Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Back to the Books" Giveaway Hop!

This giveaway hop is hosted by the awesome people from I'm A Reader, Not A Writer and Buried In Books. It will run September 1st - 7th, 2011. A winner will be chosen on September 8th, 2011.


An ARC copy of Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Description from goodreads:

'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...' Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.

Link to my review here. *Warning! Contains very slight spoilers!*

The Rules:

1. Must be a public GFC follower and comment on this post. (I will be checking!) This is my first giveaway and I'm keeping it simple for my own sake. :D

2. Must have a valid address. I will ship international.

3. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing their win. After that I will pick another winner.

Bonus Entries:

+3 for replying to any of my reviews

+2 tweet about this contest (must provide link and include my handle: @fallinangelz21)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on...

The Rivals by Daisy Whitney

Amazon description:

When Alex Patrick was assaulted by another student last year, her elite boarding school wouldn't do anything about it. This year Alex is head of the Mockingbirds, a secret society of students who police and protect the student body. While she desperately wants to live up to the legacy that's been given to her, she's now dealing with a case unlike any the Mockingbirds have seen before.

It isn't rape. It isn't bullying. It isn't hate speech. A far-reaching prescription drug ring has sprung up, and students are using the drugs to cheat. But how do you try a case with no obvious victim? Especially when the facts don't add up, and each new clue drives a wedge between Alex and the people she loves most: her friends, her boyfriend, and her fellow Mockingbirds.

As Alex unravels the layers of deceit within the school, the administration, and even the student body the Mockingbirds protect, her struggle to navigate the murky waters of vigilante justice may reveal more about herself than she ever expected.

Review: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Title: The Mockingbirds
Author: Daisy Whitney
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 332
Rating: 4/5 Stars

The best thing Daisy Whitney does with The Mockingbirds is dive right in to the action. The story starts the morning after a night Alex Patrick can't remember and plows ahead relentlessly to the resolution. It stays tight and focused with every chapter tying back to that night. As I reader, I appreciated that because the subject of date-rape is heavy enough without being mired down by the other drama of high school. I think the narrow focus also highlighted the fact that for half a semester, Alex's world revolved around one thing - that night and all the doubts, fears and anxiety that went with it.

World building is always a big thing for me and Whitney's Themis Academy is a fascinating, isolated organism. While it's deplorable that the students attend a school that they know with certainty only cares about maintaining its reputation, I'm glad of it because it brought about the necessity for The Mockingbirds. Secret organizations are a dime a dozen, but it's rare to find one that is not only supposed to do good, but actually does. My favorite moments in the book were the ones where I found out more about the studen-run justice system.

Alex is a very relatable protagonist. A good girl, but nobody's saint, I felt for her as she struggled to come to terms with not only what happened, but her own memories of what happened. Her courage is believable, enough to impress me in a 17-year-old, but not stretch the boundaries of credibility. Carter, her accused date-rapist, was painted with a careful brush in that while he's - as one character so aptly puts it - a douche, he's not an evil sexual predator. He's a guy who has probably had everything handed to him and didn't think for a moment Alex wouldn't appreciate his advances.

If I had to critique anything it would be the depiction of Alex's friends and the Mockingbirds themselves. They seemed a little...too perfect. They all handled themselves in the situation with such ease - a finesse I don't think I'd be capable of now at thirty, let alone when I was in high school. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop - for one of her friends (Maia in particular) to flip and show her true evil colors, but maybe I've read/watched too many teen dramas. ;p

The ending of this novel was very satisfying, but not tied up in a little bow so neat it felt unrealistic. Ms. Whitney has a sequel coming out in 2012, The Rivals, that I will definitely check out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (2)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page


This week I'm reading:

"Martin and I were flirting that night. Martin and I were talking and flirting and touching each other just barely, just the tiniest bit like you do when you first start to like someone."

pg. 139 The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: The Caretakers by Shauna Nosler

Title: The Caretakers
Author: Shauna Nosler
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 274
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Until two seconds ago, I planned on giving this book three stars. I definitely liked The Caretakers, but it's what I think of as a domestic, family drama - definitely not my usual fair. But the whole point of taking recommendations from other bloggers, friends, etc is trying new things.

