Not going to lie: I have started the 6th book, so writing this review and going backwards may be a little tricky this time around. But here it goes an...moreNot going to lie: I have started the 6th book, so writing this review and going backwards may be a little tricky this time around. But here it goes anyway! And although I try not to have spoilers in my reviews, certain things I say may hint towards events. So take precaution as you read this review!
Succubus Shadows is Book 5 in the Georgina Kincaid series. This series has to be my favourite series by Richelle Mead so far. It's far from real; but, it's honest, exhilarating, funny and super sexy. And that's just talking about the series, we aren't even into talking about Georgina yet!
Book 5 takes on a different twist and is a far departure from the last four books. It's definitely not a disappoint but be ready for a change of pace. Georgina's long-time-ago ex-boyfriend Roman returns to her life and is now her roommate. And because Georgina and Seth are no longer a couple, there are some instances were sexual tension arises between the former lovers (Georgina and Roman). And as if things aren't teetering enough, Georgina needs to play the patient and supportive bridesmaid, planning her best friend's wedding to her more recent ex-boyfriend Seth. That's ONLY the mushy relationship stuff.
In addition to the heart melting and crushing scenes, there is of course, the non-stop dramatic adventures of a succubus. That's what you get when you work for hell! So much goes wrong for Georgina in this book and for four days, I have been clutching the book, almost tearing pages as I flipped them. There is so much commotion in this book but also, so much love and admiration shown from Georgina's friends, which usually isn't emphasized as much. Some of these interactions cme as a relief and some of them had me holding my breath. I just don't understand why she can't just get everything she wants! My heart really goes out to her in this one.
Clearly, this review is not even close to how I will typically write. Perhaps you could see how much it has effected me and why I was so quick to jump to Book 6.
Overall, I am giving this book a 5 out of 5. My ideal score would have been a 4.5 because it did take me a while to get used to the change of pace. But I'm feeling a little generous. And, let's face it: if I didn't enjoy it as much as I did, would I have rushed to Book 6 as fast as I did? Exactly. So there, you have it! 5/5! Book 6 on my 2012 50 Book Challenge is coincidentally Book 6 in the Georgina Kincaid series: Succubus Revealed.(less)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore in book number 33 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books. Graceling is also the first installment of the trilogy, The S...moreGraceling by Kristin Cashore in book number 33 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books. Graceling is also the first installment of the trilogy, The Seven Kingdoms, otherwise known as Graceling Realm.
I began Cashore's series four years ago, in 2008 after noticing Graceling's beautiful and enticing cover at the bookstore. I picked it up not knowing too much about the book --a heroine, swords, fighting and a big adventure. That was enough to win me over to make the purchase. However, no one had warned me that opening this book would be like opening a new world of chaos, tension and addiction --in a good way, of course.
The novel Graceling tells the tale of a graced fighter named Katsa --a spry, intelligent and agile young woman with quick temper and an even quicker backhand.
NOTE:Gracelings are people, who as infants or toddlers begin having a shift in their eye colour. One eye will be a diffirent colour than the other, meaning that the individual is graced. Overtime, one will learn about their grace. Being graced means that you are naturally skilled in a particular task or field, for example: baking, swimming, or survival, like Katsa. The possibilities are endless. At time, one may be graced in something very specific and/or silly like, spitting water with targeted aim and with superb range. Other times, one may not learn of their grace until they are older or ever.
But back to our story: one would imagine that being the niece of a king would prove to be an easy life; however, Gracelings are not treated the same as normal people. In some kingdoms, Gracelings are revered and highly praised, and in others, they are feared, outcasted and even treated as property. Unfortunately for Lady Katsa, her uncle, King Randa of the Middluns, has claimed possession over her after learning that Katsa was graced with fighting. Using Katsa's grace and Katsa as his dog, King Randa is able to control everyone in his kingdom with an iron fist. Very quickly, the Lady Katsa became known as the Lady Killer. If there was ever a thing that he disagreed with, Katsa was sent out as a henchmen to claim property, heads, body parts, and monetary gifts in the name of the king. That is, until the day that Katsa chose to rebel, forcing her to leave her dear friends and cousin Raffin at court. On her adventures with the Lienid Prince, Po, Katsa continues to cause chaos in the Seven Kingdoms. However, she does so in the name of justice and as part of a council, which she has secretly devised. The Council is dedicated to upholding proper justice in the kingdoms. They fight for the people and sometimes against the monarchs who have turned against their people. The once, Lady Killer, becomes a savior to those who are most in need of her help. And thus, begins the adventure of Katsa, the Graceling.
