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!