I had heard a few good things about this novel, before I began reading it. Shiver, of course, is listed as a read alike to Twilight, because of its romance and supernatural elements. This novel like the rest of Stiefvater's books takes turns using the main characters point of view and alternates between the two protagonists, Grace and Sam. Grace a native of Mercy Falls, Minnesota, was bitten and taken by wolves as a young girl, and was rescued by one of the wolves in the pack, Sam. Over the years Grace has always watched Sam through the glass surfaces of her house, as Sam watched Grace through the trees in the forest surrounding her home. During the cold months of snow and frost Sam would remain a wolf vaguely recalling people/events yet in the spring and summer months Sam would turn back into his human form and remember his infatuation and devotion to Grace. One day after Sam’s pack had attacked a local high school student, Sam was shot by one of the hunters agreeing the wolves should be eradicated. Grace worried about her wolf and found Sam shot and injured and took him to the hospital. From that moment on they became inseparable; especially when Sam admits he believes that this is his last year as a human. Grace and Sam struggle to find the boy who was attacked by the pack, as well as find a “cure” to being a wolf. While running out of time, they decide to take their chances and discover a drastic solution to keep Sam human. What will become of Sam? Will he be a wolf forever? (I’m not going to tell you! You have to read the book!) I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. As with the Twilight series and other teen books, you do lose some of the sophistication you get with adult novels. But of course that simplicity is why some people prefer reading teen literature. Shiver’s more mature than its Meyer counterpart, especially in the relationship between Grace and Sam. The alternating between the voices of the characters is also well done and is seamless in its telling of the story. I recommend this if you read and liked Twilight, or even just like romantic fiction. Stay tuned for the sequel to Shiver, Linger, and the third book in this series, Forever.
Mr. Darcy’s Diary was a fun way to reanimate the classic story of Pride and Prejudice. The story starts with Georgiana’s heartbreak over Wickham’s treachery and goes through to the first Christmas Darcy and Elizabeth share as a married couple. The book was a quick and easy read and was enjoyable in the regard of getting to see inside Darcy’s head. Obviously not being Jane Austen herself, Amanda Grange can only guess the thoughts Austen would have created for Darcy. Considering this, I think it immensely brave to take on such an overwhelming complex project. One thing that obviously bothered me was of course that it was just from Darcy’s point of view. I found I wanted a copy of Pride and Prejudice right next to me, so could go back and forth between the two. That is one reason I appreciate modern interpretations of historical romance, is that both parties are equally thought of, developed, and represented. But because of this book we are able to see another side to the beloved story that is Pride and Prejudice.
Ballad is best described as the companion book to Lament, the first book by Maggie Stiefvater that introduces the world of the faeries. While it leaves off following the tragic events that occurred at the end of Lament, Ballad is told from the voice of James Morgan, that funny, witty, best friend of Dee’s who was undoubtedly my favorite character in Lament. And of course from the point of view of Nuala, a faerie muse that is at first determined to bargain her abilities for years of James’ life. At first James is resistant to Nuala’s offers of help, and as Nuala gets to know James she inspires his musical talent into beautiful creations at no cost to him. Sullivan, one of James’ teachers at Thornking-Ash, the school James and Dee have enrolled in, is concerned about Nualas influence over James. Add in a wacky roommate Paul and James has a lot going on his first year at the conservatory. As James spends more time with Nuala, his feelings for her deepen. And with the approach of Halloween, James will have to decide between helping Nuala or saving Dee’s life. Spoiler alert: At the beginning of the book, I was so excited by seeing the world through James’ eyes as he was my favorite character in Lament. I love his sense of humor and personality and devotion to Dee. And to be honest I didn’t even like Nuala at the start, I thought her pesky and annoying and just wanted her to go away. I kind of only find her redeeming in the fact that she makes James happy, and because of him learned compassion and of human nature. Once I finished the book, I was confused about whether or not the ending suited. I’m unhappy that Dee’s alone (she got the short end of the stick in this series) and not much of her was mentioned other than sparsely strewn unsent text messages to James following some of the chapters. Although it did suit that Sullivan became king of the dead, I almost wanted something more tragic to happen to Dee, just so the faeries wouldn’t be tied down and drawn to her and the school, and so I wouldn’t worry so much about what becomes of her. Maybe there's a relationship for her and Paul on the horizon? Although, I do feel like that may be settling a bit. Even though I was a bit unhappy with the outcome, this book is a good follow up to Lament and a beautiful contribution of writing by Maggie Stiefvater. I love her sense of humor and she has a lyrical style in describing the faerie world and her imagery haunts your thoughts after emerging from her world. I recommend this book if you liked Lament or even Shiver.
