I love the world that Sharon Shinn created with her Samaria books. I know there are a lot of series about angels out there but...moreOriginally posted here.
I love the world that Sharon Shinn created with her Samaria books. I know there are a lot of series about angels out there but this one is really my favorite. I'm glad that Obadiah got his own story because he's a character that I really liked in Archangel. He is sent by the Archangel Gabriel to go to Breven and deal with the Jansai. The Jansai are merchants who have no love for angels, especially since Gabriel outlawed their main source of income - the slavery of the Edori. Obadiah is the perfect choice for this mission because of his charming personality. He has a way with words and people can't help but like him. Obadiah knew that the task wouldn't be easy but he never expected he'd be suddenly injured in the middle of the desert with resources. Thankfully, a young Jansai girl named Rebekah offers help even though it's forbidden for women of their race to even talk to men outside of their family, let alone an angel. Interwoven with their story is Elizabeth's tale as she wishes to obtain a pampered life by being an angel-seeker, a woman willing to have relations with an angel for a chance to become a mother to a precious angel baby.
I couldn't figure out how Elizabeth's story intersects with Obadiah and Rebekah's and was even afraid that there was a love triangle in this book. Have no fear, that doesn't happen in this book (sorry if that piece of information is spoiler-ish). The narrative changes from Obadiah, Rebekah and Elizabeth's points of view so we understand better what the characters are going through. Both Rebekah and Elizabeth encounter big changes in their lives throughout the books. They both show how strong and resilient they are in the face of danger and unfamiliar situations. I enjoyed reading both of their stories and I don't prefer one over the other. Sweet Jovah singing, you can't help but root for both of these girls! I thought the romance between Obadiah and Rebekah was very sweet, which is a good thing because they both deserve to be happy. Elizabeth also achieves inner peace as she makes better choices in life. I was thrilled by the glimpses of Gabriel, Rachel and even Nathan and Magdalena in this one because they're characters that I loved in Archangel. All in all, a very satisfying installment in what has become one of my favorite series. I highly recommend this book and the whole series to fans of romantic fantasy or fans of books about angels. I hope I get to read Angelica soon, the only remaining Samaria book that I haven't read because I want to start on Sharon Shinn's Twelve Houses series. Also, I think I'd love to read a book set during the time when the settlers first came to Samaria. I think Angel-Seeker is a fitting Retro Friday choice this weekend because it is a love story at its core and we all know that Valentine's Day is coming up.(less)
Here's an interesting tidbit from the author: What I find intriguing about this book is that there’s no villain. There’...moreOriginally posted in WordPress.
Here's an interesting tidbit from the author: What I find intriguing about this book is that there’s no villain. There’s no power struggle between ambitious individuals. It’s all about man vs. the environment, with a healthy dose of man vs. faith.
Yay, I noticed this tidbit while reading the novel too! I kept thinking to myself that it was very interesting that there was no villain to this story. The novel revolves around complex characters, their beliefs, how their lives are all intertwined and how they deal with a world that is rapidly changing. I liked the contrast between the deposed Archangel Delilah: dark, vibrant, and outgoing and her replacement Alleluia (nicknamed Alleya): blonde, reserved and not much of a people person. Delilah has a striking and lovely voice and she has the kind of personality that naturally draws people to her. Alleya, on the other hand, is shy and quiet. The whole land was surprised when the god chose her to replace Delilah and she struggles to give her best in her role as Archangel even though she never wanted to be one. Alleya would much rather have her nose buried inside a book than have political dealings with the influential people of Samaria.
Also included in the fascinating mix of characters are best friends and scientists Caleb and Noah. Although it is set in the same world as Archangel, Samaria is now on the brink of an industrial revolution. Both Caleb and Noah are inventors with their own specializations. It was interesting to note that in a land full of believers, Caleb is a self-proclaimed atheist. He thinks that science has more power over faith and there isn't enough proof in the world for religion. Like Archangel, there's a lot of theology thrown in this book but it never becomes overwhelming. I liked Caleb and his insatiable thirst for knowledge and how he can focus on one problem until he arrives at a solution. I know it's not obvious based on my blog but I was an electronics engineering major back in college (I never practiced and now know next to nothing about the field) so I can somewhat relate to Caleb's interest in science. I really enjoyed reading about this world and this set of characters and I can just imagine that the rest of the books in the series will be just as wonderful. I wasn't expecting what happened in the ending but I loved how it all worked out. I think it was just perfect. (less)
I have to say that the cover for this book is just beautiful. Maggie Stiefvater has been lucky in the cover department. Her thr...moreOriginally posted here.
