I love Christopher Pike. I have been reading his books since I was 11 or 12 and I am almost 30 now. His books are amazing, filled with colorful characI love Christopher Pike. I have been reading his books since I was 11 or 12 and I am almost 30 now. His books are amazing, filled with colorful characters, unique settings and amazing stories. And The Starlight Crystal is no exception.
It's probably my most favorite Pike book and it's one of his least well-known. The story is not a typical Pike story and the blurb on the back does not do it justice. Nor does the cover.
Paige Christian is an 18 year old girl who has just fallen in love for the first time. The problem is that Paige is leaving for an expedition with her father in about a week. To the passengers of the ship, only a year will have passed as they travel, but on earth, 200 years will have passed and Paige's love, Tem, will be gone. Paige and Tem vow to love each other forever, but how can their love truly last when Tem will be gone so quickly?
This book is truly a work of art. I cried when I read this book and I felt Paige's pain. If you have ever been desperately in love, then you will understand the feelings conveyed in this story.
This may be a Young Adult book, but I think anyone would enjoy this novel, so steal from your kids for a few hours or days, and get to meet Christopher Pike through one of his greatest novels....more
I can’t lie. Rage is a very difficult book to read. It would be difficult for anyone to read even if they haven’t been in any sort of an abusive relationship. But for someone who has been in an abusive relationship, it’s extremely difficult. However, Julie Anne Peters writes with such a poetic grace that you cannot help but be sucked in.
Reeve is probably the most realistic character of the book. Her pain is real and obvious. She hates what she does to Johanna and yet, she doesn’t know how to control herself. She very much loves her twin brother Reeve and protects him as much as she possibly can. She can be selfish and yet at the same time she can be extremely unselfish. And that shows in every scene that she’s in with her brother.
Johanna has had an extremely difficult life. From the loss of both parents to the fact that her older sister (whom she adores) appears to have not been able to accept her sexuality to her relationship with Reeve. As much as I wanted to like her, I had a really hard time doing so. Johanna is basically a doormat. She pretty much lets everyone walk all over her. For most of the book, I found myself wishing that she would finally grow a backbone and tell everyone off.
That was my one major issue with this book, and with abuse books in general. Just because someone has become a victim of abuse does not mean that they have to stay a victim. Just once, I’d love to read a book where the victim fights back and does not succumb to the victim syndrome. It is in fact possible to remain strong after being a victim and that is also important. And personally, I think if Johanna hadn’t been such a victim, the book would have ended better. All in all though, Johanna is still a very believable character. Her reactions and fears are very common. So many women (and men) deny that there is a problem or will wait for their abusive partner to change, only to discover that that change will never come.
But despite my two cents on how I wish Johanna had been, I still recommend this book. Books about domestic violence are rare. Especially the domestic violence that occurs within a same sex relationship and I applaud Peters for writing a very real book about a very real topic....more
Let me begin this review by saying that I am an 80′s child. I started reading The Babysitter’s Club, Fear Street and Sweet Valley High when I was about 7. I grew up on Sweet Valley books. From SVH to Sweet Valley Twins to Sweet Valley University (released when I was about 14). So yes, when I saw that Sweet Valley Confidential was coming out, I had to have it. Even though I had to read SVC, my expectations were not high and that was definitely a good thing.
There is absolutely no sub-plot. Everything that happens in the book has to do with the “Liz hates Jessica” storyline. Everything else is simply flashbacks to explain the horrible tragedy that is Jess pissing off her older (by 4 minutes) sister. Which is funny in and of itself because if you have been any sort of a fan of Sweet Valley books, then you know that:
A) Jess and Liz fight in pretty much every book B) Jess is always the one screwing up and feeling horrendously sorry afterwards C) Liz always claims that she will never forgive her selfish twin for hurting her yet again D) Liz and Jess always make up.
The only real difference for this book is that Liz is now in New York and has become this extremely bitter, emo Liz who hates everyone and everything and decides that revenge is the best idea ever in order to get over her pain. And you were the smart twin? Such a pity.
In the spirit of not spoiling anything for any future readers, I’m not actually going to rehash the plot (such as it is). Instead, I’m going to discuss a few things that truly bothered me about Sweet Valley Confidential. Ready? I promise that I’ll keep the spoilers to a minimum.
My Top 10 Things That I Truly Hated About Sweet Valley Confidential:
01) To start of this list, did you know that this is actually the FIRST Sweet Valley novel that Francine Pascal has ever written? Let’s let that sink in for just a moment. Sweet Valley High was created 28 years ago, with 8 spin-off series, a grand total of 606 books that spanned those series and not ONE of them was written by Francine Pascal until now. Can I have that job please? Seriously. I have tons of ideas! Anyway, in my opinion it is a benefit that FP never wrote one of the previous books, or the series never would have taken off the way it did. It is painfully obvious that FP also never read the previous books. I do think that Googling the characters that she included in the book, probably would have been a great idea. Example: Redhead A.J. Morgan was introduced in book #48 of SVH after his family moved to Sweet Valley. So it is not plausible that a dirty blonde A.J. Morgan felt up a 7th grade Jessica Wakefield.
02) Jessica Wakefield has never, in all 606 books, ever said “like” or “so” as many times as she did in this one lone book. I don’t know how Francine Pascal view Californians, but saying like or so after every word is not a California thing. It is a Valley Girl stereotype that is used in movies for humor, sure. I will even concede that there are some so-called Valley Girls that do say like. But definitely not as often as suggested by this book. Jessica was always one of my favorite characters. Yes, she was selfish, shallow and inconsiderate. But she was also a ton of fun, adventurous and fiercely loyal to her family. She was never the miserable doormat that has was portrayed as in SVC.
03) Elizabeth Wakefield has been prone to several emo fits throughout the run of the series. But for the so-called level-headed, intelligent and studious twin to resort to a cheap revenge scheme to try and shame her twin? That is not the Elizabeth that I grew up with. Not even in the slightest. This Elizabeth actually had me cringing anytime I had to read her side. Not from the pain she was caused, but from the loathing that I had for what she had become. Also, the twins are now 27. I always expected big things from Liz. You know. More of the stuff she was doing in SVU. Discovering atheltics scandals and secret hate societies on campus. Writing for a throw-away newspaper about Off Broadway shows, was not exactly what I had pictured. Talk about a let down.
