Mary O'Hara is a sharp and cheeky 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl who is bravely facing the fact that her beloved Granny is dying. But Granny can't let...moreMary O'Hara is a sharp and cheeky 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl who is bravely facing the fact that her beloved Granny is dying. But Granny can't let go of life, and when a mysterious young woman turns up in Mary's street with a message for her Granny, Mary gets pulled into an unlikely adventure. The woman is the ghost of Granny's own mother, who has come to help her daughter say good-bye to her loved ones and guide her safely out of this world. She needs the help of Mary and her mother, Scarlett, who embark on a road trip to the past. Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out.
This succeeded very well for what it was - a sweet little generational story about four Irish women. If you're expecting more than that then you're going to be disappointed. If you don't like dialogue then stay far, far away. In fact, that summary up there? That is this entire book save twenty-ish pages. It doesn't get more complicated than that.
However, this book is effortlessly charming and sweet. Mary, truly is a witty, cheeky, little girl and her conversations with her mother, grandmother and ghostly great-grandmother are very amusing. The strength of these four powerhouse characters is what keeps this novel together.
I did have some issues with the book though. Some of the dialogue is downright nonsensical and this book should come with a warning for gratuitous use of punctuation.
Mary's mother, Scarlett, talks like this for most of the novel:
"Mary!" It was her mother. "How was school?!" "Stupid." She went straight past her mother, into the hall. "What's your hurry?!" "I'm starving."
It's not long before Mary says what we're all thinking.
"Great idea!" said her mother. "Stop talking like that," said Mary. "Like what?!" "Like !!!!!!!!!!!! [sic]" "Oh, no!" said her mother ,[sic] whose name was Scarlett. "I don't talk like that! Do I?!"
Note to Mary's mother: Yes, you do.
But serious question to Doyle, how do you even pronounce twelve exclamation marks? Every time I read it, because this is not the only time Mary uses a ridiculous amount of exclamation marks in lieu of a word, all I saw was someone pulling the human equivalent of this expression:
It eventually made for some cute dialogue, but that didn't negate the original headache my editor brain gave me while reading this.
I suppose this book, as cute and fun as it was to read, only got three stars because I couldn't quite see the point of it. Mary doesn't grow or change in any remarkable way other than to appreciate her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother - which she already mostly did. With so much dialogue, most of it unnecessary, it was easy to get immersed in the characters, but not so much in the story. It took me a long time to read a very short book. Once I put it down, I felt no compulsion to pick it up again.
It was a short and sweet story, but rather like the many exclamation marks, I'm not sure I entirely saw the point or truly grasped their meaning. (less)
This certainly is fun in that Randall's personal style comes through very strongly. But don't be fooled, folks. This book ain't all about Honey Badgers - though their badassery can't be denied - it contains a few other unique species. There are many, many photos as well as a run down on each unique little animal. And there are a few unique guys in here. Maybe because I'm all the way from Australia - but I was completely oblivious to this little bundle of cutosity:
Pink Fairy Armadillo says, "Take me home! But only in your hearts... because I'm endangered so you should totes protect my environment. Just sayin'.
Yet this book isn't just about mocking animals and amusing ourselves with their weird-ass, crazy ways and looks. It's a conservation effort. Every animal mentioned in this book is endangered - most of them critically. A few of them I've scarcely ever heard of.
My one critique of an otherwise funny gag book would be that there were a couple of factual errors that annoyed me. Only, I can't be sure they were intentional for the use of humour, or earnest mistakes.
Otherwise, this is certainly an amusing read. Not that the Honey Badger cares whether I approve or not. Because, if I've learned anything, it's that Honey Badger's don't give a shit.
Because I can't help myself when it comes to teh cute!"(less)
I've been trying to finish this one for ages. I really enjoyed the beginning but I just haven't been able to get into it. I'm putting it down for awhi...moreI've been trying to finish this one for ages. I really enjoyed the beginning but I just haven't been able to get into it. I'm putting it down for awhile.(less)
I requested Goddess Interrupted as I'd seen potential, amidst the frustration, in The Goddess Test. I thought that, given time, hard work and thoughtf...moreI requested Goddess Interrupted as I'd seen potential, amidst the frustration, in The Goddess Test. I thought that, given time, hard work and thoughtful application to her prose, Carter might be a good author one day.
Unfortunately, that didn't quite happen here and part of me understands why. A lot of the reviews for The Goddess Test focus on:
GAH! The mythology! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A VIRGIN!? A VIRGIN!? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!
A VIRGIN. I mean, I'm not getting over that any time soon!
So I appreciate Carter's efforts to address some of that a little in the novel. Well, no not really, but I'm trying really hard to be nice here.
But the underlying themes of fidelity and sexual repression were always highly problematic and they've only devolved in this novel.
We see this through the characters of Ava and Persephone who are judged and censured very heavily by the main character, Kate. Ava stays pretty firmly in the camp of irredeemable slut. As for Persephone: one moment she's the Whore of Babylon and the next she's just a selfish, confused woman. Note: Neither of these are accurate or even good characterization!
Kate says over and over that, no matter what, she would NEVER have cheated on Henry. That's nice, Kate. You're all of, what? 18? Easy to make absolutes when you're 18 and it's your first time in love. So very, very easy.
