August 28, 2012

Magic Bites Collector's Edition

It must be mine.

Kate's braid makes me happy. It's so Kate. As does Slayer. And the fact that she just looks so much more like Kate in general than the girl on the original cover of Magic Bites. That little "Includes First Time in Print Bonus Material" teaser doesn't hurt either. Not one bit.

Utah Book Month: Interview with Victoria Dahl

It will likely not surprise you that I can exhibit curmudgeonly tendencies from time to time. This probably explains why I did not sign up for any events during Utah Book Month. However, Jessica of The Bluestocking Society tracked me down and proposed an interview with the lovely Victoria Dahl. And I'm so glad she did, because I had just downloaded my first Dahl book that very day. So clearly it was fate. I read Lead Me On and very much enjoyed it. Victoria brings both a wicked sense of humor and layered characterization to her writing. And it was with pleasure I fired off a few questions. So without further ado, please help me offer up a warm welcome to Victoria Dahl!
Confession: I’m a relatively recent newcomer to the romance genre and I’m fascinated by other readers’ entry points. You started reading romance at the age of 12. What was your gateway book and what made you pick it up in the first place?

Oh, I’m not sure I can remember! I started reading romances because my mom read romance. I was
a voracious reader and they were there. And so naughty! When I was young, Julie Garwood was my
absolute favorite. I read her historicals over and over again.

What made you stick around for more?

I loved history, but I was so frustrated by the kind of history they taught in school. Dates and wars and
names of kings. I wanted to know what the people were like. What kinds of lives they lived. What it
would have been like to be them. Romances were the only books that seemed to want to tell me about
the people. Although I also loved books like the Clan of the Cave Bear series!

Tell us about your road to publication. What made you decide to begin writing the genre you love?

I knew I wanted to be a writer very early on, from age thirteen or fourteen. I loved books and probably
read one a day for many, many years. I went to college specifically to get a business degree so I could
have a day job and a fall back, and then the moment I got a chance, I started writing. I finished my first
book after staying home with my first child, then I joined Romance Writers of America and kept writing.
My first book was awful. My second book was better. And my third book won the Golden Heart award
for Best Long Historical Manuscript. That was my first published novel!

You write both contemporaries and historicals. Do you gravitate toward one or the other more frequently or do you enjoy writing both genres equally?

Coming up with story ideas is much easier for historicals. You can write adventures. Girls masquerading
as boys, arranged marriages, mad fathers, scandalous touches. It’s the best. I can let my imagination run
free. But once I start writing a book, contemporaries go much faster. I know these women. This is my
world. Writing the dialogue is like writing a conversation between me and my friends.

Since this is Utah Book Month, have you always lived in Utah or are you a transplant like me? What’s it like being a working author in Utah?

I’m a transplant! I’ve lived in quite a few places, but before moving here, we lived in Colorado for years,
so we knew what to expect. As for living here as an author, it’s perfect! I live in Park City, so I get to
spend quite a few cozy, snowy days writing under a blanket. And since I set a lot of my contemporary
books in the mountains, Utah offers great inspiration.

Do you have favorite romance authors or novels you find yourself frequently recommending to reluctant or newbie romance readers?

For contemporaries, I recommend Susan Elizabeth Phillips. For YA, you should read Jennifer Echols.
She’s my critique partner and her books are an honor for me to read. Although Connie Brockway isn’t
writing historicals anymore, she has an amazing backlist, and she’s one of my favorites.

I understand music plays a large role in your writing process. How do you go about seeking musical inspiration and do you have any go-to bands or musicians?

I get music recommendations from friends, and I also check out a lot of music that iTunes suggests. As
for writing inspiration, I adore Patty Griffin. She’s a spectacular writer. She can capture a whole life in a
few lines. Amazing. I also love Kathleen Edwards. Basically, I’m a sucker for singer-songwriters, because
the words mean so much to me.

You’re celebrating a brand new release today and the start of a new series as well! Tell us about the book. What do we have to look forward to?

Yay! Close Enough to Touch is the start of a new series set in Jackson, Wyoming. When my editor and
I talked about the series, she presented the idea of a fish out of water story, and Grace immediately
popped into my mind.

Grace Barrett is a tough girl from L.A. She’s got purple hair, a bad attitude, and nothing but a few dollars
to her name. Of course, I had to fix her up with a hometown cowboy. Cole Rawlins is fascinated by
Grace, and he’s not the least bit intimidated by her toughness. In fact, it’s what draws him to her. He
want to know the woman beneath the armor she always wears.