04) Bruce Patman is Elizabeth’s best friend. Yes, you read that correctly. Bruce Patman. The rich, arrogant snob that everyone loved to hate. He is Elizabeth’s best friend. The one she turns to whenever her life throws her a curve ball. They are close in fact, that it is described as how he had received several 3am phone calls from her when she first moved to New York. The same Bruce Patman that took advantage of a whacked out of her mind Elizabeth, soon after her coma-induced personality change, and attempted to rape her. But you know, they’re best friends. I understand that people change and that often people forgive a lot of character flaws. But that seems like a HUGE character flaw to just forget about.
05) Todd Wilkins is one of the main protagonists. I should have known that he would be, but I was really hoping he wouldn’t be. And of course, Liz has to rehash her love for Todd throughout the majority of the book. The same Todd Wilkins who dumped her in SVU after she wouldn’t sleep with him, and then who turned around and slept with the first jock jumper he saw. God, Liz. You sure know how to pick them.
06) Flashback. I enjoy an occasional flashback as much as the next person. But each chapter had at least 2 flashbacks up until Chapter 15. No, I’m not kidding.
07) What is with FP’s idea of a relationship? It’s like none of these people have ever left high school. They sleep with someone once and all of a sudden they are in a relationship. It’s 2011. Guess what. People have sex all the time. Sex is simply that. Sex. Confusing sex by calling it a relationship is just not okay. That would explain why the majority of Sweet Valley is miserable. Which brings us to:
08) Why is everyone is Sweet Valley so effing miserable? I don’t think that there was one happy character and certainly not a happy couple. With the possible exception of Alice and Ned. (Although there is an absolutely hilarious moment when Alice gets pissed at all the screaming going on and drops an f-bomb. That was classic.) Everyone is sleeping with everyone else and no one is happy at all. At least in SVH there were still friendships. Oh wait, I forgot. Liz is friends with her attempted rapist. All is right in the world.
09) Did you know that the Wakefield’s joined the country club back when the twins were 12? Yeah, I didn’t either. Especially since throughout most of the SVH series Jessica is always bitching at the fact that Lila and Bruce are members of the club but her family was not.
10) Everyone is a blonde it appears. A.J. Morgan now has dirty blonde hair and Lila Fowler now has blonde streaks. Not everyone in California is a blonde, Francine Pascal.
It’s obvious that I was disappointed in Sweet Valley Confidential. Was I expecting a Pulitzer prize winning novel? No. But I was expecting a book that would be like reuniting with a group of old friends. This is more like reuniting with a group of people you hated and hoped to never see again. And I’m sorry. I have to mention it yet again. I am far from being a grammar nazi (although yes, I try my best to make sure my writing is proper) but this book had me wishing I could swallow a huge bottle of aspirin from all the grammatical mistakes and the over usage of “like” and “so”....more
I have something to confess. Before I started reading City of Bones, I figured it would be yet another book that I would read through, laugh disparagingly at and would then toss aside feeling eager to forget it. Basically, I pretty much figured that if Stephenie Meyer is on the cover going on about how wonderful the book is, it couldn’t have been that great. (I apologize to the Twilight fans for my previous comment, but that’s how I feel.) However, I was pleasantly surprised at just how good this book was, as well as by how much I enjoyed it. It’s one of the few times that I’m happy to be wrong!
+ Action: City of Bones was packed with tons of action and adventure. It was one of those books that I hated to put down because I felt as if I would miss something. I even felt rushes of adrenaline through several of the action scenes. So much that even when I stopped reading, I had so much energy and ended up going on cleaning binges to get rid of the excess energy! (That was a new one!)
+ Jace Wayland: I’m a war with myself when it comes to Jace. He’s one of those characters that so far, I love to hate. And yet, there’s just something about this character that I truly do like too. I love his sarcastic sense of humor (that’s always a win for me) but I also love the innuendos. Almost everything that he said made me start laughing out loud. He was also one of the most fleshed out characters of the whole book.
- Clary Fray: My opinion of her could change. So far, she annoys me. She does have some fire to her, which I do like. But usually I kept wondering if Clary was supposed to come across as stoned. She was actually rather lifeless for most of the book. When she did express an emotion, it was usually anger and when she actually reacted to something, it usually came out of nowhere and was pretty exaggerated.
+ Plot Twists: I think I’m one of the few people that wasn’t actually bothered by the plot twists that occurred in the first book. I actually thought that it gave the story a bit more interest and it actually makes me eager to read the rest of the series because I KNOW that there will be another twist down the road.
+ Themes: I loved how many themes were in this book. It’s not simply another supernatural romance. Yes, there is the supernatural aspect and yes there is the romance aspect. But there’s also adventure and some mystery. But what I loved the most, were the few steampunk elements that were included.
+ Characters: With the exception of a few characters (Clary of course included), the majority of the characters were well written and very detailed. Cassandra Clare created an interesting and widely varied mix of personalities. I loved the differences. Many books have what I like to call clone characters. Cookie cutter characters that can easily be mistaken for another. But not City of Bones. Each character had a distinct and different personality and I loved it.
- Clichés: While I enjoyed the book immensely, my only real issue with it (aside from Clary) has to be the amount of clichés used in the book. There’s a surprisingly large number of them and they can get annoying after awhile. I’m hoping that the number will decrease with each book.
With all of that said, I feel the need to address something. I am fully aware of the controversy surrounding Cassandra Clare and the Mortal Instruments series. I’ve read the reviews and comments from people who say that she “stole” her series from so many different places. I’m sorry, but the comments are getting ridiculous. Last I saw, the series was considered a copy of Harry Potter/ Star Wars / Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Anita Blake / Inkheart / the list goes on. Really? Come on. Yes. There could be some similarities between this series and others. But that happens. In a world were almost everything has been done to death, it’s kind of difficult to find a way to write a completely original book that does not reference anything that has been created, or has been inspired by something else.
