I almost feel bad because I wasn't utterly in love with this book the way have I have been with the majority of the previous ones in the series. I rea...moreI almost feel bad because I wasn't utterly in love with this book the way have I have been with the majority of the previous ones in the series. I really enjoyed it though. Mercy is consistently one of my two favorite literary protagonists. She's capable and strong while sharing a relationship that is entirely a give & take partnership. I was so happy to get some of the story from Adam's POV this time. That's new, and I dug it. It shook things up a bit and was able to play out the story from different angles. And I ADORE Adam. Adam & Mercy's relationship is almost my ideal book relationship. It's such a partnership, equal on both sides with the bickering and being rescued and running off to play white knight without informing the other. I know that it might lack realism but that equality is the kind of model relationships I like to see portrayed in popular culture.
Anyway, while I felt like the plot played out well it just felt like there was so much GOING ON in this book. They were continuously rushing from here to there to back here to the next state and the whoops we stole a car & there's a dead body in the trunk and then we have to go all the way back where we started, etc, etc. It just got hard to track sometimes. Ultimately it worked out in the end. Although I will say that though the final chapter is tied into the overall story arc and conspiracy theory fairly well I couldn't help but feeling a little bit like it was added almost as an afterthought? There was just such a finality to the wrap up of the werewolf storyline that randomly throwing in vampires at the last minute seemed really disjointed to me. Just really out of left field and then we were forced to find even more very fast resolution. I found us killing characters that I barely had reason to feel victorious over since I'd learned 90% of what I knew of them in the last 20 pages. Those were really the only complaints that I had over the book and they didn't in anyway keep me from really enjoying it.
Can we talk about how the whole triceratops scene in the movie makes infinitely more sense when you read the book and things are actually given a rati...moreCan we talk about how the whole triceratops scene in the movie makes infinitely more sense when you read the book and things are actually given a rational explanation instead of trailing off into scenes of poop and random comments about dilated pupils? Anyway, I was excited to finally read the book after growing up watching the movie. I'm glad of the attempts at more detailed scientific explanations. The characters are not very fleshed out emotionally, but well enough to get the interactions with the dinosaurs to flow smoothly. Really the only characters I could not stand were the children and Hammond. Lex in particularly was a pain in my butt while reading this book. She was flat out irritating 90% of the time. I kind of kept wishing that she would just be terrified and shut up like most kids would in that situation. I really disliked Hammond, but that was because his portrayal for me was just one that was bound to draw my ire. He is living in his own illusion of success and everyone else is wrong or misinformed. He's the only one with the right ideas and the right vision. He refuses to accept his disaster. It makes him easy to dislike. The book was a little long-winded for my tastes but still pretty good.(less)
This God-awfully wonderful woman and her phone call cliff hangers are going to be the absolute death of me! Consistently one of my favorite authors an...moreThis God-awfully wonderful woman and her phone call cliff hangers are going to be the absolute death of me! Consistently one of my favorite authors and main characters and she never fails to deliver for my expectations. In fact she routinely exceeds them. I absolutely love Jo. A strong female character with all the same hang ups and variable self-confidence of a real human being. Continually torn between having to save the world and dealing with normal everyday emotional issues. Her relationship with Morrison has been such a potential thing that finally seeing it come to fruition was as emotionally cathartic for me as the end of Sixteen Candles. I love how things didn't fall perfectly into place. Sure they fell pretty darn close, but dealing with things like emotional hang ups and the realization that she doesn't really know him all that well give realism to a fairytale relationship. Even more of Jo's past is exposed in this book. A lot of very powerful and raw emotional moments that have shaped her as a character and as a shaman are explained and given vivid feeling for the reader. It was appropriately emotional without being sappy. Dealing with facing the child you gave up for adoption and a life you had to walk away from is a difficult issue to write about without being either melodramatic or curt and I felt that Murphy walked that line beautifully. The action is fantastic, and although I am partial to my clearly superior home state, the North Carolina setting lends a lot to building the vision of the book in mind. I am simultaneously weeping for and salivating over the final book.(less)
