The Sacred Book of the Werewolf by Victor Pelevin

I picked this book up in San Fran, at the City Lights Bookstore because it was recommended by one of the workers there. Normally, this is not something that I would ever pick up, but I am always willing to try new books so I decided to give it shot.

The book, written from the perspective of A Hu-Li, a were-fox who lives in Russia. As she has been around for thousands of years but still looks quite young (she is mistaken for 17 years old all the time), she impersonated a 17-year-old prostitute in order to make money and survive. She needs human (or tail less monkeys as foxes call humans) life force…the essence of life to survive. What better way to get that then by impersonating a prostitute. Through the course of this life, she has run ins with death, which make her lose her job at a prominent hotel. Then she puts an ad out on the internet to solicit sex, and ends up whipping a client so badly that she comes under the notice of the Russian FSB. There is meets Alexander. An amazingly beautiful man, who is the commander general of the FSB, she is instantly attracted to him, which doesn’t happen ever to her. They form a mutual bond, when it turns out that he is a werewolf, and they end up staying in a relationship together for a long time (he is the only one who understands her and has a sex with her, because believe it or not she was a virgin). Through this relationship, A Hu-Li or Adele as she goes by with Alexander (ginger too cause she is a redhead) comes to learn the true meaning of her existence (through many philosophical rants throughout the novel)…Love. Her love for Alexander is what she has been waiting for this whole time to be the true super-werewolf (an were-creatures ultimate destination). Thus she finds enlightenment…

From the description on the back of, The Sacred Book of the Werewolf, (where it just discussed her being a prostitute and a were-fox) I though it was going to be a super interesting novel and not something that I ever read very often Boy was I wrong. I really could not get into this book, the story is one of the more disjointed that I have ever read. It jumped from present day Russia with A Hu-Li and Alexander to her memories of the past and way…WAY to many philosophical discussions about life and her meaning of life being a were-fox and blah, blah, blah. Don’t get me wrong, I do (now and then) enjoy a good philosophical discussion (don’t laugh at me Beck), but this was every other stinking chapter. There really was no story…just the author throwing in his personal beliefs in the guise of A Hu-Li’s transformation throughout her life as a were-fox. A Hu-Li as a character was not enjoyable to read about. I never felt like I truly understood what she was about nor do I think she even understood what she, herself, was about. There was no real story involved between her and Alexander, just brief passages where they were together and had sex or had sexual fantasies with their tails entwined together. It wasn’t love or not the love that I believe in. I no way (obviously) could I get into this book. All that being said, Victor Pelevin is a good writing, who has some amazing thoughts on life. HE can tell a could philosophical discussion and is obviously very intelligent, this book just does not cater to any of my whims. I will say that if you enjoy philosophy, this is your book!

Sorry this review is so short, but really there is nothing more that I have to say about this novel. On a happy note, another review tomorrow. 

Rating: 100 pages out of 500.

Upcoming: Juliet by Anne Fortier and many others, which I haven’t decided on yet 🙂

Laters, Baby

Tori

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Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

My favorite novel of all time is Pride and Prejudice by the lovely Jane Austen, so I try to read any and all sequels of P&P whenever I can. I had heard about this novel from the Jane Austen blogs/twitters that I follow, but never picked it up till it was on sale at Barnes & Noble. Anything that has to do with P&P is worth a shot…

