Book of the Month: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

9413044This month’s book, Everneath, comes from fellow Utah native Brodi Ashton and is the first in the Everneath series.

Twilight fans rejoice! I have found a perfect novel for you. It is loaded with teenage angst, and I mean ANGST. The main character, Nikki Beckett, is in high school when her mother is tragically killed by a drunk driver. Her resulting depression, paired by the belief that her boyfriend has cheated on her, drives her into the lethal clutches of Cole, an Everliving.

Every 100 years the Everliving must feed on the energies of a human host and then that host falls prey to the tunnels, a hellish place where the host is drained of all emotions until they cease to exist. The feed takes 100 years, but in the alternate space of the Everneath time works differently so only six months pass on the surface. The host can choose return to the surface for six months before the tunnels claim them, that is if they can remember any of their life before. Most don’t.

Nikki is an exception. Not only does she survive the feed without aging, she remembers Jack, her boyfriend, and is compelled to return to him. She now has six months to reclaim her life before the tunnels come for her once again. Paired with Jack, she must find a way to survive, and even thrive.

As I said before, this book is perfect for all those Twilight fans out there. There is a supernatural element in Cole, however instead of being a traditional vampire, Cole is what many would call a psychic vampire.  He feeds on the energy and emotions of those around him. There is a troubled love triangle between Cole, Nikki, and Jack, not unlike Jacob, Edward, and Bella. There is a lot of high school drama and as a perk there are nice mythological elements and nods to the myths of Persephone and Eurydice.

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Coolest picture ever.

However, like all books, there are elements in Everneath that might drive readers crazy. Nikki is very similar to Bella, she’s very passive and has a very simple character arc. Her recurring debate is whether to go with Cole and become his queen in the Everneath and have to engage indirectly in his vampire-y ways, or to let the hellish tunnels come and eat her soul. She spends most of the book flip-flopping between the two choices, that is when she isn’t flip-flopping between Jack and Cole.  Jack is the leading quarterback and football prodigy, a personal pet peeve of mine and many readers like me.  Why does the romantic lead always have to be the quarterback? Stereotypes people! Another stereotype is found in the trampy cheerleader who tries to destroy Nikki and Jack’s relationship. Oh, and did I mention that Nikki is devastatingly attractive? Thankfully, she’s not also a cheerleader.

I recommend this book for teenage girls who like a good angst-y story of love and loss. If that’s not you, read at your own risk.

Book of the Month: Existence by David Brin

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Some books are meant to sweep readers away into another world where they can live another life. Then there are those books that exist on a different plane where the concepts are foreign and bizarre and it takes hundreds of pages to start understanding what is actually happening.  Existence is one of those books.

If I were to compare it to other books I’ve read I’d call it Cloud Atlas meets Ender’s Game. It is similar to Cloud Atlas because it combines a handful of storylines that all have a few sparse threads in common. The characters come from vastly different walks of life and most of the interest lies in trying to figure out what’s actually going on. It takes hundreds of pages to find links between the different storylines. It resembles Ender’s Game, not in the edge of your seat thrill ride, but the way that the author introduces his philosophies and ideas about the vast unknown.

To be fair, I haven’t finished reading Existence, yet. It’s long and requires focus and persistence to keep going forward. I can see why many people recommend it, Brin possesses a deep understanding of his world and a keen intellect which is demonstrated in the distinct characters that each play a role in the story.

Do I like it? Yes and no. Yes, the world is fascinating and I really want to see what will happen. I like the questions it asks about the nature of existence and the possibility of life on other worlds, and how to communicate with said life. And no, it’s slow going and almost too intellectual to be a read in a way where the reader can feel truly immersed. The story is so fractured among the different characters that the reader only gets a taste of what’s happening before being shoved somewhere else. To fracture it even further, between each chapter are different seemingly random essays on different facets of existence, discussions between scientists, or meandering thoughts of an autistic person.

I’m looking forward to finishing, nothing would make me happier than for the story to unfold into a brilliant and hard-hitting climax that gives the reader what they came for!

Have you read Existence? Come share your thoughts in the comments!

Featured Artist: Danielle E. Shipley

For this month’s featured artist I’ve chosen the inventive and feisty Danielle Shipley. Danielle and I became acquainted when we were both part of the same fantasy anthology THE TOLL OF ANOTHER BELL, published by Xchyler.  Not only does she write terrific short stories, she also writes novels and posts all sorts of cleverness and snark over at her blog Ever on Word. Trust me, go check it out and follow, it’s bundles of fun.

