Tuesday, September 16, 2014

YAck Attack: Landline by Rainbow Rowell


Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened  (goodreads.com)

SyaIn order to have a starting point for the Landline YAck, I present this as exhibit A, proving Rowell has perfected the art of turning a perfect phrase. I've just finished the book and look forward to hearing what everyone thought. I think that this is a book that will be experienced differently depending on where we are in our lives and what we have done with them (yes, I know all books are like that but I am feeling it particularly with this one).

Donna: This book is so far away from my normal reading repertoire I need a passport. I didn't even know the premise until I picked it up to read it. So tell me, will it eventually stop reading like an ABC Family movie and a Lifetime movie had a baby?

Maureen: Donna is trying to give Rowell a run for her money.

Donna: Donna is trying to even nominally connect to a book that's roughly 99.9% unrelateable to her. Laura was right. I should have stuck with Fangirl.

Maureen: I still haven't read any Rowell. Heresy, I know. But the fandoration has gotten to the point where I get stubborn. Same thing happened with WONDER.

Chachic: I've read Fangirl and Attachments and really enjoyed both. Haven't started on Landline. Might not be able to get to it this will because Magic Breaks will be released tomorrow!

Sya: I only got invested in the last third. Prior to that I kept putting it down with no inclination to pick it up again. A bit, actually, like Eleanor and Park which I never finished. However, there is some lovely writing in it, even if the premise is too thin to support it.

Angie: Read FangirlDonna.

Sya: Fangirl is superb. In fact, I am going to go and read Fangirl again RIGHT NOW.

Nicole: Fangirl was great (except for random rape jokes??? still not comfortable with that).

Sya: I don't remember that - will look out for it.

Nicole: Yeah, there's a valid concern when she's going around at night outside and then somebody makes a joke about it that's just accepted to be funny, and there's another joke later on that I'm blanking out on the exact scenario but it's a joke about roofies. It's nothing that like a college kid wouldn't say so I didn't get too worked up about it but still I was like "sigh yes victim blaming jokes are a thing but at least acknowledge they're a shitty thing oh well."

Sya: It sounds a lot like the kind of thing I heard at college. Even though I have always found stuff like that wrong I wouldn't have had the guts to say so, so maybe that is what she was going for and didn't feel the need to detract from the authenticity by expositing that.

Laura: Fangirl lives in my heart, nicely settled in, all warm and snug.

Sandy: Fangirl currently has my soul in its clutches-and I am oh so okay with that.

Melissa: I didn't particularly like Fangirl (I'm more of an E&P fan, though not really a FAN, but I liked it) but I think it's because I don't particularly get fan fiction. It did, however, remind me of my oldest daughter quite a bit. I'm a bit afraid to pick up Landline, though.

Angie: You should be, Melissa. The pain . . .

Angie: And I loved it.

Sya: I didn't. But I cried because the relationship stuff is harsh and true yet beautiful - I just felt that the phone into the past thing was so obviously contrived to enable that stuff. I kind of felt that RR let herself down with a flimsy idea. But it WAS an utterly intriguing and haunting idea. So there's that. It just felt forced. But as a study of commitment and conflicting need and the reality of loving...well, it really works.

Holly: I didn't like Fangirl, either, Melissa. But I adore E&P and really related to the whole married with kids part of Landline. That aspect is so achingly real to me.

Donna: I found the pug birth scene rather hilarious and the scene with Heather and her crush touching. But this is still an ABC Family movie to me.

Melissa: If Kendrick is 40, and 3 years older than Georgie, which makes her 37, no? BUT she and Seth have been doing their shtick since 1994. Help me with the math. I missed something here....

Sya: If they met in their first year of college and were 18ish?

Donna: She was 22 in 1998 when Neal proposed, 23 when they got married, presumably the following year. That would make her 18 in 1994.

Donna: So this book did make me cry, it ended how I wanted it to end. But I also cry watching nearly every episode of Bones, for some reason. So take my crying as you see fit. Sweet story. But so far from anything I can really relate to that I just didn't FEEL it.

Melissa: For some reason, I had it in my mind that they'd been working together since they graduated, which meant she was 18 when she graduated, and that didn't make sense. It does now. Thanks.

Melissa: I didn't cry. Which probably means I'm cold and heartless. But I agree with Donna (?) that it's really just an ABC Family Movie. It was nice, but it was also kind of lame. I didn't like either Georgie or Neal or Seth (go Heather!) and I just wanted them all to go away. Probably not the best reaction for this kind of book.

Sya: There is some very beautiful writing but the plot is weak. I also cry at Bones. Which I am ashamed off.

Angie: Sorry about that, Melissa. I really loved Georgie and Neal. Seth was Seth. But Georgie and Neal? They were real. I thought it was a lovely portrait of a marriage in trouble. And when she is stranded in the airport at the end and starting to lose it and she walks into the bathroom and yanks up her shirt to see the stretch marks still there? That is when I cried.

Sya: I agree with Angie. They were very real to me. As a mother who struggles with work/life balance, I cried at the same moment as Angie but also at a few others. But that doesn't mean that the plot wasn't contrived and trite... Saying that, a trite plot doesn't diminish Rowell's laser sharp dissembling of a relationship. There is clearly some powerful stuff there.

Donna: Sya, what is it about Bones that makes us cry? I'm mean seriously. And I'm talking ugly, snot-flowing crying. I don't get it. And Melissa, yes, the ABC Family comment was me. It's still an ABC Family movie as far as I'm concerned that I just can't relate to. None of it. And Neal's a dick. I mean a DICK.

Sya: It’s because we are secretly thinking that Booth should be with Buffy.  HOW CAN HE BE HAPPY WITH ANYONE ELSE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD? And also because Mr. Nigel-Murray. Sob.

Melissa: Donna, re Neal being a dick: maybe that's why I didn't get Georgie and Neal. I understand being unhappy with your spouse and where you're living and all that (Heaven knows I often am), but he didn't even TRY. He could have found something that fulfilled himself. Isn't that why we're always telling say-at-home moms? He didn't feel like a person to me, he felt like a caricature. I can understand where you're coming from, Angie and Sya, but it just didn't move me.

