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.
**spoiler alert** WARNING: This isn't a review so much as a hodgepodge of gushing and complaining. Also, this gushing and complaining fest is quite lo...more**spoiler alert** WARNING: This isn't a review so much as a hodgepodge of gushing and complaining. Also, this gushing and complaining fest is quite long. You've been warned.
"Although it may not seem like it, this isn't a story about darkness. It's about light. Kahlil Gibran says 'Your joy can fill you only as deeply your sorrow has carved you.' It you've never tasted bitterness, sweet is just another pleasant flavor on your tongue. One day I'm going to hold a lot of joy."----Bloodfever
Mac wasn't lying when she said that. This story really is ultimately about light and happiness.
For me, the beginning of Shadowfever was quite disappointing. I don't know what happened to Mac while she was traveling through those dimensions toward the end of Dreamfever, but something must have happened, because she's been more dense ever since. I always thought that Mac was rather smart for a blonde (no offense to any blondes reading this), but starting with her not picking up on the fact that Barrons was the beast, and ending with when she decided to suck face with the man she presumes to be her sister's murderer, she lost all sense that she seemed to possess in the earlier installments. I realize that she was overcome with grief, thinking that Barrons was dead, but, come on, it was like she just threw caution to the wind and gave herself over to the dark side. In one passage she states that she's planning to actually sleep with Darroc in order to obtain the information needed to take control of the book and use it to erase her mistakes and bring Barrons back from the dead. She calls kissing and associating with Darroc a sort of self-inflicted "punishment" for her killing Barrons. Riiiight. I'm with ya there, Mac. And then, when Barrons comes back on his own, like I knew he would (oh come on, it would've ruined the whole series), she quickly decides that she was too hasty in her grieving and that she shouldn't reveal her true feelings to him. And my thoughts were, How could you be bawling, lying down in the dirt, kiss-the-corpse distraught with grief, and then have the reason for your grief eradicated, the man you love come back to you, and deside to let everything go? She acted as if Barrons interest in her was infallible and would never cease. There's a passage I'd like to share with you where Barrons finally sets her straight on this little misconception and gives her an ultimatum. It's one of my favorite scenes:
"How much longer will you dissemble?" "Who uses words like dissemble?" He leaned back against the door and folded his arms. "I won't wait much longer. You're on your last chance with me."
Over the course of the series Mac accuses Barrons of evading and being closed up all of the time, but, as you've just read, she's more than guilty of doing so herself. As I mentioned in my review for Dreamfever, I think that Mac is just as much to blame for her and Barrons' relationship not moving forward earlier as Barrons is. If not more so IMHO.
And then there's V'lane. Or should I say, Cruce. That pompous, over used prick was never one for which I was a fan. (Please excuse the language, that's just how I feel.) From the very beginning I sensed something fishy with his character. And I was right.
I found Barrons' cohorts to be very . . . interesting. Barrons may be the man of this series, but I see a lot of potential in his fellow men. Ryodan, Lor, Kasteo, Fade . . . all of them. I'd love to see more of them and learn more of their back stories.
Another character that I see a lot of potential in: Dani. Her story is just sort of left off and you don't really know what'll happen to her next. Ms. Moning tries to tie up her story with a few short sentences on the very last page, but I think she could be a good heroine in her own story. Provided that she grows up and starts speaking a little differently, of course.
Which brings me to another fact: I can't believe who Alina's murderer ended up being! I mean, I can, but I didn't see it coming. Rowena was another character that I wasn't very found of, but I sure wouldn't have guessed her to be Alina's real murderer.
And that wasn't the only shocker. Barrons' son . . . that was very sad. However I do think that the conclusion to his story was maybe a little too rushed.
And now I believe it's time for the quote's portion:
"I had a secret. A terrible secret that had been eating me alive. What did you wear to your senior prom, Mac? That had been the last thing I'd heard, Pri-ya. Everything from that moment on had really happened. I'd faked. I'd lied to him and myself. I stayed. And it hadn't felt any different."
I was both elated and shocked by that one.
For those of you who've read this and may not remember, these next two quotes are extracted from a scene where Mac and Barrons are kissing and Mac gets into his head. She's trying to find out what his feelings and thoughts were while they were together intimately in the beginning of Dreamfever:
"Keep hoping to see the light in her eyes. Even knowing it'll mean she's saying good-bye."
"When you know who I am. Let me be your man."
Those two quotes, and, really, that entire scene, undid me. Seeing that Barrons feels that way was easily one of the most emotional parts of Shadowfever for me. And it certainly makes their time together in Dreamfever have more meaning.
