Kate Morton's Distant Hours had the same effect on me that her earlier novel The Forgotten Garden did. The language was beautiful and compelling, the...moreKate Morton's Distant Hours had the same effect on me that her earlier novel The Forgotten Garden did. The language was beautiful and compelling, the characters were mysterious and charismatic and the plot was involving. Yet, I cannot say that I liked the book. I enjoyed reading it, and I found it difficult to put down but it was missing something vital. The romance was sweet and earnest, the jumps from 1912 to 1940 to 1992 kept my interest but still there was a missing link. The plot was lacking a climax. The last chapters reveal the fate of Juniper Blythes' lover, the origins of the dreaded Mud Man and wrap up Edith's story but it is all done so neatly, without a true resolution.
The Distant Hours is the story of three sisters living in Mildehurst Castle where secrets lurk in abundance. A letter received decades after is was sent has Edie Burchill attempting to unravel her Mother's past with these three eccentric women.
Distant Hours is an enchanting read, and one that can be appreciated by anyone who enjoys a sweetly written mystery.(less)
Jennifer Echols 'Forget You' features Zoey, swim team captain, all round nice girl who is dealing with more than the usual amount of teenage drama. He...moreJennifer Echols 'Forget You' features Zoey, swim team captain, all round nice girl who is dealing with more than the usual amount of teenage drama. Her father has left her Mother for 24 year old pregnant Ashley, and her Mother attempted suicide. To top it all off, she is in a car accident and loses all memory of the night and when everyone starts acting differently she is determined to know why. Her new boyfriend, Brandon, is barely around, her best friends, twins Keke and Lila, are constantly fighting and Doug, a boy who has visible hated her since his return from juvie in the 9th Grade, is acting like her boyfriend.
What happened that night?
Echols writes well, and Zoey's confusion, over her Mother's suicide attempt and her Father's brusque treatment of his former family, is written with sincere and realistic emotion. The events leading up to, and of, the accident are curious and capture the Readers attention.
Unfortunately, that is where the appeal stopped. Zoey is selfish, over dramatic and fickle. Despite worrying about her Mother, there is little to no mention of her, expect her fear that people would find out that her mother was 'insane'. Zoey says she has no experience with sex and decides to try it with Brandon after the incident with her Mother. Sex then becomes an obsession. She wants to 'go parking' whenever she gets the chance, and after the accident, she finds herself admiring Doug and feeling the same way towards him. Acknowledging the drama in her life, Zoey uses sex as an outlet, but Echols uses it as a chapter filler.
The events leading up to the crash, from Zoey and Doug's interaction at the football match, to their surprising interaction at her home the next morning, are gone from Zoey's memory. Yet, as the events of the night unfold, nothing seems realistic. Doug's attitude changes from sarcastic to adoring, his is admiring and scornful. No one, no matter how long they have or haven't liked a person, goes from hating them to being in love with them.
When Zoey does learn things about the night, learns that she has been lied to, she has barely any reaction. She has a moment of pure drama, then relaxes and returns to her sex obsession. For a girl who lost her virginity a week earlier she is very pushy as she uses sex as a tool and a weapon.
My last critique of Echols is how she over does the voices of the male leads. Brandon is a player but he still thinks he is in love with a girl after a few days of sex. Doug is a love hate flip card, and is constantly revealing unnecessary information so that he and Zoey feel closer. Firstly, most teenage boys are not that emotive. They don't tell their girlfriends very personal things after two days. Secondly, if you go to school with a boy, and are on a team with them, for years you know a few about him. His heritage for one thing; especially if everyone else knows it.
I couldn't enjoy this novel, and when I finished I wondered if I had somehow missed an entire chunk. The space between the last chapter and epilogue leaves the reader floating and unsure.(less)
Publication Date: August 21st, 2012 Publisher: Random House Publishing Group ISBN: 0345523474 Age Group: Young...moreGo to Raiding Bookshelves for more Reviews.
Publication Date: August 21st, 2012 Publisher: Random House Publishing Group ISBN: 0345523474 Age Group: Young Adult/Adult Genre: Fantasy/Adventure Source: ARC provided by Edelweiss Lootability: ***
Wards of Faerie is Terry Brooks' 22nd book, chronologically and in publication order, of his esteemed Shannara trilogy. I was lucky enough to score an ARC galley from Edelweiss and so I have completed the first instalment of the latest Shannara series.
