Review: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Title: Interview with the Vampire

Author: Anne Rice

Publisher: Balltaine Books

Genre: horror

Source: used bookstore

Publication Date: April 12, 1976

Louis, a vampire, tells the story of his long life to an unnamed interviewer. Starting with his human life on a plantation in New Orleans and spanning through the twentieth century, Louis tells of a life of love and loss.

I feel that to summarize this book, you either have to tell nothing or everything. I’m going with almost nothing because a) I think the story is so well known, it’d be redundant and b) less is always more. So… that’s my summary.

I still really love this book. When I struggled to get into it, I thought maybe my love for the story had faded and was just a high school obsession. But, no, once I sat down and really gave it my attention, I was enthralled. I read almost the whole thing in one sitting.

I love Louis. He’s my favorite vampire, and I’m very sad that the rest of the books are about Lestat, because I’m not as interested in him. Maybe rereading The Vampire Lestat will change that, but I doubt it. There’s just something so soulful about Louis, so broken and lost, and that draws me.

The writing is very dense, and it’s a lot different from things that are written today in genre fiction. It made getting into the book hard, because I’m not used to such rich descriptions and huge blocks of texts. As difficult as it was, once I adapted, it flows beautifully. There were a few things that made me pause, little inconsistencies in the text, but I put that down to an either an unreliable narrator (because Louis is, in the end, not the most reliable of people) or me reading to quickly.

So, in the end, I was swept away into this incredible world that Anne Rice created. I loved the characters, especially Louis and Armand. Claudia is interesting, too, and horrifying in so many ways. The story is complex and the writing is beautiful.

Yes. If you like vampires and haven’t read it, I recommend that you give this a try. So many of the books being written today (including mine) were influence by this book and it’s always good to see the origins of some of the mythology. If you’ve already read it… isn’t it time for a reread?

Review: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Title: The Jane Austen Society

Author: Natalie Jenner

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: historical fiction

Source: NetGalley

Publication Date: May 26, 2020

United by a love of Jane Austen, a group of people come together in the small village of Chawton, the final home of Jane Austen, to preserve Jane’s Austen’s home and legacy. Along the way, they’ll discover friendships, love, and a deep connection to one another that will last a lifetime.

This was such a lovely, lovely book! The characters were wonderful. They were vividly drawn and so strong and unique. They were a group of intelligent, hard working, serious, and introspective people who not only loved to read Jane Austen, but who have internalized her lessons and philosophies.

I loved the parallels drawn between the books and the characters and their relationships. My favorite, as ever, was the Persuasion reference, because I love me some love letters and this book delivered that with a vengeance. While not quite as romantic as Captain Wentworth’s to Anne Elliot, it was a near thing. I also really enjoyed the Emma story line and the interplay between the two characters all the way through. None of the relationships came as a surprise (well, one did, but that’s because I misread a situation early on), but that was fine. Being familiar with Austen and her stories and seeing the parallels made the journey a delight.

This is a very gentle book with an easy flow. Once I started, I didn’t want to put it down. I felt I knew the characters intimately and that I’d be seeing them in real life. I could picture what was happening and felt quite swept up in it. It’s just a wonderful story with beautiful characters and a very satisfying ending.

YES! If you love Jane Austen and like stories about people working together for a common cause, I think you’ll like this story a lot.

Review: Finale by Stephanie Garber

Title: Finale

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Source: sister

Publication Date: May 7, 2019

The Fates have been freed from the Deck of Destiny for two months, the same amount of time that Legend has been on the throne. As the Fates grow more powerful, they begin turning their vengeance on the people, playing cruel and deadly games. In the midst of this, Tella must decide who she can trust: the boy she loved, who doesn’t exist, or the Fate who won’t leave her alone. Meanwhile, Scarlett discovers a terrible secret that may change everything she knows about herself. Together, Scarlett, Tella, Julian, and Legend must make choices that will change their destiny’s forever.

