In all likelihood this 'review' of mine will not turn out to be a helpful contribution for those who are still on the fence concerning their own possi...moreIn all likelihood this 'review' of mine will not turn out to be a helpful contribution for those who are still on the fence concerning their own possible future enjoyment of A Corner of White. I assume it will rather represent a futile attempt at explaining my wholly unexpected decision to let go of the story after only 145 pages without having unearthed particularly annoying or offending or even mediocre aspects that would lend a sufficient foundation to my reluctance to pick up the beautifully covered hardback after putting it down at lunchtime.
See, although Moriarty's Ashbury books scored only four-star-ratings from me, they all contain a smaller or larger amount of some secret, magic ingredient which I crave and adore in fiction. I seldom shed tears when I am in the company of books, yet I bawled my eyes out when I was reading The Murder Of Bindy Mackenzie. I simply loved that crazy mix of e-mails, court room materials, letters, diary entries, history book excerpts and refrigerator notes in the other volumes - especially because of the distinct voices, the occasional hilariousness, the dashes of mystery and the wonderfully normal characters.
I had already mistakingly expected another fully satisfactory, almost perfect book, when I bought a brand-new copy of The Spell Book of Listen Taylor, which also disappointed me in a major way. But in hindsight I explained my lack of enjoyment with the fact that that book had been written and published for an adult audience as I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes before it was dusted off and forcibly reshaped into something the Ashbury-reading crowd might spend money on - girly covers included. Moriarty's 'real' young-adult-centered output would continue to be on the brink of flawlessness, I assured myself.
And thus I put A Corner of White on my wish list at a time when the available information did not amount to much beside the 'Kingdom of Cello' as the location, and when the probability of the book being eventually born sounded as unreliable as Stephenie Meyer's long forgotten statement about the cannibalistic mermaid saga she planned to write as soon as her creative well restarted to sprout sellable sentences. I managed to make myself wait for the international edition instead of spending a fortune at the Fishpond and I never resorted to epilepsy-inducing .gifs or the internet equivalent of ecstatic shouting, but believe me, I wanted to read Madeleine's parallel world experience pretty badly.
Today I finally curled up with that coveted 500g of printed paper and started to read - confident of the extraordinary superb time lying in wait for me. Friends of mine had used promising words like weird and whimsical in their reviews, expressions that happily rolled around in my mind like dogs in a puddle.
Unsurprisingly I did like Madeleine, I rediscovered a flavor of Moriarty's signature wacky mothers in Holly and I took pleasure in finding out the parallels and the differences between ""The World"" (ours) and ""The Kingdom of Cello"" (a place equipped with electricity and other recognizable means of civilization, but also prone to partly dangerous 'Color attacks') , which severed all passable portals or cracks between them and us about 300 years ago. The boy from Cello, Elliot, who lost his beloved father to a vicious and violent Purple - or to a boost of marital infidelity as some neighbors are secretly assuming - was the kind of hero you cannot help rooting for, too. Plus there were Cambridge, UK, some pleasantly weird teachers and their teaching methods, a father-daughter-problem begging to be solved and two far-from-bland side-characters, Jack and Belle (view spoiler)[- although I was not fond of Jack's wart on his middle finger. He can keep his coarse hair and may even grow a row of buck teeth, but warty-handed teenage boys are gross in my opinion (hide spoiler)].
All these seemingly fine prerequisites, all the skillful writing and all the originality did not save me from gradually losing interest. My enthusiasm slowly tickled out of me until I did not care particularly for either Madeleine, Madeleine's game-show-addicted mom and her lack of trivial knowledge, Elliot, Elliot's missing dad, the Butterfly Child, the Color victims, Cello's anti-monarchy movement or the still to visit magical, dragon- and werewolf-infested north of the country.
I realized my loss of personal involvement only when it was much too late to do something about it. I feel inexplicably sad, because my expectations had been so high and so solidly founded. I feel cheated by my own mind, because I cannot and do not find fault. I know, I could ignore my boredom and resolve to go on reading, but unfortunately I did exactly that just yesterday, when I had to admit that Lips Touch: Three Times and I did not match in spite of my deep admiration for Daughter of Smoke & Bone. In short, I do not have enough determination to repeat the experience so soon.
So, is it just me or is it a mixture of misplaced expectations and unfortunate reading constellations? I do wonder.
