Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fallen - Review

Fallen (Fallen, # 1)

By: Lauren Kate

Published: January 1, 2009 by Delacorte Press

452 pages

Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy

Source: Borrowed from my friend, Paula

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*Note: The above links to Amazon, Book Depository, and are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret...even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, FALLEN is a page-turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

I'm giving Fallen ****. This was another book that I put off reading because of a review I read on Amazon. But I just could not get over the cover art. I know, I know. Never judge a book by its cover. But sometimes you just get a feeling about a book, and I say go with it. You just never know what you're going to get. Could turn out to be a waste of time and you wish you could have those hours back. Or you could fall in love with the story and the characters. At the very least, it could be mildly entertaining and help you pass the time until you come across the next book/series that blows you away.

As always, I'm going to do my best to review this one without any spoilers. That being said, I think you can tell what I'm about to say just by reading the prologue. So...I have to say I'm quite the sucker for relationships with history. The "soulmate principle" as I like to call it. And this book didn't disappoint.

Many of my questions were answered in time throughout this book and many new questions were created there at the end. One of my initial questions was about how Daniel treats Luce. The wishy-washy bordering on downright mean behavior towards her. But Lauren Kate explains that quite nicely. The shadows that pop up around Luce all the time, that was something I was trying to figure out the whole time. I didn't get the right answer exactly, but I like what they turned out to be. But there at the end, specifically the last few pages created a whole new set of questions that I can't wait to explorer and uncover in book 2, Torment.

Though this was the most major question of all, "what is Daniel exactly?", I don't think Lauren Kate really tried to keep that answer a secret. That was the biggest negative thing I read in the review on Amazon that was holding me back from pursuing this one. The writer of that review remarked that it wasn't a big surprise what Daniel turned out to be (paraphrasing here). And while that's true, I don't think Lauren Kate intended it to be a big secret. She dropped hints that just about directly named his species from pretty early on in the book. And so while this felt like a huge question, it wasn't really. Yet, I don't feel like the book suffered because of it. I think there are plenty of other questions surrounding Luce and the story that prevent this question's answer from being a make-or-break factor.

Not really sure if I would call the ending a cliffhanger. In the sense that an unexpected event occurred that called some things the read believes to be fact into question, it was. But the event itself was not so mind-blowing that I would consider it a cliffhanger. It most definitely piqued my interest and I am very much looking forward to reading Torment soon.

Waiting to see what all books I get for Christmas to decide what I'm going to read next. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Check out Fallen by Lauren Kate. 4 Stars.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Books I've Read 2010

I’m taking down the Books I’ve Read in 2010 list to the left of my posts to make room for the upcoming list of Books I’ve Read in 2012. But so the reader might be able to locate this list, I decided to put in a post before I take them down. These are not all of the books I read in 2010, they’re just the ones I can remember since I wasn’t keeping this blog back then. Anyway, here it is and their rankings:

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy Series) – Richelle Mead (*****)

Redeeming Love – Francine Rivers (****)

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices Series) – Cassandra Clare (****)

The Power of a Praying Wife – Stormie Omartian (****)

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner – Stephenie Meyer (***)

Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (***)

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy Series) – Richelle Mead (*****)

It’s All About Him – Denise Jackson (****)

The Dead Tossed Waves – Carrie Ryan (*****)

Burned (House of Night Series) – PC Cast & Kristin Cast (***)

Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely Series) – Melissa Marr (***)

Shadowland (Immortals Series) – Alyson Noel (**)

Blue Moon (Immortals Series) – Alyson Noel (***)

I’ve already reviewed Last Sacrifice, Spirit Bound, and The Dead Tossed Waves in 2011 since they were my only 5 Star picks. I’ll now give a brief (one sentence or two) review on the others from 2010 since I’ve had some distance and clarity on these.

Redeeming Love – Excellent book with Christian background and influences. Changes the way you think about how God speaks to you and is working in your life—or at least offers a different way of looking at it. Beautiful story based on the book of Hosea.

Clockwork Angel – Took some time getting started, but when the storyline started picking up, it got harder and harder to put down. Was somewhat afraid that this series might follow the same overall arch as The Mortal Instruments. Looking forward to reading Clockwork Prince that released this month. Hoping to get it for Christmas.

Power of a Praying Wife – Excellent for married women wanting to improve their marriage. Though not quite as good as the Power of a Praying Woman.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner – Interesting to see the background of Bree and some of the things going on behind the scenes that affected the story of Eclipse. Especially after the battle scene when the Volturi show up. It ended right when it got good, but so it seems was the short second life of Bree Tanner.

Beautiful Creatures – Read in one day but only because I had opportunity to read not because I couldn’t put it down. Was better initially thinking than after I had some time to dwell on it.

It’s All About Him – Was recommended to me by my father, and I was right determined not to like it at all. Turned out to be way above my expectations and challenged my thinking on some things as well as challenged me to improve my own prayer life and release control (that I never really had in the first place) to the ONE who actually controls it all.

Burned – Can’t remember much about this book specifically, but the House of Night series has been steadily declining in my opinion since perhaps the range of books 4-6. I will finish the series, but it’s not a priority anymore. Only vaguely wish to get the newest book (Destined) for Christmas.

Ink Exchange – At this point, I started questioning the Wicked Lovely series. Not my favorite. Didn’t like that the focus of this book was on Leslie and not the characters from book 1. Though this was probably slightly better than the next book in the series, Fragile Eternity, which took me an eternity to read.

