I'm going to be honest; I think I'm being very generous, giving this book a 2 star rating. I'm not suprirsed that a large portion of the ratings thatI'm going to be honest; I think I'm being very generous, giving this book a 2 star rating. I'm not suprirsed that a large portion of the ratings that I've seen for this book have been 2 stars or lower. The premise was promising, as goofy as it may sound to some: 21st century girl who loves Jane Austen wakes up in Regency England, and in the body of another woman. This could have been a fun and hysterical novel, but the humor fell flat most of the time, and the heroine (we know her as Courtney, but in the Regency world she's "Miss Jane Mansfield") was downright annoying.
The novel begins with Courtney waking up in Jane's body. I have to say, I was disppointed right from the start, because I had no sense as to who Courtney was or why she was in this situation. I'm guessing that was the author's point, to have us all as confused as she is, but at the same time it didn't help me relate or sympathize with Courtney because I didn't know Courtney! But oh, if that could have been the only bad thing...
For a supposed Jane Austen addict, Courtney sure seems ignorant about Regency England. Not everyone is a history scholar, I understand that, and loving historical novels doesn't necessarily mean a person will know everything about that historical period...but come on, is it really *that* surprising that there's no such thing as indoor plumbing in 1814? While I admit there would be obvious creature comforts that I would dreadfully miss if I were sucked back into the past, but Courtney spends so much time fussing and complaining about these things that you just want to smack her to get her to shut up! I'm guessing this was meant to be funny, but the joke gets old after the 5th complaint out what feels like 500.
But even that is nothing compared to Courtney's behavior as a Regency gentlewoman. As I said, for a woman who claims to have read "Pride and Prejudice" at least a dozen times, you would think she has at least a "slight" understanding of what is understood as "proper behavior" for a Regency era lady. Hello!?! Lydia Bennett was nearly ruined because she "ran away" with Wickham; so with that in mind, wouldn't you assume that a person who is so knowledgable in Jane Austen's writing would put two and two together and realize that a woman, alone with a man, even if "nothing" happens, would be at risk of being cast off and shunned from family and society for the rest of her life? Unfair, yes, but that was the sad realism of the period! Anyone who reads Jane Austen *that* much would know this! So when Courtney decides to let some rakehell kiss and feel her up because she's feeling sexually frustrated with the world, and then acts all surprised and hurt that people may think little of her because she was "alone" with a man...I wanted to scream and shake her silly.
But the biggest, most cringe-worthy moment is when Courtney meets *the* Jane Austen on a street in London...and then digs herself into a deep, dark hole, telling Jane about how her books will one day become movies (which of course Jane knows nothing about) and proceeds to explain what movies are, and then proceeds to tell Jane that her heroes should be handsome men, like the actors who play them, and that she should write more kissing scenes because that's what people want to see. I felt just like Jane Austen did in that moment...who is this mad woman and will someone please shut her up?!? I only wish Jane had slapped her.
Despite all this, the reason I'm giving this book anything higher than a single star rating is the "realization" (which seems miraculous when compared to everything that's happened) that Courtney has at the end, that her actions and behavior affect others, including the woman whose body she's residing in...DUH! Many people have complained about the ending; ironically I was ok with it. While the author doesn't bluntly state that Courtney returns to her own time, enough is implied, I think, that she does...and that she returns to the man we all knew early on she was supposed to be with because she kept complaining about him the same way Elizabeth Bennett complained about Darcy early on. The ending makes even more sense, now that I understand there is a "sequel", that tells the story of Jane residing in Courtney's body in the 21st century.
