We all have preconceptions about how a book is going to play out- normal people read the synopsis. Then there is me, who just reading the title of the book I am already lost in my head on my own adventure of how I think the story is going to go.
So here we go. Down the rabbit hole. . .
Opening line of the book: "Had anyone told me that my entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, I would have laughed."
Meet Alice Bell; a 16 year old, who like any typical angsty teenager, despises the rules her family has set in place for her. Little does Alice know, her father has these specific rules in place for the entire family's safety.
Opening line: "The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective."
Meet Max: a girl taking care of her family of 5, age ranges from 6 to 14. She has all the responsibilities. Making breakfast, waking everyone up, making sure they are dressed, and helping everyone in self defense. Did I mention Max is only 14 years old? This family of six is in hiding. Alone, and without parents, Max is the glue that holds everyone together.
Originally, all 6 kids were at "School"; a laboratory experimenting with gene splicing (a bit of Bioshock anyone?). This particular group of 6 all had their genes spliced with avian DNA- all to different degrees. Side effects included sharper eyesight, blindness, acute hearing, reading minds, and wings averaging in a 13 foot wingspan. Other groups had their genes spliced with wolf DNA- this group is known as the Erasers, or the security for the "School". Luckily, a sympathetic scientist named Jeb rescued the group of 6 and took them to the mountains to hide, and learn self defense. Unfortunately Jeb went missing, and the group presumed he is dead.
A quick read is exactly what Asylum was for me. The writing flowed. It's a bit reminiscent of R.L. Stine for us 90's kids. It's creepy, not Stephen King scary. Creepy enough for this (almost) 29 year old to jump at night when I hear my stairs creak!
The main character of the story is Daniel Crawford; a typical teenager dealing with the usual adolescent tribulations of fitting in, making friends, and the occasional break out. The setting: New Hampshire College Summer Prep school hosted at Brookline; a retired mental health facility and historical site. Perfect place for college prep, right? Dan's inner dialogues usually consist of wondering if he'll make friends. Upon arrival, he meets his roomate, Felix, and finds an old photograph in his desk. It's a man with his eyes scribbled out. Felix immediately tells Dan that an office in the closed off section is unlocked, and would be an awesome place to explore. Dun dun dun!
Zombies. Natural disasters. Pandemics. Planet of the Apes. The Walking Dead. Fallout. I am Legend. 2012. As a nation, we are obsessed with end of the world scenarios. I am always annoyed when a new movie or TV series premiers, because what more can be done? And then I'm completely sucked into it. What would it look like if we rolled multiple scenarios into one story? We would be smack dab in the middle of Carrie Vaughn's Bannerless.
Hola! And welcome to Haven! Founded by doctors and biologists who saved vaccines and reconstructed antibiotics; essentially making Haven feel like the center of this dystopian novel, as well as our main character's home. Enid has only known Haven. She grew up in the Plenty household, appropriately named for the 30 members living there. Although this common, expected even, it is apparent Enid is interested in a less traveled road. This ear after âThe Fallâ essentially has the foundation of your life already mapped out. The only change available is if you were to break the rules.
Even with most of your life planned out, there are bound to be troublemakers- that's where the investigators come in. Collectively disliked and well avoided by all towns, their brown uniforms a dismal foreshadowing of only bad things to come. That doesn't stop Enid from making friends with an investigator named Tomas. Growing up, any time Tomas would go on an investigation Enid would always volunteer to help- volunteering turned into her career choice and Tomas went from investigator to Enid's enforcer.
Enid is approached with investigating a murder in a nearby town. Usually, it was just your ordinary:
*Thefts and fraud
*A household trying to barter twice the amount of grain or cider they are allowed to
*Breaking up fights
*Tracking down assaults
What makes this one suspicious, no one is admitting to seeing the murder, just admitting they need help cleaning up the mess. Enid is determined to prove this was indeed a murder, and not an accident. Her most convincing evidence is a bloody hand print at the scene of the crime. Will Enid convince the town of the murder they already knew about? Or will Enid discover something else the town is trying to hide?
While Romeo and Juliet was indeed a romance for the ages, the story of Beren and LÃºthien trump every aspect of the story. The actual book starts out with the bare bones story of Beren and LÃºthien; Beren is on the run from Melko (the dark force in the story) and came across LÃºthien (also known as TinÃºviel) dancing in the woods, and was so entranced by the way she danced in the copse of trees and how she seemed to glow in the moonlight, that Beren risked breaking his cover just to look at her.
LÃºthien's brother, Dairon, spied Beren and told LÃºthien to run home. Knowing she was not as fast as her brother, LÃºthien tried to blend in with the moonlight and flowers. Beren, stumbling through the forest, accidentally grazed her arm and put her in such a fright that she âtwittered between moonbeams all the way homeâ. LÃºthien loved to dance, and would dance often while her brother Dairon would play the pipe reeds. Having been scared by Beren, LÃºthien would not venture out to dance, until she couldn't contain herself anymore. Perchance, Beren finally came across her and asked her to teach him how to dance. Of course, this made LÃºthien smile, and she asked him to follow her, and dance the entire way to her father's palace (yes palace; LÃºthien was the daughter to the King, Tinwelint [also known as Thingol]).
So here we are in the palace of the Hidden Elves. Tinwelint (Thingol) is sitting on his throne with Queen Gwendeling (also known as Melion) by his side, and enters Beren. Immediately Tinwelint assumes Beren is a dark elf, and has come to cause trouble. LÃºthien (scared little LÃºthien who was running away from Beren not too long ago) comes to his defense and pulls the most quintessential trick daughters can do to their fathers; if you are mean to him, you will make me cry. And in typical fatherly fashion Tinwelint asks Beren what he wants just to be rid of him.
