The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

via Goodreads

Rated: 4.5 stars

Blurb

Invited to an extravagantly lavish party in a Long Island mansion, Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who has just settled in the neighbouring cottage, is intrigued by the mysterious host, Jay Gatsby, a flamboyant but reserved self-made man with murky business interests and a shadowy past. As the two men strike up an unlikely friendship, details of Gatsby’s impossible love for a married woman emerge, until events spiral into tragedy.

Regarded as Fitzgerald’s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of American literature, The Great Gatsby is a vivid chronicle of the excesses and decadence of the “Jazz Age”, as well as a timeless, cautionary critique of the American dream.

~

I didn’t think I’d like this as much as I’d previously thought, the classics genre often hint to a bore of a book, often but not always. The Great Gatsby is, in short, a tragic love story and you’ll find here that a woman can spell ruin for a man, not that it’s news. I can see why many before me consider this a great book. Fitzgerald captured a drop of human nature during the time of easy money and high living in beautiful prose.

Continue reading

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

via Goodreads.

Rated it: 5 stars

Goodreads blurb

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

My review

It had taken me about 100 pages to really get into but after then I was hooked. I just fell in love with these two teenagers and their love story. Initially I was skeptical, I mean these were really a deep pair with all their in depth analyzing of well … everything. But I went with it, partly because I think that not everyone takes the time to discover themselves and while I believe Hazel and Augustus were both intelligent, this disease prompted them to grow up much faster. Then there’s a couple lines from a NPR.org review:

Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. He writes for youth, rather than to them, and the difference is palpable …. You will be thankful for the little infinity you spend inside this book.”

I couldn’t have said it better, but Thomas did:

How unrealistic John Green’s characters tend to be has turned me off from most of his other books – the characters in this one suffered slightly from it too – but The Fault in Our Stars as a whole is John Green’s best book to date.

Like I said, at times Hazel (the protagonist) and Augustus (the love interest, but so much more) came off as wise beyond their years. They notice this, their parents notice this, and readers will notice this. However, there is something so human about the way Green portrays them that makes them relatable. They are not simply teens suffering from cancer, but teens who doubt their place in the world, who are filled with angst and longing and confusion and hope. I can’t say I’ve experienced the exact same emotions as Hazel and Augustus have, but I can say that it’s easy to empathize with them and feel their pain entirely.

I totally recommend that you read the entire review.

This is actually hard for me to write, I know what I feel but the words refuse to leave. The Fault in Our Stars is honest, frank, smart, funny, poignant and heartbreakingly beautiful.

TFIOS is the first book where I really don’t care for negative reviews, while they can seldom be agreeable, they won’t change how I feel at all as they used to tickle the doubt that usually lurks around. I can’t remember crying so much since Harry Potter four years ago, it just seems so real. The words read themselves to me as much as I read them, I felt the emotions they dictated head on, fighting it makes no sense.

Continue reading

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews

via Goodreads, click to see more info.

Rated it: 5 Stars

Recommends it to: Generally the Young Adult crowd into the urban fantasy realm. If you liked The Edge series (haven’t read it yet myself), chances are you might like this one as well.

GR blurb

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

My review

A slight spoiler is in here somewhere

I think this might possibly be the best book in the series. Not only because this wasn’t happening in Atlanta but half way around the world made me pause; it could be either really good or disastrous, because they’re going to be way out of their territory so any crap can happen but that made the prospect of reading this even more exciting. It was awesome.

Punctuated with the much loved smart-mouth remarks, Kate, Curran and Co. sail across the Black Sea on body guard duty. Having no choice on the matter really, they agree to a contract drawn up where in exchange of protecting the werewolf mother-to-be Dessandra in exchange for the precious panacea, a substance capable of drastically reducing the probability of young shifters falling prey to loupism. Dessandra though, oh my goodness, that woman is a case by herself, complex and at times pitiful (and I suspect that’s on purpose) but certainly not stupid.

Continue reading

The Chocolate Kiss (Amour et Chocolat #2) by Laura Florand

via Goodreads

Rated it: 5 stars    Recommend it to: 18 and above. People who liked The Chocolate Thief, and chocolaty romance.

GR blurb

The Heart of Paris

Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitues nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chaud.

But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonnais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street. Philippe’s creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste…a kiss.

Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, patissier princes and sweet wishes—an enchanting tale of amour et chocolat.

