I honestly cannot believe I found this book so enjoyable! It's been sitting on my shelf since those long ago days before I'd read a million and one di...moreI honestly cannot believe I found this book so enjoyable! It's been sitting on my shelf since those long ago days before I'd read a million and one different paranormal romance and/or urban fantasy stories. I bought it back when I was rather new to the genres and I used to be all "sexy vampires, quirky heroine, supernatural mystery - what more could you possibly want from a novel?" Since then I've come to realise that a whole lot of the PNR/UF world is kind of, well... shite.
But I have been surprised here today. I read this as a buddy read to go with my July Pick It For Me challenge and I have Mountain Kat to thank for finally getting me to give in to this book. It's a really fun, sexy and entertaining read. For me, it just stood out amongst so many others of its kind that I've read because everything worked: the strong heroine, the sexy hero guy, the mythology, the humour... and it even had a talking demon dog. I can't lie here, the novel completely had me the moment we were introduced to a talking demon Newfoundland called Jim. It's less ridiculous than it sounds in the actual novel, I swear.
Aisling is a great character; she's the girl you want to be friends with but also the girl you want fighting on your team. Even though she had the hots for Drake ever since he sauntered in all his dark and sexiness, she still doesn't take any crap from him. Drake's this dragon guy in human form that everyone fears because of his power but Aisling refuses his advances with a swift knee to the groin, a poke in the eye and a good whacking round the head with a solid gold and priceless artifact. But all is made up later against the wall ;)
I really enjoyed Katie MacAlister's balance of witty banter and humour with the well-developed mythology going on behind it all. It's also one of very few PNR/UF novels that made me think "must acquire next book now!" I've missed that feeling... Anyway, this book won't be for everyone but it definitely rang my bell. I mean, come on, a talking demon dog called Jim! (less)
Well... finally, a much-anticipated book that actually delivered. After being so hyped up about 'Matched' and then being let down with it's mediocrity...more Well... finally, a much-anticipated book that actually delivered. After being so hyped up about 'Matched' and then being let down with it's mediocrity, I tried not to get too excited about this book and prepared myself for another monumental disappointment.
I'm always rather dubious when it comes to romance novels; if you find a good one then you can be reeled in and swallowed up, it can stay with you for a very long time... but so often this is not the case. The amount of times I've dared to enter into a romance story with high hopes and found nothing but cheesy, star-struck "I can't live without you"s are countless. They are often plagued with cliched characters and storylines and I found myself awaiting something similar from 'You Against Me'.
And I loved it. No, seriously, I really did. The chemistry sparked off the pages without being over-emotionally cheesy. There was no getting lost in their eyes, no "oh gosh, did our hands just accidently touch?"
I liked and genuinely cared about both characters. Plus, it was so much more than a love story, the dark backdrop of sexual abuse is told through different eyes, tackling the 'slut' issue that is a very real hindrance to prosecutions in rape cases. The fact that anyone can even ask the question: "If a girl is wearing revealing clothing, is she asking for it?" just shows how important this novel is.
Was it perfect? No. I had an issue with the ending, or lack of if you want to be precise. Perhaps the author was leaving it open for a possible sequel but nothing has been mentioned so far. There are very few cases where ambiguous endings work (The Handmaid's Tale is one) and this book required something more at the end. But I liked it so much that I would happily say yes to that sequel.
This is my favourite book. I do not say that lightly, I've read quite a lot from all different genres and time periods, but this is my favourite book....moreThis is my favourite book. I do not say that lightly, I've read quite a lot from all different genres and time periods, but this is my favourite book. Of all time. Ever. The ladies over at The Readventurer kindly allowed me to get my feelings of utter adoration for Wuthering Heights off my chest in their "Year of the Classics" feature, but I now realise it's time I posted a little something in this blank review space. I mean, come on, it's my favourite book so it deserves better than empty nothingness.
So, what do I love so much about Wuthering Heights? Everything. Okay, maybe not, that wouldn't really be saying it strongly enough.
What I love about this novel is the setting, the wilderness. This is not a story about niceties and upper class propriety, this is the tale of people who aren't so socially acceptable, who live away from the strict rules of civilization - it's almost as if they're not quite from the world we know. The isolation of the setting out on the Yorkshire moors between the fictional dwellings of The Heights and Thrushcross Grange emphasises how far removed these characters are from social norms, how unconventional they are, and how lonely they are.