"And here we go. She's bristling and my hackles go up. Bloody hell, I feel fangs coming on. Tell you what, Ms. Lane," he said softly, "anytime you want to have a conversation with me, leave the myriad issues you have with wanting to fuck me every time you look at me outside my cave, come on in, and see what you find. You might like it."
He sure does have a way with words.
"We cannot restore the walls without the Song," V'lane was saying. "Who says we need the walls back up?" Barrons demanded. "You're roaches, we're Raid. We'll get rid of you eventually."
And I'm pretty sure I busted a rib on that one.
"You're Mac," he says. "And I'm Jericho. And nothing else matters. Never will. You exist in a place that is beyond all rules for me. Do you understand that?" I do. Jericho Barrons just told me he loves me.
"I was happy. I knew why you'd lied." His dark gaze was ancient, inhuman, uncharacteristically gentle. Because you love me."
And, of course, my very favorite:
"Don't leave me, Rainbow Girl."
Now, the second and third to the last quote are all you really get as far as declarations of love go. But I wasn't expecting either one of them to drop to their knees and declare their undying love for one another. But they both know that they love each other. And that's enough for this reader. For me, their relationship turned out exactly how I wanted it to. I think that the way Ms. Moning wrote it was perfect and true to her characters and very satisfying. And am I mistaken or was the scene where they finally give in to their feelings just as much emotional as it was erotic? When Barrons is fighting to stay in his human skin and Mac takes his head and cradles it to her breast and tries to soothe him? Wow. Just . . . wow.
And although I wasn't very pleased with Mac in the beginning of Shadowfever, she ended up making the right decisions later on and therefore I still love her. And don't even get me started on Barrons. That man . . . there are no words. I bow to Ms. Moning's awesomeness in that she was even able to create a character such as him. He's very special to me and for that reason alone I'm sad to see this series end. (I hear there may be some sort of spin off series or something? If so, you can bet your petunia I'll be reading it. I'll read anything Ms. Moning decides to publish. Seriously, grocery lists, anything.)
After everything just said, I have to take the good with the not-so-good and say that I really, really enjoyed this series and that, ultimately, I'm very pleased. And that is why I'm giving this one five stars. As a whole, I'd give this series ten stars. Because I love the characters, faults and all, I love Ms. Moning's writing (I have found a new favorite author in her), and I have enjoyed MacKayla's story immensely.(less)
Although using this trite doesn't mean that the fact is any less true, it is still at the risk of sounding cliché when I say that Jane Austen's classi...moreAlthough using this trite doesn't mean that the fact is any less true, it is still at the risk of sounding cliché when I say that Jane Austen's classic, Emma, is like a breath of fresh air when juxtaposed to the miasmal novels in the publishing market today; especially for someone who has been on a YA binge of late. You see, the reason why I went for Emma as my first Austen read is because my mother has seen the latest movie adaptation, and she claims it to be her very favorite. Mind you, she hasn't read any thing of Austen's—but she loves the movie so very much that she kept pestering me to watch it (I suppose I'll have to pester her to read the book now, won't I?). To which I continually said that, no, no, I will not watch the movie until I've read the book; I positively hate to watch the movie adaptation before reading the book; it virtually cancels out any chance of me ever finding enough interest in reading the actual book to its completion. So, after picking up Emma at least ten times in the past year, reading the first few chapters, only to sit it back down again, I finally—the other day—decided I wanted to read something of quality and something that is truly written well. Well, that is definitely Emma.
Emma, herself, is, for me, just as stunning as she is flawed; I started out thinking her a walking vexation, but somewhere in the 400+ pages I began to warm to her like you would with any inevitably lovable—albeit, at times, antagonising—character. Emma's devotion to her father is also very admirable. And by the end, Emma seemed so much more humble and less meddling that I couldn't help but be very pleased with her character. My thoughts on Mr. Knightley are not as easily expressed; in the beginning I found him merely interesting, but somewhere in the middle he began to hold my interest as much as a mother would hold her infant (if that isn't too much of an odd metaphor); by the end he managed to surpass virtually all of the other male characters of which I've been exposed to. Granted, Mr. Knightley isn't in Emma nearly enough for my satisfaction—but when he is, the aforesaid is all too true. I can't quite place my finger on what it is, exactly, about him that made such an impression on me—other than that I've always had a strong fascination with a true gentleman, being as that sort of thing is practically extinct in this day and age; also, I've grown very jaded with the often monotonous male characters of today. And I do believe that my reaction to Mr. Knightley has left me at a wonder as to just want my reaction will be upon meeting the famous Mr. Darcy. I'll doubtlessly swoon just as countless other lasses have since P&P debuted in 1813.