Now for the part you’ve all been waiting for – The cover reveal of Danielle’s latest offering!

Surrogate Sea Launch Week Tour Pics, Novella

The Surrogate Sea is the sixth installation in the Wilderhawk Tales series and follows along in it’s predecessor’s fairy tale footprints. There are princes and princesses, kings and kingdoms, and magic found in the strangest places.

About – 

The Surrogate Sea is about the pursuit of love and the many misunderstandings that can take place along the way. Young Princess Liliavaine has outgrown her childhood love and seeks a man with whom she can make a life with. However, her childhood love has feelings of his own and instead of dimming with the years, it has only grown stronger. The interaction of these two causes ripples throughout the entire world, including the realms of the elemental beings that rule over air, water, and land.

In this world, it is possible to mix humankind with elemental kind. Liliavaine’s sister wed the lord of the moon himself. In fact, one of the other books in the series deals with the bout of insanity caused by looking into the moon’s face. One of these elementals is Muirigan, the great sea who falls in love with a prince.  However, she is trapped by her own beaches and cannot seek him out. She finds another to take her place (thus the title, the Surrogate Sea) and the problems spiral out from there. Throw in a spiteful South Wind, and you have quite a story.

Surrogate Sea Launch Week Tour Pics, Excerpt

Surrogate Sea Launch Week Tour Pics, Review

I love a fanciful and innovative fantasy story and so The Surrogate Sea was a delight to read.  My favorite aspect of the book are the interactions of the elemental characters with the human folk.  Danielle excels at making fascinating and well-rounded characters, this is especially true when it comes to her more magical characters.

I’m not crazy about complicated love triangles, but I know a good one when I read one, and this one has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing how it’s all going to work out.

There is always a concern when reading a book in a series without reading the earlier books. I hadn’t read the earlier books in the Wilderhawk Tales and so there were several references in this book that I didn’t fully understand, only because I hadn’t read their stories.  However, the book is well enough constructed that it is still very readable without having to read the rest of the series first.

Overall I give the book 4 out of 5 stars – The beginning starts slow as we wait for all the characters to be re-established and re-introduced. The true heart of the conflict isn’t revealed until much later.  Once you get there then you can’t put it down.

If you like fairy tale stories, love triangles, unique magic, princes and princesses, and a whole lot of mischief, then this book is sure to please.

I received a copy of Surrogate Sea in exchange for an honest review.

Surrogate Sea Launch Week Tour Pics, Author

While you’re here check out Danielle’s Linkies: Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Want to buy The Surrogate Sea? Here are some handy links!

Surrogate Sea Launch Week Tour Pics, Giveaway

Pre Release Peek: Mechanized Masterpieces 2 – Spotlighting Author Neve Talbot

Mechanized Masterpieces 2: an American Anthology is a collection of steampunk stories from authors around the globe.  This collection takes American classic literature and gives it a steampunk makeover, much to the delight of this reader.

Today we are spotlighting author Neve Talbot, author of the story “West End.”

pennyAs a child, Neve Talbot developed the habit of lulling herself to sleep by dreaming up continuations of her favorite books too soon ended. She never left off the habit, and eventually gained confidence in worlds of her own creation. She first cracked open a spiral binder in high school, and has spent the past decade dutifully penning her prerequisite one million words of bad writing before getting to the good stuff.

Now author, editor, story coach, and journalist, Neve currently lives with her husband under the pseudonym of Penny Freeman, in a quasi-reality filled with fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, Regency romance, the classics, and history books, suspended between the piney woods and sprawling metropolis of southeast Texas. She plans on exploring the world when she grows up.

“West End” is Neve’s third outing with The X, the others being “Crossroads” in Shades and Shadows, and “Tropic of Cancer” in Mechanized Masterpieces, of which “West End” is a sequel.

To learn more about Neve, check out her About me page!

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An Interview with Neve Talbot:

As “West End” is inspired by Little Women, who do you envision playing your characters?

Liam Helmsworth for Theodore Laurence. I think he’s got the right mix of hunkiness, cockiness, and vulnerability to make it really come off.

Ian Somerhalder for Edward Rochester. He’s a touch too good-looking for the part, but he’s got a good combination of dark smolderingness and charm that works.