A good book is supposed to make you enjoy it, feel the different emotions, take you on a ride and make you want to read it again. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s what City of Bones did for me. I don’t care about the controversy. I don’t care that there’s a flying motorcycle in both City of Bones and Harry Potter. All I care about is the fact that I thought it was funny and exciting. Is it my favorite book? No. Not even close. Would I consider it to be a work of art? No. Is the author the next Charles Dickens or Oscar Wilde? No. But did I enjoy the book and do I look forward to the next one? Yes, absolutely. Mission accomplished Cassandra Clare. Kudos to you....more
This was not my first time reading Practical Magic. Or even my second. Or third. I’ve read Practical Magic so many times that I have had to purchase several copies through the years. The first time I read Practical Magic, I was 16 years old and listening to my then favorite cd, Under the Pink by Tori Amos. I distinctly recall the first day I cracked open the book. I’d never heard of Alice Hoffman before and the movie didn’t yet exist. But I had found this copy in a library sale for a measly 45 cents and decided that it sounded interesting. And it was a book that didn’t disappoint. Even now, 16 years later, I am still deeply in love with this book and I recommend it to everyone that I possibly can.
Though liberally sprinkled with magic throughout the entire story line, the main theme of the novel is actually love. Practical Magic focuses on the sometimes stupid and inane decisions that people make in the name of love. Gillian, the younger of the two Owen sisters, has no shortage of men falling all over themselves to be with her. And while she definitely could have her pick of all the men in her town, she instead constantly falls for the wrong ones. Gillian longs for a life free of their elder Aunts and far, far away from their New England home. Sally, the elder sister, longs for normalcy instead of love. She’d gladly give up everything just to have a life where people didn’t cross the street at the sight of her, due to their fear of the witchcraft that the Owens family is known for.
The novel also has a second major theme. Family. Practical Magic delves deep into the family ties of the Owens women. Whether it’s the elder aunts Frances and Jet or Sally and Gillian or with Sally’s daughters, Antonia and Kylie. It explores the dreams, fears, loves, losses, fights, make-ups and anger found deep within a family’s core.
But don’t get me wrong. This story about love and family is also rich with magical realism and supernatural elements brought about with the untimely death of Gillian’s dark and abusive lover, Jimmy Angelov. Hoffman’s writing is so powerful that you can actually feel Gillian’s fear when she realizes that Jimmy is haunting her and her family. Some of the creepiest scenes in the novel to me, are when Kylie tells us about seeing Jimmy’s ghost and the disturbing aura of the lavender. Read it at night and make sure you have a cuddly blanket to pull around you. I personally love the fact that the magic in the story isn’t about flashy curses and wands. It’s simple and steeped in nature, just like Paganism. It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity and Hoffman weaves it flawlessly.
Another element that I absolutely loved was how realistic both Gillian and Sally are. They are written as extremely flawed and human characters. I identified with both of them. All my life, I have been very much like Sally. I’m one of the oldest of my siblings, always been held responsible for things long before I should have and wished I could have been more like my “normal” peers. But like Gillian, I have always been stupidly boy-crazy and have always fallen for the wrong men. All I can hope for is that my life gets a happy ending similar to the Owens women ;)
In the end, if you are expecting Practical Magic to be just like the movie, you may be in for a let down. There are some pretty huge differences. But personally, I find the book much more enjoyable and I actually happened to like the movie. The only thing I would have liked to have seen more of, are more scenes with Gary and Sally. We definitely didn’t get enough of them. The pacing was terrific, the characters are all like-able (well, perhaps with the exception of Antonia for most of the book) and I love Hoffman’s style of writing. There are few authors who can manage to write so poetically without the words seeming clumsy and deliberate....more
Wow. I finished reading The Storyteller two days ago and I am STILL just so amazed at the latest novel by Jodi Picoult. If anyone who stumbles upon this review and reads the summary and thinks A) Oh another Holocaust story or B) Another courtroom drama from Jodi Picoult, then you, my friend, are in for a big surprise. There is no courtroom drama. In fact, none of the characters even step foot inside a courtroom in this latest novel. As for being a Holocaust story … it is so much more than that.
I will admit that my review could be seen as biased for two reasons. 1) I absolutely freaking adore Jodi Picoult and am in love with almost every book she’s ever written and 2) My family is Jewish. My grandfather and great-grandfather, both fought in WWII. In fact, my great-grandfather received a purple heart for being gassed during an attack (he was an ambulance driver). I also had a great step-aunt who was actually in a concentration camp. My mother came across her journals once. The little bit she told me was horrifying and amazing all at the same time. But that’s another story. But yes. I would understand why I would be considered biased. But I don’t think that anyone who reads The Storyteller would be able to remain apathetic.
Put yourself in Sage’s shoes. You are a loner in your hometown. An orphan, a baker who works late at night and sleeps through the day. You have terrible scars that cross your face sustained in an accident that you still have not come to terms with emotionally, psychologically or physically, your boyfriend is a married (with children) mortician and your closest friend (who owns the bakery) is an ex-nun. It’s hard for you to open up to anybody. Until this lovely elderly man comes along and shows you such kindness. He ignores your scars and teaches you chess as well as what it means to truly have a friend. And then, he asks you to please help kill him. When you ask him why, you discover that this sweet man, this generous person who has been privy to some of your closest secrets, has been keeping the biggest one of all. He was an SS guard during the Holocaust. And not just any guard. He was a guard at one of the most infamous concentration camps in all of WWII. Auschwitz. As if that wasn’t already a horrifying ordeal, you suddenly remember that your beloved grandmother Minka (and the closest relative you have in your life) was a Holocaust survivor. How would feel? What thoughts would run through your head?
While reading The Storyteller, I ran the gamut of emotions. I felt utter amazement for Minka, distraught for the MILLIONS of lives lost during one of the darkest periods in our world’s history, betrayed by Josef, disgusted by the actions of not just the SS and Nazi’s but also for the people (and it wasn’t just Germans) who turned their heads and pretended not to see what was going on, completely sick to my stomach at the torture and humiliation and depravity that the survivors and victims had to endure. I cried along with Sage when Minka recounted her story and when I thought of what my relatives and all their friends (not to mention all the lost victims and strong survivors) experienced. It’s been a long time since a book has literally made me curl up into a ball and cry, and that’s exactly what The Storyteller did. It is a powerful retelling of our history, one that should never be either forgotten or shrugged off as if it never happened.