Persephone was a confused, naive girl when she was married off (didn't chose) to the Lord of the Underworld. She never loved him, she hated her job and she withered up without the sun and freedom. She stayed that way for THOUSANDS of years before finally falling in love with a man and deciding that she'd had enough of a loveless, passionless marriage. Yet everyone, even the other gods who saw her and how miserable she was, judges her as a shameless hussy.
How long does Kate last in her passionless, loveless marriage? *Pulls out fingers and toes to start counting* well, let's see. They married just before her six month vacation where she didn't see or hear from Henry. And when she gets back shit breaks out and so when she finally decides to leave him it would have been... a day. Yes. it takes her a day of actually being with Henry before she hangs up the crown and decides to ditch him.
The double standards, which exist all through this book, are aggravating.
In the the first book Ava is punished by Kate. You see, Ava had been in a relationship with one man. Then she'd ditched him and started seeing another guy. Guy #1 bursts in on guy #2 and they fight. One of them almost dies. Whose at fault? Ava. Obviously. Men can't be expected to control themselves when it comes to sex and it was CLEARLY Ava's fault for... whatever.
So we see Calliope turn evil and she does it because her husband, Zeus, has cheated on her throughout antiquity. It was really satisfying to see everyone angry and annoyed with Walter. To see him take personal responsibility for his actions and how they've affected Calliope and to see him take part in her punishment... no, wait. Sorry, none of that happens. Actually, Calliope is handed over to him so that he can punish her and and try to force her compliance. She disgusts him. Charming.
The fail, unfortunately, doesn't stop there.
We have frustrating characters, too little plot for too many novels, bad pacing, vague action scenes and feminist issues with how the main character is treated.
I could spend all day complaining about how often we had to have Kate reassured that Henry loved her, or how frustratingly annoying Henry is or how unnecessary James is as a character. About how Henry WASN'T a virgin because he'd had sex. Once with Persephone. And it was terrible. You know, I think that's actually worse than if he were a virgin...
But most of all, I'm STILL just really disappointed. Because this is still watered-down mythology and a poor excuse of a Hades/Persephone retelling. It's still a copout in so many ways and it's still thoughtless in its narrative and treatment of characters.
I won't read the next one. I think Carter's progress as a writer is limited in the world she's already built. But I do think I've seen evidence in the text that leads me to believe that she's better than this. I guess I'll have to wait until she leaves this series behind to find out if that's true.(less)
So Allie is an orphaned teenager in a dystopian fantasy where people are enslaved by vampire masters. Then she gets turned into a vampire and str...moreSo Allie is an orphaned teenager in a dystopian fantasy where people are enslaved by vampire masters. Then she gets turned into a vampire and struggles with the morality of being a monster.
So at first I was like.
But then she was like.
A comparable representation on the scale of awesomeness - not a literal depiction.
And then I was like.
Right away from the beginning of the novel Allie was pretty ass kicking.
And then Kanin the vampire showed up and I was like.
Yeah, sure. Whatevs.
But then he was like.
And then I was like.
So then Allie goes trekking through the woods and I’m like.
And then she meets up Zeke and I was like.
Then Zeke is like ewwww Vampires suck and I was like.
Then stuff with them happened and I was like.
So then I was worried about the writing since I’d been on the fence about The Iron Fey. But then Kagawa did a lot of:
And I was like.
And then Stephanie said the plot was slow, and I was like.
Where She Went is the successional addition to Forman's spectacular If I Stay. If the seminal theme of If I Stay were about finding a reason to contin...moreWhere She Went is the successional addition to Forman's spectacular If I Stay. If the seminal theme of If I Stay were about finding a reason to continue living, then Where She Went’s theme could be construed as finding what makes life worthwhile and livable. Adam, an infamous badboy rocker, has been in a perilous emotional and mental state since his longtime girlfriend, Mia Hall left him. Chance brings them together for one more night and this novel chronicles those precious twenty-four hours together and Mia and Adam get down to what’s really important.
You guys would not believe the horrible search terms I needed to use to find this image...
Okay, not really. But there’s a lot of dissecting their relationship and what happened between them to result in a three year absence that has crippled Adam emotionally.
In form and function, Where She Went is very similar to If I Stay. They’re both character driven novels sparse on action and heavy on reflective and emotional content. They’re also almost entirely reliant on the strength of their character voices, giving Forman and veritable tightrope to balance on between pained and raw characters, or whiny emo complainers.
There is a noticeable difference that is strongly pronounced between this novel and the last one though. In If I stay there is a full cast of varied, lovable, interconnected characters common history but divergent personalities. Where She Went is a departure in this area. Adam is an isolated character, having lost even his passion for music which had been fueling him.
Where Mia had been a self-introspective prone to examining the people around her, her relationship to them and everyone’s motives, Adam is more of a reactive character.
“My hand is shaking and my heart is pounding and I feel the beginnings of a panic attack, the kind that makes me sure I’m about to die.”
We get a lot of this physical narrative and you have to search within the circumstances and dialogue to make sense of Adam’s motives and reasoning because he is usually quite vague about it himself. Mia was a character who knew herself and the people around her. Adam is a character who is almost wholly blind to his and other people’s motivations and reasoning.
