Yes, I would like to read the sequels, because I've heard too much praise for them. This first installment was interesting and good for the first four...moreYes, I would like to read the sequels, because I've heard too much praise for them. This first installment was interesting and good for the first four fifth and great for the last. I never would have guessed the end, although it makes perfectly sense in hindsight. (less)
I've just finished re-reading "Saving Francesca". I've wanted to do so for a long time, but since my wonderful friend Nic has presented me with a copy...moreI've just finished re-reading "Saving Francesca". I've wanted to do so for a long time, but since my wonderful friend Nic has presented me with a copy of The Piper's Son, which is a kind of follow-up some years later, lately, it was the perfect occasion to set the plan into action.
I am so much in love with this book. I am as enchanted with the style and the whole gang of unusual friends as I was when I first read it. The Spinelli Family, Will Trombal, Justine Kalinsky, Tara Finke, Siobhan Sullivan, Thomas Mackee and Jimmy Hailler, they are all flawed characters, difficult and sometimes annoying people, but so real and so wonderful. I am completely enamored by them all - even Brother Louis and Mr. Brolan and Cousin Angelina ... Would I have to hand-pick just a few alltime favorites (which is an almost impossible task in my opinion) I'd select "Francesca" to be among them without hesitation. Seriously, girls, Amy's and Roger's detour story is indeed epic and gorgeous and wise and funny, but how can it or other examples of contemporary young adult fiction compare to the story of Francesca getting a grip on herself, her family, her friends and her life (well, maybe Dairy Queen can ... a bit)?
Ms. Marchetta, I understand that your jewels take some time to write and polish, but could you not finish a couple more soon? Surely with your expertise the words flow effortlessly now. I want to hear about Jimmy and Justine and a lot of people I haven't met yet, badly!!
Three snowy stories by different authors melted into a satisfying whole. Yes, I think, I like it! I have finished the first story "Jubilee Line" by Ma...moreThree snowy stories by different authors melted into a satisfying whole. Yes, I think, I like it! I have finished the first story "Jubilee Line" by Maureen Johnson (great style, by the way. Funny, a little crazy, a little romantic.) and started the second one, "Cheertastic Christmas Miracle" by John Green. After a few pages I thought: "Wait, another Waffle House in the middle of nowhere? These guys know a heartbroken boy named Stuart Weintraub? Ha, this is the protagonist from story one!" The stories are set at the same time: Christmas Eve - meaning, that possibly all three plots are happening simultaneously and touch here and there - although they have been written by different people. I simply love the idea and look forward to find out, who the last main character (story by Lauen Myracle) will be (maybe gentle Jeb with his broken mobile phone lost in a snow storm?) and how things will work out in the Waffle House in Gracetown.
P.S. (2009/03/25): I was right. The third story is about Jeb and Addie and contains an end that ties all loose strands. I liked the first story best, though.
P.S. (2010/12/04): I had a perfect snuggle-up time rereading "Let it Snow" with snow falling gracefully outside. I will reread it again some future winter. A teacup pig belongs into the category "pets-that-even-Olivia-finds-somewhat-cute" which contains squirrels and seahorses and cats when they are youngish. (less)
*** Read for the first time from April 16th to 18th 2010, sped through it like a chimpanzee on Crack in 2014 ***
So much action, panic, character deve...more*** Read for the first time from April 16th to 18th 2010, sped through it like a chimpanzee on Crack in 2014 ***
So much action, panic, character development ... and perfect, sweet romance in one short final series installment! Anything short of inhaling it in big, big gulps isn't doable. Book, we'll definitely meet a third time.(less)
If I sort through the emotions reading this fairy changeling story has brought up in me, the one that sticks out is sadness. Although the ending is th...moreIf I sort through the emotions reading this fairy changeling story has brought up in me, the one that sticks out is sadness. Although the ending is the one I would have chosen too, if I had any say in the development, it hurt. Up to the middle of the - pretty slim - book I was rather annoyed with the main character, Morgan. I didn't like her superficial and girly-girl character. She seemed to take her boyfriend for granted, whine about completely unimportant things, care only about the excactness of her visions (Morgan is a psychic) and not about the impact a certain future has on the receiver, badmouth her generous and loving parents and - what shocked me most - she unconvincingly said "How sad" when her mother tearily announced that the five-year-old living next door had only weeks to live because of cancer. My annoyance lightened with my reading progress, though. I don't exactly know why. Maybe because I wondered, if a person who sees the future of others and sufferes their reaction has to build up a hard shell to survive. Or probably because I came to terms with the fact that I am just old and do not nescessarily have to be able to identify with every teenager who is on the verge of turning sweet sixteen. Or maybe because Morgan is just a rather normal girl and I unfairly compared her to saintly or overly adult teen-heroines. However, towards the end of the bittersweet story I rooted for her and for the two boys as well. That's what counts. The author got me where she wanted me to be. My second complaint: I really would have welcomed to be allowed a little more knowledge about the Otherworld. The reader is only fed the most crucial snippets of the supposedly long hours of prep talk Pip gives to Morgan. We know about magical powers, of the inability to love, of the intolerance to water and of the lack of bodily strength. That's about all. Three and a half stars for an usual and unusual fairy story.(less)
I rate this mermaid romance, which I have impatiently waited almost a year for, 3,5 stars altogether. It was really cute, but very predictable. In cor...moreI rate this mermaid romance, which I have impatiently waited almost a year for, 3,5 stars altogether. It was really cute, but very predictable. In core it reminded me a lot of Something, Maybe and other regular YA which tell the story of a girl nursing a long time crush on a boy she doesn't really know that well. After 40 pages or so I was a tiny bit bored, but I held on tight - I was reading a mermaid-love-story! - and it got better again.