Donna: Neal was a cock. Instead of backing away from a life he knew would make him miserable because he HATED the life Georgie was leading, he dove into it and then resented her the live she's always been living. And you're right, Melissa. He didn't try. He didn't do anything except stay at home and simmer in his own emo juices and resent Georgie for everything that she was doing. He couldn't even fake it when they went out together. I would have dropped his ass after that. I mean, he says he loved her but he couldn't even ATTEMPT to even fucking smile at an event she brought him to? Seriously? He's a shit.

Melissa: Being my own devils advocate here: what if the roles were reversed, and Neal was a woman at home and Georgie was the man, gone all the time. Would we be saying the same things about her? I see a lot of myself in Neal -- not knowing what to do for a career, staying home with the kids because it was cheaper than day care, resenting (at times) the places my husband's job took us -- but I sure as hell hope that I don't go through my life with as huge a chip on my shoulder. But maybe I do?

Donna: I would to think that If Georgie were the stay at home parent and Neal the one with ambition that I would think the same way. Why why WHY would you enter into a relationship where you are largely incompatible with someone and you don't like your life and then give up EVERYTHING to kowtow to them and then hold it against them for your own shitty decisions in life? Neal had nothing of his own because that's what he allotted himself, being the miserable human being that he is. In that same vein, Georgie's a bit of an asshole too for thinking of only herself in this relationship. It's not just that she worked a 9 to 5 but she was never around. She thought of herself first and foremost, her children a passing thought and her husband little more than a babysitter she didn't have to pay. She didn't give. At all. It was the Georgie Show and that was it. So she's an asshole too. Maybe that makes them good for each other. I don't know. I just have a big problem with people who hold others responsible for their own decisions. This conversation can easily go into a realm I know nothing about (I don't have kids and I'm not married, although I am in a long term relationship) and I can make statements based on nothing other than my head movies but as two consenting adults in a relationship I would expect them to act like adults and actually talk their problems out instead of leaving them to fester for years. I would hope that any stay at home parent would have something for themselves, whatever it is, so that their world is a little broader than the house's four walls and whatever children occupy it. I would hope the working party wouldn't be selfish and completely take advantage of that situation for their own gains and not even consider the other party. I would hope that the two parties involved would enter into the relationship knowing what they were getting into and being fully accepting of it. Otherwise what the hell are they even doing there? What the hell were Neal and Georgie doing? Their relationship was nonsensical at best. They loved each other...why? They were as incompatible as two people could be. So what were they doing other than torturing themselves?

Melissa: I liked your statement, Donna: "They loved each other... why?" I think we (populace, not us here) like to think that love is enough. But it's not. Maybe, ultimately, that's what Rowell was trying to show? (But if that's the case, then the ending kind of defeats that point.)

Donna: What they have is more of an addiction for each other. They're really not good for each other but they keep coming back for some reason.

Angie: Which is why it felt real to me, I guess. I think a lot of people (myself included) enter marriage not knowing all they're getting into. Loving that person. But not knowing, just as Georgie says, what it will really be like joining yourself to another person for life. How hard it would be to change if it's needed. Or even if you could. And how hard to leave if things go poorly. I think I didn't see either of them as being reprehensible. So very flawed. But not worthless. And yeah. I wanted that ending.

Sya: That's what I meant when I said that I thought it would speak to us in different ways dependent on our own personal circumstances and experience. I liked the way that both characters were written. Neal's somewhat martyred personality didn't bother me because I saw him as someone who kept trying and trying but got nothing back. I liked Georgie but found her infuriating, particularly in that she seemed vaguely surprised that Neal had had enough. Additionally, she seemed more inclinced to fix it by ending the relationship in the past than by working on problems in the present. I ended the book feeling that while they might be OK for a while, Georgie would continue to throw herself into work while hoping for the best in her marriage. I quite liked this - it seemed very real.

Laura: I didn't read this on the grounds that at the moment I'm not reading anything that isn't fantasy or porn.

Angie: It is neither of those. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

YAck Attack: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...  (goodreads.com)

Just a note on the coming GRACELING YAcks, we deviated from our norm.  BITTERBLUE was the original YAck book for the month but it quickly morphed into a re-read of the series, which we will be YAcking in its entirety.  So GRACELING replaced BITTERBLUE as June's YAck book and then the coming FIRE and BITTERBLUE will be bonus YAcks.  Because love.

Nicole: BITTERBLUE it is! Let's do this thing.

Donna: Good thing I started reading Graceling.

Angie: Now, the question is: reread, or just try and remember what I thought of it....

Nicole: If I'm right, it's good enough to reread.

Donna: I want to start a drinking game wherein you drink every time Katsa's name is said in dialogue in Graceling. The first person to survive alcohol poisoning wins.

Laura: Funny, I wanted to do the same thing with the last book I read, Three Weeks with Lady X. But instead of a name it was anytime anything was said about the hero's COCK. It was horrible. I'd be so dead.

Laura: Also.....watch your step when saying anything that even hints of negativity when it comes to Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue, or indeed, even Cashore's grocery list. I WILL CUT YOU OUT OF THE WILL.


Nicole: I'm the most excited. We should all lie and say we hate it and watch Laura explode.

Laura: Curses. I curse anyone who dislikes the book with a wet, stinky, cat hair ball right smack dab in the middle of their pillow.

Laura: After a long day of work.....when your head is hurting....and it's dark and cool in the bedroom.....and all you want to do is climb into the bed...just for a few minutes.....and then...HAIRBALL. I curse you with that.

Sya: I cannot lie. I love them too much. I highly recommend the audio versions, also - brilliantly narrated, especially Fire.

Laura: Oooooh I want the audiobooks. Want.

Nicole: Let's just read the entire series yes good

Donna: I don't dislike it. But I'm not falling over myself about it at this point. It's okay. Nothing's really grabbing me yet. *shakes cat and aims*


Laura: Some of that may or may not be true.

Angie: I'll talk to you once you've finished FIRE, Donna.

Donna: Laura will never leave me. I know her secrets. I keep them in a box out of her reach. So on the counter.

Laura: Well then I'm safe because the counter is out of your reach too, midget.

Donna: Steve lifts me up to get it.

Angie: It's moments like this when I realize just how much I love us.

Donna: Katsa is incredibly endearing.

Angie: Right?

