My review of this book is really more of a story. I don’t come from a family of readers. Sure theThis review originally posted at More Than Just Magic
My review of this book is really more of a story. I don’t come from a family of readers. Sure they pick up the odd book to flip through before bed or when they’re on vacation but they are never as excited about books as I am. The Midwife of Venice may have changed all that. In just over a month it feels like every member of my family has read and loved this book and I get weekly requests for the sequel.
It’s not a huge surprise – it’s an incredibly captivating tale and once you start reading it, you have a hard time putting it down. It is the story of Hannah Levi a midwife in the Jewish ghetto in 1575. It’s a dangerous time to be Jewish, always being considered second class in a Christian dominated system. But when a rich Christan man comes to her, desperate for someone to help deliver his child, she cant resist. Even if it could be disastrous for her entire ghetto. Though I flew through this book I grew so attached to Hannah during the time I spent reading. I admired her spirit and her ability to keep going, even when things are looking desperate/hopeless. Even though her main motivation was to earn enough money to free her husband, that doesn’t detract from her bravery and selflessness. She puts herself in harms way over and over to help a poor woman in labour and to protect a child that isn’t even her own.
Just like the rest of my family I am eager to read the sequel – The Harem Midwife – I can’t wait to see what Hannah and her husband do next....more
Kate Kane has returned to Gotham and has picked up the mantle of Batwoman. Though she attracts the attention of Batman, Gotham PD and a certain government agency she generally keeps to herself. This is what initially drew me to the character. She’s part of the Bat-family, but she isn’t as fully integrated as other characters like Batgirl or Robin. She’s her own person and she fights crime to the beat of her own drum. You can feel like you’re reading a Bat book but also feel like you’re reading something new and exciting.
Kate Kane is a fascinating character. She’s struggling with a lot of personal demons - her departure from West Point, family tensions, her potential partnership with her cousin Flamebird, a new love interest and her new role as a masked vigilante. I liked that she was a flawed character, but in ways you could relate to. I’ve never really been able to relate to billionaire Bruce Wayne. Though also from a wealthy family, Kate Kane feels more like a real person, in my opinion.
Though this is a New 52 title, I didn’t find it completely new reader friendly. I was unfamiliar with the character when I picked it up and I was left with a lot of questions when I was done reading. There are a lot of references to previous events or characters - like Renee Montoya. I have since read up on the character in preparation for the next volume but I’m not sure all readers would be willing to make the effort. Another thing that sets Batwoman apart from other Bat-titles is that there is more of a supernatural element to it. I thought this was a good twist and made for an overall spooky tone. I felt like the story wasn’t as fleshed out as it could have been but overall it wasn’t a bad concept.
Probably the number one reason to read this title is the art. This book/series is the master of the double page spread. Seriously so many gorgeous pages that were a total feast for your eyes. This is some of the nicest art I have seen in a superhero comic. Unique colours, unconventional panels. Seriously, you could read this book for the art alone ...more
A really fun and dark Batman read - although fairly predictable. I loved the sketchy, hurried look of the artwork, especially the sharp angles on theA really fun and dark Batman read - although fairly predictable. I loved the sketchy, hurried look of the artwork, especially the sharp angles on the joker and other villains. Made them look especially sinister. ...more
Really liked the premise of this one. I like how Catwoman walks that line between a "bad guy" and being someone who genuinely like. I also liked the cReally liked the premise of this one. I like how Catwoman walks that line between a "bad guy" and being someone who genuinely like. I also liked the colour/style of the art
However I wish that art was used to depict more than Catwoman half naked or an awkward sex scene with Batman. I wanted to like her but the story and art kept suggesting she was ridiculous. Definitely not one of the stronger new 52 titles. ...more
Why did it take me a year to finally get to this book? It is an absolutely amazing, incredibly well written, posOriginally reviewed at Hooked on Books
Why did it take me a year to finally get to this book? It is an absolutely amazing, incredibly well written, post-apocalyptic tale.
I know it's incredibly trendy to compare everything to the Hunger Games and I know how annoying it can be when those comparisons fall flat. But this is truly one book that really felt similar in style and theme to Suzanne Collins' series. The stories are incredibly different, but they explore similar issues and both writers have an incredible knack for character development.
