Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Short tale of "Everlasting"

Morning! Today's book review is brought to you by the letters M and N for "Mediocre" and "Not bad,". Those are the terms I'd use for Everlasting, by Angie Frazier. It was a fine book, that kept me interested, but over all it was just kind of "eh." It's a historical fiction,(a fave genre of mine. In case you were wondering) set mostly at sea in the 1860's. It's told in first person by Camille Rowen, a 17 year old girl, from a wealthy family. Camille is destined to marry a man that she has no real feelings for, but whom sees as a good match. Her fiance, Randall is a good man, and madly in love with her, but unbeknownst to Camille has a large investment in her Father's shipping company. A company which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Once Camille learns this, she becomes even more motivated to marry Randall, out of loyalty to her father. She sets her mind to it, regardless of the absence of love. Also regardless of the charming attentions of Oscar Kildare, Her father's young first mate. Camille sets out to sea with her father and his crew for the last time before her marriage and tragedy strikes! I won't give away anything too vital, because I don't believe in spoilers. :) The Characters were good, relate-able characters but as far as their development is concerned, it seemed as if I had met them before, in another book. There was some growth by Camille, but very little was done to give Oscar or her father more depth. But like I said, it felt like I had met them before, so there wasn't really need for it. This is a big issue for me. I really enjoy meeting new "people" when I pick up a first time read, and while it was comfortable in a way, I missed the challenge of becoming friends with them. Of overcoming the obstacles of faults and falling in love with the attributes and strengths that life, real or fictional, brings. I guess the best way to say it is that it made me care less about the characters. One thing that I do think the author did a FANTASTIC job of was creating the world around the characters. Whatever venue Camille and her friends wandered into was as clear as day in my "mind's eye". There were sea ports, ships, oceans, towns, wilderness, that all captured my attention, and I really think that was what kept me turning the page. I was dying to see where they would go next! The plot wasn't too bad. The book gave off shades of classics like Treasure Island, and other swashbuckly novels(patent pending on that term), but fell short on that front, for me. Camille finds herself in search of a stone that promises immortality, or rather, could raise people from the dead. I felt like the plot was slightly neglected in favor of the AMAZING surrounding description, and the adequate dialogue. Frazier is not breaking any new ground with this plot line, so I think that it really should have been developed on a deeper level, maybe with a few new twists in order to maintain the interest of the reader. Over all the book was good. It was fairly fast paced, and interesting. I would recommend it to someone looking for a light book, and a quick read. I'd also say go in to it with no expectations, in order to get the most enjoyment out of it. I give it a 3 over all.(or horse on the animal scale. I can't quite get that out of my head.:}) Thanks for checking out my blog! I'll have another post up sometime in the next week. Bye!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Very Favorite book!

Hey Everyone, Welcome back! So, before I begin my first review I want give you an idea of how I'll be rating the books I review. It's nothing too fancy, just your basic 1-5 scale. I briefly entertained the idea of making it something really crazy, like "possum-frog" (because I really dislike Possums, and frogs are my very favorite animal. I do detest spiders above any other thing on this planet, and I might actually use that when reviewing a terrible, terrible book, but we'll just have to see.) but really, that's just confusing and and unnecessary distraction that would detract from the reviewing process.
I could use stars I suppose, but then what if I said something was 4 and 1/2 stars? Wouldn't you wonder which half? Left half? Right half? Top Half, bottom? So better to just stick the the plain old numerical scale, and call it a day. Now, you may ask, why only 1-5, why not 1-10? or 10-100, by tens? Well because I lean toward the dramatic, and with such large numbers in hand (I know 10 is not a large number...)I might get carried away. So 1-5 it is! Now I was trying to decide what book I should jump off with, when it came to me; this is MY blog, why not begin with MY favorite book. It's a book called Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. And while I haven't read every book on the planet, yet, I think it's the BEST BOOK EVER!!! It's actually two books, called Crown Duel, and Court Duel but most of the time when you find it in stores now, it's sold as one book. I have read Crown duel, Five or Six times. It's one of those books that I turn to when I want to revisit old "friends." When I want a book I know is good! When I just need a short escape from reality. The story is told from the first person perspective of Meliara, a young, poor-ish undereducated countess, who along with her brother Branaric lead the charge against the tyrant king, Galdran. I love the character Meliara. She is a super heroic, and slightly head strong character. She does everything with her whole heart. She believes in absolute right and wrong, and always sticks her ground. She is brave, and smart, and funny without meaning to be. Meliara's tenacity is matched only by her captor, The mysterious Marquis of Shevraeth. A tall, blond man with a quiet presence that unnerves and frustrates Meliara. I really don't want to give away much about his character because he's another one of my favorite. Sherwood Smith actually wrote a book about his past called A stranger to command which I actually haven't read yet. (It's on that long, long beautiful list of 'someday' reads.) The setting of this story is a country called Remalna, which I just found out recently is on a different planet. This is NOT a SiFi book however, it is categorized as fantasy. Even though it's fantasy, Smith gives such titillating hints of a deeper, fuller history, that it seem more like it could be historical fiction. She really has a gift for description, and character development. There are very poetic depictions of the experiences and surroundings that it's very easy to see the world as Meliara sees it. Yet, Smith never over does it with wordiness or pointless speeches. And like I said, the character development is OUT OF THIS WORLD! (haha. puns.) You get to know the characters almost as soon as you begin the book. Get to know them, like old friends. Or enemies. They have depth, and heart, and feelings that are extremely easy to relate to. There are secrets, and traits about each character, that you learn along the way, just the way you do with "real" friends. I'm such a bookie (not of the betting persuasion) that if I'm in to a really good book, I find myself thinking "what is *insert character name here* doing at that moment?" (But that's just between you and me.) The only faults I really find with this book are that there isn't more historical background given. Now, I am a historian, in that I majored in history in College, so I crave history in EVERYTHING! So this fault may really be a personal bias. The other problem that I have is that with all her talent for description, Sherwood Smith does tend to reuse several phrases over and over. This to me is very annoying, but it is not so great a trial that it distracts from the story. So over all, the book gets a five!(a frog on my animal scale) Crown Duel is an exciting page turner with soul that will transport you to a different place and time. I recommend it for anyone aged 13+, and really recommend it to EVERYONE! Again, thanks for stopping by, and if you have requests or recommendations of your own, please leave me a note!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In the Beginning

