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.
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)
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)
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)
3.5 stars I definitely enjoyed this one more than the first two installments in this series; my opinion of it is more along the lines of my thoughts o...more3.5 stars I definitely enjoyed this one more than the first two installments in this series; my opinion of it is more along the lines of my thoughts on book 3. Full review to come.(less)
I started Wither fairly certain that I'd not like it. Please don't misunderstand — I never start a book thinking I'll dislike it, but choose...more3.5 stars
I started Wither fairly certain that I'd not like it. Please don't misunderstand — I never start a book thinking I'll dislike it, but choose to read it anyway for some reason; I usually avoid books that sound as if I'd be disappointed by them. In the case of Wither, I'd decided to steer clear of it because of negative reviews and because of some of the content it is said to have. And while there were things I was bothered by and things I wish could've been different, I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
DeStefano paints a bleak portrait of the future in her 2011 debut, Wither. Scientists were able to concoct a cure for cancer and other fatal diseases, flus and colds, and sexually transmitted diseases; consequently giving humans much longer lives. But as good as this prospect may sound, it comes at a terrible price: the offspring of those who partook of the scientists' panacea only live a fraction of the time people do today. With women living only to the age of twenty and men the age of twenty-five, the only way to prevent the extinction of the human race is for young women to dedicate their lives to polygamous marriages and having as many children as possible in the short window of time they have. This is exactly the kind of life sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery wants to avoid in favor of living out her last four years with her brother, Rowan, whom she loves dearly. But when the Gatherers take her she is helpless. Soon she is married to Linden Ashby, along with two other girls, Jenna and Cecily. It isn't long before one of her sister wives, as they are so dubbed, is swelling with Linden's child and Rhine is having to pretend that she herself loves him. But Rhine soon bonds with a young male servant named Gabriel and starts to plot a way to escape this compulsory life, and hopes to take him with her. But there are many dangers in attempting an escape, and it may end in both of their deaths.
Wither is one of the most hyped YA dystopias released in the last few years, and I can see why: it's content is controversial, it contains many things which could (and did for me) repulse its reader, and, of course, since a little series called the Hunger Games came along, the dystopian genre has skyrocketed to the top spot on many reader's favorites list. (I think it's even surpassed the paranormal genre now. What a feat!)
Rhine's helplessness really struck a chord within me. I can't imagine having lost your parents, and then being dragged away from your brother, the only person you have left, to be forced into a marriage with someone you don't even know. Gabriel, although a character that wasn't in the story nearly as much as I'd have liked, was something special. He is the reason I'm most looking forward to the sequal. The writing has a quality that I wouldn't normally expect from a debut author, but I'd heard may good things about DeStefano's writing before starting Wither, and they were all true.
And now for the negative: The science in Wither seems a little off to me. This, along with one other key point I'll mention later, is what keeps me from giving this four stars. Here is my logic: If the government (or scientists) were ever able to produce a cure for potentially fatal diseases like cancer and whatnot, should it backfire and cause a sort of self-destruct effect in the children of the people who use it, as it is said to in DeStefano's world, wouldn't the government then be able to stop it almost immediately? Eradicate the problem, or at least come up with some sort of drug to lengthen the lifespans of those who are affected by it? Think about it: Whatever could stop fatal diseases as harsh as cancer, if such a thing exists, would be very hard to find (obviously, since this is the twenty-first century and we're still using chemo, which is horrible in itself); and I would think that if scientists were ever smart enough to find it, they'd be able to deal with any repercussions that may arrise after the fact; I especially don't see them ever lying down and just saying, Oh, well — I guess we'll just have to live with the fact that none of us will make it to thirty and that the human race could easily become extinct in the next decade. Perhaps it is just me, but the science seemed rather warped and uncalculated. For my other qualm, read the spoiler if you don't mind being spoiled. (view spoiler)[The youngest of the three wives, Cecily, is thirteen at the start of the novel. She is soon impregnated by twenty-one-year-old Linden, who apparently is no less attracted to her than the eighteen-year-old Jenna or sixteen-year-old Rhine. This was sickening to me, and I wish the author would've handled this differently. The author could've easily kept the three wives sixteen or older and still conveyed the severity of the characters' situation in the harsh reality they live in without using a thirteen-year-old child. At least, IMHO. (hide spoiler)] Other than these two points, I really have no complaints; I enjoyed the writing and characterization just fine. And I am certainly invested enough to read Fever in the near future, and, if Fever doesn't disappoint, the trilogy's finale, Untitled.