I have to say that the cover for this book is just beautiful. Maggie Stiefvater has been lucky in the cover department. Her three books have simple covers which are nonetheless lovely and fit the content of each book. I'm sure there are people out there who bought her books based on those covers. I was in the middle of reading another book for one of my Goodreads groups' monthly discussions when I checked out Shiver. I was only supposed to read a couple of chapters to get a feel of the book but the story sucked me right in and I kept reading because I wanted to know what happens next and surprise surprise, I finished the whole book. If I were asked to compare this with Lament and Ballad, I would have to say that I liked both Shiver and Lament better than Ballad. I'm starting to recognize Maggie Stiefvater's brand of writing. Her books are mostly bittersweet with a lot of longing and wanting and with characters that are trying to make the most of the present because they don't know what the future will hold.
I remember my cousin told me to read Shiver because "it's like Twilight but better and with werewolves." I can see where she's coming from because at its core, Shiver is a love story. Grace and Sam alternate in narrating the story. Grace is very independent and she takes care of herself because her parents are absent-minded people, who don't know how to take care of their child. Sam is sweet, sensitive and poetic. He loves to think in terms of song lyrics and he even made a song about Grace. I also like that under each chapter heading, the temperature is noted because it's relevant to the story - Sam's transformation is based on temperature. I'm a sucker for love stories and I really enjoyed reading Shiver. My favorite scene was when Sam and Grace were in the candy store! I would love to go to a store like that. I don't think we have anything like that here. Plus they ordered hot chocolate laced with mint, which is my absolute favorite coffee shop drink. A romantic scene inside a store full of sweets, what's not to like?
I recommend this book for urban fantasy or paranormal fans out there, I'm not really sure about the distinction. I'm definite going to read Linger but I liked where Shiver ended so I'm not in any hurry to read it. (less)
As with the other Samaria books, this one revolves around certain characters, namely Tamar, Jared and Lucinda, and their intera...moreOriginally posted here.
As with the other Samaria books, this one revolves around certain characters, namely Tamar, Jared and Lucinda, and their interactions with each other. Tamar is a feisty and fiercely determined woman, brought up by Jacobites. She has been on the run her entire life and has a hard time trusting people. On the other hand, Jared is a happy-go-lucky type of angel. Even though he's technically the leader at Monteverde, he's never been passionate about anything. Tamar and Jared are total opposites, even in their beliefs, and it was such fun to watch them get on each other's nerves because it's so obvious that they admire each other underneath all the arguments. I have to admit, Jovah comes up with the most unlikely pairs but they end up suiting each other nicely.
While all of that is happening, the angel Lucinda is having her own adventures. Lucinda was brought up by her Aunt Gretchen in an isolated island called Angel Rock. Lucinda is an interesting person because you'd expect her to be shy and reserved, having grown up in an island with a population of twenty, but she's not. She's open-minded, eager to learn new things and does not back down when she's being intimidated. At first, I kept thinking about what was Lucinda's connection to the other characters and I only realized it around the middle of the book. I was so excited to finish reading to see how it will all unfold. I'm sorry to be so vague but I don't want to mention spoilers.
The Alleluia Files is another excellent installment in the Samaria series. This series has become my favorite when it comes to books featuring angels. Although to be fair, there aren't a lot of angel books out there. I highly recommend this series to fantasy fans out there. (less)
I picked up Unwind because it was chosen as our monthly book read in one of my Goodreads groups. I think I wouldn’t have picked...moreOriginally posted here.
I picked up Unwind because it was chosen as our monthly book read in one of my Goodreads groups. I think I wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise because the premise is kind of creepy.
At first, I though it was a horror story but although the plot is a little creepy, it's not scary at all. The discussion for this book has started in my Goodreads group and a lot of us found the premise pretty hard to swallow. Unwinding supposedly was the solution that the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice camps agreed upon to end their war against each other. I can't believe how they can all think that unwinding and living in a divided state is not equal to killing. I suspended my disbelief and went on to read the story because it does tackle interesting and unusual concepts. I had high hopes for this too because the group members who've finished reading the book have given it excellent reviews. However, I was never really sucked in by story and I wasn't into it. The narrative was sloppy and a little chaotic for me, not because of the multiple points-of-view but because I felt like there wasn't enough explanations for a lot of situations. I felt like the author kept giving facts about the world he created and just expects you to grasp the concept and believe them. For example, there were several mob scenes during the climax of the book but I didn't think they were properly motivated. The last few chapters were pretty crazy and I just wanted to get it over with. I don't know, I may not be doing a good job of describing how I felt about the book but suffice it to say that I was disappointed. The concept was good but the execution was faulty.
Again, I'd like to say that maybe this book just wasn't for me and I can certainly see why other people think it's great. I'm not really into dystopian books and the ones that I ended up liking were The Hunger Games books. If you're into dystopian or if the premise looks interesting enough for you, I suggest that you give it a try. I'd love to hear what other people think of the book.
