I'm always a little hesitant to review the books I loved. It seems like nothing I write can ever be good enough. That's exactly the case this time. I'I'm always a little hesitant to review the books I loved. It seems like nothing I write can ever be good enough. That's exactly the case this time. I'll try to keep it short and very clear: this book blew me away! It took only about 30 pages for me to fall in love with Ultraviolet. If I remember correctly, I called Anderson's writing unpretentious and rich with emotion when I just started reading, and I stand by my words now that I've finished. What amazed me the most about it was the way she occasionally threw a stunning passage or a breathtaking sentence into what was normally pretty simplistic writing.
Dark chocolate, poured over with velvet: that was how his voice tasted. I wanted him to follow me around and narrate the rest of my life.
I'm not a visual type of person, but words mean the world to me, and R.J. Anderson's words made a strong impression. The way Alison perceives the world made me want to be her, if just for ten minutes, and experience things and people through her eyes (and her mouth). Tasting words sounds like something I would gladly live with for the rest of my life!
I’d been trying to get over my habit of judging people by the color and taste of their names, but it was hard when my instincts were so often right. There seemed no point telling myself that the R in the middle of Kirk’s name didn’t make him untrustworthy when the game had just started and he was already cheating.
And then the major plot twist happened. I was a bit annoyed at first because I really liked the way the story was originally going, but after a while, I started to like the new development too, which only proves how amazing R.J. Anderson really is.
Another small thing I really liked was the lack of Ali's physical description. I know nothing about the color of her hair, the length of her eyelashes or the way she blushes when she's embarrassed and I like it that way. It was very refreshing not to be bothered with unimportant things like that.
Reading Feed has made me reluctant to give five stars as easily as I did before, but they're well deserved this time. I have such high hopes for this book! I hope people will recognize its beauty and its literary value. R.J. Anderson has gained a new fan - I'm ready to read everything she's ever written, including her grocery lists. ...more
EDIT 1/22/12: Stop by The Nocturnal Library for an interview with Kristen Painter. We're also giving away two copies of this book. Giveaway is internaEDIT 1/22/12: Stop by The Nocturnal Library for an interview with Kristen Painter. We're also giving away two copies of this book. Giveaway is international.
She had more signum than just what was on her hands, feet and face. The lacy gold mapped her entire body. A finely wrought filigree of stars, vines, flowers, butterflies, ancient symbols, and words ran from her feet, up her legs, over her narrow waist, spanned her chest, and finished down her arms to the tips of her fingers. Gilded, head to toe. No wonder she glittered like lost treasure.
Not just a pretty cover after all. I didn’t even wait to finish Blood Rights before ordering the second and the third book from The Book Depository. I only needed to read the first 20% to know, without a doubt, that this is a series I’ll love.
Chrysabelle is not an ordinary human. Her whole body is covered in gold tattoos and at 115, she looks no more than 20 years old. She’s a comarré, a human hybrid born and bred for one sole purpose: to feed a noble vampire. A comarré’s body produces more blood than it needs, so every comarré needs to be fed from regularly or they develop hypervolemia. Their blood rights are sold to a noble and nobody else gets to feed from them as long as their Master lives. In return, vampire saliva gives the comarré super-human strength and eternal youth. But Chrysabelle is special even among her own kind. Her blood rights were sold to Lord Algernon, Dominus of the House of Tepes, for 22 million Euro, the highest price any comarré has ever achieved. She spent almost a hundred years in Algernon’s house, until one day her Master got killed by a weapon only a comarré can wield. Instead of enjoying her freedom after 100 years of servitude, Chrysabelle must leave Corvinestri and travel to Paradise City in order to try and clear her name.
Even in Paradise City, Chrysabelle has no one to turn to but Mal, the only vampire in the world who wants nothing to do with her. Mal used to be a noble vampire of great power, one of the strongest in the House of Tepes, but he became anathema after being cursed for the second time. Because of his curse, every person he sinks his fangs into must die, and those he kills end up living inside his head, haunting him forever. His body is covered with names of his victims. To avoid adding another voice to the constant noise in his head, he wants to stay as far away from Chrysabelle as possible, no matter how hungry he is or how good her blood smells to him. However, Chrysabelle offers to help him lift his curse, and that’s the only thing Mal cannot refuse.
