When my book club chose True Grit as its next read, I groaned. Then, I groaned even louder when I actually had the book in my hands and started reading it. While I thought the concept of a 14 year old girl going after her father’s killer was cool, especially since it kind of reminded me of one of my favorite T.V. shows, Revenge, the fact that no sweeping romance was going to take place convinced I wouldn’t like the book at all. Oh, how I loved being proved wrong.
In Mattie Ross’ world, your word is your law. She gives her word that her father’s murder will be brought to justice and she’s hell bent on making that happen. In order to accomplish this mission, Mattie seeks to hire a marshall with ‘true grit’ and that just happens to be the one-eyed “Rooster” Cogburn. Along for the ride is a charming, if not arrogant, Texas Ranger – LaBoeuf, who happens to have his own agenda.
The trio that Mattie finds herself in was so unlikely that it made for a very entertaining adventure. Though the beginning of the novel was very slow going for me, I soon found myself enchanted by subtle humor and the language used – the Old West proper verse the raw slang – and I couldn’t help but be delighted by the loyal friendships that formed.
Mattie was sharp witted and very clever; so much so that at times, I forgot she was so young, yet she maintained a slight innocence throughout the story that tested the other characters around her. And, though I’m not really sure I liked how Mattie ended up, as a grown woman, a spinster, retelling the story, it did seem very indicative of the time period and of Mattie’s circumstances.
Overall, I’m glad I finished the novel, as it turned out to be a rather interesting, easy to read story.
Thank goodness for Netflix because True Grit, the movie, just happened to be available for my enjoyment.
Annnnnnd, Meh. I didn’t end up liking the movie as much as the book, but I did have fun comparing the two. It’s always interesting to me to wonder why little deviations from the book are necessary, like how LaBoeuf and Mattie first meet. But it looked like most of the humorous bits I remembered from the book were in the movie, and I really enjoyed watching those scenes play out. Also, the ensemble of actors that appeared in the film were amazing, as you’d expect from such a cast.
Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship – or an early grave.
Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.
If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood – not even from each other.
I’ve only actively been listening to audiobooks for a short time, but I feel like I’ve developed a good sense of what kind of stories are best enjoyed by reading them rather than listening to them. Because Born Wicked is not an overly complex novel, it’s the perfect kind of story to listen to as an audiobook.
I’m not really a big fan of historical fantasy or witches, but I LOVED Born Wicked. The narrator was fantastic and did an excellent job of keeping me hooked, though there were a few times I thought her voice sounded a bit like a Chipettes‘. But that didn’t bother me at all, especially when I considered the story’s setting.
My favorite thing about Born Wicked was the prose. At times, it was tender, almost delicate, yet it was also fierce and full of conviction when it needed to be. Spotswood’s writing style reminded me of Laura Whitcomb’s A Certain Slant of Light, which is one of my favorite novels. Both used language in a deliciously exquisite and rich way to illustrate the time period that the characters were from. The only difference I noticed is that Spotswood tended to continuously repeat certain phrases or words that aren’t very common today, but perhaps that wouldn’t have been as obvious had I read the story instead of listen to it.
Thinking of the era in which Born Wicked takes place, I’d even call Cate a young Lily Bart, because she was such a spitfire, with a quick temper and a proud attitude. But unlike Lily, Cate wasn’t selfish or dim. She had a sharp mind, and she constantly worried about her sisters or what would become of them if their secret was discovered.
The romance wasn’t enough for my taste, but it was still very sweet. For a while it seemed like it was headed towards a love triangle, but that wasn’t the case, much to my relief. Still, the way Cate was separated from her choice was heartbreaking.
I can’t say I noticed anything significant about the side characters, only that they all played their part well. Yes, I usually prefer more substance in secondary characters, but I didn’t mind the way they were used here because the focus fell on Cate, and I genuinely liked her. I was enchanted by her struggles, her burden, her inability to trust, her outbursts, her decisions, and finally, her resolve. Sure, if she had been a bit more open and honest with her sisters and her love interest, her path could have been very different, but then again, it might have caused the story to wrap up too quickly. In which case, I’m happy that the story played out as it did because at least now it means there’s more to come.
