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 seriesBook 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.
Book number 40 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Rapture by Lauren Kate. Rapture is the fifth and final installment in the Fallen series. InBook number 40 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Rapture by Lauren Kate. Rapture is the fifth and final installment in the Fallen series. In addition to that, it is a milestone for me to mark my progress in my Reading Challenge and 50 Book Pledge. At the completion of Rapture, I have ten more books to read to complete my 2012 reading goal.
When I began the Fallen series several years ago, I did not know much about the novel nor was I able to tell which direction this series would go. However, I took the plunge as I fell in love with the cover. And of course, I will admit that I’m in love with the idea of angels, fallen angels, nephilim, and that entire sort. It was a promising beginning. As I read the first novel, Fallen, I couldn’t help myself –I pried each new page over hastily hungry for more. I was so in love –mysterious and challenging characters, uncertainty, and an eerie and uncanny setting. Fallen had it all. I couldn’t wait to pick up the next book, (view spoiler)[which in my opinion fell a little short, soon to be followed by more disappointing novels. One after the other, they showed up at bookstores around the world. And I think all of us readers were just hoping: Please! Let this one be a good one! Let this novel be the one that makes up for the past failures! And then of course, that didn’t happen. (hide spoiler)] But now here we are at Rapture, ready to pick at it and pull it apart and tell the world what this book was like in comparison to the first novel and to the series as a whole.
Within Rapture, we continue to follow Lucinda Price as she learns about her journey and role in the greater scheme of things. Together with Daniel, their angelic companions and all of the characters whom we met along the way, Luce must uncover the secrets of this curse. And as Luce is able to divulge more information about her past lives and the nature of this curse, the more Daniel must step back to allow Luce to solve it on her own. (view spoiler)[ And here’s where the honesty kicks in. Have you seen the book? It’s quite thick for a YA book. I’m not complaining about the girth as many of my favourites are longer and wider books. However, I can only think of one word right now to describe the first two-thirds of this novel: ampaw. It is a Filipino word. My mother uses it a lot when she thinks something is of poor quality or useless. Sometimes you might hear other Filipinos describing a loaf of bread as ampaw. What it means is “full of air”. And no matter how much I try to recall the first two-thirds of the book, I cannot seem to remember all of the details. They were not memorable or outstanding, especially not for what is supposed to be the finale. (hide spoiler)] I must admit that as the momentum built and as Luce slowly (a little too slowly) uncovered the pieces, I enjoyed it more. After all, isn’t this book supposed to be about fallen angels?
As we uncover the narrative for what it truly is as well as Luce for who she truly is, I cannot help but relax a little. The story is quite beautiful and enchanting. I imagined the skies darkening quickly with gray doomed wings, stepping into another dimension as Luce explores the final announcer, and the shrill brightness upon approaching the Throne. The list is quite extensive when discussing the positives of the end of Rapture. If you could pull through the previous books, I hope that you will be able to find a little bit of heaven in the conclusion of this one. It isn’t breath taking but it will do!
Overall, I am rating Rapture 2.5 stars out of 5 stars as the ending definitely made up for the first two-thirds of the novel. In addition, I would like to rate the Fallen series as well. I give the Fallen series by Lauren Kate 2 stars out of 5 stars for having an ace idea with an unfortunate and poor execution. This is a series that should have been, in my opinion, two large novels (comparable to the size of Rapture or three novellas. Oh! –And someone should teach Lauren Kate about mind mapping and storyboarding.
There you have it: 2.5/5 stars for Rapture!
Book number 41 in my Reading Challenge of 50 Books is Endlessly by Kiersten White. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Book number 38 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Red Glove by Holly Black. Red Glove is the second installment in The Curse Workers trilogy.Book number 38 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Red Glove by Holly Black. Red Glove is the second installment in The Curse Workers trilogy.
Cassel Sharpe had always believed that he was an ordinary kid, except for the fact that he belongs to an extraordinary family who is constantly surrounded in cons, danger and drama. After finding out that he was a transformation worker, Cassel is finding it a little tricky settling back into his normal life, especially with the feds and a mob boss on his tail. With everyone realizing his true potential and rare talent, Cassel has become a hot commodity and he must be very careful which path he chooses.