Call me easy to please, but I highly enjoyed this book. The Fates were deliciously terrifying, and the mysterious objects that Tella has to find are amazing. I loved the interplay between her and Legend and her and Jacks. To tell the truth, I was a little more interested in Jacks this round than Legend because I love me some obsession and Jacks had it in spades. I mean, don’t get me wrong; Legend is obsessed with her, too, but he didn’t quite have the evil edge to it that makes it wonderful to me. I could see how that storyline was going to play out, whereas the one with Jacks, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

I have to say that I wish there had been more of Scarlett in the novel. Her story line was slightly more interesting than Tella’s, in my opinion, but most of the focus was on Tell and her troubles. I wish there had been a more equal distribution of the chapters; it seemed like there was more Tella. And that’s not a bad thing! I love Tella. But Scarlett had so much going on, and I feel it could have been explored more deeply.

Overall, this was a satisfying ending to the Caraval trilogy. It was magical, exciting, and romantic. And the ending was just perfect.

Hell yes!

Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Title: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Author: Abbi Waxman

Publisher: Berkely

Genre: Contemporary

Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Nina Hill has a life she loves. She works at a bookstore, she belongs to a winning trivia team, has a book club that sometimes discusses the books they read, and, once a week, has a night devoted to doing nothing (aka reading). However, her life is thrown into turmoil when the father she never knew dies and she’s introduced to a complicated family tree. Now, surrounded by brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, Nina has to come out of her shell and interact with these people, some of whom hate her for existing. To top it off, her trivia rival, Tom, a sexy man shows interest in wanting to get to know her. Nina likes things simple, but her life is suddenly not so simple. She’s going to have to come out of her shell and drastically revise her planner to keep up the sudden cascade of people in her life.

To be perfectly honest, the further away from this book I get, the less I like it. It was okay, I guess. Nina was an interesting character. I liked that while she was an introvert, she wasn’t a shut in. She had an active social life and plenty of friends. I guess that’s actually one thing about the book that bugged me. She’s got things to do and people to see every night. She’s social and active and happy, but the book seems to indicate that her life isn’t complete because she doesn’t have a romantic partner. And maybe I’m taking it too personally, but as a happily single woman who would kill to have Nina’s social life (although, honestly, right now, my social life is more booked than it’s been in the past) I don’t get what’s so bad about being single. And even when she began to notice Tom as a romantic partner, it didn’t take much for her to go for it. She clearly wasn’t single because she was shy, but because she’d not found someone she was interested in.

I loved her family members, particularly the nephew who reached out to her (whose name is escaping me) and her brother Archie. I liked how naturally they came together and got along, seeing similarities in each other. The wider family was okay, but those two relationships were great.

I really didn’t like the handling of Nina’s anxiety, however. As someone who’s suffered for years and didn’t realize how bad it was until this summer, I found the fact that she was so anxious and not even trying to do anything but cope a little irritating. At one point, she suggests to herself she might want to find a therapist, but nothing comes of it, as happens to much in books. And I hated the way Tom reacted after she had a full blown anxiety attack. It made me really want her to kick him to the curb.

I wouldn’t discourage someone from reading it, but I wouldn’t actively recommend it unless the person mentioned wanting a book very similar to this one. If they were looking for a book about a bookish person that’s also a romance, I’d suggest it. But it’s not on my list of favorites.

Review: Her Majesty's Necromancer

Title: Her Majesty’s Necromancer

Series: Ministry of Curiosities (book 2)

Author: C.J. Archer

Publisher: C.J. Archer

Genre: paranormal

Source: Library

Publication Date: August 24, 2015

When bodies start disappearing from the local cemetery, Lincoln Fitzroy, the head of the Ministry of Curiosities, begins an investigation. His maid, Charlie, isn’t supposed to interfere, but she can’t help but stick her nose in and conduct an investigation of her own. She also is looking for information on her mother, a necromancer like herself. She hopes to find answers about her powers and where she comes from.

When Lincoln needs Charlie’s help in his investigation, Charlie is only too eager. She’ll do anything to not only make herself useful, but to gain his attention and admiration, not that he is very effusive in his praise. But, soon, things take a turn and Charlie is put in danger. Will Lincoln get there in time? Or, considering the state of their relationship, will he want to?

This was a highly enjoyable book. Once again, Archer has developed her interesting character and expanded her role. While I miss Charlie posing as a boy and surviving on the streets, I like to see how she’s able to settle more into her skin She’s grown more confident and sure of herself, and she’s holding her own against Lincoln’s taciturn nature and tendency to anger quickly.

I also really like the relationship between Charlie and Lincoln. There’s a nice tension between them, and obvious high regard, and fraught desire. I like the UST in this book. I thought it was well done and moved along nicely.

