It's funny, the copy of this book that I have in my hands has the exact same cover illustration, but the title reads "The Ties That Bind." Same differIt's funny, the copy of this book that I have in my hands has the exact same cover illustration, but the title reads "The Ties That Bind." Same difference, I guess?
Anyway, this is a fascinating little story about three blood-sucking chimeras, a banned book, an old friend of Roy's, and how they all tie together. It dips into the backstory regarding the Ishvallan/Ishballan war, and does well to expand on the series' themes of regret and guilt, circulating around the state alchemist veterans of the Ishvallan rebellion. It also explores a further aspect of biological alchemy.
I had fun putting together the pieces of the puzzle during the book's initial mystery-like setup (it all culminates, of course, into a nice big battle at the end), although I might have done it more quickly than I should have. Overall, I got what I came for: another fun adventure with Ed, Al, and Roy. I recommend this for FMA fans 12 years and up....more
An entertaining little side-story that gives you a glimpse of Edward and Alphonses' adventures during the 3-year time skip in the animes and manga. AtAn entertaining little side-story that gives you a glimpse of Edward and Alphonses' adventures during the 3-year time skip in the animes and manga. At the beginning I had a vague feeling of deja vu, as the setup of this story is similiar to the Lior arc at the beginning of the first anime and the manga, and it does little to distinguish itself from that arc, even later on in the story. However, characterization is intact, as well as the series' overarching themes of morality, fairness and the principle of Equivalent Exchange.
The ending was a cop-out that bumped it down from four to three stars for me. Characters that were previously staunch in their beliefs and ideals changed at the drop of a hat, and it rushed to tie up the loose ends into a neat little bow much too quickly, colouring all the interesting grey areas it had previously created black and white.
The writing is a little awkward at times, but not nearly so much as other reviews might lead you to believe, and it's not as juvenile either. Overall a fun read, though it doesn't contain anything of substance and does not add much to the series as a whole. I would recommend it to FMA fans ages 12 and up....more
I was forced to read this book for school, and, I knew as soon as I started reading it that I wasn't going to lik*Warning: High school girl on a rant*
I was forced to read this book for school, and, I knew as soon as I started reading it that I wasn't going to like it. For godsake, it's a novel that waxes philosophical about baseball, of all things, and dreary and cynical about life. Baseball ranks somewhere on the bottom of my list of Things I Couldn't Give Two Shits About right above Lindsay Lohan's arrest records and below Anime fanboy flamewars on Youtube.
Not only that, but it is also a bit of subliminal preaching about temptation and sin. The hero in this book is lead into temptation by women, and as a result of this he fails in his heroic Quest.
The other message this book sends out it basically thus: Life sucks. Even if you're a sports prodigy. There's no themes of hope or optimism presented and it was an absolute drudge to read through. Women in this novel are portrayed as a malicious and almost evil force; one woman shoots the main character in the gut, one woman has sex with him and then reveals that she is a grandmother, and one he pursues relentlessly until she seems to finally reciprocate his feelings, but she betrays him in the end. Like I said, cynicism.
Also, I don't know who cleared it for use in high school English courses because it is clearly not PG-13 and although there were no outright sex scenes in it, some scenes were very graphic and resorted to describing the colours of naked womens' pubic hair. They must have forgotten that it's hormonal teenage boys who are going to be reading this. I rue the day I was choosing courses and didn't ask about the curriculum first....more
First off, the blurb for this book spoils most of the story, so if you've read the blurb, then you've pretty much read the story up to page 340.
WhenFirst off, the blurb for this book spoils most of the story, so if you've read the blurb, then you've pretty much read the story up to page 340.
When I first started reading this, I was convinced that the author had been re-reading Frankenstein, and then Twilight for the first time, and decided to simultaneously deconstruct and also add a dark spin on Meyer's cliched love story. You've all heard this tale by now: There's a new kid at school. The protagonist feels instantly drawn to him or her for some reason they can't explain, and they start a relationship after a ridiculously short period of time, even though they barely know each other; then the protagonist discovers that their new 'love' is a vampire or a fallen angel or a demon or an Elvis impersonator or what have you.