One of the most endearing things about Graceling has to be Katsa herself. Although she is graced as a fighter, Katsa is still learning much about herself, her beliefs and where she stands in the world. With her oppressive past, Katsa is conflicted when she begins to form new bonds and friendships with others, particularly men. In her newfound friendships, she rebels against the idea of having a man own her as King Randa had once done. But with Po, Katsa slowly learns that the world isn't painted in black and white and neither are her relationships. Forming new bonds and growing out of her naive state, Katsa begins new adventures: (view spoiler)[she must now leave the one who she has learned to trust in order to save a girl who she has just met --Bitterblue. (hide spoiler)]. This adventure is definitely one that needs to be read and shared.
This year, I have reread Graceling and have learned that old stories can truly feel like new. I had forgotten most of the narrative and re-reading this book was such a thrill. Once again, I found myself falling in love with both Katsa and Po. As the characters journeyed through kingdoms, dove through icy lakes, crossed frigid mountain overpasses and experienced sea sickness as stowaways, I found myself present with them, envisioning the entire adventure as they went. Cashore does an amazing job in painting a vivid picture of her created kingdoms and characters. There are so many layers in Graceling's narrative, characters and setting. Of all the books which I have had the pleasure in reading (and rereading), Katsa has easily made it to my list of favourite characters/heroines. Beautiful, bold and brave, Katsa is definitely one to be beat (by those in her own books and those in other books.)
Overall, I am rating Graceling 5 stars out of 5 stars. If there was a possibility to give this book more stars or a higher rating, I would. It is easily one of my favourite adventures. The hand-drawn maps are also neat, easy to follow/imagine and very much appreciated. It was an A+ book when I had first read it and was an A+ book when I read it a second time. The only critcism I would have to make would be against the author. Kristin Cashore has a beautiful grace in writing and in painting vivid pictures through her words. She is definitely not graced with writing with speed. I fell in love so hard and so fast, that I needed my fix just as fast, and is was difficult to get that fix since Cashore spends a lot of time writing and perfecting her books. Cashore's books are always top grade quality in all characteristics, but I just wish that it was completed and released sooner. She's too wonderful of a writer to hold back.
I must also add that overtime, I have owned three different copies of this book. My first was a soft cover, which has now been given and shared with my best friend. The second is the hard cover. The third is a hard cover, signed by Kristin Cashore. It was given to me by my husband for our first wedding anniversary (the paper anniversary). I was so thrilled to receive it.
But there you have it! 5 of 5 stars --a perfect score! Stay tuned for my next review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. Bitterblue is the third and final installment of Cashore's The Seven Kingdoms series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I just finished Thorn Queen today which is the second installment in the Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead.
If you have not read my other reviews, you...moreI just finished Thorn Queen today which is the second installment in the Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead.
If you have not read my other reviews, you must know that I am a HUGE Richelle Mead fan. She has the ability to keep her readers on edge-- madly flipping pages, chuckling to themselves (which sometimes makes me look a little crazy)and of course, steamy and wishing that a lot of these rendezvous were real. This book was no exception. And certainly enough, as predicted, it was a huge takeoff from the first novel of this series: Storm Born.
As usual and customary to her style, Mead takes the time to recap events with each character with whom Eugenie has engaged. For those who have read the previous books, this sometimes gets tedious and you find yourself glossing over these parts, but to those who do not read in order, you'll find it helpful. (Although, I've never really understood people who read out of order.)In this book, our heroine, Eugenie, explores her relationships with the others characters. Some characters are new and add the extra "umph" to the narrative, and of course Eugenie revisits old and familiar characters, which sometimes leaves you with the "one eyebrow arched" look when things get steamy. As usual, men were all over Eugenie as she continues to explore her role as the "Storm King's daughter". Kiyo, her kitsune boyfriend is still in the picture but focuses a great deal of time with Maiwenn due to her pregnancy. And the ever so sensual Oak King, Dorian, rejoins the picture with a new lover, Ysabel. There is so much emotional and sexual tension that the air in my living room has grown heavy within the 5 days of reading.