The other elfstones. Where, oh, where could those elfstones be? What do they do? Why can't the blue seeking stones find them? The elfstones have been lost for a millenia, maybe more, and almost everyone has given up hope of finding them until Aphenglow comes across the diary of a young girl and suddenly everyone is in the running trying to find the fabled elfstones.
What I Liked: There have been a few leading ladies in the Shannara books but I can always relate to them immediately. They've been strong, independent and adventurous and Aphenglow is living up to her ancestors. It's been nice, in these later series, to get more of the Druid perspective, especially in the post Walker Boh period, they're a lot less pulled together than they seem and Aphenglow has that appealing calm nature with an obvious innocence and naivety that shows she doesn't have everything organised perfectly. It's also nice to see that the Druids aren't always holding back information because they can, it appears that they don't have much more to go on than the people they recruit. It was good to see the characterisation of the Druids, Aphenglow's relationship with her sister, her mother, her Royal Grandfather, and with Bombax. She was human (elf) and that was a relief. Show Spoiler Now on to the Omsfords! As the Druids always say, there must be an Omsford aboard if a mission is to succeed! This time we have Omsford twins Reddin (named after another old favourite) and Railing who have a passion for building and manning airships. They're very fun and even better they're old family friend from Leah is a woman! It's about time too.
What I Didn't Like: I'm going to be blunt here. The story ended almost as soon as it started. It's becoming a real problem in the book world where everything has to be split into three parts. Most of the time, I feel like it is unnecessary and it's only being done to speed up publishing dates. Personally, I'd rather wait a few years for a whole book than pick it up in dribs and drabs.
Fortunately, Brooks is WAYYYYYY ahead and is releasing three books this year and we will receive Bloodfire Quest in March 2013 and Witch Wraith in August 2013. I'm already excited.(less)
Publication Date: 1st February, 2012 Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Country: United States of America ISBN: 9780310728184 Original Language: English Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Supernatural/Paranormal, Romance, Mystery Source: ARC recieved through NetGalley Lootability: Grab it and go
Halflings is the debut novel of author Heather Burch who has spent the last few years teaching writers how to relax. As an ordained minister, motivational speaker and a licensed esthetician, Burch has a wide knowledge base to influence her writing; and it's obvious she utilises that background. Halflings is the story of three 'Lost Boys', sons of Fallen Angels working for Heaven, sent to Earth to protect Nikki Youngblood from a complicated and mysterious evil. What I Liked: The story was innovative. I haven't read much angel fiction so it was interesting to see how it differed from vampires, werewolves and faeries. Nikki was a fun and strong character who worked hard to live by her beliefs while the Lost Boys, Raven, Mace and Vine were the usual sexy supernatural characters. Vessler was an interesting character. He made me think of a strong, overwhelming perfume; you like the scent but you can't take it in such strong doses. He also left me feeling sufficiently suspicious and confused, without giving away too much or going for a silly plot twist like some YA stories. What I didn't like: Some of the language was too floral - "You are safe now child of Man" - and almost everything Will says went right over my head. I'm not a religious person, and only really know the mythology behind the bible; I've never read it. I knew the story behind Queen Esther, but couldn't quite grasp the significance of her mention. It might be easier for other readers. I also wanted a little more characterisation from the Lost Boys, and despite not being one of the love interests, I think I liked Vine (or Bloom) best. One other problem I had, which I have with all YA Supernatural fiction is this overwhelming set of senses, skills and seduction these supernatural creatures seem to posses. Isn't enough that these creatures have wings, fangs, claws and venom? Do they need to be irresistible too? Are there ugly Supernatural creatures? I'll give Burch some credit here because she introduced a Halfling who was pale, and...not quite weak, but not as overtly strong as the others. It's nice to see some weakness (beyond falling for human girls) in supernatural fiction. For all that I'm getting sick of the re-occurrence of sexy supernaturals, I can't seem to stop myself reading about them. Halflings especially, drew me in more than any other supernatural YA since The Discovery of Witches. I found myself wanting more and I was devastated to find it ended before anything was revealed. Halflings will be released February 1st, and it's sequel Guardian is due out in September. In the meantime, try and get your hands on 11:15: The Making of Halflings; a short illustrated story set before Halflings.(less)
