“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time”
In New Beijing, humans, androids and cyborgs live amongst each other in a world ravaged by“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time”
In New Beijing, humans, androids and cyborgs live amongst each other in a world ravaged by a plague called letumosis. Cinder became a cyborg at an early age after surviving a car crash that killed both her parents and now works as a mechanic to earn money for her self-absorbed and hateful adoptive mother. When her sister becomes sick and Cinder is blamed, her mother volunteers her for a medical testing group for cyborgs where the survival rate is nonexistent. She inevitably stumbles upon information about her past that she had been unable to remember and it manages to turn her entire life upside down.
“A sci-fi retelling of Cinderella as a cyborg“. That blurb had me skeptical for years, avoiding this book and insisting it wasn’t going to be for me. And then I read Glitches, the short story prequel to Cinder and it convinced me to finally pick it up. Boy am I glad I did. In retrospect, it still astounds me that a book with so many various genres still managed to work as well as it did. I mean it’s sci-fi, a retelling, sorta steampunk-ish, and even dystopian. AND Cinderella is a total badass and even a mechanic. It shouldn’t work in theory but it definitely does. The world was brilliantly drawn and I loved just how well the Cinderella story was incorporated.
Cinder’s perseverance made her an extremely likable heroine and the romance between her and Prince Kai was completely charming (plus no instalove here folks!). Her horrendous stepmother was par for the course for the original Cinderella tale but good grief, that woman was the very definition of awful. In Cinderella, the wicked stepmother made Cinderella stay home from the ball and clean the house. Oh woe is her. But in Cinder, her wicked adoptive mother sold her to a medical testing group where not a single person has survived. Now THAT is wicked. Cinderella didn’t know how good she had it. Even though everyone knows the story of Cinderella, there were enough alterations done to this story to keep it suspenseful. The ending will leave you yearning for the next book, Scarlet, with the author tackling another well-known fairytale: Little Red Riding Hood....more
After the dramatic conclusion in An Echo in the Bone and the five years it took for this installment to come out, I was expecting to swallow this whAfter the dramatic conclusion in An Echo in the Bone and the five years it took for this installment to come out, I was expecting to swallow this whole as soon as I was afforded the opportunity. Instead? It took me upwards of almost THREE MONTHS to finish which is practically unheard of for me. When I finally read the last page, I ran joyously through the house a la Liz Lemon style.
But let’s back up and discuss what actually goes down in this book. There will be spoilers for previous installments.
So, there was drama. A lot of it. Written picks right up where Echo left off in 1778 with Claire discovering Jamie is in fact alive and kicking and her marriage (and consummation) to Lord John poses some mighty intense drama. Then there’s William who just recently discovered that Lord John is not actually his father, Jamie is, but raised him since Jamie was unable to. He proceeds to throw a tantrum about said drama for pretty much the full extent of the book making his chapters pretty interminable. We’ve got Ian and his dog Rollo, who have decidedly less drama but since he has become engaged to Rachel and just so happens to be well-liked by William, well there’s your drama for that storyline too. There are various other side stories too that are, you guessed it, full of drama. Oh, and we can’t forget about the fact that the American Revolutionary War is going on in the background of all this. Meanwhile, in 1980, Bree is frantic to find her son Jem whom she fears has been taken through the stones and back in time by an enemy who discovered that Jem knows the location of a priceless buried treasure. Roger has set off to follow them through the stones to get him back but his leaving brings more trouble for Bree back home.
Bree and Roger’s sections were my most favorite but were unfortunately the smallest part of the book as a whole. I’d say they got roughly 20% while the remaining 80% was spent in 1778. All of Gabaldon’s books have been large in size, Written clocking in at 848 pages of extremely tiny print, but this one honestly felt too long. An extreme amount of detail was placed on Claire’s methods for healing with the rudimentary tools available to her and some were extremely graphic and completely unnecessary for the storyline as a whole. There were several chapters spent on her saving Lord John’s brother from an asthma attack, the medical cases from various individuals that were injured in battle, an amputation, Lord John Grey’s eye injury which she heals with her fingers and honey and the worst of them all: the surgery she performs on a slave girl to fix her rectovaginal fistula. FYI? Don’t Google that. It was all super detailed and somewhat interesting for the most part but I wanted more actual story.