Beren surprised everyone by asking for LÃºthien's hand in marriage. Taken aback, Tinwelint makes impossible terms- to bring back one Simaril from Melko's crown. Everyone knew that the Iron Crown never left Melko's head, and if anyone dared lay a finger on it, they would not see the light of day. Beren knew he was being a made fool of, and his anger got the best of him. Foolheartedly he told the king âit is too small a gift, I will fulfill your small desire.â Beren storms out of the palace, and essentially does not stop his temper tantrum stomp until the gates of Melko. Meanwhile, LÃºthien starts to weep in fear she would not find anyone that would look upon her with such love and adoration. LÃºthien pleaded with her mother, Gwendeling to see if Beren was alive. Acknowledging he was alive, but captured, LÃºthien wants to go in search of Beren to help him escape. Gwendeling asks her daughter not to talk of such things. But LÃºthien, being ever earnest, begs her mother to go on her behalf to the king to send help to Beren. Her father also refuses, leaving her no choice but to beg her brother to run away with her to help Beren. Dairon, like any âgoodâ sibling, goes to tell their father, who promptly builds a tree house that no ladder could touch, until LÃºthien would get this fool hardy idea out of her head.
With LÃºthien's free spirit, she finds a way to leave her quaint tree house. Tinwelent has provided guards to bring her whatever she desires. Being imbued with elven magic, LÃºthien asks for ingredients to make a potion that makes her hair grow continuously for 12 hours (as well as make her sleep). Once grown, she cuts her hair off, fashions a cloak which when flung about makes people fall asleep, and uses the remaining hair to climb down from her tower (yes, just like Rapunzel) and escape.
While in the woods before reaching Melko's gate, LÃºthien comes across a giant dog named Huan. When learning she was the princess of the woodland elves, Huan came up with an idea that benefited both. Huan wanted nothing more than to be rid of Tevildo (The Prince of Cats- but in other versions this particular character would be Sauron; yes the âOne ring to rule them allâ guy). After conspiring together, LÃºthien sneaks up to the terrace where the cats sleep to see if she could spy Beren. If spotted, she would lure Telvido down to the forest where Huan would pretend to be injured, only to end the rivalry between cats and dogs forever. As cunning as this cat could be, he could not see through his hatred for dogs to know a lie. Telvido follows LÃºthien into the forest with a scout cat, happening upon Huan's lifeless form. Filled with euphoric satisfaction, Telvido completely misses the ambush, and his cohort pays the price. Telvido runs up a tree, tail between his legs, and negotiations start for the release of Beren in exchange for Telvido's life.
After escaping, Beren, LÃºthien, and Huan decide to carry out Tinwelint's wishes and return with the Simaril.
Any newcomer to the Tolkien prose will be discouraged with the first part of the book. There are a lot of explanations and background information on characters and story outline that would make any Tolkien fan's head spin- let alone someone attempting to join the fandom.
I am not dissuading you to read âBeren And LÃºthienâ- oh no. I am ENCOURAGING you to start with âThe Hobbitâ, continue with âThe Lord of the Ringsâ trilogy, and then proceed back in time to expanded references you are already familiar with.
Like any good story, over time it evolves. We start with the simplest of stories. From there Simon Tolkien attempts to revive and piece together his father's manuscripts- it is here where names change, and the story is extended in exquisite prose. Reading prose could be similar to reading a screenplay- it's not for everyone. BUT! If you can get into the rhythm it is well worth the effort.
It's very rare that I willingly pick up a non-fiction book. From the very start of The Black Hand I was sucked in to an unknown world of the Italian mafia, filled with âthreatening notes adorned with drawings of coffins and crosses and daggers.â It is described as âa record of crime here during the last 10 years that is unparalleled in the history of a civilized country in a time of peace.â Only the KKK would surpass The Black Hand society for production of mass terror.
Based on those statistics alone, one can assume it was âa big dealâ. And yet it's as if history glances over this period of violence. As I was reading I became angry; instead of memorizing President's names in high school, why weren't we being taught this? I know some people may disagree with me, and that's okay! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I feel the more informed we are from a young age, the better chance we have of history NOT repeating itself.
It is clear in Talty's book that we are repeating mistakes we've made from hidden history. The intolerance American citizens had for Italian immigrants in the early 1900s is astounding, and is a reminder of a certain intolerance we have today.
One of the biggest quotes that rocked me to my core was this: "To be Italian in America was to be half guilty."
What I think is â¦ humorous? ironic? sad? â¦ is that each decade of history you could remove Italian and place a new race in there. My biggest question is, when is intolerance going to stop? Sadly, I do not see it happening any time soon. The Black Hand was truly an eye-opening read. Stephan Talty aptly delivers forgotten history in an engaging way. There's no napping during these history lessons.
The black market has been a buzz. Specific items have been demanded; mainly historical documents from scientists of the Victorian-era. Of course the Sigma team is alerted when a bible is put up for auction. Not just any bible, it's Charles Darwin's bible. But what do black market auctions have to do with Maoist rebels and using the plague to cover up a mass murder of Buddhist monks, and "former" Nazis? With Sigma force stretched thin on missions, Painter Crowe once again steps out from behind his desk and goes out into the field. Crowe is to investigate strange disappearances and illnesses all concentrated in one particular area around the Chinese border. What he wasn't counting on was waking up and realizing he had no idea what happened to the past 3 days, and come to find out that he was sick and "damaged at the quantum level" due to an experiment called, "the bell". Pierce is reintroduced, already deep undercover in Copenhagen, in the midst of a scientific antiquities deal worth killing over. All answers can be found in a man- who was sought after by the Nazis after World War II. How can one boy hold the answer to so many questions? At times, I did feel the science aspect of the book was a bit over my head (quantum mechanics and all) but during the "action" scenes, it was a fast-paced read. Can you expect anything less from James Rollins?
