Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lost Voices

Author: Sarah Porter
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: July 4, 2011
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal (Older YA)

SPOILER ALERT: I can't talk about the book without discussing the ending, so stay away if you don't want to find out what happens!

Luce has been living with her uncle ever since her father died in a shipwreck, but her uncle doesn't pay attention to her unless he's in a drunken rage. When one night, on the way back from the bar, he tries to rape her, Luce is so shattered and broken that she feels like she's dying. Instead, she actually turns into a mermaid and joins a tribe of mermaids living in caves in the water. For once, she feels accepted and appreciated, and she loves how her voice is now so powerful and beautiful. But when she learns that the mermaids use their beautiful singing voices to enchant humans on ships and kill them, Luce is torn. She wants to belong, but she doesn't indiscriminately hate humans the way the other formerly-abused mermaids do. Luce struggles to find a good use for her voice, to be able to keep the beauty and discard the horror of being a mermaid

I'm not sure I totally get the book, but I can still appreciate the terrible, terrible beauty of it. The whole conflict that Luce has throughout her time as a mermaid isn't neatly resolved, because, I think, nothing about the topic of abused children could possibly be neatly resolved. I'm not sure why Luce ends up alone, the way she was alone at the beginning of the book. But it's actually not the same thing - at the end of the story, she's not so much alone as she is as one with the world. Even though she's left the tribe and Cat has left her, she has the ocean and the music of it all. That is some bit of a conclusion, though everything is still left pretty much open-ended.

You just can't say about this book that you like it - it's too dark and depressing in some ways. But it's a really excellent book all the same. It's beautifully written, and it's so real and immediate that I found myself crying at a few points throughout the book. It's really moving, and totally heart-wrenching. Luce has a quiet strength that holds up the tone of the book even during the catty scenes with Anais, so that even when the girls are being girls in the way girls are, you still feel the heaviness of the book. I connected with Luce immediately, feeling her pain, excitement, confusion, etc., along with her.

I absolutely recommend this book (though not for younger teens), but be ready to cry over this one.

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for providing a digital copy for review.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Enchanted No More

Author: Robin D. Owens
Publisher: LUNA Books (Harlequin)
Release Date: January 1, 2011
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance (Adult)
Author's Website: http://www.robindowens.com/

Jenni has made a normal life for herself. After the disaster that killed her parents and most of her siblings, on a mission from the Eight Kings and Queens of the four elements, a mission to which Jenni was late and continues to blame herself for, Jenni wants nothing to do with the magical community. But when magical creatures show up on her doorstep asking for her help in a mission, and when Aric, her former lover, comes to tell her that her brother is in need of her help, Jenni agrees to help the Eight complete the mission. Besides for facing dangers of increased power in Dark ones, Jenni has to face herself and her grief and guilt, and her blame for Aric, to come to terms with what happened then in order to move on now.

I am a little conflicted as to what I think of this book. For the most part, I really really like it. But I can't not mention the things that bother me about it, because they did affect my reading of the book. So I'm going to write what I didn't like, get it out of the way, and then tell you what I did like.

The main thing that bothered me throughout the book is actually not related to the story - it's grammar. There were lots and lots of comma splices - two separate sentences joined together only by a comma. After I came across more than a few of them, I realized that the author was trying to create a feeling of immediacy, of one event happening right on the heels of another. But for me, it just jarred.

A more major point that bothered me is the guilt that Jenni feels. I felt that her guilt and blame for herself and others was not very well described. I kept hearing about them, but I never really saw them in action. The way they disappear is also not shown very well. I felt like if these were such major points, they should have been developed and shown more clearly.

That said - the style of the writing is really amazing. There's a perfect blend of magical and real elements, and the tone of the tale fits into this, to meld the two and make magic of the four elements sound natural. I was drawn into the world as soon as I was introduced to it, and the way the world is introduced is also great - with bits and pieces of how everything works revealed over time. Jenni herself knows some of it, but as she learns about the changes that happened since she cut off contact with the magical world, we get to see both how it was and how it is now. Everything just sounds so magical.

