While I really liked and admired Unearthly (I still haven't reviewed it, but I loved how Clara, a purpose-driven angel, tries to fulfill the mysteriouWhile I really liked and admired Unearthly (I still haven't reviewed it, but I loved how Clara, a purpose-driven angel, tries to fulfill the mysterious will of her God, but dares to question the irrevocability of it all, dares to demand to be allowed to think for herself, dares to live with open eyes instead of following blindly.) and understood the necessity of the "light" love-triangle (view spoiler)[It seems natural that she feels like she has feelings for the attractive guy she is supposed to rescue - especially in the light of all the guidance aka pressure put on her by her mom (hide spoiler)], I itch all over after reading the first few chapters of Hallowed. Maybe there will be some other plot besides the "should I let myself fall in love with the boy I might be supposed to be with or should I continue to enjoy my little sex-free perfect little romance with farmer boy 2.0" dilemma, but I am so pissed at the moment, because I really did not anticipate that strong focus, that I cannot relax enough to let go and let the other layers of the story sink in. Sure, I could lay the book aside for a while and let calmness seep in, but it is January and I already have encountered a surprisingly fair share of favorites and almost favorites. So I simply decide to give up - after mere 63 pages....more
Although the average rating of 3.25 stars strongly indicated „Beware, this book is not for everyone”, I never would have guessed that I might be one oAlthough the average rating of 3.25 stars strongly indicated „Beware, this book is not for everyone”, I never would have guessed that I might be one of those unlucky specimen the book prefers not to talk to. My conviction (which even resulted in my ordering the book in spite of my friend Arlene’s offer to include me in her book tour) that Bloodflower and I would be very compatible had been sustained by several powerful factors:
A) The cover is so very beautiful – but in a different way than some suspicion arousing young adult covers that have no connection to plot or characters whatsoever: The richly patterend red cloth in the background and that strong, callused and sexily dirty arm encased in leather armor which clearly belongs to Cam, the young main character recently returned from a war, made me want to own exactly this edition and not the pastel-colored one by the other publisher.
B) Melina Marchetta, one of the authors whose work I adore and who does not throw around blurbs and praise and advertisment about all her peers’ or tour mates’ work like it has become the custom among young adult novelists, wrote "I can’t tell you how much I loved this novel. I cried through the whole last chapter from the sheer beauty of these characters and their world." which made me want to go on reading until the end so I could wring out my tear ducts in the same way that she did, since in my experience life-like and likable characters are the main ingredient in the majority of those books which made me love them. I wanted to love the book and the world and I even glimpsed the shadows of the characters’ ability to become endearing to the reader in the very first chapter. The first word which comes to mind when I think about Cam and his family and how they treat each other is “tenderness”. Cam’s small sister Pin, who usually does not allow her family members to cuddle and pet her, isn’t shy at all around her big brother whom she barely knows and who everybody keeps his or her difference from since he returned from the war without his right arm and without all the other men from the village. Her unconditional adoration and love is unspeakably cute. Yet. The point of view switches soon from the Attlings to Cam’s betrothed Graceling, the twelve-years old daughter of the ruthless Fenister family, and from there to a young boy whose dog is shot by a farmer and then to Cam’s best friend Ban, who is secretly in love with Cam or maybe only lusts after him and then to … I forgot, because it changed so often and so spontaneously. At first I hoped the story would lead me quickly back into Cam’s or Pin’s mind, but after a while I gradually lost interest and became rather bored, although
C) The subject of the book is such an important and interesting one: It shows in detail how war affects and changes both the soldiers who went out to fight and the families, who stayed and hoped and went on with their daily lives as well as possible: Cam has lost his arm and gained a war horse. His lower limb count lowers his worth on the marriage market and the long-standing betrothal is revoked. Nobody understands why he wants to avoid talking about the various ways the other villagers died during the six-years-long war. Thus when the pestering about Uncle X and Sweetheart Y remains unsuccessful, resentful suspicions make the round: How did Cam manage to stay alive when everybody else did not? Graceful had thought the only uncertain things about her future were the day of her death and the number of her children, but suddenly she does not even know anymore whom she will marry. Graceful’s greedy father uses the war and the new overlord’s taste for fine silk as an excuse to push his property’s boundaries into the woods, the home of a nomad tribe and the game they live on. Acton has become an war-orphan and his dog turns into a farmer’s nuisance whose nerves wear so thin that he finally pulls the trigger ...