This book left my mind following a wild goose chase. Most of the time, I was at the edge of my seat or gripping my pillow as I read. Asides from the "Ooh La La" moments, Thorn Queen definitely has its fair share of adventure and kick-butt action. Eugenie's character grows stronger as she battles others and battles herself as she tries to control her magic.
I would like to give this book a 4.5, but I'm giving it a 5...only because I shafted my last review by a 0.5. I am a little weary to give it a 5 because I would like to show growth between this book and the next but what the heck. So there you have it! 5/5! Great work as usual Richelle Mead!
I'll be starting Iron Crown by Richelle Mead next. Hopefully I'll read it a lot faster than I read this one!(less)
Book 9 in my 2012 Reading Challenge is Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead. It is the fourth and last installment in the Dark Series which is a series I star...moreBook 9 in my 2012 Reading Challenge is Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead. It is the fourth and last installment in the Dark Series which is a series I started this year as part of my challenge. The beginning of 2012's book log seems to be very "Richelle Mead" heavy; and you can't really blame me for that as no matter what the story or who the characters, she will make sure to deliver you something worthwhile.
I finished Shadow Heir in the middle of the night. I could not and would not fall asleep without completing this book; and so I didn't. And completing the last chunk of the book as a whole left me with a crazy feeling stirring inside me, one that you get when you read a really, really good book. Upon finishing it, I could've sworn that I just sat there with wide eyes, clutching this book to my chest. And what's greater is that's the feeling Richelle delivers throughout the whole book.
The first quarter is a far vantage point from what you may usually expect in the Dark Swan series. It's slow but in a peaceful and serene way as Eugenie begins the preparations for her yet-to-be-born children. There is much danger but it's a real shift for our heroine as she must sit and take care of her children while others around her protect her from what is trying to hunt and kill her and her children. She's taken far from her comfort zones (since she lives between two worlds) and we are also taken out of ours, and like her, we are forced to exercise patience as we witness action but cannot take part in it. And just as you get used to the serenity of it all, you get kicked in the butt because the babies are born! Early!
The second half of the book is really action-packed, pretty much what can be expected from a usual Dark Swan novel. Eugenie travels back to the Otherworld to witness that many kingdoms, including two of her own, Dorian's and Maiwenn's have be struck with a blight, a nasty storm which has left many lands starving, suffering and dying. And to stop this blight, Eugenie and her team must go on a new adventure. And truly, that big adventure encompasses many small and entertaining ones. There were several times where I actually had to pause in my reading because I was getting so worked up about characters and their health and well-being. And then I would have to shake my head and remind myself that indeed, these characters are fictional.
You really can't get too comfy in this book because Richelle Mead does a great job just throwing new surprises at you. They are so unexpected and catches you off guard. You pretty much have to have an open mind and be ready for anything. What I really appreciate about this book is that Richelle Mead really takes the time to lay everything out and slowly build in elements into the story. The characters in their situations were so genuine that I couldn't help but feel a trillion different emotions as I read this book. If it isn't clear to you that I fell in love with this book, then this is me tell you now: if I could have a lover on the side, it would be this book. (Well, perhaps that's a little too dramatic of a statement; but you get my point.)
I'm giving Shawdow Heir a 5/5 for its excellent execution and balance in adventure, humour, romance, and journeying to one's purpose AND of course, leaving me with that wonderful feeling upon reading completion. Every reader should feel that sense of bittersweet relief every now and again.
Book 11 for my 50 Book Pledge was It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas. This book is the 2nd installment to the Wallflowers series.
I read the first...moreBook 11 for my 50 Book Pledge was It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas. This book is the 2nd installment to the Wallflowers series.
I read the first installment, Secrets of a Summer Night in December and it was the first historical romance, or any romance novel which I had ever read. I never thought that I would enjoy this switch in genres; however, after reading the first of the Wallflowers series, I found myself really enjoying the company of the Wallflowers as well as the rest of the characters in the novel/series. I was really on the fence about continuing the series but I'm really glad that I stuck with it.