What changed my mind and bumped the book up to four stars is the fact that Shauna Nosler nearly made me cry. That, my friends, is a huge accomplishment and deserves kudos. Well done, Ms. Nosler.

The Caretakers uses the hotbutton topic of abortion and the landmark Roe vs. Wade case that made the practice legal in the US as its framework, but it's not about abortion. Over the course of fifteen years it tells a story about loss, grief and acceptance and finding a way to not only survive ones choices, but truly live with them and find happiness.

The back cover assures the reader that the book is not about right and wrong, and although I did get a pro-life vibe, it was mostly restricted to specific characters and I didn't feel preached at.

The characters - Caroline, Mitch, Jasper and Mabel - are vibrant and distinct. Nosler allows us a glimpse inside each of their heads and succeeds in giving them a distinct voice. While Jasper's journey was extensively fleshed out, I would have liked more from Mabel. I'm glad that she was able to find peace with her decisions, I would have liked to know more, specifically how she feels about the choice she made. I did get the impression that she regretted her choice to get an abortion, but I never really learned why. I also never really learned why she chose to have one in the first place. I think Nosler's story would be richer if she delved into those details of Mabel's experience.

Quite a few truths are left unsaid by the time I arrived at the last page of The Caretakers and for the most part I'm kind of glad they stayed that way. There are some things, especially about long buried secrets, that are better left unsaid. One truth, however, I feel needed to be told. Jasper needed to know that Nathan Comber was not the father of Mabel's child. Jasper didn't need to know who was, but given that Nathan was his father's best friend, I think his reputation deserved to be cleared, even if only one person was maligning it.

The Caretakers is worth a read. It moves quickly and the world Nosler creates - specifically The Country House - is a place I enjoyed spending time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Irish Banana Review Giveaway - The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

My very good friend at The Irish Banana Review is doing an awesome YA book giveaway of Sara Shepard's (author of Pretty Little Liars) The Lying Game. Click here to enter!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) teaser sentences from somewhere on that page


This week I'm reading:

"Mable sat at a table inside one of the cafes next to her school and watched as drop after drop of water smacked the window and collected into a circular puddle on the sidewalk. She sipped her steamed almond milk and fiddled with the flakes of pastry that her breakfast had left ilde on her saucer."

Pg. 138 - The Caretakers by Shauna Nosler

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Title: Shutter Island
Author: Dennis Lehane
Publisher: HarperTorch
Pages: 369
Rating: 4/5 Stars

I'm not sure at what point I started entertaining the idea that this whole investigation was a figment of some patient's imagination. It was a passing thought that I only marginally considered possible. Clearly, I should learn to trust my instincts.

Shutter Island is one of those books that leaves you feeling rather bleek, but there's no way it could have ended any other way and honored the spirit of the story. I'm interested to read more of Lehane's novels, although knowing how Shutter Island ends I'm going to have to work myself up to it and be prepared.

Also not surprised three of his novels have been made into movies thus far. His writing style lends itself beautifully to screenplay/script form. He creates a vivid world, but at the same time keeps the action moving at a quick clip - the very definition of a "gripping page-turner".

Review: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Title: Before I Go To Sleep
Author: S.J. Watson
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 368 (ARC Copy)
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Any book compelling enough to get me to read it in one day deserves at least four stars. I might have given it five if it hadn't felt a little like watching the novelization of an above average Lifetime movie.

Told from the first person it's impossible not to share Christine's confusion and panic as she wakes up each morning with no knowledge of who she is or the identity of the strange man lying next to her in bed. Her story is told to both her and the reader through a journal she's been keeping at the suggestion of a psychiatrist she's been seeing without her husband's knowledge. That right there, Ben's ignorance of Christine's quest for the truth, is the first of many clues that nothing in Christine's world is as it seems.

S.J. Watson's choice to tell this strictly from Christine's perspective is most definitely the right one. Sometimes first person is too restricting and leaves me wanting more, but in this case it was much more fun to piece together the clues slowly through her eyes.

While the plot did feel rather maudlin and melodramatic at times, the twists and turns made for a thrilling ride. Several outcomes came to mind very early on, but I was never certain which would end up being the real truth. The ending was satisfying without being too neat and tidy. You're given the impression that Christine's memory may not disappear when she goes to sleep this time, that the next morning she may remember her newly rediscovered friends and family and just that possibility is enough.