Donna: Like as I'm reading it I'm like OMG YOU *pinches cheeks*. I LOLed at the whole DON'T LOOK AT HIS HOT WET BOD BLANK PAGES BLANK PAGES moment.


Donna: Part 2 is really making me like the book more.

Sya: Are we reading all three? Jolly good. Also, we need to include this whole discussion in the published YAck.

Nicole: I will, because this is too beautiful to skip.

Donna: Good thing I just reserved the other two from the library.

Chachic: Damn, my copies of all three books are in Manila.

Sya: Having read the first two relatively recently, I am listening to Bitterblue right now this minute on my way to work. The narrator is SO GOOD. Sooooo Gooooood. Also, I am calling RA as Giddon RIGHT NOW.

Heidi: Maybe this is the fire under my ass I needed to read Fire which has been sitting on my shelf for too long.

I always avoided these audio because they're full cast.

Sya: The prologue to Fire is utterly chilling. I literally shivered while reading the final paragraph.

Laura: Read slowly people. You'll get all caught up in the Graceling realm and then all three books will be finished and there won't be another one FOREVER. We should probably do this YAck over the next 2-3 years.

Nicole: We could do a chapter readalongs style for each book? Or divide it by section? We'd get to talk about it longer...

Donna: SPREAD IT OUT. We could do our normal YAcks and then do these in the middle.

Nicole: I'd be happy to catalog them all.

Angie: OH that's a GREAT idea! I've got piles of reading, and really want to reread them all, but the idea of doing it in the next month was stressing me a bit...

Nicole: So we do GRACELING this month, FIRE next month and BITTERBLUE the month after for those who want to participate?

Angie: It can be a summer reading project!

Donna: Do it.

Heidi: I'm in. Perhaps this will pry me out of my complete nose dive into romance.

Angie: I call RA as Brigan in Fire. BRIGAN IN FIRE, I SAY.

Sya: You're right. More broody and suitable. But Giddon must be someone lovely.

Angie: Someone lovely indeed. Tom Hiddleston?

Nicole: Is Brigan / Giddon white? I haven't started my reread of GRACELING yet (and haven't read FIRE, shame on me) and since there are a lot of people of color as protags in her stories, I want to makes sure!

Sya: Pretty sure they both are. Certainly, I think Giddon is fair haired.



Angie: Which is it, Donna?! Bitterblue in GRACELING or all 3 books?!

Maureen: Really? So you're leaving Po AND Brigan for me? K then

Angie: Ahem. For us, you mean. For us, Maureen

Donna: Graceling.

Sya: So Donna has finished Graceling and felt actual feelings. Does this mean we can start the YAck proper or is everyone wishing to re-read it first?

Nicole: I can't reread it until post-BEA madness, but we can start the proper YAck of Graceling now if you can start the thread, Sya.

Chachic: I want to reread it too but not sure when I'll be able to do so. But yeah, go ahead and start the conversation.

Donna: Am I the only one that just read it for the first time?

Sandy: no, I'll be reading it for the first time too.

Laura: I'm on page 90 of my reread where Po just mouthed "Forgive me" because of his exchange with Giddon. And I love him so. Already. All over again.

Laura: I just finished my reread of Graceling. Is this where we're talking about it, or is it in another post? I love Po. I love Po. I love Po. I think I love him most of all. I love brave, stubborn Katsa, running through the snow, carrying Bitterblue over the mountain pass. And I love Katsa who discovers she actually wants love but without the trappings of marriage and children. But I love Po who wants her any way he can have her and truly, truly means it. I love Po who hides who he is so that he doesn't hurt those that he loves. I love Po who sees a world no one else can. And I love Bitterblue who is remarkably practical for a ten year old orphan queen. BUT I LOVE PO. SO MUCH LOVE.

Po has dark hair. Motion for RA to play Po and further motion for RA to play any and all good parts in the remainder of these readings.

I love this book now even more than I did the first go round when I didn't think it was possible to love it more. THIS. THIS RIGHT HERE, is why we read.

Sya: Motion passed. Now he can play ALL THE GOOD PARTS.

Nicole: Mid Graceling reread and oh my god I forgot how beautifully Cashore handles everything. The gender norms and how Katsa sees them and the sex scenes (!!!! they're so beautifully handled) and just everything EVERYTHING IS GOOD excuse me while i go cry because HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO READ OTHER THINGS EVER AGAIN

Angie: My oldest had an astute observation when I commented that I'd forgotten how much I adore Katsa and Po. She said: "They're not in a relationship. They're on a team." So very true.

Nicole: YES EXACTLY and they're friends first and foremost which is SO IMPORTANT i should not be commenting until i can control my emotions

Angie: LOL! No Nicole, emotions are everything. I agree. Cashore depicts their relationship -- a HEALTHY, wonderful, amazing relationship -- so, so well. And when this came out in 2009, amid all the Twilight stuff, it was SO refreshing.

Donna: It's still refreshing, are you kidding me? When it really anchored its claws into my heard is when Katsa realizes what Po's been hiding toward the end of the book. OMG WEEP.

Laura: PO. Just, PO. I mean...PO. PO. REALLY. You understand? You get it, right? PO.


Nicole: I've been reading this and wondering how I forgot how much I loved Po. Seriously. How has he not made my list of favorite male characters?Nicole: LADIES WITH SWORDS MAKE ME HAPPY



Nicole: We could rename the Yackers the Kristin Cashore Fanclub and it would still be accurate, I think.

Angie: I've been quietly pining over those UK editions for yeeeeeaaaarrrssss.

Maureen: PO. Yes. I will have your heterochromatic babies, Po, you charming rogue you. But not, 'cause I'm askeered of Katsa.

Maureen: Slightly seriously - wow, she can really come off as cold and humorless in the beginning. Not a slam on her (woot! I can kill people with my pinky I AM A BARREL OF LAUGHS), just an observation. I'm listening to it and I'm just at the point where Po attended his first Council meeting, and I don't remember if Giddon had a good reasonable reason for not wanting her face hurt, or was just being a jealous buttmunch.

Nicole: GRACELING AU where Giddon's official council title after Katsa leaves is Jealous Buttmunch. Though that could be canon.

