Friday, April 27, 2012

Follow Friday (18)

First I want to thank everyone for their support during this very difficult time for me. Your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes have been very much appreciated and shared with my family. (if you are unsure of what I am talking about please see Taking A Break)

Q: Have you had a character that disappointed you? One that you fell in love with and then "broke up" with later on in either the series or a stand-alone book? Tell us about him or her. 

This is a great question--and one I am really struggling to answer. My first thought is Scarlett from Gone with the Wind, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it was more that I wanted to like her but I never really did. I admired her determination to survive and to do what she had to in order to beat the odds. But the way she stole her sister's beau, the way she treated Rhett (who is one of my literary crushes), and even the way she pawed after a married man--oh it makes me angry and annoyed just to think about it.

So then I thought about Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones's Diary. Initially, I thought she was a funny character, but as the story continued and particularly as it continued into the second book I started to really not like her at all. She comes off as stupid and incompetent on many occasions. Do people really see her as a modern day Elizabeth Bennet? Irk! And throughout Pride and Prejudice, I never doubt what Darcy sees in Elizabeth. But I question many, many times what Darcy sees in Bridget Jones!

But finally I settled on Al from Divergent. In the beginning, I really felt for Al. He made a very tough decision when he changed factions--that takes courage. He openly showed his vulnerability--which I also think takes courage. But as the story progressed and as Tris started to describe some of the changes in Al, I became more and more unsure of him, of his motives for changing factions, of his motives regarding Tris, of his motives in general. So I came to not like him very much at all by the end.

Now I cannot wait to hear what characters disappointed you?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Book Addict Reviews: Death Comes To Pemberley by P.D. James

Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Order Online:  
Author Info: Website | Goodreads
Rating: 2 stars 
Borrowed this book from the library.

In A Nutshell:
This book disappointed me, but I am not sure if that disappointment came from my high expectations, my love of the original text, or a sign that this author is not meant to be a favorite of mine.  But I am committed to not basing my feelings about this author solely on this book.  I will read another since I have heard so many great things about this author.

This book is hard for me to review.  If you have followed me very much at all, you know I LOVE Pride and Prejudice.  I think it has been my answer or part of my answer to so many of the Follow Friday questions.  I want to meet Darcy.  Darcy is one of my literary crushes.  When I have taken quizzes on which Jane Austen heroine I am--it always comes up Elizabeth.  I have watched the six hour version of the movie at least 100 times (probably more).  So, I think you can see that I LOVE this book.

I do not typically read the "sequels" that are out there because when I have tried them, I have been disappointed.  I made the exception for Death Comes to Pemberley because a friend of mine had wonderful things to say about this author.  So I took the plunge.  And now I struggle because I cannot necessarily pinpoint the source of my disappointment.  Were my expectations too high?  Possibly.  Was the writing not my style?  I am not sure because I feel like many of my problems were because her style is so very different from Jane Austen's in Pride and Prejudice.  Was I dissatisfied by her treatment of the characters?  Sometimes.  The prologue provided indications that P.D. James reading of Pride and Prejudice and her impression of the characters was very different from my own.

So as a "sequel" to Pride and Prejudice, I cannot say that I recommend this book.  However, the story and the mystery were interesting and compelling which makes me think that I would like her books in a different context.  So I am determined to read another one of her books--with her own characters.  I want to give her a chance to wow me without the comparisons to one of my favorite books.

My friend who has read a lot of P.D. James' books has recommended I try the following before deciding if I like P.D. James:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Book Addict Reviews: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Paranormal, Vampires
Order Online:
Author Info: Goodreads | Website
Rating: 3 stars
Borrowed this book from the library. 

In A Nutshell:
I had some idea of what to expect from this book since I had seen a couple of episodes of True Blood (from HBO) before I started the book.  Overall, I felt like the book met my expectations but did not in any way wow me or exceed those expectations.  It was a good book, but I am not rushing to read the next one in the series.

Prior to reading this book, I had seen a couple episodes of True Blood--just enough so that the actors and actresses who played the characters I remembered the most influenced how I pictured those characters in my mind.  I do not know if this influence was necessarily good or bad, but it was an influence none-the-less.

The character of Sookie Stackhouse is interesting--even endearing in her mix of innocence and tenacity.  She is a small town girl with a disability--at least that is what she calls her ability to read the thoughts of the people around her.  For most of her life, her disability has made her an outsider--even in her own hometown.  In some ways, this separation is her own doing because she finds it exhausting to constantly shield her mind from the thoughts of others.  In other ways, this separation is prompted by the fear of the people around her. 

And this perception and the relationship(s) that Sookie has with those around her serve as a strong foundation for the story.  It is part of the reason that she finds such a strong connection with Bill the Vampire--the only person she has ever met whose mind was closed to her.  It is so refreshing for her to have quiet time that she immediately throws herself heart-first into a relationship with him.  She does this despite even his own warnings to her.

Outside of this relationship, the story focuses on a fairly compelling mystery about a series of murders.  The first major suspect is Sookie's brother, but since there also seems to be a vampire connection to the murders there are a lot of people who blame Bill for bringing vampires and vampirism to their community.  These murders end up furthering the connection between Bill and Sookie as they strive to protect Sookie (who seems to be an obvious potential victim) and prove her brother's innocence.

Overall, I felt the book was okay.  I am interested in getting more books from the series and finding out what happens next, but I am not compelled to do it right away.  The characters had some interesting aspects, but there was not a single character that drew me in so much or made me care so much that I cannot wait to read the next one.  But at the same time I am not disappointed that I read it.
If you have not watched True Blood, then I definitely recommend getting the DVDs.  I think the casting, scripts and characterizations accentuate the story that I found when I opened the book:

However, I do plan to read the next book in the series. I am just not sitting on pins and needles in anticipation for it:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Book Addict Reviews: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Genre: Young Adult, New Experiences, Family Life, Social Issues
Order Online:
Author Info:  Website | Goodreads
Rating: 3 stars
Borrowed book from library. 

In A Nutshell:
It is almost ironic that I had read this book and was writing this review when an event happened that changed my life forever (if you don't know what I am referring to please see Taking A Break).  After everything has happened, I re-read what I wrote and the magnitude of this story hit me even more.  As someone who has lost someone important in the blink of an eye, I can say this book has an impact beyond what I initially thought and expected.

It has often been said that your life can change in the blink of an eye.  Mia can tell you that better than anyone.  One moment she was in the car with her family listening to a classical song and finguring  the next moment she is looking at the crumpled remains of the family car and watching the emergency rescue people trying to save her life. 

Wait--how can she be watching that?  Mia struggles with seeing everything going on around her, seeing everything that is happening to her, but not quite understanding what it all means.  Is she alive?  Is she dead?  Does she want to continue to fight to live?  Does she want to join her family?  But the biggest question she has is how to make what she decides to do actually happen?

I have seen this idea of the consciousness leaving the body in movies such as Ghost Dad and Ghost, but I feel that Gayle Forman has added something different to the mix.  In both Ghost Dad and Ghost, the ghosts desperately want to get back to their bodies or their lives.  Mia struggles with what she wants to do.  Either way, she knows her life has changed.  So which way will she choose? 

In some ways, the ending disappointed me a little.  There was no closure, but I just learned that there is more to Mia's story: