Overall Impression: A self-indulgent exploration of the well-known Dracula mystery in which the vampire has become oddly obsessed with hunting librarians.
The Historian has sat on my shelf unread for over seven years. Yeah, that’s pretty shameful! I picked up my battered copy for a whole 20p at a hospital book sale, unable to resist the fancy swirling writing and menacing blood droplets on its cover. Having been struck down with a seriously evil case of tonsillitis this week, and having already binge watched all of the Outlander Season 2 TV series, I decided it was time to pick up this neglected tome of a book and show it some love.
The best way I can sum up this novel is that it was a good, entertaining book…until suddenly it wasn’t.
To you my perceptive reader, I bequeath my history…
Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor.’ Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.
As bookworms, we often picture what our dream library will look like. Perhaps it will be hidden by a secret door tucked away from the world. Maybe it will have oak beams, spiral staircases, plush chairs, a crackling fire; and you can bet it will have bookshelves reaching to the ceiling with a rickety ladder you can slide up and down all day. But do you know what I hadn’t ever considered? What books would actually be in that collection. The ones I already own, obviously. But if I had the money to create a truly awe inspiring library, surely I would also have the means to acquire some expensive, truly remarkable antique books as well! So when the auction website Invaluable.com contacted me about doing a post on my dream literary collection I thought it was a brilliant idea! Here’s what I came up with.
From the moment I laid eyes on this question I knew exactly which novel I was going to be talking about, but now I’m sitting here writing the post I feel all nervous and clammy. You see, I want this post to be epic because that’s how I feel about the book. Yet that’s probably impossible because I read this classic such a long time ago that many of the details have faded. Have you ever just loved a novel so much that you found it impossible to arrange your thoughts into a coherent sentence to convey the sincere connection you have to it?
Revolution for Breakfast did a great job of magically describing how she found one of her favourite books, and while I don’t think I can live up to that, I hope after I finish you might consider reading or rereading this book. 🙂 Continue reading
Overall Impression: This is a clever little book full of philosophy and morals, but it just wasn’t for me.
When I said in my Dorian read-along post that it would be interesting if one of us hated the book so that we could get some debates going, it hadn’t even occurred to me that the person might be me! I was so sure I was going to love this book, I had been looking forward to reading it for ages. Gothic novels are my favourite type of literature but I just couldn’t get into this one for some reason. I know a lot of you love this novel, so maybe you can share your wisdom with me so I can appreciate it more and be less of a party pooper?
I can tell that in its time this little book would have turned a lot of heads, it’s daring, uncompromising and has a great premise. So why god dammit why do I feel so indifferent to it all?!
This book is also on the The Rory Gilmore Challenge.
Dorian is a good-natured young man until he discovers the power of his own exceptional beauty. As he gradually sinks deeper into a frivolous, glamorous world of selfish luxury, he apparently remains physically unchanged by the stresses of his corrupt lifestyle and untouched by age. But up in his attic, hidden behind a curtain, his portrait tells a different story.
Basil Hallward is an artist obsessed. Obsessed with the naïve and youthful vision that is Dorian Gray. When Dorian sits for another of Basil’s portraits they are interrupted by the obnoxious and obtuse Lord Henry. He is desperate to meet the muse for himself, seeing in the portrait something special of his own, the potential to guide, observe and influence. Continue reading
Phew that was quick, we’re at the first check in for The Picture of Dorian Gray Read-along already! We have all reached the end of chapter six which is 72 pages into my copy (and roughly a third of the way through the book).
I was last to the check in point because these guys are reading champions with lightning speed. 😉 I’m going to have to up my game. 😛 Luckily we haven’t set any time limits to reach each point this time so I wasn’t working to a deadline, phew.
If you want to follow our progress and conversations on twitter we are currently using the hashtag #DorianReadalong when we remember to use it, lol.
So as I am hosting the first check in I had to try and come up with some brain boggling, intellectually stimulating, out of this world questions. Whether I succeeded or not is up for debate, but I hope you enjoy our answers.
