Archive | August, 2011

Heartless, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

31 Aug
heartless cover

Isn't this cover beautiful?

“Then the heat came.  It began the same as it had the night before, and with it came sudden remembrance of the dream she had forgotten.  The two faces–one black, one white, one ice, and one fire…Her mother’s ring on her finger tightened and her hands throbbed with burning.”

I just read a book that I couldn’t wait to share with everyone.  In fact, I was surprised that this book wasn’t swept up by the media in the way of Twilight.  Heartless, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, started slowly.  We are introduced to Princess Una, her brother Prince Felix, and the kingdom of Parumvir.  It’s fairy tale kingdom, complete with an enchanted forest, mysterious pet, and magical bazaar.  The story drifts slowly along until about the halfway point, when things just take off (on dragon wings?). 

After conducting some research, I learned that this is classified as Christian Fiction, and the author is often criticized for so many allegories (hidden meaning or moral).  Whelp, the allegory was lost on me!  I read it as a fairy tale, occasionally simplistic and a bit over the top.  Many reviewers called it Christian Fiction and mentioned allegory without ever explaining what that meant.  When I really love a book, I don’t really like reading many other reviews, because I want to feel solitary in that book’s world, so I’ve decided to stick with my conclusion that the overall themes were about love, devotion and the fact that no one is perfect.  This is hardly a hidden meaning. 

Often, all readers are looking for is a good story.  This one is a great story.  I can see why it drew some criticism, but I wish more people were aware of this “sleeper novel” and enjoyed it the way that I did, without consciousness of hidden morals.  I really did love this book (five stars!) and look forward to more Tales of Goldstone Wood.

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Book Blogger Hop

26 Aug

Book Blogger Hop

I’m so glad to be participating once again in the Book Blogger Hop!  You can learn all about it, and this week’s question here

“Non book related this week!  Do you have any pets?”

Easy-peasy question!  I am the proud owner of Roland!  (Think “May you find your Tower, Roland, and breach it, and may you climb to the top!”) Ro is a two year old cairn terrier, which is like Toto from Wizard of Oz.  I adopted him through Col. Potter’s Cairn Terrier Rescue Network.  He was not quite a year old, and came to me from a puppy mill.  He had a bit of baggage, but we’re working through it, and I can’t imagine life without him!

Check out these pictures.  You can also see him featured on the Cairn Rescue blog’s Wacky Wednesday.

This is his first day with me. See those scared eyes? Please, educate yourself about Puppy Mills.

Roland dressed as a "Gunslinger"

Roland's sweet face

Five Best Books: Mystery/Thriller Genre

24 Aug

I’m keeping up the momentum by joining IndieHoustonReader’s weekly five best books meme.  This week’s topic is the five best in the genre of your choice.  My mind goes straight to dystopian literature, but I know I’ve done it before.  So I added some variety and this is my mystery/thriller list!

 

1) The Stand, by Stephen King:  See what I did there? Haha! I promise this is the only overlapping choice I’ll make.  I’m going to keep the Stephen King raves down to two books.  This huge novel is epic!  I felt like I was there, in this world that was just like my own world but not quite. I was always at the edge of my seat.

2) Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris: This is my favorite of the Hannibal Lector novels, although I also really liked Hannibal.  I blame the movies.  I was able to read this novel way before the movie came out, and it’s separated enough from Silence of the Lambs that I didn’t keep comparing characters.  I like Jack Crawford better than Jodi Foster.

3) Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown: I like this book more than The Davinci Code. The concept of anti-matter was very interesting, and there was a clicking clock that kept the adrenaline pumping all the time!  The big reveal at the end is fantastic, as far as I’m concerned.

4) The Green Mile, by Stephen King: Why this particular book, you ask?  I think that this book had the most aspects of mystery in it.  There were lots of questions, and unlike many of his works, Stevie actually answers most of them by the end of the story.

5) Fear Nothing, by Dean Koontz: I feel a bit guilty posting this in my list, because I had to do a lot of research to remember it.  I don’t 100% even remember what happened in the end.  I’m going to have to re-read it.  There is also a second book with main character Christopher Snow and his unusually intelligent dog.  It’s the characters that made this memorable and got it on my five best list!

Sidenote: I tried reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and couldn’t get into it at all!  I feel like I’m the only person in the world who didn’t like it.

Summer Catch Up

23 Aug

I am very disappointed in myself for neglecting my blog.  I love writing this blog, love reading, and love sharing what I’ve read with others.  Still, life got the best of me and I just…stopped.

To kick-start my return as a blook bogger, I’ve decided to post a brief paragraph about each book I’ve read since I vanished.

Enchantment, by Orson Scott Card
E
nchantment, by Orson Scott Card

This is a very intelligent book!  I love novels that take fairy tales and adapt them (I’m very slowly writing my own version), and that is what this book does.  However, this pulls from Russian and Jewish folklore as well as the original versions of fairy tales.  I had to stop reading a few times and look up the stories that Card seems to expect me to already know.  Thank goodness for Wikipedia!  Because I wasn’t smart enough, this was a slow read.  There’s magic, romance, philosophy, history, and action.  When I got to the romance and action, I zoomed through it.  I’m very glad I read this book because it gave legitimacy to the genres that I enjoy.  It’s smart and fun, and it made me think!

Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King

Book Cover

Since it’s King’s newest book, I read this collection of novellas.  I’ve read all of his novels, but only randomly choose to read the short stories and novels.  I don’t really know how to describe my impression of the stories in Full Dark, No Stars.  If I said that it’s darker than his usual stuff, someone would undoubtedly point out that this is the guy who once wrote about a guy committing suicide by sticking his hand down a garbage disposal (Firestarter, I think?  I can’t get that image out of my mind!).  This is more realistically dark.  Rape, murder and relationships gone wrong are common themes.  There are still supernatural aspects, and I enjoyed the whole book.  To me, the title is very fitting and it reveals another facet of Stephen King’s world.

book coverMarry the Man Today, by Linda Needham

Of course there are romantic paperbacks on this list!  I just finished this book, and as historical romance goes, I’m usually not much of a critic.  So imagine my surprise when I realized that this book just didn’t do it for me.  The characters fell flat, the drama was always lacking something, and there didn’t seem to be any passion between heroine Elizabeth and Earl Blackstone.  There were cutesy moments but nothing much more than that.  I’ll be seeking out some new romance novels soon to make up for the disappointment!