This is a novel for readers who can appreciate unlikeable characters, readers who don't have to like someone to achieve a certain level of understanding them and their circumstances. People are not born evil... so what makes them that way? What torments a man so much that he refuses to believe he has any worth? What kind of person digs up the grave of their loved one so they can see them once again? Heathcliff was not created to be liked or to earn your forgiveness, Emily Brontë simply tells his story from the abusive and unloved childhood he endured, to his obsession with the only person alive who showed him any real kindness, to his adulthood as an angry, violent man who beats his wife and imprisons the younger Cathy in order to make her marry his son.
It would be so easy to hate Heathcliff, and I don't feel that he is some dark, sexy hero like others often do. But I appreciate what Emily Brontë attempts to teach us about the cycle of violence and aggression. Heathcliff eventually becomes little more than the man he hates, by being brought up with beatings and anger he in turn unleashes it on everyone else. And Cathy is no delicate flower either. What hope did Heathcliff have when the only person he ever loved was a selfish, vindictive, little wretch? But I love Emily Brontë for creating such imperfect, screwed-up characters.
This is a dark novel that deals with some very complicated individuals, but I think in the end we are offered the possibility of peace and happiness through Cathy (younger) and Hareton's relationship, and the suggestion that Cathy (older) and Heathcliff were reunited in the afterlife. I had an English teacher in high school that said Cathy and Heathcliff's personalities and their relationship were too much for this world and that peace was only possible for them in the next. I have no idea if this was something Ms Bronte intended, but the romantic in me likes to imagine that it's true.(less)
Seriously, wtf?! This book was as weird as A Clockwork Orange but not half as interesting. My thoughts after reading it are all centred around "eh?" w...more Seriously, wtf?! This book was as weird as A Clockwork Orange but not half as interesting. My thoughts after reading it are all centred around "eh?" with a good bit of "huh?" thrown in there too.
The basic gist of the plot actually had some great potential, it focused on Greek folklore/mythology, particularly surrounding Pandora's box. But it just didn't work! The author constantly switched viewpoints between five teenagers, the dreaded last remaining prisoner in Pandora's box, and then some seemingly random third-person crap. Confusing much?? And I've never been one to fall for the: messy writing = literary technique to show the inner turmoil of the characters. This rarely works, the most successful case being The Bell Jar and that was probably only because Sylvia Plath actually was a stark-raving lunatic so no pretense required(but an admittedly good writer too).
It was just all over the place and I couldn't connect with any one of the five teenagers because the book kept jumping from one to the other all the time. And even if it hadn't I'm not so sure any of them would have been particularly likeable... both boys were annoying, one seemed to also be a potentially murderous psychopath... Jenna drooled over annoying guy number 1 and also frequently pretended to be scared so the boys wouldn't think her too strong-willed and aggressive because these are not good traits for a female (?!)... Maude was a wet lettuce... and the only thing I remember about Dilly is that her parents hated her enough to name her 'Daffodil'.
I actually expected better. I'm not quite sure why because the novel doesn't have many ratings or reviews; I think it's just 'cause I keep seeing a number of Julie Hearn books at my local library, I've picked them up a few times, thought they sounded good... and then ended up leaving them for something else. Maybe by putting it off I have somehow worked myself up to be amazed when I finally gave in. Well, no, the mish-mashed plot and painfully irritating characters simply gave me a headache. Jeez, glad it's over.(less)
Oh, rip my heart out, why don't you? This is such a horrifying and sad book that again makes me ask the question: just what on earth is going on in t...more
Oh, rip my heart out, why don't you? This is such a horrifying and sad book that again makes me ask the question: just what on earth is going on in the UK publishing world??? This book was released in the US as Plain Kate with a cover that features the protagonist walking along a rooftop with her cat. Though it doesn't exactly gear you up for some of the horrors this story contains, at least it doesn't look like a pretty, twinkly version of Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. What is up with that cover? That title? If I had come across this edition first, something along the lines of My Little Pony would have sprung to mind, this book looks like a nice fairytale for eight year old girls... but if I'd read something like this at eight I would have had nightmares for the next five years.