It takes a lot for me to dislike a book. Not to say that I didn't like this book, but the majority of the backstory is pretty much a repeat of "Memoirs of a Geisha". Without discussing the differences (yet), here are the similarities I noticed:
*a young girl being "adopted" into a house
*an older, stern "mother" who doesn't think said girl has *potential, also a financial guru
*young girl needs to earn her keep by doing chores
*young girl will debut at some point
*young girl will go to "school" and learn the arts of her trade
*young girl provided a wardrobe specific to her, which she will pay back once she earns money
*will eventually "buy" her freedom once she pays back her house
*even the main dance (you all remember that scene, right?) is in this book!
If you've read/watched "Memoirs of a Geisha" that sounds familiar, right? That is why I was particularly disappointed with the backstory details. It is for this reason alone that "The Bone Witch" deserves a 3 star rating.
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Famine threatens the livelihood of Irish men and women, forcing them to seek better, yet unknown opportunities abroad in America. It was not uncommon to see a young girl on her own, sometimes the family's only hope for income, and starting a better life. Clara is just such a girl; coming from a family of 5, her mother and father deemed her the best fit to starting life in America on her own. Clara's older sister, Eliza, is set to be married, and her younger sister is, well, too young.
Clara seems to be at terms with her change in life. She does what's best for herself on the voyage over to America; keeps to herself, avoids those who are sick; so that she may have the best opportunity for a job. Clara is settled on having either to work for a mill, or a seamstress- when your family owns a farm, there's not much to choose from when it comes to work, seeing as she wasn't trained for anything. Clara's father, however, saw to it that his 3 daughters would be taught as men; reading, having an opinion, etc. It is because of her father that Clara developed her sharp wit, that puts her at an advantage to stand out.
Surviving the voyage across the sea was a feat upon itself, arriving in Philadelphia, Clara's biggest concern is quarantine. If one person on the boat is deemed unhealthy, then the entire boat is at risk; setting back the hopes and dreams of finding a job and earning a living. And of course human beings are still separated according to class, like prize chattel going to the slaughter. Our Clara is lower class, not that that seems to bother her one bit. The only promise Clara has at this point is a second cousin already residing in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania- scraping what little money she has together, her plan is to make it to her family and find what little work is available.
By some luck, a Clara Kelley from a âhigher classâ is missing- and readers are left to guess that the name Clara Kelley is very popular across the seas. Clara hesitantly comes forward ( I mean it is her name and all) to see what exactly they are looking for. It turns out the other Clara was promised for âhigh endâ maid work; judging how unkempt our Clara is from her trip overseas, the valet is questioning if she is who she says. Without any options of proving her validity, the valet whisks her and two other girls off in a carriage.
Ironically Clara is taken to Pittsburgh to start a trial employ with Mrs. Carnegie. Quite a difference in scenery for an Irish farm girl.
Mrs. Carnegie is a tough mistress to work for. She likes things the way she expects them to be preformed, and if you deter from that expectation you are dismissed from service. Clara professed she was a quick learner- picking up on her mistress' mannerisms, she becomes the ideal lady's maid. Mrs. Carnegie also takes a liking to Clara, and it is in the private moments between the two of them that she softens, and asks Clara her opinion on societal trends.
As Clara gains confidence in her stolen role, she is reminded of everything she left behind. Receiving letters from home paints a sad picture of what life on the farm has become. She is further reminded of what her life could have been by visiting her relatives. Seeing how destitute a life working in the mill is, Clara bolsters her resolve to do whatever she could to restore her family's farm. Taking the train home, she breaks down. Missing her family, keeping up her assumed appearance, she sobs in front of complete strangers. That is when her mistress' son, Andrew Carnegie talks to her.
Stemmed by Carnegie's generosity of bridging the servant-master gap, Clara starts observing his business practices, and the two secretly exchange business deals to further the Carnegie name. How far can a lady's maid succeed in business?
Here we are again, with a book breaking the stereotypes of history classes. All throughout high school we are inundated with men: presidents, inventors, business proposals. Reading these historical fiction books however, gives me hope that ideally, women are the backbone of everything these men did. Goading them on in lucrative business proposals, pushing for presidency because they had a good heart, making friends in that inner most circle to gain a vantage point. What if, most (I'm giving men the benefit of the doubt here) men's brilliant ideas, stemmed from a simple pillow talk with their wife?
In a time where women were more for tea parties, and social events, it's encouraging to think that woman were just as forward thinking as we are today. It angers me to know that in the past people like me, who are openly opinionated, and not full of decorum, would be looked down upon because I couldn't keep a comment to myself. Granted, that comment would be dripping with cynicism, but that's who I am. And I know for a fact I wouldn't last long in that time period.
Just like in âThe Other Einsteinâ, it feels that for far too long men have been running with ideas stemmed from women and reaping the benefits. All the while women have been scraping nothing but bottom, trying to carve out a place for themselves. I love hearing untold stories of women, even if they are historical fiction.
Again, Marie Benedict knocks it out of the park with âCarnegie's Maidâ. I earnestly hope that he continues her work with untold stories of great women hidden in the monstrous shadows of men.
I was chosen to receive an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review. Given that fact, it has not altered my opinion on the book at all.
Let me paint you a picture. It's August 23rd, 2005 in Louisiana. The levees just broke, water begins a fast and furious pace to your homes, and everything surrounding you.
Your government has failed you. Rescue attempts, and basic amenities are hard to come by. Whether you want to or not, it's best to leave your house, and all the comforts of home to find safety.
As help comes, it is necessary to mark the houses that have been checked to see if anyone has been left behind. Even when the waters recede, it is evident that a disaster has ransacked not only your house, your neighbors house, but the entire city you have grown to love.
How can you forgive what has happened? How could the government do better? Would this kind of devastation cause you to leave, or dig your heals in to help your city find what was lost in the storm: it's Magic, it's Voice, and it's Luck?