Angie: Katsa is very angsty in the beginning of the book, but I think that's partially what makes the end work so very well. Also: LECK. I remember this from the first time around, the building creepy surrounding him, as Po whittles away the layers surrounding his story. There are very few characters in fiction that are as deeply disturbed and wholly evil as Leck. It's wonderful.

Laura: Yes. Leck is scary. He's even scary AFTER. Also, PO!

Angie: Laura, I'm trying to be intelligent here...

Laura: Po!

Laura: I'm just going to shout that randomly, throughout the conversation, because I have no words, ONLY FEELINGS.

Nicole: Just finished my reread and I want to run through my rain-filled streets screaming out all the reasons I love this book. But I think somebody would arrest me.

Angie: Leck still haunts me.

Sya: Who is it that's listening to the audio? I can't see it now in the thread - but doesn't the narrator just GET it? And, yes PO! But don't diss Giddon. I MEAN IT. Katsa is an amazingly written character. The point at which they flee over the mountain pass is totally breathtaking, largely because of both her belief in herself and her belief in Po's perception of her. And Donna, that bit where she realises what has happened to Po made me cry. More than once.

Maureen: I'm listening to the full cast and liking it. Anytime they mention Leck a chill goes down my spine because it's so clear how thoroughly he has everyone snowed.

Angie: What Maureen said. Seriously. Chills.

Donna: I wasn't thrilled with Katsa at the beginning, hence my original apprehension with the book. And then Po makes her become HUMAN with the FEELS and I'm like

Maureen: Just hit the part where Katsa discovers the real nature of Po's Grace. Cogitating on why Katsa is so angry. Thoughts?

Laura: Oh that's an easy one- aside from the intrusion and the fact that he was kinda taking her thoughts without permission and Katsa isn't one to have ANY part of her defenseless....I have NO doubt she was picturing him naked. And THAT'S the real reason.

Laura: She was embarrassed because there stood before her a perfectly naked Richard Armitage Po and her mind was on his naughty bits.

Nicole: That's literally it. She has FEELINGS for him that even she doesn't understand until that point and he KNOWS. Her crush KNOWS and not only that KNOWS EVERYTHING VERY SPECIFICALLY like how she likes his forearms and his eyes. Which is embarrassing for her, especially given that this is her first time with these sorts of emotions. (I think Po also has darker skin? Golden. And thus cannot be Richard. I'll have to go see if I can find a passage that confirms it or if I'm imagining things.)

Laura: Motion was already passed to have RA play all the good parts. Someone read back the minutes. It's on the books now. Richard can have whatever color skin he needs to, such is the power of our king.

Laura: Also, Po!

Maureen: I think that's a big part of it, but nearer to the beginning she encounters another mind reader and her reaction is almost vicious. I'm trying to work out why that Grace specifically is such a hot button for her. Nobody would be comfortable with it but she actively loathes mind readers of any stripe

Donna: Well she is rather guarded and plays her cards closely to her chest. For years she's been a killer and that's it. She hasn't admitted any other human emotions to herself for most of her life until Po comes into it. So I would imagine to have her secrets, secrets that she won't even admit to herself, laid bare for someone to see, would be the ultimate intrusion. Someone that could show Katsa what she truly is would be horrifying indeed. She's been in IT for so long, the king's THING, that to be exposed as human would be quite painful. This isn't someone she'd want others to see so knowing that there are people out there that could just take that information and use it against her would send someone like her, someone unable to process her own emotions, into a rage because that's all she knows.

Maureen: Oo, good points. I think there's also something about her thoughts being her own property. She can't do exactly as she likes but she can think whatever she wants in the privacy of her own head without fear of Randa's reprisal (and Randa has been the wall around her life and her actions for many years, so he's who she would think of first). It's the vulnerability of being laid bare, of course, but it's also the idea of someone else taking possession of her thoughts the way Randa has always has possession over her actions and how others see her.

Laura: And the naughty bits.

Nicole: She also mentions a lot about being in control of her own life - it's why she hates and fears Leck and hated Randa. She's lived her entire life at somebody else's beck and call, completely isolated - all she had were the thoughts in her head.

Chachic: Okay, I have started rereading Graceling. That's the June book, right?

Angie: Just finished. BITTERBLUE. Breaks. My. Heart. I love her.

Heidi: DAMN YOU ALL. DAMN YOU RIGHT TO HELL. I now have less than SIX WEEKS to get everything done for my wedding. A wedding for which I decided that DIY was FUN and YES I will sew the flower girl dress and the ring bearer vest and pillow and pocket squares and handkerchiefs and make my bridesmaids bags and do all the favor bags and tags and make banners and signs and design and make programs and knit myself a lace shawl and my parents and in-laws full-sized blankets to say thank you AND MORE AND YET WHAT DID I BUY TODAY?! Graceling and Bitterblue (already owned Fire).

I wasn't planning on rereading Graceling because INSANITY ABOVE but you all keep saying things like PO and MY HEART and I CAN'T TAKE IT. Even if I don't actually get to them till August THEY ARE NOW MINE.


Maureen: Mua ha ha ha ha!!!!!

Nicole: ... so we broke Donna AND Heidi.

Heidi: Donna having FEELS helped break me.

Laura: Po!

Donna: I am the breaker.

Angie: Heidi, I can't even handle what you are saying. I feel like I need to send you some sort of life support. Or chocolate. Maybe chocolate?

Chachic: Heidi, I agree with Angie. I feel like I should help you out but I don't know how? I'm super lousy sewing and I don't even know how to knit.

Nicole: I'm just disappointed that a milk-and-cookie bar wasn't on the list. I'm useless to you. (Sendin good karma your way, though!)

Heidi: No milk and cookie bar. Am having wedding pie (also making ourselves). Books are helping! May get lost in Cashore... May see if library has audio even though I just bought hard copies so I can task and listen.

Nicole: Heidi, you're insane and I admire you.

Janice: Good gravy, I didn't realize just how DIY you were being Heidi. I can help with the pie tastings. I do not know how to use a sewing machine so I'm useless for anything else.

Chachic: Prince Greening Grandemalion! LOL. I had forgotten Po's full name.

Chachic: I'm about halfway through and really enjoying rereading this. Just as good as I remembered it to be. It's always comforting to read an old favorite.

I agree with Maureen that Katsa thinks of her thoughts as her own property and she loathes mind readers because she feels like they steal something from her that they shouldn't. And yes, she also feels that it's unfair for her to be that exposed to someone else.