The year is 1803, six years after Elizabeth and Darcy married. They are settling into their lives at Pemberley, with two wonderful boys, Fitzwilliam and Charles. Elizabeth and Darcy’s love is as strong as ever, as they prepare for Lady Anne’s ball (which was a ball held every year by Darcy’s mother). Elizabeth is taking over the duties of mistress of Pemberley, as is evident from her planning of the ball that Lady Anne used to throw. They are a happy family, with regular visits from Jane and Bingley and Georgiana growing up into a beautiful women who maybe getting married soon (2 candidates to choose from there). There are no major problems in their life and they are content to live the rest of their days at Pemberley. All that is bout to change when, the night before the ball. Darcy, Elizabeth, Jane, Bingley, and others are relaxing in the drawing-room, when Darcy notices a wildly careening carriage coming down the lane to Pemberley. This can only bring bad news, and all of them run to the door to find out what is wrong. The carriage opens and a hysterical Lydia falls out screaming and crying that Wickham is dead. The shock to everyone is immediate. They are all stunned as they take in the information that Wickham could be murdered (and privately they are all thinking, why the hell is Lydia here…she is never invited to Pemberley). As Lydia sobs, the story comes out. Wickham, Lydia and Captain Denny were travelling together and Lydia was going to be dropped off a Pemberley for the ball (a surprise to Elizabeth and Darcy, since she wasn’t invited) while Wickham and Denny would travel on. In the Pemberley woodlands, Denny got out of the carriage and refused to go on with Wickham. Denny walked into the woodlands and Wickham followed, all the while Lydia was screaming for them to not leave her. Minutes passed, Lydia heard gunshots and became hysterical and told the coachman to drive to Pemberley straight away. Upon mounting a search for Wickham, Darcy, along with Colonel Fitzwilliam and a young lawyer named Alverston, found Denny dead in the woods, with Wickham leaning over the body covered in blood and shouting that he had killed his friend. The body, carried, back to the house by Darcy and the Colonel, where the constable and magistrate will come to view the body. After interviewing all the guests and servants at Pemberley, the magistrate takes Wickham into custody to await an inquest (which is where it will be decided if he is guilty and will move on to a trial). Wickham, thought of as guilty at the inquest, will await trial in the spring. As the story progresses, the Darcy’s become embroiled in the scandal and are trying to learn the truth of what really happened that night. The book ends with the culmination of the trial, where we all find out what truly happened in the woods.

As I said above, I love sequels to P&P, so I try to read as many as I can. Trust me, there are some good ones out there. To me, however, Death Comes to Pemberley was not one of them. I really could just not get into this book. There was too much narrative and not enough character interaction. This book is obviously geared towards readers who have read P&P, but she spent so much time with background into the characters and the story before this story. It all felt redundant and there was too much explanation of every little detail. I read these sequels because I want the magic of P&P to continue; I want to see the characters after they got married. I don’t, however, want a story that is all narrative especially when it is narrative that I have already read. To me, the story really did not start getting interesting till pg. 195 (out of 291 page novel) when the trial began. That is when the story started progressing and you finally got the characters interacting with each other. Really, until this last part, Darcy and Elizabeth didn’t speak but more than two sentences to each other (come on!). The premise of the book was interesting, I enjoyed the macabre sense of death being brought to the wholesome world of Pemberley and Jane Austen. That is something that is not done often with sequels to P&P, so it was a good start. Yet, the book just didn’t take off. It was a slow read (it took me 5 days to read it) and I really could not get into the novel at all. 

That being said, P.D. James is a good writer and she really was thoughtful in how she portrayed her Austen characters. They stayed true to the sense of Jane Austen, which is most important when writing a sequel. She is a strong writer with good skills and maybe this book can appeal to some. I just couldn’t get past the no interaction between characters. I really wanted to like this book…

Rating: 150 pages out of 500.

Upcoming: Juliet by Anne Portier and Deadlocked by Charlane Harris.

Laters, Baby

Tori

On a Highland Shore by Kathleen Givens

On one of my many (and I do mean MANY) forays to Half Price Books, I picked up this novel by Kathleen Givens in the clearance section. You can’t beat a 2 dollar book, so I decided to try it out. I was pleasantly surprised.

