I absolutely, completely, utterly love this novel!
You say too many adverbs, I say enthusiasm!
This novel makes me question why I don't read YA contempo...moreI absolutely, completely, utterly love this novel!
You say too many adverbs, I say enthusiasm!
This novel makes me question why I don't read YA contemporary more often. I mean, it's not like I don't enjoy the genre, it's just that I don't seem to pick up a contemporary novel nearly as often as I do other genres. Anna and the French Kiss has definitely changed that! I'll be reading many more contemps this year, for sure.
Now, on to the good stuff: Etienne!Anna and the French Kiss has been floating around the blogosphere for quite some time, and I FINALLY decided to pick it up the other day. And boy am I glad I did! Let's just say that it lives up to its hype and then some.
Going into this, I had very high expectations, and I'm very happy to say that they were all not only met, but surpassed. Normally I don't like a lot of the heroines I read about, but Anna totally rocked. Sometimes she makes mistakes, sometimes she doesn't, but no matter what choices she made in any situation in this novel I loved her. That's not something I can say about many heroines I read about. She's fun, smart(er now because of Etienne;), and definitely the kind of girl I want to hang out with. And boy is she lucky!
Which brings me to my favorite part of this novel: Etienne! Gosh I don't even know if I should touch (haha, get you're mind of the gutter----there isn't enough room for the both of us on this subject. He's smart, short (by the way, I LOVED IT that the author didn't go with the usual 6 foot + that most authors use; I found that VERY refreshing), British (HELL YEAH!), and sexy as hell. Oh, and he's callipygian (you know what that means if you've read this *evil grin*). Yep, Etienne's all that and a Porsche.
And you can't review this novel without mentioning the other main character; and that, of course, is Paris. I loved reading about this beautiful city, and I don't think it would be too much to say that Paris stole some of the scenes in this novel.
All in all, this novel was fabuleux.
FAVORITE QUOTE: I accept the tissue. "I'm here." St. Claire is angry. "I'm just sorry I'm not there. With you. I wish there was something I could do." "Wanna come beat her up for me?" "I'm packing my throwing stars right now."
P.S. Sorry for the overzealous review; I'm just so pleased with this as I've never found chick lit this good.(less)
*sigh* Boy, am I in the minority here! Every friend of mine has given this at least three stars, and here I am not even being able to finish it. Still...more*sigh* Boy, am I in the minority here! Every friend of mine has given this at least three stars, and here I am not even being able to finish it. Still, I don't hate this book, so before giving my reasons for not liking it, I will be fair and go over what I did like.
Our heroine, Miss Alexia Tarabotti, hasn't had an easy life. Besides being put on the shelf at the age of fifteen by her mother, she's had to deal with unjust criticism. While the people of today spend countless dollars on cancer-causing tanning beds and spray on tan in a cans that make them look like a walking Orange Julius, in Alexia's day and age it is simply not the fashion to have a little darker skin. Nope, alabaster is where it's at! So as you can imagine, the vampires fit in quite nicely. But not our poor Miss Tarabotti! She has been shamed and ridiculed for even having lightly tanned skin practically since she popped out of her mother's womb. And what about that dreadfully large nose Miss Tarabotti sports? Well, we can't have that, now can we? No, no, no! We'll have to take the hedge trimmers to that thing! Pfft. As I'm sure a lot of people have, I've been on the receiving end of this kind of backwards thinking that Alexia's received from her family and peers, and it doesn't feel good. So I can sympathize with Alexia. She holds her head — and her nose — high, and lets it roll off her beautifully clad shoulders. I admire that. And . . . I'm afraid that's where my interest ended.
I have read of the neck nibbling (or gnawing, as the case may be) that ensues later on, and, for obvious reasons, I sincerely tried to make it to that part. But I guess even some good smut couldn't make me continue. For me, the writing made this nearly impossible to get into. Somehow it manages to read like fanfiction while still confusing me. I had to reread several passages in order to get even a semblance of what was happening in some scenes.
Besides these reasons, I couldn't get into the world Carriger created and, other than Miss Tarabotti, none of the characters (no, not even Lord Maccon) appealed to me. I realize this could've changed had I given it more time, but as of now I don't have the interest to do so. I believe that 50 - 100 pages is enough to tell if a book is for you or not, and I gave it 80.
To all fans of this series, especially those that are my friends, I'm sorry. I tried. :((less)
I'm going to keep this brief since there isn't much to say that hasn't already been said. *clears throat* I think the reason I waited so long to read t...moreI'm going to keep this brief since there isn't much to say that hasn't already been said. *clears throat* I think the reason I waited so long to read this series is because I just couldn't imagine myself enjoying reading about an eleven-year-old boy and his adventures at a school of wizardry. I thought it would be too juvenile for my taste. I was wrong, of course. I can honestly say that I loved every minute of this. It's a spectacular little romp with funny, courageous, and endearing characters that you can't help but love. It has talking chess pieces, singing hats, a giant three-headed dog named Fluffy, a hilarious giant with a dragon fetish, a master wizard that's just a little bit crazy, mail carrier owls, goblins running a bank, unicorns, centaurs(!), trolls . . . and probably much more that I'm forgetting. And then there's the lead characters: Hermione, the young scholar who starts out prim and up-tight but soon becomes a true friend; Ron, the boy who has little money but who has an abundance of family and loyalty to his friends to make up for it; and then there's Harry, the boy who starts out sleeping in a closet and ends up being a hero. Harry is kind to those that deserve it, fearless when it counts the most, and wonderfully intelligent. What's not to love?