I have stopped reading after 75 pages and I will never find out whether the end would have moved me to tears or not. But I do not really care. A story with characters as wonderful as Marchetta’s would never had failed to keep my attention. Therefore in my opinion “Bloodflower” must be lacking in aspects that do matter. But do not be disheartened. It might be just me and not the book. I am positive that Melina Marchetta’s falling in love with it happened on grounds that might work for others, too.
P.S.: I am giving away my copy. If you are interested, inform me via comment on this review or on my profile until October 8th 2011. I will let an internet program pick a winner randomly....more
- I liked "Past Perfect" and I think it was a really cute and enjoyable, well-tied story. - I liked both the 16-years-old heroine, Chelsea, and hHmmm.
- I liked "Past Perfect" and I think it was a really cute and enjoyable, well-tied story. - I liked both the 16-years-old heroine, Chelsea, and her love interest. - I even came to like Chelsea's best friend Fiona as the story progressed. She redeemed herself in my eyes at the end. - I liked the trampoline scene. It was sufficiently romantic. - I didn't like Chelsea's parents at all, but I think normal, but rather unlikable parents are something which can happen to anyone in real life. For instance, I can totally relate to that forever talking, but unobservant Dad. - I like the title. Although the cover has no connection to the plot whatsoever - apart from the chalk-board rain, which reminds of the make-believe-lives of the colonial times reenactors - the book's title is pretty perfect for the story for several reasons: * Both the people working for the Essex Colonial Times Village and the staff at the Civil War Reenactmentland are required to represent "their" own era as a rather faultless one. Paying Tourists shall be sprinkled with interesting tidbits about American history, but they are not to be weighed down by dark and ugly pieces of their ancestors' lives during their family holdiday trip. Slavery is something not existing at Essex and African-Americans seeking a job as historical interpreters are assigned historical middle-class jobs and inserted into normal fake-families like everyone else of the crew. * For the reenactors the past never turns into past perfect, because their days are like those in the film "Ground Hog Day": Everything that ever happened within a certain time span on the grounds - or even far from them - is treated as something that has happened just now, because the tourists want the illusion of the past being present. * Chelsea's problems at accepting the present and the future are anchored to her way of memorizing the past: Our definition of what happened to us, the essence of what we determine the true past to be depends on what we choose to remember. Do we remember the happy moments and filter out the ugly scratches? Do we see mainly the sunless days and bury the picture of raindrops gleaming in the rain in inaccessible archives of our brain? Are we able to mix and match so our past resembles that of others? Is a perfect memory of anything possible at all? Were our feelings of yesterday real although we don't feel them anymore today? (view spoiler)[I was very unlikely, though, for Chelsea to forget that she had picked her own colonial name because of her favorite gravestone. (hide spoiler)] - I was a bit annoyed by the War game between the teenage summer staff of the Essex village and the underage Civil War crew. Although I didn't mind a similar plot element in "Jellicoe Road" at all, I thought that the sincerity of the whole hateful set-up in "Past Perfect" was more than a bit childish and forced and strange for a bunch of high schoolers, who partly were about to start college. Especially the forbidden-love-element felt absolutely unbelievable to me. - Each historical interpreter was handed one costume including undergarments for one long and hot summer? Really? Boy, those kids must stink. I wonder how the mentioned vistors can be hungry all the time. - I do love ice-cream, too. I can eat it all year round, I can fit a big helping into my stomach when everything else threatens to burst through my belly-button, I never tire of it's cold creaminess and I would like to be an connoisseur, too.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I've finally read the almost unobtainable young adult novel Fury by the wonderful Australian author Shirley Marr (You see what I mean when you encountI've finally read the almost unobtainable young adult novel Fury by the wonderful Australian author Shirley Marr (You see what I mean when you encounter her in one of the discussions here on Goodreads. Shirley is one of thoses authors who also dare to stay readers with their own opinions on books and the world, which means - like you might have noticed - being among the very last of an almost extinct species.)
Since crime-focused fiction is usually not my cup of tea, my rating (3.5 stars altogether) means that I do recommend the book to readers who spend their time in the the criminal thriller corner more often than I do.
