Martha's Vine was a fantastic read for first-time novelist Sheree Zielke, but the sequel, Martha's Mirror, was even better. Continuing where Martha's...moreMartha's Vine was a fantastic read for first-time novelist Sheree Zielke, but the sequel, Martha's Mirror, was even better. Continuing where Martha's Vine left off, the story moved immediately, propelling me deeper into Martha's world after the Change (the loss of all modern conveniences after the grid went down two years prior).
Martha's Mirror is easily as compelling as part one, as it pulls us along in the adventures and danger of Martha and, even more than in part one, of Martha's daughters, Ruth and Elizabeth. In her daughters we see Martha's strong will to survive and protect, her need to be loved and be part of a family, her determination and skill, her faults and weaknesses. Martha's daughters are her mirrors, but they are their own women as well. In a reality that not only demeans and degrades women, but ultimately treats them as cattle to be traded or sold at will, Martha and Ruth and Elizabeth stand up and refuse to be shepherded and sold and abused. Their strong wills draw the reader in and compel you to follow them through the story as if you were their companion. The world after the Change is dangerous and dark and sometimes hopeless, but as you follow these women and experience their struggles, you see that the light hasn't been extinguished. There is always hope in faith and in trusting one's own abilities.
This book is visceral. It's not nice and neat and wrapped in a pretty bow. Characters you love will die in the telling. But that's what makes the book so believable and so much fun to read. It's like life really is; you can hope for the best, but things don't always work out the way you want them to. By the same token, you can lose all hope in salvation, but suddenly find a wall knocked down or find a hand reaching into the darkness to pull you free.
Martha's Mirror, like Martha's Vine, is a compelling read that you won't be able to put down. I wanted to keep reading from chapter to chapter to see what would happen next. I wasn't disappointed in the least. My only hope upon finishing Martha's Mirror is that Sheree writes another book to round out the trilogy. (less)
I was so excited to read this first novel by my Internet friend, Sheree.... This book has it all if you like post-apocalyptic tales, action, intrigue....moreI was so excited to read this first novel by my Internet friend, Sheree.... This book has it all if you like post-apocalyptic tales, action, intrigue... and an entirely original take on all of it.
Martha is such a unique character. Sure, there are plenty of stories and novels out there with strong women characters, but no one is like Martha. She's headstrong yet open-minded, she's sweet but iron-hard, she's tender but cold and calculating. She's herself and she's everywoman. And all she wants to do is survive with her family in a world that's undergone a tragic transformation. The lengths to which Martha goes to protect her family and herself are dramatic and realistic; but her self-limitations make the task even more interesting to read.
Martha's world is populated by three-dimensional characters who are more than just a supporting cast. You hate them and you love them. You want to tell them they're making the wrong choice in order to keep them from harm; you want to clap them on the back or hug them when they save the day or just when they do something human and real. Characters you think simply are going to be background pieces are suddenly thrust into the main plot line; they grab you and drag you along with them into their adventures.
And you're glad to be there, despite the harshness and the cruelty of this new world. Sheree's vision of her corner of North America after the grid has failed is realistic and frightening and feels so real. Her imagination seems to know no bounds, but she keeps the story grounded in reality so that it doesn't seem like something made up. It's an exciting, enjoyable read that makes you question what you believe and makes you wonder if your own convictions would hold up if you found yourself in the same post-apocalyptic reality.
Martha's Vine kept me turning the page, and when it ended, I immediately began part two, Martha's Mirror. BUY THIS BOOK NOW on Amazon, either in paperback or Kindle!(less)
No. Didn't really like it. Still haven't gotten halfway into it. Sadly, I also bought the next two volumes. Just too slow and convoluted and uninteres...moreNo. Didn't really like it. Still haven't gotten halfway into it. Sadly, I also bought the next two volumes. Just too slow and convoluted and uninteresting. Maybe I'll give it another try sometime, but...
Okay... so... three years later, I gave this novel a second chance, and my opinion of it could not have changed more drastically! Whereas the book began very, very slowly and introduced so many characters that they were difficult to keep track of, after I picked it up again and kept reading, I found a story that was intriguing and fun to follow, and characters who are real and interesting and very well-formed by Jacqueline Carey. I fell in love with many of them and found myself unable to put the book down. I'm nearly finished with it now, and I can't wait to dig in to the next two volumes.
