Forever by Maggie Stiefvater – Book Review

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press

This is the third book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. This review may contain spoilers for the first two books, Shiver and Linger. I also have a giveaway going on now for Forever.

Ever since her brother Jack was presumed to be killed by them, Isabel Culpepper’s father has had it in for the wolves of Mercy Falls. Of course Isabel knows that the wolves aren’t really wolves at all, but humans who spend time in wolf form, and that they didn’t kill Jack so much as turn him. Luckily Sam is human again these days, as is Cole most of the time, but Grace is finally turning, and has been a wolf all winter. Frankly, Sam has enough to worry about as a suspect in Grace’s disappearance, without worrying about Mr. Culpepper getting together a hunt and directly threatening her life, and the life of the rest of the pack.

There are some really interesting threads of story going on in Forever, particularly in Cole’s development. He is a much more multifaceted character than he was in Linger, especially as he begins to care for Grace and Sam – or at least for what they have together. By this point, Cole and Isabel really get to tell a great amount of the story, especially with Grace spending so much of her time as a wolf.

I think it was the fact that Grace was narrating out of a wolf’s brain so often that made me less enthused about Forever than about Shiver and Linger. Of course I love Sam, how could anyone not? And Isabel and Cole are certainly fascinating and relatively well-developed secondary characters, but it seems that Grace is the anchor of the series for me. With her a relatively small part of the book, narration-wise, I had much less emotional investment in this portion of the story. Luckily it was still strongly-written with an engaging plot, but it just didn’t do quite as much for me as the first three.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the third book in the series, I do recommend the Wolves of Mercy Falls series as a whole. Although secrets are kept and parents defied, the relationship between Grace and Sam is built on familiarity, respect, and affection, and it is much more romantic than certain relationships between certain klutzy girls and sparkly vampires, and much more the type of relationship I would like to read about myself and share with teens

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publicist.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon – Book Review

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Published by Delta, an imprint of Random House
This is the 2nd book in the series, review may contain spoilers for earlier books

Claire and Jaime are back again, trying now to prevent the battle at Culloden Field, in which Claire knows thousands of highland men will die. In an attempt to change history, they travel together to France to try to subvert the cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

“Dragonfly in Amber” has perhaps the most confusing opening of any book I have ever read. When we last left Claire at the end of “Outlander,” she had decided not to go back to her own time, but to stay with Jaime. At the beginning of “Dragonfly in Amber,” she is back in the present with a grown daughter, trying to find out who of all of the men she had known made it alive through the battle at Culloden Field. I wondered if I had skipped a page in “Dragonfly in Amber,” or whether I had misinterpreted or misremembered the end of “Outlander.” Before too long, though, it all made sense again, and I was happy to be back, drawn into the lives of Claire and Jamie once more.

As with “Outlander,” I felt that “Dragonfly in Amber” was just a bit too long. And really, it is a testament to Gabaldon’s writing and storytelling that her 800+ page books are only a little too long, and not painfully too long. Still, though, it makes me hesitate a bit to get to the later books, which are even longer. Even so, I am loving these books and have no plans to stop the series any tiem soon.

Recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*
Amazon.*

Source: Personal copy.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Book Review

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Published by Delta, an imprint of Random House

Life has been in upheaval for Claire and Frank for some time. The majority of their married life was spent apart during World War II, where Claire acted as a nurse. Now is their time to reconnect on a romantic retreat in the Scottish highlands. One morning on their vacation, Claire heads up to an old stone circle (a la Stonehenge). As she nears the structure she begins to hear odd sounds and suddenly is whisked 200 years back in time where she is rescued/kidnapped by a group of Scottish clansmen. One of them, a young man in his early 20s named Jaime, has been badly injured and Claire immediately uses her nursing skills to help heal him. The longer Claire spends in the 18th century, the more time she and Jaime spend around one another, until something happens that will force them together.

When I first joined LibraryThing, one of my first stops was the historical fiction group, where it seemed like everyone was talking about one series. It was universal love, nary a dissenting opinion to be found. That series was, of course, Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series. After that initial introduction, I began hearing praises for “Outlander” all over the place; it seemed that everyone but me had read it. And yet, I resisted. I resisted for a good three years. I was scared by the fact it was a long series of hefty books (the mass market edition of Outlander I read has about 850 pages, and it appears that many of the sequels are longer). I also wasn’t sure how I felt about the time travel aspect or the whole description of the series as historical romance, since I generally feel like romance aspects add very little to historical fiction.

