Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Series: None
Published: 1891
Publisher: Public Domain
Pages: 518

"How could I be expected to know? I was a child when I left this house four months ago. Why didn't you tell me there was danger in men-folk? Why didn't you warn me?"
When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her 'cousin' Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future. With its sensitive depiction of the wronged Tess and with its powerful criticism of social convention, Tess of the D'Urbervilles is on of the most moving and poetic of Hardy's novels.
This is a very difficult book to write about. There are plenty of things to talk about. Tess's representation of Nature, the guilt of the innocent, the chaos of Society imposed on Nature. But I could hardly say why (or why not) one should read it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Series: None
Published: 1885
Publisher: Public Domain
Pages: 544

Elizabeth Gaskell's compassionate, richly dramatic novel features on of the most original and fully-rounded female characters in Victorian fiction, Margaret Hale. It shows how, forced to move from the country to an industrial northern town, she develops a passionate sense of social justice, and a turbulent relationship with the mill-owner John Thornton.

North and South depicts a young woman discovering herself, in a nuanced portrayal of what divides people, and what brings them together.
Take a moment to read that description. Note Margaret's character. She is so peculiarly unique that I can see some people not liking her. But this story is so incredibly epic that I can't help but fall in love with each and every character.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Series: Corman Strike, #1
Published: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Pages: 455

A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
Confessions: I picked this up after realizing J.K. Rowling wrote it, and this was my first modern day mystery.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: The Serpent's Shadow by Mercedes Lackey

The Serpent's Shadow by Mercedes Lackey
Series: The Elemental Masters, #2
Published: March 1, 2001
Publisher: DAW
Pages: 394

Maya Witherspoon had lived most of the first twenty-five years of her life in her native India. As the daughter of a prominent British physician and a Brahmin woman of the highest caste, she had known only luxury. Trained by her father in the medical arts since she was old enough to read, she graduated from the University of Delhi as a Doctor of Medicine by the age of twenty-two.
But the science of medicine was not Maya's only heritage. For her mother was a sorceress - a former priestess of the mystical magics fueled by the powerful and fearsome pantheon of Indian gods.

Though Maya felt the stirring of magic in her blood, her mother had repeatedly refused to train her. "I cannot," she had said, her eyes dark with distress, whenever Maya asked. "Yours is the magic of your father's blood, not mine...." Surya had never had the chance to explain this enigmatic statement to her daughter before a mysterious illness claimed her life. Yet it was Maya's father's death shortly thereafter which confirmed her darkest suspicions. For her father was killed by the bite of a krait, a tiny venomous snake. In the last hours of her mother's life, in the seeming delirium of her final fever, Surya had repeatedly warned Maya to beware "the serpent's shadow." With the sudden loss of her father, Maya knew she must flee the land of her birth or face the same fate as her parents.
This was actually my first Mercedes Lackey novel. I also think that it might have been my first brush with modern fantasy, though I definitely had read stories with fantastical elements and styles (I'm thinking of The Little White Horse).

Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: Wait for You by J. Lynn

Wait for You by J. Lynn
Series: Wait for You, #1 (that's going to be awkward with the second book)
Published: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 332

Some things are worth waiting for...Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago--an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe--please God--make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn't need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she's building for herself.Some things are worth experiencing...Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that's just so... so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.Some things should never be kept quiet...But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she's has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?And some things are worth fighting for...
That's right, zero stars! I have never given a book zero stars before, so trust me when I say, STAY AWAY.