***2.5 stars***. Well written. Chillingly creepy characters. Creepy setting that remains a mystery. Claustrophobia. Helplessness. Fate. Symbols. Power***2.5 stars***. Well written. Chillingly creepy characters. Creepy setting that remains a mystery. Claustrophobia. Helplessness. Fate. Symbols. Powerful flowers. Nordic mythology. Past, present, future. Horror. Sacrifice. Vampires. Based on a painting by Carl Larsson. Seven lives, seven loves. Human bonds through the ages that did not touch me. Rather devoid of the blurbed-about romance. Weird, but not the kind of weird I love (view spoiler)[ like One Whole and Perfect Day or Chime(hide spoiler)]. Disappointing. ...more
*** Read on 12/12/2010. Re-read from 08/09/2012 to 08/13/2012. Review written in 2010. *** Let me tell you: There is nothing too special about the sto*** Read on 12/12/2010. Re-read from 08/09/2012 to 08/13/2012. Review written in 2010. *** Let me tell you: There is nothing too special about the storyline: Seventeen years old girl is sent to attend a posh American boarding school in Paris against her will, gets included in a circle of close-knit friends she would not have befriended under different circumstances and falls for a nice boy of the sexy variety who isn't really available, supposedly out of her league and who has a waiting line of interested parties – including one of the heroine’s new friends - queued up should a miracle aka break-up occur. In addition I usually despise unimaginative titles beginning with FIRST NAME AND. I have wanted to read it very badly inspite of that since I had read the two-lines-review author Laini Taylor wrote on her Goodreads page in October 2009. Good for me, because although the story is pretty "normal" for a contemporary young adult novel, the excecution is not. The writing is not fluffy, but cute, realistic, but not depressing or grey. As the author writes in her blog, Anna and the French Kiss is "serious and fun". I have to re-read "Anna" soon to get the gist of it, but Stephanie Perkins' skill in displaying the miraculously realistic actions, reactions, emotions and thoughts is so masterful you cannot help investing your whole heart into the characters and their lives. Confession time: I am neither Anna, nor Étienne (I really do not like calling people by their last name only, b.t.w. and ... I immediately played the 80s' hit Etienne by Guesch Patti in my head when he was introduced to Anna and to me), nor Meredith, but a lot of scences and a lot of Anna's inner turmoil triggered good and bad memories of my own - which perhaps enhanced the powerful impact the book had on me. - There are these scenes in which Anna and Étienne share a bed or in which Étienne bumps into Anna on her first evening in the dorm. Anna is so very self-conscious and has difficulties to remember how to breathe. She berates herself for the silly things she said because she was so flustered. They made me remember the tiny moment it took me to recognise „This is it: We are going to kiss. Oh, my God“ or my futile efforts to subtly get the attention of the boy of my dreams each Saturday at a church group, who seldom noticed my presence; but when he did, I turned tongue-tied and had to look away. Shaking his hand when making the round at the beginning switched off all my life-supporting organs. And ... holding hands in secret at the cinema? I've been there! Hasn't everybody? - The infatuated giddyness Anna is drenched in when she spends time with Étienne and she notices that he seems to enjoy her presence, too. It took me back to uncountable points in my life: Teasing a boy I liked as a ten-years-old, behaving like a drunk without a drop of alcohol working on my system ... I almost cannot believe that my husband, back whe he still was my boyfriend ripped out a PAGE out of his PASSPORT to write down his home address for me when he went home for the holidays, which has caused us several awkward discussions with airport officers since. Or that I wasn't shocked or angry when in the middle of a makeout session at night next to a beltway I found my own naked butt exposed to the world, because that impossibly naughty guy wanted to test if I'd notice that he pulled my jeans – and panties down. Imagine: I just laughed happily and rearranged my clothes. - Étienne's reluctance to finally split up with Ellie and his guilt when he comes back after his first non-date with Anna: I have to admit: After six years with a former boyfriend I took flight and selected an internship in a far away city telling him that I rather did not want him to visit instead of making a clean cut at home. There were the good times still fixed in my head and a tiny pull to make it right and maybe also the fear to be alone again. Like Anna, who accepted the admiration of Dave and its consequences up to a certain point, I took to cuddling up with at least a handful of boys in my dorm for TV or board games. - Anna is hurt by the reactions