Edit 6/6/11: I've spent more time pondering this novel and I have a couple more observations. Sometimes, I caught notions and phrases that seemed repetitive to me. In any other book, I'd call that a flaw. In this book I found meaning to the repetitiveness beyond author laziness. A woman starting every day from scratch has little choice but to repeat the same things over and over.

Christine lost her memory when she was in her late twenties. Watson does a really good job in keeping her in that late 20s mentality. I didn't feel like I was reading about a woman in her late 40s. It was interesting to be reminded, along with Christine, what her real age was.

Review: At The Heart of the White Rose by Inge Jens

Title: At The Heart of the White Rose: Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl
Author: Inge Jens
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 331
Rating: 5/5 Stars

If you're looking for a book that delves into the resistance activities of the White Rose in Germany during WWII, this is not the book for you. If you're looking to know more about Hans and Sophie Scholl, the siblings who died together for their beliefs, this book is perfect.

The collection of letters and diaries are in the Scholl sibling's own words and depict two like-minded individuals who believed above all in the beauty of Nature and strove to forge a relationship with God.

Despite the fact that everyday, Hans and Sophie were faced with atrocities that flew in the face of Nature and the God they so desperately longed to know, they maintained their faith. They believed that the German people, and humanity as a whole, deserved better than Hitler and the Nazi regime.

What I loved most about this book was the unabashed honesty with which Hans and Sophie expressed themselves. Whether in a diary entry for no eyes but their own or in a letter to their parents, the Scholls expressed their frustrations, joys, fears and longings with incredible candor that I found humbling. As I reached the entries just before Hans and Sophie's arrest, I was teary-eyed because I knew with each dated entry that their demise was imminent.

The book is set up very well, switching between Hans and Sophie in chronological fashion. Jens includes copious notes to give the reader additional information that fleshes out the world Hans and Sophie lived in, as well as the people in their lives. On its own, this book isn't enough to satisfy my curiosity about the White Rose, but it's a wonderful companion to other books on the topic. Hans and Sophie Scholl were amazing and inspirational and I've learned a great deal about myself having read their thoughts and feelings.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: Wake by Lisa McMann

Title: Wake
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 210
Rating: 4/5 Stars

A very unusual and fun read. Also, a very quick read. I think it took me two days to finish it. Like Vampire Academy I deeply appreciate how the teens are written as teens, complete with all their vices, bad language and irrational behavior.

McMann does an excellent job of writing the females of the piece, but I'm not sure I'm totally sold on her depiction of Cabel. He's a little more quick to emote than I expected. Granted, he's letting his guard down with Janie, but still. Just a touch much, methinks.

The law enforcement twist was unexpected and on the one hand I love it. On the other I'm still a little bemused by the convenience of it in making the hero a total hero. Judging from the end and the teaser of Fade, Wake seems to be a build up to the law enforcement angle all along, so I'm going to go with it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Review: Hex by Ramona Wray

Title: Hex: A Witch and Angel Tale
Author: Ramona Wray
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 254
Rating: 3/5 Stars

I give this book 4 Stars for story and 2.5 Stars for technical merit. Once the plot well and truly thickened I liked Lucien/Lily/Ryder's story very much. In fact, I stayed up until 3am to finish reading the book. Wray created some colorful characters and a very interesting setting for her story.

Technically speaking, there's room for improvement. Wray is a good author, but I felt that the beginning of the book moved a little too quickly. Lily's inability to touch people certainly went a long way in explaining why she fell for and trusted Ryder so quickly, but I still wanted it to take longer. I'm a sucker for watching two people fall for each other, so perhaps this a bit of personal preference.

Wray overuses simile and metaphor. They are useful parts of speech but when I actually notice their frequency...that's a problem. Lily also has an extensive wealth of information that comes in very handy at various times in the novel, but I don't believe for a second the random teenager would know. It was a bit jarring when she was able to name the man who originally said "absolute power corrupts absolutely" or when she went off on a rant that the mid-20th century song that spawned the idea that you hurt the ones you love the most. If there had been some justification made as to why she knew these things, I would have gone with it, but there wasn't.

