I have a pretty high tolerance for bad YA lit, but holy crap, this was BAD. One of only two books I have been unable to finish because it was so bad,I have a pretty high tolerance for bad YA lit, but holy crap, this was BAD. One of only two books I have been unable to finish because it was so bad, the other being "Twilight". There was a lot that I loved in the premise -- examinations of class, race, ethnicity, and religion -- but it ended up being Wicca 101 For Teens in fictional form. Not entirely surprising, as the author's previous work included a Wicca handbook aimed at teens, but disappointing nonetheless....more
Didn't love it as much as I loved her first novel (A Curse As Dark As Gold), but that's bias on my part -- there aren't many books at all I love as muDidn't love it as much as I loved her first novel (A Curse As Dark As Gold), but that's bias on my part -- there aren't many books at all I love as much as that one! This was fabulous: as with that one, beautifully written, with fascinating characters -- and fascinating WOMEN. That's what I love about Bunce; her female characters are wonderful.
(Also I kind of came out of it wanting Digger and Merista to end up together. What, I can dream!)...more
Overall, I didn't like it as much as Sheth's KEEPING CORNER, but to be fair, there aren't many books I like as much as KEEPING CORNER period. I felt lOverall, I didn't like it as much as Sheth's KEEPING CORNER, but to be fair, there aren't many books I like as much as KEEPING CORNER period. I felt like the entire story was a bit rushed, the ending in particular, and things that I'd expected to show up more seemed to disappear (the eye condition Jeeta's siblings deal with and Sarina's mother's interest in it, for example). And while, as with KEEPING CORNER, there are the sensory details and similes that enrich the narrative, they sometimes feel a little awkward here, sounding a little unnatural when characters speak them aloud instead of just thinking them.
That said, this is the second of Sheth's books I've read and I definitely intend to read more -- she's got a wonderful flair for sensory detail, and evokes weather, food, people...and, of course, emotions. Her characters have a lot of feelings, but when you're dealing with teenaged characters, that's entirely appropriate, and I never roll my eyes at her protagonists or feel like they're manufacturing drama: that's how it really feels when you're a teenager. KDMS reminded me a bit of Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE in terms of the family dynamic, actually, particularly with regards to Jeeta's relationship to her parents -- this is a good thing, for me, because that's one of the things I can yammer about for ages (I wrote a massive two-part essay on my blog in defense of Mrs. Bennet once). I liked Jeeta and I really loved her friendship with Sarina -- like KEEPING CORNER, KDMS passes the Bechdel test and fulfills Deggans' rule with flying colors, which is always refreshing. Overall, thoroughly enjoyable!...more
I didn't adore this the way I did FOR MATRIMONIAL PURPOSES, but to be fair, there aren't many books, period, that I adore the way I do that one. The pI didn't adore this the way I did FOR MATRIMONIAL PURPOSES, but to be fair, there aren't many books, period, that I adore the way I do that one. The pacing was a bit off, I felt, and I wish we'd seen more of some characters (Zoe, for instance). But on the whole, definitely a fun read....more
Really enjoyed this, although the pacing seemed off -- the story seemed to drag on forever at some places, and speed by in others. I often found myselReally enjoyed this, although the pacing seemed off -- the story seemed to drag on forever at some places, and speed by in others. I often found myself having trouble keeping track of some of the characters (who is that again? wait, do we like her? what about him?). The romance, too, never really resonated with me. That said, there were some absolutely beautiful images, and some fantastic female friendships, and Kolosov's take on Elizabeth I, complex and canny, was fantastic....more
Oh LORD, this was a slog. And the worst part is that it really, really shouldn't have been, at least not for me!
Reader, here are a few things I love:Oh LORD, this was a slog. And the worst part is that it really, really shouldn't have been, at least not for me!
Reader, here are a few things I love: female characters having adventures, sweet but spoiled girls, female characters having friendships, 18th-century history. And yet even I couldn't enjoy this. I'd been running through books at a rate of one or more a day in the past few weeks; this took me well over a week because I just couldn't bear more than a chapter or two at a time, it was so dry and dull. I liked the first one, though it was slow as well, on recollection, but this was just intolerable.