You judge me while you have no idea what it's like. My head is never quiet. Never. You try spending just twenty-four hours without a moment's privacy and see if it doesn't make you a little crazy. I live that every day and night.
Some described Blood Rights as being halfway between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, but I have to disagree. This is urban fantasy in its purest form. Sure, we have a strong heroine and a strong hero and they DO work together, but the focus is not on will-they-won’t-they at all, at least I didn’t see it that way. The worldbuilding is far too good for paranormal romance: I loved the combination of old vampire traditions and the technology one could expect in the year 2067. Supporting characters are also fantastic. Tatiana is one of the best villains in urban fantasy as far as I’m concerned, and Mal’s companions, Fi and Doc, are so interesting that they deserve their own trilogy.
4.5 stars I’ve been having some troubles with paranormal YA lately, to the point where I started wondering if it was somehow my fault. After the umptee4.5 stars I’ve been having some troubles with paranormal YA lately, to the point where I started wondering if it was somehow my fault. After the umpteenth book I’d read and hated, I figured that I’m either becoming too old for YA, or that I read too much (which is a distinct possibility). Wander Dust helped me realize where the blame really lies. To all those other young adult paranormal novels, I can finally say: It’s not me, it’s you.
Wander Dust is not without problems or without clichés, but all things considered, it certainly stands out in a very, very good way. Time travel plus a prestigious school (think Hex Hall with time travelers instead of witches and shapeshifters) plus a smart heroine and a swoon-worthy hero, extremely good worldbuilding and a great set of secondary characters equal a noteworthy book by anyone’s standards.
As soon as it becomes clear that Seraphina Parrish is not just an ordinary girl, she is sent to the prestigious Washington Square Academy, a boarding school for exceptionally gifted teens such as herself. There she is told that she is a Wanderer, a person with the ability to travel through time, just as her late mother was. She is to be trained and properly educated about the many laws that time travelers need to abide to. She is also introduced to her two other team members, as each team is made of a Wanderer (such as Seraphina), Seer and Protector. Seers have the ability to see the life path of inanimate objects, where they’d been and who they belonged to, which allows Wanderers and the Protectors to use these objects to travel to a specific time and place. Sera’s Seer is a blonde 13-year old girl named Sam, and her Protector is the mysterious boy whose photo she received in the mail while she was still living with her father. His name is Max Bishop and he is, of course, absolutely gorgeous, kind, and well-read. He is also dating another Protector named Perpetua.
In the army of YA heroines I’ve been reading about in the last year or so, Seraphina Parrish is one of the best. She is strong, she is fierce, she has principles she adheres to at all costs, she isn’t prone to rash decisions or self-indulgent behavior, but she also has just enough flaws to make her realistic and identifiable. When it became clear that she’s a Wanderer, she took everything in stride and dealt with it as best as she could. I also liked that she refused any kind of relationship with Bishop because he already had a girlfriend, regardless of how much she was drawn to him or how mean and obnoxious his girlfriend seem to be.
Unlike Sera, Bishop has no flaws that make him more real. I didn’t see him just as Sera’s love interest, but a hero in his own right, and he certainly proved to be worthy of the title. (His only flaw that I can think of is that he ever allowed himself to be in any way associated with a girl named Perpetua.) The only thing I’m still puzzling over is the matter of his photo in Sera’s mail (received long before they met) that was never properly explained, but I’m kind of hoping the sequel will take care of that.
(On a side note, I need to have a serious conversation with my mailman about the stuff he keeps bringing me. Books are fine and all, but I never get pics of mysterious hot guys in my mailbox, which is a damn shame, if you ask me.)