Notice: Although the back of the audio says it's for readers thirteen and up, I'd recommend this book for fifteen and up. The rather mature subject matter and some of the content seems more appropriate for an older audience IMO.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
When I was younger, my mother and I would watch reruns of Dennis the Menace. Truth be told, the only enjoyment I got out of these sessions was spendin...moreWhen I was younger, my mother and I would watch reruns of Dennis the Menace. Truth be told, the only enjoyment I got out of these sessions was spending time with my mother. You see, Dennis was, to me, exactly what the title proclaims him to be: a menace. Since I was very young I've had a strong aversion to any one who causes trouble for others or keeps getting into scrapes, be they intentional or not. As anyone who's read Anne's first installment can imagine, this made it a bit difficult for me to take to her character. In Anne of Green Gables, Anne is rather rash and even careless in her decision making. But boy has she grown up now! I didn't think Montgomery would make young Anne grow so fast, rather I thought her character would take several installments just to reach age sixteen. Gladly, this isn't the case.
In Anne of Avonlea, Anne starts off at the age of half-past sixteen; and the book ends two years later. I must admit she's won my admiration from here on out. Anne is the sort of girl who makes you think they invented the word "spitfire" as a means to describe her alone, and coupled with her copious amount of enthusiasm and optimism, I dare say it is nearly impossible for one to not fall for her eventually! And in the second part of her story, we see Anne strungle with her new position as schoolma'am at the Avonlea school. To top this off, she must aid Marilla in the caring of two children whom Marilla has chosen to adopt: the naughty but adorable Davy, and the prim and and slightly-dull Dora. Sprinkle on mulitple new acquaintances, several furnerals, two engagements, a wedding . . . and you've got an awfully busy two years for our dear Anne.
This series is clearly something I'd have missed out on had Jo not spoken so highly of it through her lovely reviews, so thank you, Jo. I find myself slowly but surely warming to the characters and their world more with each chapter. And of course, as with all classics, the writing is stunning.
"A September day on Prince Edward Island hills; a crisp wind blowing up over the sand dunes from the sea; a long red road, winding through fields and woods, now looping itself about a corner of thick-set spruces, now threading a plantation of young maples with great feathery sheets of ferns beneath them, now dipping down into a hollow where a brook flashed out of the woods and into them again, now basking in open sunshine between ribbons of goldenrod and smoke-blue asters; air athrill with the pipings of myriads of crickets, those glad little pensioners of the summer hills; a plump brown pony ambling along the road; two girls behind him, full to the lips with the simple, priceless joy of youth and life."
Naturally, this sort of passage always stirs up some envy in my blood; I can't help but wish I could write like that. Although I suppose there is some comfort --- and, for other reasons, sadness --- in knowing that practically no one writes this way anymore.
Although I still can't bring myself to give this a higher rating than the one you'll read momentarily, I assure all who read this that I'm enjoying myself very much while following Anne through her journeys in life. I'll be sure to read Anne of the Island soon. 3.5 stars(less)
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)
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)
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)
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Albus Dumbledore
Such a wise wizard.
You know how sometimes when...more"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Albus Dumbledore
Such a wise wizard.