I hope the book for our June monthly reading is a lot better! So far, I've been disappointed in the past two books.(less)
I was really looking forward to reading this because I like James' character in Lament and I wanted to read more about him. Plu...moreOriginally posted here.
I was really looking forward to reading this because I like James' character in Lament and I wanted to read more about him. Plus, I was hoping to find an urban fantasy series to love in Maggie Stiefvater's books. James is pretty easy to like. He's smart, funny, a musical genius when it comes to bagpipes and he's good-looking too. Nuala is a muse, stuck in the middle of two worlds: she's too human to be completely fey but she's also too much of a faerie to be human. Ballad is the story of how these two characters are reluctantly drawn to each other. The narration of the book changes from James to Nuala, with unsent text messages from Dee (the female protagonist of Lament) to James in between chapters.
I was starting to feel bad while I was reading the first half of the book because I really wanted to like this story but I'm not a huge fan of love triangles and James was still in love with Dee. The earlier chapters were filled with so much longing and wanting. Here's a perfect quote from the book to summarize that part:
"I sat on the hill, the wind whispering through the long grass that surrounded me. I stared at the stars and wanted more than what I was and more than what the world was and just - wanted."
Well, I can certainly relate to that. I just didn't want James to feel so hopeless because he certainly deserved better. I kept urging him to move on already because he knows that Dee loves Luke. It didn't help matters that Dee kept stringing him along. I think it would've been better if they both tried to work on reviving their friendship. I'm glad that things picked up in the middle of the book when James started to let Nuala in. I enjoyed the latter part of the book much more than the first part. Both Nuala and James are interesting characters and I like how they are when they're together. By the time the climax rolls around, you'll be rooting for both of them and you'd want them to get what they desire the most.
All in all, I enjoyed reading this book enough to get the next installment in the series. Although there are still no announcements, I have a feeling that this faerie story hasn't ended.(less)
I have the edition with the red cover and it's really cute but I like the other cover as well. I love that it shows Scarlett with her blond curls, bright red lipstick and black Dior dress. I really enjoyed reading this book and I'm glad I picked it up. Thanks again for the recommendation, Michelle! I would have to agree with you that Maureen Johnson's books are a lot of fun. Scarlett is such a character. Actually, all of the Martin siblings have unique personalities. From Scarlett's older brother Spencer, who's an aspiring stage actor to her elegant and beautiful sister Lola and even her youngest sister Marlene. They lead unusual lives because they live in the New York City hotel that their family owns, the Hopewell Hotel. Even the hotel has its own personality! It's an old-fashioned hotel but was created in the twenties by a designer who later on became famous for making distinctive stage and movie sets. I'd love to stay in a hotel like that. Unfortunately, the Martin family encountered some setbacks and they're encountering financial difficulties. Only a handful of guests stay in the Hopewell and they all have to pitch in and help to keep the hotel running.
Scarlett and Spencer are really close and I liked their witty exchanges. It kind of reminded me of how Lorelei and Rory interacted in the Gilmore Girls, one of my favorite TV shows. I also can't help but like Lola because she's such a nice person. I wish I had a sister like that, I'd love to have makeovers. The book covers just one summer but so much happened in that brief span of time. I guess when actors are involved and there's a production of Hamlet to put on, things tend to get a little crazy.
If you want a light, fun read about hotels, stage productions and original characters, then this is the book for you. I will definitely pick up the sequel Scarlett Fever because I want to know what happens next to the Martins but I will probably wait for it to come out in paperback before I get it. also saw a copy of Maureen Johnson's other book, Girl at Sea and I'm thinking of getting that as well. If anyone has read it, please let me know what you think. (less)
I must say that this line "Chloe Saunders sees dead people." strongly reminded me of the movie Sixth Sense. I'm a huge baby when it comes to horror mo...moreI must say that this line "Chloe Saunders sees dead people." strongly reminded me of the movie Sixth Sense. I'm a huge baby when it comes to horror movies (or horror stories for that matter) and I don't watch/read them as much as possible. I was actually a bit scared when I read the prologue and the first few chapters of this book because it talked about ghosts but I got over it. I was really interested in the premise because I haven't read a book with a main protagonist who can see ghosts but I didn't really get into this book. I got put off by Chloe's narration and the way she kept asking questions in her mind. I get that she's confused by everything that's happening but I felt like it felt too long for her to figure things out and I had to wait before things could be revealed. That said, the latter part of the book was faster-paced that the earlier part. When I got near the end, I stayed up reading because I wanted to finish the book.
Again, this is probably just a case of "this book wasn't meant for me" because I've heard good things about it. I am curious as to what will happen next to Chloe because the book ended on a cliffhanger but it's not like I want to rush out and buy The Awakening. *sigh* I've yet to find an urban fantasy series to love. Lament, I have high hopes for you!(less)