I really enjoy the Outlander novels because Claire and Jaime are so well described and complete. Their inner lives and motivations are right there toI really enjoy the Outlander novels because Claire and Jaime are so well described and complete. Their inner lives and motivations are right there to be discovered and it keeps the stories engaging and interesting. I understand that their time apart has impacted the people they became during the 20 year absence, but I felt a little bit like every single time that something Jaime did in his past came up, Claire had to have a major freak out about it. The first time was understandable, but 3 or 4 times during the course of 1000 pages felt a bit much. For someone that professes to love her husband regardless of what he's done in the past, she's not very level headed about him living his life while he thought she was dead.
The blurb on the inside cover of the book interested me, but a couple chapters into the story I thought I had everything figured out. I thought it wasThe blurb on the inside cover of the book interested me, but a couple chapters into the story I thought I had everything figured out. I thought it was going to end up a trite, traditional YA romance where the boy and the girl fall in love, overcome terrible odds, and end up happily together. I was wrong. This story is heartwrenching and painful, but in a very well done way. Some of my "A-hah, I know how the Roe curse works" was correct, but I couldn't imagine the places they would lead to.
The title of this book is perfectly apt, Salt & Storm, things that can help you and things that can hurt you, sometimes at the same time. I would not give this to anyone looking for a happy read, but if you want to put your soul through a wringer and come out stronger for it, then I'd happily place this into your hands. I'm sure some readers will think it overwrought or silly, but I found it very raw and I enjoyed it. Definitely want to see if she's written any other books or has more up her sleeves.
The story was ok. Trope teenage love triangle with a not so subtle twist. I liked that she author tackled Indian Mythology, but as far as I know, KaliThe story was ok. Trope teenage love triangle with a not so subtle twist. I liked that she author tackled Indian Mythology, but as far as I know, Kali was never considered a demon (she's actually an incarnation of a goddess and is considered one of the Devi), nor was her manifestation that of a giant Hydra. And the last time I heard Xibalba it was in the Road to El Dorado as the name of the Underworld of the Incan.
Update: I was wrong and Roybot found me a source that explains things a bit clearer. There is a demon also named Kali associated with the KaliYuga. In Sanskrit the Goddess's name has different spellings but in English they become the same and such leads to the confusion. Still doesn't say anything about it being a Giant Hydra though...more
There are times when I read a story to escape into its pages and live the type of life that doesn't exist anymore. Daisy Goodwin captures the glitterThere are times when I read a story to escape into its pages and live the type of life that doesn't exist anymore. Daisy Goodwin captures the glitter of Victorian Society in the details of her story and brings real historical figures to life on her pages. Set during the 1870s in both English Country seats and London, the story focuses on the relationship between Charlotte Baird and Bay Middleton. A blossoming romance impacted by the arrival of Empress Elizabeth of Austria, a dazzling beauty, fierce hunter, and tragically flawed world weary woman.
Charlotte, heiress to the Lennox fortune, is a odd girl by society standards. She's more interested in photography than position and can't stand her sister in law, Lady Augusta, and all of her "advice" about how she should act. When she meets Bay Middleton, a friend of her brother's, she finds someone who accepts her oddness as a her real self. Constantly faced with suitors just looking for a wealthy wife, Charlotte is cautious of these "fortune hunters," but Bay seems to genuinely like her. Their romance is thwarted by the Bay's position as pilot to the magnetic Empress who is used to getting her own way, even when it comes to choosing her lovers.
I enjoyed Goodwin's portrayal of the people in this novel, especially her flamboyant American, Caspar Hewes. Her descriptions of the fashions, places, and people are very detailed and add a layer of richness to her storytelling. Since Charlotte Baird did historically marry George "Bay" Middleton, I think it is a good example of creative history. She sticks with the facts we know to be true, but makes up a wonderful story of love, lust, and royal interference without the story sounding too trite or cliche.
For someone who is really interested in this time period, reading The Heir Apparent would actually be a good match. This biography nicely describes the society circles Charlotte and Bay would have moved in, as well as providing more information on the lives of the European royalty. Readers are introduced to the Empress's son Rudolph who has a tragic story of his own that if further explored in the Heir Apparent.