As a veterinary student it is utterly refreshing to see recognition of the importance of my profession in One Health. The author is not wrong about th...moreAs a veterinary student it is utterly refreshing to see recognition of the importance of my profession in One Health. The author is not wrong about the rift between physicians and veterinarians. We are routinely looked down upon by physicians despite it being harder to get into vet school and a curriculum that is just as hard if not harder to stay in. To see a physician acknowledge the wealth of information we have to share is a delight. Her comparisons between human and animal diseases are illuminating in the terms of understanding how pathology plays out across species. In some ways I felt that I, and really veterinarians in general, already understood the message but I take hope in the idea that this book could potentially open the eyes of my human counterparts to the value of shared information. I know multiple veterinarians, particularly specialists, that keep up with human medical journals. As a profession we are quite aware of the similarities between diseases in various species. We also know that our research and treatments have significant potential economic impacts as well as future impacts on human health. Dr. Natterson does a wonderful job of not only building a narrative throughout each chapter, but of laying out medical differential diagnoses in a way that is both understandable and complete to the ordinary person. It will not go over your head. She addresses the full range of health concerns, from the physical to mental health. Often, she adds in a personal touch to give a sense of reality and potential applications by recounting details of cases from her past or examples in everyday life. It adds a very human quality to the book that keeps the science from being too analytical. I highly recommend this book to veterinarians, doctors, or anyone with a stake in the future of One Health medicine. So really essentially everyone. (less)
The best I have to say is 'Eh.' The premise was interesting enough, but (and this may be due to the fact that it was an audiobook, which is not my pre...moreThe best I have to say is 'Eh.' The premise was interesting enough, but (and this may be due to the fact that it was an audiobook, which is not my preferred method of reading) this book really just seemed to drag on for me. In the worst way. I just never really felt like it was going anywhere. There was so much 'What's going on? What is my place in life? How am I supposed to be a Graveminder? What does this mean? How do I not hate myself blah blah blah' that I felt a little put off. Maybe I'm just so partial to strong female characters who are somehow disoriented and confused yet still get their shit together to achieve something. I didn't really get that from Bekkah. In part that is due to the way the relationship between the Graveminder and Undertaker was supposed to be almost symbiotic, really to the point that they needed each other to function in their capacity with the dead and in everyday life. I guess I get why the author wrote it that way, with 'destiny' in mind somehow, but I just think it's such a silly way to present relationships, particularly to what will likely be a female audience. It's the reason I love strong female characters so much. They do not live and die by the presence of a Y chromosome. And Bekkah, while strong in her own way, did not really embody this for me which is why I think I didn't really bond with her as a protagonist. I know that's a bit more analysis than this book really deserves but I just feel like it's a trend I'm starting to see in newer books that blows my almost-never-feminist mind. Due to all of the emotional bantering by Bekkah and prolonged state of confusion over what exactly their jobs were supposed to entail, I really felt like the pace was incredibly slow and even jerky at times. I didn't love it and I probably wouldn't recommend it but I've definitely read worse books.(less)
Well that was... Yikes. I was not expecting that. I don't think I've ever read a book where a teenager came across as such a melodramatic stalker. It...moreWell that was... Yikes. I was not expecting that. I don't think I've ever read a book where a teenager came across as such a melodramatic stalker. It was creepy. There were times when I was just uncomfortable listening to it. Yeesh.(less)
Good, but disjointed and a fairly slow plot. I expected to have a bit faster of a pace over all. While it was interesting to see parts of the war from...moreGood, but disjointed and a fairly slow plot. I expected to have a bit faster of a pace over all. While it was interesting to see parts of the war from the POV of several characters, often it just left me with the feeling that there were undeveloped characters and plot points that were never fully resolved. Cormac was probably the most interesting for me, to watch his evolution throughout the book, but I kept feeling like I was missing segments of it every time we jumped to a different character. I was delighted that a robot POV was included even though I thought the Freeborn aspect of the plot was woefully underdeveloped for what it could have been. It had a lot of potential and it only got a little bit of attention.(less)
