Quick read, but note quick or easy subject matter. Rob Bell has a way of getting into scripture and illuminating a "new" perspective. Not new in revol...moreQuick read, but note quick or easy subject matter. Rob Bell has a way of getting into scripture and illuminating a "new" perspective. Not new in revolutionary, usually, but a new POV -- fresh, relevant, and challenging.
In "Sex God", Rob Bell says that sex is more than a physical act -- it is the ultimate, intimate love connection. And all of the human race craves to know and be known... to love and be loved, just as we are. I'm still absorbing the words... and I'll likely go back and read it again. In fact, I'm purchasing the book, so that I can return to it and re-read and re-absorb several parts.
Read the book and find out for yourself what Sex God means. Challenge yourself! (less)
Not your typical Dorothy Martin mystery... much more philosophical, which amused me. I enjoyed the clash of faith/religion as much as the description...moreNot your typical Dorothy Martin mystery... much more philosophical, which amused me. I enjoyed the clash of faith/religion as much as the description of the beautiful island of Iona, off Scotland.
The "victim" isn't that likeable -- not when he's alive and certainly not after we learn more about him after he's dead. There seems to be a lead suspect... or is there? Was Bob murdered or did he simply slip?(less)
It's tough for me to review this book, because it's so not my usual read. But it's good to get outside one's comfort zone from time to time. I'm not a...moreIt's tough for me to review this book, because it's so not my usual read. But it's good to get outside one's comfort zone from time to time. I'm not a Stephenie Meyer fan - I never read the Twilight series. (Gasp! I know...) But my best friend has been bugging me to read this book for over a year now, and when she put it up as the group book read, I finally gave in.
It took me quite awhile to get into this book, because it was all so foreign to me. My logical mind wanted to ask tons of questions: How did the aliens get to Earth? When did all this start? How did humans react to being "invaded" by the aliens. What is the motivation of the aliens - why are they taking on human hosts? And more...
My logical mind wanted answers. I wanted to understand the time frame, the events, what the state of the world was like when the book opens - even from the alien point of view. The author isn't forthcoming about answering such questions; she pushes forward with her story, concentrating on the alien Wanderer and her new human host Melanie. I wanted to know more about the resistance... I wanted to know what Seekers were... what the distinctions between alien callings really was. How did all of this work? My brain stubbornly held on to trying to make sense of it all as I read.
But this isn't a book of logic - not as we know it. It isn't a book of sense. It's the story of Wanderer and Melanie, and a group of rebel humans who've managed to stay hidden and avoid becoming hosts. It's about prejudice and perception. It's about what makes one "human" - is it biological? Emotional? Social? Words? Actions?
And it's all wrapped up in relationships: the host Melanie's relationships with her brother Jamie, her lover Jared, her uncle Jeb, her aunt Maggie, her cousin Sharon, and by extension the rebels. It's about how they react to Wanderer, whom Jeb starts calling Wanda. Is Wanderer/Wanda an "it" or a "her"? Because to assign the "her" pronoun makes Wanda more tangible - not just an invader, an individual.
The individual versus society (the group) is another big theme. What gives one group the right to decide what happens to another? And if you start to look at the individuals within the group, what happens to your ideas about the group as a whole? Because the aliens are kind, gentle, loving to one another does that give them the right to invade and take over human hosts, essentially erasing the human's mind and control? Does it give humans the right to destroy the aliens to take back their humanity?
There's a lot of complexity wrapped up in this book that seems deceptively simple. But as one continues to read, the reader realizes along with the characters that nothing is as simple as it seems.
My biggest beef with the book when I finished reading it is that it's supposed to be an adult book, not a YA book. To me, "adult" doesn't have to mean explicit sex or language or violence; but I would have appreciated more than just kisses and hugs... there's a lot implied, and yet nothing stated. I understand authors who chose to keep their books rated PG, and I've nothing against that. But I find it tough to label this book as anything other YA. (Again, not a bad thing, just a distinction - maybe one that doesn't really matter.) Personally, I would have liked to know that Jared and Melanie truly been lovers before all of this happened - not just that Melanie implies it or flashes ambiguous memories and images to Wanda. Why? Because it's reality; and reality is neither amoral nor moral, it just is. Since the author implies so much, it's not much of a stretch to just state what everyone knows, even if there are no real "sex scenes" to speak of. OK, small soap box issue that belongs to me alone.
Perhaps my only other "nit" is the neatly wrapped ending... but I can't say that I'm sorry for it. I was shedding buckets of tears, so I had to stop and cry, then read. Stop and cry, then read.
In retrospect, it's quite a remarkable book, once you get past the "strangeness" and "futuristic-ness" of it all. And I'm amazed to say that!(less)
What a book! I want to rate it lower, just because it tortured me. But I can't do that, in all fairness. There was so much tragedy, such darkness... a...moreWhat a book! I want to rate it lower, just because it tortured me. But I can't do that, in all fairness. There was so much tragedy, such darkness... and then such wonderful, beautiful moments in this book!
I wondered why the author took so many years to write the 2nd book? Did she intend to end with the 1st book and leave their story there... then get besieged by fans to give them the next part of the story?
The back-and-forth in both times and points-of-view was sometimes jarring. Sometimes it felt out of place. I wasn't quite sure what all of it had to do with the present story. Was it pieces of the back story that the author had from writing the 1st book and she wanted to throw in here? Sometimes, it added to the characters and understanding them; sometimes it just seemed random.
I wasn't sure I could endure this book... it's not for the faint-at-heart, certainly! The descriptions of war and torture... The teasing of whether Tatiana will believe that Alexander is really dead and move on with her life... (less)
I wasn't keen on the back-and-forth between Sarah's story and Gabriel's story. It felt like I just got into Sarah's story - understood what...more3-3.5 stars
I wasn't keen on the back-and-forth between Sarah's story and Gabriel's story. It felt like I just got into Sarah's story - understood what was going on amongst all the archaelogist and sociologist jargon and geographic references, and BOOM - suddenly, I'm in Gabriel's story. The first switch was the most jarring, since there was no transition and no explanation; it's entirely up to the reader to the reader to figure out the connection between the two stories.
The author certainly has a message: don't try to play God with Nature. The more we mess up our world and try to "fix it" with engineered things (whether machines or manipulating natural things), the more we screw it up. The dilemma of whether or not Sarah and Daniel prevented a disaster or added to it is mostly up to the reader to decide at the end.
I realize the back-and-forth stories is a recognized literary device, and it certainly has it's place. But overall, that device agitates and irritates me; and in this case, especially so. I applaud the author's convictions and her message, and she spins an exciting, adventurous tale. But... there's so much that the author assumes the reader either understands or picks up along the way. And, unfortunately, some of those assumptions make the book dry. While the author goes into great detail explaining geological discoveries (like the cave of the tomb), most of it simply passed over my head. And much of the Ethiopian country, countrymen, and especially the monks just did, too. Not sure why - perhaps I just wasn't interested enough to follow along?
And when things started to come together, I found myself having to back-track to re-read those very parts that I didn't quite piece together the first time. And I wasn't always successful, even on the 2nd read.
But it's a good first book, and I hope that the author continues to write and publish.(less)
Enjoyed this novella about Zsadist, Bella, and Nalla. It stayed true to each of the characters, and introduced us to more about the vampire nuclear fa...moreEnjoyed this novella about Zsadist, Bella, and Nalla. It stayed true to each of the characters, and introduced us to more about the vampire nuclear family.
For the first time, I thought Mary served a real purpose. And she didn't annoy me.
I'm still absorbing this book. It certainly surprised me! Not sure if Special Agent Pendergast's stories are over or not - hoping...more4 stars - I think....
I'm still absorbing this book. It certainly surprised me! Not sure if Special Agent Pendergast's stories are over or not - hoping not! This book certainly left a lot of possible openings for new books or spinoffs on main characters.(less)
Love is not temporary. It endures everything even if it changes form. Even when it must be put away to handle harsher things, it's always there, ready to be called.
HOLY COW! I rarely give out 5-star ratings, but this book... it definitely deserves 5 stars, IMO. I'm still recovering from finishing it. I must've gone through a box of tissues, and I'm still a wreck!
This 4th book in the Nature of Desire series is the continuation of Travis' and Marguerite's story from book 3, Ice Queen. It picks off from the instant that book stopped, which is great, because I had to know exactly what happened next. And how in the world this book could even have a story, based on that last book's ending.
When I mark the shelves as "angel", "demon", and "monsters", I'm not talking about the paranormal kind. I'm talking about good and evil, love and abuse, sacrifice and longing, healing and killing... We learn so much more about Marguerite's life and what really happened between the ages of 7 and 14. We also learn more about Travis' demons and what drives his nightmares.
This story is so terrible and so wonderful, it's impossible to put down and yet, at times, you just have to walk away. To catch your breath again. I can forgive the author for providing us with some "tidying" before the book ends, because like Marguerite and Travis, we the reader NEED some good and beauty to continue.
The scars aren't soul deep. They only become soul deep if you turn your back on someone who loves you, who's willing to guard your dreams, keep the nightmares at bay.