Grace is a complicated heroine. In fact, I’d say my favorite thing to write is women who aren’t
necessarily easy to love. But I love her! I love that she’s just as strong as this big, steady cowboy, if she
can only learn how to stop struggling.

And just for fun, what’s the first word that comes to mind when I say:

Kilt: Scotsmen!
Books: Everything
Twitter: Oops
Music: Love
Romance: Respect
Writing: Effort
Hero: Strength
Sexy: Tension
Love: Hope
Home: Peace

Thanks so much, Victoria! 

Thanks for having me, Angie!

August 24, 2012

Retro Friday Review: The Kestrel by Lloyd Alexander

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted here at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. Everyone is welcome to join in at any time!
A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a Shakespeare Festival in a small town down south. DH and I have gone three times in the last few years, as children and time off work permitted, and each time it's been an utter delight. This year we went with some good friends so it was twice as fun. One afternoon we were in between plays, and I was determined to get back to this little used bookstore we'd visited the last time we made it down. For many years now, I have been involved in a prolonged and illustrious love affair with used bookstores. This one is my latest crush. I walked in the door, wandered over to the YA section, and lo and behold the exact edition of Lloyd Alexander's The Black Cauldron that I have been searching for for what feels like forever--the one missing from my collection--was sitting there on the shelf in gorgeous condition with a price tag of two dollars. Needless to say I snatched it up immediately and the smile it put on my face has lasted. It also put me in mind of another Alexander book I wanted to review. I love all his books (as you know), and the Chronicles of Prydain will always hold a place of honor in my heart as they were the first of his I read and I'm finishing up the last one with my son right now. But the Westmark series is something special. I reviewed book one awhile back (it's actually the only Alexander book I've reviewed on the blog which fills me with shock and dismay), so today you get book two. And you may be getting more in the near future. 

Warning: It's always a bit hard avoiding spoilers when reviewing sequels. So please proceed with caution if you have not yet read Westmark. Instead ask yourself, "Whyever have I not read Westmark?" And then go remedy the situation immediately. 

Theo is lost. Geographically he knows exactly where he is. He's crisscrossing the country, getting to know every nook and cranny of the land he is to rule over with Mickle. Mickle--the girl who was nothing more than a guttersnipe thief. The girl he fell in love with who turned out to be a princess and heir to the throne of the beleaguered kingdom of Westmark. Now he is set to become prince-consort, and Theo is as far from knowing where he is or being sure that's who he should be as is humanly possible. Mickle (or rather the Princess Augusta) is stuck in the capital city, regaining the life she lost as a small girl, while Theo is forced to see his nation and his people for what they really are--toppling over the brink of revolution. Tasked with reporting the findings of his wanderings to the royal family, Theo soon realizes he will be fortunate to survive at all. And before long, he isn't at all sure he wants to as his life is changed irrevocably by a single gunshot. Little does he know, back at the capital Mickle's life has been equally as altered. Determined to find Theo, she sets off on a dangerous adventure of her own. By the time she locates him, however, Theo is changed far beyond recognition. Whether they will be able to return to some sort of common ground is only one of a thousand questions raging along with the war.

First published in 1982, The Kestrel is the best kind of historical fantasy. It is also everything the middle novel in a trilogy should be. And by that I mean it is darker, more ambiguous, painstakingly layered, more political, just altogether more. I remember the first time I read it being so afraid for Theo. He was one thing in the first book, and here he was being violently forced into being another thing. I was so afraid he wouldn't survive. Lloyd Alexander is a master of character evolution and at asking the hard questions. Theo begins to believe he is the Kestrel, that the feared soldier, the learned and later craved violence, is the real him. That the printer's apprentice of his youth is a mere memory, a boy he thought he was. It was one of the first times I came up against a character confronting himself and not being sure which facet of his personality was the genuine one. I have not forgotten the experience and only learned to appreciate it more for its brutal honesty in the years since. Fortunately, Mr. Alexander is brilliant at wry humor and love as well. So you're never left entirely without recourse when the demons come calling. Mickle is pure gold in this book, and she will always be one of my very favorite fictional thieves. Her ability to know who she is and meld the two aspects of her broken life provide inspiration and lifeline to Theo and the reader as the tale wends its way to its excellent close. I always recommend this for those in the mood for some more mature character-driven YA fantasy with an emphasis on the political rather than the fantastical. 