In regards to the ending: (view spoiler)[I feel silly saying this about a middle grade novel, but I didn't suspect Quirrell a bit! If there were hints that he was the true culprit and not Snape, I obviously missed them. (hide spoiler)]
FAVORITE QUOTE: "But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them."
It's probably fair to say that in all the years of Hitler's reign, no person was able to serve the Führer as loyally as me. A human doesn't have a hea...moreIt's probably fair to say that in all the years of Hitler's reign, no person was able to serve the Führer as loyally as me. A human doesn't have a heart like mine. The human heart is a line, whereas my own is a circle, and I have the endless ability to be in the right place at the right time. The consequence of this is that I'm always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both. Still, they have one thing I envy. Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.
When you decide to write a book, you can never be sure how it will be received. Will people instantly be entraptured by the story your mind has conjured, or will they spit on the cover and rue the day they bought your work? Will any of your books make it on a bestseller list, say, the coveted New York Times? Or, will they end up on a dime store's shelf collecting dust for decades? And, perhaps most importantly, will the words you write touch someone's life at the moment they need it most? Will your story be the balm on a heart that has just been broken? Will a specific sentence from your conscious be the encouragement someone needs to make the toughest decision they've ever had to make? All dedicated readers know that books - stories - are a powerful thing. They're a relatable friend who'll always be there for you: to comfort, to encourage, to strengthen. This line of thought got me wondering if Markus Zusak had any idea of what a colossal impact his words would have on countless lives.
The Book Thief is the story of Liesel Meminger, a nine-year-old girl whom we shortly see earn her apt epithet. When her adoptive father, Hans Hubermann, begins teaching her how to read, she soon becomes entranced by words and their power. Over the course of several years, Liesel steals many books from the mayor's library as well as other daring locales. Although Liesel now spends her days trying to discourage Rudy Steiner's interest in kissing her and her nights reading with her papa and listening to him play the accordion, her life before Himmel St. wasn't an easy one. And soon The Book Thief's narrator, Death, lets the reader now that this isn't a story with a happy ending. But The Book Thief truly is a story of survival in a corrupt world, finding friends and family in unlikely places, and the eventual peace we all hope to find.
I can't imagine a better book to recommend, to give, to receive - than The Book Thief. Liesel's bravery and Hans' dedication to his daughter and Rudy's longing for just one kiss and Death's inner turmoil over the lives he's compelled to take. . . . I'l always remember these characters and their story. I laughed, I cried, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And I even learned a little German! Mostly curse words, but still.
Equally devastating and unforgettable, The Book Thief is rightfully beloved by many and will be remembered long after my lifetime.(less)
Is it okay to hate a dead kid? Even if I loved him once? Even if he was my best friend? Is it okay to hate him for being dead?
Vera's conflicting feel...moreIs it okay to hate a dead kid? Even if I loved him once? Even if he was my best friend? Is it okay to hate him for being dead?
Vera's conflicting feelings toward Charlie after his death mirror mine over her story. I don't think I've ever been this conflicted over a book in all my years of reading.
Vera Dietz has secrets: she has a crush on a boy five years her senior; she's drinking vodka coolers under the radar; and, perhaps her biggest secret of all, she knows a whole helluva lot more about her best friend's death than she's letting anyone in on. But she has her reasons: after you lose the boy you could've/should've been more than friends with, what else are you left with but to move on with someone else? And everyone knows alcohol is the perfect desensitizer when the pain is just too much. And besides, if she told anyone — her father, her classmates, the authorities — what might happen then?
Much like its main character, Please Ignore Vera Dietz was, for me, all of the following: baffling, annoying, infuriating, wondrous, a true eye-opener. On the one side I think, if a book can make me feel so many conflicting emotions, shouldn't it be worth five stars? You know, just because, unlike so many books, it made me feel? And on the other, shouldn't I have felt more for the characters and their heartache and tough situation before the near-end mark? Somehow I think this would be easier if I didn't have to rate this, because, no matter what I put in those line of stars, they won't truly represent my feelings towards this particular work. I feel like this book is worth five stars and about two and a half all at once.