Yes, I did give this 3 stars so clearly there was some good to this. Again, like I said, Bree and Roger’s chapters were the best and I loved where their stories took them in this massive puzzle Gabaldon is masterminding. There were some terribly emotional scenes that managed to draw me back into the story: Ian and his dog Rollo, Henri Christian (Fergus’ son) and Jane’s whole sad story. I found the unrelenting drama too much but mainly because it didn’t manage to work my emotions like the other books always seemed to. Even though this one is most definitely my least favorite of the series there is no doubt that I’ll be continuing this series. I anxiously await the next installment (in a half dozen years or so if we’re lucky) especially after everything got set up in the conclusion (but thankfully there wasn’t a dramatic cliffhanger)....more
Pushing the Limits is a contemporary YA story about romance and friendship and dealing with loss. Echo was involved in an accident with her mother butPushing the Limits is a contemporary YA story about romance and friendship and dealing with loss. Echo was involved in an accident with her mother but the trauma was so strong that her mind has blocked it completely. All she wants to do is remember, but is she strong enough to handle the truth? Noah is still dealing with the loss of his parents in a house fire and is struggling to survive the foster care system. He was separated from his two younger brothers and all he wants to do is obtain custody of them so they can all be a happy family again. Echo and Noah have both suffered in life but are complete opposites of each other, yet they fall for one another just the same.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: YA contemporary is not my go-to genre. This book sat on my shelf for years because lets be honest, that cover screams nothing but high school! romance! angst! drama! to me. I was surprised that while the romance (and yes, all the angst and drama one could ever hope for) is a major part, the story possessed a depth I was not expecting. Echo and Noah were individuals that had been forced into growing up sooner than necessary due to incidents in their life and Pushing the Limits is their coming of age story that treads the line between YA and NA and will be well-liked by fans of both.
Pushing the Limits was entertaining and I read it fairly quickly, however, it didn’t manage to generate much in the way of opinion. I was overall a bit indifferent about Echo and Noah’s story. While I appreciated the complex and separate side stories of both characters, it was all too melodramatic for me in the end. The romance was given some time to develop so instant love wasn’t a real factor, but once the romance started it, the seriousness between the two progressed at the speed of light. There were the obligatory ‘I love you’s’ thrown around and the constant use of ‘babe’. While the characters stories possessed depth I didn’t feel that their romance did. The story suffered in pacing during the second half and would have benefited from a trim in length as it only succeeded in adding more of the already abundant melodramatic flair. Excessively long yet still compulsively readable, it disappointed by ending too predictably. I seem to have nothing but negative things to say, yet I did enjoy the read overall. It’d be worth it to give the author another shot to see how she progresses as a writer....more
In Just One Day, Allyson and Willem meet for one memorable day before getting separated. In Just One Year, the twMy Black Sheep Rating: 1.5 of 5 stars
In Just One Day, Allyson and Willem meet for one memorable day before getting separated. In Just One Year, the two spend the following year searching for one another before finally succeeding. But did they get their happily ever after?
All be warned: there will be spoilers.
I wasn’t a huge fan of this series in general but was so thrown by the ending (or lack of ending) in book two that I knew I had to pick this up regardless. Allyson and Willem never generated any warm fuzzies for me but I still wanted to see what happened to the two of them in the end. After finishing Just One Night I have to say, they (author? publisher? whoever made the call to publish this.) should have left well enough alone. The two get their happily ever after, but Just One Night only manages to showcase Allyson’s creepy stalker obsession with Willem (I’m sorry, but who travels the globe searching for a guy she spent a single day with?) and Willem’s creepy foot fetish. I’m not joking. Did he obsess about her feet in the other books? Because if he did I must have blocked that shit out because, ew? For only 43 pages there were an obscene amount of foot comments. Here are several examples:
‘Allyson is sitting on the sofa, her sandals off, neatly placed under the coffee table. (The sight of her bare feet. What this is doing to Willem’s blood pressure. She might as well have taken off all her clothes.)’
‘It all feels like a dream and yet as natural as breathing. This is what you do. Put Allyson’s feet into your lap.’
‘They are on the stairs and she is under him and he’s got that wrist of hers in his mouth (finally!) but it’s not enough, he wants all of her (the feet!) [...]‘
“...Allyson is sitting next to him, and with everyone jammed at the table, she is right up close. And then she slips off her sandals under the table and sort of nuzzles her foot against his. He loses his appetite, for food anyway.”