I've become a history nut, especially when it involves Chicago or northern Illinois. I've also loved visiting the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL, for t...moreI've become a history nut, especially when it involves Chicago or northern Illinois. I've also loved visiting the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL, for the past 10 years or so, so this biography about the man who founded the Arboretum on his own property strongly appealed to me. It's a smooth read that's very enjoyable; there are no extensive details to bog it down. Give it a read; it's fun to look back 100 years to see what shaped much of what I know today of where I live.(less)
Despite the heavy use of math as part of the plot, I really got into this one. If you're a math geek, you're sure to love it. Great characterizations...moreDespite the heavy use of math as part of the plot, I really got into this one. If you're a math geek, you're sure to love it. Great characterizations and a lively, nonstop plot keep this one on my recommended list. Read it!(less)
I was mightily pleased by Joe Hill's second effort. As much fun and as creepy as his first novel "Heart-Shaped Box" was, "Horns" is even better. He's...moreI was mightily pleased by Joe Hill's second effort. As much fun and as creepy as his first novel "Heart-Shaped Box" was, "Horns" is even better. He's got his dad Stephen King's twisted sense of the macabre, but with all his own flavor. He has fun with his story and cares about his characters, filling them with life and emotion and reality in some very unreal situations. In "Horns," Hill put an interesting spin on the "deal with the devil" theme that has the reader simultaneously enthralled, disgusted, and sympathetic to our anti-hero Ig Perrish. Some plot points were telegraphed, causing some suspense to be lost, but mostly the twists in plot were unforeseen and moved the story along at a rapid but easy-to-follow pace. All in all, the torch has been passed from father to son. I'm looking forward to more from Joe Hill.(less)
It's a fast-paced story with lots of plot twists and surprises. It all happens so fast that it keeps you guessing while you anticipate the next turn....moreIt's a fast-paced story with lots of plot twists and surprises. It all happens so fast that it keeps you guessing while you anticipate the next turn. Some production issues (copy editing errors), but the book itself is a fun read with dynamic characters that the reader correspondingly loves and hates. There's enough left over to suggest the possibility of a sequel, and I look forward to seeing one soon!(less)
Well. What can I say about Best Served Cold? As much as I HATE this phrase, it is what it is. It's a book about revenge, and it holds few punches. It'...moreWell. What can I say about Best Served Cold? As much as I HATE this phrase, it is what it is. It's a book about revenge, and it holds few punches. It's bloody and raw, but not in an offensive way (I don't think). The visceral images help to keep the sense of the story, let's say. It's not violent for the sake of being violent. The story is about violence, therefore it's going to show some blood (not much real gore, it should be noted).
The main characters are fairly well developed, therefore I really felt like I cared for them (Monza, Shivers, and even Cosca). The feeling that things aren't going to end well for any of them get overwhelming at times, but I'm sure that's what Abercrombie intends. Nothing good comes of seeking revenge, after all, right? My favorite character is Caul Shivers; his story, to me, seems the most tragic since he is caught up in the events more than anyone else is. But that's how life works; life isn't fair, good intentions often go awry, and revenge is definitely not the noblest cause.
Overall, well worth plunking down some change for, in my opinion.(less)
Interesting look at the labor movement in late-1800s Chicago. I've heard some criticize it as being dry, but it's history, not a novel. I think it's v...moreInteresting look at the labor movement in late-1800s Chicago. I've heard some criticize it as being dry, but it's history, not a novel. I think it's very interesting and compelling.
After being distracted by LOTS of other things, I finally got back to this book and finished it. It's a bit dry, I admit, but I found it very interesting. It told the story of the beginnings of the American labor movement straightforwardly and well. I recommend it.(less)
Excellent writing by an author who is new to me. A very unique world and story, but not so alien that it's not classically good fantasy. I especially...moreExcellent writing by an author who is new to me. A very unique world and story, but not so alien that it's not classically good fantasy. I especially like his mechanical inventions (or mekanicals) that run by magic. It's also intriguing how the magic works; sort of a new take on elemental magic, but using bodily fluids/excretions as the base of the power. If I think about it too much, I guess it's a little disgusting, but I have to hand it to Clemens for such a unique take on how magic is manipulated...
Here's the bottom line: I will happily read Clemens' books along with my favorite fantasy authors -- Tolkien, Brooks and Feist. That's the highest praise I can give him.
Now if only the second in the series would come out...(less)
It was definitely engaging and fast-paced. I saw the movie a couple of years ago, but really didn't remember enough of it to compare to the book. I be...moreIt was definitely engaging and fast-paced. I saw the movie a couple of years ago, but really didn't remember enough of it to compare to the book. I bet the book was better; they usually are. Nice character development and plot twists, though I figured most of them out before they happened. Still, very enjoyable. I recommend it.(less)
Not like the movie -- well, maybe a LITTLE like the movie. But it was set in a different time with different politics and different technology. I stil...moreNot like the movie -- well, maybe a LITTLE like the movie. But it was set in a different time with different politics and different technology. I still recommend it. I've never been much of a thriller reader, but I loved the Bourne movies, so I decided to give the books a try. Very good story, with lots of action and some nice twists. I do think Ludlum could do a better job with dialogue, though. Some things the characters say (or even think) just don't feel natural. Yeah, I know. It's just a book. It's not real life. But, as a writer, I know how important it is to make characters as real as possible. That includes realistic dialogue.
Overall review: if you like action and suspense and nice twists, read this book (and the entire trilogy, for that matter).(less)
I'm still in the middle of the SECOND Bourne book. Like "Identity," it's not like the "Supremacy" movie. In fact, its' strikingly different. The setti...moreI'm still in the middle of the SECOND Bourne book. Like "Identity," it's not like the "Supremacy" movie. In fact, its' strikingly different. The setting is in Hong Kong, not India and Europe. Very, very different than the movie, but you know what? About a third of the way into the novel, I like it better than the movie. Better than the first book, too. The story is more interesting and flows more smoothly. To use a VERY over-used cliche, it's a page-turner. If only I hadn't left it in my overhead at work this weekend....(less)