I suppose the only way to give some semblance of order to this review is to break my thoughts down in a positive/negative fashion:
Vera, Vera, Vera. What to say about this girl? Unlike any character (female or otherwise) I've ever read about, Vera Dietz made me, at some points, mad as hell; and at others, sad to the same degree. (view spoiler)[I couldn't figure out why she didn't just call the police and keep the pet store from burning in the first place. Would that have been so hard? (hide spoiler)] She is strange and quirky, and not exactly in a good way: she eats napkins just because Charlie did; she drinks and starts going out with a twenty-three-year-old guy, all while thinking of how much she doesn't want to end up like her father and mother, a recovered alcoholic and ex-stripper turned child-abandoner, respectively. I know people do stupid things when they're hurt, especially when they've recently lost someone they loved. They may even be entitled to do these things, but that doesn't make them interesting to read about or make a character endearing or worthy of my sympathy. Or at least it doesn't for me, anyway. It wasn't until certain things happened and certain things were revealed that I started to feel something for her character, started to connect with her in any way. This happened much later in the story and, by then, it was (almost) too little too late.
When I did finally start to get it, finally began to see what so many people are raving about, it really hit hard. One minute I was reading along, thinking how this book just isn't for me but I'll finish it anyway, and the next I'm grabbing tissues to blot my tears before they left crinkle stains on my library's copy. (view spoiler)[This, of course, happened when Vera relates the time Charlie threw dog shit on her in the forest. I couldn't believe that they were such close friends, to the point where they had fallen in love with each other, and yet he'd do something so humilating and disgusting to her. I felt for Vera in that moment. (hide spoiler)]
The best part of this story is Vera's reconnecting with her father and rebuilding a real relationship with him. If you've read any of my past reviews, you know I appreciate good parent/child relationships more than any romance. Romances are nice, but they aren't everything. People say that romantic relationships can die but friends last forever, and I disagree. I'm more of a blood-runs-thicker-than-water kind of gal. Friendships are wonderful, don't get me wrong. But let's face it: the right (wrong) thing happens, and that's it, no more BFF. I believe that familial relationships are the most important, the kind you can count on the most. And this is why they are, essentially, my favorite sort of relationship to read about. Vera and her father have many things to work out, including Vera's apparent use of alcohol to cope with the loss of Charlie and her father having never truly gotten over her mother when she left them. Their scenes together were some of my favorite.
King's writing is edgy, sparse and peppered with wry humor. It made the pages flip fast and kept me invested in the story, even when the characters couldn't.
As you can see, I'm very conflicted on this particular novel. I went into it thinking it would be an easy five stars, and ended up being disappointed on multiple accounts. Perhaps some day I'll return to this story, revisit its characters and maybe see them in the same light others have. Until then, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a story that touched me at times, and frustrated me at others. But I feel better for having read it and I have no regrets. 3.5 stars["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I can't believe no one mentioned this series to me, recommended this series to me, or spammed my profile with comments and PMs proclaiming this series...moreI can't believe no one mentioned this series to me, recommended this series to me, or spammed my profile with comments and PMs proclaiming this series' awesomeness. They should have. To everyone that didn't, you're on my shit list.
Luckily for me, I finally made the decision on my own, like a big girl, and decided to give this series a try. Once I did, it wasn't exactly love at first page, but I've quickly moved into the honeymoon stage. Here's to the honeymoon never ending. Very rarely do I come across a series that I don't want to end, but the Kate Daniels series is one of those cases. Every time I start one of these books, I know I won't be disappointed. This series has turned out one thousand times better than I ever imagined it would be.
This series takes time. The first book is good but not great, and it takes time getting used to the world as well as Kate's personality. It is more than worth it, though. Having not read a lot of UF titles prior to this series, I'm not claiming that my opinion on this genre is reputable. However, based on my meager experience with urban fantasy, I can honestly say that this series is the best for me in terms of characters, writing, pacing, and overall likability. (For a more reputable opinion on UF, please see Maja a.k.a. the Queen of Urban Fantasy's profile.) I knew when we met Saiman in Magic Bites that he would eventually play a bigger role. And he definitely does in Magic Strikes. In this we find out more about his heritage, his original form, and we learn that there is more to him than just a lot of knowledge and a high sex drive. His character is very unique and refreshing. Some . . . *clears throat* . . . progress happens between Curran and Kate in this. I like the way their relationship is developing and the rate that it is doing so. Too many series seem to be too focused on the romance aspect too early on in the series. I like the way the authors have teased us thus far, only giving us little hints that there is much more than hostility boiling under the surface of their relationship.
Series like this don't come around for me that often. I've tried the first book in a lot of YA and adult series, and, even though there isn't anything necessarily wrong with them, they've failed to make me want to continue on and see what happens to the characters. A lot of series I've tried just don't seem worth the effort. But lately I've been gobbling up these books like Americans do turkey during Thanksgiving. Earlier this year I was beginning to feel as if I was loosing my interest in reading. If you're a longtime book reader, you've probably been there. I have a back-up list, though: it is a list of books that I know can always pull me out of my reading slump, should I ever need them. This series will be added to that list. Right now Kate seems to have a lot of big things coming up in her life. (view spoiler)[e.g. meeting and killing Roland, admiting her true feelings to Curran, etc. (hide spoiler)] I'm very interested to see where things go and how some certain things play out. Easy as it may seem to just let this series go and read one of the many other UF series out there, I think people should at least give this series a try. And just like with any book, there's going to be positive and negative opinions. I almost skipped this series entirely because of some of the negative reviews I've read, and to think how terrible that would've been! I've been having a blast with this series and I implore anyone with even an ounce of interest to go get Magic Bites from their library and simply try it. Seriously, go start reading this series now. !
