Really Ravishing Review (Strings Attached)

literati_rain66 Thursday, November 25, 2010 , ,
Review of Strings Attached, by Judy Blundell. Hardcover publication March 2011.

Quickie: Strings Attached caught me by surprise. It was a treat to read.

Full: I'll admit, Strings Attached wasn't in my 'priority' pile. But then I saw a Tweet from Literaticat, saying she enjoyed it. My interest was peaked, so I decided to pick it up. I went in cold turkey, which is more fun in my opinion. Wow. What a gem.

Normally I read books with paranormal elements, but it's refreshing to read things that are in the "normal world".

Kit Corrigan is an aspiring actress, singer, and dancer from Providence, Rhode Island. She packs her bags and heads to the city- the only city where her big dreams can come true in the 1950's- New York. She's rooming with an atrocious girl and her atrocious mother, scraping by and working in a no-name show and trying to find her big break.

Opportunity comes knocking in an unlikely form- Kit's ex-boyfriend's father. Billy, the ex, is away in the army. His father Nate is a well-known lawyer in Providence, with clients in New York as well.  He finds Kit at her theatre and offers her an apartment, free of charge, if only she'll write a letter to Billy and try to get him to come home for Thanksgiving. You see Billy and his father aren't exactly on speaking terms, and Kit is the only way that Nate has any chance of seeing his boy.

The deal seems harmless enough, and she really does need a better place to stay, so she reluctantly agrees. Quickly, Kit discovers that one little deal can lead to more, bigger, complicated deals that she can't say no to. You can't say no to the man who houses you, dresses you, and gets you one of the best jobs in town now can you? Not without losing it all anyway.

Suddenly Kit finds herself stuck between a rock and a hard place, with Nate's suspicious favors slowly increasing in danger and Kit with no other options. Plot threads cross and join and split and marry in a nail-biting ride. Skeletons come out of many closets, some from Kit's own family and many, many secrets are revealed in this delicious tale of life and troubles in the 1950's.

I loved Kit and her family. They were flawed, but honest and loving. They were all such rich, believable characters. I absolutely loved going back in time to be with them, to observe their lives and share their feelings. It never ceases to fascinate me how much I love reading historical fiction. The past is as much a mystery to me as the future or author created worlds. I've not been there, so it's new and exciting.

At first I thought the title was kind of meh, but after reading the book it made total sense and I thought it was perfect. The cover could be better, in my opinion. It didn't pull me in, or give any indication as to what the book may be like. It's pretty, but not my favorite. (Not criticizing the photographer or designer, just saying it didn't work for me) (Although on my copy you definitely cannot see the blue behind her; I think it's a curtain. If it's on the final copy, I approve. My copy, she just blends into a black background.)

Strings Attached was very well built and the suspense was doled out expertly. I wasn't in agony as to what would happen next, but I couldn't stop thinking about the story, I dreamed about the characters and put myself in the story-dream. I stayed up way too late reading it, and definitely neglected some house chores to sneak off and read. To me, that's the mark of a great book.

I'm well and truly impressed with Judy Blundell's work, and though I haven't read What I Saw And How I Lied, I now plan to.

4 out of 5 stars.

Really Ravishing Review (Bayou Moon)

literati_rain66 Wednesday, November 24, 2010 , ,
Bayou Moon (The Edge, Book 2)Review of Bayou Moon, by Ilona Andrews. 

Quickie: Better than On The Edge, in my opinion. (And I loved On The Edge) Brilliant.

Full: I think I may have to make an "Ilona Andrews" label here on the blog, because it's getting harder and harder to fit Andrews' books into genres. Not that I'm complaining, because their books break out of traditional genre cliches and slash and parry into the new. (I say 'their' because the Ilona Andrews pen name is for a married couple; Ilona and Andrew Gordon.)

Bayou Moon is the second book in The Edge series. It's not a "sequel", but "a novel of the Edge". You do see some characters from On The Edge, but it's mostly a brand new story. And it's marvelous.