Julian Meeks (he has a much bigger part in my novel than he does in either Tropic of Cancer or West End): Morris Chestnut, I think. Julian’s a tricky character to cast.

Josephine March: smart, feisty, implacable, and impossible to forget? Emma Watson. Done.

Amy March: Amanda Seyfried

Beth March: This is a really, really difficult one because young actresses try to be sexy, rather than vulnerable and wise. Dakota Johnson has the right combination of both, but . . . ewww. She might be 50 shades of tainted. Too tainted for this angelic part. Victoria Morris seems like she has the sweetness for the part.

Bertha Mason: Halle Berry would make the perfect Bertha, except she’s a touch too old. Nathalie Emmanuel is also gorgeous, but she’s too young. In Bertha’s case, since age is a heavy factor in the plot of Tropic of Cancer, I’d have to go with Halle Berry.

Why did you choose the story of Little Women to convert into a steampunk tale? What is special about it?

Little Women was probably my first ‘adult’ reading experience. I must have been in the 4th grade. It’s held a warm place in my heart ever since. It seemed a natural choice to expand into Steampunk. Since my protagonists tend to be male, Laurie’s story got the nod. Finally, since this book is the sequel to Mechanized Masterpieces, I decided to tie this story into “Tropic of Cancer,”, my expansion of Jane Eyre.

What is your writing process?

I seem to do my best writing late at night, I think because my imagination has more room to maneuver in my brain. Traffic is much lighter. I also tend to write a lot, then delete at least half, then compress that into as succinct a text as possible.

When you have a chance to relax and read, what kind of book do you seek out?

I am a literary omnivore, but my favorites are biography, history, and historical fiction. I also have a fond spot for the classics. Fantasy and Steampunk have really strong historical components, with the world-building, etc., which is why I think I enjoy it. I’m a sucker for a good map. Maps are graphic history.

Do you have a current favorite book?

That’s like asking who’s your favorite child. The book that has had the most impact on me in recent years is Shadow of the Last Men by J.M. Salyards, recently the CYGNUS winner for science fiction.

What do you listen to when you write?

I usually need it quiet so I don’t get distracted. When I do listen to music, I listen to The Writer’s Trance, Orson Scott Card’s writing music on Pandora. Lots of emotive music without the distraction of lyrics.

Our writers out there are dying to know – Panster or plotter?

I used to be a pantser, which is how I made up my first million words of really bad writing. Now, I’m more a plotter, which makes a more finely crafted story. I believe in allowing a character to reveal themselves as the story evolves, which in its turn helps the plot itself to evolve. As they say, even the best battle plans mean nothing once the shooting starts. The same goes for writing. An author needs to be flexible enough to reevaluate and restructure their outline as they go, but having a general direction to travel and a goal to reach really helps. Also, plotters really are pantsers at heart. They just do it in a lot fewer words.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Follow your passion. Let your characters live you, and they will become real to your readers. Never stop learning. Every author deserves a good editor. If you find yourself telling others, “You just don’t get it,” you need to ask yourself what you can do to change it. The responsibility of communication is yours, not the reader’s.

What are some of your current projects?

Gosh. Here’s a partial list: my historical fiction I’ve sworn to finish this year; develop Tropic of Cancer story into a full-length Steampunk novel; a long-nurtured sci-fantasy that I’ve finally muddled out. I’m ready to start outlining that as well.

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I had the pleasure of reading “West End” along with several of the other stories in this new installment of Mechanized Masterpieces. (I’m eagerly awaiting a time to curl up with a cocoa and warm fire to finish the rest!) In this story we get to experience Laurie’s life abroad as he goes about his studies and begins to specialize in the very steampunky field of medicine crossed with metallurgy and robotics. He has feelings for Jo and as readers we get to see his struggle with both life and love. However there is a nice little twist in the story from the original Little Women, one that I think readers will thoroughly enjoy.

I love the way the characters are handled. Each one has a unique and memorable attitude that plays of the strengths and weaknesses of the others.  The steampunk elements are masterfully created and play well with the other elements of the story, which is always nice when it comes to a retelling of a classic tale.

If you like stories that include steampunk, relationships and love, travel, wonder, and Victorian sensibilities, then this story is for you!

