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.
In the second installment to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series: Sam is having trouble believing in his cure, Grace is acting strangely and feeling like...moreIn the second installment to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series: Sam is having trouble believing in his cure, Grace is acting strangely and feeling like she doesn't fit into her own skin anymore, and a new wolf is in Mercy Falls: Cole, the once lead singer of a popular rock band, NARKOTIKA, is dealing with the issues of straddling the line between man and wolf. But honestly? He'd rather stay a wolf than deal with the problems that come with being human. Meanwhile, Isabel, the girl who had to deal with losing her brother twice, believes she is falling for Cole.
Maggie has said in interviews that she meant for Cole's character to be the complete opposite of Sam's. Well, in the beginning of Linger she succeeded and because of that I wasn't able to empathize with Cole upon first reading Linger. For personal reasons I've never been empathetic with drug addicts, and Cole was no exception. In Linger Cole tells Sam that he is just as bad as him, just as damaged. He is referring to Sam's issue with bathtubs. But the difference between Sam's problem and Cole's is that Sam had something terrible done to him by his own parents, whereas all of Cole's problems have been brought on by himself. Despite all of this, though, I truly liked Cole a lot more this time around than my first time reading Linger. For me, the best thing about Cole is that he's very redeemable. And if you look carefully enough, he has what I call "bright spots" where you can see that he is human – even though he doesn't want to be – and that he does care for others, even if it is an imperceptible degree. And the reactions and emotions Cole has towards the end of Linger give me hope that I'll like him even more in Forever.
Linger is quite different than its predecessor, Shiver – what with Sam now being human and the introduction of a new character, Cole. Plus, Isabel steps out of her former role as side character and into the forefront with her own POV – and what an interesting POV it is. Some may not like Isabel, and I can understand why, but I like her just fine. She's kind of . . . unconventional – especially when compared to Grace – but she's not bad. One thing is for sure: Isabel's definitely the perfect match for Cole. And then there's that pesky wolf smell wafting off of Grace – that can't be a good sign. You see, lots of things are different in Linger, which is probably why so many don't like it as much as they did Shiver. I will admit to liking it a minuscule degree less than Shiver, but that certainly didn't hinder me from enjoying it. In fact, I believe I enjoyed it even more the second time around. And Linger's ending is just as sad if not more so than Shiver's.
And besides – if you ever see me give a book with Sam Roth in it anything less than five stars, know that it is a clone and the real Lora has been taken by aliens.
FAVORITE QUOTES: "I'm trying to remember who I was before I couldn't stand myself." – Cole
"I wasn't sure if I admired him for feeling everything so hard and fiercely, or if I was contemptuous of him for having so much emotion that he had to spill it out every window of the house." – Isabel
"I was suddenly overwhelmed by what an incredible person this boy was, standing in front of me, and by the fact that he was mine and I was his." – Grace
"I wanted to take her hand and lead her upstairs to my bedroom and whisper, Stay. Just stay." – Sam
As cheesy as this may sound, I really do cherish these books. My copies of them still smell like the store I bought them from – that's how well I've taken care of them.
Doing a reread of all of the books before the release of Lover Reborn. Will probably do short, concise reviews of each when I get the time (hopefully...moreDoing a reread of all of the books before the release of Lover Reborn. Will probably do short, concise reviews of each when I get the time (hopefully before the end of March).(less)
Although Atwater-Rhodes has garnered much-deserved attention from critics and received several awards for her young adult stories, here on GR and on s...moreAlthough Atwater-Rhodes has garnered much-deserved attention from critics and received several awards for her young adult stories, here on GR and on several other book-reviewing websites, her positive feedback has been moderate at best. I believe this is partially because of the age of most of her stories/series: most of them began before the Twilight era swept the world, and thus don't have the swooning heroines and brooding heroes that everyone has become accustomed to in more recent years. (They must feel as if there's something missing!) The relationships are wholesome and intriguing, sexy and provocative, but not overblown like most today.
