My favorite volume so far. Focus shifts to Mr Smith, the Englishman who is studying the culture and people of the area. He is friendly with Karluk's t...moreMy favorite volume so far. Focus shifts to Mr Smith, the Englishman who is studying the culture and people of the area. He is friendly with Karluk's tribe but has moved on to a new village where his guide has not shown up and the local security believe he is spying on them to send information to the Russians.
He is taken in by an elderly woman and her daughter-in-law, Talas. Tragedy has struck the house six times in that the five sons and father have died. The elder woman encourages a romance between Talas and Mr Smith. With humor and sweetness, the reluctant courtship unfolds.
With appearance from Amir, Karluk and Pariya (who is given a special bonus chapter that is my top of tops of all the chapters so far), as well as another keen look at the status of women that isn't limited to just the day and place where the story takes place, and the continuing beauty of Mori's artwork, this bittersweet volume is a solid 5-star.
Volume 2 introduces the reader to more of Amir's family and the delicate balance of a woman's station in the tribal life. The reader is also introduce...moreVolume 2 introduces the reader to more of Amir's family and the delicate balance of a woman's station in the tribal life. The reader is also introduced to Pariya, a young woman who is outspoken in spite of her best efforts and loves to bake bread. She and Amir become friends as Amir identifies with the unique Pariya.
I really enjoyed this volume because Mori is able to illustrate why Karluk, as young as he is, is the best man for Amir and it is really remarkable because the age difference is striking. Yet in illustrating why he is good for Amir, Mori is able to relate the life of a woman in Amir's situation. Not a fair one at all, but it is what it is.
As with the first volume, the art is amazing, especially the chapter that highlights the importance of embroidery amongst the women. Really beautifully done.(less)
Actually read this about a month ago. Kaoru Mori is a manga-ka to watch after her brilliant "Emma" series (which, hopefully, will get picked up by ano...moreActually read this about a month ago. Kaoru Mori is a manga-ka to watch after her brilliant "Emma" series (which, hopefully, will get picked up by another publisher since CMX ended operations).
"A Bride's Story" is something that I may just enjoy more. Taking place on what I believe is the Steppes, Amir, a woman of about 20, is married to Karluk, the head of another tribe at the tender age of 12.
It honestly isn't as eyebrow raising as that seems. The relationship is handled beautifully and the first volume is more about Amir getting acquainted with her new family.
The interactions are gentle and engaging. The artwork is fabulous. In the words of my son, "Rug porn." My goodness, the details of the rugs and the costumes are gorgeous.
I'd give it a 5-star if only it had a bit more action but that is for another volume.
A sign of book that I really love is that if I get it from the library, I want to buy it to keep forever OR if I get it on kindle, I want to buy the p...moreA sign of book that I really love is that if I get it from the library, I want to buy it to keep forever OR if I get it on kindle, I want to buy the physical book so I can feel the pages between my fingers.
So it is with "I Couldn't Love You More" by Jillian Medoff. I saw it on a advert on a gossip site and I was curious. After reading a few reviews, I was intrigued. I got it on the Kindle because I knew my library wouldn't have it in circulation as it is too new.
I tore through the story of Eliot and what happens when 2 minutes of inattention can turn a life upside down.
Eliot Gordon is a woman with two strong sisters and an independent mother and an absentee father. She's the partner of a divorced man, Grant, with two daughters, Charlotte and Gail, that she has helped raise. Their mother, Beth, is in their lives but she is just one of those people. Likable and means well, but gets caught up in her own world at times. Grant and Eliot also have a daughter named Hailey.
They are a family but there are things that are missing. Or perhaps a doldrum has hit. Into this doldrum, the college sweetheart re-enters Eliot's life.
What unfolds from there is not what one might expect. The story isn't about an affair but more about the good girl who makes a few bad decisions that have long reaching consequences and in the aftermath, how she comes to terms with parts of her life that she was either at odds with or just not sure about.
Medoff is incredible at characterization. Eliot is a heroine who has an authentic voice. I can recognize myself in her in how she reacts about her father, her 'husband', her old flame, her sisters, her mother and her daughters. Her sisters act like sisters to her. Close yet different from each other and trying to keep it that. Her mother too is at her own crossroad that is fascinating to watch unfold.
And in the middle of it all is a 2 minute moment that turns what could have been a run of the mill story about a woman having a slight middle life crisis into a story about forgiving and the elasticity of real love.
I totally enjoyed this novel. And when amazon delivers that physical book to me, I will be re-reading it again.(less)
I don't know what I expected when I picked out "When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man" but it definitely wasn't this literate, intense read.
Cal is 1...moreI don't know what I expected when I picked out "When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man" but it definitely wasn't this literate, intense read.
Cal is 14 when it happens. When something so awful happens, that he can never go back to where he was before.
He lives on Loyalty Island. It is a fishing town that sits on harsh pennisula in Northern Washington State. The fishing is seasonal and the men who fish leave for half the year to go to Alaska to harvest king crab.
