Monday, August 31, 2009

The Road Discussion Questions

1. Cormac McCarthy has an unmistakable prose style. What do you see as the most distinctive features of that style? How is the writing in The Road in some ways more like poetry than narrative prose?

2. Why do you think McCarthy has chosen not to give his characters names? How do the generic labels of "the man" and "the boy" affect the way in which readers relate to them?

3. How is McCarthy able to make the postapocalyptic world of The Road seem so real and utterly terrifying? Which descriptive passages are especially vivid and visceral in their depiction of this blasted landscape? What do you find to be the most horrifying features of this world and the survivors who inhabit it?

4. McCarthy doesn't make explicit what kind of catastrophe has ruined the earth and destroyed human civilization, but what might be suggested by the many descriptions of a scorched landscape covered in ash? What is implied by the father's statement that "On this road there are no godspoke men. They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world" [p. 32]?

5. As the father is dying, he tells his son he must go on in order to "carry the fire." When the boy asks if the fire is real, the father says, "It's inside you. It was always there. I can see it" [p. 279]. What is this fire? Why is it so crucial that they not let it die?

6. McCarthy envisions a postapocalyptic world in which "murder was everywhere upon the land" and the earth would soon be "largely populated by men who would eat your children in front of your eyes" [p. 181]. How difficult or easy is it to imagine McCarthy's nightmare vision actually happening? Do you think people would likely behave as they do in the novel, under the same circumstances? Does it now seem that human civilization is headed toward such an end?

7. The man and the boy think of themselves as the "good guys." In what ways are they like and unlike the "bad guys" they encounter? What do you think McCarthy is suggesting in the scenes in which the boy begs his father to be merciful to the strangers they encounter on the road? How is the boy able to retain his compassion--to be, as one reviewer put it, "compassion incarnate"?

8. The sardonic blind man named Ely who the man and boy encounter on the road tells the father that "There is no God and we are his prophets" [p. 170]. What does he mean by this? Why does the father say about his son, later in the same conversation, "What if I said that he's a god?" [p. 172] Are we meant to see the son as a savior?

9. The Road takes the form of a classic journey story, a form that dates back to Homer's Odyssey. To what destination are the man and the boy journeying? In what sense are they "pilgrims"? What, if any, is the symbolic significance of their journey?

10. McCarthy's work often dramatizes the opposition between good and evil, with evil sometimes emerging triumphant. What does The Road ultimately suggest about good and evil? Which force seems to have greater power in the novel?

11. What makes the relationship between the boy and his father so powerful and poignant? What do they feel for each other? How do they maintain their affection for and faith in each other in such brutal conditions?

12. Why do you think McCarthy ends the novel with the image of trout in mountain streams before the end of the world: "In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery" [p. 287]. What is surprising about this ending? Does it provide closure, or does it prompt a rethinking of all that has come before? What does it suggest about what lies ahead?

New Challenge - RIP

Everyone knows that I am a sucker for a new challenge but this one just looks to cool to pass up .... So here are the rules:

Dark Fantasy.

The desire for the thrill that comes with this kind of reading drifts in on the autumn winds. You breathe it in and it takes hold of you, tempting you to late nights, book-in-hand, turning pages and starting at every unknown noise. Something wicked this way comes…

I find that kind of melodramatic fear to be a delicious intoxication, one that makes this time of year an especially enjoying time to be a reader. There is enough bad fear in the world: fear of losing one’s job, fear of the state of the world, fear of failure…the list is endless. It is time to reject that fear, embrace hope, and while doing so embrace the fun kind of fear–the kind that had us sitting around camp fires as children, listening to adults tell us ghost stories. The kind that made you want to stay up past your bed time to peek at the late night scary movie on television.

There are two simple goals to the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge:

1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.

As I do each and every year, there are multiple levels of participation that allow you to be a part of R.I.P. IV without adding the burden of another commitment to your already busy lives.

R.I.P. IV officially runs from September 1st through October 31st. But lets go ahead and break the rules. Lets start today!!!

Multiple perils await you. You can participate in just one, or participate in them all.

I have signed up for this challenge .... Which is four books ........

So if you feel like joining me here's the link .......