This is not an easy to read or light book. At times, it’s extremely hard to read and yet the pacing is incredible and Picoult will keep you wanting to know what happens next. As with all Picoult’s books, there is a “twist” at the end. I did in fact guess the twist about halfway through the story. But finding out that I was right didn’t quell the shock value of the end. This is one novel that continues to live on even after it’s done. As I said before, it’s been two days since I finished it. Not only have I kept thinking about the story but I’ve found myself thinking “what would I have done in those situations?” I’d like to think that I would have been as brave as Minka. But the fact is, I’m lucky. Luckier than I have ever realized. We’ve never had to face the horrors that so many faced during WWII. And for that, I’m even more thankful to Jodi Picoult than ever before. Not just for writing such a powerful and heartfelt novel, but for making me think and for reminding us all of just how much our world has gone through and how much we have survived....more
I’m ridiculously in love with Jodi Picoult books. I devour them when I get my hands on one and it always feels like forever until the next one is released. I can re-read her books repeatedly and not feel bored. Her writing is lyrical and her research is endless to produce a top-quality book that is always interesting and often times, controversial. There are some that I love more than others. Some whose characters feel like family, whereas some don’t feel developed enough and just feel like strangers. But regardless of whether I loved the book or just liked it, reading a Picoult book is never a waste of time.
What I Enjoyed:
+ Luke Warren: Strangely enough, considering the fact that when the story first begins, he is already in a vegetative state, Luke was actually my favorite character in the entire novel. As is usually the case with Picoult books, Lone Wolf is broken up, not by chapters but by views. Each significant character tells the story from their own perspective. Luke’s is done by weaving his accounts of working and living with wild wolves to tell his story. Picoult interjects his fascinating tales throughout the story where they are relevant and honestly? I looked forward to each Luke section.
Ordinarily, Luke isn’t a character that I would like. The thought of someone abandoning their family, for any reason, doesn’t sit well with me. Probably because it hits a bit too close to home. And I should have viewed Luke as exceptionally selfish for running away and abandoning his family to go live with a pack of wild wolves for two years. But I didn’t. Instead I understood his points of view. His desire. His need to do this, even if meant turning his back on the people he loved. There were things I really disliked about Luke. But he definitely got under my skin. Perhaps that’s because I saw a lot of myself in Luke and he really made me stop and think about myself.
+ Wolf theme: I love wolves. Have since I was a little girl. So when I saw that this novel was about wolves, I was all over it. Contrary to what you may be thinking, this isn’t just some novel with a handful of wolf facts sprinkled among the pages. It’s a lesson in humanity through contact with such amazing and graceful creatures. That may sound weird. To think that you can learn a lot about humans through wolves. But you can. Their behavior is similar to our behavior and on the flip-side, we could learn a lot from wolves and the way they interact with their own kind.
+ Controversial topics: I’m a sucker for anything controversial. I love debates and hearing different arguments of a single issue. I find it fascinating how one person can look at something in one way and five other people can look at it in five completely different ways. And a person’s right to live is a topic that I am completely passionate about. If someone close to you were suddenly in a vegetative state, do you pull the plug, or leave them alone to see what could happen? What if the doctors said they would never wake up? What if you believed with all your heart that they would? I especially love the fact that it wasn’t a case of a wife versus her husband’s family. That’s been done to death. No. It was brother vs. sister. Again, it may have just been because it hit close to home, but I think it made it even better in the long run. Even if I wasn’t crazy about some of the characters.
What I Disliked:
- Cara Warren: The young teenage daughter of Luke Warren was a complete pain in my side. She was shallow, flat and whiny. Then again, many teenage girls are. But she was actually one of the few Picoult characters that I honestly just didn’t care about. I didn’t care about her views, her arguments or her beliefs because she was a complete liar. She lied every chance that she got and that always makes me dislike someone. Even if it’s a fictional character in a book. Aside from that, she was selfish. She wasn’t thinking about what was best for her father. She was thinking about what would be best for her.
- Georgie Warren: Luke’s ex-wife was pretty much just an older version of Cara. She wasn’t integral to the story, even to shed some insight onto Luke. His story did that just fine. I understand the reason she was a part of the story, but I think her views could have been more condensed.
- Pacing: Parts of the book were rather slow. Though I’ll be honest and say that that may have just been because of my dislike for Cara and Georgie. I wanted to speed read through their parts to get to Edward and Luke and the rest of the story. But also, the courtroom dialogue seemed very stilted to me. It was still interesting but not quite as intriguing as I would have liked. Or as intriguing as what I’m used to from a Picoult courtroom scene.
Of Further Note:
While Lone Wolf was not my absolutely favorite Picoult book, I found the novel to be highly engrossing and I absolutely fell in love with it. The pages and cover are beautiful. I LOVED the leaves and footprints drawn throughout the pages. And her imagery was solid. I felt like I was standing with Luke in the freezing temperatures of an Eastern Canadian winter and had to burrow under my blankets to stay warm. All in all, I’d say Picoult has another winner....more
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.
If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
I have to start this review by saying that I picked up this book only three days after my boyfriend and I agreed that we needed to have a long talk about our relationship. (We did in fact break up soon after.) I’m not a huge fan of romantic novels, though I do consider myself to be a romantic. To me, most romantic novels contain too much fluff and not enough actual emotion. So I actually didn’t have extremely high hopes for this novel. I will also admit that the only experience I had had at that point with David Levithan’s writing was “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” which he co-wrote with one of my favorite authors, John Green. I had loved his writing style in the “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” and I had read several glowing reviews of this book, so I picked it up and walked around Barnes & Noble, thumbing through it while looking at other books.
I have to say that the concept behind the novel is what originally drew me to this book. A love story told through dictionary entries? It was certainly a unique idea. I read the first three pages while idly wandering around the store and decided to go ahead and buy it. And I am so glad that I did. I finished the book in less than two day. Had I not had to go to bed early and work an 8 hour shift the next day, I would have finished it that night.
David Levithan has managed to paint a realistic portrayal of the tribulations as well as the happiness that a couple can face throughout the course of their relationship. Unlike many romantic novels, The Lover’s Dictionary isn’t all candy and flowers. It delves deep into the raw emotions of anger, betrayal and even cruelty that we can sometimes throw at the ones we love the most. Perhaps it is because of what was going on in my own life at the time I read it, but I felt like Levithan had actually been reading my journals when I read this novel. There were many moments that made me sit up and say “YES! That’s exactly what it’s like!” or “Oh. Now I understand how it must have felt to him.” There were many moments that made me actually want to cry and many that made me smile.
