Friday, December 19, 2008
I found the first part to be very well written and engaging. Rissa was a sweet character, one I liked immediately. I was fascinated by Acheron’s interactions with Artemis, especially the early ones when he had nothing but hope for his future with her. Seeing his friendship with Savitar, the birth of the Dark-Hunters...I really came into the series at the wrong place, but I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.
When the timeframe shifted to today the story really picked up speed. I loved meeting the various characters like Talon and Sunshine – characters that became favorites when I finally read their story. Soteria is a fun heroine. Like all of Kenyon’s female leads, she isn’t perfect and that makes her very likeable. She’s still a strong character but without that perfection you can easily identify with her.
Acheron is the end of the first part of the Dark-Hunter series according to the author. It’s an interesting read, thoroughly engaging, longtime fans get to see familiar characters once more and each one is a welcome treat. For me, it’s been fun to read from the beginning of the series and meet the characters I first glimpsed in Acheron’s book.
Something I found interesting about the character of Acheron is how due to his experiences in his human life he never expects anything from people. Nothing good at least. So when the people he’s given so much to come back to help him he’s stunned. Humbled in a way. It was a lovely scene, one I look forward to going back and rereading soon. It worked out nicely that I got to read this book in November when the Book-A-Month challenge theme was Giving. Acheron gives of himself everyday and he’s rewarded for it in the most wondrous ways. I couldn’t help but enjoy that.
If you’re a fan of vampires, mythology, or paranormal romance I think you’d enjoy the Dark-Hunter series, especially this book. It can be read on its own, but it is much more satisfying as part of the overall series.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Sadly that’s not what I got. What I got was a Sociological dissertation on the way ghost stories are used to deliver moral lessons in the American heartland. I was disappointed by the clinical tone of the book and the lack of representation for the Southern States. Colleges I know have a reputation for ghostly encounters weren’t mentioned at all. There are Southern universities and colleges mentioned, but very few. I did learn some interesting things about the ghosts from New England and the Northern Mid-West, but on the whole, I was bored by the book. Luckily, this wasn’t the only book I read during the month of October. More coming on my newest interest, the Dark-Hunter series.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Melissa Marr pulls the reader into an incredible tale of politics, fantasy, friendship and even a bit of romance. The characters get additional depth that really rounds them out and shows their flaws as well as their strengths. YA Urban Fantasy at it’s best.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
In the city of
Keenan searches for his Summer Queen, a mortal woman destined to become Fae and rule at his side. Due to the machinations of his mother, the Winter Queen this is a daunting task that puts each young woman he approaches at risk. In order to rule by his side the women must take up the Winter Queen’s staff. If she is not the one destined to be queen she becomes the Winter Girl. Her touch is cold, her world is covered in frost. Aislinn doesn’t want anything to do with the Fae, but once Keenan sets his sights on her there’s nothing she can do to lose their attention.
I wasn’t sure I would like this book – but I loved it. Melissa Marr has an engaging writing style, one that’s very easy to read. No character is a caricature or a stereotype. You immediately get a sense of Aislinn’s personality as well as Keenan’s. There are surprises throughout the book, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect by the end. It was a pleasant surprise and a well thought out world. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, Ink Exchange.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Like many other Twilight fans I was at the bookstore at Friday night in order to pick up my copy of Breaking Dawn, the fourth book in the Twilight saga, as soon as it was available. I didn’t read it as fast as the other books but I’m still left stunned by the story. Going into this book I was looking for three things…ok, four. #1 – Bella and Edward get married. #2 – Bella is changed into a vampire. #3 – The Volturi confront the Cullens over Bella’s change. And #4 – Jacob gets a happy ending. I thought if I got all those things, or even 3 of the 4 I would be happy.
I’m not happy. Parts of the book at very good – there’s some great character moments for the Wolves. Some very sweet parts between Bella and Edward. Bella’s joy at certain happenings in the book is wonderful. But over all – the book is not the story I wanted to see. It doesn’t fit the rest of the series. It doesn’t fit Stephenie Meyer’s world as she’s presented it before this.