You know how sometimes when you read the first in a series and it turns out so much better than you originally anticipated, it makes you a little apprehensive when starting the sequel? Well, I felt that way before starting this, but I can definitely say that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is another fabulous installment in the rightfully beloved Harry Potter series! And while I will admit to not loving it quite as much as its predecessor, I still enjoyed it a great deal. I think the reason for my not liking it as much can be mostly credited to the introduction of a new character, Professor Lockhart. Lockhart is an annoyingly pretentious wizard who is completely full of himself, and the majority of his teachings were based on his own life and his supposed brushes with death that he escaped only because of his "heroism" and great knowledge of the magic arts. (view spoiler)[Riiiiiiiiight. (hide spoiler)] In a summary, I didn't find the story involving Lockhart quite as interesting as Harry's realization of his true abilities and the escapades of his first year at Hogwarts.
But HP II undoubtedly still has plenty of hilarious moments and magical wonders - not to mention the lovely cast of characters - to more than compensate for this particular installment's slightly lacking plot. Hence the five stars. :)
Curran's POV Vol 2 shows what happened right after the final chapter of Magic Bleeds. The Beast Clans must explain their homic...moreActual rating: 3.5 stars
Curran's POV Vol 2 shows what happened right after the final chapter of Magic Bleeds. The Beast Clans must explain their homicidal intentions toward Kate while Curran was comatose. In short, the Beast Lord is pissed and fur is about to fly.
I liked this more than the previous Curran POV. Although Curran is just out of bed when this takes place, he still has his usual drive and power and he has every right to be mad for how his people treated his mate while he was lying in a bed dying. When the going gets tough, you see who's truly loyal. Apparently Curran doesn't have as many loyal followers as you'd think.
A lot of the Alphas and Betas are skeptical of Kate's ability to be the female Alpha and they don't believe she's worthy to be the Beast Lord's mate. (As if it's their decision on that!) I think it comes down to jealousy. People are always hungry for power, and second in command is a high place to be.
These looks into Curran's head are fun and fascinating and I hope Gordan writes more in future. I highly recommend both this and Curran's POV Vol 1 to all fans of the Kate Daniels series.
You can read this short story here for free.(less)
I love Ellen Degeneres. Seriously, I'm not kidding. I know what you're thinking: you can't truly love some...moreNote: This is a review of the audio edition.
I love Ellen Degeneres. Seriously, I'm not kidding. I know what you're thinking: you can't truly love someone whom you've never met and probably never will. But I truly love her in the way you love someone — or something — that you know with your whole heart is making the world a better place to live. And I am positive of this fact when it comes to this woman. After a hard day, her humor and generosity and overall love for people and life are a balm on the world's aches. This woman makes each day better for countless people just by being herself. Did you know that scientists have proven that laughter can increase your lifespan and even help you feel and look better? This isn't to mention all of the people she's helped through her show. Cars, houses, miscellaneous gifts, money — all given to people who're probably much better off after having received these various gifts.
My library has shelved this book in the biography section, but in case there is any one wondering, let me be clear: This is not an autobio. And although I laughed many, many times while listening to Ellen's words read in her own narration, I have to admit that a good deal of this book is, truly, just a bunch of babble.
At times, Ellen manages to mix philosophy and deep thoughts with spontaneous humor expertly:
There are very few things that wow us anymore. A child will see something as simple as a garage door opening and it's literally all they will talk about for weeks. As an adult, we will see a human person ride a bike, catapult over eighteen cars that are on fire, land on a skateboard, slid down a ramp, and end up in the backseat of a taxi, and be like,"Yeah, that was all right. But did you see the guy who pogo sticked over thirty-eight grandmothers?" I'm not saying we need to live like babies in every way. I mean, sure, it would be great to get carried around in a papoose. Who wouldn't want that? But I am glad I'm potty trained and I'm not always trying to eat my feet like babies do. I just wish we could hold on to that sense of wonder because sometimes we don't notice some of the most incredible things in the world. We walk by beautiful flowers and trees every day without looking at them. We rush through our day without even saying hi to most of the people we see. We take a lot for granted, and I think that's why some people say it's better to live each day as our last. That way we might start appreciating more things around us. Either that or we would immediately quit our jobs to go live in a yurt.
. . . and I love that. But — there were times when it leaned a bit too much on the babble side and I was thankful for having picked up the audio; if I hadn't, this book probably would've ended up unfinished.