The novel set in the 13th century (1263 to be exact) tells the tale of Margaret MacDonald, a laird’s daughter who is getting ready to make an advantageous marriage. All is well with Margaret’s world, she has a loving, if distant, mother and father, tons of brothers and one sister. She is a strong spirited girl and wants more to life than the marriage of most high-born ladies, she wants love. Lachlan, her intended, is the man of her dreams. He cares for her and Margaret believes she is in love. All that changes when Margaret discovers Lachlan and her best friend Fiona, having sex in Fiona’s house. Margaret, devastated, refuses to marry Lachlan. She holds firm to that conviction, but her father tells her that she must marry him sign the contracts were already signed. Margaret still refuses and an argument ensues, when her father announces that Margaret, her sister Nell and her brother Rignor, will go to court to experience life there. Margaret thinks this a perfect plan so she can appeal to the king to break the marriage contract. They journey to court, where Margaret appeals to the king and he refuses her appeal, Lachlan still becomes determined to marry her and Margaret meets an old fortune-teller who repeats her fortune to Margaret a dragon is coming and only the gold man will save you all (or something along those lines). As they travel back home, Margaret becomes disillusioned and wants nothing to do with her life laid out before her. All that changes when they return home to find the Vikings have come and destroyed their whole land. Nothing is left, their family is gone, except for one brother who was kidnapped. Margaret, terrified, tries to think of how she will survive and what will they do now. As they are looking through their old home, Gannon appears (a golden half-Irish, half-Viking) and Margaret is spell-bound but does not want to be because he is a Viking. The rest of the story follows Margaret’s adventures to restore peace to her bit of Highland shore and her increasing awareness of Gannon and his to her. Their growing love in the face of danger creates many adventures.

I enjoyed this book for multiple reasons: 1. it satisfied my love of history and the Viking era, 2. my love of a good romance and love story 3. Scotland-need I say more and 4. got a hand it to a fiery female character. This book combined all those reasons into one well-rounded story that I enjoyed and read pretty much in a day. I couldn’t put the book down (that symbolizes a really good book :)), there was so much to read and comprehend within the novel that I really loved it. The history was accurate and very insightful; I learned things that I didn’t know and it gave me more of a reason to love history, Scotland, and Vikings. I really just love a good historical fiction romance novel. Kathleen creates such a poignant world surround Margaret and Gannon, that I truly felt like I could have lived with them in 1263 (which I wish, but then not because well it is not 2012, lets just say that). Margaret as the feisty female of her time, was an amazing character that I loved throughout the whole novel. She wanted more out of her life than her “proscribed” role of wife. She wanted love that survived death, that lasted all eternity. That being said, she did not just sit back and let it come to her, she actually went out to grab what she wanted. She took an active role in her own life, which is what makes her an amazing female character. Gannon, is a manly man, a Irish Viking that just about melts your heart through the novel. You want him to be with Margaret because he is the fierce warrior, yet he has a soft side, which he shows often to Margaret. 

All of the adventures in the novel are really well thought out and some are heart-wrenching and others are funny and passionate. All together the adventures, the background, and the character interaction in this novel creates a world in 1263 Scotland, that you desperately want to be a part of. Well done, Kathleen Givens, On a Highland Shore is a novel that I would recommend to all of my literature buddies. 

Rating: 400 pages out of 500

Upcoming: Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James and Juliet by Anne Portier. I am going to try to be more diligent in posting on here; I’ve been kind of lacking :(.  

Side note: For those who love the Fifty Shades series go to Etsy.com and order the “laters, baby” t-shirt from Tree Baubles. It is amazing and so worth it! A big thank you to the Tree Baubles ladies, thanks for an awesome shirt, I loves it!

My t-shirt that I absolutely love!!!!

Laters, Baby

Tori

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Where do I have to go to meet someone like Christian Grey?!?! Oh that’s right, Seattle, where I live 🙂

This series has seriously (haha) blown up! It has become so popular and to think that I did not know that it even was a series a month ago. I picked up the first book at Barnes and Noble before my San Fran trip because it looked interesting (and boy do I like my romance novels) and it is touted as a bestseller. Now, I keep my eye on the best sellers lists and these books never crossed my radar…alas I was very happy to try them out. Get ready for one of the best series you will ever read. Also here is my one warning: THIS BOOK IS FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY! There is sex galore in here and if you can’t handle that don’t read on.