Cal's father is one of those fisherman. A captain of his own boat and like any son who has a permanently temporary relationship with his father, Cal idolizes him.
Then the owner of the fleet dies and it ends up in the hands of the 'outsider' son, Richard, and so begins a psychological downspin that catches two generations into its vortex.
If I understand it right, this is Nick Dybek's debut novel and he writes with a very sure hand. To be sure, there are some flaws in transitions and overuse of metaphors. But he writes tension incredibly well. His characterizations of Cal, his mother and his father are also razor sharp.
Not a book for everyone. It is reminds me of a Coen Brothers film circa Fargo.
But it is very interesting story that caught me almost from the first chapter. (less)
I'm surprised at the not-quite-4-star rating of this young adult novel because I felt it was a 5-star novel.
Nora Cunningham is a junior in high school...moreI'm surprised at the not-quite-4-star rating of this young adult novel because I felt it was a 5-star novel.
Nora Cunningham is a junior in high school in a town in Maryland in the mid-1950s when an event that will effect her and her town in a way that they never really shake.
Mary Downing Hahn, the author, based the story on an event in her own life. Hahn gives the story an authenticity of voice to her characters in that she grew up in that time period. She came of age as they did and like the great YA novels of the past (like "The Chocolate War"), Hahn dares to use her characters to ask tough questions (the question of religion and God is unflinching) and not give easy answers. In fact, the reader knows almost from the start that this is no police procedural where the bad guy will be caught and justice will be served. It isn't that kind of novel.
Maybe that accounts for the lower score. That Hahn doesn't let her characters find a simple absolution.
But that uneasiness is exactly why I give it 5-stars. This is classic YA material. Challenging, unflinching, disturbing in simplicity and ultimately very honest.(less)
This graphic novel wasn't what I thought it would be. It was actually a whole lot better.
There was a certain balance to it even though it used a spiri...moreThis graphic novel wasn't what I thought it would be. It was actually a whole lot better.
There was a certain balance to it even though it used a spirit/ghost adventure to help the young Ichiro come to terms with where he was in his life, but the characterizations from Ichiro to his mother to his grandfather to the spirits is so very well done.
And I loved the artwork. Sketchy yet strong. Evocative of Japanese woodblock but not ape-ing it either.
I'm surprised by the low score of Ms Elliot's "Ship of Souls". I enjoyed D's historical adventure in Brooklyn.
Elliot's strength is her characterizatio...moreI'm surprised by the low score of Ms Elliot's "Ship of Souls". I enjoyed D's historical adventure in Brooklyn.
Elliot's strength is her characterizations of D (for Dmitri), his new friends, Keem and Nyla, and the people he comes in contact as he experiences a strange phenomenon in a park in Brooklyn and his brush with souls who want to move on.
The strength is very much in how D and his friends defy stereotype and come off as very real teenagers who are not of the cardboard media invented type.
That said, the story is rushed. It would have been nice if Elliot had slowed it down to let Keem and Nyla get to know D better. The action scenes are good but again, it would have benefitted the story if it had been slowed down a little to build up the suspense.
But overall, I enjoyed it. It was lean and straightforward. Closer to a 4-star than a 3-star so I'm giving it a 4-star. (less)
"This Love is Not For Cowards" could also be said of the book. Robert Andrew Powell's book is about the beleaguered soccer team, Indios, of Juarez and...more"This Love is Not For Cowards" could also be said of the book. Robert Andrew Powell's book is about the beleaguered soccer team, Indios, of Juarez and the beleaguered city of Juarez, a place where murder is so regular that crime scenes aren't marked off.
I had a tough time reading this book. It starts off with a certain kind of optimism but as you get deeper into it, you begin to feel the same as the author as the deaths start to grind. There is humanity and compassion and weird sort of "If you do this, you'll be okay" bargaining.
It is surreal. Both the anecdotes of the team and the city which is just a stone's throw from El Paso, Texas. The team is an oasis, a break from the reality of the city but the tension is that the city is always there. No matter where they are, it is there and it is relentless.
Still, it is one of those books that if you persevere, it is worth it. You learn a lot. It is non-judgmental and there is a grace to the people. (less)
"Their Virgin Captive" is about a secretary/assistant named Hannah who is somehow the object of desire for three brothers (Gavin, Slade, and Dex) who...more"Their Virgin Captive" is about a secretary/assistant named Hannah who is somehow the object of desire for three brothers (Gavin, Slade, and Dex) who own an oil company and she is also being stalked by someone and so they spirit her away to Alaska to keep her safe but also to make her their submissive wife to all of them.
Yes. The brothers James want to have a timeshare wife. Actually not even a timeshare, but a shared wife in Hannah.
And that is all I remember about this book.
That's a lie. I remember that it is mediocre on many levels. The sex is mediocre which is bad because that's the whole read to get this book. FOR THE SMUT! And if you can find better group sex/BDSM stories on literotica.com then there is a problem here. The best scene is actual when Hannah loses her virginity. Yes, she is a virgin. At least the title of the book makes sense.