Before Breaking Dawn, the message that love requires sacrifice, compromise, and a lot of work for a wonderful emotional reward came through loud and clear. In Breaking Dawn that message is chucked right out the window. It’s hard to write a review of this book without spoilers – but I’m trying my best. The message of the series is lost in this book because of the central plot point that comes so far out of left field my brain couldn’t wrap around it even after a few hours of sleep. I will have to reread this book in order to full absorb the story, but upon my first reading I can not say I was truly satisfied with the ending. It has some very good scenes and some excellent character moments but as the conclusion of Bella & Edward’s story it doesn’t stand up to my expectations.
I started out the month of July with a goal to read 1984 for the Book-A-Month challenge. I managed to get through the first chapter then put it down. The whole concept of Big Brother was a bit much for me. I will finish the book but not for the challenge. Instead I decided to indulge in a book about Alien Invasion and how the humans of Earth deal with it.
The Host is an interesting story that’s an interesting take on the classic Body Snatchers theme. In the Host parasitic aliens have infiltrated Earth civilization and quietly taken over. The aliens are known as Souls – luminous jellyfish sort of looking creatures that are surgically implanted in the host body through a small incision at the base of the neck. The Soul then wraps around the brainstem and its tentacles attach to various parts of the brain and spinal column. When a Soul wakes up from this procedure they are in complete control of the host body – the host mind is completely silent and repressed so the Soul is in sole control of her host body. Except in Wanderer’s case, her host is still present and refuses to completely give up on her body. Their tale is fascinating and provides the few free humans left in the world some hope that the extinction of the human race as free-willed beings is not as certain as they once thought.
This book certainly qualifies as Science Fiction, but there’s enough realism that it’s very easy to believe it and get lost in the story. I enjoyed the characters, they felt very real to me and it was interesting reading the story from the point of view of a Soul while still getting the Human point of view through Melanie, the ever present host personality. Meyer left the ending open enough to support a sequel but it isn’t a requirement. The story is whole on its own, but if a sequel does come out I’ll be interested in reading it.
Monday, July 7, 2008
I’m a few days late with my Book-A-Month challenge entry for June. This month’s theme was knowledge – what book doesn’t provide you with some kind of knowledge either by giving facts like in non-fiction or through insight into the human condition like fiction? I read four novels this past month, though three of these were repeats and then one non-fiction book. I don’t read much non-fiction, at least not all the way through. I find it just doesn’t hold my attention. However, in June I picked up The Well Read Witch, a bibliography of essential books for pagans in general.
The conversational style made this an easy read. The author Carl McColman shares his choices for the most important books in the field of pagan spirituality as well as gives a very short overview of what paganism is in general. His list flows from suggestions for beginners and the curious to advanced topics and community involvement. McColman advises anyone interested in pagan spirituality, specifically the Wiccan religion to find a mentor, someone who can show and instruct you in the rituals and traditions of your path; but he’s quick to point out that books are excellent places to start your journey and provide insight along the way. The Well Read Witch is a good book, easy to follow, easy to skip around and skim the titles & annotations, and an excellent guide to building up a pagan book collection either for personal use or for libraries.July's theme for the Book-A-Month Challenge is Independence. I'm finally going to tackle George Orwell's 1984 and hopefully Lois Lowery's The Giver as well. Reviews will be up once I'm finished with the books!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I am horribly horribly behind when it comes to jumping on this particular bandwagon. Back in the fall I read about the biggest YA publishing Phenomenon since Harry Potter, Twilight. I checked out the book and due to time constraints I didn’t give it a chance. I read the first half of the first chapter then returned the book and figured it just wasn’t for me. Well since then I’ve worked with the kids here at the library more and more. Many of them have raved about Twilight and how good a book it was, so I decided to give it another try. I put in a request for the book and now, three months later, I got it.
And devoured it.