I really loved hearing about all the different characters in this book. Each one was incredibly rich and fleshed out. At times it felt like I knew some of them personally. Characters really make or break a book for me, and these characters are everything you could ask for and more. I loved Violet, Jenny, Marcus and Jackson. They were such a regular family, living in such an irregular time. It made me happy to think there could be people like that in the very plausible future Jeff Hirsch sets this book in. I was also incredibly impressed with the amount of emotion (in particular anger) I could feel for a character that is never officially introduced - Stephen's grandfather. Bravo Jeff Hirsch. Bravo.
For me, one of the key themes of The Eleventh Plague was responsibility. Stephen's responsibility to his father and their survival, the responsibility of the community to take care of one another, the responsibility to be a better person than the world around you expects you to be. I think this was an incredibly interesting approach to this story, and it really made me take pause and think about what was going on, and how I would react in similar situations.
Final recommendations: A brilliantly executed book. One that I recommended strongly to both male and female teens AND fans of The Hunger Games.
Notes on the Audio Dan Bittner did a fantastic job with this book. All the voices were clear and easy to understand. Everyone sounded like the right age - which is pretty impressive considering there is a huge range of ages in this book, from young teenagers, right up to senior citizens. He also nailed the energy needed for this story. He was subdued when needed, and exciting and/or anxious when the tone would fluctuate. I would happily listen to his narration again. ...more
The Girl in the Box was a book that wasn't even on my radar before I was contacted by the author. ButOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
The Girl in the Box was a book that wasn't even on my radar before I was contacted by the author. But the promise of mystery, references to Guatemala and a mostly Canadian setting, made me sit up and pay attention.
Dropping you right into the heat of Guatemala, Sheila Dalton proves from the first few pages that she has an incredible eye for detail. The story moves around to a number of diverse locations, but Dalton handles them all beautifully, adding in small details which really enhance the imagery. From the sweltering heat of Guatemala, to the frozen wasteland of Northern Newfoundland, I constantly found myself being sucked into her settings.
I also found the mystery within The Girl in the Box to be well plotted and paced. I felt the same level of adrenaline pretty much from beginning to end. I was also in a pretty solid state of suspense for most of the book. I had no idea what to come or what the answer to the big mystery would be. Despite the fact that I am constantly guessing what the ending will be when I read a mystery I don't really want to know. I like the surprise at the end and so I was happy to find this book quite unpredictable.
Finally, I want to mention this book is told from multiple points of view and the story doesn't move along in an exact linear time line. I felt this was a gutsy move to use this method but it definitely paid off. The shifting timeline helped add to the suspense and the multiple POVs allowed for a really well rounded story, where very little was left up in the air. Yay for no loose ends!
I get ridiculously happy when I can recommend Canadian fiction. What can I say? I'm a proud Canadian. I know that we've got some AMAZING writers here and I love being able to share that knowledge with the world. The Girl in the Box has definitely been added to my list of great Canadian fiction and I will definitely be reading more work from Sheila Dalton in the future. ...more
There's a lot of interesting things explored in this book and I appreciated how frank Kody Keplinger regarding teens and sex.
However, I ultimately foThere's a lot of interesting things explored in this book and I appreciated how frank Kody Keplinger regarding teens and sex.
However, I ultimately found the characters a bit too much. I really don't think these teens were given enough credit. I honestly believe most teens are smarter than the characters in this book. And the dialogue would often make me cringe.
The exception to this was Chloe. I found her funny and refreshing. There was something very honest about her and I think I connected with her the best. I'm not saying every teen (or even a lot of teens) are like her but she was the one character that felt very real to me.
All in all not a horrible book but not fantastic either. If you're already a big fan of YA contemporary than I say go for it, but if it's not a genre you usually partake in I would pass on it. ...more
A gruesome and disturbing horror story, The Night Strangers will stay with you long after you've finished it.
The novel is made up of two intertwining horror stories. That of Chip's internal struggle with the guilt over the plane crash and that of the mysterious group of "herbalists" and their obsession with Chip and Emily's twin daughters. Personally, I was particularly drawn to Chip's struggle. There were times I was literally on the edge of my seat, biting my nails down to the quick.
I found the herbalists story a little more difficult to follow and the characterization felt a bit off. More than a few times it was difficult to keep the motivations of the members straight and there was a lot of arguing amongst the group that I found rather distracting. Furthermore, I had trouble connection the two stories together. I think both would have worked independently of one another so it seemed strange that they were both smushed together.
