12 Following

Leah's Bookshelf

Likes: Horror, macabre, fairy tales, ghosts, hauntings, serial killers, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, vampires, time travel, orphans, clones, thrillers, classics, gothic


I like to read anything that tells a good story, duh ;) Genre doesn't really matter much but I tend to read dark fiction and fantasy the most. I skip chick lit and romance novels with a few exceptions for the extraordinary.


My ratings system:

5 stars - ADORED; plan to read over and over and over.

4 stars - ENJOYED; will likely read once or twice more.

3 stars - LIKED; may or may not read again ... someday.

2 stars - MEH; no plans to read again.

1 stars - I didn't enjoy the story and was lucky to finish.

0 stars - I couldn't or wouldn't finish for reasons that may or may not be listed in the review box.

Currently reading

The Oxford Book of American Short Stories
Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Washington Irving, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Ray Bradbury, Charlotte Gilman Perkins, Willa Carter, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Stephen Crane, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Katherine Anne Porter, Eudora Welty, Nath
Progress: 225/768 pages


Sunshine - Robin McKinley Rating: 2.5 of 5Robin McKinley's name came up during my hunt for fairy tale retellings. I actually wanted to read Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of the Beauty and the Beast, but the day I went to the library, there wasn't a copy available. So I went with Sunshine because it was available, the cover boasted a review from Neil Gaiman that it was "pretty much perfect," and the story sounded interesting.The blurb from the inside jacket on the hardcover edition sounds good, right? I love supernatural. I dig vampires. And I adore a strong female character who rescues a male. Unfortunately, the story did not deliver on what the blurb promised.In my opinion, the biggest downfall of the story is the first person narrative from only one character the entire novel. The inner monologue, mostly about Sunshine's life, was extremely boring and gave me little reward for reading it. I can't even tell you how many times I had to read about cinnamon rolls and other baked goods because that is what Sunshine does for a living - she is a baker in her parent's shop. There are pages and pages of Sunshine just rambling on, i.e. thinking, about absolutely nothing that I *needed* to know. Again, see the above reference to "cinnamon rolls." For this reason, the story moved at slower than a snail's pace. Strike one.I'm all about a character starting out weak and whiny, not really seeing their own true potential, but only if eventually that character accepts or rejects their abilities. Sunshine seems to be pulled against her will the entire story, never making a conscious decision on her own to either embrace her new life or fight to get her old one back. She comes across as a victim type with little to no self-esteem and I can't connect with weak. When the entire story is written in the "I" voice, the reader has to be able to connect with that character. Even on the last two pages Sunshine is still not taking any responsibility for her life and she is not being an active participant in making choices for herself, e.g. "I didn’t make up my mind" (p. 388) and "This was now my life" and "Get used to it, Sunshine" (p. 389). Strike two.There is an excessive amount of "info dump." The plot of this book is a strong one but it is lost in pages and pages of exposition that could've been delivered in a much more effective manner. The action is buried in all of the narration and there is barely any dialogue at all. The dialogue succeeds in the scenes between Sunshine and Constantine, Sunshine and Yolande, and Sunshine and her grandmother. But other than that, it's questionable to say the least. The main vampire in the story, Constantine, is in only a handful of scenes, and for all the narration and exposition, I hardly get to know him at all. How am I supposed to fear for Constantine's safety when I don't know him well enough to care whether he survives? Strike three.Overall, I think this book would've been great had there been some serious editing. However, in its current published form, it only reached "fair" status. The "pretty much perfect" elements, especially the world-building, just weren't strong enough to overcome the problems I listed above, at least for me anyway. I would welcome a sequel because I'd like to see Sunshine become the strong woman I know she can be and I'd like to see where she and Constantine went off to at the end of this book.Again, I could see a great story - if I squinted hard enough - but it was buried in a bunch of stuff that kept me from being able to enjoy it.Originally posted on my blog Unleash the Flying Monkeys! This review edited on August 17, 2012.