Buy: Amazon B&N

Reading Order

4 & 1

Mine wasn't the only birthday around these parts lately. These two had them in the last little while as well. I don't post a ton of family stuff here, but I do enjoy documenting the odd birthday and Halloween costume. So here they are, ages 4 & 1. 

August 23, 2012

Three-Part (Literary) Harmony

My birthday occurred last week and it was a lovely one, filled with sleeping in, unexpected flowers and jelly beans, Boston-style pizza, and cake made to order. But it started off in the wee hours with the best part. Just after midnight, DH asked me if I wanted to open the first part of my present. "How many parts are there?" I asked curiously. "Three," he replied. After some thought, I agreed and he brought out a promising package, just the right size and shape to fill my heart with anticipation. I quickly unwrapped it and slid it out of its protective clear, plastic slipcase. Beauty. The one I'd been wanting. For ages.

"It's a signed, first edition," he said.

They all were, as it turned out. 
And I opened one later that day. And one the following day. Two Robin McKinleys and a Mary Stewart (Signed! I'd never even seen one of those before.) The boy knows me well, doesn't he?

I also received a stack of shiny, new pretties from my parents (Beauty and The Hero and the Crown already stuck in there with their new shelfmates).
And to top it off, my perspicacious mother-in-law joined the excellently-themed birthday with much-needed new shelves to put the gifts on (I'm particularly fond of that corner one):
So as you can see, it was sort of perfect. As my dad has said for years, "We do birthdays well."

August 20, 2012

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

So how many of you out there follow Patricia Briggs' Alpha and Omega series as well as her Mercy Thompson one? I'm always curious about how many followers the offshoot series get as compared to the flagship ones. This has been on my mind, especially in light of Ilona Andrews' Gunmetal Magic recently making its debut (more to come on that one soon). I was torn at first with the notion of this series, though. First of all, I love the tiny glimpses of Charles we get in Mercy's world. And I was insanely curious about the Marrok's hit man son and how he would fare in his own story. At the same time, no Mercy? No Adam? But potentially more Bran . . . THE EMOTIONS!  I have them. So back when the introductory novella first came out, I picked it up in a Barnes & Noble and stood there reading the first pages. Just to see. You understand. Well, I ended up finishing it right there. Standing in the bookstore. I immediately purchased it and began counting down the days until the release of Cry Wolf, the first full-length novel in the series. I was not disappointed, and I enjoyed the next book well enough, though Mercy still held a place of honor in my heart. So I guess I had somewhat moderate expectations for the third book in the series. I was expecting good. But, you guys, I got amazing

Anna hasn't been happy in some time now. She loves her adopted home in Montana. She loves being part of a pack that's positively civilized in comparison to the one she belonged to in Chicago. And she loves her mate. But Charles hasn't been present for months. He's there next to her. He goes through the motions. And he carries out his father's will with an implacable determination. But despite all this, Charles is missing. And Anna has had enough. As an Omega, she alone has the ability to face the Marrok and not cow to his power. But Bran, in all his wisdom, cannot see another way to mete out the necessary justice across the packs of North America without using Charles as his enforcer. Nevertheless, Anna is determined to destroy whatever is haunting Charles and see their bond restored once more. And then Bran sends them on a mission to Boston. Missions are nothing new to Charles. But this one is different. This time Anna is in charge. She will be the face of the Marrok in dealing with the FBI, the fae, and other federal agencies in regards to a string of murders stretching over decades and involving the deaths of wolves, fae, and humans alike. Charles is to be merely the "backup." Both Anna and Bran hope this reprieve will provide some much needed downtime for the Marrok's dreaded Wolfkiller. That, in time, he will begin to heal.

Truthfully? Fair Game is utterly fantastic, the best urban fantasy I've read this year by a long shot. I was swept away by the story instantly, and I had honestly sort of reached the point where I thought there might not be much more for me with this series. I was so wrong, the kind of wrong that puts a big fat smile on my face for being proved wrong in the best kind of way. I connected with Anna in book one. I've always liked her. But she blew me away here. She's so smart. She's learned so much and grown incredibly savvy when it comes to werewolf politics and dealing with the Marrok. And she puts her considerable skill and wit to work here in such subtle ways that I simply could not contain my admiration for her. And then there's Charles. It's impossible not to love Charles. If you are at all affected by the strong, silent type then you and Charles will get along just fine. This installment sees him at the end of his rope, if you will. His job as the Marrok's enforcer has taken the kind of toll no other wolf could withstand and remain sane, and Charles himself is on the brink of disaster. A favorite passage:
Charles let his hand linger on Anna's back. She wore a sweater and a light jacket, but he pretended he could feel the heat of her through the clothing that covered her.