P.S. I thought chapter 15 was good, but that was before I read chapter 28. Yowzah.
My reviews of other titles in this series:
Book #1 - Magic Bites Book #2 - Magic Burns Book #4 - Magic Bleeds["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I literally feel more disappointment with myself for not liking this than I do with this book for letting me down. I never begin reading a book thinki...moreI literally feel more disappointment with myself for not liking this than I do with this book for letting me down. I never begin reading a book thinking that I'll dislike it; I read for enjoyment, not self-torture. And since this is realistic fiction, a genre which has quickly risen to top position on my favorites list, and since it is written by an Australian author, and since the opinions of some of the people I'm closest to here on this website are so high and positive, I believed that Beatle Meets Destiny would be a shoo-in for me. An instant five star book. I hate being wrong, but I especially hated it this time.
Although it would be fair to say that high expectations played a role in my ultimate disappointment, I know I still would've been just as disappointed had my expectations been low going in. I can't believe I'm saying this about an Aussie book, but I did not like this. It started out great, but then it started to wane for me, and it went down hill fast.
One of my biggest problems with cheaters is how utterly selfish they are. They want the best of both worlds: they want to have the nice, perfect girlfriend/boyfriend to show off to family and friends; but they also want another person on the side with whom they can indulge in all of their lusty whims. Somehow they seem to find it more exciting to be with someone who is forbidden. But if they left the person they're already with, the forbidden-fruit factor would be gone. This populous world would go back to being a free market, and the fun would be over. And they never stop to think about the people who spend their whole lives alone, not even while they have multiple lovers. I could never be that way, but my biological father was, among many other wretched things, a cheater. That being said, there are still situations in which I can understand cheating and be fine with it. Very few, but some nonetheless. For this reason and others, I believed that in the case of Beatle Meets Destiny, it would be one of the few I could stand. Unfortunately, not so much. For me, Beatle and Destiny's "relationship" is blackened by the fact that he's with someone else and refuses to let that someone go before beginning another relationship. I can understand that he doesn't want to hurt Cilla by breaking up with her, but like all cheaters, doesn't he realize that finding out he's with another girl will hurt more than anything?
Now, I don't want people who read this to think that my prejudice against cheaters is the sole reason why this book didn't work for me, because it's not. In all truth, had there been no cheating of any sort, I'd still have given this two stars. Because a) I didn't see any chemistry between Beatle and Destiny. For me, it was like they only started going out because of the coincidence of their names and the fact that Destiny has big lips; b) I wasn't able to connect or empathize with any of the characters; and c) The characters were, IMO, boring and didn't possess enough personality for me to invest any interest in their story and outcome. So in the end, this was really just OK for me.
If you've read this review and you're still interested in this book (which you should be! opinions are subjective), maybe you'd like to read some positive opinions here, here, and here. And I truly hope you enjoy this more than I did.(less)
"Some people think that a place can save them," I say. "Like if they could just be somewhere else, their lives would be totally different. They could...more"Some people think that a place can save them," I say. "Like if they could just be somewhere else, their lives would be totally different. They could finally be the people they always wanted to be. But to me, a place is just a place. If you really want things to change, you can make them change no matter where you are."
Hannah Harrington's debut, Saving June, begins with Harper Scott stacking casseroles and meringue pies into her refrigerator. Her older sister, June, has just died from a self-inflicted drug overdose. And as with all deaths, people think that food offerings will make it better. But Harper knows that nothing can take away the pain of losing someone you hold so dear, especially someone whose life ended way too soon and for reasons unknown. Harper believes that nothing can make June's death any less painful — until she finds a postcard that reads California, I'm coming home in June's handwriting. She's left with nothing to think but that California is the place where June truly longed to be. And so, after reluctantly teaming up with Jake Tolan, a boy who not only was close to June but who insists on coming along for the trip with Harper and her BFF Laney, Harper packs up her things along with the urn containing June's remains and heads for California.
Harper's grief is truly gut-wrenching. She's in so much pain from this unforeseeable loss, but she's strong-willed and highly motivated nonetheless. Each time she gets close to cracking from the unbearable sadness that threatens to overwhelm her, she reigns it in and instead chooses to focus on the journey ahead. And what a journey it is! An antiwar protest in Chicago that leads to a girl-on-girl liplock, a rock concert for a band called Robot Suicide Squad, and a black van named Joplin are just some of the crazy/fun aspects of their road trip. Even though the reason behind the trip is sad, Harrington does a wonderful job of making the trip fun and exciting for both the characters and readers alike.
With his trademark black pants, his messy yet oh-so-sexy hair, and his inherent love for all things musical, Jake Tolan makes for an interesting and authentic character who is the perfect yang to Harper's yin. Although only eighteen, Jake's life hasn't been easy, and in snippets we find out just how rough it's been. But Jake isn't about to let his bad upbringing define him.
