Monthly Archives: March 2012

Review: The Magic of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

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This was an enjoyable read. Nothing spectacular, definitely not five stars for me, but it could have at least been four stars if not for one very annoying component… But more on that later.

The characters – I liked them. Some of the relationships that formed between them seemed a little unbelievable and/or unnatural to me, but it wasn’t so bad as to interfere with my enjoyment of the story. The magic system – interesting, I liked the idea of order versus chaos and all of the rules that went with each side. The world was also interesting to me, I found myself wanting to keep reading so that I could learn more about Recluce and unravel the mysteries surrounding it. The plot was sort of so so.. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it.. But for most of the book it just sort of meandered along. The plot was advancing, but I had no idea what it was advancing towards. It only really started coming together and wrapping up in the last third or quarter. But like I said – the ride to get there was interesting, I just would have liked some more hints as to what the overall plot was a little earlier on.

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Quickie: Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell

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Straight from the heart of romance blogger Wendell, this inventive gift book provides the best wisdom about love that the romance genre has to offer. Laced with signature witty commentary and peppered with thoughts from bestselling romance authors and avid readers, these pages reveal that while romances are certainly steamy, they have more to offer than just a sexy hero.

It took me forever to finish this book, but I really enjoyed myself!

EIKAL (as it is fondly called) is a love letter (essay style) to romance books and their readers. It’s very much preaching to the choir but it could also (possibly) persuade non-romance readers as to the benefits of reading romances.

I would also find this book to be highly educational for a romance reader to give to a non-romance reader who is clueless as to why people love romances so much.

For me, I felt that the book forced me to seriously think about what draws me to romance books. I often find myself reading romances when I’m sad or stressed or depressed. I never understood or even questioned why – I just did.

Written in SB Sarah Wendell’s typical upbeat, comical and chatty style, EIKAL is very easy to read and rather funny.

Another great thing about this book is the enormous amounts of recommendations to be found here. I started reading this book forever ago but just finished. Why? Because I constantly found myself being side-tracked by new (to me) authors.

I lay my current Jennifer Crusie addiction squarely at SB Sarah’s feet.

As much as I loved this book, I can’t see someone who does not already read romances picking this up. I do see people who read romances buying this for someone who doesn’t understand.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Standards…

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This is the second retelling of Rapunzel I’ve read, and unfortunately, I just felt that it did not do the story justice. This is a dark story – an evil witch, or in this case an evil sorceress, steals a baby, and locks her in a tower cut off from the world. When she chances to find happiness anyway, that is snatched away as well… and then only by luck is there a happy ending. For all its darkness though, this story read like a Wikipedia summary. There was no feeling of danger, or fear, and the “terrifying” evil sorceress was about as scary as vanilla ice cream. I don’t think even children in the age group this is aimed at would find her scary if this was read to them… probably only if they saw her picture.

I did find it terrifying in a different, disturbing way, though. The story, being rewritten for such a young audience (ages 4-7), feels like all of the substance of the story was removed. There’s no personality. The evil sorceress is just the ugly lady who stole a baby and locked her away in a tower to punish her parents for petty theft. Rapunzel has no personality at all, is barely even a character in the story, despite being the TITLE character. She has one line, and that’s it. But she’s described as being the most beautiful girl under the sun, so who needs personality when you have your looks? They’re the only thing of value a girl has anyway, right fashion industry?

Not only is that message incredibly disturbing, but after Rapunzel is cast out, and her beloved falls from the tower and is blinded, and then Rapunzel and the prince meet again for their Happy Ever After, we hear no more about the evil sorceress… does she live, die, stay in the tower in Rapunzel’s place as other versions suggest? Is there NO punishment for the stealing and imprisonment of a child? Are children just supposed to think this is OK?

I know that this is a fairytale, but this is also a retelling aimed at young, impressionable children. And this one was very disappointing. The more I think about it, the less I like it.

The only things I DID like about this were 1)the choice to place the story in an African village setting, rather than having yet another beautiful, blonde haired white girl as the main character; and 2) the collage style artwork, which I thought was great.

So two generously given stars for this blase retelling.

Amalahs Destiny? The Trash Can.

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The Destiny of Amalah by Thandi Ryan

I recieved this via an author submission to this blog. I didn’t seek it out nor pay for it nor recieved any form of recompense for reading it. Though, honestly, I feel like I deserve to be paid for having read what little of it I managed to get through.

An epic fantasy novel about the city/nation of Amalah, its Empress, the evil sorceror bent on their destruction and the pantheon of Gods that do… well, god-like things, I suppose.

I don’t really know how the Gods play into it as I didn’t really get that far. A mere quarter of the way through was all I managed before giving up. Before being forced to give it up, really. Icouldn’t go any further in the book. It was so bad it had become almost physically painful to keep reading.

A bit much, you say?
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Review: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

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Confession time! The Princess Bride. Everyone has seen it. Everyone who loved the movie has read it. Right? Right? Not quite. You see…. I may have to turn in my geek card for admitting this, but I’m just going to come clean. I’ve seen approximately half of the movie, and I didn’t even know there was a book. And to be honest.. When I found out there was a book I never planned to read it. I don’t even know why I decided to pick it up now, I just had a random urge to read it, so I went with it. And holy shit.. So glad I did. I absolutely loved this book! It was so damn funny, and so damn good. I just loved it.. I loved every single minute of it.

There were so many good sections.. So many good quotes. Now that I’ve read it, I can’t wait to try the movie again. I have a feeling I’ll like it so much more now that I’ve fallen in love with the story.

Seriously.. If you haven’t read it, and you like good, quick, funny, fantasy.. This is your book. Read it, you won’t regret it. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite lines from the book. No, not “Inconceivable!” And no, not “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.” My favorite line was something a little more simple, that really hit home for me.

“But I also have to say, for the umpty-umpth time, that life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.”

And coming in a close second…

“I love you […] I know this must come as something of a surprise, since all I’ve ever done is scorn you and degrade you and taunt you, but I have loved you for several hours now, and every second, more.”

I LOL-ed a lot at that one.

Seriously.. Good shit right here. An instant favorite.

Review: Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins

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Wow. This book? So depressing. Sooooo depressing.

I bought this book via a rec from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books…but actually from reading Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels. Damn. This book makes me re-think any contemporary rec she/the site gives. Cause I pretty much hated this book. I wish I had bought it in DTB format so I could have thrown it against the wall! And I don’t normally have that reaction.

Let me digress.

This book is well written and a lot of people love it…but it’s not a romance. It’s chick-lit. And the fact that it’s being touted as romance burns me up.

Guess what?? There’s NO romance here. None. Zip. Zilch. Nadda.
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