Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw

Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land. Magical winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts who has only visited the islands once before. Yet during that one fateful visit the glass transformation began to take hold, and now she has returned in search of a cure.

"The Girl with Glass Feet "is a love story to treasure, “crafted with elegance and swept by passionate magic and the yearning for connection.
A rare pleasure” (Katherine Dunn, author of "Geek Love").

My thoughts: Meh. Ali Shaw gives us a romantic/fantastic novel, but there are a few (many) things that I thought were so unnecessary. For an instance, small bull-winged moths?!?! WHAT?!?! I mean, WHAT!?!?!?!

                The only thing that kept me going was the couple. Ida and Midas were really sweet, both trying to solve their shit. Their romance was so pure and simple, they gave each other support despite all things. Because of her, Midas found the strength he needed to get free from his Father’s shadow, and from him, Ida learned that maybe the more important things weren’t to base-jump or to dive in a lake, but to be together with the ones you loved, especially when you needed them most.

                Despite the fact that the Author is really gifted with describing scenarios – really, it was so detailed that astonished me – the book was a drag. I really considered not finishing at all – just to give you guys an idea.

                Also, all those chapters about their relatives and people around them – from an distant Henry Fuwa and his relation with Midas’s mother to Ida’s uncle feelings regarding her mom – for me were unnecessary. Ok, maybe one or two had a meaning because without them, a few things would be left behind without explanation, but not all of them.

                The book left a few unsolved things. For an instance, how did Ida got these “disease”? It couldn’t be like a cold, so how? And how to make it stop? Is there a cure at all? And what about those winged things? What’s the meaning? For me: NONE. The base of the whole story for me was to find a cure for her, but if you don’t know what in God’s name is it and how did you get it, how can you find a cure?

                I don’t know… this book didn’t catch me at all, and I’m kind of glad that it ended.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Milkrun by Sarah Mlynowski

Synopsis: "Milkrun" -- a novel about drinks, dates and other distractions -- is the fun and compelling story of hyperactive 25-year-old Jackie Norris. Her luck with dating is analogous to riding the bus: intending to take the express, but finding herself on the painfully long local. In "Milkrun," we see Jackie doing the Singles Scene: going to bars, meeting men and making up her own -- hilarious! -- dating rules. Join Jackie on her mission as she deals with life's many problems...and discovers what she really wants.

My thoughts: I laughed my heart out on this one, I gotta tell you guys! Very, very funny! Every page was a different laughter. Jackie Norris is one of the most neurotic characters I’ve ever seen! If a man touched her arm by accident – there he wants to marry her and have kids and live in a beautiful country house with a dog. If another one offered her a drink – there he was going to say that he fell in love with her at first sight and was not going to lose her. I mean, come on! You’re not the hottest girl on the neighborhood, and even if you were, you don’t’ have to be so neurotic about every man! LOL That was a thing that kept me thinking for a while: she was so desperate to find a guy to be with her that she wasn’t trying to improve herself, or to love herself first. It seemed to me, after I finished the reading, that only by finding a boyfriend you’ll find true happiness, reminding me of those 50’s vision that only with a husband and kids you can call yourself a happy woman. I think that:

1)      You got to love yourself

2)      By loving yourself and being happy with it, whatever comes next – man, boyfriend, husband, kids, dog and house – is just the profit.

3)      If you love yourself first, your man will respect you enough. You don’t need his approval for anything!

                This book has a quick and different rhythm, always bringing different reactions. I can’t tell how many times I screamed and squeaked while reading it – my brother saw me and was worried with my sanity, so you can get the picture here.

                Jeremy was a douche. My Goddess, how could she get such a guy as her boyfriend? What kind of man makes a girl give up on her master’s degree?! Or makes her move to Boston with him only to tell her “well, you see, I’m going to Thailand by myself, because, you see, I’m kind of lost and need to find myself…” WHAT?! I mean WHAT?!?! Did the doctor hit your head on the wall when you were born and your insides got jumbled?!

                From all her friends, the one that I thought was different from everybody else was Wendy. She is focused on her stuff and she took a lot of pressure before breaking down.  I’ll sound self-centered now, but I think liked her the most because she reminds me. :P

                One of the guys Jackie dates was a pain in the ass, gotta tell ya. At the beginning he was cute with his e-cards he sent to her at her work, but after a while… SWEET JESUS HOW THAT WAS ANNOYING! >:(

                I didn’t like the ending. I was expecting so much from it, and then got… that. I wanted to know with whom she was going to hook up with, and it didn’t tell! But it was kind of predicted, at least for me. I already had my bets on whom she was going to get together with – and I’m not going to tell who! You’ll have to read and see for yourselves. So the ending was expected and unpleasant. I had actually thought that it might had a sequel, but to my despair there isn’t: what you see it’s what you get. And I was expecting more at the end. No more complaints regarding the insides because I had a good deal of laughs, I really only disliked the end.


and a half

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Venetia by Georgette Heyer

At five-and-twenty, Venetia Lanyon despairs of ever meeting the handsome hero of her romantic dreams. Then her long-absent neighbor, Lord Damerel, returns home to Yorkshire. An infamous rake, he is the most scandalous man in all of England and he has set his amorous sights on the lovely Venetia.