Harper and Jake's slow-building romance is perfectly written; like a seven-tier wedding cake, it is carefully handled and delicately crafted. Their natural chemistry and casual banter make for some of the best scenes in the book:
"Wow," I say. "You are truly obsessed." "Yeah, I kinda am," he agrees, grinning. "Without music, life would be a mistake." "Did you coin that one yourself?" "Nietzsche did, actually. But it's a common mix-up."
They share secrets, dreams, cigarettes, and the pain of losing June. The sexual tension between them is palpable in some scenes, but it doesn't overshadow the main focal point of the story. In fact, I'd say the romance takes a backseat (no pun intended) to the adventurous and cathartic road trip Harper, Jake, and Laney take.
Music vibrates through every page of Saving June. It is its own life force as you read through these pages, and I found myself using YouTube to keep up with Jake's playlist.
Ultimately, Saving June is about learning to find peace after facing a tragedy, and the maelstrom of conflicting emotions that bombard one's mind after the death of a beloved. And it sends a wonderful message: that you can find love, joy, and happiness — even after devastation.
I look forward to reading more works from Harrington in future.(less)
Born with an ability that is more of a curse than a gift, Katsa's life hasn't been an easy one. Katsa is Graced with the ability to kill. And when an...moreBorn with an ability that is more of a curse than a gift, Katsa's life hasn't been an easy one. Katsa is Graced with the ability to kill. And when an accident causes her to kill a man at the age of eight, she soon realizes what her Grace really is. Upon finding out Katsa's true Grace, King Randa of the Middluns, Katsa's uncle, quickly decides to utilize her morbid abilities rather than kill her for them as most would. Wanting to harness her abilities and control them rather than be ruled by them as she's ruled by the King, Katsa begins to train and practice her skills. Over time she grows more and more in tune with her Grace and soon she becomes King Randa's greatest and most adept fighter. But will these skills do her any good when another, more corrupt king threatens all whom she cares for?
I found Katsa's strong character, independence, and fierce determination to be very admirable. Upon first being introduced to her character, I wasn't sure that I'd like her. But by the end of the novel she managed to become another favorite heroine of mine. (FYI, my list of favorite female characters is very short.) Katsa isn't your average damsel in distress and I was glad to see---for once---that the female was actually the stronger of the two in her relationship with Po. And that Po was more than fine with this fact. It's easy for the romance and relationships to become repetitive and even redundant when you've read 200+ books. But Ms. Cashore surprised me with her talent for writing and her ability to entertain and create fresh characters.
At first, I wasn't sure what to think of all the bling Po sports. I kept imagining something like this. (Except younger and with a lot less hair.) Finding out that it was the tradition of his people was a relief. The reason for all of his jewelry wearing ended up being very interesting, though. I found his people's customs and the origins of his jewelry quite intriguing. And the man himself SHOCKED ME. I say this with caps because, in the beginning, much like with Katsa, I wasn't sure I'd like him. At first, all of the jewelry he's described as wearing aside, he just didn't seem like a character I could foresee myself warming up to. It's safe to say I'm warm now. I don't know, it was like the more I read (listened), the more I liked him. Until, finally, I loved him. He's not like a lot of the other leading male characters being written in the YA genre today. He comes off as sort of simple, at first, and then, before you know it, he's found his way into your heart. (view spoiler)[I'm not ashamed to say that I cried when Katsa realized Po was blind. By that point, I was very attached and found of his character. Also, while, thankfully, I'm not blind, I've recently had problems with my eyes. I was kind of shocked that the author would write a development like that with a character so close to the end of the novel. But I commend Ms. Cashore for writing that. It was sad and unexpected but it worked. And it definitely struck a chord with me. (hide spoiler)] Po's special in a simplistic yet complex way. If that makes sense.
The revelations in this novel were all very surprising and well written. Besides the one mentioned in the spoiler above, there were several others that I didn't see coming. (view spoiler)[Katsa's true Grace? Yeah. Didn't foresee that one. I can only imagine how relieving it would be to find out your gift is Survival rather than something as horrible as Killing. (hide spoiler)]
King Leck of Monsea is easily one of the most malevolent, sadistic, and manipulative villains within the YA genre that I've ever come across. Although he's not actually in the story much, he plays a significant role as the villain and I thought he was well written.
Another thing I really liked about Graceling was the ending. It wasn't rushed like with most novels. (view spoiler)[I also liked that, when the time came and it needed to happen, Katsa killed Leck. A lot of authors seem to draw things out and make it so that the villain (if the story has one) is only defeated or killed at the very end. And by this point, obviously, the story is over and you're left with nothing but a rushed ending to an otherwise good story. I'm one of those readers that enjoys it when the author gives the reader a little time to enjoy the characters new found peace and happiness, rather than the ever popular and abrupt endings. (hide spoiler)]
Katsa's reluctent attraction to Po and her irritants and arguments with him were quite intriguing, also. And I loved it that their relationship wasn't rushed and overdone with the whole "soul mates" bit most authors are so found of using today.
