Best bible I have ever had. I love the inspirational quotes that litter the pages, as well as the all of the illustrations. Definitely an easy to read...moreBest bible I have ever had. I love the inspirational quotes that litter the pages, as well as the all of the illustrations. Definitely an easy to read translation. (less)
Three books down, four more to go. My original plan is not going at all as I intended. For those of you who don't know, I was trying to make this read...moreThree books down, four more to go. My original plan is not going at all as I intended. For those of you who don't know, I was trying to make this reading experience last right up to the theater release of DH Part 2. I was supposed to be taking a month with each book to really absorb them and let all the finer details soak in.
Apparently, though, when it comes to Potter, I simply can't exercise self control. My stipulation of one chapter a night turned into "well, two is a nice, round number," which turned into "three can't really make much difference," which finally landed me at "it's two in the morning, and I have to be up for work in four hours, so I should probably put this book down."
You may be wondering, what's the rush, Lisa? Why fly through the book when not only do you own it, but you've read it already? A fair question, indeed. Yes, I have absolutely no reason to fear "The Grim," who I know very well to be Sirius Black. Yes, I have absolutely no reason to fear Sirus Black, who I know very well to be an innocent man. Yes, I have no reason to wonder how Hermione is getting to her classes on time when the feat should be physically impossible, and no reason to wonder as to whether or not Crookshanks actually ate Scabbers. The mystery is gone, sure, but that "magic" I keep referring to in my previous reviews is not.
I'm getting increasingly creepily nostalgic and mystical with each new review I post, so don't be surprised if by the time I review Deathly Hallows I'm raving about the suicide pact I've made in the name of Harry Potter (actually, if that happens, please be more than surprised, be very, very concerned.
Anyway, the point is, the magic is here, as it always is and always will be. This book is pivotal in many ways, most importantly for its introductions to Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, who would both go on to perform very father-like roles for Harry, filling a void that had gone long unfulfilled. Then we've also got our first use of the Marauder's Map (thank you Fred and George Weasley), which makes itself incredibly useful, especially when used as a companion to the invisibility cloak. On top of that, it also gave me the quote for my next tattoo-- "Mischief Managed" on my feet. I know, I know-- what kind of idiot gets a Potter tattoo on their body? Well, the kind of idiot who knows they will love Harry Potter until they die:) Also, you may not have realized, but this is also the only Potter book which doesn't feature Voldemort as the primary baddie. Interesting, huh?
And how 'bout that butterbeer? Eh? If anyone is interested, my friend Emily and I have had a blast making the stuff (or at least one version of it) for parties and such. Here is the recipe, which tastes just as good when using vegan ingredients, by the way:
BUTTERBEER Start to finish: 1 hour (10 minutes active) Servings: 4 1 cup light or dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons water 6 tablespoon butter 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided 1/2 teaspoon rum extract Four 12-ounce bottles cream soda In a small saucepan over medium, combine the brown sugar and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240 F on a candy thermometer. Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 heavy cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum extract. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes. To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass). Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each Try it out! But fair warning, the stuff is almost sickeningly sweet.
Oh, and in conclusion, for anyone wondering-- you cannot summon the Knight Bus with just a stick from the ground (even if you think it may slightly resemble a wand). I tried it out, so now you don't have to. (less)
**spoiler alert** Lots of my friends have this remarkable ability to stay up really late into the night reading. I have never been one of those people...more**spoiler alert** Lots of my friends have this remarkable ability to stay up really late into the night reading. I have never been one of those people. Whenever I hear someone say something like "I stayed up until three in the morning reading this book!" I always get really jealous, because it seems no matter how much I like a book I just physically CANNOT miss sleep over it. The night seems like such an excellent time to read, too, everything is so quiet and peaceful and sleep seems like such a waste of time when I COULD be reading. But no matter how I try to convince myself this, I cannot seem to fight sleep come eleven o' clock.
Ready for a really bad pun? "Gone" are the days when I cannot stay up for a book. (That's probably not true, I'm pretty sure this book is a special case...I just couldn't resist saying it).
For me, simply put, Gone is a perfect story. An interesting premise explored by incredible characters. I am all about characters and as cool as the plot might be, (ahem, Maze Runner) if the characters don't come alive, I'm not going to care about the story.
