I was skeptical about this book, since I don't typically LOVE post-apocalyptic stories. (They're usually so depressing I feel like I need to listen to...moreI was skeptical about this book, since I don't typically LOVE post-apocalyptic stories. (They're usually so depressing I feel like I need to listen to Disney songs just to keep from leaping off a cliff.)
Predictably, there's a lot of darkness here. There are also people whose heads I don't particularly like getting inside. That being said, as much as I didn't love the people, they felt like... well... people.
For whatever reason, I also like Robertson's prose. It's snappy, with enough detail to keep you in the story, yet it doesn't overpower your imagination along the way. That's hard to pull off.
The one niggle I have with this book is that it leaves a lot unanswered. It's not trying to be existential, either. Literally, a lot of loose threads are left hanging. Now that I've read the second book, I feel much more satisfied with the experience, since it was obviously part of the plan.
This is definitely a series I'll be sticking with through the end. (view spoiler)[ Since Walt is apparently coming back in future installments, hopefully he'll have a chance to redeem himself, and I'll find a way to like him. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Several times while reading Christian Nation, I scoffed and said those exact words. Except, by the end, I was questioning my o...more“It can’t happen here.”
Several times while reading Christian Nation, I scoffed and said those exact words. Except, by the end, I was questioning my own convictions. It can’t happen here. Can it?
In this tale, an alternate reality in which McCain and Palin win the 2008 election, America transforms into a totalitarian theocracy in the span of two decades. In a calculated series of moves—THAT HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN ATTEMPTED, by the way—civil liberties are virtually eradicated and what emerges is an ugly vision of what might have been. (What could still be if we are not vigilant.)
Sadly, Christians will either ignore this book or dismiss it as a hit-piece when it’s nothing of the sort. True Christians will find respectful treatment and will probably be just as disgusted by how completely and perniciously dominionists have hijacked their faith. No rational, patriotic American wants the world described in this book, Christian or otherwise.
You likely won’t find yourself falling in love with the people. They’re not so much drawn as sketched and are only there to tell the tale. (Except Sanjay. I really liked him.) What WILL keep you turning the pages is the alarmingly realistic demise of the American ideal—all the more terrible because a glance at the politics section of your favorite news site will illustrate just how thin a line exists between the fiction Mr. Rich has created and the reality playing out in legislatures around the country.
Horrific and utterly unforgettable. Highly recommended. (less)
This is classic Terry Brooks and I loved every minute of it! I can't wait for the rest of the series, and the good news is that I won't have to.
Some t...moreThis is classic Terry Brooks and I loved every minute of it! I can't wait for the rest of the series, and the good news is that I won't have to.
Some things I loved:
* Female lead - Aphenglow is an interesting character and I really like where she is headed * Nods to Elfstones -Elfstones Of Shannara was one of my favorites and there's a lot in here that reminded me of it * Intrigue - I was guessing at the villain right up until the end
I'm not a hard core fantasy fan, but for whatever reason, I've always enjoyed books by Terry Brooks. While there's definitely elves and wizards and the like, the stories aren't what I would classify as "hard fantasy."
This book is a great setup to a trilogy, with the other two books following at 6 month intervals. While it ends on a cliffhanger, it is still a very satisfying story that did not disappoint.(less)
From the first page to the last, this book reached into my chest, grabbed my heart in a chokehold, and did not let go.
The story is deceptively simple...moreFrom the first page to the last, this book reached into my chest, grabbed my heart in a chokehold, and did not let go.
The story is deceptively simple, but pause for a moment and contemplate the deeper themes and you’ll realize that there’s a surprising complexity here that will leave you pondering after the last word is read. Ethan, for all of his simplicity is rich with nuance and he really makes you think. His innocence initially lends an almost uncomfortable youth to the character—particularly when his more grown-up aspects come into play—but as the story progresses you start to recognize that there’s an elegant sophistication to him that I think we could all aspire to. I loved the way music dipped and weaved through the story, it grabbed hold of me in certain moments and made me think “Yes, I know exactly how that feels,” even if I don’t hear music in the stars or the spaces between passing clouds, I could imagine perfectly what the characters were thinking or feeling. There was one moment where Ethan is tapping his feet to a private tune and Carter asks him what music he’s hearing in his head. Ethan responds simply, “Yours.” Instant waterworks. It was moments like in this story that had the power to leave me stunned and breathless—it’s a rare book that has that kind of power.