For the most part this is a really well organized and well paced horror story. It's one I recommend if you're in the mood for a spooky and unique read. No mater where or when you read it, The Night Strangers is sure to leave you with goosebumps from beginning to end.
Notes on the Audio An excellent audio performance from both Alison Fraser and Mark Bramhall. Mark has that perfect deep yet soft voice that is a must for any sort of horror story. It just added that extra level of suspense to an already creepy novel. I really loved Alison's narration as well. Often times I find, when narrators are required to perform both adults and children, there is always one that is lacking. Alison, however, perfectly captured both the adult female voices and those of the twin girls. I would happily listen to both of these narrators again....more
Unfortunately have to mark this DNF (at least for now). It took me forever to even get to the halfway point and that was with me forcing myself to keeUnfortunately have to mark this DNF (at least for now). It took me forever to even get to the halfway point and that was with me forcing myself to keep reading.
The premise started out fantastic but it just became so rambling and repetitive I wasn't enjoying the books anymore. And now it's been so long since I've picked it up I would have to start again from the beginning to remember all of what's happen.
Will try to revisit it one day when I'm in a better frame of mind. ...more
I grew up loving Sherlock Holmes and all his adventures. I still remember when my uncle gave a beautiful forest grOriginally posted at Hooked on Books
I grew up loving Sherlock Holmes and all his adventures. I still remember when my uncle gave a beautiful forest green edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles for Christmas one year. I read that book more times then I can remember and no matter how many times I read it, the story was always amazing.
Needless to say this meant there was quite a bit of pressure on House of Silk. Will it be as good as the originals? Will he get Holmes right? Will the mystery give me the same sense of excitement that it did when I was a teenager.
Happily, the answer to all these questions was yes! The thing that stood out the most was the prose itself. From the very first chapter I felt like I was reading just another Sherlock Holmes story. Anthony Horowitz hit the nail on the head in turns of language and turn of phrase. And because the prose felt right, it was so easy to fall into the story and get caught up in the mystery.
Once I was further into the story I was able to appreciate the excellent plotting. Like every great Sherlock Holmes tale, the story starts off slow. A simple mystery, one that Holmes jumps into after only a few minutes of observation. As he learns more, however, the mystery unravels in unpredictable layers, bringing it finally to it's dramatic and exciting conclusion. Nothing is rushed and nothing feels forced. The one thing that really sets House of Silk's mystery apart for me, however, was that it felt more complex and more detailed than the originals. This is partially because it's a novel instead of a short story, but in addition credit definitely needs to be given to Horowitz for his creative and unique thinking.
If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan you definitely don't want to pass on House of Silk. You'll appreciate the mystery, the prose and the wonderful story telling. You'll also love the nods to other Holmes tale - I loved the references to the red headed league and the appearance of Mycroft myself! Normally I don't like when writers try to build off the classics, but in this case I definitely give Anthony Horowitz my seal of approval!...more
This book starts out with a bang! Rod Rees is a writer that knows how to get your attention. TypicallyThis review originally posted at Hooked on Books
This book starts out with a bang! Rod Rees is a writer that knows how to get your attention. Typically it takes me until about 1/4 of the way through a book to really get obsessed with the story. With The Demi Monde it happened with in a couple of pages. I was almost compulsively flipping pages trying to figure out what was going to happen next and how all the pieces fit together.
Besides the initial action and excitement I loved how inventive the story was. You may have noticed that at the top of this post I had a little trouble determining the exact genre of the novel. It was a brilliant mash up of steampunk, fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction. It combined all the things I loved about all those genres into one amazing package. There is some major world building skills going on here. Rod Rees has essentially created a world within a world (the Demi Monde) and within that world he has created a series of other worlds. We only get to see one or two of them in great detail, but this is the first in a series so I'm hoping the rest will get explored later on!
Finally, if it wasn't enough that this novel had great action, amazing detail and is an example of genre bending at its finest, it also has some great characters. Some were completely original and innovative and I got completely enthralled by then and others were really neat imagining of real historical figures. These historical characters, are primarily made up of sociopaths making the story reach some crazy heights and putting the other characters through some incredibly intense ordeals.