The twist and deconstruction that Broken offers on this is that the protagonist is mourning her dead boyfriend, and this new guy, who is a normal human, eerily reminds her of him. (Why Alex feels suddenly drawn to Emma is explained later.)
The writing is peppered with fleshy, gorey imagery, but whether or not it manages to create the intended dark and Gothic atmosphere, I can't rightly say, because this book takes place mostly in a high school, but the emotions I associate with such places mainly include boredom and anxiety. Examples of some particularly interesting metaphors and bits of imagery, not including the one that compares a ringing cellphone to a mugging victim:
"A wooden boardwalk clings to the side of the dune, an exposed spine riding over dark flesh, meant to preserve the fragile ground."
"Storm weight is oppressive, humid, tainting the air. The school looms dark and brooding, waiting for the last of its victims."
"The sky chooses now to open and hemorrhage water like a slit vein. People scurry, rats running for dry ground."
"The wrought iron fencing looms into view, black rotted teeth ripping through the tufty brow fur of the grass edging."
I thought this was clever, considering the subject matter. And then...
"He smells of leather, and lightening, and Alex."
Note that the person this is describing is Alex. So, apparently, Alex smells like Alex. Interesting. (And what, praytell, does lightening smell like? (view spoiler)[I'll tell you what lightening smells like. It smells like nothing. You know why? Because if you're close enough to be able to smell it, then you can be sure your nose has already been zapped right off. (hide spoiler)])
Anyway, in all seriousness, reading this book made me feel a tad uncomfortable. I wouldn't let a guy I barely know hug me, get into a fight over me, or undo my hair for me, and those are just a few of the things that Alex Franks (Franks? Frankenstein? See the allusion?), our resident dark and mysterious hero, does. So the romance that takes up a good chunk of this book made me feel queasy, never mind that Alex reminds Emma of her recently-dead boyfriend. If I had a dead boyfriend and some new guy at school reminded me of him, I wouldn't try to date him, I'd get the hell away from him!
This also begs the question: How much of Emma's "love" for Alex is really for Alex and not for the memory of her dead ex that he invokes, and respectively, how much of Alex's "love" for Emma is really love, and not just because of the [spoiler]? But how many of the people who liked this book would tell me, "Oh, but they're teenagers. It's just lust and hormones"? Because despite what YA romances might be feeding the general public right now, the truth is that most teens are not horny idiots who have nothing on their minds but the mysteries of sex and/or the opposite sex. I'm a real teen, and I'm not buying that specious explanation.
Also, what is it with this need to describe every single detail of the main character's day that some books have? I don't need to know what subtle variations there are in Emma's cholesterol-drenched breakfast every day, nor do I want to know, unless there's some plot significance in it - for example, if Emma's partially-uneaten breakfast burrito slips out of her backpack while she's on the run from the villain, and he trips over it and lands on his face, thereby buying her some much-needed time. This detective-like style of documenting ultimately causes the story to drag a bit, at least until it reaches the explosive, over-the-top ending (and when I say it was over-the-top, I mean, it was over-the-top, and not precisely in a good way). It worked for Stieg Larsson because he was wrote crime dramas from the perspective of actual detectives. It doesn't work for paranormal romance.
I'm not sure if I can say I enjoyed this book. It was...interesting...especially near ending. I'd recommend it to people who enjoy horror and romances with scarred, brooding, and mysterious heroes, because sometimes we can overlook a book's flaws, if its content appeals to us greatly enough, now can't we? (*hides Scarlet and Graceling behind back*)
Obligatory disclaimer: My copy of this book is another ARC I received from Netgalley.com and the publisher, so thanks to them for the opportunity.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Entangled is a book perfect for inciting WTF reactions from normal people who have common sense. I outline here some of the completely nonsensical reaEntangled is a book perfect for inciting WTF reactions from normal people who have common sense. I outline here some of the completely nonsensical reactions and decisions from some characters, along with other idiocy:
1. Firstly, a half-Indian boy who also happens to be a warlock with an infatuation - oops, sorry, I meant he's in tru wuv with the main character, a girl by the unusual name of Graylee, and gets away with doing mildly perverted things to her thanks to his magic. She doesn't return his feelings and uses death threats to make a point of telling him that she never, ever will. Later, he becomes her love interest and they proceed to have wild makeout sessions. What?