I’m not sure what I can say about this series that hasn’t already been said. I think Nic of Irresistible Reads described it best by saying it’s one that’s filled with “pulse pounding moments” at every turn of the page. And it’s a wondrous thing to behold because as you read about Gabi’s time traveling adventures, you are not merely an observer of her journey, you become part of the story itself, as if you too are transported to medieval Italia, facing one life threatening situation after another.
I’ll be honest and say at first, I didn’t care much for the heroine and protagonist of the series, Gabriella. Despite her witty musings, she was too Mary Sue for my taste, knowing just enough about everything to really feel genuine. But I’m happy to say that my initial impression of her change dramatically as the series continued. What I discovered about Gabi was that she is a very rich character, flawed in many ways, her aggressive stubbornness probably the most notable, but that very trait also made her dynamic; enhancing the fierceness of her loyalty to those she loves and to herself. If anything, I never imagined myself adoring her, especially after having to endure her make decisions I didn’t agree with or partake in actions that made me want to punch a baby, but now I consider her one of my most beloved characters ever. *nerd alert* In fact, she turned out to be so fascinating to me, I found myself wishing there was a YA English Lit class I could take that would allow me to do a character analysis on her.
The secondary characters are just as remarkable. And though my delight in unraveling Gabi made me wish I could have done the same with those she held dearest, I could understand why they seemed so infallible. That was simply the way she viewed them. I’m sure they aren’t as perfect as they initially seem either, but try telling Gabi that and consider yourself lucky if you live to see another day. In any case, many of the secondary characters left me wanting to know them more intimately, and I really hope that their stories will be told.
It didn’t take long for the heart-stopping action scenes in the series to become a kind of a comfort, being as constant as they were. Every moment had me desperate to get to the next, wild with the need to know that all would be well…somehow.
Each book ends rather abruptly, making your mind scream in anguished excitement, but ever ready to race off to the next book to once again be swept into Gabi’s world of epic adventure, delicious romance, and unapologetic faith.
I believe that this series is one that will not only capture many hearts but also stand the test of time with the many ways it shocks yet enchants readers. I dare you to read it and not want to try your hand at medieval speak as I have done this week, much to the extreme dismay of my family, who have continuously bestowed upon me curious glaces…much the same as you are doing now. LOL!
I hope you’ll join us in exploring this wonderful series with Waterfall Wednesdays, which begins next week! Click the button for more details.
Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?
Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden.
Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry.
Review: I don’t read much historical fiction, but after reading Vixen, I’ve realized that I really need to reconsider and add more of this genre to my TBR.
Just as the cover implies, Vixen is a sultry novel, and I’m really surprised by how much I liked it. I could scarcely put it down, and the only reason I did was because my sister was visiting from out of town and got in my face more times than I care to remember. LOL
Based on some meandering impressions I’ve collected from various mediums, it seems to me that the high society lifestyle of the early 1920′s was highly coveted yet rarely something to feel fortunate about or even enjoy. Was it really such an imposition to have everything handed to you on a silver platter?
Gloria Carmody seems to think so. Forget engagement parties, Gloria would rather sneak off to find her thrills in the sinfully exotic underground world of speakeasies, where jazz music and drinking are more than forbidden delights. Her polite manners, perfect grades and pristine beauty may have landed her a handsome if not boring suitor, but what Gloria really longs for is the uninhibited lifestyle of a flapper, which would allow her to purse a career as a singer and a lover like Jerome Johnson. But she couldn’t possibly dare to dream such a thing, right? Because not only is Jerome poor, he is also black.
Along for the rebellious ride from all that is proper to all that is dangerously delicious was Gloria’s best friend, Lorraine and her cousin Clara, who couldn’t have been more opposite from one another. Poor Lorraine. She has to be the most pathetic character I have ever come across. Her desperation reeked through the pages, and her tiresome antics firmly put her at the bottom of the barrel for me.
Clara, I did like. She was very guarded because of her painful past, but she paid the price for it. Once she embraced braver and bolder attitude, she really glowed and turned out the be my favorite character. Gloria has potential to be someone I could like, but not in this novel. She was a bit too selfish and reckless, leaving me to believe she was nothing more than a spoiled brat, but hopefully she will redeem herself.
I’m not sure any of the male characters added anything really intriguing to the storyline, aside from the trouble they caused by doing what was expected (i.e. cue menacing gangster). They were all kind of bland, but maybe that was done on purpose. I really didn’t find myself falling in love with the ones that were supposed to be swoon worthy, but I did feel hopeful about the romances that Clara and Gloria got swept away in.