of her little brother when she returns home at Christmas. She deems him fickle, because in her absence he transferred his affections to Anna's best friend Bridge. Oh, how I missed MY seven-year-old brother when I left home for university at nineteen. We were really close whe he was in Kindergarden and now at 23 - and ravishing - in my eyes he is still the cute kid grinning his cheeky grin at me, begging for a story. - Meredith is in love with her friend's boyfriend. So she settles for being a good friend to him, but hopes he will somehow see her worth and change his mind. I’ve been in love once with a friend from a very pious family. I tried to convince his familiy of my purely "friendly" intentions by behaving chummy, because I knew I would have been banned from the house otherwise. But in secret I always hoped he would say "Screw my parents and their strange views on sex. I want to be with you." I am sure if they would have looked at my face closely, I would have been as easy to read as Meredith is. - The Anna-Bridge-Toph thing. I also almost lost a very good friend, because my former boyfriend told me he fell in love with her, which made me behave distanced toward her. Silly me. - Anna feeling uncomfortable because of her friends' public dispay of affections (Rashmi and Josh), but when she is the one kissing in the park she doesn't care what happens around her. Oh, I remember not knowing where to look when my best friend from school acquired her first boyfriend and spent the whole evening of a garage party on a mattress in a corner with him. We arrived together and I thought "How can she do this to me?" But later, when I had my first boyfriend I got thrown out of a church in Taizé (hey, I WAS a teenager), because my kissing offended the congregation (said the orderly). - The whole dorm life. In spite of the noise and the gritty kitchen and the mold growing inside the waste bins, I loved it!!!!
Powerful memories like that stay with you always, but time takes away their luster and their thrill. Reading Anna polished the dust from the emotions that came with them. Thank you, Stephanie Perkins, for the roller-coaster-ride and the memory trip. How did you do that? Where did you buy your magic wand? ...more
Jackson Pearce's dark retelling and continuation of Little Red Riding Hood is really good: Excellently written, cleverly adapted and highly original.Jackson Pearce's dark retelling and continuation of Little Red Riding Hood is really good: Excellently written, cleverly adapted and highly original. So do not be put off by my rating. It's not the book, it's me: As I passed the first-third-mark I sensed that I was feeling more and more depressed and my sympathy for both sisters overshadowed my pleasure in reading the story. It must be a sign of Pearce's great writing that the tension, the guilt and the strange bond between the sisters, who have both dedicated their lives (they didn't even finish high school) to hunting cannibalistic, soulless werewolves for contrary reasons, were able to create such a large cold lump in my guts. I had to decide between continuing to read later and making a clean cut and chose the latter. I could not abandon the book without peeking at the climax and the solution, though. (And my guesses had been correct)....more
4.5 stars (= not as wonderful as Inside Out). Some things were pretty illogical, some things were hard to imagine and Snyder has this tendency to turn4.5 stars (= not as wonderful as Inside Out). Some things were pretty illogical, some things were hard to imagine and Snyder has this tendency to turn characters from good to bad to good and bad again during the course of a book. That was slightly unnerving.
But in spite of that I enjoyed myself immensely. This is when I know why I like reading best: When turning pages feels more exhiliarating that inhaling a spoon of vanilla ice-cream lathered with strawberry-sauce: I really like Trella and her world. And half a star less is tremendously positive for a Snyder sequel: I loved both Poison Study and Storm Glass, but was severely disappointed by their respective second and third volumes.
The third installment of my very favorite fairy and steampunk series featuring my favorite cat ever and the cutest Gremlin alive ... I loved The IronThe third installment of my very favorite fairy and steampunk series featuring my favorite cat ever and the cutest Gremlin alive ... I loved The Iron King and just liked The Iron Daughter. The typical consequence following the law of paranormal trilogies would be that I tolerated The Iron Queen - for old times' sake. But no - I got to be surprised (although I sometimes feel so unsurprisable): In most parts I liked The Iron Queen almost as much as The Iron King and in some parts (i.e. the number of Grimalkin dialogues, the multiple, fantastic steampunk elements, the Puck-and-Ash-banter and Meghan's personal growth) I think it even surpassed it in my eyes.