Having known what to expect from this genre and also Lisa Kleypas as an author, I felt like I had set the bar. And once someone has set the bar of expectations, you better make sure as an author, or as someone who delivers a certain product, that you are ready to make the grade. I enjoyed the first installment but this second part nearly drove me to madness, just as much as the characters within the novel.
It Happened One Autumn is based on the second eldest Wallflower: Lillian Bowman, the daughter of a wealthy American businessman hoping to expand his business in soap. The Bowmans, not of noble lineage had come to England from new York in hopes of finding suitable husbands for their two daughters: Lillian and Daisy. However, English and American cultures are quite different: in taste, in mannerisms and in propriety and because of this, Lillian has a difficult time adjusting and adhering to the certain level of expected etiquette, especially upon meeting the Earl of Westcliff, Marcus Marsden, who owns the estate which the family is visiting for a whole month.
For the entire month, Lillian and Westcliff find themselves at odds since Westcliff keeps his property and guests in check in a very formal and unrighteous manner and Lillian is not too fond of his snarky know-it-all-ness. Within the novel, Westcliff was the most eligible bachelor in England as he was in his thirties, unmarried and had the oldest lineage of noble blood in England. There were many expectations that were set upon his shoulders by his father, the late Earl of Westcliff and his strict and pompous mother, the Countess. Both of his sisters had gone to marry Americans, New Yorkers and his mother would do everything she could to make sure he married a proper English lady of nobility who knew her role in the English society. And of all the ladies that were interested in him, he of course had to fall in love with Lillian.
The entire novel held my interest equally from start to finish --and that's sometimes a challenge for authors! The book was filled with much wit and humourous rebellion as Marcus and Lillian squabbled, each of them fighting their true feelings for the other.
The greatest thing that I have come to appreciate with this Lisa Kleypas novel as well as her last one, is the element of surprise. Within the last 20-30 pages of the novel, I am quite prepared and content to be let go with ease as the story comes to a close, but Kleypas makes sure that her readers are being entertained and will keep you on edge until the very last page. In this case, Lillian is drugged and kidnapped... in the last few pages of the book! And in the first one, Anabelle's mother has a violent conniption fit and ends up stabbing a man! I love how there is always excitement and thrill lurking around a corner especially when it is least expected.
It Happened One Autumn has left me in complete awe. I don't believe that I could look at this genre (historical romance) with the same fru-la-la attitude and dismiss it as easily as I once did. I loved learning about the past English culture and I loved how this book gave me butterflies. I haven't had that feeling while reading a book in a long while. I also loved the balance of retaining the characters who were previously introduced in the first installment and keeping their roles significant without being overbearing on the new characters. I appreciated the depth of the culture, the characters, the narrative and the potential it has for the future novels of this series. I just really loved it all around. Congratulations Lisa Kleypas on writing a wonderful book. I'm hoping that your next one will be just as good, if not better!
It Happened One Autumn is receiving a 5 out of 5 for doing everything right.
Book 12 of my 50 Book Pledge will be the third installment of the Wallflowers series: Devil in Winter.(less)
Book number 35 in my 2012 Challenge of 50 Books is Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas. I had decided to approach this book initially because I had though...moreBook number 35 in my 2012 Challenge of 50 Books is Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas. I had decided to approach this book initially because I had thought that it was a stand-alone book; however, upon completing Rainshadow Road, I learned that it was a part of a series collection entitled Friday Harbor This novel is the second installment of this series with the first installment being Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor.
Rainshadow Road is primarily based on Lucy Marinn. Occasionally, there is a shift in chacacter points of view.