I think Wray has it in her to write some really amazing fiction, so I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA novels. I'll keep an eye on Wray and give her other work a try.

Review: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Title: American Psycho
Author: Bret Easton Ellis
Publisher: Vintage
Pages: 416
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Another book I don't know what to rate. Some sections of the book are so depraved they tap-danced on even my threshold of decency. Anybody who knows me understands how big a deal that is. Most of it, however, was absurdly hilarious and psychologically disturbing just as I expected.

I approached American Psycho thinking "god, I really hope I get this book." And then as I read it "I think I get it this book." Now that I've finished, I do think I "got it." Honestly, I think I try too hard sometimes to get books that others have heeped meanings upon, but that's a conversation for another day.

So, American Psyhco. Not for the faint of heart or easily offended. Our 'hero' as it were, is quite literally a psychotic asshole. Patrick Bateman is racist, sexist, agist, greedy, gluttonous, shallow, arrogant,and sadistic. He teases bums on the street, orders them to 'get a job' and then drops hundreds of dollars a night on dinners, drinks and drugs. He consistently cheats on his longtime girlfriend with other women, although Evelyn's so incredibly vapid and self-centered it takes a collossal slip up on Patrick's part for her to even consider the idea that he's been unfaithful. He spends more time at the gym than in the office and as he so exactly put it to a lunch date that he later tortured and murdered he ""

That compulsive need to fit in is the whole point and the amazing thing to me is that even though Patrick is a reprehensible human being, Ellis manages to infuse him with this yearning for the ever illusive something meaningful that you almost feel sorry for him in his inabilty to connect, to feel. As a reader I didn't forgive him for what he did, but I had no trouble understanding what drove him. Patrick's tragedy is that to him, there's only one way of life - the Wall Street way, the way of excess - and not only is he unable to recognize this, he is incapable of considering there's anything else. So he exists in a state of depression and homicidal rage which, fueled by drugs and alcohol, has only one logical conclusion. The hilariously and sad absurdity of it all is that Patrick is barely trying to hide his true nature. He's just surrounded by so many equally shallow and self-centered people that no one notices.

The excess of the 80s is on full display here and our narrator's earnest, detailed descriptions of his morning hygiene routine, his gym workout, meals he orders at restaurants, the decorating in every house he enters and especially what he and his companions in a given chapter are wearing is endlessly amusing. Everything is designer and everything is expensive. In fact, if it doesn't cost enough, Patrick and his fellow Wall Streeters aren't interested. What's new and hip is discussed excessively and the ability to get a reservation at Dorsia's - the #1 hot spot - is an ongoing cause of distress. My favorite chapters were actually the ones that felt like they were ripped right out of Rolling Stone as Patrick waxed poetic about the superb talents of Genesis, Whitney Houston and Huey Lewis and the News. Drum machines, sax solos, soaring, overwrought ballads - things that are so uniquely and detrimentally identified with 80s music - are highly praised in a way that twenty years later endlessly amused me.

If the word 'scathing' wasn't used to describe Ellis's work, it should be. It's the best adjective I can come up with to summerize what I got out of American Psycho. It is a scathing look at the heart of the 80s yuppie world, Wall Street, and how soulless the mindless lust for wealth and material possessions often is, what it turns people into when they don't know why.

Upon reading some of the other reviews I realized I glossed over the violence, although this was not done on purpose. I'm not going to go into detail on it because there are plenty of other reviews that do - often to exhausting extremes. Bottom line: the descriptions of violence against human beings in this book are incredibly graphic and sadisticly imaginative. For some they completely overshadow anything else the book is trying to say. In my opinion, that is a reflection upon the reader, not Mr. Ellis. Far too many readers want to pin their personal reactions upon him, blame him for writing something that is too this or too that. So, take that as a warning and read at your own risk.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Title: Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars #1)
Author: Sara Shepard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages 304
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Given that I watched the entire first season of the tv series based on PLL, I knew the twists and turns before the girls knew they were coming. The show follows the plot points of the first book very faithfully. That said, I very much enjoyed the book and will be reading Flawless.

