Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Complete Persepolis

Title: The Complete Persepolis
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Genre: Memoir/Graphic Novel
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's coming-of-age story. Starting in 1979, Marji is 9 and the Islamic Revolution is about to start in Iran. Persepolis follows Marji through the next 15 years of her life, through war and peace, adolescence, her teen years, into young adulthood and marriage (and out of it). We follow her from Iran to Austria and back, in and out of relationships and through it all we watch her struggle to realize who she is despite - or because - of her background, religion, and surroundings.

There were times I wanted to cry for Marji, cheer for her braveness, slap her for her cowardice, and just plain hide from the regime I could sense around every corner, looking for a stray hair from beneath her veil or the wrong color socks beneath her trousers.

Persepolis is amazing. At once simple and complex, it manages in 340 pages of words and pictures to capture what no novel could ever do: the experience of growing up Iranian during one of the most violent and terrifying periods of the 20th century.

Storm Watch

Title: Storm Watch (Harlequin Blaze)
Author: Jill Shalvis
Genre: Romance (Harlequin Blaze)
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Jason is home on leave from the National Guard after his partner and best friend Matt was killed in the line of duty. The only thing is, a freak hurricane decided to hit his home the day after he got there - in California. Awakened by his high school crush, Lizzy, asking for help in finding her about-to-pop pregnant sister, they slog through Santa Rey's waterlogged streets to Cece's house and, not finding her, fall into bed with each other. Meanwhile, Cece, trying to get to Lizzy, is now in a Humvee with her next-door neighbor, badass-turned-sweety Hunter - and the baby's coming NOW.

Okay, so it was fluff. But decent fluff. My summary makes it seem much worse than it was, lol. Believe me, I've seen much MUCH worse from Harlequin Blaze, and I actually did enjoy the book. It's staying around on my romance bookshelf.

Keturah and Lord Death

Title: Keturah And Lord Death
Auhor: Martine Leaveitt
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Romance
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Keturah is her village's best storyteller. One day when she wanders into the woods to follow the great hart, she meets with Lord Death and makes a bargain: she will tell him the end of her story if she gets one more day (and then another, and another) to find her true love. Death agrees, and Keturah is launched on a desperate mission to find the one man who will be her love.

Keturah and Lord Death is beautifully told. It also surprised me. I was sure until the end that her true love was one person - and it wasn't. I was sure until the end that one thing was going to happen - and it didn't. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of young adult books, especially young adult historical fiction (as it does take place in medieval England).

Matilda Bone

Title: Matilda Bone
Author: Karen Cushman
Genre: Children's/Young Adult Historical Fiction
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Matilda, an orphaned teenager, has been left at the door of a bonesetter by the priest who has practically raised her to stay, work, and learn while he goes to London to return who-knows-when. Matilda thinks herself far above Red Peg, the bonesetter she is left to help, because she, unlike Peg or most people in Peg's town, can read and write Latin, French, and a little Greek, knows all the saints and most of the demons of Hell and knows her numbers.

Little does Matilda know that the life she has found herself dropped into has much to teach her, both in temporal and in spiritual matters: Life is not meant to be dour and "holy"-fied; sometimes folk wisdom is better than empty book learning; good friends are better than dead saints.

Although Matilda starts the book off very annoying in her sanctimonious self-righteousness, she drops the attitude as she begins to learn the value of street-smarts and folk wisdom. Matilda Bone is similar to Cushman's other books, "Catherine, Called Birdy" and "The Midwife's Apprentice" - even to the point where I could predict several plot points from knowing those books. It's not as good as "Catherine" and is probably on par with "Apprentice."

2.5 stars: I would have liked it so-so as a kid, but it's not something which would have stuck with me like good childrens' books have.

Eyeliner of the Gods

Title: Eyeliner of the Gods
Author: Katie Maxwell
Genre: YA romance?
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Jan is on an archaeological dig in Egypt. Deprived of air conditioning, makeup, and decent clothes (but wonderfully away from her family!), Jan has one thing to look forward to each day: the hottie working next to her, Seth.

However, people think Seth is the reincarnation of the evil god Set - and thus he gets blamed for everything that goes wrong on the dig, including the theft of several artifacts!

Jan, Seth, and his brother Cy race against time to figure out what is going on - and Jan and Seth try to figure out their relationship through teenage hormones and misunderstandings (oy!).

Eyeliner of the Gods is cute. Jan can be annoying, but in the way of sixteen-year-old girls with (slight) self-esteem issues. If you like Katie Maxwell's (aka Katie MacAlister) other books, you'll probably like this one.


Hello again, to anyone who might be reading this. It's time to revive this thing.

Life got in the way in the past year - I'm determined to keep this blog going this time. I have reviews to post that I've written in the past year. Look for updates!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Angels & Demons

Title: Angels & Demons
Author: Dan Brown
Genre: Thriller?
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

After reading The Da Vinci Code a few years back, I was intrigued by the character of Robert Langdon and decided to read his previous adventure, chronicled in Angels & Demons.