Hawksong's premise is simple: Danica Shardae, last living heir to the avian throne, and Zane Cobriana, last living heir to the serpiente throne, must marry despite their deferences --- the former being a hawk shapeshifter and the later being a cobra --- in order to put an end to the age-old war between their species that has dwindled their numbers drastically and caused much heartache among them. It is this little plot that drew me to it years ago and that has brought me back for a second time.
Let me just say this: I, despite having read over 300 books since late 2008 (I wasn't big on reading before then), can count on one hand how many books I've taken the time to read more than once. This isn't because I'm exaggerating when I say I love a book, but because I simply don't see any reason to read something twice unless it spoke to me on a certain level the first time around. Very few have done this, but Hawksong, regardless of the years that have passed since I last turned its pages, stuck in my mind enough to make me want to read it again. And, I can honestly say that it stood the test of time; I think I even enjoyed it more now than when I read it so long ago.
Danica is the kind of heroine I wish YA authors created more these days: she's independent and strong enough to sit by the dying, holding their hand as they draw their last breaths; she's resilient and self-sacrificing, even in a case where she must commit herself to a life-long marriage with someone whom she's been raised from birth to fear, all just to try and make peace and save the lives of her people. Zane has a hard exterior with a soft heart underneath, and is just as determined to heal the damage caused by the war as Danica is. They go together very well, they just don't realize it until it's almost too late.
When I first read Hawksong, years back, I, for some reason that escapes me now, didn't take the time to continue with the series and follow it up with Snakecharm. Why, I'll never know; but in a way I'm glad I didn't, because now I get to follow these characters into their next chapter, for the first time.(less)
Moning has been promising her fans a sex scene from Barrons' POV since he w...moreShe will never know that tonight she was mine.
So . . . this was damn good.
Moning has been promising her fans a sex scene from Barrons' POV since he won the Alpha Showdown on vampirebookclub.net back in early June. Well folks, it is finally here and, just like the man himself, it doesn't disappoint.
For me, getting inside Barrons' head is the equivalent of getting to eat a hot fudge sundae after having been on a diet for five months. It's delicious and it gives you a high that takes hours to come back down from. I read the Fever series back in February of this year, and I must say that this has me wanting to do a reread.
This short scene was wickedly sexy and certainly worth the wait.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to take a cold shower.(less)
"I want to speak with many things and I won't leave this planet without knowing what I came to find, without resolving this matter, and people are not eno...more"I want to speak with many things and I won't leave this planet without knowing what I came to find, without resolving this matter, and people are not enough I have to go much farther and I have to get much closer." — a portion of "Bestiary", from Extravagaria
I truly believe that if every person viewed the world and its life the way Neruda did it would be a much better place.
I never would've dreamed that words could be so beautiful when used to describe what I thought were the most mundane of things: socks, onions, salt, etc. The tame, the wild, the sensual, the beauty of life, the rush of life, the air that gives us life — it is all covered in this collection. No stone is left unturned and reading this has truly opened my eyes to help me see how beautiful those stones are.
This is a collection of Neruda's later poems, written when he was in his fifties. The translator, Stephen Mitchell, says of his selections in the foreword, "These are the poems of a happy man, deeply fulfilled in his sexuality, at home in the world, in love with life and its infinite particular forms, overflowing with the joy of language." After reading them I can attest to that statement wholeheartedly. These poems are vibrant, magnificent, and entirely beautiful.
If I had to pick favorites, I would perhaps say "Ode to the Artichoke" or "Ode to the Seagull," as they were both particularly special for me. But in all truth, I think the one below was my most favorite. By the bye, I have searched for other translations and Mitchell's seems to be the best.
"Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still.
This one time upon the earth, let's not speak any language, let's stop for one second, and not move our arms so much.
It would be a delicious moment, without hurry, without locomotives, all of us would be together in a sudden uneasiness.
The fishermen in the cold sea would do no harm to the whales and the peasant gathering salt would look at his torn hands.
Those who prepare green wars, wars of gas, wars of fire, victories without survivors, would put on clean clothing and would walk alongside their brothers in the shade, without doing a thing.
What I want shouldn't be confused with final inactivity: life alone is what matters, I want nothing to do with death.