Brother Wolf wanted her off this island and somewhere far away from killers who hunted werewolves and left no scent behind for them to discover. But Charles knew better. To try to encase his Anna in Bubble Wrap would be to kill the woman who protected him with her grandmother's marble rolling pin. She was the woman he fell in love with.

Then why are you hiding your ghosts from her? Brother Wolf asked.

Because I am afraid, Charles answered his brother, as he would have answered no one else. He had lived a very long time, and only since he gained Anna had he learned to fear. He'd discovered that he had never been brave before--just indifferent. She had taught him that to be brave, you have to fear losing something. I am afraid I will lose her. That they will take her from me--or that I will drive her away when she sees what I really am.

Beauclaire had addressed that. Charles couldn't remember the fae's exact words, but he felt them. People as old and powerful as he should never be given someone to love.

For Anna he would destroy the world.
The emotional play at work in this book is complex and riveting and every character shone. More than any of Briggs' other works, this one is a police procedural at heart. The investigation is relentless and filled with the darkest of killers. In fact, this is the darkest book in the series by far. But it is also the most sophisticated, the most compelling, the most rife with emotional payoff, development, and excitement. I was shocked at the outcome and almost painfully eager to find out just exactly how Ms. Briggs is going to address the fallout in both the next Alpha and Omega book and the next Mercy Thompson book. I love how the two are intertwined, and I will be knocking on my local bookstore's door the day the next one comes out. Well played, Ms. Briggs. Fair Game is going on my Best of 2012 list no question.

Buy: Amazon B&N The Book Depository

Reading Order: 
"Alpha and Omega"
Cry Wolf
Hunting Ground
Fair Game

Dark Faerie Tales - "What a worthy sequel to an equally worthy series."
Dear Author - "I read the bulk of it in one sitting, I've already recommended it to another Briggs fan, and I know I'll end up rereading it while I'm waiting for your next book to come out."
The Ranting Dragon - "I couldn't put it down."
Rhapsody in Books - "I love the relationship between Anna and Charles."
Smexy Books - "I LOVE how Briggs writes her wolves."

August 14, 2012

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas

I won this book awhile back in a giveaway over at The Happily Ever After. It's a slender little hardback novella by Lisa Kleypas, an author I've read all of one book by. To be honest, I wasn't all that enthused by that one, and I haven't been back since. But something about Christine's review of this one made me think it might be time to give Ms. Kleypas another shot. And what better way to do that than with a genre I don't think I've actually ever read before: a Christmas-themed contemporary romance novella? Right? Never say never, though. So it arrived, and I let it sit on my nightstand for a few months (naturally). And (naturally) when it was basically the polar opposite of Christmas, I decided to pick it up and have a go. I was not disappointed.

After his sister dies in a car accident, Mark Nolan finds himself appointed the guardian of his six-year-old niece Holly. Though the Nolan family was never what you'd call tight, he and his brother Sam agree to do their best to raise Holly. After the initial shock wears off, that is. Carting the child back to their home where Mark owns a coffee shop and Sam a fledgling vineyard, the two brothers take up serious unclehood. Enter Maggie Collins. Maggie owns a local toy star and makes the acquaintance of the Nolan threesome when Mark takes Holly there one day to pick out a toy. Maggie and the persistently silent Holly make a connection, and their paths begin to cross over and over again. But attachment to a kid or a man is not anywhere in the cards as far as Maggie is concerned. Having lost her husband to cancer two years ago, she's not remotely interested in risking heartbreak on any level. Not again. But the stars seem to align when it comes to Maggie and the Nolans.

At first I was skeptical. The title, the setup, even the cover gave me the cheesy feelings in abundance. Hence my somewhat subconscious reluctance to pick it up. But the inside didn't make me feel cheesy at all. What it felt was sweet and earnest, which I never object to when it's done well. It was here. The characters were nuanced and strong. The setting was lovely and the writing smooth and incredibly pleasing. My only complaint is that it wasn't longer. I would have quite happily spent more time with Maggie and Mark and Holly and Sam. And I felt like it was a real missed opportunity to open this series with a novella, particularly when Ms. Kleypas had as much excellent meat and potential as she did here. There was just so much more I wanted to more, so much back story and paths left unexplored. But as one of my all-time favorite characters is fond of saying, "Not much meat on her, but what's there is cherce." As it was, I enjoyed every last word of this lovely story, even if in the back of my mind the extended version played with all its haunting possibilities. That said, the re-readability factor actually feels quite high to me. I can easily see myself pulling this slim volume out again at Christmastime and cozying in for a pleasant few hours. In the meantime, I plan on tracking down a copy of the next book in the series (a full-length novel this time)--Rainshadow Road--very shortly. I think this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Buy: Amazon B&N | The Book Depository

