28 September 2009

Dual Thoughts on Hunting Ground

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

Yesterday my lovely friend Kerry (from Saving My Sanity) and I were discussing Hunting Ground (Patricia Briggs), which both of us have recently finished reading. We both came to the conclusion that it was an enjoyable read, but...something was missing...or, as Kerry put it, Hunting Ground didn't enthrall as much as Alpha & Omega or Cry Wolf. So, we tried, via email, to put our finger on what that elusive 'something' was....and this is the result. Please note that there are spoilers for Hunting Ground included in this post.

orannia: For me, Anna & Charles' relationship was at the forefront in Alpha & Omega and Cry Wolf. Yes, there was action, but it was their developing relationship that drove the story in both books IMO. However, in Hunting Ground it wasn't Anna & Charles' relationship at the forefront, it was the discussion and potential consequences surrounding the werewolves (OK, the Marrok's) decision to 'come out' (so to speak) *grin* Yes, parts of their relationship were discussed, but for me it wasn't enough. Does my 'but' (as in, 'I liked it, but...') made sense?

Kerry: I think for me it is also that the werewolves 'coming out' could have been a big story, but by making it about bat-sh*t crazy Arthur in the end instead, it turned it into a small story. It was well plotted and interesting, but it didn't feel all that important in the overall scheme of things. I was okay with the Charles and Anna relationship. What was there was very understated, but it showed that Charles knew Anna and knew how to be a good Alpha male. He's similar to Daemon and Lucivar to me in that way - he (along with Brother Wolf) understands that the way to protect is to let your mate spread her wings and be strong, not to smother and belittle in the name of "protection". I really liked that. And that they did their best to communicate when they needed to do so. That's what I absolutely adore about Jaenelle and Daemon - they TALK to each other and solve their problems. Sometimes talking is enough, sometimes it isn't, but they don't have stupid misunderstandings. I don't think Anna and Charles will have all that many misunderstanding either. So for me, the problem was that is was a 'small' story, although I can't define that in a way that necessarily explains what I mean by that.
orannia: Because I just love quotes, I had to throw this quote in to support Kerry's point, which I think is an excellent one :)
'If it would benefit you, I would kill every wolf here. But there are things that you need to do - and interfering with that is not protecting, not in my book. The best way for me to protect you is to encourage you to be able to protect yourself.'
orannia: And once Kerry made that (very good) point I saw where she was going...and realised that while little was made of the 'discussion' over 'coming out', because as was stated in the book it was just a discussion, the European wolves really didn't seem to have a problem 'coming out', and I kept expecting them too....at least one of them.

Don't get us wrong, we both loved the book and will be eagerly awaiting the sequel. It's just fun dissecting a book *grin* So, have you read Hunting Ground and, if so, what did you think? Was it missing something?

Sacrilege

There are days when I don't ever want to pick up and read another romance novel again. Days when I don't want to read about characters, who have lives that are either impossibly perfect or just so unrealistic as to not be in any way, shape or form 'normal', finding their HEA. Days when I don't want to read about people who actually have the confidence to say what they think and damn the consequences. Why? Because on such days I can't pretend that HEA exists and that good people do, occasionally, finish first. On such days I can't put on my Pollyanna hat and believe that tomorrow will be a better day (because going on experience it won't be) and that I will be a more self-assured person who will be loved just as I am. And on such days miracles seem...rather short on the ground and I have to admit that if I'm very lucky what I have now is it...because the thought of anything changing for the better seems less than remote...it seems impossible.

So, do you ever have days when you just don't want to read a romance novel?

Note: I know this post is very whiny...but I decided to keep to the spirit of Walkabout, be honest about what I am feeling and express it.

24 September 2009

The Black Hole

Earlier today, the lovely CJ (from The Thrillionth Page) was waxing lyrical (that's a good thing IMO CJ) on Doubleblind (Ann Aguirre) [which sounds very interesting]. And that got me thinking....and then I came to the rather abrupt realization that I still haven't read Grimspace (the first book in the Sirantha Jax series)..even though I was the one who 'suggested' it to my library and then raved about it to one of the librarians (who FYI read it and loved it). It's been on my TBR list for...for ages! It's like....it's like Grimspace got sucked in to the black hole of my TBR list where it has languished every since :( But I'm sure this is an isolated case...