Gayle uses a variety of rich, descriptive language without seeming ingenuous to the voice of a twenty-one year old musician – at least to the layman.
Still, despite all the praise, I struggled to connect to Adam and the narrative to the degree that I had in If I Stay. But don’t confuse my admittance that this is a less emotive novel, with it not being an emotional novel at all. Where She Went still packs a falcon punch to the heart strings and still manages to illicit some seriously strong passion.
Perhaps my favourite aspect of this book is the song extracts at the beginning of each chapter. Stiefvater’s debut, Shiver, never resonated with me as I never connected to Sam’s poetry. It always felt contrived and weak and lessened the novel for me. Adam, on the other hand, I would listen to and read were he a real person.
Perhaps that's Forman's strongest ability. Her characters have a complexity and depth to them, missing in so many other YA novels. It's not exactly hard to make musicians seem sexy but Forman certainly knows how to exceed past all expectations. For most readers, this novel will not disappoint.
Tuba? More like Tuboner! Hahahahahaha! Okay, no more musician jokes.(less)
In one regard, life has taught me not to expect too much from a Novella. Yet I think this one still managed to let down even my low expectations and I...moreIn one regard, life has taught me not to expect too much from a Novella. Yet I think this one still managed to let down even my low expectations and I'm a little depressed about that.
Cate and her family are seers of the Fae and so must hide their abilities. Rook is a fae who stalks Cate, thinking she can't see him. Their paths collide when one of Cate's friends is kidnapped by the fae. She needs to get into the Fae world to get her friend back and he needs her to begin the Fae conquest of Earth. Also they fall in love and shag along the way.
And thus we come across our first issue and it is one in which the author has bitten off more than they can chew. This is, in its essence, a massive story to undertake in a novella.
Kidnappings? Peril to the human race? Forbidden hunky fairy love? You don't say! I'm intrigued. Tell me more.
Yet all of this is rather handled in the most cavalier way by the author, leaving the reader with desperate, gaping, plotholes and burning questions.
For starters, the kidnapped girl: Meg.
Before she is kidnapped, our only insight into this character is that she is someone who invites a friend to lunch, planning the entire time to ditch her for a preplanned date. This same friend is also a work colleague and she also plans (ahead of time) to ditch their important presentation for the aforementioned date and expects to still take half the credit for the work done.
Cate's gifting is hereditary, and she has several sisters. It's a gift she's had to hide her entire life. If the fae discover her gifting then she'll disappear forever as her mother once did. To reveal herself may put her family in extraordinary danger. She knows this. Keep all of that in mind when I tell you that she throws it out the window to save the friend I just described. Call me cruel, call me evil, call me a bitch. I don't care. There's no way I would endanger my life and my family for someone like that, and I don't think most normal people would either. I might even dust my hands off, kick my feet up and consider my life burdened with one less oxygen thief.
Secondly, Cate's brilliant scheme for getting the world's worst friend back is nonsensical.
Go to Fairyland + Hot Fairy + ? = profit getting friend back.
She doesn't have a plan. THIS is NOT a plan! This is a concept and a vague intention. Making out with a random Fairy and traipsing off into Fairyland with a) no way to return home, b) no plans or assurances this Fairy will help you or c) absolutely no clue what you're doing is not clever thinking!
Rook's characterization is, if possible, even more aggravating. He's been stalking this girl since she was sixteen and not once has she given a hint of her abilities. He is right there watching when her supposed friend is kidnapped right in front of her. Of all the days to reveal her abilities and seduce him, she chooses that day. Look, kids, this is not hard maths here. It doesn't take leaps and bounds in logic to assume the woman has a hidden agenda. Yet Rook is shocked, shocked I say, when he realizes that she came with him to fairy in order to retrieve her friend.
Lastly, and perhaps the most aggravating aspect of this novel. He is a fairy. They're planning to invade our planet, subvert our autonomy and replace us as supreme rulers of earth. There is no convincing him otherwise. As a human being, her reaction to all of this is?
Doesn't matter; had sex. Thanks, Cate. Sold out your whole race for Fairy Peen. Good job there.
If you've been around Goodreads for a while, you may have noticed that there's this particular reviewer. Let's call her Smarty McSmart-Pants. This rev...moreIf you've been around Goodreads for a while, you may have noticed that there's this particular reviewer. Let's call her Smarty McSmart-Pants. This reviewer has a reputation for having near impeccable taste in books. Usually, whatever book she gives five stars, we're bound to love as well. Some of the other reviewers and I have a little thing going where we recommend her books because, clearly, whoever can recommend a book she likes is Queen of Goodreads for that short amount of time.
So when Smarty McSmart-Pants personally descended from her cloud-like residence and recommended this book to me via a burning tree, I jumped at the opportunity to read it. After all, it had everything going for it. Firstly, it’s written by an Australian author. A condition know within the Goodreads community to be like the kiss of the angels. Secondly, it’s recommended by aforementioned reviewer, and thirdly, it was insanely expensive to purchase. So I am completely flabbergasted that I liked this novel a lot, but didn’t really love it.