I'm looking forward to reading the American Heiress, Goodwin's first novel, and I would recommend to someone who is looking for something light but entertaining. Possibly someone interested in Downton Abbey, but definitely someone looking for a good historical story....more
My supervisor recommended this book to me because he knew that I love fantasy, but was excited by how Betsy Cornwell took a common faery story and turMy supervisor recommended this book to me because he knew that I love fantasy, but was excited by how Betsy Cornwell took a common faery story and turned it into something more modern. Most selkie stories I've read in the past, like Home from the Sea by Mercedes Lackey or A Stranger Came Ashore by Mollie Hunter take place in the past. I think that the past offers a neat backdrop for this type of story because the characters don't need to deal with any sort of digital divide or educational gap. If the stranger didn't know how to read or write, it wasn't necessarily a huge problem because society hadn't advanced to a point where everyone was expected to have a certain level of education. Betsy Cornwell sets her story in modern day, but chooses a naturally remote area to stage it in. The Isle of Shoals offers the quaintness of the past while at the same time juxtaposing it with the rush of tourism and the advancement of scientists and research facilities on the islands.
Noah and Lo are visiting their grandmother out in the Shoals. Noah is coming for a research internship position at the Center under his idol, Professor Foster. Lo has come because Noah talked her into it. Both Noah and Lo have some unresolved issues with their parents and see this visit as an escape from all the pressures of their real lives, but what they find on the island turns their worlds upside down. Stories become real and the threat of a kidnapper on the island draws Noah and Lo closer together with their grandmother and the mysteries women they meet on the island.
I really liked how Cornwell built the characters of Maebh and Gemm. Their love story twists throughout the book and adds some of the dramatic tension when the main characters realize their grandmother is not exactly what they've always believed her to be. I liked Noah because he was uncomplicated. He wanted to work with the ocean, he fiercely loved what he did, and he burned very brightly, but Lo was more complicated. Her background of possibly verbal abuse and an eating disorder felt like it was trying to be very genuine, I just wanted their to be more back story to her struggle than there was. The best character in the book is Mara. Mara who is selkie and young woman; longing and lonely yet surrounded by people she can't connect with. She is the glue that holds all of the characters together and forces their own transformations into stronger versions of their selves.
As a whole, I enjoyed this story a lot because it had a lot of really human interactions in it and because her storytelling was captivating. However, I just couldn't get over how Cornwell drew the villain. At first meeting the villain is perfectly rational, but as soon as we are introduced to the victim, the villain becomes a rapidly unraveling psychopath. If she had only introduced the character with some sort of neurosis or flaw the character wouldn't have suddenly stood out as VILLAIN!. ...more
The BBC's has created a new version of the Three Musketeers complete with leather outfits and witty banter. Athos is stern and goal oriented, PorthosThe BBC's has created a new version of the Three Musketeers complete with leather outfits and witty banter. Athos is stern and goal oriented, Porthos is the joker with a deadly side, and Aramis is the lover. The new Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, plays a wickedly charming Cardinal Richelieu. After watching several of the episodes I found myself wanting to reread the original story.
As a fencer, I own several copies of the Three Musketeers, from fancy leather bound hardcovers to tatter eared paperbacks. I went for the paperback this time because I was gonna be carrying it around in my purse from place to place. Every time I reread things, I always find new phrases or descriptions that stand out for me. At heart the Three Musketeers is a rollicking adventure story following young D'Artagnan on his first trip to Paris in order to join the King's Musketeers. Upon arrival he insults a man, gets in a fight, presents himself to the captain of the Musketeers, crosses paths with Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, challenges all three to a duel, and ultimately becomes friends with his adversaries and together they fight off the Cardinal's guards who have come to arrest them for dueling. D'Artagnan falls in love with his landlord's wife and saves the Queen's honor. Along the way he encounters spies, soldiers, assassins, and executioners. There is nothing not to like in this story, and I believe that is why it has translated so well to several film adaptations.
The Musketeer's themselves, are never the focus of the story, it's always D'Artagnan, but the Musketeers step in to help him out, choose his moral compass, and punish his enemies. Written in a flamboyant style, that sometimes leans towards being a screen play with instructions on entrances and clothing, Dumas writes in a way that the story comes alive in your head as you're reading. Whether you see Michael York, Chris O'Donnell, Justin Chambers, or Luke Pasqualino, simply the name D'Artagnan conjures up a face in your mind. Somehow every single movie adaptation has made D'Artagnan clean shaven, he does have a mustache and goatee in the book.
Anyway, I love this story and I love all the movies (even *gasp* the terrible Orlando Bloom version: I'm dying for the eluded to sequel) and I would highly recommend this story or a movie if you're just looking for something fun. Dumas does not write light, and this is a long book, but it reads very quickly and honestly, if you can't pronounce the name it doesn't matter, just skip along and follow the action....more
I rescued this book from the trash when I was assessing the collection at my library. Hadn't gone out in a couple of years, but had been part of thatI rescued this book from the trash when I was assessing the collection at my library. Hadn't gone out in a couple of years, but had been part of that big popular boom in biographical novels a couple years back. The idea that this novel focused on the life of Antonio Vivaldi caught my eye and I decided to read it instead of withdraw it.
