This book presents some fascinating arguments for interpreting one of Robert Frost's seminal poems, The Road Not Taken. I'd never given much thought tThis book presents some fascinating arguments for interpreting one of Robert Frost's seminal poems, The Road Not Taken. I'd never given much thought to the opposing ways the poem could be read. David Orr explains different viewpoints based on perspectives of Frost's own life, the poem itself, the chooser, and the choice. The detail and research and alternative theories are really thought provoking. I have an all new respect for Robert Frost and The Road Not Taken (even if I now question my own choices and whether or not I actually am making choices)....more
The title itself intrigued me. And then I saw the cover. The image of the throne set in front of a Parisian landscape that includes the Eiffel tower aThe title itself intrigued me. And then I saw the cover. The image of the throne set in front of a Parisian landscape that includes the Eiffel tower and burning feathers floating down from the sky is stunning. The opening of the book did not lessen my intrigue. The book begins with fall of an angel and proceeds to explain and detail the disaster that Paris has become and the danger that the Fallen face and can create.
We learn that the Fallen, though they rule the city of Paris from within separate “Houses”, are not necessarily safe, especially if newly fallen. Parisians not dedicated to a House prize the Fallen for their parts in order to perform magic and maintain a magical high. Our three main characters, Philippe, Isabelle, and Madeline each embody the main aspects of this world. Isabelle is a newly Fallen. Madeline is an alchemist who belongs to a house and continuously seeks the damaging magical high created from inhaling Angel Essence or the dust of angel bones. Philippe is somewhat of a mystery, but hates the Fallen and who they represent and so tries to live outside of the House system.
These three characters are forced together in a somewhat incongruous way and the story unfolds through their viewpoints. At its core, The House of Shattered Wings is a simple mystery – one built upon discovering whom has created an elaborate plot of revenge against House Silverspires. The revenge is built upon a frightening curse. It is dark and palpably scary. And yet, I wanted more from the book.
I wanted more discussion of theology and philosophy. I wanted to more characterization of many of the Fallen and their faith or lack thereof. I wanted more thought, feeling, and discussion about the rights and wrongs of the War, the House system, and the Fallen’s role in the world. Philippe spends some time considering his place in the world and the way things are, but it is rather superficial. I wanted so much more of this and from more of the characters.
Despite spending a majority of the book with Philippe, Isabelle, and Madeline, I only felt like I truly got to know Madeline. While the book is beautifully written and the descriptions are wondrous (multiple sensations were frequently described), I found the plot and its pacing slightly discordant. I feel like the book the author wasn’t quite sure what she really wanted her book to be – a tale of the Fallen and other Immortals once they become mortal or a tale of a post-war future. Even the discord between Houses and the House system itself could have used more detail. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly I found lacking, but I just know I wanted more. And as a result, the ending felt slightly unsatisfactory and abrupt.
Overall, I recommend The House of Shattered Wings as an entertaining and intriguing story. But do not look to it for deeper implications and philosophies. ...more
I think Victor put it best when he referred to Gabe and Lea as 'annoyingly cute.' That's exactly how I'd classify this book. It's adorable, almost sicI think Victor put it best when he referred to Gabe and Lea as 'annoyingly cute.' That's exactly how I'd classify this book. It's adorable, almost sickeningly so. But it's a quick easy read and sometimes its exactly the kind of fluff you need.
The book tales the story of two college kids, a freshman girl (Lea) and a junior, boy (Gabe) who like each other but can't seem to get together. The twist is that it is told from others' points of view. And everyone seems to know that Gabe and Lea like each other except for them. There are a lot of POVs (not Game of Thrones many, but still a lot) and each is so quick it is sometimes hard to remember whose POV you're currently in. I enjoyed most of them but could have done without the bench and the squirrel (Victor was my personal favorite).
It's a cute book and there really isn't much more to say about it. ...more
The book started off really well for me - it had a great epigraph (from Oscar Wilde) and the opening paragraph with Robyn was something I truly identiThe book started off really well for me - it had a great epigraph (from Oscar Wilde) and the opening paragraph with Robyn was something I truly identified with. It was nice, entertaining quick read but not something I'd rave about.
I didn't read the first book (Leaving Amarillo) so this was my first introduction to these characters. I have a suspicion that that was probably a good thing, but who knows. Robyn and Dallas have history and a connection. There is hot sex. The steamy scenes weren't overly sexual but hot enough to leave you wanting more, but that may actually be due more to the desire/need each character had for each other than the sex itself. It was nice to get that sense of mutual desire and attraction. '
There is also a lot of poor communication which ultimately drives the plot of this story (and is all the more frustrating due to the alternating point of views). It's a quick and fairly predictable read with some tropes, but I didn't mind that. I did mind how the end kind of glossed over how Robyn would deal with and/or change her goals accordingly, especially since so much of the story was based on each character wanting to each their dreams.