The only cure for book-caused self-doubt I know, however, is reading the next book. And I'll do precisely that as soon as I can. Cross your fingers and wish me luck!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Birdie folded me into her arms and said into my ear, 'I know why you're so reluctant, Silvermay. You still think yourself in love. Well, this is your...more Birdie folded me into her arms and said into my ear, 'I know why you're so reluctant, Silvermay. You still think yourself in love. Well, this is your chance to show how strong that love is. Go with them, so the ones he loves will live to make him happy.'My motivation to read 'Silvermay' had been the pretty cover with a bit of 'Aussie Author Awe' thrown in - for the description sounded pretty confusing and non-descriptive to me and held me back instead of rushing me to the Fishpond's expensive shores. My motivation for writing this review after giving up the book at approximately 40% is that the only two-star-review consists of about two sentences. I understand perfectly. Writing something with a bleeding heart, giddy happiness or a boiling anger in tow comes pretty easy to me. Expressing my mildly irritated indifference or boredom so others can nod with made-up minds is a rather difficult task.I think, I start (and probably stop) with breaking down that confusing description / back flap copy to the more or less bland plot the reader faces when braving the pages. Maybe that will do the trick: Silvermay Hawker lives in a harsh, feudalistic world. Common folks in the villages are farmers, innkeepers, miners, game hunters or healers who are forced to share - and not just to tithe a tenth, but as much as the wyrdborn enforcers randomly tell them to - with those lording over them. It seemed peculiar to me, but the Wyrdborn, who you can imagine like invincible, super-strong brutes with heightened senses and both the 'gift' and mind-frame of Kristin Cashore's villain Leck, are seldom in a Lord’s position themselves. Usually they are employed by one in sets of two, who jealously keep each other’s appetite for power in check. On harvest collection days those wyrdborn guards tend to ensnare a couple of pretty young bed warmers on top, who they return as mindless wrecks without memories after growing bored of their services. In spite of that frightful practice no one tries to hide away their female offspring or to send them safely out of sight, when the tithe wagons roll in. The villagers just watch and lament the drama and then look down on unwed mothers as if those poor things have had any chance to prevent being abused. The remaining lot of the kingdom’s population lives in Vonne, the capital, earning money as spies/thugs/assassins ... whatever. So far, it's annoying, but business as usual. So far? Well, it stays that way:Wyrdborn Leck-look-alike Lord Coyle gets notice of a prophecy about one of his newborn bastards and sends out his greedy minions to get hold of his last pretty plaything Nerigold. Perpetually weak Nerigold and her solemn baby Lucien turn up in Silvermay's - think ‘Merida’ without a castle and without wealthy suitors - village with the mysterious, perfect and hyper-attractive Tamlyn in their wake, who poses as her lover, makes a feeble attempt at hiding his name and a quick, flirty beeline towards sixteen-year-old Silvermay's fluttering, boy-hungry heart. Silvermay's parents, a hawker and a healer, are the strangest lot. Lacking a son they have taught her youngest daughter to master the bow and the bird of prey, but not with particular changes to the usual female career in mind. They - just like that and notwithstanding the talk of starving in winter - take in disgraced Nerigorld against the elders' wishes - without any kind of consequences, too – and later insist, that their precious, immature and inexperienced daughter accompanies the couple on their journey, although Tamlyn announces, that they will be hunted by ruthless killers and have only a small chance to survive them, and although they know that Silvermay harbors a crush for the unavailable guy. Someone has to care for the baby, they say. To complete the samaritan picture painted of them, they part with their strongest bow and their only sword in order to outfit the doomed trio properly. Silvermay does not know much more about her future travel companions than her family – apart from the fact that he has a kind and yearning face and a cold and calculating one and that she loves her baby. But she feels their goodness and she cannot bear to part from them. So, farewell, Silvermay! Don’t die, honey!I endured a rather long road trip with descriptions of feeding the baby and resting and feeding the baby and shooting a rabbit and feeding the baby and mortal danger and resting and some affectionate touches and discoveries of love and secrets and feeding the baby, all the while unsuccessfully waiting for the inevitable moment when Nerigold is finally too weak to take the next breath of air. The – first - trip temporarily ends with the revelation of the prophecy - which is thanks to another point of view already known to the reader - and a lot of anguish. But that anguish also was expected and bland and boring and ... they were feeding the baby I am desperately trying to remember: In which other book does a baby suck all the life force out of its mother? The title lurks in a corner of my brain. . And I stopped reading. I was very, very confident at this time that nothing the remaining half of the novel would present had anything to offer that would manage to grab my interest. Nerigold has to die, the prophecy has to be stopped. A lot of traveling and touching ... and feeding ... will have to be done, while Silvermay grows a personality and starts to battle for Tamlyn’s hardened heart of gold and the first declaration of his unusual, kind of inappropriate affections. For it will come. Whether in volume one, two or three is certainly unknown and wholly uninteresting to me. But it will come. Apropos things to come: I think it is absolutely futile to have the heroine state in the prologue that she had to murder a baby by smothering its face with a cloth, when the title of the trilogy's third volume consists of said baby’s name. *Disappointed sigh*(less)
"'Something really important came up,' he said. 'Something so important you didn't have the decency to give me a freaking ride home? What came up?' 'I...more"'Something really important came up,' he said. 'Something so important you didn't have the decency to give me a freaking ride home? What came up?' 'I can't talk about it.'"