FAVORITE QUOTE: "He sat against the tree, his knees bent and his head in his hands. His shoulders slumped. Tired, unhappy. Something tender caught in her breath at the sight of him. And then he raised his eyes and looked at her, and she saw what she had not seen before. She gasped. His eyes were beautiful. His face was beautiful to her in every way, and his shoulders and hands. And his arms that hung over his knees, and his chest that was not moving, because he held his breath as he watched her. And the heart in his chest. This friend. How had she not seen this before? How had she not seen him? She was blind. And then tears choked her eyes, for she had not asked for this. She had not asked for this beautiful man before her, with something hopeful in his eyes that she did not want."
Graceling is the perfect mix of action, suspense, sensuality, and it is one of the most of intriguing and fatastically written fantasy worlds I've ever had the pleasure of reading about----or, in this case, listening to.
Bottom line: If you've not yet read Graceling, I suggest you rectify that immediately. And if you have, please give the audio version a try. You won't be disappointed. (I'm talking to you, Flannery.)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Verily, Ward, you hath redeemed thyself in mine eyes.
Lover Unleashed was disappointing for me on several levels. But I knew that, if Ward did it right...moreVerily, Ward, you hath redeemed thyself in mine eyes.
Lover Unleashed was disappointing for me on several levels. But I knew that, if Ward did it right, Tohrment's book had the potential to be the best installment to the series in a long time. I've wanted him to find peace and healing ever since that fateful scene at the end of Lover Awakened, but I knew it would take time. And now that his time has finally come, I'm pleased to say that Ward doesn't disappoint.
Tohrment & No'One: I know a lot of people aren't happy that Tohrment doesn't get Wellsie back. I'm not happy about it, either. But save for getting Wellsie back, I believe Tohr was dealt the best hand possible in Lover Reborn. Let me be frank: I had very little faith that Ward could pull a romance like this off. Seriously, Tohrment and Wellsie? Probably one of the most romantic couples I've ever come across in the PNR/UF genre. Their back story, the glimpses we see of their relationship in the first three books . . . how can you possibly follow an act like that? Some of the sentences in this are like an assault to the solar plexus. There were scenes where I felt like I was chopping onions. Suffice it to say I cried a lot while reading Tohr's story. Man, Tohrment . . . he just . . . tears me apart. Truly.
As Tohr says himself, No'One could never replace Wellsie; but the emotional — and physical — connection between Tohr and No'One is undeniable. Tohr and No'One have a lot in common (each has been through a tremendous ordeal in their lifetime), they've meant in the past and spent an entire year in each other's company, and No'One is incredibly understanding and supportive of Tohr and his situation. I don't think any other female could've brought him back from the brink the way No'One did. I didn't expect to like No'One as much as I did — I've never really liked the Chosen women, and although No'One isn't a Chosen, she's very similar to them. But she is humble, kind, and, underneath the shield she's erected to protect herself, passionate. Ward has surprised me before, and she definitely did in the case of No'One's character.
The best part about the romance in this is how slow it builds. One year passes from beginning to end of this installment, and Tohr doesn't give himself over to the possibility of loving another easily. It isn't until near the end that he truly opens his heart to No'One. (view spoiler)[But did you notice? No bonding scent. Save for a little show of possessiveness (which I think could just be chalked up to the nature of a male vampire), Tohr didn't bond with No'One. I have to say that I liked this fact very much. For me, that would've discredited Tohr's love for his previous shellan as well as the bonds the other Brothers have with their shellans. I don't think that the bonding thing should be taken lightly. Don't get me wrong; I'm glad he's in love with her and all, but I think him bonding with her would've been too much. I hope it doesn't come into play in future books. (hide spoiler)]
Lassiter: Can somebody get me a bib? Seriously, you can have all of the Brothers (except Z, of course; I got dibs on him a long time ago), just give me Lassiter! God, he just gets more interesting — and sexy — with each book. And when his own book is finally released, I'll be one of the first ones at the bookstore ready to trample over the other shoppers to get my copy. And something tells me his book is going to be very similar to Tohr's and maybe even equally sad. If you're observant and you've read Hello, Old Friend and Book Order in the Brothers on the Board section of the insider's guide, then you know that Lassiter had a woman he loved who is now either missing or dead. There is also some hinting of that in this book. I don't know if Ward will have him get her back, or have him end up with someone else. Since Ward seems to enjoy torturing her fans, it'll probably be the latter.
John & Xhex: Just as there was a lot of Vishous in Payne's book (for obvious reasons), there is a lot of John and, naturally, Xhex in Tohr's book. Their relationship gets tested and, similarly to Vishous and Jane in Lover Unleashed, they go through a real rough patch. One of the things I like most about Ward's couples is that, when their book is over, their story isn't. There'll always be new trials and new developments in her characters' lives. There are some really emotional — and erotic (seriously, they get twice as many sex scenes as the main couple) — scenes with John and Xhex in this. Fans of theirs should be very happy. And for John and Xhex, I'm sure the trials aren't over. When Murhder finally gets into the series full-time, I'm sure he'll shake things up quite a bit for them, as he is Xhex's former lover. Can you say cohntehst?