This is a hefty book and you shouldn't count on it being a quick read. But in all honesty you don't want it to be a quick read. You want it to last, you want to savour every last chapter, scene, moment, snippet of dialogue. It's just that good. If you like science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, historical fiction or just a really well constructed story then I highly recommend you add this book to your list....more
It seems like forever ago that I read Pride and Prejudice and my memory of it was a little fuzzy. ThanOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
It seems like forever ago that I read Pride and Prejudice and my memory of it was a little fuzzy. Thankfully P.D. James gives a nice little recap right at the start of this novel, which goes over the main events of the classic novel and catches you up to where Death Comes to Pemberley begins. I thought this was a nice touch, because I'm sure I'm not the only one who was intrigued by this book even though they hadn't read Pride & Prejudice in awhile.
Now in terms of the actual story itself...it felt very, well, Victorian. The language had that slow moving, detailed air to it and you had to wade through a pile of social customs and mannerisms to get to the actual plot. I know a TON of people who love Victorian novels and would have no issue with the style of this book, but for me it just seemed to drag the book on. I like my mysteries to be fast paced and kind of gritty, so this really wasn't my kind of book and as a result I just couldn't get into the way I wanted to.
I personally found Death Comes to Pemberley a little slow, with no major twists but but it did have some nice prose and an overall well put together narrative. I don't want to give this book a bad review, because I don't think it was a bad book. It just wasn't for me. If you're a fan of Pride and Prejudice, or of more “cozy” mysteries I think you're really going to enjoy it. If you're not a fan of Pride and Prejudice (or you're indifferent to it) this may not be the right choice for you....more
This is by far the cutest book I have ever read. The story is sweet, compassionate and it'll warm your heart. ItOriginally reviewed at Hooked on Books
This is by far the cutest book I have ever read. The story is sweet, compassionate and it'll warm your heart. It was so cute I just want to cuddle with it.
There were so many things I enjoyed about this novel. But the best by far were the characters. Evan and Lucy are interesting, they're funny, they have depth and throughout the book they really grow as characters. Lucy especially was my favourite, she may have been scared and vulnerable but she was tough and you knew no matter what happened she was going to make it through. She was definitely the character that made me feel the most – I was happy for her, proud of her, disappointed by her. It was a roller coaster ride of a relationship but it may the connection between us that much stronger.
In addition to the characters I loved the animation that went along with the story. Especially the short comic strips at the end of the chapters. I really thought they enhanced the story and gave us a little more insight into the characters and their motivations. Also a lot of the drawing were incredibly creative and funny. It was a nice touch and added a unique element to your traditional contemporary novel.
This was a wonderful story and it really made me smile. It was a coming of age story but it didn't beat you over the head with strong moral overtones or an overly obvious message. Instead it just wrapped you up in an incredibly sweet story between two people who are just trying to figure out who they are and who they want to become....more
I love the Harlequin Teen imprint. They put out quality books and with few exceptions I have loved eveOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
I love the Harlequin Teen imprint. They put out quality books and with few exceptions I have loved every single one that I've read from them. Unfortunately On a Dark Wing was one of those exceptions. I found it incredibly difficult to get into this book. The pacing goes from crawling to jumping around way too quickly. There doesn't seem to be a happy medium. Things got even more disruptive with the constant point-of-view shifting. I'm all for having different points of view within the same novel, but when they shift multiple times, within the same chapter, it can make the story feel a little ragged and at times disjointed.
The second half of this novel is significantly better, but it felt like too little too late. By the time I got to this part I had already been struggling pretty significantly with what exactly was going on and was having a hard time connecting with the majority of the characters. Particularly Abby. I found her to be overly egotistical and one dimensional. Considering that most of the novels hinges on the fact that her mother died in a horrific car crash, it seemed strange that I couldn't feel any sort of sympathetic feelings towards her.
I will say, however, that I loved the scenes with Nate on Denali. These moments really stood out for me as they were filled with real emotion, real conflict and kept me hanging on to see what happened next. I think I would have been happy with the entire novel just being Nate's experience climbing Denali. But alas is was not to be. I feel bad that I didn't like this titles as much as other Harlequin Teen books, but unfortunately they can't all be winners....more
I love when I get wowed by Canadian fiction, especially Canadian fiction froOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books Christa's Hooked on Books
I love when I get wowed by Canadian fiction, especially Canadian fiction from an indie press. There is some great stuff out there folks! Don't let it pass you by!