Fast forward six years, and our main character Jude Dubuisson is ready to stop straddling the worlds of god and men, causing trouble on both sides, and face the real world again. You see, Jude Dubuisson was born with a gift; a gift from his father who he had never met. He had always been good a finding lost things. Following the devastation of Katrina, it was better âbeing nowhere and nothing, than feeling all the loss.â
The breadth of his unique gift grew with him. From simply finding lost toys, to finding finding lost people. And when the levees broke open, his magic responded in the same way, only it was uncontrollable. Enough that he bought himself a pair of gloves so that he wouldn't accidentally touch someone to feel their loss. Since Jude was able to somewhat control his magic, he also needed to make a living. And what better way than a street magician. His shtick? Finding lost things of course! Mostly for young people so they wouldn't get in trouble with their folks. After a customer leaves behind their cell phone, Jude receives a call from his former partner, Regal Sloan, trying to throw him back into work.
A favor is being called in by the fortune god, Dodge Renaud, to attend a poker game. The entrance was masked in a magical ward that actively pushed any passerby away (physically making them cross the street). Going into a house Jude goes through a red door and can't believe his eyes. This was not an ordinary poker game- this game included a vampire, an angel, Papa Legba- king of voodoo, Thoth- keeper of scribes, a fortune god, and Jude. Instead of poker cards, tarot cards were used. Each player playing to effect the fate of someone in New Orleans- people Jude knew. Jude new he didn't have a clue how to play, and the god players are hoping he fails. Each god wants something different from Jude- the vampire wants his blood, Papa Legba wants his voice, and the angel wants his faith. When it's time to turn the cards over, he notices that all of his cards are blank. Seeming like he lost, the most acceptable thing to do is try to back out of the game before the gods can collect on their bets- Jude falls back into darkness and wakes up in his apartment fast asleep.
Regal calls Jude in the morning explaining that the fortune god of New Orleans has been murdered. Regal chauffeurs him off to his former employer Mourning to hash out the details of the killer. The murderer has to be one of the five card players from the game the past night, not excluding Jude who is having trouble remember things after he blacked out in his apartment. The first step in the magical crime investigation is to attempt to find Dodge in the underworld. Summoning a god though only manages to make the red door appear- and Regal and Jude walk through not knowing what they'll find. At first glance it is an empty room, but as they start to move around they get snapshots and stills of evidence, ending with Dodge on the table, his throat slit. When they come full circle to where Jude was sitting, one of his blank, upturned cards has an image on it. It's the Magician tarot card- and it has his face on it.
From the summoning sends Jude and Regal on a whirlwind of sleuthing. Questioning every god that was seated at that table, while being followed by a mysterious shadow that Jude can't seem to shake. With the red door constantly following him, what exactly is it trying to tell him? And why do the gods keep disappearing?
Oh this book (and I mean this in the best possible way). Almost each chapter starts out with a paragraph of poetry describing the differences in gods and religions in the most tasteful and politically correct way. I was hooked by chapter two in the epic god poker game, and Bryan Camp continued to suck me into the rich history of New Orleans trying to rebuild a dying city.
Each character had such dimension- extremely well thought out and developed, and each holding a crucial piece to the mystery of the death of the fortune god. I honestly cannot find a single complaint with this book. In the author's note of this book, Camp states this is not the book he set out to right; the meat of it is still there IE the gods and monsters. I have to say, I'm not sure what your original direction was going to be, but I am super stoked that this book is the final product, especially for a debut novel. I do hope this series continues, as I am now a die hard fan of âCrescent Cityâ.
I was chosen by Netgalley to receive an advanced reader copy of âThe Confessions of Young Neroâ by Margaret George. Given that fact, it has not altered my opinion on the book at all. âThe Confessions of Young Neroâ has a scheduled release date of March 7th 2017.
I requested "The Confessions of Young Nero" because Margaret George is a recognizable author for me. Although I've never read one of her books prior, I have another one of her lovely novels residing on my shelves begging to be read. Another reason I was hoping to be picked was because the historical fiction genre has quickly become one of my go-to genres.
George takes the reader back to a time where the Trojan War was more a reality than a story, The Odyssey served as inspiration rather than a reading requirement, and where plots and schemes dominated the political world. A person could be born and raised in their family's greatness, and the next day be poisoned; more fodder for the political gain cannon. Not everyone starts with a chip on their shoulder- some have humble beginnings.
Nero- originally Lucius- started life not knowing his parents. His father dead, and his mother banished under Caligula's rule, Nero grew up with the only family he knew; his Aunt and tutors. With a child's innocence, Nero is blissfully unaware of his family's schemes and tragedies. Unfortunately for Nero, both will follow him throughout his life.
In part one (of a two part book) George delves deep into the history of Rome, following the rise and fall of emperor's, attempted murders, poison masters, and the introductory of Greek activities in a Roman world. You have to REALLY enjoy history to make it through this book. I'm not a history fanatic, so at times I did think this book was just a tad dry. But as usual, I enjoy being lost in the environment of a book. Although this book has a in between rating for me, I definitely will pick up the second book to finish the story.
A Court of Mist and Fury picks up 3 months after emerging victorious from Under the Mountain. . .while the Fae around Prythian feel liberated, the only thing Feyre is feeling is the cold floor beneath her while she's vomiting every nightmare she endured Under the Mountain, and also some she didn't, every night. Tamlin is also having nightmares, but lack of communication and sheer avoidance allow this (happy?) couple to dance around the subject.
