Evermore by Alyson Noël

I LOVE EVER. Absolutely adore the character. She is so solidly written, consistent and likeable. I'm seeing a trend in the fiction that I've been reading lately in which the leading lady is written one way at the beginning of the book and by the end I'm dealing with a totally different person- a person who's usually a sniveling little piss head complaining about all the crap that's happening in her life (really sweetie, what did you expect when you hang out with non-humans?).

My heart hurts for her.

She is the only surviving member of her family after they all suffer a terrible car accident- an event that understandably alters her life (in more ways than one). She is the gray hooded outcast in the back of the class who tries her best to go unnoticed. Yet she doesn’t suffer from stereotypical teen angst, and her solitude is more for self preservation than anything else. Ever is a clairvoyant with raw, unfettered abilities that make most interactions and physical contact painful.

Until she touches Damen (swoon). He's unnaturally hawt- but you knew that- and his presence and touch give Ever a sense of calm that she hasn't experienced since the accident. Damen is also so much more to Ever than she realizes and their story is truly touching and much more involved than I ever saw coming. See, this is me trying to be good and not give anything away.

Now, is this another Twilight knock off? Well yes, of course it is- as almost anything with a black cover published recently is. But it's a good book, an excellent story, and very well told. I finished this book in like 4 hours. The sequel, Blue Moon doesn’t come out until July and I’ll be there that day to get it. Looking over Noel’s other works, though they are not in my current dark genre I’m almost tempted to read them because chick can write her toosh off.

Stargazer by Claudia Gray

Stargazer is the sequel to Claudia Gray's Evernight. We're back at the academy for wayward, time lost vampires in the post Lucas-is-the-enemy period. It's a pretty decent show as far as sequels go. I didn't devour it the way I did Evernight- probably because the secret was out by then and I was in on it. Still, I'm impressed with the story Gray is creating here. The characters are actually likeable and intriguing. Bianca is smart, risky and a bit defiant without being insufferable.

The bit of history we're beginning to see on the other people in the story is a nice addition- who wouldn't want to know more about Balthazar. Now I'm probably just a sicko but I love that she's writing the blood drinking scenes as graphically as she is. These are vampires after all and they -should- be taking pleasure in the act. We can humanize them and romanticize them all we want but let's not forget that we are in fact reading about vampires. So I approve of that.

You can see this one coming- Not down with the whole "A wraith gave me my baby thing." Please, dear storytellers everywhere, for now, just don't mention any kind of procreation around me. Nothing kills a story like a freaking baby, even in the past tense.

Running off with Lucas was inevitable, and don't get me wrong, I'm on the lover's side but I just can't sympathize with the vampire hunters even though she's trying to paint them in as positive a light as possible. I can't find anything redeemable about any of them and well, they're rather a bunch of tools. My little romantic heart would have just gone pitty pat a bit faster if they'd simply run off together, forsaking either side.

"O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name.
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love
And I'll no longer be a Capulet."
- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

I'm such a sap.

A Confession.

Dear Literary Gods,

I have been a horrible reader. It has been almost one year since I read a decent book (thinking it was One Big Damn Puzzler sometime last summer). I am guilty of reading crap romance fiction of the knights and their ladies variety (think Lynn Kurland and Claire Delacroix) and have even taken to trading out crap romance novel for crap romance novel at a local paperback swap book shop. Picking them up ten at a time is not uncommon for me and I've even taken to reading them in secret, when no one is looking- such is my shame.

Recently my downward literary spiral has been in even further decline due to the Twilight saga. I am more ashamed of this than I ever was of my "Oh ye gods, thou art the fairest maid" phase because there was at least, let's admit, good sex. Now I hunger for young adult vampire fiction. I have taken to buying books at Walmart in an effort to hide my addiction from adult readers who would never dare enter that section of the bookstore. There is no excuse for my behavior.

I harbor hatred and blame in my heart, dear Literay Gods, for Stephenie (Twat) Meyer and her butchering of Breaking Dawn. I uphold that had she completed the story and given me a well rounded ending I could have gone on with my life and chosen books from the ADULT fiction section. Only now I'm reading teenage vampire romance Twilight knock offs in a fruitless attempt to recapture the Twilight induced "OH MY GOD I CAN'T PUT DOWN THIS BOOK. I LOVE YOU EDWARD!" insensibility.