Since she was a child, Lucy Marinn was accustomed to watching her sister, Alice, get everything that she wanted in life. However, as an adult, she was finally able to escape that after moving to an island called Friday Harbor. At Friday Harbor, Lucy began a new life, a new relationship with boyfriend, Kevin Pearson, developed new friendships with her boyfriends, and began her career as an artist working with glass. Life could not be more blissful (view spoiler)[ until the day that Kevin arrives to Lucy's studio telling her that they have to break up and that he has been cheating on her with Lucy's younger sister, Alice. Upon hearing this devastating news, Lucy finds herself not grievous but in shock. Kevin had also requested that Lucy hastily pack her things and leave so Alice can move in. Everything that Lucy has built up has been demolished. It is the ultimate act of betrayal --she has lost her boyfriend, her sister, her home, her friends. Taking a bike ride, Lucy attempts to gather herself from her shock, only to run into Sam Nolan, a forever bachelor who owns a home and vineyard on Rainshadow Road. With Sam and his perpetual fear of commitment, Lucy finds herself building a new friendship and a helping hand to get back on her feet and over her traumatic experience with relationships. (hide spoiler)]
Rainshadow Road is the first contemporary novel which I have read by Lisa Kleypas. Admittedly, I found myself working my way through this novel quite quickly in comparison to Kleypas' historical fictions. My guess that that is the case because these books do not have to divulge into the details and stresses of past etiquette and mannerisms. With that being said, reading Rainshadow Road was a breath of fresh air. Keeping in terms with the topics explored in the novel, there was no real sense of commitment. It was an easy novel great for a lazy Sunday read. But don't get me wrong, reading this book was a thrill, but I found that it was relaxing even in its tense moments. The novel visits topics such as heartbreak and love loss, and of course, friendships and how life can be so unexpected. There were moments within the novel where I was ready to smack Alice through the book and smack Lucy as well for feeling bad for Alice. I felt so ashamed for Alice, for her to not realize her mistakes and to have the decency to still walk around prideful among those who she had hurt so badly. Additionally, I was appalled that she was self-righteous and that people owed it to her since they had always been jealous of her. I am pretty sure my eyebrows furrowed each time I read about her, just because I know those types of people actually exist. However, in light of that one frustration, I found myself enjoying the company of the other characters. I am unable to fathom how a happy ending is possible after revealing the amount of issues that this group of people had. If it were non-fictional, I highly doubt the story would have ended this way, but Lisa Kleypas brings it together and makes you feel good about reading the novel. How some authors do it, I don't know!
Overall, I am giving Rainshadow Road 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Despite my complaints regarding Alice, I thoroughly enjoyed this breezy and easy-going read. But one thing before I end this review... did anyone else find the narrative so closely parallel with that of 27 Dresses? I'm just wondering...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is book number 36 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books.
I was initially intrigued to read this novel after seeing...moreWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen is book number 36 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books.
I was initially intrigued to read this novel after seeing the movie trailer on television for Water for Elephants. As soon as I was able, I snatched up my own copy of the book, but naturally and in actuality, the book sat on my shelf surrounded by other lonely "to-read" books, waiting for my attention for several months. Until finally, I dug it out ready for a whirlwind of enchanting circus acts and a bittersweet romance that was heartbreaking enough to challenge The Notebook. And that's where I learned the book wasn't what I expected --it was shockingly different in many ways but still dazzling enough to suck me into its world.
Water for Elephants relives the younger life of Jacob Jankowski, a 90 year old or 93 year old (depending on the year) man residing in a nursing home. Caught in a perpetual battle, Jacob grows more anxious as he witnesses fellow senior citizens as they fade into failing health and memory lapses. For all that it is worth, Jacob Jankowski struggles to hold on to what is left in his life. After an incident with a new senior resident about the traveling circus that is in town, Jacob finds himself deeply frustrated. Recalling his days of nomadic life, it is here where we are able to witness the flashy and vivid spectacles as well as the grungy reality of being a circus worker:
At age 23, Jacob Jankowski is almost in the home stretch to begin his lifelong career as a veterinarian. Just a week before his final examination at an Ivy League School, Jacob is retrieved from class so he may identify the bodies of his parents, who were involved in a tragic car accident. Unable to focus on his final exam and unable to return home, Jacob finds himself wandering until he is lost. Eventually, he is able to board a train, only to learn that it is Benzini Brothers Circus train. Ready to leave his old life behind and start afresh, Jacob quickly learns that a new life is not so easy to start, especially in the midst of the Great Depression. As he works himself into the circus community as a worker, he eventually finds himself amiable with people like Uncle Al, August and of course Marlena and Rosie.
However, the beauty of the novel does not begin, or even end, with Marlena. In fact, the beauty of love may have more to do with Rosie than Marlena. In actuality, it is about the circus life itself --the rugged life of bed rolls and horse blankets, the fear of being red-lighted, the excitement within the big top, the perks and quirks of each circus worker or performer. The list goes on and each next notion is more spectacular than the next. Gruen writes in such a way that the grizzly and mundane become fantastic and overwhelming. Each circus setting and act is painted vividly into the minds of each reader, and that is where the true beauty of the book is held.
