I could have sworn I read this book in high school, but it seemed new to me. The writing is absolutely amazing. Even though I knew how it ended, I was...moreI could have sworn I read this book in high school, but it seemed new to me. The writing is absolutely amazing. Even though I knew how it ended, I was still torn to shreds when the inevitable occurred. I can see why this is a modern classic and am glad both my kids were required to read it in high school.(less)
I will preface this review by saying that I am not going to worry about spoiler alerts and hiding spoilers. “Jane Eyre” is 165 years old and a part of...moreI will preface this review by saying that I am not going to worry about spoiler alerts and hiding spoilers. “Jane Eyre” is 165 years old and a part of our collective cultural consciousness. If you don’t know the story, you probably should go read the book instead of reading this review.
I could have sworn that I read “Jane Eyre” sometime in my teens. There are parts that I distinctly remember. However, when I read Jasper Fforde’s “The Eyre Affair”, there were plot points mentioned that I had no memory of at all. If I ever had read it, I must have read an abridged version.
“Jane Eyre” turned out to be a completely different book than I remembered. What took me by surprise was how feminist it was at certain points. As a child, Jane is surprisingly strong and independent. Throughout the book, she shows these traits. Therefore, it is really disconcerting that she falls for Edward Fairfax Rochester. There is so much that’s wrong about this relationship. He’s twice her age and keeps referring to her as a little girl. He really comes off as some sort of creepy pedophile. He’s very possessive and can’t take “no” for an answer. After it’s revealed at their almost-wedding that he’s got a crazy wife in his attic, he’s in major denial about what he’s doing. He’s planning to become a bigamist and just can’t understand why Jane wants to get away from him. He has a rationalization for everything and it’s all just all a bunch of delusional BS. I really admired Jane for being strong and getting out of that totally dysfunctional relationship. She continues to be admirably strong afterwards in her rejection of St. John Rivers’ rather insistent proposals of marriage. However, the story ends completely wrong. She goes back to Rochester and everything’s okay because his lunatic wife died in a fire that burned down Thornfield Hall. Really? Really? Did the story have to go there? Couldn’t Jane have met a nice man and settled down? Did she really have to go back to Rochester?
Charlotte Bronte does use her novel to effectively illustrate what life was like for single women and orphans in Victorian England. There really was no safety net. Jane’s parent died when she was a baby. She was fortunate enough to be taken in by her sister’s brother, but is badly treated by her aunt and cousins when he dies. She gets shipped off to a boarding school for poor girls and the conditions there are appalling. The best life these girls can hope for is to be governesses or teachers at the same type of school as the one she’s growing up in. When she leaves Thornfield Hall, there is no safety net for her. She almost starves to death in the snow before she’s taken in by the Rivers family. She only ends up with hope because of the miraculous discovery that she’s heir to a fortune left her by her father’s brother. At that point, she’s perfectly capable of taking care of herself or choosing a husband who isn’t a total freak like Rochester.
I really enjoyed the social aspects of this book. However, I really got irritated by Jane and Rochester’s discussions of their “love” for each other. As I said before, it just seemed wrong in so many ways. I can’t even imagine that there was ever a time in history when their relationship would have been considered something to strive for. If Jane had been raised by her mother and father, and have spent time in girlhood around normal men, maybe she wouldn’t have fallen for that creepy Rochester. (less)
Holidays Are Hell is an entertaining collection of four paranormal romance novellas. I had fun reading it and it was a quick light read for the Christ...moreHolidays Are Hell is an entertaining collection of four paranormal romance novellas. I had fun reading it and it was a quick light read for the Christmas-New Year season when life gets so busy. There were some sex scenes in a couple of the stories that made absolutely no sense. Do you really stop in the middle of a pursuit, either as chaser or chased, to have sex with some hot guy? Maybe I'm just old.(less)
The Vampire Empire series is a bit difficult to classify. It's a steampunk-alternate history-romance-vampire story. It's got a pair of main characters...moreThe Vampire Empire series is a bit difficult to classify. It's a steampunk-alternate history-romance-vampire story. It's got a pair of main characters who are really engaging. However, the other characters all seem to be plugged into stereotypes. That's okay because most of this story focuses on Greyfriar and Princess Adele. (Yes, it has a spunky princess.) It's a fun, light read that starts with action in the first chapter and keeps it up throughout. I really liked that it wasn't about sex. I'm sure that will come in later volumes, but it would have just spoiled this one.
