Archive by Author

The Bloody Chamber & Other Stories by Angela Carter

22 Feb

The Bloody Chamber & Other Stories

author : angela carter

pages : 126

memorable quote:

She herself is a haunted house. She does not possess herself; her ancestors sometimes come and peer out of the windows of her eyes and that is very frightening

summary :

From familiar fairy tales and legends – Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves – Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.

review :

I had to read this collection of fairy tales for an independent study I’m doing. While they weren’t my favorite retellings, I think that these stories are not only well-written but also thought provoking. They’re tales that will leave you to think. You won’t just ponder the connection to and differences from the original story and Carter’s version. You’ll also think through your own interpretation of the endings, as well as the symbolism that crops up in each story.

Though this collection was short, it’s sure to stand out. The stories are bloody. Many of them aren’t happy. But that seems to be a trend, not only in modern retellings but in the original stories themselves! All of us like to hear a good story with a happily ever after but things don’t always work out that way. Carter doesn’t seem foreign to that concept, though she does put her own spin on the idea of a ‘realistic’, unhappy ending. There’s no tragedy simply for the sake of it. It’s impressive, the way she weaves her words together and makes even the smallest of instances in her stories seem to have the biggest share of the impact.

I’d recommend this collection to anyone with an avid interest in fairy tales. While there are other retellings that I’ll pick up to read over and over again, I’m not sure that this collection will be among them even though it is very well-done. I think that it’s worth at least one read and many will like it even more than I did.

3/5 stars

The Classic Fairy Tales, edited by Maria Tartar

19 Feb

The Classic Fairy Tales

editor : maria tartar

pages : 416

summary :

Gathering together 44 tales from around the world, from the 5th century on, this critical edition examines the genre, its cultural implications and its critical history. She has focused on six different tale types, and includes multicultural variants and literary rescriptings.

review :

Yes, I needed to read this one for school, but it was so interesting that I thought I’d tell you all a little about my thoughts on it. The Classic Fairy Tales is about as bland of a title as you can get when it comes to this collection. Edited and selected by Maria Tartar, most of the book contains fairy tales while about a fourth of it is articles and criticism concerning fairy tales both modern and ancient.

The fairy tales are all separated into different sections in the book so that the reader can compare several versions of one story–for instance, five different ways of telling Little Red Riding Hood–all at once. There may be what is considered the ‘original’ tale, the first written down, and then several others recorded from oral tradition, as well as modern takes on the old story. I liked comparing how the traditional stories we all know and love differ from more violent, older stories. They’re completely different from modern interpretations as well, which tend to be more feminist, less concerned with eradicating eroticism, and sometimes seem to turn the fairy tale completely upside-down for the fun of it.

While the criticism tends to get a little dull–and may begin to blame Disney for overtaking the fairy tale market–the collection does make some interesting points that I think any fan of traditional (or modern!) tales will enjoy. I know that I’m not the only one out there who’s a sucker for any great fairy tale retelling to hit the market these days and this book explains some of the fascination humanity seems to have lingering over the idea of these tales Pick this up and read it for yourself, then discuss with me because I want to hear what you think of the different versions of stories, which may be the true original, and which may be your favorite!

4/5 stars

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

16 Feb

Things We Know by Heart

author : jessi kirby

pages : [hardcover] 304

publication date : april 21, 2015

summary :

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

review :

I’m not sure of how I feel about this book, to be honest. There were some parts of it that I truly loved and wanted more of. I wanted to learn more about Quinn’s relationship with her family, particularly her father and her sister because they seemed like interesting characters who could have been used much more than they were. I wanted more than the focus on her and Colton, mostly because I knew that relationship would eventually blow up because of all of the secrets that Quinn was keeping from Colton.

Of course, some portions of the story were predictable, and I really didn’t mind that. I just wish that some of it could have been handled differently. Not necessarily by changing the plot points or anything serious like that. Really, I just feel like most of it was too rushed, and even though I did get emotional at a few points, if it’d been slowed down I feel like I would have been much more of a mess. Not that I want to be emotionally damaged by a book, you know, but sometimes you can really appreciate something that tangles up your emotions and spits you back out again in the end.

I think that’s another thing that was off for me, too–the ending. I wanted to know what was going to happen next because I feel like some of that could have been more interesting than some of the buildup to that conclusion. I can’t say much without spoiling anything, but I know that there were still problems and issues that could have been explained or fleshed out that weren’t given the chance to come to the heart of the novel . . . see what I did there?