The Four Seasons is such an iconic piece of music, used in DeBeers diamond commercials for as long as I can remember. Who was the genius that composed that piece? Who were the players to first tease out the notes until they swelled into life?
Laurel Corona recreates the city of Venice in the early 1700s and the Ospedale della Pieta, part convent, orphanage, and music school. The two main characters, Chiaretta and Maddalena, sisters who were left in the care of the Pieta's sisters and raised to become singular musicians. The story initially focuses on Maddalena's love of the violin and her apparent natural gift for playing it. Through the violin she meets Antonio Vivaldi: priest, composer, asthmatic, teacher and something more. Between Maddalena and Vivaldi a connection sparks. They act almost as if a married couple, but Vivaldi uses the Pieta to make money for his compositions and disappears frequently to different Italian opera houses for better commissions. Maddalena is tormented by her feelings for Vivaldi and his seemingly callous behavior towards her. Later in the novel the focus switches to Chiaretta and her singing. It is her breathtaking soprano that leads her into a marriage with one of the wealthiest and powerful families in Venice. She is the one that pushes her sister's career forward and encourages music performances at her new villa.
The sisters' lives are inextricably linked with music and with Vivaldi, but this novel is really about the lives of the two women and not the composer. However, the authro jumps between big sections of the women's lives that I felt their story was disconnected. The sections of the book are more like a piece of art, showing only certain sections of a lifetime. I really liked the characters and wished there had been more meat to their lives. The setting that Corona describes is incredibly detailed and brings Venice alive on the pages. My biggest issue with this book was how awkward and childish discussions of sex and menstruation felt. I think the author was trying to mimic the uncertainty and awkwardness of this period in a woman's life, but the language was stilted and made reading these passages seem very silly. It broke me away from the story.
If you really enjoy the artistic biographical novels I would definitely suggest anything by Susan Vreeland or Tracey Chevalier. These types of novels tend to be focuses mainly on female figures or tangentially female characters rather than men, but the stories are solidly written and entertaining. ...more
In High School I sort of knew that my French teacher was Armenian, but I didn't really understand why that should be important. Madame Andreassian nevIn High School I sort of knew that my French teacher was Armenian, but I didn't really understand why that should be important. Madame Andreassian never really talked about the genocide, she was only just in her early 20s when my parents were in High School, so why would she? Soon, a billboard went up in Watertown near my fencing salle that every April had a disconcerting image from the Armenian genocide and cautioned any passerbys not to forget "The Forgotten Genocide." Still the subject was never really something that any of my history classes covered.
Reading The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian opened my eyes to a lot of history that has been purposefully shied away from. It is an extremely moving and disturbing narrative jumping between a modern day woman of Armenian descent discovering her personal history and the story of how her grandparents met. Unlike The Shoemaker's Wife where Trigiani neatly bypasses the horrors of World War I and many of the social problems of the day, Bohjalian focuses less on the love story and more on the sheer brutality of the Turkish soldiers and the ineptitude of any aide attempts for the Armenian women and children.
Moving, raw, and, at times, heart-breaking this story is a remarkable journey to the deserts of Aleppo and an exploration of the strength of the human character. This book is definitely not for everyone. It is a close up look at war, starvation, torture and loss. Bohjalian doesn't hold back any punches when he describes executions, rape, and emaciated, diseased bodies. I can see this book being very disturbing to certain readers. However, I also think that this story is an important piece of fiction because of the truths that it describes. Did you know it is illegal for anyone in Turkey to describe the extermination of the Armenian people as a genocide? Governments have turned a blind eye to the fate of this group of people and try to pretend that it never existed, Bohjalian brings it back into focus with his storytelling.
On writing style alone I would definitely suggest this book for a book club or paging turning read, but would warn any readers that it is a particularly disturbing subject matter. Similar to John Shors Dragon House and Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama....more
I have no idea why it has taken me as long as it has to even pick up a copy of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. I've seen copies in every booksale I've eveI have no idea why it has taken me as long as it has to even pick up a copy of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. I've seen copies in every booksale I've ever gone to and know the name as one of the most recommended romance novels. And therein probably lies the problem. I've always thought of Outlander as a fluffy romance novel that wasn't worth my time or dollars. Am I a book snob? Hell yea! However, in this case I am a wrong-headed and narrow-minded book snob. Outlander is so much more than just a romance. It is an exquisitely detailed historical novel with a rich setting and strong characters.
Claire Randalls, former army nurse, and her husband are vacationing in Scotland after 8 years apart because of WWII. During a morning excursion Claire finds herself mysteriously whisked back in time for 1743 in the middle of a cattle raid. Claire needs to learn who to trust in this new world, and learn fast. Her husband's 6 times great grandfather is convinced she is a spy and she's suddenly faced with many decisions, including should she marry the gorgeous hulk of a man whose life she's saved?
