I just LOVE National Geographic - for me, they set the standard for presenting non-fiction: be it on paper or on video, the information is always attrI just LOVE National Geographic - for me, they set the standard for presenting non-fiction: be it on paper or on video, the information is always attractive, catchy and interesting to discover.
As always, this read beautifully. I'm giving it four stars for the simple reason that I read Paris and London from the same Guide series, and they were both more exhaustive and better written. In the Rome Guide I found several small mistakes and repetitions which bugged me, but they were very small - I probably noticed only because recently I took a class in stylistic mistakes and editing at university.
I'm definetely taking this on my trip - the maps and chapterisations are invaluable, as I know from experience, and I'm going to stick to this series; when it comes to travel guides, there are no better....more
Argh! The high was so high, but the aftermath takes me so low!
This withdrawal will kill me by the time book 2 comes out. Honestly, I had a hard timeArgh! The high was so high, but the aftermath takes me so low!
This withdrawal will kill me by the time book 2 comes out. Honestly, I had a hard time obsessing over the release of Burn for Me, I've been constantly checking the book on Goodreads (as if that would make it available for reading) and activery thinking "When will is be out already?" and "October must come quickly", and seriously, who wishes sunny, sultry August away?
Mental, that's what my state is when it comes to books by this author team. Really, someone should have me committed.
My instability aside, I'm very happy to report that Book 1 of the Hidden Legacy Trilogy lived up to my expectations (and I'd built them higher than an amplified Fire Prime's pillar) and still managed to surprise me. And what is more remarkable, though I can put it side by side with their Kate Daniels books, they are not the same. The characters, the worldbuilding, the kickassery, the quip free-for-alls are some of the awesome things Ilona Andrews books share but they do not sprout in a cookie-cutter fashion. Both the worldbuilding and the character arcs have their own allure and their independent inner glow.
For those who love Kate and Curran I'd say you'd be enamoured with Nevada and Rogan. Nevada is very flesh-and-blood, she is someone regular-Jane and regular-John can immediately relate to and yet admire - Neva has a certain deep-set badassery she shows through actions but that isn't tied up with her confidence; she's a moral touchstone who doesn't saddle a saintly high-horse, she is very aware of and content with her glass-half-full (when it looks almost empty to others) luck in life. Rogan, on the other hand, has a complete disregard for human life that would turn most heroes from an intriguing gray to a pitch black, especially when in contact with his more-or-less-unwilling-partner female lead. He is overly confident, and as Nevada says, has the attitude of "If I want something it is mine willingly, and if not, I can buy it or failing that - just take it.". Yet he still manages to get you to like and root for him, because his actions are right (if the motivation for them is not). And besides, there's the fact that he's very intelligent, very powerful, with a very intricate and intriguing backstory, and most of all - together, Nevada and Rogan burn through the pages, be it with snark, or tension, or sheer sexual hotness. You can immediately feel why they are good together and why they would be even better in the future, it's the old addage of opposites mix explosively but to an awesome effect - they would balance each other out and make one hell of a power couple. (Speaking of power, very nicely done with both their stories there.)
Having poured out my little characters crush, it must be said that the rest of the book is nowhere near overshadowed by their awesomeness. The worldbuilding is fascinating (I've been in love with the idea of the House system ever since I read Silver Shark and Of Swine and Roses ), the cast of supporting heroes and heroines is hilarious, adorable, infuriating, captivating, and then there is Grandma Frida. Good one, Ilona Andrews, thank you! for her. The storyline was as bumpy as its cast, veering and twisting without taking any long stretches or over-the-top turns; it held my nails between my teeth and my manicure in constant danger, all the way to the very end. Knowing that this was book 1 of 3 didn't help any - till the last chapter I wasn't sure where the authors would drop us off with a "See you later", whether it would be before or after some of the main conflict had been resolved and the battle with the main baddie taken place. Every chapter took me someplace new and catchy and I loved it.
