Far more likeable and enthralling than I imagined. Having just completed a smaller scale, motor-driven, personal path out west and back, I found manyFar more likeable and enthralling than I imagined. Having just completed a smaller scale, motor-driven, personal path out west and back, I found many details, nuances and epiphanies more relatable than otherwise (much of her personal details were not relatable for me); there is no denying the warmth and spirit of Strayed's heart. Reading along with her quest was an enjoyable, touching journey that incited personal soul-searching as well as excitement in future adventuring. If you appreciate thoughtful reflection and challenging voyages, this is for you....more
See my review in the fall/winter 2015 issue of Public Art Review (issue 53). Check out www.forecastpublicart.org for info on other great public art anSee my review in the fall/winter 2015 issue of Public Art Review (issue 53). Check out www.forecastpublicart.org for info on other great public art and art books...more
Underwhelming, but an easy summer read for people who like breezy pop culture, myself included. James could have done more with the character by filliUnderwhelming, but an easy summer read for people who like breezy pop culture, myself included. James could have done more with the character by filling in his background in areas that were inaccessible the first time around but she chose to rewrite scenes readers already knew. While a few sections filled in gaps, she could have done much more with Grey.
I liked Ana less from his perspective, the ending felt abrupt, some inner monologues were awkward and strange (dare I say... eye-roll inducing?), and I was left a little disappointed, empty and unfulfilled. That finish hardly seems to align with the capabilities of this confident, skilled, hunky, beautiful frail, creepy stalker billionaire; how anti-climactic.
But, we're not expecting this to be lofty literature, right? For what it is, it is enjoyable enough....more
A lovely time-traveling romp through 18th century Scotland with a strong female lead and her dashing Scotsman. The author's prose is often poetic, theA lovely time-traveling romp through 18th century Scotland with a strong female lead and her dashing Scotsman. The author's prose is often poetic, the characters come to life, and the plotlines are interesting and varied.
While a much more enjoyable read than anticipated, I had a few problems with this book.
1. While it is not specifically homophobic, the blend of torture and evil with the only homosexual in this book is unsettling. It sends the message that homosexuality itself is wrong, rather than the character of the villain.
2. Domestic violence is justified. While it may have been normal for the era, and the author spent considerable time exploring the events surrounding Jamie "punishing" Claire, it didn't sit right with me.
3. Not necessarily bad, but notable: It felt like several books in one. This is already a long series, but loose ends kept tying up and then some new twist introduced. Stories often move that way, but it felt a bit odd. My disorientation may have been partially due to reading a digital copy, but it felt long. I kept thinking, "well, that could be the end of the first book." And then it wasn't. It's such an engaging story that I didn't mind continuing, however.
4. The author often writes in a manner that feels like she leaves out a directive/descriptive sentence. She will describe something leading up to an event, and then suddenly the characters will have moved on. These are always minor... like leaving a room... we know they are going to do it, but she doesn't actually tell us they've done it and suddenly the characters are outside. It happens several times, and it pulls the reader out of the story. I had to stop and re-read sections to make sure I didn't miss a sentence describing what had happened. it's as though she expects the reader to infer a bit too much in terms of basic events (and yet it's pleasant enough to follow along and make intellectual story leaps along with her).
5. I'm a bit torn on this one. Sex scenes and love are wonderful, but the loving and sweetness gets... I don't know, maybe a bit old? I'm a huge fan of Richelle Mead——who wrote a whole series based on a succubus——but the excess lovey-dovey scenes between Claire and Jamie grew boring at times. On the other hand, after Claire saves his life and he essentially "breaks up" with her, I was sickened. It was a little hard to believe after everything they'd gone through. Perhaps the emotional depth speaks to great writing overall, but I wasn't always happy with where the author chose to take her readers. Somebody else has probably written a review that speaks more eloquently to this aspect of the story, but it was on my mind. However, she explores well the range of Jamie's emotional responses, so even though Jamie's recovery involves an *unlikeable* series of events, the emotions feel real. As much as a time traveling book can feel real.
6. Claire wins in a hand-to-paw combat with a starving wolf? Really? That would have felt less fantastical (even in a time-traveling story!) if it hadn't been in the midst of Jamie's rescue, but I suppose the point was the ridiculousness of its timing.
7. Claire's ability to adapt to 18th century Scottish medicine. We're set up for her medical skills and botany interests in her 1940s setting, but she knows A LOT about what seem to be foreign healing methods.
The Good stuff: 1. The author's ability to turn a phrase. She paints some lovely pictures of sweet moments or beautiful scenes. It feels like 18th century Scotland. 2. Claire. Jamie. Ned Gowan. Murtagh. Various other characters. They're wonderful. 3. Jamie is so much better than Frank. Frank's ok, but there's hardly any contest, really. 4. Claire's strength and determination. 5. Exploration of emotional depths and complex feelings. 6. Good amounts of tension and page-turning anticipation. 7. The addition of a just-missed-it fellow time traveler. 8. The story is full of possibility and seeks to fulfill much of it. 9. It's just fun. 10. Some decent sex scenes. (Yes, I complained about some of the excess above, but there are some good ones). 11. The author's ability to make us suspend our disbelief. It's truly imaginative and well told. 12. Great details.