It is patently clear to me that Ryan Loveless was writing from the soul with this book, and that’s a rarity that we readers should applaud. That takes an enormous amount of courage. I didn’t just come to know something about these characters, I feel like I had a brief fellowship with their creator. I suspect Ryan is someone I’d admire very much as a human being and could learn a great deal from.
This story was equal parts touching, humorous, intriguing, and heartbreaking—and I loved, loved, loved every second. Ryan Loveless is an author I’m looking forward to getting to know better.
I tend not to like books written in first-person. For some reason, most of the time, this feels too close, and unless I can identify with the narrator...moreI tend not to like books written in first-person. For some reason, most of the time, this feels too close, and unless I can identify with the narrator, I have a hard time enjoying the story. For whatever reason, this was NOT the case for me with The Cool Part of His Pillow. Although my life is very unlike Barry's, I found myself slipping into his skin and very much enjoying my stay.
Rodney Ross has an unparalleled voice. It is unique and fresh. I don't believe I've ever read anything quite like it. The way Barry thinks is both charming and amusing. I loved the absolute absurdity of his observations and his unflinching realness--even irreverence. He became a person--not just a character--by the time I'd turned the last page. That kind of authenticity is difficult for a writer to achieve.
Perhaps what I loved most about this story is its daring. It dares to be unique. You won't find tropes in here, nor the same recycled sex that comes up again and again. Instead, you'll walk away having taken a journey into the life of a singular man with a singular perspective.
Final verdict: M/M as a category is evolving and The Cool Part of His Pillow is the proof. Whether or not it becomes a commercial success is irrelevant in my mind. It succeeds at pushing the envelope and daring to be unique. As a writer myself, I would be proud of such an accomplishment. Delightful and entertaining from the first page to the last. Bravo! (less)
Mind Magic was a surprisingly rich story that hit all the right notes for me. The characters were wonderfully developed. They leapt from the page earl...moreMind Magic was a surprisingly rich story that hit all the right notes for me. The characters were wonderfully developed. They leapt from the page early on, and established themselves as distinct and unforgettable throughout the journey.
Poppy has done a marvelous job of foundation building here, setting up a triumvirate of supernatural societies that are distinct from one another and ripe with dramatic possibility because of their differences. (view spoiler)[I can well imagine how the blending that has occured in Mind Magic sets the stage for a grand and exciting tension in the making. (hide spoiler)] Wonderful!
Perhaps the thing I loved the most was the thread of family that dips and weaves through the text. It is rare to see a story that puts familial felicity on such bold display. It is a theme I know well in my real life, and it touched something at my core. The family interactions were so authentic and familiar, I couldn't help but be enchanted... and grateful. Rare is the story that dares to portray this aspect of same-sex couplings--a cornerstone of my own life--and I loved the heart and sincerity Poppy gave to it.
Mind Magic was an excellent, fast-paced read. I can't wait to see what's in store for Simon, Gray, Garon, Aunt Maggie, and Cormac--characters who have become newfound friends--in books yet to come.
Poppy Dennison has stolen my heart and a spot on my MUST READ author's list. Fanboy squeal!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm going to break rank with other reviews and say that The Wolf Gift was, for me, quintessential Anne Rice. It had just about everything I love and l...moreI'm going to break rank with other reviews and say that The Wolf Gift was, for me, quintessential Anne Rice. It had just about everything I love and loathe about her previous works. Normally I don't like to write pro/con reviews, but it's the most succinct way to do it in this case.
Pros: True to form, Ms. Rice's prose is mostly sublime. I find her author's voice to be one of the most pleasing of authors working today. She has a lovely style that I enjoy very much.
There is a nice thematic dichotomy between Reuben's innocence in his human form and his savagery as a wolf that I found thought-provoking. I really liked the moral dilemma his eradication of evil inspired. Very few books make me ponder big questions and this one did.
When the story is on, it is on. There are some really spectacular segments. Ms. Rice is a fantastic legend-builder, and I love what she's done with the werewolf mythology. It's a fresh take that definitely sets this apart from other such tales.
Cons: Let's get this one right out of the way and move on: The sex bothered me. (view spoiler)[Borderline bestiality aside, I found Laura's absolute indifference to Reuben's wolf form completely unrealistic. (Granted, this is a story about a werewolf, but people can still exhibit realistic behaviors, right?) Just... no. (hide spoiler)]
The plot was very stuttering for me. There is no central conflict. It ended up feeling like a series of rapidly introduced and easily resolved dramas, rather than a comprehensive narrative. Also, pontification. There are segments of endless philosophical rumination--it's the same thing that ultimately turned me off of the Vampire Chronicles. Eventually, it starts to feel like browbeating and really drags back the story.