Diana Gabaldon has used her history background to recreate a realistic scene of life in the Scottish highlands in the 16th century. While some I know have said that the book is just too long, I believe that Gabaldon writes exactly enough for an avid fan of history. That said, if you aren't looking for the description of the heather on the hill or the deep, still pool then this book might seem too daunting. While Claire is out of place and out of time, Gabaldon is careful to not let too much of the future slip into the past. Claire does use her knowledge of the future to help a few people she meets, but the burden of knowledge is a heavy one and Gabaldon doesn't use Claire's character as witch figure, instead tries to have her learning to fit in as much as possible.
Did I mention the sex? There are a lot of steamy sex scenes and romantic assignations seeded throughout this book. Some readers might think the sex is too graphic, but personally I never felt uncomfortable reading her descriptions of intimacy. Compared to Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You, I felt the relationship between Claire and Jamie was more genuine and led to a sort of expectation of their relationship to become more serious and descriptive. Regardless, it is very steamy and if you prefer stories where it all stays in the bedroom this might not be the perfect choice for you.
I used to look down on romances and I don't really know why. I discovered that I really enjoyed romance when set in a fantasy world. My favorite series, Kushiel's Legacy by Jacqueline Carey, is almost exactly the same length and steaminess as Outlander just set in a completely made up world. For both authors I appreciated the dedication to creating a lush setting and believable characters, and to be honest, I enjoyed the sex scenes.
I would recommend this series for getaway reading. I think its great for vacations or beach reading (I bought the whole series in paperback to take to the beach with me this summer!!), however this book does require dedication. At 850 pages its not a quick to finish, but the story itself reads quickly. ...more
I am so looking forward to the epic conclusion of this series. Taylor nails the anguish, exhaustion and determination of Akiva and Karou in this contiI am so looking forward to the epic conclusion of this series. Taylor nails the anguish, exhaustion and determination of Akiva and Karou in this continuation of their love/hate relationship. I think the stuff with Jael and the Dominion is a little overwrought, but all in all it is an excellent series....more
It is an amazing thing when an author can create a world so vibrant and real within the first few pages of a novel. What Laini Taylor has created in DIt is an amazing thing when an author can create a world so vibrant and real within the first few pages of a novel. What Laini Taylor has created in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the first of this series, is a reflection of the real world superimposed with a glistening magical element on top. It helps that the story opens in Prague, which is kind of a magical city to begin with, but Taylor's writing style infuses a patina of joy, romance, and tragedy into the setting. It is extremely atmospheric, even in the made up areas of Brimstone's shop and the fortress of Loramendi. I loved this series so much that I gave up on my library copy half way through in order to go out and purchase this book and the next in the series.
At its heart this story is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Karou, an unusual human with a mysterious past who consorts with monstrous looking creatures, and Akiva, a beautiful seraphim at war with the monsters, fall in love against all the rules of the war between their "families". Yet, death cannot end this romantic epic in a world where souls can be reborn in new bodies. The war is not over, can Karou and Akiva imagine a new world without war or will the death and destruction destroy this fragile relationship?
I read for world building and character, although I can forgive authors for their world if the characters are compelling enough. Taylor hits both the world and the characters perfectly. Of course everyone in this story is either "out of this world beautiful" or more than the average pretty, which is my only rankle with the story. Its easier to want beautiful people to be together, I guess, ugliness is reserved for those of questionable morals or marginality. However, Taylor does get the message in that beauty doesn't always equal good and that external beauty can mask despicable evil.
I have to go back to the language in this story. It is luscious and rich while being quirky, honest, and human. I found myself thinking about Karou's metaphor regarding cats. Don't be the cat that winds around its human's legs saying "pet me, pet me, love me, love me," be the cat on the shelf who needs nothing and no one, calmly surveying the world. This is just so powerful because its so accurate. My cats are the attention grabbing ones, but I've had cats that just like to watch the world around them. Taylor's relating the clingy cats to clingy girlfriends, but its so close a match I was amazed it had never occurred to me that way. This needs to get turned into the next summer blockbuster movie ASAP because the language is so vivid reading it is almost like watching a movie unfold in your mind. I would definitely suggest this to any one looking for a good book. The romance isn't overwhelming and much more intellectual than physical that readers who shy away from sickly sweet love stories would probably enjoy this.
Go to your library and pick it up! Pick it up today!
