I couldn't decide between three and four stars. In the end, what I wanted out of this book was a cozy Christmas read, and that's exactly what I got, sI couldn't decide between three and four stars. In the end, what I wanted out of this book was a cozy Christmas read, and that's exactly what I got, so I decided to overlook the shortcomings a bit :).
The story is quite predictable for the most part (which isn't a bad thing when it comes to me and romances, otherwise I'd be sure to root for the wrong pairing). I haven't read any of the other books in the series (and I probably won't), and so I had no previous knowledge about any of the other couples. Considering the fluff happening here though, I can guess at their backstory, and I didn't feel like I missed any information that would have made me understand anything better.
The characters are charming, if a *little* too talkative for my liking; indeed there is a lot of talking over acting going on here. Add to that the fact that our male main character is a minister who loves his sermons (and his praise of God), and you get the idea of how this book feels :). Nevertheless, it was charming enough, I got a romantic ending and I was spared the "dark secrets" promised on the back blurb (or my definition of dark is different to the publisher's). And I needed a comfort read and that was it.
I still prefer looking at his paintings though....more
Having bought the book for the retelling of "The Beauty and the Beast", I was very pleasantly surprised with the Dystopian setting. I do have a thingHaving bought the book for the retelling of "The Beauty and the Beast", I was very pleasantly surprised with the Dystopian setting. I do have a thing for Dystopia, and somehow even more so when it comes in unexpected guises.
"Of Beast and Beauty" comes with original ideas (Can I just say that I love how the rose was used in this version?), great writing and a (relatively) fast-paced plot, so the read was over much quicker than I anticipated.
I loved Isra's voice, I loved the other voice, I just had some trouble with Gem. He feels much younger than he is supposed to be, especially considering his background. I had to remind myself sometimes how much he had been through, because he seems a bit child-like at times. Nevertheless, this is a great pairing (and no doubt who is the decisive one in this), and I kept rooting for it until the end, which is all I ask of a romance novel :).
The setting and style of writing keep "Of Beast and Beauty" a notch above almost all other retellings - except for For Darkness Shows the Stars. Hence it's 4.5 stars, and I'm a bit undecided. Feeling generous though, and I will definitely read the next thing Stacey Jay writes, so there we go. 5 stars. ...more
There is a quote on the cover of my edition which immediately made me think "Oh no, this can't be good". The quote is by Paulo Coelho, and it says "ThThere is a quote on the cover of my edition which immediately made me think "Oh no, this can't be good". The quote is by Paulo Coelho, and it says "This book has helped me write "The Alchemist"."
What you need to understand is that I really disliked The Alchemist. (You can read my review if you like.) And not for story reasons; I hated the writing. I felt lectured, I felt like the author didn't trust in his readers. And I was put off - if that were to happen in a book about mathematics, I could potentially get very angry.
Well, what can I say - it did indeed happen, but it was just toned down enough that I could ignore it and focus on the maths. I still wouldn't advocate reading it in one sitting though, for fear of throwing it and things.
Beremís' journey and the maths that go with it are well-explained (if a tad bit contrived), and should make a good reads for young adults as well as older adults. Maybe you'll need pen and paper if you want to guess along with the plot, but you'll be able to figure things out eventually. (And the longer you think about a puzzle's solution, the more time off you get from the "poetic writing", so it's really a win-win situation.)
But to be absolutely honest, my favourite part of this book (and the reason why I'm going up to four stars instead of three) is the glossary - which might only exist in my edition, I don't know. I got bonus information about maths in Arabic history, about famous mathematicians, about geographical and cultural things, and I might have learned more from that than from the book itself. But for this edition, the glossary is a part of the book - hence four stars.
Short English review: Retelling of Rumpelstiltskin in the modern world. Category: totally underrated German books. Nice story, great writing.
---------Short English review: Retelling of Rumpelstiltskin in the modern world. Category: totally underrated German books. Nice story, great writing.
