I do not know for the life of me why I didn't pick this book up sooner! This book has been in the back of my mind on my to read list ever since I firs...moreI do not know for the life of me why I didn't pick this book up sooner! This book has been in the back of my mind on my to read list ever since I first saw it on the shelves when I worked at Borders #20. The cover art is simply stunning, and the tag line on the back "all her worlds a stage" should have gotten me to pick this book up much sooner than just now. Infact I knew I was going to finish this book tonight so I stopped by my local library (the LMC dosen't have these books.<- something I'll be reminding shortly) to pick up the 2nd book in the series Perchance to Dream
Our heroine, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith AKA: Bertie <- Great name! lives in the Théâtre Illuminata, a playhouse in which the players are the characters (not actors playing them but THE actual characters) from every play ever written. <- how cool is that!? Bertie's side kicks Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed and Peaseblossom from Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, who are absolutely hysterical, I found myself laughing out loud at their antics more than once while I was reading.
I don't want to ruin the story for anyone so I won't go into any detail on the plot, but I will say the story is steeped in Theatrical lore and practice. There are plenty of The Bard's characters roaming the wings of the theatre for any fan of Shakespearean literature to appreciate. Anyone who has ever been involved in a theatrical production be it as an actor or crew will fully understand the banter between the scenic manager and the properties manager as well as the other non acting members of the company. And anyone who has ever sat in a theatre and witnessed magic happen as the curtains rise and fall will be completely under the spell of the Théâtre Illuminata.
First of all I want to say that I really liked the first book in this series, and I had high hopes for this one, but there was one issue that I honest...moreFirst of all I want to say that I really liked the first book in this series, and I had high hopes for this one, but there was one issue that I honestly could not stomach, which is why it gets a 2 star *actually 2.5* and not a 3 star rating. The issue I really had with this book was how Jace and Clary deal with their newly discovered relationship to one another.
(view spoiler)[I'm assuming you've read if not click next spoiler at your own risk (hide spoiler)](view spoiler)[ At the end of City of Bones Jace and Clary discover they are brother and sister, now up until this point there was A LOT of sexual tension between them, after this discovery it DOSN'T GO AWAY, and I had some major issues with it. (hide spoiler)] If you look at my reading progress for this book i spend months at page 180. (view spoiler)[This was just after the part of the book where Jace, Clary & Co go to the Faire court and the queen decides to have some fun at their expense because Clary drinks some potion that will keep her there forever. In order to leave the court she must be kissed. But it can't be any kiss "the kiss that will free her is the kiss she most desires" (pg 171) which is Jace, her own brother. And it wasn't just Clary that still had feelings Jace was just as guilty of having these incestual thoughts. (hide spoiler)] I had such major issues with this weird brother/sister relationship I couldn't keep reading (which is why I put the book down for 3 months reading other things instead.) In order to finish the book I actually had to (view spoiler)[CLICK NEXT SPOILER ONLY IF YOU HAVEN'T READ PAST (hide spoiler)](view spoiler)[find out if Clary and Jace are actually brother and sister, which it turns out Jace isn't Valentines son after all (talk about major identity crisis 1st he is Jace Wayland, then Morgenstern and then some other sir name that I didn't look up, but I have my guess at who is real family is.) However, I still have my reservations as to the feelings these two characters share, since at this point in time they think they are related. (hide spoiler)]
Even with my SERIOUS issue w/ Clary and Jace, I will most likely pick up the 3rd book in this series as well as it's prequel Clockwork Angel because I find the world it's set in very unique and interesting. I like the concept of the shadow hunters and dang it I really want to find out what happens. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It's been a while since I picked up an historical fiction novel set in the medieval/renaissance period and boy did I forget how much I LOVE all the dr...moreIt's been a while since I picked up an historical fiction novel set in the medieval/renaissance period and boy did I forget how much I LOVE all the drama that goes along with a royal court. I mean the plotting, deception, and intrigue of that world. *love it* Not to mention all the finery and chivalry that one will often find in that type of setting that just isn't in our modern day world, and Grave Mercy has it all.