Holly Black delivers another novel following the minds and characteristics of a con artist. The novel divulges into details of what criminal minds would think and explores it openly. I couldn't help but continue to feel unsettled. The book was serious, dark and uncanny and for some reason, I am finding it difficult to further explain how I felt about this book other than unsettled. Perhaps this book just conned me.
Overall, I am rating this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. Book number 39 in my reading challenge is Black Heart, the last installment in The Curse Workerstrilogy by Holly Black....more
Book number 37 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is White Cat by Holly Black. White Cat is the first installment in The Curse Workers trilogy.
CBook number 37 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is White Cat by Holly Black. White Cat is the first installment in The Curse Workers trilogy.
Cassel Sharpe had always wished he could be more like his family of curse workers. Able to manipulate emotions, memory, physicality and life itself, Cassel's family has always been in the mix with mob men. And since curse working is illegal, this makes Cassel's family in line with criminals. However, not being a worker has its downsides. For one, Cassel is always kept at arm's length in regards to any trade secrets of working, but that doesn't stop him from working his cons.
Throughout White Cat, Cassel explores his nature of being a con artist, no matter his status of curse working. He learns that his family has many more hidden secrets than he thought, and quickly he learns what it means to be in a family, his family in particular, where everything is a game of cons.
White Cat was definitely a very different book from what I was used to reading. It is as if a book about con artists changes the entire language and feel of a book. It's quite an odd and unsettling feeling to be afloat in such a book. It was as if I, as the reader, was not tethered down to a solid ground or narrative. The uncertainty of something so simple left me unnerved. It's not something you think about usually when reading a novel, but there it was.
Overall, I am giving White Cat by Holly Black 3.5 out of 5 stars. Book number 38 is Red Glove by Holly Black....more
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 starBook 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 number 39 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Black Heart by Holly Black. Black Heart is the third installment in The Curse Workers serieBook number 39 in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Black Heart by Holly Black. Black Heart is the third installment in The Curse Workers series.
Before I begin, I must admit that I only began reading The Curse Workers series just this year. I read all three books back to back. I was first recommended this series two years ago when I began writing a script about con artists. So when I finally approached the first book, I couldn’t help but compare it to what I had written. Believe it or not, there weren’t too many similarities (probably also because I had written for an adult audience and there was a lot of folk lore mixed into it as well.) But approaching this novel was like a new realm. I was able to dive back to life as a teen in high school and let me tell you: I do not miss that angst. But here we go as I delve into my review of Black Heart by Holly Black.
Cassel Sharpe has grown so much since White Cat. First of all, he saved his best friend and on-again off-again girlfriend Lila, his mom is finally out of jail, he finds himself somehow connected to the mob, he tries to get out by connect with the Feds, and oh yeah, he find out that he is a worker. But Cassel Sharpe isn’t the average Curse Worker. He is a transformation worker and those are rare –so rare that everyone wants to get their hands on him as Cassel struggles to find a balance in his life. As things fall back into place, he is contacted by the Feds once again. They need him to get rid of a dangerous politician who could end up overrunning all rights and freedom of curse workers if voted into power. It sounds simple being a transformation worker working with the Feds, right? One would hope so. But of course, things aren’t since Cassel’s mom had previously worked this man. All is a mess, but the Feds promise Cassel one thing: if he completes this task, he will be pardoned of all past crimes and his mother will also be protected. But what happens when the good guys are actually the bad guys and the bad guys are actually the good guys?
Holly Black, once again, delivers a book of mystery and chases while one boy learns how the world really works. In the end, he does what is best for himself and as a reader, we can’t tell if he ended up conning the world or just conning himself.
Overall, I am rating Black Heart by Holly Black 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. I admit that this series is not necessarily for me as I felt that it was somewhat juvenile for a YA book. It was difficult for me to find a balance in this series. Sometimes I would find myself racing through pages while other times, I would be moving ever so slowly. The good parts were great,; however, the slow and boring parts I could have lived without. But there you have it! 3.5/5 (meaning it was too bad. :)
The next book in my 2012 Reading Challenge of 50 books is Rapture by Lauren kate. ...more
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 anNot 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....more
Bitterblue is book number 34 in my 2012 Challenge of 50 Books. This book is the third installment of The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, otherwise known as ThBitterblue is book number 34 in my 2012 Challenge of 50 Books. This book is the third installment of The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, otherwise known as The Graceling Realm Trilogy.