To be quiet honest for the first quarter I had hard time really getting into this story. This is partially because the opening is a bit slow, but it was probably of combination of things, including that I started this book right in the middle of NaNoWriMo. Don't do that to this book people, it deserves your full attention. Once NaNo was over and I could devote my full attention to this book I realized how beautiful and complex it really was.
Maya is an amazing character. It's going to sound weird but she's incredibly strong, but at the same time incredibly vulnerable. She is for the most part alone, forced to fend for herself and deal with all the problems life throws her way. But she's a survivor. She keeps pushing through even though it would be much easier to lie down and give up. I completely admire her. I couldn't imagine being in her situation. Her dad sucks, her mom's dead, she has little to no friends, and she can hear people's thoughts. I don't think I would handle all that nearly as well as she does.
Girl in Shades is a whirlwind of a coming of age story. It follows Maya through challenge after challenge but never feels overdone or cheesy. In a sea of coming of age stories, it also manages to feel fresh and original. It has twists and turns that surprised and impressed me. Allison Baggio has told an incredible and layered story and I can't wait to see what she writes next....more
I almost let this book slip me by. If it wasn't for the admiration of Wendy of Mocha Latte Reads and Brenna of Ever After Esther I honestly don't think I would have given it a second thought. Thankfully, however, I did listen and bumped this book up my TBR. I devoured it in only two days and thoroughly enjoyed it. I never thought a book about aliens would surprise me so much.
The main reason I was addicted to this story was the will-they-won't-they relationship between Daemon and Katy. Daemon is a huge jerk and he drove me crazy. Mix that with Katy's strong, independent personality and you have a pretty good recipe for some epic disagreements. But amongst those disagreements there's a smidgen of chemistry between Daemon and Katy and there are some incredibly steamy scenes as they try and work it out. Seriously, they are steamy. There may have been some times where I had to stop and fan myself.
If for no other reason, you should read the book for those steamy scenes. The story itself is interesting, but nothing about it really wowed me. In many ways it reminded me of I Am Number Four, but from the female perspective. I don't mean to say that story was bad or poorly written, it just wasn't great either. Obsidian is the beginning of what I predict will be an interesting series and despite it's drawbacks I can't wait for the next one – I need more Daemon and Katy! ...more
From the first few pages, Dark Inside had me hooked. I knew that I was in for one creepy read.
Dark Inside takes you right into the heart of what can only be described as the apocalypse. It doesn't explain the world afterwards or how people moved on with their lives. It simply focuses on what is going on and what lengths people go to in order to survive. It's dark and it's gritty and it doesn't shy away from the gruesome things that may occur. Dark evil force aside, everything in this book seemed very believable. I was shocked, I was disgusted, I was on the edge of my seat. There were so many moments that had me holding my breath and peering out from behind my fingers. I love when a book can get me that consumed in a story.
I have just one complaint and it's a very very small one. I found the ending slightly rushed and a little anti-climatic. I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but it just didn't match what I had planned in my head. This is probably my own fault more than anyone else's. Let me stress, there was nothing wrong with the ending. It suited the story and brought together all the storylines but it just didn't give me the satisfaction I wanted.
This book is one that will be interesting for young adult and adult readers alike (but be warned there is quite a bit of violence). If you like adventure stories, that also touch on questions of humanity than make sure you add this book to your TBR pile. It's thoughtful and realistic and more than once it scared the pants off me. ...more
Legend is the beginning of a new dystopian series. If you know me at all you know I LOVE dystopia andOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
Legend is the beginning of a new dystopian series. If you know me at all you know I LOVE dystopia and was so excited when I heard there was a new series coming out this November. There's been so many dystopian novels recently, however, you never know if it's going to be more of the same old, same old. Thankfully Legend was an action packed adventure, with plenty of unique twists and developments.
The main thing I really like about Legend was the way the traditional gender roles were reversed. I usually find young adult dystopian fiction centers around a strong female character who is generally poor or disadvantaged by the current society. If there's a love interest, he's usually more well off and more integrated into the system. In this novel, however, it is a male character (Day) who is outcast from society and its the female character (June) who is a soldier for the oppressive government.
Even though I enjoyed this book there were still a few problems I had with it. I had a few question about the nature of this society and how it got the way it was. Particularly how did the Republic and the Colonies get divided up? Was it just random chance which side you lived on? And what exactly did the Trials consist of? These questions didn't ruin my overall enjoyment of the book but they were a little distracting.