In a summary, I enjoyed Seriously . . . I'm kidding. I didn't love it like I do the lady who wrote it, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.(less)
Verily, Ward, you hath redeemed thyself in mine eyes.
Lover Unleashed was disappointing for me on several levels. But I knew that, if Ward did it right...moreVerily, Ward, you hath redeemed thyself in mine eyes.
Lover Unleashed was disappointing for me on several levels. But I knew that, if Ward did it right, Tohrment's book had the potential to be the best installment to the series in a long time. I've wanted him to find peace and healing ever since that fateful scene at the end of Lover Awakened, but I knew it would take time. And now that his time has finally come, I'm pleased to say that Ward doesn't disappoint.
Tohrment & No'One: I know a lot of people aren't happy that Tohrment doesn't get Wellsie back. I'm not happy about it, either. But save for getting Wellsie back, I believe Tohr was dealt the best hand possible in Lover Reborn. Let me be frank: I had very little faith that Ward could pull a romance like this off. Seriously, Tohrment and Wellsie? Probably one of the most romantic couples I've ever come across in the PNR/UF genre. Their back story, the glimpses we see of their relationship in the first three books . . . how can you possibly follow an act like that? Some of the sentences in this are like an assault to the solar plexus. There were scenes where I felt like I was chopping onions. Suffice it to say I cried a lot while reading Tohr's story. Man, Tohrment . . . he just . . . tears me apart. Truly.
As Tohr says himself, No'One could never replace Wellsie; but the emotional — and physical — connection between Tohr and No'One is undeniable. Tohr and No'One have a lot in common (each has been through a tremendous ordeal in their lifetime), they've meant in the past and spent an entire year in each other's company, and No'One is incredibly understanding and supportive of Tohr and his situation. I don't think any other female could've brought him back from the brink the way No'One did. I didn't expect to like No'One as much as I did — I've never really liked the Chosen women, and although No'One isn't a Chosen, she's very similar to them. But she is humble, kind, and, underneath the shield she's erected to protect herself, passionate. Ward has surprised me before, and she definitely did in the case of No'One's character.
The best part about the romance in this is how slow it builds. One year passes from beginning to end of this installment, and Tohr doesn't give himself over to the possibility of loving another easily. It isn't until near the end that he truly opens his heart to No'One. (view spoiler)[But did you notice? No bonding scent. Save for a little show of possessiveness (which I think could just be chalked up to the nature of a male vampire), Tohr didn't bond with No'One. I have to say that I liked this fact very much. For me, that would've discredited Tohr's love for his previous shellan as well as the bonds the other Brothers have with their shellans. I don't think that the bonding thing should be taken lightly. Don't get me wrong; I'm glad he's in love with her and all, but I think him bonding with her would've been too much. I hope it doesn't come into play in future books. (hide spoiler)]
Lassiter: Can somebody get me a bib? Seriously, you can have all of the Brothers (except Z, of course; I got dibs on him a long time ago), just give me Lassiter! God, he just gets more interesting — and sexy — with each book. And when his own book is finally released, I'll be one of the first ones at the bookstore ready to trample over the other shoppers to get my copy. And something tells me his book is going to be very similar to Tohr's and maybe even equally sad. If you're observant and you've read Hello, Old Friend and Book Order in the Brothers on the Board section of the insider's guide, then you know that Lassiter had a woman he loved who is now either missing or dead. There is also some hinting of that in this book. I don't know if Ward will have him get her back, or have him end up with someone else. Since Ward seems to enjoy torturing her fans, it'll probably be the latter.
John & Xhex: Just as there was a lot of Vishous in Payne's book (for obvious reasons), there is a lot of John and, naturally, Xhex in Tohr's book. Their relationship gets tested and, similarly to Vishous and Jane in Lover Unleashed, they go through a real rough patch. One of the things I like most about Ward's couples is that, when their book is over, their story isn't. There'll always be new trials and new developments in her characters' lives. There are some really emotional — and erotic (seriously, they get twice as many sex scenes as the main couple) — scenes with John and Xhex in this. Fans of theirs should be very happy. And for John and Xhex, I'm sure the trials aren't over. When Murhder finally gets into the series full-time, I'm sure he'll shake things up quite a bit for them, as he is Xhex's former lover. Can you say cohntehst?