Set in present day Seattle, Anastasia Steele or Ana to her friends, is a 21-year-old almost college grad with an English Major. She is doing a favor for her roommate and is interviewing Christian Grey for the student news paper at WSU Vancouver. Kate, her roommate and best friend, is sick and cannot complete the interview, but Ana goes instead and boy is her world changed. Ana goes to the interview and is completely unprepared for Christian. She goes through the interview, haltingly, but all she comes away with is that he is a control freak but oh so attractive. How little she knows…Christian from the beginning feels this pulsing attraction to her. He pursues her by showing up in Portland at her job etc. Ana doesn’t know what to make of this all out attack on her senses by Christian. She has never had a boyfriend but she believes that Christian could be a good fit. She agrees to a date (a date for Christian, billionaire that he is, is a ride in a helicopter. Sigh…) and this is when the book gets interesting. Christian takes her to his home and proposes a relationship with Ana. Now it is not your boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, it is a full-out dominant/submissive relationship that Christian wants. He has been hurt in his past and does not know any other way to have a relationship. Obviously, Ana is reluctant (especially 1. because she is a virgin (hello overload) and 2. she receives a tour of his “playroom” (or the red room of pain as Ana dubs it)), but there is something about Christian that makes her jump into this “relationship.” As the book follows their foray into the relationship of dom/sub, Ana falls hard for Christian and vice versa (although he can’t admit it). At the end of the book, Ana, forced to make a choice of staying with Christian in this half relationship or leaving him and exploring her other options, is torn. It is a tough decision (one that sets up the other novels ;)). So the book ends with a cliff hanger…

That overview of, Fifty Shades of Grey, probably falls short of grasping all the pertinent points of the novel, but I did not want to give too much away for the series. Also, I was going to write a review to the whole series, but I figured if you read this one you would read them all! That is how good they are. This book, hands down, is one of my all time favorite novels/series. I could not put it down and have become a lending library to all of my work buddies who want to borrow the book (shout out to my Holiday Inn buddies-Em, Des, Ronica!!!). The story and the characters are so engaging and so wonderful that I really thought I was a part of the story. Ana, truth be told, really is like me (not to toot my horn :)). When I started reading the book, I was like wow…she is me, who stole my life…I kid. All joking aside, I felt like I could be Ana or Ana’s best friend. She is the character that you love and want to see all the good things happen to. As for Christian (who for a fictional character) is super HOT! I love him as the male lead because he embodies all the ideals of a romance novel hero, yet has the real personality to back it (he is not just some hunk, he has substance). The two of them together are dynamite. You love them together and you want it all to work out because they are the couple that everyone wants to be! Their developing story throughout this novel and the series is really amazing because it follows all the structures of a romance (meet, fall for each other, tragedy/loss, get back together & happily ever after), but it goes beyond that. E.L. James explores these characters in-depth, creating wonderful story-lines and backgrounds, along with secondary characters. She weaves a great story of love, loss, friendship, family and overcoming all obstacles to be the person you most want to be.

I couldn’t be done with my review without mentioning the Sex (with a capital S)! Boy was there some steamy sex scenes in this novel (phew! fanning myself just thinking about them ;)). I have read plenty of romance novels, but these sex scenes blew all those out of the water. From “vanilla” sex to the S&M sex, E.L creates wonderful (in-depth) sexual encounters between Christian and Ana. The level of thought that went into these scenes is astounding and so unbelievably real. They felt real, not how some sex scenes in novels feel forced and fake. These embodied the personalities of the characters and explored sides of their relationship that needed to be explored. I love them. So kudos to you E.L. James, you craft some amazing sex scenes! Overall this book is worth your time, pick it up NOW and start reading one of the most amazing romance novels that I have ever read. E.L James is master at her craft and deserves all the amazing press she is getting for these books.

Rating: 500+pages out of 500!

Upcoming: On a Highland Shore by Kathleen Givens and maybe some other romance novels since I enjoyed writing this review so much. 🙂

Laters, baby

Tori

For the King by Catherine Delors

For the history nerd in all of us

I have had this book on my bookshelf for quite some time, after I picked it up at my local Half Price Books for a dollar (WOOT). I was a history minor at Western, so this book immediately appealed to me (also because that dress is amazing :)).  