But after that it is just a mess of a story with Gavin having issues about his dead wife Nikki (I think she is dead) and of course the stalker of Hannah which never quite makes sense. But that shouldn't matter if this is a love story of three brothers and a secretary. Right?
Wrong! Because the love story is more shoddily constructed than the stalker angle of the story, it is just words on paper (or in my case, on screen).
Anyway, this is a lesson for me to think twice on impulse buys. Next time I follow links on Amazon and think, "Hey that kindle version is only $4.99" and press click, I will think twice.
"Midnight Secretary" is about the baby faced, uber-secretary Kaya Satozuka and her arrogant, egoistic boss, Kyouhei Touma.
The manga by Tomu Ohmi is a...more"Midnight Secretary" is about the baby faced, uber-secretary Kaya Satozuka and her arrogant, egoistic boss, Kyouhei Touma.
The manga by Tomu Ohmi is a 7-volume bundle of smutty, funny, sexy, campy delightfulness. It is absolutely crack for me and I love this still-unlicensed-in-USA (Hey, Dark Horse, this could be a winner!) series so much that I'd place it in my Top-10 fave mangas.
In Volume 1, Ms Satozuka, a junior secretary at Touma Corporation, is assigned to the problematic, womanizing Kyouhei Touma, second son of the owner of Touma Corporation. He is a handsome, arrogant, smart, womanizing, egotistic, unrepentant asshat of a man.
From the get go, he doesn't want Kaya as his secretary. With her plain garb, old fashioned glasses and tight, schoolmarm bun, she is too unattractive for him. Kaya stands her ground and tells him (yes, literally "tells him") to give her a trial run and she'll prove her effectiveness.
So begins the first challenge of many between the two. Of course, this wouldn't be a high camp love story if it didn't turn out that Kaya was quite the attractive young woman (her uniform is to disguise her baby faced looks because she feels it interferes with her duties as a secretary and she won't be taken seriously) and he, of course, is a vampire.
Hahahahaha. I love this series. I really do because it may be the most realistic vampire/human love story out there even as it is utterly preposterous. Author/illustrator Ohmi does an excellent job of dialing down the fantastical to explain how her vampires function while at the same time turning up the humor in its ridiculousness as Kaya and Kyouhei needle their way through each other and the first volume.
The art is lush and sketchy at the same time. Kyouhei is shoujo handsome 90s style. Kaya is all big-eyed, thick lashed gorgeousness. She's doggedly determined to be the best secretary ever even if it is to a supreme jerk like Kyouhei. Their quirks and squabbles actually help balance what could come off as total imbalance in which reality would scream "SEXUAL HARASSMENT" after each encounter.
But this is fantasy and it is fabulous. If a reader is looking for a great role model and political correctness, forget this series. But if a reader just wants a good romance with a gal who pushes back and the alpha male who lets her because in the end, she's perfect for him.(less)
Jacques Cornet is a free man of color in 1801 New Orleans. At this time, Louisiana belongs to Spain, the Caribbean is in upheaval and New Orleans is a...moreJacques Cornet is a free man of color in 1801 New Orleans. At this time, Louisiana belongs to Spain, the Caribbean is in upheaval and New Orleans is a lush, free wheeling, bustling city rivaled only by Havana and Cornet is the perfect dandy businessman for the city.
But times are about to change when Spain gives Louisiana to France and France is in need of funds for war. Sitting next to Louisiana is the brand new country of the United States of America and a President who has his own ambitions.
The first act of the play begins playful. The dialogue is sharp and witty and full of historical asides. It took me some time to get used to it, especially when it came to who was who. There are a lot of cut scenes between New Orleans and some other place (ex: dialogue between Jefferson and Merriweather or Talleyrand negotiating with the Spanish for Louisiana). That can get confusing but Cornet and his crew, especially Murmur, his assistant, is biting and funny.
But it ends on an ominous note and the next half of the play is presented as a countdown and a chess game.
I've forgotten a lot of history of that time and to be honest, it seems like the time period of the Louisiana Purchase is hardly touched upon so maybe that is understandable but I say that because the political machinations were tough for me to keep up with. You don't have to know your history but reading it on paper, it probably helps to know it. If I was watching it as it was meant to be played, it might be easier to keep up with but still, it was tough yet strangely compelling.
Or maybe not so strange because we (the readers/audience) knows where this is going that is what gives it the suspense. Time is running out for Cornet and there is no escaping it and no saving him.
Intriguing part of the play is that the writer did not skimp on the ironies. Clearly, Cornet had slaves himself. He's not a heroic man but he is fascinating and you feel for him even as you recognize that he is not exactly the man to cheer for but you don't want to cheer against him either.
I picked this up on a whim at the library and very glad that I did. I wouldn't call it an enjoyable read but definitely made me think and the dialogue (the heartbeat of a play) was excellent.(less)