Tamlin wastes absolutely no time proposing to Feyre. The two weren't even home a month and Tamlin was on his knees proposing to the Butcher of Innocents and the Savior of the Land. There was also that tricky arrangement with Rhysand. Oh? You forgot about the bargain they made in the first book? Not me. I was on Team Rhysand since book one. And yes- I just reverted to the whole Team Edward/ Team Jacob thing that Twilight brought us.. . .#noshame
All across the reading blogosphere, this book is being talked about. Not only this book, but also the sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury. I'm usually not one to blindly follow the masses, but between all the hype, the daily recommendation to read this book, and of course that stunning cover, I meandered to my local Barnes and Noble and bought the book. My TBR list is about 10 miles long already, so I absentmindedly put A Court of Thorns and Roses on a shelf until I could get to it. I'm currently in the middle of a LONG series, and decided to read a book in between each series book, so that I could remember all the details without getting too bored. And without needing and FURTHER recommendation, I decided to pick up the start of something amazing.
I am absolutely unfamiliar with Sarah J Maas. Although, looking into some of her info I did come to realize she's a fellow Pennsylvanian. I typically do not read the synopsis on the back of books, just so that I won't be let down. This also goes for author information. Only when am I hooked and dragged into a story to I really research the author, in hopes that there are other books for me to discover.
A Court of Thorns and Roses starts out like any typical book; laying the foundation so that you may know the main character (Feyre) and sympathize with her. Feyre is the main provider for her family. Not by choice, but for survival alone. Feyre lives with her two older sisters, and her father, all of which seem to take for granted that Feyre is the only one who allows them to survive. Her father is a melancholy man, apathetic towards the new standard of living his family has grown accustomed to. In previous years, Feyre's family was wealthier. Her father was a tradesman who would ship goods to and from. When his boats never made it to the far shores, his investors came looking for him, and disabled his leg, along with his ego. Feyre is left to manage the house and sees that everyone eats, and is well clothed for the long and hard winter.
Feyre starts every morning by going deep into the woods to hunt. She brings with her a bow and arrows, containing an arrow made of ash wood; you know, just in case she runs into a faerie. Apparently there are faeries in this book . . .shooting a faerie with an ash arrow will render it's magic useless so that you may kill it before the magic returns. Prepared for anything now, Feyre continues deeper into the woods, hoping to find a meal for her family. But what she finds in the wood, would help her family even more. While hunting a lone doe, Feyre comes across a giant wolf, one that may be a faerie. She shoots and kills the wolf, skinning it in hopes to sell it.
With her family fed, and new clothes bought from the wolf pelt, Feyre feels satisfied that her family will not need to eat for at least a week. Her satisfaction is cut short when a huge beast bursts through the door demanding payment must be made for the life that was taken. Feyre is given two options: to be killed on the spot, or to come to Prythnia, the land of Faeries. Having only lived nineteen years, Feyre decides to go to the dreaded land of the Faeries with her captor. She is put under a magic spell while traveling so that she may not find her way home.
Not being content with being a captive, Feyre puts up a fight as much as she can. She sets traps, she's mouthy, she's sarcastic. . . .she's amazing. What starts out with kidnapper and kidnapped turns into a more Beauty and the Beast type book. From despising all the faeries, and hating to live in a gorgeous manor, to having a vague understanding to what's going on in Prythnia. There's a "blight" that's slowly leeching magic away from the faerie folk. To a plain human, you couldn't tell the difference, except for the mask that permanently sits on their faces.
From hate to like, to understanding, and finally to love, Feyre finally accepts that she is to stay in Prythnia forever. That is until her host falls in love with her and decides to send her away for her safety. To find out what happens, I HIGHLY recommend this book, especially if you love being swept up in a story, with engaging characters that are stubborn and sarcastic, and has a heroine to die for. I look forward to not only finishing THIS series, but to buy Maas' other series too.
- 5 out of 5 stars! Really though, I'd give it 10!
I'm not quite sure what surprises me more: that I took such a long break from the Throne of Glass series, or that I âaccidentallyâ read book 2 in one day. That's the problem I have when I run into a book/author that I just fall in love with. I fell in love with âA Court of Thorns and Rosesâ and that's when the obsession started- that obsession carried over to me recommending it to my friends, and when THEY couldn't get enough, they decided to start reading the Throne of Glass series. . .without me. So with a lot of convincing, (no fault to Sarah J Maas, I've been inundated with review requests) I decided to pick back up where I left off.
âCrown of Midnightâ picks right up where readers leave off in âThrone of Glassâ. The King of Adarlan wastes no time sending out his newly hired champion for contract killings. Celaena is told names one by one, and is expected to bring the heads back to the king. Following her latest assignment, Celaena's new task keeps her close to home; weeding out an ever growing rebel group that could upset the balance of the kingdom. The King will give her one name at a time- interesting that the first name happens to be a blast from her past.
Still dealing with the after effects of the trials, Cain, and the Ridderak, the Eye of Elena is still a prominent life-saving accessory. Celaena notices a cloaked, dark figure in the hallways of the castle. Deeming it the only safe place, Celaena goes back to the hidden tomb connected to her room. While Elena used all of her power in the last book to appear, readers are introduced to a new darling character named Mort.
Mort reminds me of that blunt friend that everyone has, but this one also talks in riddles. Mort isn't the only new character introduced. We have Roland, Dorian's cousin, called in to sit on the King's council. Dorian's younger brother Hollin is also home from school. Archer Finn is Celaena's blast from the past, and also her next target to assassinate. Can the pair's friendship last amidst a death sentence?
After catching up with Celaena and the new dangers and adventures reader's are set up for, we go back to my favorite underlying theme: inner boy dilemmas. Dorian continues to wonder if he ever meant anything to Adarlan's greatest assassin, or if it was just a ploy. It's a bit amusing to me to read Dorian âmopingâ around the castle wrestling with his feelings, when you know darn well if he would act on those feelings his father may do something drastic. Chaol on the other hand starts taking matters into his own hands, denying his feelings all together, while still trying to âscheduleâ time with her. . . purposefully.
Celaena is keeping a secret from the King to save her friends. Dorian is keeping a secret from the King to save his life. Chaol is an open book, he wears his secrets on his face. But by the end of the book, there is more tragedy and secret passageways than a TOG fan is ready for.