The historical setting of Grave Mercy based in truth. The court Ismae must infiltrate is the real court of Anne Duchess of Brittany, and many of the people at court were real as well. As with any historical fiction the author has taken liberties and created charters to enhance the story she is trying to tell. If you are interested in the history behind the book (a I was) the author has provided a wonderful "authors note" on her website.
This story however is not strict historical fiction, it's historical fantasy, and the mythology created for this world is pure magic. The Brenton gods have been refashioned by the Catholic Church as saints. It was common practice for the Catholic Church to incorporate pagan beliefs into their own traditions to make it easier to convert people to Christianity. In the world of His Fair Assassin these gods, now saints are more than just myth they are real. Ismae being a daughter of Death himself has been given special gifts that make her an adept assassin.
Right from the beginning of the book we learn about Ismae's struggled pass. She has a large red stain with welts and scars on her back, marks left by an herbwitch's poison her mother took to expel her from her womb. The fact Ismae survived, the herbwitch said, was proof that Ismae was a daughter of death himself. As young woman Ismae barely escapes a terrible arranged marriage and finds her self at the Convent of St. Mortain where the nuns still serve the the Breton god of death. Ismae spends the next three years training to be one of Death's handmaidens and is currently serving the convent as a novice. Ismae must prove she is ready to take her vows and be come a full sister of the convent and devote her life to doling out the vengeance of Mortain. To do so she must complete her first kills, but things get complicated when her assignment to follow Gavriel Duval a Brenton noble causes her to question the true intentions of the convent. Even worse is that she just might, maybe be falling for him.
Really I can't blame Ismae one bit for falling for Duval, because I pretty much fell for him myself. Maybe its the whole historical setting, I'm pretty much a sucker for period guys. Not to mention that Duval isn't your typical YA love interest (that being a teenage boy, which I don't tend to fall for because, I'm not a teenage girl.) I wouldn't exactly say he was charming, but he is very much a gentleman, chivalry can go a long way. There was also his devotion to the duchess that totally won me over. As Ismae fought over her growing feelings for him I found my self hoping he was truly what he presented himself to be, not only for her sake, but because I was falling hard for this fictional guy myself.
I would recommend this title to anyone who enjoys historical fiction as well as fairytale fantasy books. Over all I think girls will enjoy this book more, but I believe there is enough action (she is an assassin after all) to keep a guys interest as well. The romance isn't too over powering to turn a guy completely off, but the tension between Ismae and Duval will satisfy romance fans.
I truly enjoyed this book and wish I didn't have to wait a year for Dark Triumphthe second book in the trilogy to come out, but so is life. I'm sure I'll find plenty of other stories to fill the gap. (less)
Now,I'm going to assume you have read the 4 previous Gallagher Girl books so fair warning their will be spoilers if you continue reading and haven't read the first 4 books in the series, and if you haven't what are you waiting for go get your hands on a copy of I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You.
Cammie has a lot to deal with in this book. At the end of Only the Good Spy Young, Cammie realizes it's no longer safe for her to be near the people she cares about, so she decides to run off on her own (after rejecting Zach's offer to runaway together) to discover why exactly the Circle is after her.
After finishing book 4 I thought for sure book 5 would be about Cammie's "mission" during her summer vacation instead of a report about the fall semester. Well I was half right. The book did focus on Cammie's summer vacation, but since Cammie can't remember the six months that immediately follow her choice to leave the Gallagher Academy the book is more about Cammie's attempt to recover her lost memory during the fall semester of her Senior year then an account of exactly what happened over the summer. Which is what makes this installment one of my favorites. Cammie has become a very strong young woman over the past 4 books and Cammie's memory loss has truly shaken her. She doesn't recognizance the girl in the mirror staring back at her anymore and she is truly worried by what this stranger may be capable of, and desperately wants to learn what transpired over the summer. It's Cammie's drive to find the truth at any cost fuels the story in Out of Sight, Out of Time and truly makes this book one of the strongest of the series, because it's not just the Gallagher Girls Vs the Circle, but Cammie vs her summer self.