I don't know when it all began. Maybe in second grade with my first two real chapter books, A bio on Christopher Columbus, and Gulliver's travels. Both good, and both lodged in my memory forever. Maybe it was when my Mom, another bookite through and through, handed me my first Nancy Drew novel. (oh that was a lovely day!) That Nancy, the pretty and lucky strawberry blonde girl, with the lawyer for a father (thus how she financed all those miss-adventures of hers), and was more clever then anyone else out there, got me really started. I don't think I stopped after that. There was always a book in my hand, bag, pocket, car, on my computer, from that point on. Some might say it's in my genes, as there isn't a person in my immediate or extended immediate family that doesn't enjoy reading. Just walk into the house of my childhood sometime. Your first impression will be "is your house always this clean?" (the answer is no, but we knew you were coming, so we did the highland reel of cleaning jobs. Just for youuuu!) But your second impression will absolutely be that you did not, in fact, walk into my home, but rather a Library, or more accurately, a used book store. There are LITERALLY books in every room in the house. Yes, to answer that question you would only dare to ask from the sequestered safety of your computer chair, even...in the bathroom. I've always been comforted by this fact. Not necessarily having them in the bathroom, but I mean, just having so many! I love being surrounded by books! I have moved many times, and lived in many places, but they never felt like home until I unpacked and organized my bookshelf...s... That! That is the moment I know I'm home. I love the options that these cascades of books give me."Shall I read a classic today, or should I learn how to make chicken coops?" (not an unusual topic of book to find in our house.)It's a guarantee, a promise that I will never be bored. How can people get bored? So what, there's nothing on TV? Read a book. So what, it's raining outside? Read a book! So what, my friends are all busy? Read a book! So what, my taxes are being raised? Read a...oh well, there I'd say write your congressman, cuz that's really the only way to solve that one, but, I think you may have gotten my point by now. BOOKS ARE WONDERFUL! So, for a long time now, my mother, who is also an English teacher along with being a bookite, has tried to encourage me to write. My creed has always been 'Those who can, write. Those who can't, Read." I am the latter. But She's encouraged, and encouraged, and ENCOURAGED! And finally gave me a valid idea. (well, no, she's given me thousands of those over the past 26 years, but this one is the point of this paragraph) I read so much, and talk about the books that I've read, CONSTANTLY, (and not always to willing listeners. I am ted mosby.)so she suggested I start a(nother) blog, reviewing the things I love so much. . . . Okay. . . . I Guess I could do that...So here it is. Well, here is the intro. The reviews will begin tomorrow. I already have my first few books ready to review, so this blog, I promise, will have more then just the inaugural post! I am going to try to do a variety of books. Tho most will tend to be novels. I may even take requests. If there is a book that you saw that you think looks interesting, but want to know if it's worth your time, send it my way. Or if you have suggestions, on books you thought were good, must reads, let me know those too! I'm very excited about this, and I hope ya'll will enjoy it too!