I feel like this book is interesting and it certainly kept me reading, even though it isn’t a favorite. I don’t know if I’ll recommend it to my friends, but I know there are people out there who’ll love it more than I did. Maybe with all of their heart. Last heart joke, I swear.

3/5 stars

Favorite Book Friday: Valerie from Indecisively Restless

6 Feb

favorite book friday

Hey everyone! Another week has come, and another Friday! This one brings you Valerie, who blogs over at Indecisively Restless! This recommendation in particular is one that I’m VERY excited to share because I love this series, too! It’s one that I started reading a long, long time ago and need to read again. It’s great!

But don’t take my word for it–take hers!

Without further ado, here’s Valerie!

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Hi Caught Between the Pages readers! I’m Valerie from Indecisively Restless. Books have always been a huge part of my life so I’m more than excited to be here today talking about one of my favorites:

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty.

Sloppy Firsts is the first in a five-part series about Jessica Darling. Jessica is a junior in high school when her best friend Hope moves away. Since then Jessica has become an insomniac. Hoping that journaling will lull her to sleep, Jessica recounts her worries, pains, and hilarious observations that occur throughout the day. We’re privy to the most inner workings of her mind. From her annoyance to the girls she’s forced to hang out with now that Hope is gone; to the mysterious Marcus Flutie, the school’s bad-boy druggie who seems to keep popping up everywhere. With each day a hardship to get through, will she be able to find someone else to fill the space Hope left?

I love this book because I was Jessica. I didn’t fit in, I had a best friend who didn’t go the same school, and I had a hard time making new friends. But the cringe-worthy moments within the book remind me that everyone feels awkward every once in a while and it’s all about how you deal with it. It’s a great book to laugh and reminisce on all the things that felt so huge and life altering when you were going through them the first time. Things like boyfriends, best friends, best-friends-turned-boyfriends, parental expectations, and your own grandiose ideas of the person you’re meant to be.

McCafferty captures Jessica’s personality perfectly. She’s smart, complicated, witty, snarky, and always trying to figure out who she is. She’s so real that I wish we could be friends. I’m sure that if you’ve ever experienced awkward teenage angst, you’ll love this book. And if you haven’t, consider yourself lucky.

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Thanks so much Valerie! Everyone go check out her blog and say hello to her! :)

If you’d like to join in on Favorite Book Fridays, email me at caughtbetweenthepagesblog at gmail.com!

Favorite Book Friday: Tayler from The Morrell Tale

23 Jan

favorite book friday

Hi everyone! It’s Friday, and today Tayler is here to talk about her favorite book! I’m really excited for you all to read what she has to say. If you have a chance, check out her blog, too, and give her a few comments!

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Hey, y’all! I’m Tayler and I blog at The Morrell Tale. I blog about motherhood, teaching Junior High English and History, recipes I make, books I read, and anything else that I think about.

I love to read–always have, always will. I’ve been reading since before entering Kindergarten, and I’ll be reading to the day I die. I read because it allows me to escape and travel. I can live a thousand lives, travel to hundreds of worlds and times, experience new adventures I’d never be able to in real life. And the crafting of novels! I once fell in love with a boy because I was in love with his writing.

My favorite book is actually a trilogy. And, it was definitely hard to choose this above my other favorite series, Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. But, this trilogy beat them because of the outstanding art of the written word.

Inkheart!

I actually love all of Cornelia Funke’s works, but Inkeart is a step above the rest. Funke even said, “I think it is my best writing so far, and all of my passions for books is in there.”

Inkheart is about Meggie, whose father has been called Silvertongue because he has the gift to “read” characters out of a story. He accidentally read some villains (and a loveable fire juggler) out of a story called Inkeart. They want to get back, so they try to use his gifts for their own evil purposes. (How’s that for a short synopsis that doesn’t give anything away?)

But, what I love about it, it is a meta-book: a book about books and writing. It is so beautiful. Each chapter also begins with a quote from another great piece of literature that applies to the events of that chapter. I looked forward to those, and was excited to see if it was from a poem or story I had read.

Funke even explained why she wrote the novel: “Every reader knows about the feeling that characters in books seem more real than real people. So I was surprised to hear that there were no stories about people coming out of books.” I know I have always dreamed of stepping into novels, and here, I had found one with characters stepping out! And then, when I read the sequel, Inkspell, Meggie discovers she has the same gift and is able to “read” people into novels–and does so with her group into Inkheart! Then, in the finale, Inkdeath, they are still in the novel. How I wish I could be with Meggie, enjoying her gift and not just seeing the adventures in my imagination as I read, but to actually, truly experience them!

If you could “read” a character out of a book, or yourself in a book, who or what would it be?
 
