Monday, February 28, 2011
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction, mystery/suspense, fantasy, steampunk
Paperback, 384 pages
Book Source: the library
My Rating: 94/100
Book 1 of the Parasol Protectorate
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
Alexia Tarabotti is my kind of girl. She is witty, a bit sassy, doesn't take herself too seriously, and enjoys the relative freedom she has from being declared a spinster. Her family has given up on her ever marrying and she is pleased as punch. Alexia thinks for herself and educates herself on otherworldly matters, often butting her nose in where it does it belong.
This book is set in steam punk Victorian London, where werewolves, vampires, and ghosts are equal members of the realm. The supernatural beings have specific rules they must follow, and the steam punk is not in your face. It is mentioned and described as casually as one might describe a stroll through the park. The steam punk fits in well with Victorian London, because so many inventive and supernatural things were going on at the time. It is indeed a logical choice, and one that enhances the story.
Speaking of which, there is a mystery that Alexia assists in solving and the wrap up of that was surprising. The villains are another great logical choice and totally plausible in the story. I must admit though, I was so interested in reading the book and becoming familiar with the characters, that I sometimes forgot there was a mystery. I can only imagine what book two in the series brings.
With respect to those darling characters, they were all so easy to conjure in my mind and the dialogue only seemed to enhance them. It helped to pull the characters together for me. I was going to say who my favorite character was, but now that I think about it, I liked them all. Lord Akeldama is a riot and dear old vampire. From his dandy dressing ,to being the know it all, above it all, whenever he was in the story I chuckled, but also had to read between the lines. Akeldama is someone you want on your side.
Lord Maccon and his assistant were well matched with respect to their characters and their werewolf attributes. Lord Maccon being the alpha male, and a bit sloppy and snarly, with his beta male Lyall, being neat and well put together. Opposites who work well together. This story has all of these supernaturals running around and yet, Lord Maccon and Alexia must also remember society's rules. Propriety and all of that. Makes it fun and gives everything a light air.
All in all this was a fun read and I totally enjoyed it. Again this was another book that made me long for a cup of tea, and yes treacle tart. I just may try to make that some day. I look forward to Book 2 and reading some of the fascinating things on Carriger's blog. Do check it out. I think she just might be Alexia in the flesh.
2011 Challenges Met: Mystery & Suspense, HF
Sunday, February 27, 2011
|Hosted by Svea from Confessions & Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog|
Hello dear readers! How are you? I hope this finds all of you well. Today the sun is out and about and is just glorious. Therefore I am going to keep this short and sweet.
My Dad is doing flipping fantastic with his new kidney. He is no longer anemic, his function tests are great, and all is well. He has a lot more energy than before, and he is starting to sound like a new man. He also wrote a thank you note for the donor family expressing his sincerest gratitude. The transplant coordinator said the family may or may not want to read it, and may even want to meet my Dad some day. The meeting part he is not so sure of, but he will think about it. So all is good and thank you very much for your prayers, thoughts, and support. He also send his thanks as well.
In other news, the teaching thing is best left for another conversation. The students are good, it's another aspect that is driving me crazy. I'll relate that story once class is over. I have also been asked to revamp a coding program, which means rewriting the curriculum. Now that is pretty cool and I am excited about that. That's due in another month from now, so busy, busy Jenny.
On the reading front, there hasn't been too much going on. I haven't been reading as much as I would like due to other commitments. I have a review and interview with Robert Parry, author of the Arrow Chest. Those post on March 1st and 2nd. After that it's Jenny's Choice! No commitments until April! Woo-hoo! So, I started already with Hawaii by James Michener. Why that? Well it's something I always wanted to read, it's a chunkster for my chunkster challenge, and I am going back there on vacation this year. So far so good. I was a little worried that I wouldn't like it, but the man is a Pulitzer Prize winner for a reason.
Well I think that's enough from me for now. Enjoy your Sunday, and have a wonderful week everyone!
What books will you be reading this week? Anything interesting coming up?
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Paperback, 400 pages
Book Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating: 90/100
From the Tour homepage:
The eldest of seven children, born low-caste and female in rural India, Mamta is abused and rejected by a father who can see no reason to “water someone else’s garden” until a husband is found for her. Seeking escape in matrimony, Mamta begins her wedded life with hope—but is soon forced to flee her village and the horrors of her arranged marriage to the bustle of a small city. Saved from becoming one of the nameless and faceless millions of rejected humanity by the salvation of sublime love, Mamta struggles to find a precarious state of acceptance and make peace with her past.
Powerfully affecting and uplifting, set against a vivid and colorful background of Eastern life, Dipika Rai’s Someone Else’s Garden transcends geographical divides and cultural chasms to brilliantly expose the commonality of the human condition, compelling us to seek answers within ourselves to humanity’s eternal questions: Is life random? Do we have a destiny?