So. Let's talk about 'Shifting', a paranormal Young Adult Romance debut about an orphaned girl, who has been handed from one abusive foster home to the next, and who has had some collisions with the police lately because of nightly nudity and kitty fights for pieces of clothing with local prostitutes in her home town Albuquerque, New Mexico. As the title already suggests, Magdalene Mae Mortensen is a Shifter, someone who has to shift at full moons and can shift into whatever she wants whenever she wants (kind of like Sookie's bartender boss Sam). A few months before the State's responsibility ends Maggie's social worker, Mr. Petersen, made the strange last-straw-decision to hand his toughest ward cookie over to his own mother in small-townish Silver City. The change of abode comes with a change of hair color(view spoiler)[ also Mr. Petersen's idea - to make her blend in. Shouldn't he rather try to make her feel comfortable in her own skin? (hide spoiler)], a change of social workers and a change of schools. Now Maggie Mae is in the hands of incapable, insensitive blabbermouth Ollie Williams, surrounded by mega-bullies and supposedly hot jerks, cared for by an old, naive and superstitious lady, who is not accustomed to keeping a girl safe and fed, and hunted by someone ruthless, dangerous and unknown. Sounds great?
No. I don't think so either. So do not ask me what made me put the title on my wishlist in the first place. Certainly part of the blame goes to the cover, which is a bit fitting, actually, although Maggie's black-dyed hair is always wet or filthy and the attempt to shift into a snake went freakishly wrong. Then there was the promise of a New Mexican setting and Native American mythology. What puzzles me in hindsight is, that I somehow managed to graciously overlook the accumulation of brightly glowing jerk-inside bumper-stickers on positive and negative reviews alike. Inexplicably the praise of one single reviewer, who was even more or less unknown to me, stuck and overrode all warning signals: She gushed about the fantastically normal guy filling the love interest spot. I should have taken the time to run a check on her favorites shelf before mustering the galls to even suggest to my friend Teccc a read-along! But guess what: He chuckled evasively and didn't say yes or no, but expressed himself to be partly curious. Luckily I did not pester him again and saved myself from having to perform some apologetic groveling. For "normal" is the very last word I would select to describe rich, snobby, aloof, smarmy, horny, self-centered, impolite, irresponsible, rude, one-eighth-Navajo-blooded Daddy's boy Bridger, beloved little shit, track star and French-fiancé-owning, mysterious Crown Prince of Silver City. Even a good month later leafing through the offensive quotes I've marked makes my blood boil with disgust, and I hate the heroine for relenting and forgiving and being turned on again and again: "Who was verbally beating me to pulp this time? I was straining my ears but couldn't separate one voice out of them all. Bridger frowned and stopped dancing. He took a step away from me and said, 'I'll be back in a couple of minutes. Want some punch or cookie or anything?'" Naturally Bridger does not return all evening. He lets Maggie stand among a group of harpies who identified her - beautiful - dress as being from the Wal-Mart clearance rack and wondered loudly if he wasn't embarrassed being seen with someone "so shoddy", but he does not see a reason to apologize the next day (see quote on at beginning). Prom Night is not the only occasion Maggie Mae has to run in animal form home to Mrs. Carpenter's house in the middle of nowhere because of Bridger's sudden change of mind. Once he chivalrously picks her up and says she shouldn't consider walking alone at night after her shift in the Mexican restaurant, but spontaneously shoves her out of his car because of a mysterious phone call. The incident on graduation day tops everything - although part of the disaster is Mrs. Carpenter's fault, who should have known better about Silver City hierarchy, since she had lived all her life among her rich and poor neighbors. She gleefully flaunts the information that her foster daughter plans to celebrate the end of school with their quasi-royal son into his posh parents' sour faces and then leaves the school grounds - and Maggie Mae, who is car-less and also phone-less - without a second thought. Cue for Bridger to make the following little speech: "I'm so sorry - I know we were going to hang out tonight, but my mom's made other plans. I've got to cancel. So ... I guess I'll see you around. I'll call you sometime. Or drop by and help you