If we weren't unanimous about keeping our lives so much in motion, if we could do nothing for once, perhaps a great silence would interrupt this sadness, this never understanding ourselves and threatening ourselves with death, perhaps the earth is teaching us when everything seems to be dead and then everything is alive.
Now I will count to twelve and you keep quiet and I'll go." — "Keeping Quiet", from Extragavaria
I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding when I finished reading that.(less)
Born in the early 19th century only to die from unknown causes a mere forty years later, Edgar Allan Poe is, undoubtedly, one of the most recognizable...moreBorn in the early 19th century only to die from unknown causes a mere forty years later, Edgar Allan Poe is, undoubtedly, one of the most recognizable and influencial authors of all time. His works have provided the inspiration for many of the stories we enjoy today. And although his life was short, he made a long-lasting impact on the world of English literature. In this auditory collection his fans get to hear several of his stories and poems come to life in a fantastical way. These stories are thrilling, creepy, and macabre. And, when narrated by the skillful Edward Blake as they are in this audio, delectable. And whether you think him a genius, a mad genius, or just plain mad, there is no doubt that Poe had a talent for story telling unlike anyone we'll probably ever meet again.
Below is the list of stories included in this collection according to the order they're given in the audio. I'm giving them individual ratings:
Tell-Tale Heart - 5 stars The Cask of Amontillado - 2 stars The Mask of the Red Death - 4 stars The Raven - 3 stars Annabel Lee - 5 stars The Facts in the Case of M. Vlademar - 3 stars Ulalume: A Ballad - 2 stars A Black Cat - 5 stars (this one is especially creepy) The Bells - 2 stars The Pit and the Pendulum - 3 stars The Fall of the House of Usher - 3 stars The Purloined Letter - 3 stars The Gold Bug - 3 stars
I highly recommend this collection to fans of Poe, or anyone interested in his works. 3.5 stars(less)
This truly saddens me. Each of the first four books in this series were astonishingly entertaining, and I had begun to wonder if Frost would ever deli...moreThis truly saddens me. Each of the first four books in this series were astonishingly entertaining, and I had begun to wonder if Frost would ever deliver a book without it being wrapped in perfect packaging and tied with a gorgeous bow. Unfortunately, that time has come. While I figured Frost would have to hit a plateau eventually, I had hopes that that time would never come. Looks like This Side of the Grave is it. After being so pleased by the first four installments in this series, it is clear why I'd have high expectations when starting the fifth installment. And while I did enjoy it, I don't think Frost came even close to her potential with this one.
The plot is an obvious direction that most fans of this series have probably thought of before. With two equally powerful species coexisting for millennia, they're bound to clash at some point, right? Cat's abnormalities just happen to be the catalyst that sets it off, making hers and Bones's attempt at some peace and quiet be shoved to the back burner once again. This idea of a species war could've been explosive and entertaining, but instead it mostly felt forced and anticlimactic. Something about the plot (specifically, its execution) just felt off to me. THANKFULLY, Cat and Bones's chemistry is still there, and there are plenty of erotic and emotional moments between them that help to revive the story.
Two words: Chapter. Twenty-One. If you're a fan of chapter thirty-two in One Foot in the Grave, you'll most likely enjoy chapter twenty-one in this. Think chapter thirty-two, only reversed, and with an extra splash of kink.
I enjoyed getting to see the couples from the spin-off series (Mencheres and Kira, Spade and Denise) in their wedded bliss. There is, as with all of Frost's novels, comedic relief. Bones wouldn't be Bones if he didn't make you crack up at least a few times. Although I did feel that there was far less of that in this installment than in the previous books.
(view spoiler)[I have to wonder if Ian will end up with Veritas, the Law Guardian who's as old as Mencheres. He makes a sexual comment about her towards the end, and while this is Ian we're talking about, it could happen. (hide spoiler)]
Honestly, I feel like crap for having said anything even remotely cross about this book. I feel like I'm kicking a favorite pet here. But I have to give credit where credit is due, and I don't feel that Frost deserves as much credit with this one as she did with her previous novels.