I'm so glad I got this book in the form of an audiobook, verses an actual print book. As much as it grated my nerves, listening to it in my car was a lot easier than attempting to sit and read it, I think. I'm also glad I got this from my library instead of purchasing it at a bookstore like I once thought about doing, when I saw it on a shelf several years ago. The sad thing is, I was most excited about finishing this book because I wanted to write a review, not because I was enjoying it. If my library ever gets an audio copy of the sequel, I *may* (I'm surprised to find myself saying this) check it out and see if it's any better. I have a feeling it won't be...but like Catherine Moreland, I can be a glutton for mediocre literature....more
Gosh, where does one begin? I picked this book up because I thought the cover was beautiful and when I read the premise, I found it intriguing. In somGosh, where does one begin? I picked this book up because I thought the cover was beautiful and when I read the premise, I found it intriguing. In some ways it's amazing we haven't had more "werewolf-themed" novels in young adult literature, and that so many years after the paranormal romance boom took off with "Twilight", a popular werewolf romance has only come about. I hate to compare "Shiver" with "Twilight", it's not exactly fair to either novel, but people do that constantly; if it's fantasy based, it's compared to "Harry Potter" and if it deals with paranormal elements, it's compared to "Twilight"; I guess that's the price one pays for being big and starting a craze, no matter what genre you're involved with. Anyway, I digress; as I said, I picked "Shiver" up because I was intrigued by the premise, but I was smart and decided to check it out of my local library vs. buying a copy on impulse. I remember being wait-listed for this book all summer, and it wasn't until mid August that I finally got a hold of it. I was excited, I thought it was going to be one of those books where once you started, you couldn't put it down and I would finish it in a matter of days. Plus, the book had been nominated by Illinois high school students for the "Lincoln Award" (Illinois School Library Association's state honor for young adult literature). So with all these assumptions, I settled down, prepared to love this book and want to go out and buy it plus all the sequels, upon finishing it.
Well, I was wrong. It took me several weeks to finish it, and that was due to my will power forcing me. I did not love this book; I don't think I would say I hated it, but I certainly will not be adding it to my collection. I'm very thankful I didn't waste money on it and just checked it out of my library. The sad thing is I was more happy with myself for coming through and finishing the darn thing than for the actual experience of reading it. I'm glad in a way that I did force myself to finish it, because in my opinion, the book's better parts were near the end. But that's the main problem, the beginning and massive chuck of the middle are just...boring.
Ok, I'll first mention the good things about this book (sadly that list is shorter). The "side characters" I found very interesting; Isabel, Olivia, Beck, even Jack, the newly crazed werewolf. Even the evil Shelby, heck, even Grace's parents! I wanted to know more about them than about our main couple. Perhaps Stiefvater's following novels "Linger" and "Forever" provide some backstory into Sam's history and the history of the Mercy Falls wolf pack; I hope so because it was driving me crazy, not having any of that information. The action, once it finally came along, was good; Shelby attempting to kill Grace, Sam's fight with Jack, Jack "kidnapping" Grace, the whole scene at the clinic...those were good scenes! But it took far too long to get to them, and I was bored most of the time. The last "good thing" I think I can say about the book is that I do applaud Stiefvater's creativity with having the wolves change due to cold weather, vs. the phases of the moon. I hadn't read anything like that before, so it struck me as original. And I will give her credit for her detailed descriptions on the wolves themselves. However, I wish I could have had more of that detail when the people actually transformed into wolves; while one could argue it's left for the imagination, it came across to me as not having a clue as to how to write such a description.
Now onto the bad things, which I've already started touching on. The big one: GRACE AND SAM. I'm sorry, I could not 100% get behind this couple. I grew to tolerate Grace's character more as the book went along, but I can't say I ever really liked her. I don't know if I would criticize her as much as other people have, but she is somewhat self-centered; it drove me crazy when she had that "fight" with Olivia, and didn't even pause to think why Olivia may be upset with her, just assumed it was all Olivia's fault. And when Olivia does offer an apology, Grace contemplates being petty and refusing! First of all, I don't think Olivia really had anything to apologize for, because what she said is true: Grace is dangerously obsessed with the wolves, to the point where she needs some serious counseling. Sam...I don't really understand how he's meant to be a hunky dreamboat. Other than the fact that he has yellow eyes and dark hair...I never really understood what he looked like. Was he tall? Medium height? Musclar? Lean and slender? Was his voice deep? Other than his eyes, there's very little description to Sam's looks, so I had a hard time envisioning this boy that Grace was madly in love with. Plus, how old is he? 17? 18? 21? I was so confused with his character. It didn't help the fact that Sam was..."too sensitive". Yes, many girls and women talk about an ideal man being caring and sensitive, but at the same time they don't want him to lose his masculinity. This is a complaint I've read over and over on this site: Sam is too feminine...and I'm sorry to say, I agree. Hate to make the comparison, but Edward Cullen from "Twilight" is sensitive, but still masculine. I would think Sam would be even more masculine, being so in touch with his wolf-side. But I had a hard time envisioning a young man saying or thinking some of things he says and thinks (talking about how fat he looks in Grace's bathrobe, for example). And the song lyrics! YUCK!!! Grace makes a comment at the end of the book that she's finally starting to get poetry because of Sam. If that's true, then I feel very sorry for her. Every time Sam began spouting off song lyrics I wanted to gag; forget the over-sentimentality...they were just plain bad!