I was also unhappy with a certain design feature within the book. The book alternates point-of-view between June and Day. When it's June's chapters the text is a normal, black font. When it's Day's chapters, however, the font switches to a light gold colour. I found this very distracting and hard to read, and if the story wasn't so good it would have been enough for me to abandon the book all together. My copy is the advanced copy, however, so it's possible it may be different in the finished version. We'll have to wait and see.(* I have been told that the finished copy will have a much darker gold font for Day's chapters. Yay!*)
Despite these small issues I can honestly say that in the flooded market of young adult dystopian Legend manages to hold its own. It's filled with action, excitement and some interesting characters. From the moment I picked it up I couldn't put it down! I look forward to seeing where Marie Lu takes this series next....more
This was my first mermaid book and I've got to say it was exactly what I expected. That's not a bad thOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
This was my first mermaid book and I've got to say it was exactly what I expected. That's not a bad thing by any means. I expected it to be a bit whimsical, to draw on traditional fantasy tropes and to remind me of the Little Mermaid. These were all things I was looking forward to and were happy to see woven into the story.
In addition to all the expected elements of Between the Sea and Sky there were also a few things I wasn't expecting. For starters the love story. Instead on being between two merpeople, or a mermaid and a human, it was between a mermaid and winged boy. Definitely wasn't expecting that one. Esmerine and Alander's relationship was so sweet and caring – they had been friends since childhood and developed feelings from there. This felt significantly more realistic than the insta-love I'm used to seeing in other, similar novels.
Now despite all the pleasent features of this novel there were a few things that disappointed me. To start of with, there's really not a lot of depth to the story. The plot is fairly basic. This book is listed as a young adult title, but it reads more like middle grade. There's nothing wrong with middle grade, some of my favourite stories are from that category. It's just a little disappointing when you were set up to expect something different. I also wasn't a huge fan of the dialogue. It felt forced and choppy. At times it could get a little distracting and take me right out of the story.
If you're looking for a cute, easy to read fairytale, than Between the Sea and Sky is a great pick for you. There's a lot of great things about this book and it was fun to read. However, if you're looking for a more action/adventure filled fantasy tale this one might disappoint you. In my opinion this book is going to have a very specific audience that enjoy it immesenly, which is totally fine! Not every book can appeal to all people at any time....more
I love all things Sherlock Holmes so I jumped at the chance to read and review this book. If you havenOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
I love all things Sherlock Holmes so I jumped at the chance to read and review this book. If you haven't read the other four books don't worry! This was my first one and I had no trouble getting into the story and finding myself wrapped up in the mystery. I would hazard a guess that the earlier books would provide a richer reading experience and I would like to go back and read them eventually, but overall I think you can start wherever you like in the series (not unlike the classic Sherlock Holmes tales).
At the beginning of this novel, the young Mr. Holmes is trying to distance himself from investigating crimes. This is partially because the police department resents his help and partially at the request of a young lady friend - Irene. As the mystery becomes more and more complex, however, he found he can only hold back so long. I loved how well you got to know Sherlock as a character. He became such an admirable character, especially when you got to see more of his personal and family life. It added a new dimension to my current image of Sherlock Holmes.
Though I enjoyed this book and found it a pleasant read I did feel it didn't pack quite the same punch as your traditional Sherlock Holmes mystery. There's just something about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classics that can't be replicated. That being said this is a great gateway book/series to get a younger audience into the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and they do so in that way I can recommend whole heartedly....more
Half Blood Blues is a heart wrenching story of survival, betrayal and how the choices we makThis review originally posted at Christa's Hooked on Books
Half Blood Blues is a heart wrenching story of survival, betrayal and how the choices we make affect us for the rest of our life.
Half Blood Blues, along with The Sisters Brothers are two books that have received a lot of buzz this award season. Both have received short list nominations for the Giller and Booker prizes. It doesn't get much better than that. In the interest of full disclosure I have to say that I read The Sisters Brothers earlier this year and fully enjoyed it. And as a result I went into Half Blood Blues, unsure if it could match it the quality and creativty. Now I can honestly say I don't know which book I prefer more. They're both so good!