I'm crossing my fingers that One Grave at a Time will bring back the magic of the first four books in this series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Let me just start by saying that I am a huge fan of Robert's In Death series, which she writes under the pseudonym J.D. Robb. I've only read the first...moreLet me just start by saying that I am a huge fan of Robert's In Death series, which she writes under the pseudonym J.D. Robb. I've only read the first four, but I'm a complete addict when it comes to that series. However, there's a good reason why I've never tried anything from Nora Roberts outside of that series. I guess I've always had this supposition that Robert's books are basically contemporary, chaste bodice rippers (oxymoron, I know) with an extra helping of fluff - based solely on Vision in White, I wasn't far off. Vision in White started off really good. The prologue is cute - but not in a root canal way - it sucked me in and made me think I'd like this. You know how they say don't judge a book by its cover? Well, I guess that applies to prologues, also. Most everything past the prologue was a disappointment.
Vision in White begins with Mackensie "Mac" Elliot and her three BFFs - Emma, Laurel, and Parker - prepping for another "wedding". Now, at this time, they're only in grade school, but, just like any child, they love to play make-believe, and their favorite game is Wedding Day. One of them dresses up like the bride, the groom, and the rest act as bridesmaids. Around this time, Mac also gets a gift from her grandfather - a camera. Now, at the tender age of eight, it seems a rather inapt gift. But what Mac doesn't know is that she'll one day be a photographer - and her and her friends will own Vows, a highly successful wedding planning company. Talk about fate.
My feelings toward Mac seemed to fluctuate rapidly while reading this. Mac's character started out vapid and uninteresting to me; then slowly she became semi-likable; then she did something really stupid that made me dislike her again; and by the end of the novel I settled on annoying. Carter's an English teacher in his early thirties who's had a crush on Mac since high school. Carter seemed cute in some instances, and in others his character seemed overdone when it comes to the whole geeky role. As the male lead, he was just OK for me.
Mac's mother, Linda, is easily one of the most vexing characters I've ever read about. Normally, I wouldn't count not liking a character that you're intended to not like toward my overall enjoyment, but she pissed me off too much for me to ignore it. Linda is emotionally manipulative when it comes to her daughter and I found myself wanting to do the impossible and strangle her character. And she's not the only one! Carter's ex girlfriend, Corrine, is just as strangle-worthy. Mac's mother and Carter's ex should start a club: The Bitches Who Live to Screw Up Everything club.
What follows is the scene where everything went downhill for me (bear in mind, this scene is between only Carter and Mac, and the "me" part is obviously just my inner thoughts as the reader. Also, this isn't a direct quote from the novel, only my satire summarization):
Mac: Ahhh! Carter, you geeky stud puppy! If I would've known you were this good in bed, I would've paid more attention to you in high school! Carter: *mentally recites Shakespeare* [Me: If you've read one sex scene, you've read them all. *boredom*]
Mac: Mmm. Carter, I'm so happy right now. Here, with you. *thinks to self: Wait! Happy? I can't be happy! I'm Mackensie Elliot, happy is horrible! I must ruin this moment!* [Me: I see where this is going, and I don't like it.] Carter: Oh, Mac! I've waited for this moment since I was a geek-in-training! I'm so happy! Mac: *mumbles* There's that bloody word again! Carter: What did you say, honey? Mac: *jumps out of bed, heads for the exit* "Thanks for the fabulous dinner and multiple orgasms! 'Kay, bye!" Carter: *sigh* Well, it was nice while it lasted. [Me: What the fuck?]
That's my summarization of that scene, but her actual departing sentence was "Gotta run. Thanks for everything. I'll call you." - Yeah. Not much better IMO. See, I have this little List of No-Noes, and running off after sex - whether it be the male or female doing the running - is on that list. So while things were indeed beginning to pick up for me, that scene proved to annihilate my enjoyment pretty fast. If it were Carter that had done the running, I don't think Mac would've been nearly as forgiving. In fact, Carter doesn't even mention the incident. The whole thing just gets swept under the rug.