Bottom line, I laughed and snorted, I cheered and jeered, I bit nails and I fell in love. And really, what more can you want from a story?...more
I was too busy seeing Paris to read the last 15 pages, but now I'm through it all and I just loved it. No one makes travel guides quite like NationalI was too busy seeing Paris to read the last 15 pages, but now I'm through it all and I just loved it. No one makes travel guides quite like National Geographic. I have three more months of studies in Paris (YAY!) and so I'm by no account done with the guide, but I wanted to mark it as read and to advice any who might want a full and interestingly-written view of the City of Love to get this, you won't regret it =)...more
It has to be said - this is no Harry Potter. It didn't grab hold of me the way Harry did when I was 9 years old and it didn't set a firsNicely done =)
It has to be said - this is no Harry Potter. It didn't grab hold of me the way Harry did when I was 9 years old and it didn't set a first installment for a lifelong obsession. Still, The Cuckoo's Calling earned my interest and my desire to read the books that would follow it in the PI series.
This is one big book! It has 4 parts and many, many chapters. I admit, it seemed at times a bit slow, so many conversations in an effort to piece together a timeline and most of them seemed to focus on the same moments. If not for Strike's final analysis I wouldn't have understood where half of the book was going with it all.
However, I really enjoyed the world-building. The detective work was very realistically drawn, all that drudgery and covering the same ground over and over again - it might have slowed the story but it also made it more plausible. I loved the way the characters were constructed, as well, all that grey in spotlights and shadows. I was especially grabbed by Guy Somé, Ciara Porter and Charlotte.
The mystery itself was intriguing, and though a lot of dirt came up on the victim it still made me care for her. Cormoran Strike came out as a hard-boiled and down-on-his-luck gruff bear-type who knew what he was doing though half the time it seemed he didn't. And Robin was a fresh take on the secretary sidekick. I enjoyed the rhythm she and Strike had without experiencing the need to introduce romance in the mix (strange for me) - their relationship was satisfying the way it came out. The book also left enough gaps in their lives for further revelations down the paper road.
All in all, Cormoran Strike #1 was not perfect and not what I expected, but it intrigued me and I enjoyed it. I'd advise any reader not to go in looking for Rowling but to discover Galbraith and see if he's worth the read....more
I remember starting this in high school, when I'd gone through all of Jane Austen's novels one after the other, but I came up to Letter 4 and just couI remember starting this in high school, when I'd gone through all of Jane Austen's novels one after the other, but I came up to Letter 4 and just couldn't get into it.
Now I wonder at my stupidity in quitting. I gave Lady Susan another go and got so much into it I had to force myself to put it down and go to sleep because I had classes early the next day. I've kind of succumbed to a cold and curling up with hot tea, a blanket and Jane Austen was like chocolate and homecoming for the soul, all rolled up into one snuggly package.
The story pulled at me, made me indignant and involved in the fate of Frederica and Reginald and all the others. Lady Susan is a creation I know not how to describe and I wonder at the abilities of a woman so young and so limited by the times as Jane Austen was to have created her; even more - to have represented her so well through a sequence of letters, and not straight storytelling.
As always, this story stands as proof of how much the world lost by being early deprived of such a wonderful mind as that of Jane Austen....more
I believed the story. It read as a good biography might. I believed the characters. The voice. The notions. I didn't think 'fiction' I believed it.
I believed the story. It read as a good biography might. I believed the characters. The voice. The notions. I didn't think 'fiction' once. I was pulled in and submerged.
All this sounds pompous. Yep, to me, too. But John Green has written an honest story. He works out mortality depths through the 'simple' life of a sick sixteen-year-old girl. He creates love and relationships that are unbelievably non-fictional.
It is a simple YA story that's not simple at all.
I don't think I could write anything that would live up to what I feel reading this book. It made me feel. Made me think. And it made me aware of every breath I took. It makes the reader notice the universe, both on the inside and out.
This reads so much like one of those cheezy, blown-out wall posts Hazel and I both hate, but it's what I truly believe. And while I revel in reading a plot that just makes me live an interesting life, and mostly rate books on how much I'd enjoyed and believed them, I seem to have focused on the meaning behind the plot this time round. On Hazel and Gus and Isaac's thoughts and revelations about life. And I loved that even more.
