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review 2015-05-23 13:33
Review: Vampire Diaries: The Awakening & The Struggle
The Awakening and The Struggle - L.J. Smith

I've gushed time and time again over how much I loved the first three books of this series. (I found the fourth book kind of unnecessary and even though I've read it as much as the first three I just don't like it as much) I first read them when I was 14 or 15, (many many years ago) and love them and over the years since read them again and again. 


Elena Gilbert was just the type of girl I wanted to be - queen of the school popular, with great friends, and lived in an awesome town full of Civil War history. Then in comes sexy mysterious Stefan who Elena becomes entranced with but he's just not returning her interest. Its a complete shock to her system. Stefan's Italian history background is captivating. And of course there is the swoon worthy bad boy Damon. Its all very silly really. And Stefan's somewhat stalkery behavior is of course questionable. Damon is a killer with no conscience and no remorse and not above using vampire powers to get what he wants. This should not be sexy. But it kinda is, even though logically its just wrong. Elena does some insanely stupid things. She can be very selfish and stubborn.


I've read series where all these things happen and its driven me up the wall. However, logic does not really apply to reading this series. At least not to me. In spite of the silliness, the friendships, the town itself, the history, the vampires, the magic, the bitchiness of certain characters, the epicness of the romance....I love it as much as grown up as I did a teenager.


I will never get tired of reading these books. 


Reread Square crossed off for Spring 2015 Bookish Bingo. 

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review 2015-02-11 18:29
Neuromancer - Can a book be one of your best friends?
Neuromancer - William Gibson

I've felt like I've been in a bit of a reading rut lately. It feels like I've been unimpressed by most of the books I've read lately, but I've been getting my recommendations from the same sources and following the same due-diligence procedures as I have in the past. I refuse to believe books are getting worse - while there are many more shitty books being produced then in years past, there are also more good books being produced recently as well. Therefore the most likely culprit for my malaise is myself. Have my tastes changed without my realization? Has my tolerance for anything less than completely amazing shrunk? Am I just generally grumpy and upset and taking it out on my readings?

When the going gets tough, the tough reassess their datum. So I reread Neuromancer for the umpteenth time last week. I don't even know how many times I've read it - at least three dozen times is a rational guess. I read it the first time as a wee lad when it first came out and it completely blew me away. This was back in the days when email addresses used exclamation points instead of ampersands, a megabyte was an unfathomably huge chunk of storage, and the nascent internet held all the promise of a bright and glorious future of an interconnected humanity sharing their science, hopes and dreams. We've come to an interconnected first world sharing pictures of cats, so I guess the dream isn't totally destroyed yet - but I digress.

Neuromancer has spoken to me throughout my life: as a troubled teen, an aimless young adult, an alcoholic adult and a sober middle aged person different parts of the book have syncopated with my thoughts and feelings and not provided answers as much as provided a language for mapping my internal spaces. The way the setting unfolds from every character's position like a tesseract designed by a technofetishist doing rails of coke the size of Sharpies, how every character is filled with loneliness and wrapped in fear but is searching for a way to accommodate their need for companionship resonates with me in a way I can't describe without sounding like a ridiculous fanboy. Which I am, to be honest, but I'll spare us all the details.

So, yeah, I reread my all time most favorite book to see if I'd changed unbeknownst to myself. It turns out I haven't. If anything I appreciate it more as I grow older. I don't look up to Case and Molly like I used to; I don't want to be them or imagine myself living their life (ok, maybe a little...) but instead I think I can appreciate them more as characters that live their own lives separate from me. Even as my relationship with Case, Molly, Finn, Dixie, Wintermute and Rio evolve the world they live in is familiar and comfortable as a well worn blanket, a safe haven of lawless bright lights and technomagic.

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review 2014-11-01 17:28
The Stand - Stephen King

I've read this book at least six times, just as good, if not better, every time I read it again.

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review 2014-07-11 12:52
On the writing life. And laughing.
Happiness Economics - Shari Lapena

The next time someone says to me that funny books are always disappointing because they're funny-dumb, I'll be pointing them to this novel: it's funny-smart.



Happiness Economics opens with Will Thorne struggling with the idea of being a poet in a world which does not value poets.


Except that in Shari LaPeña's second novel, the economic theme isn't as heavy-handed as the language that I've used in that sentence.


"It was a crazy, mixed-up world, a world that took economic forecasters seriously -- see everyone hang on his wife's every word! -- and sports figures, and movie stars."

Poets deserve to be taken seriously, Will believes. Or, more accurately, Will thinks.


Believes is a strong word for someone who spends an inordinate amount of time disbelieving.


"Would it be ennui today or despair?"


Will's world is not as concrete as his wife's.


Judy Thorne writes books too, books about investing, instant best-sellers written in a "chatty, informative, accessible" style, but she can measure her success in dollars and cents, in television appearances, in phone calls with influential contacts.


There is no outward measure of Will's success.


He is an engaged father (mostly, except when we forgets to let the kids in for lunch because the ennui/despair is too overwhelming) and he has written some good poetry.

But there's no Governor General's Award to show for it. And when he proposed to Judy that he receive a wage for his childcare responsibilities, she made a counter-offer, a significantly lower figure.


And "[s]he had all her expertise as an economist behind her while he’d only had an article in Chatelaine."


But even Judy -- as great as she presents on camera -- has concerns, even before the events of 2008 which seriously threatened her professional identity.


She is particularly concerned about her children, Alex and Zoe. (And these are not like sitcom kids: they are wholly believable.)


"They had everything. She didn't know what to do about it, so most of the time she simply kept working and telling herself that they should be happy -- they had everything."


And, yet, her family is unhappy, her children in their tween/teen years struggling in the same way that Will is (although the kids are preoccupied with their own concerns and aren't aware of the parallels).


Zoe "vaguely wished to be a pop star -- she watched all the Idol shows -- but she didn't know anything about music, and now it seemed almost too late".


Even at 12 years old, Zoe keeps her pop-star ambitions to herself, recognizing that artsy dreams are fragile, whereas Alex broadcasts his desire to be a police officer, a detective.

"'Right,' said Zoe. 'There's a fitness test, you know.'"


Catch a glimpse of the realistic dialogue there, also all the unstated eye-rolling: Zoe is at that age.


But, there is some truth beneath Zoe's defensive barb; both Will and Judy are unsure whether the amount of sweets that Alex is eating will create a problem for him.

When tension at home increases -- because there is conflict between Will and Judy, particularly as each feels their identity rocked by external events and internal fears -- Alex reaches for a candy bar.


All of the characters in this novel have their own ways of coping with what lurks beneath the surfaces of their lives.


Sometimes the struggle is visible, even to casual onlookers; sometimes the veneer is solid.


Sometimes the choices appear minor, as in whether Zoe should be allowed to attend a Shopping Party for a class-mate's birthday.


Rarely the issues are approached openly, philosophically: "When...does the end justify the means? And how do you measure the externalities, the collateral damage? What is life but the continuous exercise of moral choice?"


For that is the delight of this novel; after you have finished reading, it's clear that the author has deliberately layered the theme throughout, but the reader is simply engaged in the story.


What is truly an obstacle, whether to progress or happiness? What does it mean if we, individually or nationally, decline to participate in a measure of well-being which values war over housing starts?


These are big questions. But in the course of reading Shari LaPeña's novel, the reader simply hopes that someone will honk for the poet who is standing at the side of the parkway with a sign that reads "Honk if you love poetry."


A novel that is wholly entertaining  -- there are some laugh-out-loud moments and countless smirky grins -- and still leaves you with lots to think about? That's good stuff.

A wholly entertaining novel that leaves you with something to believe in? That's grand.

PS If it adds to the value of the book in your reader's mind, Happiness Economics won the Stephen Leacock Medal for being hilarious.

This review originally appeared on Buried.In.Print.