Holy crap! What do you say when a book just leaves you completely exhausted at the end? Paper Valentine hit all the high points of a good ghost story,Holy crap! What do you say when a book just leaves you completely exhausted at the end? Paper Valentine hit all the high points of a good ghost story, a heartbreaking relationship novel, and the edge of your seat excitement of City Confidential. I was impressed, awed, and overcome with the raw emotion of this story. There is more than one way to be haunted, as Hannah finds out. One is to live with the ghost of your dead best friend, another is to blame yourself for everything that happened to her and you since her death, and then there are vengeful ghosts who need your help catching their killer. Unfortunately Hannah is haunted by all three and its driving her crazy.
The thematic content of this book is DEEP. I meant really heavy shit: bulimia, depression, murder, relationships, fitting in and forgiveness. If someone had told me before I picked this up I would have said there was no way that an author would be able to do justice to all those themes in one book, and boy was I wrong. This story is a raw emotional rollercoaster of teenage life and I was completely hooked. Of course nothings perfect, there were a couple things that I think the Yovanoff added because they added a sense of creepiness and unease but not any actual plot, like the plague of dead birds scattering the streets. The pace is also really slow at first. Imagine watching City Confidential and waiting through all the back story to finally find out who did it, why and see the pictures, that's what this book is like. Slow isn't bad because it makes you curious, makes you go back and pick the book up because you aren't anywhere close to done with it. When "BAM" all of a sudden you are in the thick of the action and its a heartstopping race to the finish.
Though the content deals with a serial killer, the murders are more disturbing than they are gruesome. If you're squeamish about blood its not a gory book, but blood is used as an effect, to get a reaction, but Yovanoff only uses it when necessary. Mainly you're like a passenger inside Hannah's brain and dealing with the soul sucking uncertainty of how life should continue after losing her best friend, Lillian, and blaming herself a little bit for Lillian's death. Its amazing how Lillian is a character herself, because it helps you work through the stages of grief: Why did she do it, Didn't she understand it was selfish, How could she do this to me? Only Lillian has those answers and she slowly comes to terms with them herself as the book goes on
I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone, but would be cautious with younger teens due to the nature of the murders and supernatural happenings. I think this book should be an essential read for any teenager struggling with fitting in, depression, or loss simply because of the emotional mess Hannah starts out as and her strength in starting to find her own place in the world. On a completely random side note, Fat Chance by Leslea Newman is another amazingly raw book that deals with eating disorders and the fallout from making a choice like that. Also an excellent and mandatory read for teens. ...more
Do you like daring adventures, reckless heroines and gourmet food? You do!? Then this is a must read for you! I requested this book at my local librarDo you like daring adventures, reckless heroines and gourmet food? You do!? Then this is a must read for you! I requested this book at my local library after seeing the book in a list of the most interesting book covers of 2013. While the cover doesn't particularly appeal my idea of an AMAZING cover, it did peak my interest in pirates, particularly female pirates.
The story starts out with a broad brush stroke of passionate, insensate fear and rage, "This body is not brave." Reader's find out this story is a chronicle of imprisonment and murder. Owen Wedgewood, chef superstar of the 1800s has seen his employer murdered before his very eyes and taken captive by the ferocious pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot (also known as Back from the Dead Red, best nickname ever, I think). While in initial set up seem stereotyped, Wedgewood must cook for Mabbot a fantastic feast every Sunday without repeating anything and his life will be spared, the story moves in a dramatically different direction than Scheherazade and the Arabian Nights. Instead of attempting to soothe the captor, Wedgewood is taken on a journey of self discovery. Mabbot sees herself as freeing him from the oppressive yoke of the Pendleton Trading Company, a yoke that, until capture, Wedgewood had never even realized existed. While Wedgewood is on his own journey inside his head he also has to navigate the complex relationships on Mabbot's ship, and learn to read her mercurial temperament. This isn't the solitary journey that Wedgewood thinks he is on, Mabbot also has secrets to hide and epiphanies to have, but it is through their awkward and fledgling relationship that either character is able to grow.
If the concept isn't enough to grab your attention, then the writing style of Eli Brown certainly should. It is at once, frank and lyrical. Brown really brings you into the psyche of Wedgewood from his frantic escape plans, deep Catholic conviction, to his love for his deceased wife and his absolute passion for food. The passages about his cooking and the exquisite meals he prepares for his Sunday feasts are so mouthwatering that I found myself looking for a snack whenever I read those passages. Unfortunately, my snacks consisted of cheese sticks and girl scout cookies not the rabbit pie and miso glazed cod I was suddenly craving.