What I want to know now is this:

WHY did none of you sit me down and make me read “Outlander” before this?

Seriously? Because I L-O-V-E LOVE it.

And what of my objections? Okay, first, the time travel thing. It really isn’t time travel. Yes, Claire goes back in time, but it more about the magical qualities of the Scottish highlands, finding that there is truth to the basis of the old myths, not that there is some science fiction-type thing stuck in the middle of what is primarily historical fiction, just a touch of fantasy. Of course, I was also put off by everyone’s description of this book as romance, because historical romance usually makes me roll my eyes or skip pages. However, I was talking to Michelle from That’s What She Read trying to sum up my thoughts on the romance angle and I think that she put it very well: most sex scenes in historical fiction are either gratuitous or insignificant. She’s absolutely right, but the romantic encounters in “Outlander” and neither of those things. By and large they really do advance the plot and the character development. Plus, Gabaldon perfectly walks the line between too vague and too graphic and writes love scenes that don’t make me want to throw the book against the wall, miracle of miracles!

If you are like me and have heard of these books but failed to read them, please stop what you’re doing and go and find the first one. They’re long, but they’re fast reads and they’re terrific. And now I’m out of here, because I’m on my way to buy the next two books in the series!

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*
Amazon.*

I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour.  Check out some of the other tour hosts for more reviews.  Links go to the host’s site, not to their specific review.

Monday, August 2nd:  Jenn’s Bookshelves (An Echo in the Bone)

Wednesday, August 4th:  The Literate Housewife Review (Voyager)

Monday, August 9th:  Musings of an All Purpose Monkey (Outlander)

Thursday, August 12th:  Under the Boardwalk (An Echo in the Bone)

Friday, August 13th:  Starting Fresh (An Echo in the Bone)

Monday, August 16th:  Planet Books (Outlander)

Wednesday, August 25th:  MoonCat Farms Meanderings (An Echo in the Bone)

Tuesday, August 31st:  The Brain Lair (Outlander)

Wednesday, September 1st:  My Two Blessings (Outlander)

Thursday, September 2nd:  Life in the Thumb (An Echo in the Bone)

Tuesday, September 7th:  That’s What She Read (Dragonfly in Amber)

Monday, September 13th:  Suko’s Notebook (Outlander)

Tuesday, September 14th:  Luxury Reading (Outlander)

Wednesday, September 15th:  The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader (An Echo in the Bone)

Friday, September 17th:  Devourer of Books (Outlander)

Tuesday, September 21st:  Rundpinne (An Echo in the Bone)

Monday, September 27th:  Hey, Lady!  Whatcha Readin’? (Outlander)

Thursday, September 30th:  Pop Culture Junkie (Outlander)

* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

My Name is Memory by Anne Brashares – Book Review

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

Lucy feels a strange connection to the mysterious Daniel, a young man who joined her high school class for their senior year. Daniel completely ignores her, though, no matter what she does. Until the end of the school year, when Lucy and Daniel find themselves alone together in a classroom, where he starts talking about remembering something and calling Lucy Sophia.

Although it seems that he has been ignoring her, Daniel thinks about almost nothing besides Lucy. Not only does he think about her, he remembers her. He remembers the first time he saw her, thousands of years ago, and every time they’ve come in contact in the years and lives since then. Daniel is one of the rare people who actually remembers what has come before from life to life. Not only that, but he has the ability to recognize other souls from body to body, which is how he knows the soul which is now Lucy throughout the millennia.

“My Name is Memory” is the first in a new trilogy from Ann Brashares. I have to say, I’ve been having a lot of trouble with the first book in trilogies lately.  This one followed much the same pattern. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good book. Daniel and Lucy are both complex and compelling characters, and the plot is very inventive and kept me interested. It is just that the first half of the book is a bit of a slow start. This really isn’t surprising, since it is setting up three books worth of plot. Towards the end of the book, though, the pace really picks up. By the end of the book, I couldn’t wait until the next book in the series comes out. I will be reading the rest of this trilogy, without question; I cannot wait to see where Brashares takes Daniel and Lucy’s story.

Recommended, but be warned that it starts off a bit slow – it is worth it, though!

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound
.*
Amazon
.*

This review was done with a book received from Lydia at Penguin.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.