The Vampire Chronicles: Interview With the Vampire

Series. The bain of my existence. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great series…but they are SUCH a commitment. And as a blogger, they are so hard to review, because do I a) read them as the books come out individually or b) wait until the full series is out? 

I almost never read a series when it is first out…but then I procrastinate reading the full thing in one go because then I have to forgo everything else I am reading. 

It’s such a challenge to fit everything in. TOO MANY BOOKS.

So, we are going to try something new here on ILR. I’m going to read full series, and review them, all in a row. I’ll post these on Mondays, and you can follow along with me as I read each book!

Up first:  The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. I have the big silver Omnibus from Barnes & Noble, so it’s a great place to start. I read Interview with the Vampire in 2015, so the below is an updated version of that review.

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.

Vampires have never held much interest for me in the supernatural world. I’ve always been much more interested in magic–witches and dragons and elves. The whole blood-sucking thing…not for me. It could be regional, I’m much more interested in old British lore than Germanic and Eastern European, which is where vampires reign supreme, so the ancient legends never made it into my repertoire. And the modern retellings…well…I’ll pass on Edward and Bella, thanks.

However, one can hardly be up to par on their literature lists without at least reading Anne Rice. Besides DraculaInterview with the Vampire is probably the most famous work on the subject. Rice’s lead character Louis gives an elaborate narrative to a young boy, detailing his life as an 18th century vampire in New Orleans and Paris. He tells how Lestat turned him in order to try and gain access to his property, and how they then took a child as their daughter. Lestat’s motives are always sinister, and Louis determines to get Claudia away as soon as possible. Thus begins a constant struggle for their eternal lives.

On my second readthrough, I picked up a lot more on the pedophilic undertones of the book. When I read Interview the first time, I thought Claudia’s age and relationship with Louis was weird–but it made sense in vampire-land, that she’d stay young. However, Lestat’s obsession with boys really creeps me out. I mean, Lestat is creepy all around, but why must he always “take” young boys? It would be one thing if it were just sucking their blood as food–but Rice clearly draws a relationship between the vampire lust for blood and human lust for sex–and so an older vampire taking children really messed with me.

By writing about these doomful creatures, Rice not only weaves an entertaining and dramatic novel. Louis has been written with quite they philosopher’s mind, and so the narrative thread weaves a tapestry rich with conversations about God versus Satan, morals and motives, and even a little creation theory. There’s no ignoring the depth in this one, and perhaps because you are encased in the world of vampires, it’s very hard to find the light.

I had originally given this 4 Book Dragons, but I’m going to drop it down to 3. I liked it, but not as much on the second read. Perhaps I went a little too far down into the dark. The next book is all about Lestat so…I have a feeling it’s about to get darker.

 

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Week of Booklr: Top 5 Best Books of 2016

Yesterday was kind of a downer, but I did read a LOT of great books this year! Here are 5 of my absolute favorites:

Hannah Hart’s Buffering

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you’re a Harto fan, a YouTube buff, or just someone who is looking for a memoir-type book to pull at your Hart-strings (heart-strings, get it?)–this is THE book of the year. Good god, Hannah. You have killed me.

Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy

Jenny Lawson gives me so much hope when my mental illness is beating the shit out of me. She has seen so much worse darkness than I have and still comes back swinging every time. If she can be this incredible and full of life, than so can I.

Amanda Lovelace’s The Princess Saves Herself in This One

I’ve never gotten super excited about poetry. I read it, but I don’t love it. But I devoured this in an hour, and I’ve read it several times since. There’s something about it that guts me every time. And it has been my gateway to more and more and more poetry since. I think it’s been that way for most of Manda’s fans. Maybe they bought this originally because they followed her on social media, but once they read it, it was like the first hit of something special. And for that, we are all grateful.

Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter

If you’ve talked to me at all in the last six months, I’ve mentioned this book. It’s been my favorite fiction of the year hands down. And it’s Sci-Fi! I never would have expected that! But this is pure gold–like nothing I’ve ever read. I can’t even tell you that much about it without spoiling the whole thing–just READ IT.

Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway

This one was too short, but sweet, and full of LGBTQIA+ representation–even with an asexual protagonist! Super mysterious and fantastical, I wanted it to go on and on. I can’t wait for the next installment. And who can resist that cover? *gasp*

All those titles are clickable to my reviews for more info, and the covers go to Amazon if you want to commit right away! GO GET THESE BOOKS!

What were your faves this year?

Week of Booklr: 2016 Wrap Up

Taylor is hosting an End of 2016 Week of Booklr, so I’ll be posting some fun “extra” blogs this week in addition to the two reviews I have scheduled!

I was going to wait until the very last day of the year to do this 2016 wrap up, so there will be more books added on to the Goodreads numbers and such, but it’s been a good year overall. I never would have predicted how 2016 could have gone. Really my only goals were to read more books on the Boxall list (I had read up to 100 at the beginning of the year, I’ve finished 18 more now. But more on that later this week), and to read 215 books on Goodreads.

I accomplished both of those goals with no problems, but what I did not expect was that my goals would change SO MUCH over the year. I no longer was paying attention to the number of books but WHAT I was reading. I started paying attention to the diversity of the characters in the books, and then the diversity of the authors. I’m also reading a lot more nonfiction too, I think in an effort to understand both my mental illnesses and the constantly changing world around me. I’ve taken on a brand new community and I’ve learned so much so quickly from my online neighbors.

2017 promises to be a completely new experience for my reading career. I’m both excited and nervous to get started. How different will the beginning be from the end?

For now, here is how the end of the year shook out, as of today:

Number Of Books You Read: 226
Number Of Pages Read: 74,068
Average Length: 335 pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.1

How was your 2016?

 

Lindsey Lee Johnson: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

A captivating debut novel for readers of Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth unleashes an unforgettable cast of characters into a realm known for its cruelty and peril: the American high school.

In an idyllic community of wealthy California families, new teacher Molly Nicoll becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to Molly, a middle school tragedy in which they were all complicit continues to reverberate for her kids: Nick, the brilliant scam artist; Emma, the gifted dancer and party girl; Dave, the B student who strives to meet his parents expectations; Calista, the hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own. Theirs is a world in which every action may become public postable, shareable, indelible. With the rare talent that transforms teenage dramas into compelling and urgent fiction, Lindsey Lee Johnson makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with the sorrow, passion, and beauty of life in any time, and at any age.

I’ve had this book since September, sitting in my ARC queue. That’s a long time for me to have an ARC. So it’s been staring me in the face for awhile, but the publishing date was so far out, I had other priorities. I actually mistakenly scheduled 3 ARCs all for January 3rd…oops.

Hopefully, the other two only have the publishing date in common with The Most Dangerous Place on Earth.

I am assuming that the title refers to the nature of high school. Sometimes it can certainly seem like the most dangerous place on earth while you are there. However, the REAL most dangerous place on earth is simply the pages of this book.

Guys, this book is SO PROBLEMATIC that the only reason I finished it was so that I could warn you away from it. How problematic is it? Oh, just let me tell you (this is pretty gross, so skip if you’d prefer).

  1. The ONLY black person in the entire book is a sub-sub-sub character–Lance, the rehab counselor. He gets maybe two or three pages as in the background.
  2. Almost everyone is blonde. Not even kidding. I’m not even sure there are any redheads or brunettes in the whole book, because blondes are just THAT BEAUTIFUL. This is further solidified when the single (Dare I say token? It certainly seems that way.) POC MC, a Chinese boy is described as having “heavy lidded, almond eyes, sparse brows, and nose whose broadness made him a little less than beautiful.” Oh, and that scene gets worse because the description goes on to say “He was unremarkable. He had no diagnoses. No dyslexia or numerophobia or even ADHD, which at least would have earned him time-and-a-half on the SAT.” Yes, you read that correctly. HE WAS UPSET FOR NOT HAVING A LEARNING DISORDER TO GAIN CREDIT ON HIS SATs. 
  3. An English teacher apparently doesn’t like the students to use “they” pronouns because of vagueness, and so a student is trying to verify for his writing “How do you know whether to use ‘he’ or ‘she’?” The teacher’s response is: “Just look for the Adam’s apple.” Not only is this completely disgusting and harmful, it doesn’t even answer the question the student was asking. I almost put the book down here because I was so grossed out. But I made the decision to keep going so I could write up the full problematic review. I was afraid it would get worse. It did.
  4. At one point, we sing the latest OAR song while watching a father gaslight his son into fighting him–then faking injury and laughing when the boy is concerned.
  5. There’s an entire blog post devoted to slut shaming a passed out drunk girl–saying someone should rape her while she’s passed out, and that she deserves everything she gets.
  6. Lastly, there are too many weird adult/child sexual and/or romantic situations to count in this book. Some are explicit, some are just uncomfortable. 