Poor Po, so difficult to have a Grace like that and to have to hide it even from his family and friends.

Heidi: I just started the audio this morning. This may be the first Full Cast audio I ever really get into. They usually grate on me and I don't make it very far, but I've forced myself past that initial buck of revulsion and am getting used to it. It's easy when I remember how much I utterly love this book! Hazel's right, it's comforting, like spending time with an old friend. And I can't believe I still haven't read Fire or Bitterblue considering how much I love Graceling!

Also Graceling may be one of the few things that makes a trip to the NY DMV less painful. 'Cause that place is like the antithesis of Disneyland.

Sya: The audio I listened to was read by Emma somebody. She had a lovely voice and made Po sound Welsh. Which suited him surprisingly well.

Laura: I sampled the full cast audio and it sounded awful...the male voice was all computery. But I just listened to the Emma Powell one and she's AMAZING but apparently you can't buy it.

Laura: it's "not available" in my "region"

Heidi: Boo, yeah, must be separate US and UK editions.

Sya: I got the Emma Powell one via Audible UK. She reads all three beautifully. You might be able to download it, er, less legally.

Heidi: Okay so yeah the full cast isn't great. It's working for a reread but I'll be dammed if I read Fire this way the first time.

It is fun to reread this already knowing about Po's grace. It changes all those earlier scenes between them

Maureen: Just got to the part where Katsa's in the mountains, just before they make that awful run through the pass, and she gets attacked by a mountain lion. And her reaction is this hilarious annoyance. "FFS. That stupid lion cut me all up. THIS I need."

Chachic: Maureen, haha I remember that scene! Bitterblue was so shocked to see her after, and she was all "I'm fine, it's mostly the lion's blood all over me."

Maureen: Bitterblue's funny, too. Sometimes she's not childlike at all, but the full-cast audio person who's doing her voice has this delightful Hermione-ish tone whenever she's taking charge. Or being snotty.

Sya: That whole sequence with the cave and then the pass is my favourite. I think it is breath-takingly written and utterly beautiful.

Chachic: I just realized that I wasn't able to comment when I finished rereading this. I stayed up late to finish it even though I already knew what was going to happen. Such a good book. I need more books like this in my life. Looking forward to rereading fire!

Heidi: Wow, it's easy to forget what a creeper Leck is. Fire's gonna be a party of douche chills.

Heidi: I really love that Katsa and Bitterblue end up having to leave Po in the mountains. It's heartwrenching (especially considering later revelations), but also really refreshing. I love that Po and Katsa make one another stronger. It's really because of Po that Katsa's mentally able to do what she does to get Bitterblue to safety, but at the same time it's so nice to have this book where there's this amazing romance but the romance doesn't define it. By leaving Po, Graceling is really and truly Katsa's book.

Also I completely forgot about Po in the end. D:

Anyway, done! I have at least two or three other books I have to read before diving into Fire, but here's hoping it gets read sometime in July.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

YAck Attack: And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst

From Goodreads:

Come for the apocalypse. Stay for cupcakes. Die for love. Madeleine Cost is working to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject: androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down for the sittings. None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless, impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world - and spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind. Is it an alien invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world is ending.

Sya: Hmmmm. I have started All The Stars. And hmmmmm.

Angie: I'm halfway.

Sya: I'm finding it...under edited.

Sya: But will with hold judgement until the end.

Donna: Well that's not a promising start at all.

Sya: I edit for money - I am, perhaps, a bit of a pedant.

Donna: I'm a writer and have been editing for others since high school. I raise a glass to pedantry in that regard.

Sya: Yeah, I always thought it should be a pre-requisite.

Donna: Editing? Yeah, usually in published works, self or otherwise.

Sya: Pedantry. But yes, editing also.

Angie: So far my main issue is a lack of emotional connection to the characters. But some of that is likely due to Madeleine's emotional disconnect herself. I like the idea of the invasion and the dust, etc. Very cool. Will see how things develop.

Sya: Absolutely agree about the disconnect but I put it down to poor writing. However, I really like the premise and the setting and so am going to persevere.

Chachic: I will keep my fingers crossed that you guys will still enjoy the book even with these problems. Frankly, I didn't have any of those issues when I first read it. Will try to reread it soon! Haven't had much time to read while on vacation.

Angie: Okay. That scene was adorable.

Chachic: What scene?

Angie: I think you know.

Chachic: Oh yes. I totally understand. can't wait for the others to reach that section. I just finished the book that I was in the middle of. Will start rereading And All the Stars soon.

Angie: Finished last night. Many across the board feelings on this one.

Maureen: You know, I'm having a really hard time remembering the details on this one. Read it in December 2012, according to my notes. Also according to my notes, it started out crackerjack, got all tangled up and confused, and then the epilogue was like, "Oh! We won! Yay us!"

Sya: These characters have no chemistry and the dialogue is terrible. I have more thoughts, not all of them bad. But most of them. Half way through and still inclined to finish it. But only just.

Laura: So it is suck?

Sya: I don't know. I AM CONFLICTED. But generally, yes. Although possibly know. But I don't know why. It is a decent and original premise yet the writing is...off.

Sya: It's also like she is ticking a Checklist. Ethnic diversity, tick. Religious diversity, tick. Sexual diversity, tick. Awkward and realistic sex, tick. They are all so happy in their diverse melting pot. They can even burn incense while worried that the...See More

Donna: It is sounding more and more likely that I won't be purchasing this one.

Angie: I ended it conflicted as well, Sya. It is not suck. At least, I don't feel it is. There was a point at which things became very exciting indeed. Generally, I really enjoyed the setup and world. She had some good ideas. Really good ones. But yes, yes to Tyler's mystifying existence. Madeleine was supposed to be so very fond of him. Bordering on the only person she cared about. Yet I never felt it. He had no real presence and made little impression on me at all, which is unfortunate for a character who is supposed to be such an icon and cult sensation.

Sya: The writing is pretty clunky. There is a lot of telling instead of showing and when that's not happening she flails about some pretty hyperbolic metaphor and simile. Also, it annoys me that a lot of the major developments are introduced in an almost throw away expository manner, "like, remember when we saw on TV that they are segregating all blues and using them for visual interest in the homes of the rich etc?" Or whatever. Also, what are the greens? Are they actually green. Maybe I missed that particular bit. But I shouldn't have been able to. Also, the alien Olympic thing: REALLY???? I mean...what?