I completely identified with the narrator. He was in a position where the person he loved with all his heart and hurt him deeply as well as broken his trust and cut him down. He was torn. Desperately in love with his significant other, yet also knowing that the relationship was changed for the worse. Yet he also knew he wasn’t innocent. Guilty of his own moments of anger filled cruelty, he had lashed out and said things he didn’t necessarily mean. Yes. This novel struck a nerve in me, yes. But I hadn’t realized just how much “The Lover’s Dictionary” had gotten under my skin until I read this:
“misgivings, n. Last night, I got up the courage to ask you if you regretted us. “There are things I miss,” you said. “But if I didn’t have you, I’d miss more.”
It’s been a long time since I’ve come across an author that could conjure up so many emotions just from one book. At just over 200 pages, this is a short read, but I urge you to run out and find a copy of this book. Curl up with your favorite drink and indulge in sugary goodness while immersing yourself in this book. Take your time and savor this novel. You will not be disappointed. This is a book I will be keeping close by – not just because I loved it so much, but because of all the quotable moments found throughout. David Levithan, I hereby declare you the master of emotional prose....more
first book I read by Courtney Summers was ‘Some Girls Are’ and I immediately loved both, her style of writing as well as the characters that she created. I devoured the book and read it in under a day. It was the same with the rest of her books. So when I first heard about ‘This Is Not A Test’ I was extremely excited to get my hands on it, but when I found out that the plot had to do with zombies… I was sold and it immediately went on my “MUST HAVE IMMEDIATELY” list.
However, it must be said that ‘This Is Not A Test’ is not your typical zombie story. There is very little blood, gore or brain matter as is usually found in a zombie novel. Instead of placing her survivors directly in harms way by making them fight for their lives in open spaces, Summers took a non-traditional approach and sent them into hiding in their old high school. Safer, perhaps. But certainly not safe, especially with tempers on the rise, several teenagers playing the blame game and an unsecure entrance in their fortress.
If you’ve never read a Courtney Summers book, then let me explain something. Her protagonists have all been fairly damaged, almost broken heroines. But they are heroines. Do not mistake damaged for weak. Each of the girls have been strong in their own ways. And Sloane is no exception. She’s spent most of her life talking her father’s abuse and now she’s been abandoned by the one person who understood exactly what she was going through, her older sister, Lily. Sloane wants nothing more than to stop living. And the day she chooses to attempt to do so, happens to be the same day that the world falls victim to a Zombiepocalypse.
Sloane’s pain is real. Each page of this novel drips with her pain. Her emotions are confused, and she is completely on edge. But even though the entire world has gone insane with an infection that creates these zombies and even though she’s angry at the sister who swore she’d always protect her, you can tell that Sloane, while not happy by a long short, finally feels as though she can breathe while the survivors are barricaded in that school. For once, she’s not worried that something she says, might end up with a black eye. Or broken ribs.
One of the things I loved about this novel is that it feels real. Real emotions from characters that come across as real. If you think about, you know someone just like each of them. Another thing I loved about this novel was watching Sloane get stronger with each chapter. My only complaint (and it’s really not even a complaint) is that I guessed the ending early on and that it was rather anti-climatic. I highly recommend this novel. I couldn’t put it down and anyone who says it’s just another zombie book, was definitely not reading the same book I was....more
Jodi Picoult is very near the top of my favorite author’s list. I love the way her writing flows, how most of her characters are fleshed out and so complex and I especially love all the different controversial topics that she writes about. But I think what I love most about reading a Picoult novel, is the fact that it will stay with me for days afterwards.
I went into Mercy with mixed feelings. Mainly because it hit a little too close to home for reasons I will not get into at this time. But as usual, I got suckered in with her beautiful imagery.
Maggie is dying. She knows that her death will be painful and difficult, which makes her ask her husband Jamie to fulfill her dying wish. To help Maggie end her life on her terms. It is a wish that Jamie fulfills at the risk of his own freedom and possibly at the risk of his life. Soon after killing his wife, Jamie takes his wife’s body to his Cameron (the police chief) and confesses to murdering his wife.
Cameron is all about the law. In his eyes, Jamie is guilty. He can’t believe that someone would take another life just to end their pain. Everything is black and white to him. Until he meets Mia. Cameron’s wife Allie is obsessed with making him happy. It’s an obsession that begins to make Cameron feel smothered. Mia (who works in Allie’s flower shop) is a free-spirit and Cameron falls in love with her simplicity and her un-wavering freedom, which inevitably leads him to cheat on Mia. When Allie discovers the affair, it’s the first time that Cameron has ever really had to question his own actions and figure out what is truly right, not to mention how far he will go to find happiness and love.
My only real complaint about the novel is that the history of MacDonald clan was very confusing and very long. For the most part I kept trying to figure out what the point of it all was. It did actually play a part in the end, but I still think that it could have been condensed more. It was still interesting, but not nearly as fascinating as it probably should have been.
Cameron frustrated me to no end. I constantly found myself wishing I could slap him silly for his choices. I found myself rooting for Allie but at the same time, wishing that she would grow a backbone and stand up to Cameron.
In the end, Mercy was thought-provoking and fascinating despite it’s dark subject matter. It was fast read (especially during the courtroom scenes) with the exception of the MacDonald history. While I pretty much didn’t have any sympathy for either Cameron or Mia, both Allie and Jamie made me think the most, and both of their marriages made me take a new look at some of my past relationships.
If you’re familiar with Jodi Picoult I would recommend this book. If you’re new to Picoult, I would recommend several of her other books to try first. Specifically My Sister’s Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, Perfect Match, Salem Falls and The Pact....more
Wow. That was literally the first things I said, after closing my copy of Gone Girl. Just. Wow. It’s not often thatOriginally posted at Always, Lissa
Wow. That was literally the first things I said, after closing my copy of Gone Girl. Just. Wow. It’s not often that a book surprises me, and it’s certainly not often that a book completely floors me. But this one sure did.