And that is because Fury is very dark and excellently structured. Marr uses the a story-within-story concept (if you have read the adult thriller The Earthquake Bird by Susanna Jones you know what I mean): The outer layer has the stubbornly evasive heroine sitting in a police questioning room with an officer - or in Eliza Roberta Boans' case a youngish, attractive humane psychologist employed by the police - who tries to pry out of her what really happened prior to her arrest under suspicion of murder by knife, the inner layer tells the heroine's story in her own pace, meaning that she withholds the information which interests patient Dr. Fadden and the reader most (how many were murdered, who was murdered, what are the reasons for the deed and is the heroine really responsible or even sane enough to receive a punishment) for a long, long time, feeds choppy bits and hints along with random episodes of her school life, of her childhood and of her ueber-rich and sheltered neighborhood in the ditch-lined suburb East Rivermoor. This choice of narration keeps up the reader's attention without fail - it had even me turning the pages with only a dinner-break in between - and makes us hunt frantically from clue to clue. I wondered who much calculation and how many burned brain-synapses were necessary to sprinkle just the right facts into the story in the right places and in the right order.
What forces me to rate the reading experience lower is the almost complete lack of connection between most of the characters and myself. I did not mind Eliza to be a spoiled teen who has it all and expect it all. I did not mind Eliza to be probably a murderess who might or even might have not a good reason for having wielded a knife. But I did mind Eliza to fail at winning me over to her side although the potential was there: Absent father, indifferent and perpetually traveling high-society mother, utter loneliness, the feeling to be unimportant and overlooked in spite of many efforts to get attention in school by smart and not so smart means. No, Eliza and I simply did not click. But at least I was able to puzzle together a vague picture of Eliza’s personality during the second half of the story, to anticipate what she would feel or do; and I admired her sassiness in the interrogation room. As the rest of the cast, Eliza’s friends, her parents, teachers, classmates, neighbors and the authorities of East Rivermoor, were concerned, I simply found no familiar handle to grasp. Half of the time I did not understand at all what they were doing and saying or why. Yet I guess the complete intransparency of the character set has been assembled intentionally to create a certain eerie atmosphere. The reader is supposed to be at unease, to enter unknown territory, to feel the need to constantly turn uncomfortably around in nervous circles.
Unfortunately in order to thorougly enjoy and adore a book of any genre I, personally, need solid, life-like and likable characters who also show the notable promise of some development. While reading Fury I felt like I was trying to sift plancton out of a vast ocean using my own clumsy hands. I felt that I kind of hated Ella Dashwood, the new and newly-rich girl, right after she was introduced, but I could not pinpoint why. Something about her just did not add up properly. With Eliza’s other friends I could not even say if they were really friends or only a pupose-focused group with Eliza as the self-declared leader, if they actually liked Eliza or if they descpised her. Although I have experienced a friendship with a manipulative control-freak in primary school myself, I had no chance to understand the dynamics of Eliza’s triangle. Lexi and Marianne are beautiful. Lexi is obsessed with weight and is maybe kind of kind, Marianne is gifted and obsessed with school and is sometimes a bit mean or spontaneous or snarky. One of them is blond, I forgot who. Sometimes two or three of them bonded, sometimes they did not. They were friends or enemies with some boys at school and some girls, too. The principal of the private school had zero interest in really changing his students’ behavior for good, the school councelor turned out to be a mischief and gossip lover without an ounce of work ethics, the teachers declared openly which students they prefered or spent their lessons watching the clock with propped up feet. In addition there was Eliza’s childhood-friend Neil, an intelligent trouble-maker, whose relationship to Eliza and Marianne was also undefinable and who I would not be able to describe properly. And finally the unfamiliarity of East Rivermoor itself: The suburb had a fantasy-like sheen to it. Eliza hints at the difficulty to leave, at the ditch and the wall surrounding it, at disappearing girls and a strict curfew on work days. The only “normal” person in my opinion was Dr. Fadden, although I did not understand why he would risk his job by letting his criminal charge out of the questioning room.
Sooo... If you like dark crime-stories involving strange places that play with your mind and make you thoroughly uncomfortable - and if you do not mind that the quirky characters are nothing like you and the people you know -, do try to get hold of a copy of Fury. For those of you who speak and read German: The soon available translation might be easier to obtain than the Australian original. ...more
I liked it, but I have to say it was completely different from what I had expected - but not in a bad way, not at all. The titles of this series, combI liked it, but I have to say it was completely different from what I had expected - but not in a bad way, not at all. The titles of this series, combined with the heroine's name and the leg-stressed covers said light, funny and fluffy - but bold on the sex-side - teen-chick-lit. I had expected a cross between - let's say ... Sophie Kinsella, Louise Rennison and Meg Cabot. To be completely honest, apart from being open to surprises because of my Goodreads friends' loving reviews, I did not really expect many bubbles beneath the pink and frothy surface of the usual high-school drama.