And the characters. Every single character, no matter how little page space they take up, has a very  distinctive personality. Aric and Jenni, the two main characters, really jump off the page. But even the minor characters, the brownies and naiads who appear only to serve and help Jenni, are so individual and unique in their personalities. I love how all the actions fit seamlessly together because each character does only what makes sense for him or her to do. Especially in the last battle - the way the Eight behave, the way Synicess does, it all makes perfect sense. And the way Aric behaves. That is so perfectly developed over their renewed relationship throughout the book, that by the time he does what he does, I think the only one who is surprised is Jenni - definitely I wasn't!

On the whole, this book is a great book to sink into. The magicality, the characters, the mystic style of writing - it all creates a believable world, with emotion and heart, that stays with you a while after you finish the book.

Thanks to LUNA Books and NetGalley for providing a digital copy for review!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Summer Blowout

Author: Claire Cook
Publisher: Hyperion
Released: April 7, 2009
Genre: Women's Fiction/Romance
Author's Website: http://www.clairecook.com/author/HOME.html

Bella is still trying to get over the fact that her husband ran off with her half-sister. Dealing with her big, messy family is never easy and she's sworn off men - at least for a while. But when she meets a cute guy giving away college application kits at the college fair where her family has a beauty booth, and that guy turns out to have an idea that might give her some independence from her family, Bella's resolution is sorely tested.

The cast of characters in this book is so great. From the despicable Craig to the almost-perfect Sean Ryan, every character is a full person, every character stands out from the page. And Bella - I loved her, for all her neurotic, sarcastic, zany personality! Even the dog gets to be a full character who in some ways helps the story along and plays a big part in the plot!

The plot of the story is really good. The reason I'm labeling this women's fiction/romance and not purely romance is because although the main point of the story is how Bella moves on from her betrayal and opens up to another man, the truth is that I read this as more of a woman-empowering story than a romance. Because the plot centers on how Bella moves on, how she takes charge of her own life and makes something of herself. I love that.

This is a good, fun read, with excellent characters and a wonderful story!

In My Mailbox 14

In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren, where bloggers post any new books they bought, received, borrowed, etc.

This week, aside from my usual library books, I actually got some books to own! On the last day of class, the teacher of my proofreading/copyediting class "auctioned off" a whole bunch of books from his publishing house, and I landed five! I love the feel of those paperback, shiny covers... Here they are:

From the library: 
The Pact: A Love Story [PACT] [Mass Market Paperback]Falling Through DarknessLooking for God in Harry Potter
The Pact by Jodi Picoult - recommended by a friend - thanks Mary!
Falling Through Darkness by Carolyn MacCullough
Looking for God in Harry Potter by John Granger

For my very own, permanent bookshelf:
The Beet Queen: A Novel (P.S.)The House on Fortune Street: A Novel (P.S.)The Marrowbone Marble Company: A Novel
Russian Winter: A NovelMarley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst DogRussian Winter by Daphne Kalotay
The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich
The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey
The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor
Marley and Me by John Grogan

Friday, December 10, 2010


Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Genre: YA Dystopia
Author's Website: http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com/
Author's Blog: http://laurenoliverbooks.blogspot.com/

Lena lives in a world where a cure for love has been found. After their eighteenth birthday, people have a procedure done which eliminates love, thus eliminating all the terrible side effects of love - faintness, difficulty focusing, even suicide. The government matches boys and girls with each other after they graduate from separate schools, and life is so much easier and happier. Lena is looking forward to her procedure, to the time when she can escape the disease that led to her own mother's death. But just months before her procedure, starting at her evaluations, things start to change. And she meets a boy - and falls in love. Lena starts finding out that almost nothing is actually the way she's been led to believe it is, and she finds out the true meaning of love and the absence of love.