When I began reading this book, having known it was made into a film starring Ellen Page, I instantly identified the character of Bliss Cavendar with Juno's main personality, Juno MacGuff. Both share the same sense of ironic humor, sarcasm, and wit, and while reading this book, I couldn't picture anyone but Ellen Page as Bliss Cavendar. The story begins with 16 year Bliss giving us a description of how her life sucks and more specifically the lack of anything "cool" in her hick town of Bodeen, Texas. When Bliss goes school clothes shopping with her pageant-crazed Mom in Austin, she sees a flyer for roller derby and decides she has to check this awesomeness out for herself. Enlisting the help of her best friend Pash, Bliss escapes to Austin for a night that changes her life. When "Malice in Wonderland" tells Bliss she can be her own hero and should try out for roller derby, Bliss's new life begins. She tells her parents she's joining a SAT prep class and enters into the world of roller derby as “Babe Ruthless”, meets band boys who get her sense of eclectic music taste (enter her fav band t-shirt starring Stryper), checks out parties, and gets into all sorts of fun. However, once Bliss emerges from her euphoric state, she realized that she's left her bff Pash behind, lied to her parents, and her teammates (you have to be 18 to compete in roller derby). In the end, she makes up with Pash, solves her boy troubles, and her mother realizes that her dreams are better left to Bliss’s younger pageant friendly sister and the roller derby really is Bliss’s thing. This was a fun teen read with a lot of quick wit and sarcasm. I found myself laughing throughout the story and became understanding of the trials Bliss had to endure. This is a quick and high spirited read!
Stories form the book include "Fairy Dust," "One Word Answer," "Dracula Night," "Lucky," and "Giftwrap."
“Fairy Dust” – takes place after Dead to the World. Claude and Claudine ask Sookie for her help, by using her “abilities” to discover who’s responsible for their co-worker’s death.
“One Word Answer” – takes place after Dead as a Doornail. Is the story where Sookie first finds out that her cousin Hadley has died and she’s the inheritor of Hadley’s estate. She also meets Mr. Cataliades for the first time.
“Dracula Night” – takes place before Dead as a Doornail. Is a story about Eric and his fascination with Dracula. Every year Vampires celebrate Dracula's birthday and parties around the year are held with hopes that Dracula will attend one of his fellow vamps shindigs. As a friend of Eric’s Sookie gets an invite to this years party at Fangtasia!
“Lucky” – takes place after All Together Dead. Sookie and Amelia are approached by their insurance agent who just happens to be a warlock. He believes that someone has been trespassing and going through confidential papers after hours and enlists the women to investigate his claims.
“Gift Wrap” – takes place before Dead and Gone. Is a story about Sookie spending Christmas on her own. When she discovers a naked man wounded on her property, she comes to his rescue and thus begins an unforgettable Christmas.
This is the complete collection of Sookie short stories. However there are two more short stories about characters in the Sookie novels in other short story collections. One is "Dancers in the Dark" in the book Night's Edge about Layla and Sean got together, the vampire dance team at the Vampire "Summit" in New Orleans. The other story is "Tacky" in the book My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding. It's about the vampire Dahlia Lynley-Chivers exploring wedding traditions to help her friend, Taffy, marry the werewolf, Don. I highly recommend these books, especially if you are a Sookie fan! The stories are great from start to finish!