Overall, I am rating Water for Elephants 4.5 out of 5 stars, for its beautiful display and for catching me off guard. As a reader, I was ready to fall in love with the love between Jacob and Marlena, or even the love between Jacob and Rosie. However, as the book grew to a close, I found myself in love with Jacob's sense of adventure, will power and sense of independence. I also fell in love with the scenes that blossomed beautifully in my mind.
Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas is the fourth installment to the Wallflowers series and is the book #14 to my 50 book challenge for this year, 2012....moreScandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas is the fourth installment to the Wallflowers series and is the book #14 to my 50 book challenge for this year, 2012.
It is with much sadness that I admit that this book is the end of another series which I have grown to love and enjoy, surprisingly to me since historic romances are usually not my genre of choice. However, I felt with each passing and completed novel within this series, I have become more and more attached to the fictional characters residing within them. Kleypas has definitely invested much thought and effort into this series as I came to love characters which I had once loathed; and all of these emotions and character relations flowing with such a natural ease. This series was such a departure from my very selective and particular taste; however, I leave the series with an openness to read another historical romance, even if it is not by Lisa Kleypas.
Within the entire series, we were able to view the challenges, adventures, heartbreaks and unexpected love finds of Annabelle Peyton (Secrets of a Summer Night), Lillian Bowman (It Happened One Autumn), Evangeline Jenners (Denvil in WInter), and Daisy Bowman (Scandal in Spring) in the 19th century where traditions and proprieties were very unlike the culture which exist in North America and England as they do today. As the four women --all descending from different backgrounds-- stress over the fate of being an unwed spinster, they find solace in one another and their newfound friendship, naming themselves the Wallflowers and assisting each other in a "husband hunt", which was quite taboo for that day and age.
Throughout their searches of a perfect husband, all four women find themselves undergoing an adventurous journey which at times left them near dead, in compromising situations, or doing the unthinkable. All adventures had their own balance of winding narratives, sense of wit and humour and of course a thrill and chest ache that authors so seldom accomplish several books in a row. Personally, my favourites had to be It Happened One Autumn and Devil in Winter as there was so much depth and un-expectancies to the narratives and characters as well as a change of pace.
Scandal in Spring, of course, focuses on the youngest of the Wallflowers, Daisy Bowman, who is given an ultimatum by her father: marry Matthew Swift. After spending two years in England, Bowman and his wife become very eager to return back to America after what they feel was a very difficult and trying visit as they were only able to find suitable prospects for one of their daughters. Being the dreamer that Daisy is, Bowman feels that it is absolutely necessary to arrange a marriage for Daisy, whether she agrees or not, to Matthew Swift. The name Swift originating from a well-respectable New England (Boston) family leaves Bowman with the decision this man --who practices formal and polite behaviours-- is the perfect man to continue his soap business once he is to retire. As the other three wallflowers settle into the ease of their married lives, Daisy begins to worry that she will never be able to attain the same blissful love relationships as her friends. As she constantly runs into Matthew, Daisy finds herself regularly conflicted with his ways as well as her physical attraction to him. And of course, all in due time, Daisy is eventually swept away into the arms of Matthew Swift, until she realizes he is not Matthew Swift at all and his last name was just a name which he had adapted to escape his former life.
Similar to Kleypas' prior books, Scandal in the Spring throws the reader into an unexpected adventure as they are currently in the middle of one. These books are very difficult to put down and as one grows to really learn the characters, their virtues and their faults, one cannot help but root for them, no matter how impossible the bearings may seem.
For the overall series, I give it a 5 out of 5. I never believed that I would continue the rest of the series since the first one didn't quite agree with me. However, I am very glad that I trudged on because by the end, I found myself loving the Wallflowers as well as their families and friends as if they weren't fictional characters at all. For Scandal in Spring I am giving it a 4 out of 5. It was still a very good book but it did not tempt me in the same manner as the previous books and I have a good hunch on why what may be: the first book took quite some time to establish the entire backdrop of the Wallflowers and their situation and similarly, this last book took quite some time to conclude the era of the Wallflowers, whereas the second and third installments had more time and space dedicated to the specific characters with needing to balance the general Wallflower narrative. I still very much enjoyed the book and am sad to part ways. However, I discovered that there was a spin-off entitled Wallflower Christmas which is a shorter tale of one of the Bowman brothers. It may not be of the same caliber but I will definitely have to check it out so I could have at least tackled the entire collection.