The concept of this book is so great - the idea that people would call love a disease, and all the effects of removing love. I like how Lauren Oliver examines all sides of the idea, not just romantic love but also parent-child love. She portrays the effects of a loveless world so beautifully - well, heart-breakingly, actually. Although some of the things that Lena notices sound like comments only a person who has lived in our world would be able to say, things like commenting on the absence of love which she never knew, for the most part the things that Lena and her friends think really show what living in a world without love, a world of lies, would feel like.

Lena is an interesting character. It's funny how at the beginning of the book I almost couldn't stand her, but I felt like I had to know what would happen to her. Her friend Hanna was more compelling at the beginning, since she had more backbone and sounded more like a person, less like a robot as Lena sounded like. But as I got deeper into the story, it became quite clear that neither one of them is as simple as they sound at first. They're both complex in their situations, thoughts, actions, and opinions. I love how they're fully developed people, and their actions are hardly ever predictable, because each time they are responding to different parts of themselves - and isn't that actually what happens in real life?

The ending - well, the ending. I can't say I love the way the book ends, but oh, I love the way the book ends. It's heart-wrenching, the kind of conclusion that has me sitting and staring at the last page for minutes after I finish, trying to absorb what just happened. But it fits perfectly, the way Lauren writes it, going back to something that had been said earlier and that basically sums up the whole point of the book. It's not a happy-ever-after end, but I felt wholly satisfied with the way things were left.

I was a little surprised to find out that there will be a sequel to Delirium.  I felt like this was the end of the story, like everything there was to be told was told. I'm not sure how I feel about a sequel. Maybe once I know more about what aspect the second book will focus on, I can decide if I'm going to read it or not. Lauren Oliver's style of writing is definitely worth reading more of, though!

Thanks to HarperTeen and NetGalley for providing a digital copy for review!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: September 1, 2010
Genre: Paranormal (Romance)
Author's Website: http://www.kierstenwhite.com/
Author's Blog: http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com/

Evie is a normal girl - but she lives in and is employed by the Center of the International Paranormal Containment Agency. All Evie wants is to be able to really live like a normal girl, going to school, having a crush, having a locker... But Evie is the only person able to see through paranormals' glamours to be able to identify potentially harmful paranormals and "bag-and-tag" them to neutralize them. When a paranormal no one can identify breaks into the Center, everything Evie has known as truth up till then is turned on its head - including her own normal-ness. Caught up in prophecies and plots set in motion before she had any say in them, Evie tries to balance having a normal life and maybe having a boyfriend with dealing with who she is and the paranormals determined to keep her from that normal life.

I love love love this book! The blurb on the cover calls it "refreshing," and I must agree. The voice of the story - Evie's voice - is so natural and clear, and really compelling. It all sounds like a teenager. The issues that Evie deals with sound very much like any teenager's issues. Sure, her identity crisis puts regular teenagers' identity crises to shame, but I like the correlation. I also found it refreshing that this book is appropriate for younger teens as well - nothing beyond kissing, which is so beautifully written.

I love Evie as a character and I emotionally connected to her. She's a strong heroine, but with normal teenage faults and blindnesses. She's smart and emotional, a nice balance which helps her and hinders her throughout the story. She's altogether a likable person.

As for Lend - wow! I'm not sure who I like more, Evie or Lend. I love the way Kiersten brings Lend to life. His shape-shifting and assuming hot guys' bodies doesn't mask him, because the way Kiersten describes Evie seeing through the glamours to the real form of Lend is so gorgeous. And his personality is so great. He's really smart, he's kind and funny, heroic and brave. I love the way he interacts with Evie - every scene when they're together is so beautiful.

The plot is amazing too. Never too slow or too fast, the pacing is just right, and there are plenty of surprising twists to keep you gasping in suspense. I like how there are clues dropped here and there, some of them totally misleading, the way Evie might be experiencing things. We, as the readers, never know more than Evie does, so we really experience what Evie is going through. I love that.