Wander Dust is self-published, but quite frankly, I barely even noticed. The self-publishing industry just keeps throwing surprises at me. Sure, there were a few grammar mistakes (by ‘a few’, I mean five or so, not more), and a spelling error here and there, but nothing that would stop me from thoroughly enjoying the book. I for one am more than willing to forgive such things (in reasonable amounts) as long as the story is good enough to keep me interested from start to finish. This one was that and much more.
At first glance, Virtuosity is just another story about a girl who isn’t in control of her own life. And you know what? That’s exactly what it is on sAt first glance, Virtuosity is just another story about a girl who isn’t in control of her own life. And you know what? That’s exactly what it is on second glance as well. But unlike so many of these stories, it is well written, completely engrossing and definitely worth a read.
To say that Carmen grew up shielded from everyday life would be a serious understatement. She was homeschooled, she never had a real friend other than her tutor Heidi and she never spent any time with boys her age. You see, Carmen is not a seventeen-year-old girl, she is not a daughter, she is not a student and she is not a friend. Carmen is a Grammy Award winning violinist and she has just been admitted to Julliard with a full scholarship. When people look at her, that’s all they see – and it’s only natural considering how good she is. She is so good, in fact, that there’s only one violin soloist who might prove to be better than her: Jeremy King.
Carmen and Jeremy are the most likely finalists in the Guarneri contest. They are both just one step away from that huge, life-altering victory. Falling in love under the circumstances really shouldn’t be an option... but it is.
"It's kind of funny, actually," she said. "Most girls have to worry about guys just being after sex, but you should really be more worried if he isn't after sex. You just can't do anything normally, can you?"
When you’re so valuable to everyone around you, you really are all alone. How do you trust a mother who’s living vicariously through you because her own career was ruined before it even started? How should you feel about your rich grandparents who only started noticing you when you became famous? And how do you fall in love with a boy whose success can’t come without your failure?
Virtuosity surprised me with two huge, jaw dropping moments – something that doesn’t happen very often. Just when I thought it's about to become predictable, Martinez did something I never saw coming. That alone makes it worth reading. My big thanks to Nomes for pushing me in the right direction! :) ...more
First of all, let me just say that reading this as an ebook is a crime against literature and should be puniEach time someone dies, a library burns.
First of all, let me just say that reading this as an ebook is a crime against literature and should be punished as such. The edition I’m holding resembles a diary with its worn cover, wonderful illustrations, little handwritten notes, blue ink and a rubber band holding it all together. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the prettiest book I’ve ever seen. If you can’t get your hands on a paper edition, wait until you do or you’ll be robbing yourself of the most wonderful experience.
Second, I think it’s safe to say that this book isn't for everyone. The mixed reviews have already proven as much. Many of you would probably be severely irritated by this dreamlike experience. Besides, a lot of people find Lennie to be quite unlikeable and I must admit that I can see why. She makes so many horrible mistakes. She is lost, insecure, her actions can often be interpreted as selfish and she is very skilful in telling lies. If that’s all someone can see in her, there’s no reason to even try to like her. But I saw a different layer of her character, one that is confused, scared and alone and it didn’t take long for her to win me over.
I put aside for a moment the fact that I’ve turned into a total strumpet-harlot-trollop-wench-jezebel-tart-harridan-chippy-nymphet because I’ve just realized something incredible. This is it - what all the hoopla is about, what Wuthering Heights is about – it all boils down to this feeling rushing through me in this moment with Joe as our mouths refuse to part. Who knew all this time I was one kiss away from being Cathy and Juliet and Elizabeth Bennet and Lady Chatterley!?
Writing a plot summary or trying to explain The Sky Is Everywhere in any way would probably do more harm than good. If I tried to write about Lennie’s story, about her sister Bailey who died of arrhythmia while rehearsing for the role of Juliet, I’d be running the risk of making this book sound so ordinary. The Sky Is Everywhere is nothing short of extraordinary in every way that counts.