What I didn’t get into the first time around utterly grabbed me the second time. I was entranced by Edward and Bella’s story, followed the comparisons author Stephenie Meyer makes with Romeo & Juliet and
Yeah I didn’t read just Twilight but its sequels New Moon & Eclipse as well. I’ve done almost nothing this past weekend except read these books. I was hooked. I enjoyed watching Bella and Edward grow as characters. I really enjoyed that as Bella was not a character I could get into originally. She came across in that first chapter as a fairly flat character, not much personality and though responsible and mature in many ways she wasn’t special for me. Bella had to grow on me. Edward’s initial reaction to her is what got me interested. What was there about this bland character that upset him so much? What else was there about her? I had to find out and because of that, I had to read. In reading I learned that while Bella didn’t know herself as well as she thought she did, she was an interesting character. Always taking care of others, never taking time for herself – she never really learned who she was. It took all three books but by the end, she did know herself – not as well as she will by the end of the fourth book, but the character definitely grew somewhat.
Edward is a fantastic character – one that isn’t explored well enough for me because I always wanted to know what was going on in his mind, but the story is told from Bella’s point of view, we can’t know Edward’s mind. Still, seen through Bella’s eyes he is larger than life and utterly amazing. She does recognize some of his flaws, but they don’t detract from what she sees as his perfection. I have to admit, as much as I’m looking forward to the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, I’m anticipating Midnight Sun, Edward’s version of Twilight even more.
So yes, read this series, give Bella & Edward’s story a chance and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Just stay through the first chapter and you could very well be hooked.
Monday, June 2, 2008
From Dead to Worse is the eighth book in the Southern Vampire series and it is an enjoyable romp, but a bit light on mystery (was solved by about page 150 if I remember correctly) which is surprising since Charlaine Harris is fantastic at writing thought out enjoyable and not too easy to guess mysteries. At least I'm not too good at solving the mystery before Sookie. Even still, this was a fun book. Ms. Harris gave us some great moments between characters and made me laugh out loud a few times too. I enjoyed seeing Sookie deal with the consequences of various actions, one thing she doesn't shy away from even if she wants to is taking responsibility for what she's done. I also really liked the fact that she made it clear exactly what she wanted out of a relationship.
Sookie had a lot of character development, in fact many of the characters did and I was glad to see it. The banter between Sookie and Eric was fun, but I've always had a soft spot for that character since the first book in the series I read was Dead to the World. The action in the book was almost over the top - at this point Sookie is involved in more fights and conflicts than one woman ought to be. But then when you consider that Sookie is also a telepath involved with both vampire & werewolf/shifter communities I think it's easy to see why she's caught in the middle so often.
From Dead to Worse is a great Summer read. Light enough to breeze through, but engaging enough that you don't want to put it down until you're done.
Now that June is here I'm still switching back and forth between the other two books I started in May - reviews will come once I've finished them. And I'm set to check out two YA books - the very popular Twilight & a new one called Beastly. On top of that I've got Don't Know Much About U.S. History for the Book-A-Month challenge. A challenge I totally failed in May since the theme was Mothers and I didn't read a book devoted to moms. Lots to read and only a little time. I'd best get to it.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Dark Possession is the latest in Christine Feehan's Carpathian series. In this one Carpathian hunter Manolito sets his sites on MaryAnn, a therapist from Seattle that his sister in law hired to help a young woman in her family. During their rocky courtship Manolito struggles against his own dark nature as well as curiosities in MaryAnn's. She is a great heroine, one with flaws and personality quirks that make her much more three dimensional than many romance heroines. Erotic and suspenseful, I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good vampire novel with a twist.