There’s a lot of words I want to use to describe this novel and its main character, Carly. See, I want to describe it as a graphic reflection on the life of a nineteen year old, traumatized rape victim.
But she wouldn’t appreciate that description. She wouldn’t like being summarized as one horrible moment in her life or to have what happened to her cheapened or used for shock value. Though it may seem silly to kowtow to the wishes of an imaginary literary character, I will.
So this is the story of Carly, nineteen year old soft-hearted surfer-chick, who is hiding out in Manly and working as a kitchen cook to escape her family and the consequences of trauma inflicted upon her. She meets Ryan, another surfer with a shady past, and they spark up an awkward and shaky relationship.
The title of Raw Blue is a very accurate one, reflecting the real state of this novel. The prose are brash and raw with strong emotion.
“I scrabble my fingers in Ryan’s pubic hair and they brush against his penis which is spent, soft and vulnerable."
These prose are interspersed throughout the narrative. They were incredibly tactile and powerful.
The strongest aspect of this novel, undoubtedly, is its dealing with the subject of rape. The guilt, shame and anger is all there in its crippling insidiousness, helping the reader to feel as brittle and impotent as Carly is. This is Carly’s journey to survive and conquer and the novel focuses on this as opposed to the romance with Ryan who serves as a catalyst for change but ultimately is powerless to rescue Carly from her own crippling emotions and trauma. That she has to do herself.
My major gripe with the novel is in its lackadaisical plot and sudden ending. The novel ends so abruptly and unexpectedly that one gets the impression Eagar was called to dinner just as she came toward the ending and never returned to finish the narrative. It leaves this awkward, unfulfilled feeling like great sex which is cut short and ends unsatisfactorily. There was a climax missed there, I feel, and I finished the novel with a vague frustration. There were plot points that had felt strong all the way through and then suddenly fizzled into limp nothings. Shane and Danny felt like potential completely wasted. What really was their point outside a brief moment each gave to the plot? I felt like there was so much missing, having been cut away from Eagar’s original intent.
I have one more complaint with this novel as silly as it is. I feel it’s my duty to inform international readers that the bulk of Australians do not talk like the characters in this novel. I’ve probably referred to someone as “mate” a total of three times in my life and I’m pretty sure every single one of those was in jest. Perhaps that’s what stopped me from really escaping into this otherwise marvelous narrative. I couldn’t escape the mental images of every Ocker, daggy Australian bloke that Ryan produced in me.
I believe this is the clinical definition of gross. (less)
I have said this before and I’ll say it again. I have no problem with an implausible story vehicle. As long as the ride is good and it relates a m...moreI have said this before and I’ll say it again. I have no problem with an implausible story vehicle. As long as the ride is good and it relates a moral or philosophical value.
But where the line is drawn is when the world isn’t consistent and in the confines of that world, things don’t make sense.
That’s my limit. That’s when I start getting frustrated and annoyed. And it’s not because an author tried something new, okay? Lauren Oliver is AMAZING. She is a great author who is erudite and verbose and interesting to listen to. I’ve seen her speak live and frankly to an audience and her ability to relate to them and express herself is fantastic.
But this novel still didn’t work for me. Delirium, unfortunately, failed for me. Which is saddening, because Lauren Oliver is a good author and I know, with Delirium, she was reaching out and trying something different. I just wish it had been more successful.
Now, here’s where it all buggered up:
1. Inconsistent world building.
The main protagonist says the word “love” twice. Once in conversation and the second time mentally. Love is a concept that’s stigmatized to such an extreme degree that even the whispered word “sympathizer” is verboten. Yet the main protagonist SAYS it to her aunt – that she LOVES children. It just doesn’t make sense. And she’s wandering around with Alex and making out with him in public like the consequence for that is a slap on the wrist. Look, she lives in a highly autocratic world where even a hint of the disease will land you in prison – and she makes out with her boyfriend in the middle of public places.
I loved the characterization of Lena. I thought it was accurate and realistic. It’s the characterization of Alex that left me hollow and empty. He felt like a place-holder. Simply a textbook demonstration of today’s YA expectations of a love interest. Devoted, stalkerish, sad back story. Oliver’s love interest in Before I Fall was so much more dynamic even though he comprised a relatively small part in the story. Alex felt like a definition of desirable love interest instead of actually being a person Lena fell in love with.
I never thought I’d say this because, in my mind, Oliver is – and always will be – a fantastic writer. But there were aspects of the writing in this book that were obvious, cliche and simplistic. For example, Lena is emotionally stunted but it’s an obvious parallel. Whenever she feels intense emotion she blames it on the air conditioning or weather etc. She is the result of a childhood of emotional detachment – but not really – and this is where it gets personal for me.
Because, if you don’t religiously read my reviews, then you wouldn’t know that my son was almost diagnosed with Attachment Disorder. Because when my first son was born, I was one of those weird religious people that ascribed to books like Baby Wise, etc. For the first six months of his life, he barely looked at me in the eye. Attachment disorder babies are those that, from their infancy, do not experience consistent, loving care. They are children that learn, early on, that they are not truly loved and this results in a wide swath of behavioral and emotional problems.