If you've been interested in stories like Loving Frank, Z, and other historical bio sketches this might be something you would want to pick up. Though the characters aren't historically real, they do bring up a lot of issues for women who wanted out of the heavily controlled lives they lived. Mabbot dressed as a man for many years as a pirate, which is very nearly always the case for the famous female pirates of history. Ann Bonny, Mary Read, James Grey, and others all used men's garb to hide their identity and create a new life for themselves, but ultimately revealed their true gender after winning the trust and possibly, affection, of their crew mates. However, I also think that there is a certain level of inanity that lurks just beneath the surface where fans of Terry Pratchett might find the assembled cast of characters interesting and engaging if not as magical as Discworld usually is. Definitely highly recommended by me! ...more
Up until recently, maybe college, I refused to read most books that had a female main character (unless they were kids, kids were OK). Female main chaUp until recently, maybe college, I refused to read most books that had a female main character (unless they were kids, kids were OK). Female main characters were boring, I thought. They don't climb trees, or go on adventures or do anything but sit around and complain. It wasn't until I started reading more of Mercedes Lackey that I realized that females could be the Queen's Herald or control armies and I started looking for more and more main characters I could identify with.
Catching Katie, on face value seemed like a silly story about a young woman following her head and her belief in God to push forward the Suffragette movement in rural Idaho. As a non religious person I was like "oh boy, how long is this gonna take?" when I was assigned to read it, but I found myself pleasantly surprised at how adept Hatcher is at weaving together a story that isn't overly religious and fits nicely in the historical time period she set it in. Quotes from scripture do dot the narrative but they fit in the story and make sense for both the character and the situations, but what I was most impressed with was how they complemented the quotations from leaders of the Suffrage movement. It was not a preachy story for either women's equality or Christianity, but a moving story of a young woman pulled in to different directions; to follow her head or her heart.
The blurb in the back of the book mentions that the author started writing to prove that you could write and sell books that didn't contain graphic or gratuitous violence and sex. She instead, creates real human stories about personal motivations, dreams, goals, and love. There is romance, but it is more of the TLC type of romance where you find your soulmate and create a dream together of the future. It definitely isn't the type of book that I would suggest for everyone, but I have had several patrons ask me for books without all the violence, "Can't I have a book about nice people?" As silly as it may sound, this is a book about nice people who have their happily ever after without compromising either's values or ambitions.
Having personally disliked Anne of Green Gables, this book did remind me very much of that style of writing, and I think this might be a good book for someone who has grown up with Anne, but is looking for more in the same vein. If you are sensitive to religion, this might not be the book for you, but I'd still say give it a chance. Historically, the scenario Hatcher sets up supports a Christian telling and while she doesn't hide God or the Scriptures, they are a part of the story that couldn't be removed.
Though Ironskin touts itself as a "Steampunk Beauty and the Beast" there is only a passing similarity that french fairy tale, and mainly from the charThough Ironskin touts itself as a "Steampunk Beauty and the Beast" there is only a passing similarity that french fairy tale, and mainly from the characters themselves. Tina Connolly has masterfully transformed a classic novel of romance and mystery into a new genre for a new audience. Jane Eyre reimagined. The iron framework of the story remains: a poor outcast young woman seeks employment as a governess at a secluded country house for an aging recluse and his unique child. However unlikely, love unfolds, but there is a dark secret hidden away in the attic, waiting until just the right time to reveal itself.
Jane Eyre is a heroine, but Jane Eliot is a warrior, and she will fight to save the people she loves. Tina Connolly has taken all the elements that teenage girls love about Jane Eyre and transformed them into a supernatural love story that connects with teen and adult readers better than its historical counterpart. The detail and monotony of Bronte is replaced with action and magic making the story easier to follow and better for readers who like to read for pleasure, but still want their stories to have strong characters and depth.
Similar series could be Robin LaFevers' His Fair Assassin series because of the hardness the female characters possess and elements of the supernatural. Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters because of the love stories and the modern takes on classic fairy tales. Scott Lynch's Lies of Locke Lamora and Poison Study by Maria Snyder. I think all these books are capable of challenging a reader, but also feel like the comfortable romances and fairy tales that are so much a part of childhood. Its like eating something good for you that tastes good too. I definitely think this is a good series for older teens and young adult readers and I look forward to seeing how this series will continue to unfold. ...more
Like the first book, I found that the beginning of this book was slow to get really attached to, but after the first 100 pages the story picks up andLike the first book, I found that the beginning of this book was slow to get really attached to, but after the first 100 pages the story picks up and you are dragged along this whirlwind ride. The characters are still as captivating and interesting as they were in the first book. I look forward to see how Harry's life turns out in the next two books....more
I was assigned to read this for the Readers' Advisory Roundtable that I attend and I really didn't think this was going to be anything that I would paI was assigned to read this for the Readers' Advisory Roundtable that I attend and I really didn't think this was going to be anything that I would particularly enjoy, even though I love historical fiction. However, now that I've finished Only Time Will Tell I've got the second and third books in my car and am cursing Jeffrey Archer for not finishing the fourth book sooner.