Shadowland – Another book that took me an eternity to read. I had to force, I mean physically force, myself to read this book. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Blue Moon – Consider how much I didn’t like Shadowland, this book was surprising good. But still only okay.

So that’s that for my 2010 reads. Moving on to 2012. Can’t wait to see what adventures I’ll experience in the upcoming year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Northanger Abbey - Review

Northanger Abbey

By: Jane Austen

Published: first published 1818

251 pages

Genre: Classic, Historical Fiction

Source: Own, Personal Library

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Goodreads description--A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.

Executed with high-spirited gusto, Northanger Abbey is the most lighthearted of Jane Austen’s novels, yet at its core this delightful novel is a serious, unsentimental commentary on love and marriage.

So it’s time to review another classic. Ugh, these are probably the hardest ones to review for me. I’d give Northanger Abbey 3 Stars. I did like this book and it definitely had moments where I was extremely curious to know what was going to happen next, but as with all of Jane Austen’s novels that I have read thus far, there are moments that are more boring in nature and therefore allow me to put the book down easily.

The more I read of Jane Austen’s writing and the more familiar I am with other works from the same time period, the easier it is to read these works. I’m more familiar with the phrasing and general canter of her writing style than I once was, but sometimes I still have to slow down in order to absorb what it is that she’s trying to say.

Northanger Abbey’s heroine, Catherine, appears to me to be surrounded by several people who’s speech is contradictory to their actually feelings or actions, Isabella, John Thorpe, and Mrs. Allen. And Catherine herself appears to me to be one of the most ignorant of Jane Austen’s heroines. I don’t mean that in a bad way necessarily. It’s just that Catherine doesn’t always know what is proper and usually defers her own judgment to those around her assuming that they know better than she does. While Catherine does appear perceptive in some cases, as in disliking John Thorpe very early on, she also appears the opposite in other cases, such as Isabella’s true nature as well as John’s supposed attraction to herself.

I like the fact that while Jane Austen’s heroines seem to be similar in some ways, they all have very different circumstances and experience which makes each story very much unique to itself. I do find that there has been in at least 3 of the novels that I’ve completely finished a character that I wholly dislike…and it’s usually the one that talks the most about things they know nothing about. In this case, it’s Isabella Thorpe. One thing I was disappointed in was the ending. It’s not that she didn’t satisfy my desire to know what happened or that I wasn’t pleased with the end result; however, she essentially summarized the ending rather than letting the reader experience it as it happened.

Anyway, a short read, but well worth it if you’re an Austen fan. If not, I wouldn’t suggest reading this one first, but work up to it.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Glass Wall - Review

The Glass Wall (Return of the Ancients, # 1)

By: Madison Adler

Published: September 5th 2011 by McAzadi Services

354 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction

Source: Personal Kindle Library

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Goodreads description--17-year-old Sydney's only interest in life is flying under the radar.

But destiny has other plans when the tall, handsome, formal, and unusual Rafael Channing moves into the neighborhood. Athletic and with killer looks, he wears black eyeliner like a magician and seems to be watching Sydney's every move.

What starts out as a light-hearted investigation with her gadget-happy foster father takes a serious turn when she discovers that Rafael isn't human. Add Jareth, the country's latest rock sensation, into the mix and Sydney is swept into a mysterious world of Tulpas, the Fae, and the Brotherhood of the Snake.

Sydney doesn't know she's a Blue Thread of Fate. She doesn't know the fate of humanity depends on her choice of whom to trust--Jareth or Rafael. And she certainly doesn't know that she's taken the first step on the unexpected path of love.

4 Stars.

This book kept me interested. I just really wanted to figure out what these supernatural beings were. I think I figured it out a bit sooner than our main character, Sydney, did though. Oh well. I like that she didn’t exactly guess correctly and even when she did find out what they were, she tended to revert back to her original assumption.

I like the storyline of Sydney developing her relationships with her foster family verses her real mother. I like how Grace has a crush on Rafael first and how she behaves about it—though I’m also glad that Grace isn’t the main character. I like how Grace’s attentions are shifted from Rafael. Oh and Al, Sydney’s foster dad, at the Thanksgiving scene, was hilarious. Down-right hilarious. Loved that scene. Laughed out loud reading that scene.

*Possible SPOILERS ahead, please proceed with caution.* However, I don’t like how Sydney seems not really oblivious to boys….but uninterested…and then all of a sudden she is…interested. And I don’t like how all of these other people keep saying “they see how Rafael looks at Sydney,” but there really feels like there’s no reason for him to like her. Or at least as a reader, I didn’t understand why he does. And there were times when I was reading that I flat just didn’t believe that he did like her. It didn’t feel believable to me. It felt like the author needed Rafael to like Sydney not that he actually did. I actually got more from Jareth in the way of feelings and reason to have feelings for Sydney than I did from Rafael. Now granted maybe all will be explored and explained in the upcoming books, guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Oh and I get that Rafael is a supernatural being and all—and all supernatural beings have their pros and cons—but he’s just a little too hetero for my taste. The makeup and sequins were just a bit too much. Especially when he crossed over into feather territory. Some eyeliner I MIGHT be able to handle. And yes I understand that Steven Tyler has a feather in his hair. You also see more pre-teen girls with the feather in their hair to mimic Steven Tyler than you do grown men or teenage boys. But the sequins? I can’t…just can’t buy that for a dude.