I further admit that I have plans in the near future (like in about half an hour) to enter Target and purchase the P.C.Cast House of Night series and completely ignore the fact that Atonement and Love in the Time of Cholera are sitting on my "To Read" bookshelf.

Also, I blame the end of my career as a student. For two years straight I've busted my ass and pretty much done nothing but study. Now that it's over I just really don't know what to do with my spare time. There's the whole rest of my life and being a nurse thing but, well if you've been (or know someone who's been) to nursing school you can appreciate the dramatic effect that nursing school has on your life.

So yeah, really I'm just bored.

Evernight by Claudia Gray

Wow oh wow. Boy I didn’t see that coming (and neither did you).

This was a wonderful book!

After reading Need I was dead set (ha ha) on not reading anymore YA or vampire fiction and I actually took this book back to Barnes and Noble and exchanged it for The Frog King by Adam Davies. Twenty minutes after the exchange a friend called to tell me that I HAD to read this book. I wasn’t really all that keen on having to plow through another Twilight wannabe but since I was able to borrow this one, I couldn’t turn down a free read.

The professors Olivier have accepted teaching positions at Evernight Academy, a rather antiquated, severe boarding school in a gloomy gothic castle, complete with towers and gargoyles. With them comes their 16 year old daughter Bianca who in typical teenage fashion rebels against the move, the school, the faculty, the student body, the gargoyles etc…..until she meets Lucas. Lucas is cool, above it all, impulsive, mysterious- yeah, I’d have dated him against all advice too. Lucas loathes Evernight and openly antagonizes the more elite, “in” crowd and of course wants to protect young innocent Bianca from their influence. You can see where this is going….and then…very very suddenly…YOU CAN’T.


Go get it. Quick read. Good time had by all…and BONUS there’s a sequel.

Need by Carrie Jones

First things first- from here on out, upon entering Barnes and Noble we WILL stay to the right of the store. There is a reason that for years now we’ve been comfortable visiting only the right side of the store and that reason is simple- I am old.

I haven’t really given too much thought to being a thirty year old woman reading young adult literature. With series like Harry Potter, Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books and Twilight there has been no reason to make a distinction between “their books” and “ours”. I can’t argue that some of the writing by YA authors is far superior to some of the crap I’ve picked up in the fiction section over time. That said, there is a difference and while it’s been fun to giggle like a teenager, I belong on the old people’s side. Just not with the red hat ladies just yet.

On with the story…

At first this one threatened the validity of my shallow “Yes, you can judge a book by its cover” theory. Glitter rarely ever lets me down but I’ll admit that I was a little worried with this one.

It’s a fairly simple little story. Zara’s stepfather (Daddy for all intents and purposes) has recently died of a heart attack and her mother is at a loss as to what to do for her. This element of the story is actually very touching, and the emotional implications his death brings to Zara’s life stay pretty consistent throughout the book. Death of a parent is some pretty heavy stuff and I like that the author kept that story line at the forefront of everything that Zara was doing because without it the overall silliness of the story would have run amuck. Anyway, Zara is sent to live with her step-grandma, Betty in an insignificant, cold, small town in Maine. Here it takes the nice neat path of new girl, new town, new school, new friends, new rivals, new……boys. Things aren’t what they seem, nor could they possibly be because that’s the way stories work. It is at this point that my eyes glaze over for the next hundred pages or so.

Zara is being stalked by the King of the Pixies. Yeppers. The King of the Pixies. Boys have been disappearing from the town and only the union of the pixie king with his pixie queen can stop it. How do we know he’s a pixie? Why hell- we Google it. Apparently if you Google “What would make you suspect that someone is a pixie?” you will discover the basis for this story!

I tried it. This is what I got:

What would make you suspect that someone is a pixie?

Zara’s Google tells her that pixies are not nice beings. They capture human boys and well….drink their blood. The pixie king, who is Zara’s biological father wants Zara’s mother to return to him in order to quell the “need” for young boy’s blood (think about that for a second).

