Friday, July 24, 2009

Seducing an Angel

Seducing an Angel, Mary Balogh

I have a guilty pleasure.  I read romance novels.  I know, I know.

I'm not going into detail here, because ... well it's a romance novel and it's not winning any awards any time soon (except maybe romance novel awards, which there are bunches of, I know).

But this little series set in Regency London is really quite fun.  It's a whole bunch of recurring characters (my favorite thing) and this is the 4th book.  Not my favorite one in the series, the first one may well be the best.

I have high hopes for the 5th one ... the cousins story.  But her website is wierd on when that one is due out.

With everyone married, and my traveling done, I am hoping to read some more in the last few days of July than I did in the mid days of July.  But if you look romance novels, specifically those with recurring characters where a whole family gets a happy ever after complete with 2.5 kids ... this series is the one for you!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blue Moon

Blue Moon, Alyson Noel

It's three weeks after we last left Ever and Damen in Evermore, and Ever has decided that she will become an Immortal and spend eternity with Damen.  He's teaching her how to use her powers and blend in, when at school there's a new student, and suddenly Damen  isn't the same, and the whole school turns on her.

Ever goes to Summerland seeking answers to set things back right and is shown a way to save her parents and sister from the horrible crash the year or so before.  She'd lose Damen, but her family would be alive.

I liked this one.  It was an interesting story that kept me wondering what the heck she was going to do.  Parts of it dragged (descriptions of Summerland.  I get it. It's perfect.) and I couldn't understand why she would trust Roman and Ava.  I never trusted either one of them.  Especially after Ava's behavior in Summerland.  So some character inconsistencies maybe?  Or plot twists?  You decide.

And since the comparison is completely unavoidable, let me tell you something I discovered about this and the entire series while reading; I would let my daughters read this book before I let them read New Moon by Stephenie Meyer.

Why?  Because in New Moon, Bella goes apocolyptic over a boy.  Granted, it's a fairy tale and she's like the princess locked in the tower because her one true love abandoned her, but it's a bit too dramatic for any teenage daughter of mine.  Mine specifically.  Because she will definitely have moody, dramatic tendencies, and come by it naturally, because she's mine.

The other three Twilight novels, I'm okay with.  They have their own issues, don't get me wrong, but New Moon in particular worries me.

Anyway I digress.  But in Alyson Noel's novels, not only is sex only alluded to and the word never said (I think virginity was used once), but Ever has a life that involves more than Damen.  And yeah she loves him and he's her true love, but she has Haven and Miles, and Sabine, and her family, school, etc, and what it means to lose all of that for Damen and vice versa.

The question itself is dramatic, I know, but at least it's more normal than the year of sadness in New Moon.  That is a book that would require some serious conversations between me and any child of mine that read it.  Because the concept of doing scary things to move on from a love is really not that uncommon, and really dangerous for a teenage kid to read and have to contemplate without, ya know, adult supervision.

Back to Blue Moon.  It's YA, and distinctly different from it's unavoidable comparison cousin Twilight, and a series in a way that Twilight is more of a ... saga.  Hahaha, see what I did there?  I make myself laugh.

I liked it enough to think that waiting till January to find out how Ever deals with the revelations in this one is just mean.  Noel commented recently that Shadowlands went into editing just this month so I guess it takes 6 months to edit something into publication.  I'll be buying the next one.  It's worth reading if you liked Twilight and are into the whole teenage angst, love triangle, supernatural stuff.  And I am, at least perhiperhally.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, JK Rowling

As I said in a previous post, I read this novel in July of 2005 the week that it came out.  And I remember that after the somewhat (IMO) disjointed and frazzled Order of the Phoenix, that this book was much more structured and orderly plot wise and made much more sense.

And was intensely hard to read.  Well, not all of it, just the last three chapters.

Harry Potter is now in his 6th year at Hogwarts and as he arrives, Professor Dumbledore, still Headmaster at Hogwarts, has invited him to private lessons so that Harry may learn more about the Dark Lord and the prophecy that he was after in OotP.

In these lessons, Harry glimpses the past and Lord Voldomort's early years, and what his overall plan may be.  These educational classes show Voldy's parents, his upbringing in the orphanage, and his attempts to get a position at Hogwarts.  Through these trips into the Pensieve, Harry and Dumbledore see and guess / estimate at how best to vanquish him (to borrow a word from Charmed!).

There's so much going on in this novel, all of it wonderful, that you should just really read it for yourself.  I love these books and every time I visit them I laugh and remember how wonderful they are and why I love them.  It's the ultimate in comfort reading.

I'm excited about the movie coming out next week, and I've seen some reviews so far (I haven't read them!  I just saw headlines!) and they say things like best HP yet.

I can't wait.  The entire series should be read.  But don't take my word for it, I'm Dumbledore's man, through and through.

Scene from Harry Potter and HBP

This scene is actually pretty close to how it happens in the book! (I know, I just looked it up again, and I just read it yesterday!) But ... WHO is that person sitting on the stairs with the dark hair? Is that meant to be Tonks?

But ... this makes me happy on a couple of levels.  Because in the trailer when Lupin says "Draco Malfoy was been given the task by the Dark Lord" that irked me because we do not learn that until the very end, and Lupin most certainly didn't tell anyone that.  But this scene clears that up nicely.  He's mimicking back Harry's theory to Harry.  So all is well with the world.

So excited about the movie folks ... so excited. Can't wait for next Wednesday! I will forever associate Megan's wedding with "the week HBP came out in theaters!"

Which ... and this is sort of sad really. Because my Grandfather died on July 14, 2005, three days before the book came out. And his funeral is tied to that book for me too. Not in any real important way ... just that my Dad went to the book store at midnight to pick up our books and then flew to Kansas the next day and was irritated that he stayed up so late to get them when they were all OVER the place at the airport.

And then we all sort of peripherally glanced at our books during that weekend.  I read mine at home, in my bedroom, and I remember during the final fight scenes I was leaning over my book hitting my fists into the bed.  And then I cried.

HP and tDH was released in paperback on Tuesday so I have my complete set of those FINALLY. My husband thinks it's a tad ridiculous that I have three sets of these things but I couldn't NOT have the final one in paperback. I mean really.

And you know, DH is the only one I haven't re-read. I've read HBP like 3 times (this is my 4th) and the others I've lost track. The one I've probably re-read the least (aside from DH of course) is OotP.

But as I approach page 600 of HBP I'm stealing myself up for the end. I will cry. Big horrible tears.

Excited for the movie!  I really love this book.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Evermore , Alyson Noel

Ever lost her parents and little sister in a car crash, and her entire life is completely different.  Not only does she have to move to California to live with her Aunt, but ever since the accident she's had pyschic abilities and can read people's minds.  When a new boy comes to school and everyone goes gaga over him, things get even stranger.

This is a YA book that I read the review for and had to read it.  It's Twilight-esque, but it doesn't really compare.  What I mean is, Twilight is way better.  But this is basically the Twilight story without the vamps and our main girl character has magic powers.  It's a cross between Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries and Twilight.  Which ... I like both of those so yeah for me.

Immortals (the series name) are just creatures that live forever and have magic powers.  More like dark fairies, and not like vampires.  Though there are similarities.

It took me 4-5 hours to read this book.  I enjoyed it, it's light, fun, ice cream fare and I really want to read the second one, Blue Moon, which comes out on Tuesday!  I like Ever, she's got a strange name but I like it, and I like Damen and her's relationship, and I like the aura's and flowers (red tulips!) and the symbolism.  It's all fun stuff.

Fans of Twilight will like this one, as that's who it's marketed towards (Blue Moon? Really?  Couldn't have at least TRIED to name it something else?  It even RYHMES with NEW MOON).  It was very similar, but that didn't bother me.  It was a bunch of fun and I'm excited to read the next in the series!

First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria

First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria, by Eve Brown-Waite

Lewis recommended this non-fiction book to me after he read a review that said it was pretty cool.  I read it on the Kindle and it took me quite a while to finish it.  Part of that was life getting busy, part of it was ... it sometimes wasn't that interesting.

Eve graduates from high school and goes to the Peace Corps recruiting office to see about a career there.  John Waite is her recruiter who leads her through the selection process, and they fall in love.  They date for several months while she works on getting a peace corps placement.

When she's shipped off it's with a mixed heart as she's now set up to be away from John for 2 years, at least.  But she has a panic attack and is sent home, and they are together again.

They end up getting married, and he takes a job with CARE that sends them to Arua, Africa.  The rest of the novel is her experience there and how her pregnancy went and how a civil war forces them to leave.

But here's the thing ... his tour with CARE was only 2 years to begin with.  And then he extends for one year, and then they move just after three years.  So, to my ears / eyes, that to me meant they lived out their obligation and were going to move anyway.

And her getting "sick" in South America was due to repressed memories.  I'm a cynic.  I don't have a lot of repressed memories.  It just felt ... silly.  She spent like 6 weeks in a hospital for panic attacks?  Those are some serious attacks.

It was just an "okay" book for me.  John did most of the actual work with the needy, etc. and she kind of spoke about it like, and this is my impression of it, that because she was living in Africa and doing without Starbucks, she was morally superior to those of us who watch movies at Tinseltown and have running water.

I didn't get that impression the entire time, just a couple of points.  It's worth the read if you're interested in Peace Corps or overseas work, but it felt kind of shallow.  She gets all sorts of job offers helping with HIV / AIDS and I never understood why.  She didn't really talk about why she was so reverred in those fields.  It would have been nice to hear more about what she did early on and why she has such a valued opinion in that area.  Which I'm assuming she still does.

Anyway ... glad I read it.  Definitely a different read for me. But just okay.