Overall good read. Check out The Glass Wall by Madison Adler.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Hollowland - Review

Hollowland (The Hollows, # 1)

By: Amanda Hocking

Published: September 28th 2010 by Amanda Hocking

312 pages

Genre: YA, Horror, Zombies

Source: Personal Kindle Library

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Goodreads description--"This is the way the world ends - not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door."

Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way - not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.

Let see… I’d give Hollowland 4 Stars. For not having this book go through the typical publisher with editor and line editor process that most books go through, Amanda Hocking did a really superb job and I really have to commend her for that.

Hollowland kept my interest the entire way. I did have some opportunities to put it down in the beginning but that was mostly because I was finishing up some other books and not because I wasn’t interested in the story. Some of the storyline felt convenient, like finding a fully gassed up vehicle at the first house they stop. And then being provided with another fully gassed vehicle later. However, I’m sure the same could be said for plenty of other books on the market. In the same way, the condition of Remy’s brother Max was really convenient as well.

I can’t really think of any plot twists that threw me for a loop or that I couldn’t see coming. But I also didn’t feel like everything was predictable. The characters definitely faced ongoing peril instead of persistent safety. And then there’s the ending. It pretty much just ended. I mean I think she was going for a cliffhanger. And while I do really want to know what happens next, overall the ending felt…unpolished.

Good book. Much better than I could have done self-published. And also much better than some books I’ve read over the last year that had the help of seasoned publishers and editors. 4 stars. Check out Hollowland.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception - Review

Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Books of Faerie, # 1)

By: Maggie Stiefvater

Published: October 8th 2008 by Flux

325 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Personal Library

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Goodreads description--Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy who enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of thin air. Trouble is, the enigmatic and gorgeous Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin. An equally hunky—and equally dangerous—dark faerie soldier named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. Sworn enemies, Luke and Aodhan each have a deadly assignment from the Faerie Queen. Namely, kill Deirdre before her music captures the attention of the Fae and threatens the Queen's sovereignty. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend. Deirdre had been wishing her life weren't so dull, but getting trapped in the middle of a centuries-old faerie war isn't exactly what she had in mind . . .

Lament is a dark faerie fantasy that features authentic Celtic faerie lore, plus cover art and interior illustrations by acclaimed faerie artist Julia Jeffrey.

4 Stars.

Finding that I don’t have much to say after my review of Beautiful Darkness.

Lament was really good. I was hooked. When I did have to put it down, I found myself always wanting to read more. I read it quickly (Wednesday to Friday). I was excited about the story line and the characters. And even when my sister-in-law presented me with a KindleFire for my graduation present Wednesday night, I couldn’t stop reading Lament to play with my new toy. Must say again, really like Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. Ballad, book 2 is on my Christmas Wishlist and so is The Scorpio Races (her newest book, but not in this series). Again, I’ll repeat what I said at the end of my Beautiful Darkness review. Beautiful Darkness was 503 pages and Lament was 325 pages. So much more happened (or seemed to happen) in Lament than in Beautiful Darkness. Good stuff. Sorry I don’t have more to say at the moment. Check out Lament.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Beautiful Darkness - Review

Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, # 2)

By: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Published: October 12th 2010 by Little, Brown and Company

503 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Borrowed from my friend, Paula

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Goodreads description--Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

Ok…so 2.9 stars. Can’t quite give this 3 Stars because I can’t say that I “liked” it—which is what my 3 Star rating is listed as. But it doesn’t quite feel like a “Really?” either.

Here’s the deal. I read Beautiful Creatures (the first book in this series) last year during the holiday season on a trip to my in-laws' house. I read the entire book in one day. It wasn’t so much that the reason I finished it in one day was because I couldn’t put it down so much as I really just had the opportunity to keep reading, so I did. I think because I read it all in one sitting, it didn’t feel like it took as long. But after the ending of it, I was left…wanting. But even with the disappointment I did feel, I still think I thought it was better than it was because I read it all at one time.

That being said…Beautiful Darkness, I didn’t read in one sitting. As a matter of fact, I have several opportunities to put it down. And put it down I did. It wasn’t that I disliked the book. That wasn’t it at all. Honestly, I just didn’t feel much of anything one way or the other. It wasn’t that the whole time I was reading it I was thinking “this is such a crappy book, I hope it gets better.” But I also wasn’t thinking, “Oh my goodness, what happens next?” either. I have to think that not feeling anything is not quite as bad as hating a book, but it does say something about it when you don’t feel anything after (or during) reading it.

This book was different than book one. Book one followed Lena and Ethan’s journey up to her “Sixteenth Moon” where she’s supposed to be Claimed for Light or Dark. She supposedly doesn’t have a choice, yet at the end we find that she can choose. If she chooses Light all of the Dark Casters in her family will die, including her beloved Uncle Macon—who tries to fight the Darkness—and her misguided cousin, Ridley—who was like her sister before Ridley’s Claiming. In this book, book two, we follow Lena and mostly Ethan’s journey up to Lena’s “Seventeenth Moon” where she in essence finally does choose. I won’t ruin it one way or the other. But at the end of book 2, Beautiful Darkness, it say something about the fact that if Ethan was paying attention he would hear the new song playing “Eighteenth Moon.” And honestly, that just left me feeling depressed. I guess the numbered moons are supposed to be the theme between the books in the series, but I just feel like Eigteenth Moon, or Beautiful Chaos (book three that is already out), is going to follow the pattern of the last two books. And more than anything, I just want to be done with the numbered moons, and this series.  I know, sounds harsh. Just telling you how I feel.