Joe… must I go there?! I’m trying to be an adult here, a serious, calm, respectable adult. But Joe can take that away in a second and turn me into a useless, gushing teenager with his joeliciousness, his musicality, his gentleness, his humor, his boldness and his Frenchness and those damn eyelashes. Bat. Bat. Bat. *swoon*
The secondary characters are just as amazing: the hippie Gram who grows flowers famous for their aphrodisiac powers, the five-times-married-five-times-divorced uncle no woman can resist and the sweet and charming brothers Fontaine. They all had a huge part in making this story so special, so unlike any other story I’ve ever read.
And Jandy Nelson, where on earth did you come from?!? Your writing is like this huge energy ball that found its place in my stomach and just exploded over and over and over again, making me cry, laugh or jump with excitement, turning me into whatever you wanted me to be at that particular moment. You had a remote control for my moods and you weren’t afraid to use it and for that you have my eternal love and respect. Yes, I had a Maggie-sized hole in my heart and yes, I thought you might fill it for a second, but instead I ended up with a Maggie-sized hole and a Jandy-sized hole right next to it. You are nobody’s replacement, lady. You are far too good for that.
I will shut up now and try to preserve some semblance of dignity.
Oh, but I forgot my favorite quote: This is our story to tell. He says it in his Ten Commandments way and it hits me that way: profoundly. You’d think for all the reading I do, I would have thought about this before, but I haven’t. I’ve never once thought about the interpretative, the storytelling aspect of life, of my life. I always felt like I was in a story, yes, but not like I was the author of it, or like I had any say in its telling whatsoever. You can tell your story any way you damn well please. It’s your solo. ...more
I never thought I’d have fun reading about a belching contest of all things, but that’s exactly what happened. Murdock’s Dairy Queen is just the kindI never thought I’d have fun reading about a belching contest of all things, but that’s exactly what happened. Murdock’s Dairy Queen is just the kind of YA I can truly enjoy: loads of fun on the surface, yet if you remember to look a little deeper, for the most part it’s not funny at all.
I noticed a long time ago that authors often have problems with creating characters that are quite average. On one side, most of them don’t even want to because they’re convinced that nobody likes to read about average people. On the other, even when they try, they usually don’t know how. Sometimes you can just see that’s what the author intended to do, especially in YA, but the characters end up being either too smart or too stupid to live, thus remaining completely unrealistic and two-dimensional. That is not the case with Catherine Murdock. In my opinion, she was successful. D.J. always does the right thing for herself, but that doesn’t mean that she’s too smart. She’s not very pretty or very social, either. But Murdock knows how to make you care for her and see her in a completely different light. The thing I liked most about D.J. is that she never once made me feel frustrated or angry because I always knew that she was doing her best, even when it wasn’t enough.
Stylistically speaking, at first glance, the writing was a little strange. I was bothered by it at first, but then I started discovering things about D.J. and I realized that it needed to be adapted to the narrator. D.J. flunked her English class because she was too busy working on the family farm. All those awkward sentences (kind of like mine, but worse) and words that kept repeating again and again made things sound more authentic. In other words, once I realized that Murdock did it on purpose, and it DID take me a while, I liked it.
Phew. Let me tell you, flirting is never easy, but having any sort of romantic conversation while shoveling cow poop is next to impossible. And yet D.J. and Brian managed to do it, and it was awkward, adorable and everything else it was supposed to be. I loved the two of them together and I loved that the focus wasn't on the romance at all.
< i>Every time he looked at me I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. In art class I’d watch him lean back and lis4.5 stars.
< i>Every time he looked at me I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. In art class I’d watch him lean back and listen and I was nothing but zing and tingle. After a while the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I had nothing in common with a sheddy like him, but a girl doesn’t think straight when she’s that close to electrocution.
Wow. My GoodReads friends are all people with excellent taste. I thought so before, but I’m sure of it now. A few of you took the time to notice what I like and recommend this book to me. Thank you! And a special thanks to Lisa O. and her lovely review for making me read this when I did. Anyway, where was I?
The strength of Crowley's novel isn’t so much in the story itself as it is in the poetic writing that left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Don’t get me wrong: her writing isn’t overly descriptive. She doesn’t go on and on about places, events or works of art. Somehow she says more in one sentence than most people are able to say in twenty. She also has an excellent sense of humor and I found myself crying with laughter over some of her passages.