Mac describes their first time together to her friends as "the most amazing, world-bending, melt-you-brain-cells sex in the history of the planet." (That is a direct quote, BTW) To which my reaction was, Oh, come on, Mackensie! It's not as if you've just had sex with Roarke! Sorry, that's a bad reference if you've not read the In Death series. Anyway, I thought that was just a tad on the ridiculous sounding side.
Now, let me be clear - despite my myriad complaints - I really did like a fair amount of this. It's just that the parts I didn't like eclipsed the parts I did, making the whole thing exasperating and disappointing. One thing I will say, though: The side characters - Emma, Laurel, etc. - seemed more interesting and likable to me. Since I've already bought books 2 and 4, I'll probably end up reading the rest of this series - depending on how the next installment, Bed of Roses, turns out. I'm crossing my fingers.(less)
Enclave's premise drew my attention more than a lot of the other, more hyped YA dystopias. And I believe that most of it lived up to my expectations.
E...moreEnclave's premise drew my attention more than a lot of the other, more hyped YA dystopias. And I believe that most of it lived up to my expectations.
Enclave starts with Deuce - or rather, at the time, Girl15 - en route to her naming ceremony. In the enclave, your name is merely your gender and an exclusive number. But if you're lucky enough to make it to the age of fifteen, you get a real name. Six cuts, three on each forearm - these are the marks that make you a Hunter or Huntress. It has been Deuce's ambition to become a Huntress for as long as she can remember, but soon after she is inducted into the ranks of the Hunters, she begins to realize that maybe the ways of the enclave and the elders that have raised and trained her aren't what they seem; that maybe their teachings and rules are as misleading and corrupt as they are false. And if that isn't disconcerting enough, the Freaks - the terrible monsters that lurk in the tunnels outside of the enclave, the very ones she has been trained to kill - have begun to show signs of intelligence.
Almost immediately after Deuce becomes a Huntress, she is paired up with Fade. Fade is aloof and mysterious, and because of that he is ostracized from the rest of the Hunters, and when Deuce becomes his partner she soon realizes that she will forever be treated in kind simply because of association. Deuce's character is much more practical and level-headed than most heroines in YA lit. She reminds me of Katsa from Graceling. It's amazing how much Aguirre doesn't focus on the romance. I don't know if it's because of the genre, or simply because the author isn't trying to cash-in on the current romance fad, but Deuce doesn't spend the majority of the novel fantasizing about Fade's physique and having fifteen-year-old hot flashes over his mere proximity. I found this fact very refreshing. And there's no love triangle! I was very pleased that there's no love triangle. (view spoiler)[Or at least until the author decided to add one! Why? There are so many love triangles in the YA genre. I think the interlude with Stalker wasn't called for. However, I did like Deuce's reaction to Stalker's impromptu affections. She didn't seem very interested in him - but I do wish that the author would've left that out. (hide spoiler)] Deuce seems to have her head on her shoulders and she has a lot of strength and determination that I think a lot of authors, unfortunately, aren't adding to their heroines. The romance is still there, but it doesn't overwhelm the rest of the story - it's just enough to add a little spice that a lot of readers (including myself) are looking for. Think of it as a perfectly seasoned pumpkin pie (and if that's not your kind of dessert, feel free to use a different analogy).
FAVORITE QUOTES: "I have your back. I didn't mean only when it's easy. All the time."
"He pushed away from the wall, skin gleaming pale in the torchlight. For a moment I wanted to put my hand over his heart so I could feel it beating, and the impluse frightened me. I took a step back."
This quote is kind of spoilery - click at your own risk. (view spoiler)["It doesn't burn," I whispered. In fact, it felt amazing. I hadn't bathed recently, and this was the next best thing. I started to smile. I turned slowly, admiring the flashes of light. Rain pounded against the ground until it sounded like a chorus of running feet combined with shushing whispers. I'd never heard anything so lovely."(hide spoiler)]
While Enclave is Aguirre's YA debut, it isn't her first foray into writing. Aguirre has two other adult urban fantasy series - Sirantha Jax and Corine Solomon - and her experience shows.
