Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Endless Love

Endless Love

This week's Waiting on Wednesday isn't a book. 

I'm waiting on the new film Endless Love, being released by Universal Pictures on Valentines Day in the US.

It stars Alex Pettyfer, of Magic Mike and Beastly fame, and Gabriella Wilde, of Carrie note, in the lead roles in this remake of the classic 1981 film of the same name.

Pettyfer plays David Axelrod, a poor boy with a sketchy past, who falls head over heels for sheltered and rich Jade Butterfield. As the summary of the film states, it's "the story of a privileged girl and a charismatic boy whose instant desire sparks a love affair made only more reckless by parents trying to keep them apart." (from IMDB)

The film also stars Robert Patrick, Joely Richardson, and Bruce Greenwood. The rating is not yet set. 

I remember watching the original version of the film when I was younger, and I definitely look forward to seeing this version. And it isn't just because Alex Pettyfer is beyond hot. The story is timeless and beautiful. It truly is an endless love. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

All Souls Trilogy #2
Viking Penguin
July 10, 2012
Adult Paranormal

Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.
Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.
Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers... 
From Goodreads 
With ease, I can give Shadow of Night 5 out of 5 stars. Deborah Harkness has done it again with the continuing story of Diana and Matthew. This story was even more wonderful for a history buff such as myself as it was history taken to a whole new level. The characters were woven into a rich tapestry of history, intrigue, and romance that was bigger than life and so very simple that it was breathtaking.
My favorite thing about the novel was the fact that the relationship between Diana and Matthew continued to evolve along natural lines. They fought. They made love. They grew apart, and grew closer again. And through it all, Diana kept her own identity. I loved that even though it is in Matthew's nature for him to be possessive toward Diana, she was able to remain her own person and to keep her own power. She doesn't succumb to Matthew's every whim and desire. Instead she fights him when there is a need and follows when she feels like it.
There is drama aplenty in Shadow of Night and more romance than you can imagine. I fell more in love with everything in the story with every single page I turned. There are so many things I would love to say about the story, but I refuse to spoil it for anyone!
It's a beautiful weaving of time, past and present, magic and ordinary.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

All Souls Trilogy #1
Viking Penguin
February 2011
Adult Paranormal
Deep in the heart of Oxford's Bodleian Library, scholar Diana Bishop requests a manuscript called Ashmole 782 in the course of her research. Coming from an old and distinguished lineage of witches, Diana senses that the ancient book might be bound up with magic--but she herself wants nothing to do with sorcery; and after making a few notes on its curious images, she banishes it quickly back tot he stacks. But what she doesn't know is that the old alchemical text has been lost for centuries, and its sudden appearance has set a fantastical underworld stirring. Soon, a distracting horde of daemons, witches, and vampires descends upon the Bodleian's reading rooms, One of these Creatures is Matthew Clairmont, an enigmatic and eminent geneticist, practitioner of yoga, and wine connosseur--and also a vampire with a keen interest in Ashmole 782.
Equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense, A Discovery of Witches is a novel of epic scope, traveling from the cobbled streets of Oxford to the chateaus and mountains of the Auvergne to a small town in upstate New York. It also takes us into a rich fifteen-hundred-year history that spans Clovis and the Crusades, the Knights Templar and the American Revolution. As Matthew and Diana's alliance deepens into intimacy, Diana must come to terms with age-old traditions and her own family's conflicted history--and she must learn where the modern woman she is meets the source of ancient power that is her legacy. With a scholar's depth and the touch of a great storyteller, Deborah Harkness has woven a tale of passion and obsession; the collision of magic, alchemy, and science; and the closely guarded secrets of an enchanted world.

 Without reservation, I give A Discovery of Witches 5 out of 5 stars. This book was absolutely amazing! While it wasn't a young adult novel, it is just absolutely wonderful for a paranormal novel in the adult genre. While I was reading, I could only really find one thing that I didn't like about the novel and it was only the cliche of "you're different so you can't be together." But, of course, there has to be something to stop the relationship or to block it from going forward easily, so what can you say?
I think what I liked best about this novel was that it was deliciously fast paced and it was loaded with history. I'm a complete nerd for history and science, and this was the perfect book for me to read. I adored it! It was like a paranormal version of Dan Brown, only better! And the love story was beautiful, too. While it hinted at the intimate relationship between Diana and Matthew, it wasn't overly graphic in the most intimate of scenes. The characters were wonderfully realistic and beautifully brought to life.
Overall, A Discovery of Witches is a wonderful story about finding yourself, your destiny, and your courage. A must read.

Friday, January 3, 2014

I Chose to Die by Ksenia Ankse

Siren Suicides #1
Self published
August 5th, 2013

On a rainy September morning that just so happens to be her sixteenth birthday, Ailen Bright, a chicken-legged, straw-haired teenager, decides to commit suicide via drowning in the family bathtub. The ornate marble tub, adhering to her abusive father's love for anything expensive and Italian, is decorated by five sirens--who seemingly help her escape the house when her father breaks down the bathroom door. After an almost-successful suicide attempt number two, which lands her at the bottom of a lake, she learns that sirens are, in fact, real, and they want to turn her into one of them. An amazing, yet dark look into the mind and heart of a suicidal teenager, this urban fantasy follows Ailen's struggle to to figure out the meaning of life, the unraveling of her confusing feelings for her theatrically goofy best friend Hunter, and her desperate battle for her father's love.
Overall, I give I Chose to Die a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars. I normally don't do half stars, but this one was hard to put in a category. There were a few issues with it that sometimes distracted me from the story (I kept thinking, "Why is there chlorine in the bath water?"), but overall it was an amazing read. So a 3.5 it was. But it is a novel that I would absolutely recommend to others. It is an amazing example of self publishing work.
There were a lot of things that I absolutely loved about this novel. It is amazingly descriptive, especially when it comes to Ailen's emotions. It felt as if I was right there with her in her despair. I felt everything she felt, and it was breathtaking. Ailen is a wonderful character who is very relate-able, as a human and as a siren. Her emotions--especially her fear and her confusion--are palpable. The novel is also fast paced and can keep your attention. It moves from one event to another with lots of action without losing the thread of the story. Maybe more than anything, I loved that it had two characters who were amazing "villains." You'll love to hate them. And I absolutely adore how Ailen eventually embraces her own darkness.
For the most part, there were only two things that really bothered me about the novel. The father character was slightly two-dimensional, even though he is an interesting character. However, he does develop more as the story goes on. And the basic premise of the story is slightly overdone as far as selling your soul for power or revenge--but the way that Anske twists it works well with the story. 
 In the end, I Chose to Die is an amazing story about finding your strength and learning that your real strength can sometimes be found in embracing your weakness.