Even on the second time through, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe even more so, since I read it immediately after re-reading A Discovery of Witches. The...moreEven on the second time through, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe even more so, since I read it immediately after re-reading A Discovery of Witches. There was the seamless move from one to the next, making it feel like one long book.
If you haven't read the first book, there be potential SPOILERS ahead:
Diana and Matthew have landed in Elizabethan London on their search for a witch to teach Diana more about her skills as a witch. And to look for Ashmole 782. Matthew knows just about anybody who is anyone in London at that time, including Queen Elizabeth I. Harkness is a historian so the little details make the era come alive.
Both of our main characters have to come to terms with Matthew's past. And it leaves them, and this reader, wondering how Diana's presence and the changes Matthew has gone through in 500 years, will affect the future they have to return to.
Now I just have to wait a month to read the final installment. I guess I should have timed my reading better.(less)
ADDENDUM: Loved it the second time through as well.
Diana Bishop is a witch. A witch who doesn't like using her magical power. She's also a historian,...moreADDENDUM: Loved it the second time through as well.
Diana Bishop is a witch. A witch who doesn't like using her magical power. She's also a historian, working at Oxford. One day she requests a rare alchemical text that is obviously infused with magic. Suddenly, all sorts of creatures (other witches, vampires and daemons) are interested in Diana. One vampire in particular seems especially drawn to her.
I didn't notice anything on the book jacket to indicate that this was part of a trilogy. But about fifty pages in I realized it had to be. It seemed unnecessarily dragged out. Not exactly slow in pacing, but with much more detail about unimportant things (wine descriptions and vintages for instance)and a lot of repetition (yoga classes, rowing on the river, etc.), and page after page of back story. The action really got going in the last 50 pages. And the fact that the author set up a whole bunch of cool stuff to happen later was frustrating to say the least. It felt like much more ground could have been covered in this book.
Also, I was confused a few times by similar names. Matthew, Marcus and Marthe were especially troublesome.
All of that said, I liked the story. Diana knows she's a witch and chooses not to use that power, rather than finding out by accident what she is. Matthew could be a danger to her, and she knows it, but she could also be a danger to him. I did care about what happened to the characters. I just wanted it to happen faster.
Addendum: I forgot to mention the beautiful writing. Harkness places her readers squarely in the amazing settings--the Bodleian library at Oxford, an ancient French estate, a ramshackle farmhouse (with a lot of secrets) in upstate New York. She is a historian, and that shows in her attention to the tiniest detail. The writing and basic storyline kept me reading and enjoying the novel. Even when I realized there wasn't really much going on that was moving things forward. It was still interesting.
***Rereading to prep for the release of Book of Life.(less)
Jacob doesn't really fit in anywhere. Not with the kids at school and not really with his family. When he was little, he and his grandfather were clos...moreJacob doesn't really fit in anywhere. Not with the kids at school and not really with his family. When he was little, he and his grandfather were close, but as he grows up Jacob realizes that his grandfather's stories about his past are nothing but fairy tales. After telling his grandfather what he's figured out, their relationship changes.
One day the grandfather calls Jacob for help, and the teenager sees something he can't quite believe. Soon Jacob is off on an adventure of discovery--about his grandfather, his father and himself.
An intriguing read that kept me turning pages for both the story and the pictures that accompany the words. I'm just glad I knew there was a second book before I started reading, because I would have been truly ticked off had I gotten to the end without knowing that.
This one was fun. Imagine if a bunch of characters from the Marvel Universe were alive and doing their things in the year 1602. Elizabethan England. C...moreThis one was fun. Imagine if a bunch of characters from the Marvel Universe were alive and doing their things in the year 1602. Elizabethan England. Court intrigues. The Spanish Inquisition--which I wasn't expecting.
There were a couple things going on back in the early colonies that I didn't get the point of, but I usually chalk that up to not having read many comics. Perhaps those more in the know got it.
This is a collection of one-offs from Neil Gaiman. As with any collection, some are better than others. But even the ones that aren't as good are stil...moreThis is a collection of one-offs from Neil Gaiman. As with any collection, some are better than others. But even the ones that aren't as good are still pretty okay.
The main event is a Sandman, of course. Not too much of Dream as we know him from Gaiman's series, but the creepiness is still there.
My favorite was a short, featuring John Constantine. Bittersweet in it's own way.
If you're a Gaiman fan, I think you'll enjoy it too. (less)
For some reason, I didn't write a review the first time around. I actually enjoyed it more this time. Due to a touch of the flu, I was up 3:00 a.m. I...moreFor some reason, I didn't write a review the first time around. I actually enjoyed it more this time. Due to a touch of the flu, I was up 3:00 a.m. I finished Catching Fire by 6 a.m. and then blew through this one by 6:30 p.m.
Katniss' actions in two previous books, and decisions made by others on her behalf, have dire consequences for those around her in the final installment. She struggles, as do many others.
Collins hasn't coddled her characters to this point and certainly doesn't stop the emotional and physical pain now. I found myself tearing up in several spots.