In this, Langdon's first race against time, someone is threatening the conclave of cardinals electing a new pope with a new technology, antimatter. This someone is also systematically murdering the four favorites for election, according to an ancient study of science. This someone claims to be a group long thought dead or mythical: The Illuminati. Langdon, a professor of symbology, is the only man who can figure out where the next murders are going to take place, tracing the assassin through Rome and Vatican City in a race against time before the Vatican City is blown sky high with a quarter gram of antimatter.

Reading Angels & Demons requires a massive suspension of disbelief. However, once that suspension is achieved, the story is gripping, the mystery twists and turns, and gets a huge "OMG no way!" reaction when all is finally revealed.

My one problem with the book, the reason it only got 4 stars instead of 5, was this: Brown is a lazy author. Yes, he researches certain things thoroughly: the art involved, the city his characters race through, etc. However, I found myself arguing with simple premeses - something rudimentary research could have solved. It's like Brown got so involved with his convoluted plot and impressive art and history name-dropping that he forgot the simple things. Forgot his basics, so to speak.

If you're looking for a good adventure story with history, art, and some pseudo-science thrown in, do read this book. If you're looking for realism? Stay away.

One final word: Angels and Demons, like The Da Vinci Code, is fiction. People tend to forget that. They are both works of fiction, poeple.. please, keep that in mind.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Title: Delicious
Author: Sherry Thomas
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Verity Durant is a good cook - the best, second only (possibly) to Escoffier - with a secret. Her employer (and former lover) Bertie Somerset recently passed away, leaving her in the employ of his half-brother Stuart. What Stuart doesn't know is that his new cook is the same Cinderella he had a one-night love affair with ten years ago and has yearned for ever since.

Delicious is put forward as a Cinderella story of sorts. It starts out framed as a Cinderella story, and the author as well as the characters themselves reference the famous fairy tale throughout the novel. This not only works, but adds tremendously to the romance building between Stuart and Verity.

I loved the entire thing. Not only was I intrigued by the Victorian setting, I wanted to know if Cinderella got her prince, and what happened to the prince's fiancee. And what of Cinderella's stepmother? The prince's family? Delicious answers all of these questions, all the while drawing you into not only the romance between the characters, but into a new love affair with food - for that is how much of Verity's passion is shown: through her food.

Anyone looking to read a romance novel: I highly recommend this! It's delightful, satisfying, and all-around lovely. I know I gush, but I think, in this case, the work deserves the praise.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Seducing a S.E.A.L.

Title: Seducing a S.E.A.L.
Author: Jamie Sobrato
Genre: Romance
Rating: 3.5 stars (almost 4)

So, before the review, a little personal blurb: I must admit, I had some snobbery going on. A year ago, I would not have touched a romance for anything. Obviously, I discovered I was wrong and really do like romances - but I still had a bit of snob left for Harlequins. I decided to do something about that, and it helped that
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books endorsed them - some, at least. Yes, my friends, I like them. Below I shall share with you why.

Following a workplace tragedy, Lieutenant Commander Kylie Thomas finds her rigid world collapsing. Suddenly she is incapable of controlling her thoughts, her emotions - both at and outside of work - and, most worryingly, her impulses and fantasies regarding her subordinate, Ensign Drew MacLeod. They find themselves in bed and then in Hawaii (and in bed) together, forcing Kylie to re-think her position in life - and the Navy.

Alright. So, I went and bought not only a Harlequin, but a Harlequin Blaze. Hey, I like to read steamy romance! I was not disappointed. I used to think Harlequins (especially the intentionally sexy ones) were all about the sex. Yeah, I was wrong. Contained in Seducing a S.E.A.L.'s 215 pages are a story, two fully developed characters, a romance, a tragedy, healing from said tragedy, and a decent amount of hot sex. I really really enjoyed it.

Even though Harlequin's short format leaves me wanting more story, more background, that's okay. I can get that with longer romances - the ones which are 400+ pages long. These are quickies - no pun intended. They're short, quick, fun books to which I can see myself quickly becoming addicted. Heck, I already have a second Blaze waiting for my reading *ahem* pleasure, and have a quickly growing wishlist of soon-to-be-released Harlequins (not to mention the backlist!). Thank God I have a local used bookstore which pretty much specializes in romance!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Okay, guys. Time for a non-book-review post.

I just happened to walk into my local library today during the monthly Friends of the Library sale. Various (ridiculously cheap) prices for books, OR $5 gets you a bag you can fill - and boy can I pack books into a bag!

22 books for $5. The vast majority were mass market paperbacks, but still. 22 books. $5. Ri. Dic. U. Lous.

So, moral of the post? Frequent your local library, folks. Not only will it keep those of us who can't afford to buy many books brand new reading, but you might just walk into an incredible deal in the process. Heck, the library is already an incredible deal: you pay nothing (well, taxes, but you're already paying those) for a vast selection of books you can take home and read any time you want!

In conclusion, to sum up, etc.: support your local library. Your community will thank you.