This is a gentle, mostly humorous view of life in the lowest classes in post-WWII Britain through the eyes of Rosa, a young girl adopted by a loving cThis is a gentle, mostly humorous view of life in the lowest classes in post-WWII Britain through the eyes of Rosa, a young girl adopted by a loving cafe owner and his wife after her mother, a flighty woman who may or may not be a "tart," leaves her with them. Much of the intricacies of the adult lives around her go over her head--what family friend Paulette does for a living, for example, that allows her to get paid for "a quick knee-trembler" at the movies, or exactly what the kindly Maltese Joe and his boys do for a living, and why people are afraid of them--but leave the reader well able to read between the lines of her childish understanding.
Over the course of the book, the mystery unfolds - who is Rosa's mother? What happened to her to make her leave Rosa with Aunt Maggie and Uncle Bert? Who is the creepy man who has been looking for her, and why?
While the mystery at the core of this book isn't particularly deep, what shines through in this book is Ms. Granger's ability to make her characters come to life. The personalities are so vivid, it's almost hard to remember they aren't real.
The first-person nature of the storytelling does set limits on what parts of this well-crafted world the reader gets to see, which is a little bit of a shame, but utterly unavoidable. I could easily have read fifty pages more to get to know the story's "villains" better. Perhaps some will reappear in another book....more
Reading Peter S. Beagle's "We Never Talk About My Brother" was a joyous experience for me. I loved the short stories in it. Like snowflakes, each taleReading Peter S. Beagle's "We Never Talk About My Brother" was a joyous experience for me. I loved the short stories in it. Like snowflakes, each tale is distinct, crisp, brilliant and unique. The tone and topic vary widely, from a Jewish child's retelling of his painter uncle's encounter with an angel to a contemporary supernatural ghost story in San Francisco to the story of how one Mr. Moscowitz slowly becomes more and more French.
This is the kind of book that, upon being finishing with it, I immediately hunt down a copy and mail to a friend... because I want them to experience the same delight I felt upon reading it, but they're not getting their hands on my copy!...more
If you like vampire supernatural romance stories, this may be for you.
To be honest, I mainly read it for Jim Butcher's Dresden Files short story "It'sIf you like vampire supernatural romance stories, this may be for you.
To be honest, I mainly read it for Jim Butcher's Dresden Files short story "It's My Birthday, Too," which was good but not great. Don't read it until after Butcher's book Proven Guilty if you don't want spoilers, however.
I also liked P.N. Elrod's vampire detective in "Grave-Robbed." The fact that it is set in the 30s adds a lot to the atmosphere.
Rachel Caine sets up an interesting universe in "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life" that serves to introduce her young adult series The Morganville Vampires. It's good, and made me consider checking out the series down the road.
"Twilight," by Kelley Armstrong, was also a cut above, a story set not at the beginning of a vampire's unlife, or in the triumphant middle of it, but at the end.
Many of the other stories are your standard so-sexy vamp stories that are all the rage, all unimpressively cut from practically the same mold, and all rather boring and predictable....more
A pleasant fantasy story about life along the magical shores of the Mississippi river. River trolls, rock trolls, shooting stars, missing fathers, andA pleasant fantasy story about life along the magical shores of the Mississippi river. River trolls, rock trolls, shooting stars, missing fathers, and turtles, oh my. The story is a little slow to get going, but genuinely engaging once it's underway.
(view spoiler)[I was particularly pleased that the female main character does not turn out to be a magicked-river-troll in disguise. The author's decision to let her simply be a girl who likes toads and lizards was very satisfying. (hide spoiler)]...more
Woman goes to take over dead aunt's dog rescue legacy, woman meets dog, woman meets vet. Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts is well-written and incredibly prWoman goes to take over dead aunt's dog rescue legacy, woman meets dog, woman meets vet. Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts is well-written and incredibly predictable - which isn't terrible, in a book that is meant to be tear-jerkingly heartwarming. People who like dogs and love stories will inevitably enjoy this.
However, the nature of the mystery at the core of the book -- why her aunt lived as she did -- makes me see red. (view spoiler)[Ultimately, the aunt rejects marriage to the "perfect man" because he turns out to be bisexual and can't give up male liaisons on the side. "Bisexual men can't be faithful or truly commit" is a horrible stereotype that the world would be better off without. It's not true, and it's hurtful, and seeing this book mindlessly reinforce that made me want to rip it up. Shame on you, Lucy Dillon. (hide spoiler)]...more
Like Shirley Jackson, Helen Oyeyemi's writing focuses on small moments of terror and wrongness, the creeping horror of something gone bad beneath theLike Shirley Jackson, Helen Oyeyemi's writing focuses on small moments of terror and wrongness, the creeping horror of something gone bad beneath the surface. White is for Witching is a neo-gothic brooding ghost(ish) story about a British girl with pica, the need to eat chalk and other inedible substances, and the familial house that may or may not have something to do with her disorder.
Written in at least four voices (the main character, her twin brother, her lover, and the house), the book is a challenging read, especially the beginning, which is very difficult to get drawn in by. But if you stick it out, it's worth it. I wasn't sure I could get through it for the first 15 pages or so, but when I finished the last page, my first thought was to start over and consume the story a second time to re-experience it and catch all the little details I might have missed....more
What could have been a charming graphic novel descends into pointlessness by the end of the book.
(view spoiler)[A woman discovers a bookmobile that coWhat could have been a charming graphic novel descends into pointlessness by the end of the book.
(view spoiler)[A woman discovers a bookmobile that contains every book that she's ever read. Inspired by this and driven by wanting to encounter it again, she reads voraciously, expanding her horizons and pursuing a career as a librarian. The night of her biggest triumph, appointed head of the library in the prime of her life, she kills herself so she can be with the bookmobile for all time.
Yes, it's as stupid on paper as my summary makes it sound. If she had lived to a fine old age, that would have been one thing, but to kill herself to go to heaven -- and then be rewarded by getting to go there -- sends a creepy, irritating message. (hide spoiler)]...more
The chauvinism is getting old. However, the writing and the plotting is getting better. The biggest flaw here is the introduction of a new main sidekiThe chauvinism is getting old. However, the writing and the plotting is getting better. The biggest flaw here is the introduction of a new main sidekick, Michael, as if he and Dresden have been bestest friends for a long, long time, when in fact this is the first we've ever heard of the guy. It sticks in the craw and made it very difficult to really get into the first third of the book.
Light fluffy fiction with monsters. Good for a fast read on the bus or plane....more