Over all I found Out of Sight, Out of Time to be one of the best books in the Gallagher Girl series to date. Cammie's internal struggle makes the book unique within the series. If you've read the past four Gallagher Girl books I promise, you will not be disappointed with this one! (less)
What originally drew me to Darker Still was the cover. I mean just look at it, it’s gorgeous! I know one should never judge a book by its cover but I...moreWhat originally drew me to Darker Still was the cover. I mean just look at it, it’s gorgeous! I know one should never judge a book by its cover but I’m a total sucker for a pretty cover. Beautiful cover withstanding, what really hooked me was the books synopsis.
Set in New York in 1880, a new painting is added to the collection of the new Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is an unbelievably lifelike portrait of a young man by the name of Lord Denbury, who is believed to committed suicide. Despite what everyone believes, Miss Natalie Steward is about to find out Lord Denbury is very much alive, trapped inside the portrait.
As my read shelf can attest I love historical fiction and paranormal so when this book combined my two favorite genres I knew I had to read it. The story defiantly lives up to the beautiful cover!
First, one of my favorite things about Darker Still is the strength of the protagonist Natalie Stewart. Ever since the death of her mother, Natalie has been unable to speak. She knows sign language, but rarely uses it since so few people understand it. This includes Natalie’s father, who by Victorian standards is very caring. Natalie often mentions how she is lucky to have a father who sought out an education for her, and did not simply ship her off to a nunnery. Thanks to her father Natalie is able to read and write as well.
The story recounted to us through Natalie’s diary, a very smart way of giving her a strong voice. By telling the story through diary entreis, Leanna Renee Hieber gives her heroine a place not only to tell her tale, but also express ideas about the world around her that if she were able to speak would not be deemed proper for a young lady to be discussing.
I also really enjoyed the magic and romance in this story. With the help of Mrs. Evelyn Northe, a believer in the supernatural, Natalie soon discovers that only she is able to travel in and out of the portrait and is tasked with freeing him from the frame that holds him. As Natalie & Mrs. Northe continue to work out the magic holding Lord Denbury, a romance begins to develops between Natalie and Lord Denbury, a romance that if Lord Denbury was not trapped inside a painting would take on a much more proper courtship of the Victorian era.
Over all Darker Still is a rich gothic novel full of mystery, magic and romance. I’m anxiously awaiting the 2nd installment of this series.
The premise of this book is what drew me in. Getting a chance to see your life 15 years in the future via facebook (which in 1996 was a LONG way from...moreThe premise of this book is what drew me in. Getting a chance to see your life 15 years in the future via facebook (which in 1996 was a LONG way from being invented) it sounded interesting.
First let me give you bit of my personal background I grew up in the ‘90s. I was born in the early ‘80s and I can say I was a child of the 80s all I want but I don’t really have a strong memory of the ‘80s *outside of Saturday morning cartoons and Disney movies*, but the ‘90s I lived through I remember most of it pretty well. In 1996 when this story was taking place I was 12 years old, so I was able to connect with pretty much all of the pop culture references the book had to offer, and that is what I LOVED about the book. I remember getting those AOL disc in the mail ALL the time, the old Windows 95 screen savers, seeing toy story in the theaters, and much more.
I feel to truly appreciate these references the reader needs to have living memory of the ‘90s, so I’m not sure if teens will really understand and appreciate all the pop culture references that were in the book since the oldest current teens would have been in this book was 3. With that being said I think this book would be better enjoyed by 20-30somethings who actually remember 1996.
Another thing I found interesting about the book was Emma and Josh’s reactions to facebook. Everything from wondering why the website is filled with such trivial information like what they had for dinner that night, to reactions to future events. I literally laughed out at the following passage:
Josh Templeton Helped my son put together a model of the solar system today. may 8 at 10:26 am . Like
Terry Fernandez We did that last year. Made me feel nostalgic for Pluto that was always my favorite planet. May 9 at 8:07 am . Like
Josh Templeton Poor Pluto! :-( May 9 at 9:13 am . Like
I flinch “What the hell happens to Pluto?” (page 79)
I remember how facebook went crazy when Pluto was demoted, and I can absolutely see a 30-something helping his kid with this project and posting something like this on facebook, but what is priceless is 1996 Josh’s reaction to this statement.