My take on the cake

How do I even begin? Magalie has trust issues that stemmed from her uprooted childhood of continent hopping due to her parents’ complicated love. Now all grown up, she’s her aunts’ protégé and sole heir to their charmingly delicious shop, La Maison des Sorcieres, stirring her sweet concoctions of dark hot chocolate thrice and a good wish for the sipper, unaware that there was magic in her mindless ritual. There on her little island just outside the bustling city of Paris is where she’s felt truly at home in a long time.

Enter Philippe Lyonnais, le Prince des Pâtissiers (which I’ll hazzard a guess means Prince of Pastries). He’s opening a new branch of his world renowned pastry shop. Magalie goes on the defensive, threatened by his presence on her territory, her future, since his very presence there can put her out of business. I believe that the fear of losing their shop means she’s going to be losing her place, her center, her only anchor. This panic inside of her blinds her to the man who Phillipe is. Okay, he can be arrogant, righteously so in his opinion. He didn’t go there specifically to  snuff them out but he doesn’t see why he shouldn’t be where he wants to be. After all, Paris was his.

They both longed for someone to love, only that she’s reluctant as hell and he’s more open to the prospect of love. Nothing was rushed, nor was it lagging much. But did I mention his arrogance? She calls him on it almost every time but then takes it upon herself to label him as ‘spoiled’, which wasn’t entirely true as he explained to her. Like Magalie, he had the passion for all that was devilment to the palate. They were meant to be, but first they must learn to control the sparks they sent flying, instead of burning each other, they could stir a love so true under that blaze of theirs.

Continue reading

The Chocolate Thief (Amour et Chocolat #1) by Laura Florand

via Goodreads

Rated: 4 stars             Recommends it to: Chocolate lovers, those interested in Paris, romance enthusiasts.

Note: This is my first review for the year, and I’m once again participating in The Mad Reviewer’s reviewing challenge. Check it.

GR blurb

The Parisian sorcerer of artisan chocolate, handsome Frenchman Sylvain Marquis, and the American empress of chocolate bars, Cade Corey, play a decadent game of seduction and subterfuge that causes them both to melt with desire.

Personally, I think this snippet is a tad misleading. It’s not your typical romance with a lot of those scenes. You know what I’m talking about, and even those aren’t explicit, it’s more emotional than physical if anything.

My review

 Sweet. That’s this book in one word. The cream is in the gradual shift in Sylvain and Cade’s relationship. And the conflict too. Oh yes, when these two decide to have a go they go at it. I liked how Florand translated the passion of the craft of chocolate making. They both have that passion but are on different wavelengths but the same intensity.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman that I like Sylvian more. It ‘s just that I feel he has more texture and complexity as a character compared to Cade, that’s not to say she’s not interesting. No, Cade’s got the brass to go and break in to Sylvian Marquis’ lair of secrets, tenacity right there.

Continue reading

Masques (Shifter’s Wolf Pt.1) by Patricia Briggs

via Goodreads.com

Rated it: 3½ stars      Recommend it to: Fans of the fantasy genre; shape shifters, period fantasy novels.

This is my second review of Masques (if you’re curious this is the first)

I was excited to read a couple of the first books by Patricia Briggs, a natural compulsion being I’m a fan of her Mercy Thompson series. Basically Shifter’s Wolf is an anthology, Masques and Wolfsbane both set in a fictional realm of a mercenary and spy from Sianim and her enigmatic companion, Wolf.

Mrs. Briggs did mention that it might not meet up to her current standard of writing that her recent readers are accustomed to since she was, obviously, a novice back then. The books went out of print until lately and she didn’t want to change anything from the original plot, only to brush up and polish what was there so that their first readers can come back to something familiar and for us, the new lot, so we won’t find it terribly juvenile. I think that’s very thoughtful and sweet of her.

Continue reading

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

via goodreads

via goodreads

Rated: 5 stars                  I recommend this to: pretty much everyone, esp. UF fans.

Originally read: October 8th, 2011

This is the second time I’ve read this and my oh my was it an eye opener. In the previous review I think I stated that I felt like everything seemed stuffy, which loosely translates that I didn’t really have an idea what the dickens was going on in the most crucial scenes. Heh, I wonder how it is, or why for that matter, that I continued to the second book in the series. Now with a fresher pair of eyes and a broader frame of mind I actually got in on the action.