"Shiver's" biggest problem is its pacing. I'm sorry, but it's a boring book. The action takes place far too late, and the romance starts far too early. The characters are together as a couple, deeply in love, before you get to page 100, and there are 390 pages total. With so little conflict or action, you're just along for the ride, "the third wheel", condemned to witness these characters snuggle in bed, talk and fantasize about being wolves, and listen to Grace whine about her parents while Sam creates mind-numbing song lyrics. I put this book down so many times to do something else, and there were several days in a row where I didn't pick it up at all. I was extremely tempted to just turn it back in without finishing it, but then *finally*, something "good" happened (I think it had to do with Shelby attacking Grace) that I chose to stick with it, and finally found the action I was looking for, and no longer forced to endure another mindless day of the Sam n' Grace soap opera, because Isabel and Olivia were enduring it alongside me.
Yes, there will be many people out there who will love this book. They will love the endless pages of just Sam and Grace together, they will love the sensitive song lyrics, and they will probably tear up when they think all hope is lost between the two. Maybe if I were a preteen I would think differently; but the truth is there are much better Young Adult books out there, and there are much better Young Adult books that deal with romance and the paranormal. So if you want to read it, do so; but don't compare the entire genre to this one book. And save your money; borrow a friend's copy, or check it out from the library....more
Book 2 of the Twilight Saga, or as I otherwise call, “The Strange Potential Romance Between a Werewolf and a Girl Who Needs Some Serious Emotional TheBook 2 of the Twilight Saga, or as I otherwise call, “The Strange Potential Romance Between a Werewolf and a Girl Who Needs Some Serious Emotional Therapy”. Right from the get go, trouble occurs.
***SPOILERS*** (oh where does one begin?)
Bella cuts herself at her birthday party and Jasper (still new to not eating people) attacks her. Edward (who has always felt that Bella is unsafe around him) takes a drastic turn and breaks up with her, causing the whole family to move away. Thus begins Bella’s **psychotic** obsession. (And I emphasize that word whole-heartedly).
Before the accident, Bella was obsessing over being turned into a vampire (apparently being a whole “human year” older than Edward freaks her out). Now she locks herself up and loses herself in a deep, scary depression, one that causes her to wake up in the middle of the night screaming. (Get this girl to a counselor ASP!) Enter Jacob Black who we briefly met in the first book and who will go on to play a huge role from here on out. Jacob helps Bella slowly climb out of her depression and things look to be on the mend, however Jacob is secretly in love with Bella, whereas Bella is still in love with Edward, and has discovered that “reckless behavior” will bring her visions of Edward. (Get this girl checked into a mental facility already!) This cumulates to Bella jumping off a cliff into the ocean and nearly getting herself killed. Bella also learns that Jacob is a werewolf, one of many from the reservation. Bella gets a little holier than thou, seeing Jacob and the wolves as “killers” (and vampires are just fluffy bunnies?) Alice has a vision that Bella jumped and fears she committed suicide. Edward believes this too and goes to Italy to face the high vampire council, The Voltori, who has the power to kill him if he wishes. Bella and Alice race against time to save Edward, while Jacob stays behind, heartbroken.
This particular book took me a long time to finish; I put it down a few times, feeling so frustrated with Bella and her UNHEALTHY obsessive behavior (is there a healthy kind of obsessive? Doubt it.) I began to see why there was a “Team Jacob” and I won’t deny that during this book, I was rooting for him! I keep reminding myself that I’m reading this story from the eyes of a girl in her late 20’s/early 30’s who has gone through adolescence and has survived heartbreak…but I do remember how “end of the world” it seemed when it happened. Even so, Bella’s behavior is not one to be idolized by young girls, and I didn’t feel she got a stern enough “talking to” when the whole thing ended. Once again, Alice proves that she’s one of the best things about the whole series...I'm for Team Alice!...more