*checks TBR list*

*almost faints at number of books in 'The Black Hole'*

There's...*GULP* ...As Shadows Fade (Colleen Gleason), Fragile Eternity (Melissa Marr), Underground (Kat Richardson) and When the Duke Returns (Eloisa James), to name but a few. How (or should that be why?) have I not read these books? Am I insane or just stupid? (Please don't answer that last question.)

So, do you have a Black Hole (and yes I think the capitals are justified *grin*) in your TBR list/pile and, if so, what books have been sucked into it?

22 September 2009

Want Or Need?

I am a library addict. Unequivocally. I borrow the majority of my books from my local library (who I *heart* BTW); those books I love beyond compare I then purchase. (A good example of this would be Sarah Monette's The Doctrine of Labyrinths, which I hunted down in hardback [because after all, the books have to be the same size, right?] earlier this year.) These books are my 'keepers'. I've always been that way - a borrower, not a buyer. I'm not sure why...maybe because the majority of my family, not being readers themselves, couldn't understand my need to read (because that's what it feels like...a need, not a want). And the one family member who did read a lot didn't understand the need to buy a book...because (so he said) he only ever read a book once.

Hmmm... I was going to ask if you were a borrower or a buyer...and whether the current economic situation has changed your habits (and I still am interested *grin*), but...I'm curious...is reading a want or a need for you? Umm, for example, if you were told that you could never read another book again could you accept that? And I'm talking about reading for pleasure, not reading for work. It's just that I was lying in bed on Sunday night reading the following paragraph from HaveMercy and it suddenly struck me how...perfectly content the action of reading made me.

On the whole I felt as if my mind had been oddly separated from my emotions; I was speaking, certainly, but at the same time not entirely sure I was in control of the words I spoke.

Because, when I read I'm not in my room, I'm in the book...elsewhere... And that made me realise how miraculous books really are. We can go anywhere, be anyone, within a story.

So, what does reading mean to you? Is it a want or a need? And could you give it up? I know I wouldn't...and that it would break my heart if I had too.

19 September 2009

It's Not You, It's Me

Dear (DNF) Book,

We need to talk. I know I picked you up, murmured sweet nothings in your ear about the one-on-one time we would spend together...but I'm sorry I have to walk away...and this is the end of the road for us. I know I led you on, promised you the world, but...this just isn't working out and, while I know this is going to sound trite, it's not you, it's me.

I love your sense of style, your dash, your verve, but you're no good for me...and I'm no good for you. It may be that this is just not the right time for us to be...together; I'm not ready for you yet. I need to work on me...and you, you deserve someone better than that.

I know you will find that elusive connection with someone...but that someone isn't me. I hope you can forgive me for leading you on. If it makes you feel any better, I feel very guilty.

orannia

So, how do you explain the reason behind your break-up to your DNF books?

17 September 2009

But I Guess That's Why They Call Them The Blues

Last week my lovely friend Kerry (from Saving My Sanity) and I were discussing the blues....more specifically, book blues. Because I truly think they exist. Remember the excitement that grips you when a book picks you up and pulls you inside? And then that flat feeling that sweeps over you when you finish said book and every subsequent book pales in comparison? The feeling of being all over the place and yet nowhere, resulting in disjointed reading and an increasing DNF pile? And then, after a certain period of time, you (to quote Kerry) climb back out of the book and realise that all is not lost. Unfortunately, that time period differs depending on the book... Me? I usually try and read a completely different genre to help snap myself out of it (which unfortunately doesn't always work).

So, have you experienced the book blues before and, if so, how do you climb back out of the book?

10 September 2009

Location, Location, Location

Warning: snark ahead! (But no, I didn't hunt the snark [LOL] - it found me!

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

So, I'm reading DawnKeepers, the second in The Final Prophecy series by JR Ward Jessica Andersen. And before you ask, that faux pas was completely accidental - I honestly just starting typing the wrong name - although considering the reminder of my post it's rather ironic...my subconscious was obviously pulling strings. Anyway...8 pages in and the following phase appears:

..woman of worth...