As far as I-am-a-mermaid-here-is-my-story books go, I liked both Teenage Mermaid (also predictable, because basically a retelling) and Ascension, which both offer a romantic plot, better. The last books of the Ingo-Series, especially The Deep, are also far more enjoyable, if it is the underwater world and the different thinking of the merfolk the reader wants to immerge in. Forgive my Fins has some interesting explanations about underwater breathing and the tolerance of the cold ocean water, but it stongly focusses on the romance part, the emotions, the joy and pain of teenage infatuation. Be it either high school spring fling or underwater castle: The text does not offer a lot of visuals. It rather feels like skipping the landscape pictures of a slide show and getting only glimpses of beautiful things until the family pictures come into view and are to be admired and scrutinized. So if you search for the next cute teenage romance with a likable heroine and a hunky hero who hides his feelings, choregraphed in front of a wet scenery for a change, you cannot go wrong by reading Forgive my Fins.
I, for my part, have decided against reading Fins Are Forever, though. I will await the next mermaid-themed book (The Forbidden Sea) I have on preorder now - hoping it will offer the perfect mix (mystery, love, thrill, a believable, well-depicted underwater world) and I heartily thank Tera Lynn Childs anyway for writing a mermaid book in times that clearly favour faeries, vampires and angels.(less)
Girl in the Arena is a science fiction novel. Yet it does not tell a future story; it is firmly anchored in a – only slightly altered – ‘now’ by using...moreGirl in the Arena is a science fiction novel. Yet it does not tell a future story; it is firmly anchored in a – only slightly altered – ‘now’ by using plenty of pop-culture references to today’s society (Youtube, Second Life, Sofia Copolla ...).
Closing one eye the fictional turns of the past decades and the imagined outcome for the present even seem almost likely. But the likelihood of the exact setting does not strike me as so important. If you peel away the alterations, you basically find the engaging story of a young woman who grew up inside a very constrictive and conservative sub-culture - comparable to a religious sect minus a deity – whose present leader cunningly makes tons of money by selling his congregation’s members as both admired and dreaded celebrities to the media (fan merchandising included), by feeding the masses’ delight in violence and death and by having a tight grip on the members’ private fortunes.
The heroine has started having doubts about her community’s harsh set of 128 rules and wonders if the founder’s original ideas are misinterpreted by the leader. The reader wishes for her to be able to break herself free, but she is – quite realistically – aware of the effects her refusal to comply would have familywise and moneywise: Not fulfilling her family’s expectations would mean abandoning her emotionally disabled (maybe autistic) younger brother she fiercely loves, upsetting her manic-depressive mother, who has a couple of unsuccessful suicide attempts behind her, and could result in losing the house. In spite of her resolution not to become a replica of her fanatic, unhappy and heavily dependent mother, her beliefs and her behaviour show that her childhood spent inside the community has rooted deeply and the only friends she can turn to for advice and support are members as well who offer only limited comprehension or none.
Lise Haines has found a clever way to make us wonder about restrictive communities, about good intentions / idealistic theories turned fundamentalistic without (mis)using the concept of an existing church or association to demonstrate. I admire that. Also she points out how only slight changes in the law or even one-time exceptions can result in a chain of unforeseen consequences that alter society and for instance it’s view on the matter of life and death. A third sociocritical impulse deals with the power of the media and how a single powerful person can play the media. An incident noted casually that shocked me, for instance, was the promise of free-parking for all spectators who left the arena within 20 minutes after a show: The arena management speculated on the “good trampling” to occur, recorded as a body count on the margin of the TV coverage, which guaranteed the undivided interest of the viewership.
Last but not least it remains to say that all this would not have sufficed for a four star rating. The family problems and how Lyn dealt with them, the tender relationship to her brother, her slow personal growth, her strength and also her surprise, when she recognized she liked her enemy in a way, were well done in my opinion. Even the unusual use of hyphens for direct speech added to the quiet melody of the enfolding drama.