Thus I was rather hit in the chest by the depths of the story and its constantly emanating sadness. We follow our likable, but utterly lonely, insomniac, super-brainy heroine through a year of high-school, feel her miss her moved-away best - or rather only - friend like the permanent hurt of an infested wound, which is enhanced by the the author's withholding said friend's responses to the heroine's monthly letters, and experience to be at loss: We would like to help Jess to crawl out of that lack-of-persons-to-speak-to dump, her thinking-too-much-and-too-pointlessly-about-life hamster's wheel, her underdog position as the second-best daughter, whose success at acing important subjects and the track-team are taken for granted and rated as being inferior to being a boy-magnet and Miss Popular at home.
On top of that we had the heroine contemplating whether to give in to the temptation of acquiring a popular boyfriend out of pure convenience or whether to decide to get to know the multi-layered former druggie Markus Flutie better in spite of her far-away best friend Hope hating him whole-heartedly, since he was friends with her brother Heath when he overdosed on heroin and died.
It's really easy to see how much time and thought debut author Victoria Schwab has successfully invested into the wording of her witchy kidnapping ta It's really easy to see how much time and thought debut author Victoria Schwab has successfully invested into the wording of her witchy kidnapping tale. Each sentence has been set carefully into the mosaic of legends, winds that have a soul and everyday life inside of the small town of Near, which is located within an endless stretch of moor and forest, far away from the rest of the pre-industrial civilization.
Although the description did not interest me at all, when I first encountered an announcement of its publication, enthusiastic reviews of fellow readers whose opinion I value high, made me change my mind: The language skill, the fairytale-like atmosphere, the notions of horror and suspense and a sweet supernatural romance with an unpredictable boy convinced me that I had dismissed a probable future favorite too carelessly.
I bought the book and I moved it up the waiting line. I started reading - and although I truly admired the style, and although I can understand how talking winds, buried witch bones from centuries before and boys that fade in the air lead to fairy-tale comparisons and how the disappearance of one child per night in a tiny, inaccessible community can be labeled "thrilling", I felt neither noteworthily thrilled or bespelled or horrified. On the contrary: Apart from being angry at sexist and mulish uncle Otto, his side-kick Bo and occasionally heroine Lexi herself, I just felt disappointed ... and rather bored. The title of the book gives a lot away, so I practically knew what caused the disastrous deduction of the town's number of inhabitants even before Lexi, who was only convinced of mysterious Cole not being the culprit and who wanted to track and play detective just like her deceased father, who - in contrast to Otto and chauvi childhood buddy Taylor (in search of an obedient little wife among the handful of maidens) - did not look down on his daughter for wanting to do men's work. In addition the rather slim volume turned out to contain a lot of repetitive scenes (looking for clues in the village, listening to the wind, trying to steal out of the house etc., etc.)
Maybe the love story will be grand, I still hoped after a third of the story had been ingested with some drag to the spoon. Well. You have seen my rating. You know how this story ends: Looking leads to wanting to meet, meeting leads to hand-holding, hand-holding leads to kissing and to blind trusting and to secrets being revealed and so on: Instant attraction - or "cabin lust" - for a raven-eyed, silent stranger, because all the other boys are like brothers. Besides, all the time Lexi has no problem at all finding Cole when she wants to, although the angry mob of the whole male population is out for his blood.
Both the dark, restrictive, claustrophobic community and the relationship the heroine had with the boy everybody expects her to wed reminded me strongly of "The Forest of Hands and Teeth", although the latter is a post-apocalyptic zombie story and develops a completely different story-line. If you got the same vibe and know why, please tell me.