Babbling About Books, and More - " . . . a sweet and fast read, but it's missing that spark"
Book Obsessed - " . . . a nice, light-hearted read."
The Brunette Librarian - " . . . not to be missed."
Dear Author - "Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor has enough material for a whole novel packed into its shorter length."
The Happily Ever After - "I can't imagine anyone reading this novel and not enjoying the hours spent in Friday Harbor with these characters"

August 9, 2012

Bibliocrack Review: Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry

It wasn't any one single review of Her Best Worst Mistake that led me to give Sarah Mayberry a try. It was just the general rumblings making their way through my little portion of the blogosphere. Most recently, Kenda dubbed it "The Biggest Sparkle for My Romance Buck" in her mid-year roundup. Collectively, these sparkly rumblings convinced me to purchase the ebook and see if it was my kind of story. On the surface of things, the cover gave me a Julie James vibe (always a good thing). It also happens to perfectly match one of my favorite scenes in the book, a feat that always earns big points with me. And the fact that it's a contemporary romance set in England did my Sarra Manning-loving little heart good. Her Best Worst Mistake is Mayberry's latest release. It is in ebook form only (at this point) and is both a novella and a spin-off of her earlier Blaze novel Hot Island Nights. In Mayberry's words, "Both stories can be read in isolation and still make perfect sense, but I hope that together they form a neat little duo." Love that. As for myself, I still haven't read the earlier book, but I definitely don't feel like you need to in order to love this one.

Violet Sutcliffe is all the colors of the rainbow. She's vocal and vibrant and not interested in changing. The one thing in this world she loves is her best friend Elizabeth. Her opposite in every way, Elizabeth doesn't make a wrong move. She goes about her life deliberately and methodically and she is engaged to marry a man even more rigid than she is. Violet suffers Martin St. Clair for Elizabeth's sake and Elizabeth's sake only. He's everything Violet despises from too staid to too repressed to too stifling of her best friend. Nevertheless, she's determined to support Elizabeth all the way to the altar if that's what will make her happy. Which is why no one is caught more off guard than Violet when Elizabeth up and severs her engagement and runs off to Australia to find herself and her long lost father (not necessarily in that order). At once relieved and utterly befuddled, Violet tells herself she need never see boring old Martin again. But she can't seem to stop herself from feeling sorry for the poor stiff. And so she stops by his office late one night with a pity gift/peace offering. And thus an unlikely and unwelcome spark is ignited.

Her Best Worst Mistake is deliciously readable. I'm admittedly a fan of the socially awkward guy finding his sea legs so to speak when it comes to romance (hello, Ian from All I Ever Wanted), but I'm not often a fan of falling for your best friend's guy (let alone her fiancé). So this story really could have gone either way for me. I went in cautious and quickly found myself both incredibly at home and incredibly fond of Violet and Martin and their untenable situation. Sarah Mayberry impressed me with her clean, vivid writing style as well as her sympathetic characterization skills. Violet is nothing like me. Neither is Martin, for that matter. But I loved the two of them immediately. Their respective back stories are complicated and they play a direct role in their presents, not only providing explanation for why they are the way they are but for why they've been alone for so long and why they, beyond the shadow of a doubt, belong together. And do they ever. This is not a fade to black romance, and yet each encounter contributed to the book's progression as it underscored their rightness as a pair. It can be difficult to hook me on an introductory novella. I thoroughly enjoy a well-written one tossed in in the middle of a series I'm already in love with, but I don't often connect right off the bat with new characters in an abbreviated length. This was so not a problem here. It honestly felt like a full-length novel and I closed it out perfectly satisfied. I've thought of Violet and Martin countless times since and look forward to returning to their tale in the future. I will also be checking out more Sarah Mayberry after this highly successful foray into her work. Recommended for fans of Sarra Manning and Julie James.

Buy: Amazon B&N

Dear Author - " . . . a novel with heart, heat, and healing."
Fictionally Inclined - "Mayberry is an expert at crafting relationships."
A Girl, Books and Other Things - " . . . one of my favorite reads of the year so far."
Romance Around the Corner - "It's one of the best contemporary romances I've read this year."
Smart Bitches Trashy Books - "This book is amazing: confident and clever, funny and touching, and wonderfully done."