Qhuinn & Blay a.k.a. Qhuay (& Saxton and Layla, or as I like to think of them, The Third & Fourth Wheels): There isn't much Qhuinn and Blay in this. :( Neither of them get much page time, because John and Xhex and the Bastards hog it all take up the majority of the side story's time. Still, there are some good scenes with them — both together and individually --- and they do say absence makes the heart grow fonder. (Although I don't see how I could get any more fond of those two . . .) On the plus side, there aren't any lesser POVs! Given the way chapter seventy-six ends . . . Qhuay's story must be soon. Very soon. Whether it will be a novella or a full installment remains to be seen. All I can say is, if it turns out to be the former, it sure as hell better be tome-ish, anyway. (view spoiler)[So Qhuinn and Layla are going to have a child together, huh? I know it will infuriate many readers (I know it did me — at first), but at the same time I can see the beauty of it and the reason behind it. That little girl will be one of the most loved children you can imagine. She'll have three parents — two fathers and a mother — and she'll have the whole Brotherhood and their shellans to care and love for her as well. It may not be ideal, and it may not be what a lot of readers had in mind for Qhuinn and Blay, but I can see the potential and beauty that this prospect holds. And I see why she wrote it this way. After Qhuinn was shunned by his family and the aristocracy, I think he deserves a full family. And this way, he'll get to spend the rest of his life not only with the love of his life (Blay, naturally) and the Brotherhood, but a beautiful baby girl. (hide spoiler)] Oh, Saxton . . . Ward has hinted as to what will become of him in a future installment, and I'm pretty sure I know what it is and that all of his fans (including myself) will not like it. Especially since in Lover Reborn it becomes pretty clear that Saxton has fallen for Blay. As for Layla . . . well, I won't give it away, but it is now very clear who Layla's HEA is. And despite the fact that I've never been a big fan of Layla . . . I'm very much looking forward to her story. (This is really because of the male she ends up with. He is all kinds of hot.) (view spoiler)[Xcor! Xcor! Xcor! He may just end up being my favorite male character — next to Zsadist, of course.
Which reminds me . . . The situation between Throe, Xcor, and Layla reminds me a bit of the one featured earlier in the series between Phury, Zsadist, and Bella. Phury had been attracted to Bella, had yearned for her, even; but in the end, his interest in her didn't compare to the powerful, once-in-a-lifetime (especially for someone like Z) connection that Zsadist had with Bella. I believe it will be much the same for Layla and the two males who seek her out. And I'm sure Throe will eventually end up with someone else special. (Another Chosen, perhaps?) (hide spoiler)]
Band of Bastards: I predicted in my review of Lover Unleashed that the B.o.B. (Band of Bastards) would most likely end up becoming good and each member would get their own book. Now . . . I still say that will happen, but I think it's going to take a while. I think it would be a good idea, because without them Ward doesn't have very many possibilities for future books. I think if it were ever to go in that direction, it would be a long time from now and a lot would have to happen in order for any of them to be ready for their own book. Ward actually talks about the B.o.B. in a YouTube video (specifically Xcor), which you can watch here. (Turn up the volume if you wanna hear what she says) (view spoiler)[Oh please, please, please just leave him a little bit naughty . . . ! (hide spoiler)]
"The quick and the dead are all the same. Everyone's just looking for home."
"She wished for Qhuinn this soldier. She truly did."
"Then again, he supposed the healing process, in contrast to trauma, was gentle and slow . . . The soft closing of a door, rather than a slam."
"Our future has come."
In short, I enjoyed this installment very much and I'm happy that Tohr is finally happy.
Note: After I wrote my review, Ward announced who the next book will be about. If you want to know, click the spoiler.