with the garden." and making a quick no-looking-back-exit that ignores her feeble "But ... I don't have a ride" protest. Shortly before Maggie is almost mobbed to death he quietly tells her to be careful, because "something might be up", but doesn't do anything to prevent her getting hurt. When he takes her "as a friend" out to a five-star-restaurant, where she stands out like pus on a model's face in her tattered second-hand clothes and bewilderedly discusses the unavailability of tap water with the condescending waitress, who fawns over Bridger (Hello, Twighlight's restaurant scene), but suggests to his date to "go eat somewhere that is better suited to trailer trash", Bridger nervously watches Maggie form a frown, yanks her out of the booth before she can decide to retort (new destination: KFC) and testily asks "Are your previous brushes with the law for fighting?" without even contemplating to put the waitress in her place for being rude to a paying customer. In addition, he invites poor Maggie to stay over, although he must have known how his parents would react after detecting an undesirable girl without money or connections under their roof, and succeeds, although Maggie's only friend Yana had warned her in time about his rich fiancé and his girl-eating habits: "Well, there's a problem. France is on another continent. So when Bridger's hormones rage, he finds someone local to use as a temporary replacement. And then he tosses her aside." By the way, I am positive Bridger is something paranormal, too. Something that needs invitations into houses, something at war with the dangerous species Maggie Mae seems to belong to at the first superficial glance: Skinwalkers. I did not venture in far enough to find out, but I am almost betting my battered Kindle on it.
The second obstacle, which quickly rubbed me sore, has been the unprofessional behavior of Maggie Mae's replacement social worker Ollie, who is officially in charge of Silver City's foster children. He talks to Mr. Petersen, Mrs. Carpenter and Bridger about Maggie Mae as if she wasn't present or as if she was deaf or stupid or had no feelings at all and accepts rumors circling "in the office" about her as the unquestionable truth. "'I've come to visit with Ms. Mortensen, too,' Ollie explained, holding my file up. '[She]'s been in the fostering program since she was five,' Ollie said. I wanted to punch Ollie. Wasn't my life, contained in the file under his arm, supposed to be private? 'Oh,' Bridger said again, studying me as if we had just met." Later on Ollie shows only minimal remorse when his niece Danni, Maggie Mae's number one bully, reads aloud from said confidential file and systematically riles up the mob to shame and punish "the prostitute" in the locker room. The teachers and the principal act and react almost as bizarrely and wipe the last bit of reality out of a story that did not have much life-like to offer in the first place.
Well. I conclude with saying that I am rather surprised that I made it until 56%. In my opinion the book did not deserve the time I spent reading it. So should you have a jerk allergy as severe as mine, do yourself a favor and avoid repeating my mistake. It's not good for your health.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
THE favorite of my early childhood. I even persuaded my parents to name my sister after the heroine's baby sister. But I never managed to find a littl...moreTHE favorite of my early childhood. I even persuaded my parents to name my sister after the heroine's baby sister. But I never managed to find a little donkey. If I had, my parents would not have let me keep it, though.
My old copy has become so fragile that I treated myself with a brand new copy of the mini edition a few years ago.(less)
I loved the cute "Spring Story", which introduced me to cleverly hidden miniature worlds in our forests, so much as a kid that I ignored the fact that...moreI loved the cute "Spring Story", which introduced me to cleverly hidden miniature worlds in our forests, so much as a kid that I ignored the fact that the book was given to my younger sister by her godmother. I deliberately magicked her into believing it was "our" book and then gradually shifted it into my personal shelf - where it still lives today.
I fondly remember making Brambly-Hedge-inspired window decorations, creating my first own audiobook at the age of seven by reading the story to my cassette recorder and experimenting with water colors to recreate the characters for my bedroom wall.
Therefore I have been extremely delighted today to find a Freshome.com feed in my inbox that featured a real, tangible Brambly-Hedge-Doll-House by Maddie Brindley: