Monday, October 27, 2014

The Book of Life

by Deborah Harkness
July-October 2014

Now that's the way to end a delicious trilogy! I literally savored every moment of this third and final installment of the All Souls Trilogy because I simply didn't want it to end. My friend tore through this eagerly-awaited book in less than a week, but I couldn't. I rationed myself. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Matthew and Diana.

It's surprising to me how many negative reviews I'm reading about The Book of Life. Highly-critical readers upset by the outcome of Ashmole 782, the Covenant and the never-ending cast of characters. I couldn't disagree more. Once again with the silky smooth narration of Jennifer Ikeda, I was left {ahem} enchanted. There were times when I listened and gasped, cried or laughed out loud. Harkness knew exactly how to write a book just for me. I'm also hearing buzz from other fans of this trilogy requesting more from Harkness; perhaps a book about the life of Gallowglass?? How about a new book dedicated to the lives of the twins? Either way, I'm in!

The "magic" was definitely back after getting a bit lost in Shadow of Night. Diana and Matthew's relationship strengthened, they had twins, the family bond grew even stronger, and we were introduced to a few new characters. Oh, and Diana's powers kick ass. I can't praise the story, the writing, the characters enough. Just so, so great. And speaking of great, quite possibly the BEST lines I've read in a book in a long time.
“No, I’m a vampire.” Matthew stepped forward, joining Chris under the projector’s light. “And before you ask, I can go outside during the day and my hair won’t catch fire in the sunlight. I’m Catholic and have a crucifix. When I sleep, which is not often, I prefer a bed to a coffin. If you try to stake me, the wood will likely splinter before it enters my skin.” He bared his teeth. “No fangs either. And one last thing: I do not, nor have I ever, sparkled.” Matthew’s face darkened to emphasize the point.
Take that, Stephenie Meyer. As for my rating, a VERY rare, but more than worthy, five stars. I will eventually read all three again.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Vacationers

by Emma Straub
Sept 26-Oct 20, 2014

Perfect time of year to read about a family vacation to Mallorca. A family with issues, but a vacation nonetheless. This book had the lazy, carefree tone of a vacation that sucked me in right away.

And then. And then nothing happened! The Posts brought their infidelity baggage with them and their 35-year marriage, while their daughter just kind of watched everything happen around her. Her brother was a bit of a disaster and quite honestly an asshole. Throw in the family friends, who had the potential to be the most interesting of the bunch, but were there just to make sure more drama filled the pages.

I struggled through this very short book and honestly should have just given up. It didn't hold my attention, and I can't say that I formed any attachment to any one character. And though I'm not a prude and don't mind a little "sex talk" in the novels I read, I found that, out of nowhere, an overly-crude sentence or two would pop up without enhancing the story one way or the other. Add the cliche of a love-struck teenager who ends up getting used in her most vulnerable state, and it's just time for this vacation to end.

Just as my eye rolling and tongue clicking was getting louder and more frequent, Straub pulled out the ultimate cheesy metaphor. With everyone all kissy/huggy and made up, they fly home:
"Marriages, like ships, needed steering, and steady hands at the wheel. Franny wrapped both of her arms around Jim's right one, her grip firm and ready for any turbulence ahead."
Gimme a break.

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