When the book opens Napoleon is in power in France after the revolution and he is trying to get rid of all the opposition to his power. The story follows a young police officer Roch, who with the new regime climbed to chief inspector of the city police. At the beginning of the novel there is an attempt, a bomb that blows up half of a street, on Napoleons life as he is going to the opera.  Roch, whom is spending time with his father, hears the blast and rushes to the scene. He is then recruited to help solve this treason and he works religiously to solve this problem. One because if he doesn’t and Napoleon loses power, he loses his job and two, his father, who was taken and placed in jail for treasonous talk against Napoleon, as an incentive for him to solve the treason. Roch’s world is falling apart, he has a month to find the villains or his father will be deported, his mistress, Blanche, has deceived him, and his job is in jeopardy from all sides. All the historical figures of the French Revolution come into play as Roch works tirelessly to find the answer to the treasonous plot; his loyalties become strained (especially when he finds that Blanche is not who she seemed) and in the end he finds himself (and a lady) right under his nose.

For the King incorporates all the historical accuracies of the fight between Napoleon and the royalists who wanted the King back on his throne, while also creating an intriguing drama with fictional characters in the heart of the turmoil. I enjoyed this book immensely. It catered to me love of the French Revolution and my love of romance in times of strife. The book was very well written and obviously well researched for the historical events in this book were spot on from what I remember in my french history class. These events are explained in such detail, that I learned more from this book than I did in that class. It quenched my thirst for knowledge on the after effects of the French Revolution and Napoleon (who I absolutely love, the little despot that he is). This book really transports you back in time to the years of Napoleon’s regime. I felt as if I was working right along side Roch or I could have been Blanche, struggling to find a true identity in this trying time. All the events and characters really created the world of France at that time. Speaking of characters, I enjoyed Roch as a main character, the manly man that he is, because he embodied the new French man after the revolution. He came from a very poor background, and worked hard for his position in the police force.  Roch is the heart and soul of this novel, the secondary characters (Blanche, his father etc.) really are there just to support him as he struggles for answers through out the novel. I love historical novels and this one I will forever keep on my bookshelf, for the fact that it was true to the historical events and did not pander to the romance of the revolution or Napoleon. It portrayed the time as it truly was, ugly and full of strife, but wonderful for the suppressed people of France. 

Rating: 375 pages out of 500

Up next: The Fifty Shades series by E.L. James. My first review of a true Romance novel on here, I’m super excited and get ready everyone cause this is going to be a wild ride!

Ta for now,

Tori

San Fran Trip!

I have been on a mini hiatus from here due to an amazingly wonderful trip, with a bestie, to San Fran! While there we explored the city and did, of course, all the touristy things like fisherman’s wharf, golden gate bridge etc. What we also found, to my complete amazement, a bookstore worth my every fantasy. City Lights Bookseller, started up by a beat poet, is an amazing book store and independent publisher. Pretty much my dream come true. Of course we had to visit this wonderful manna from heaven, cause you all know a trip isn’t complete unless I buy a book or six.  Located on Jack Kerouac Alley (what is better than that:)), the bookstore was everything that I wanted it to be! I fell in deep, unencumbered love with the city of San Fran at that moment. Not only is it three stories of booky goodness, but there is so much history surrounding the place, that I damn near swooned. From the top floor, all poets, with its lovely poets’ chair, to the middle section where I sat on a stool in front of the british lit section with my mouth hanging open, to the basement with its quirky sayings on the walls and doors. Be still my beating heart! As much as this post is to rave to you about City Lights, it is also to tell you all that 2/3 reviews will be coming within two days! I have read so much since I returned, that I can’t wait to share it all with you! So look forward to a review of a book titled For the King, also the highly popular Fifty Shades series (be warned this series is for mature audiences only!). 

Toodles, talk with you all soon 🙂

Tori

As you can tell, I was excited!