This book is so much more than Mamta's story. In the telling of Mamta's story, Rai also relates stories about people I assume are commonly found in India, those who are the poorest of the poor, and those who have a little money and use it to support villages through loans and indentured servitude. Sounds brutal doesn't it? It is, and these themes make this book a difficult read. Which is why I haven't finished it yet. I will finish this book but it is going to take me much longer than I thought. I can only read this difficult story tiny pieces at a time. The emotions of sadness and helplessness I experience while reading this story are so strong...I wish I could help all of these characters. Very few books make me feel this way, and I believe I have to see this story to the end. I have to know what happens to Mamta, and the rest of the people in the story.
I have gotten up to page 127, and here are my thoughts so far about Someone Else's Garden:
- Women are treated very harshly in this story, especially poor women. Women are basically nothing but trouble and good only for cooking, cleaning, and birthing sins. I don't judge though. This is the culture the reader is in. It is not right, but the women are strong enough to find a way to survive. How would one change an entire country's culture anyway? Food for thought.
- The men in the small village of Gopalpur are just as abused and shell shocked by the life they live, as their women are. There is nothing but indentured servitude, poor farming, and bandits to contend with. How could a man make something of himself in this environment? No wonder why they take their misery out on their wives. Not saying it's right, but it is what is.
- The majority of the poeple in this story can not read or write. I should be shocked but I am not. That is troublesome to me.
- Singh Sahib, the zaminder, the richest man, in the village is just as unhappy as the villagers indebted to him are. All that money and no happiness.
- In all of this despair there are still those who have a positive outlook, like Lokend and Prem. They take life as it comes, do what they must for family, and survive as best they can. You can always make the best of your situation instead of wallowing in sadness and fear.
It should probably go without saying that Rai's writing is superb, becuase how else could a writer evoke such strong empotions from me? I feel as though I am a fly on the wall of the mud hut that Mamta lives in. I can feel the helplessness, sadness, and acceptance of these characters, and I am disturbed by it all. My only recourse is to finish this story, no matter how long it takes. This is a definite freezer book! (Thanks Trish)
For more information about the author, please visit her website: http://dipikarai.com/
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for my review copy.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Paperback, 416 pages
My Rating: None. Did not finish ( Got to page 67)
From Sourcebooks Store:
Fame has its perks…
Reluctantly famous, First Officer Cole Langston finds being in the spotlight has its advantages—until he meets Olivia. Having women throw themselves at him everywhere he goes becomes a serious problem when he's trying to convince her she's the one…
And its price…
Three Reasons Review:
1.) Reasons you chose this book
I was sent this book accidentally for review, but I figured it's a romance, it's February, why not?
2.) Reasons you liked or disliked this book
Olivia and Cole, our hero, meet during a chance encounter, in which Cole literally defends Olivia's honor, in quite the hero way. They meet for coffee, go out for dinner, start to learn about each other, and that's where this story went off the rails for me. Cole is 36, and Olivia is 27, but unfortunately Olivia is a super young 27. Like I thought the girl was 20 years old or something. Her behavior, her mannerisms, just Olivia in general seemed very juvenile. I figured I would just go with it. I liked Cole, and I wanted to see how this story progressed.
Sorry but true.
3.) Reasons you are recommending this book
I am can't recommend this book, but to give you other perspectives of this book, please read any of the following reviews:
Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
The Good, The Bad, The Unread
All About Romance
Love Romance Passion
Thanks to Danielle from Sourcebooks for my ARC.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
In reading news, I am currently reading 3 books. Maisie Dobbs which is a mystery but something I can leave and come back to with no worries. Someone Else's Garden which is good, but sad and depressing, so I can only read it in spurts. It is due for review on the 24th, so I am going to try and finish as much as I can. No promises though.
Otherwise, not much going on and I think that's good for now.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
My Rating: 96/100
"If you leave Opi, you'll die with strangers," Irma Vitale's mother always warned. Even after her beloved mother's passing, 20-year-old Irma longs to stay in her Abruzzo mountain village, plying her needle. But too poor and plain to marry and subject to growing danger in her own home, she risks rough passage to America and workhouse servitude to achieve her dream of making dresses for gentlewomen.
Irma is an innocent, young, naive woman who embarks on a journey to America from her sleepy little Italian town of Opi in the 1880's, the time when waves of immigrants were coming to America. A dangerous journey to be sure, but Irma is blessed and lucky enough to meet kind and caring strangers along the way. Irma does not know the ways of the world and how cruel and mean people can be. Irma only sees the the good in people. It is this innocence that makes her so endearing. You want her to succeed.
Irma lost her mother at a young age and the women who befriend her at each stop in her journey are a substitute for her mother. They offer her advice or a shoulder to cry on; just what Irma needs to get by. Each of these women represent the good that can be found in the world in not so great circumstances. They may be strangers when they meet, but they touch one another in ways that make them closer.
For more information about this book, you can also visit the master tour page at TLC Book Tours.
Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours for my review copy.
2011 Challenges Met: HF
Saturday, February 5, 2011
|I so need one of these right now.|
The winners of awesome new copies of The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy are:
Jules @ OneBookShy
So congratulations and I will be in touch for your mailing info. Thanks to all who entered and I'm sorry I don't have copies for you all. Enjoy your Saturday :)
I am an Amazon Associate.