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review 2014-04-16 05:47
Book Review for Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (Windham, #4)by Grace Burrowes
Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (Windham, #4) - Grace Burrowes
Lady's Sophie's Christmas Wish

By: Grace Burrowes
 5 stars
Reviewed by:Angels
Published: Sourcebooks
Source: Purchased Copy Gene:Historical Romance
Book Blurb/Synopsis-

"Grace Burrowes passes 'the hair rose on the back of my neck' test...{her} voice embeds itself in your brain."
-USA Today
A luminous holiday tale of romance, passion, and dreams come true from rising star Grace Burrowes, whose award-winning Regency romances are capturing hearts worldwide.
"All she wants is peace and anonymity..."
Lady Sophie Windham has maneuvered a few days to herself at the ducal mansion in London before she must join her family for Christmas in Kent. Suddenly trapped by a London snowstorm, she finds herself with an abandoned baby and only the assistance of a kind, handsome stranger standing between her and complete disaster.
"But Sophie's holiday is about to heat up..."
With his estate in ruins, Vim Charpentier sees little to feel festive about this Christmas. His growing attraction for Sophie Windham is the only thing that warms his spirits-but when Sophie's brothers whisk her away, Vim's most painful holiday memories are reawakened.
It seems Sophie's been keeping secrets, and now it will take much more than a mistletoe kiss to make her deepest wishes come true.

Our Review

Sophie escapes for a few days away from her family and goes to there London home.While waiting at the coaching station with her servant and her baby she encounters Vim . While chatting Sophie realized by now that her servant has abandoned her baby and left Sophie high and dry with a baby.Vim is of the same conclusion that the mother has run off and not coming back.Vim offers to escort Sophie and baby Kit home. While there Sophie asks Vim advice on how to take care of baby she never has done so before and she knows nothing yet Vim is knowledgeable. While showing Sophie the ropes and teaching her a blizzard has arrived and has made them snowbound.Sophie is not actually lying but, she is not elaborating either she is keeping the fact that she is just Sophie and not Lady Sophia the daughter of the Duke of Moreland  . Sophia is just being plain old Sophie for the next few days and Vim is just Vim and not Lord Sindal.
Vim shows Sophie the ropes and coaches her on how to care for the infant.They take turns helping with Kit while growing fond of each other and falling in love with Kit little by little.Vim likes Sophie an is attracted to her but, he knows that he will be leaving soon and does not want to get attached or issue promises he can't keep.He is off to his families estate in Kent to sort out the harrying business affairs and investigate the mystery of the family heirlooms that have gone missing and to see to the estates improvements.
Vim can't fight his attraction to Sophie anymore and acts on it. They play a little cat and mouse game and some very heavy petting but no more than that he is leaving right?The storm has been raging for days and every time he sets off to leave he gets only so far and has to turn back and go home to Sophie.There feelings are growing more rapidly intense as the days go bye.Its getting harder to pretend that he doesn't want to make memories with Sophie to take with him when he leaves.
Sophie has made several Christmas wishes this year that she wants for herself and Vim without knowing it is making some of them come true for her.This is a rough time of year for her at Christmas time she has lost two brothers around this time one to war the other to sickness and is very emotional but with Kit and Vim things are looking mighty bright.
This couple start a very passionate affair! And why not there just Sophie and Vim and not Lady and Lord as they are keeping secrets from one another so the rules of society are not coming into play  so they truly get to know one another on a different level without all the added pressure and if Vim knew who she really was her would never touch her is honor would demand it .They go on to have one hell of a ride filled with laughter love and sadness knowing it is coming to and end when Vim leaves but, both willing to settle for memories they made together and let that be enough.
When reading this story from the very beginning you got those warm and fuzzy feelings that went straight to the heart.You could not help but fall in love with the characters they were warm , passionate, love- able and just two good people with very two very big hearts. What lady would go through was she did for that little tike ? Sophie's is known for taking in strays and healing them and giving them a home and kindness and her love so it was a forgone conclusion that Kit and Vim were just part of what she does ,take care of people.You could not find a more loving couple that tugged on your heart strings while reading there story. As this is part of a series and the Moreland family brothers are involved and are part of this story they create tons of laughs for you because of there over-baring protective ways and just being big brothers mind you. LOL. One of the funniest parts when Vim left thinking never to return walks in and says Sophie I am home and that he is going to kiss her senseless and then they will talk ,while 3 overing-baring brothers are there sitting back and taking it all in you can just imagine that scene .LOL Nice touch.I have loved Grace's books from the first one I picked up just love her stories they are always taking you on one heck of a ride that you don't mind taking time after time. A Recommended tale to all and a nice warming and heartfelt Christmas tale as well...

Source: angelswithattitudebookreviews-joelle.blogspot.com/2014/04/book-review-for-lady-sophies-christmas.html
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