As I said, it just felt incredibly dry and very slow. More specifically, I felt like the characters were being kept at arm's length -- it was hard for me to really care about them at all. That can certainly work in a lot of books, but when love triangles are a major part of the plot, you really, really need your reader to care about the characters and be rooting for them to be happy (or not). I also really didn't care for how these are billed as major female-driven adventure stories, and yet these young women constantly needed to be saved by the men in their lives -- nor for how completely out of nowhere Hetta and Xavier's relationship felt. That was probably the worst example of Elliott telling me, rather than showing me, the developing relationship between the characters in this book, but there were, unfortunately, a lot more: HOW, exactly, do the trials and tribulations they face together take Hetta and Eugenie from disliking one another to best friends? Why did Hetta give up on Julien? And again, most damningly, why should I care?
So in a word, this book was disappointing. Incredibly disappointing. Heartbreakingly disappointing, for me, because as I say, this should have been a really easy sell for me. I wanted so, so much to love the Pimpernelles books, but when you can't sell me on your female-character-centered 18th-century adventure novel, you've taken a wrong turn somewhere, I'm very sorry to say. :(...more
I keep trying to find something eloquent to say, and I really can't. This came following a few very disappointing reads, and it made them all worth itI keep trying to find something eloquent to say, and I really can't. This came following a few very disappointing reads, and it made them all worth it -- wow. Gorgeous language, with stunning imagery and incredibly painful moments. And this is such a wonderful story of pain, the pain we carry inside of ourselves and the ways we inflict it on each other, and the ways we don't, the ways we transcend that pain. And even more refreshingly, it's a story about women -- women and their friendships and their strength and their weakness and their families and the things they carry with them in spite of all their efforts. And, again, I can't say enough good about the way Stuber uses language -- it's one of those books that gets inside of your head, so that you find your own language mimicking it afterwards, like picking up the echo of a close friend's accent.
Which, actually, is probably entirely appropriate, because this is such a book about close friendships and things that are said (or not) between friends, but also because I suspect this book is going to become a lifelong friend of mine....more
Didn't like this quite as much as the first, but it was definitely a ton of fun, and I just really, really have to say that I ADORE Cat and Bee's relaDidn't like this quite as much as the first, but it was definitely a ton of fun, and I just really, really have to say that I ADORE Cat and Bee's relationship. It's so rare to see such a wonderful friendship in a book, particularly between two women -- they're so dedicated to one another, and even their teasing is clearly underpinned by deep love and affection. Truthfully, I felt like this one was more of a three-point-five star read, but I bumped it up to four just for the Cat-Bee relationship. Okay, and for an alternate Caribbean, because everything needs more 18th/19th-century Caribbean adventures. I'm just really, really FOND of these books, there's no other way to put it. I suspect I'll be buying copies of my own (for my first reads, I got them from the library) just because they have the feel of comfort food reads, things I'm going to be returning to over and over the way some nerds return to LORD OF THE RINGS. Well done, Elliott, well done....more
This is one of those books where I feel like another good, hard edit or two would've made it a real gem. As it is, LA PETITE FOUR is...well, it's hardThis is one of those books where I feel like another good, hard edit or two would've made it a real gem. As it is, LA PETITE FOUR is...well, it's hard to feel very strongly about it one way or another. The plot is a bit messy, but the real problem is the characters. There's just no real depth to any of them: it's hard to tell any of the girls apart, or to feel any particular investment in the problems they face, or to see why they or the supporting characters are doing anything at all, for that matter. I suspect this is where a lot of the plot's apparent messiness (throughout, I'd find myself saying "wait, what? Why would anyone assume THAT? Where are they getting THIS from?") comes from: it's hard for a plot to advance when the characters involved don't seem to have consistent motivations. The love story was...well, again, a lot of the problems arise from the flat characters: neither of the men Emily's ostensibly torn between is much more compelling OR repulsive than your average dinner plate, and Emily has about as much chemistry with them. There's also a TON of exposition-dumping, both in and out of dialog tags.
All in all, this was pretty disappointing, not least because I'd LOVE more decent Regency romps, especially if there are teenaged girls preventing murders involved....more