Lena is the result of a childhood that had a mother who loves her and responded accordingly to her needs, but other children in the society didn’t receive this – something that I felt was a huge cope-out. What about the characterization of a person who wasn’t loved? Who was a product of the system? I feel like this wasn’t examined enough – wasn’t inspected enough. Like it was handled by someone who just assumed that children would still reflect some modicum of normality after being raised in a world where they aren’t being lovingly raised by people properly attached to them. And the assumption that you can have attachment without love – it’s mind boggling because I kind of feel like she was out of her depth on this one.
It’s not Oliver’s fault. But what I wanted from this is a deeper understanding of society from the point of view of someone willing to delve into a harder, grittier, more realistic story. Someone willing to ask the tough questions and write the tough characterization. Instead the novel glosses over a lot of those things and thus felt cheap and shallow.
This review may contain spoilers. And by may, I mean most certainly will.
False Memory by fellow Horde player, Dan Krokos, caught my attention. Mainly...moreThis review may contain spoilers. And by may, I mean most certainly will.
False Memory by fellow Horde player, Dan Krokos, caught my attention. Mainly because, well, FOR THE HORDE! But also, because it looked badass. The basic idea is that Miranda wakes up with no memories and no real clue who she is. She soon discovers that she’s a superhero and part of a team of four Roses with the ability to cause fear and panic to normal people.
I mean, it’s an alright ability. Not as good as the ability to burn people with your eyes or use an alien ring to wish anything into existence. But you take what you can get!
So what I might have expected was good writing and interesting, action-packed pages. But that author, he has a soft spot the size of the Mariana Trench. This book was a little more saucy than I expected and I liked it! Probably one of the few love-triangles that I’ve truly liked. Miranda gets more action in a few days than I did throughout all of 8th grade!
Miranda was a bit like a rogue sneaking up behind you to stab you in the back. She was fun to read. Then, out of nowhere, BAM! She just kicked the shit out of me and I was left going, “Woah! Woah! Woah!” That sneaky woman just emulsified my cold, withered heart until I was truly rooting for her. Which was a weird experience. I’m not sure how to describe it. There I was thinking I generally liked the book and didn’t mind Miranda, only to suddenly realize that there was no way in hell I was putting the book down and Miranda better live, goddammit! As for the other characters, Peter, Noah and Olive, I was hot and cold on them. Peter was definitely my favourite. I loved the tension between Noah and Miranda. Drama! Beautiful, beautiful drama!
So here’s my problem with it, and this part gets spoilery so only proceed if you’ve read the book.
(view spoiler)[So I was all cool with Miranda et al being weapons to be sold off to the highest bidder. OF COURSE. That is just the kind of sense-making that I like to see. But then things get a little more complicated. Not just weapons but also clones. And not just one set of clones but another and another. Okay. FINE. Everyone’s a clone. And a clone of a clone. And nobody’s memories are real and everyone’s memories can be replaced and nobody is just a weapon and FINE. Fine, okay? I can deal with that, I guess. I can deal with two Miranda’s and the real Miranda being dead and the real Miranda being only a clone of Mrs. North and Mrs. North being HERSELF a clone. I can deal with ALL of it. Okay?! I’m fine. I’m just absolutely fine. I can handle it, okay?
There are too many truths. So many truths that, whilst I can keep them straight, I’m not sure that I want to. I threw my hands up in the air and yelled for Miranda to go join the fucking peace corps and travel to south east Asia or something. Just get out, Miranda! If you’re reading this, just go. The truth isn’t worth it, sweetie. You know what’s worth it? Spending the rest of your life bumping uglies with Peter. And I guess that destroyed some of my enjoyment of the book. Because them being developed as a weapon was really the only reasonable truth I could imagine for their cultivated existence. And whilst I am practically POSITIVE that Krokos is going to come up with something brilliant, I’m simply too emotionally exhausted after False Memory to summon the will to read anymore. I refuse. In my mind, Peter and Miranda ran off to a tropical island and lived happily ever after. The end. (hide spoiler)]
Over all, I really liked this book. I just feel so exhausted by it. Incredibly, incredibly exhausted. I want to pick up the next one because I want to see how Miranda and the others deal with the situation they’re in. But part of me is afraid to. I don’t know if I’m ready for it. With False Memory, I wanted to feel THIS much. But I wasn’t ready to feel THHHHIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSS much. And with all those truths revealed in the first book? Well, how else is Krokos going to break my heart in the next one? HOW, HUH?!
This review also appears on my blog, ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I probably shouldn't have read this. If you read the pre-read section at the bottom of the review, you'll see that I didn't even intend to order it. Y...moreI probably shouldn't have read this. If you read the pre-read section at the bottom of the review, you'll see that I didn't even intend to order it. Yet, since I had it, I thought I'd give it a go.
I lasted 24 pages because that's all my sanity could take.
Laurel is a magazine-beautiful, waif-like teenager who leaves homeschooling in grade 10 in order to begin her high school career.
The comment could fly past as poor characterization and sloppy writing if it didn't go hand in hand with Laurel's horrible relationship with food. In fact, a great deal of emphasis is placed on what she eats. Once again, not entirely a problem except attention is also placed on how she feels when she eats. Which is guilty and "like a battle has been lost" when she eats half a pear and half a cup of juice.