In addition to the creepy foot comments there was one ‘memorable’ scene in particular where Allyson was behind Willem on the bike he was riding and she decides to make out with his back, I guess since his mouth wasn’t available.
‘She can nuzzle against his back and lick his vertebra if she wants to. (She does, so she does.)’
‘Willem is just desperate for it to end. He is so full of wanting that it is painful and Allyson keeps lifting his shirt and licking his back, which she shouldn’t do while he’s riding a bike because he might pass out. (But she shouldn’t stop, either.)’
This is the fourth Gayle Forman book I’ve read yet was the poorest showcasing of her writing skills. The point of view was often unclear and would switch up at random without any section breaks resulting in a strange disjointed feel to this short tale. Plus, I’m not sure what was up with the strange sentences she decided belonged in parenthesis for no apparent reason.
Just One Night was intended to give fans the happily ever after that was lacking in Just One Year but it just didn’t do it for me. It failed to create emotional resonance I would have expected for two people that spent the past year searching for one another. Maybe it’s because I can’t look past the creepy feet comments or the fact that it seemed to be about nothing more than the two sleeping with each other. Maybe it’s because I never cared for their story or either one of their characters but I didn’t feel there was anything truly romantic about this love story....more
“We all have a past. Some people just can’t let go of it.”
Ross and Claire are newlyweds, honeymooning in Scotland when tragedy strikes. Shortly befor“We all have a past. Some people just can’t let go of it.”
Ross and Claire are newlyweds, honeymooning in Scotland when tragedy strikes. Shortly before the two are due to leave for home, Claire becomes ill and ends up in a coma in the hospital. Ross becomes completely overcome with grief, unable to come to terms with what is happening and ends up in an accident and blacks out. He wakes up in the year 1333.
‘I marvel at the fact that I haven’t broken out in hives. Apparently, not only has my eyesight improved, but my allergy to horses hasn’t transferred to this time period, either.’
I blame Outlander on my time-travel obsession. I also blame Outlander for my high expectations when it comes to time-travel. I’m able to count on one hand the amount of time-travel books that managed to work for me. Unfortunately, this was not one of them. There weren’t any special stones or portals that sent Ross back in time, instead he was run off the road while riding his bicycle by a semi and tumbled down a hill. He woke up in another time in completely different clothes with renewed eyesight and a curious lack of his typical allergies. Instead of going back in time as himself, he went back in time and took over the life of one of his ancestors (à la Assassin’s Creed, just replacing the Animus with a grassy hill). It worked yet it didn’t and was cause for some serious confusion later as the story develops.
The historical aspects of this novel were well-done and felt very authentic but the incorporation of time-travel bits and a modern man in a medieval world felt clunky and strange. The biggest issue I had was with Ross, the main character, and his complete lack of a spine throughout the entirety of the novel.
‘I’d signed up for a fencing class during my freshman year of college, but during the first session my impulse whenever my opponent thrust his rapier at me was to roll up in a ball on the floor and cover my head with my hands. I quickly switched to bowling class.’
He improved somewhat as the novel progressed, but he was an irritating character from the beginning which made it difficult considering the entire story was told from his point of view. We’re given past glimpses into his childhood that were clearly meant to provide reason behind his meek and submissive personality but it still didn’t work for me. The time period did succeed in maturing him and turning him into a ‘manly man’ but even then there were passages that were clearly meant to show his character development that were slightly ridiculous.
‘Somewhere a lamb, trapped in the ruins, bleats. I slow, keening my ears, and finally see it, its pink nose pressed between the bars of a wooden fence that has been pushed over. The small building next to it is still on fire. Adam sees it, too. He glances at me, shrugs in pity and goes on. A gap opens up between us and I dark after him, the lamb forgotten.’
If this was intended to show his growing manliness it was a big fail. The character was a total coward, completely spineless and while he was a little less cowardly by the end he failed to generate any sympathy from me and his plights.
The romance(s) were a big hot mess. We’re first introduced to Ross and Claire who are on their honeymoon yet Claire is constantly making fun of him, all in the name of playful teasing of course, and their spark couldn’t light a campfire if their life depended on it. When Claire becomes ill, Ross is distraught while contemplating life without her but it felt more like he was distraught about just being alone and didn’t have anything specifically to do with Claire. He wakes up in 1333, already resigned to the fact that he’s going to lose Claire and it immediately became oh! I have a wife here and another chance to love. The icing on the cake is the simple justification at the end, explaining everything with a pretty bow on top. It was a bit too perfect for my liking.
