Howl's Moving Castle was a gift from Dan when he went into town and I had decided to stay home. A really lovely gesture! So when I was bumming around...moreHowl's Moving Castle was a gift from Dan when he went into town and I had decided to stay home. A really lovely gesture! So when I was bumming around complaining that I didn't know what to read and Dan said, "read Howl's Moving Castle." I did just that.
For the first chunk of the novel, it is pretty much exactly like the Studio Ghibli movie of the same name, it wasn't until a little later on when something I entirely didn't expect happened and then the events of the novel went off on a completely different tangent. I think I personally prefer the Ghibli adaptation to the novel's story of events, however, it is an absolute delight to read and I adored it all the same.
I know there are two others after this one but I honestly think Howl's Moving Castle was wrapped up well enough that you can get away with only reading the one.(less)
Claire Danvers is a smart 16 year old college freshman. When she gets on the wrong side of the dorm psycho, she knows she has to run or risk her life....moreClaire Danvers is a smart 16 year old college freshman. When she gets on the wrong side of the dorm psycho, she knows she has to run or risk her life. This is how she ends up joining the Glass House, a house of unlikely teenagers who she connects with pretty quickly. And who wouldn’t? They’re warm and welcoming, but they have secrets of their own, and Claire isn’t entirely sure what to believe when they assure her that the town is run by vampires and she would be wise to not go out in the dark without Protection, which she most definitely doesn’t have.
Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, this book was one big pleasant surprise. From the moment I saw my best friend’s Twilight-loving girlfriend* squee over them in The Works, I saw teen vampires and figured, “Oh God, another Twilight copy.” But how wrong I was! The Morganville Vampires series focuses on a group of teens trying not to get on the bad side of the vampires who run the town, and these are not tame vampires and the town is entirely corrupt, and how they fail quite miserably at it. It’s quirky, it’s fun, it’s fast-paced, and it’s even a little haunting and sad in parts, and it includes some excellent twists I did not see coming. I believe this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I loved every second of it and devoured it in a day. For those of you who know what a slow reader I am, you should know that is quite an accomplishment. It takes a lot to impress me in fiction but Glass Houses managed it and I’ve been pining desperately everytime the postman walks past for books 2 and 3 to arrive because I need more! I’m actually preparing to tackle him now..
And the characters! Oh I fell in love with all of them. Except Monica. She’s an utter psycho. And Oliver frightened me a little. But the rest were wonderful! Claire, the protagonist, is a very sympathetic character. You can’t help but feel for her. She’s always been seen as an outcast because she’s so intelligent (she’s 2 years ahead in school) and she isn’t particularly attractive either, just “average”. She comes across as being so normal and you love her for it. Little gothic Eve is adorable, even if she does quite frequently “flip off” folk who annoy her or hurt her friends, which is less adorable but pretty hilarious and she is totally lovely. Michael has his secrets, but he cares very deeply for them all and is just as funny as Shane when he’s in the mood, and oh my God, Shane! He had me in stitches, seriously, and he is such a sweetheart. He might be my favourite male romantic interest so far, or at least on par with Clayton.*
I did notice an issue with the dialogue formatting, though I’m not sure if it’s just my copy, which is an oldish second-hand copy, or something that’s actually present throughout. Sometimes somebody will be talking and then the next thing they say is on a new paragraph. As it’s still related it disjoints the flow a little. Even worse, somebody will say something, and then in the same paragraph, somebody else will say something. It was a little off-putting but not too bad and it was my only real criticism. It’s difficult to criticise a book that you can read and enjoy after 3 hours of sleep.
I recommend you give Morganville a try if you haven’t yet. You can nine times out of ten find them in The Works or charity shops, it’s always up on the Amazon Marketplace and swap sites and of course in the library, and it is definitely worth paying full price for. This is not your average teen vampire series, it has a great story with loveable characters and is thoroughly enjoyable. Though, if you don’t like cliffhangers, make sure you get hold of the next in the series.
*who by the way I am not being snide over, she is lovely! *from Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten.(less)
It’s very difficult for me to review a non-fiction book. As fantastically interesting as I find them, I struggle to think of the right things to say,...moreIt’s very difficult for me to review a non-fiction book. As fantastically interesting as I find them, I struggle to think of the right things to say, because rather than being written with a certain flow like a story would be, it is written in sections and blocks. How exactly do you review and critique fact?
For starters, if for no other reason, you should own The Jane Austen Handbook because it’s beautiful. From the very simple but lovely cover design1 to the lovingly drawn line drawings by Kathryn Rathke speckled throughout the book, its’ design is a very subtle beauty. Along with these and the burgundy colours used, the style creates an elegant atmosphere which is reminiscent of the Regency era.
The book itself reads like a guidebook on life skills for the high class lady, with such guides as: how to become an accomplished lady, how to plan a dinner party, how to dress, how to attend a ball, how to elope to Scotland, and many many more valuable life lessons. Sullivan’s writing style is so flawless that you sometimes forget that you aren’t a member of the early 18th century gentry. The quotes included in every chapter from Austen’s stories may helpfully remind you, however, and they also keep the book firmly as a handbook to Austen’s world and not just any old Regency history book. As well as teaching you how to be a lady, there are interesting facts throughout about Austen’s life, and the other kinds of people that lived through this period. There is also a mini-Austen biography at the back, as well as a very helpful glossary, information about her books, and the various contemporary adaptations and a brilliant list of resources.
The Jane Austen Handbook is a great book for new and old fans of Jane Austen alike, and even if you aren’t much of an Austen fan, it is a very interesting book about the ways and customs of high society in Regency England. You will enjoy familiarising yourself with the time period, and if you’re already familiar with it then it is still a good companion book to own.(less)
I didn't even have to think about the rating for this one. I haven't been this hooked on a book since I read Harry Potter and that was a fair few year...moreI didn't even have to think about the rating for this one. I haven't been this hooked on a book since I read Harry Potter and that was a fair few years ago. The Final Empire has easily moved up to being my favourite book. It wasn't perfect, of course, but it was enjoyable.
Brandon Sanderson weaves between the characters Kelsier and Vin, building them up so well that you do become quite emotionally invested. If a book can make you laugh and cry and frown and smile and all of those things with the turnings of the story, it is a good book. This one did exactly that.
I found that I worked a few things out fairly early on, but the story's twists and turns constantly proved me wrong and left me surprised. Another brilliant feat for a good book. The ending itself was really one of those kick yourself moments, but my god I was shocked by it.
I love the characters in this story. Sazed the Terrisman steward is absolutely fantastic (and oddly reminded me of Iggy from Ergo Proxy). Vin is an amazing female lead, and Kelsier is a loveable male protagonist. The world building in this novel left me able to imagine exactly how everything must look in quite some detail without leaving me bored. I love the mists, and the ashfalls, and the way "magic" works in Mistborn.
Sanderson has set us up well for a good trilogy, leaving a fair few things open, whilst ending the book well enough to not be too annoying a cliffhanger. I'm officially a fangirl - without all the creepy obsessiveness.(less)