But, I never feel like I can abandon a series without seeing it through to the end, so I will read Beautiful Chaos at some point. I just really have no idea when, and I can’t say I’m looking forward to it.

P.S. I also just finished reading Lament by Maggie Stiefvater. Beautiful Darkness had 503 pages and Lament had 325. SO much more happened (or at least it seemed that way) in Lament than in Beautiful Darkness. Just saying…

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Catching Fire & Mockingjay- Reviews

First of all, my computer did an automatic shut down in the middle of typing this post. Thanks to Blogger’s auto save feature, I didn’t lose everything, but I did lose a good bit.  Oh well, that’s life. On we go…take 2.

4 Stars for both

Because I read these books so quickly and so close together, it is somewhat hard to keep them separate in my head. And so much of how I feel and want to say applies to the whole series. So for the first time ever, I'm doing a joint review. I'm going to try my best to separate them as best as I can though.

For me, Katniss has trouble with her emotions coming out—or not coming out in this case. It makes sense considering how much she has already been through at the beginning of Hunger Games and how much she has yet to go through. But it almost seems like consciously or unconsciously, most every decision she makes in respect to her relationships with Gale and Peeta are made to rebel against the Capitol. Gale is pretty open about where he stands at the beginning of the Hunger Games, but Katniss doesn’t return those feelings. Then Katniss and Peeta decide to pursue the strategy of presenting themselves as a couple to the Capitol. In the first Games, Katniss and Peeta have these interactions that neither Katniss nor the reader knows how real and how deep those interactions go—or again, don’t go. Katniss achieves the rebellion she seeks—again consciously or unconsciously—with the show of her relationship with Peeta. But as soon as the games are over and the Capitol isn’t watching their every move, Katniss backs away. But the Capitol isn’t done with Katniss and Peeta. The Capitol wants more of the lovely couple. And it is my belief that Katniss returns to Gale because the Capitol demands so much of her relationship with Peeta. In essence, taking her choice away. I think that’s what she rebels against the most. And so, on and on it goes. When the Capitol calls for Katniss and Peeta, she reverts to Gale. But when the Capitol gives her release and freedom to pursue Gale, she changes her focus back to Peeta. It is obvious that she doesn’t spend a ton of time focusing on figuring out her emotions and how she feels. But who can blame her with all that she’s been through?

Mockingjay had a different feel to me than the other two books. It focuses on the war between the Capitol and the Rebels rather than the Games. Although, I suppose the war itself is really just a multiplied form of the Games. Especially because both the Capitol and the Rebels are trying to manipulate Katniss into being who they need her to be and behaving how they need her to behave. Seriously these books—this entire series—was majorly stressful to read. I was paranoid throughout the whole series, but especially through Mockingjay. I wanted to know which characters survive and which characters we lose—due to the nature of war, we can’t save everyone. Some must die to protect the masses. I really felt like the series ended exactly the way it needed to end. And that’s as much as I’ll say about that. One final comment about Mockingjay, there were parts in this book that I found hard to follow. I didn’t really experience this in the other two books, but multiple times in Mockingjay, I had to stop, say “What just happened?” back up, and re-read. I don’t enjoy that. It messes up my rhythm.

Anyway, really good, exciting series. Can’t wait to see it in theaters in March 2012.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Hunger Games - Review

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, # 1)

By: Suzanne Collins

Published: September 14th 2008 by Scholastic Press

374 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Source: Personal Kindle Library

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Goodreads description--Katniss, 16, takes her sister's place in the televised annual Hunger Games, competing against Peeta, the boy who gave them bread to survive after their father died. The cruel Capitol forces each of 12 districts to submit a boy and girl 12-18, to fight to the death. Only one can survive and be rewarded. President Snow manipulates behind the scenes.
In my last post, my review on Clash of Kings, I mentioned that I was reading the Hunger Games next because I wanted something to blow through really quickly. And that, that I did. And Catching Fire too! 5 Stars for this book.

This series is right up there for me with Harry Potter and the Vampire Academy--I hesitate to compare any thing to these series because they're so phenominal and different in their own rights, but it is the best comparison I can think of at the moment--because Suzanne Collins has created this whole new world. New rules, new beliefs, new fears, new...well I could go on, but I'll stop.

Several of my friends read this series before me, and I have to be honest and say that I really hate when my friends read books before me. It is not because I want to be first, but they build it up, or tear it down--there's nothing wrong with that, it is what I do myself in this very blog--but it taints my view of the book before I even begin. They told me not to get attached to any of the characters because you never know which ones will survive and which ones will be killed off. And while this is true, I wish I hadn't know it before hand. Which totally stinks because I just shared it with you. It is just that because of this, I truly have been expecting everyone to die. And therefore none of the plot twists (no matter if it included a death or was just an unexpected event) have really caught me all that off guard. And that just kind of sucks. I enjoy the twists and unexpected events. I enjoy the not knowing. It is the experience of reading, of exploring, of adventure. It's why when my friends get to a good part in a book that I've read before them and they come to me begging me to tell them what happens that I just can't bring myself to do it. I'd rather tell you how a book makes me feel rather than what happened during it. That is for you to explore and find out for yourselves.

