Sunday, 31 January 2016

Book review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver


I have to preclude this review by saying that I love novels that go against the grain, that don't necessarily give people what they want but what they need. With that said, Before I Fall does all of that and more.

This is the story of Sam Kingston. And she's dead. Not like in The Lovely Bones kind of way, but similar. Sam has the chance to relive the last day of her life multiple times, but she has no idea why. Oliver brings us through Sam's journey to finally moving on in such a beautiful way. Yes, first we all hate popular mean girl Sam. She's a brat, and has completely wrong priorities. But don't we all at that age? This book is written so well that I feel what Sam is feeling. On day 3 of her last day, she talks about having hope, hope that if she does this and that she can stop from dying and everything will turn out in the end. I as the reader know she dies. She is already dead. But I can't help feeling that hope that she feels. Maybe I'm wrong! Maybe she can change what happens!

Then she wakes up again on day 4. Now we (me and Sam) want to know what will help her move on. Is it experiencing everything she wanted before she goes, like unfinished business? Is it doing whatever the heck you want, because it won't matter the next day anyway?

Finishing this novel was almost a privilege. I'm sure many people didn't like how it ends, with her moving on. This isn't the movie Groundhog Day. That isn't how life works. In real life, people do end up dying. They don't always get the chance to know the reason for their death, but Sam does and I think that's beautiful.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Spotlight Tour: Tiny Glitches by Rebecca Chastain

Life isn’t exactly normal for Eva Parker: the stronger Eva’s emotions, the faster nearby electrical devices die. Eva can’t have a cell phone, use a computer, or be in a car for more than a few minutes without killing it. Dealing with her electricity-killing curse makes living in modern-day Los Angeles complicated enough for Eva—and that was before she was blackmailed into hiding a stolen baby elephant and partnered with Hudson, a sexy electrical engineer Eva just met. 

Dodging repeated attempts on her life made by ruthless corporations hunting the elephant is easier for Eva than quelling her growing affection for Hudson, and while protecting an elephant is hard, controlling her curse is a lot harder. However, Eva must do both, because if she lets her emotions free and falls in love with Hudson, neither of them will survive. 

Enchanting and quirky, TINY GLITCHES fuses electrifying romance and high-voltage suspense in a rollicking adventure.

You can find the book at: Amazon (CA) and Amazon (everywhere else)

About the Author

Rebecca Chastain is the international bestselling fantasy author of A FISTFUL OF EVIL, A FISTFUL OF FIRE, and MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband and two bossy cats. TINY GLITCHES is her latest novel.

Find out more about Rebecca:

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Book review: The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings #1) by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)

My husband warned me against writing this review. Maybe I'm a fool of a Took, but my policy is to review every book I read on my list. This was on my list. I read it. So, here goes.

I first read this novel way back in high school and even then I only read the first half of it. My problem was that I read all the historical prologue stuff that had no appeal to me as a fourteen year old. And it was my first experience of epic fantasy, which I probably wouldn't recommend because of its depth. But now that I'm older, a bit more read, and have a bigger love of history, I can appreciate The Fellowship of the Ring all the more. ...and I've seen the movies multiple times, and I'm married to someone who is extremely well-versed in Middle Earth.

This novel is likely the origins of all fantasy novels (at least the ones I've enjoyed) and it's no wonder. It's very clear that Tolkien created a very deep, and complex world. The novel reads as though it's a true history book, like Tolkien had this secret knowledge of our world and shared it in the form of this series. This is not a story about hobbits, elves, dwarves, or of men. It is a glimpse into a time period of Middle Earth and what led up to a massive war between good and evil. Too few authors write this way, writing about a world or society that the author has already created in his or her mind.

I want to add that it actually is a novel about hobbits. I guess maybe how they fit into the grand scheme of the impending war. That's very obvious. While none seem to have much character development, at least in this first novel, there's something else there. They don't quite so much develop as they do show an inner strength and resilience that seems to be common with hobbits. Meriadoc and Pippin mention a few times that had they known how dark their travels would be, they would not have followed Frodo. But since they did, there's no going back and they really wouldn't have it any other way.

I think I love that theme of the novel. No one ever really gives up. It's the truest form of perseverance, dedication, and friendship. (Note: now my husband is playing a scene from the movie in the background....go back to the shadow...YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!) Sure, Boromir goes a bit nuts for the ring at the end, but everyone is so determined to stay together even when they are given the option of going different ways (either to Minas Tirith or Emyn Muil).

Not only that, but because Tolkien wrote about a world he had already created, it was obvious there was so much more working beneath the surface. So far we're getting hints about Aragorn's true destiny, his love for Arwen, and even hints about the inner workings with the elves, and Gandalf.

It was a pleasure to read it, although at times slow. If it's read as historical fiction, I think it's actually more enjoyable than thinking about it as a fantasy novel.