Howdy! I don’t know about you guys but the sun has finally (emphasis on the FREAKIN’ FINALLY) broken out from its clouded prison in England. Summer has at last arrived and I don’t know what to do with myself! I’m running around all excitedly like a little kid. What should I do first? I must take advantage of this rare occasion! Should I soak up the sun with my friends and party into the late evenings? Take a day trip to somewhere outside BECAUSE I CAN!? It’s too much for my brain to process. Of course, there is one thing I will be doing out in the sun. Can you guess?
You can can’t you? Continue reading
Overall Impression: Fantastical, suspect. Wonderful, exasperating. A whole lot of contradictory adjectives are running through my head right now.
(To read my review of the first book from the Caster Chronicles, Beautiful Creatures click here.)
I couldn’t wait to dive into Beautiful Darkness, which may seem strange when I gave the first book only three stars. It had so many rough edges and character issues, yet it is the read that has stuck with me most this year. My mind has often wondered back to the hidden Caster world embedded in the quiet southern town of Gatlin, even when I have been reading other books. So I figured it was about time I picked up the second one!
Beautiful Darkness was an improvement in many ways, and yet I am giving it the same rating as Beautiful Creatures. Why you ask? Well stick with me and find out. 🙂
Please note: For those of you that haven’t read the previous book Beautiful Creatures this review may contain spoilers about previous plots and characters from that book. However, this review will not contain any major spoilers about the book Beautiful Darkness. Continue reading
Overall Impression: A nice fluffy book with some interesting gothic imagery – while not defying my expectations it had the ability to make time fly by.
When I first picked up on the hype rapidly gaining around this book, I must admit I wasn’t all that interested. It wasn’t a story that instantly struck a chord with me and didn’t sound all that different from most other YA books. Whilst this turned out to be mostly true, there were definitely some interesting elements that made it worth reading. When I discovered the book was going to be released as a movie my resolve finally crumbled (that, and the fact that someone bought it for me cheap and second hand, lol) and so here we are! Although turns out I’m just a bit too late to see it in the cinema anyway…dang it. *Sigh* I just can’t keep up with all these book to film adaptions, there are too many! Seems I am destined to wait for the DVD now.
In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets…
There is a girl.
Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head…green eyes, black hair.
There is a curse.
On the sixteenth moon, of the sixteenth year, the book will take what it’s been promised.
And no one can stop it.
In the end, there is a grave.
Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love.
But Lena and Ethan is cursed and, on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided.
Ethan never even saw it coming.
Beautiful Creatures follows the protagonist Ethan Wate, a southern bound small town teen. There are two types of people where he comes from, “the stupid and the stuck”. He lives with his housekeeper Amma and his grief stricken father in Gatlin, a town known for its obsession with The Civil War. Ethan cannot wait to get out and travel the world, that is until a whirlwind by the name Lena Duchannes blows into town, a girl he has been dreaming about before he even knew of her existence. Dreams of lemon, rosemary, panic and falling. Continue reading
Overall Impression: Longwinded; but ultimately a great atmospheric and tangible tale of the most notorious vampire in pop culture.
I have wanted to read this book for so long, that I almost can’t believe I’ve finally done it! As a girl who got caught up in the vampire craze of YA literature, I knew that at some point I would have to delve back in history to one of the original sources and inspiration; Dracula. While, like many others I had of course heard of Dracula from the constant stream of references, puns and parodies saturating our media, I never really had any knowledge of the details and plot twists it entailed. And I have to say in many ways, it was not at all what I was expecting! When I finished the book in the early hours of 5am I was almost left with the feeling that the whole tale was real, or at least, that it could have really happened.
This I think, is a large aspect of its appeal.
This book was also read for the belated Eclectic Reader Challenge for the horror genre.
Collected inside this book are diary entries, letters and newspaper clippings that piece together the depraved story of the ultimate predator. A young lawyer on an assignment finds himself imprisoned in a Transylvanian castle by his mysterious host. Back at home his fiancée and friends are menaced by a malevolent force which seems intent on imposing suffering and destruction. Can the devil really have arrived on England’s shores? And what is it that he hungers for so desperately?
Jonathan Harker is a young Englishman with the new burden of responsibility, and all he wants to do is succeed. So when he is sent to help the mysterious Count Dracula he does everything within his power to please him. It is not long however, until he starts to find a few strange things about the place. There seem to be no serving staff – or anyone else living around for that matter. Why does the Count never eat, and where does he skulk off to late at night? Continue reading