Before reading The Iron Queen my guess about The Iron Knight/Ash's story was that we would be told some ancient story about his former self wooing Ariella or losing his soul or growing a heart or battling his brothers, but now I am pretty positive that Julie Kagawa is going to treat us with a narration of what happens after The Iron Queen - in Ash's point of view. I cross my fingers that I am right. There has to be a way.
And please, Mrs. Kagawa, write some awsome new series on the side, won't you? I bet it will relax you in the evenings after hours of tweaking Ash's musings and Puck's teasings.
Ohhh ... and I forgot: TBR Pile Reduction Challenge 2011, Book #8 (challenger = Jessica)...more
Flashy-eyed women in Winter Harbor, grinning male corpses washed onto the beach, a dead girl whispering things into her sister's ear ... a stunning seFlashy-eyed women in Winter Harbor, grinning male corpses washed onto the beach, a dead girl whispering things into her sister's ear ... a stunning secret to be revealed. Wow.
Let's get this out of the way quick and dirty (after having endured 154 pages): I do not recommend this book, not even to mermaid-lovers, because ...
- The plot is so very disconnected. Things happen without the reader being "informed". For instance you switch from the scene in which Justine storms out of the beach house to the scene after her funeral and you ask "What? Somebody has died? Who, when?" After some frantic flapping of the recently read pages you calm down, because you haven't missed a word. You just have to fill in the essentials. Welcome to the world of Young Adult Sudoku. On the other hand you know looong before Nessa what those women around her are (the title, the evilness oozing out of their pores, their attractiveness to men, the bodies washed on shore, the flashy, silvery mirror eyes ... *yaaawwwwn*. Apart from the hair color, though, at least the cover fits, and I love it.)
- The characters are too uninteresting, too mean to be believable or too dumb to be comfortable to be around. (How can you not notice that your nymphomanic mom is hitting on your boyfriend, when she is practically crawling over his skin with her tongue?)
- There are sirens or - to be exact - decendants of evil man-eating/man-murdering sirens, no question. But: no underwater plot, no fins, at least I didn't spot them when I was flipping through the rest of the book. I understand that there is the necessity of saltwater getting mixed into your blood if you want to be a proper siren. That's it.
- The romance isn't even partially believable to me (I am glad that fellow mermaid-group-member Alyssa thought differently, although we seem to be on the same page as the rest of the plot is concerned): Nessa's sister dies. Timid Nessa, who was always completely dependent on that sister, mourns her for a bit and feels she has to bring light into the sudden death (the reader says "Yes, please. We don't even know the basics.") and - plong - she feels attracted to childhood buddy and neighbor Simon, brother of Justine's on and off boyfriend Caleb and - above all - a completely boring and geeky meteorology student, who says so often "Three minutes, please, I have to take a few measurements." (= water levels and such in the midst of a thunder storm or an investigation) during the first 150 pages that I wanted to stuff his equippment up his ... nose. But Nessa always patiently answers something in the vein of "Sure, want me to help? Global warming beats my sister's death and your brother's strange disappearance every day. Awful weather, isn't it?". And then she lusts a tiny bit after that future world changer.)
- Luckily my own life-story doesn't involve mourning a tragically departed family member, but I thought that Nessa and her parents were acting and reacting pretty strangely after losing of Justine. We are told that Nessa has problems falling asleep and she wants to find out more. But that's all. I compared Nessa to Kate Mercier, who loses her parents in Die for Me and I have to say Kate's numbness and hurt feel real, whereas Nessa feels "huh"?
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
***Read first from April 16 to 17, 2011*** This is it, the moment I had feared: I am sitting in front of my computer and frown. I am scrutinizing the s***Read first from April 16 to 17, 2011*** This is it, the moment I had feared: I am sitting in front of my computer and frown. I am scrutinizing the small list of all-time-favorites displayed on my Goodreads profile. And I know one of them has to go. It is a sad step, but inevitable. For Where She Went is simply that overwhelmingly good. I really, really loved If I Stay and I anticipated the sequel from Adam's point of view like a druggie longs for his next shot, but I still wasn't prepared for the bone-shattering impact. For the turmoil of Adam's emotions after Mia dumped him without even the hint of an explanation, his fame with his band "Shooting Star" and his utter loneliness, angst and despair, his trying to go on, to cope, to cheat himself, for my strong urge to wring Mia's pretty, slender neck when the two of them meet again by fate or chance and she cheerily treats him like someone nice but essentially irrelevant from her former, pre-Julliard life.
