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!
Although it is unsaid on her website, once you read Grave Secret it's pretty clear that this fourth book is the final in the series. This book serves to tie up loose ends, such as what happens to Harper's sister Cameron and what becomes of Harper and Tolliver's relationship. At the beginning of Grave Secret, Harper and Tolliver go to the prosperous Joyce Ranch, to do a reading for the supernatural-loving Lizzie Joyce, who wants to know the exact cause of death of her grandfather. Wanting to give the millionaire a good show, Harper "reads" several of the graves including the late caregiver to Lizzie's grandfather, Mariah Parish. Questions arise to whether or not Mariah's (who Harper discovers died as a result of childbirth complications) child was/is a Joyce and therefore could lay claim to the Joyce fortune. Also Harper observes that Grandpa Joyce was not alone when he died and was kept from reaching his cell while undergoing a massive heart attack. While Harper thinks she remembers the ranch manager Chip Mosley and Lizzie's brother Drex Joyce, she stores that info for a rainy day. Harper and Tolliver go to Dallas to visit their younger sisters, Gracie and Mariella and find out some unexpected news, and reveal to their family the new status of their relationship. They meet up with Mark, Tolliver's brother and needle him into telling them that Mark and Tolliver's father has been released from prison. Missing persons investigators receive calls reporting sightings of Cameron, Tolliver is shot, mysteries ensue, and our good friend Manfred Bernardo makes an appearance, to help Harper once again. All together the book is a great twisting plot of events that culminates in the solving of a few 8 year old mysteries. My only compliants are that fact that this series is so short and also there seemed to be a few lulls in the suspense of this novel, also that the ending of this novel was so rushed. Happy Reading!