I really think that my hesitation in reading this—as well as Austen's other works—has nothing to do with the writing, or the story, or the pacing; because, and I know this will sound strange, but, I've always loved a book that is just about people going about their daily lives and doing things—little trivial things, even—and simply living; people say that Emma doesn't have much story and is really just people planning balls and Emma interfering in peoples' lives—but I loved all of that! I'll take everyday living over complex plots any day. No, I think the reason for my waiting so long is that I psyched myself out of reading something like this; I kept thinking that it would be too long or too boring or too archaic or too something or another, but in reality this is the very type of thing that I love to read about. Regency, Victorian, etc. . . . I love to read about all of the historical periods, and I'm so very glad that I stopped procrastinating.
So, I enjoyed this a great deal and I've set a goal for myself to read all of Austen's works by this time next year (although I kindly ask you not you hold me to it ;)). I plan to continue with her other slightly lesser known titles, and finish with what appears to me to be the most well known and highly esteemed, Pride and Prejudice. In a summary, I plan to save the best—or what is often said to be the best—for last.
FAVORITE QUOTE: "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other."
Although I have many favorite quotes from this (the rest can be read below), that particular quote stood out the most because it is so very true. Expect to see it in my future reviews.
I highly recommend Emma to everyone; both lovers and reluctant readers of classics.(less)
CAUTION: This review contains minor spoilers and some spoilery quotes at the end.
More often times than not, sequels are either a hit or a miss, and I'...moreCAUTION: This review contains minor spoilers and some spoilery quotes at the end.
More often times than not, sequels are either a hit or a miss, and I'm happy to report that, for me, this one was a definite hit.
Bloodfever starts off slow and steady, letting you get back into the story of MacKayla Lane and the enigmatic Jericho Barrons, a man who's not only more mysterious than he is trustworthy, but who's Mac's mentor and only protector without an alterior motive (at least, not much of one). Over the course of the novel you learn a bit more about its characters, see a little more of there buried feelings for one another surface, both friendly and amorous. And, most of all, you get a lot more action and suspense, if that's possible.
Suspense because we still don't know who or what Barrons really is. Is he Fae? Or something else altogether? And if so, what? One thing's for sure, he's certainly not human. Somehow Barrons holds sway over people----both human and inhuman----no one else can stand a chance against. They back down to him and either ignore him altogether or even treat him as if they fear him. It's never revealed as to what exactly he is, and I'm unsure as to whether I want to know. I'm torn between chomping at the bits in anticipation for the moment when all is revealed, and wanting the suspense to never end because I find Barrons very intriguing and attractive. While I'm certain he would still have these qualities even if the readers and Mac learned of his secrets, he's quite enjoyable as he is (that's an understatement). A fair amount of Barrons' earlier stoicism and aloofness is missing in this installment. You see with much more certainty that he cares for Mac and isn't as impervious to her as he would have you believe.
And Mac's character is the same and yet not the same; she grows quite a bit in this one, albeit by force and brutal torture, but grow she does. But Mac kicks ass in this and doesn't fail me as a reader even once. That's not something I can say of many heroines.
Another thing that I really liked: You don't see a lot of V'lane in this one. I believe his character only makes two appearances throughout the entire duration of the novel, something I found very nice. It's safe to say I'm not a member of the V'lane fan club.
This installment literally had me gripping my couch cushions, bursting out laughing, and feeling other things that are too inappropriate to include in this review (hint: they had something to do with Barrons). And all I can say is that I'm very glad that I have Faefever on my nightstand.
"I heard there are no male sidhe-seers." "Where did you hear that?" "Around." "And which one of those are you in doubt about, Ms. Lane?" "Which one of what?" "Whether I see the Fae, or whether I'm a man. I believe I've laid your mind to rest on the former; shall I relieve it on the latter?" He reached for his belt.
"The only things you feel are greed, mockery, and occasionally you probably get a hard-on, but I bet it's not over a woman, it's over money or an artifact or a book. You're no different than any other player in this game. You're no different than V'lane. You're just a cold, mercenary---" His hand was on my throat, and he was crushing me back with his body into the cold steel beam behind me. "Yes, I have loved, Ms. Lane, and although it's none of your business, I have lost. Many things. And no, I am not like any other player in this game and I will never be like V'lane, and I get a hard-on a great deal more often than occasionally." He leaned fully against me and I gasped. "Sometimes it's over a spoiled little girl, not a woman at all."
