An interesting take on the brain, what parts are used during the decision-making process, along with why we should trust our instincts. Trust them, thAn interesting take on the brain, what parts are used during the decision-making process, along with why we should trust our instincts. Trust them, they are there for a reason. One thing I know I suffer from is overthinking. Reminded of that fault, the book made me more aware and left me armed with some tools to offset the times I do fall into that trap. I should note that the publisher recently stopped selling this book as sadly one of the author's other books, Imagine, had some fabricated quotes which begs the question if that occurred in this book as well. Knowing that going in, I still enjoyed the read. Recommened for those that find psychology fasciating in a non-text book style....more
As someone who absolutely loved Wicked, I HAD to know how Maguire would end it. For me, the first book in this series was so magical. By giving ElphabAs someone who absolutely loved Wicked, I HAD to know how Maguire would end it. For me, the first book in this series was so magical. By giving Elphaba a backstory, Maguire made me feel sympathy for a character I had always known to hate, the evil Wicked Witch of the West. Knowing his writing style and the fact the the two previous books in this series did not go over too well, I was hesitant but curiosity got the better of me. For those who have not read the entire series so far, the book begins with a brief refresher of the story so far as well as family charts and maps.
The focus of this book is Rain, the granddaughter of the Wicked Witch of the West, daughter of Lir and Candle. Rain, nor anyone around her, knows who she is as her green skin has been hidden by a charm. It is her journey, along with the protection of the Grimmerie, that we follow and to be honest, it was long and drawn out. Many characters make an appearance, including Glinda (who employed Rain, not realizing she was her best friends daughter), Brrr, Liir, Candle, the Time Clock Dragon, nasty Cherrystone and Dorothy! Oh Dorothy, I really wish her comic relief lasted longer. I wasn't left completely disappointed, with a strong ending the last 50 pages were devoured like there was no tomorrow. There were a few more questions I had hoped to have answered though. Although the entire series didn't win me over, I highly recommend checking out Wicked, a book that still sticks with me years later.
Wren has seen her mother do some magical things and has noticed that she has unique powers herself, but they don't talk about it. Danny was the perfecWren has seen her mother do some magical things and has noticed that she has unique powers herself, but they don't talk about it. Danny was the perfect boyfriend, he was so sweet and Wren and Danny did everything together. When Wren gets a call to say that Danny died in a car crash, she is heart broken. Faced with losing the love her life forever, she decided to try out her powers and brings Danny back to life, she can't lose him. Keeping him hidden and a secret is hard, even harder when Gabriel comes on scene and 'knows' what Wren has done.
I think everyone can relate to the premise of this book... if one could keep the one you love with you forever, I'm sure many would try and find a way. The problem is, that the person you love may not be the same as the one you have now and this is the dilemma Wren faces. This was a cute story about love, loss and regrets...oh and zombies! Well sort of, the zombie aspect is quite different here. We are not talking the brain eating kind, rather an empty person version. I just wish there was more substance to the story, it felt like there was so much more to tell and we were only given a glimpse. Wren has powers! Where did both Wren and Gabriel's dad go and why? Who is Gabriel? I was left curious but not super eager and in my search I can't see any mention of there being a book two.
I had a love hate relationship with this one. I should start off by saying that the book is full of elements I love... Greek mythology, angst, love, fI had a love hate relationship with this one. I should start off by saying that the book is full of elements I love... Greek mythology, angst, love, fate, an object with magical powers just to name a few. In fact, if I were to write a book, I would have thought that it would contain many of the same elements. So why did I not love this book?
The story is loosely based on the Greek characters Helen of Troy and Paris whose actions are what sparked the Trojan War. The Fates are determined making the demi-god descendants repeat history. In Starcrossed, Helen has grown up with her father on a small island. Her mom suddenly up and left them when she was young, leaving no trace, not even pictures of her, behind. Helen tries to blend in with the crowd, knows that she can do some things too well, like running, and struggles to appear normal. It is when the Delos family moves in that the pieces of the puzzle really begin to make sense. With the help of Lucas, she discovers her family secret and that she plays a key role in keeping the world alive.
Starcrossed incorporates variations on the myths we know. The Trojan War did not end with the wooden horse, but rather a deal was made. The character names Helen, Cassandra, Hector etc left little to the imagination, but a couple of my many annoyances were that it took Helen forever to realize her role in all of this and that she is basically Helen of Troy reincarnated. Also Cassandra's foresight is never doubted. I actually think that the book may have been even more enjoyable had the story been in its own world, rather than borrowed from myth. I loved seeing the story veer on its own course.