I almost feel like the author tried to put as many problematic things in this book as possible to prove a point. Except the lack of diversity–I think that was just ignorance or obliviousness, or just something else entirely.

There are going to be a lot of people who like this book–in fact, there are already several positive reviews for it on Goodreads. The core story is interesting and the multi-POV structure would normally have been fun to read. Too bad it’s all just so gross.

Super problematic, guys. Put this on your shame list.

NetGalley and Random House provided this ARC for an unbiased review. Publish Date January 10.

Hannah Hart: Buffering

The wildly popular YouTube personality and author of the New York Times bestseller My Drunk Kitchen is back! This time, she’s stirring up memories and tales from her past.

By combing through the journals that Hannah has kept for much of her life, this collection of narrative essays deliver a fuller picture of her life, her experiences, and the things she’s figured out about family, faith, love, sexuality, self-worth, friendship and fame.

Revealing what makes Hannah tick, this sometimes cringe-worthy, poignant collection of stories is sure to deliver plenty of Hannah’s wit and wisdom, and hopefully encourage you to try your hand at her patented brand of reckless optimism.

Personal note:

Hello, my darlings! I am incredibly pleased to present BUFFERING: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded!

As a big fan of memoirs, I wanted to try my hand at writing about the events of my life that deserve a little more consideration than can be accomplished in 140-characters or a 6-minute vlog. Now on the cusp of turning 30, I’m ready to expose some parts of my life that I haven’t shared before. Before, it was all about privacy, process and time. And now the time has come! I’m ready to put myself out there, for you.  

I’m a little nervous about all these vulnerable words going into the world, these tales about my love life, the wrestling I’ve done with faith, how I feel about sex and my family and myself. I’ve had a lot of trials, a lot of errors, but also a lot of passion. Here’s the thing–I’ve always found comfort in the stories shared by others, so I hope my stories, now that I feel ready to tell them, will bring you some comfort too.

And when you read this book please remember: Buffering is just the time it takes to process.

Enjoy!

Love,

Hannah 

OH. OH HANNAH.

I was going to start this blog off by gushing over how much of a Hannah Hart crush I have. “Mild Obsession” wouldn’t be too far off base.

But oh, Hannah. This book.

She’d told us many times that she was revealing all her secrets in this book. And I knew it would be packed full of gayness. I knew that she came from a religious background, and that she suffered from mental illness. I expected some darkness. I know there is a lot of depth behind her bright and shiney coat of happy.

But oh. Oh Hannah.

I was sobbing by page 11. And not like, internal, this is an emotional book, I feel sad but I’m not actually outwardly crying, “sobbing.” No. SOBBING. Full on WEEPING by page 11.

I’m not going to tell you what Hannah’s secrets are. They aren’t mine to tell. But there is a reason that her introduction is called Trigger Warning. This wonderful, beautiful woman who makes us laugh with her silly puns, her goofy kitchen antics, her smooth scotchy wisdom–I don’t know how she got there. How a person goes through the seven circles of hell and emerges with such a fresh outlook on life amazes me. Those people are my heroes–and Hannah Hart is one of them.

Buffering is not “just another Youtuber book.” Don’t throw it on the pile. Pick it up as soon as possible, whether you are a fan of hers or not. It will change your perspective on life–I promise you.

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VE Schwab: A Gathering of Shadows

It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift – back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries – a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

Can I just say FU VE SCHWAB! HOLY CLIFFHANGER!

It took me a while to get into this second book in her Shades of Magic series. I loved ADSOM, and was really looking forward to AGOS and the continuation of Kell and Lila’s adventures. However, this definitely has second book syndrome–at least at the start. It’s sluggish to begin.

