Today is the last day of April, which means it’s the last day of Blog Every Day in April. I have to admit, I am happy it is over. I am glad I participated, it forced me to come up with other things to talk about on my blog besides book reviews. But – sometimes I was scraping the bottom of the barrel to accomplish that, and there was at least one day I just didn’t post (not counting the days at the beginning of the month before I learned of BEDA). I occasionally enjoyed the opportunity to say something beyond a review, but I realized that the reviews are going to continue to be the focus of this blog.
Monthly Archives: April 2009
Book 5 in:
Garden of Shadows is the last book in the Flowers in the Attic series, and starts the Andrews pattern where the last book is a prequel to the series. Garden centers on Olivia, Cathy’s grandmother. Olivia’s mother died when she was young, and she has been raised by her father who has done nothing to help her overcome her less-than-feminine features or fine tune her womanly ways. This has led Olivia to be an old maid at the age of 24 (heaven forbid). Her father occasionally invites potential suitors home for dinner, and Olivia finally meets a man who does not run away from her when Malcolm Foxworth attends as a dinner guest. Malcolm is an attractive man so Olivia is surprised he is interested in her, until he reveals that he has no desire for flighty women as his mother was one and abandoned him as a child. The two are quickly married and Olivia is whisked off to Foxworth Hall, dreaming of love and hearts and flowers. Before they have even arrived at the mansion, Olivia sees a glimpse of her future when Malcolm talks to her more as a servant in the house than his wife. Olivia is in awe of the house, but is left cold when she is shown to her room and realizes that there will not be a consummation of the marriage that night.
Olivia is left to explore the mansion and discovers Malcom’s mother’s room – kept exactly as she left it. She lays down on the infamous swan bed, only to be surprised when Malcom finds her. He is angry that she has been so nosy and begins to rant about his mother. Before Olivia can stop him, Malcolm attacks her and rapes her there on the swan bed. Olivia realizes how truely messed up he is when he seems to only see his mother during the act. Yikes. Olivia soon comes to realize that Malcolm uses her to run the house while he works and sleeps his way around town, even spending time with a married woman sprawled across his desk at their wedding party. Why she just didn’t pack it in there and go back home to dad is beyond me.
9 months after the swan bed encounter, Olivia gives birth to a son, Mal (short for Malcolm, of course). At some point, she is impregnated by Malcolm again and gives birth to Joel (previously seen creeping around Foxworth Hall in Seeds of Yesterday). At some point, Malcolm’s dad, Garland, returns home from Europe with a new wife, Alicia, who is younger than Olivia and pregnant already. Malcolm immediately both hates and loves Alicia and creeps around after her (it is easy to see where Joel gets it from later). Alicia gives birth to Christopher and for a while, things seem to be running fairly smoothly. Until, that is, Alicia decides she wants to move into Malcolm’s mother’s room and sleep in the swan bed.
Unfortunately, Malcolm can’t stop being a creep, and Olivia is woken up by screams one night. She goes running to the swan bed room to discover Garland dead, Alicia in a torn nightgown, and Malcolm. Eventually, it comes out that Garland and Malcolm fought over Alicia, which killed Garland. Malcolm begins raping Alicia on a regular basis, and she eventually ends up pregnant.
Alicia is banished to the Flowers in the Attic room and Olivia pretends to be pregnant. After Alicia gives birth to a daughter, she and Christopher are whisked away and Olivia and Malcolm raise the daughter as their own. Because these people are made of crazy, Malcolm insists that this daughter be named after his mother – Corinne.
Much creepiness continues for years as the children grow. More deaths happen, and John Amos enters the story, who was last seen as a creepy butler in Petals on the Wind. (V. C. Andrews can’t be blamed for not bringing characters full circle.) Eventually Christopher returns home, he and Corinne fall in love (not realizing they are half-siblings), they run away, and the book ends where Flowers begins, with Olivia locking Corinne’s children in the attic.
Thank the sweet Lord this one is done. I enjoyed Flowers in the Attic, and to some extent Petals on the Wind. Both are fast reads and trashy enough to keep you interested. Garden of Shadows was interesting in letting you see where everything began, but a whole lot of nothing happens for a good portion of the book, which Andrews also did in If There Be Thorns. It is hard to be sympathetic for Olivia since she could have left crazypants Malcolm at any point – her father left her lots of money that Malcolm can never touch. None of the characters are lovable – they are either selfish, creepy, crazy, or so perfect you can’t believe it. And what the heck is with this weird swan bed? I can’t imagine wanting to sleep under a swan with a red eye staring at me.
Despite all this, I have begun reading my next series for the V. C. Andrews challenge, Heaven. I’m a glutton for punishment.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Bookshelves of Doom for posting about this! I used to spend hours watching MST3K (even though I missed Joel after he left the SOL). I had heard about RiffTrax but hadn’t had an excuse to try it out. But Twilight CRIES out for their added touch. So I guess I will use this as an excuse to pick up the Target 3 DVD set (in for a penny, in for a pound).
I was listening to NPR this morning and heard a story about GoCrossCampus. It might be that I was half asleep when I heard it, but it sounded like the first step towards Harajuku Fun Madness. Am I alone in this?
I started Dave Cullen’s Columbine yesterday and so far it’s really good. He’s really good with giving you the heart breaking moments and then pulling back a bit so you can catch your breath before the next one. When I’m finished, I’ll definitely post a review.
