Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Adventuress

Genre: Fiction

I have taken a bit of a step out of my normal reading zone with N.D. Coleridge’s The Adventuress this week, but I’m glad I did. In all honesty, this isn’t a book I would have picked up on my own. Cosmo is doing this thing this year where each month they give you a list of things to do, including new books coming out that you should read. The Adventuress was on the Cosmo reading list for June. (I know that was a while ago, but getting books through the library means you have to wait a while.) Anyway, I’m hoping to read through the Cosmo list as a way of branching out in my reading, and The Adventuress was a great place to start.

The story follows a young girl named Cath through roughly thirty years of her adult life. Cath, having grown up poor, decides she wants more out of life and is willing to do anything necessary to achieve her goals. Cath is a great character who, throughout the entire book, I couldn’t decided if I admired or was put off by. She is sexy, determined, smart, manipulative, and clever beyond belief. I wanted to root for her, but at the same time I kept wishing she would make better choices. But then again, who’s to say the choices she made aren’t the best she could have done?

Following such a character, living by the mantra that if you want something, you have to go after it, not just sit around and hope it comes to you, makes for an exhilarating read. For me, the book took a while to get going. I found myself only reading about thirty pages at a time before I put it down to do something else. However, it got better as it went along, and I found myself racing through the last hundred pages, anxious to see how everything was going to unfold.

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R.I.P.D.

That’s the Rest in Peace Department. This film probably won’t be up for any awards of any kind — ever — but I knew what I was getting myself into when I walked into the theater.

Ryan Reynolds plays Nick, a dirty cop who has gotten himself in over his head, much more than he could ever know. When he decides to go clean, he’s killed by his partner in crime/partner on the force, Hayes (Kevin Bacon). That’s when the adventure begins. Because he was an exceptional cop, Nick is offered a position with the R.I.P.D., where he gets a new partner (Jeff Bridges) and a chance to take down the man who killed him.

R.I.P.D., taken from imdb.com

R.I.P.D., taken from imdb.com

OK, so it might sound a bit cliched. In all honesty, this movie is exactly what you would expect it to be: ridiculous, and a bit cheesy. But it makes for a good time, and as long as you’re not going in hoping to see the next big thing, you should find yourself laughing along at Bridges’ gungho cowboy (at least for the first half hour, or so) or Reynold’s vacant stares and inability to cope. If not, don’t worry. It’s a short film (96mins), so it will be over soon.

My main reason for wanting to go see this film: Ryan Reynolds. I’m a big fan of his. He has a way of appearing awkward and a bit lost that makes me laugh every time. His performance in this film is no different. There’s just something about him, like a puppy-dog stuck out in the rain, that makes you want to sympathize with his characters. Did I sympathize with Nick? Sure. I wanted him to succeed. But I didn’t find myself caring much about what that success entailed.

When it comes right down to it, everything about this film is expected. There are no surprises, no out-of-left-field plot twists. It is what it is. Was it the best film I’ve ever seen? No. But I can think of worse ways I could have spent my afternoon.

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All Just Glass

Genre: Young Adult

So I’ve been on an Amelia Atwater-Rhodes kick lately; my last review was over Token of Darkness, and now I just finished reading her 2011 novel, All Just Glass. I promise my next review will be something different.

All Just Glass is a sequel to Atwater-Rhodes’ 2001 novel Shattered Mirror, and more or less picks up right where the previous novel left off. One piece of advice I’d give to potential readers is to go back and read Shattered Mirror before picking up this book. I didn’t do this, and I had a hard time recalling some of the details of what was going on (searching into my mind for specifics about a book I read years ago wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped it’d be).

One of the great things about this book, if you’re an Atwater-Rhodes fan, is that you get to return to some familiar characters. The twin vampires, Kristopher and Nikolas, are two characters I really enjoyed the first time around, and I liked seeing these characters get flushed out even more. Discovering that these boys had deeper personalities than what we were initially able to see made them seem more real, and not just flat representations of good and evil.

The Vida line of witches, out to kill Kristopher and Nikolas, is also revealed to be surprisingly human. For a line that prides itself on perfection, its youngest generation has to come to terms with the fact that they are all flawed.

Also, this book introduces one of my favorite characters from Atwater-Rhodes’ later book Promises to Keep, so it was fun seeing a younger version of him hanging around.

As far as themes go, there’s a lot a person could take out of this. Ideas of family, responsibility, honor, revenge, tradition, and acceptance of who you are and what you’re capable of are  all topics the characters have to deal with in a book that spans just over twenty-four hours. One of the major themes of the young adult genre is the idea of growing up and becoming comfortable with who you’ll be as an adult. We see this transformation in several of the characters in All Just Glass, including the point of view characters of Adia, Zachary, and Sarah.

Transitioning from what we were to what we’re going to be is not easy, but it’s something everyone goes through. I’m glad this book deals with this theme so directly. These were the kinds of books that helped be get through high school all those years ago: the kind that let me know I wasn’t alone in making that transition.

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Token of Darkness

Genre: Young Adult

I have to admit that I’m a bit biased going into this one. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is one of my favorite authors; I’ve been reading her work since I was a teen. Token of Darkness is her eleventh book to be published and the six in her Den of Shadows series. This story took on a new twist from her previous stories. Most notably, her lead POV character is a high school boy, Cooper Blake.

Cooper was the star of his high school football team. He was well liked and had a large group of friends. But all that changed after an accident nearly claimed his life. The biggest change after the accident, though, was the appearance of the ghost of a teenage girl who called herself Samantha. Samantha shows up when Cooper wakes up in the hospital and has no memories of who she was before.

As I said earlier, taking on a male lead voice was a brave move. I’ve noticed a lot a writers have a difficult time writing in the voice of the opposite sex. Atwater-Rhode’s Cooper is convincing, but not the easiest of her characters to relate to. I have read nearly all of her books, and this was the first character I haven’t been able to empathize with (though I really did want to!) Good news though, her later book Promises to Keep also has a male lead who is much more alive as a character. So, if Cooper’s problem was simply Atwater-Rhodes learning to channel a male voice, she gets it better later on.

As for the story itself, I’m glad to see Atwater-Rhodes moving into new fields. Sure, Token of Darkness is another urban fantasy, but it’s not the cliched vampire stories she wrote when she was young. As the entirety of her Den of Shadows series takes place within the same world, I enjoy seeing her expand this world that she’s been building since she was a young teen, and learning more about the way it works and the characters that live within it with each passing novel.

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