It was because of the twist I tracked down Dark Prince, which is the first of the Carpathian books. Much of the book is devoted to setting up the Carpathian society, how the Carpathians differ from the vampires of legend, and the long term conflict between the Carpathians and the human vampire hunters that want to eradicate them. I didn't enjoy Dark Prince as much as Dark Possession, though it was a fun read. While Mikhail the leader of the Carpathians is an interesting character and his flaws are touched on and given enough screen time to make him into more than just a cardboard hero, I didn't get the same sense of Raven, the heroine. She was a bit flat to me - good and kind, virginal, filled with innocence despite the horrors she's witnessed while helping the police on different cases. A little too perfect for my tastes. I was much more interested in the scenes between Mikhail and the other Carpathians, their personalities were fascinating and I enjoyed the banter and report they shared. I've bought the second book in the series, Dark Desire, but haven't had the opportunity to read it yet. Looking forward to it though.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Imagine my surprise when I found that it comes across as a lot of disjointed "woe is me" "he broke my heart" "i didn't follow my dream" passages that also throws out knitting terms without explaining what they are. There's a lot of talk about the love of knitting and how old-fashioned as it may be, it's still something special. I understand having a passion for a hobby and getting wrapped up in sharing that passion with others that you sometimes forget to explain things to the folks that are just learning. I have no idea what Casting On is even after seeing the term mentioned in the book more then ten times in the first few chapters. Other terms such as types of stitches, wools, and patterns were thrown into the story but never explained even though some of the characters were supposed to be beginners just like some readers. Some may feel that it wasn't necessary to explain the hobby which is only the plot device for bringing people together, but I have to disagree. When a hobby is used in this type of story I want to feel the passion for the hobby that the characters have and part of that is telling me exactly what their language means. Translating the terms into concepts I can understand.
The main character of Georgia starts off as a strong woman with a successful shop and a wonderful daughter, but she quickly becomes tiresome. She isolates herself from her customers and often comes across like she's a martyr to Single-Motherhood. She comes across to me as cynical, unable to trust anyone but her mentor Anita and after the first three chapters I found that I really didn't care about her any more. None of the characters truly really came alive for me, though Anita came close - yet there was something about her that was almost too saintly.
I got through the first 125 pages and put the book down, instead turning to other books that the Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. Due to moving I haven't finished that one, I was laughing and enjoying the read though I'm having a hard time identifying the narrator so far. Other books that pulled my attention were the classic graphic novel Infinity Gauntlet & Christine Feehan's Dark Possession. This is the first of Ms. Feehan's books I've read and so far I'm thoroughly enjoying it so I'll be hunting for more from her.
The April theme for the Book-A-Month Challenge is Beauty. Not sure what book I'm going to read for that one yet, though first of next month be looking for my review. Happy Reading!
Monday, March 3, 2008
For the February Book-A-Month challenge the theme was the heart, naturally given the month those so inclined turn towards romance. While Queen's Fool has a bit of romance in it just like The Other Boelyn Girl, romance takes a back seat to duty, intrigue, and the royal court.
The Queen's Fool tell the story of Mary Tudor's reign and Elizabeth's rise to power through the eyes of a young Jewish girl, Hannah, who has the gift of the Sight. After she's discovered by Lord Robert Dudley he begs her for a fool to King Edward at the end of his brief reign. Now in Dudley's service, Hannah is forced to make difficult choices, usually bending to Dudley's will as she becomes infatuated with him on sight. This doesn't make it easy for her to find her own happiness, but over time Hannah gains the trust of both Tudor Princesses and successfully navigates the minefield of political intrigue. Through it all there is the shadow of her Jewish heritage and the betrothal to a young medical student named Daniel. Like her is he also a Jew in hiding, a common bond between them though the length's Hannah's father went to in order to hide her made Hannah independent and less inclined to accept Daniel's orders the way the women in his own family do. This independence causes problems for the couple, but along the way Daniel is loyal to Hannah and she to him though they both have periods of doubt and time apart.
I particularly enjoyed the way Gregory weaves Hannah's private life through the threads of history and how intriguing she makes both Elizabeth and Mary. The ghosts of their mothers are very present in the story and you can see how each woman was effected by the treatment their mothers recieved throughout their lives. Queen's Fool was a great read and left me itching to get my hands on The Virgin's Lover which I'm almost finished with now. Another excellent book that I'll talk about next time.
Monday, February 4, 2008
The Other Boleyn Girl tells the tale of the court of Henry the Eighth and the rise of Anne Boleyn to Queen through the eyes of Mary, Anne’s younger sister. The sibling rivalry, intense family loyalty, and ambition are palpable through every interaction between the sisters. It is a fascinating look at life in the Tudor court and the life of a young woman growing from idealistic, naïve girl into a calculating, yet still loving woman who is almost too good to be true. Ms. Gregory does an excellent job of showing Mary’s faults, as well as her good points. She also makes Anne out to be the most manipulative and ambitious woman ever to walk the earth, and the Howard & Boleyn families to be incredibly cut throat in all dealings. While this isn’t the current Academic belief about Anne it makes an excellent story with Anne and Mary as foils for one and other.