(view spoiler)[I loathed the way it ended. A major character was just discarded, with no hint as to whether there's any resolution underway. If this was meant as a cliffhanger, it was a poorly executed one--shockingly so. (hide spoiler)]
In the main, I really did enjoy this story. It's a nice return to the supernatural for Anne Rice after her biblical detour in recent years. (I couldn't ever connect with the Jesus novels.) There is sugar with the vinegar to be sure, but it's more good than bad, IMHO. I do hope she has a cycle planned for these characters as I found them intriguing enough to spend more time with. Here's hoping the next one is a little more tightly constructed, though.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Five Star Review was a fun little book, with a great surprise! Ms. Brukz did an excellent job setting the stage for it--and I always get tickled when...moreFive Star Review was a fun little book, with a great surprise! Ms. Brukz did an excellent job setting the stage for it--and I always get tickled when a story catches me off guard the way this one did.
I really liked the way the relationship developed, perhaps because it struck home for me. My partner and I e-courted between Seattle and Arizona, too, so the email and text exchanges made me smile frequently.
This book was one of the more emotionally challenging reads I've ever undertaken. Originally, I only intended to get a sense of the early history of A...moreThis book was one of the more emotionally challenging reads I've ever undertaken. Originally, I only intended to get a sense of the early history of AIDS from a technical perspective as research, but walked away with much more than I bargained for.
The cast of characters is huge, and initially, I had a hard time keeping all the names straight. Eventually, though, I found myself deeply invested in the unfolding crisis each faces.
There is a lot to love about this book, even if the questions and feelings it leaves you with are complex. I found myself shaking my head constantly, horrified by the mindset that allowed AIDS to become what it ultimately became. So much of what went on seems unconscionable--and that applies to every group and player, from the gay men who behaved so recklessly to the politicians who turned a blind eye. This truly is a cautionary tale that lays bare every mistake made along the way. May we learn from the past and never forget the lessons.
This is a long and tragic story. It is not easy to read, and by the time it was finished, the death and horrors felt incredibly heavy. The writing, however, is magnificent, and the storytelling makes you forget it's a work of non-fiction. Rarely technical, it manages to be nonetheless packed to the gills with interesting scientific information.
After reading this book, I am infinitely grateful to have come of age in a world after the demystification of AIDS. I ache for the hundreds of thousands who were less fortunate than me, and pray that those younger than I never become complacent again, nor ignore that the threat is still very real.
This is a truly remarkable book, and one of those rare works that will stay with you long after you've set it aside.(less)
Alive in the Killing Fields was a difficult book to read. As someone peripherally aware of the Cambodian genocide, it was always just statistics and d...moreAlive in the Killing Fields was a difficult book to read. As someone peripherally aware of the Cambodian genocide, it was always just statistics and death tolls to me until I read this book.
Mr. Keat certainly wasn't a poet. His prose is stark and sometimes elementary. Note that this is not a criticism. His spartan retelling of his experiences at the hands of the Khmer Rouge illustrates the bleakness and despair of what he went through in a way a more eloquent text might not have captured.
There are books that inspire you, books that teach you something, but every now and then, a book comes along that haunts you and leaves you changed forever. For me, this was a read of the unforgettable, transformative variety. After turning the last page, I find myself lingering on the little comforts of my life, reminding my loved ones how much they mean to me, and being grateful for countless joys I once took for granted.
If you're looking for a light-hearted, feel-good story, look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you're anxious for something deeper; a story that will grab onto your heart, rip it out, and stomp it on the floor, this book will do nicely. Your perspective (and maybe your carpet) will never be the same.(less)
Ah, this book brings back memories... It takes place the year before I graduated high school, and Mr. Reed perfectly captures the spirit of the times....moreAh, this book brings back memories... It takes place the year before I graduated high school, and Mr. Reed perfectly captures the spirit of the times. With prose that is sometimes blissful, sometimes raw and unrestrained, he takes you right along through a tale that is as joyful as it is heartbreaking.
Beautifully done, just the right amount of angst, with exactly the ending I was hoping for. Although there was a nailbiting minute when I thought I was going to have to kick Dan in the shins, he pulled it out.
Highly entertaining. Particularly loved the fraught interplay between the characters--there was a great deal of tension that was, IMO, handled really,...moreHighly entertaining. Particularly loved the fraught interplay between the characters--there was a great deal of tension that was, IMO, handled really, really well. I've come to love Kate's graceful, spare style. This story has a supernatural twist which doesn't overwhelm, but adds spice to an interesting mystery.