There are going to be two more books in this trilogy, Supernaturally and an as-yet-unnamed third book. Based on Paranormalcy itself, I'm excited for the next books, and after reading Kiersten's website and blog, I really can't wait for them!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

In My Mailbox 14

In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren, where bloggers post any new books they bought, received, borrowed, etc.

I got one book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program, Writing Horses. It's an ebook, a guide for authors who are using horses in their novels. I started "flipping" through it, and it seems pretty interesting!

I also got a few more books from NetGalley:
Enchanted No More (Luna Books)Here Lies Bridget (Harlequin Teen)PopulazziLost Voices
Enchanted No More, by Robin D. Owens
Here Lies Bridget, by Paige Harbison
Populazzi, by Elise Allen
Lost Voices, by Sarah Porter

This time I made sure to only request books that really interest me, and I was more selective and didn't "binge" request. So these four are really tempting for me, and I can't wait to start them. Lost Voices sounds like it'll be a tear-jerker, Populazzi sounds fun - good mix!

Then, from the library:

ParanormalcyStealing HenryDrawing the OceanA True and Faithful Narrative
Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White. I'd been searching for this at my local (Brooklyn) library, but for some odd reason, they just don't have the book! But I've been reading great reviews for this one, so I went to the New York Public Library and got it. And am I happy I did! I'm in middle of it now, and totally loving it!

Two Carolyn MacCullogh books, which I put on hold after reading her books Once A Witch and Always A Witch:
Stealing Henry
Drawing the Ocean

A book I read a great review of (by an author who claims she's no good at reviews, but whose review was so detailed and specific that I got envious of her style!): A True and Faithful Narrative, by Katherine Sturtevant

And an anthology of fantasy short stories edited by Robin McKinley, which for some reason Amazon doesn't have an image of: Imaginary Lands.

So that's it for this week. We're nearing the end of the semester, and I'm having slightly more time to read now, so hopefully I'll catch up on that huge pile on my shelves - real and virtual - now!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In My Mailbox 13

In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren, where bloggers post any new books they bought, received, borrowed, etc.

I got three books from the library today. Two are books I had on hold but were taking forever to come, so I decided to check my neighborhood branch - and voila! There they were!
Chalice and Sunshine by Robin McKinley
OK, so my version of Sunshine is the older one, first published as an adult book. The cover featured here is the one released as a YA book. As far as I know, there are no differences in the content, just in the packaging.

And then I looked on the shelf next to Robin McKinley's books, and I saw a book from another great author, Patricia A. McKillip: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (Magic Carpet Books)
When I was walking home from the library, I thought - oh, I think I read this one before! But if this is the book I'm thinking I read while I was traveling three years ago, this must be a really great book, because I'm remembering some scenes very vividly! SO I can't wait to re-read it now!

What's in your mailbox?

Simply Irresistible

Author: Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Forever (Hachette Book Group)
Released: October 1, 2010
Genre: Romance

Maddie just broke up with her boyfriend and lost her job, and she's heading out to Lucky Harbor, Washington, where her mother left an old inn to her and her two half-sisters, to start over. But the inn is in a much worse state than she expected, and her sisters are eager to deal with selling it and get back to their own lives. Maddie is determined to create a life for herself with the inn, and she sets about doing what has to be done to get it into shape. Which includes hiring a "master carpenter" who turns out to be a lot more than that! Jax is undeniably hot, but also kind and thoughtful and just what Maddie needs. Dealing with overcoming her past, getting along with her sisters, and struggling with the inn could be too much for Maddie, but building a relationship with Jax helps her out considerably.