2. Graylee dies randomly of what she's told is "SUDS," a.k.a. sudden unexpected death syndrome. So, apparently, she died of an illness called...death. Which really means that there's nothing unusual or puzzling about her death at all, because I know for a fact that millions of people die from death every year. (Later, it turns out that she was really killed by some sweets she'd eaten earlier. Uh-huh.) Graylee, m'dear, welcome to the Department of Redundancy Department.
3. Graylee and her twin sister seem to get along fine, but then we find out that her sister has been blocking Gray's powers for several years, making her the laughing stock of every able witch and warlock that side of town. She tries to kill Gray a few times. She also talks to her mother about killing her ex's new girlfriend. Her mother's reaction? Nothing. She basically says, "Oh, that's nice, dear. There's nothing wrong with wanting to kill someone. Would you like some more gravy?" Graylee's sister is a slutty girl whose hobbies include gossiping, performing magic, and sleeping with half the guys in the school, so I guess that explains everything?
4. The magic in this book is performed but never explained or elaborated on. Apparently, in this particular magical system, all that is needed to turn oneself invisible is to visualize it and believe it will happen, and it will. What, then, prevents little kids who are playing pretend from accidentally becoming invisible? Oh, wait, they're not "witches." That explains everything.
The majority of this book is about the day-to-day struggle of the girls to live their lives and find a spell that will let them live in separate bodies. It was rather amusing watching two people inhabiting the same body having a war with each other, but that was probably the only enjoyment I got out of it.
Also, what is up with the cover? I suppose the word "Entangled" is a vague reference to the huge conundrum the two sisters in this book get into, but what does the snow and frost have to do with this novel? The cover's pretty and all, but it has nothing to do with the contents of the actual book.
I received a copy of this book as an ARC from Netgalley.com and the publisher, and although I suspect they'll probably hate me after reading this review, thanks is due on that part. So thanks, I think. ...more
I don't have much to say about this book. It continues the story as begun in Love Unscripted, except with an excessive amount of temper tantrums fromI don't have much to say about this book. It continues the story as begun in Love Unscripted, except with an excessive amount of temper tantrums from Ryan, and sex scenes, which had me rolling my eyes more than once because all of them sounded almost the same to me. Also, this sequel doesn't have an overarching plot like the first book did; instead, it opts for telling us about the ups and downs of the lives of Taryn and Ryan leading up to their marriage. And while their lives are certainly never boring, this story had no page-turning suspense whatsoever. It actually skips over giving us the actual details of their marriage and the important events leading up to ending. It gets three stars out of five from me. ...more
So this is a book about fame and love, and not necessarily in that order. We've all seen the glamorous side of fame, but perhaps not this one. This isSo this is a book about fame and love, and not necessarily in that order. We've all seen the glamorous side of fame, but perhaps not this one. This is a love story about a debut celebrity and an average businesswoman, and the challenges they face are bound to have something to do with fame. Rumours, pestering phorographers, invasions of privacy, overzealous fans, a psychotic stalker, a jealous bodyguard, a jealous older sibling, a few jealous costars all seem adamant on getting in the way of this couple's relationship.
They're both nursing hurts in their pasts, relationships gone horribly wrong. They have many discussions about the peversity of the paparazzi and the tabloids, stalkers and crazy fans. I'll admit, I've always known that the headlines on celeb magazines are usually overblown lies, but to what degree I've never considered until I read this book. In Ryan Christensen's life, nearly everything written about him is fabricated for the sake of making a buck.
When writing romance, you have to be careful with how perfect you make your hero seem, because of this little abomination called a Gary Stu (which is the male equivalent of a Mary Sue, and if you don't know what that is, an explanation can be found here ) Ryan Christensen is not only the perfect man for Taryn, but also a perfect man in general. Instead of making him flawed, Tina Reber goes for an alternative route and fleshes him out by giving him quirks, and - wait for it - a personality. Which, again, seems to be a little rare in recent publications (or maybe I'm reading too much YA?) This makes him more a more believable character, so I have no real complaint here. Taryn - amusingly nicknamed 'Tar,' - is the same. She doesn't really have any flaws, but has enough personality to flesh her out.