Sya: I finished it. The last few lines were ok. The rest was pretty bad for all the reasons I've mentioned as well as many others but it did have potential and a decent edit might have moved it from frustrating to enjoyable. I hated the acting stuff, the painting became tiresome and I couldn't connect to the protagonist. AND THERE WAS NO ROLE FOR RICHARD ARMITAGE. However, I agree with Angie that there are some decent ideas at play and it did keep me reading. So not entire suck.

Heidi: I'm sorry this one really didn't work for you, Sya! I honestly don't have time to reread, but I'll chime in with what I remember. I really liked this one when I read it. I think what struck me the most was that it was so out of the box of anything I would usually read, but she made it work for me. I like that she was able to surprise me, though I'll admit to aspects being cheesy and I remember being very confused during action scenes.

Laura: If there was no role for our king.....then you know what to do....

Sya: Motion to announce book as fail due to lack of role for King or, indeed, any if the round table of knights. Not even Felicia Day.

Sya: Or Betty White.

Sya: Or Mrs Weasley because the parents in this book are the WORST.

Sya: Apart from Noi's dad.

Laura: I can't be the one to pass that motion because I didn't read the book. But....it IS the law. So someone must.
Chachic: I'm with Heidi on this. I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out for the rest of you. I can see why it wouldn't work for everyone. It would have been nice if I was more invested in the characters but I still really enjoyed it because I felt that the setup was quite unique. And I really liked that it was set in Australia when so many other books are set in either the US or UK. It was an added bonus that Manila was mentioned in the story (yes, the Philippines hasn't been left out of the alien invasion!) I also second what Heidi said that it was great that the author was able to surprise me.

Angie: I wouldn't say it didn't work for me. I just had more conflicted feelings over it than I was hoping. But I was keen to finish it and she definitely surprised me. I had the huge OMG NOOOOOOOOO moment. And I loved that. It was a unique setup and I really enjoyed the Sydney setting and the whole invasion, skins changing, teens banding together to survive, love among the wasteland thing. My main issue was I felt like there was a wall between me and the characters emotionally. Usually when that happens, I put the book down because I don't care about any of them. That wasn't the case here because, in truth, I liked them all. But I never LOVED them or was able to feel as close to them as I wanted to. That extra layer of emotion and intimacy in the writing was missing for me. I will say that the awkward, realistic sex scene completely worked for me. It was the one scene in which I felt the barrier fall. (HAHAHA) Adorable. Because of it I stayed invested in Madeleine and Fisher. But it was still from further afar than I would have liked.

Chachic: I can understand the emotional distance, Angie, and why that was a problem. When that happens, I still try and finish the book but I usually hurry through it just to get things over with. Like you, I wasn't as emotionally attached to the characters as I would have liked and even wondered for a bit why several blogger friends have been raving about this book. But then I got to that surprising bit and had a WAIT WHAT moment and she had me - I couldn't let go of the book until I reached the end. I really enjoyed the slow burn romance between Madeleine and Fisher and yes, loved the awkward love scene as well.

Sya: I warmed to them more after the big reveal - that made them interesting. Before that I felt the relationship lacked any real depth.

Donna: I read the first two chapters in a free preview. I'm intrigued by the plot and the towers and the dust but the writing's a bit heavy-handed and superfluous. Setting the scene was a bit of a mire to get through and I found myself losing focus and getting lost in the words, just not in a good way. I found it difficult to get my bearings and get a good idea of what I was supposed to be seeing. I wasn't too bothered by the less than stellar editing although some oddly placed commas threw me a little. I could probably keep reading but if the writing is this bogged down for the rest of the book then I probably wouldn't like it too much. I don't like it enough now to buy the full book. So I'm not going to. If I had it I'd probably keep reading to see what happens but I'm not going to go out of my way for it. I'm not impressed enough at this point.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

YAck Attack: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

From Goodreads:

 Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Nicole: Okay, how was I the first one to finish? I'm NEVER the first one to finish. Somebody should finish because I have a lot of THOUGHTS but don't want to spoil anybody. 

Angie: I'm finished! Read it not long ago and just sort of enjoyed the hell out of it. Commence with the THOUGHTS, Nicole! 

Nicole: CUE THE (SPOILER-RIDDEN) THOUGHTS. I felt reading this similar to when I finished Catherynne Valente's DEATHLESS - I'm not sure if anybody here has read it, but it's an adult fantasy that pulls really heavily on Russian mythology and weaves it expertly through the story. The writing is beautiful, absolutely stunning. The couple are this disastrously cruel thing that would kill for each other and might end up killing each other. But for all I love the writing and all I love the couple, the plot fell apart for me near the end for almost the same reasons the plot fell apart for me in CRUEL BEAUTY - a huge time jump and time reversal where things were reversed and like they never happened. 

CRUEL BEAUTY doesn't have quite the same level of writing that Valente does, but it still has *words*, and I loved the style. I loved the world she built and I love, love, live, Ignyx (whose ship name is far easier to spell than the demon's individual name, which I still do not have memorized). But the plot lost me the moment they time jumped and skipped around, so even though I LOVED the couple and loved the world and the words and would read it again, I... didn't really love how it ended. Maybe I wish they had set up a potential time reversal earlier? The rest of it was all set-up well (not really well, but well enough) save for that. 

What did you think of it all, Angie? Ignyx is DEFINITELY high on my favorite YA ships list now. 

Angie: I haven't read DEATHLESS, but I love, I love, I love Nyx and Ignifex (IGNYX . . . hahaha) because they are not kidding with their anger and their hatred. She wants to freaking kill him. And he fully expects her to die trying. And they don't mean to love each other, but they just. can't. not. Because of the hatred and anger and awesomely fierce meeting of wills. I mean, the "Do you think you are safe with me?!" from both? I die. 

Angie: Stupid return key. I had heard going in that there was an element of forgetting that ruined it for some people. And honestly? I expected it to be a deal-breaker for me as well. But the two of them got their hooks into me before that element could come and tear it to shreds. There were parts where I could feel the underpinnings flirt with going all pear-shaped and the whole gorgeous Greek deck of cards collapsing on my head. It came *this* close coming on the end, but those last couple of pages worked for me. I wished the climax had been stronger, yes. But I smile every time I think of the very end.

