What would Apollo's online profile look like? What would Aphrodite say if she had her own blog? Greek mythology hall of famers meet the modern age inWhat would Apollo's online profile look like? What would Aphrodite say if she had her own blog? Greek mythology hall of famers meet the modern age in a new series that brings the superstars of Greek myth to life with stories that put them in the pantheon. Complete with profiles, headshots, family trees, fascinating sidebars and irreverent surprises, Mythlopedia is for readers who love action, romance, power struggles and more.
This entry in the Mythlopedia series isn’t quite as exciting as the above product description makes it out to be.
All in the Family is directed at a young adult audience and profiles the lives (and usually deaths) of several non-Olympian heroes and mortals. At times, Otfinofski tries so hard to sound hip (Midas: “Aw, snap! Check this out, player—anything I touch turns to gold!”) that I found the narrative both irritating and distracting. Most of the relevant information, though, is provided in a concise, easy to understand format.
This book is a good resource for anyone trying to understand basic plots of Greek mythology, but despite its attempts to make family connections clear, I still find the Olympian family tree a muddled mess. ...more
Daria is a well-educated Odessan who takes a job as a secretary for an international company and discovers there is more in her job description than sDaria is a well-educated Odessan who takes a job as a secretary for an international company and discovers there is more in her job description than she bargained for. In the evenings she works at a “mail-order bride” agency, interpreting for men looking for a “traditional” wife and women wanting to escape poverty through marriage. On top of that, she has to deal with the advances of a local mafia boss.
Moonlight in Odessa paints what I consider to be a fairly accurate picture of post-Soviet Ukraine: an educated population faced with few job prospects; amazing women with a less-than-stellar crop of males to choose from; and the uncomfortable choices some women feel forced to make to escape poverty.
That said, Moonlight is not a dreary drudge of a read. The writing is fast-paced, smart, and often humorous. Daria is a likable main character with a lot of spunk that the reader can’t help but root for. ...more
In the isolated villages of northern Scotland, the residents rely on chimney sweep Pete Ray. After Police Constable Hamish Macbeth finds a dead body sIn the isolated villages of northern Scotland, the residents rely on chimney sweep Pete Ray. After Police Constable Hamish Macbeth finds a dead body stuffed inside a chimney, the entire town of Lochdubh suspects Pete. Then Pete’s body is found on the Scottish moors, and the mystery deepens.
I have a crush on Hamish Macbeth and look forward to every new book in the series. Since I long ago reconciled myself to the idea that Hamish will never progress in either his personal or professional life, I was able to enjoy Death of a Chimney Sweep without expectations. I found this 27th entry to be as light and charming a read as its predecessors.
The Cellist of Sarajevo was inspired by real-life events. After 22 people were killed by mortar fire while waiting in a breadline during the Siege ofThe Cellist of Sarajevo was inspired by real-life events. After 22 people were killed by mortar fire while waiting in a breadline during the Siege of Sarajevo, a cellist who witnessed the event commemorates their lives and deaths by playing at the site for 22 days, one for each victim.
Steven Galloway’s novel gives a glimpse into the lives of four characters during just a few days of the siege, days surrounding the cellist’s performance. One man makes the life-threatening trek to collect water for his family. Another seeks his daily ration of bread. A third is a reluctant sniper, recruited to fight the city’s attackers and protect the cellist. All try to adjust to life in a warzone and question how they can maintain their humanity in a world of sniper shootings and shellings.
Cellist is a moving, well-written novel. It is particularly thought-provoking considering recent political upheavals and violence. It’s hard to understand how the international community reacted so slowly to almost four years of genocide in Sarajevo, yet the debate continues today over if, when, and where peacekeepers should step in to prevent further violence. ...more
I had high hopes for this short story collection. For one, I couldn’t resist its title: There Once was a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby:I had high hopes for this short story collection. For one, I couldn’t resist its title: There Once was a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales. I also have an affinity for Eastern European literature.
Sadly, the first few stories left me disappointed. Although the author is Russian and the stories take place in Russia, I felt like I'd heard many of them before. In fact, some read like a rehash of scary stories I heard at sleepovers as a child. I also felt no spark in the writing—which, granted, might have been a problem with the translation.
The more I read, though, the more interesting the narratives became. I got into Ludmilla Petrushevskaya's rhythm and found the stories fascinating although traditional. I wouldn’t describe the book as scary, but it definitely leans towards the macabre. ...more
In Clare B. Dunkle’s young adult novel The House of Dead Maids, orphaned Tabby Aykroyd arrives at Seldom House to be a caretaker and playmate to the yIn Clare B. Dunkle’s young adult novel The House of Dead Maids, orphaned Tabby Aykroyd arrives at Seldom House to be a caretaker and playmate to the young “master.” She is immediately haunted by ghosts of her predecessors and tries to save herself and her young charge from a similar fate.
Dunkle’s novel is a fast, enjoyable read and maintains a consistently unsettling atmosphere throughout. The book cover is one of the creepiest I’ve seen, but it also claims the novel is “A Chilling Prelude to Wuthering Heights.” Dunkle ties the story to the Brontë family in the last few pages; however, I found this maneuvering unfortunate and gimmicky. The book could easily stand alone as a dark glimpse into a pagan Victorian England and only loses credibility by trying to piggyback on the Brontës’ fame. Enjoy Dead Maids what it is and not for what it is trying to be. ...more
Five-year-old Jack has lived in the same room since his birth. His mother, Ma, has lived there for seven years—ever since she was kidnapped by “Old NiFive-year-old Jack has lived in the same room since his birth. His mother, Ma, has lived there for seven years—ever since she was kidnapped by “Old Nick.” The story of their captivity is narrated by the young Jack.
A lot of buzz has surrounded Donoghue’s latest novel—I first heard about it on NPR—mostly because of the young narrator. Jack’s voice is definitely unique. However, it is also often jarringly inconsistent. At times, Jack sounds like a caveman. At other times, he has the vocabulary of a PhD. Many times, Jack as a narrator distracts from an otherwise interesting story.
If you can get over Jack’s voice, the story of what Ma does to survive and to protect her son, and the consequences of their captivity, is an intriguing one. The reality of teenagers and children held captive for years seems to be becoming more prevalent, and I appreciate Donoghue’s attempt to tackle such a sensitive topic without being overly sentimental. ...more