*looks at front cover* I am reading a Jessica Andersen book, aren't I? Never mind.

*keeps reading*

Nor Cal? What is Nor Cal...or should that be where? I'm guessing Northern California, but no, I'm not putting money down on that.

*keeps reading*

OnStar? WTF is OnStar? I'm guessing something like a car alarm system, but not exactly, or else I would have read 'car alarm'.

*fires up the not-so-trusty computer*

OnStar is the in-vehicle safety and security system created to help protect you and your family on the road. OnStar's innovative three-button system* offers:

* 24-hour access to expertly trained, caring Advisors;

* A connection to emergency assistance;

* Access to OnStar Hands-Free Calling.

Note - I didn't capitalize, OnStar did.

So here's my dilemma. I don't live in North America. We don't have OnStar here nor do I know if the abbreviation for Northern California is Nor Cal. It's like a location joke - you have to be there to understand it. And while I'm not expecting authors to completely change what they write just for me, it would be nice if they realised that not all of their readers live in North America (although I will concede that the vast majority do) and thus their use of location abbreviations or brands makes absolutely no sense to those of us who live 'outside' and simply throws us (me) out of the story.

And while we're at it - wouldn't 'in-vehicle safety and security system' have sufficed? What's with the branding?

Then today, while reading, I kept stumbling over the term 'convo'. Now, the use of that term just makes my blood boil, because while I can accept slang in speech, I don't think it has a place outside of it. Am seriously hoping that the use of brands...and phrases like 'woman of worth' aren't a reflection of the influence of said author's critique partner... *bites tongue* *gets off soap box*

Ranting aside, I am enjoying DawnKeepers. I love the mythology and the snippets of information on ancient civilisations. Apart from Rabbit, who I simply adore, and Anna, who I really think deserves a HEA, the couple I'm hanging out to read about is Sven and Cara. And no, I have no idea if they will actually be a couple, I'm just hoping *grin*

09 September 2009

Thoughts on New Moon

Please see my Thoughts on Twilight for the inspirations behind this post.

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

So, on Sunday I finished reading New Moon (Stephenie Meyer) and I'll just burst if I don't talk about it....so I will (talk about it that is, not burst) *grin* And yes there are spoilers in this post for anyone out there who, like me, has avoided the Twilight phenomenon to date!

Ummmm. Where to start? I definitely enjoyed this book (New Moon) far more than Twilight...mostly because there was a lot more Jacob and next to no Edward. I know, I know, according to almost everyone that is the wrong way around, but I really like Jacob *grin* and I'm really beginning to not like Edward. For me, the reason is simple: Edward and Bella's relationship isn't an equal one, which strikes way too close to home for my liking. And I'm not talking about intellect or money or even life experience (because there are obvious differences between Edward and Bella if we consider those parameters in isolation), but about control and...compromise.

For me, each partner in a relationship has to remember that their significant other is their own person. Each needs to listen to and respect the other. And for this to work there needs to be compromise. However, this seems to be all but lacking in Edward and Bella's relationship. Take, for example, Edward's (and the Cullens') decision to leave Forks (Bella). Edward is supposedly leaving for Bella and yet he won't allow her to voice an opinion on the decision. What happened to discussing the situation? There is no discussion.
'You're no good for me, Bella...I'm no good for you.'
'You promised. In Phoenix, you promised that you would stay-'
'As long as that was best for you,' he interrupted to correct me.
Edward's POV simply seems to be 'this is what I believe is right, this is what will be done', regardless of what Bella wants. And it's not like Edward tells Bella the real reasons...he simply tells her he doesn't love her and walks away.