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Hey, guess what? There’s a giveaway! Click the link to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A super big thanks to Neve and the awesome people at Xchyler Publishing for letting me participate in the book tour for Mechanized Masterpieces 2.  If you want to learn more, or to buy your own copy, click on the banner below!

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To visit other sites on this blog tour check out the links below:

Sunday, 02.22.2015
A. E. Albert, A Writer’s Blog
Chosen By You Book Club
Liz’s Reading Life
In the Spotlight
Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Monday, 02.23.2015
I Feel the Need, the Need to Read
The Naughty Librarian’s Playground
Creativity from Chaos
Candy O’Donnell
A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus

Tuesday, 02.24.2015
Kitty Muse Book Reviews
Semi-short Chic
Mel’s Shelves
Ever On Word

Wednesday, 02.25.2015
My Bookshelf
Mel’s Shelves
A Virtual Hobby Story and Coffee Haus
The J. Aurel Guay Archive

Thursday, 02.26.2015
Addicted to Reading
A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus
The Author Visits
An Author in Progress
Penny Writes

Friday, 02.27.2015
Semi-short Chic
A Virtual Hobby Story and Coffee Haus
An Author in Progress
The Book Beacon
My Literary Quest

Saturday, 02.28.2015
Vampires, Crime and Angels . . . Eclectic Me
Fictional Rendezvous Books
An Author in Progress
Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind

Book of the Month: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

200px-Inkheart_bookThis month’s read is the YA fantasy Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke.  I’ve been wanting to read this book for years and was happy that I finally got around to doing it.  Watching and enjoying the movie might have played a small part as well.

Inkheart is one of those books that feels like it’s been around for a long while, although it’s only been around since 2003 for the German edition and 2005 for the English edition.

On an interesting side note, I tweeted about Inkheart and received a cute note from Cornelia Funke herself!

A super brief, spoiler free,  overview of the book:

The story is about a twelve-year-old girl named Meggie, and her father Mortimer, who everyone including Meggie calls Mo. Mo is a book binder with a secret rare gift of being able to read fictional characters and objects out of their books and into the real world. However, he didn’t discover that this had a great cost, for every person or item that leaves the book, something from the real world must return.

When Meggie was very young, Mo read several unsavory characters into the world by accident. These included the devious and unscrupulous Capricorn whose morals are essentially nonexistent, and Dustfinger a fire-eater and juggler who desperately wishes to return to his story. The cost? Meggie’s mother disappears into the book.

The book of Inkheart revolves around Mo and Meggie’s dealings with Capricorn and Dustfinger and Mo’s efforts to “read” his beloved wife back into the real world. There’s adventure, romance, magic, and danger.

My Review:

The book’s strongest points are its characters and its evocative writing. Funke captures different moments in the story using lovely metaphors and surprising analogies.  If you loved the use of language in Zuzak’s, Book Thief, then you would enjoy the writing style of Inkheart.

The characters are brilliant and perhaps the most intriguing bunch of people assembled to make a story that I’ve stumbled across.  They are each well written where it feels as if they jump to life off of the page (and in a way, that’s precisely what they do!) The villain Capricorn is a vile and repulsive storybook villain with no true redeemable qualities. Some might consider him an overly stereotyped villain, but you must remember that he is an actual storybook character and with that in mind he is written perfectly.

The lead character, Meggie, is a lover of books and stories, just like her father.  She is young, and makes mistakes, some of which cause huge problems. To her, it is almost as if her storybook world has come alive around her and she is both fascinated and terrified. She quickly learns that her actions and decisions have real consequences and she must be brave to do what she must.

Her father, Mo is a bookbinder who has been into action by external forces.  He wants nothing more than his wife back and a  peaceful life surrounded by piles and piles of beautiful books that he can share with his daughter.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves a well written story that takes them to new places.

To read more about Inkheart, check out these links:

Book of the Month: Howl’s Moving Castle

71sst0-sdELI’ve had a soft spot for Miyasaki movies ever since I first watched the acclaimed Spirited Away and so reading one of the books that inspired another Miyasaki movie was a treat. There is a bizarreness to these stories that is both refreshing and thought-provoking.

About the book:

Howl’s Moving Castle is the story of Sophie Hatter, the oldest daughter of three, who is destined by birth to be a failure. Or so she thinks.  When she is cursed by the Witch of the Waste to be an old woman she finds it an inconvenience albeit she is somewhat relieved. Being an old woman grants Sophie a much greater freedom in her actions and speech than what she’s felt as an adolescent.