Angie: Also, I kinda hated on Shade for most of the book. Perverse heart that I have. Just me?

Nicole: "Do you think you are safe with me" is a line that I never expected to make me swoon. And yet here we are. The ending definitely didn't kill the book, but characters FAR outdid plot here.

I was suspicious of Shade the entire time. His eyes were too perfectly blue and his smile too sincere for me to trust him.

Holly: Still waiting for a copy to come in at the library. Anyone have a copy to lend me (Angie)? I'm dying to get to it.
Angie: Holly, I do! Message me and I'll get it to you quick. Maureen, do you still need a copy as well? I could drop my ARC in the mail if it would be faster than the wait list . . .

Sya: I should probably start reading this.

Maureen: Angie yes I do. The wait lists look pretty grim. I'll message you my addresss

Sya: I love us and our collaborative emergency book sharing.

Donna: I will start reading it as soon as I pick it up from the library.

Donna: Yeah, I kind of read it... really quickly. Oops.

Chachic: I've read this too! I was thinking of rereading it for our discussion, I'll try and see if I can do that this weekend. Like Angie, the element of forgetting wasn't a deal-breaker for me. Would I have loved the story more if that element wasn't there at the ending? Yes. But it wasn't a big deal for me. I do agree with Nicole that the characters stood out more than the plot but again, that's something that I didn't mind. I'm more of a character reader anyway.

Wasn't a fan of Shade either.

Chachic: I'm going through the sections that I highlighted in my Kindle and I was reminded of how much I liked the library. Here's an excerpt:

"I remembered the hours I had spent in Father's library, drugging myself with books so I could forget my doom for an hour; how I had stared at the pictures and pressed my hand against the page, wishing I could vanish into the safe lines of a lithograph. Now I felt like I had done it, slipped into a picture or a dream: a place that was uncanny, but without any hidden horrors."

Drugging myself with books! Loved that bit.

Angie: Yes! And I loved his library so much. With the books she couldn't read at first. His whole creepy home, really (which totally reminded me of the Beast's home in Rose Daughter). But mystical, personified libraries FTW.

Nicole: I love strange magical homes that might kill you at any given moment - my goal in life is to make my future home look like it belongs to a witch - so I loved his home and the aerial garden and the wonderful wonderful library.

Laura: I'm reading this now (so I won't read your comments), but I'm also rereading Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas, which is a DIRTY BOOK WITH NAUGHTY BITS AND SEBASTIAN, LORD ST. VINCENT WHO I LOVE. And reading the two together, I can't help but think there ARE SO MANY MISSED OPPORTUNITIES in CB......er....if it wasn't, you know, YA....and essentially written for, you know.....kids. So in hindsight, this is NOT A GOOD COMBINATION. Very nice writing, no WORDS yet though, and the beginning WAS incredibly rushed but we're in the castle now, taking our clothes off and kissing demon ghosts and NONE OF THOSE THINGS ARE BAD.

Sya: I have finally started and Good God, the names. They sound like they should be patented by big pharma.

Nicole: Nyx's name is the only one I remember and the only one I can spell.

Angie: I love Nyx.

Donna: I need some Nyx Arstraia for my bought of Ignifex. It's horrible this time of year.

Donna: I'm about 2/3 of the way through the book and, CLUTCH YOUR PEARLS, LADIES, I'm not impressed. Super heavy on the exposition that made it a slog for the first half or so of the book and while I'm really trying to dig the more time-advanced Greco-Roman bag it's just not translating in my head, mainly because I think Nyx is dressing like something out of medieval scullery. Nyx falls heads over tits really quickly it seems like and while I thought the whole key scene in the library and the banter back and forth was humorous I'm just not digging the whole get-up. I keep thinking about Beauty and the Beast and how this could end and who Shade could end up being and OF COURSE Iggy Pop is going to be set free but I'm not the biggest fan of the whole antagonist relationship thing especially when, you know, Iggy Pop is a self-confessed murderer that acts the god and feels people deserve what they have coming for being, on some level, selfish and making brash assumptions about the people he dupes. Yeah, not digging it.

Nicole: I can understand that. I'm a sucker for reading about relationships where people spiral down this strange path of cruel love - hence the comparison to Valente's DEATHLESS - but I know it's not a relationship structure for everybody.

I do agree that she falls head over heels really fast - would have loved to see more of the push and pull rather than handing him his heart so early on in the story.

As for the exposition - I really, really didn't like that while I was reading it, but some of it was pretty enough that I could put aside my hatred of it. I think the reason I like the story so much wasn't the world but the twisted characters and their twisted relationship. It's definitely not everybody's cup of tea, though.

Laura: The come here come here come here, GET AWAY GET AWAY GET AWAY, I MIGHT WANT YOU, I CAN'T WANT YOU, I WON'T LET MYSELF WANT YOU thing is a bit played out....I'm on page like I don't know...it's the scene where she's running through the wide open, under the blue skies with the demon lord and it's all so very the hills are alive with the sound of music AND NO ONE HAS TAKEN ALL THEIR CLOTHES OFF YET OR ACCOMPLISHED ANYTHING. And IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE PRODUCTIVE YOU SHOULD AT LEAST GET LAID.
Nicole: "If you're not going to be productive, you should at least get laid" should be on a t-shirt somewhere.

Angie: You're off gallivanting with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. What do you know, Laura?

Laura: Ok they finally did it so I suppose that's something. Sebastian did it better- that's what I know.

Sya: I am not trying very hard with this book. Just now I am visiting with my best friend and our priority is watching North and South again and drinking wine then on Monday I am off to Venice where my priority will be looking at things and drinking lots of wine. This book, which I find vaguely meh ANYWAY, doesn't really have much of a chance.

Nicole: I recently marathoned North and South with my friends and just swoon.

Maureen: Skipping over the other comments because I'm only on page 67 and spoilers, but I just wanna say: what's with our books and shitbag families lately? Astraia needs to be slapped once in the morning and once at night, and so do her father and aunt.