Here's my list

1. The Forest of Hands & Teeth By Carrie Ryan

2. The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson

3.The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson

4. The Touch of Twilight by Vicki Pettersson

Stargazer by Claudia Gray (5)

In Stargazer, Bianca returns to Evernight, and she now understands the dark, centuries-old feud between vampires and hunters that prevents her and Lucas from ever being together. But even though everyone thinks Bianca has given up on him and embraced her destiny of becoming a vampire, she's found a way to communicate with him. But when Evernight is attacked, she discovers that she's not the only one who's been keeping secrets, and her world is turned upside down.

The much awaited 2nd book in the Evernight series which if possible is better than the first book ...... The third book comes out in December in the USA so I may have to ask some of my American friends very nicely to get me a copy when it comes out !!!

Since everyone loves Twilight and looking for another series to read ... This is it ..... I read it in a day and loved it :) .... ( And not just because the cover is purple my favourite colour ) ...

Bianca is back a the Evernight Academy trying to figure out why humans are admitted to the school !!! ....... She is still in love with Lucas but things prove difficult when your boyfriend is a member of the Black Cross ( Vampire Hunters ) ........ Bianca finds herself changing more and more each day into a Vampire !!!!! .... When strange things start to happen at the Academy ... Maybe all those ghost stories ours parents told us about are actually true !!!

Again if you love your fantasy, Vampire books then this series is for you :) I just have to hang out now for book 3 !!!!

I rate this book 5 *****

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (41/2)

It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Having bound the wild, dark magic of the realms to her, Gemma has forged unlikely and unsuspected new alliances both with the headstrong Felicity and timid Ann, Kartik, the exotic young man whose companionship is forbidden, and the fearsome creatures of the realms. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test those bonds. As her friendship with Felicity and Ann faces its gravest trial, and with the Order grappling for control of the realms, Gemma is compelled to decide once and for all which path she is meant to take. Pulled forward by fate, the destiny Gemma faces threatens to set chaos loose, not only in the realms, but also upon the rigid Victorian society whose rules Gemma has both defied and followed. Where does Gemma really belong? And will she, can she, survive?

Again a gorgeous cover ...... I really enjoyed this series .... This book is the last in the series and although it is a chunky book 814 pages worth it is great !!!

I love Libba's style of writing ...... The novel flows really well and the sense of humour is great !!!

Now that Gemma has bonded the magic to solely herself everyone is after her to gain some power !!! ..... But whom can she trust !!!! ...... She has got to make friends in the realms but everyone seems to have an agenda ...... With the new wing at Spence Academy getting rebuild all new surprises start to unfold ........ Can she save the people around her and still keep control of the magic !!! ........... And will she be able to concentrate on her school work and be the belle of the Ball to win the boy that she loves !!

This is a great wee series for any young teen ........ There are no vampires in this book but lots of other creatures to keep you hooked !!! .......

I rate this book 4 1/2 ****

Friday, August 28, 2009

'The White Queen' by Philippa Gregory [5]

Elizabeth Woodville, of the House of Lancaster, is widowed when her husband is killed in battle. Aided and abetted by the raw ambition and witchcraft skills of her mother Jacquetta, Elizabeth seduces and marries, in secret, reigning King Edward IV of the family of the white rose, the House of York. As long as there are other claimants to Edward's throne, the profound rivalries between the two families will never be laid to rest. Violent conflict, shocking betrayal and murder dominate Elizabeth's life as Queen of England, passionate wife of Edward and devoted mother of their children.
Wow Wow Wow.... what more can you say!

Philippa Gregory is just an amazing writer and this is certainly another of her brilliant best. After reading "The Secret Alchemy" for our book club in July and was a little disappointed with it, I was looking forward to Philippa's version.

Brilliantly capturing the life of a common woman who rises to royalty by her beauty, a woman who fights for her family and rises to the demands of her position, a woman whose two sons become the central figures in a mystery that still confounds historians to this day. I absolutely ache with agony for poor Elizabeth in not knowing what happened to her boys.

I love the way she is able to weave her historical knowledge of the period and still create a story that just captivates you. I love her version of the ending as well, it kind of makes sense from a mother's point of view.

Absolutely Brilliant Read....well worth the time...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

'A Curse Dark as Gold' by Elizabeth C. Bunce [4]

The gold thread shimmers in the fading light.

