Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

A Prodigal Son
A Dangerous Love
A Deadly Secret

Grace Divine—daughter of the local pastor—always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood.

Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.

Again with these blasted books that I've been dying to read that didn't live up to all the hype! This one fell into that category. This book was JUST okay for me. You won't find me raving about it but I'm not going to run through a list of things I didn't like. I will say that I really liked Daniel. And I will also say... Really??? Hasn't this subject been EXHAUSTED by now?? I'm not giving spoilers. Read it if you want to know what I'm talking about. Happy Reading!

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value he has is something he can't sell. For as long as Han can remember, he's worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They're clearly magicked-as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off.

While out hunting one day, Han and his Clan friend, Dancer catch three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. After a confrontation, Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won't use it against them. Han soon learns that the amulet has an evil history-it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana'Marianna, Princess Heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She's just returned to court after three years of relative freedom with her father's family at Demonai camp - riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Although Raisa will become eligible for marriage after her sixteenth name-day, she isn't looking forward to trading in her common sense and new skills for etiquette tutors and stuffy parties.

Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea-the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems like her mother has other plans for her--plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for.

Have you ever had a book highly recommended to you by many people and it didn't live up to your expectaions? That, unfortunately, was this book for me. I've had quite a few people tell me this was one of their favorites of the entire year. It took me awhile to read it-- about a week. It was quite slow. The funny thing is (and by funny I mean ironic), since I finished it, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I didn't love this book by any stretch of the imagination, but I did like it. I am just dying to know what happens between Raisa and a certain someone. Out of a 500 page novel, I really didn't have the strong desire to read more until about 400 pages in. Then, the book ends without tying up anything! It was frustrating, to say the least, and now I have to wait to get book two, The Exiled Queen (set to be released next month), so I can find out what happens. I would recommend this, but just know that it is S.L.O.W. Still worth reading though since it was VERY WELL written, just wordy! Good luck!

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

When I read a book that has been recommended to me, I very seldom read the book description. So when I picked up this book with, perhaps, the most unsual title I've come across, I was immediately intrigued. I had no idea what it was about and I didn't much care. I just wanted to read it. Now that I have, I can say that this is one of my very favorite reads this year. Here's why....

First of all, this book is done in all letters. While it is not the first book I have read in this style, it was by far the most well done.

Next: Juliet may be one of my favorite characters I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. She is witty and charming and someone that I would just really love to call my friend.

I have always had this odd obsession with World War II. I'm not really sure why. It is just intriguing and heartbreaking to me. I love that this book is set immediately following the war and you hear not only of the aftermath, but the entire book is a collection of experiences DURING the war and how it affected so many in millions of different ways.

I am so glad that this book was not done from just one person's point of view or even in third person narrative. I don't think I would have liked it much at all. The letters make each character's voice unique. Here's an example in some of my favorite quotes:

Lamb also taught Hunt’s youngest daughter to say the Lord’s Prayer backward. You naturally want to learn everything you can about a man like that. (Juliet to Dawsey)

Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books. (Isola to Juliet)

I think you learn more if you are laughing at the same time. (Booker to Juliet)

Now that we are corresponding friends, I want to ask you some questions--they are highly personal. Dawsey said it would not be polite, but I say that's the difference twixt men and women, not polite and rude. Dawsey's never asked me a personal question in fifteen years. (Isola to Juliet)

What on earth did you say to Isola? She stopped in on her way to pick up Pride and Prejudice and to berate me for never telling her about Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. (Juliet to Sidney)

Mrs. Guilbert has always been a nasty one, but now I know that she can’t help it – she’s got a big pit in her Benevolence spot. She fell in the quarry when she was a girl, and my guess is that she cracked her Benevolence and was never the same since. (Isola to Sidney)

He (Dawsey) did not say much at our first meeting – nor at any of our meetings since, come to think of it – but let him walk into a room, and everyone in it seems to breathe a little sigh of relief. I have never in my life had that effect on anyone, can’t imagine why not. (Sidney to Sophie)

I can't say it enough. I loved, loved, loved this book. Now leave your computer and go get a copy!

Happy Reading!

The Whispered Kiss by Marcia Lynn McClure

With the sea at its side, the beautiful township of Bostchelan was home to many-including the lovely Coquette de Bellamont, her three sisters, and beloved father. In Bostchelan, Coquette knew happiness, and as much contentment as a young woman whose heart had been broken years before could know. Thus, Coquette dwelt in gladness until the day her father returned from his travels with an astonishing tale to tell.

Antoine de Bellamont returned from his travels by way of Roanan bearing a tale of such great adventure to hardly be believed. Further, at the center of Antoine's story loomed a man-the dark Lord of Roanan. Known for his cruel nature, heartlessness, and tendency to violence, the Lord of Roanan had accused Antoine de Bellamont of wrong doing and demanded recompense. Antoine had promised recompense would be paid-with the hand of his youngest daughter in marriage.

Thus, Coquette found herself lost-thrust onto a dark journey of her own. This journey would find her carried away to Roanan Manor-delivered into the hands of the dark and mysterious Lord of Roanan who dominated it.

I'm going to just say it (because someone's got to!)-- This book was super cheesy. However, it was a good love story. It is a good "rainy day" book when you are in need of a handsome but misunderstood manly-man and a strong but endearing damsel in distress. It was mostly fluff, but one thing I did like was that it was a clean romance-which is what this particular author prides herself in. It was really nice to read a romance with no lusty trysts or "heaving bosoms". I will definitely read more of her novels. Not because they are particularly well written or impressive, but simply because it was enjoyable.

Happy Reading!