I know, Nickhun, I know.
The writing is just terrible and the characterization can't even be mentioned because I'm pretty sure Goodread's lax profanity rules would not cover what I would end up saying.
Mostly, it's all so very saccharine sweet and ickly chaste, yet oddly kinky and unbelievably tame. I feel like I'm describing Disneyland here, but if I do, that might make people think of fun. Notice I deliberately left fun off the list. But, luckily, there was comparable amounts of vomit.
Spoilers below, folks.
Apparently. APPARENTLY, Laurel is not actually a human, but a fairy. And the reason she is a vegan is because she is a plant. Like, as in, she is not a red blooded mammal but is an actual plant...
I'm sorry, I'm going to need a judge's ruling on that.
Thank you. Steve Carell. I think you've said it all.
Look, you just. You don't do that. You just...don't. I mean, what school of biology did you go to? The Stephanie Meyer School of Biology, that's what!
I mean, and correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't 8th grade biology talk a lot about how plants photosynthesize to make energy and how they do respire but at night when there's no light and about how they don't have things like digestive systems and they don't have blood but, hey they do have Chloroplasts and Chlorophylls. And how they don't digest nutrients by eating them but by absorbing them through their roots. There just doesn't seem to be a lot of thought put into this.
I mean, look at organs like the brain. How does her brain work? They need A LOT Of protein. A huge amount actually. Which you can get by eating a healthy vegan diet, but she's not even doing that.
Scientists don't look at an ape-like creature and have this conversation:
"So, Doctor Rosenbaum, what do you think it is? Mammal? Reptile? Plant? Rock?" "I don't know. I just don't know. If only there was some way of determining these things! Look, just to be safe, put it down as a bird. Just because it doesn't fly - doesn't mean it can't!"
I used to think that the old troll argument of, "You're overthinking it! Stop thinking so much and you'll enjoy it!" was full of shit. But, in this case, they're right. My highly developed mammalian brain just can not handle this level of stupidity. But even if I could somehow switch it off. Well, there enough other bad stuff in here that would spoil it anyway.
I'm not entirely sure why I'm reading this. For some reason I thought there was some controversy over this author and that I'd barred it, but it's not on my Do Not Read shelf so I must have been mistaken.
I went to pick up books from the library this afternoon and it was among them. I don't clearly remember ordering it so I asked for the order date and went home to Mr. Kennedy. The conversation went something like this:
Me: "Hey honey, was I drinking heavily on the 15th of December?" Mr Kennedy: "Hmmm...the 15th was a Thursday. That's Corona day." Me: "Ugh. Okay, definitely drunk. That explains it." Mr Kennedy: "Let me guess, you found traffic cones and police hats again?" Me: *Thinks for a second* "That probably would have been the preferable outcome."
I have to be honest here, even though I consider KT Grant an excellent, wise and intelligent person. I just did not get into this book and subsequentl...moreI have to be honest here, even though I consider KT Grant an excellent, wise and intelligent person. I just did not get into this book and subsequently couldn't finish it.
I think it shows the naughty-no-no skills she has though, in that whilst I don't butter my bread on the breasted side, I was still quite hot and flustered at the couple of sex scenes I read.
I'm so sorry. I just had to use this GIF.
In all fairness, historical romance is NOT my genre. So if you want a sweet, easy read that doesn't tax the grey matter or force you to flex those intellectual muscles, then this is probably for you.
But I've never really gelled with the cheesy writing and story telling that comes along with romances - and KT Grant is ALL with the romancey language and cheesy storylines. It's MEANT to be cheesy and so when I burst out laughing a couple of times at the badness/laughable goodness, I had to wonder whether it was on purpose or not. I choose to believe it was.
I can't express the uncomfortable feelings I experienced. At one point cracking up and shaking my head at the bad writing, another moment hiding my iPad and blushing when my partner passed the room.
Can he do this? Can he? Well... he tried, but it didn't work out so great...
I really still haven't explained to him why I made him wear the high heels and corset that night, but I'm sure it's not the craziest thing he's done.
So if you're into historical romances, maybe give it a try. It just wasn't my thing. At least, I keep telling myself that.(less)
I've heard it mentioned before that DNF(Did Not Finish)reviews were useless and self-indulgent. Why would someone want to read a review by someone who...moreI've heard it mentioned before that DNF(Did Not Finish)reviews were useless and self-indulgent. Why would someone want to read a review by someone who didn't even finish the book?
My answer to that?
There's always going to be a small fraction of reviewers who don't connect with a book and can't finish it, but to dismiss all DNF reviews, I think, is problematic. Especially for an author.
Because it's not necessarily the reader's fault for not being able to connect to the book. Often there are rookie mistakes made in writing, plot or characterization that inhibits readers from investing in the story. Being able to hook a reader within the first couple of pages is an essential skill of any artisan storyteller and if you're having a lot of DNF reviews or simply bad reviews then they probably contain a goldmine in advice to help improve your range of skills.
I credit Revis with imagination and thoughtful plot. The language changes and mono-ethnic parts of this book showed the kind of forethought and deep, intensive investigation I generally like in an author.