About 30 minutes have passed since I closed the book with a soft snap and looked snotty-nosed and leaky-eyed up to my hesitant husband, who tip-toed around me not sure if mentioning breakfast to me would be in the range of acceptable things at that particular state of after-reading-shock. He has fed me rolls and mango marmelade and I have returned near enough to earth to write this review and to make the choice mentioned above.
So, seriously, if you haven't considered buying this book but are positive that a good book in your book does not indispensably have to include a paranormal creature, a murder or the end of our civilization, Do Consider Now. Reading the precessor from Mia's point of view is certainly beneficial, but not necessary.
An afterthought: Reading a six-star-plus book like this makes me wonder again why publishers choose to buy manuscripts that will inevitably balance out to be raved about by a few, hated by a lot and treated like cheap, disposable tights by most: They last a night of fun and are used to polish boots or given to the perpetually broke flatmate or sister afterwards. Dear agents and editors: Please hold out patiently. Read books like this one, repeat after me: "The real thing is out there." and keep your eyes wide open. Otherwise I'll hold you responsible for my misplaced time.
TBR Pile Reduction Challenge 2011, Book #15 (challenger = Nomes)...more
*** contains some smaller spoilers *** What a brave and beautiful little book. Sarcastic Grace Manning is fifteen and has been living with her mom, who*** contains some smaller spoilers *** What a brave and beautiful little book. Sarcastic Grace Manning is fifteen and has been living with her mom, who is manager in a branch of "You Say Potato" and her only slightly older sister Lolly in a women-only household since her religious father, who took his daughters out for church and pancakes each Sunday, left the family to move in with a Sunday School teacher. Grace and Lolly have a wonderfully realistic relationship: They cover for each other and they both feel the deep bond between them, but there are also walls between them: Popular Lolly believes that Grace is jealous of her boyfriend Jake and refuses to listen, when Grace subtly tries to warn her about Jake's infidelity. Most of her ups and downs Grace shares with her best friend Eric, who recently made the school's basketball team and started to hang out with the other team members and the female groupies his new fame brings with it. I have read several best-friends-turn-into-lovers stories, but I thought the execution in "God is in the Pancakes" sublimely well done: The sudden tingling, the awkwardness, the difficulties to talk about accidental touches, the insecurity in the shadow of other girls' advances. The bitter-sweet love story is not the center around which Grace's narration revolves, though. I am not sure even if one of the several strands can be picked out and labeled as the defining theme. But surely Grace's relationship with Mr. Sands, a spunky senior who lives in Hanover House, an old people's home, where Grace works as a candy striper in the afternoons, is the one that made me think the most. Mr. Sands has turned into Grace's confidant and father surrogate. He knows how to take Grace's humor and moods and teaches her poker but his health is deteriorating quickly: He suffers from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) which shuts down the muscles he still can use. When he hands Grace an envelope and begs her to help him die, Grace digs out old habits: She bakes pancakes and she experiments with praying. The latter connects her with someone old enough to "have been God's babysitter" who loves to answer prayers: Mr. Sand's wife Isabelle ...
I am glad I didn't guess the outcome of Grace's dilemma, but I was very satisfied with the note on which Robin Epstein ends the story. The book deals with difficult questions: The existence of a higher being, euthanasia, hypocrisy, friendship and love, truth and hurt, getting old ... but offers no cheesy solution. Still, there was hope and warmth all over this book. And the part where my eyes misted was pretty unspectacular, but real. Lolly says: "I am not going to tell on you. I'm your sister." Recommended....more
Since I loved the Darkest Powers trilogy so very much, the realization that was already bored and did not enjoy myself particularly hit me rather unexSince I loved the Darkest Powers trilogy so very much, the realization that was already bored and did not enjoy myself particularly hit me rather unexpectedly when I started flipping forward around page 190. Certainly my heavy cold with a nasty headache included in the package has to carry part of my inability to focus on the supposedly unnerving small-town-story, but I really do not care enough about the characters' fate to prove this theory under stabilized conditions later. So. After 194 pages I leave Salmon Creek behind without a trace of regret. Good bye, Cougar Girl. ...more