With this new found freedom she leaves the hat shop which has been her prison and heads into the countryside. It is there that she runs across Wizard Howl’s magical castle drifting along. She forces her way inside to get out of the damp and meets Calcifer, a fire demon who powers the castle, and Michael, Howl’s young assistant.

Howl himself is a selfish and vain man who has too much interest in the ladies and not enough in common sense.  Throughout the book we see how Sophie wins her way into his heart by not putting up with his foolishness.  They help each other in turns as they prepare to face the ultimate battle with the Witch of the Waste.

My Review:

There’s a lot to be said about having characters with strong opinions and preferences. In this book we see the importance of speaking up for yourself when we read about Sophie’s life both before and after her transformation. This is contrasted against Howl, who refuses to have any useful discussion with anyone and because of it comes across as cold and uncaring, even though he secretly does care deeply for Sophie.

Then there’s the inventiveness of the story elements themselves.  First, the totally awesome castle that wanders around the countryside and has a magic door that opens into different cities all over the realm. Not only does this provide Howl and Sophie ease of access to different places but it allows for some whimsy as well.  One of the doors is anchored to the very real Wales while the rest are in the magical world. Then you have my favorite character, the fire demon Calcifer who is cursed to live within the confines of chimney and hearth and at times acts like a petulant child, even though he is the most magically powerful of the three main characters.

It’s a fun and lively story and a great read for upper middle grade readers all the way to adults. I’d recommend it to readers of Piers Anthony, David Eddings, and Rick Riordan.

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Want to recommend a book? Let me know in the comments!

Have you read Howl’s Moving Castle? What was your favorite part? Favorite Character?

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Next month (February) I will be reading Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, and in March, Everneath by Brodi Ashton. Come join me!

Related posts:

4th Quarter Reading, Done!

Here with only a few days left of 2014 I’m proud to report that I finished the last book of the year this morning at 2:45 am. Now I’m not saying that I stayed up reading all night, although I liked the last read enough that I could have – my youngest woke at 1:30 throwing up and I couldn’t turn my brain off afterward. Ahh, the joys of too many ideas and not enough time.

Here are this quarter’s books-

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee: Somehow I escaped reading this in school, and it’s a shame too because I’ve heard references to parts of this book and it’s characters all my life and never realized it.  If I were to pick a favorite element I would chose the character of Atticus Finch, the father of Scout and Jem and also the town attorney. He is a brilliant example of what it means to lead by example.  His high standards and sense of morality are enviable and something that is lacking from much of the world today.

Dune, Frank Herbert: Ok, I’ll admit, I cheated a little here.  Dune is a massive tome of dense writing that even the most seasoned writer needs to pick through carefully.  It’s fascinating and a good read, but time consuming. I read the first section, which still was over 300 pages and intend to read the rest at my leisure later. This is one of those books that has redefined what is possible in the world of science fiction and is a prime example of how to do world building right. I only wish I would have picked it up earlier, this would have been a perfect example when I was creating my own fantasy world.

A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute: At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like this, the story didn’t take off right away and for the first twenty or so pages the reader has to wade through the narrator helping a gentleman settle the articles in his will. Not too exciting. Things pick up when we get into the story of Jean Paget, who inherits the estate. We first learn about her experience as a prisoner of war to the Japanese in Malay where she, and a group of women and children, was forced to travel by foot from town to town because no one wanted to take them in. I love stories of survival against the odds, so this was great. The rest of the story is devoted to how she spends her inheritance by first digging a well and washing house for the town that finally took them in at the end of the war, and then making improvements in a derelict town in Australia where her love interest has a cattle station. It is a story of perseverance and grit and one that I truly enjoyed.

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I had a great time reading these books off of the BBC Book Challenge and hope to find equally good reads for the coming year.

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Did you have a favorite read this year? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Advance Review: On the Isle of Sound and Wonder

On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson GrauerI’ll admit, one of the coolest perks of being a writer is having access to books before their official release.  I received a copy of Alyson Grauer’s novel On the Isle of Sound and Wonder in exchange for a fair and honest review here on this blog and on other book review sites.

First and foremost, check out the trailer-

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On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer

On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer

On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson GrauerThis is a book that has something for all audiences. There is action, adventure, peril, magic, love, loss, and a kiss of steampunk – just to keep things interesting. For those students of Shakespeare, this is a delightful romp through the classic story of The Tempest.  The characters have been renamed and reimagined to appeal to today’s readers.