------------ Ich bin irgendwann mal im Buchladen über dieses Buch gestolpert und weiß gar nicht mehr genau, warum ich es eigentlich mitgenommen habe. Wegen dem Cover sicher nicht, denn das ist zwar schick, aber auch unglaublich nichtssagend. Dann stand es ein ganzes Weilchen bei mir im Regal herum, wie es Bücher eben so tun, bei denen ich mir nicht so ganz sicher bin. Bei einer Umräumaktion (okay, bei einer Wir-fangen-eine-zweite-Reihe-im-Regal-an - Aktion) ist es mir dann wieder in die Hände gefallen, und ich hab dann doch einmal den Text auf der Rückseite gelesen. 'Hmm, Rumpelstilzchen, interessant', dachte ich, und ließ es in der ersten Reihe stehen, ohne mich weiter damit zu beschäftigen. Irgendwann hatte ich dann einmal Langeweile und hab es doch mal aufgeklappt - und mich sofort verliebt.
Ganz ehrlich, das war mieses Marketing wenn ich jemals welches gesehen habe, denn dieses Buch ist echt toll. Vielleicht nicht für jedermann, aber für junge Erwachsene, die einen Hang zur Nacherzählung von Märchen haben (und davon gibt es wirklich viele), ist "Der geheime Name" genau das Richtige. (Für meine Oma auch, also spielt das Alter scheinbar keine Rolle.)
Es gibt kein riesiges Sortiment an Charakteren, aber das braucht es auch nicht. Fina, unsere Protagonistin, ist frisch und lebendig genug, um den Leser in die Geschichte hineinzuziehen, und ihr männlicher Gegenpart ist ebenfalls interessant, wenn auch zu Beginn recht ungewöhnlich. Der teilweise recht ruhige Stil passt sehr gut zur Moorlandschaft, und wie man über einen stillen Sumpf schaut und bei jeder Luftblase zusammenzuckt, so wartet man auch hier immer gespannt auf die Katastrophe, die bestimmt schon hinter dem nächsten Gestrüpp lauert. Die Beschreibungen lassen das Moor lebendig werden, und auch wenn das nicht immer unbedingt erwünscht ist (gerade wenn man wie ich nachts um drei darüber liest und ohnehin schon Geisterstunde herrscht), kann man sehr gut mit Fina mitfühlen.
Das Ende ist schön abgeschlossen (endlich mal ein Einzelband), auch wenn es mich ein wenig betrübt, dass ich noch nichts Neues von der Autorin gesehen habe. Oh, und ich habe eigentlich mal auf eine Geschichte gehofft, in der es Rumpelstilzchen gut geht, aber ich bin mit dieser Variante auch zufrieden (und das sagt schon einiges).
Oh, und das Marketing war ***. Aber das sagte ich ja schon....more
There is something to be said for going into a book with the right expectations.
Do you expect a hidden gem of literary fiction, teaching you somethinThere is something to be said for going into a book with the right expectations.
Do you expect a hidden gem of literary fiction, teaching you something about how and what the human mind chooses to remember, because that's what the book description promises you? You'll be disappointed.
Do you expect a light read for a sunday afternoon, one that will touch you and one that might just make you think about certain things? You're in luck.
We see a little bit of magic (if you want to call it that), and we take some detours into the past, but mostly this story is about a young woman remembering her grandmother. You'll get a lot of names thrown at you in the beginning - ignore them and focus on Iris. Enter her past with her, and remember your own childhood. This is what works best in this book - the small moments that will stay with you. The mystery from the past is not quite as gripping as one might hope, and Iris isn't compelling enough as a character to really move the story forward, but like life, some small moments will stand out for you. And of course there is the house and the world around it, which is a lovely place to stay while you're reading. I'd keep it :).
All in all, this is a light read with some flaws, and I would not advocate going into it with high expectations. Leave yourself room to be surprised. Story-wise, it's four stars. For me, it probably sits at three stars, because I constantly kept thinking about how I would have written some scenes instead. That is good for my own writing, but it distracted me from reading.