It promises Charlotte Miller a way out of debt, a chance to save her family's beloved woolen mill. It promises a future for her sister, livelihood for her townsfolk, security against her sinuous and grasping uncle. It might even promise what she didn't know she needed: lasting hope and true love.

But at what cost?

To get the thread, Charlotte must strike a bargain with it's maker, the mysterious Jack Spinner. But the gleam of gold conjures a shadowy past - secrets and bonds ensnaring generations of Millers. And Charlotte's mill, her family, her friends, her love... What do those matter to a powerful stranger who can spin straw into gold?

This is a wonderful debut novel that weaves a spellbinding fairy tale, spun with mystery and shot through with romance. It is a charming retelling of the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin. With the authors wonderful poetic style of writing and the thickly detailed life at the mill it provides a perfect backdrop for this tale of dark magic. Set in the late period of the Industrial Revolution it is completely believable.

Charlotte is a good strong heroine, fighting to save her livelihood and everyone dear to her. A beautiful read from start to finish and she even has an ending that will satisfy all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (5)

Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. . . .

The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.

But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

Well is it possible that you will love the 2nd installment of this series more than the first .... Heck Yes in this case !!! ........ It is a great wee series !! .......

With the loss of their beloved friend Pippa the 'Order' are searching for answers ... Order has to be restored to the realms and new friendships are made ... Who can Gemma trust?

Is Kartik actually a friend or a foe? ......... And will Gemma open her heart to let a dashing young man sweep her off her feet? .......

This book is bigger than the first one but I devoured it in a day .... I couldn't stop myself from reading !!! ..... It does remind me alittle bit of Harry Potter in a few area's ...... But the good thing about it is we have a female heroine which is great !!!

Cannot wait to read the next one ...... I love Libba's style of writing and find myself LOL at some of her comments .... I am lovin the covers and lovin the story inside :) ....... I am one happy reader at the moment :) .......

I rate this book 5 *****

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Wicked Lovely" by Melissa Marr [3 1/2]

Rule 3: Dont stare at invisible faeries.
Rule 2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Rule 1: Don't ever attract their attention.

Suddenly none of those rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Now faeries are stalking her and trying to talk to her. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost - regardless of her plans or desires.

I have been dying to read this book... the cover alone is stunning!

Wow... if ever a book can draw you into a world of make believe this one can. I've now read a couple of faery books and it seems that the common theme is that faeries are nasty creatures who only look after themselves... it continues with this one as well.

This really is a book for teenagers as it deals with all the confusing emotions that happens in this period of your life. Very well written, but I did get a little frustrate with it, probably just an adult thing. Teens will relate to the feelings that are dealt with in this book and I'm sure they will just love it. Don't wont to give too much of it away. I did love the friendship between Aislinn and Seth and how it develops between them, brings back a lot of memories of my teenage years.

Did enjoy it but more for the teens.

"Ink Exchange" by Melissa Marr [3]

Seventeen- year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their shadowy power struggles. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.

The tattoo does bring changes - not the kind that Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that bind Leslie to Irial, a dark and dangerous faery king fighting for the soul of his court. Slowly, Leslie is drawn deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils...

Melissa Marr continues her tales of Faerie in a dark story of temptation and consequences, and of heroism when least expected. While this book isn't supposedly directly after 'Wicked Lovely' you really do need to read it next
as it contains characters that will continue into the next novel.

Another beautiful cover to this book and easy to read.

The character of Leslie is a poor girl that has some deeply distressing issues in her young life that she is trying to escape from, only to find she gets entangled into the world of faery and that makes things worse. As a mother my heart just bleeds for this girl and you want to just hug her and make everything better. Her knight in shining armour is Niall but even he can't help her, it is something she has to deal with herself. I really felt drawn into this one, but again the emotions of the teenage characters start to annoy you a little. Well written, teens will love it.

Look forward to reading the next..."Fragile Eternity"

"Fragile Eternity" by Melissa Marr [3 1/2]

Seth never expected he would want to settle down with anyone - but that was before Aislinn. She is everything he'd ever dreamed of, and he wants to be with her forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.

Aislinn never expected to rule the very creatures who'd always terrified her - but that was before Keenan. He stole her mortality to make her a monarch, and now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she'd ever imagined.

In this third spellbinding tale of Faerie, Seth and Aislinn struggle to stay true to themselves and each other in a background of shadowy rules and shifting allegiances,
where old friends become new enemies and
one wrong move could spell total destruction, and plunge the Earth into chaos.