Carrie Jones continues her Need saga in Book Two: Captivate after Zara and her friends have rescued their missing school mate and confined the Pixies,...moreCarrie Jones continues her Need saga in Book Two: Captivate after Zara and her friends have rescued their missing school mate and confined the Pixies, and Zara's Father, their King, within the house buried in the woods. But they soon learn that it is far from over, and their little Maine town is attracting more Pixies than they can handle. Unfortunately for Zara, two new Pixie Kings arrive on the scene and they want her as their Queen. An interesting continuation of the Need storyline, Zara is once again our protagonist and narrator, and she is face again with life and death choices. Only this time, she has to give up her humanity to make that choice. Jones begins bringing the story together by incorporating the four other 'Shining Ones' : Pixies, Weres, Elves, Valkyries and Vampires (?); as well as using Norse mythology to create a legend of her own. According to Devyn's research, and the creepy Valkyrie spotted by Zara, fallen warriors are being taken to Valhalla to prepare the war that will bring about the Ragnorak. I have the same criticisms of Captivate as I gave for Need. The language is immature, and phrases like 'squeeing' (p119) and 'wow' are overused. Captivate seems to have deteriorated Jones' ability to communicate with any elegance. As well as the language, Jones has incorporated even more modern terms and appliances into Captivate. In Need we already note the types of cars and one or two other things, but Captivate brings more to your attention. By using terms such as iPod, brand names, or even mentioning popular bands/songs, novels lose their timelessness and becomes outdated very quickly. I'm going to outline some of the issues I had with Captivate. Example: "If I don't call again, I'm probably dead or something. Yeah. Right. Bye." (p13) Problems: Zara doesnt have time to go for help. Instead of calling one of her friends who can help she leaves a rambling, pointless and dramatic message on her boyfriends phone. This is one of the ways that she comes off annoying rather than self sufficient of quick witted. Example:"Everything inside of me is hollow. Wow. I miss Nick" (p153) Problem: If something happens to someone you love, you miss them. There is nothing astonishing about that; 'wow' is unnecessary. I do approve of Jones repeating the use of hollow, an example she used once in Need when talking about how she missed her step-dad. Example: "Basically, all I get is that Valkyries brought slain warriors to Valhalla, the hall of Odin, who is the head god guy." (p 28) Problem: I just can't get over the use of "head god guy'. If Jones wants to channel her novel in the direction of the Norse myths, especially basing it around Odin, and later Thor, then she needs to share better information with the readers. WHY is Odin the head God? WHO are the other Gods? She doesn't have to overload us with information, but even by the end of the book, nothing more is gained. Considering Devyn is such a 'brain' that is disappointing. Rather than knowing what the word 'Astley' means, I want him to use his supposed research skills to keep us informed! I find myself cringing as I read. I like the story, the plot is fantastic, but the characters are frustrating and the language are driving me crazy. Zara is beginning to come across as both ignorant and selfish. Her morals arent as strong as she tries to assure us she is ("I wanted to slap them in a non-violent way" p 96. How is that possible?), and her Amnesty International chatter is making her sound like a Harpy. Yet, despite my constant irritation with Jones' narrative style I find myself wanting to know what happens next, how Zara will handle the next hurdle and what the end of the world will be like. Carrie Jones continues the Need Saga with Book Three: Entice.(less)
Carrie Jones continues her paranormal drama, beginning with Need and Captivate, in her third novel Entice. Nick is stuck in the halls of Valhalla, the...moreCarrie Jones continues her paranormal drama, beginning with Need and Captivate, in her third novel Entice. Nick is stuck in the halls of Valhalla, the young Pixie King Astley has made Zara his Queen and Bedford is being plagued by murderous Pixies. Zara is desperate to bring Nick back but a traitor in the Pixie council and a traitor in Astley's council are putting Zara and her friends in danger at every turn. Jones language and descriptions improve in Entice. Less emphasis is put on teenage drama, and the book is mostly travel and action. We are earning insights into the characters pasts, learning about Nick's shifter parents, the death of Astley's father and more about Zara's beliefs. While Jones still overdoes the teenage colloquialisms (the word sqee will forever make me shudder), it isnt to excess in the same way she over used 'baby' and 'wow' in Captivate. The action scenes are good, if limited, and show Zara accustoming herself to her new Pixie body. The one issue I really have with this book is that there is little thought behind all the action. Nick's rescue becomes more of an obsession than a necessity, especially with Zara developing feelings for Astley. For example, a friend from school sees the group chatting 'mysteriously' all the time and demands to know what is going on. A single sentence distracts her from a list of evidence that something unusual is going on. Even when Zara goes to the bar to confront BiFord, there is no research, no defences and it is over in a few short pages. I think Entice would have benefited from more substance. Jones needs to flesh out her novels a bit more, to feed the readers something more than what we are getting. A much better novel than its predecessors, Entice is the third instalment in the Need series.(less)
Original Language: English Publisher: Random House Children's Books Country: United States Publication Date: 2010 ISBN: 9780385737630 Page Count: 496 Jennif...moreOriginal Language: English Publisher: Random House Children's Books Country: United States Publication Date: 2010 ISBN: 9780385737630 Page Count: 496 Jennifer Donnelly's most recent novel, Revolution, is an emotional rollercoaster. It is angry, it is bitter, it is depressed and it is desperate. Andi begins as an obnoxious narrator. She heavily drugs herself to get through every day, and the only thing that brings her to life is her music. Music is her obsession, and unfortunately no one seems to care.