I should know by now that Maas' stories write themselves They are brilliant. Each perfect in their own way. The fact that I have two series to get wrapped up in makes me happy beyond words, yet I know at a point they will come to an end. My only warning- PLEASE do not read any of these books out of order. First and foremost, you'll be so utterly confused you won't want to continue, and I don't want that to happen. Second, the first warning should be warning enough- just don't do it.
If you thought the original âThrone of Glassâ was amazing, please continue on with the series.
I was chosen by Netgalley to review the book "Curious Minds" by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton . Given that fact, it has not altered my opinion on the book at all. Curious Minds scheduled release is August 16, 2016.
This is my first Evanovich book. So as of right now, I have no preconceptions on how this book "should be" written. Consider myself a blank slate- I can't really make any comparisons, I have no idea the style of writing. Exciting isn't it?!
Our story opens, briefly, with what looks like a deal gone wrong. Gunter Grunwald is in a cave, alone, within a wall of pure gold. Spooked by an unnatural noise, Gunter realizes he is no longer alone in the cave. Peering around his wall, he realizes he knows who has joined him, and it's not who he wants to see. What Gunter realizes too late is that he should have stayed at his desk back at the office.
Cut scene to our present day story, and we are introduced Riley Moon, a seemingly well put together woman who works at a Bank. Riley is doing a home visit for a client. A very wealthy client; Emerson Knight, a rumored "nutcase" of a man, whose father has just passed and left his inheritance to his son. Riley was sent by her bank to ensure Emerson that his money is well taken care of. Upon meeting Emerson, she is quite shocked that she is attracted to the client, until he opens his mouth. Within the huge mansion he resides in, he is holed up in his library (SWOON!) living in a tent. Upon telling Emerson her rehearsed speech from the bank, he's very flat and to the point with her, saying that she's only visiting on behalf of the bank due to his recently acquired assets. Emerson is also a bit agitated because he has specifically requested Gunter, for months, and is now seeing Riley in his place. After Riley gives Emerson her rehearsed speech, and rehearsed answers, he still insists that she take him to, quite literally, see his gold.
After much persuasion, Riley takes Emerson to Blane-Grunwald bank, to speak directly to Werner, the man in charge. While there, Emerson starts out by saying he would like to see his gold, to hearing the life story of the missing Gunter Grunwald, to setting out on a rescue mission to find Gunter. Both Werner and Riley are taken aback by how the conversation had evolved. Emerson takes a small tour of Gunter's office, to try and get a feel for the man. With lack of personal effects, he deems it necessary to talk to Gunter's assistant; Maxine. Again at a loss for information, Emerson blindly sets out on a quest to find Gunter. Werner suggests Riley as an assistant since she is good with people, consciously making a dig at how dry Emerson's personality is.
Where better to start a missing person's investigation than at said person's house. Showing up uninvited and unannounced, Emerson thinks it's best to ask Gunter's wife a slew of questions. They come across Mrs. Grunwald in the back yard, spade in hand, staring into a freshly dug hole. Upon further investigation, it seems in the five years the Grunwald's have lived there, their gardeners have happened upon buried saints while landscaping. Being a non-catholic, Mrs. Grunwald doesn't quite understand the mystery of the buried saints, and decides it's time to pack up the house and sell. Ever the blunt one, Emerson simply asks if Mrs. Grunwald murdered her husband. She is absolutely taken aback, and denies any such thing.
The only thing worth finding in Gunter's house was a bar of gold; taken directly from his safe. Emerson investigates the bar, and finds that it is a fake. With much resolve, he further insists on seeing his gold in person to make sure that his are not all fakes as well. Off on a road trip cross country, the pair follow a yellow brick road to take down a corporate conspiracy theory that effects the government's reputation worldwide.
Some conflicting "things" I've noticed while reading. And maybe it's not really conflicting, or bothersome to others, but it is to me. It is mentioned quite a few times that Riley is in debt, which is why she has her current job at Blane-Grunwald bank, to pay back on her debts. And yet throughout the book, it mentions designer suits, Jimmy Choo ankle boots, her mini cooper. If she is so in debt, why is she making such purchases? Again, it could just be me.
Emerson is 110% nerd, know-it-all, full of himself kind of guy. To the annoying degree. Most of the things he says are either predictable, or awkward. That awkwardness is also picked up by Riley, again making some conversation either predictable, or so far out in left field that occasionally it does not make sense to the reader. My main impression, and this may only make sense to a few of you, is that it has the potential of the Naked Gun series; likable, occasionally funny, full of puns, occasionally awkward. This book however, missed it's mark with me. I don't often say this about books, but I really couldn't wait for the book to be finished. The way the story ends, it's blatantly obvious that it will continue on in a series. I'm sorry to say, that I will most likely not pick up a Janet Evanovich book anytime in the near future.
Imagine a world that is completely dependent (obsessed? focused? infatuated?) with media. Whether it be computers, iPhone, YouTube, texts, TV, etc. On average, a person looks at their phone 8 times an hour. A possession would be effortless.
Percy introduces a new possession- not âThe Exorcistâ, no zombies, because pft, zombies at this point are overrated. No, no. Demons. Demons hiding in the dark (bare with me!) Demons interlaced in the Dark Net- the uncovered black market of the world wide web. It's here that anonymous monsters roam; human trafficking, drugs, illegal movies and music, all without leaving your home. With a code, and just one look at a device, a demon can take possession and control you.
Thankfully, with a lot of dark, comes a little light. Throughout time, there has (and always will be) a light that balances the dark. People that are âon the spectrumâ; be it mediums, or people who recognize a shadow that may not belong. Readers are introduced to one of them right in the prologue of the book. Hannah; a teenager who has gradually become blind due to retinitis pigmentosa. Because this was an accelerated case with no cure, Hannah was offered an experimental treatment. Mirage fits like a virtual reality visor. Video images are captured by a camera and delivered to the eye by electrical impulses. Being in the dark for years has made Hannah dependent on other senses, so when she starts seeing images with a black veil attached to them, she's confused.