That being said, the Hunger Games made me experience and feel alot. I always begin a book on the lookout for who the protagonist is either already in love with or going to fall in love with. I have reasons I feel strongly about that have caused me to rule out various characters in all books that I read and characters to pick out as that very person, and it is no different for this one. After finishing Catching Fire, I'm still holding out hope for who I think that person is. But Katniss goes through so much in this book that you feel yourself. Fear is one of the biggest emotions and themes throughout the majority of this book. It's that fear that drives you forward, to keep reading at an increased and accelerated pace. There's also sadness, a need to protect those she loves, a need she can't always meet. And there are these very essential human moments in such a terrible Game created to keep the citizens of this world in check. Moments that I wont describe because of my feelings toward the experience. It just shows that even though the world that we live in verses the characters that we read about may be very different, basic humanity remains very much the same.

As I said, 5 Stars. This book easily kept my attention. Kept me reading--quickly. So much so that I started Catching Fire before I even really knew that the Hunger Games was finished. Look out for my review on Catching Fire next.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Clash of Kings - Review

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, # 2)

By: George R R Martin

Published: first published February 1999

761 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Adult

Source: Personal Kindle Library

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Goodreads description--Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over an age of enforced peace are dead...victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.

Audacious, inventive, brilliantly imagined, A Clash of Kings is a novel of dazzling beauty and boundless enchantment—a tale of pure excitement you will never forget.

Wow...first post I've had in over a month. This book was a big undertaking. (4 Stars by the way.) It wasn't so much that the book was long--although it was--but it was just easy to take breaks. Don't get me wrong, it was good, and it held my interest, and just like A Game of Thrones there were plenty of twists throughout the book, but periodically you'd come to a narrator that was just easy to put down.

The addition of Theon made sense, and you understand his character...and possibly even feel sorry for him. But by the end of the book, he's easy to hate. Bran...I struggled through his storyline some, but the further you get into the story the more it fits in with everything else that's going on and the more intriguing it becomes. We really get to see how brilliant Tyrion is throughout this book. He's playing this game with his sister, the realm, and the other self-proclaimed kings like nobody's business. Possibly one of the smartest characters of all, and definitely the wittiest. Jon's storyline was actually a struggle for me in the beginning as well. Even though he's one of my favorite characters, but my how the tables turn at the very end for him. Good stuff. Catelyn...I'm not sure what can be said about her. She's got so much on her shoulders and has been through so much. She's one of my favorite characters as well. The addition of Davos, though he doesn't have many chapters, is brilliant to me instead of George RR Martin writing through Stannis's perspective, yet we still get an inside story on what's going on with that camp. Dany doesn't have many chapters in this book, but I'm excited about where she seems to be heading. And finally (I think), Arya. Possibly my favorite storyline of this book. Arya's got all kinds of adventures presented to her in this book. I can't wait to see what happens next.

The supernatural aspects of this story shine through in this book more than the previous book in this series. This is another facet that I'm waiting to see how it all plays out through the entire series. Dany of course seems surrounded by the supernatural. But Davos/Stannis and the addition of the Red Lady, Bran and Summer, Jon and the wildlings/eagle, Arya and Jaqen H'ghar. I'm sure there's more.

Exciting things. Looking forward to the twists and turns to come in book 3, but I have to take a break from the series. I need to read something that I can blow through really fast and knock out some books quickly.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Monday, September 5, 2011

Persuasion - Review


By: Jane Austen

Published: first published December 1817

308 pages

Genre: Classic, Historical Fiction

Source: Own/Personal Library

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Goodreads description--Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen's most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne's family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.

I'm hesitant to review a classic such as Persuasion, but I will anyway. 5 Stars.

This is actually my second time reading Persuasion. I've found that the beginning of every Jane Austen book that I've read has had a slow start--not so much so with Pride and Prejudice. I think she just gives a lot of background information on several of the main characters up front and sometimes that can make for a boring start. However, I thoroughly suggest pressing through because once you get into the story, the story itself is well worth it. When Jane Austen's on a roll with her writing, she's on it for sure and it is beautiful. This is exactly the case with Persuasion. The entire story is build up to the last section. But the climax is perfect--in my humble opinion.

Anne is one of my favorite of Austen's female leading characters. Having turned down Captain Wentworth eight years prior, Anne has some life experience that most of Austen's main characters do not have. I love how Anne carries the regret of her past mistakes. She has to live with the possibility of watching the one man she has always loved fall in love with someone else. While Anne once put more stock into her friend and father's opinions, she has since learned to think for herself and follow her heart.

Though Captain Wentworth has had his heart broken and ego bruised by Anne, he doesn't come out too jaded. He is intent on ignoring Anne and moving on with his life. But sometimes life has a different plan.

I feel like the words I have to say about it really don't do the book justice. I love Jane Austen. And I love this book.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bloodlines - Review

Bloodlines (Bloodlines, # 1)

By: Richelle Mead

Published: August 23rd 2011 by Razorbill

421 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Vampires

Source: Own/Personal Library

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Goodreads description--Blood doesn't lie...

Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning...

So 4 stars.

Why is it that the best parts about a book are always spoilers? I really want to spit out spoiler free reviews as much as possible, but it leaves me feeling like I’m missing half the fun. I want to give informed reviews without ruining the book for someone who hasn’t gotten to it yet, because I truly believe a book should be experienced as it’s meant to be by the author—which is page 1 to the end, experiencing it all moment by moment. It’s tough because the spoilers are the most exciting. That being said, Richelle Mead is known for her twists and turns and so, let me just say, “Expect them—twists and turns, that is.”

