Great book for anyone who loves birds, not just parrots. Alex was a bird genius who taught the world that there is so much more to animals than meetsGreat book for anyone who loves birds, not just parrots. Alex was a bird genius who taught the world that there is so much more to animals than meets the eye. Here was a feathery critter who knew shapes, colors, the concept of 'zero' and even how to add. oh, yes, and what it meant to say "I love you." As a pet bird owner myself, I see how intelligent these animals are, and it is touching to realize on a deeper level that those little moments we share aren't just in my head. This book was a quick read, but a fascinating one....more
This novel wasn't what I expected--but I say that in only a good way. Compared to Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, WHALITC seems tame. That is, uThis novel wasn't what I expected--but I say that in only a good way. Compared to Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, WHALITC seems tame. That is, until you keep reading and realize what an amazing character the narrator, Merricat Blackwood, is. This story is creepy. Not in a way that will have you sleepless and wide-eyed at night, but in the way that keeps you thinking about the mysteries of human nature. Merricat is her own hero, and even when the reader learns the truth, you still can't help empathizing with her. I've read that the author, Jackson, became an agoraphobe at the end of her life. This novel's most amazing accomplishment is perhaps that she is so tangibly able to make this agoraphobia sensible and understandable to a reader. And as always, Jackson's command of language is impeccable. You can tell that this was a book written with care. Chilling and mesmerizing....more
I'd been wanting to read this book for a long time now. I was surprised by the religious elements in it, but they didn't feel out of place in the leasI'd been wanting to read this book for a long time now. I was surprised by the religious elements in it, but they didn't feel out of place in the least. Think Narnia but with a more science fiction tone and story. A quick read, but it kept me interested until the end. It's hard to believe the book was written decades ago, and you can see it has had a strong influence on modern children's sci-fi and fantasy novels....more
Unforgettable and moving, this novel ranks highly among the best books I have ever read. Trust me--this is an instant classic and you will never regreUnforgettable and moving, this novel ranks highly among the best books I have ever read. Trust me--this is an instant classic and you will never regret picking it up. Yet another reminder that World War II is a period of history that must never be forgotten....more
After seeing the recent film starring Leonardo DiCaprio (and loving it) I felt it was high time to revisit this book considering I hadn't picked it upAfter seeing the recent film starring Leonardo DiCaprio (and loving it) I felt it was high time to revisit this book considering I hadn't picked it up since high school. While I adored the spectacle and enthralling emotion of the movie, my view of the novel remains mixed. The high point of this story is and always will be the fascinating character of Gatsby himself. He makes the book and is both a product of and commentary on American culture and the unreachable dream. Fitzgerald weaves incredible imagery throughout the novel. His way with words is truly extraordinary. The opening and ending lines of this novel have become enduring classics for a very good reason. However, I couldn't help being left with the feeling of wanting more once the novel was over, and I think that its brevity is a strange paradox, being both a great strength in its simplicity, and a great weakness in that just as you are getting to know these characters, they are gone from your life. Trying to come up with more reasons why I liked the book but can't give it five stars, I can only say that the novel is a product of its time. And yet therein lies the magic. Maybe we've become jaded today by a constant culture of celebrity and partying, but in the roaring 20's, that was a brave new world, and this book was cutting edge just like the flappers and dreamers who populate it.
