Archive | June 2013

Book Review: Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler

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Tor.com has a great blog. They blog the blog-e-verse so well, that I was tempted to buy this new novel by a new author. (No, really, if you like Sci Fi or Fantasy, run right over there right now! They not only bring you info on new books, but also fandom stuff (think Buffy / Star Wars / etc), interviews and new fiction. So go. Now. GO!)

The post that hooked me in was by the author, S.M. Wheeler, about Krackens. I waited and waited for that darn book to be released via Nook, and when it finally was I was in the middle of a monster 1100 page Goliath (which was a disappointment and shall remain nameless for now). Sea Change clocks in at 203 pages on my Nook. It might be small, but it packs a mighty huge whallop.

PLOT IN A JOT: Lilly has a crappy home life with her privileged family, and when her only friend (a kracken) goes missing, Lilly sets out on a quest to save him.

 

BUT>>>>>

When I first started reading this, I thought to myself: Hey, maybe I can read this with my son (7 years old). That thought did not persist for long. While it is told in the style of an old fairytale, it is brutal. So brutal that if it had been written any other way, I would never have finished the book. I would have deleted it right off the Nook, disregarding any monies that I had spent. Within the course of the book, Lilly literally transforms into Lyle, her femininity completely ripped away from her. And then her humanity starts to be peeled away, too…

The fairytale convention was very smart on the part of the author. It allows a distance between the reader and the story. This is a deep, darkly disturbing story and I’m not sure I understand the half of it. But it has been bothering me, especially the ending. What the hell? I understand not every fairy tale came with a happy ending, but they did come with closure. I didn’t get any closure with this one.

SIGH.

Ok. And for all you writers out there… If you are going to put a magic freaking box in the story, given as a gift and then given to someone to save for your character… and a big deal is made of it… IT NEEDS TO COME BACK IN AT THE END OF THE STORY. I can’t lay my eyes on the part of the story where she leaves it with her step mother, but she says something about a secret being in the box or something (darned nook! I could have found the passage in a real book!). When she came home, I kept expecting that box to pop up. Never did. What?!

(In *my* ending, the box held her secret memories. So there!)

I can’t really rate this one. It’s definitely not a Wheee! Of a book. Or even a Whoohoo! It was too distant to produce tears, but I’m still thinking of it 2 days after finishing. So maybe… 4/5 woeful wandering thoughtful of a book?

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More than You Know, by Nan Rossiter

I’ve played around with the formatting of the book reviews… Let me know what you think. I’ll probably post one more book review this week, as well as some writing related posts on the weekend.

More Than You Know by Nan Rossiter is a quiet sort of book. It’s not one to come in and take you by storm, and can I say Thank Goodness! There was already a lot of emotion in the book, and drama that was natural to the plot… It didn’t need a lot of grandstanding by the author.

PLOT IN A JOT:

Three sisters come together after the death of their mother. Each sister is at a crossroads and/or dissatisfied with her life. How they cope with the death of their mother and how to live their lives is at the heart of the novel.

LOVED LOVED LOVED ABOUT IT

I loved the moments when the sisters were together, remembering their mother, shedding tears. Mia, the mother, was a Godly woman… But after her death her daughters find out that she was definitely not a saint.

I also loved the pacing of the novel. It all takes place in about a week~ but through the natural flashbacks, it covers much more. It’s never rushed.. More Than You Know is more of a stroll than a sprint.

 

EH

Unfortunately, there were parts that I didn’t particularly care for. Those were the written letter/ journal that the mother left behind for her daughters. While it gave a lot of insight, not only into her life and her loves (and her disease)… I hate epistolary novels. If the letter/journal goes on for more than a paragraph or two at a time, I tend to skim over them. These were done well, but… I don’t know if there was a better way to do it or not. We, the reader, are enriched by the information and the connection to the missing character…

But I just don’t like them. It’s a personal preference thing, Too many bad ones that I had to choke through in college.

When all is said and done… I highly recommend this book. Although the subject matter is heartbreaking, the book itself is not. It’s up-lifiting, oddly enough.Great for a summer beach read. Or even a sitting in the back yard, while your 7 year old plays pirates, muttering “Uh-huh! Go kill Captain Hook, Honey!”