We start out with William, a poor lost soul who thinks he isn't worth anything. It's an understandable feeling for him, since he's a changeling, and in Adrianglia they abhor and fear changelings. Mothers are permitted to give up their changeling baby, surrender them to the government. They are sent to orphanages until they are old enough to go to Hawk's Academy, where they are taught to kill. Because after all, that's all a changeling could possibly be good for, right? (insert maternal heartache here) He longs for companionship, for friends, for a family, but knows that his reality won't allow for all that. His reality is killing. It's what he was raised to do, and he's darn good at it. The best.

William (I keep wanting to type Squilliam Fancyson. Stinkin' Spongebob!) has been hired by The Mirror - Adrianglia's secret service of sorts- to hunt down a certain important article and kill the man who has it. This leads to even more interesting people, like The Hand. They are referred to as "the freaks", and generally I would dislike that, but for The Hand it's fitting and true. They are modified people, some modified so much that they are no longer human. They have tentacles and cilia and freakish super powers that make them terrifying and unpredictable. The leader of The Hand is Spider, who is of course the man William must hunt and kill.

On the way to Spider, William meets Cerise. Cerise is searching for her parents, who have been traded by her family's rivals, the Sheeriles, to The Hand for the deed to her grandfather's house. She doesn't know why The Hand would have an interest in her parents, but as the leader of the family in her father's absence, she must find them and save them. At the same time of course, the feud between her family and the Sheeriles has rekindled and they must fight for their land and pride.

Cerise lives in the Mire, where exiles have been cast and everyone is poor. It's dangerous land and one wrong move could result in your death. Families are large, and they fight tooth and nail for everything they have.

With their courses twined, Cerise and William share a perilous journey with uncertain consequences. Along the way, a romance buds. I loved, loved, loved the romance in Bayou Moon. It was real. They didn't bat their eyelashes and instantly want to get hitched and live happily ever after. They didn't even get along when they first met. They were suspicious of each other, and they goaded each other and laughed when the other fell. It was awesome. The more they got to know one another, the more they realized that "Hey, this person is really cool. Oh, and hey, I'm really impressed with his/her fighting abilities, magic, and perseverance. And would you look at that, they look quite nice when he/she is fighting... No! Must not think that!! But he/she is really funny, and what did he/she mean by ___??"

I loved it. It wasn't rushed, it wasn't forced, it was awesome.

How was the world, you ask? Divine, I say. With all of Ilona Andrews' books, you have to pay attention and let the world build itself in your head. Once it's there, it's fantastical. No important detail is overlooked, and the world is so very complete. Most books with big new worlds, I get the idea but there are blank spots on my picture. Not so in Bayou Moon. I felt like I could be transported there in real life and already know what I was facing and where to go. That's some massive talent right there.

The Hands freaks might be number one on my awesome list. I could imagine them so well, and they creeped me out utterly. The genius behind all these characters and world ideas... I'm still geeking out over it all.

I feel like I've written a book on this book... so I'll stop now. But if any of you Bayou Moon fans want somebody to geek with, I'm ready and willing!

For those of you who haven't read it and think it sounds like something you might like- GO. Read. Now.

5 of 5 stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #20

literati_rain66 Sunday, November 14, 2010
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From the library:
The Writing Habit, by David Huddle
Writing Romances, by Janet Daily, Jude Deveraux, Kathleen Eagle, Jo Beverly
Reading Like A Writer, by Francine Prose

From Nantucket Bookworks:
ARC of Prelude to a Scandal, by Delilah Marvelle
ARC of Strings Attached, by Judy Blundell
ARC of Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
ARC of Precious and Fragile Things, by Megan Hart
ARC of Night Road, by Kristin Hannah

Fish! (A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results), by Stephen C. Lundin, Ph.D., Harry Paul, and John Christensen

Really Ravishing Review (Carpe Corpus)

literati_rain66 Saturday, November 13, 2010 ,
Review of Carpe Corpus, by Rachel Caine. (Morganville Vampires #6)
Carpe Corpus (Morganville Vampires, Book 6)

Spoiler Alert!: This is the 6th book in the series, so spoilers from the previous 5 books are highly likely!!