Now, I know at the end of the book Edward explains that he only left in the way that he did because Bella wouldn't accept him leaving any other way but...it's not like she would know where he was going or how to find him. For goodness sake, he can run faster than her! So he departs, and leaves her in pieces. Enter Jacob stage left. *SIGH* Sweet, thoughtful Jacob who doesn't want anything except for Bella to be happy.
'It's just that, I know you're unhappy a lot. And, maybe it doesn't help anything, but I wanted you to know that I'm always here. I won't ever let you down - I promise that you can always count on me. Wow, that does sound corny. But you know that, right? That I would never, ever hurt you?'
It's obvious he likes Bella (I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that), but he doesn't push...nor does he try and control her...he's simply 'there' for her. I really like that.
'Yeah, I'll always be your friend,' he said gruffly. 'No matter what you love'.
What you love...LOL! *grumble grumble* Yes, I will admit that I'm biased because I like Jacob and I just don't get why people like Edward. *looks sideways* What conflict of interest?

And when Edward comes back...heaven forbid that Bella should be allowed to have anything to do with Jacob, her best friend! Oh, no, he's a werewolf... Twilight fact: werewolves hunt vampires, not humans. And yes, young werewolves have 'control' issues, but Jacob demonstrates incredible restraint. But will Edward trust Bella's judgement, and let her see her friend? Noooooo!
'Jake...' I took a step toward him. I wanted to wrap my arms around his waist and erase the expression of misery on his face.
Edward pulled me back again, his arms restraining instead of defending.
'It's okay,' I promised him, looking up to read his face with trust in my eyes. He would understand.
His eyes were unreadable, his face expressionless. Cold. 'No, it's not'.
I do believe in Eclipse (although I haven't read it so don't quote me on this) Bella has to sneak down to the reservation to see Jacob...her best friend! And again, that struck way to close to home for my liking. IMO the word 'Edward' is fast becoming synonymous with 'obsessive, controlling stalker'. All Edward does is manipulate Bella...it's all about what he wants, and what he thinks is best. No equality.

Now, I get that Edward is obviously Bella's soul mate, but...1) you don't focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything else - it's not healthy. And 2) since it's obvious to anyone that Bella and Edward are soul mates....why put Jacob through all that heart ache? Yes, Ms Meyer, I'm looking at you. It's so...unfair!

*takes deep breath*

So, have you read New Moon? Thoughts? And yes, I will be reading Eclipse...although I need to get my TBR pile down first. Now I'm just hanging out for the New Moon movie...and the wolves *grin*

07 September 2009

Broken

Can we say 'annoyed' and 'frustrated'?

The short version: my computer is broken....again!

The long version: I logged on to the internet on Friday night in anticipation of a phone call from a Microsoft technician...except that they ended up stuck on a phone call...for 2 hours (because that is how long I was waiting). And when I went to shut my computer down it decided to install a Microsoft Update....endlessly, which is the same problem I've been having for the last month. And I tried a System Restore (like a Microsoft technician directed me to earlier in the week), but that didn't work this time. And I tried it three times!

*looks at steam coming out of ears and decides something calming is required*

*looks at movie poster of Jacob Black*

Yes, I know, he's way too young! Don't you think I've told myself that I shouldn't be going through the teenage obsession phase at my age. Honestly, I think it's because I didn't do it as a teenager...it all got bottled up *grin* And it could be worse - I could have included the photo of the Wolf Pack...

So, *SIGH* my internet access will be intermittent again until my computer has 'resumed normal programming'...whenever that is *sob sob* And in the interim I will try and draft some thoughts on New Moon (without ranting about Edward's controlling nature) and my review of The Mirador (Sarah Monette).

So, how do you deal with computer breakdowns?

02 September 2009

Books 2009: August Update

Total to date: 53 books (7 books this month)

The 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge total to date: 36 books (2 books this month) [which is rather unusual for me because I'm a complete library junkie]

A list of all the books I've read to date (from 01 January 2008) can be found at Library Thing.

Favourite books of the month?

* The Mirador (Sarah Monette) [And a review will be forthcoming...as soon as my computer stops playing games]

Books I 'did not finish':

* Practice Makes Perfect (Julie James) [I'm still not sure why this book didn't work for me.]

Currently reading: New Moon (Stephenie Meyer)

And the books I'm most looking forward to reading next month are:

* Cast in Silence (Michelle Sagara)

* Hunting Ground (Patricia Brigs)

What did you read last month?

Updated to add: DNF book.