I know they still love each other, but I guess love is kind of like a marshmallow in a microwave on high. After it explodes, it’s still a marshmallow. But, you know, now it’s a complicated marshmallow.
Lucy doesn’t date regular guys. She went out on one date in her life and ended up breaking the guy’s nose. The fact that her parents spent two straight months screaming at each other isn’t helping her at all. Instead, she dreams about meeting a graffiti artist called Shadow, convinced that he is the guy who could never disappoint her.
Ed left school when it became obvious that he won’t be able to hide his dyslexia much longer. It also happened to be right around the time when Lucy broke his nose on their first date. Words don’t mean anything to him, but he draws the most amazing graffiti all over town. He is Shadow and his best friend Leo is Poet. And he wishes Shadow was as amazing as Lucy seems to believe he is.
Jazz and Leo are both weird in their own way but they might be compatible. He only needs to find the courage to tell her that he’s actually Poet, the guy whose works she’s been admiring all over town. It may sound easy, but once you get tangled in your own lies, it’s very hard to tell the truth.
All of them end up together in a pink van where the truth must come out - whether they like it or not.
There’s something in this book for everyone: amazing writing, poetry, flawless characters, a funny story, love, glass, art, pink van and criminals. Highly recommended. ...more
Before, when Lilith left, she'd been stony and remote. Now, she trembled, outraged that a man could refuse his son. She spit in Adam's face and curseBefore, when Lilith left, she'd been stony and remote. Now, she trembled, outraged that a man could refuse his son. She spit in Adam's face and cursed the day she ever saw him. It was the day she'd been born. Then she took Obie and left, pelting away through the dark. In the dark is where she met my father.
First of all, I’d like to take a second to admire the truly marvelous cover art, done by the amazing Spanish artist Nekro. He is responsible for some of my favorite covers, like Anna Dressed in Blood, Girl of Nightmares and Blood Rights. I love that every single one of his covers actually has something to do with the story, and that is especially true for The Space Between. His art made it so much easier for me to picture Hell the way Brenna Yovanoff described it: a huge city entirely made of metal, built above a Pit full of suffering souls and hungry Pain Demons. The world Yovanoff created is both frightening and beautiful. She writes in exquisite detail, with clarity and completeness, and she does it effortlessly – you can tell that she isn’t even trying, that it comes naturally to her, like laughing or walking. That said, Maggie Stiefvater’s influence is clearly discernible, which isn’t all that surprising considering their friendship and collaboration.
From outside comes the sound of the furnace door slamming open. The sky glows red again and my tears begin to thaw. When I blink, they slip solid from my eyelashes. The sound when they land is like pebbles scattered on the tile, but the floor of the museum is already growing hot, burning my feet through my slippers. The tears melt and sizzle where they fall.
Daphne is the youngest daughter of Lilith and Lucifer, born right around the time when her parents stopped loving each other. Her many stepsisters, the Lilim, are wicked seductresses who walk the Earth taking knowledge and experience from their all-too-willing victims, but Daphne is nothing like them. Her half-brother Obie, Lilith’s first son and the son of Adam, is the only good person in Daphne’s life and Daphne adores him, but she’s nothing like him either. She seems to be stuck in Hell, spending eternity without purpose, until one day Obie disappears on Earth. Lilith, who only tolerates Daphne, despises the Lilim, but worships Obie, can do absolutely nothing to help him as she is unable to leave Hell. It’s up to Daphne to go to Earth for the first time and find her brother, despite the danger of being brutally killed by archangel Azrael and his faithful soldier, Dark Dreadful. The only person who can help her is a broken boy, Obie’s charge Truman, who was once sent back from the very entrance to Hell by Beelzebub himself.
Yovanoff’s talent for bringing horrible creatures to life was obvious to me even in The Replacement, but it was much more pronounced here. If you thought the Morrigan’s ladies were scary, the Lilim will likely give you nightmares that won’t easily go away. It was so easy to picture Lilith sitting on her filigree bench, her skin startlingly white, her head moving in a distinctly non-human way.