From the beginning it is clear that Donnelly has done her homework. The descriptions of the music, the historical links between modern and Revolutionary Paris are fascinating and hypnotic. Through Andi we experience the underground of Paris, the lesser travelled paths than the traditional tourist sites. Through Alexandrine we see the stark contrasts between the poverty stricken streets of Paris and the lush luxuries of the Palias-Royal.
To begin with, Andi's depression is a cancer. It eats away at her and everything she thinks or feels. Every reaction is tempered, somehow, by her brother's death. But slowly, through Alexandrine's diary, Andi begins to live again as she sees hope for another little boy, one who lived 200 years ago.
The time warp through me for a loop. Despite having read the blurb, I wasn't ready for it. It didn't feel right. On paper (or powerpoint) Amade Malherbeau(a composer created for the novel) seemed like filler content; an outlet for her musical passions. It wasn't until Purgatory (Part Two) that Amade had any substance, and suddenly there was a new beauty to his music. When Andi experiences Revolutionary Paris all the events become real. The little boy in the tower becomes real. As Purgatory continued the seams of the story began to weave together and gained a deeper meaning. It gave Andi a chance to be reborn, a chance to live again.
Donnelly has created a wonderful mixture of past and present, music and science in her latest young adult novel: Revolution. I recommend it to anyone who loves historical fantasy or music. (less)
Publication Date: January 12th, 2012 Publisher: Carina Press ASIN: B00699QQ5Y Age Group: Adult Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction Source: NetGalley Lootabil...morePublication Date: January 12th, 2012 Publisher: Carina Press ASIN: B00699QQ5Y Age Group: Adult Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction Source: NetGalley Lootability: *** The Viking's Sacrifice is the romance of Einar and Wilda, kept apart by warring cultures and a terrible curse that hides the truth of Einar's brothers death. Wilda is a young Saxon girl when Vikings attack her village and Einar saves her when she is attacked for witnessing a devastating betrayal. Eight years later the Vikings return for Wilda and she is taken to a Viking village as a thrall where she meets Einar again. Only Einar is now Toki, a pariah in his village, who has been cursed to silence.
What I Liked: Einar/Toki was cute; he began with all the brightness of youth and the way he was stripped of hope and colour made it very easy to feel for him. His reactions to Wilda were beautifully passionate as well. He was quite an endearing protagonist considering Wilda's point of view depicted him (initially), and his people, as violent heathens. The story was great, I liked the idea behind Einar's curse of silence, and the inclusion of the blood runes. I would have liked a bit more information on them though.
What I Didn't Like: Wilda. She had this strange cross between being wide eyed and innocent, and cold and practical. She, and the other female thralls, almost had multiple personalities working for them. Everyone was crotchety, angry or completely despondent. While I enjoyed the story, and the plot's progression, I wanted more background. It wound up being all about characterisations without any of the benefits of writing a historical fantasy.
The Viking's Sacrifice was published on January 12th by Carina Press. It's a good first step into historical viking fiction. For more Norse fiction I suggest Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier.(less)
Publication Date: 1st July, 2012 Publisher: Pan McMillian ISBN: 0375969543 Age Group: Young Adult / Adult Genre: Epic Fantasy / Adventure / Historical Fantasy Source: ARC Lootability: *****
Award-winning author, Juliet Marillier, best known for her Sevenwaters books will be releasing a new young adult novel in July. Shadowfell is the first book in a trilogy following the adventures of fifteen year old Neryn, gifted with the ability to speak with the Good Folk in a time where such gifts are feared and destroyed. She must travel to the mysterious Shadowfell where it is said a group of rebels are waiting for the right moment to over throw the cruel King of Alban.