PLL is a quick read, perfect mind candy and although the girls get up to some underage drinking/drugs, near/implied sex (with some, ahem, older boys), shoplifting and, as the title implies, a lot of lying/secret keeping, it felt youngish - written for the junior high crowd about the high schoolers they'll most likely idolize. Case in point, in the first chapter, when the girls had just finished their 7th grade year, I was surprised at how mature they seemed. Then three years pass, the girls are now juniors, and now I felt they weren't quite mature enough.

While the way Shepard namedrops designers can be a bit jarring at times it actually does wonders in creating the world inwhich Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily exist. Rosewood is as upper crust as you get without being on the Upper West Side. While their struggles with looks, identity, belonging, parental and peer pressure is universal, the world in which they exist is far removed from your average young adult reader. I think that adds to the appeal and also allows the author to push the envelope with what the girls get away with.

The parents are charicatures, adding to the generation gap and the isolation that leads the girls to keep their secrets and lies. Surprisingly - because one doesn't usually say this about the book to tv conversion - the parents are more fleshed out and have more depth on the small screen.

To sum up, this book felt like a prelude to the rest of the series. A 275 page set up. Again, that could have been because I have watched the series, but it's not really an insult so much as an observation. Set up needs to begin somewhere and as this was obviously written as the first in a series as opposed to a stand alone novel, there's nothing wrong with the way it breaks down.

Review: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Title: I Am Number Four
Author: Pittacus Lore
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 480
Rating: 3/5 Stars

First person, present tense. A very challenging writing style that can pay off if done well and Pittacus Lore manages to hit 'well' most of the time. The story of I Am Number Four is good. Not as compelling as The Hunger Games - another YA series set to reach the big screen - but I cared about the characters and what happened to them. I think that, unlike The Hunger Games, even as I get further from I Am Number Four, I will still like the characters. I want to know more about the Lorien Legacies and their destiny. Lore drops clues and doles out information very judiciously and as a result I want to read the next book in the series.

The prose is interesting and reminded me of Hemmingway. Not that it's the same, but there is something very distinct about Lore's use of words and attention to detail. Sometimes too much detail as more than once I caught myself rolling my eyes and mumbling that I don't freaking care if he had to open his bedroom door to enter the room - all I need to know is that he's in there. But that attention to detail results in a distinct voice that is Lore's alone and I feel that's an accomplishment worth noting whether I loved it all the time or not.

At times I enjoyed the dialogue. At times I felt I was being preached at or the fifteen and sixteen year olds were emmulating Dawson's Creek and using verbage that no teenager would use. Just little things. A certain sophistication and proper grammar that I don't think people really grasp until they are older. I didn't feel any character had a truly distinct personality, except maybe Henri. And that might only have been because I could so clearly picture Timothy Olyphant playing the role.

Originally I gave this book four stars. I've now amended that to three. Pittacus Lore has me for the next book, because I'm interested in the mytery of the Lorien Legacies and the first two chapters of The Power of Six included with my copy of the book have me ready for more. If I could, I'd give this three and a half stars.

Review: Ruined by Paula Morris

Title: Ruined
Author: Paula Morris
Publisher: Point
Pages: 309
Rating: 3/5 Stars

I had this book figured out fairly early on, but that didn't make the journey less enjoyable. The plot was a bit slow to start, but sped up quite quickly in the last third. I do wish the expositiony bits had been spread out more, rather than having three or four solid chapters where the characters did nothing but talk at me.

Speaking of, I liked the characters a lot. I felt that although the characters are 16-17 years old, the novel reads a bit young, more for the junior high set than actual 16-17 year olds. Rebecca was a sympathetic fish-out-of-water protagonist and managed to avoid overt self-pity. Lisette was really interesting because despite what happened to her, she wasn't a vengeful spirit. She wasn't purposely causing death and distruction, she was just a cog in the greater supernatural machine. Even the Mean Girls weren't really mean so much as scared and desperate. The Bowman's, Sutton's and Grey's were the villians of the piece, but I think the story would have been richer had they been written in more shades of grey.

Anton was done a bit of a disservice because while Rebecca heard and witnessed the traditions and deep familial obligations associated with the Garden District families she never really understood them and I don't think that's fair. Yes, Anton was Rebecca's friend, yes, he should have stood up for what was right, but he had also been friends with these other classmates for much longer than he'd known her. There's right, there's wrong and then there's the sticky middle ground where you know what's right but in order to do it one must surmount ridiculous obstacles and sometimes throw out everything they've ever known. That is scary stuff for a seventeen year old kid and Anton's struggle shouldn't be disregarded.

