs to get Jessica's help in scouring the site of the runway with light: it is the only place halflings can be made, and light will destroy it. However, before she manages it, Rex is kidnapped. Dess draws a map to where they will find him, then suppresses the memories using a trick Madeline taught her so that Melissa will not learn about Madeline from her mind. However, Melissa suspects Dess is hiding something, and touches her, giving herself full access to Dess's memories. She learns about Madeline, and Dess begins to resent her for the intrusion on her privacy.
When the secret hour begins, Jonathan, Melissa, Jessica and Dess are only a mile from the spot Rex has been taken, but Melissa is injured when she continues through the windshield when the car stops abruptly at the start of the secret hour. Jessica and Jonathan go ahead and find Anathea, freed from the darkling, who tells them that Rex is already a halfling. Luckily, they catch up with him, and Jessica uses her torch to burn away the darkling flesh, making him (mostly) human again. They return to Anathea, who dies from the darkness after Jonathan grants her last wish to fly again. They leave her in front of the Grayfoots, along with a message spelled out in English: 'You're next'.
Finally, Madeline introduces herself to all of the Midnighters - as soon as Melissa knew about her, the darklings could read it from her mind. She begins to teach Melissa how to mindcast properly. Meanwhile, Rex is struggling to come to terms with his enhanced abilities; his time as a halfling has left him with the darkling's ability to sense human thoughts and emotions, as well as a desire to hunt. Jonathan is my favorite character - he seems to be the most honest and real of all the characters. He is very understated and does not seem to carry the arrogance that the others do. ...more
**spoiler alert** I had no idea when I picked up this book that I would relate to the main character with regard to her panic and anxiety. Hers begins**spoiler alert** I had no idea when I picked up this book that I would relate to the main character with regard to her panic and anxiety. Hers begins in grade school, where mine did not begin until middle school. The main character is a young girl named Tara who, growing up, is afraid that something will happen to her mother while she herself is at school, and she becomes terrified. Then at school, she becomes very afraid during the air raid and fire drills, concerned about what they are actually practicing for and what might happen. This anxiety is so severe that it pulls her away from her two best friends in grade school because she can no longer relate to them and begins to need to complete strange compulsions such as counting cracks on her way to school. She does this to prevent her mother from breaking her back. It is clear that Tara is exhibiting the signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Tara's story begins when she is in fifth grade and she starts to repeat "Step on a crack, break your mother's back," and then to obsessively count cracks in the sidewalk. She pushes her friends, Keesha, Anna and Kristin away, sometimes literally, when they interrupt her, but she cannot explain why she needs to count or why she is so impatient to be interrupted. There are light moments where it seems like Tara might be able to compensate for her strange habits, and when she tells her friends about them, they love her anyway, but the problems get worse and worse over time, and eventually she drives her friends away.
The biggest problem for Tara is her relationship with her mother, for her mother's nerves are completely shot with Tara's obsessive counting, and then with her habit of praying all the time. Tara can't stop this behavior, but her mother ends up trying to shake it out of her, or slap it out of her, and the low point of their relationship comes at the carnival when Tara's mother shakes her violently because Tara has been crossing herself all through a ride.
Things seem like they might be getting better for Tara in eighth grade, when she befriends a tough girl named Donna DeLuca, whose parents are never home. Donna doesn't judge Tara, so Tara doesn't have as many reasons for strange behavior with her, but her freedom only gives her more room to be anxious about things, and it doesn't sit well with her family, who are still upset about her compulsive behavior. Donna does have her faults, though. She smokes incessantly and at times puts the friendship on hold to have sexual relations with random boys. This at times puts a strain on their relationship. Another low point comes at Christmas, when Tara needs everyone to sit in their accustomed seats—her father stalks out, and her mother and grandparents leave as well, and the meal is ruined.
Things turn around for Tara when her father's friend Mr. Jacobson comes over and recognizes some of Tara's behaviors. He tells her that she might have obsessive compulsive disorder, and he puts her in touch with a boy named Sam who used to wash his hands compulsively out of a fear of contamination. Tara begins to develop a crush on Sam as he is the first person who has ever really understood what it feels like to be inside her head, and he is handsome also. Tara gets help from Susan Leopardi, a therapist, and begins to overcome her fears and repetitive behaviors by imagining the things that make her most afraid, and trying to diminish their effect. In the end, Tara gets to prove her recovery by being the one who gives Sam encouragement and advice when the death of his pet parakeet sends him back into obsessive behavior and fears.
The book clearly illustrates what it feels like to live with obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that seem to take over your life and leave you powerless to stop them. The vivid descriptions of Tara's and later Sam's struggles illustrate the incapability one has to stop the thoughts and behaviors, but how there is help out there once a diagnosis is made. The book also illustrates the strain it puts on the family and friends who have no idea who to handle this behavior, and the "loss" of their loved one. ...more