With some books published thirty years or more ago, I need to find a quiet hour to really be able to get into the narrative style and the language. NoWith some books published thirty years or more ago, I need to find a quiet hour to really be able to get into the narrative style and the language. Not so with "A Separate Peace", I found my way in quite easily.
I wasn't too sure about the YA sorting to begin with because the theme seemed to say "literary fiction", but it feels like a YA book would. There are dozens of memorable quotes, and the theme is as dark as I'd feared, but it wasn't as heavy-handed as I'd expected. Gene has his own motivations and a shedload of problems that go beyond the main plot of the book, and he has that special sense of absolute conviction in his beliefs that makes me detest someone very quickly. His friend Phineas is little better though (even though the first person narration makes it difficult to really see what he is about), so he has probably found his match.
Since I didn't like the characters all that much, my enjoyment depended on either the writing or the plot, preferably both. Plot-wise ... well, there are trainwrecks with a more interesting ruin, let's put it that way. There's certainly a sense of the inevitable, which I liked, because it made me turn the pages, but the unfulfilling ending threw me off a bit and resulted in the loss of a star. The language fulfilled the cover's promises though, so while I would place this on the lower end of the four-star spectrum, I don't regret reading it. And I'll leave you with a few memorable quotes to give you a taste.
"I felt that I was not, never had been and never would be a living part of this overpoweringly solid and deeply meaningful world around me."
"I spent as much time is I could alone in my room, trying to empty my mind of everything, to forget where I was, even who I was."
"Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him."
I'm not really searching for books with a religious subject, but somehow they seem to find me. Most of the time though, they put me off because they'rI'm not really searching for books with a religious subject, but somehow they seem to find me. Most of the time though, they put me off because they're either preachy or are showing only the negative side of the religion they're portraying. "The Land of Decoration" does none of these things. Religion is only one of its aspects, and although it plays a central role, this book is also about imagination, about family and about seeking relief from the daily struggles.
Our main character, Judith, is just ten years old (which makes for relatively short and easy sentences), but she's also very complex and sometimes it's hard to follow her thoughts even if you'd thought of yourself as quite a creative person. Whether you see the voice in Judith's head as a religious figure, as a magical element or even as just a stylistic choice to visualize her internal struggles, it is interesting to see her "relationship" with it/him/?. I think this is one of the books where everyone reading it can have a different experience depending on the way they're reading it, and this makes the book pretty exciting. In contrast to Judith's inner life I was also gripped by what's happening around her. She's small and vulnerable, and she goes through the world with a filter that highlights the harshness of her reality.
In the end, Judith's childish voice takes away some of the explanations you might have gotten otherwise, and I think I like that. (Not too sure about that though.) This is one of the books where the journey to the end is more important than the actual resolution, and I'm quite happy that I decided to take the trip....more
Just a warning ahead: If you haven't watched the first series of "Once Upon A Time", there is absolutely no need for you to read this book. The writinJust a warning ahead: If you haven't watched the first series of "Once Upon A Time", there is absolutely no need for you to read this book. The writing doesn't even come close to the atmosphere portrayed by the moody images and the brilliant acting. But then again, that is not the point of this book, so I won't judge too harshly :).
If you have watched the series before, you can easily picture the actors in your head, you already have a feel for the places, and then this book works wonderfully as an enhancement of the story. It gives the reader insights into Emma's and Snow's characters (Emma in Storybrooke, Snow in FTL), and although I might ask for different main characters, it is well done. Indeed, I hope that the company will see a merchandising opportunity and get me what I want as well :).
Some episodes aren't treated with much detail. These are all episodes that Emma or Snow don't feature in as much as they usually do (like Jiminy Cricket's or Dreamy's episodes). Which is understandable, really. (Although it might have annoyed me more, had my favourite character (read: Mr Gold) been a huge part of more than one of these episodes.)
Essentially this makes this a long piece of non-AU fanfic, which the producers have approved of. But I love reading fanfic, and, more than that, I absolutely don't mind spending more time in the world of this show, so I loved it. And will read it again. And will hope for one from Rumple's POV. Just for me, dearies?