Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bookish Review: Sorcery and Cecilia

Sorcery and Cecilia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot is a Regency romance with a touch of magical realism. It is also an epistolary novel (what is it with me and those lately?). The story is written in letters between two cousins, set in Regency England, except wizards are real and recognized and magic is not a fantasy. The cousins get swept up in a battle between wizards--luckily, one of them shows an aptitude for magic and with a little scheming, they manage to save the day and both find love--surprise!

Enjoyable romp--fans of the Pink Carnation series should enjoy.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bookish Review: Save as Draft

Save as Draft is a novel of online dating, written in the epistolary style. It opens with a glossary of online shorthand, which I couldn't tell if was an attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor (in which case, it failed) or a serious reference for readers (in which case, seemingly unnecessary, because anyone who is not fairly web-savvy is probably not going to read this)--and, I object to the assertion that "oops" is onomatopoeia. But, I digress. My first thought was, "Cecilia Ahern, she is not."

I will say this--I though I had the book figured out in the first few pages, but it did not end as I expected, so points for that. The book is also clearly written from experience, and anyone who has ventured into online dating will recognize some of the vignettes included. The book is fairly well-written, but the lack of real resolution bothered me. I like my chick lit with a happy ending and all details tied up neatly with a bow--of course, the lack of happy ending makes the story more realistic, but really just made me cringe for the author (see "written from experience," above). Not a bad read, and it is quick.

Disclaimer: I received an advance electronic copy of this book from the publisher for the purposes of review. Free access to the book did not affect my opinion. For more information on Simon & Schuster's eGalley program, please visit www.galleygrab.com.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bookish Review: Darkness Becomes Her

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton is a YA fantasy set primarily in a future New Orleans. I am a sucker for Nola tales, as I love seeing my favorite city play a role in any story, and it does have a big role in this one. The book is clearly written by someone who loves the city, but is not a native. Some details are just ff, but it's still fun.

This New Orleans is rebuilding after being destroyed by hurricanes (a popular theme, though not very comforting). Ari is drawn to New2, the city rebuilt by 9 powerful families who own/run it after it is abandoned by the US after the disaster, in search of her father and the real reason her mother killed herself--a curse to which she is also a victim.

New Orleans is known for being a haven for the different, the "other," outcasts, voodoo, darkness, and revelry. In this version, it's definitely home to outcasts, and maybe vampires, witches, and other creatures of the night--maybe even gods and goddesses.

The story is fun and entertaining, though not mind-blowing. There's plenty of violence and foul language, so be aware. The "bad girl" goddess is an unusual choice--not one usually depicted as a villain. I wasn't sure how I felt about that, but it was an interesting approach.

Of course, the story is not complete, because can we have a YA these days without starting at least a trilogy? Of course not. An enjoyable romp, overall.

Disclaimer: I received an advance electronic copy of this book from the publisher for the purposes of review. Free access to the book did not affect my opinion. For more information on Simon & Schuster's eGalley program, please visit www.galleygrab.com.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bookish Review: The Betrayal of the Blood Lily

Lauren Willig has again created a fun romp in her Pink Carnation series. The twist in this one is that our heroine is already married (she was forced into marriage at the end of the last book) and after relocating to India with her husband (yet another twist--it's not in England or in France!) she meets her true love. But she's already married! The horror! Will she come to love her husband? Will she run off with her new swain? Oh, the twists and turns!
I pretty much figured it out, but it was fun.

There is the usual spy snatching and fun interludes of Colin and Eloise to be had. If you've read the others in the series, you know what to expect. Fun and fluffy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bookish Review: Middlesex

Middlesex is the story of a (fictional) man who was born with a chromosomal defect that caused his genitalia to appear feminine. He was raised as a girl until he was a teenager and began hitting puberty. He traces his family history, noting the sordid past that lead to his being born a hermaphrodite. He tells his story, of how it was discovered that he was really a boy and how he was almost forced into surgery to make him physically a girl, to match his upbringing. He runs away from home when he understands who he really is, and the book also chronicles his struggles with relationships--after all, who can understand?

The book is very well-written, absorbing, and compelling and shows a very interesting view of an unusual life.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bookish Review: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

I had read a lot of good things about The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, so when I found it on clearance at a Borders Express that was going out of business, I snatched it up, and I am glad I did. At first, the book is about dogs, and how wonderful and intelligent they are and how they can can positively impact people's lives. Then it is the story of a boy and his dogs--and how one dog, Almondine, helps him communicate, despite the fact that he was born mute.

It's a beautiful story.

Then as you get deeper into it, it takes a decidedly Shakespearean twist. I won't tell you which play, because it follows it pretty closely (though if you've read any reviews of the book, you probably already know). It's really well-written, and although the ending was not what I wanted, it didn't spoil the enjoyment of the book for me. Highly recommended.