I enjoyed it, but I don't know that I'd go back to read the first book or continue to read the second (though Dixie and Gavin do seem like interesting characters from the little bit you get in this book). ...more
Vanishing Girls is billed as a psychological thriller and it is that, but it isn’t new and fresh, or even that surprising. But that isn’t what pulledVanishing Girls is billed as a psychological thriller and it is that, but it isn’t new and fresh, or even that surprising. But that isn’t what pulled me into this story. First and foremost, even before I’d call it a psychological thriller, I’d call it a story about sisters. The relationship and love between Nick and Dara is heart-wrenching. I have a younger sister whom I adore, but whom I’ve also had my jealousies of and with. I could relate to the emotions in this book and there are a lot of them. It’s a quick read with fairly simple language. The metaphors are sometimes awkward, but given the speed of the story did not irritate me too much. I did have some issues with the mystery of the missing girl, Madeline Snow. I was so connected to the story of the ‘estranged’ sisters after the accident that this other mystery didn’t feel as natural. It did serve to push the story and the reveal forward, but otherwise it seemed slightly awkward. I will also say that I knew what was coming in the twist about halfway through the book. That said, I did replay and reread certain scenes after I had finished the book to understand the new perspective. To me, that is a sign the twist was actually well done, even if I did see it coming. Overall, I really enjoyed the book but it was not for the mystery and instead for the characters and the touching relationship between the sisters – the love and hate, the anger, the jealousy, the forgiveness. It’s a quick read and worth the time. ...more
Ink and Bone is from Rachel Caine (author of the Morganville Vampire Novels). At its core, Ink and Bone is about a love of books and knowledge. But itInk and Bone is from Rachel Caine (author of the Morganville Vampire Novels). At its core, Ink and Bone is about a love of books and knowledge. But it's also about power and ignorance and control. In this world, the Great Library of Alexandria has survived time and now has a presence worldwide. But that presence is extremely controlled. There are rules and restrictions and prohibitions about owning books.
Ink and Bone takes places in the year 2031. The main protagonist is a 16-year-old boy who grew up smuggling original copies of books and grew to love those books. His father tasks him with entering service to the Great Library to continue to help his smuggling family. Jess's experiences trying to gain a coveted position and the relationships he develops make Ink and Bone a great read.
It's a little confusing at times trying to suss out the positions and reasoning for the various groups (Burners, Ink-Linkers, Smugglers, the Great Library, and even a war between the English and the Welsh). But all these groups set the background of dynamics within this world and create interesting conflict.
Ink and Bone is reminiscent of Harry Potter (academic trials) and Game of Thrones (Greek fire is a lot like wild fire). It also has some common young adult tropes. A variation of the #commonYAline "released a breath didn't know was holding" even makes an appearance. But none of that bothered me because I was fascinated with the world and the concepts and the struggles Jess faced trying to navigate this world and fit his own beliefs into it.
I truly enjoyed this book and I can't wait to read Volume Two of The Great Library.
Note: I was provided a promotional/free copy of Ink and Bone by Ace or Roc Books, but all views are my own. ...more
Journey to the Centre of the Earth is at once a love letter to science while also a fantastic ode in support of imagination. The descriptions of IcelaJourney to the Centre of the Earth is at once a love letter to science while also a fantastic ode in support of imagination. The descriptions of Iceland, geology, geomorphology, and the ancient workings of the earth are fantastic and a clever way to teach what can be boring subjects.
It truly is a fantastic journey to embark upon....more
A brief note to begin, I have not read Midnight Crossroad, so Day Shift is my first introduction to the people of Midnight, Texas. That said, my enjoyA brief note to begin, I have not read Midnight Crossroad, so Day Shift is my first introduction to the people of Midnight, Texas. That said, my enjoyment was not hindered at all by this fact.
Midnight is a tiny town in the middle of nowhere Texas. And that seems to suit all the characters perfectly, which is why additional visitors seem to unnerve the residents. And despite the truly terrible character names, the characters were all so intriguing (enough to make me want to go back and read Midnight Crossroad). You’ve got the tattooed and pierced psychic, the vampire, the witch, the nice gay guys, the mysterious woman, and more. Over the course of the book, we are given tidbits and glimpses into all of these characters and more. We are teased wonderfully with the secrets they are hiding. None of these people truly know one another and we don’t either, even by the end of the book. But, we are given enough information over the course of the story to whet our appetite and not frustrate us.