My issues were that the writing is very vague and sloppy. One of the first events in the book, Elder attempting to save the ship, is vague in the writing which makes it difficult for readers to visualize the scene or get a handle on what's happening.
The characterization is equally nonplussed, taking quite a while to really root down. There is little incentive to connect with the characters or anything that makes them feel particularly vivid or well-constructed. It's basically one cardboard cutout after another, filled with overused archtypes.
By page seventy-five I knew who the antagonist is, which is bad storytelling. I even flipped to the end to double check and was able to easily verify that I was right because I had trouble believing that Revis had made it so obvious. Do not hang giant, obtrusive warning signs over your secret antagonist. Please.
Overall I couldn't bring myself to invest in the story and characters. This review may be useless or self-indulgent to some but I think reviewing even the first 125 pages of a book to give feedback is a higher compliment than if I'd ignored it entirely.
I have to confess something before I write this review. This book is about a teenager, Sam, who is a Mean Girl who trips into Groundhog Day world and...moreI have to confess something before I write this review. This book is about a teenager, Sam, who is a Mean Girl who trips into Groundhog Day world and is set on a path to redemption. My confession is that I used to be a girl almost exactly like Sam.
Shallow, egotistical and worst of all - mean. Really, really mean.
I've commented before on the fact that I was a terrible teenager. My parents did not so much try to raise me through these years. More like they tried to survive me as you would a hurricane. In this book, Sam comes to the final realization that she is a bitch. I know I related to this book more perhaps than some other readers would because I had to come to my own realization about that. It is a strange and aggravatingly unsettling experience to wake up and realize the world neither revolves around you, nor should it, because you are a horrible person. Yet, that's nothing compared to living your teenage years on the receiving end of bullshit people like me dished out to other people.
I can imagine growing up with that kind of experience would make you quite unsympathetic to Sam. But Sam is on a path and a journey. Oliver doesn't withhold on characterization. Every petty, mean, shallow act and thought is shamelessly paraded here. I loved the cast and the complicated relationships they all had. I loved Sam and Kent's relationship as well as Sam and Lindsey's relationship. Most of the people in this book felt like people I'd known or met in real life.
The writing worked well for this novel. Never too flowery or explanatory but rather serving the purpose of translating complicated thoughts and feeling to the reader without being burdensome or boring.
Every time I felt Sam was a little too...
Oliver managed to turn it around and make her...
I think it took a lot of courage to write Sam's characterization as she did. A lot of YA fiction depicts the Perfect Female ala Bella Swan. Where character flaws amount to being clumsy and everyone they ever meet thinks they're amazing and mature and wise beyond their years. (Note: Zoe Redbird, no, you are not.)
My only complaint about the book is in the spoiler down below. Basically, I loved it, I connected to it. I felt like the themes were handled in a believable, realistic way.
I guess this book made me melancholy. I think about Juliet Sykes and remember that I once had my own Juliet Sykes. I wish I could go back in time and change that. I wish I could somehow make amends to her. Hell, I wish I could even remember her real name and not just all the disgusting nicknames we gave her. I wish I'd been the kind of teenager I could be proud of. Yet this book made me glad that I did change, that I have tomorrow to keep trying and learning and growing. It makes me happy to think that even I deserved a chance at redemption and to choose a different way to live my life.
Most of all, this book makes me really bloody happy that I'm an adult now and that I never, ever, have to go back. Ever.
(view spoiler)[ Perhaps the only real critique I could give of the book is this:
Do you remember that scene from Shakespeare in Love when Ben Affleck's Ned Alleyn is talking to Shakespeare about the ending of Romeo and Juliet and he says, "But there's a scene missing between marriage and death."
And in case you skipped school for the Obvious lesson in your Obvious class, he's talking about: boning.
It's this but it's not this. If you know what I mean...
Now I'm not actually saying that I wanted Sam and Kent to bone but I felt there needed to be more to the final part of the book than just a few vague kisses and a goodbye. I mean, poor Kent, right? he wakes up one day and, out of the blue, the girl he's in love with decides to give him a break and actually kiss him. Then she tells him that he's the best thing that ever happened to her. Then she dies.
At least give the poor guy a happy ending... of sorts.(hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Days of Blood and Starlight was always going to be a hard sell after the stark and hauntingly beautiful Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I want to address...moreDays of Blood and Starlight was always going to be a hard sell after the stark and hauntingly beautiful Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I want to address the all-important question of whether Taylor has an obsession with the letters DBS or not.
Okay, fine. Not relevant. Really….party poopers.
Most of us had to prepare ourselves for the fact that DoBaS, like most middle child books, was probably not going to be quite as good as it’s older siblings. Personally, I always hold out hope for middle child books, wanting to be pleasantly surprised!
Well, the pessimistic, miserly old grinches win out this time because DoBaS isn’t quite as good as its predecessor, but it’s certainly nothing to turn your nose up at. But, you know, if you were to turn your nose up at any Laini Taylor book then, my god, have you no soul?!
Taylor’s books have intense and varied themes. DoSaB’s themes revolved around perception, love and loss, the pain of emptiness and coming of age issues. DoBaS deals a lot with losing/regaining hope, faith in oneself, forgiveness of oneself and others.