I must say that I utterly detest zombies. And that is basically what the Freaks are. However, Aguirre doesn't describe them as moaning, relentless, brain eating stragglers - therefore they didn't bother me. So, if you're like me and hate zombies, don't avoid this for that reason.
One of the best things I can say about Enclave - besides the writing and the characters - is the atmosphere: I didn't find it horribly depressing and/or disturbing. I tend to stray away from dystopias because of their often bleak and disquieting themes, but Enclave was anything but the aforesaid.
Sadly, Enclave - thus far - doesn't appear to be garnering the attention that a lot of other dystopias are. Especially when you compare it to the Goodreads' ratings of Matched (11.000+), Delirium (4.500+), and Wither (1.900+) - compare those to Enclave's 300+ ratings.
And with all of that said, you're probably wondering, why not five stars? Well, Aguirre does a good job of keeping the reader engaged, but there were times when I found myself wondering where exactly the plot (or, perhaps, lack thereof) was headed. Enclave is split into two parts, and the first half is considerably better than the second. And when things finally started to get interesting again in the second half, BAM - it was over. The ending is probably one of the most annoyingly sudden I've ever read. It's what my GR friend, Tina, would call "evil cliffy". And I wanted more of an explanation as to why (view spoiler)[almost (hide spoiler)] all of humanity chose to move underground. Not much detail is given about what exactly happened to change the world so drastically. Deuce doesn't really know, and therefore neither does the reader.
All in all, Enclave is a great start to what will hopefully be a great dystopian series. And I'm very much looking forward to its planned sequels, Outpost (currently set to release in September of next year - which I think is a really long time to wait) and Horde (set to release sometime in 2013).
And I'd like to give a shout out to the librarian who checked this out for me, who was so enthusiastic over this novel. I hope she can read it soon. :)["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"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This series has a lot of hype behind it, of both the positive and negative variety, and so naturally I started City of Bones with a mix of anticipatio...moreThis series has a lot of hype behind it, of both the positive and negative variety, and so naturally I started City of Bones with a mix of anticipation and trepidation. And while I wouldn't say that I'm nuts over it, it isn't as bad as some reviewers would paint it.
The writing is, surprisingly, exceptional. I wouldn't expect good writing from a book blurbed by Stephenie Meyer, but there you have it: Clare can actually write well. Her sentences are composed with an erudite hand and make the eyes glide over them with ease. Clary . . . well, here's the thing about her: she's heavily overshadowed by the supporting characters. She seems to have little personality and what little she does possess seems rather dull and cookie-cutter. One key point when writing a series with many characters, Clare, don't let your lead be weaker than your weakest supporting character. I can only hope that she improves as the series progresses. Jace definitely has the sexy and aloof thing going for him, plus he plays the piano(!). Lots of personality, sarcasm, strength on the page — pretty much the opposite of Clary. I guess opposites do attract, even in fiction. And . . . that brings me to the Jace-and-Clary love fest. Lots of chemistry, lots of sexy times going on with them. But if you've read this then you know their budding love is in serious jeopardy. (view spoiler)[WTF? I think that was my initial thought when I found out that Jace was Clary's BROTHER! What?! After I recovered from the shock, I thought, Well, Clary, since Jace is your brother, mind if I have him? Seriously, though, who saw THAT coming? I certainly didn't. I don't know what the hell they're going to do in the next one. Just turn off the amorous feelings that they had in book one? I guess we'll have to see. (Although I'm pretty sure that this little development is a sham.) And as far as the relationship that's brewing between Alex and Magnus goes, well, I sure do hope something good and naughty happens with that in future installments. (hide spoiler)] Gonna have to read book two to see where that goes. Simon. So sweet, so endearing — and so never going to have his romantic feelings for Clary reciprocated. Seriously, I can't help but feel bad for that kid. Alec, Jace's longtime friend, was a great character who I wouldn't hesitate to call my favorite if it weren't for Jace and, oh yes, Magnus. Mustn't forget Magnus! The promise of something between him and a certain character (view spoiler)[ALEC!! (hide spoiler)] is one of the main reasons why I plan to continue reading this series. So yes, City of Ashes is up next for me. 3.5 stars["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Originally I wasn't going to review this (if you're observant then you've probably noticed that I read this back in early April), but I recently decid...moreOriginally I wasn't going to review this (if you're observant then you've probably noticed that I read this back in early April), but I recently decided to watch the latest movie adaptation despite the fact that the book was rather meh for me. What can I say, Ben Barnes naked the movie inspired me.