But, there you have it!
Wallflower Series: 5/5
Scandal in Spring: 4/5
The next book lined up for my 50 Book Challenge is Another Piece of my Heart by Jane Green, which was given to me courtesy of St. Martin's Press. I am very excited to begin reading it for review. It should be a week or two before the review is up :)(less)
I was completely unaware that Gene Wilder was also an author and I unexpectedly found this book at a book store. I put off reading the book for a whil...moreI was completely unaware that Gene Wilder was also an author and I unexpectedly found this book at a book store. I put off reading the book for a while, wondering if it would be my "type" of book to read. I eventually began to read it not having any prior knowledge of Gene Wilder as an author or any expectations. And it was surprisingly refreshing, filled with wit, a humourous sexual tension and more humour (not that it was a comedic book). After reading this book, I would definitely read another one of Gene Wilder's books. I give this book a 4/5!(less)
Book number 42 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 Books is Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas. Dream Lake is the third installment to the Friday Harbor series...moreBook number 42 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 Books is Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas. Dream Lake is the third installment to the Friday Harbor series.
Dream Lake primarily follows the love and love losses of Alex Nolan and Zoe Hoffman. As two individuals struggle to regain stable footing after their divorces from their first spouses, Alex and Zoe journey to learn more about each other and fill the void left by love loss. The narrative of Dream Lake takes place simultaneously to Sam and Lucy’s story in Rainshadow Road and explores many stages of love, insecurity, self-preservation and the relinquishing of control on many levels through many characters.
Visited in the previous Friday Harbor novels, we know that Alex is the youngest brother and possibly the most unstable of the Nolan brothers. Scarred from memories of his alcoholic parents, Alex found himself in marriage to Darcy, which ended disastrously. Through his quick first marriage, Alex experienced nothing but spite and convenience as they were just two selfish people married to one another, with no real plans for each other in their lives. Alex’s marriage to Darcy only last a couple years but within that time and after, Alex’s adapted drinking habits worsened. After the divorce, Darcy took everything from Alex. She had reaped him of all of his financial earnings and unfortunately, his contracting business fell through at the same time. It was only a matter of time until Zoe would step into his life.
We also met Zoe in previous novels –cousin to Justine and one of Lucy’s best friends, Zoe is a kind, naïve and optimistic woman. She shares a business at the inn with Justine as the cook and creative vision. Also coming from a divorce, Zoe has always found herself a little insecure despite the perfect personality and physical appearance. Having married her best friend from high school, it was a shock when her husband Chris asked for a divorce. It was a further shock to Zoe after learning it was due to an affair he had with another man at the office and Chris discovered that he was gay. Soon after, she moved in with Justine and began their business at Artist’s Point. When Zoe finds out that her grandmother is ailing from dementia, Zoe, with the help of Justine, renovate her grandmother’s cottage at Dream Lake. And who better to call than Alex Nolan?
Dream Lake divulges in many complexities of the realities of love in life. It explores the distraught and disgruntled baggage through Alex Nolan, the blind and sheer optimism through Zoe Hoffman, the invisibility and mysterious longing through Tom Findlay (the ghost of Emmaline’s lover), and the nostalgia and the clinging to of memories by Emmaline Hoffman (Zoe’s grandmother). In addition, we learn about Sam and Lucy, Justine, and Mark, Maggie and Holly. All characters presented some complication and baggage in their relationships and clearly, each character dealt with it in his or her own manner. As a reader, I found myself nervous and treading lightly. I have come to learn many of these characters on such an intimate level that even their own friends and family didn’t know them. It was almost embarrassing as if I had just walked into a room at the wrong time. The experience of reading Dream Lake was beautiful, unsettling and sometimes heart-wrenching. Overall, I am rating Dream Lake 4.5 stars out 5 stars. I really enjoyed reading it and in fact, have such a difficult time reviewing it and explaining it because I am still trying to wrap my head around it.
