Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mayfly Requiem

Lani, a child of time, is the narrator of Courtney M Privett's Mayfly Requiem. It is his apology, his requiem. And in his two thousand plus years on earth, he hurt his sister, Dia. But how? And why? And is his apology enough? 

It took a bit of time to get into the novel, to understand the character, setting, and style. Once I did, I liked the novel, the story, the characters. At times it was very gripping. At other times . . . not so much. It's a harder piece to read. It's not an easy book; you can't dive right in an read it in a sitting or two. Not to discourage you, it's worth the time to read. It's kind of fantasy, but almost mystic, too, I guess, but it's also a whole other world than this one. At first it seems post-apocalyptic or dystopian, maybe it is. I am having a hard time putting this novel into a genre, finding the perfect niche. But that's part of what's so neat about this book, is it's not quite like any other that I have read. But I wanted to know the ending, I wanted to know why Lani had to apologize, what he did. It kept me reading. I don't know if this "review" has done this novel justice, but I sure do think it's worth the read, so give it a shot! 

*I won this novel from Goodreads FirstReads. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I was inspired to read Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes from Steinbeck's Ghost because the Steinbeck-loving character also loved this novel by Bradbury. It's about two 13-year-old boys, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway, and their strange experience with a rather creepy carnival in October. It's a mix of fantasy and horror as well as an allegory of the struggle between good and evil. 

It was a little dense and required more putting together than I expected out of a young adult novel, so it's certainly for a more advanced young adult reader. It was written in '62, though, so I guess that makes sense for the differences in language. But really, I didn't love it. It's just not a very clear story, or really my type of novel. I recommend it for those who can handle the density of the novel as well as enjoy the dark poetry of Bradbury and, perhaps, Tim Burton? It does remind me of Burton in general . . . But I digress. If you like creepy horror-esque stories, give it a go. If you find your style is generally more in line with me, give it a pass. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Snow in Summer

I'm not gonna lie, I picked up Snow in Summer because it was on the new releases shelf and it's by Jane Yolen.  And it was exactly as I expected: a fairy tale base placed into a new time period.  Yolen places Snow in Depression Era America. The magic of the fairy tale is present, but not overwhelmingly unrealistic, just right where you want it. 

Snow in Summer is an enjoyable young adult novel and suitable for any young adult reader. It wasn't super by any means, but a cute little read. It's a little odd, though, that this Snow is familiar with the story of Snow White and doesn't ever put the two together; I just wanted her to be a little smarter. I expected a little more from Yolen, but I still recommend this book. It's a fun, quick read.  

PS There's a bear named Ursa! :)

Before Versailles: Before the History You Know . . . A Novel of Louis XIV

Before Versailles  by Karleen Koen introduces us to a younger Louis XIV than we are used to.  This is Louis before he became the great sun god that we know him as today. This is a newly wed Louis trying to establish himself as a king, trying to decide what kind of king he wants to be and who he can trust. 

The story is not only told around Louis, but many characters at court tell their story and their interaction with the king.  Sometimes there are almost too many characters, but one can only fault history. 

Equally the main character as Louis is Louise, a lady-in-waiting to the king's sister-in-law, Henriette. Louise is new to court, and she, too, must decide who she wants to be and who she can trust. 

I began  Before Versailles with some trepidation; I wasn't sure how dense the reading would be.  Once I got used to Koen's style, I really enjoyed the novel. I learned a lot about XIV that I never knew before and now I want to read more about him.  I recommend this to any historical fiction junkie like myself, or anyone wanting to learn more about France and Louis XIV's early days. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Things I Do For You

The Things I Do For You by Mary Carter is about a married couple, Bailey and Brad, who live in New York. Baby-hungry Bailey is new to the world of real estate, but before she can get her big sale, she's called to the hospital. Brad has been in an accident with his great-aunt, who shouldn't have been driving.

Brad has a near-death experience, and sees himself in "the light." Previously agnostic, he is quite a different person. Bailey is a little annoyed by his undying optimism, but she still loves Brad. Nothing can change that, even an entire personality change. At first Bailey thinks it's survivors guilt, but it seems to be more than that. All Brad wants to do is talk about his experience and joins on online group for folks with experiences like his.

Brad finds out that his great-aunt has left her secret wealth entirely to him, which he then uses to buy a broken-down lighthouse upstate to turn into a bed and breakfast. Needless to say, Bailey is less than pleased, but goes along with his idea. The B&B, along with the continual presence of Brad's near-death experience, his support group, and secrets Brad has been keeping from Bailey, put their marriage vows to the test. Will Brad and Bailey make it? 

At first, I didn't really like Bailey. It bugged me how much she let Brad walk all over her. But then her faults started to show too, and while Bailey and I will never be friends, I became engrossed in the story. I wanted to know all the secrets. I wanted to know if Brad and Bailey made it. 

However, I felt like there were too many story lines going on. There's the baby-hungry Bailey with hesitant Brad line. There's the Bed and Breakfast, with guests, with possible ghosts, both the aunt and the old lighthouse ghosts. There's the near-death experience
rearing it's ugly head, along with the support group. This could have easily been been taken apart and written into two or three novels instead of one. It wasn't confusing, just a little overwhelming and scattered. It left some things unclear instead of delving in deeper. 

In the end, I liked The Things I Do For You, [though I could have done without the epilogue. Unnecessary  and he sounded much younger than 20] and recommend it as a chick-lit romance. Once you get into it, it would make a great beach or vacation read. Be forewarned, however, there's a little bit of sexy-time talk and some curse words. Read on, my friends!

*I won this novel from Goodreads FirstReads. All opinions expressed are my own.