Wednesday, January 26, 2005

REVIEW: Round-Heeled Woman by Jane Juska

My Rating: 5 out of 10 stars

I read this as part of a bookring started by SandDanz, it not being the type of book I'd usually pick up of my own accord. However, with SandDanz's recommendation, I decided to give it a whirl. Let me also preface this review by stating that my rating and review stems from my own personal preferences as opposed to how I believe it will be received by others.

The plot was fairly decent. I appreciated what Jane, the author, who's also the main character, was doing by coming out, placing her ad, and trying to get what she wants out of life, despite society's frowning on such behaviour. I applaud her courage and strength of self for such actions. However, much of the book also tells the story of her life leading up to her current age of 67, and I found it more difficult to empathize with this part of her life. Sure, it gave me a bit more appreciation for the kind of sexually repressed environment she was raised in, and the fact that she was able to overcome all that later in life. But times of sexual repression have always been a major sore spot for me. People who are afraid to talk about sex, express their sexuality, or even look at or touch their own bodies... well stuff like that just raises my hackles. I'd have never been able to live before the time of the sexual revolution, for I'd most certainly have been put down for sure, or hung up as the case may be. ;) Perhaps in a past life, I was a victim of some sort of sexual repression, and thus the need to be such a free-spirited, sexually-liberated woman now. The point I'm making is that because of all this, certain parts of her story made me angry, when it was clear at the time that that wasn't the author's intention, and because of all this, I felt more emotionally distanced from the main character during all these parts of the story. (I wonder if this will make sense to anyone reading this besides myself.)

In any case, I also disliked all the timeline jumping around she did, sometimes even within a single paragraph, and more often than not, multiple times in a single chapter. Often times, while reading of a particular event, I kept forgetting whether it was taking place while she was much younger, or closer to the present day, or even somewhere in between. A journal format, similar to the way Bridget Jones's Diary was written, would've probably worked better for this book, making the constant shifts between timelines easier to focus on.

Okay, now that I got the stuff I didn't like out of the way first, let me tell you what I did. I definitely appreciated the tales of Jane's more current adventures, after she placed the ad, and began to let go of all her hangups, misconceptions, and paranoia. I empathized more with this later-in-life Jane, and though she still had a hard time with certain things, she was starting to slough away all the bullshit that had been burned into her (brainwashed) all her life. I was happy that in the end, she finally seemed to let go of the last of her inhibitions and *gasp* even had sex with the light on! That last hurdle finally being overcome. Shouts of "Bravo!" and "You Go Girl!" immediately come to mind. :)

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Monday, January 24, 2005

REVIEW: Killing Moon by Rebecca York

Killing Moon
My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

This was a great book! There was plenty of mystery going on to keep you wondering right up until the very end of the book, and multiple plotlines to hold your interest. Of course, the fact that one of the main characters was a werewolf weighs heavily in its favor in my book anyway since I love books with vampires, werewolves, necromancers, and other supernatural creatures.

Now I'm really looking forward to reading the other 2 books in this trilogy, Edge of the Moon and Witching Moon. Too bad Darkangll doesn't have them listed on her shelf. I'll have to scout them down elsewhere. Of course, I'm willing to share with any of the other participants of this ray who liked this book as much as me. :)

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

REVIEW: Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore

Coyote Blue
My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Another great book by Moore! Thanks to yllus for allowing me to borrow this. :)

This book has a lot of elements that really resonated with me as a Pagan: Coyote, the trickster, imperfect Gods, and the Egyptian pantheon later in the book. I also totally related to Calliope and her attitude and outlook on life. I'm somewhat of a hippy myself and most of her ways of looking at things, that seemed so strange to Sam, seemed natural to me. Yeah, she's very much at an extreme in some regards, i.e. calling the ants in the kitchen sink her kitchen pals and refusing to allow Sam to kill them, but I am like that with spiders. I draw the line at ants and any other kind of crawling bug anywhere in the kitchen or where food is prepared or eaten though. But I digress... ;)

Overall, I found this a great book, right up there with all the other Chris Moore books I've read. I've got Lamb here too, but since a number of bookring books just arrived too, I'll be tending to those before I start on Lamb.