I enjoyed The Hunger Games a bit more than I expected to really. I thought it was a quick, light, and interesting read even though I was a bit thrown...moreI enjoyed The Hunger Games a bit more than I expected to really. I thought it was a quick, light, and interesting read even though I was a bit thrown by the writing being in first person present tense. That was weird. I liked Katniss and Peeta. Collins wrote a very sweet, albeit, simple little love story woven in amongst the action. I'd ship it. I expected the Hunger Games to be more quickly paced but found that I like the fact that it was not one continual attempt to kill people after another. It was just as much or more about survival than it was about killing people or winning. While I did like the book, I fail to see what has inspired the almost fanatical fanbase. I will read the next two to find out what happens, but I don't get all the hype. I can honestly say I have read many more emotionally engaging books.(less)
I was absolutely delighted when the author offered me a free ebook copy in exchange for my honest review of her work. I must say that on the whole I w...moreI was absolutely delighted when the author offered me a free ebook copy in exchange for my honest review of her work. I must say that on the whole I was impressed. I loved how much the reading stretched even MY vocabulary and I'm in a doctoral program, read constantly, and did pretty darn good on the GRE! I had to look words up more than once a chapter sometimes and I was thrilled that someone writing in the YA genre is opening the intellect of her audience, even if it was unintentional on her part.
With that said, I felt a somewhat strange attachment to Laila, the main character. While I don't feel that I related to her directly, I did spend a great deal of time worried about her. That probably has something to do with my life being nothing like getting to run off and join the circus. Our early exposure to her life is not a pleasant one and she has an unfortunate past when we meet her. I was rooting for her so hard when Marvelle accepted her to the circus because I wanted her to get out. Making friends came next and I was glad to see that there was a diversity among her companions in both personality and gender. My favorite friendships are BrOTPs that are a boy and a girl. Too often in books it seems like two adolescents can't just be friends because they are the opposite sex. The dynamic of the friendships worked well too, going through the ups and downs of a real friendship. Also, THANK YOU to the author for not losing the friendships in the face of the relationship storyline. No one likes that girl in real life, so I would have hated it in a lead character.As for the relationship, it evolves with one of the sideshow acts 'The Disappearing Man' who in real life is a boy named Dex. (For some reason when I read the author's description I continually pictured him as Ben Whishaw playing Q in Skyfall. Not bad at all Laila!) I wanted to like Dex, and I did, but I never really felt like we got to know him that well. There's still more books for that though. And I never could figure out the point of his surprise related character coming into the book so late, but okay I guess. In the beginning I felt that the author was overly descriptive to a fault, like she was trying to put so much symbolism and set into it that it was irritating. I found that by the middle of the book it got a lot better and by the end descriptions of the Polarity performances I was quite happy. I enjoyed the story overall, and while the ending is brutal to read in many ways it did set up a lot of potential story for the continuing series.
Now, on to what I didn't like. I had one really big problem that kept bugging me when reading this book. I could not wrap my head around the timeline at all. Historically, it made no sense. The book description bills it as the 1920s. This fell to pieces in my head when there is ample reference to drinking throughout the book. Prohibition was in place from 1920 to 1933. Laila tells the circus owner that she is 16 at the beginning of the book. A magazine article in the story lists her birth year as 1902, which comes out to be 1918 when the story begins. Even if we understand that at least a year passes between Laila's leaving New York and her return as the star of the show, she is still at most 18. While drinking ages varied between states before 1984, the legal age in New York pre-1919 was 21. It just made no sense. Why did they need to be of age to enter the side show and yet Laila and her friends are regularly exposed to alcohol with complete freedom? I know it's picky but I have a hard time believing a book if I can't believe its timeline in alt history. Also, while I adore the old Big Top idea of the circus (one of the reasons I wanted to read this book) I often felt like the author got turned around between what were supposed to be tents having interior settings that came across like permanent structures. Once again, a personal thing for me. I'm very setting oriented sometimes. And while I am so thankful to the author for the free ebook, I will say that there were a few grammar mistakes as well as some duplicate pages in my edition.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. I would recommend it to those who are fans of 'The Night Circus' only a bit more toned down. It reads quickly and was great to fill in time between classes.(less)