Don't get me wrong, I thought it was very good. The plot was different, fast-paced and interesting, the heroine is strong and likeable. And, as much as it was quite disturbing, I found the witch-burning, ears getting cut off and general gory bits to only glue me to the pages in awe and disgust. But, unlike other authors that employ numerous shock tactics in a desperate bid to hold their reader's attention, Erin Bow is actually a good writer. Plus, there's a few deeper messages about friendship, hope against the odds, and never giving up.
Oh, and there's a cat. A wonderful, lovable talking cat. And I adore cats. No seriously, it's pretty weird. You know those old women who live alone with about ten cats? I envy them. I'm at five so far and all it will take is a trip to one of those rescue centres. Furry companions make me happy. In fact, I've included one of my own... this is Willow, she thinks she's a princess and I'm perfectly happy to let her think that:
It would be pretty impossible to properly review this book without getting just a touch spoilery. I think I could actually sum up rather succinctly w...more
It would be pretty impossible to properly review this book without getting just a touch spoilery. I think I could actually sum up rather succinctly what it was that made this book only get three stars from me, and also what I'm sure will be many readers' deciding factor as to whether they will love it or not. Basically, you should love this novel if you like stories that end with this:
(view spoiler)["It was one of those great June days when the sky is completely blue and the sun is shining but it isn't so hot that you wish you were on the beach instead. It was just the perfect day. Everyone was happy. I still felt like I was floating, the Star Wars hero music in my head."(hide spoiler)]
However, if you're looking for the slightly less spoilery version, you'll have to settle for me talking about the tone of this book instead. Turn away now if you want to be completely surprised.
So... this is a book about a boy - Auggie - who was born with a severe facial deformity and, despite years of surgery, is still left with a face that scares small children and shocks adults. He has been homeschooled his whole life, until one day when his parents decide attending middle school may be an important step towards Auggie gaining some kind of normality. He faces the stares, name-calling and ostracisation that come with being different in school - only a million times worse than normal.
My biggest problem with this book is just how happy and uplifting it is. I know that sounds terrible, but I wanted it to be grittier. Someone like Auggie must have so much emotional turmoil but I felt it was lost amongst the happily ever after-ness. It was too sweet, too nice, too unreal. It's like that moment when Neville Longbottom gets those ten kind-of undeserved house points that guarantee Gryffindor the house cup... except it's far worse because Auggie's story is supposed to feel real, not like he lives in a magic castle and has just defeated a dark wizard. It was too perfect to believe in.
There are bad guys in this book, sure there are, but only one of them remains unredeemed and he loses his popularity. In other words: the good guys triumph and the bad guys get punished. I wasn't feeling it. It seemed so unbelievable to me that the only person who doesn't get a happy ending is the evil kid.
But three stars still means I liked it! This book was an entertaining page-turner and I had no problems with the really young age of the narrators. Yes, narrators, because the book switched between the point of view of Auggie, his sister - Via, Jack, Summer, Justin and Miranda... and by some miracle this actually worked! The only one I didn't enjoy reading was Justin's, I thought it was a bit of a waste of paper. Other than that, I liked reading about how Auggie's looks affected his relationships with the aforementioned. However, I still think some of the kids were nicer and more understanding than they would be in real life at their age.
And one last thing, this book did bring tears to my eyes but it had nothing to do with Auggie - be prepared for one surprising and upsetting part that I wasn't expecting. (less)
I said in another review that I'm near impossible to scare because my parents were relaxed with horror movie censorship when I was a young kid. I was...moreI said in another review that I'm near impossible to scare because my parents were relaxed with horror movie censorship when I was a young kid. I was oversaturated with horror from a young age and tend to find it more laughable than spine-tingling.
However, this book may be the only exception I have found so far. In recent years I have flat-out avoided horror stories because they do nothing for me... I can stomach Stephen King but only because his books tend to be about more than the basic horror element. For me to find this book, a book that is entirely a horror story, to be so enjoyable and so frightening is quite incredible.
I don't need to tell you what it's about, you can read that in countless descriptions, but I do need to say just how much this scared me and had me sleeping with the light on all night and jumping up at every single creak and sigh. The image of the woman stood in the marshes with her face wasting away is so vividly described that it was all I could picture for days, I kept looking over my shoulder when I was by myself expecting to see her stood there in her long black cloak. This lady does very little and is still probably the most frightening character I've ever come across in a novel. I would not recommend you read this while alone in the house... especially if it can scare someone so immune to horror like me.(less)