(As you can see, Barrons is quite intriguing.)(less)
For those who don't have Facebook and didn't see this . . .
Moning posted a deleted scene from Dreamfever on her Facebook page on 4/21/13. Here it is i...moreFor those who don't have Facebook and didn't see this . . .
Moning posted a deleted scene from Dreamfever on her Facebook page on 4/21/13. Here it is in full, but be warned, it is spoilery unless you've read all of Dreamfever:
“You’re not the only fucking one that got branded!” Barrons slammed his fist into the wall behind my head. Bits of plaster dusted my shoulders.
Oh, really? I wasn’t the only one walking around with a mark on me I didn’t want? Our gazes locked and I jerked. Was he letting me see this, or had intimacy given me a window into his soul. As if he had one. He deserved no less. He hadn’t done it to save me. He’d had sex with me because it was the only way he could continue using me. He’d had sex with me to steal my services back from his enemies at Camp Pri-ya.
And for the first time since the morning he’d gotten up and walked out, leaving me painfully, horrifically aware of both who I was and where I was—in Jericho Barron’s lust-drenched bed on the verge of begging him not to leave me while in full possession of my senses--I could see that it hadn’t left him nearly as untouched as I’d thought. As he’d led me to think.
I searched his face. Beneath his left eye, a tiny muscle contracted, smoothed, contracted again. That minute betrayal was Barron’s equivalent of a normal person having a full-blown hissy fit. Oh, no, far from untouched. Had he stood outside my door as I’d stood outside his, fists at his sides, lips drawn back? Did it have him as bad as it had me? Was it eating at him, gnawing at him with the same sharp vicious little teeth that wouldn’t let me sleep?
Yes, it was. I could see the rage of insatiable, uninvited lust in every line of that dark, stoic face that had once been too subtly etched for me to read. I wasn’t the only one lying awake at night, fevered with memories, tossing, turning, soaking my sheets, burning up--not for Fae sex, but him, damn it all to hell, him.
Remembering being too naked in body and soul, trembling with need. Backing to him, a wild animal. Later, straddling him, holding him down and demanding more and more because Jericho Barrons couldn‘t be depleted. Of anything. Whatever he was. He was without limit.
He hadn’t erased the Fae Princes’ marks--he’d burned his own into them until I could no longer discern the shape of the marks they‘d left. He‘d scarred their scars out of me with a bigger scar. The bastard. And if I’d managed to carve up some part of him in return—
“Good,” I said, hard and low. “Welcome to my world, Barrons. I hope it hurts like hell.”
His hand was on my throat and my back was to the wall. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t need to. He was touching me. Two enormous magnets, repelling and attracting; a manifest of nature, not a matter of will at all. The air between us crackled with energy. Did I smell flesh burning?
“Good?” he said softly, and staring into those black eyes was like staring down the shadowy, demon-littered corridor of the Unseelie mirror in his study. “You think it’s good to have something like me obsessed with you? My dear, dear, bloody idiotic, suicidal Ms. Lane, you have no fucking idea what’s gotten the scent of you in its nostrils, what has the taste of you in its blood, or you’d run. You’d run for what little remains of what you think of as your life.”
He whirled, long black coat fluttering, was out the door, and gone.
I stared into the deepening twilight into which he’d disappeared. Nightfall was painting the stone walkway one of those new Fae shades that hadn’t existed before the walls had come crashing down around our ears; a dreamy silvery-violet, spider-webbed with moonbeams that was eerily beautiful. I shivered. I hated the new colors. They were….somehow just…wrong.
I shook it off.
Obsessed, Barrons had said.
I smiled. Good.
Okay, and this was deleted why?! It's fecking awesome and HOT!
Behold, I give to you my reaction to the first 50 pages of Dreamfever: #*$@%*%@$@&$*(@!>?<#&WTF?*faints*#**&^@!$%^#%^7053 .........................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More on that later.
Remember when I said in my review for Darkfever that I wasn't as batshit crazy over Barrons as most people but that I eventually would be? That day has come, my friend. With each book I've grown to love him more and more. I've slowly learned how he operates and slowly become used to his ways of doing things. And let me tell you, they're anything but conventional. Barrons isn't like any leading male character that you will encounter in any genre. Simply put, he's one of a kind. Barrons is the type of character where you have to stay very open minded upon meeting him else you'll be offended almost immediately. I almost was, myself. But patience and keeping an open mind will pay off. The thing about Barrons is, most of the time, he's rude, insensitive, stoic, and, at times, barbaric. But despite all of this he's become one of my very favorite male characters. If Ms. Moning ever chose to write a story solely about him, I'd be the first person at the bookstore to buy it.