At the start of the novel Dorian Gray is young and just as gullible as you can imagine. But he's got his whole life ahead of him and the good looks and charm to insure him at least some messure of happiness. But soon, thanks to Lord Henry Wotton, a portrait, and a wish that should never have been made, his life is turned upside down. All of a sudden his life — and his soul — are in a downwards spiral.
I think that, for me, this book's downfall was Lord Henry Wotton. He's so philosophical and opinionated and corrupting that I found him downright dreadful. Lord Henry is kind of like life personified. Just as life can take us from an innocent baby and turn us into something vile and sinful, Lord Henry has much the same affect on Dorian Gray. Even though it is Basil's portrait that initiates everything, it is Lord Henry that sets the terrible events into motion with his corruption and his horribly depressing and pessimistic theories. While many may see Dorian Gray as the villain in this, I see Lord Henry as such.
But if Dorian would've just grown a spine and made his own decisions, not listened to Lord Henry . . . things wouldn't have ended up so terrible for him. That's one of the few things I hate about historical novels. It seems that there are two types of people: role models and protégés. Why? Why couldn't everyone have done their own thing? It's like in Emma when Emma steers Harriet in the entirely wrong direction. If Harriet would've just been her own person, made her own choices, things wouldn't have gotten so out of sorts for her.
I must say that if I hadn't listened to the audio I probably wouldn't have been able to finish this. But the ending Wilde writes is this book's saving grace IMO. It is stunning and unexpected and gave it just enough for me to make this three stars.
All in all this book isn't bad — it is written well, naturally — but if you're interested I'd have to suggest skipping the book and watching the most recent film adaptation. Although I must warn you: it is vastly different from the book — especially when it comes to Dorian's lecherous adventures, and it is rated R for a reason. Delicate people shouldn't hasten to watch it.(less)
Not as good as A Study in Scarlet mystery wise, but I liked the development with Watson's love life. And, FYI, drug addicts have never been on my good...moreNot as good as A Study in Scarlet mystery wise, but I liked the development with Watson's love life. And, FYI, drug addicts have never been on my good list. Guess I'll have to make an exception for Sherlock.(less)
Three stories. Three girls. One thing in common: each lady has not been kissed. And their first taste of that special time when lips touch won't come...moreThree stories. Three girls. One thing in common: each lady has not been kissed. And their first taste of that special time when lips touch won't come without a price . . .
The wife and husband team of Laini Taylor and Jim Di Bartolo sure do make for a sumptuous collection of stories. I'd be hard-pressed to choose which is more beautiful: Taylor's writing or Di Bartolo's illustrations.
Let me give you samples of each:
"With a deep, visceral ache, she wished her true form might prove to be a sleek and shining one, like a stiletto blade slicing free of an ungainly sheath. Like a bird of prey losing its hatchling fluff to hunt in cold, magnificent skies. That she might become something glitering, something startling, something dangerous."
"Kissing can ruin lives. Lips touch, sometimes teeth clash. New hunger is born with a throb and caution falls away."
"And Esmé remembered in a rush - the wolfsong, the haunting, lyrical spirals of it in the dawn quiet and the feeling of euphoria that had attended it. Even in recollection the howling uplifted her like the crescendo at the end of a symphony and made her heartbeat quicken."
(I would eat their fruit . . .)
(These are even more gorgeous in person . . .)
(Makes you want to have red hair . . .)
Now, if those stunning snippets aren't enough to make you want to read this, there's something wrong with you I don't see how anything I can say will convince you to read this.
Very close to four stars . . . 3.5. Definitely recommended.(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 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)