Ruined is technically a ghost story, but it's not a spine-tingling page turner. Racism, classism and the sins of the past are the truly chilling aspects of this novel.

I'd also like to note that the vivid descriptions of a post-Katrina New Orleans are particularly interesting and add great depth to the atmosphere of the book.

Review: Enigma by Robert Harris

Title: Enigma
Author: Robert Harris
Publisher: Arrow
Pages: 464
Rating: 3/5 Stars

I found Enigma a compelling page turner. I was able to spend large chunks of time reading which is a plus. Harris weaves a very intriguing mystery into the greater struggle of breaking the Enigma machine. Like Jericho and Hester I really wanted to know what happened to Claire - even if I didn't like her much. I'll never understand the appeal and loyalty these bitchy, self-centered characters demand, but that's another story. I really did want to know not only where she disappeared to, but why and because of whom. Like Jericho, as soon as that mystery was solved I felt a sense of release and was able to move on. I didn't need to know more.

I gave the novel three stars because Harris' writing style felt a little...dry. That's not quite the right word, but will suffice. Also - and this is my fault, not his - my brain is not wired to comprehend code breaking and math on the level required of these cryptanalysts. The sections that dealt heavily with exactly how the Enigma machine worked and how codes were broken did little for me and I think my eyes glazed over a bit until I arrived at the punchline.

I think this book's biggest strength is the picture it paints of every day life in England during the war. This isn't about the devastation of the Blitz or the trauma of serviving an attack. This is the toil of surviving, every day, under the strain of the black outs, the food rationing, the lack of basically everything. What I took away most from this book is what I always take away from anything having to deal with WWII - the people who lived it and fought in it are fascinating and inspirational.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast

Title: Marked (House of Night #1)
Author: P.C. & Kristin Cast
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 306
Rating: 3/5 Stars

My roommate reads these House of Night novels the way I read Twilight - i.e. constantly wondering why I'm wasting my time with such poorly written, yet so-addictive-it's-like-crack YA fiction. She likens this book to bad fanfic and while I agree to a point, I have read too much actually horrific fanfiction to disparrage this book like that.

Anyhoo, now that I'm done slamming it, I will say I enjoyed reading Marked. I liked all the characters and since I already started with the Twilight comparisons, I will add that I found Zoey so much more entertaining than Bella. Mostly because Zoey doesn't suffer from soul crushing self esteem issues. I felt for Zoey in the way family and friends shunned her after the mark appeared (btw, how feaking cool that it's like a tattoo? The descriptions sound incredibly beautiful), but she was resilient enough that the feeling didn't veer over into pity.

Zoey's new friends are a lot of fun, although the Twins are a touch much. As with Twilight, I really enjoy the twists on the vampire/vampyre mythology. The Change taking four years, the arts world being dominated by vamps, the fact that it's like an alternate reality where vamps have been part of the known world forever. Very cool.

Marked was a fun read and I'm looking forward to reading more of the series.

All We Need Is Love

"What are doubts, if not doubts about ourselves? Uncertainty seldom resides in others or in our relationship with them, but usually in our own hearts, and we strive to generalize it. Nothing, I know, is more understandable than our environment, which precisely obeys the laws that govern it, provided we explore the nature of things. Man in the midst of his world resembles a fire that flickers relentlessly, inflames us with apparent unpredictability, burns, and dies. Should we blind ourselves to these dangers? Isn't it preferable to die of ever-gnawing pain than to roam the world freely and easiy, but falsely? Is their no consolation?

Love is the only consolation, because love requires no proof. It exists like God himself, whose existence could doubtless be proved but was sensed by mankind long before any evidence could be produced.

Yes, there's such a thing as love for its own sake. It's unconstrained and exempt from human jurisdiction." ~Hans Scholl

Thus far, this letter to Rose Nagele, is the most concise and complete explanation of the conviction and character that led Hans Scholl to die for his beliefs. It's both inspiring and daunting and makes me wonder if I could possibly stand in his shoes and act the same.