There are a lot of story threads and a lot of viewpoints which may frustrate some readers but served to keep me intrigued. Although I will admit, I did lost track of some of the different intrigues over the course of the story as we focused on some of the more direct mysteries (the accusations leveled at Manfred and the mystery of the boy left in Rev’s care). Just when you think that even Charlaine Harris has forgotten about some of the stories, she’s weaves a tidbit or reference back in. Harris is great at mystery and she has set up a lot of things in this quirky town to fill several more books.
The story is unfolded in simple language without overly complicated or hard to understand writing. It’s clear and direct and makes the book a fast read. .At times, it feels too simple. The main mystery in the book was not too hard to unravel and guess at which annoyed me until I realized it had wrapped up just to leave room for the return of my absolute favorite character from the Southern Vampire series (aka the Sookie Stackhouse books). I love that the Midnight, Texas books are set in the same world as those of the Harper Connelly and Southern Vampire books for exactly this reason. Day Shift actually has a couple characters known to Sookie making appearances.
Overall, I enjoyed Day Shift immensely. But that enjoyment was very much due to the fact that I was looking for simple, light, enjoyable fare. That’s no to say there wasn’t violence, death, and references to terrible acts, but we didn’t linger on it. It was straightforward. This is exactly the type of book you want to take with you to read on the beach in the summer. This is the Charlaine Harris I grew to love in the early Sookie books (before they went off the rails).
I look forward to checking back in with the residents of Midnight in a future installment.
Note: I was provided a promotional/free copy of Day Shift by Ace or Roc Books, but all views are my own. ...more
I get that this book was supposed to be humorous in its much abbreviated telling of the classics, but I hated it. I didn't find it humorous. I found iI get that this book was supposed to be humorous in its much abbreviated telling of the classics, but I hated it. I didn't find it humorous. I found it almost demeaning to many of the great stories. Several of the twitter-ized tales seemed to miss the whole point of the original stories completely.
My suggestion - spend the time to read the original classics. And forego the cheap gimmick of "literary classics...in digestible portions of 20 tweets or fewer."...more
The cover and premise captured my attention (I always like books about fiery redheads). It was an intriguing, if not terribly original concept - smallThe cover and premise captured my attention (I always like books about fiery redheads). It was an intriguing, if not terribly original concept - small, more primitive isolated societies after the fall of the world as we know it. I was fascinated with the story of the destruction.demise of civilization even though it didn't sit well with me (as an environmental scientists I had some issues, but I did appreciate the warning about our energy resources).
I enjoyed the relationship (or potential) between the main protagonists, but I wanted more about their past.
I was also disappointed to not get any sort of resolution in this first book. I have no problem with series, but we should get at least some answers to satisfy us.
I have to say, I probably won't continue reading. So if anyone wants to give me a spoilery overview of how/why regarding things I'd be happy to hear it. ...more
I absolutely adored this book from start to finish. It had me completely hooked when I understood there would be references to pop culture of the 80'sI absolutely adored this book from start to finish. It had me completely hooked when I understood there would be references to pop culture of the 80's and when it references Dead Man's Party I was beyond excited. It just got better from there. And the few times I started to question something, I was pleasantly surprised to find my questions answered in the very next chapter. I loved the diversity in the characters and the accurate representation of friendships that can develop in online communities.
It's a brilliant book that both celebrates and cautions online communities. I think everyone can find something they enjoy in this book.
PS Who else is dying to go to dancing at the Distracted Globe?...more
I really enjoyed this book from the very beginning (I should note it was raining and stormy when I read it so it was the perfect weather for a book liI really enjoyed this book from the very beginning (I should note it was raining and stormy when I read it so it was the perfect weather for a book like this). It's a clever little murder mystery with some great twists. And I couldn't put it down. I actually didn't see the ending coming and I had two very plausible suspects in mind. I was so surprised that I actually want to re-read to see if any clues were planted along the way or if it was a complete twist (which is both good and bad) and whether the twist is actually plausible.
It did feel strange to be reading about such violent deaths of teenagers (I must be getting old when I see teens as kids and their deaths become that much more disturbing...not that murder of adults is any better, but you get where I'm going with this, right?)....more
First I should note that if I was younger (i.e. in middle school) I probably would have loved this book. For me, though it was cute there just wasn'tFirst I should note that if I was younger (i.e. in middle school) I probably would have loved this book. For me, though it was cute there just wasn't much there. It is a sliding doors take on a girl and her prom dates. But all of that is just the set-up to the inevitable ending which was telegraphed from the very first moment the main character, Heart, was called Lungs (or some other body part) by a friend of hers.
I have no problem with young adult literature, I just expect there to be some intrigue and challenge to the read. The sliding doors-esque experience wasn't enough for me. ...more