Do you like Downton Abbey? This might be a good book to pick up if you do. No its not about the posh English aristocracy, but rather a family saga about a poor dock worker's son whose remarkable singing voice earns him a scholarship to a prestigious school where he rubs shoulders with the children of the rich.
Not that interested? But wait there's more! The boy, Harry Clifton, makes friends with the son of the man who runs the dock company his father worked for. The company his father mysteriously disappeared from. The company who caused his uncle to be arrested after bribing him not to say anything about his brother in laws disappearance. Harry is ignored, accused, and tormented by this man throughout his school years only to find out a terrible family secret...
I was hooked into this book after the first few chapters. Unlike most historical fiction this book is more like Run Lola Run. There are 5 narrators who all take turns filling in the initial story you get. All the narrators start from the same point but stop before the whole story is told. This way it builds the world that Harry lives in to become more than a young boys perspective of his life , his family, and his purpose. The first World War is looming and Harry will have to face some very difficult decisions before he's done.
In Only Time Will Tell, Jeffrey Archer creates a good story, not a great literary tome, but an entertaining, engaging story that keeps you on the edge of your chair waiting to find out what happens next, and then leaves you with a cliff hanger that has you aching to find out what happens in the next book. Definitely a great book for someone who likes history, good characters, and a strong story. ...more
My initial reaction as to finishing the book "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"
It feels like mine is the heart that has been ripped fromMy initial reaction as to finishing the book "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"
It feels like mine is the heart that has been ripped from my chest. I have become very attached to these characters, and it was genuinely heartbreaking to reach the end of this second installment when I know the next one will be out in a year. So many loose ends are left and even though there is a moment of hope at the very very end of the story, there has been so much sorrow throughout the story that its hard to be expectant that anything in the next book will remove the sadness from Elle's story.
"Not all fairy tales begin with Happily Ever After. Some begin with it." If you are a fan of Shakespeare you know that if the wedding happens before the last act then the ensuing play is indeed a tragedy. I like that Schwarz put that little nod to the classics at the beginning of this story, but knew that it foreshadowed dark things.
I really enjoyed the writing in this story. If its possible I think that the voice Schwarz gives to 19th century England amid a Steampunk revolution is even better than the first book, and I believed that the first book in this series was an exceptionally well done love story. My only quibble with this book would be that the final battle occurs too late in the story and happens all of a sudden when the searching part took up a good quarter of the book.
If you are looking for a good steampunk story or are gripped by the craze for modern vampire tales then this is definitely a good series to pick up. The last time I was this anguished over the end of a story was with Jo Graham's Black Ships and The Hand of Isis....more
I love Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series. Her ability to retell popular fairy tales with the same sense of magic and innocence is what makesI love Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series. Her ability to retell popular fairy tales with the same sense of magic and innocence is what makes them so dear to me. I was very excited to see that she had published an 8th installment in this series, but I was also alittle nervous. Previously her stories have been based off of stories like Cinderella, Puss in Boots, and Sleeping Beauty. Whatever trials the characters undertake in the original tale, they end up happily ever after. This book, Steadfast, is based on the story of the Steadfast Tin Soldier which unlike the others has a much sadder ending.
This was the perfect book to take to the beach over the weekend. It was light reading, included a nice romance, and conjured up lovely images in my mind. However, I was disappointed that this story resembled Reserved for the Cat so much. Instead of Blackpool it takes place in Brighton, but the idea of a music hall act and a frightened young woman on her own were remarkably similar. I will admit that Lackey was at least able to keep the fairy tale portions of the stories unique. Sometimes her characters are familiar with other characters from other stories and I would have been more ok with the plot repetition had the magicians in this story corresponded or interacted with the characters in Blackpool.
One of the things I have always admired about Mercedes Lackey's stories is how she takes on historical social issues in her stories. The Serpent's Shadow follows the struggle of a female doctor in the Suffragette Movement in England, for example. More recently Lackey has looked at the idea of women as property. Under English law, men had absolute control and rights to their lawfully wedded wives. This could include beating their wives to within an inch of their life, just as long as they didn't actually die. Katie Langford, the main character, is on the run from a particularly brutal husband (a circus strongman) and must find a way to free herself from him without letting her new magical power overwhelm her. To do this she looks into a "divorce" which was a scandalous and expensive process at the time. The other thing Lackey tackles is how English law dealt with Travelers, or gypsies. Seen as thieves or nuisances, Travelers had their own strict hierarchy, but are still seen as second class citizens under the eyes of the law.