Told in alternating voices, we get an inside look into the less than idyllic marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne. I personally love a novel with dueling voices. When done badly, it can be a huge failure. But Ms. Flynn executed it perfectly. Each voice has their own (if quite ugly) personality which enhances the storyline, tenfold. One thing you have to remember? This story is completely manipulative. You think you’ve read stories with unreliable narrators before? Well, Flynn is a master of the unreliable narrator.
I won’t lie, when I first started the novel, I was feeling a bit let down. It’s a slow start. I already disliked Nick, not because of the growing marital problems that Amy’s private journal described, but because he comes across as a narcissistic and selfish coward who completely ignores his doting wife. But as the pages kept turning, I began to change my opinions and started hoping for a twist to this crazy story. A twist I wasn’t expecting at all but thought would be utterly delicious. And wouldn’t you know, as I reached Part Two of the story, I got my wish. And it was glorious.
What started out fairly slow, gained crazy fast momentum. I couldn’t put the book down and actually found myself losing sleep for work because I was so glued to the dark and intense storyline that Part Two provided. My opinions on the both Nick and Amy completely changed as well. I still found Nick to be narcissistic and cowardly. But I started to feel pretty damn sorry for him as well. Truth be told, many reviewers intensely disliked the characters. They simply are not easily likeable characters. But they are fascinating. And I have to admit, I may have a tiny girl crush on Amy. Which I don’t even want to speculate as to what that says about me! I apologize for being so vague, but unless I’m about to give spoilers (NEVER) I have to remain somewhat vague.
There is a reason that Gone Girl has remained on the bestseller’s list for two years. It’s worth the read. It’s a manipulative, gritty, deliciously dark psychological thriller and that twist … holy hell....more
I cannot tell a lie. The cover is what drew me in first. It’s not the most colorful cover. Or even the most beautiful, but it certainly stands out and it caught my eye immediately. I hungrily read the synopsis and as soon as I did, I was so intrigued that I knew I had to buy it as soon as it released. I mean, zombies? A post-apocalyptic world? A romance of unusual proportions? And zombies?! Wait, did I already say? Oops. Yes, I was all over this book. With all the books that I read last year, Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion was my absolute favorite read of 2011.
Warm Bodies is definitely a unique creation. While romance stories are a dime a dozen, how many of them feature a somewhat freshly turned zombie as their romantic lead? Not many, that’s for sure. Post-apocalyptic or dystopian novels are hugely popular and zombies seem to be in rather large demand nowadays. But a Twilight-esque novel featuring zombies, this is not. Marion’s debut work is thought-provoking, filled with striking and memorable quotes as well as several very humorous moments, and features one of the most unique, and surprising, romantic leads that I’ve ever read about.
R was a refreshing change from your typical, plasticine, Harlequin-esque Lotharios. And not just because he’s a brain-munching zombie. While outwardly he may be monosyllabic, his mind is filled with witty ruminations, lyrical descriptions and flowing verse. He dislikes his need for human brains, his want to kill, but accepts it as his nature. R is so genuine and likeable that it is hard to fault him for his killings when it’s what must be done for survival. R knows that he is different from his zombie brethren. While the rest of the zombie clan is content to wander aimlessly for hours, grunting and drooling, R listens to records, saves relics from his human life and sits in cars trying to remember how to drive.
It is when R kills, and eats the brains of, a human named Perry that he starts to actually relive parts of Perry’s life in his own mind and first sees a glimpse of Julie, the dead boy’s girlfriend. When R actually meets her in person, she is about to be killed and eaten by his fellow zombies, and for reasons that R does not understand, he saves Julie’s life and hides her in the airport that he calls home.
The relationship between R and Julie isn’t the steamy, torrid affair that most romances are made out to be. Julie is at first appalled by what R is and R is mostly intrigued by this girl that represents the life he once knew. The two form a timid friendship that slowly blossoms into a deep and heartfelt connection as they fight against both, a terrifying, rotting army of cruel skeletons and what is left of the military hellbent on destroying all zombies.
Warm Bodies is not simply a story of the bleak future of the world to come. It’s a story of tentative love and of having hope during a time when it seems like there is none to be had. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It’s a quick read and one that will stay with you for quite some time afterwards. Warm Bodies will make you appreciate what you have in the world and will make you think and even laugh. Yes, there are descriptions of blood, gore and brain-eating but quite honestly, if you have watched a bloody horror film, you’ll be able to handle the “gore” in this book....more
In the interest of being honest and up front, I was one of the 50 recipients who won a copy of the ARC of All The ROriginally posted at Always, Lissa
In the interest of being honest and up front, I was one of the 50 recipients who won a copy of the ARC of All The Rage from the giveaway that St. Martin’s Press held back in November of 2014. This in no way means that I will be biased in my review. Quite frankly, I don’t need to. Courtney Summers has written yet another book that I have fallen deeply in love with, even if the subject matter is hard to handle.
Earlier, I came across a “review” on goodreads that said “stop writing teen rape books.” The fact that you can even write a review on goodreads without even having read the book annoys the crap out of me, but that’s neither here nor there. This is EXACTLY why All The Rage is necessary. This is not just “another teen rape book.” This is a gritty, hard novel that gives an unflinchingly real look into the way that rape survivors are treated and abused after their already horrific assaults. Romy is the epitome of a victim. But this does not mean that she’s pathetic. Romy is quite the opposite. Can you even for one moment imagine losing everything – your sense of self, your sense of safety and self-respect – having it stolen from you and when you speak up, you are ostracized, treated as though it were your own fault? Anyone who can go through that and survive is certainly not to be pitied, but to be admired.
Courtney Summers is known for writing about the harsh realities of teenage girls and their “politics” and All The Rage continues in that tradition. Summers shows us the ugly side of people who cannot handle truths and instead prefer to live in their own blissful ignorance, no matter what the cost. Her characters, while fiction are painstakingly real. The pain and shame Romy and other past characters (Sloane from This is Not a Test, Regina from Some Girls Are) showcase is REAL. These are characters that girls and women who have been hurt and abused can actually relate to and THAT is important. In a time where victim-blaming/victim-shaming has become common practice? THAT is why these “teen rape books” are so important.