Others in the book report the truth; in different ways of course. There's Lela, Hannah's aunt, who writes for the newspaper office. Lela's first big story was of Jeremy Tusk, a serial killer at the Rue apartments. Tusk was an avid collector of rare books inked in blood and bound in human flesh. What most did not see at the time, was that Tusk was just a husk; a shell of a human inhabited by a demon.
The Rue apartments is what centers around this story. Tusk was not the building's only problem. The history goes back to the mid 1800's, when 10 lumbermen were found dead. All of them were ânaked, some hung from trees by their intestines, others laid in mud, limbs cut off and mixed up sewn in the wrong places or the wrong bodyâ. Legends of 5 shadow people who take âbites out of the sun until there is no light left.â From there, during the construction of the building 3 laborers died from a steel beam collapsing. A girl disappeared from her bedroom in the middle of the night, never to return. A fire swarmed the building killing three families. A maintenance man hung himself. A husband killed his wife and then himself. Evil lurks here. The building IS evil.
Mike Juniper was a light that was consumed by darkness. Years ago, Mike was Timmy Milton. A normal 6 year old boy playing in the lake, until a canoe smacked him on the back of the head rendering him unconscious. Upon waking up he kept telling his parents what they wanted to hear: yes, I saw Jesus. There was a light. The book âHeavenly Visitorsâ was based on the lies Timmy told his parents, which led to a âtourâ of sorts to congregation and âlaying of handsâ circles. There is a common thread in every single gathering: a figure in the crowd that no one else could see. A figure that appeared at the bottom of his bed.
The figure left a mark on him leaving cancer. Timmy turned down chemo, changed his name, took all of his money and donated on a cross country trip leaving him in Portland with a woman who can see the dark and extracted it out of him.
This misshapen crew is the key to drawing out the darkness and destroying it.
I cannot even begin to tell you how absolutely spellbinding Percy's writing is. The prologue is too eloquently written to make you put the book down, and with each turn of the page the excitement builds. With each character introduction, and backstory, and main story line, there is never a dull moment.
I will admit, going from the prologue right into the story, I was unsure how everything was going to tie together. Towards the end, Percy wraps up the story like a neatly wrapped Christmas package, bow included. My ONLY complaint, was that the story built to an apex, and then flat lined. Don't get me wrong, the story line was clear, I see exactly where it went (is going?) Maybe I became greedy, and just didn't want to give up this book, and the end was a bit of a let down. But can you blame me? When you read a REALLY good book, it's natural to not want to let go.
End result, I may have to add Benjamin Percy to my âauthors to watchâ list, for the prose alone.
The book is broken up into 4 parts. Each part starts with what I'm going to call an invitation to the chapters; something to get your mind thinking where the chapters are going to take you in the story. Below is how each starts:
1. Once upon a time, a devil and an angel fell in love. It did not end well.
2. Once upon a time, a little girl was raised by monsters. But angels burned the doorways to their world, and she was all alone.
3. Once upon a time, an angel lay dying in the mist. And a devil knelt over him and smiled.
4. Once upon a time, there were two moons, who were sisters. Nitid was the goddess of tears and life, and the sky was hers. No one worshiped Ellai but secret lovers.
. . . I mean come on!!! How can you not get hooked just from number 1! Which is how it happened for me. I was hooked from page 1, and ripped through the book like there was no tomorrow.
Meet Karou- the 17 year old girl, trying to find herself. . . .in art school . . . in Prague. Did I mention she's self sufficient? There's no living with parents here for this girl! Karou happens to stand out, mainly for her electric blue coif and her random tattoos. For the most part, Karou is your typical teenager; dealing with love and heartbreak, going to school, being a best friend, and trying to figure out where she fits in to the world. Unfortunately for Karou, she doesn't even know who she is, or if she has a family.
At the art school, Karou is infamous for her eclectic sketch books. Karou enjoys drawing chimera figures, a combination of animals and man that she claims have been her only family. With a quirky smile, people just pass her off as having an active imagination. By throwing up that quirky smile, Karou is able to pull off the absolute truth, something that is mimicked in her tattoos.
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It doesn't matter where you are from, everyone has a superstition that they practice, maybe unknowingly! When I sat down to write this post, I had to take a step back and think if I was participating in anything remotely resembling a superstition. I couldn't think of any! So I turn to ye ole trusted Google and literally googled "Pennsylvania Dutch Superstitions" and lo and behold there it was, my superstition that comes but once a year; eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day for good luck! I grew up with this tradition, and it is extremely hard to step away from a tradition that has been ingrained in you since childhood. What happens if you break tradition? What happens if you step on a crack, does it really break your mother's back? What happens when we ignore stories that are passed on generation after generation?
Andrew Michael Hurley is a new author for me. It's always exciting when I pick up a new-to-me author. You are essentially giving said author a blank slate- there's no comparing, there's really nothing but anticipation! I read the back of this book, and it sounded so good! Immediately my brain went right to things like Blair Witch, maybe even a toned down Stephen King; something that starts out slow but then slowly builds into the horror story that makes you sleep with the lights on.
Going off the synopsis on the back of the book, I was gearing up for a slow burn. I kept waiting. . .and reading. . . and waiting. I was so frustrated with this book because the minute you make some progress, we go back to a story from the narrator's past. . . or the Gaffer's past. I've read plenty of books that bounce back and forth from past to present and back again, but this book really had nothing remotely linear to follow (kind of like most of my reviews here on the blog!). When you finally do start to make traction with the story, Hurley pulls the rug out from under you and abruptly ends the book.
