Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Review, a Review-Like Rant, and Other Book Related News

Actually, I think I'll start with my non-review news.  A couple of weeks ago I won two books!  Woohoo!  First, I won Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt through her Impact Initiative series, and I'm really excited to read it.  Second, I won a copy of No Place for Heroes: A Novel by Laura Restrepo from Goodreads.  I haven't received either, yet, but I'm really excited.  I'm sure you'll hear all about it when I do.

Princess for Hire (from Goodreads):  When a well-dressed woman steps out of a bubble and wants to know if you'd like to become a substitute princess, do you

A) run
B) faint
C) say yes?

For Desi Bascomb, who's been longing for some glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C). Desi has a rare ability: with the help of "Royal Rouge," she can temporarily transform into the exact look-alike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras.... In this winning debut, one girl's dream of glamour transforms into the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.

No Place for Heroes: A Novel (from Goodreads):  During Argentina’s “Dirty War” of the late ’70s and early ’80s, Lorenza and Ramon, two passionate militants opposing Videla’s dictatorship, met and fell in love. Now, Lorenza and her son, Mateo, have come to Buenos Aires to find Ramon, Mateo’s father. Holed up in the same hotel room, mother and son share a common goal, yet are worlds apart on how they perceive it. For Lorenza, who came of age in the political ferment of the ’60s, it is intertwined with her past ideological and emotional anchors (or were they illusions?), while her postmodernist son, a child of the ’90s who couldn’t care less about politics or ideology, is looking for his actual  father—not the idea of a father, but the Ramon of flesh and blood.

Anything goes as this volatile pair battle it out: hilarious misunderstandings, unsettling cruelty, and even a temptation to murder. In the end, they begin to come to a more truthful understanding of each other and their human condition.

No Place for Heroes is an addition to that long tradition of the eternal odd couple—in works ranging from Waiting for Godot to Kiss of the Spider Woman—waiting for their fortunes to change, written by one of the most talented and internationally celebrated authors at work today.

Now, on to the reviews:

Review: I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

From Goodreads:   
Girl meets boy.Girl loses boy.
Girl gets boy back...
...sort of.

Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

My take:  This novel is beautifully crafted, written in verse.  It's written in such a tight fashion that I read it in two sittings of about a half-hour each.  But don't let the speed fool you.  This story is a continuous emotional ride.  Every word has shade and substance enough to redirect your emotional compass.  It's been a long time since I've read a book so beautifully written and so powerful that I cried.   It is truly an amazing read.

WARNING:  This is not a book to be read in a park, on a train, while driving, in the library, at your friend's house (although, your boyfriend's place might be okay if you want to induce extra snuggling), or any other public venue.  You will cry.

The bottom line:  You must read this book!

Want to know more?  Check out this interview with Lisa Schroeder.

Review/Rant:  The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

From Goodreads: Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood... life before she became a vampire.

All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don't draw attention to yourself and, above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.

Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as "her". As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?

My take: Stephenie Meyer said recently that she was burnt out on vampires.  After reading this, so am I.  Well, her breed of vampires, anyway.  While this novella was surely not written of the fly in the past six months to be released—coincidentally—just in time for the release of Eclipse, I can't help but wonder if this was past of the idea eighteen months ago or two years ago, following the instant success of Twilight.

I don't know what I was expecting.  This novella doesn't have the tortured, forbidden romance or the overwhelming fear of impending doom, or, hell!, even a suspenseful, surprise ending—unless you haven't already read Eclipse, in which case I wonder why you're reading Bree Tanner.  Anyway, Meyer's writing style is consistent throughout her four Twilight novels and this novella and, well, as was well put by Alan Rinzler, some people are great writers and others are great storytellers (he mentions Myers (sic) specifically).

While I do not contest that Meyer is a great storyteller—I love Twilight as much as the next vampire junkie—I did not connect to Bree's story at all.  In Twilight et al, I can connect with Bella.  I don't necessarily have to like her, or agree with her actions, but having two X chromosomes and having been to high school and remembering what it's like to fall in love really puts us on the same plane.  On the other hand, I've never been a vampire, I've never seen myself sparkle in daylight, I've never bounded through trees so that someone else wouldn't catch my scent, I've never fallen in love with someone while hiding in a cave, and, well, I've never eaten anyone.  Call me petty, but I couldn't find the love or sympathy for Bree anywhere inside me.  And I wanted to.

I wanted to like the latest addition to the Twilight Saga.  But, sadly, I feel like it's simply a rushed marketing tool to help up the ticket sales at the box office—as if they needed any help!  Twi-hards have long memories, just like their vampires.  They wouldn't have forgotten to see the movie, folks, I promise.

Anything positive?  Sure.  I really appreciated that the whole Twilight team decided to put the e-book online for free, even if it was only for a limited time.  If I had paid for this, I would have been upset and not simply disappointed.  Of course, that's also part of the marketing tool, right?  Make it available to as many people as possible right before the movie....

I need to stop.

My not-so-humble bottom line:  This one should have stayed on the shelf.

PS—None of my complaining will keep me from seeing the new movie.


Maria said...

I definitely didn't think it was her best effort, but she says she wrote it for the Twiilght guide and it got too long. She then made it available for free online to her fans and when it came out for purchase it was pretty cheap and a portion of each sale went to charity. I had pretty low expectations of this book going into it. For me, it was actually better than I anticipated. It left me wanting to know more about Fred!

RosieC said...

I remember hearing something about the Twilight guide, but I didn't know that proceeds went to charity. I didn't have very high expectations, either, but I was just kind of bored through the whole thing, and I'm still kind of annoyed by the timing. I'm not sure why it bugs me so much, but it does.

Yeah, Fred was kind of interesting, but unless it's a hundred-year-old, jail-bait-aged vamp with messy reddish hair, I think I might pass for a little while :)

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