I also thought the authors did a good job of creating future Josh and Emma through facebook. Josh is a bit more reserved when it comes to his facebook post. He doesn’t post often but when he does it’s usually something important in his life. His wife is expecting, photos from vacations ect. And Josh in 1996 is pretty laid back and goes with the flow so the 2011 Josh is a believable future to the Josh we know in 1996. 2011 Emma on the other hand is addicted to facebook and post constantly and its borders along the lines of too much information and filled with lots of drama. She’ll post everything from what it was she had for dinner the previous night to how she is worried that her husband who hasn’t come home in 3 nights is being unfaithful to her. (Now I personally wouldn’t put stuff like this on the internet, but I’ve got a few facebook friends who post like this so it’s pretty believable.) 1996 Emma is also obsessed with facebook, and how unhappy she appears to be in her future which is why she tries to change her future.
The story itself is pretty common, when you ignore the fact that they are able to get on to Facebook 8 years before the website was even launched. Emma and Josh have been friends as long as they can remember, then Josh dose something to change all that and they hardly speak anymore. But then something (facebook) brings them slowly back together and you know how it goes. Really it’s the whole facebook concept that sells this book; I can only imagine what my 13 year old self would think of me today. I can only hope I wouldn’t disappoint her and that she wouldn’t try to change my life. (less)
Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. I...moreMany visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the earth forever.
Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when Yellowstone erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.
Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait—to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.
(Above text from ashfallbook.com)
If the above text doesn’t make you want to read this book, I’m not sure what will…but if you need a little more persuasion here is my humble review of this amazing book.
I don't want to go into too much detail and spoil the story, but the whole story is very realistic. The premises of the supervolcano, obviously since there hasn't been a supervolcanic eruption in human history we don't know exactly what will happen. There is plenty of speculation and scientific researcher as to what could happen if a volcano of that size were to erupt, and the author has done his research on that part.
The characters are very believable. Alex is just your average 15 year old who is thrown in to this devastating situation, and his emotional and physical journey as he tries to make his way to his family is very moving. In addition to Alex’s true to life partial the way the satellite characters react to the eruption and to Alex is very realistic. Some of the people he encounters are very giving despite the hardships they are forced to endure others are far from generous. Over all I think Mike Mullin’s portrayal of a society in crises is very accurate.
Unlike other dystopian novels that are set in the distant future with a society that is hardly a shadow of our world now Ashfall happens in our world in our not too distant future. On the first page of the book Alex says he will always remember where he was the day the volcano erupted just like his parents will always remember where they were on September 11th so at its earliest this story could be set in 2016 (I’m assuming Alex was not born until sometime after 2011) but no later than 2030. We can only hope something like this doesn’t happen in our lifetime.
For more information about the book and supervolcanos make sure you check out the books website (ashfallbook.com) and if you get a chance to read this book don’t pass it up it is well worth the read. I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel Ashen Winter which is set to come out October 8, 2012. (less)
This one kind of missed the mark for me. I had high hopes for Why We Broke up. The concept, a girl leaving a box of mementoes on her ex’s front door a...moreThis one kind of missed the mark for me. I had high hopes for Why We Broke up. The concept, a girl leaving a box of mementoes on her ex’s front door along with a letter explain why they broke up, was something I felt most teens (and adults) could relate to. Sadly, I think the story falls short of living up to its potential.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped let’s start off with what I did like. The concept was great, and something I could absolutely relate to. I had boxes full of mementos for a couple of my high school boyfriends. One of them I still have and another was very ceremoniously tossed in to the garbage not by me, but my now husband, then fiancé when we were moving into our current home. So having a few ex-boyfriend boxes of my own I really like the idea of giving it all back to the guy to let him figure out what to do with it all. The whole concept is rather cleansing, which is the point, because I’m sure Min’s ex Ed isn’t going to read the book of a letter that gets dropped on his doorstep along with all the junk inside. (More on that later.)