Determined to woo and win the fair Venetia, Lord Damerel pursues her with a passionate abandon that is soon the talk of the town. But Venetia has no intention of losing her heart to the rakish lord until she is sure that beneath his swashbuckling ways and shocking manners lies a tender heart belonging to her.

My thoughts: L-O-V-E I-T! Just lovely! Damerel is a veery charming and seductive scoundrel, I must give him that! Georgette Heyer is the Mother of Historical Romance as we know it today, for without her and the authors before her, there wouldn't be basis for Julia Quinn, Mary Balough, Madeline Hunter and so on, in my humble opinion.

Julia Quinn and Georgette Heyer are compared to Jane Austen, but I saw many differences between them. For an instance, Heyer and Quinn don’t focus on the social matters and daily issues that were important to Austen. On the other hand, Quinn gets the sexual a little bit more intense than Heyer and OBVIOUSLY – since that during 1814 and everything after that, a female author writing was scandalous enough, imagine writing about sexual scenes! – Austen, but the romance is there all right. Another difference that I've noticed - although it's more of a statement - Jane Austen always had a head start because she lived in the period that Quinn or Heyer had to do their homework and research about it.

Heyer was a delight to read. It’s been a while since I last cheered for a historical novel. As I said in late posts, there’s been a pattern in these new books, so I’ve been finding difficulties to enjoy my reading. But this time was different. Heyer was from the 20’s so the innocence was still kept while reading it, but it wasn’t so bucolic as in the novels from the nineteenth century.

Venetia is a strong headed girl that likes her independence. Living in the same neighborhood for 25 years and never leaving because of her recluse father, her only friends were her younger brother Aubrey, a sharp-tongued 17-years-old boy with a hip disability but a big brain; Lady Denny, a long family friend and protector of Venetia; Edward Yardley, just a presumptuous asshole that thought that owned Venetia; Oswald Denny, nobody; the servants and no one else. But the arrival of Lord Damerel shook things up, for he is known for having eloped with a married woman. Their first meeting was… how can I say it… interesting. But I won’t say why. ;P

Anyway, as the story goes on, you realize that the romance isn’t the focus. Yeah, I know, I wasn’t expecting it myself. Damerel don’t try to seduce her, don’t try to get her to his bed, don’t try to “ruin” her virtue, nothing! They become friends, her brother becomes friends with him too, and soon they are all in such good terms, that you forget that Lord Damerel was in the past such a “bad person”.

After all this you think “ok, they are friends now then they fall in love for each other and then they get together, right?” WRONG! Damerel dismisses her! And so she goes to her aunt’s house in London, to escape from seeing him and the new Lady Lanyon that arrives in Yorkshire, with her mother claiming that she is married and pregnant with Venetia’s older brother’s child.

What I liked most were the plot, obviously, and the couple. Damerel may be a rakish, but he has good judgment to know that a relation, especially a romantic one – their friendship was already seen with bad eyes – would be Venetia’s doom. But she couldn’t care less! She has her mind made, she loves her independence, and she loves him! Look at the F**** she gives for the talk of the town.

I really liked this. I want the rest. That’s all I’ll say in the end.


Friday, July 4, 2014

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Synopsis: "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" ad attracts dozens for mind-bending tests readers may try. Only two boys and two girls succeed for a secret mission, undercover and underground into hidden tunnels. At the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, the only rule is - there are no rules.

My thoughts: this book talks about the adventures of four children, who must defeat Mr. Curtain (the villain) before he wins everybody minds. The kids are: Reynie Muldoon, an orphan boy with a golden heart and leadership; George “Sticky” Washington, a runaway kid with the ability to stick – that’s why his name – everything that he reads into his bald head; Kate Wetherall and her bucket, an orphan girl whose mother died and father disappeared, making her runaway with the circus, where she learned as many abilities as you can imagine; and last, but not least, little Miss Constance Contraire, the most gifted of all – and the most annoying. Together they are the Mysterious Benedict Society, the most gifted kids and only hope for the world.

                At first, I thought that I would be able to draw a rank with my favorite and hated character among the children, but now I find it impossible to do so. Simply because they are adorable and unique, making each one, in its own way, important for the success of their mission.

According to booklist, this book is compared to Harry Potter’s saga, and although I agree in most of it – the common villain that together they must defeat, the danger to everyone if they fail etcetera – their genre doesn’t match (in my humble opinion): The MBS has the small kids between 6 to 13 or 14 years old as their target, while The HP focus on everybody in a general matter, but mainly juvenile people.

The book altogether was very entertaining and fun, I had my share of laughter, surprise and caring for each chapter and each character – except for Mr. Curtain, obviously. Despite all efforts, I couldn’t find a book category for it, since it has adventure, mystery, a fiction, action, comedy, differently from the other novels that I’ve read over the years – mostly of them fits in the romance and historical romance category. So I can say, with a certain amount of security, that it pleases all tastes.

Even though it’s a childlike book, the focus, for me, wasn’t only in the games and enigmas that the book gives you to solve together with the heroes, but the messages within the book itself: you’re never alone if you have friends; everyone is especial and important for something or someone, no matter what they are like or what they do; there is no 100% right side in politics or in everything in life, for that matter; family isn’t only the one with blood-relations. That’s why I had such a hard time finding a place to put them in :P
Here is the website from the book, with games and everything:
Welcome to The Mysterious Benedict Society!