When I heard they were making 4 movies from the 3 books, I was skeptical. But having just reread all three, I can see how they'll do it. So much happens off stage in books because of the 1st person narrative that by showing all of that action, they could fill up four movies. (less)
**spoiler alert** ***I just read this for the 2nd time and did it 24 hours again. Still couldn't put it down.***
Just about 24 hours to read the second...more**spoiler alert** ***I just read this for the 2nd time and did it 24 hours again. Still couldn't put it down.***
Just about 24 hours to read the second installment of The Hunger Games Trilogy--Catching Fire. I could not put it down.
Someone I know said they stopped halfway through because it was the same as the first book. I think maybe he picked up the first one by mistake, because I didn't get that at all.
Spoilers for The Hunger Games follow:
The story continues after Katniss and Peeta are crowned co-victors of the games. Life is supposed to be easy for them. New homes, money, fame. But it doesn't feel easy, or right. Too much of what happened in the arena can't be forgotten. They both suffer from nightmares. And some of the people at home can't forget either. The stories and actions that caused them to be the first ever co-winners, have ticked off all the wrong people.
Katniss still seems too clueless in this one. About people and herself. Maybe that's supposed to be because she's only 17, but with all she's been through I think she should be a little more savvy. How else has he survived this long? But that wasn't enough to dampen my enjoyment of the book.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the third book on hand, when I finished this one. Fortunately, I had the day off and could go right out and buy it. (less)
With apologies to Mr. Martin and his legion of fans, I just could not do it. Two thirds of the way through (about page 630), I couldn't make myself re...moreWith apologies to Mr. Martin and his legion of fans, I just could not do it. Two thirds of the way through (about page 630), I couldn't make myself read any more. Maybe because I already saw Seasons Two and Three of the Game of Thrones television series. But I saw Season One before reading the first book and didn't have a problem. So what was it?
I didn't care about 80% of the many, many, many people chronicled. Jon Snow, Arya, Bran and Tyrion. Maybe Sansa. That's it. Out of a cast of hundreds. I didn't care, again, about sigils or troop movements or shifting alliances or castle intrigues or who wants to be king.
So I will limit myself to television series. It pares away much of the stuff I don't care about and leaves the main through-lines. Works for me.(less)
Cronin continues the saga he started in The Passage. Continues and fills in some of the time gap. In this installment, we get a glimpse of "outbreak's...moreCronin continues the saga he started in The Passage. Continues and fills in some of the time gap. In this installment, we get a glimpse of "outbreak's" aftermath.
Once again, the author employs multiple third person points of view. This technique enables us to see where all the key characters are. It also gives a heightened sense of action and tension when big events unfold. Just as Character A is about to fall off the metaphorical cliff, he shifts to Character B stepping into the lion's den.
All the way through I found myself saying "One more section." It was a huge wrench to set it down in order to read a kinda sorta have to book. By the last 150 pages I couldn't put the thing down.
The epilogue sets up the main conflict for the last installment quite nicely. Okay, I really can't want to read it.(less)
Based on a Russian fairy tale, this is the story of a middle-aged couple who are homesteading in Alaska, circa 1920. They are childless. The wife, Mab...moreBased on a Russian fairy tale, this is the story of a middle-aged couple who are homesteading in Alaska, circa 1920. They are childless. The wife, Mabel, is still struggling with the loss of a baby and the isolation of their wilderness home. In a bit of playfulness after a pleasant day with a neighboring family, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone and they think they see a small girl in the woods.
Is the child real? Human or sprite? Or has the couple succumbed to cabin fever? This is a beautiful, haunting tale. It also contains vivid descriptions of the harshness of hacking a life out of a hostile environment. It had the ability to make me want to keep turning pages to find out what happens and to make me want to stop because I didn't want to know if things turned out badly.
An amazing debut. I look forward to more Eowyn Ivey (and isn't that the best name?).(less)
I often find that short stories feel unfinished, as if the writer felt staying within a certain word count was the most important factor in creating t...moreI often find that short stories feel unfinished, as if the writer felt staying within a certain word count was the most important factor in creating the story. I don't mean the ending is ambiguous--I like ambiguous endings. It seems these writers reach a certain point and just stop.
Bradbury's stories are all finished, some with clear outcomes and other that could go many different ways after the story closes. But Bradbury has told the whole story.
While he's probably most famous for his Science Fiction stories, especially the Mars-based ones, I liked the more reality-based tales best. But they're all little windows into what it means to be human. Modern short story writers could take a lesson from this master. (less)
Merlotte's get firebombed, Claude and Dermot have moved in with Sookie, she cleans out her attic, and Eric is having trouble with new King's represent...moreMerlotte's get firebombed, Claude and Dermot have moved in with Sookie, she cleans out her attic, and Eric is having trouble with new King's representative.
There's a lot of interesting premises there to go on. But I have to say, not much happens for long stretches of the book. And as with the previous installment, the sex scene isn't even good. And I'm sorry Ms. Harris, but the ice pack was not sexy, but disturbing.
I think it may be time to wrap up this series. We're getting too much of the mundane and not enough of the fantastic. And Sookie must, must, must stop saying, "That's really important, but I'm not going to think about it now." Let her think about it now. Let her act based on those thoughts. Then let there be consequences that lead to more actions.
The three stars are more nostalgia than a true rating.(less)