Alright I can go along with that. I can dig it. What I really can’t wrap my brain around is the fact that the author is trying to tell me that these are high school juniors, in the library (you know that doesn’t happen), googling pixie hunting. Take a moment to think back on your own junior year and see if you arrive at the same place. The author chooses to paint a rather innocent portrayal of teen life and since I just recently fell in love with a story that ended with the teenage heroine knocked up by her vampire husband I guess I can give a little here.

The story redeems itself a little over half way through, where the requisite hot hero guy turns out to be a werewolf. Of course that opens up the possibility of pretty much everyone else involved in the story being something other than human- and they are. Were-tigers and were-eagles and were-bears oh my! It’s a little over kill but once again we remember what genre we are reading here and shrug it off.
It ends nicely enough with destruction of the pixies, reuniting of mother and daughter, true love and a bit with a dog (er...wolf).

I can forgive the simplicity of the story. I think it could have actually worked if she hadn’t gone the pixie route. Make up a sinister sounding name as an alternative- put it in italics and roll with it. I like the idea of pixies being scary but being stalked by the king of the pixies just doesn’t instill the fear that simply calling them something else could create. The writing was a bit distracting as well, and seemed to jump from one point to the other with literally no segue causing a “How the hell did we come to that conclusion?” reaction that prompted some back page turning. Zara’s listing of different phobias as a means of reducing anxiety were a nice little something though. With them I can at least say this was educational.

I can’t say it was a bad book. It was actually a cute little story, even with the elements of the ridiculous-but it did put me in my place- that of an old person.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Seeking solace from my recent bout of post-traumatic stress disorder caused, no doubt, by my jaunt into the small town of Forks and subsequent premature severing of my stay there (yes I'm still bitter), I joined my literary partner in crime at Barnes and Noble for a book fix.

I had thought about possibly giving Breaking Dawn a second read to see if just maybe, maybe it was me who missed the point- but screw it. I will most likely reread my copy of Twilight over and over until the pages fall out but I don't think I'll ever allow myself passed that point.

"I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding...My good opinion once lost, is lost forever." - Mr. Darcy Pride and Prejudice

Various blogs and suggestions have lead me to these:

The Forgotten Garden- Kate Morton
Stardust- Neil Gaiman
Need- Carrie Jones
Evernight- Claudia Gray
Queen of Dragons- Shana Abe (with a flick above the "e" that I'm not nearly talented enough to make)

Looking forward to the Gaiman book. I enjoyed Good Omens a great deal but I attributed that to my love of Pratchett so I'd like to see how he does on his own. Need was an impulse buy because the cover was gold and shiny and I am like an old crow (or a magpie if we want to be more poetic) in that respect. Evernight I picked up because I wanted to read Stardust, even though I meant to jump off the vampire bandwagon after Twilight. Apparently vampires are still all the rage and well- when in Rome...

I've read the previous Abe books- >:) which is why I am reading the next one...and the next one...and the next one.

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer


I have been betrayed.

First, a confession: I started reading the Twilight series (don’t you judge me!).

Now in my not-easily-admitted-to almost thirty-one years, I have read lots of books. Lots. I’ve been involved in the lives of countless characters. I am that obsessive person that when the story ends, I look around me in surprise, shock and sadness at finding myself in MY world, wondering where to go now, what to do next.

There ARE better books. There ARE better stories. There are, oh there are. But to date, not a single book has made me feel what the Twilight Saga has made me feel. I read the first three books in three days and walked around in a Twilight induced stupor.

The story of Bella and Edward is complete in and of itself. That’s what makes it. The intensity, the finality of their bond. The point was (for three books at least) was that all Bella and Edward had to have was each other to exist and nothing else.

Where were MY Bella and Edward in this book? Why is the focus on some sci-fi demon spawn or for that matter, ANYTHING but Bella and Edward? Why is half the story told through Jacob’s eyes? Don’t get me wrong, Jacob’s story is heart wrenching but at this point the author is just beating a dead horse. So my beautiful awkward Bella and my rational, controlled Edward are gone! Bella has “sex” (I know it’s Teen fiction but come on REALLY, you might have at least had them TOUCH) with Edward and is instantly pregnant with sci-fi baby.