After first reading Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore, I was initially amazed at how elaborate the stories, maps and characters were built. Right away, I was yearning for the next installment: Bitterblue. But it didn't come. For years, Kristin Cashore fans eagerly awaited the arrival of Bitterblue, to be overwhelmed by an entire realm that comes to life and unfolds with every turning page.
The story of Bitterblue brings us eight years into the future from when we last saw Bitterblue. She is no longer the small child running away from the atrocities of her late father, Leck. Instead, she must uncover and come to terms with his doings and build her kingdom to be resilient, righteous and courageous because truths are not easy to handle, especially when heinous acts are revealed. Along the way, we revisit familiar characters from Graceling such as Katsa, Po, Raffin, Bann, Giddon, and Helda, just to name a few. And of course, we welcome new characters as Queen Bitterblue (view spoiler)[leads a double life and pretends to be a serving girl in the Queen's Kitchens. We meet a possible love interest, Sapphire Birch, otherwise known as Saf, Teddy, and their sisters Bren and Tilda. We also learn that these new friends among other new characters lead Bitterblue into a lot of trouble in the future. (hide spoiler)]
Complex in its maps, characters, secrets and schemes, layering of new characters and stories, and rehashing old histories, Bitterblue is definitely a story to contend with. For a young adult novel, it is mind blowing to even acknowledge the thoroughness and exact detail built into this series, particularly this one book. It carefully builds upon the secrets and stories of the past to reveal the present state of affairs. Cashore does an exquisite job in bringing all of these aspects to relevancy as well as tying all three to make sense.
I have noticed that there have been mixed feelings when it comes to this book. Some readers have thoroughly enjoyed the book, praising it as the best of the series and others were appalled since it does take on a different feel in comparison to the first and second installments. One must have to keep in mind that there was a long waiting period and the build up to this book may have left some people with a large gap if they was not able to reread its predecessors directly before approaching this book. Admittedly, there were some moments where building up the narrative caused it to be dry. However, I felt that the unraveling of the story pieces throughout the novel was well worth the factual build up.
While reading Bitterblue, I was especially thrilled when I was able to revisit past characters. After following their stories and watching them grow and age before my eyes, seeing them come back into the story was like catching up with old and dear friends. Many characters were given the chance to develop in the way we were not able to see in Graceling and I truly appreciated learning more about them. At times, I found myself laughing or smirking making comments like, "that is such a Po thing to do. I am not surprised," or, "Katsa hasn't changed!" After reading and rereading this series, I think I would feel so comfortable as to introduce these characters as everyday people and as real friends. As a reader, I am able to witness, through the writing and development of these characters, that true time was taken to mold and create them. Each character has their fits and bouts, and nevertheless, they have that radiant core that makes them who they are and the thing that separates them from all of the other characters in the novel. One character who really struck me in this novel was Giddon. I enjoyed it when Bitterblue entrusted him as her confidante and enjoyed watching him at his strong points and at his weak points as well (where he also showed much strength). (view spoiler)[It particularly saddened me to learn that he had lost his noble title as a Lord and lost his land because he cared so much for it and for his people. I have my doubts that Cashore will continue to work on this series; however, I would be interested to see how the future unfolds after another length of time. In addition, I was thrilled about the return of Fire's character and even more thrilled to learn that she had aged with such beauty and grace. (hide spoiler)]
Putting down this book after I finished reading it was a difficult task to do. Most times, I am usually able to flip back and reread parts of the book, sometimes even the entire book! However, each time I flipped back, I was not able to receive that intense sense of immediacy that I felt when I read the ending for the first time. I am so sad to be leaving the characters behind and even more sad that they left me behind to continue their adventures without my readership. I hope that Ms. Cashore will continue to write as she is a top-notch author. I have thought so even since reading Graceling and feel it even more strongly after reading Bitterblue. It took me a bit longer to read it (partly because I was distracted on my flooring project); however, I am thankful to have taken a longer time with this book as I truly was able to get lost in it.
Overall, I am giving Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore 5 stars out of 5 stars. If there was a way to give it more, I would. It was truly a pleasure to read and it borders on something even more magnificent than your traditional YA novel. I truly recommend this series and this book to any adventure lover, fantastical map fanatic, mystery solver and of course, to anyone who truly wants to get lost in a good book and series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more