There’s three stories going on, Kell, Lila, and a third that I won’t spoil for you. All are fun and interesting, but until they start to merge it almost feels like they are being held back. When that happens, though, the book feels like one of my favorite movies–A Knight’s Tale–only instead of Heath Ledger being the only one hiding his identity, Shannyn Sossamon (Jocelyn) also joins him in the game. It’s great fun and very adventurous.

I’m not going to rate this as high as I did the first book, but it definitely left me excited for the third installment! And it was nice to read something not so serious after a streak of BIG books lately. It was greatly needed, since I’ve got more of those coming.

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WWW Wednesday 9/14/2016

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I am heading out of town tomorrow for a long weekend, so I probably won’t have a post on Friday, and MAYBE not one one Monday. Then I’ll be back with my reviews for #DiverseAThon!

 

What are you currently reading?

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

For Study:  The Norton Anthology of American Literature by Nina Baym

Graphic Novel:  Invincible by Robert Kirkman

 

What did you just finish reading? (As always, click on the link below to see what I thought!)

Women of Science by Rachel Ignotofsky

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

 

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

The King of Taksim Square by Emrah Serbes

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Review: The Shadow of the Wind

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

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This book reminds me of Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose, in that it feels a lot older than it actually is. It was written in 2005, but as I was reading it, I thought it was actually written decades ago. Of course, it makes sense later, when the epilogue skips to 1960–but the text reads like much older literature than this millennium for sure.

The story itself is extremely complicated, with layers upon layers that build until the climax at the end. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail because there is just too much to discover here on your own, but it’s definitely one of those stories you have to focus on. It doesn’t hurt to take notes either. You never know when something insignificant might come back up again!

These historical fiction mysteries are always good for a brain workout. Goodreads has this listed as Fantasy too, but I don’t see how that is an applicable genre for this book. Definitely interesting, though, and one to pick up if you’re looking for something dark and thrilling, without being gory or overly scary.

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Review: Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1

KELLY SUE DeCONNICK (Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel) and EMMA RÍOS (Dr. Strange, Osborn) present the collected opening arc of their surprise-hit series that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher. Death’s daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her origin story is a tale of retribution as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage.

I don’t always read our Adult Booklr graphic novel pick, but when I do, it’s because it has kick ass female authors. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios both have big names under their belt, so it’s pretty much no question that their work is always going to be worth reading.

The story here is fantastic, and with DeConnick behind it, that’s really no surprise. I wasn’t a huge fan of Bitch Planet‘s plot, but the writing was great, and this old school western legend is way more my style.

First thing you have to understand–the narrator here is a bunny-skeleton to a butterfly. Weird, I know–but this IS a book about the underworld. The whole thing is about Death, his daughter, and the people in His grasp. There’s a lot to take in–so much that I may read it again this weekend just because.

But even more than the creative storyline is the ART. There is so much going on at times that I almost forgot to even read the story because I just wanted to stare at every intricate detail. The pages aren’t laid out in normal comic panels. A page might be one full page drawing, with a few squares of smaller detail. Sometimes you would get a few long panels stacked on top of each other, when there was a lot of dialogue in a scene. The art overall is dark, sometimes bloody (but excepting the very first couple of pages, not exceedingly gory), and just exceptionally varied. Everything is striking. EVERYTHING.

HOW IS ANYONE ON EARTH THIS TALENTED I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

I should probably tell you that there is full on nudity, both male and female. This is definitely an adult comic, and for more than just that reason.

But you guys. YOU GUYS. It’s so beautiful.

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WWW Wednesday 8/31/2016

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Do you guys realize that it is SEPTEMBER tomorrow?! What in the world? I have a lot of changes coming up in the next few months, so don’t be surprised if I drop my posts down to three a week. We will see what my volume is, but I would expect I won’t have quite as much time for awhile.

Also, if you haven’t checked it out already, make sure to read this week’s feature post!

What are you currently reading?

Pretty Deadly by Emma Rios

For Study:  The Norton Anthology of American Literature by Nina Baym

Graphic Novel:  Invincible by Robert Kirkman

Reread:  The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

 

What did you just finish reading? (As always, click on the link below to see what I thought!)

Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

 

Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins