Friday, December 25, 2009


Shadowland, by Alyson Noel

This is the third book in the Immortals series by Alyson Noel, the first being Evermore, the second Blue Moon.  We last left our heroine, Ever, wondering how she was going to explain to her Immortal boyfriend Damen, how she had changed the course of their relationship forever when she tried to save him.

Within the first few pages she confesses, and they determine that they will try and find the solution, the antidote, that fixes their problem and they can be together after 300 plus years.

This book bothered me.  Please read no further if you are fearful of spoilers.  Light spoilers coming next ...

The entire book is Ever trying to find a way to ... consumate her relationship with Damen.  Ever is 16.  This book is for YA.  I felt like Noel was trying to justify the lust by saying, oh they've been together for 300 years, they are destined, so yeah they should be together intimately.  And Ever goes on and on about how she missed a physical relationship with Damen, and it just felt ... wrong.

The added twist of Jude, the surfer dude who makes her uncomfortable who's apparently an old interest from a former life, just felt hollow.  Contrived?  And Damen disappearing for the last 12 chapters irritated me.  In fact, the book felt oddly written.  Maybe it was me.  But it took me a long time to get through and usually I fly through these YAs.

I'll read the next one, it's a series and I'm a sucker to see how this ends.  But definitely this is my least favorite so far.  It was confusing, convoluted, contrived and a whole bunch of other C words I'm sure that I just can't think of at the moment.

And please, editors, somewhere, teach Ms. Noel how to close up a book?  Even a series that already has 3 more books planned should have more of an ending than these do.  It's like they just pick a chapter to end at and hit done.  It's making me less of a fan.  What the heck happened to Haven?  Where did Damen come from?  Did I miss something?  Did my Kindle mess something up?

Because right now I'm thinking the editors are just letting Miss Noel get away with murder with these endings.

Evermore's the best one.  So far the sequals are just Eh.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wrap Up: What's in a Name

So Where the Heart Is closed out the What's in a Name Challenge for me.  Yeah for me for finishing!  Below is what I read:

1. A book with a "profession" in the title: Midwives, Bohjalian
2. A book with a "time of day" in the title: Friday Night Knitting Club, Kate Jacobs
3. A book with a "relative" in the title: Between Sisters, Kristen Hannah and My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Piccoult
4. A book with a "body part" in the title: Where the Heart Is, Billie Letts
5. A book with a "building" in the title: Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
6. A book with a "medical condition" in the title: Club Dead, Charlaine Harris and First Comes Love, Than Comes Malaria, Eve Brown-Waite

Of all the challenges I attempted this year, I had the hardest time picking books for this challenge.  In fact, I still haven't read Fall on Your Knees, and I'm this close to taking it to the used book store for a credit because I just cant be bothered with it.  But, I didn't finish my other challenges (bad me, bad!) and I did finish this one so I think it speaks gobs about the quality of this challenge.

The favorite book that I read of these?  Sheesh ... Anne of Green Gables is an all time favorite and classic.  None of the others really come close to that one.  I'd have to say Where the Heart Is would be second on the enjoyment scale, with the others all being interesting and worth the read, but probably not on the repeat read lists.

Great challenge!  I'll be participating in What's in a Name 3 ... hosted by Beth F (Annie turned over the reigns!)  The categories are:

  1. A book with a food in the title: Clockwork Orange, Grapes of Wrath, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  2. A book with a body of water in the title: A River Runs through It, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, The Lake House
  3. A book with a title (queen, president) in the title: The Murder of King Tut, The Count of Monte Cristo, Lady Susan
  4. A book with a plant in the title: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Wind in the Willows, The Name of the Rose
  5. A book with a place name (city, country) in the title: Out of Africa; London; Between, Georgia
  6. A book with a music term in the title: Song of Solomon, Ragtime, The Piano Teacher
I really like the categories.  Have no idea what I'll read.  But it's 6 books and I have 12 months to find them.  Surely I can manage!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What's in a Name: Where the Heart Is

Where the Heart Is, by Billie Letts

Novalee Nation is 17, 7 months pregnant, and heading west to California with her boyfriend, Willie Jack Pickens.  Novalee's shoes fall out the hole in the bottom of the passenger floorboard of the car, and she has to go to the bathroom.  Naturally, they stop at Wal-Mart.  She runs in to get new shoes and what not, and when she comes back out, Willie Jack has left her.  Stranded.  In Sequoyah, Oklahoma.

Novalee spends the remaining months of her pregnancy living in the Wal-Mart, meeting new people, and really just buying time until she figures out something.  She doesn't really figure anything out.  But the baby is born, Americus (a name that will stand up to the hard times), and Novalee's squatting in the Wal-Mart is discovered, she becomes famous for having the "Wal-Mart" baby, and the kindness of strangers gives her a fresh start.

I've read almost every other book Billie Letts has written (Honk and Holler Opening Soon, Made in the U.S.A).  I swore I had read this one (I hadn't).  I'd seen the movie, but hadn't read the book.

The book is Fannie Flagg meets West Texas / Oklahoma territory.  Small town people with quirky personalities, big dreams and interesting back stories.  Like most of the other Letts books I've read, this novel takes a dark turn (if you've seen the movie you know what I'm talking about).  The book is harder to stomach than the movie's sort of drive-by approach to that topic.

But even the book doesn't dwell.  It's not that long and we travel through 7.5 years of Novalee's life, chapter by chapter.  Life altering event, by life altering event.

Forney Hull is great in the book.  I liked him in the book better than I liked him in the movie (and I liked him in the movie).  Sister Husband, Mr. Sprock, Moses Whitecotton ... they were all wonderful.  Moses is kind of a pass through character in the movie, but in the book he's much more of a centeral focus, as he gives Novalee her career and her passion (photography) and helps her get back on her feet after the storm comes through.

I really liked this book.  I flew through it.  I had loved the characters already but I loved them more for having spent more time with them.  The movie, if you are interested, is fairly faithful to the book.  There are some things that are left out but that's to be expected.  But I was surprised to see that a majority of the dialogue from the film is lifted straight from the book.

If I were Billie Letts, I'd be proud of that fact.

Definitely pick this up if you're a fan of the genre, live in Oklahoma (or drive through), or loved the movie.  It's fun and uplifting and just sort of leaves you feeling like all will be right with the world if we keep doing our best with what we've got.