Laura: So I finished this silly little book. It was silly, but the ending was actually very redeeming. Lots of love and sacrifice and kindness and bargains and tricks and kisses. Very nicely done. I'm still sore about the insta-love/lust with THE DEMON LORD WHO HAD KILLED AND DESTROYED AND TORTURED FOR 900 YEARS. HE WAS THE BAD GUY RIGHT? Even though he wasn't to blame, she marries and goes to the house of the BAD GUY and wants to do him (and I'm not necessarily saying I'm against that, it's just a little out there). He wasn't very good at being a bad guy demon. She never feared him, she said she should a lot but she never did- probably because he was a sad sap from the start and you can't believe all that FEAR AND BADNESS when she instantly wants to DO HIM. But we've been over that. I think this book qualifies as good because it's a Beauty and the Beast story- not that it's necessarily a GOOD Beauty and the Beast story. The whole thing was rather meh, with far too much instalove and near instant change in a life long mind set AND NOT NEARLY ENOUGH SEX TO JUSTIFY ALL THAT FLIP FLOPPING.

Laura: Hereby motion to name King Richard Armitage the demon lord, not because it really fits (although, he'd look good in a cape, all in black with demon eyes), but because we have to place him in the story or the book gets A FULL FAIL, WITH NO OPPORTUNITY TO PASS GO OR COLLECT TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS.

Laura: OK, so we're all pretty much on the same page about Shade. I didn't really like him. I think Iggy was a better catch on his own without having to absorb the loser to become whole. So her real-time husband is half suck. Should have stayed in the castle, doing it with the demon- which could have been the title of the spin off. Copyright. Trademarked. Own it.

Donna: Well Shade was supposed to be Iggy's shitastic piece of himself so that's no surprise. And good god, Nyx's views on love change on a freakin' dime. She's so schizophrenic with her feelings I got whiplash reading it all. And she really doesn't do much on her own until the very end when she saves the Gentle Lord, or whatever he's going by. The Demon Formerly Known as Ignifex? She's really shoved along in the story, working based off of someone else's will and is easily swayed to one side or another based on who she's talking to at the moment. Just adds to the whole whiplash thing. I have to say, though, I did like the reserve time thing. I felt it fit but I still have a bit of a disconnect between the Greco-Roman mythology and English fairy tales getting smooched together. Do we know where in Europe they're supposed to be? I just figured some island in the Greek Isles but with all the wood spirit lore going on it could rightly be some English isle too. I have no idea.

Nicole: I think that's why I didn't like the time jump - I couldn't understand the worldbuilding.

Maureen: Wow, there's a lot going on in this one. Beauty and the Beast, Persophone/Hades, a wee smidge of Tam Lin near the end. And the names were almost too clever: Night? Star . . . something? Igniter/Flame-lighter? I was waiting for Astraia to be the other half of Nyx like Shade was the other half of Iggy Pop (THANKS A LOT DONNA) and then she wasn't and I was like pft. I also felt like a lot of stuff that we got ladled with at the beginning didn't really follow through to the end so what was the point I would like to know. All my whinging aside, I did a certain amount of swooning. I didn't have the Shade-hate that you guys did but he did get boring about the time that Iggy Pop started to show something more than sociopathic sexiness. Give me a little deadly flirting over soulful eyes any day. HAWT. And I got the impression that Iggy was actually the "bad" side, not Shade.

Melissa: I finally got this from the library yesterday, but reading through your comments, I'm thinking I'm going to give this one a pass. Too many books and not enough time to spend it on something less than awesome. Plus I'm dealing with Dreams of Gods & Monsters withdrawal.

Donna: I want Dreams of Gods and Monsters in my face immediately. But Laini's coming to Phoenix ComiCon so I'm going to wait and get it signed by her so I can just about the other two and maybe cry a little.

Sya: I have given up on this book. Nyx annoys me. I am now reading We Were Liars instead. It's much better.

Nicole: Oooooo, I need to get a copy of that. I've only heard wonderful things.

Sya: It's quite exceptional.

Melissa: Oh yes, that one is amazing. Lockhart does wonderful things.

Holly: So I have FAILED. This book was my choice and I'm only a handful of pages in. Should I attempt to finish it tonight (or get far enough in to know if it's for me or not) or give up completely? It is so hard with DoGaM's calling me as well. AND I just picked up Sorrow's Knot.

Nicole: I always say get far enough in to decide for yourself, but if you really want to read other things, ditch it. Enjoy what you read!
Holly: I should also add that I'm not a big fan of the original Beauty and the Beast story. Or McKinley's Beauty - don't hate me for that. Now why would I pick this book...

Nicole: I have no idea.

Holly: I don't even understand what you're saying, Holly.

Holly: You know it's because of Laura's obscene Angieville stamp, right Nicole and Angie? Ok, ok. I'll give it a go. I'm not far enough in to decide for myself.

Chachic: I'm sorry I haven't been able to keep track of this thread! I've been traveling the last few days and I don't have reliable internet access all the time. It's very interesting how varied our reactions to this one are. I didn't really mind all the problems that you guys have mentioned and the book worked for me as a whole.

Chachic: Now I want to watch North and South again. If it was available on the long haul flight I was in, I would have watched it.

Chachic: Holly, try a few chapters and see if it's something that you can get into!

Holly: So I'm just a wee bit late but I finished it. On the bright side the warning about the exposition was helpful - I skimmed much of it. I think the combination of the elemental magic and Greco-Roman mythology made the worldbuilding over-complicated and confusing, especially considering how little was necessary to the plot. I was suspect of Shade from the beginning and hated the instalove but in the end I wasn't really sure if he was the "bad" half of the Prince, since as Laura pointed out, Ignifex had basically been murdering people for hundreds of years. What really kept me reading though wasn't the romance or the plot but the characters, particularly Nyx and her inner conflict of revenge v. forgiveness. I connected with her complex feelings and felt there was something really authentic there. She was flawed and completely accepting and unapologetic about it. I loved that.

Angie: Oh, I'm glad you liked it in the end, Holly. I knew it would be polarizing as I was reading it. But Nyx managed to become one of the Angry Girls I Love. And the final pages. They saved the whole book for me. Loved Nyx. Loved that she found a home after so long in his crazy dreamy castle. Loved the spiraling downward relationship and the way I believed it in the end.