I had almost forgotten how her voice has the power to cut through me. She looks over, looks right through me with grim, silvery eyes and I see a black hollow in her, like seeing the future. Like looking down the barrel of a gun.
If you’re in the mood for a dark, eerily beautiful and haunting story, The Space Between is what you should read. Brenna Yovanoff just made it on my very short list of authors whose books I preorder without a second thought.
The first review I wrote consisted almost entirely of incoherent gushing. This one is pretty much like that, but I did manage to include some useful iThe first review I wrote consisted almost entirely of incoherent gushing. This one is pretty much like that, but I did manage to include some useful info. Don’t expect much, though. I can’t remember the last time I felt this way about a book.
As a dedicated reader, I don't think I've ever connected to a story quite this much. There are so many books that are close to my heart for some reason or other, but there was never one so achingly familiar and mine. And it wasn’t just one character that I felt close to, but parts of every character and every situation. I recognized some of myself in Julie’s dedication to her studies, in Celeste’s quirks, in Matt’s courage and hidden vulnerability, in Erin’s absentness and denial. It was nice to be able to read a story and really understand.
I’m making it sound like a sad book, aren’t I? Well, it’s not. This is a book you want to read when you're feeling a little nostalgic and disconnected from the world. It will pull you right out. Flat-Out Love is surprisingly witty. During the first 80%, I thought I could describe it as my favorite summer read. However, the last 20% showed me that it’s so much more than that. Every emotional reaction the story evoked was very strong: when I laughed, I laughed so loudly that I woke the neighbors; when I cried, I sobbed like I was facing the end of the world, and in the end, I melted into a huge puddle of goo.
After moving to Boston to start attending college, Julie found herself living with her mother’s former best friend Erin and her seemingly perfect family of intellectuals. She soon became emotionally attached to every member of the Watkins family, especially the oldest brother Finn, whom she never met in person, but communicated with regularly via email.
”Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (Leo Tolstoy)
I think there are two types of dysfunctional families: the ones that yell and the ones that are quiet – the latter being so much harder to portray. Character development is what Jessica Park should really be proud of. Her characters came alive for me, they became living, breathing people with problems, quirks and a sense of humor. Who could resist Celeste, a scarily intelligent 13-year-old who won’t leave the house without Flat Finn, a cardboard cutout of her oldest brother? Or Matt, a math geek with horrible T-shirts and a sense of humor that’s right up my alley?
Flat-Out Love completely changed my mind about self published books.I hope all of you will read it soon so we can gush about it together. ...more
Reviewing this book feels much like walking through a minefield. (Not that I know what that feels like, but I can imagine, you know.) On the one hand,Reviewing this book feels much like walking through a minefield. (Not that I know what that feels like, but I can imagine, you know.) On the one hand, I can’t reveal too much of the plot. I can’t reveal almost anything, really, lest I ruin the experience for you guys. On the other hand, I have to write just enough to make you want to pick this book up because it’s one you don’t want to miss. Trust me. I suppose I could just point you to Maggie Stiefvater’s wonderful review and leave it to her to convince you, but I’m not that much of a coward. *coughs* I just did that! *coughs*
So here goes nothing…
I don’t normally read historical fiction unless it’s highly recommended. Code Name Verity was, directly or indirectly, recommended to me by two of my trusted friends, Chachic and Jo, and, as I already mentioned, my favorite young adult author Maggie Stiefvater. And of course they were right.
Code Name Verity is a story about two best friends, Maddie and Queenie, fighting in World War II. They probably never would have met in peacetime, as they come from entirely different circles of society: Queenie is Scottish royalty who grew up in a castle, while Maddie is a bike shop owner’s granddaughter. That didn’t stop them from becoming best friends while serving together in WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force), and staying close even when the war took them in different directions. All Maddie ever wanted was to fly airplanes. She was in training before the war and when the war started, she waited patiently for them to accept female pilots, which eventually they did. Queenie’s talents lie elsewhere: she is fluent in both German and French and able to momentarily slip into any role, be herself one second, and someone entirely different the next. Although these two have very little in common on the surface, deep down they are both incredibly strong, intelligent and compassionate women.