I know I must be getting old when I start to find that reading some of these teen books becomes frustrating when all you seem to be reading about is all the emotions of young love and the indecision's that come with it. I felt like shaking the characters sometimes and telling them to grow up, but then that's what happens when your 17 years old.

The author has left it for another novel to be written which hopefully will finish of the series.
Look did enjoy it, and the teens will love it, but I guess as an adult now I have a hard time relating to the indecision's of teens.

Not quite a good as the first but still enjoyable, covers are beautiful.

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libby Bray (41/2)

It's 1895, and after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma's reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she's being followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence's most powerful girls - and their foray into the spiritual world - lead to?

Well it is official I think I have found another series that I love .... I have been wanting this series for a while now and so armed with only telling myself that I could buy one book at the bookstore I lifted this one .... When I went to pay for it I had $10.00 off and then the assistant said 'oh that is on special today you get the next book for free' So I went the full hog and purchased the third book as well .... So all in all I got the 3 books for the price of one ..... Happy Days .... Anyway back to the book ...

I love the character of Gemma Doyle she is smart, funny and daring .... She is a great leading lady in this story .... With the lost of her mother she is send back to London to Spence Academy to be trained as a Lady .... What she doesn't expect is finding out who she is and secrets about her family that threaten her life today .... Love, Love love it .........

It is set in 1895 so not only do we have mystery and magic we also have a period setting as well ... There are gypsies ....... A handsome young man who is swore to protect Gemma ...
A big haunted Mansion ......... Being able to travel to a different world ..... The abiltity to have all your dreams come true .... Beautiful clothes ..... And a very stern Headmistress .......

Come on .... what more could you want ......... Go out and buy the book .........

I rate this book 41/2 ****

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ironside by Holly Black (31/2)

"In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben’s coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure only of one thing--her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to him, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can’t see or speak with Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn’t exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.

Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth—that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother’s shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben’s throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?

This is the second part of the Holly Black Series 'A Modern Faerie Tale' .......... There is way less language in this book than in the first which is good ........ But be warned there is some quite graphic violence scenes ....

I have to say I enjoyed this book better than the first ... Kaye has figured out that she is a Pixie and is trying to figure out her place in Fairyland ... And her boyfriend is now getting crowned King of Unseelie Court ....... Things seem to be looking up ....... But not for long ........

The Queen of the Seelie Court is out for blood and Kaye seems to find herself stuck in the middle again .....

Again like the first novel Tithe I would say this book is for the older Teen as a few parts of it is quite Dark .......

If you are looking for a more edgy Faeire Tale with lots of gore and where the Faeires are more likely to kill you then grand you wishes then this series is for you !!!

I rate this book 3 1/2 ***

P.S .... Valient is the also part of this series but is set before this book ........... He tells the story of the brothers Luis and Dave who are introduced in this novel .... My advise read Tithe, Ironside then Valiant ..

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tithe by Holly Black (3)

Do you believe in faeries? Not the soft, gentle kind, but the sinister, feral kind - the ones that wreak havoc on everything in their path... As a small child Kaye used to talk to faeries. Now at sixteen she is fierce and independent, travelling from city to city with her mother's rock band, until an ominous attack forces them to return to her childhood home and friends. Once there, Kaye discovers that her childhood memories were real and she is drawn into a secret faerie world by an attraction that she is unable to fight. Finding herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient and violent power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms, Kaye agrees to go along with a plan to disrupt the human sacrifice that binds her faerie friends to their unkind masters. But not everyone has been telling her the truth and she is soon in grave danger...

I think this cover that I have is the UK version which is pretty ........ I have had this series sitting on my book shelf for a while now and finally getting around to reading them ... Holly Black is better known for writing the Spiderwick Chroncles but this is her 3 part series on Faeries ..

OK let me start by saying the beginning of the story is not really what I was expecting ... I have been reading alot of teen books recently but I would class this book as more like an adult book then a teen book ... Mainly because of the language ......... Gosh there is alot of bad language in the first 60 pages to which I was actually going to give up reading the rest of the book ....... But it does calm down and then the real story begins ......

It is an interesting concept of Faeries being not so the nice Faeries that we have been led to believe ... I feel that this book really is more so setting up the characters for the rest of the series ...

