The flowery writing missed the mark a lot, the pace was slooooow, the MC was obnoxious and didn't seem to care all that muchJust really, really 'meh.'
The flowery writing missed the mark a lot, the pace was slooooow, the MC was obnoxious and didn't seem to care all that much for the safety of her boyfriend -- ahem, he's going to be CROSSING THE BERLIN WALL for you. It's a little selfish to constantly moan about how he hasn't done it yet and seems reluctant to do so (!!!). Even if my adorable, sexy, loving boyfriend was waiting for me on the other side of a terrifying wall I could very well die crossing, I would be extremely cautious and hesitant and I would expect him to freaking understand that. Jeez.
All that said, there was a subplot I really enjoyed and most of the characters were great, and there was one amazing, memorable scene (view spoiler)[the scene where Savas hid in the daycare at night... that was mesmerizing (hide spoiler)]. So yeah. 3 stars seems about fair.
ETA: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this. The chapters from Ada's POV were in first person, the chapters from Stefan's POV were in second person. I'm not an automatic hater of second person, and here it mostly was okay, but there were two quick instances near the end of the book where the "you"s turned into "me"s. It threw me for a loop. I had a mini-heart attack, thinking the second person narrator was going to be revealed as another character or something, but nope, it seems that it was just an error in editing. That pissed me off!!! That should definitely have been caught in ARC stage, at the latest.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Torn. Very torn. Everything was kind of meh, but I enjoyed it enough to be looking forward to the sequel? I think I mostly just like any book with anyTorn. Very torn. Everything was kind of meh, but I enjoyed it enough to be looking forward to the sequel? I think I mostly just like any book with anything to do with the 1930s/WWII....more
I first read this book when I was 13, almost ten years ago now (holy crap). A handful of years ago, I went to a clearing-out sale at a local bookstoreI first read this book when I was 13, almost ten years ago now (holy crap). A handful of years ago, I went to a clearing-out sale at a local bookstore that was closing its doors, and I spotted A Northern Light in the YA section. I didn't remember much about it, other than that I really enjoyed it. So I purchased it then and it languished in my TBR pile for a couple years before I finally picked it up.
When I consider the novel's plot on its own, I sort of think it's a bit jumbled. There's the story of Mattie Gokey, a young girl growing up under a lot of hardship and trying to forge her own way in a world that severely restricts her. There's the subplot of Grace Brown, the girl staying at the hotel Mattie works at who gives Mattie her letters to burn, who later turns up dead. There's the subplot of Mattie's relationship with her neighbours, coworkers, and teacher. There's a racism subplot. There's just so much packed into this book that when you objectively look at the list of subjects it covers, you'd think it's too much. You'd think Jennifer Donnelly was trying to throw it all in with the kitchen sink.
But taken all together, and with all the heart and soul and love and truth in the story, it all works. It all works pretty seamlessly. I felt so much for Mattie, and it's sad to say that her conflict between getting married and having a family versus going away to college and becoming an educated, literary woman still resonates today. Maybe not to the same extent, but I've definitely felt the push and pull of this life versus that life. Women still have limitations placed against them that men don't have to face. Women still have to make sacrifices and feel such tremendous guilt over those same sacrifices. The world often forces so much on women and then makes them feel guilty for choosing to do anything for themselves, rather than for someone else. It's maddening.
This whole story makes me thank God for birth control, honestly. The advent of the pill helped women so, so much in their struggle for independence. Thanks to birth control, we have choices. I'm so thankful for that. So thankful to be able to lead the life I want to.
Three stars feels too low but four stars feels too high. The ending really brought this around for me but I felt kind of detached through most of it.Three stars feels too low but four stars feels too high. The ending really brought this around for me but I felt kind of detached through most of it. I appreciate the grittiness, how no character is a glittering angel and everyone can be kind of a dick, but I don't know. Didn't click with me 100%. I'd still recommend it, though....more
The pace for the first 3/4 of this was slow, but I knew Cat Clarke would deliver a mind-blowing, stellar ending. I wasn't wrong. If you can stick withThe pace for the first 3/4 of this was slow, but I knew Cat Clarke would deliver a mind-blowing, stellar ending. I wasn't wrong. If you can stick with the beginning, know that there is awesomeness in the ending!...more
This review contains spoilers for anyone who doesn't know basic Tudor history
Reading about history can be dull. I don't mean dull in a this-textbook-iThis review contains spoilers for anyone who doesn't know basic Tudor history
Reading about history can be dull. I don't mean dull in a this-textbook-is-literally-putting-me-to-sleep, I-am-having-a-fabulous-dream-about-dinosaurs-right-now kind of way, not for me. I love history in every way, shape, and form, whether that's a textbook or a documentary or actually visiting historical monuments and buildings and walking where famed royalty walked hundreds of years ago.