Simply Irresistible is not so much plot-driven as sex-driven. The plot is fairly simple, and the emotions are fairly simple, too, but it works because it's all written so beautifully. Maddie is a fully developed character, so I could follow her ups and downs about her sisters, Jax, and the inn very clearly. This seems to be a romance novel whose main point is the love scenes, which is not the type of book I usually go for, but I loved the book! Coming from attempting to read another book which jumped right into the sex and was very graphic and made me go "ew, why would anyone want to read this," I totally love how Jill handles the sex scenes - she somehow makes it so beautiful, so touching. So though the plot doesn't really happen except for at the beginning and the end of the book, there's so much in the middle that you can just sink right into!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Always A Witch

Author: Carolyn MacCullough
Publisher: Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Release Date: August 1, 2011
Genre: YA Fantasy (Urban Fantasy)

*Warning: If you haven't read Once a Witch yet - there are spoilers for that in this summary and review of Always a Witch.*

After discovering that she does indeed have a Talent and that her entire family is in danger, Tamsin Greene is charged with another mission: to follow Alistair Knight, the man who threatens her family, back into the 1880s and either to stop him from getting to the Knight family or to get to her own ancestors and warn them of the impending danger to their descendants. Things are never what they seem, and this is a huge battle that Tamsin alone can fight - and there is a choice that she alone must make by the end of it - a terrible choice, as her grandmother told her.

The second book outdoes the first - and that's saying something! By the time Always a Witch starts, Tamsin has grown a lot from the appealingly juvenile girl she was at the beginning of Once a Witch, and she continues to grow and mature throughout the book. Watching her develop was so satisfying - as her decisions become harder, the obstacles more difficult, as the action escalates, she becomes an adult, but she still retains her vibrant personality. She's more serious at the other end of all this, but she's still herself - which is one of the lessons she has to learn.

And that part is done so beautifully - about coming to terms with who she is. It's not belabored, it just slides naturally into the story - and I love how the titles of the books tie that all together. No more on that or I'll give away parts of the ending, but I really love that.

The pacing that I loved in the first book carries through to the second as well. Carolyn MacCullough really knows how to hook you right away and keep your attention and interest throughout the entire book. Never a dull moment, the action building and building as you hold your breath up to the scene where everything falls apart and comes together, and then the perfect ending, as you quietly let out all that breath you've been holding in a contented sigh. The resolution, by the way, is totally surprising. When Tamsin is faced with that "terrible choice," I had no idea what she'd do. It looks like it's going one way, then the other, then... The situation felt like a real decision, where no option seems right and you're looking for another way out. So I was feeling right along with Tamsin as she agonized over what to do.

I like that the choices all the characters have to make are never clear-cut. Well, except for the evil characters, whose choices are easy because they do whatever they want to do, without bothering about what's right. But the good characters' choices seem so difficult - and I love the way Carolyn gets them out of what sounds like a horrible situation to be in. It's so clever, so unexpected, and just so right.

The time traveling features a lot more in this book than the first, but I like it that the book still doesn't turn into an exploration of how time travel works. There are lots of twists to the story that play with the idea, and it introduces just enough of a mystery to intrigue you about time travel but not take your focus away from the story.

It's unfortunate that I never heard of Carolyn MacCullough before, but I'm rushing to pick up her previous books, Drawing the Ocean, Stealing Henryand Falling Through Darkness. Her writing style is so clear and compelling, her characters so believable, her plots so natural. She's going right onto my favorites list now!

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin and to NetGalley for providing a digital copy for review.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Once A Witch

Author: Carolyn MacCullough
Publisher: Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Released: September 14, 2009
Genre: YA Fantasy (Urban Fantasy)

Tamsin is the odd one out in her family, not for any quality she has but for one she doesn't have. All her family members are Talented, but Tamsin never displayed any Talent. So when someone mistakes her for her perfect older sister and asks for her help in finding something, Tamsin goes along if only to feel the admiration she never gets. But there is more to the search than Tamsin could have imagined, and soon she finds the fate of all her family in her hands as she discovers family secrets, travels back in time, and battles an old family enemy, along the way finding out startling things about herself.