The other thing I liked about this book is the art work. Each chapter starts with an illustration of one of the items in the box, and the chapter explains the origin of that particular item and how it came into Min’s position and what it has to do with her relationship with Ed. I feel the illustrations really add to the concept and the story. The book itself is a miniature box containing all the mementos of Min and Ed’s relationship.
Now for what I did not like.
As far as the characters in the book none of them were all that likeable, especially our protagonist Min. At first I liked Min, she was into old movies and that was fun at first because I enjoy old movies myself. Now I’m not a film buff so I don’t know every old movie ever made so when I didn’t recognize the first few movies she referenced I figured they were maybe a bit more obscure than what I’m familiar with. Min, however, continues to reference these obscure films and I realized that these movies are all made up for the story. The author could have easily used real films so at least the readers could connect with Min on a more personal level, because as I said before I highly doubt her ex would actually take the time to read what she wrote.
Another problem I had with this book is that the entire 350 page book is the letter to her ex, which apparently she pens in an afternoon. In addition the impossibility that she could have written the entire story down (which hand written would be much longer than 350 pages unless her handwriting is very small) it’s the way she writes that bothers me. Min will recount entire conversations word for word, I don’t know about you but I don’t think I can recount a conversation verbatim this morning let alone one I had months ago. With that in mind I feel the story would have worked better if (A) the large conversations had been left out and the memories were more generalized and recounted the way people actually talk about the past. or (B) split each chapter in to 3 parts 1. The illustration 2. The letter. 3. The flashback that goes with the letter. Either option would work better than how it’s written now.
I understand that this “letter” or book is a Min’s way of getting over her ex, which as I said earlier I really liked. I find writing is a great way to get your feelings out of your head so you can analyze them. Not to mention dumping the entire letter and the box off at your ex’s to wash your hands of them and very plainly state “I’m done crying over you” is very empowering. The jury is, however,still out on if I believe Min expects Ed to actually read this “letter” she has left on his doorstep. I found myself wondering several times while reading the book if she is actually expecting him to read this, because for the life of me I can’t see Ed (or any teenage boy for that matter) reading 350+ pages about why they broke up. Now if this is just something she drops on his doorstep and never expects him to look at that is understandable, but then I can’t help but put myself in the author’s shoes. I guess what I’m saying is that if Min doesn’t expect her ex to read the book size letter she has written how can the author expect a reader to stick with the story to the end.
I’ll say it again, the concept of this book was great, but it really just fell flat for me which is sad because this was one of those “I have to read this one before the kids get it” books for me. The story however, was just too drawn out and I found myself on more than one occasion contemplating putting the book down and picking up something else instead. (less)
Wow, just wow! I don't want to go into details because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I'll just say if you haven't started this series go and fi...more Wow, just wow! I don't want to go into details because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I'll just say if you haven't started this series go and find a copy of Divergent now.
I will go into a few reasons why I LOVE this series. Mind you If you haven't read Divergent there may be some minor spoilers.
First, the world building in this series is very strong. The Faction systemVeronica Roth has created is very intriguing and a true dystopian society. The world also feels very real to me, that might have something to do with it being set in Chicago, and being a Chicago area native I have real life experience in this city so when the author (also a Chicago area native) mentions Millennium Park, Lower Wacker, the Handcock, or the Sears Tower instantly know what those places look like. In some instances my familiarity with area was more of a distraction, for example when Tris mentions the Amity compound is an hour drive from the city I find myself wondering exactly where that could be, or where exactly the abnegation and dauntless compounds are located (North and South Side respectively but no set location according to Ms. Roth via an interview on Windy City Live)
I also really enjoy the characters in this series both Tris and Four are fully developed characters. Tris is strong and independent (although she doesn't always see herself that way) and in Insurgent she has some really difficult things to deal with emotionally that threaten to break that strength. There were a few times I felt my self thinking "No Tris why are you doing that" but it's the mistakes Tris makes and the secrets she keeps that make her real. As a reader who is looking down on the situation I can see Tris isn't making the right choice by keeping things from people, but honestly if it was me living through this experience I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing. The way Tris rings so true is the reason I love her.