If you're married/dating , have you ever been to a family party on your spouse's side? Ever feel like you were left on the outside of an inside joke? That's exactly how I felt reading Devil's Day. This particular book I could not personally relate to because of location/vocation. A lot of times I had to stop what I was reading to look up a particular word because I had NO clue what the author was saying.
So, if I didn't care for this book, who on earth would I recommend this book for? Everyone! It's okay to NOT LIKE a book. Ok, I didn't care for this one. Would I read it again? Probably not. It's an interesting read, that's for sure. What I would find intriguing is if whether or not this story has any validation to it. Every now and then, I feel we as readers stay complacent in a certain genre, and then lose interest because we are just "genred" out. Step out of your comfort zone every now and then, and pick up something you normally wouldn't. Judge a book by its cover and DON'T read the synopsis. Browse a DIFFERENT section of a bookstore first. Some of my favorite reads have been picked up on a whim.
If the world's population continues to grow at the rate it currently is, we will run out of food, and 90% of that current population will die from starvation. Enter Viatus: a company who believes they are the world's solution to hunger through means of control; population control. Currently stationed in Africa, an arm of Viatus has set up camp and is experimenting with growing conditions for crops; mainly drought resistant. With promising results comes deadly consequences. An unknown force has invaded the camp on a mission to destroy any and all progress, and anyone who may stand in the way. Government officials blame a local rebel group, but could it be something else? When news of the disaster reaches authorities in Washington, it is Painter Crowe's job to find out why one of the men was killed, branded with a pagan symbol, and hung upside down. Grayson Pierce is called away on personal business to Italy. What he doesn't know, is that his little trip is also tied to the killing in Africa. Following clues from a murdered Vatican official, Pierce is lead to a remote area in England, where a mystery lies in abundance within peat moss. As Painter starts pulling all clues together, the main question is what does engineered corn, peat moss, and population control have in common? A perfect recipe to hide bodies. James Rollins goes from 0 to 60 starting at page 1. This book is perfect for conspiracy theorists, people interested in the ongoing GM problem, end of the world theories, historical buffs, of just the average thrill seeker such as myself. Again, Rollins does not disappoint.
Ever hear something that brings back a childhood fear? Mine are pretty easy. But there is one particular sound that still makes my skin crawl ( you are gonna laugh, I KNOW IT!)
The musical intro to "Are You Afraid of The Dark?"
I am not even kidding! I would hear just the beginning three seconds of this bad boy and run out of the room and beg either my parents or grandparents to turn it off. You see, I was completely sheltered when it came to all things scary. It wasn't until I met my husband that I was introduced to the wonderful world of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th"! While horror isn't my go-to genre, it's always nice to pick one up from time to time. I'm always reminded that you don't always have to watch something on TV to have something scare the pants off of you, and Dracul is no exception.
"Nanna Ellen was there at Bram's beginning and most likely end (as he was for hers)."
Abraham (Bram) Stoker was thought to have been a stillborn at birth. He was brought into this world breach, feet ready to make their mark, and umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, as if the world wasn't ready for him to tell its secrets. Nanna was there to revive his lifeless body, taking him in her own room two days at a time to continually nurse him back to health. After those two days Nanna looked drained, and stayed locked in her room until she fully recovered.
Naturally being sick off and on as a child will eventually come to a head. Bram's sickness rears its ugly head conveniently on a night when Nanna Ellen is out of the house. The only choice the Stoker's had was enlisting the help of father's cousin Edward, a Dublin doctor, who believed firmly in the practice of blood letting. With leeches attached, Bram is left to a fever dream of events. He sees Nanna Ellen come into his room, orders everyone out of the room, and promptly takes the leeches off. When Bram awakes, he feels as though he has never been sick a day in his life.
It wasn't until Bram and sister Matilda were older and more curious that they started noticing oddities about Nanna Ellen.
"At that age, the true and the fantastic blend together, becoming as one."
Matilda was fascinated with art, making sketches since she was little. One of her favorite things to do was draw Nanna Ellen. Years worth of sketches and not a single portrait was the same. It always drew similarities to Nanna Ellen, but never truly captured her. She would tell Bram of all the comings and goings of the Stoker household, whether exaggerated or not. Because how can children understand the difference between childhood fairy tales and reality? The pair sneak into Nanna Ellen's room to do some investigating. But what they find will fill them with more questions than answers, and a lifetime of looking over their shoulders?
"Nanna Ellen told us tales of creatures, so in our minds she became one."
Have you ever watched a scary movie? Yeah? Me too. Have you ever held a pillow (blanket, hand, etc.) over your face during the scary parts? Yeah? Me too! Have you ever pulled that pillow down when you thought the scary part was over, just to catch a glimpse of it and pull that pillow back up? ME TOO! This is exactly how Dracul reads.
We have paragraph after paragraph that rivals a Stephen King novel. For a book to build the same anticipation as a movie takes ingenious effort. You are lacking the musical accompaniment, the actual film in front of your face. But you have a book that does that, what are you going to do? Close your book or Kindle and put it in the corner until you are over it?
Jump scares? Got 'em. Building amounts of dread? Got ya covered. Dracul had me guessing the entire time I was reading it. Don't get me wrong, there were a FEW instances where I over-exuberantly shouted "I KNEW IT!" which always startles the hubs and the minions.
If I HAD to complain about anything. . . The ebb and flow of present to past was just that. When it was great, it was spectacular, and when it was slow, it drudged on. . .and on. . .and on. But truly, the knowledge of Dacre Stoker combined with the thriller know-how of J.D. Barker is exquisite. Stoker and Barker make quite the horror pair, and while I know another compilation may not be in the works (any time soon, or at all) for me, it would be an instant buy.
Dracul is the ideal read for the fall season, and the perfect prequel to introduce you to the classic Dracula. So grab your pitchforks, throw some marshmallows on, and get lost in the horrifying origin story of how Dracula came to be.