This took me a very long time to read. I had a lot of trouble staying interested in the story for more than a few days at a time. The pace is slow, th...moreThis took me a very long time to read. I had a lot of trouble staying interested in the story for more than a few days at a time. The pace is slow, the plot is a bit long-winded and seems to flit from place to place as the characters age, which although is more realistic, doesn't make for holding my attention well in a 550 page book. I just couldn't stay into it because it never really seemed like it was going anywhere. It was a good book in regards to viewing the human experience and the power that words can hold. The writing and diction in the book itself is absolutely beautiful. The author can make magic out of words. I'm glad I read it, but I don't know that I would recommend to others.(less)
First and foremost, YAY for winning my first Goodreads Giveaway! Thanks for picking me guys. As a second-year veterinary student I am always intereste...moreFirst and foremost, YAY for winning my first Goodreads Giveaway! Thanks for picking me guys. As a second-year veterinary student I am always interested when new animal-related books hit the market and this was no exception. Do not be deceived by the photo of what I am assuming is the author's beloved Stella on the cover practically begging you to pick the book up and take it home. This is no Marley & Me. Rather, this book asks the questions as to WHY such a cover evokes the emotional response that it does. Why are we drawn to these animals? How do they fit into our lives? What is our relationship as stewards of these creatures? Are they property or are they anthropomophized companions? This book explores much about the relationships between man and dogs. The author discusses current research into animal behavior, the extent of animal cognition, the genetic development of dogs through the work of selective breeding, and how the human race has gone horribly wrong in our stewardship of the canine species. As a vet student, I was delighted to read such a thorough investigation into the human-animal bond. Mr. Homans addresses several topics that are near and dear to my heart, such as inbreeding in purebreds and the moral question of euthanasia. I found the information in the book to be very thought-provoking, particularly as a veterinary student. However, I did find the book to be a little dry. It could be disjointed at times and didn't always flow well between chapters. I was selfishly a little put out by the lack of veterinarians cited in the book... Who else could be a better expert? I found as I got further into it that I had to be in the right mood to read this book, so it took me a bit longer to finish than I usually would like, especially since I WAS interested in it. I think the problem was that I won this giveaway for a non-fiction book about dogs just after I finished a semester of vet school where I read nothing but non-fiction books about dogs and I really needed a break! :) I would recommend this book for people interested in scientific and social issues that concern man's best friend. It is highly enlightening in most regards. It may be a little dry, so prepare for that, but I think that should you decide to read it you will find it a very worthwhile addition to your Read shelf.(less)
I almost feel like I've been gypped. I guess I really shouldn't say that. I really liked this book. A lot. Mwyfanwy is essentially the archetype for m...moreI almost feel like I've been gypped. I guess I really shouldn't say that. I really liked this book. A lot. Mwyfanwy is essentially the archetype for my favorite kind of heroine, vulnerable and kind of unsure of herself while simultaneously a badass who is slowly growing into the person they are supposed to be. And I dug it. I loved the idea of the Chequy and the organization of the plot and setting. But I just feel like I spent so much time waiting for something to happen. The first two hundred pages or so is a lot of paperwork and very little action. Make no mistake, even though I'm complaining it didn't really bother me because I was interested in what was happening and just figured we'd get to it eventually. But even though I was enjoying the book I never really got over that feeling of waiting. I did get some satisfaction when Mwyfanwy did go out to do some fieldwork and there was some good action before we got to the end. But I still feel like I'm waiting. On what I'm not sure, maybe book 2? Also, I'm a sucker for an underdog romantic moment so the business card in the borrowed shirt kind of made my night. What an adorable way to just barely slip it in there! Although it did make me wonder why the author spent so much time talking up Aldrich and having him conveniently stumble across her at the club because he 'found her scent' for us to never address that as a relationship? Which would be weird in it's own way since he's immortal and stores blood in his hair, apparently. Once again, I guess I shouldn't really complain since I liked the way it turned out in the end. Just some food for thought. (less)