Mac's character continues to surprise me and she'll always be a favorite of mine. The only idiotic err she made in this was at the end. How could she NOT know that he was the beast? I mean, come on! I started to figure that out in book 1! I thought that that was a simple 2 + 2 = 4 equation, but apparently I was wrong. I don't know what Mac was thinking.
Since reading Darkfever I've been thinking that it's Barrons keeping his and Mac's nonexistent relationship from ever becoming something more. I was wrong. Dreamfever shows you something else. In Dreamfever we see that while Barrons is often times aloof and hard for Mac to understand, he's been wanting Mac for quite some time. You see that if Mac would just take her foot out of her ass and take what she really wants (let's be honest with ourselves, she wants Barrons -- Who in their right mind doesn't, anyway?) she'd be a hell of a lot happier and less confused. Besides the beginning that I dare you to only read once, there're quite a few luscious little moments between these two that I really enjoyed. One of them was this:
"I'll snoop anywhere I damned well please, Ms. Lane. I'll snoop inside your skin if I feel like it." "You just try," I said, eyes narrowing. He moved forward in one swift, violent lunge but caught him- self and locked down hard. I mirrored the move, without conscious thought at all, as if our bodies were connected by puppet strings. Lunged forward, froze. Fisted my hands at my sides. They wanted to touch him. I looked down. His hands were fisted, too. I uncurled my hands and crossed my arms. He crossed his at exactly the same moment. We both practically flung them down at our sides. We stared at each other. The silence lengthened.
You could cut the sexual tension with a knife. I found that scene to be both adorable and frustrating.
Dreamfever is easily my favorite of the series thus far because even though it's not under the circumstances I would've liked, Barrons and Mac finally get intimate. And, all jokes aside, I cried during parts of those scenes. This is one of the parts that really got to me:
He touches my face. There is something different in his touch. It feels like he's saying good-bye, and I know a moment of panic. But my dream sky darkens and sleep's moon fills the horizon. "Don't leave me." I thrash in the sheets. "I'm not, Mac." I know I am dreaming then, because dreams are home to the absurd and what he says next is beyond absurd. "You're leaving me, Rainbow Girl."
If you've read this then you know what that is referring to and you know what it means for Barrons to say something like that. Yep, I'm a complete sap and I'm not afraid to admit it; I went from having totally inappropriate/appropriate feelings while reading that scene to crying to the point where I could no longer make out the words on the page. Any author that can make me feel such contrary emotions juxtaposing within the same scene is at the top tier in my opinion.
Bottom line, Dreamfever is fantastic, this whole series is fantastic, and Ms. Moning herself is one fantastic writer.
Here's to hoping that Shadowfever won't disappoint. Cheers, fellow Fever fans!(less)
When I made the decision to reread Shiver and its successor, Linger, in preparation for this trilogy's conclusion, Forever, I honestly got little butt...moreWhen I made the decision to reread Shiver and its successor, Linger, in preparation for this trilogy's conclusion, Forever, I honestly got little butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. I originally read Shiver back in October of '09, and it hit me like nothing had before — and nothing has matched it since. Shiver mixes some of the sweetest, most realistic and heartwarming characters with a wonderfully chilly and melancholy atmosphere and it is written with stunningly lyrical prose. If every author wrote like Stiefvater, I dare say I'd get nothing else done save for reading.
What is there to say about Grace? I feel like if I call her strong it will seem unoriginal, but that is just what she is; there is really no other way to describe Grace. She holds it together even when Sam is emotionally in shambles. Even when hope seems as far away as ten light-years, she keeps her wits about her. I can't help but love Grace any more than Sam can.
And there really is no other male character quite like Sam Roth; he is one of a kind. No other boy would turn away out of respect when a girl is scantily clad; no other boy would unabashedly sing to the mother of said girl; no other boy would treat a girl with as much respect as Sam shows for Grace. As I said, Sam is one of a kind. And he's definitely my kind of guy, if you know what I mean. (Oh! how I wish there were boys/men/male specimens like him in real life! But if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. *sigh*)
Moving on . . .