But for me, the most fascinating character was Queenie’s capturer, Hauptsturmfürer von Linden. He starts as pure evil, of course, but as the story progresses, we are offered small details of his life that give him an entirely different face, one that is complex and multi-layered and that causes the reader to be just as conflicted as Queenie. I don’t know what I expected, but he just looked like anybody - like the sort of chap who would come into the shop and buy a motorbike for his lad’s 16th birthday – like your headmaster.
Our story starts when Queenie gets captured by the Gestapo in France. Upon breaking her with torture and turning her into a collaborator, von Linden allows her to write down the events that led her to his cruel hands, and her written testimony is what we are given.
The narrative itself takes some getting used to. Queenie tells her present story in first person, but switches to third person and focuses on Maddie every time she talks about the past. It was a little strange at first, having the narrator talk about herself in third person, but I soon realized that it was an excellent way for Wein to help her readers adapt to constant alternations between the past and the present.
Every once in a while you know that you’ve stumbled upon a classic. Code Name Verity might have been published in 2012, but there is no doubt in my mind that it will endure the test of time. It has the weight (although not quite the genius) of The Book Thief. I'm sure it will receive awards and critical acclaim.
This summer, I met a young girl from Croatia’s most war-affected city. She came here, on the other side of the country, to live in a trailer and workThis summer, I met a young girl from Croatia’s most war-affected city. She came here, on the other side of the country, to live in a trailer and work in a supermarket for very little money. It was just a lousy summer job, but to her, it was more than good enough. When at home, she lives with her father, barely scraping by, both of them unemployed throughout the year because there are no jobs where she comes from. She told me about growing up hungry and going to school with her stomach completely empty. She told me how her mother refused meals to leave more for her, because she was still growing and she needed energy for her schoolwork. She told me how her parents took turns eating because there wasn’t enough for both. And she said it all with a big smile on her face, the smile of a person who refuses to be defeated.
I kept a brave face, but then I drove home and I cried for hours. I hugged my sleeping child and I swore that she’ll never experience anything similar. (I bet the girl’s parents made the same promise at some point, though, all parents do – and it scares me to death). But when I started thinking about things that could have been done to feed this girl when she needed it the most, things that SHOULD have been done, I felt deeply ashamed, even though back then, I was no more than a teen myself.
There’s really no point to this story, except that I felt it needed to be told. No and Me isn’t one of those books that try to convince you you’re equipped to save the world – you really aren’t, and neither am I. We do the best we can, most of us, and we live knowing it’s not nearly enough. And it’s because of that knowledge that we turn our heads the other way and try to protect ourselves from things we cannot change.
This is exactly why I don’t like reading contemporary YA. Things like bullying, abuse, even smaller family issues, make me feel hurt and powerless, and it’s something I tend to avoid at all costs. But No and Me is not one of those books. There’s something so very gentle about it because it doesn’t try to shock or hurt, nor does it try to change the reader in any way. It just is – it is a story, simple and beautiful, easy to read and even easier to accept, even while it’s breaking your heart.
In No and Me, a thirteen-year-old child genius Lou Bertignac interviews an eighteen-year-old homeless girl for a school project and subsequently decides to save her. She brings her into her home to live with her damaged family and treats her like a sister she’d lost when she was just a child. Lou Bertignac is an extraordinary character: understanding how her mind works (she has an IQ of 160) and how it reflects on her emotions was a challenge and a true delight. And of course she and I have a huge thing in common:
People who think that grammar is just a collection of rules and restrictions are wrong. If you get to like it, grammar reveals the hidden meaning of history, hides disorder and abandonment, links things and brings opposites together. Grammar is a wonderful way of organizing the world how you’d like it to be.
*sigh* I wholeheartedly agree.