One thing I noticed is that trying to write characters tied together by fate is hard! Helen and Lucas begin the story about to kill each other. This is out of character for Helen, who is trying to be a wallflower and she has no idea why she feels so much hatred. It's not an easy task to make a character come alive when their actions are being forced upon them and for this reason I found them flat, even the romantic connection between her and Lucas.
Once Helen discovered who she was and was no longer trying to push back her special abilities, she was a great, kick butt character. The middle of the book, where they are teaching her to fight is fabulous. This is where the book gets good, pages were quickly turned and we learn all about the real story of the war. This is also where I was hoping to have the story take off. I knew going in, this was book one of a trilogy, so I was expecting a major cliffhanger but rather it ended without a bang, more of a WTF.
I've noticed myself enjoying more and more fantasy this year where you are pretty much guaranteed strong characters, secrets and battles over power. TI've noticed myself enjoying more and more fantasy this year where you are pretty much guaranteed strong characters, secrets and battles over power. The Girl of Fire and Thorns was fantastic!
From the first line I was drawn into the world Rae Carson created, you would never guess this is a debut. Her strong prose thoughout the story stand outs as impressive, I was captivated, eager to know what the Godstone meant and Elisa's chosen role. As pieces of her past are woven into the story, Elisa discovers more about who she is and the sheltered life she had lead.
On her sixteenth birthday. Elisa is married off to King Alejandro of Orovalle, unsure why it's not her beautiful sister that he chose.When they arrive at her new home though, there is no announcement, in fact it is a secret. Soon enough, she realizes there is more to this marriage then meets the eye. Kidnapped while asleep in the castle, this is where her true journey begins. This wasn't just another 'chosen one' story, it is about self-discovery as well. Elisa's journey changes her, making her a powerful force to be reckoned with. I enjoyed her more when she was with her captors (they were not out to harm her) and this is when we learn the Godstone's history. It is also where we meet Humberto ;) I have to say I was surprised at the lack of action on the part of some characters, but then again this is told from Elisa's perspective, limiting us to what we know. There was only one thing that bothered me a little during the story, which I should have known considering she is the carrier of a Godstone. Although I believe in a higher power, I am not religious so I found the repetitive use of 'God's will' a little tiring.
Knowing this was book one of a trilogy when I started, I anticipated being left with a cliffhanger. I am happy to report that, although the journey has just begun, the ending was satisfying, leaving you curious to know what comes next for Elisa. One of the strongest debuts I've read, if you love a story rich with lore, I think you'll love Girl of Fire and Thorns too.
**spoiler alert** Every year Zach hosts a party right before the school winter break, and this year strange things happen which set the stage for what**spoiler alert** Every year Zach hosts a party right before the school winter break, and this year strange things happen which set the stage for what is to come. First the party goers find out about a student suicide, then Em hooks up with Zach (her best friend, Gabby's, boyfriend) and finally Chase bumps into someone new girl on the way home.
Although initially shocking, Em going after Zach when Gabby is away works for this story. Gabby's actions don't make you feel that she is truly in love, this is just a high school relationship after all, and Em truly believes that her and Zach where meant to be. This is where my enjoyment of the storyline ends though.
I've come to the conclusion that making people act in a way that conflicts with their previous behaviour is a hard thing to do right. I love the idea of fate but am not sure how easy that is to write about. I adore character driven stories so having someone act out of character isn't easy to swallow for me. In this case, I had an issue with Chase. Although I did like him, he had his faults. He tries so hard to show he fits in and sadly prowls for girls who get a bit tipsy at parties. Now I know Ty is a fury but he pines for her after just meeting her and doesn't mind her seeing the 'real' him so quickly! There were also two instances where I was seeing the story go in one direction but it never took off. (****SPOLIER ALERT***) This happened when Chase drinks something given to him by Ty and when she paints both Chase and herself with red paint. Did the drink have some power that made Chase bonded to her? Not in the case, but I would have totally bought that! Although the pictures taken during the red paint instance were used against him, I thought they would have been used for a different reason, with the red paint looking like blood. I can she now that it was used to foreshadow, but for me it fell flat of it's potential.(***end spoiler***)
There were three furies and really three people making teenager mistakes. I kept waiting for the one that really deserved a smack in the face (Zach) to get his turn, I just wish it had come up sooner then the clifffhanger ending. I enjoyed the story, it had me eager to get to the end, but sorry guys it had too many gaps in the storyline for me to say it was a great book....more
Vaclav and Lena are Russian immigrant children growing up in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout the novel, we witness their lives at age five, nine and seVaclav and Lena are Russian immigrant children growing up in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout the novel, we witness their lives at age five, nine and seventeen. Upon meeting, the two kids instantly became the best of friends. They are both struggling with their English, trying to fit in at school and everyday they work towards their goal of putting on a magic show. For years, they only have each other. Vaclav's mom, Rasia, is tough and keeps a tight reign on her only son, wanting him to achieve his dreams (this is after all the reason she moved to America!). She also knows that Lena does not have the best home life, living with an Aunt who dances, and so everyday Lena is at their house until it is time for bed. When they are nine, Rasia feels she must contact the police and Lena is taken away. But Vaclav can't help but think of Lena everyday and on her 17th birthday, they meet again. We learn what happened to Lena, the impact it had and how she attempts to carry on.