The story was more about the girls finding their own way, and I really enjoyed the three narrators POV shifts. As it usually does, it helped move the story along and added some much needed mystery to a somewhat predictable plot.
Vixen was a fun, fast read, and I really adored the lingo used. It made me smile every time. Who wouldn’t love being called Dollface or hotsy-totsy? And I gotta give Larkin major props for not going down the dark and evil cliffhanger alley. It would have been majorly cliche for the story to end with a who done it vibe, but thankfully that didn’t happen, though there is definitely more to come. Ingenue (Flappers, #2) will be released in August, and I’m looking forward to following the girls on their next adventure.
Product Description An extraordinary debut novel of love that survives the fires of hell and transcends the boundaries of time.
The narrator of The Gargoyle is a very contemporary cynic, physically beautiful and sexually adept, who dwells in the moral vacuum that is modern life. As the book opens, he is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He crashes into a ravine and suffers horrible burns over much of his body. As he recovers in a burn ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned, he awaits the day when he can leave the hospital and commit carefully planned suicide—for he is now a monster in appearance as well as in soul.
A beautiful and compelling, but clearly unhinged, sculptress of gargoyles by the name of Marianne Engel appears at the foot of his bed and insists that they were once lovers in medieval Germany. In her telling, he was a badly injured mercenary and she was a nun and scribe in the famed monastery of Engelthal who nursed him back to health. As she spins their tale in Scheherazade fashion and relates equally mesmerizing stories of deathless love in Japan, Iceland, Italy, and England, he finds himself drawn back to life—and, finally, in love. He is released into Marianne’s care and takes up residence in her huge stone house. But all is not well. For one thing, the pull of his past sins becomes ever more powerful as the morphine he is prescribed becomes ever more addictive. For another, Marianne receives word from God that she has only twenty-seven sculptures left to complete—and her time on earth will be finished.
Already an international literary sensation, The Gargoyle is an Inferno for our time. It will have you believing in the impossible.
Review I don’t even know how to begin describing how wonderful this book is. Beautiful written with descriptions so vivid and so haunting you’ll beg for mercy. At least, I know I did! In my third attempt to read this book I finally finished it over a weekend trip to the beach (in which I’m still suffering from a very bad sun burn…is this irony?). This book was so magical that it is hard to believe it is penned by a debut author. And, I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book!
The times I had tried to read The Gargoyle before, I just couldn’t get past the opening scene. GAH! The way the story’s narrator details the car crash in the beginning, in which he is burned alive, is horrific. Plus, I sometimes have a hard time getting into a story where the narrator (and tell me if I’m wrong, but I dont think he is ever named in the story) talks to the reader too much. My thoughts on this is that I’m reading because I want to read your story, not because I want you to have a convo with me. So yes, I had a problem with stuff like this:
I have no idea whether beginning with my accident was the best decision, as I’ve never written a book before. Truth be told, I started with the crash because I wanted to catch your interest and drag you into the story. You’re still reading, so it seems to have worked.
This little bit of annoyance aside, The Gargoyle is a story about the unconditional love between an unconventional and unlikely pair. I loved the parallels illustrated in this book, with references to The Inferno, languages and religion.
The narrator, who was a porn star before the accident that left his body destroyed, feels that his fate is decided; he will kill himself as soon as he is released from the hospital. But then Marianne Engel appears and tells him love stories: The Good Ironworker, The Woman on the Cliff, The Glassblower’s Apprentice, and my favorite (and not just because it is about a Viking), Siguror’s Gift, filled with pain and suffering; love stories that survive journeys to hell and back. In the process, the narrator falls in love with Marianne, which reveals the ultimate love story, their own.
As Marianne tells her tales, I found myself wanting to believe her. Her claims that she was the narrator’s lover in a past life feel real. And the narrator’s journey through hell for their love (through a ‘hallucination’) hints to the idea that he has accepted her stories as truth.
This book had me crying buckets, especially as it concluded! It was so elegant, spiritual, and at the end, it was even peaceful.
Tattoo worthy quotes from The Gargoyle:
Any man who believes he can describe love understands nothing about it.
Hell is a choice because salvation is available to anyone who seeks it.
You are mine, I am yours; you may be sure of this. You’ve been locked inside my heart, the key has been thrown away; within it, you must always stay.