This is the longest non-review I’ve written in my life, so I need to offer you an alternative. My friend Catie over at The Readventurer reads all these books I’m too much of a coward to pick up, and then she writes amazing reviews that are equal parts rational and emotional. She is my favorite reviewer in the world (and I’m not just saying that), and she’s the one who convinced me to read this book, so please check out her review if you can.
I’ve been successfully cured of my addiction to mysteries and thrillers year ago, but when Audible dangled this lovely carrot right in front of my nosI’ve been successfully cured of my addiction to mysteries and thrillers year ago, but when Audible dangled this lovely carrot right in front of my nose in the form of their Audible daily deal, I simply couldn’t resist. John Verdon has been receiving a lot of praise from those far more familiar with the genre so of course I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Think of a Number starts off very strongly, with a seemingly unsolvable puzzle in front of our retired detective. Dave Gurney has been retired not too long ago, but he’s having a hard time adjusting to his new country life, feeling disconnected from his day to day obligations and his lovely, brilliant wife.
Dave and Madeleine don’t have an easy marriage and we can’t help feeling that it’s entirely his fault. He is a puzzle solver, a famous detective whose job defines him, but in his personal life he is prone to hiding from his problems and not facing things that are painful for him to deal with. Dave feels responsible for the loss of their 4-year-old son 15 years ago, and as hard as Madeleine tries, she can’t force him to deal with his pain and say goodbye.
The mystery is very well thought through, especially in the first half. The tiny inexplicable details make us doubt even the possibility of solving it. But as the story progresses and things start coming to light, Gurney is sometimes painfully slow on the uptake, which is a big source of frustration for the reader.
George Newbern is a fantastic narrator, his voice well suited for the calm and collected detective. His voice characterization is excellent and his sense of pacing practically flawless. I’m sorry to say that he doesn’t narrate other books in this series, which stopped me from buying Shut Your Eyes Tight in audio format.
Overall, though, this is a series worth continuing, despite the risk of falling back into my mystery addiction. The quiet emotionality of it, the complex and flawed characters and very impressive murder cases are all too alluring to pass up.
I had this book on my e-reader for months with no intention of reading it any time soon. The cover is so ugly that it’s no wonder I chose som3.5 stars
I had this book on my e-reader for months with no intention of reading it any time soon. The cover is so ugly that it’s no wonder I chose something else every time. Besides, I’m not usually a fan of the paranormal romance sub-genre. (Seriously, I’m not). I’m far more likely to choose an urban fantasy novel – not that they’re not sadly predictable, too. But in this case, I’m so glad I made an exception.
The PNR genre doesn’t leave much room for originality, but Nalini Singh succeeded in writing a novel while avoiding most of the PNR conventions: there was no Big Misunderstanding, no Big Separation. I kept waiting for Lucas and Sasha to start screaming at each other – but that never came. Plus, the secondary characters were really interesting, and worldbuilding was well thought out – it was in no way superficial – maybe because Singh knew she’ll be writing another 10 or so books in that same world. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as intelligent PNR. This is a perfect example.
I don’t think I’ll be reading the second book right away, though. I made that mistake with the Black Dagger Brotherhood – I read five books in a week, but then I had to stop because they all kind of melted together, and now I have no wish to continue. So to avoid that, I’m going to save this brain candy (LOL) for a time of great need. ...more
I gave this one 3 stars because I'm really convinced it's the weakest link in the series. That said, Southern Vampire Mysteries really is my favoriteI gave this one 3 stars because I'm really convinced it's the weakest link in the series. That said, Southern Vampire Mysteries really is my favorite series of all times.
Quinn is far from my favorite character in the series, he actually goes right in the basket with Tanya and Arlene. At first I couldn't figure out why, I tought I was just blinded by Eric and my never ending adoration for him, but no, Quinn is obnoxious all by himself.
Apart from that, the book just ties some loose ends from the previous ones. Nothing new happens, and Eric is not around for the most part. I enjoyed learning a little more about Sophie Anne and Andre and I really enjoyed kicking Bill in the ass (thank you, Eric). ...more