In a lot of ways DoBaS is a different creature to DoSaB. DoSaB had limited PoV changes that largely existed between Akiva and Karou (I think – my memory is really dodgy) and DoSaB was really more Romantic up until the very end. And by Romantic I don’t necessarily mean the relationship between Akiva and Karou because I ultimately think DoBaS was more romantic than its predecessor though it may not seem intuitively so. It was more Romantic in the sense that the characters and the story are so much bigger and more mature. There’s these two amazing, independent forces of fate building up behind Karou and Akiva. The more they come into themselves and become wiser, the more they’re drawn together.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a naive, sweet innocent first love. Appealing to many, but I liked the relationship dynamics even more in Days of Blood and Starlight. They’ve both lost that naivette, grown as people. They have more baggage to deal with and the relationship they’re building feels stronger – erected on foundations off a deeper understanding of themselves and the world – and they still can’t help but love each other. After all they’ve seen, all they’ve done, all that’s been done to them – they’re still drawn to each other like moth’s to flame.
Laini’s writing is beautiful. If anything she has improved and the inherent poetry to the writing has become sharper and more poignant. Where a lot of people, including myself will get tripped up at is that pacing and structure of the novel. It is very meandering with an excessive number of POV changes. There’s a lot to follow, a lot happening all at once and the cast of characters has expanded exponentially.
But, over all, I loved it. I’m so enthusiastic for the next book. I absolutely have to know where this series is going, what’s going to happen to them and whether I’m just as naive and foolish as Akiva and Karou for hoping and thinking that they will eventually have some form of happy relationship at the end of this series.
The morning beckons and when I turn over, the book I finished in the midnight hours is beside me. The fantasy world is slipping away, unable to follow...moreThe morning beckons and when I turn over, the book I finished in the midnight hours is beside me. The fantasy world is slipping away, unable to follow me into the light. Reality creeps in with the rising dawn, but I'm reluctant to meet it. I want that world, those characters, that emotion back - but it's over. Time to find a new one in a new book and so the hunt is on but the sadness at leaving a good friend remains.
Ee has done something amazing here and not just because she's written probably one of the best post-apocalypse fantasies of the year. But that would be a big part of it, yes.
And you too can experience the goodness for just 99 cents on Amazon's kindle!
Angelfall is a remarkable book, because if I were to tell you the synopsis, it would be so unspectacular, so typical of the genre, so... ordinary! But this book is anything but ordinary.
Penryn's sister is captured by angels who've brought war and apocalypse to the human world. She finds an angel to help her retrieve her sister and they embark on a journey to get his wings back and rescue the young girl.
Simple, right? That's what I thought too. I thought I was just embarking on a ridiculous bandwagon that was being indulgent of an unusually good indie fic.
There are one or two issues I have with the novel but they are completely eclipsed by the brilliant story telling, characters and writing.
I loved Penryn so completely; believed in her and championed her. This book is a brilliant journey of great character and spirit. Full of the weird and wonderful. Ee has a great imagination and a gift for story telling.
I know after I finish writing this review I will go and hunt down my next read. Yet I will get increasingly aggravated and depressed because nothing I see is what I want. Because what I want is Angelfall #2 and none of those books will be that.
Go ahead. Jump on the bandwagon.
After all, you too could be waking up tomorrow wishing desperately that reality would just give you a little more time in this world, and with these characters, that Ee has created.
**spoiler alert** Email To: Mr. & Mrs. Crisparkle Email from: Sedgewick Crisparkle
Dear mother and father,
How are you enjoying Christmas there at ho...more**spoiler alert** Email To: Mr. & Mrs. Crisparkle Email from: Sedgewick Crisparkle
Dear mother and father,
How are you enjoying Christmas there at home in sunny (ha!) England? Is father's vicarage going well? Look, to put it plainly, I understand that I have only recently confessed to you that I am a gay man and that you are coming to grips with this. Which is why I feel it is necessary to explain to you what happened to our precious family artifact as soon as possible. Our treasured, undiscovered Christmas book by Dickens truly was a proud heirloom in our family and an excellent tradition that we have upheld all this time. I'm so grateful it was bequeathed to me so that I could sell it in order to finance my lifelong dream.
However, a little while ago I met a man. Three days ago to be exact. We are in love. Now, I understand you might be concerned about the fact that he has an extraordinarily sordid history with artifacts and that he spent two of our precious three days together lying and scheming to get our book. However, he is a man of great character. I presume. I am positively hopeful that he actually did love me and is a good person on the inside despite his actions shown for the vast majority of our courtship.
He slept with me on the understanding that I would at least show him the book and thus, by my calculations, he would be willing to spend the rest of his life with me if I just give it to him. I see this as perfectly justifiable and I'm sure you will too once you actually meet him. I'm not sure when that will be since the future is currently hazy for us. We have yet to discuss any permanent plans past me giving him this priceless and irreplaceable artifact (and more sex but I don't think you're ready to hear about that) but I'm sure we'll work that out in a satisfactory matter. Once he comes back from getting us some milk. Does milk take a long time to retrieve in LA?
I'm sure nothing will happen to make me come to regret this decision.