~  ~  ~
Inkheart! One of those books I feel is severely underrated and needs to be read by all! I absolutely loved these books when I was younger. I can’t remember if I ever finished the trilogy . . so that just means I’m going to need to pick them up and enjoy them again!
Thanks so much for sharing, Tayler–and reminding me that I need to reread this trilogy!
If anyone else would like to join in on Favorite Book Fridays, email me at caughtbetweenthepagesblog at gmail.com!

Favorite Book Friday: Vicky from The Outpat Expat

16 Jan

favorite book friday

Hello everyone! Today I’m super excited to share another favorite book with you–this one comes from Vicky! Her blog, The Outback Expat, is definitely worth a visit! Check out her review and comment below to welcome her to the blog!

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I haven’t really written book reviews before, I’ve commented on a couple of books I have liked on Goodreads but that is about all so far.

It’s not news that I love to read and I often ask and am asked for book ideas from a couple of my close friends when we can’t decide what to read.

I chose to write this review of The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.

Synopsis
Sage Singer is a young woman who has been damaged by her past. Her solitary night work as a baker allows her to hide from the world and focus her creative energies on the beautiful bread she bakes.

Yet she finds herself striking up an unlikely friendship. Josef Weber is a quiet, grandfatherly man, well respected in the community; everyone’s favourite retired teacher and Little League coach.

One day he asks Sage for a favour: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses.
Then Josef tells her that he deserves to die – and why.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who’s committed horrendous acts ever truly redeem themselves? Is forgiveness yours to offer if you aren’t the person who was wronged? And most of all – if Sage even considers his request – would it be murder, or justice?

My Review
I have enjoyed Jodi Picoult’s books for years and read quite a few of them. I hadn’t read any for a while though so decided it was time to give them a go again. I found I had already downloaded The Storyteller onto my Kindle app on the iPad so it seemed like the perfect choice.

Without giving anything away, the theme of this book is heavy going and at times I wondered whether I could continue reading it because it was harrowing but whilst this is not a true story (as far as I know) these events or similar events really took place.

This book just blew me away to be honest and has stayed with me still several days after I finished reading it. I find myself stopping and thinking about the characters and what happened to them during and after the book ended because it really feels like you lived the story with them. It was definitely one of those stories where you desperately want to know what happens but don’t because then the beautifully written story would end.

I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and gave it 5 stars on my Goodreads rating. You can also read an excerpt of the book here.

~ ~ ~

Thanks for the review Vicky! I’ve only read a few Jody Picoult books and have been meaning to read more by her. This is going to the top of my list!

~

If you’d like to participate in Favorite Book Fridays, email me @ caughtbetweenthepagesblog at gmail.com!

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

7 Jan

Crown of Midnight

Throne of Glass #2

Book 1: Throne of Glass

author : sarah j. maas

pages : [hardcover] 420

memorable quote I worry because I care. Gods help me, I know I shouldn’t, but I do. So I will always tell you to be careful, because I will always care what happens.

favorite character : chaol

summary :

“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie…and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

review :

While I wasn’t in love with Throne of Glass, I was excited to read the sequel–and I think that I liked this second book more than the first! Crown of Midnight focuses more on the action and adventure than the romance between characters, which was all that I wanted. Even though I’m sure that there’s much more to come, and I have my predictions made about what will happen next, there were some surprises in this book that I just didn’t see coming.

On the other hand, unfortunately, I think one of the big reveals in this book was something I’d seen coming since the middle of book one. I’m not sure if readers were supposed to pick up on the subtle hints about it or not so for me, the ending kind of fell short of amazing. I’d really like to hear about what other people thought about the conclusion and if they were surprised by what was revealed there!

While there wasn’t so much focus on the love triangle, I was disappointed because we still didn’t learn much more about Chaol or Dorian outside of their undoubtedly undying affections for Celeana. They never really seem to fixate on anything but her which, I guess, is understandable, but also annoying when they have so much more potential! It’s the captain of the guard and the crown prince–how much more potential could you have? They both have backstories that could be learned, or other duties that they could  be performing. Their lives shouldn’t revolve around Celeana, should they? It wouldn’t be safe for the kingdom.

I’m definitely going to read book three in hopes that this series only keeps going upward for me. I still think that there’s so much that can be fleshed out and told so I’m excited to see what Maas decides to do with her characters and story. I’m still uneasy about what may come and at the moment it isn’t a favorite series of mine, even though it’s fun to read. It’s something that I’ll recommend to friends–if only to show them how much of a fun, badass main character Celeana is!

4/5 stars

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