In the Time of Kings is a historical fiction romance with a time-travel twist but was lacking in both characterization and romance. The historical fiction bits strongly showcased the authors abilities and will appeal to fans of the genre....more
“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive—it’s such an interesting world. It“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive—it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?”
Anne of Green Gables was written in 1908 yet the magic of this childhood classic continues to charm readers over 100 years later. Even at 28 years old, Anne managed to charm me. Yes, this is actually my first real read of Anne of Green Gables. I read The Secret Garden and Little House on the Prairie but somehow managed to miss out on the story of Anne, a spunky, chatterbox of a redhead with a knack for getting into trouble. I have no doubt I would have adored her then as I still managed to do so now.
Anne’s story is a simple one but full of heart. She was living in an orphanage for many years before she was finally put on a train and sent to Prince Edward Island where she was requested to assist Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, a brother and sister that lived on a farm in Avonlea. Immediately upon her arrival, she finds out that the duo had actually required a boy and that she wasn’t needed and would be sent back to the orphanage. She becomes determined to win them over so as to not be sent back, and succeed she did. Matthew was instantly enamored by this interesting child but Marilla was much more stubborn.
“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
Anne is clearly the protagonist of the novel, however, I found myself paying a lot of attention to Marilla and the transformation that she undergoes throughout the novel because of Anne’s presence. Anne grows up and matures as any child is expected to do but Marilla is truly the one that changes, and definitely for the best. Marilla is a stern woman who sets out to teach Anne how to be a proper young lady and not to be so fanciful all the time yet it’s that fanciful nature of hers that slowly breaks down Marilla’s harsh demeanor. It’s a gradual breakdown but by the end of the novel she is able to admit to her love of Anne, how proud she is of her and how happy she is that she came into their lives. It was truly touching to not only see the benefit to Anne because Marilla and Matthew chose to take her in but how she in turn equally changed their lives.
Details of Montgomery’s early life reveal that she was the inspiration for her character Anne. Montgomery’s mother died when she was just 21 months old from tuberculosis and her father sent her away to live with her elderly grandparents who resided in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. Their manner of raising her was strict, such as Marilla’s manner was at first, yet their demeanor never lightened in the time she lived with them. The story of Anne is clearly how Montgomery wished things could have been for her yet despite her difficult childhood, one good thing clearly came out of it for Anne would have never existed without her experiences.
Big thanks to the girls over at The Midnight Garden for hosting this read-along as it was well past time I got to know Anne Shirley....more
Kate sits in wait for her husband to come home from work and ends up having a conversation with a neighbor. His tale is of heartbreak and loss but of hope as well.
Waking Kate was a fabulous albeit quick introduction to Kate and sets the scene fantastically. It left me highly anticipating the upcoming release of Lost Lake (and also made me extremely curious about Butter Coffee!) http://www.foodwoolf.com/2013/06/butt......more
Indexing was first released as a Kindle Serial and was a bi-weekly mini-party every Tuesday considering how eagerly I awaitedMy rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Indexing was first released as a Kindle Serial and was a bi-weekly mini-party every Tuesday considering how eagerly I awaited the latest installment. The first episode is epic and I can’t even begin to express my love for it. The introduction to this fairy-tale world was perfection. It got a full 5 stars from me and set the bar extremely high for the subsequent stories. This fairy tale world was extremely similar in scope to the graphic novel series ‘Fables’ but in comparison I found the characters were more vibrant and witty and infinitely entertaining. Each Kindle serial, for the most part, managed as a stand-alone and didn’t leave you too exasperated with having to wait another two weeks for more. I say ‘for the most part’ because something happened around episode 8 (out of a total of 12) that took the series into a total nosedive, but I’ll get into that more in a minute.
The ATI (Aarne-Thompson Index) Management Bureau is a covert government agency that monitors fairy tale manifestations and prevents them from getting out of control. According to Wiki, "The Aarne–Thompson tale type index is a multivolume listing designed to help folklorists identify recurring plot patterns in the narrative structures of traditional folktales, so that folklorists can organize, classify, and analyze the folktales they research." This index system is used as the basis for classifying manifestations that happen in the real world, where children are born predisposed to being a Sleeping Beauty or a Snow White or even a Pied Piper. If unleashed, their fairy tale influence could wreak havoc on the world. All manner of fairy tales are covered: Peter Pans and Cinderellas, Donkeyskins and Beautiful Vassilisas, a Mother Goose, Wicked Stepsisters, Billy Goats Gruff, The Showmaker and the Elves, etc.