The court intrigue and politics are fascinating, the dialogue easy to follow, all in all a thoroughly good book and an author I’ll be reading more from in the future.
Friday, January 11, 2008
The third book in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Other World series was fantastic. In Stolen, the narrator Paige Winterbourne came across as pushy and arrogant, in Dime Store Magic she comes into her own. The reader gets to see her as an idealist who wants to bring the North American Witches Coven into the 21st century as well as a young woman struggling against the loss of her mother and the added responsibility of taking care of Savannah, a 13 year old orphan.
When Savannah's biological father is told about her whereabouts he brings forth a paternity suit. The elders of the coven want Paige to give Savannah up because the child is too willful and lacks the strict morality of the coven. Since Paige's mother entrusted Savannah to her care, Paige is unwilling to abandon her. Instead she fights the paternity suit and deals with the reprecussions Savannah's father throws at her.
This is the first book in this series without Elena Michaels, the only female werewolf in existence, as a major character. While she does make a couple of brief cameos due to being friends with Paige, it is obvious from the first page that this book isn't about Elena and she isn't vital to the story. The series and the world it's set in gets a little bigger through this distinction and it makes you wonder who else might wind up as the main character. Could we see stories about Cassandra the vampire? Or Leah the half-demon? I rather doubt we'll see a book about Leah, she's a bit too much the villian in this one.
The pacing in this book is good and the characterizations work well. Paige, Savannah, and the new character Cortez are all fully fleshed out. I enjoyed the characters and even warmed up to Paige, a character I did not care for in the previous book Stolen. I was disturbed by the way the coven members turned their back on Paige and Savannah during the conflicts of this book, that showed a severe failing in the coven itself.
Kelly Armstrong has created a wonderful world that is just different enough from our own to make it recognizable and yet fantastic at the same time. Her characters are interesting with flaws and insecurities as well as great power at their fingertips. I highly recommend her books to any lovers of paranormal stories.
I've heard this described as "literature", "science fiction", and "romance", but so far I can't decide which genre it truly belongs in. So far I haven't been able to pick up a plot as this is a pretty non-linear story telling style with a great deal of paradox. When 24 year old Henry jumps back in time to the Field Museum in 196? (check the year) he knows what he's supposed to do because he remembers it. He will meet his younger self at the age of 5 as he experiences his first time jump. Another time he jumps to meet himself at age 9 when he teaches his younger self to pick pockets. Paradox. It goes back to the age old question of which came first. If Henry never went back in time he'd never learn how to pick pockets.
I have to apologize for publishing this post today, I thought it hadn't been published by mistake. It was actually intentional since it was and still is incomplete. I never finished this book which seems to surprise most people I've talked to about it. I just didn't like the book enough to finish it. Thus my review isn't as complete as some others I've written.
So let's just leave it as this particular book wasn't my cup of tea.
Friday, January 4, 2008
This month I picked up the second book in Armstrong's "Women of the Otherworld" series Stolen and enjoyed it even more than I enjoyed Bitten. In Stolen we meet up with Elena, Clayton and thier Pack Alpha Jeremy. Someone's kidnapping supernaturals and it's up to Elena and her allies to find out who it is and stop it. The story moves at a good pace and new characters are introduced that are a lot of fun, particularly Adam, a half-demon that's actually very sweet. Stolen also introduces readers to Paige Winterbourne, the young sometimes arrogant witch that will lead The Coven. Paige also happens to be the narrator of the third book in the series Dime Store Magic. That one's waiting for me at home.
Stolen is a good read if you enjoy supernatural stories the way I do. If you have an interest in Werewolves and pack dynamics you'll love it.
I have two books on my plate for this month, Dime Store Magic and The Time-Traveler's Wife, which I'm reading for the Book-A-Month Challenge. If I finish those two I'm going to check out The Other Boelyn Girl as I've been told it is absolutely fantastic. Look for those reviews in the coming weeks and keep on reading!