I do not want to persuade anybody against reading or buying this beautifully written story with its fitting cover. But if you are still undecided and on the verge of being pushed over the brim by infatuated reviewers, I do advise you to wait a little longer: For more reviews balancing things out and making things clearer - or simply for the paperback....more
Double-Yay for me!! I have finished reading Instructions for a Broken Heart not skimming or skipping one single page although I was less interested thDouble-Yay for me!! I have finished reading Instructions for a Broken Heart not skimming or skipping one single page although I was less interested than I had expected during the first half of the book and quite bored during the second half....more
The contents and the language are very philosophical and very beautiful. So beautiful and deep indeed that they are - in my opinion - on the verge ofThe contents and the language are very philosophical and very beautiful. So beautiful and deep indeed that they are - in my opinion - on the verge of suffocating the story. I felt like a person who loves honey but who can only really appreciate its sticky sweetness when it is set off against the sour solidness of a thick and grainy slice of bread. If you tend to muttering: "Nice simile, but now go on talking about the book instead of your feelings" at this point of my review, you are one of those fellow readers who would be on the way to feeling quite impatient (maybe bored) around page 100. I threw the towel at page 106. My inner ants were gnawing my insides already. Too many musings, too many detailed descriptions and dissections. But I know that there are armies of other "honey-lovers" who would embrace with glee exactly what keeps me from reading on. If you care to dig yourself through to the bottom of this barrel of molassy-language delight, you find a sweet - and maybe a little unbelievable - love-on-the-very-first-sight-story about two unique and very lonely fifteen-year-olds, each fitted out with a selfish parent I would like to smack hard and soundfully. I, on the other hand, go on searching elsewhere for another perfectly out-balanced piece of contemporary young adult fiction: Fragrant and flowing, but also chunky and real. ...more
Such an interesting concept ... and yet I stopped reading at page 90. The trail of unfinished books I've left behind me since the beginning of this yeSuch an interesting concept ... and yet I stopped reading at page 90. The trail of unfinished books I've left behind me since the beginning of this year starts to become alarmingly long. Still I refuse to read on when processing the scenes becomes an effort instead of fun. Although I can understand the heroine's motivations - forming a stance, an opinion on something, coming to terms with personal calamities, growing really fond of someone takes time, and therefore it is natural that somebody who has to restart at a later point in life with an earlier set of experiences takes different turns and comes to different conclusions than her first alter ego - I simply cannot get warm with her. I am not sure, but I partly explain this by her strange lack of interaction skills. For instance she yawns in the middle - smack in the middle - of a telephone conversation with her best friend, who is in the process of patiently answering one of her questions, says "Night, Will" and puts down the receiver immediately. A bit rude, don't you think? Naomi must have mastered the rules of politely ending a phone call when she was twelve. So, in my opinion losing her memory is no excuse for cutting someone off this way. This situation is only one of many equally irritating. ...more
I am quite surprised, because "Warm Bodies" turned out to be one of the best zombie books I've read so far. (I noticed that I have read some - kind ofI am quite surprised, because "Warm Bodies" turned out to be one of the best zombie books I've read so far. (I noticed that I have read some - kind of accidentally - without really planning to). It was so funny but also so profound besides told from such a great point of view. Maybe I had been saddled with prejudices because of the bad choice of a German title translation ("Mein fahler Freund", which translates to "my pale boyfriend"). I have asked myself so often if the publishers in German slip their title designers / marketing staff something weird and pill-shaped.
And, oh, I don't know why this is sorted as Young Adult Fiction. The hero seems to be between 20 and 30 years old. His immature active vocabulary is not his fault at all. ...more
I am still tetering beteen 4 and 5 stars. I had a lot of fun and stayed up incredibly late to finish it, but I did not love characters and story as muI am still tetering beteen 4 and 5 stars. I had a lot of fun and stayed up incredibly late to finish it, but I did not love characters and story as much as I loved Anna, her crew and her stormy journey to boy-happiness. Yet, compared to some other 5-star books, Lola can probably compete with confidence. I have to think about it. What I hope for Isla is that she does not fall out of love with a no-good (for her) musician-boyfriend, too. I would call it a pattern or discrimination, then (do not hit me - I am joking, of course.)...more
The language is witty and wonderful and the characters - even down to that password demanding guy who drives the school-bus - are delightfully wacky oThe language is witty and wonderful and the characters - even down to that password demanding guy who drives the school-bus - are delightfully wacky or delightfully puzzling or both. Still I can't bring myself to muster enough curiosity about or interest in the story, which is about to unfold. I keep grabbing other books or my Kindle, partly mourning the clever expressions I am going to miss, but mainly refusing to put muscle power into the process of pulling myself through a plot that keeps evading my attention.
I've waited a bit for my attitude to miraculously change, but I think I am ready to let go - after a mere 31 pages of an unquestionably well-written book, which I do not even know yet what it possibly might be about. ...more