Just as with anything that is popular, not all people will enjoy Shiver. I think some people read the synopsis and expect a werewolf blockbuster — but that isn't what Shiver is; at its core, Shiver is a love story. The meat of the plot is simply Sam and Grace constantly fighting this physical transformation that is hell-bent on keeping them apart and stealing Sam's humanity. The only complexity in Shiver is the mystery behind what makes the humans turn into wolves - Stiefvater leaves the old-fashioned lore to the dogs and creates her own mythology — I, personally, have never read any "werewolf" story like Stiefvater's, and that's a large portion of why I love this series so much. Rather than
In the old days werewolves were men that were forever ruining their clothes and having to buy new ones — and all because of that blasted full moon. Stiefvater reimagines what makes these bitten but, in truth, innocent humans change form. And, to top that off, they don't get to keep changing. Eventually, they will stay in their wolf forms for the rest of their lives, thereby unwillingly having to give up their human life, loves, and wishes — forever. By writing it this way, Stiefvater has taken what was once a horror story and made it something beautiful and sad. And this reader can't help but love that.
This review would simply be too long if I added all of my favorite quotes (although you can read them all below), but if I had to choose just one it would be this:
FAVORITE QUOTE: "I fell for her in summer, my lovely summer girl From summer she is made, my lovely summer girl I'd love to spend a winter with my lovely summer girl But I'm never warm enough for my lovely summer girl
It's summer when she smiles, I'm laughing like a child It's the summer of our lives; we'll contain it for a while She holds the heat, the breeze of summer in the circle of her hand I'd be happy with this summer if it's all we ever had.
Between reading this and watching Becoming Jane the other night, my tear ducts are like dried sponges. And since I'll be reading Linger and Forever next, I felt that I should prepare myself; I had this sent to my house yesterday:
Never let it be said that I was unprepared in life.
I hear people say things about their favorites like, I've read this so many times I know all of the lines by heart. But I don't ever want it to be that way for me and this book; it is such a special read that I never want to read it and feel as if I've gotten all I can out of it. I want to start Shiver each time with the sense that it is both new and old to me, but always a favorite.
As soon as I saw this video, I knew I had to read this novel. Between Shades of Gray isn't the type of book I'd normally read,...moreActual rating: 4.5 stars
As soon as I saw this video, I knew I had to read this novel. Between Shades of Gray isn't the type of book I'd normally read, but I'm extremely glad that I decided to read it.
Lina is a very strong and courageous character. Despite the situation Lina is placed in at the young age of fifteen, she audaciously chooses to write about the terrible cruelties the Soviets are doing to those around her as well as her family and herself. Lina is an artist, and she uses this talent to depict the ghastly scenes she's forces to witness on a daily basis. She then hides her drawings where the NKVD, hopefully, won't find them. In this she hopes that, one day, someone will find the proof of what really occurred, and make sure that it never happens again.
I'm going to warn you, a good deal of this book is very grim and Sepetys doesn't cover up the horrors that were committed against these innocent people with euphemisms. There are quite a few shocking, disturbing, and graphic scenes in this. You'll probably want to read something light and fluffy after finishing it. But much like the title of the book and the fledging plant sprouting up from the ice covered landscape on the book's cover signifies hope, the author does a wonderful job of incorporating snippets of hope even through the most grim of times for her characters.
Interspersed with Lina's time in the slavery camps, there are bittersweet flashbacks to Lina's life before her and her family were taken by the Soviets. I think they helped to break up the scenes of abuse and heartache, making the novel more palatable to the reader. There is also a light romance in this that is both sweet and a welcome addition to a story such as this.
FAVORITE QUOTE: "I shut the bathroom door and caught sight of my face in the mirror. I had no idea how quickly it was to change, to fade. If I had, I would have stared at my reflection, memorizing it. It was the last time I would look into a real mirror for more than a decade."
Ruta Sepetys' writing is erudite, yet simple, and it flows very well. I just hope that this isn't one of those one-hit-wonder cases where the author has one story to tell and never writes anything again. I'd really like to read more from Sepetys, whether it be more stories such as this, or something completely different.
On a side note, the finished, physical copy of this (I say it in this way because some people probably have an ARC or an ebook) is quite gorgeous. The jacket seems to be made of recycled paper, so it has a very natural, rustic look and feel to it. And it has deckled edges, my favorite. :)
I think this is one of those books that will be highly praised by some (like myself), and sadly overlooked by others. It's easy to be distracted by the deluge of YA paranormal novels with the pretty covers and the pomp and heavy promotion, but, I assure you, Between Shades of Gray is more than worth your reading time.