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Friday, January 14, 2005

REVIEW: Sex and the Single Vampire by Katie MacAlister

My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

I must agree with LiZzYbEtH199 who told me this book was better A Girl's Guide to Vampires, the first book in this series. Though A Girl's Guide was okay, Sex and the Single Vampire was great. After reading A Girl's Guide, I could've went either way as to whether I wanted to read this author again, but now, after reading Sex and the Single Vampire, I'm looking forward to the next tale in this series. (I hope there is one though I really don't know for sure.)

In this book, in addition to vampires, we also encounter ghosts, demons, Summoners, triumvirates, and other workers of magick. Joy and Roxy are no longer the main characters in this book, though they still play a bit more than a minor role. So though their annoying bickering and cutting each other down continued in this book, it was certainly more bearable. The main characters are Allie, a Summoner (of ghosts) and Christian, a Morovian Dark One, very similar to a vampire, who was also in the first book. There was a lot more going on in the book besides a simple love story. And though this book is indeed considered a paranormal romance, the danger and intrigue inherent in the rest of the story made me forget I was even reading a romance most of the time.

I had sent a copy of A Girl's Guide to explorer1118m whose opinion of that book was very similar to mine. I think we both rated it around a 6 or 7. So I'm going to send this on to her next to see if she agrees with my consensus and likes this one bunches better like I did. :) (SandDanz wants to read this one too, though she hasn't gotten to the first one yet.)

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Monday, January 10, 2005

REVIEW: A Girl's Guide to Vampires by Katie MacAlister

My Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

This book was kind of funny. Granted the main character pissed me off at times because I thought she was too stupid, and the way her and her best friend kept bickering... sheesh, but overall the story had enough going for it to hold my interest. Though it would be considered a paranormal romance, there was enough else going on to keep it from getting too boring, probably because you're kept wondering throughout most of the book which characters, if any, really are vampires or not. But then once you know for sure, the rest of the action picks up pace and a slight amount of danger is introduced.

I think LizzyBeth mentioned to me that the sequel to this, Sex and the Single Vampire, was better than this one so I'm starting on that now.

I've got a couple people who want to read this next so I'll hold it in Reserve until I decide exactly what I'm going to do with it. Who knows, it might be a good candidate for a bookray too.

UPDATE 07-Mar-2005: I liked the sequel Sex and the Single Vampire better than this one.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

REVIEW: Bad Moon Rising by Katherine Sutcliffe

My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

This was a pretty good book. I had looked forward to reading it after reading Sutcliffe's "Hot August Moon" from the Lover Beware anthology.

Like previous reviewers, I had the killer figured out about half way through. Ummm... well up till about 3/4 of the way, I had another suspect in mind as well, but still the real one was the one who I'd suspected. Still, it was suspenseful, with just the right amount of romance blended in too.

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Monday, January 03, 2005

REVIEW: Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

My Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Well, I didn't have this finished by the 10th, so I didn't get to pass it on to one of the persons I was initially considering. However, I was reading it this weekend when I had a friend from NY here visiting and she mentioned she wanted to read it so I plan to pass it along to her next.

In any case, I really enjoyed this book. Having seen the movie first, which is one of my favorites by the way, I found a number of differences, mostly just things that made the action happen faster, but some scenes were added even to the movie, such as the fight between Daniel and Mark. Unlike the movie, Bridget wasn't under the impression that Mark stole Daniel's fiance as happened in the movie. I was trying to figure out why this difference, but I guess it made a strong case for the dislike between the two guys very obvious. So even though the movie wasn't true to the book on a few issues, and there were some scenes in the movie that never occurred in the book, I still like them both equally. Besides, seeing the movie first, and picturing Hugh Grant (YUMMY!) in my mind whenever there was talk of Daniel, well I kinda liked that.

As I was reading, I found myself continually pointing out all the things Bridget was doing wrong with regards to dieting, time management, and so on... all the things she kept saying she was going to work on. For instance, she'd often count calories without any consideration for the food content itself. She's very disorganized and though the author claims that the reader will often think they see themselves in Bridget, I didn't find this to be the case at all with me. Instead, I found myself thinking of her as an unenlightened soul, whom as a friend, I wanted desperately to help to set her on the right path by pointing out to her all the little things she's doing wrong. Hehe.

This book was a very quick read. I got it read pretty much over a long weekend, even though we had friends from out of town staying at our house. It was just that easy to read in bed and not want to put down. :) I'm looking forward to the 2nd book in this series, which is coming to me in a bookring. However, I may decide to see the movie first for that one too.

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