I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.
-Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
-Phillip K. Dick

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Affinity by Sarah Waters

Genre: Crime / Historical Fiction / Lesbian / Romance / Spirituality

Miss Margaret Prior is a 29 year old woman seeking out something in her life to make it more worthwhile.  This all happens of course after her brother stole the love of her life.  She decides to visit ladies at the prison and meets a young woman named Selina Dawes who she assumes is a good soul. Quickly they become close and share spiritual means together, for Selina Dawes is a medium.

Goodreads Synopsis:  
An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women’s ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London’s grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank’s murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by on apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. Selina was imprisoned after a séance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina’s gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina’s freedom, and her own.

First, I'd like to say, this book was nothing of what I expected.  I was expecting a very spiritual and romantic novel.  Instead, I got a book about a woman who claims to see spirits in prison, and a woman whose so kind enough to visit her as well as the other ladies of the prison.  I sort of liked this book at times, but as a whole, it really left me disappointed.  I kept expecting something marvelous to happen, but nothing spectacular occurs.  This novel was nothing fantastic like Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith.  If you liked those two novels you might find this one a disappointment.  I'd hate to give away the ending, but lets just say it's not spectacular in any sense, in fact, if you're anything like me it'll make you loathe the book.  I can't give this more than 2 stars. 2 stars is just a kindness to the fact that at times it had me intrigued, if only mildly.  Throughout the book it felt like it was missing something.  I think it just didn't have the tragedies or the difficulties that were contained in the other 2 books I read by this author to give it that certain something.  It felt quite stale.  That's not to say some parts of it weren't written well, they were of course.  It sounded very much like a Sarah Waters book, minus the dramatic occurrences that previous Sarah Water's books contained.  That's really all I can say about this book.  I don't recommend reading it if you enjoyed Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith.

Shame on anyone who thinks evil of this.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Sin Collector by Jessica Fortunato

Genre: Paranormal / Urban Fantasy / Supernatural

Liliana is a Sin-Eater meaning she collects people sins, but she hasn't done so in a long time.  She's over 100 years old, but Sin-Eaters can live forever. A man from her childhood comes back into her life and leads her into an unknown future. An older man from her past, who is much like a father figure to her, shows up at her hotel door to warn her that shes in grave danger. What kind of danger is she suppose to be afraid of when she's virtually invincible? She develops a very interesting, and possibly useful ability, but will she be safe?

Goodreads Synopsis:
"The Sin Collector" follows the life of Liliana, a born Sin Collector. She has spent over 100 years absorbing people's sins so they may rest in peace come death. However when she meets another Collector, one who insists everything she has been taught is a lie, Liliana must make her way from Sunny L.A. all the way to the streets of Madrid. Searching for answers to a question we all share. Why are we here? The friends and enemies she makes along the way only seem to blur the line between right and wrong. Can Liliana fight the Castus, an organization bent on killing off every Sin-Eater? Should she trust her head or her heart when the two most important men in her life are fighting alongside her? Then there is the worst question of all, who will be left when the dust settles.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book from Jessica herself, so that I may review it for her. (Thanks again Jess!)

There were some parts of this book that conflicted right at the beginning. It says Sin Eaters are never aging, but somehow they start out as children and must age to age 20. I guess when they get to age 20 they don't age anymore? Something weird like that.

The book felt very rushed at the beginning, and yet, the story started out so flat that it was incredibly SLOW. It does get better about halfway through the book though when things really pick up and get interesting. About that point things really start to flow better, but it's hard to get started and you must be really patient. Not much of a hook in the beginning, but if you're patient enough to get halfway through it really is worth it.

I felt like it could have used a little more background of Liliana's parents. I'd have liked to know more about how she came to be with Olexander as a kid.

I feel like the author could have done a little more research on certain things before taking misconceptions as truths, but this is a common mistake.

Some parts feel like they jumped around randomly, but it wasn't a common theme of the book, and didn't really hinder my pleasure later on.

At times it also felt like it was a misguided dream fantasy world. Details were left out that I would have liked to have been included to enhance my experience. This book requires a lot of imaginating at times. I like to be able to imagine things and see them as I'm reading, and at times this was difficult.

I felt like it was overly predictable at times. It didn't leave me questioning too much. I felt like I knew what was going on. It was a little of the back and forth of good guy or bad guy thing. In the end I am still unsure about how I should feel about one of the characters. Are they a bad guy or a good guy? I'll never know.

Regardless of the faults, after I got to the halfway point and things picked up, I really started to enjoy the story. I found myself captured in it, and found myself enjoying the characters(mostly).

I like some of the interesting elements the author put together. It's a story with originality, but also with some old elements I enjoy. For example, there's a little bit of kick butt action, and I can't disagree with the enjoyment of that. I didn't really find myself connecting with the main character as much as I would have liked, but there's still a possibility for that in later books I think. I can't really say too much about the things I liked without giving too much away, so lets just go ahead and say I enjoyed it and am interested in what the next book will bring!

Shame on anyone who thinks evil of this!