It's very difficult for me to rate this book--not because it was bad, but because my feelings about it are all over the place. Many reviewers have alrIt's very difficult for me to rate this book--not because it was bad, but because my feelings about it are all over the place. Many reviewers have already said more than enough about this novel's plot, characters, etc. Let me sum them all up by saying THIS BOOK IS DIFFERENT. It's not really YA like publishers would want you to believe, despite the age of the protagonist. It's not really a romance either, despite the idea that two main characters fall in love. This book is fantasy, pure and simple, and reminds me of old-school efforts like The Dragonriders of Pern. The concepts introduced within it though are quite unique and are perhaps the main draw of this book. You will not remember the story, persay, as much as you will remember the author's presentation of dragons and dragon culture. The plot doesn't rush along, yet I was always compelled to read more. I was just so curious about the world of this book. I enjoyed the novel, yet I feel like I will have to read Book 2 to make a solid judgment, as Book 1 is more like an introduction to the vast world living and brewing in the author's head. That being said, fans of dragons and traditional fantasy won't go wrong with this book....more
First, I would like to say that I am one of those people who are notoriously picky with the vampire genre. There's so little about them that hasn't beFirst, I would like to say that I am one of those people who are notoriously picky with the vampire genre. There's so little about them that hasn't been done already, and even less that isn't done cheesily. However, with Eternal Shadows we have a great example of what can happen when talent meets creativity. Kate's debut YA novel is an entertaining romance that will definitely appeal to fans of Twilight, but with a strong enough heroine that you also won't be rolling your eyes every five minutes. The story centers around Kassandra Thomas, a girl on the verge of graduating high school when she is forced against her will to become a vampire. The reasons behind why she is chosen to be turned, and the reason why a certain vampire does the turning, are the main mystery that drives the plot. With that, we have the growing affections of Kassandra for this vampire--affections she is reluctant to acknowledge until the exciting past is revealed. As for the setting, in Eternal Shadows we are introduced to a world of vampires who hide from humans, but are at war with one another in a version of our modern world where they pull the strings of history behind the scenes. Kassandra, though a fledgling vampire, becomes the target for a rebel vampire group intent on revealing their species to humanity. Her struggle to remain out of the antagonist's eye, her mysterious feelings for her vampire sire, and her odd premonitions about one particularly powerful and dangerous vampire come together at the end for a thrilling conclusion that satisfyingly ends this story, while also definitely keeping the door open for a sequel. At its heart the book is primarily a romance, but in the chaste way vampire romance fans will recognize ala Stephenie Meyer. Think a lot of bated breaths, unspoken longing, and passionate feelings, but coming from a heroine who is definitely more headstrong and outspoken than a Bella Swan. One or two reviewers have mentioned that they cannot understand the romance between Kassandra and Rhys, but I must add that the chemistry between the two, while slow to develop, hinges a lot on the final third of the book and will recquire a slight commitment on the reader's part to get full satisfaction out of the relationship/story. In conclusion, this is an entertaining YA vampire romance that will have you eager to turn the pages to see what will happen next. I give Eternal Shadows five stars for creativity, good writing, and a plot that has left me wanting more out of what looks to be a very promising YA series....more
I'll be completely honest--the concept behind this book sounded so odd to me at first, it was the main reason I initially chose to read it. (Well, thaI'll be completely honest--the concept behind this book sounded so odd to me at first, it was the main reason I initially chose to read it. (Well, that and the fact that I always liked unicorns). But ignore the haters, people: this book is good. Killer unicorns. And the author pulled it off. The mark of a great writer is when they can get you to put aside your preconceived notions of things and make you look at them in an entirely different way, and that's exactly what happened here. The novel began a little awkwardly with a very typical scene between two teenagers, but stick with it because the story takes off shortly afterward. Our protagonist Astrid starts off with some of the quirks that can make teenage girls annoying, but thank goodness she pulls through and by the end of the novel you are sincerely rooting for her every time she's hacking a unicorn apart. Yes, you read that right. Hacking apart a unicorn. The unicorns of this book are intelligent predators, monsters whose image has been transformed through centuries of fairy-tales into the cuddly white horsies we know today. What Diana Peterfreund did here is go back to the unicorns of world mythology, adapting them to present a new creature that seems at once so alien and yet so believeable. Not an easy feat.
The plot of the novel moves along at a steady pace, and it is easy to get lost in the action and mystery at its heart. Characters are likeable, though sometimes I felt some stock personality-types were added out of necessity. However, they worked overall. Unfortunately, though, only Astrid and perhaps one or two other characters are developed, as this is a series book with an ending that leaves you expecting the next installment. The romance presented in the story was believable, thank goodness, and not overly sappy. This book is more like adventurous fantasy, and it doesn't shy from the gore, so if you're a softie it might not be for you.
Anyway, I'm tough to please when it comes to series novels but this book actually exceeded my expectations. I'd recommend it to people who like fantasy that thinks outside the box, strong heroines, and can stomach some violence here and there....more