I did not win this book through FirstReads, but the authors sent it to me anyway along with the copy of The Rift Walker that I did win. I'm really happy about it, because I thought I'd have to buy a copy of this one. (less)
I kind of got this by accident. I really enjoy Robert Charles Wilson’s books and saw this available for pre-order on the Nook. I waited for months for...moreI kind of got this by accident. I really enjoy Robert Charles Wilson’s books and saw this available for pre-order on the Nook. I waited for months for the release date, then decided to get the audiobook because a credit cost less than the ebook. I was a bit surprised that the Audible Frontiers version was released in 2009, but just thought that the ebook version was new. As I’m listening, it seemed a bit dated. The current-day events in this time travel story occur in 1989. I did more research on the book and found out that it was originally published 20 years ago and was re-released in late 2011. I’m just saying this for disclosure because it really didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story.
What did affect my enjoyment was this similarity between this novel and Stephen King’s newest, 11/22/63 which I listened to last month. I kept thinking that this book was so much like that one and had to remind myself that Wilson wrote it 20 years before King wrote his. In both books, an ordinary guy from the present travels back to the past. King’s protagonist to 1958 and Wilson’s to 1962. They both get jobs, rent apartments, make friends and fall in love in the past. The both face great danger because of their time traveling. As much as I enjoyed this, I felt like I was re-reading 11/22/63 and that really isn’t fair to “A Bridge of Years”. This book is worth reading, just don’t read it too close to King’s book.
This audiobook is one of Jonathan Davis’s better narrations. His voice is perfectly suited to the story and his tendency to talk like William Shatner wasn’t as bad as usual. (less)
It looks like this book that I won through FirstReads is going to cost me a lot of money. It's the second installment of a series and does not stand o...moreIt looks like this book that I won through FirstReads is going to cost me a lot of money. It's the second installment of a series and does not stand on its own. Therefore, I had to get the first book before I could read this. (Fortunately, it is independent of the earlier Paksennarion series and you don't have to read that first.) That first book, Oath of Fealty, didn't really end. It just stopped. The same applies to this one. My dilemma now is, do I go ahead and get the third book now? Or, do I wait for it to be released in paperback? Or, do I hope to grab a copy at the library if it's checked in when I go?
Elizabeth Moon has a way of taking subgenres that I don't particularly like and making them completely engrossing. What she did for me with military space fiction in the Vatta's War series, she's done with the massive medieval fantasy subgenre in Paladin's Legacy. Now, I thought that this series was just going to be a trilogy. However, I read a review on Audible that said it was going to be 4-5 books long. That's a bit upsetting because one of the reasons I don't get involved in a lot of series is because a trilogy is about as much as I can handle unless each book is fairly self-contained.
I give this book four stars because it is a good story and well-told. I really cared about the characters and what was happening to them. The character development was excellent. It was easy to follow what was happening and to differentiate the characters and locations. It only lost a star because it didn't have a real beginning or a real ending. (less)
Let’s take a character who’s kind of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but we’ll make her the offspring of a human mom and a...moreHey kids! Let’s write a book!
Let’s take a character who’s kind of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but we’ll make her the offspring of a human mom and a vampire dad. We’ll call her Cat. She’ll be out slaying vampires and end up falling in love with one who will teach her all kinds of cool vampire-slaying skills. She’ll be hot, really hot and we’ll make her dress like a whore to attract the bad vampires. She’ll have a mom who hates vampires with a vengeance. That’s why she slays vampires in the first place. Oh, we can also include a lot of hot sex scenes between her and her sexy vampire boyfriend. Let’s call him Bones because Angel and Spike have already been used.
Let’s just say that this book felt like something I’d already read or seen more than once. I got really bored with it and ended up putting it down a few times before I finished it. Cat’s character felt quite fluid and undefined. Bones was far, far too perfect. It felt too much like it was trying to hard to capture the magic of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and fell way short in my opinion. (less)
Arrrgh! I hate, hate, hate blatant cliffhangers. If I had known that there wasn't really an ending, I would have waited until the next one was out or...moreArrrgh! I hate, hate, hate blatant cliffhangers. If I had known that there wasn't really an ending, I would have waited until the next one was out or soon to be released.
Now that I've got that out of my system, I'll continue. When I started listening to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I thought it was just another over-hyped teen fantasy romance. It starts with a blue-haired teenage girl attending an arts school in Prague. She's got the usual problems: stalker ex-boyfriend and a family that's too embarrassing to admit to. She meets a hunky angel guy and just can't help being attracted to him, nor he to her. From there, the story starts taking twists and turns that made it rise above its cliched beginning. Karou's story just breaks your heart and the roots that even she is unaware of are startling and unexpected.
Taylor's prose is beautiful. She brings her exotic locations and characters to life in a way that few writers manage. She writes of love and passion in a way that isn't cheesy or trite.
The narrator of this audio production was good, but not great. I suspect I might have enjoyed this more in print. I would have liked to go back and re-read some of the more evocative passages.
So, how long do I have to wait for the next book?(less)