A comment about the cover: I love it, but it is not correct. Lyn has a shorn head at the time she enters the arena as a gladiator.(less)
Read for the first time from February 18 to 20, 2010.
Up to the middle of the book I would have rated solid four stars, but then I noticed the characte...moreRead for the first time from February 18 to 20, 2010.
Up to the middle of the book I would have rated solid four stars, but then I noticed the characters had sort of attached themselves to my heart and the plot twisted and turned and I had to take the book with me on a seven-minutes-train-ride in order to go on reading. So ... I loved this piece of fantasy, give it five stars and reverently place it on my for-keeps-shelf.(less)
Magic under glass was rather short, it was romantic, it had an automaton with a soul inside (which I loved) and it held my attention without fail. I a...moreMagic under glass was rather short, it was romantic, it had an automaton with a soul inside (which I loved) and it held my attention without fail. I actually resented having to go off the train at the terminal stop.(less)
It's kind of a cross between Cinderella and The Little Mermaid - or, to be more precise, one of those fairytales dealing with a fisherman lured into t...moreIt's kind of a cross between Cinderella and The Little Mermaid - or, to be more precise, one of those fairytales dealing with a fisherman lured into the sea by a terrifyingly beautiful sea creature. Rather sad, but featuring a strong heroine and concluding on a satisfying note.
Later clarification on the sadness part:
The writing is good. I just do not feel well, when I am constantly pitying an almost angelic heroine - and screaming in frustration for her the rest of the time.
Adrianne's father had been stable master. He died and his wife fell into depression, leaving her 12-year-old daughter to manage the household including their servants. Adrianne did not know how to proceed and ran into debts by continuing to pay everyone instead of sacking them and selling the house. She got blamed for losing her family's house and fortune later by her mean aunt. Her mother never stood up for her daughter after she recovered. The mother and the aunt work as seamstresses and Adrianne works her ass of as a cow-shed-muckeress. The aunt sees to it, that good-for-nothing Adrianne does not get new shoes or dresses and shortens her food rations to punish her for her supposed nightly pantry-raids - which are in fact done by the pampered nine year old sister Cecily, who is the aunts favorite and who never admits she is to blame. Cecily's every whim has to be accommodated. Additionally Adrianne is ridiculed and gets threatened by the village boys and her old rival, pretty Cora Lynn, who tries to gain the affections of Adrianne's best childhood-friend Denn, whom Adrianne secretly loves. On top of all that Adrianne gets marked by a mermaid as her prey, when she saves her sister, who went to the shore to have a good sulk (Naturally mother and aunt sit at home wringing their hands as Adrianne braves the storm and the waves and are reluctant to pay the doctor, when Adrianne falls into a short coma.)
You get the drift? Cinderella comes in many shapes. (less)
With The Book of a Thousand Days I have consumed another well-written and well-stet fairytale retelling, although around page 65 some decision-making...moreWith The Book of a Thousand Days I have consumed another well-written and well-stet fairytale retelling, although around page 65 some decision-making was due: Go on reading or succumb to your urge to grab the next book on pile. I am not sure why. I am glad I chose to read on, for I enjoyed the second half more and would have rated it 4 stars, even. Dashti is a likable heroine. The parts when she described her love for My Lord the cat or Mucker the yak were the ones I liked best.(less)
The beginning of volume 10 was very, very sad and depressing. I had conveniently forgotten how volume 9 had ended and that a favorite character of min...moreThe beginning of volume 10 was very, very sad and depressing. I had conveniently forgotten how volume 9 had ended and that a favorite character of mine had been destroyed. But the story got quickly better - right along with Sookie's mental and physical condition.
I liked ...
- Eric and Sookie together as a couple and Eric obviously in love with her - Jason being finally a brother to Sookie and shedding his self-centered self for something better - Sookie and Hunter spending a day together - Sookie and Bill making steps in the direction of a real friendship - those true "pammish" Pam moments (i.e. "You're my favorite breather.") - Sookie being a bit careful instead of thoughtlessly rushing in to save everybody no matter the cost - getting to know "Cousin" Claude and his good sides better.
- the last scene. Wow. So sweet.
I enjoyed this installment very much. 4.5 stars altogether.(less)
**spoiler alert** The "Pierce incident" costs a full star. Was that necessary, Rachel? You clear out some doubts about his good intentions towards hum...more**spoiler alert** The "Pierce incident" costs a full star. Was that necessary, Rachel? You clear out some doubts about his good intentions towards human - and witchkind - and that done you have no other solution than to reward him with your body. You can reconcile with someone you've misjudged without hopping under the blanket together, did you know that? Probably not, because you are Rachel. Jenks and Ivy love you inspite of your strange concept of dealing with dangerous men. I do, too. *Sigh*(less)