There are very few books that capture my attention where I find them hard to put down, this was one of them.  Grauer has a knack for creating vibrant, well-developed characters that are a treat to read about.  Everyone from the brooding magical Dante to the mechanical man Gonzo has an intriguing history where their motivations and desires feel natural in the development of the story. The story itself is well written with plenty of twists and turns to keep things interesting.

I loved Isle of Sound and Wonder and I look forward to reading more from this author.

On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer

Find Grauer on the web: Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Pinterest

On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway! There’s lots of awesome stuff being given away.

3rd Quarter Reading – Done!

We are swiftly sliding into the last few months of the year and I’m proud to report that I’ve keep up with the goal of reading one book a month from the BBC Book List Challenge.  This last quarter’s reading was both fascinating as it was diverse. The hardest read, due to its sheer length and complex structure, was Cloud Atlas and it still doesn’t hold a candle to Midnight’s Children in terms of how difficult it was to get through.

Here are this quarter’s books –

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell: Even after finishing this I’m hard pressed to say what it’s about.  There are several story lines ranging in the timeline from the 1800s to an unimagined future.  Each story shares one or two tiny elements from the other so in the end they are all connected in small ways.  I had really hoped that somehow these stories would converge into a single cohesive story, but in my mind they didn’t. That considered, Mitchell is a genius. Each story is so vastly different from the others that had I not known otherwise I would have assumed that there were multiple writers, each a master at their chosen time period and genre.

Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald: I’ll admit having watched the recent movie incarnation with Leonardo DiCaprio might have tainted my experience of reading the book. Instead of seeing the story through the words of Fitzgerald I saw it through the artistic lens of Baz Luhrmann.  This isn’t a bad thing, just unfortunate because Fitzgerald has such a wonderful way with words and being able to envision them myself would have made reading the book a different experience. The book captures the essence of Gatsby, his strengths, his vulnerabilities, his desperation to get what he wants, and paints him through his actions.

A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irvine: I’ve been looking forward to reading this, after so many people have told me that this is one of their favorite books of all time. I’ll agree that it is a fascinating character study. The reader is shown small pieces of Owen Meany, his oddness, his single-mindedness, his devotion to his best friend.  As the book reaches the end these pieces begin to click together until we see a portrait of this man who is completely different from what we expected. It’s brilliantly written and pulls the reader in as they along with the characters try to learn the truth.

Here are the rest of this year’s picks, feel free to read along with meto-kill-a-mockingbird-by-harper-lee-profile

  1. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
  2. Dune – Frank Herbert
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

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2nd Quarter Reading – Done!

I’m happy to report that I’ve finished the second quarter reading with a few weeks to spare, namely because I fell in love with  The Lovely Bones and read it in four days. The longest read from this quarter clocks in at a mind-boggling six weeks to finish Midnight’s Children.

Here are this quarter’s books –

Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie: As mentioned before, I struggled to get through this book, not because it is poorly written or uninteresting but because it is extremely long and the prose is very dense. This isn’t to say there isn’t some fascinating reading in there, only that the reader is required to patiently sift and sort through a mixed jumble of thoughts and ideas that bounce back and forth in the time line of the main characters life.  It’s confusing.  Rushdie does a masterful job weaving different themes in and out of the story so by the time you get to the end you can see the whole picture – that is if you get to the end.

Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro: Reading this was like watching Downton Abbey from the perspective of the butler.  It is a melancholy and thoughtful read as we are shown the highlights of his life and efforts to become a truly great British butler at the expense of missing out on having a life of his own.  Like Midnight’s Children, it is not exactly a story but rather an experience of someone else’s life experience.

The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold: After reading these other books, this book was a wonderful breath of life.  Finally, a real story with conflicts and problems to be solved instead of a rambling narrative. The main character narrates her story, sharing her point of view and feelings about what’s happening in her family, but the kicker here is that she’s dead.  The book opens with her remembering the details of her murder and she continues to follow her family as they struggle to cope with her loss.  Riveting, fascinating, and the best book on the list so far.

Here are the rest of this year’s picks, feel free to read along with me!

  1. A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving200px-PrayerForOwenMeany
  2. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
  3. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
  4. Dune – Frank Herbert
  5. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

 

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