A fine end to a delightful and unexpectedly smart series with charming characters and thick plots. Thank you, Ms. Caine, for giving us a view into MorA fine end to a delightful and unexpectedly smart series with charming characters and thick plots. Thank you, Ms. Caine, for giving us a view into Morganville and the Glass house....more
I really enjoyed this installment - it's a great pickup from the last few books in the series. Shane's behavior is a little unbelievable near the end,I really enjoyed this installment - it's a great pickup from the last few books in the series. Shane's behavior is a little unbelievable near the end, but it was otherwise true to the series and a fun read....more
Re-reading as of the release of the third movie. I finished Mockingjay first, then started from the beginning to refresh on the differences between thRe-reading as of the release of the third movie. I finished Mockingjay first, then started from the beginning to refresh on the differences between the book and film versions, reviewing some of the subtleties and undertones, but imagining the movie characters. I'm enjoying these more the second time around....more
**spoiler alert** The following review covers the entire series:
I enjoyed the characters and plot line threading through the series, however, the writ**spoiler alert** The following review covers the entire series:
I enjoyed the characters and plot line threading through the series, however, the writing was often tedious and repetitive. While Raven's emotions were explored, and she grew in many ways, she somehow remained very simplistic. It is a young fantasy series and stands as a fun, easy read, but it could have been stronger and more tightly written and edited. YA can offer more complexity of feelings, choices, growth, and consequences. Characters often made the same mistakes over and over, or the same assumptions over and over. The reader is, again and again, regularly "told" rather than "shown". Sometimes a paragraph explaining an event or conversation or notion is followed by another paragraph expressing the same thing in a slightly different way, with no evolution, as if it were edited without pulling the weaker writing selection. Whereas there are some sections of writing that jump to different places or times without any indicator of change. These could be helped with a transitional sentence or even a visual rest indicator between paragraphs (like three dots, or a swirly line).
Toward the end of the final book, a part of me hoped that Raven would learn that she didn't want to turn. The only compelling reason for her to do so was that she had been born that way, and known all her life who she was. I appreciated the emphatic (repeated, repeated, repeated) lesson for readers to be true to themselves. Schreiber eloquently described Raven as a vampire in a mortal's body. However, whenever Raven made lists of reasons to be a vampire (as she often did), they usually looked fairly flimsy and overlapped, like, "being a part of the underworld" and sleeping with the other vampires in the Crypt, or, not going to school to learn subjects she didn't care about (wow, great lesson for young readers). She broaches the subject of having ambition for her life/eternity, but avoids truly exploring the consequences of her change, with regard to her birth family especially, as well as plans to fulfill her ambitions after she changes. It comes across as a very "thorough" exploration of surface issues. Though the author tries to introduce tension and urgency to the decision to change, it would have made more sense for her to wait until she were eighteen or older.
People often don't give enough credit to teenagers, but, her argument that she was seventeen and old enough to make such life altering decisions because she was *almost* old enough to vote and join the army, etc... well, that's not very convincing.
The other thread that felt poorly tied was the Trevor subplot. A part of me truly wanted to see them grow closer together. They may not have been right for one another, and yet, I almost wanted to see Alexander and Raven acknowledge their differences and part ways, allowing Raven and Trevor to Come together more. Their chemistry and banter lit up their scenes, and though he's mostly painted as a shallow jock, he's given streaks of thoughtfulness throughout the series that hint at depth. His character grows.
Also, the simplistic classification of "goths" and "jocks" etc was tiresome across 9 books.
I was also curious to read more about how one is born a vampire like the Sterlings, and why sometimes vampire families produce a mortal child. And, how is one a half-vampire, like Jameson the butler? If Raven weren't turned, could she carry a child of Alexander's that was half mortal? These topics are alluded to with regard to Alexander's grandmother, but not explored *nearly* as well as the depth of Raven's feelings for Alexander, or the lack of trustworthy virtues in the Maxwells, etc. And, what about Jameson and Ruby?
Overall the series offered an enjoyable and imaginative read, if somewhat irritating and strangely cut short....more
The characters need to work on their trust and openness with one another, and Raven sometimes makes such obviously poor decisions that I'm getting a lThe characters need to work on their trust and openness with one another, and Raven sometimes makes such obviously poor decisions that I'm getting a little tired of it, but, the twist with Phoenix raises my rating from a 2/2.5 to a 3. The plot complexity in this series has evolved a bit and it's nice to see that growth....more
2.5 stars. Entertaining, if a bit too predictable in some parts and a little too much telling rather than showing. Other books in this genre of YA are2.5 stars. Entertaining, if a bit too predictable in some parts and a little too much telling rather than showing. Other books in this genre of YA are more sophisticated. In a few parts the behavior didn't make sense (she's admittedly paranoid about a note but believes it anyway?) and overall the dialogue is often wooden, but, it's an engaging series with generally likable characters, and each book is a very easy breezy fun read....more
As an entertaining read with a sweet, spunky protagonist, this almost feels like a three star book, but it's a little too simplistic for that. Most ofAs an entertaining read with a sweet, spunky protagonist, this almost feels like a three star book, but it's a little too simplistic for that. Most of the dialogue was too stilted, and there were too many situations where we were told things rather than shown. ...more
This was a very easy read that I sped through in a little more than a day. The relationships are well explored and the photography aspect was relatablThis was a very easy read that I sped through in a little more than a day. The relationships are well explored and the photography aspect was relatable, for me. I experienced a mixed response to the ultra-orthodox Jewish culture; it was totally foreign, but interesting. Because of my lack of previous knowledge of Judaism, that content remained distant, though the author immerses her readers deep in that world. I liked this book, but didn't love it. It's worth reading by anyone intrigued with women's relationships and struggles, as well as those who appreciate Jewish culture....more