What I Liked: Neryn had a level of mature resourcefulness that I have come to expect from Marillier, whether she is writing for teenagers or for adults. On her own after a life of hardship, Neryn knows better than to trust anyone but always, ultimately, listens to her heart. She is a dynamic character with more depth than most YA protagonists but she still maintains the level of innocence and confusion that something inside us recognises from our time as an adolescent, making her ideal for a YA fantasy heroine. Other than Neryn, I also enjoyed any interactions with the Good Folk. Note: Do not going in expecting fairies - the Good Folk and fairies are different! They possess similar qualities to Neryn, innocent wisdom, fear of the unknown and a steadfast, almost stubborn loyalty. I prefer Marillier's flexible interpretation of the Good folk - as both ageless, immortal beings and waif like children. I think it suits their mysterious nature. The last think I'd like to applaud is Marillier's skill for telling tales within her tale. Although it's not as obvious in Shadowfell as it has been in her adult novels, Marillier has a clear knowledge of what makes a story. Shadowfell presented us with a series of nursery rhymes and songs or through her interactions with fey characters like the Brollochan (a personal favourite of mine) and the Shadowman.
Frank Beddor has completed a trilogy worth of the adoration it drew its influences from. Beddor's Looking Glass trilogy is based on the Adventures of...moreFrank Beddor has completed a trilogy worth of the adoration it drew its influences from. Beddor's Looking Glass trilogy is based on the Adventures of a well loved favourite, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In the intense conclusion to the Looking Glass Adventure, Arch Enemy, Wonderland has lost it's powers of imagination and Queen Alyss is powerless. Borderlands King Arch's machinations in Seeing Redd have given him the power to turn Wonderland from a Queendom to a Kingdom, and he will be wearing the crown. Beddor continues to create an enticing new world based on the Wonderland of our childhood. In his characters, Alyss Heart, Dodge Anders, Bitwit Hare, General Doppleganger, Rose Heart (Redd) and the Cat we see a familiar cast of faces. It is a wonderful feeling to see favourite's from Tweedle Dee and Deedle Dum to Humpty Dumpty and the Mad Hatter being re-imagined into the strong and quick witted characters of Beddor's trilogy. Unfortunately, Arch Enemy is not all imagination and tarty tarts; Beddor often rushes his writing, ending scenes before the reader is ready and leaving characters in repeated cliff hangers as he checks in on another scene. While an effective way to keep readers interested, it is more irritating than suspenseful and could have been edited better. While Beddor does introduce some new and interesting characters, he fails to give most of his characters any depth. Most of the leading cast are well formed for a childrens/teen read but could have been developed a little further for the older readers. Dodge is single minded but romantic, Alyss is spontaneous, Bitwit is the learned and loving but droning tutor. But readers expect more. The romance between Dodge and Alyss has been developing for three books, and is only ever mentioned in passing or as an after thought. The relationship between estranged Father and Daughter, Hatter Madigan and Homburg Molly, is observed but nothing is done to fix it. Arch Enemy is a wonderful conclusion to a thrilling series that returns us to the world of a favored heroine. In Alyss Heart we see the curiosity, stubborness and intelligence that originally drew us to Carroll's Alice. I encourage lovers of Alice to check out this series and catch up with old friends.(less)
What is it about Pride and Prejudice that makes it such a successfil and romantic love story? Why do Elizabeth (Lizzy to her friends) Bennet and Fitzw...moreWhat is it about Pride and Prejudice that makes it such a successfil and romantic love story? Why do Elizabeth (Lizzy to her friends) Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy appeal to us, and make such a dynamic duo? I first read P&P when I was fifteen and spending the last two weeks of my summer holidays trying not to look like a dunce in literature by reading classics. I expected to struggle, to miss the fantasty realms I was used to, what I didn't expect was to fall head over heels in love with this book.
Let's talk Lizzy (aka. What I Liked About This Book): Elizabeth Bennet, possibly my favourite character of all time, has it all: wit, loyalty and a clear independent streak. She makes me wish the world was still as genteel as it is in P&P, imagine being able to make a cutting remark through a veneer of polite chitchat, it would make a fight a great deal more interesting! Lizzy is a controlled and cultured figure with a strong undercurrent of passion and affection that means one thing: you want to be her, or you want her as a best friend. Lizzy has an interesting position in the novel, second and favourite daughter to a negligent father, cleverest of several silly sisters and the love interest of one of England's most wealthy gentlemen. The circumstances should squish her, but instead: "There is a stubborness about [her] that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me." - Ch 31 Lizzy is easily the greatest of her sisters with only Jane and Lydia competing for colour in their characters, and their colour is rather dull. Lydia has a touch of spunk and personality (likely what drew Wickham to her) but she acts too much the spoilt brat while Jane is sugar, spice and everything nice. Everything that makes me want to be sick. She might be the perfect sister but she is completely and utterly boring. Jane's only redemption is the turmoil in her courtship with Bingley.