I am a little irritated that the only other woman of note is kind of a jerk. Lady Hartcourt went from being a tentative ally for Charlie to something worse in this book, and while plot-wise it works, the fact she’s the only other main character who’s a woman is frustrating.

Overall, though, the characters are enjoyable, the relationships are great, and the plot was interesting to read.

Yes, I recommend this. If you’re a fan of paranormal mysteries with a dash of romance, this book is up your alley.

Review: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Title: The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Author: Charles Duhigg

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 375

Genre: Self-Improvement

Publication Date: February 28, 2012

Charles Duhigg is a business reporter who has researched and explained various scientific explanations as to why people form the habits they have. A habit, Duhigg, is a three step process: a cue, a routine, and a reward. All habits can be broken down to these three steps, but, at the same time, there are more complicated steps involved in habit formation and changing habits. Duhigg explains how habits are formed an changed in individuals, businesses, and societies. He explores cases of people with memory loss forming new habits, how businesses have changed their culture, and how movements in society have been influenced by people’s habits. In the end, he offers a four step process for how to form new habits.

I thought this book was great. It was easy to read and understand, and the findings were amazing. I loved the stories and how he interweaves the various stories with researched backed facts. I found myself watching my own patterns of behavior through the eyes of the habit loop. I’m interested in finding ways to use the loop to form new and better habits in my life.

I even found the section on businesses interesting. I thought that part would be boring and irrelevant to my life, but learning how Starbucks shapes its culture and how other businesses focused on one keystone habit to improve their product was actually very interesting. I actually though Starbucks was better at training their employees at customer service than Disneyland is, at least when I worked there. I wasn’t given acronyms and habits to fall back on when a customer complained; I had to wing it and bring the Disney magic all on my own.

If you have any interest in habits and forming and changing them, I think you’d like this book. It’s a great read as we come to the new year and gives plenty of food for thought.

Review: The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer

Charlie has been living on the streets as a 13 year old boy for the past five years. Five years before, she’d discovered a terrible power she had: she could raise people from the dead. Her father, horrified when she’d accidentally raised her recently deceased mother, had kicked her out of the house. Charlie’s only way to survive was to disguise herself and become a thief on the streets. She’s known as “Fleet Footed Charlie” and is one of the fastest boys out there.

Until the day she’s caught and thrown in a holding cell with some dangerous men. When one is killed trying defend her, Charlie has no choice but the raise his spirit and use him to escape. That, however, brings her on the radar of the Ministry of Curiosities and Lincoln Fitzroy, who will stop at nothing to secure both her and the girl, Charlotte Holloway, under the guise of protection. The only problem is, Charlie is Charlotte Holloway, and she doesn’t trust her captors with that information.

Fitzroy says he’s on the trail of a dangerous madman who wants to use Charlie and Charlotte to raise an army of dead. But is he any less dangerous than the madman? Or is he and the Ministry even worse?

I loved this book so much. First off, it has my favorite trope every, Sweet Polly Oliver, where a girl disguises herself as a boy and lives successfully as one until she’s accidentally discovered. And this book does that so well. It draws out that moment of discovery until it’s sweet torture and you don’t know if you want it to continue or want the discovery to happen. And then, it delivers and it’s wonderful.

Charlie is an amazing character, too. She’s smart, funny, vulnerable, and charming. You can see how she was able to survive on the streets for so long. I loved her relationship with all the characters, especially Fitzroy, but her interactions with his underlings, Seth and Gus, were charming as well.

Fitzroy is an amazing character. There seems little he can’t do, except behave like a human being. He’s cold, reserved, mysterious, and brilliant. He’s very intriguing, and Archer does a good job teasing his past and personality as the book goes on.

The mystery was quite well done as well. I admit, it took me a long time to figure out what was going on, even though at one point I said, “Oh, it’s sounds like X.” I should have listened to my instincts. I felt so foolish for not making the connection to what I said to what was going on. But the mystery was intriguing and unfolded at a natural pace. It kept me riveted and wanting to listen to it nonstop.

Also, a special shout out to the narrator, Shiromi Arserio. She has a gorgeous voice and I’m completely astonished at the ride range of colors she brought to each character. I’ve got a little bit of a crush on her and her voice.

If you like supernatural mysteries with romantic tension and humor, this is for you. I highly recommend this book. It’s quick and fast paced and just a lot of fun.