5/5 stars – loved it!
Sometimes a book is written so enchantingly that it draws you in and fully immerses you in the story from the very first page. The act of reading a book like this becomes an experience in itself. I feel this way about Chris Wooding, Jeff VanderMeer, and Francesca Lia Block. There’s some kind of magical quality to the prose, and it doesn’t matter if what’s going on makes perfect sense, or is explained in perfect details. The details that exist paint a perfect enough picture. It’s enough to believe in the magic of the story, of the world being set up, and like a fairy tale, you just go with it and let it sweep you away.
Reading The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff was like that. The description is lovely and visual, evoking imagery that is by turns bright and dark, sharp and dull, creepy and beautiful. The novel is mostly told through the eyes of Daphne, the half-demon and half-fallen angel daughter of Lilith and Lucifer. She lives in Pandemonium, a city in Hell marked by metal, heat and permanence. Daphne is bored, lonely, and, most of all, terrified that she will turn out like her succubus sisters who prey on the lost young men of Earth. Sitting in her apartment, she watches old movies and surrounds herself with colorful artifacts leftover from others’ past lives, wishing for something more.
5/5 stars – loved it!
Mary lives in a village surrounded by the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Within the village, the Sisterhood takes care of everything and the Guardians maintain the fence that encloses them. No one has ever been outside the village because the forest is full of the Unconsecrated, and the Unconsecrated are always hungry for living human flesh.
Raised on fairy tales of the outside world, Mary has a hard time keeping the faith the Sisterhood preaches. She knows there is something beyond the forest, that there is the ocean. After all, she’s seen a photograph of her many times great-grandmother on the beach, before the Return. Before the Unconsecrated rose.
When tragedy strikes her family, Mary’s life undergoes many changes. It tears her up inside, living a life that was given to her, not the one she has chosen. She begins to learn that the Sisterhood is keeping secrets, and curiosity consumes her, even though it might also destroy her. She is also consumed with desire for the one guy who is completely off-limits to her.
And then the fence is breached. And Mary, who has struggled with her beliefs, must allow her faith to lead her along the only path left.
We’re joined today by author Kate McMurray, who has a spooky new book out. Take it away, Kate!
I’m agnostic about ghosts.
I spent nearly every summer of my childhood at summer camp. The last one I attended had legends about ghosts who lived in the woods, and I remember being nine or ten years old and whispering “Bloody Mary” into the mirror in the girl’s room just to see what would happen. I went through a phase when I was maybe fourteen when my best friend acquired a ouija board and had me convinced that the spirit of a teenager who died in 1963 could tell me whether the boy I had a crush on liked me back. Not long ago, I got sucked into some TV show on haunted hotels that was utterly fascinating, and I found myself wondering if I could stay at one or if the prospect of ghosts would freak me out. And I often think, well, ghosts and hauntings probably aren’t real, but there are just enough weird things reported that maybe…
(This review is by guest blogger Erin!)
I like a lot of angst in my romance. Not in a gratuitous way—not angst for angst’s sake—but I want a really juicy conflict. I want to feel all the turmoil going on between the characters. I want the conflict to be substantial, too, not just “Oh, does he like me?” but “he likes me and I like him but there are fifteen reasons this can’t possibly work.”
Dance with Me certainly delivers on that level. It’s an opposites-attract story between two people with a lot of baggage. Ed is a former semipro football player whose career was derailed by a neck injury. He has a desk job he doesn’t like and suffers from chronic pain related to the injury. Laurie is a former professional dancer who gave up his career after a humiliating incident at a competition (more on that later). They meet because they both volunteer as teachers at a local community center. They argue, mostly over the music Laurie keeps pumping over the sound system, and things come to a head when Ed begs Laurie to turn off the thumping beats, offering to do anything, and Laurie stops the music (ha) on the condition that Ed be his assistant in a ballroom dance class he teaches. Ed agrees.
As September comes to an end, I decided to make a note of all of the books I finished this month, as well as the next books on my to-read list.
In September 2011, I finished 6 books (it was a busy month):
- Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare
- A Lady of Persuasion by Tessa Dare
- A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior by Suzanne Enoch
- The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
- The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley
- Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
Yes, all historical romances, and all from the NYPL. As a result, I haven’t made a dent in the mountain of books I picked up at a book fair in CT a few weeks ago. I’m going to the Brooklyn Public Library tomorrow to drop off some books for their book drive, but they’re also having a $1 book sale, which might be dangerous. Since I’ve been going to the library so much lately, my immediate TBR pile has been fully comprised of books I’ve borrowed.