Who can Kaye trust? ......... It meant just surprise you !!! ........

I rate this book 3 ***

WARNING: I would have rated it higher expect for the language there was way to much of it that alot of people would not continue reading the novel which is a shame .... There is some violence also in the book which at some cases can be graphic ..... Definitely an older adult read not a young teen which it is marketed for ......

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

'Bewitching Season' by Marissa Doyle [4]

In 1837 London, young daughters of Viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic.

Shy, studious Persephone Leland would far rather devote herself to her secret magic studies than enter society and look for a suitable husband. But just as the inevitable season is about to begin, Persy and her twin sister discover that their governess in magic has been kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of the Princess Victoria. Racing through Mayfair ballrooms and royal palaces, the sisters overcome bad millinery, shady royal spinsters, and a mysterious Irish wizard. And along the way, Persy learns that husband hunting isn't such an odious task after all, if you can find the right quarry.

What an absolutely delightful debut novel...

Truly love the concept of weaving historical romance with magic. Very easy to read, flows beautifully, finished in a day... has a beautiful cover that draws you to it.

The characters of Persy and her twin sister Pen are wonderful. They share a special bond as twins but also as witches. This first book deals more with Persy and her feelings and thoughts about entering into society and what is expected of her... to find a husband! I'm assuming the next book will be about her sister Pen.

The author writes about all the emotions that 17 /18 year old girls go through when finding their true love. It certainly takes you back to your teen years, even though it is 1837... we all have the same emotions no matter what year it is. Loved the closeness that the two girls have with each other, but it is interesting to see that a boy can change things, even if you are twins!

Can't wait to read the next one.

Evermore by Alyson Noel ( 41/2)

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, Ever can see auras, hear people's thoughts, and know a person's entire life story by touch. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen.

Damen Auguste is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy. He's the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head—wielding a magic so intense, it's as though he can see straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she's left with more questions than answers. She has no idea just who he really is—or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.

Ok ... what is with series at the moment .... Not that I am not lovin it ... But it does kind of suck if you find one you really like and you have to wait for the rest of the series .... Luckily for me the second installment is due this month 'Blue Moon' ........ Hurray not that long to wait ...

Well like I said this is the first book in the series of 'The Immortals' and I loved it ... It is an easy read and finished in a couple of days ..... Mainly because I spend most the night reading it ...... lol ...

The main Character of Ever is great ....... After the tragic accident of her parents and little sister dying ... Ever moves in with her Aunt and tries to fit into a school ....... The only difference is that after the accident Ever is not the same ........ She can see Dead people and read thoughts .... But then a drop dead gorgeous guy enters the scene who she cannot read .........

This book is a Teen book probably 14 upwards ...... There is maybe 1 swear word in the whole book ....

But I have to say I have been reading alot of fantasy books of late and this is a new twist to those !!!! ......... Reminded me abit of Highlander ........

I love this book and itching for the next one .......

I rate this book 41/2 ****

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

It's a novel set in the post-war years in England, specifically the England of the formerly powerful Big House gentry.

Sarah Waters tells the story of the Ayreses, Mrs Ayres and two of her grown children, brother Rod and sister Caroline. Into their lives walks Dr Faraday to attend to the sick maid. It's a mystery story about the difficulties of working out whether people have really seen ghosts in the old house, or is it just that they are all going mad?

Look at the differences with the covers .... One is a lovely cover with the Big House namely 'Hundreds' and the other one which I have is the awful one with the big writing and red background. It looks like it is a throwback from the 70's .... Come on people you know which one I would buy off the shelf if I had the choice ....

Firstly I would say that I really like the way Sarah Waters writes ... It is an easy book to read and she describes the surroundings beautifully ..... You honestly do feel that you are there in the house .... I did feel sad reading about the house and its decline ... With living next to a stately home for years and visiting it often it is very sad to see something of great beauty crumble away ..... Although the name of this book is 'The Little Stranger' I felt that it was more based on the house namely 'Hundreds' ...

I was abit disappointed with the ending of the book and felt that it really didn't resolve what was actually happening in the home ... But it will make a good book club discussion to see what other people think was going on ...

I would be interested in reading some more of Sarah Waters books and watching some of the BBC productions ... and I feel that this novel would make a good movie ... I am rating this 3 1/2 stars mainly because I quite enjoyed it and the writing was lovely but there was nothing in the story line that really grapped me ...