Qhuinn & Blay a.k.a. Qhuay (& Saxton and Layla, or as I like to think of them, The Third & Fourth Wheels): There isn't much Qhuinn and Blay in this. :( Neither of them get much page time, because John and Xhex and the Bastards hog it all take up the majority of the side story's time. Still, there are some good scenes with them — both together and individually --- and they do say absence makes the heart grow fonder. (Although I don't see how I could get any more fond of those two . . .) On the plus side, there aren't any lesser POVs! Given the way chapter seventy-six ends . . . Qhuay's story must be soon. Very soon. Whether it will be a novella or a full installment remains to be seen. All I can say is, if it turns out to be the former, it sure as hell better be tome-ish, anyway. (view spoiler)[So Qhuinn and Layla are going to have a child together, huh? I know it will infuriate many readers (I know it did me — at first), but at the same time I can see the beauty of it and the reason behind it. That little girl will be one of the most loved children you can imagine. She'll have three parents — two fathers and a mother — and she'll have the whole Brotherhood and their shellans to care and love for her as well. It may not be ideal, and it may not be what a lot of readers had in mind for Qhuinn and Blay, but I can see the potential and beauty that this prospect holds. And I see why she wrote it this way. After Qhuinn was shunned by his family and the aristocracy, I think he deserves a full family. And this way, he'll get to spend the rest of his life not only with the love of his life (Blay, naturally) and the Brotherhood, but a beautiful baby girl. (hide spoiler)] Oh, Saxton . . . Ward has hinted as to what will become of him in a future installment, and I'm pretty sure I know what it is and that all of his fans (including myself) will not like it. Especially since in Lover Reborn it becomes pretty clear that Saxton has fallen for Blay. As for Layla . . . well, I won't give it away, but it is now very clear who Layla's HEA is. And despite the fact that I've never been a big fan of Layla . . . I'm very much looking forward to her story. (This is really because of the male she ends up with. He is all kinds of hot.) (view spoiler)[Xcor! Xcor! Xcor! He may just end up being my favorite male character — next to Zsadist, of course.
Which reminds me . . . The situation between Throe, Xcor, and Layla reminds me a bit of the one featured earlier in the series between Phury, Zsadist, and Bella. Phury had been attracted to Bella, had yearned for her, even; but in the end, his interest in her didn't compare to the powerful, once-in-a-lifetime (especially for someone like Z) connection that Zsadist had with Bella. I believe it will be much the same for Layla and the two males who seek her out. And I'm sure Throe will eventually end up with someone else special. (Another Chosen, perhaps?) (hide spoiler)]
Band of Bastards: I predicted in my review of Lover Unleashed that the B.o.B. (Band of Bastards) would most likely end up becoming good and each member would get their own book. Now . . . I still say that will happen, but I think it's going to take a while. I think it would be a good idea, because without them Ward doesn't have very many possibilities for future books. I think if it were ever to go in that direction, it would be a long time from now and a lot would have to happen in order for any of them to be ready for their own book. Ward actually talks about the B.o.B. in a YouTube video (specifically Xcor), which you can watch here. (Turn up the volume if you wanna hear what she says) (view spoiler)[Oh please, please, please just leave him a little bit naughty . . . ! (hide spoiler)]
"The quick and the dead are all the same. Everyone's just looking for home."
"She wished for Qhuinn this soldier. She truly did."
"Then again, he supposed the healing process, in contrast to trauma, was gentle and slow . . . The soft closing of a door, rather than a slam."
"Our future has come."
In short, I enjoyed this installment very much and I'm happy that Tohr is finally happy.
Note: After I wrote my review, Ward announced who the next book will be about. If you want to know, click the spoiler.
Notice: This review is completely subjective, bias, and is written by a total Morganville fangirl.
There's tr...more**spoiler alert** Actual rating: 4.5 stars
Notice: This review is completely subjective, bias, and is written by a total Morganville fangirl.
There's trouble in paradise - or rather, Morganville - which is just about as far from paradise as you can get. Nevertheless, things have been going well for Claire and her housemates. Sure, Frank, her boyfriend Shane's once thought dead father is really alive - and Claire's forced to keep the secret from Shane by none other than Frank himself. But things could be worse, in a town like Morganville. But as Claire knows all too well, things are never easy going in Morganville for very long. Everything starts getting shaky again when a boy from her science class is found murdered, Shane starts acting strangely violent and aggressive, and a new pay-per-view internet show featuring vampires vs. humans in extreme fighting hits the Web - and Shane is one of the humans.