So I'd say read this book eleven years in the making - however briefly, it will touch you....more
This... was supposed to be devoured, enjoyed, savoured and cherished into re-read territory. What the Hell went wrong?!
I bought Defiance over a year aThis... was supposed to be devoured, enjoyed, savoured and cherished into re-read territory. What the Hell went wrong?!
I bought Defiance over a year ago and I remember being thrilled to have it on paper. I mean, look at that cover. And the description... I just KNEW I'd love it.
A friend of mine told me there are lots of reviews out there saying it's a letdown. I got fearful, and as always when I have the feeling something would disappoint - I procrastinated. And then, one night, I had time, it was raining and I was cuddled in my bed craving the good old paper read and so I reached for this.
I swear, for the first 50 or so pages I must've looked just like that. I kept... waiting for something to REALLY happen. Not that there wasn't any plot development - quite the opposite, I think it was supposed to be a sudden and shocking intro into a story, the catalyst event that would set it all off having taken place before the first words even... But I just didn't feel it.
Then, when we picked up speed, danger and action and death was everywhere, and I was supposed to be on the edge of my seat and all.
Instead, I set the book aside. Months passed, and I literally had to have five hours on a train with it to delve back into the story. Before that, I'd come home each night, see it through the layer of dust sitting lonely on my nightstand, the cover mocking me and chiding me.
Then I knew - despite every hope I had, despite it possessing the recipe for a great read, Defiance had turned into one of those books - you know, the ones that get stuck on your Currently-Reading shelf for months even as dozens of others go up to join them and move to Read. I was so pissed off by this that finally, several days ago I set my foot down and decided I was finishing it.
I'm being harsh, and it's time I justify my opinion. Why did a dystopian fantasy, a book that had both the well-loved and fresh element in it, that had a kick-ass heroine and an amazingly sweet, amazingly smart hero, that had both a black villain and a grey one, a dragon-like monster and mysterious devices - why did it not catch me up? Why wasn't all the fighting, inventing, travelling, and standing up for the right and wrong reasons not enough? It was supposed to be...
But I found Rachel - our 'tough-as-nails' heroine, more annoying than anything. "Get on with it", I'd think more often than not. She was supposed to be a warrior with a hardened but true heart. I found her petty, often implausibly rash considering her supposed 'toughness', and thinking and doing stupid things. Then there was Logan, and he wasn't as annoying, but he had his moments, too, especially in the beginning. There were things that he should have easily figured out later on, and instead he made what I call 'a great show' of stumbling through the logic to the obvious answer. Nice, smart guy. Though the changing POVs between the two was a good idea, often half the chapter would stress the same thing, the two characters wondering 'why, oh, why' or thinking 'I'm not worthy' on and on. I agree, inner conflict is the spice all great leads need, but not spanning half the story and having the substance of a broken-into-repeat record. Add to that the predictability of some of the supposedly unpredictable twists in the plot, and I say 'You're done'.
There were countless other things that subtly played on my patience and destroyed my enjoyment of what surely is a great, fresh twist of dystopian and fantasy. And while the plot stared me in the face with its action and romance and intrigue, and asked me 'Why?! Why don't you love me?' I could only sigh and shrug.
I have to give credit where it's due, too. What I did like about the story were some of the details - author C.J. Redwine has done her research on fighting techniques, survival and orientation, on tech construction and bombs. There was plenty of action which was very well executed. Also, she created Melkin - a grey villain, who did the wrong things for the right reasons, and then even didn't commit his ultimate task, did not turn into a killer and kept true to his purpose. I very much believed in the city-state's inner lifestyle - the Claiming, the social hierarchy, and so on. It was so medieval, and that's what answered to the promise on the back cover summary.
I feel as if this book shouldn't be placed with my other three-stars, but I can't do anything else, considering how much time it took me to pick it up, to read it, and how I didn't fall even in like with it, which is such a pity.
Maybe Defiance is just not my cup of tea. Maybe it will enamour most other readers - it has potential for that. I just felt no chemistry going on between the two of us. So, despite my lengthy, non-typical-for-me ranting, I'd say give it a go - it might be the adventure you'd love and want to read.