August 6, 2012

More Like Her by Liza Palmer

My introduction to Liza Palmer's books came via the excellent Seeing Me Naked, a book that held so much more for me than the title (or cover) seemed to imply. I've reread it and handed it to so many people since then, and I've been looking forward to the release of More Like Her for some time now. I purchased my copy back when it was released and then just . . . held onto it (as I often do) for the right night. And though I went in expecting it this time, Ms. Palmer surprised me with the level of ambition with which she approached this novel. Once again, I think the cover (which I quite like) is quietly deceptive as to its contents, though those red shoes do seem more ominous than they did when I originally picked it up. I kind of love that. The title I find perfectly fitting as well. So.

Frances and her best friend Jill are guidance counselors at the prestigious Markham School--a prep academy in San Francisco. Having recently and unwillingly become single again after yet another ill-fated voyage with one of the male teachers at the school, Frances is thrown for an additional loop by Emma Dunham. Emma is the new headmistress at Markham. Poised, witty, and clearly successful, Emma is everything Frances would like to hate but can't because she's just so nice, so genuine. As time passes, she admires Emma from afar until a bullying situation brings them closer together. On the cusp of becoming real friends, the two women are torn apart by the unthinkable. In the aftermath, Frances and Jill, their new friend and colleague Lisa, and their respective husbands and/or significant others struggle to make sense of the tragedy and their individual roles in it.

Palmer opens with the following epigraph:
One can't build little white picket fences to keep nightmares out. --Anne Sexton
And that pretty much sums up the tone of this novel. The epigraph is followed by a truly harrowing two-page prologue and then by chapter one, entitled "Lipstick and Palpable Fear." So, yeah. I pretty much loved it. Like her characters, Palmer's writing always has more going on under the surface than at first meets the eye. You think you're going into your standard tale of down-on-her-luck girl has romantic woes and makes good with her feisty personality and killer shoes. But beyond the setup you are treated to a thoughtful exploration of what it means to know someone. Really know someone. And how impossible it is to ever know just what's going on behind the superficial. Also, because it's Liza Palmer, you get wonderfully nuanced family relationships and tentative romance. One of my favorite early passages in which Frances describes her best friend Jill:
Amid all of her more shallow inclinations and superficial dress-downs of other women, Jill has always seen me as beautiful. Beautiful in a way I have yet to see myself. Beautiful in a way I don't even think she sees herself as, despite all evidence to the contrary. The night Ryan left I sobbed to Jill that my brown hair was too drab. It's mysterious, she said. I think I should take off a few pounds. You've got great tits, she said in a particularly uncomfortable moment. I have no style. Let's face it, I wailed, it boils down to me wearing a lot of beaded cardigans. You're rocking a hearth-wear-meets-vintage thing! It's effortlessly perfect, she said. I may believe I'm not up to snuff, but Jill? Jill thinks I can date the Great Gatsby.
Win. I love this description of the way our best friends see us. It certainly rang true for me. And that certainty of theirs that you can date the Great Gastby is what sees you through so many of the curve balls life throws you. This is a tough book to read. The tragedy is truly horrific. And timely, unfortunately. But Ms. Palmer tempers it with emotionally resonant scenes and moments of levity that left me turning the pages eagerly. I like how she hits you with the big scene fairly early on, but doesn't ever blow her wad too soon. She takes all her pages to get the job done and I was happy with where she left things. More Like Her is a warm and exploratory novel, filled with big questions and true friends. Recommended.

Buy: Amazon B&N The Book Depository

A Bookish Way of Life - " . . . will definitely leave you wondering about the people you know and how well you really do know them."
A Soul Unsung - " . . . the perfect blend of chick-lit with harsh reality"
Peeking Between the Pages - " . . . a book that I had trouble putting down and finished in a day."

August 1, 2012

YAckety YAck

Remember awhile back when I posted the rants and raves proceedings of my Super Secret Book Group's take on The Fault in Our Stars? Well, we've got shiny new digs now, and our latest YAck is up. This month we digested Laini Taylor's lauded Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and the results were interesting to say the least. I held off on reviewing this one back when I originally read it because my emotions . . . they were complex. The YAckers read was the perfect opportunity to process them. So if you're looking for a diversion, drop on by and find out why the angelfatuation rubbed me seven kinds of wrong, who ate it up with a spoon, who was conflicted, and whether or not I was "the lone downer" as Donna put it.