I'll admit that it was hard reading about Shane getting lost in the fights and in Glory's eyes. That bitch. I apologize for the language, but there really is no other way to describe Glory. My homicidal tendencies always come out when a female character comes into the picture in a series only to screw up everything between one of my favorite couples. And that's exactly what Shane & Claire are - a favorite couple. I've been rooting for their relationship since Shane called Claire a "kid" in chapter 4 in Glass Houses. (Yes, I remember that far back.) (Okay, fine - I looked it up. BUT, I still remembered him calling her that. ;)) The thing is, I was really anticipating reading from Shane's POV because I expected a lot of sweet, awww-worthy thoughts about Claire. But Shane's head is in such a bad place through the majority of this installment that it ended up being a lot of resentful, cruel thoughts and there were even some instances where he was verbally mean to Claire. A lot of it is glamour-induced, but Shane does seem to have some issues with Claire and her relationship with Myrnin. He isn't buying that it is strictly platonic and therefore he has doubts - and everyone knows that doubt is the #1 relationship killer (that and financial problems - but that's only if you're married). I just hope that his issues don't ruin things for the next two installments.
The thing that really pleases me about this series is the characters; I love 'em. They're characters that I can imagine myself being friends with in real life (Clare). They're ones I can imagine doing unspeakably naughty things to that are too inappropriate to list in this review for fear that a child might happen upon it and get a much too early education in the fine arts of naughtiness (e.g. Shane, Michael, Myrnin, and, yes, even Oliver. Oh, don't look at me like that - I realize that he was turned in his fifties but I still love him). They're ones that make me laugh and cry (yes, I am sappy) at the most unexpected times.
"We're getting married!"
"Are you in the car that's almost caused three accidents on North Vance?" Hannah asked. "Because I'm following you with my lights flashing, and whoever's driving isn't pulling over." "Let him go," Claire said. "Trust me. You aren't going to get him to stop." "Oh, God. It's Myrnin, isn't it?" "Tell that police lady to stop chasing me," Myrnin said, annoyed, from the front seat. "Really, I'm not that bad at this."
(The scene where Myrnin drives is HILARIOUS.)
"I pulled back my fist for another punch, and he didn't flinch. He didn't look away, either. He just said, "It's not your fault, man. I don't blame you."
So you see, my friend, this series is definitely a favorite of mine. And when it eventually ends, like all good things do, I will be heart broken. But that's all right. Much like watching reruns of your favorite shows after they've left the air (Buffy, Friends, Moonlight, etcetera, etcetera), I'll reread this wonderful series time and again.
And for those who've been living on another planet, Last Breath comes out later this year in Nov and what is expected to be the last installment (*sobs*) is set to come out in April of next year. It is currently Untitled.
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Albus Dumbledore
Such a wise wizard.
You know how sometimes when...more"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Albus Dumbledore
Such a wise wizard.
You know how sometimes when you read the first in a series and it turns out so much better than you originally anticipated, it makes you a little apprehensive when starting the sequel? Well, I felt that way before starting this, but I can definitely say that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is another fabulous installment in the rightfully beloved Harry Potter series! And while I will admit to not loving it quite as much as its predecessor, I still enjoyed it a great deal. I think the reason for my not liking it as much can be mostly credited to the introduction of a new character, Professor Lockhart. Lockhart is an annoyingly pretentious wizard who is completely full of himself, and the majority of his teachings were based on his own life and his supposed brushes with death that he escaped only because of his "heroism" and great knowledge of the magic arts. (view spoiler)[Riiiiiiiiight. (hide spoiler)] In a summary, I didn't find the story involving Lockhart quite as interesting as Harry's realization of his true abilities and the escapades of his first year at Hogwarts.
But HP II undoubtedly still has plenty of hilarious moments and magical wonders - not to mention the lovely cast of characters - to more than compensate for this particular installment's slightly lacking plot. Hence the five stars. :)
There's a reason why books like Twilight don't receive those. They don't give those to just any book, and when you factor in excellence . . . well, a...more
There's a reason why books like Twilight don't receive those. They don't give those to just any book, and when you factor in excellence . . . well, a lot of titles just don't make the cut. But it is clear to me why Melina Marchetta's third tribute to YA literature received a Printz award back in 2009. It is because it is excellent, to the very meaning of the word.
If all YA contemporary writers wrote like Marchetta, I doubt I'd play in any other genre playground very often. She writes these beautifully inspirational, relatable, and emotionally-charged novels that seem to affect me in an undescribable way.
Some of the passages in Jellicoe Road seem to beat with their own heart:
"These people have history and I crave history. I crave someone knowing me so well that they can tell what I'm thinking."
"'What do you want from me?' he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More."
I've always believed that an exceptionally good writer can take you places emotionally that others can't, and, for me, Melina Marchetta is one of those writers.
I'm going to end this review here for two reasons: 1) I believe this is the type of book that should be experienced first hand, without much knowledge of the story going in. So, go read it and remember, the beginning is confusing, but plow through it and I promise you won't regret it; 2) I'm tearing up thinking about this story and its characters, so all you'll be getting from me is the aforesaid and this: I love this book and I'm anticipating the day when I can read it again. I highly recommend Jellicoe Road to everyone.