I rate this book 3 1/2 ***

Monday, August 10, 2009

'Beastly' by Alex Flinn [4 1/2]

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright - a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever - ruined -unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly...beastly.

A delicious love story that is the modern version of 'Beauty and the Beast'. 15/16 year old girls will just eat this up...I did and I'm double their age. What I truly loved about this book was the way the author took the story we all know but told it from the perspective of the beast.

It's an engrossing tale about how two abandoned teens find each other and that's where the romance begins.

The beast learns that beauty isn't only skin deep... a valuable lesson that is still needed in today's society.

A wonderfully easy read that you will fly through within a day.

Would recommend it to all 15/16 year old girls and boys as there are some wonderful lessons to be learned.

Can't wait to read her next novel, 'A kiss in Time'.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

'Instruments of Darkness' by Imogen Robertson [3]

Thornleigh Hall, the forbidding seat of the Earl of Sussex, dominates the surrounding countryside. It's heir is missing, and the once vigorous family is reduced to a cripple, his whore and his alcoholic second son, but its power endures.

Impulsive Harriet Westerman has felt the Hall's menace long before she happens upon the dead man bearing the Thornleigh arms. The grim discovery cries out for justice, and she persuades reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther to her cause, much against his better judgement; he knows a dark path lies before those who stray from society's expectations. That same day, Alexander Adams is killed in a London music shop, leaving his young children orphaned. His death will lead back to Sussex, and an explosive secret that has already destroyed one family and threatens many others.

A rich and thrilling historical novel of secrets and lies.

I was quite taken by the cover of this novel and then by the title, so I then turned it over to read it was a historical mystery... well that took my fancy straight away. Quite enjoyed reading this book, not an author I have read before. Flowed nicely along, but took a few days to read through.
I did love the character of Harriet, she is a strong minded woman, who is not idle to let things pass by. Crowther's is also an interesting character and I enjoyed the by-play between the two of them. The two main characters seemed unlikely to become friends but that is what happens as they solve the mystery together.

Good read.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison (3)

In the kingdom of Kendel, anyone caught talking with the animals or practicing animal magic is put to death, so Prince George learns early on to deny that part of his identity. He does everything for the sake of the kingdom, even if it means agreeing to an arranged marriage with Princess Beatrice from the neighboring kingdom of Sarrey. But Beatrice has a striking and unusual relationship with her hound, Marit, and George finds himself drawn to the pair, and to that part of himself that he has ignored for too long. He is faced with many decisions, including how to help his dying father, and how to free Beatrice and her hound.

This is a beautiful cover and a book that I had to order from the States because it is not widely available here. I had decided to expand my reading material to cover some LDS writers which write fiction.

The opening chapter is absorbing and I was really looking forward to reading a lovely fairy tale. But I have to say that I found it sometimes confusing and jumping around a little bit ... The characters are good and the story line is also intriguing but it is just missing something ...

This novel is suitable for a younger reader but it just wasn't the fairy tale story that I was hoping for ... but the message from this tale is good " Love can overcome all"

I rate this novel 3 ***

Monday, August 3, 2009

'The Blackstone Key' by Rose Melikan [4]

1795, and a young teacher called Mary Finch travels in haste to the Suffolk coast to meet her wealthy uncle - and so end a bitter family estrangement. But when she meets a dying man on the road, she is soon drawn into a world of intrigue and treachery. Why does this stranger carry a watch bearing her uncle's initials? And why does he hint that Mary is in terrible danger?

When his warning proves true, Mary finds herself at the mercy of a ruthless conspiracy, determined to gain the treasure guarded by the mysterious Blackstone Key. Will Mary's courage, wit and steady nerve be enough to save her? And can she trust the two men who have offered her their protection?

The first book in an exciting new mystery series.

With a beautiful cover that just captivates you straight away, you are drawn into the wonderful historical novel as soon as you open the page. Mary is a delightful heroine, that is witty, sensible, intelligent and forthright, she is a breath of fresh air.

I have not read a historical novel that wasn't a romance and this was something completely different. The author writes in period detail really well and it was a joy to read. Looking forward to the next one.
'The Counterfeit Guest'.

I rate this book 4 stars.

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