Beautiful Creatures (Book Review)

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A month or two ago I watched the movie, Beautiful Creatures, and spent most of the two hours mocking the horrible fake Southern accents. We argued over where exactly in South Carolina this town of Gatlin was supposed to be and if it was a real place for long enough for someone to pull out an iPad and find out. No, it’s not a real place but the author meant for the town to be somewhere near Myrtle Beach, SC. While over all the movie was rather bad I decided to read the book to see if it could be better since the premise for the book was intriguing.

“Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When
Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything. ”

My first instinct on reading this book was to be angry. The entire book was from the point of view of the human boy, not the book loving, poetry writing, powerful young woman/witch, Lena. Yes, it forced you to read the book like a mystery novel since everything was seen from the outside of the conflict looking in but I wanted to hear the story from Lena, not her maybe he is maybe he isn’t, boyfriend.

Quite a few scenes and details that I enjoyed in the book were left out of the movie. Much of the mystery of the book cycles around Ethan’s deceased mother and his barely coping father. This was entirely removed from the movie and instead hints of adultery between Lena’s Uncle and Ethan’s father are used which takes out the strength that Ethan shows in overcoming his grief as he works to help Lena.

I would rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.
While it is not a bad read and I might even take a spin with the next book in the series, it is still predictable and follows the standard High School Experience template including a rather Carrie like moment at the High School dance. If you are looking for a quick read that is young adult this one might be for you.

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Wild Geese

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver

I love Mary Oliver’s poetry. There are just some lines that resonate in my head and want to be mouthed over and over to feel the sound of it in my head and lips. This is one of those poems.

“You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”

The soft animal of your body.

The soft animal.

The feel of a cat or bird as you hold them, that velvet softness that gives with each touch like a feather pillow, pulsing with breath and heartbeat and fragility.

You embrace your fragility, your humanity and accept that this is who I am and that I cannot change what I am or who I love. The rest of the world is just going to have to accept that, you cannot force yourself to change by torture or breaking off bits of yourself.  You must accept the bumps and hollows, the cracks and fissures in order to shore them up.

Book Review

What Alice KnewWhat Alice Knew by Paula Marantz Cohen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Henry James is suffering through boring drunken dinner parties in London, but when his brother William-renowned for his groundbreaking work in the new science of psychology-is summoned from America by Scotland Yard to help investigate an East End serial killer who calls himself Jack the Ripper, things are suddenly much more interesting.

Their bedridden sister Alice James takes on the role of lead detective, as the three precocious siblings attempt to unravel the true identity of the killer. Searching London high and low, encountering characters both suspicious and ridiculous, they inch closer to a killer neither they, nor readers, would suspect.

I just could not get into this one. I wanted to love it, I really did. The premise is great, a woman who has given up on society and taken to her bed solving the murders committed by Jack the Ripper along with her two famous brothers. It’s a great notion, but the characters did not live up to the premise. They were flat and whiny. The use of historical figures and known writers as protagonists drove me crazy, there was not enough background to make me feel like I knew the characters since I was not already aware of most of the history surrounding them. The book was also rather slow-moving for a murder mystery. Unless you are really into historical re-writes, I would give this one a pass.

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Solitaire by Kelley Eskridge

Solitaire by Kelley Eskridge

Solitaire tells the story of Ren “Jackal” Segura and of the highly structured, near-future society that shapes and controls her destiny. A series of incidents leads to her arrest, conviction, and forced participation in an experimental form of punishment known as virtual confinement (VC). In VC, the comatose subject is imprisoned in a colorless, constricted virtual environment in which time itself stretches and slows. In less than one real-time year, Jackal endures the virtual equivalent of several years of unbroken solitude. Jackal’s experiences in VC — her near capitulation to madness and despair, her creation of a doorway to a brighter, more expansive world, and her subsequent, painful reemergence form the heart of this beautifully detailed, sometimes harrowing account of courage, cruelty, and survival.

This is one of my favorite books. I have read it at least ten times and keep coming back to re-read it over again. It is one of my comfort books that pull me out of depression or whatever pit I have gotten my head into at the time. This is my dessert island book, the one I want to be able to read for the rest of my life in times of need.

As a bonus, my blog was featured on Kelley Eskridge’s blog for an earlier post.

http://kelleyeskridge.com/news-and-reviews/

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/214618.Solitaire

A Local Habitation

A Local Habitation (October Daye, #2)A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

“Toby Daye-a half-human, half-fae changeling-has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world had other ideas…”

“Now her liege, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills, has asked Toby to go to the Country of Tamed Lightening to make sure all is well with his niece, Countess January O’Leary. It seems like a simple enough assignment-until Toby discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, and that if the killer isn’t stopped, January may be the next victim.”

I love this series. This book was a quick read. Full of action and drama, I really enjoyed it and cannot wait to get the next book in the series. The ending was full of promises for the next book which looks to start digging into October’s past and family history.

This book was full of the tension between half bloods and pure bloods in the Fairy realm and how they have no real place to live. They are rejected by the pure bloods, unable to live with the full humans, most are rejected by both sides of their families simply by how much or how little magic they have in their blood. How can someone who is taught to hate themselves be able to live a happy life?

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Rosemary and Rue

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1)Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas…”

“The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening’s killer.”

I truly loved this character. My father read this book after me and utterly hated it but I was drawn to the main character. I have spoken with others and this seems to be a book you either love or loathe right off. There is a lot of back story and world building in this first book so I can see where it might turn people off but it was the characters that got me interested. I love the broken moodiness of October. Her life had been stolen from her, sure it was a life that had problems, but it was hers. After being turned into a fish for 13 years, she awakes to find the world moved on without her, her daughter hates her guts thinking she left them with no warning, and she has lost her home and all her possessions along the way. The main thrust of the book is October working through her demons and rebuilding a small part of her life.

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Redoubtable

Redoubtable (Kris Longknife, #8)Redoubtable by Mike Shepherd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I hate to say it but this book felt like a stop gap holder for the series. Nothing much was accomplished by the end of the book and the next book looks to be where all the action happens. While I love this series and the characters, there was no character building or improvement, status quo prevailed.

I would not read this book unless you are caught up on the entire series. These are my potato chip books for science fiction. The plots are fairly uniform and the characters absorbing enough to get you to read the book overnight (at least for the rest of the series).

I already have the next book so I can only hope it gets better. If not this may be a series I stop reading soon.

Cannot recommend Mutineer (#1) higher however. This and the first 4 books are my favorites.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/129582.Mutineer

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