Quickie: Enjoyed it!

Full: Honestly, this would have been a satisfactory ending to the series for me. The book ended with hope, and I liked that. Bishop has taken control of Morganville, and things aren't pretty. Townsfolk are afraid for their lives, even in broad daylight. Not only are the humans running in fear, the vampires are too. Anyone not completely committed to Bishop will die. Then again, maybe some of them will die too... it's all just a big fun death game, with Bishop calling the shots. Claire and her lovable group of friends are the only people with the knowledge and power to do anything about it... but Clair has been marked by Bishop, forcing her to submit to his every desire. Shane is still in jail with his father, Michael is under Bishop's rule, and Eve is an unprotected human - easy prey. Claire, with the unstable Myrnin and her friends, must upend the new government that Bishop has erected and bring back order. Oh, and they can't get killed while doing it. ;-)

Carpe Corpus was another solid entry into the Morganville series. It wasn't my favorite of the six I've read, but it was good. I'll be interested to see if the next few books make the series feel stretched out, because I felt like this should be the last one. It seemed to tie up all of the plot threads just fine, unless I'm forgetting one.

My favorite character by far in this book was Myrnin. In other books he's been borderline terrifying. He's always been fascinating, but for some reason I really loved him in Carpe Corpus. Maybe it was the outfit... frock coats, Mardi-Gras beads and flip-flops. Love it. His randomness was amusing and endearing.

One thing I really love about all the Morganville books, is the relationship Claire has with her friends. I love the teasing, the loving atmosphere, the care-free friendliness. The zombie-killing games as a stress reliever is so perfect. It's all so real. It makes me want to go over to the Glass House, listen to Michael play his guitar, eat some chili, and play some video-games with them. They are just like the friends I used to have.

Will I read the next in the series? Yeah. But I'm a little afraid. This one ended so perfectly.

4 out of 5 stars.

My Magnificent Mailbox #19

literati_rain66 Sunday, November 7, 2010
Before I get into my IMM stuff, I just want to apologize for my lack of posts lately. I have a few reasons for this silence on the blog. 1.) I lost the book I was reading. Ha! I'm almost done with it, so I didn't want to start a new one without finishing it. 2.) NaNoWriMo has sucked me in. I'm behind in my word count, so every spare few minutes I have away from the kids, pets, laundry, husband, etc. I've been giving to my story.

I found my book, but haven't had time to finish it. I'll try to get it done in the next few days so I can at least put up a review!

Okay, on to my IMM! (no picture right now, I can't seem to find my camera. I'm all sorts of lost!)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, brought to you by The Story Siren.

This week I got:

From Amazon (hubby, you really must stop surprising me with books! Actually, no I'm kidding. Keep surprising me.):
The Grimm Legacy, by Polly Shulman
The Ghost and the Goth, by Stacia Kade
Forgive My Fins, by Tera Lynn Childs

Hand-me-down from my sister:
Bringing Up Boys, by Dr. James Dobson

Completely Cool Cover

literati_rain66 Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I don't do this often, but I adore this series, so I'm going to do it! Magic Slays, by Ilona Andrews has an official cover! (And yes, she gave permission to post it)

It fits right in with the rest of the series, but somehow, I like it more.


Wonderfully Wacky Winners!

literati_rain66 Monday, November 1, 2010
The Spooktacular Giveaway blog hop has ended, which means I have winners to announce!

Winner of prize pack number 1: April X

Winner of prize pack number 2: throuthehaze

Winner of prize pack number 3: Autumn

Congrats!! Thank you to everyone who entered, I enjoyed reading your favorite Halloween moments tremendously!

And I suppose I should share my favorite Halloween memory, which was just last night. :) We took the boys (ages nearly 3 and 6 months) trick-or-treating around downtown. My oldest was dressed as Buzz Lightyear, and my youngest was a monkey. They had SO much fun.