All in all I think this book was very enjoyable and for someone who just wants a light summer read or a fluffy fantasy then I would happily recommend this book. ...more
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke was just enough to get me hooked into needing to find out what happens to Naji and Ananna. However, I feThe Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke was just enough to get me hooked into needing to find out what happens to Naji and Ananna. However, I felt the story lacked enough of a soul to have me really caring about her world, her characters or the plot. I'm glad that I hung on through this second book because the story does get better, there are more interesting characters, and Ananna grows up, somewhat. I still dislike how she is the only character that talks like she's been living with tramps her whole life. Especially when we find out her parents AND THE OTHER PIRATES all speak better than she does.
When I got to the end of this book there was an Acknowledgements page where Ms. Clarke thanks her editor for suggesting splitting her original massive volume into two books so she didn't have to compromise on character or story. After reading that it was like a lightbulb went off. This story would have been SOOOO much better if it was one long volume. I'm not sure what that says about teen readers today, but if they are willing to suffer through 600 pages of George R. R. Martin then I say, Ms. Clarke, please release this as an omnibus! We would have seen gradual character growth, an enfolding love story, and slew of interesting characters popping in and out of the story. Instead because they were split I feel like readers were left hanging at the end of the first book with a big gulf of time between the end and the beginning of the second book, even though in the story The Pirate's Wish picks up exactly where the readers left off.
I loved the character of Onagragreemu, the manticore, she's a hoot. She adds more of the fantasy element to the story because she's haughty, unconvinced that humans know anything about anything, and both hilarious and deadly at the same time. The Court of Foam and Waves, is a really interesting twist to the story and a great way to end the quest for the cure of Naji's curse. Ananna doesn't act like a petulant child the entire book, she actually has to make big life decisions, earn people's respect, and care for other people besides herself. I feel like shes more of a role model character at the end of the second book, more of an adult, since she's somewhere between 17 and 18 in this world.
If you can get your hands on both books and read them back to back, I would definitely recommend this series. If you were an avid enough reader with nothing to do for 24 hours you could actually probably read both of these books in a day and it would be a great experience, but please don't put too much time between Assassin's Curse and Pirate's Wish, the first story doesn't have enough growth to really stand up on its own. There are a couple girls at my library that I'd love to recommend this too, now that both books are available. I can see more of a similarity to Alana or September from other fantasy series now that this series has finished. Good read for girls who struggle to fit in, like more adventure in their stories, and still at heart want a good romance....more
I had seen a review of this book here on Goodreads and was really excited about getting my hands on a copy. I'm only giving this book 2 stars becauseI had seen a review of this book here on Goodreads and was really excited about getting my hands on a copy. I'm only giving this book 2 stars because it wasn't what I expected. The kernel of creativity in this story is very good, but I was disappointed with how quickly it fell into stereotypes. The spunky/streetsmart heroine and the dark brooding love interest. I also didn't realize this was the first book in a series, and got about 50 pages from the end and realized there was no way that the author would be able to break the Assassin's Curse in that many pages.
Some of my gripes with this story are: 1. The author doesn't reveal the age of the main character until 3/4 of the way through the book so I had been picturing a 10 year old most of the story only to find out she's 17. That's like imagining Annie only to find out you've been saddled with Katniss. 2. Ananna, the main character, uses beauty as a method of judging trustworthiness. Yet, the man sent to kill her is hideously scarred and still somewhat attractive. 3. I realize that the author was trying to denote a marked difference between Naji and Ananna's education, but Ananna is the only one who can't use proper grammar. It feels very forced and makes it hard to read any dialog. 4. There is obviously some background to this story that I am missing. I found out there are two short stories that precede the events in the book. However, I can't just read them online, I can only download them from Amazon. Really annoying. Catherynne Valente has the short stories for the Girl Who series freely available to read online.
What I liked about this story: 1. The curse is actually a really interesting device. It requires the characters to stay together and that affects how they interact with each other and the people around them. 2. The secondary characters are really well done. Although I think the main characters are alittle flat, Marjani, the River Witch, and the Isle of Skye wizard are teasingly vague yet lend themselves to the intricacies of the story more than Ananna and Naji do. 3. The potential for this story to get better. The cliff hanger was well done and I do want to read the next book. The author is taking a classic fairy tale plot, a quest with three impossible tasks, and hopefully turning it into something new. 4. It is an easy read and engaging. I finished this book in under 24 hours because I wanted to know how it ended.
I am looking at this book with the eyes of an adult who writes reviews as part of her job, but as a normal 12-15 year old I think this book has enough of the elements of adventure, romance, and magic in it to be a perfect recommendation for a girl who might not be the most adventurous reader, is a little bit of a tomboy, and likes pirate stories. It is a good training book before moving on to someone like Tamora Pierce....more