The story begins when they are young and as English is new to them, the narrators voice depicts this. It may come off as awkward at first, but as their grasp of English improves, so does the narrator's. I loved this aspect as it made the story more authentic and reminded me of spending time at my best friends house, with her Polish speaking parents. The mother, Rasia, was so loveable and provides that link between the old Russian world and new America, allowing you to see the world from a unique perspective (why is the rich teenage girl wearing ripped jeans?). She offers quite a few comedic moments!
My heart went out to Vaclav. Ever since he was a little boy, he dreams of becoming a famous magician, with Lena as his assistant. He sees only the good in things, has tunnel vision, and is so innocent. Lena is broken and Vaclav is her rock. He is the best friend everyone needs. When she is gone, he worries about her, but moves on, has a girlfriend and still continues doing what he loves...magic! After Vaclav and Lena meet again, it's like time stood still and he wants things to be as they were seven years ago, but she is not the same and his mom can no longer shield him from Lena's plight. There is not a perfect, happily ever after ending, and as much as I love that, this ending was even better.
A magical debut by Haley Tanner, Vaclav & Lena is a story full of innocent love and hope that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page. This will be one of my favorite reads in 2011! If you enjoyed Gayle Foreman's If I Stay and Where She Went, I think you'd love this one too.
The worlds that Sarah Addison Allen creates are always so beautiful. I love that it's not only the characters but the atmosphere that pulls you in! InThe worlds that Sarah Addison Allen creates are always so beautiful. I love that it's not only the characters but the atmosphere that pulls you in! In The Peach Keeper, Willa & Paxton are brought together when Paxton's project to restore the historic Blue Ridge Madam, once owned by Willa's family, hits a snag and bones are found buried beneath a peach tree. The body is traced back to 1936 when the Woman's Society Club was formed and Willa's family moved out...coincidence?
I adored every character in this novel, from the seeming average Willa (who has more then meets the eye), the socialite Paxton (who has yet to move out and lives in the family guest house, never really done what she wanted to do but rather is living a life that depends on parental approval), the grandmothers (with the key to the mystery) and of course the guys, Colin and Sebastian. The growth in characters is phenomenal. Add in the family secrets, prominent vs average family and love and I was hooked.
The Peach Keeper is one of those books that after turning the last page you let out a sigh of happiness, it's that good. A beautiful story of finding oneself, friendship, sacrifice, secrets and love, this is the perfect summer read.
As a big fan of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, let's just say I was ecstatic when I heard about this new series. If you have not read the VamAs a big fan of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, let's just say I was ecstatic when I heard about this new series. If you have not read the Vampire Academy books, besides changing that, I would suggest you have a peak at the Vampire Academy wiki to read up on the characters as it may seem overwhelming at first.
This is the story of Sydney, an alchemist who helped Rose escape from prison and is now living with the consequences..no one trusts her. She is excited to find out that they need her help and she is not being sent away to reform school. In an attempt to keep the Moroi Queen's half-sister safe, Sydney is assigned to watch over Jill. They pose as sisters at a boarding school in California, hiding and expecting nothing to be happening in this town. Surprise...people are being killed and it appears to be the work of a vampire or even a vampire hunter (do they exist?).
While I did find the middle section a tad long but believe me when I tell you the ending is to die for! I hate to compare but this was like Holly Black's White Cat/Red Glove for me...book one is full of world building but the ending is perfect and leaves you eager for the next book right away. I loved how it ends, in a teaser way as opposed to cliffhanger. I literally had a huge smile at the end and said "darn you Richelle!" A blowout start to a new series, I need the next book now!