In the midst of all of this turmoil and turbulence, there's still hope, love, and faith. And it's interesting to me how those elements are expressed, such as this thought:
He told me, "The cross is supposed to bear pain and sorrow, betrayal and anger, so that it may help you forgive yourself.
And while there's so much wisdom that I don't know, I know that evil doesn't happen for a cosmic reason, a 'balance of good' bullsh*t. Evil happens because it can, because circumstances allow it to take place. And you build your own sanctuary against it to keep yourself sane, to keep yourself fighting it.
Lest you be concerned that this is a Bible story in disguise, fear not. There are plenty of references to Zen and The Goddess and gods in that same philosophical/faith/spirituality vein. And IMO, they're all necessary to help us to get through this story... to feel the pain and the pleasure... to find the hope and strength to continue until the end of the story. Because it's really rough in places.
And yet, where you find struggle, there is also beauty. And love. This book is the ultimate love story, filled with sacrifice and redemption and learning how to come out of the darkness into the light. And I was pleased that so many of the previous characters that we've come to know in these books make appearances, including Josh and Lauren from book 1.
AMAZING! Now off to read something light and fluffy to counterbalance the toll this book took on me! (less)
Still every bit as devastating as when I read this book a few years ago, when it had just come out.... Mr. Zusak carefully weaves his story, helping u...moreStill every bit as devastating as when I read this book a few years ago, when it had just come out.... Mr. Zusak carefully weaves his story, helping us to fully empathize Liesel and her life to this point. We feel her pain and her fear as she struggles to accept that her life has just improved. We feel her frustration when she wants to read but stubbornly tries to pretend as if she already can.
Her fascination with books is visceral - it calls to those of us who also love books and are fascinated with them. Since I mostly read e-books now, re-reading these passages as she describes the smell and feel of the books... wow.
As always, I wish I could change the story's ending... but alas. That's part of what makes this book so powerful. It's a great way to help young adults (12+) to feel and understand the events of World War II and why it's so important for us to not forget, but to always remember, the inhumanity that man is capable of against his fellow man.(less)
Weirdly addicting... quirky and mesmerizing, this book takes you on an trip thru Alice's Looking Glass - almost literally!
Holly is a 28 year old English teacher who was just discovered her boyfriend cheating on her. It's time for her 10th High School Reunion, and she decides she needs a change, so she goes. Holly brings her trusty Kindle with her (Amazon ought to love that!); she's an avid fan of erotica, paranormal romance, historical fiction, the classics - you name it. Holly's uncertain about her 10 year reunion, because she never quite got closure with Max - the boy who stood her up senior year.
After the reunion, Holly and her e-reader end up at her friend Vivica's house. Viv is some sort of New Age/wiccan... something. In a drunken stupor, Viv does some sort of "ritual" over Holly's Kindle. And suddenly, when Holly's reading her Kindle, she's not just reading.... she's IN the story!
One of Holly's favorite stories is His Golden Shackles, a sort of Twilight goes 50 Shades of BDSM-lite with a dash of wizardry from Harry Potter. The hero, Christoph, is a sorcerer who looks like Robert Pattinson and acts like Christian Grey. When Holly finds herself BEING Annabelle Stone, she can't resist. She throws herself into that and many more of her favorite stories, even changing characters to get different points-of-view.
When Holly comes up for air (several days later), she phones Vivica in a panic. Viv tells her to bring over the Kindle and promptly confiscates it, "for Holly's own good". Later that day, Holly learns that Viv's become addicted to her Kindle. And then Viv runs off with the darned thing, leaving Holly to deal with Viv's housemate, yep - Max - to get it back. But Max isn't quite Max... and Holly needs to figure out how to get them all out of this Kindle mess once and for all. ============== It's a cute book - it certainly sucks you in! But this book changes personalities like quick-silver. It's tough to pin down. Until towards the end, when we discover a moral to this entire tale. Who knew?
"Have you ever thought about your responsibility as reader of the story?...The words on the page are nothing but ink. Lines and curves and dots organized in a most peculiar fashion. It's not until you read them that they become something more.
I'd say more, but then I'd certainly spoil the book for someone else.
So why did I only give it a 3-star rating? Because there's so much crazy chaos and so much insanity in the book... it's tough to read at times, because it's over-the-top ridiculous. And yet, it's fun and funny. And then it tries to become something else altogether... and ends up being a bit philosophical. As a reader, I felt "rode hard and hung out to dry". Seems like there should have been a more straight line from A to Z.
But if you're in the mood for something that'll blow your mind and then bring you down to Earth again, this book might just be it.(less)