In the beginning, what I really liked about this book was that it seemed to do what so many romances these days don't: It featured a hero and a heroine who actually got to know each other before falling completely in love, and it made it plain why they did fall in love. Both Ryan and Taryn exhibit qualities that attracted them to each other: Taryn is smart, sociable and independent, she can take care of herself, and treats Ryan like a normal human being instead of a god; Ryan is sweet, kind, and funny. They shared some of the same likes and dislikes. The author does well to generate sexual tension between them, to the point where in every scene, the elephant in the room was always standing between them - that is, up until their relationship got more serious.
Where this book goes wrong is in its overblown length. It's 668 pages, and while the beginning and end were tightly written, towards the middle it starts to drag in more ways than one. The middle of this book is caught up in lavish descriptions of the parties and dates they go to and the routine of their everyday life. Not only that, but as their relationship progressed, they seemed to forget that they were friends as well as sexual partners. After a while, they no longer had casual conversations like they did before they were together; instead, if they weren't flirting or in foreplay, they were discussing the problems with their relationship, or business matters. I wouldn't know, but aren't relationships about more than sex? When this happens, it also seems to lose sight of Ryan and Taryn's personalities - the very reason they were drawn together in the first place.
Taryn thinks about talking to Ryan about contraception and STDs at one point, but for some reason never breaches the issue. I also had suspicions from the start that Ryan was cheating on her, despite his professions of love and loyalty, which I why I got so gullible near the end, where, well, let's just say someone concocts a master plan with the intention of forcing these two apart. But Ryan seemed determined to prove me wrong and in the very end, he did.
I think this book could've been half this length and still retained its current quality, if not more. This was a four- or five-star book in the first third. When it started to drag, and forget its characters' personalities, it became a 3.5 star at the best.
Thanks to Netgalley.com and Simon & Schuster, Inc for providing me with an ARC of this book!
When I first downloaded A Hearth in Candlewood off of Amazon.com's Whispernet for free, I wasn't expecting to like it in*Review of the entire series*
When I first downloaded A Hearth in Candlewood off of Amazon.com's Whispernet for free, I wasn't expecting to like it in the slightest. And I certainly wasn't expecting to be reading the whole series.
The Candlewood series is composed of three books. Each one of them has a story arc that begins and ends within the novel, and they're all about Emma Garrett (all those double consonants!), proprietess of a boardinghouse called Hill House, and her struggles with the resident difficult guests in each book, set on the backdrop of New York in the 1840's. There's also two overarching storylines involving her personal life which start in the first book and end in the third.
This series is a very specific kind of fiction - I'd liken it to the comfort food of the literary world. It's the kind of story where everyone has loving family and friends surrounding them, all conflicts are solved with gentle and peaceful discussion, and all hurts are healed with friendship and companionship. I know the world isn't at all like that, and I prefer novels that are more bluntly honest, but for a time it's very comforting to be able to submerse yourself into a 'verse like this one. I should also note that this series is Christian fiction, which means plenty of references to God and His will, and how one should go about living their life by His will. I should note further that I'm an atheist, and most of these passages had me rolling my eyes or skimming a page or two.
So why did I continue reading this, then? Well, for the one and only reason I stated above: It's comforting. It's a feel-good series. (Okay, so I'm also a sucker for romantic side-plots, and Refining Emma pulled one out very unexpectedly.) Other than that, though, the series is mostly about forging bonds of friendship, the kinship between neighbors, the daily domestic life of women in a mid-eighteenth-century New York boardinghouse, solving disputes through mutual respect and effort, and keeping faith in God no matter what. Not very exciting stuff. If I wanted to experience the mundane ups and downs of everyday life, all I would have have to do is shut off my Kindle and look up.
Still, if there's anything this series is good for, it's a relaxing break in between more serious reads (the connection between music and neurology, and the Irish rebellion of 1798, anyone?), and in that, it's a decidingly good remedy.
*This review is mirrored on my brand-new book blog, which can be found here :D*...more