Next on my to-read list:
- Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean
- This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
- Divergent by Veronica Roth
- Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
I’m really excited about finding Divergent at the library today. I’ve heard so many great things about it from friends. Also, I just realized that this is the end of the first month of this blog. (Technically I started it in August, but I only made an introduction post.) So THANK YOU to everyone who has stumbled upon Parenthetical Observations and taken a look at what I have to say.
And now I want to hear from you: What’s on your TBR?
A Lady of Persuasion (The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy #3) by Tessa Dare
Mass Market Paperback, 345 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Ballantine Books
Book rating: 4/5 stars
Trilogy rating: 4/5 stars
(This review has some spoilers for the previous books. Nothing that you couldn’t guess, but I recommend reading the series in order.)
Isabel Grayson is a half-British and half-Spanish beauty, born and raised in the West Indies and newly arrived in London. It’s her first season, and Bel is determined to find a husband – and fast. Her main goal in life is to help those less fortunate than herself, and nothing makes her happier than devoting all of her time and energy to charity. After all, it’s the only way she knows to channel the fiery passion that burns within her, a passion she fears is too like the madness that ripped her mother apart. With a sizable dowry provided by her older brother, Benedict “Gray” Grayson (you’ll remember him and his new bride Sophia from Surrender of a Siren), she just needs a titled, principled husband to turn her into a true lady of influence.
Sir Toby Aldridge is not exactly titled – or principled – enough for her charitable needs, but as far as Bel is concerned he’s the most handsome man in London, and he makes her all hot and bothered. He’s also a favorite of the gossip rags, a fact which, as he points out, can only help her causes. So when the “Rake Reborn” promises to run for office in his borough and proposes to her in a very public setting, she accepts.
Surrender of a Siren (The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy #2) by Tessa Dare
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Ballantine Books
Sophia Hathaway is a beautiful heiress all set to marry a suitable fiancé. She has done everything right, according to society’s standards. That is, until she runs off with a portion of her (rather large) inheritance, a fake name, and a forged letter stating her upcoming governess position in the West Indies.
(This review is by guest blogger Erin!)
(Note: there are some mild spoilers in this review.)
The set up is basically every Regency romance you’ve ever read: the hero is a rake with daddy issues who beds lots of women and reacts to any dare as if he were Marty McFly being called a chicken. His father, a duke, informs him early in the novel that he is required to produce an heir and thus will be marrying an on-the-shelf spinster with a well-respected father, and he’s to get right on that heir producing if he doesn’t want to get cut off. Luckily, said spinster turns out to be kind of a spitfire, albeit a plain-looking one, and when the hero meets her, he basically thinks, Well, okay, I don’t want to get married, but if I have to, she’s all right. Maybe this is not a sweeping declaration of love, but we’re not quite a third of the way into the book.
The story picks up again two years later, at which time our plucky former spinster has produced the required heir and has a spare on the way. While fireworks don’t exactly go off when our hero and heroine are in a room together, they have forged an easy friendship and the hero very clearly adores his young son. Things proceed, perhaps a little on the boring side, until the heroine’s brother comes back from the war. And then things get interesting.
Goddess of the Hunt (The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy #1) by Tessa Dare
Mass Market Paperback, 374 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by Ballantine Books
I should preface this review by saying I did NOT know this was the name of the trilogy when I began reading it. I read Surrender of a Siren (#2) first, after downloading it from the NYPL onto my iPhone, and then found A Lady of Persuasion (#3) on the library shelf a few months later. After reading those, I ordered this on the NYPL website. (Support your local library!) I actually do wish I’d read them in order, because main characters from the next two books figure prominently in Goddess of the Hunt.
Lucy Waltham has been chasing after her brother and his friends for years. Every autumn the guys get together to hunt and fish, and Lucy’s just one of the guys. But now Lucy is almost 20, and one by one the dudes are getting married. When Lucy finds out that Toby, the man of her adolescent dreams, is about to propose to his friend’s sister-in-law, she knows this is her last chance to catch Toby’s attention.