I was hooked on this book from the very first page! The story started right away, no sliding into it, which I love. And the pacing of the whole book is amazing - never a dull moment, but things don't happen too quickly either. The sense of time throughout was great. Time sped up when Tamsin was trying to get somewhere, slowed down when big things were happening... It takes a genius to get all that so exactly right!

I love Tamsin. She's so deliciously immature at the beginning, and she doesn't grow up in one page - it's a process, which the reader can follow along with. Oh, and she's not fully grown up by the end of the book, either, in my opinion - which makes it that much realer. And sets up for the second book!

The magic of the story is really good, too. It all makes sense, all the rules following throughout, which is something I always look for in fantasy. And the time travel - I love the time travel bits. The book doesn't seem to be trying to answer any questions about time travel or explain how time travel in all its intricacies works, but there are some really amusing bits and pieces of what happens and what people say during and after the time travel. I like it.

I have the second book, Always a Witch, as an advance copy from NetGalley, and I plan on starting on that tonight, because I want to spend more time with Tamsin!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book-Review-Blogs Etiquette

I just came across this great post on author Jaclyn Dolamores's blog titled "Ten Types of Reviews That Make Authors Sad." Check it out, it's really good! I totally agree with all her points. And it got me thinking about how I approach reviews here on Reader's Dialogue.

When I read a book, I pay attention to things that I like or don't like about the book and make mental notes of them. When I finish the book, I review the notes I took and think - did the negative points get resolved by the end of the book? Did they appear only briefly, like once or twice? If so, I won't even mention them. Something that bothered me for one page is not worth giving a bad review for. And I know from reading experience that no matter how good a review is, if there's even one negative point, the enthusiasm for buying/getting the book is dampened.

Then I think about the positive points I took note of. These are usually much more extensive than the negative. (I guess it helps to read books in the genre I enjoy and by authors I know I like!) I pull out the three or four main points that pop up throughout the whole book and give each of these their own paragraph in the review to make them stand out.

I try to be specific - not to say only "I loved Stephanie!" but to explain what it was that I loved so much about her character. I think it helps readers decide which book to read if they know why someone thought it was good. I've come across the "Wrong Reader" problem (Jaclyn's Point #7) because of reviewers who simply say they liked the book, and when I get it I realize they obviously like elements that I can't stand.

I think blog readers get to know a blogger's likes and dislikes over time as they read more reviews, which helps when I love a book and can't quite put my finger on why - readers will trust that if I liked it, they will - if I've given enough detail about books in the past that they know my tastes match theirs.

Oh - and the Sloppy Slam (#1)? Whether it's a positive or negative review, as a blog reader what turns me off is vagueness or plain old bad grammar. Of course, I know it's not the author's fault if a blogger can't spell or use punctuation, etc., but I noticed that there's an irrational reaction to sloppy reviews that result in my not wanting the book as much as I might have. I feel like if I'm writing about an author's work, good or bad, I owe it to that author, as respect for her work, to clean up my writing and present it as clearly as possible.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Indulgence In Death

Author: J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)
Publisher: G.P. Putnam (Penguin)
Released: November 2, 2010
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Futuristic Police Procedural

Reading this was like meeting an old friend and settling back into comfortable conversation. This is the first time I'm reading the new book in the series as it was released without catching up on the books I'd missed out on up till then. And I like it!

I love how easy it was to fall back into the rhythm of Eve and Roarke's relationship and then into Eve's work and interactions with everyone else. I liked that the book started off with Eve and Roarke on vacation. That part is usually between books but not featured in the book itself. This trip had nothing to do with the case in the rest of the book, but it was a nice interlude. I was also happy that Eve and Roarke don't (really) fight in this book. Fighting is a part of what makes their relationship, I know, but still, it was nice to have one book where everything was good and they stayed happy - or as happy as they ever are.