But I'm getting off topic. Half Blood Blues is one of those books that feels so gritty and raw with emotion that you become deeply attached to the characters and to the story. They consume you. It's authentic and dark. There are no “good guys” or “villians” - characters are whole people and Edugyan doesn't shy away from showcasing darker side of human nature.
The most brilliant example of this is Sidney Griffith. In my opinion Sid is one of those great literary characters that only come around every now and again. He's not perfect man. Far from it – I could write a list a mile long of all the things he's done or characteristics he should change. But he's someone you connect with, someone you can relate to. Despite all his flaws, you find yourself pulling for him. It was almost a protective feeling I had for Sid – like I wanted to shield him from the world and tell him it was going to be ok from here on out, but at the same time I also knew he was going to be okay.
Writing and characters aside, however, the most amazing part of this book is the ending. And I don't just mean that it is a well put together ending. When I got near the end of this book I didn't want to know what happened. Without giving too much away, there comes a point where Sid is presented with a particular choice. Both options have their benefits but both also have their consequences. Some many argue strongly for one side or another but really it's a choice that could go either way. I found there was a part of me that didn't want to know what Sid chose. Whatever choice he would end up making would defining who he was as a person and I almost didn't want to know, I wanted it to be ambiguous, because in real life isn't always going to be ambiguous? I still think he chose well and Edugyan ended on a strong note, but there's still that little part of me that wishes I had stopped reading right before reaching the end.
Half Blood Blues blew me away. It is a beautifully written book - Esi Edugyan writes with a strong voice and forms amazing, complex characters. The story broke my heart and by the end of it all it felt like I had lived it right along with them. It's an amazing read, more than worthy of all the attention and recognition it's been receiving. ...more
Santus is the first book in a proposed trilogy and I found it a lot more thoughtful than other books iOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
Santus is the first book in a proposed trilogy and I found it a lot more thoughtful than other books in this genre. Simon Toyne didn't just write a thriller based on Christian ideas and beliefs, he created a whole new world for the story to take place in. There was so much more detail put into Ruin. It felt like Rome and Turkey and so many other places all rolled into one. As a result you didn't feel like you were reading just another book about Vatican conspiracies. Because of this fictional world it felt like there was so much more to the story than that.
I also loved that the main protagonist was female. It's nice to see a strong independent female have a starring role in a thriller, not simply serve as a sidekick to the leading man. What's more is that she didn't even have a sidekick! Not that she was alone for the whole novel, but there was never someone she was completely dependent on. I felt this made the other characters more versatile and allowed for more twists to occur throughout the story. Including the amazing twist at the end! Totally didn't see that one coming.
Despite all these great twists, however, there were times when the book felt really long and dragged out. At times I found it difficult to stay motivated and I actually stopped reading for a little while. After a bit of a break I was able to get back into it again, but as a result it took me longer than it should have to read. My other complaint is that the chapters were broken up in an odd way. They felt more like scenes, instead of full chapters, and it made some parts (especially parts heavy on the action) feel choppy.
If you like books like The Da Vinci Code than I definitely recommend Sanctus. It was smart and interesting and had a great cast of characters. That being said, it's no Da Vinci Code, so I don't think it will appeal to many people who don't already read that genre....more
Remember the first time you logged onto Facebook? Remember how it felt like a whole little world insidOriginally reviewed at Christa's Hooked on Books
Remember the first time you logged onto Facebook? Remember how it felt like a whole little world inside your computer, where everyone's lives were just right there in front of you. And now imagine you were the only one who knew about it. It feels kind of surreal. That's sort of how I felt while reading this book. It made me think back to a time before Facebook and what I did with my time/life before it.
This was an incredibly cute book. Emma and Josh are such innocent and earnest characters and I fully enjoyed reading their Facebook adventure. I thought their reactions to finding out snippets of their future were spot on. It felt very authentic. Their complicated friendship was also very sweet. It reminded me of a few of my high school crushes and how at the time it seems like the biggest issue in the world but maybe, just maybe, you're the one making it too complicated. That combined with the 90s references...well let's just say this book took me back. I want to dig out my old Beanie Babies and Pokemon cards and throw on my bell bottoms and wedge sandals.
This book is no 13 Reasons Why, so if that is what you're expecting you may be a tad disappointed. That being said, however it's still a wonderful book, that's a pleasure to read. It definitely raised some interesting points about the choices we make, why we make them and helped remind us that we don't live in a vaccumm....more