There were a lot of people who were PISSED after the Lost finale. I'm not so blinded by my Lost love that I can't understand why. Yeah, not all the questions were answered- wait, let me rephrase- a TON of the questions were not answered. On the message boards after it aired, I saw the same complaint over and over- "Since when was this a show about CHARACTERS? I wanted answers!"
I would say the reason that I loved it so much was because for me, it was ALWAYS a show about characters. Yeah, sure, they were on a mysterious island. Dharma, Others, polar bears, time travel- bring it all on, I just want to know what's going to happen to these people I have come to care about so much over the years. So I got my answers- and I am genuinely sorry to those who didn't get theirs. Whoa, whoa, I digress.
My point is, I love characters and the characters in Gone are so incredibly fleshed out that I already know this is going to be an epic journey for me. Because no matter what happens, it's happening to them.
It's one of those rare stories where it's not a clearly drawn love/hate line between the good guys and the bad guys, either. Through the entire book, instead of thinking "Man, I hope Sam kills Caine" I kept thinking "Man, I hope Sam and Caine team up." Yes, I have this vision of them (SPOILER!!!!!!!!!) becoming bestie brothers and fighting the darkness together. I guess we'll see.
Oh, and for the friends of mine on here who know me in person- this may mean something to you. MEGAN (yes, my sister) is reading (and loving) this book. For the first time in the history of my reading career, (and the times I forced her to sit down and listen to me read HP to her don't count) my gushing over a book caused her to want to read it. She started yesterday and by the time I left her to go to bed she was nearly 200 pages in. Yes, it's THAT good.
I cannot wait to move on with the series. I know a lot of people are becoming increasingly irritated with so many series (Bethany, did we ever figure out what the plural for series is?!) but I still love a good series. Well, I love books that are written with the original intention of being a series, not standalone books that do well and are then awarded a crappy sequel or ten. I'm also one of those weird people who likes to wait with bated breath for the next book in a series. I totally get the people who want to wait until all the books come out before starting, but there's something about the wait that I really just thrive on.
I know it's not for everyone (judging my friend's reviews) but I am still going to recommend it until everyone around me has read it...or punched me in the face. (less)
It's been months since I first read this book, and I still think of it often. This is a story that more than touched me, it gripped me and hasn't let...moreIt's been months since I first read this book, and I still think of it often. This is a story that more than touched me, it gripped me and hasn't let go. This is a story I truly loved.(less)
On the surface, In the Night Kitchen is just a creepy/bizarre tale of a boy (erm, a naked boy) journeying from his bed in the middle of the night into the world of the "night kitchen" where, after a series of missteps, he is eventually able to help the chefs finish the morning cake.
Beyond that though, there are strong themes of survival and anger rooted in a larger theme centered on the Holocaust. Big stuff for a little book.(less)
This book, to me, would have made for a far better finale than The Soldiers of Halla. It was a near perfect book- heart stopping action, raw emotion,...moreThis book, to me, would have made for a far better finale than The Soldiers of Halla. It was a near perfect book- heart stopping action, raw emotion, the return of all the characters we had grown to love over the course of the series...it was definitely my favorite of the Pendragon novels.(less)
I’m really stingy about giving out five stars these days, in fact, it’s why I started my re-read project back in 2013. The idea was to go back and see...moreI’m really stingy about giving out five stars these days, in fact, it’s why I started my re-read project back in 2013. The idea was to go back and see if I’d given books five stars because they actually deserved it, or because I’d been swayed by an emotional response or another reviewer’s opinion. Needless to say, I’ve been cleaning house– not because these books weren’t good, but because they no longer meet the standards I have ascribed to a five star rating. There are really only two: 1) Do I really see myself wanting to read this again? and 2) Would I be inclined to mention this book to anyone curious about which books I consider favorites?
In the case of Strange, Sweet Song by Adi Rule– it is a resounding yes for both, in fact, I’d already like to read it again. You can click the hyperlink there for the Goodreads blurb, or you can just take my word that it’s a book that sort of defies summation or explanation. I tried to pitch the story to a friend a couple of days ago, and all I could come up with was “Well…the main girl is a vocalist at a prestigious music school, there’s a mystery in the woods, a touch of romance, and…that’s really the best i can do.” The thing is, there is so much more to each of these aspects, and I fear saying too much will spoil the magic, but too little will not compel anyone to read.