The Importance of Being Darcy: If I had to choose a favourite male lead from Austen's work Darcy would be a close pick but he might have to duel Captain Wentworth at dawn with pistols. I think I tend to favour Darcy a little because I've loved him longest, so let me tell you why I love him. I love a grumpy man, a guy with a temper, a dude with a 'tude! All that arrogance and anger usually lead to men with strong emotions, and men with strong emotions are usually passionately affectionate; just as Darcy is with Elizabeth.
He worships the ground she walks on, even when trying to convince himself that she is unworthy of him. He will do anything to save her, even when she has ripped out his heart, stomped on it and kicked him in the ass on the way to the door. It also doesn't hurt that Colin First starred as William Darcy in the 1995 BBC adaptation (the only one worth watching). Just saying.
Though we see little of them as a couple, EB and FD are incandescent when they are together. Misunderstandings aside, their banter shows a deeper understanding of each other than anyone else has of either of them.
What About Wickham (aka. What I Didn't Like): Bloody Wickham has caused one too many problems in my book. He is a snide, sneaky bastard and I don't see any of his reputed charm. I despise him, his lies and most especially his debauchery. I pity poor Lydia and wish she had any other option. Her childish optimism will fade and I'm glad we will never see her bitterness. I'm going to talk William Collins in this section for a moment. I've just expressed my distaste and hatred for Wickham, but let me tell you, I have never been more creeped out, disgusted or horrified by a character in my entire life. William Collins is the epitome of shoe licking, squelchy, pervy toad in the shape of a parson. I commend Austen for writing such an appalling character but I also wish she hadn't supplied my nightmares with such a horrifying prospect. Yick.
There are a lot more reasons why I love Pride and Prejudice but for a final note, I loved it because it sucked me right into the world of Elizabeth Bennet. I understood who she was in life, and slowly began to realise what she needed from life, and little by little I was delighted as my new literary best friend fell in love. (less)
Publication Date: August 1st, 2008 Publisher: Harlequin Books ISBN: 0373772998 Age Group: Adult Genre: Romance Lootability: ***
Journalist, and one of the g...morePublication Date: August 1st, 2008 Publisher: Harlequin Books ISBN: 0373772998 Age Group: Adult Genre: Romance Lootability: ***
Journalist, and one of the guys, Chastity O'Neill is the only daughter in a family of four boys (and mostly firefighters) with the body of an Amazon. Meaning, if she doesn't intimidate men, then her family will. Great. Except now she's moved back home and is dating a hunky doctor, everything is looking just ...wrong. Her first love, Trevor, is handing around looking sexy and completely unaffected by her new bf, her parents are temporarily separated and moving towards divorce, and My Hunky is starting to lose his shine.
What I Liked: Chastity is a young woman, in her prime, who is ready to make something of herself and her life. She moves back home, tackles a new job and is ready to start looking for love. Not only that, but Chastity is doing her best to live up to her heroic fire-fighting family by training as a paramedic despite her crippling fear of blood. She's strong, she's determined and she's flawed. That's what I want from a character in a romance novel. Beautiful imperfections. And a sexy, smoldering and silent romantic lead like Trevor.
What I Didn't Like: The whole time Chastity was letting herself be blinded by her Hunky Doctor, I was yelling at her. The guy obviously never had a chance - he was smarmy, selfish and self-involved. He wasn't a really competitor for her heart and this part of the story seemed to drag on endlessly, and I was left impatient for the juicy bits of interaction between Chastity and Trevor.
Find more reviews at Raiding Bookshelves I may have prattled on about Pride and Prejudice for a long time , but its hardly my favourite 'classic' novel...moreFind more reviews at Raiding Bookshelves I may have prattled on about Pride and Prejudice for a long time , but its hardly my favourite 'classic' novel, just the first one I read. It's not even my favourite Jane Austen novel, that dubious honour goes to Persuasion which I read for the first time at 17.
The story of Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth, nine years prior, is the background of Persuasion, playing behind the scenes as Anne struggles to keep her once prosperous home afloat while dealing with her attention seeking family and meddlesome friends.