One thing that really struck me when I was reading this is probably because of the copyediting and proofreading course I'm taking now. I guess I can appreciate more how hard it is to maintain characters and plot points across such a huge series. And though I know now that there's a backup team ensuring continuity, I still think it's Nora Roberts's genius that keeps the tone and the characters so consistent throughout the series. Within the book, as well, each character has his/her own individual voice. And add to the amount of work and thought that takes, that Nora keeps writing regular romance novels as she writes these and has to keep these characters straight - all I can say is - wow!!

Now that I've experienced reading the newest book on its own, I'm so looking forward to the next book already!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beautiful Darkness

Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Pubisher: Little, Brown and Company
Released: October 12, 2010
Genre: YA Paranormal

I was very disappointed with this sequel to Beautiful Creatures. Everything I loved about the first book is gone from the second, and the things that bothered me about the first book are magnified in the second.

The slow beginning of Beautiful Creatures put me off a bit, but once I got into the story, that little pest faded away and I became involved with the characters. In Beautiful Darkness, I had a hard time getting back into the story (partly because I didn't remember exactly what had happened at the end of Beautiful Creatures and the second book does not give any sort of recap), and by the time I got to page 250, I was thinking - OK, so Lena is going dark, Ethan still loves her and wants to save her. Now what? There's way too much downtime, too much time passing without any real development and progression of the plot.

Besides, what I loved about the first book was Lena and Ethan's relationship, and that was totally gone from most of the book. At the beginning, they're together but pulling apart, and then they have nothing to do with each other for a while. But even at the very beginning, when their relationship is about the same, the spark is gone, and I didn't feel like rooting for them.

In addition to the downtime and lack of emotional attachment, there's a lot of telling instead of showing in the second book. There are bits of exposition interspersed in the recounting of what is happening at the moment, and this totally detracts from the story. It messes with the pacing, too, since there are bursts of frantic chapters and reeaally slow chapters.

I'll confess - I didn't read the book all the way through. After I got to page 250 last week, I decided I had to force myself to finish even though I had no interest in doing so, because I can't review the book if I haven't read it through. But today, forcing myself to turn each page was torture. So at one point, I flipped to the end and read the last twenty pages. I didn't intend to read all the way to the end, I just wanted to see where things were going, but I read till the last page. Here's the thing: I was able to understand everything that was going on, even though I'd missed out on over a hundred pages. That shouldn't be able to happen in a really good book. It means that the authors took pages and pages to say what could've been condensed into much less - which is what I was thinking about the beginning of the book.

So all in all, not very satisfying.

In My Mailbox 12

In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren, where bloggers post any new books they bought, received, borrowed, etc.

I got two books this week from the library:
Indulgence in Death 
Indulgence in Death, by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts), featuring Eve Dallas and Roarke - yay!! I've been waiting for this book for a while, and I started reading it today, and I love it!!

Simply Irresistible (A Lucky Harbor Novel) 

Simply Irresistible, by Jill Shalvis. This one I put on hold after seeing it in another blogger's Mailbox, but now I don't really remember what was said about it! It looks like a good romance - the type I love, with real relationships and real problems.

That's it for this week! What did you get?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In My Mailbox 11

In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren, where bloggers post any new books they bought, received, borrowed, etc.

 Here's what I picked up this week:

The Inner Circle, by Brad Meltzer. I don;t usually read thrillers, but this sounds good. Thank NetGalley!

I finally got Beautiful Darkness this week. I read Beautiful Creatures a while ago, so I was excited for this, but I'm halfway through and so far somewhat disappointed. I will finish the book, so I'll see what happens.
Looking Backward, by Edward Bellamy. I stumbled across this title as I was doing research on Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - and I couldn't resist getting a look at what people in 1900 thought 2000 would look like!

These two are part of my research on knights and chivalry in history and in literature. I'm not posting all the books I'm reading for this project, because they're mostly academic, but look at these shiny bright covers! And by the way, you can't really tell from the pictures, but they're big-size books. Look at Knights - so inviting!

So that's it for this week - still working on the hugongous real and virtual piles!