Yah. I’ve done that.

Final Tally: 3 1/2 out of 5 Wynwords Wheee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holly Chamberlin’s Tuscan Holiday

After the Name of the wind, I needed something a lot different. Since I had just received a nice fat padded envelope from Kensington Books full of ARCS, I started digging for ones that had recently been published. I saw this one and decided screw it- I’ll go with the author I love!

It features a mother daughter trip to Florence, Italy. Elizabeth wants it to be a momentous, a bonding experience that will last them a life time. Marina, however, views the trip as an inconvenience. One thing that caught me was that Marina wasn’t present for most of the trip. At first, she’s busy texting and talking with her boyfriend stateside. And then later… well, she’s actually physically not there (in a good way). Thank goodness  they each have their own pov chapters!

So nothing is going Elizabeth’s way… Except it is. She just doesn’t know it yet. This book has layers and layers of the ways mothers and daughters behave towards each other, and how the dynamic can change between grandchild and grandmother when Elizabeth finds out that her mother… Well, hasn’t been very kind to her, but is apparently doting on Marina.

I’m not sure what they’re called, but the snippets (“quotes”) at the beginning of the chapters of what I hope are fake books and a column from “The Answer Lady” are so funny! They also add layers to the chapters, so make sure to read them.

It does share an underpinning with Name of The Wind. Although the references are few, this is a story being told by people who have already lived it. Unlike many first person past tense, where it is all in one time line, there are a few lines throughout the novel that clue the reader in on the fact that it was written after the events. There’s mention of Elizabeth’s notes, and how for one day there’s nothing on them except for what she ate.

My only problem is that while Elizabeth’s story was wrapped up nice and tight, Marina’s wasn’t. But that perhaps is the glory of the character’s journey: at a very young age she is moving from a tightly regulated and planned out timetable for her life to moving towards allowing uncertaintity, passion… Life into her life.

In all, it’s a lovely novel and I’m looking forward to the next and the next and the next!

 

 

I am currently reading the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, so it will be another week before I’m done. The sucker is over 1100 pages! Oh, and I enrolled in an online fiction writing class, F2K, which I’m really enjoying. Plus writing a bit every day…. But I promise, my lovelies, I’m going to get better at this! I am working hard on it!

The Name of the Wind By Patrick Rothfuss

Earlier in the week, I was scrolling through my blog reader, and came across this article  all about a fantasy series by Patrick Rothfuss. It intrigued me enough that I went and downloaded it onto my Nook.

The Name of The Wind is the first book in a series called The Kingkiller Chronicles.

You know those books that you put down and come back to never? THIS IS NOT THAT BOOK. As is the key with rich worlds, I fell into it and didn’t come up for air until I had finished. Words with Friends? PPfFFTTT. I was busy with Chronicler, Bast and Kvothe for the whole week.

Well, except for the pre-birthday shenanigans for my son’s birthday, and then the very real stomach flu on his actual birthday.

I love the language of this (world? character? writer? book?). But the mix between the regular everyday language in The Name of The Wind and the troubadour’s soul that comes through to pluck gently at your soul… oh wow.

And then there’s the framework of the story. It is a mix of first and third. The first person narrative is Kvothe telling his own story: of being half feral in the big city, of going to university, of love and loss and everything in between. Third person narrative is the present day, when he’s telling the story to Chronicler and Bast and interacting with the locals his inn serves.

It would be a mistake to miss those third person chapters, however. Because it becomes very obvious that the present may be just as perilous, if not more so, than the past.

Ohhh,…. I’m forcing myself *not* to buy book 2 yet. Maybe next weekend. I have things I have to get done and can’t afford to disappear for a week again.

 

In other news, I started a fiction writing class (of the online variety), and have been writing a little bit every day. Can’t ask for more than that right now. I also just some new books to read. I’m really liking the novel by Holly Chamberlain. It’s very different from the Name of the Wind, but I needed that.

Of course, I noticed that part of the frame work is similar to NotW.hehehehe.

 

Ta, my lovelies!