So for three books I’ve followed this love story. For three books I have been engrossed and spying on a bond that because of its intensity cannot possibly exist outside the confines of a book. When not reading Twilight, I thought about Twilight. I thought about Bella and Edward and what their story made me feel. Three days of my heart squeezing at the thought of this story and then……you throw this sci-fi, young adult, badly written BULLSHIT at me! I swear it was worse than watching movies with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys.

So here we have three books of the GREATEST love story. You can laugh if you want but the buck stops here for eternal love. This is as good as it gets guys. Three books of agony- agony that we live in a world where THIS cannot happen. It is painful to read the first three books, wonderfully painful. Then you open Breaking Dawn. It is here that the two will be united. Here where it will be proven that there is nothing for them beyond each other. It will be final, and they will have forever. We will be crushed because the story is over and we silly little readers have to go about our mundane little lives- but no.

Bella and Edward’s love is gone. Bella is a cutesy knocked up teenager playing with a baby doll that drinks blood. Edward is a weak little whiney WUSS BOY (Mmhmm yes she did) who asks a werewolf to go do his wife. Alice has “headaches”. Jacob imprints with an infant (I was picturing the alien baby that was delivered in the back seat of the car in the first Men in Black movie and admit it, so were you). Charlie watches football with Emmett, surrounded by his daughter’s new vampire family, his new vampire daughter, her sci-fi demon child (Renesmee Carlie- might as well named her Bryttney Krystyna or my personal favorite- Tiki Lou Federline) and a werewolf. The Department of Vampire Security shows up with papers signed in triplicate, prepared to dispense out some good ol’ vampire justice, discover they are wrong and are scared off by Bella’s new x-menesque powers. Then oh yeah, somewhere in all that Bella got turned into a vampire. Joy. There you go guys, here’s your forever- the moment that cements you together for eternity, hurray, now let’s go eat an elk. Bella is all beautiful and powerful and Edward is star struck and they “do it”, teen fiction style for a long time. There is NO emotion. None. That heart squeezing pain and intensity of their love? Remember that? Now they move into a cottage in the woods with their demon child and next you are going to tell me that they were joined by seven dwarves and birds and mice that clean and cook.

I am so angry. So very angry. My story is gone, and not gone in the sad oh-the-story-is-over kind of way that I expected, but gone as in the author just totally forgot to write it. I guess she thought that by doing all this happy fairy tale bullshit she would tie up loose ends and sum it all up. No, she just gave up. She traded Bella and Edward (which IS THE STORY) for shock value and now I will never know what happened to MY Bella and Edward. The characters that she wrote in this book were not the ones I lived with for three books. They were pitiful, simplistic, sappy strangers who if introduced to me in the first Twilight book- would have saved me a lot of heart break…..and money.

Shame on you Stephenie Meyer. You hurt your fans, but more importantly you killed your story. It deserved better than that. It was perfection and you broke it. Shame, shame, shame on you.

"Start at the beginning....and when you get to the end- stop."

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing” – To Kill a Mockingbird

My sojourn into nursing school has kept me from my novels. While I’m a little resentful of that, I can appreciate the necessity of replacing stories that take me out of this world, with knowledgeable books that will teach me to keep people in it.

So I’ve been studying. Anatomy, pharmacology, medical-surgical nursing, psychiatric nursing, pediatric nursing, and on and on. I know a few things (just a few) and I am about to graduate.

I have a friend. Very odd gentleman that opened a gift shop that sells the strangest mixture of stuff. He has had the store for years, way before I knew him, with his prime motivation being to find employment that allowed him to read from 9am to 9pm every day.

In my post-academic haze I envy him so much right now. I feel rather loosely tied to things when not in the middle of a novel. Reading is my happy place. Days are filled with things quite beyond our control (and some well within), messes, work and doing. Knowing that at the end of all of it I can sit down and relax in any time, country or universe I choose (from the comfort of my own chair, without the need for any additional shots) makes the daily doing that much more bearable.

So now that I once again have some time to devote to my passion, all those shiny new covers are all but irresistible. The entries on this blog really won't be reviews, more so just listening to myself talk.

Pray that I don’t go broke.

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Laura @ A Jane of All Reads
I read excessively and hoard books like a greedy dragon. Theoretically, I also plan to use them to barricade myself against the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.

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