What I Liked: Anne doesn't have the same vivacity as Elizabeth Bennett, but she is a clever, loyal and steadfast soul - despite one tragic mistake in her youth. It is her struggle in love, as the understated Elliot sister, and her determination to save her undeserving family that make Anne an admirable heroine. Anne has love in her soul, and you can see how she craves love through her relationships with her hypochondriac sister, her affection for her nephews and her loyalty to her poor sick friend. In contrast, Wentworth can appear cruel and unfeeling, especially once the two meet again at the beginning of the novel after their disastrous last meeting, nine years earlier. Slowly, but surely, we can see cracks in his stoic veneer (he has a lot in common with Darcy) and we begin to see a man tortured by love for a woman who rejected him. Who can blame him for his hurt, especially after this: You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago. Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. Even the villain (or Austen's version of a villain) in this novel is remarkable. Somewhat creepy in his attentions to Anne (I'm not going into the whole cousins thing. I'm just not.), he really does interfere in the relationship between Anne and Wentworth just as it begins to flourish.
What I Didn't Like: I know the interference from Lady Russell and the superiority complex of Anne's family are important to the novels progression, but oh, they drive me to distraction! I can't wrap my head around the (so called) importance of class distinction.
I advise anyone who enjoys the book to watch the 2007 movie length adaptation or to try For the Darkness Shows the Stars, a YA dystopian, sci-fi adaptation of Persuasion.(less)
Stephen Chbosky's 'Perks of being a wallflower' is one of the most meaningful, emotional and thought provoking books I have read in a long time. Chbos...moreStephen Chbosky's 'Perks of being a wallflower' is one of the most meaningful, emotional and thought provoking books I have read in a long time. Chbosky names Catcher in the Rye amongst his influences while writing, and the idea has picked up with many reviews calling it a modern adaption.
Many of the reviews I have seen go on about Charlie epitomising the life of the average teenager, while others condemn it for lack of realism. It is as though everyone forgets, for just a moment, that the life of every teenager is different. Charlie is different in a striking way and struggles through the mental separation of his peers. I want everyone to read this without comparing his experiences to other teenagers, or discussing how Charlie would be picked on for being different.
The perks of being a wallflower follows 15 year old Charlie as he begins High School in 1991. He is an outsider, a wallflower, who sits quietly in the background observing and learning. He sees things in a special way that amazes his friends and bamboozles his family. Chbosky has written a coming-of-age novel that sets your mind on fire and tugs at your heart. Charlie is writing down a years worth of experiences in a series of letters to a stranger. Most of what he writes is something that we have thought or experienced at least once in our life, and for some people, may have been too afraid to admit.
"I just wish that God or my parents or Sam or my sister or someone would just tell me what's wrong with me. Just tell me how to be different in a way that makes sense. To make this all go away. And disappear. I know that's wrong because it's my responsibility, and I know that things get worse before they get better because that's what my psychiatrist says, but this is a worse that feels too big." pg 139
The perks of being a wallflower is once of the most inspiring books I have read in a long time. It has inspired me to think, it has inspired me to feel, it has inspired me to observe and understand everything around me but most of all it has inspired me to act on and enjoy my understanding and my desires.
This isn't a book for everyone. Too many people will scoff at it's popularity and how it is overrated and unrealistic; but some people will pick it up, understand Charlie and say “I feel infinite."(less)
Wuthering Heights is an incredible novel for its time for various reasons. Firstly, it was written by a woman in a ti...moreRead more: raidingbookshelves.com
Wuthering Heights is an incredible novel for its time for various reasons. Firstly, it was written by a woman in a time when the publishing world was dominated by men. It was originally published under the name Ellis Bell after her sister had successfully published her novel Jane Eyre under the name Currer Bell. Secondly, Bronte took supernatural literature in a new direction with the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw, one that was completely different to other supernatural novels of its time.
What I Liked: Wuthering Heights is deliciously creepy. The supernatural aspects are subtle and keep you on your toes. You never know when Catherine's ghost will wander the moors or when something will scratch at your window. It's never overdone, and it almost becomes more creepy because those moments are unexpected. Heathcliff is one of my favourite characters of all time. He is sensitive, cruel, hard working, ambitious and selfish. He has no scruples when it comes to crushing the emotions of others and yet he is completely devoted Catherine. Many believe him beyond redemption, and yet I believe that his very actions, provoked by his love for Catherine, redeems him at least a very little. The narrator, Nelly the housekeeper at Wuthering Heights, is one of my favourite characters in the novel. She shows a sense of humour and strong feelings towards the characters within her books. She leaves you wondering whether you can trust her as a narrator.