I really feel like most of the book at this point is just build up for the rest of the series. Just laying the ground work for the really fun things to come. It wasn’t that this book didn’t have its own story or excitement, but with the way she ended it, it just seems like the best stuff is yet to come. Especially considering Richelle posted on Facebook that she said in an interview that book 2, The Golden Lily, has an ending that makes you want to throw the book across the room. Sounds like good—frustrating—things for the future of Bloodlines as a series. Lucky for me, Richelle Mead can spit books out (with extreme quality) at the same rate that most people go to the dentist each year (that’s once every six months incase that didn’t make sense). And lucky for me, I’ve read enough of her writing to trust her.

That leads me to predictions. I wont go into detail about what my predictions were before reading Bloodlines and which came true and which didn’t. But I will say that a prediction I made about Adrian before starting Bloodlines is in the process of coming true. And a prediction I made about Adrian shortly (and I do mean shortly) after starting Bloodlines came true. Both came about in ways that didn’t leave me feeling like I could figure the entire book out before really getting started. And neither were the major plot lines for this book which is why I’m not annoyed that I figured them out. I won’t go into my predictions for The Golden Lily, but they’re already starting to develop. Going to be a long wait until June—when The Golden Lily is set to release. Good thing I’ve got a backlog of books to keep me busy until then.

I guess for now, that’s all I’ll say. A solid read, but complete setup for the really good stuff. Does anyone know how many books she plans to be in this series? Just curious.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Power of a Praying Woman - Review

The Power of a Praying Woman

By: Stormie Omartian

Published: July 1st 2002 by Harvest House Publishers

255 pages

Genre: Christian, Nonfiction, Spirituality, Self-Help, Religion, Faith

Source: Personal Library

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Goodreads description--In The Power of a Praying "RM" Woman, Stormie's deep knowledge of Scripture and candid examples of her own struggles and epiphanies in prayer provide reassuring guidance for those who seek a greater sense of God's presence in their lives.

Women will discover how to:
-- Trust God with deep longings, not just pressing needs
-- Pray when life seems out of control
-- Effectively cover every area of life with prayer
-- Maintain a right heart before God
-- Rebuild a faltering prayer lifeWomen wanting a strong and fruitful prayer life will find the means to that end in this new edition. Each segment of the book concludes with a prayer that women can follow or use as a model for their own prayers.

Women of all ages will find hope, purpose, and stability for their lives with The Power of a Praying "RM" Woman.

5 Stars...did you hear me? * * * * * Stars! I LOVED this book. I've read The Power of a Praying Wife before this and was expecting this book to be very similar. Now don't get me wrong, The Power of a Praying Wife is also a very good book, but this book, this book breaks the mold. It's so much more.

Stormie Omartian goes to the heart of the woman's soul and speaks to the very things that I think women all struggle with. This is probably the best supplemental book to the Bible that I have ever read

I really don't know how else to praise this book. Get it! Get it! Get it! And then read it and read it again. I took this book slowly. My goal was to read this book one chapter per week in order to allow myself time to really soak up the information. My personal experience in doing it this way was that the exact thing I was struggling with and needed to read happened to come up in the exact week that I needed it. I can't say anything more about it. This book has transformed my prayer life. Seriously, check it out.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

A Game of Thrones - Review

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, # 1)

By: George R R Martin

Published: first published August 6th 1991

835 pages

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Source: Personal Kindle Library

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Goodreads description--The first volume of A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. GAME OF THRONES is now a major TV series from HBO, starring Sean Bean.

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

4 Stars - Enjoyed this book. I've always liked this time period of castles, knights, war, and kings. This is outside of the genre I've been reading most frenquently, but I didn't love it any less because of that.

George R.R. Martin writes from a variety of perspectives. These voices range from male to female, from child to adult, and from noble to bastard. The only negative comment I have about the narration is that having just finished the Wolves of Mercy Falls series where Maggie Stiefvater always writes from the character with the most interesting point of view, it was alittle frustrating to go back to an author that swaps view points just when the story gets interesting. George R.R. Martin doesn't always do this--swap just when it gets interesting. But I did find myself being disappointed when the narrators swapped, especially depending on which voice I was coming upon. It wasn't that any of the narrators were boring or I didn't like any of them. I'm not quite sure how to explain it.

It's obvious that George R.R. Martin spent a lot of time creating this world and an intricately interconnected cast of characters. I was also excited when I got to the end of the book and found the appendix containing a break down of each of the seven major house families.

Overall pretty impressed. I have already started book two, A Clash of Kings, and I am anxious to see what's going to happen with the characters I'm growing to love--though people have warned me not to get too attached.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Forever - Review

Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, # 3)

By: Maggie Stiefvater

Published: July 12th 2011 by Scholastic Press

388 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Werewolves

Source: Personal Library

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Goodreads description--then.
When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their loved moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

So, 4 stars. I read this book pretty quickly. I picked it up on my way home from work on Tuesday, but didn’t start reading it until…Saturday, I think? Finished it in 3 days. I had a hard time putting it down—which usually means one of two things. A) It was excellent. Or B) It kept me thinking good stuff was about to happen and never really did so I had to keep reading to get to the good stuff. I guess this one is unusual as looking back on it I’m not quite sure it fit in either the A or B category. I can’t say it was excellent, but it wasn’t a let down either. Fair warning, I’m having trouble putting my thoughts about this book into coherent sentences.

