I loved Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series and was looking forward to reading more of her work. I was certainly not disappointed with this first book oI loved Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series and was looking forward to reading more of her work. I was certainly not disappointed with this first book of the Ephemera duology.
I loved so many things about this book, my favorite being the world of Ephemera. Anne Bishop has done such an amazing job of bringing to life the magic of the world itself, Ephemera is created by the feelings and beliefs of the residents, and crossing a bridge will take you to the landscape that reflects the person you truly are inside. In order to stop the darkness of human feelings from overwhelming the world, landscapers shape the magic of Ephemera into building different types of landscapes, interweaving the light and the darkness into cities and farmland and everything in between. The conflict begins when "The Eater of the World" escapes from where its been confined for centuries and begins trying to influence the minds of everyone toward the darkness, tipping the balance and changing the face of Ephemera. Only one landscaper is powerful enough to stop this from happening, Belladonna, the cousin of Sebastian. Sebastian is a half wizard half incubus who has struggled to find a place where he belongs, that reflect those two very different sides of his nature. Along the way, he meets Lynnea, who is also searching for a place she can feel safe. The romance between them is not overdone, however, I didn't connect with them as much as I would have liked. Belladonna is a much more interesting character, escaped from being walled into her garden by the wizards at the landscapers school, Gloriana Belladonna learns what it means to be who she is. The Den of Iniquity has a variety of fascinating characters, from the bulldemons to the demoncycles, to the pub owner who's specials include Stuffed Tits and Phallic Delights. What keeps me from rating this a 5 star is that I didn't connect with the characters as much as I would have liked. However, I still truly enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading the next....more
I really enjoyed the audio Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez from Audible.com. Quincy Tyler Bernstine did such an amazing job narrating this and capturingI really enjoyed the audio Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez from Audible.com. Quincy Tyler Bernstine did such an amazing job narrating this and capturing and expressing the varying emotions of the characters. Quincy was really able to effectively present each character in a way that was relatable and gave me, as a reader, a real feel for that time period.
I thought Wench was an amazing debut novel. It tells the story of Tawana House, an American resort located in Ohio just before the Civil War. Tawana House was frequented by quite a few southern plantation owners who brought their slave mistresses with them which caused quite a bit of gossip for the northerners. Wench mainly focuses on the story of 4 particular women who are brought to Tawana House by their owners. Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet, who have visited several times, are introduced to Mawu, whose unpredictable behavior and blunt honesty help the others to face some truths and begin to feel things they have never allowed themselves to feel. Most of all, hope.
One of the things that fascinated me the most was that Tawawa House actually existed. I guess that shouldn’t be so surprising, but I can see how learning about this place could inspire someone as talented as this author to tell its story. And I felt that Dolen Perkins-Valdez told it brilliantly. Even presenting such a painful subject as slavery and all the horrors that accompany it, while at times it was uncomfortable to read about, the characters were so engaging that I wanted to know their stories, however painful they may be. I was intrigued by the concept that, although these women were forced into a carnal relationship with their “owners” and even to have their children, some of the women considered themselves to be in love. The dynamic between all involved was as fascinating as it was disturbing. I was definitely presented with perspectives I had never before considered.
