Friday, October 17, 2014

Dracula by Bram Stoker

A junior solicitor [real estate broker] travels to Transylvania to meet with an important client, the mysterious Count Dracula. Ignoring the dire warnings of local townsfolk, he allows himself to be seduced by the count’s courtly manners and erudite charm. Too late, the solicitor realizes that he is a prisoner of Castle Dracula, his guards a trio of voluptuous young women with sharp white teeth and a taste for blood.

Soon thereafter, the solicitor’s fiancĂ©e, Mina, visits a friend on the English coast. The town is full of speculation over a Russian ship run aground nearby, its crew missing, the dead body of its captain, crucifix in hand, lashed to the wheel. A giant dog was seen leaping from the deck before disappearing into the countryside. The ship’s cargo: fifty boxes of Transylvanian dirt. As the beautiful Mina will soon learn, Count Dracula has arrived.
Review by Patrick:
 It sucked. I mean I still have blood in my veins, but it sucked the reality from all around me as I was reading this book. I was not expecting a classic like this to be so intense.

As long as you could get by some of the format of this book, it really was interesting. The book was written mostly in a diary format, with some news article clippings, letters, and telegraphs... I guess that was interesting too. I was really amazed with the efficiency of the London telegram service in 1891. You were forced to read this book with the setting in mind, as timing and travel were essential to the book. Horses, carriages, steam and sail boats... all must be kept in mind when considering the time it takes to get anywhere.

We all know about vampires, right. They can't go out in the sun; they must drink blood to survive; they sleep like bats; etc. But it was really intriguing reading about the first vampire. This is where it all started. And it was really interesting. For example, the vampire was able to control the nearby weather, get in really tight places, must be welcomed into a building before entering, control nearby animals, and many more wonderful things. I was also amazed at some of the similarities to more contemporary vampire fiction.

The story (which, let's face it, is what it is all about) was amazing though. It pulled me close and I felt the fear, terror, hope, panic, bravery, and passion of the characters. The story was slow at first, and by slow I mean the main character going willingly to Count Dracula's castle and immediately becoming a prisoner and dinner. The story just kept on and on. It was suspenseful, tragic, epic, horrifying, thrilling, and ... well I'll let you find out the rest.
Overall, surprisingly good. I know I am a little out of the norm when it comes to a desire to reading classic books, but I think this would be a good read for many readers in the present day. I'm going to rate it a 4.
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Review: My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White

 After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.
Review: Rating- 4.5
This book sucked. It sucked my heart right into it and wouldn't give it back. When I started reading it I was under the assumption from the synopsis that it would be a good light read. It went above that. It was a great sweet clean read.
I adored this story, I love all books that have some kind of Pride and Prejudice theme to them. My Own Mr. Darcy didn't let me down. I am so much like the Lizzie in this book! I also obsess over Mr. Darcy. Not to the extent she did, but I have my moments. A lot of women ogled Mr. Darcy after watching Matthew Macfadyen portray him. He's so... gorgeous!
 The story was perfect. Each character had depth and was unique. Chad was the unlucky guy that was strung along for a 10 date rule Lizzie's best friend, Janessa, forced her into. He was so adorable. Matt, who was Lizzie's perfect Mr. Darcy down to his arrogant attitude with occasional sweet moments.
I had one minor problem and one major problem with this book. The minor problem was I kept skipping over all the details about her interior design. That's more my fault than anything. I wanted to get to the relationships, not be bogged down with details about a her remodeling. It was sort of important to show it so that we could see she was good at what she does. My major problem with the book is that it ended way too soon. Way, way too soon. I got to the last page, Kindle told me I still had 11 minutes left of reading so I thought there would be an epilogue. I turned the page and it was the acknowledgment page. To say I was upset is a complete understatement. I wanted more so freaking mad I let out a scream of frustration.
I received this book to read for an honest review and I'm so happy I got this opportunity.
It was truly a great read. Now, Karey White, write me an epilogue please.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Moby Dick or the Whale by Herman Melville

This story tells the adventures of wandering sailor Ishmael, and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab has one purpose on this voyage: to seek out Moby Dick, a ferocious, enigmatic white sperm whale. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab's boat and bit off his leg, which now drives Ahab to take revenge.

Review by Patrick:

I finished this book today, thank goodness. I'm glad I checked this one out from the library and checked it out as an audio book, because I could see this book being another Silmarillion (in other words, takes-seven-years-to-finish book). 

The whole book was long and drawn out, but interesting. I enjoyed learning about how the ship works, and the vernacular that was used in sailing. I would love to go sailing myself some day, so I could really appreciate the detail that went in to explaining everything.

But the details were too much. I didn't expect to read the encyclopedia entries for whale, sperm oil, sailing, and the like. This book just really went overboard with the anatomy of the whale (which, I'm guessing, is not that accurate anyways). The book could have been three or four times shorter and still had all of the narrative content.

I can only say I was disappointed in the ending. The story had been building since we were introduced to Captin Ahab, and then the story ends. There was no satisfactory resolution.
**Spoiler** We don't know what happened to the whale and the whole crew sunk to their death. From Starbuck to Pip to Tashtego to Queequeg to Flask to the carpenter to the cook; they all drowned. All save one, and
call him Ishmael.
This had the tragic ending of a Shakespearean play, without the comic relief.**Spoiler (highlight to see)**

I know this book is a classic and "one of the great American Romanticized tales," but I don't give a darn. I'm rating this book a 1. I'm sorry for anyone who is forced to read it. Maybe with some discussion I would learn more about the book and the metaphors throughout, but I hated this book and wish it to go with it's captain. I have no desire to ever read it again, and I'm not sure I appreciated spending the time to read it in the first place.

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