Mercedes Thompson isn’t your average VW mechanic. Does yours regularly service a Mystery Machine replica owned by a Scooby Doo fanatic who happens to be a hot vampire, works with an iron mage and lives over the fence to the local alpha’s house? I didn’t think so. Oh, and she turns into a coyote. I really like her, I mean she could be a badass but she knows where to draw the line.She may be physically inferior(which might be too strong a word) but she makes up for it in mouthing off to authority and those above her ,but hey I can’t blame her with all of those overbearing werewolves around, she had to stand up for herself.

Mercy’s an okay gal, she’s tough, funny, caring and doesn’t like to be out of the line of fire when she knows that she could be helping.She doesn’t have tons of magic (or any of it so to speak)so that she could just wriggle her pinkie and WAM leveling the street with vampires, nope,that’s what makes me like her even more, she relies on her instincts and quick thinking rather than power.

Continue reading

Archangel’s Consort (Guild Hunter #3) by Nalini Singh

via Goodreads

via Goodreads

Rated it: 4 stars                  Recommend it to: UF fans and bad ass angels and vamps, with romance thrown in. It has adult scenes so I’ll have to say readers 18 and up.

Goodreads blurb

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux and her lover, the lethally beautiful archangel Raphael, have returned home to New York only to face an uncompromising new evil…

A vampire has attacked a girls’ school—the assault one of sheer, vicious madness—and it is only the first act. Rampant bloodlust takes vampire after vampire, threatening to make the streets run with blood. Then Raphael himself begins to show signs of an uncontrolled rage, as inexplicable storms darken the city skyline and the earth itself shudders.

The omens are suddenly terrifyingly clear.

An ancient and malevolent immortal is rising. The violent winds whisper her name: Caliane. She has returned to reclaim her son, Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena, the consort who must be destroyed…

 

I think I liked this last installment much better than the previous two. I believe it’s the only series that has angels in them that I’ve read so far, and frankly I don’t want to get into that at this point, werewolves and vampires are almost run into the ground already. It’s said by a few, actually by one particularly nasty archangel of China, Lijuan, that Elana’s mortal heart will be the death of Raphael. Let’s just say that weakness had in the end revealed itself to be a strength and had Lijuan’s behind singeing *snickers*

Continue reading

Masques (Shifter’s Wolf #1) by Patricia Briggs

via Goodreads

via Goodreads

Rated: 3 1/2 stars                 Recommend to: fans of anything magic; shape shifters, medieval period fantasy

Goodreads blurb

After an upbringing of proper behavior and oppressive expectations, Aralorn has fled her noble birthright for a life of adventure as a mercenary spy. Her latest mission involves gathering intelligence on the increasingly charismatic and dangerous sorcerer Geoffrey ae’Magi. But in a war against an adversary armed with the power of illusion, how do you know who the true enemy is—or where he will strike next?

When I saw this on the shelf the cover spoke to me, not that I understood a thing except it promised it would kick butt. Then my eyes flickered upwards and into the author’s name. I’ve read about four books into her Mercy Thompson series prior to stumbling across this, and I like those so I was kind of excited to see what her earlier writing looked like. This book here was originally two separate books of the same series, Masques and Wolfsbane respectively. This I learned while reading the Ms. Briggs author note, were here first ever published works. After relatively weak sales the went out of print until recently.

So I braced myself and sure enough there were a few transparent parts when I know what will happen, there were some difficult spots here and there where they conveniently got out of relatively unscathed. This takes place during what I would say Medieval times, so that plus some magic I was set.  Aloran, I liked her, a free spirit that refuses to be chained and has a thirst for information and tales alike. She knows that she’s not her best a swordplay but utilizes what she can do for max effect, she’s a shape shifter changing appearances both human and animal, an invaluable asset to any spy. Continue reading

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

via Goodreads

via Goodreads

Rated it: 5 stars           Recommends it to: Young adults, about 13-14 and up I suppose  Contains: Mild explicit scenes.

Goodreads blurb

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his year yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sidelines forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

My review

Charlie. He is, to slap a label on, this introvert that I believe gives me an inside look on how some introverts think. He really gives a lot to the details that I would fling over my shoulder because of the irrelevance of it at that given moment. Charlie makes me see how much there is to a simple action, a simple inaction, how much there is to see at family gatherings during holidays and when you think about it sometimes you wonder why you weren’t in some daytime television drama series. There is so much in everything that it amazing till it hurts your head.

Continue reading