It’s no secret that I harbor a major girl-crush on Courtney Summers, but because of my own past, I was both afraid and eager to read All The Rage. It was rough but so worth it. Her writing is superb, flawless and this is certainly her greatest work yet. Every page is filled with emotion. Romy is a heartbreakingly fragile and yet still amazingly strong young woman who refuses to give up even though that is exactly what she wants to do and you will find yourself eagerly turning the pages to see what happens next. If that is not the mark of a great writer, I don’t know what is....more
It’s no secret that Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors, and while I love her books, there have been some misses. However, Sing You Home is a hit, plain and simple. Picoult is known for tackling controversial issues in each of her books and this is no different. This particular novel encompasses such varied matters as: in-vitro fertilization, gay rights, discrimination, evangelical Christian beliefs, divorce, suicide and even unconvential therapy – in this case, music therapy. And in true Picoult fashion, Sing You Home is told from the perspective of three very different characters – Zoe, Vanessa and Max.
The one huge difference between Sing You Home and Picoult’s other books, is that Picoult teamed up with her friend Ellen Wilber to produce a soundtrack to this book. The CD is made up of 10 songs and is supposed to help give Zoe a voice. The intent is that you play the songs during the indicated moments of the book. However, I found that to be a small distraction, mainly because I was too impatient to do so. I just wanted to read! But I listened to the cd afterwards and it’s a beautiful cd. The music and lyrics give Sing You Home a truly haunting quality and truly brings Zoe to life. I highly recommend listening to the cd, whether it’s before, after or during the course of the book.
Once I actually sat down and read the book, I finished Sing You Home in about 24 hours. Each time I had to put it down I would have to make a deal with myself. “I’ll just read 2 more pages and then go make dinner.” Or even “Just one more chapter before bed.” Picoult’s writing is sublime. She doesn’t try to show off by throwing around huge vocabulary words or ridiculously long sentences. It’s simply fluid and poetic. Each character’s voice was well-defined and you were able to really see the story through each of their eyes, whether you liked that particular character or not.
The relationship between Zoe and Vanessa is beautiful and their struggle to gain the rights to the fertilized embryos is heartbreaking. Even with Max, as weak as he was, his struggles with his drinking and trying to come to terms with his ex-wife’s new identity was believable and very real. The court battle that ensues throughout the story is emotional. It actually brought me to tears a couple of times and several times I was cheering on Zoe’s lawyer Angela on as she went head to head with the loathsome Wade Preston and Ben Benjamin, Max’s lawyers.
But what I loved most of all about Picoult’s 18th novel, is the message. That it is not necessarily true that one mother + one father + children = family. But that family is simply made up of the people that love you and have your back. Whether they be blood related or chosen by their actions....more
I immediately fell in love with Gayle Forman’s previous books, especially If I Stay and Just One Day. Her past few bOriginally posted at Always, Lissa
I immediately fell in love with Gayle Forman’s previous books, especially If I Stay and Just One Day. Her past few books have all been emotional, romantic and full of lyrical prose so when I read that she was tackling the subject of suicide in her newest book, I was extremely interested in both the novel, and her spin on the subject matter. Unfortunately, my high expectations were not met.
I Was Here isn’t a terrible novel. It’s not even a bad novel. But there is nothing remarkable about the story either, and that pains me to say. The entire story is very cold and almost unemotional. Which, granted, is because Cody is very much a cold and unemotional character. You know that she is upset at her friend’s death. You know she feels guilt but you never really see it. It’s just talked about, not felt.
Suicide is never an easy subject matter. But it makes it even worse when you write about such a painful topic and it falls flat. Everything is flat. Cody. Her mother. Meg’s parents. Ben. Not one character seems to have a spark. With the exception of Meg’s younger, intelligent brother. I really wish that he had been the main character. I might have actually enjoyed the plot more.
The main reason I kept reading it was to find out WHY Meg had decided to end her life. That was the point for me. Not the flat romance between Cody and Ben. Not Cody’s guilty conscience. But why Meg made that decision. And for that reason, I am glad that I read it. There was a twist I wasn’t expecting and that made it more worthwhile for me. But my main disappointment was definitely Cody. I like when you see the humanity inside a fictional character’s mind. I like learning what makes them tick, what motivates them. And that was why I was so annoyed by I Was Here. You don’t get that with Cody. At all. You get a tease for a split second, and then it’s gone. Reading this book, you just get the feeling that it was rushed, which is strange because it also just drags on. I truly hate to say this, but I was actually glad when the story was finished. Especially since I found another book tackling the same topic that was written so beautifully that I never wanted the book to end....more
I picked up You Suck by Christopher Moore not realizing that it was a sequel to this book, so after finding that out I had to go and track down Bloodsucking Fiends because I really hate reading books out of order even if it turns out that you can do so.
Reading the synopsis for both books, I thought they would be a rather unique twist on vampire fiction. And it was. It's definitely more in the humor category than horror or thriller. (Vampire comedy, new genre anyone?) And I can't lie. Bloodsucking Fiends was rather pulp-y and I loved that. But the book fell rather flat for me.
In the first 100 or so pages it seemed pretty fast paced and I was enjoying it. I got some laughs and was thinking "Wow, this is going to be one amazing book if it keeps going like this." But it didn't. Instead, of the pace moving faster, it stayed the same. Most of the characters are pretty flat, although since this is a trilogy, it's possible that the characters will be more finished in the next two books. But even that would be a problem for me as I'm a firm believer of strong and fleshed out characters being introduced in book one of any series.
Jody, one of the main characters, is not only a plain jane character but I just find her hard to like. She's whiny and needy and didn't bring any humor to the book at all. She's also pretty much the only female character in the book. I will admit that I liked C. Thomas Flood (the other protagonist). Probably because he actually had some depth and had some of the funnier moments in the book. If not for Tommy and the cops that enter about a quarter of the way through, I probably would have just given up and moved on to another book.
It's not a horrible book. I just had higher expectations. I now own the trilogy so maybe I'll read the other two at a later date and give the whole trilogy a try. But I can say that Bloodsucking Fiends just was not what I thought it would and I am a little disappointed in that....more
I may be slightly biased here since it appears that I am slowly falling head over heels in love with John Green’s books. An amusing fact of his writing is that the characters in all of his books are very similar. Quentin, Miles and Colin are very similar thoughtful, sensitive and nerdy yet strangely intriguing guys who have put Margo, Katherine and Alaska on very high pedestals and have likened them to goddesses when in fact the girls they are obsessed with are very flawed and very human. And yet, every single one the characters is either someone you can relate to yourself or you know someone very much like them.