What I Didn't Like: I've learnt to deal with books with lots of characters, but some people would have difficulty dealing with all the different names within Wuthering Heights. Set in two parts there are many characters with similar names: Catherine Earnshaw who marries Edgar and becomes Catherine Linton, and Catherine Linton (Cathy) who is the daughter of Catherine Earnshaw, Linton Heathcliff son of Heathcliff and Isabel Linton, Hindley Earnshaw and Hareton Earnshaw (son of Hindley). It can make your head turn in circles.(less)
Publication Date: February 27th, 2007 Publisher: Hyperion ISBN: 0786839171 Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Epic Fantasy/Adventure/Supernatural Source: Librar...morePublication Date: February 27th, 2007 Publisher: Hyperion ISBN: 0786839171 Age Group: Young Adult Genre: Epic Fantasy/Adventure/Supernatural Source: Library Lootability: ****
From the best-selling author of The Seven Kingdoms, The Warrior Heir is one of Cinda William Chima's earlier stories for Young Adults. Book one in a young adult fantasy series, Warrior Heir is a modern day story of knights, wizards and other worldly characters.
What I Liked: Since I really enjoyed reading Chima's Seven Kingdom books last year I've been looking forward to trying her Heir Chronicles. I was disconcerted to find myself in the modern day (note to self: start reading blurbs) but I caught on fairly quickly. I appreciated Chima avoiding too many mentions of modern technology - I hate how mentioning a discman or a blackberry can ground the novel into a particular period, it makes it hard for future readers to appreciate the modern setting. The characters were interesting, if not so quick to draw you in as her Seven Kingdom characters. Linda in particular is a fun and mysterious character; her enchanter powers are very cool and I think she will definitely have a bigger role in future books. At least, I hope she will.
What I Didn't Like: There were some strangely placed puzzle pieces. It seemed like Chima made everything over complicated and dramatic when it was unnecessary.
God's Concubine is the second entrancing novel in Sara Douglass' quartet: The Troy Game. Closely following the events of Hades Daughter, God's Concubi...moreGod's Concubine is the second entrancing novel in Sara Douglass' quartet: The Troy Game. Closely following the events of Hades Daughter, God's Concubine is set two thousand years after Brutus and Genvissa's thwarted attempt to close the Labyrinth and gain the ultimate immortality. It is the first time since their original lives that the malicious Asterion has allowed those bound by the Game to return.
God's Concubine is set during the reign of Edward the Confessor and a familiar cast appear in unexpected places. Cornelia, now Caela, is the chaste virginal wife of King Edward, while Genvissa lurks as the beautiful Swanne, wife to Caela's brother Harold Godswine, Coel reborn. Meanwhile, across the waters, William of Normandy plans his invasion, and will once again be crowned King of England as Brutus was two thousand years earlier. Others familiar characters are reborn to aid, or disrupt the Game's progression; Loth returns as Seaweald, royal physician and lover of Judith, Mother Erith reborn; Mother Ecub returns as herself, now the prioress of Saint Margaret (affectionately known as St Mags); and Asterion arrives in all his malevolent glory.
Once again Douglass has chosen a significant, and tumultuous, time in history. Spanning the last 15 years of King Edward's reign, and the following year of war, Douglass draws the reader into the true history of our world. Her attention to detail, from sexless marriage of Edward and his wife, to the support of Harold Godswinson for the crown, keeps the reader riveted. Unlike the historical, or rather mythological, details of Hade's Daughter, the Norman invasion of England is an accepted part of history. The reader knows, or can investigate, how events unfold. What makes God's Concubine interesting is how the events unfold within history; how Caela and William interact outside our knowledge of history.
Caela (Cornelia reborn) is a much stronger and more mature character than Cornelia ever was. Prior to awakening to her past memories, Caela is strong but too timid to present herself. The mixed memories and strengths of Cornelia and Caela give her a potency that was missing in Hade's Daughter.
Genvissa is as spiteful as Swanne, and her lust for William and for power has not faded. However, her own strengths, as MagaLan and as Mistress of the Labyrinth has faded with rebirth. Interestingly, Swanne lacks many of the advantages Genvissa had as a woman and must play wife until William returns to complete the game with her.
William is staggeringly different to his Trojan counterpart. Where Brutus was all action, and power, William allows time for thought and emotion. William learns to regret Brutus' brusque and hateful nature and slowly begins understanding more about the Game and it's participants.
The secondary, and present day, storyline following Major Jack Skelton and his reborn companies unrolls slowly, preparing the reader for the final book while foreshadowing certain events in the main story.
God's Concubine is the thrilling second instalment of the Troy Games; the adventure that began with Hade's Daughter and continue's in Darkwitch Rising.(less)