Lauren Henderson continues the story of Scarlett Wakefield in Kisses and Lies, which picks up where Kiss Me, Kill Me left off. Scarlett had figured out who knew Dan’s death was not her fault, but she still hasn’t learned who actually caused it. Scarlett and Taylor continue to dig deeper and learn about a connection between Dan’s death and a designer handbag. But who exactly was the owner of the handbag at the time of Dan’s death? The investigation leads Scarlett to the Scotland home of Dan’s family. Will the answers lie within their castle?
I enjoyed the development of Scarlett’s character in Kisses and Lies. She has found comfort knowing that she did not cause Dan to die, and it allows her to feel better about herself and develop her flirtation with the school gardener’s son. This romance adds a spice to the story. It’s fun to try to solve the mystery by Scarlett’s side. I loved how loyal Taylor has become to Scarlett.
By the end of the story, the mystery of Dan’s death has been solved, but Scarlett gets thrown for a loop at the school she has felt was her safe haven thus far. I can only imagine that there Henderson, and I look forward to it!
Lauren Henderson launches a fun multi-book mystery in Kiss Me, Kill Me. In the beginning of the novel, Scarlett Wakefield is no where near the popular social circle in Saint Tabby’s, one of the most upper-crust private school in London. She and her two best friends spend their time on gymnastics, until one afternoon, Scarlett is invited to join the It girls by the fountain. Without hesitation, she leaves her friends behind. Before she knows what hit her, Scarlett is at a party thrown by one of the girls, flirting with her crush Dan, who drops dead in the middle of a kiss they share. No one knows what caused his death, but Scarlett is quickly labeled with the kiss of death and subjected to much ridicule. (While the media cannot reveal her name because she is underage, everyone in her world knows it was her.) To escape, Scarlett leaves London behind and enrolls in the all-girls school her grandmother runs out in the country. While the school does not have gymnastics, she is relieved that the focus is much more academic and no one worries about clothes or boys or parties.
Despite the change in scenery and the fact that no one knows she was the kiss of death girl, Scarlett still feels terrible about Dan’s death. She is shocked when she receives a letter telling her Dane’s death wasn’t her fault. Knowing that someone out there seems to know more about the cause of Dan’s death than they have been willing to say thus far, she decides she must figure out who wrote this note.
While I am not normally a fan of mysteries, I enjoyed this one. Scarlett is an interesting character with a tragic back story that is revealed along the way. I also liked the character of Taylor, she was very entertaining. The ending is good – certain story lines are wrapped up but not enough to make you feel like you don’t need to read the sequel.
One thing I am curious about – another librarian I know is often hesitant to include books set in England in a YA collection, even when they are aimed at a YA audience. She says she thinks that teen readers will not understand all of the references and culture. I disagree with this being true and am interested to hear what others think. While teens may not understand everything right off the bat, readers can usually decipher something based on context. And if they don’t, they have no problems going to Google. How else does a young adult get introduced to other cultures outside of their current physical world? I remember reading books set in other countries as a child/teen and getting it.
- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The hatch in the helicopter is opened, and my stretcher with all its tubes and lines is loaded in. I climb in behind in.
- If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I’m only 39 pages into this, so I had to pick a teaser from what I had read already. I thought this was a good one – why would someone be climbing into a helicopter BEHIND the stretcher, not on it, if it seems to belong to them?
Hannah has grown up trying to fly under the radar, with limited success. Her mother was once the girlfriend of a Hugh Hefner-type, who just happens to be Hannah’s dad. The relationship between her parents has long been over, but her mom is still living off of it by running a website where she holds live chats with fans while wearing skimpy clothing. When Hannah was younger, she tried to maintain a relationship with her dad, but that didn’t work out either. Unfortunately, the celebrity of her parents draws unwanted attention to Hannah at school. She tries to fade into the background – even her clothes reflect how she is trying to hide herself. Hannah is able to escape from her life and her mom’s at-home business when she goes to her own job, where she crushes on co-worker Josh from afar and bickers with her other co-worker, Finn. Josh is starting to notice her, but Hannah doesn’t quite know how to handle the attention. Things only grow more complicated when her dad tries to convince her to visit him. Does he truly want to reconnect or is it just a ratings ploy for his reality show?
The only other Elizabeth Scott novel I have read thus far is Living Dead Girl, which is really good in a heartbreaking way. I love that these two books both come from the same author. Some authors tend to write the same kind of novel, and there is nothing wrong with that – most of my favorite authors fall into that category, which is probably why they are a favorite – I can depend on their work. Some authors do try to mix up the types of stories they tell, but this does not always result in success. Elizabeth Scott proves she can tell different stories very well. What it boils down to is the realism of the characters. As you learn about Hannah’s life, you understand exactly how she became the person she is. She is a unique person, flaws and all. I love that despite her mother’s flaws, she still deeply loves her mom and nothing else is as important as that. I loved the romance storyline and ADORED Finn. Can Finn please have his own book?
I would definitely recommend this book. It’s fun but still contains a serious note, and the different storylines keep you turning the pages to find out what is going to happen to Hannah next.
Elizabeth Scott can be found blogging at her website.
I thought I’d ask:
What is your favorite thing to recommend to someone? A book? Movie? CD? Restaurant? Something else? Why?