Margo is that girl you either always wished you were, or you at least always wished you had known. I know I’ve always wished that I was a Margo. She’s mysterious, fun, original, and appears to be the life of the party. But therein lies the problem. Appears. And that’s what Paper Towns is about. That appearances can be deceiving. That someone (or something) that can appear to be so full of life and seem to have it all, could actually in fact be just an empty shell. Instead of being seen for what they truly are, they are simply seen the way everyone wants to see them.
Quentin, or Q as everyone calls him, sets out on a search to find Margo, who has disappeared after their late night adventure. Armed with very few clues (which includes a heavily highlighted copy of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass), Q begins to piece together the story of the real Margo Roth Spiegelman, who desperately wishes that someone would finally realize that she was not a fine and precious thing, but that she was just a girl.
It’s hard to read this book and not identify with at least one character. The struggles that Margo Roth Spiegelman (and yes, you will discover that you cannot just call her Margo) faces will mirror the same struggles we all face at the same age, as well as beyond. Quentin’s stubbornness and eye for details mimics mine. And everyone has at least one Ben in their life. But what really seals the deal, and it sounds truly cliche to say (but oh so true) is that you will discover things about yourself while Q begins to decode the Margo puzzle.
Bottom line? I pretty much fell in love with both Q and Margo Roth Spiegelman (especially With her Obsession of strange Capitalization). They have easily become to of my favorite characters ever written. Although, Radar isn’t far behind. He has some of the FUNNIEST moments ever....more
Aside from the fact that I absolutely fell in love with Jay Asher’s debut hit, “Thirteen Reasons Why,” the fact that this book took place in 1996 was another reason as to why I was so excited for the release. I was 16 in 1996 and that was the year I first logged on and got to experience the internet. My mother had just purchased a laptop for her work and she allowed me to explore the internet when I would be at her work with her late at night. I would get lost for hours, marveling at all the information at my fingertips as well as wandering from chat room to chat room, talking for all hours of the night. And of course, it all started with an AOL CD that had arrived in the mail.
What I Enjoyed:
+ Plot: While it may not be the most original plot idea ever and while slightly flawed, the plot still held up extremely well. “The Future of Us” promised plot twists and turns and they were delivered. While they may not have been huge, earth-shattering plot twists, they still kept you intrigued and wanting to learn more about what happened.
+ Nostalgic References: As I was a young adult and teenager throughout the duration of the 90′s, the references to what has easily been my most favorite decade yet (experienced firsthand that is) made me absolutely *squee* with delight. From mentions of Green Day to Wayne’s World to the references of our old clunky technological advances at the time to the descriptions of the wonderment experienced by Emma and Josh as they experience the Internet for the first time … It was pretty overwhelming and really made me feel like I was back there and reliving it again.
+ Josh Templeton: I was extremely happy that there were two protagonists in this novel. Josh was everything that his female counterpart was not. Genuine, nice, smart, caring, a good head on his shoulders. I welcomed reading his chapters. His reactions to pretty much everything that happened were realistic and acceptable. My only issue with Josh is that I would have preferred if he’d had a little bit more backbone when it came to Emma, but hey. Most 16 year old boys are spineless when it comes to pretty girls that treat them badly. There was a moment later in the book though when I was rooting Josh on for his sudden spark.
What I Disliked:
- Emma Nelson: As much as I hate to say this, Emma was probably one of the most selfish, self-centered characters that I have come across in a long time. I get that teenage girls are usually pretty boy crazy, but it bothered me that when presented with this opportunity to see how her life would be in 15 years, all Emma cared about was her future husband. I’m well aware of the fact that most women would check up on their lives, including their future mates and possible future kids, but to not even care about your friends, family or other aspects of your life … I just couldn’t get myself to like Emma. She used everyone, whether it was friends or boys that liked her, she was mean, uncaring and just plain selfish. If she had been the only protagonist of this book, I probably would not have finished reading it.
- Lack of Explanation: My only other issue with The Future of Us is that I would have liked at least some kind of explanation. Why were Emma and Josh the only ones to find this wormhole? Why did this wormhole to the future even exist? Why only Facebook? Anything. But there was no explanation given for any of these questions. Which doesn’t take away from it’s level of enjoyment. Not at all. But it’s definitely something I would have liked to have read about.
Of Further Note:
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was funny and quirky and definitely a quick read. Anyone who would be considered part of the Generation Y group would get a kick from reading it simply for the trip down memory lane, but other than that, it probably wouldn’t be a book that anyone over the age of 18 would keep going back too. I enjoyed it and liked it, but it’s not a book that I will keep around forever, unlike Jay Asher’s debut novel which you’ll have to pry from my cold dead hands.
Other than having one ridiculously selfish protagonist and not explaining anything at all about the wormhole into the future, my only other compliment was that it comes across as having being written for a younger age group. Most modern YA novels seem to be written for those between the ages of 15 to 19. But The Future of Us feels like it’s geared more towards teens that are between 13 to 16. It just came across as having been “dumbed down,” which I was not expecting because of the caliber of Asher’s previous novel. I have noticed that that is something that does tend to happen in a collaboration project, and in a way it does make sense because it’s two authors adapting their own styles to try and mesh together....more
First off, I have to say that I was annoyed to discover that it was actually a Christian Vampire book. While I have no problems at all with ChristianFirst off, I have to say that I was annoyed to discover that it was actually a Christian Vampire book. While I have no problems at all with Christian Fiction, it's not my cup of tea. The copy of the book I had, made no mention of religion at all. It was not marked Inspirational or Christian instead it was marked Fiction and Suspense and was located in the Horror section of the bookstore. I am not familiar with Christian authors so I had no idea that it was by one. Again, I have no problems with that, but had I known that I would not have purchased the books, simply because it's not what I normally read.
Onto the actual review. Characters were poorly developed or were never developed at all. The plot was fair but jumped around a lot. Narration was horrible. Took me several moments to figure out who was narrating sometimes. It wasn't a horrible book to read, however it was very slow....more