Passion by Lauren Kate – #3 Fallen Series

Passion by Lauren Kate 3 *** = Good, may not be for everyone Website – laurenkatebooks.net Facebook –Lauren Kate Twitter – @laurenkatebooks SNYOPSIS From Goodreads Luce would die for Daniel. And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce … Continue reading

Pendragon: “The Soldiers of Halla”

“The Solders of Halla”

by D.J. MacHale

3 *** = Good, may not be for everyone

Bobby Pendragon and I have been through a lot together. We’ve run many miles together, baked many cookies, oh, and fought the evil demon traveler Saint Dane.

Bobby has kept me company through hundreds of miles of the I-5 corridor, and I’ve cheered him along as he’s toiled to save the universe, or “Halla” as he calls it.

I’ve spent more time with Bobby than almost any other fictional character: ten audio books -136 hours to be exact. (Yes, I do have relationships with real people too.)

Bobby and I need a break.

The Pendragon series is every fantasy geek’s dream. There’s a little Star Wars. There’s some Harry Potter. There’s a little more Back to the Future. And, there’s a lot of Lost. A LOT OF LOST. (There’s even a polar bear. I kid you not.)

When I picked up book ten, “The Soldiers of Halla,” from the library, I felt very similarly to the way I felt when I started the last season of “Lost.” My thoughts exactly? This had better be worth it.

It was.

Let me explain a couple of things. The Pendragon series is long and wild. It follows Bobby as he bounces around ten different worlds, or territories, along with his fellow “travelers,” attempting to stop the villainous Saint Dane from manipulating history for his own personal gain.

Author D.J. MacHale lets very little on about the underscoring theme of the series until book nine, “The Raven Rise.” Up to that point, it had mostly been children’s adventure books. In the final two books, things get way more spacey and spiritual. Let’s just say it didn’t go where I thought it’d go.

“The Soldiers of Halla” is Bobby’s final journal documenting the travelers’ final stand against Saint Dane. It’s a lot of action with an ending that was way better than I had anticipated. The more I think about it, the more beautiful it seems.

And, unlike “Lost,” it answered all my questions. Take that, J.J. Abrams.

If you’ve read the first nine books of the series, I don’t think I need to convince you to finish. However, if you haven’t started the series, allow me to make some recommendations.

It’s a good series. Really. But it’s long. Really. I think that the only reason I hung in there was because I was listening to the audio books. I barely made it past the first book because I wasn’t a huge fan of the narrator. Let’s just say his “girl voice” is kind of annoying. It’s for that reason that I’m not holding one of the main characters, Courtney Chetwynde, against the author. Yeah, her personality isn’t my favorite, but I think it’s her voice that drives me crazy.

All of the books are written primarily as part of Bobby’s journal. And although Bobby is pegged to be one of the “cool kids,” he’s actually a cornball. Sometimes, I would snort with laughter over some of the dialogue. It was kind of hard picturing many of the conversations occurring in real life.

I think these books are mostly for middle school kids, professionals with long commutes, or bored runners. (I’m 2 out of 3, so it worked out).

If you’re one of the above, then read on, and “Hobey-ho.” You’ll get that later.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

“A Monster Calls”

by Patrick Ness

2 ** = Overall not recommended; there were some highlights, but nothing to write home about

Just over two weeks ago, I had 12 inches of snow outside my door. Today, it was 56 degrees and sunny. So being the good Washingtonian that I am, I threw on my Chacos, sunglasses and not-so-light jacket and made my way outside to finish my book like there was no tomorrow. You have to take advantage of these days in the Northwest, my friends.

You want to live here too, don't you?

And that’s where the “bright and cheery” ends. My book sure didn’t match the weather.

I had been wanting to read “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness for quite some time now. I read his “Chaos Walking” trilogy not too long ago and was totally enticed by his writing. He’s good. Real good.

While we’re here: I would highly recommend the “Chaos Walking” trilogy for my “Hunger Games”/”Maze Runner”/troubling-dystopian-novel-loving friends.

