Sunday, August 21, 2011

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 3)


Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 3) is the final book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy.  When I read the first book, Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls), I was completely captivated by Grace and Sam.  Their story broke my heart and filled me with hope at the same time.  I recommended this book to friends and could not wait to get my hands on the second book, Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 2).  However, I didn't love Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 2)like I loved Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls).  I honestly don't know what I expected out of Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 2), but what I got wasn't it.  But, I have been known to be disappointed in 'middle novels' where trilogies are concerned because they tend to be a lot of filler and lead up to the final novel.  So, despite my disappointment in Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 2), I read Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 3).  I really, truly wanted to know what happened to Sam and Grace, and even Cole, Isabel, Olivia and Beck.  And after reading about 400 pages, I can't tell you what happened to any of the characters except for the ones who die.  I feel like the ending never happened.  I kept looking for an epilogue six months later or something.  Maybe I'm selfish in wanting to know what happens, but I feel like I invested myself in three books about these characters and I'd like to know if anyone got a happy ending, you know?  Maybe my tastes are too pedestrian, expecting some closure to the trilogy.  Maybe I'm too old to read YA novels and my expecting an ending is a clear indication of this.  I don't know.  All I know is that I was disappointed in the end.  I have nothing to say about the rest of the story because I can't get past the feeling of being left twisting in the wind.  I feel like I read the trilogy and didn't get my payoff of at least knowing what happens and that ruined the entire reading experience for me.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Follow Friday!!

It's Follow Friday!

 Today's Follow Friday question is:


Q. How has your reading habits changed since you were a teen? or If you are still a teen what new genres are you in love with currently?


My reading habits have changed pretty drastically since I was a teen.  When I was in high school, and even in college, I really only read what could be considered the classics.  I would get introduced to an author through a required reading assignment and, if I liked the author, he became the subject of my reading for pleasure.  My teen years were filled with Faulkner, Hemingway, Austen, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky and Salinger.  However, I have since discovered many wonderful authors to read for pleasure that are still alive and writing!  Now my reading for pleasure includes the "old masters" as well as Charlaine Harris, Jasper Fforde, and Neil Gaiman. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, highlighting the upcoming releases being eagerly awaited by all of us bibliophiles.

This week's Waiting on Wednesday title is:
by Jeri Smith-Ready 

Okay, this really isn't a regular Waiting on Wednesday title because it's been serialized by the author on her website.  However, one chapter a week definitely has me waiting!!  Jeri Smith-Ready, author of many fine books, has given her readers a wonderful gift:  a novella, in serial form, on her website to tide us over until the next, and final, book in her WVMP series Lust for Life is released late in 2012.  

If you're not familiar with the WVMP series, get started with Wicked Game.  Here's the GoodReads synopsis for Wicked Game:

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, '60s psychedelia, '80s goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers just how the DJs maintain their cred: they're vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned.

Ciara's first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WVMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station — and the link it provides to their original Life Times — the vampires would "fade," becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover is a matter of life and undeath.

To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara rebrands the station as "WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll." In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs' vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around — next to Ciara's complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the "gimmick" enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren't so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher — and the perils graver — than any con game Ciara's ever played...
The Novella is being serialized on Jeri Smith-Ready's blog through December :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Follow Friday!

It's Follow Friday!!

Today's Follow Friday question is:

Q. Talk about the book that most changed or influenced your life (was it a book that turned you from an average to avid reader, did it help you deal with a particularly difficult situation, does it bring you comfort every time you read it?). 


Wow, I think the book that most influenced my life was  The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.  I was assigned to read it the summer before I started high school and it blew my mind.  I had never read about a character so real to me before.  I'd read classics, sure, but no character ever resonated for me like Holden Caulfield did.  The book made me want to read others like it, about real people who were damaged and flawed in real ways, things that I could relate to.  It also fed my burgeoning interest in psychology and human nature.  The Catcher in the Rye remains one of my favorite books to this day.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods: A Novel

Let me start by saying that, over the past several years, I have become a huge fan of Neil Gaiman.  I love  Stardust and Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, both of which are smart, incredibly witty and thoroughly enjoyable novels.  My children are also fans, with The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish and Crazy Hair in our regular reading rotation.  I have long been aware of his other, perhaps more popular or more revered works but have been somewhat intimidated by the intelligence in his writing and by my own perception of Mr. Gaiman as being more of a science fiction writer than I was interested in reading.  However, American Gods: A Novel has been lurking on the edges of my awareness, slowly piquing my interest until I finally was ready to give it a read.  And here's the thing, once I started, I could not put it down.  It was intelligent, emotional, poignant, smart, funny and educational. 

Shadow is in prison, so close to his release that he can taste it, but he has a bad feeling that something is going to ruin his early release.  "Storm's on the way", he is told by another inmate and Shadow feels it too.  So he keeps his head low and does his best to finish his time without incident.  However, some things are beyond Shadow's control and there are higher powers at work than he realizes. 

When ancient peoples travelled to new lands, they brought their beliefs and practices with them.  These beliefs and practices manifest themselves as physical incarnations of Gods--Gods who have been left to their own devices as their worship and worshippers have faded over time.  In modern America, they find themselves at odds with new Gods, created not by religious practice but by society's elevation of their importance.  New Gods like media and internet, all of whom are in danger of fading without the adoration of America.  Shadow finds himself employed by Mr. Wednesday who is trying to rally the old Gods against the new.  They travel together finding all manner of ancient God, trying to convince them to join together against the new Gods in order to eliminate the competition, as it were.

At this point, I could write about how this novel makes a strong statement about today's society and the importance attributed to intangible things like technology.  That Mr. Gaiman shows us that our elevation of these intangibles to God-like status has created an almost religious fervor surrounding things like computers and mobile phones and 24-hour media coverage.  And also how much more relevant this statement is ten years after the novel was initially published.  However, these things are secondary to the fact that this is a really good story.  The characters are interesting and, in fact, educational.  I found myself looking up new characters to see which pantheon of Gods the character fit into.  Mr. Gaiman includes beings from Norse, African, Eastern European and Celtic mythology, as well as from Native American religions and American folklore.  The story is tightly woven with plot twists that are both expected and unexpected.  As I said, I could not put this down once I started reading it.  Not only is the story entertaining and thought provoking, reading it inspired me to explore more of the old myths,which brought more reading pleasure into my life.

Overall, I have to say that I am so glad that I finally picked up American Gods: A Novel.  While I admonish myself for not reading it sooner, this is a book that, for me, I had to be ready to read.  And I fully intend to approach more of Mr. Gaiman's works as I become ready for them.