So what worked well? Personally I loved the combination of fairy tales and urban fantasy that ultimately made up this story. It was imaginative and creative and really enjoyed the details that went into this. Each individual was given a bit of back story although I believe this could have been further expounded on to showcase their growth. While I didn’t end up preferring one character over another, they all as a whole really added life and charm to this story.
In the end though, I was left ultimately disappointed. When thinking back on the story as a whole, I think it was easy to overlook the choppy feel of the writing since we’re only given bits and pieces at a time. If read as a whole I think it would have been far more obvious and apparent that the story lacked a fully fleshed out plot and was really rather feeble. It didn’t feel as if it was planned as a full novel and was instead planned out as each episode was written. Ultimately, the ending felt strange and disconnected from where it seemed like the story was going and left me with far more unanswered questions than I like.
Episode 1 - 5 stars This is not only immensely entertaining but incredibly original. LOVE THIS. Episode 2 - 4 stars Episode 3 - 3.5 stars Episode 4 - 4 stars DUN DUN DUN! All other episodes wrap up rather nicely but this one had an unfortunate cliffhanger. And I only get an episode every 2 weeks? GAH. Episode 5 - 4.5 stars Episode 6 - 4 stars Episode 7 - 4.5 stars Episode 8 - 3 stars Episode 9 - 3 stars Episode 10 - 2 stars Episode 11 - 2.5 stars Episode 12 - 2 stars...more
My rating: 3 of 5 stars Source: Purchased via Amazon
You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book only a 3 star rating. The Experiment in TerMy rating: 3 of 5 stars Source: Purchased via Amazon
You have no idea how much it pains me to give this book only a 3 star rating. The Experiment in Terror series is one of my favorites, ever, and I was anticipating this so very badly ever since I got hooked on this series earlier this year. I can't say for sure whether it was my extremely (and possibly unrealistic) expectations that made this not as good or not but I definitely had some issues that nagged at me.
I started reading this series because I love ghost novels especially because they aren't so paranormal as to be completely out of this world; that there are instances where you could really feel this being fact. I absolutely loved Perry and Dex as a team and I loved watching their relationship grow over installments. But what I loved the absolute most was the well-blended way that Karina Halle mixed the two together. It wasn't a paranormal novel and it wasn't a romance novel, it was a perfect amalgamation of the two. And therein lies the main issue I had with this novel: the lack of blending.
While Into the Hollow left Dex and Perry's relationship at an imbalance, I understood and expected drama to have to be sorted out in Come Alive. What I didn't expect was for it to take up practically the entire first half with no plot in sight. Now don't go get me wrong, I love me some Dex and Perry but it just felt way too focused on their crazy (and oftentimes unnecessary) drama and their equally crazy sex life. For those of you adverse to this, Come Alive toed the line of erotica and while I'm not against this, this is not what I've come to expect from these novels. If I wanted to read erotica, I would read erotica.
The other big issue I had: the point of view. I did read 'The Dex-Files' and while I enjoyed these short glimpses into Dex's point of view, they weren't my absolute favorite. I was a bit leery when I found out that Come Alive would be told solely from Dex's point of view but of course I reserved judgment. WELL. Dex is one crazy fucker, I think we all know that, but being inside his head and knowing each and every one of his (mostly sexual) thoughts was a bit much. He's just too much sometimes and can be quite intense. I wouldn't be completely adverse to a story from his point of view again, however, I think I'd like it more if it was shared with Perry's POV because, well, Perry is the absolute best.
Regardless, I'm still a die-hard fan and will gladly read anything Ms. Halle writes because she really is an amazing writer of truly entertaining stories. While this is not my favorite installment, the ending did hold much promise for future installments so this is far from my last Perry and Dex story.
3.5 This is Pippa... Crazy Clown Lady... I don't know. I was expecting her to be a bit more interesting. Still enjoyable and a good insight into Dex's3.5 This is Pippa... Crazy Clown Lady... I don't know. I was expecting her to be a bit more interesting. Still enjoyable and a good insight into Dex's childhood and the connection between him and Perry....more