Fallen by Lauren Kate

Yeah, I totally read this one for the cover.  I mean, look at it.  Gorgeous!

The book itself though, not so much.  It was a relatively entertaining, quick read, but on the whole it didn’t do too much for me.  I really like the concept of fallen angels, but I feel like so much more could have been done with it.

I suppose the biggest problem I have is the characters.  The only ones who have any personality are Arriane and Penn.  None of the other characters – Luce and Daniel included – seemed remotely real.  Luce doesn’t do much besides feel sorry for herself and moan about how misunderstood she is, how she doesn’t belong in a place like Sword & Cross, etc.  She wasn’t all the bright either – I mean, you figure out that this guy you’ve been seeing is essentially a violent control freak, so when he leaves you a note telling you to get in the car and the driver will take you to him god-knows-where, you actually go?  Really? I’m pretty sure this is the type of situation my parents were referring to when they told me “Don’t get in the car – if you do, you’ll probably never be seen again.”

Ok, enough ranting about Luce.  It got better towards the end, with some surprising twists and others you saw coming – and once Luce finally figures out what’s going on, some of the fallen angel stuff gets pretty cool.  There’s enough romance in this with the same sense of mystery that Twilight has that I think it will do well – especially with all the hype, upcoming sequel, and a movie on the way already!

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An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

41UcQIQgnaL**spoiler alert!**

 

Where to begin??

For the record, I spent the last…hmm, 4 hours reading this to finish it, when I really should have been doing homework. Oops. But it got to that point where you just have to find out how it ends – the point of no return, shall we call it. Once that jerk took Jem, that was it for me. I looked at the clock, and said “Screw it.”

Speaking of Jem, that means that Roger has gone back for no reason at all, and has no way of knowing this unless Brianna (who else?) goes back as well to tell him! If something happens to Roger after all of this, I will be very upset – though I don’t think Diana would do it. Speaking of this whole situation, the guy’s last name is Cameron, which I totally didn’t catch on to until I saw his name again when he showed up in the study. So I’m thinking he’s a descendant of Jocasta (and also related to Bree?), knows about the gold and recognized it for what it was, and now wants to claim it again. I knew he was up to no good with Roger’s book.

I’d accidentally seen a bit of a review earlier that was upset about the cliffhanger ending. For a good 30 pages or so I was absolutely terrified that this one would end with Claire still thinking Jamie was dead, and I really don’t think I could have dealt with that for the next however many years until book 8! Not that they got much of a reunion, and Jamie certainly isn’t out of the woods yet, but at least they can both live (relatively) happily in my mind until then!

I wasn’t terribly interested in the adventures of Willie and Lord John throughout the book though – at least until they became intertwined with Jamie & Claire’s story, which I knew they would be eventually. I was always happy to see that the next chapter was about Jamie & Claire or Brianna & Roger.

It really is the characters that make these books though. When I sat down to start this book, it was so nice to reacquaint myself with them, and read about them again. They truly do become like old friends, and I realized (while fuming that Claire might not find out about Jamie, etc.) how desperately I wanted them to be happy. I know it will be a while until I can visit them again (unless I reread the series, which I very well might – at least the first!), but I do look forward to it!

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

51-GmB+jGVLReally lovely – well written, and the story pulled me along the whole time.  Buchanan’s descriptions of the river are fantastic.  Although I’ve never been to Niagara Falls, the danger and power that underlie its beauty were easy to imagine.

I do wish I got to know Tom better – throughout the novel, he almost seemed more of a legend than a man.  Part of this probably comes from the chapters he is absent, away at war.  When he returns, he has more depth to him, clearly changed and disturbed by what he saw.  After that subsided, and he became himself again, I realized I wasn’t really sure what that meant.  I really liked him as a character, I only wish I knew more about him – how he was in everyday life, not just in his daring during (and his modesty after) a rescue that we saw so often.

Bess is a strong character.  We see her go from living the life of luxury to having to work to support herself, and the bumps she hits along the way.  Even years later, she wants that house on May Avenue, even if it’s more than they need.  She seemed very real to me.

I really enjoyed this novel.  A beautifully written account of a family’s life in Niagara Falls, and how the river becomes irreversibly intertwined with their lives.

*Review of ARC

Austenland by Shannon Hale

51W59CmTN+L._SL500_
This is more of a three and a half star book, but one worth rounding up to four rather than down to three. Chick-lit isn’t really my thing, but I like to read a good one every now and again for a quick read that I can just enjoy without having to think too much. And of course, this one has to do with Austen, so I decided to give it a shot.

Chick-lit isn’t really my thing, but I like to read a good one every now and again for a quick read that I can just enjoy without having to think too much. And of course, this one has to do with Austen, so I decided to give it a shot.

To sum it up, it was really cute. I know that’s not a literary term, but it really says it all. The narrator was easy to relate to, especially in terms of her feelings about Pembrook Park – a little embarrassed to be playing dress up, but still wanting to get lost in the fantasy anyways. It was fairly predictable, although it did have a couple nice little twists at the end. I think I smiled all the way through the last couple of chapters, which is always a good sign. I probably looked like a grinning idiot to everyone else at the lunch table at work, oh well! If you want something fluffy and fun, I would highly recommend this one.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

51KBQPF3ZDL._SL500_If you’re looking for something fun to read that will hold your attention, you’ve come to the right place…or rather, right book. No, it’s not exactly a great literary work of historical fiction, but reading isn’t just about literary value, it’s about entertainment as well.

Willig has taken some liberties with dates and names (as she explains in the historical notes at the end of the novel), and the main characters are fictional. Despite that, it still remains fairly historically accurate, although the heroine and her companions do some things that ladies of the time would very likely not have done. If you can look past that and just enjoy the book, you’ll have a lot of fun with this one.

The novel has elements of a number of genres – romance, adventure, and mystery, to name a few – so there’s more or less something for everyone. I knew the whole time I was reading it how predictable it was, but Willig actually surprised me in the end by proving me wrong with a twist or two.

Even though I know it was a little bit silly, and not exactly serious, I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. It will definitely provide a nice break from reading the heavy, academic stuff (enjoyable though it is) that comes with being an English major.

The Rules of Gentility by Janet Mullaney

1331047This book is definitely what it promises in being a historical take on Bridget Jones’s Diary, and not much more, so don’t expect a great literary work.

That said, this was a quick read, and a lot of fun. The characters don’t have great amounts of depth, and it’s fairly predictable, but I found myself laughing out loud a couple of times. The ending was a bit odd and unresolved in some ways, and I was a little disappointed with it – it felt like Mullany got tired of her characters and wrote it off as quickly as she could. I’d recommend this for a historical fiction fan looking for a beach or fluff read, because fluff (admittedly, enjoyable fluff) is exactly what you’ll find.

Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange

99297After reading Pamela Aiden’s “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman” trilogy a few months ago, I found this to be merely a much simpler version. Grange doesn’t go much beyond the events we already know of from the original novel, and Darcy himself doesn’t seem to have much depth at all. He switches from being determined to stop thinking about Elizabeth to suddenly proposing without almost any explanation at all. His feelings flip flop too quickly throughout the novel with no basis. Overall, I knew exactly what was going to happen – there were no surprises. Nothing happens to Darcy that we don’t already know about to some degree.

The book was enjoyable for the story itself, and of course I found myself smiling when Elizabeth finally accepted. The glimpses of their life after marriage were cute too. If you really want an in-depth look at Darcy, I recommend the Pamela Aiden trilogy. Although it can be a little far-fetched a times, she adds a slew of new characters for Darcy to interact with, and really shows the way his mind works.