This book reminds me just how fortunate I am to be born in the era and country that I was, and I found it very humbling. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read it, and I highly recommend it.(less)
Rebecca is a classic tale that weaves mystery, secrets, and romance into an intricate and stunning twine. It tells the story of a young girl who is sw...moreRebecca is a classic tale that weaves mystery, secrets, and romance into an intricate and stunning twine. It tells the story of a young girl who is swept off her feet by a much older man with money and possessions aplenty — and even more heartache in his recent past. Since his wife's tragic death eight months ago, Maxim de Winter has been doing everything he can to forget the horrific part of his past that has left him feeling bereft of happiness and aloof from others. But even with this kind of emotional baggage, the young heroine of the story — who's name is never revealed — still agrees to marry Mr. de Winter because she has already fallen in love with him. When our heroine moves into Manderley, the estate where Maxim lived not so long ago with his now deceased wife, Rebecca, she soon learns the story behind her new husband's late wife's death. She learns that Rebecca died by an accidental drowning while in a boat that capsized. As you can image, all of this is very disconcerting to such a young and naïve girl. And when she arrives at Manderley things are so very different from the life she had before: there's all the hustle and bustle of living in a mansion, and then there's Mrs. Danvers who doesn't like her simply because she's not Rebecca. Du Maurier's Rebecca deals with a lot of themes and raises a lot of questions, one of the most intriguing being, What happens when the woman that is haunting your husband begins haunting you, too?
For me, Rebecca was truly a delight. It is expertly crafted and beautifully written, and, while reading, I had one of those strange feelings you get when you think you're enjoying something too much, that you must be sinning because you simply can't remember the last time you enjoyed yourself so much.
What I'm about to say isn't going to juxtapose well with my earlier comment about this being a "delight," but I shall say it anyway: This book has just a little bit of a depressing atmosphere to it. This is mostly because the main character is often fixated on how she'll never live up to the standards which Rebecca set before her, but it didn't bother me in the least. No, no — in fact, it only made me want to wrap the heroine in a blanket and give a her cup of hot cocoa. Some may deem her weak for not simply standing up and being everything that she can be, but I saw her as worthy of so much and strong even in her cowardice. She starts out working for a nuisance of a woman, then all of a sudden she is married to a man much older than she and with a past for which she is unsure of all the details. I really loved the heroine in this; there were several times where my heart twisted for her character and for the situation she was in.
Do NOT read this spoiler if you've not read this book. It is the type of spoiler that will drastically take away from your enjoyment should you choose to ever read this. (view spoiler)[There is an exchange between our heroine and the resentful Mrs. Danvers about 2/3 of the way through the novel. During this discussion Mrs. Danvers informs our lead that while alive Rebecca had many male companions with whom she was physically intimate. Now, my first thought after reading that was, How, then, could Maxim mourn her to the degree that he does? How could he be so torn about her death if she cheated on him numerous times during their marriage? Well, it was because all was not what it seemed. When Maxim confesses to having killed Rebecca, I LITERALLY fell out of my seat. Granted, I let myself do so. But it was so shocking I just let myself go like a slinky. It was insane. The whole time I'm thinking that Maxim will never give up Rebecca even though she is dead, that Maxim and his new wife don't have any real chance of ever being happy because, apparently, Rebecca was just too wonderful! for anyone to compare to her. Ha! Ha! HAHAHA!! You can see that it has decreased my sanity a little. I just couldn't believe it! That revelation meant that every paling of the face on Maxim's part, every look of worry or dread was only because he had killed her, not because he was sick over her death. Gah! I shall never get over the brilliancy of this Epic Twist for as long as I live. Truly. (hide spoiler)]
The fact of the lead character's name never being revealed is just one of the peculiar things about this story. It is said early on that her name is often spelt incorrectly, making the reader think that it is perhaps a very unique name. My guess as to why this is is that, because the name Rebecca — and the person — is still so very dominant in the lives of the characters and in our heroine's mind, the author chose to leave out her name to add to the sense of inferiority the heroine feels towards Manderley's former mistress. Just a guess.
FAVORITE QUOTE: "I don't want you to bear this alone," I said. "I want to share it with you. I've grown up, Maxim, in twenty-four hours. I'll never be a child again."
Upon closing this review I want to be very clear about something: My enthusiasm and enjoyment of this novel doesn't necessarily mean that you, the reader of this review, will feel the same about this book. Rebecca is very dramatic and people that don't like classics may not find as much enjoyment in it as I have. I'll freely admit that I have a penchant for things/books like this, so I'm guessing that had a lot to do with my loving this so very much. But if you're interested in this in the least, if you think this may be something you'd like, please, give it a try.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It isn't often that I begin writing a review with trepidation and insecurities, thinking that my thoughts and feelings can't possibly do the book just...moreIt isn't often that I begin writing a review with trepidation and insecurities, thinking that my thoughts and feelings can't possibly do the book justice. This isn't because I have a great esteem for myself; no, it is because, while a lot of what I read I enjoy, I'm not fooling myself into thinking that the majority of it is what most would consider quality literature. It is with those kinds of books that I figure that whatever I type should suffice. But there are those times, like when I reviewed Emma and Jellicoe Road not so long ago, that I get nervous. This is another of those times.
I've always had a fascination with books and things set in this era. And I won't lie — that had a large influence in me loving this book. This is the kind of book that I can slip into like a warm fleece on a cold winter's night and feel cozy and comforted in. But I think most would agree that there is something special about this diamond in the rough.
The Raging Quiet is a true hidden gem. It snared my attention from the first chapter and surpassed any level of expectations I could've had going in. The characters are so rich and real and believable in their pain and love and loss and joy that I know I shall never forget them. I wept for Marnie, I was grateful for the priest's charity and kindness to two lost souls, and the boy without the blessing of sound stole my heart.
The subject of religion is handled perfectly IMO; it doesn't preach to non-believers, nor does it offend believers. Marnie is religious, but she has her struggles with God because of the terrible things she goes through in such a short time. The priest that helps Marnie and Raven isn't portrayed as a saint, but merely a spiritually faithful man with faults. And there isn't any explicit content, but the author doesn't refrain from dealing with tough subjects, either.
Sadly, this book doesn't seem to be receiving much recognition around these parts. But it is twelve years old and, although to me it is simple yet beautiful and fits the story perfectly, the cover is no longer in vogue; it is not flashy and bedazzled enough to catch the eye of most readers in today's market. It is my hope that I can bring this book at least a small portion of the attention it deserves.(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)
My Life Next Door is the kind of story that you expect to be light and fluffy . . . but then it surprises you. I thought this book would be very clich...moreMy Life Next Door is the kind of story that you expect to be light and fluffy . . . but then it surprises you. I thought this book would be very cliché: little rich girl falls for the boy next door; gets a whole new perspective on life through the eyes of a financially-strained, but very happy — unlike her own — family; and learns something big about herself over the course of one short summer. In a lot of ways, that is what this book is about. But, in truth, it is about so much more.
Samantha Reed's character is, I think, one of the best — probably in the top ten, actually — YA heroines I've ever come across since I began reading YA fiction back in 2008. She stands up for herself and the people she cares about when it counts most, she thinks independently from her main influence in life — in this case, her mother — in a way that is smart and not just teenage rebellion. She is smart about sex choices, doesn't just jump into bed with the first boyfriend she gets — or even the third without some smart-shopping for Trojans (loved that scene!) — and is a generally well-rounded, intelligent young woman. I found being in Sam's head a very pleasant, refreshing, and, often times, spontaneously hilarious experience when compared to many of the female narrators of her genre. If Fitzpatrick's future heroines turn out to be even a tenth as good as Sam was, I'm in for a real treat. And Jase . . . he is the kind of boy you'd want your daughter to marry. Truly. He's down to earth, loves his family, loves his animals (he's something of a zoo-keeper), and treats his girlfriend like gold. What's not to love? I think YA paranormal authors should take notes from Huntley Fitzpatrick on how to write a good male protagonist. And Tim . . . I can't believe a debut author made me fall for a drug addict. Seriously. If the author decided to write a companion novel about Tim (maybe like Marchetta did with Thomas after Saving Francesca) and, hopefully, Alice, I'd be forever grateful to the Powers That Be.
The bulk of this novel is about Samantha getting to know — and fall for — both Jase and his family. But towards the end, as the publisher-provided synopsis says, there is a big obstacle that is dropped on Sam's and the Garrett's heads, an obstacle that is not overcome easily. I wish there could have been a bit more resolution at the end with it (view spoiler)[Last we hear of Mr. Garrett is that he's out of ICU, and Sam's mom is still checking to see how he's doing; I would have liked for there to have been a coming-home-from-the-hospital scene, or at least a mention of a full recovery (hide spoiler)], but as a whole I think the climax was handled well. And, on a side note, can I just say how utterly sexy some of this book is? I wasn't expecting that, either, but I love surprises.
Truly, I don't feel that my words can properly describe how much I loved this book, or how much I got out of it, or how much I wish more people would discover it and feel for it what I did. Does that mean this book was perfect? No, because no book is. But honestly, it was perfect for me. I'm extraordinarily pleased with it — so much so that I plan to reread it this summer — and will certainly be back for more from Fitzpatrick in future.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)