Overall, this was a beautifully written honest look at a painful period in history, but also a story about friendship, hope, and family. While Wench is in no way a fast paced novel, it is still a page-turner. What Dolen Perkins-Valdez does so well is present the complexities of those relationships between slave-owner-friends-family. All the shades of gray as well as what is inherently right and wrong in these situations are explored as well as how each individual character felt and reacted. I found it to be thought provoking and emotional, yet altogether satisfying. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys southern historical fiction....more
This was a great audio to listen to. The narrator, Sarah Drew was wonderfully expressive and really evoked the emotional turmoil that the MC, Sam wasThis was a great audio to listen to. The narrator, Sarah Drew was wonderfully expressive and really evoked the emotional turmoil that the MC, Sam was feeling throughout. It didn t seem like 12 hours, I was so engaged in the story that I didn t want it to end. Sarah Drew did an amazing job with the narration of this, really making me feel as if I were hearing Sam tell the story.Before I Fall is a story about love, loss, hope, friendship, and forgiveness. Sam, killed in a car crash after a party one night, finds that she is living that same day over and over again. What I interpreted that she was doing was going through the 5 stages of grief with each day. At first, she couldn t believe it and pretended it wasn t true, that she must have been dreaming. But as she comes to realize that it wasn t a dream, she is then forced to really take a look at her life and who she is.I didn t like Sam at the beginning but I don t think I was meant to. I was fascinated by her and her friends though, the same way I m fascinated with the characters on Gossip Girl. She and her group of friends are shallow, immature little twits at first glance but as the story progresses, I was able to see them a little differently. It was a really interesting and realistic look inside a clique of mean girls and some of the reasons why they act the way they do, without in any was excusing it or justifying it.I loved watching the way Sam grew throughout the story, really coming to realize the truths about herself, her friends, and her life. She also took a long hard look at the boy she thought she loved, and ended up finding the boy who had been there all along but she hadn t bothered to notice. It was a beautifully written touching story about what things are really important and what we want to be remembered for.The only things I have to say about Before I Fall is that I would have liked to have seen a little more focus on Sam s relationship with her family, it was odd how little they seemed to matter in the story, other than a few minutes with her sister. Also, some of the almost poetic phrasing didn t really fit my idea of how a teenager like Sam would think. Other than that, this was a wonderful story that I would highly recommend to anyone who, like me, prefers a flawed main character and has a box of tissue close by....more
I didn't like this sequel as much as I enjoyed the first. It was still an entertaining read though and I'll definitely read the next when it is releasI didn't like this sequel as much as I enjoyed the first. It was still an entertaining read though and I'll definitely read the next when it is released....more
I loved this book. It was such a unique story, I haven t read anything quite like this before. [return][return]Nick and Allie are killed instantly inI loved this book. It was such a unique story, I haven t read anything quite like this before. [return][return]Nick and Allie are killed instantly in a car crash and while heading down that tunnel toward the light, something happens and they find themselves waking up 9 months later in a beautiful lush forest near where the crash happened. It takes them a while to realize what must have happened, and discover they are not alone in this forest. There is a strange boy who has forgotten his name who they rechristen Leaf. Leaf has apparently been in this forest for many many years alone but has odd tales of other children who pass through from time to time and a monster named the McGill. As they set out to get some of their questions answered and to explore the world they now find themselves a part of, they discover that while only children populate this strange afterlife, there are still some very real dangers, even to those who can t die. [return][return]I thoroughly enjoyed following the adventures of Nick and Allie as they explored Everlost, meeting many unusual and memorable characters along the way. This book was so entertaining and engaging that I read the entire thing in one night. I was up pretty late but couldn t put it down until I got to the end, and while it didn t exactly end on a cliffhanger, I am certainly glad I have the next book in the series so that I can continue enjoying their adventures. I found it so easy to lose myself in this world. No flowery prose or overly wordy descriptions, just a straightforward, quickly moving plot with plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing. There are so many things and places to discover in Everlost and Neal Shusterman does an amazing job of showing this world in a way that kept me engaged in the story at the same time. [return][return]Rating 5 I loved it and cannot wait to jump right into the next!...more
I hate when a book immediately grabs my interest with an intriguing plot and likable characters and then fails to deliver. This is exactly the problemI hate when a book immediately grabs my interest with an intriguing plot and likable characters and then fails to deliver. This is exactly the problem I had with Need.
First, I listened to this on audio, and while the narrator successfully mimicked the Maine accents, when it came to the MC, Zara, the voice used for her was sometimes a southern accent and sometimes no accent at all. This is a small thing, true, but very noticeable when listening. Other than that, I think that the narration was fine.
I enjoyed many of the characters on the surface, Zara, her grandmother, friends, and boyfriend. They were all extremely likable, but they never got much deeper than that surface likability, other than Zara. Zara enjoys reciting phobias to calm herself, this was a mildly interesting aspect to her personality and the various phobias she named were sometimes pretty amusing. The pixie king was a very weak villain, I didn't believe it. And while I can understand that he was meant to be more of a "not all bad" type of villain, it didn't come across in any real believable way. The romance between Zara and Nick was just kind of "meh" for me. I didn't care. The best part of the novel for me was Zara's grandmother, a feisty woman with plenty of wit. I would have liked to have read a lot more about her.
The problems I had with Need was that the plot was never really developed, it was very thin and the way plot was resolved was absolutely absurd. Even within a fantasy, I need to feel a measure of believability, and this was also missing for me. I finished the book and was left feeling quite underwhelmed and a bit disappointed....more