zondag 19 januari 2014

Review "Dawn at Last"

Some information

Title: Dawn at Last
Author: Lawrence Grodecki
Pages: 251 (e-book)
Published: September 2013
Publisher: Lawrence Grodecki
My Source: author (thank you!)
My Score on Goodreads: 3 stars


A smart and sexy romance, perhaps the kind your mother doesn't want you to know? Chances are she will love it too, even though this is definitely not old school shenanigans!

Secrets deeper than the Seven Seas . . . 

Modern day Victoria, BC sets the stage for Donna Belauche, a professional intimacy counselor who keeps her client list short and her list of friends shorter. Life is far from fun and games for Donna. In her quiet time, it is not her work that brings her to the brink of madness. It’s the weight of her past – so many deep secrets – almost crushing her. Holding love at arm’s length, she pushes men away, even one who especially adores her.

"That's when she wrote in her journal, 'genuinely kind and charming,' but next to that she added 'perhaps a little dangerous…be very careful.'"

Making Dali Blush 

As she pushes love away, Donna devotes her free time to the pursuit of a different kind of passion - a hobby involving tulips, a creative exploration of women – an exploration of what some call sinful, and yet others divine. She is not alone in this project. She and her partners do it all in the name of art . . . but have they taken it all too far?

"As wonderful as it seemed, still is it even okay, or was it all just decadence? Yet such a sweet decadence, as fresh as the first drop of honey."

It's funny how it works when love's at play. 

Some say this book is controversial because of its characters - interracial relationships, unconventional pasts, and affairs between lady friends who are oblivious to the label, "lesbian romance". They see nothing unusual in any of it. For them it is just how they live. There is Ben, the house painter who will paint most anything, and a server named Sunni, with a thing for buns. Along with three others, they manage to help Donna find her way, almost in spite of themselves. They don't realize how important each is to the other, especially to Donna, as she scratches away at the ties that bind her.

Untwisting the Night Away 

The lives of these misfits twist together like vines - never knowing exactly where they will wind up. Through all the intertwining, love offers up one amusing surprise after another. Then, on one final night - three men and three ladies - everything finally comes together. Lives are changed forever . . . but for the better? How does one ever really know? At last, is it ever just about love?

My review

Hmmm difficult one... The author of this book, Lawrence Grodecki, is a great and kind person and I wish I could say that this book was great too, but it wasn't completely my kind of thing. 

The story itself was pretty good. I liked the idea and the plot development was worked out very well. In "Dawn at Last" we meet a lot of people who are connected to each other in one way or another. The thing is most of them don't know they are connected to so many people around them. The main thing that brings them all together is a secret art project hosted by Charles Lartimer. He and his two companions, Pierre and Donna, have created something like an art heaven on earth (this is how they see it). They'd like to keep it a secret because it needs to be exclusive and they sometimes do things that aren't respected by "normal" people.
It's impossible for me to give you the whole plot without giving away spoilers.

Why wasn't the story my kind of thing? I don't know. Maybe I didn't believe the characters. Sometimes they all seemed so unreal to me I couldn't see them as actual "people". Maybe all the long dialogues and descriptions started to get on my nerves. You can sense the author wants to learn us a lot of lessons. He wants to share a lot of wisdom with us, but all these things don't come across (for me that is) as he would like it. Maybe it all seemed too far-fetched at times. I just don't know. 
Some people would blame the story, but I liked the story itself. I can't blame a thing. It's just that generally the book didn't seem to please me. Did I have expectations that were too high? It's possible. 

The strange thing is that, if I can ever read the sequel, I will do it with pleasure. Though it wasn't completely my genre, I would like to know how these characters develop. Maybe they get more real once you really get to know them and once you see them grow. 

The fact I didn't like this book as much as I wanted to, shouldn't keep you from reading it. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this kind of book. I really don't know.

dinsdag 7 januari 2014

Review "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children"

Some information

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Pages: 382
Published: 2011
Publisher: Quirk Books
My Source: ECI Belgium
My Score on Goodreads: 5 stars


A horrific family tragedy sends Jacob 16 to a remote island off Wales, to the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, where he finds unusual old photographs. The children, one his grandfather, were more than peculiar, perhaps dangerous, quarantined for good reason - and maybe still alive.

My review

A peculiar book about a group of peculiar children living in a peculiar place. I loved reading this book, though I wasn't sure what to expect. I bought it because I liked the idea of a story interwoven with strange pictures. Normally I don't like a book with drawings or pictures in it. They keep you from being creative and give you a certain idea about what everyone looks like. Here this wasn't the case! The pictures are only suggestive and so strange you don't always know what you see exactly. They help the author's descriptions to come to live and give an extra dimension to everything. 

In "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" Ransom Riggs tells a story that made me think of Harry Potter, Twilight and The Golden Compass. Books I liked to read when I was younger, but still love to read now. It's a mixture of strange things happening, new friends to be found, old friends to be left behind, memories to make, choices to make,... In short it's the story about Jacob Portman's ordinary life turning into a peculiar one. The story about a young boy who grows up in just a few days/weeks. The story about a boy finding his life purpose... On the way Jacob also discovers what true friendship and love feel like. Things he never experienced before.

When Jacob's grandfather, Abe, dies in strange circumstances, the 16 y.o. boy doesn't know what to do with his own thoughts. His grandfather used to tell him the most bizarre stories about "gifted" children. He even showed pictures of them. Jacob stopped believing his grandfather when he became older because his friends at school used to laugh with the unbelievable stories he told them. Abe also told him he used to live with these peculiar children on an island near England in a sort of orphanage. The older the man gets the more he starts involving monsters in his stories. Everybody believes the man is going crazy but when Jacob sees a monster when his grandfather is killed, he doesn't know what to think anymore. Were the stories real? Is he going crazy too, just like his grandfather? 
To discover all the answers, Jacob makes a trip to the island Abe told him about. The things he finds there change him and his "ordinary" life forever. And they can't be "unfound"...

This was really a good book. You never know what will happen next and you really want to know while reading this. The pictures in it were great too! I was always looking forward to some new ones because they gave the peculiar children and their world a little more tangibility!