Now that that’s out there . . .

“A Monster Calls” reads like a 200-page short story, containing many short chapters and beautifully haunting illustrations.

The book is about 13-year-old Connor who is visited by a hauntingly powerful monster, who tells the boy mysterious tales with deep hidden meanings. That was enough to interest me. I like books about monsters and deep mysterious tales.

But. . .then we learn about Connor’s mom who is losing a battle against cancer. Those kinds of books are not my favorite. Why? Because I hate crying, and the only thing that is not mysterious about this book is that there WILL be crying.

So yes. I got tears on my sunglasses. Argh.

This book isn’t for everyone. I won’t be reading it again, but I don’t regret reading it. It reminded me very much of “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak. Both are very haunting and both have tearstains on their pages from yours truly. And, both deal with real life, tragic events from a very unique perspective, which although literarily interesting, include principles that I personally do not prescribe to. It is for that reason, that I hesitate to recommend this book.

For those who feel they have the emotional fortitude to tackle this book, I feel like I need to tell you that when it comes down to it, it’s about death and how one deals with it. Not exactly light reading.

As for me, I’m going to go watch “Gnomeo and Juliet.” That’s more my speed.

Trying to read out of my Paranormal Romance Comfort Zone: The Scorpio Races & Worldshaker

So in my attempt to broaden my reading horizons, this new year,  I decided to read some novels that were not Paranormal romances.  My first attempt at this goal was:

The Scorpio Races

By Maggie Stiefvater

2 ** = Overall not recommended; there were some highlights, but nothing to write home about

I hate to be negative about reviews, this book has had some glowing reviews.  That was a big reason I was willing to give this author, Maggie Stiefvater, another try.  I read her Shiver series and was torn up about the way she ended it.  So with all the glowing reviews, I thought this may be what I needed to step out of my comfort zone.

This is a story that has a really interesting lore about water horses woven into it.  The world is very magical and walks such a fine line between the real and magical world that I was really intrigued.  The draw back was the very dangerous part the water horses play in our characters lives.  We meet Sean Kendrick and Puck Connolly, both who have been touched tragically by these water horses.  Although, the writing style and the magical lore of these horses are really lovely, I was struck by the tragic events that happen and continue happening, in these two young lives.  (I must warn you all, I tend to lean towards happily ever afters or magical worlds.  I do not enjoy real life, tragic or end of the world fiction.  I read for an escape, so I am careful in my book choices.)  The romance in this is very real and sweet, but Ms. Stiefvater did it again, gave me an open ended ending.  Ugh.

Overall, this book was ok, FOR ME.  I am sure others who don’t mind the violence and sadness will love it.  If you like an open ended ending, then you will love this book.  Not sure if I will read any more of this author’s books, unless I  know the ending is a bit more definite.

The next book I attempted after the sad and unsatisfying first attempt was:

Worldshaker

By Richard Harland

2 ** = Overall not recommended; there were some highlights, but nothing to write home about

I thought this would fit more into the adventure books I have read in the past.  All the reviews were throwing around mentions of steampunk and romance.  OH my was this book wrong for me.  Col lives on the upper decks of this Juggernaut, which is a huge ship that even goes over land.  Living on the upper decks signifies his rank in the society of the Worldshaker!  He then, by chance, meets a filthy named Riff, she lives on the very bottom decks.  This chance meeting begins  to unravel all the beliefs he has had about the society he lives in and will soon be Supreme Commander of.

I felt this book to be less about adventure and more of a commentary on classes and the way people view others in society.  The romance was very light and although the world was very rich, it was very sad.  Way too heavy for me to be enjoyable.

So, I am on a break from my goal and have purchased a very satisfying Paranormal romance!  He He!  I will attempt another DEEP book later this month!

Let me know if you have some suggestions!  Remember, I need fiction!  Escape, adventure & maybe a little romance.  Just not Paranormal romance.  🙂