I do need to address that I love Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style and will be checking out any and all other books she has available from here on out. Now onto the review.

There is a lot of weightiness to this book. Returning to the story after the end of Linger, Grace is now missing/a wolf. Olivia is still missing, and eventually found dead—near Beck’s property. Jack has died (in Shiver). A lot has gone wrong for Mercy Falls. And for Sam and Grace. Sam has the weight of the world on his shoulders. The entire pack’s survival is in his hands, despite not shifting anymore. Grace is a wolf, which is the last thing he wants. He feels like he has to keep Cole from self-destructing—even though Cole’s destructiveness has been put to good use in the experiments he’s created and used on himself to control the shifting. Grace’s father thinks Sam has murdered his daughter—a large portion of Mercy Falls agrees, along with murdering Olivia. The police even agree. And Sam can’t shake the questions he’s ignored for so long about his adopted father’s choice to turn him in the first place. As if all of that is not bad enough, Tom Culpepper is working to get the wolves removed from the protected list so they can be hunted down and snuffed out once and for all. This doesn’t set the stage for good things for our friends in Mercy Falls.

Experiencing the volatility of Grace’s shifting due to the newness of her transformation was interesting. It finally gave us a look into the world of the wolves that we’d yet to experience in the past two books. Grace’s transformation also offers us a transition in her relationship with Sam. They understand each other better having changed roles, yet there’s a wariness about their relationship that they can’t seem to shake. It makes them closer and further apart all at the same time.

If ever there was a theme to this book, it would be trust and forgiveness. Sam and Beck, Grace and her parents, Grace and Rachel, Sam and Koeing (I can't remember if that's how you spell his name and I'm too lazy to look it up right now--sorry, no excuse, I know), Sam and Grace's mom, Cole and life, Cole and Jeremy, Isabel and life, Sam and Cole, the list goes on and on. Just goes to show how dynamic the story really is.

I feel like this review hasn't been composed at all. I can't quite explain it. Maybe I should give it some time and think on it some more, or maybe I need to read the series again. I'm not sure. I'll just say this and leave it be for now, check it out. It's definitely worth a read.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bloodlines Chapter 1

Just finished reading Chapter 1 of Bloodlines. Here's the link:

My interest is piqued. Ready to see what happens with Sydney, Jill, Adrian, Eddie, and friends. Looking forward to the release next month!

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 Movie

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Director: David Yates

Writers: Steve Kloves (screenplay) & JK Rowling (novel)

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint

Released: July 15, 2011

130 minutes

Production: Warner Bros, Heyday Films, Moving Picture Company

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Midnight showing was great...and crazy. Our movie theater here didn't have the organization down for this midnight showing. I've been to see 4 midnight showings now (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, & now HP7-2) and this was the craziest yet. Plus we got stuck on the second row which was the pits. I was getting sick during the previews due to the rapid movement from one shot to the next, plus I'm extremely far-sided in one eye--which means I see better far away--but once the movie started up it was better. Still not as good as sitting at the top, but acceptable.

The movie was really, really good. I was genuinely impressed overall. They really stuck to the book with the beginning of the movie. Of course when it comes to a book making it to the big screen, changes are made for the sake of time and visual appeal and sometimes just because. This movie was no different. There were some things I really wish they had not changed and others that I suppose I can understand. But that's the way it always is. If the movie was exactly the same as the book, there would be a lot less to talk about.

My biggest complaint of the changes they made in the movie (SPOILER ALERT) is that Harry tells Hermione and Ron before he goes to the forest to meet LV in the movie, which he does not do in the book. It only bothered me so much because while going through the book that was the most emotional scene for me. Harry's just witnessed Snape's memories in the pensive and he realizes that he has to die. So he goes to face his death alone...very alone. He has the resurrection stone and he sees his parents, etc, but even they vanish before he actually faces LV. And my impression while reading the book was that of him being utterly alone. I didn't QUITE get that from the movie. Sometimes I think movies and tv shows accidentally protray the main character as being a superhero and above what they are, when in truth Harry was really scared (not to the point of refusing to do what he had to) and truthfully he winged it A LOT, but that's what we love about him. He's real, and he's human--or well, wizard, but you get the point. I don't know, I didn't get the same feeling from the movie in that scene that I did in the book.

Oh and I wish Harry had been able to tell LV off in front of everyone, but they changed that up a bit too. Not too devastating though. And loved the scene with Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix. Last thing (I think), Harry and Jenny's kiss...awkward. They totally could have done another take for that one. Not nearly as good as Ron and Hermione's.

Well pleased. Sad that it's over. Want to see it again.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Linger - Review

Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, # 2)

By: Maggie Stiefvater

Published: July 13th 2010 by Scholastic Press

360 pages

Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy, Werewolves

Source: Personal Library

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Goodreads description--The astonishing #1 New York Times bestseller.

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

Ok, so I don’t think I gave Shiver 5 stars, but I’m starting to feel like I should have. I guess I’d be leaning toward 4.9 to 5 for Linger and for the series as a whole thus far.

I very much enjoy the writing style of Maggie Stiefvater. The tone she writes in is beautiful and can be heartbreaking exactly when it should be. I enjoy swapping the narrator in the way that she does. It feels natural, where as other books that I’ve read do this, but have not achieved the narrator swap with the perfection that she has. The voice of the character she chooses to showcase always best fits the situation, whichever is experiencing the scene in the most interesting way is the exact person‘s view she chooses to share with the reader. Continuing with the praise of her writing style, the addition of Cole St. Clair and Isabel’s voices as narrators was also natural and seamless. I was hesitant about this when I first heard they would be additions, but it works so well.

A good portion of the storyline fits in with the real world and that is important to me. I can’t take a book that portrays things as normal—in a semi-normal world—that in no way represent how life is really lived. Grace’s parents don’t believe or understand the intensity behind her relationship with Sam, which I find to be realistic. How many parents would take their child’s first relationship seriously? So many of us have several misses before we hit any where close to the mark. Another realistic aspect of the book is the blow up Grace has with her parents after they find out that Sam’s been spending the night in their daughter’s bed. I had a hard time believing that no matter how absentee the parents that Sam and Grace could get away with sleeping in her bed together every night for so long. So it was appropriate for this to be the catalyst between Grace and her parents’ explosion. The rebellion Grace goes through after her parents’ reaction appears yet again very typical. Despite how unfounded their opinion of Sam, Grace never fully explains why she feels the way that she does and how wrong they are—about Sam’s character in particular. I feel like that’s classic teenage pride—though I can’t imagine myself not vehemently defending my beloved’s honor. It’s a follow up on how adults make teenagers feel like they are idiots and how adults think teenagers believe they know so much more than they actually do. It’s all very believable. One last tidbit about how real this book felt for me…Sam and Grace both have that “miss you while you’re still there” thing going on. I’ve totally felt that before.

Moving into the actual storyline, I was also nervous that with the addition of Cole & Isabel’s voices that we would have a repeat of the exact way that Sam & Grace came together. Forgive me, Maggie Stiefvater, for not having faith in you. It wasn’t personal. It came from being let down by other stories where the characters change names but the overall arch of the story and events remains the same. This did not happen in this book and I loved it for just that reason. Cole and Isabel are their own story. They are their own characters. They are not Sam and Grace, and they stand their ground just the way that they are. SPOILER ALERT: I actually like that they don’t get together in this book. It would be out of character. There is so much pain between the two of them. They need time. They need to heal. And they have to do that alone before they can achieve anything higher than where they are. Cole is learning to let go, learning how to be human again, and Isabel seems to be just trying to keep it together. It would have been fake and completely forced to have them fall madly in love upon first meeting and subsequently solve each others problems and broken hearts.

Sam and Grace. Oh Sam and Grace. I feel certain that Hollywood and critics will talk down about Sam and Grace because they are both so young and are already talking about marriage. Some seem to think it is a weakness to be so in love that you’re broken when they are gone, that you’re unable to function when life threatens to take away your love. They think that makes you weak. I think they are wrong. Perhaps it’s because I was that way myself that I defend this position so adamantly. But all I wanted was to love and to be loved. To hold onto my love with a fist so tight it threatens to snuff out the oxygen for the rest of the world. Sam and Grace are unafraid of loving so deeply that they would be destroyed without the other. I don’t call that weak. I call that strong. Love like there’s no tomorrow.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Review

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, # 1)

By: Stieg Larsson

Published: first published March 1st 2001

465 pages

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Adult

Source: Personal Library

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Goodreads description--Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there's always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.
I finally finished. The beginning of this book was challenging to say the least. After digging further into the story, I understood the necessity of the information presented in the first 200 pages. However, initially pushing through those pages wasn't always easy.

This book was a bit out of my typical genre, but I'm glad I branched out. The story was multi-layered and all of the pieces fit together so nicely. There were definitely disturbing scenes that I wasn't expecting at all. Even though this book is fiction it just goes to show you that there are truly some disturbed, mentally sick people out there. And you don't always know who they are.

I really enjoyed how the story built and built the further you got into it. It didn't wait until the last 100 pages to climax and resolve. It grew in intensity even from the tough beginning. In the same way, I really enjoyed the ending. I'm sure alot of readers will be disappointed with the very end, but I enjoyed that it left me wanting more. That just makes me curious about the next book. I already know that Salander is in both of the other books, but I really hope to see a reappearance of Mikael in the future books as well. We will see.

4 Stars.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Sorry I haven't posted in a while. People told me you have to get past the first 150 pages of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before it really hooks you. They were right. I've only made it to chapter 2. I've finally met the girl with the dragon tattoo :), hopefully, I'll be knocking it out and posting a review soon.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sea Change - Review

Sea Change

By: Aimee Friedman

Published: June 1st 2009 by Point

292 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mermaids

Source: Personal Library

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Goodreads description--Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.

There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship. . .and reality.

Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

Sorry I couldn't come up with a better name for this blog. Sea Change gets a 3 star rating. It wasn't bad by any means, but I just can't rate it the same as other books that I have enjoyed much more.

The main character is a science buff. Not being a science buff myself, I found this to be a bit annoying--I rather dislike science ALOT! However, I suspected that she would come to learn that science isn't the be-all-end-all considering the book has a supernatural twist like most of the other books I've been reading lately. I did like the way the character believes she knows what happens and she's figured out the supernatural twist, but the author never reveals a 100% truth on the character's beliefs and whether she is right or wrong.

There were also aspects of Miranda and her past that I think every teenage girl, and by default adult woman, can relate to. Who doesn't love that? Yet the thing from the Miranda's past that she was holding onto didn't seem as big as what some of the other characters I've been reading have had to deal with. While that may be true, this did seem more realistic than the things some of the other characters in other books have been dealing with.

Overall * * *.

*Updated: September 6, 2013