The kind of "dull" I mean is in an emotional sense. It's one thing to read the words "Anne Boleyn was beheaded in 1536." It's a step closer to real when you visit the Tower of London and walk on the Tower Green, where Anne's execution actually happened. But you're always one step removed.
And then Katherine Longshore's books step in and actually transport you through space, time, and emotional distance until you're actually there.
BRAZEN is probably the weakest of Longshore's three Tudor novels in a lot of ways -- it's long, the plot meanders a bit, there are a lot of scenes that could probably have been cut -- but I don't care about all that. This is a book that told me so many things I knew before, but showed me other sides of historical events I thought I knew all about, to the point where everything felt fresh and real and utterly human. This is a book that showed me Anne's execution, showed me all the details I even knew had happened -- how her ladies helped her removed her hood, how she took off her necklace, how she prayed and didn't realize the sword was falling when it was -- but showed them in a way that impacted me more than any history book or tour guide ever could. Because Katherine Longshore doesn't just show you the facts, she shows you the humans. You know Anne as a person and her death affects you because you know her. You know Henry FitzRoy dies young, and yet you pray for history to rewrite itself because he and Mary are 4ever, goddamn it.
Ahh. Anyway. Read this book. Read all Longshore's books. They are the real thing.
OMG OMG OMG ANOTHER KATHERINE LONGSHORE TUDOR BOOK.
This woman is on my must-buy list.
BRAZEN. Yet another perfect title. And GAH the plot sounds amazing. I was always curious about Henry Fitzroy, so I'm excited to learn more about him. This sounds great!!!...more
Oh, OPEN ROAD SUMMER, I am so conflicted over you. My feelings went from super-stoked-ecstatic to yay-smiley-face to oh-dear-god-WHY. And bounced backOh, OPEN ROAD SUMMER, I am so conflicted over you. My feelings went from super-stoked-ecstatic to yay-smiley-face to oh-dear-god-WHY. And bounced back and forth between all three for most of the read.
First, you bowled me over with your premise: Taylor Swift's best friend tags along on her summer tour. Great idea. So fun, so summery. It promised a great summery atmosphere, like Sarah Dessen's books, paired with an awesome female friendship, which I've been craving in my reading ever since Code Name Verity.
But it was not really to be. Reagan and Dee's friendship in this book was only so-so. I never REALLY felt the love. Oh, sure, Reagan told me all about it, but I never really felt it. That's the problem with so much of this book. Reagan can tell, tell, tell all she wants, but it's not going to convince me unless I actually see and feel everything that's happening.
That was the main detractor for me, along with the slut-shaming. My god, what did any of the poor women in this book ever do to you, Reagan?!
There's one scene, in a club, where the soon-to-be boyfriend of the MC, Reagan, is playing a set in a club, and Reagan goes from nicely describing the surroundings and Matt's performance, to spewing vitriolic, uncalled-for venom about the other girls in the club, who -- I will explicitly point out -- are doing nothing that Reagan isn't doing herself. Checking out Matt? Check. Looking dolled-up and hot? Check. Adjusting their shirts for maximum cleavage? Check, check, check, and that is the exact thing that Reagan does moments after sneering at other girls for doing it. Wtf? Reagan hates on Dee's publicist, Lissa, for doing nothing more than her job, and later hates on Corinne, Matt's female best friend, for no real reason other than she thinks she's trying to steal Matt. (view spoiler)[And when that exact thing happened, in the final 50-ish pages, I just groaned aloud and wanted to throw book against wall. Did that HAVE to be a thing? (hide spoiler)]
Anyway. Fun premise, and Reagan's family was cute, but not much else in this book to recommend it.
In places I thought it was too long and the pace dragged... but the relationships redeemed it. The portrayal of Anne (which rang so, so true to me) reIn places I thought it was too long and the pace dragged... but the relationships redeemed it. The portrayal of Anne (which rang so, so true to me) redeemed it. Thomas Wyatt and his poetry redeemed it. And most of all, the happiness and optimism tinted with impending doom at the end redeemed it. A happy ending, but thinking back on history and what eventually befalls Anne Boleyn... it was chilling....more