And so I will try very, very hard to explain not necessarily what this book is about, but why I loved it so entirely.
This is Rule’s debut novel, and when I looked her up I was not at all surprised to discover that she was a student of music herself. Her love for music flows out onto the page from early on, most often when describing her lead character, Sing (yes, Sing, we will get to that name later).
Sure, various starched, soap-smelling women bustled around, but it was music that raised her, folding around her like a blanket– fuzzy or spiky or cold or sweet and warm. It sparked her, calmed her, made her want to get off the velvety floor and look out the window. Sing da Navelli is more music than words, inside.
Even for a person like me, who is impressed enough by the musical stylings of Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, these words hold weight; they paint a picture of the essence of Sing in my mind, which is far more important than having a picture of her physical self. Love her or hate her (and at times it’s easy to do both), Sing come alive in this novel. Through her attachment to singing(because, really, it is more than love that emanates from her, she is practically made of music), through the heaviness of carrying her parent’s famous names on her back (and in her voice), and through the struggle which becomes the heart of the book– discovering who she truly is, Sing is no longer a character, she is a person who lives and breathes as I do– and you can ask no more from a writer than that.
And now, as for the name:
Her parents could have named her Aria, or Harmonia, or Tessitura, or a hundred other clever names that would have alluded to her ancestry. But they weren’t for her, these names that roll or sparkle or play or simply proclaim, I am normal! No, it was Sing. A name and a command.
It’s up to you whether or not that is reason enough for the character to wear this name…I was unsure at first, but I came to accept it. I mean, famous, eccentric people aren’t exactly known for naming their kids Bob or Sue (actually does anyone name their kids Bob or Sue anymore? Maybe it’s time for the old standards to make a hipster comeback).
Okay, so far it probably seems like this is just a novel about a musician at a music school, to which you are probably thinking BORING (unless that’s your thing…it’s not mine), but the story is actually a rather fantastical one (remember?? I did say there was a mystery in the woods). The overarching musical themes are complemented by a Gothic tone, established by a mythological wish-granting cat (I know, awesome, right?) called the Felix and a seemingly ageless apprentice named Nathan Daysmoor (or Apprentice Playspoor, to his students).
And just in case you haven’t guessed (because remember?? I did say there was a touch of romance), said mysterious, ageless man is the hunky (but actually sort of scrawny) romantic lead. A few notes on the romance: it may be a bit Twilighty for some people’s taste. Daysmoor is like a hundred years old and soooo, soooo tortured. But holy heck, he wears tortured well and he got me all shaky and floaty feeling at times. Am I too old to respectfully admit that?
–she knows he is still there, watching. And somehow, a tiny bit of her insides, always shivering, always shivering, is quieted, and she knows it will never tremble again.
I learned some very telling lessons about musical theater from this book. Most often, it is either the person who loses themselves in the drama of a production, or the person who loses themselves in the technical mastery of it who succeeds. But for a person to be considered truly, truly great– they must find themselves in it. And that is Sing’s journey– trying to find and project who she is among the singer, the diva, the coward, and the daughter of her parents’.
I would not recommend this book to just anyone. As the title implies, it is both strange and sweet, and I know many people who are put off by strange. The writing style is often very formal (which to me, serves the Gothic aspects), and the use of third person, present tense could be jarring. But I truly loved it, and I hope other people will as well (if only so I have someone to discuss it with).
Thanks for reading and check out more blogs on YA fiction from me and my pals at justahunchbookblog.com(less)
It may have taken me awhile to read this book, but that doesn't at all reflect on the quailty, it was pretty much perfect. I loved Jena- she wasn't a...moreIt may have taken me awhile to read this book, but that doesn't at all reflect on the quailty, it was pretty much perfect. I loved Jena- she wasn't a tough or bold heroine, but she was loving and loyal and strong in an unconventional way. Tati got on my nerves though, I can't respect a love story that causes you to forget and neglect everyone else who loves you. I really liked that each sister had a personality, though. Considering there were five of them, not one got lost in the shuffle. In fact, all the characters were wonderfully built on, no matter how trivial their role. Another thing I loved was that in the case of the main villain, Cezar, he genuinely made me feel sick at times, and then somehow dragged sympathy out of me at times too. Wonderful, wonderfully written. I will definitely not forget this one. (less)