Unlike a lot of "dystopian" novels out right now their relationship isn't the driving force of the novel. It's the threat of war among the factions and although this threat clearly effects Tris and Four's relationship it isn't the all consuming plot of the novel. As for their relationship it isn't perfect, and what relationship is? Tris has some major trust issues, and Four isn't entirely honest with her either. It will be interesting to see how the relationship continues to develop in the 3rd book.
Over all I really enjoyed Insurgent, maybe more than Divergent. One thing I know for sure I will be anxiously awaiting the final installment of this series!
I knew I was going to love this book. I’m a true history geek at heart, civil war, colonial I love it all. I’m a total sucker for period dress, and ye...moreI knew I was going to love this book. I’m a true history geek at heart, civil war, colonial I love it all. I’m a total sucker for period dress, and yes I’m one of those people you see at the Renaissance Faire dressed in costume and if 18th and 19th century costumes were so expensive I would probably have those too. I also worked in a living history museum one summer (sadly it wasn’t as an interpreter, so no period dress for me.) So, when I the synopsis of Past Perfect my inner history geek jumped for joy. A YA novel set in an historical reenactment village *yay!*
The premise of the book is super cute too. Chelsea has worked at Essex Historical Colonial Village as an historical interpreter since she was little. She is trying to get over her ex, who decides to work at Essex over the summer too. At the same time she is trying not to fall for a boy from the rival civil war camp across the street, because every year the junior interrupters from the colonial village (unbeknownst to the adults) go to war with the kids from the civil war camp , so falling for a boy from the wrong century is a major problem. It’s very R&J/West Side Story, by no means an original story, but the setting makes it very unique and a whole lot of fun.
I also really liked Chelsea, she was fun to read and I felt I could really relate to her. That could be due to the fact that although Chelsea doesn’t think of herself as a “history nerd” she fosters a love for history that comes from growing up around it, and the fact that she says/thinks things like this “In his suspenders, loose-fitting vest, and felt hat, he looked even better than when I'd seen him in a T-shit and cut-offs. What can I say; I have a thing for guys in period dress, okay? That's Just who I am.” (pg. 126.) Which I can absoulty relate to. Love of history withstanding, Chelsea is very genuine and a joy to read. She isn’t perfect by any means and has flaws but it makes her believable and that is why I enjoyed reading her.
The book has a quite a bit of historical jargon and references which might get overlooked if you’re not a history person, but Leila Sales does a very good job of explaining the nuances of working in a living history museum. You can tell she’s had experience in this environment with historical reenactors. Ms. Sales also does a fantastic job of explaining the way we choose to portray the past. History happens to those who have lived it, and written by those who remember or interpret it. Whether it’s a major historical event like the Boston Massacre or our own life it’s how we choose to remember the past or interpreted the facts that determines how the past is remembered.
I really enjoyed Past Perfect. The setting was original and fun (mind you I’m a bit biased since I’m a total history geek). The characters are honest and genuine, they all have flaws, yet you can’t help but root for them. The story was believable, which is a big deal to me when dealing with realistic fiction, if I want to suspend my disbelief I’ll read fantasy and sci-fi books (which I read quite a bit of) but I like my realistic fiction to be just that, realistic. Over all it’s a book I truly enjoyed and would absolutely recommend, especially if you are a bit of a history geek like me. (less)
4 Stars only because it's so short and I want more!!
J.K. Rowling wrote this short 800 word "prequel" for Waterstone’s “What’s Your Story?” Charity ben...more4 Stars only because it's so short and I want more!!
J.K. Rowling wrote this short 800 word "prequel" for Waterstone’s “What’s Your Story?” Charity benefit. Which is great, but I really, REALLY hope she chooses to write a book about the Marauders, it would be so much fun to read! (less)
Oh. My. God. Wow! Seriously amazing. I must get my hands on a copy of the second book ASAP. Don't know why it took me so long to pick this one up, but...moreOh. My. God. Wow! Seriously amazing. I must get my hands on a copy of the second book ASAP. Don't know why it took me so long to pick this one up, but glad I don't have to wait long to find out what happens next. (less)