Iron Crowned is the third installment to the Dark Swan series. Altogether, the author, Richelle Mead, predicts that this series will have four novels....moreIron Crowned is the third installment to the Dark Swan series. Altogether, the author, Richelle Mead, predicts that this series will have four novels. For most series, I would think, "Okay, that's reasonable. You don't want to stretch the narrative so much that it compromises the rest of the series." My (very humble) opinion after finishing this book: Whhhaaattt?! (while ripping out a fist full of hair) Is that possible now?!
And while I try very hard in my reviews, not to contain spoilers, I might pique interest in having assumptions. So, here is your warning: CAUTION! I might try to spoil you!
I have a few good things and I have a few bad things.
Let's start with dessert: Out of the 3 books which I have read so far in this series, this one has to be the best page turner. I practically read it in two nights (given that I forgot it at work one day and had no other choice but to start a new book; and on one of the nights, there was a massive wind storm, so I read since sleep was not an option.)
The narrative in this novel presents all of the great schemes and twists that make a good adventure. There was no real down time for our heroine, Eugenie. It didn't matter if she was in the Otherworld or in the human world, there was consistent drama and action; and once something was solved, something else turned up. This book was ambushed with hidden explosives. In a few hours of picking up this book, you'll wonder how you got to the end so quickly.
And the end... wow! It definitely opened up a new can of worms: the kind where you can't push it back in no matter how many people are holding the can and the lid down for you as you scoop up the worms.
Within the concluding pages, Eugenie described it as a punch in the gut. And as a reader, you definitely felt that punch go through the page and into your own. This book gave Eugenie no one to trust and no one to rely on.
And now the veggies: And although this book may present itself as the classic crazy-page-turning style in which Mead always writes, I couldn't help but be picky about the character interactions. It was literally unbelievable at some points. I wasn't convinced that Eugenie's relationships were that frail and I wasn't convinced that frail as well, especially seeing her character grow in the last books.
Within this book, Eugenie is a Queen, admired and feared, an expert in battle. However, no matter how good a warrior, she just couldn't get her emotional crap together. I was astonished as her character bounced from one bed to another, needing acceptance from men who she loved (past and present). Even before break ups, she found herself in the arms of another. This book was heavy in emotions; and as a female, I couldn't help but think, "wow, is this woman ever needy". And although steamy scenes are appreciated, I found myself not caring, because it was so detached. You can't bed different people ten times in one book and try to sell it as love.
Furthermore, I just wanted Eugenie to be that strong heroine that was presented to us from day 1. I didn't care/want to see her emotional stress get to her. I didn't care/want if she needed approval. I just wanted her to be as mentally and emotionally strong as she was in her battling skills. C'mon Eugenie, you got owned by a table. That sucks.
I am giving this book 4/5. I have quite a bone to pick regarding character development in this book, but I am overlooking it because of the fact that it was SO engaging in adventure and a totally kick-ass ending. Because those things WERE believable and should be praise. I will be ordering Book 4, Shadow Heir, this weekend. And we'll just have to see if it ends at 4 books. I really hope it doesn't!(less)
Lynda's Lace is my first novel read by Lacey Alexander, and also my first novel in this genre. It's a far departure from what my typical book would lo...moreLynda's Lace is my first novel read by Lacey Alexander, and also my first novel in this genre. It's a far departure from what my typical book would look like and that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
True enough as said by others, this novel takes place on a whole other dimension: where fantasies exist, no one holds grudges and the air is light and fluffy. Not everything read was believable. But who doesn't need to whisked away into a rose-coloured-glasses world every once in a while?
There were a few scenes that had me raising my eyebrows however. In the realm of reality, it did have its shortcomings (no pun intended). How often do couples get kinky like that? How often do marriage proposals come out of kinky sex scenes? And how easy is it for a man to get his lady lover to sexually engage with another woman? And is it possible that men may not enjoy the m/f/f interaction? If you aren't a woman reading this, I'm going to give you a hint: the answer is not the one you were hoping for.
Overall, I found Lynda's Lace to be short, sweet and very emotionally detached. And sometimes, that's all a girl really wants: a simple thrill after a long day at work with no strings attached. I'm giving this book a 4 out of 5. It really deserves a 3 out of 5, but for the fact that it was free and it acted as an exhilarating joy ride (sorry for yet another cheesy pun). But there you have it: 4/5!(less)