Title: When the Cypress Whispers
Author: Yvette Manessis Corporon
Source: from publisher for TLC Book Tour
Review Summary: I wanted to love this book, with its great insight into Greek culture, beautiful setting, and decent writing, but I couldn’t understand the main character and disliked both the ending and the message I felt this book was promoting.
After the death of her husband and her parents, Daphne forgets about happiness and about her Greek heritage. However, she eventually gets engaged again and returns to Erikousa to visit her Yia-yia (grandmother) before getting married. While there she learns about her surprising family history and is inspired by her grandmother’s strength. She also realizes how much family and her Greek heritage mean to her. Continue reading
Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon - April 26th
Basically this event is an excuse to do what we’ve all secretly wanted to do and completely blow off the world for a day and just read. Last year I stayed up for all 24 hours and it was fantastic. Recommendations for having a good time include: periodic breaks to get snacks and stretch, some short books, and participation in mini-challenges and twitter chats. Sign-ups are here.
Title: Northanger Abbey
Author: Val McDermid
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: Like the original, this book doesn’t have much of a plot or a proactive protagonist, but I liked that it was more atmospheric than the original and strongly disliked the changes to the ending.
The plot for this book is identical to the original Northanger Abbey. In fact, the book is basically just the original, modernized sentence by sentence. Surprisingly, I really liked that about it. I didn’t love the original book. I probably wouldn’t re-read the first book. Yet something about a retelling that just changes the setting while staying otherwise true to the source material appeals to me. This does, of course, mean that the plot was still largely nonexistent. Unlike Joanna Trollope’s writing in the Sense and Sensibility retelling for the Austen project, Val McDermid’s writing didn’t match how I imagine Austen would write if she were alive today. However, she did keep the writing tricks I liked the most from Austen’s writing in Northanger Abbey. This included her humorous under-selling of the heroine, her occasional breaking of the fourth wall, and her impassioned speeches in defense of the novel. Continue reading
I’m super excited to announce this read-along! This will be the first read-along I’ve hosted and I think All You Need Is Kill has a lot of great things going for it. It’s a work of translated fiction (originally written in Japanese), which is something I’d love to read more of to experience a diversity of writing styles and to get a feel for different cultures. It’s part of a manga genre targeted at young men, so I’m excited to bring some diversity to the readership of this book. It’s also being made into a movie, so it’s the perfect book for participants in my Book to Movie challenge to pick up. And it’s a short book, clocking in at just 200 pages with large text, so it shouldn’t be too hard to fit in even for those of us with full reading schedules. Speaking of schedules, here’s the schedule for the read-along: Continue reading
Title: The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
Author: Susan Gloss
Source: PaperBack Swap
Review Summary: I thought A.J. Jacobs might be too irreverent for me, so I was surprised to find his passion for knowledge and success both relatable and fascinating.
The Know-It-All is a classic stunt memoir, in which author A.J. Jacobs attempts to read the entire print version of the Encyclopedia Britannica… all 33,000 pages of it. Organized by letter, A.J. shares fun facts he learned in each section as well as words that were relevant to his life while he was reading. This included things relating to everything from his job to his attempts to have baby, from his drive to accomplish something to his relationship with his father. Along the way, he also explores the nature of intelligence, testing different definitions with activities like joining Mensa and auditioning for Jeopardy. Continue reading
Title: Northanger Abbey
Author: Jane Austen
Source: free from Amazon
This may make me a disgrace to Jane Austen fandom, but Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice have always been fairly interchangeable in my mind. They’re just so similar! So, even though I love them both dearly, I was initially very excited to start this book and find something a bit different. As always, I adored Austen’s writing style and her pointed humor. In this book, she very deliberately breaks the tropes of the Gothic novel, with funny asides about the genre along the way. Her points are made clearly enough that I could tell what she was making fun of in Gothic novels, even though I’ve read very few myself. However, as I got further into the book, it soon became clear that there was essentially no plot and the main character isn’t very bright. Although she does grow a bit, she has very little agency. Nearly all of the difficulties she faces are in her head or at least blown all out of proportion. I didn’t really feel that this silly main protagonist deserved the intelligent, funny, kind love interest. In typical Austen fashion though, everything just works itself out in the last few pages. This doesn’t typically bother me, but in this case, there wasn’t enough action by the main character preceding the speedy resolution. Only Austen’s wonderful writing saved this for me. Continue reading
Title: The Impaler Legacy Omnibus
Author: Ioana Visan
Source: from author for review
Since this is a collection of several novellas and short stories, I’ve decided to break from my usual format and do short, bulleted reviews for each title in the collection. In this series, the author imagines a world in which vampires coexist with human everywhere except Romania. The absence of vampires is the responsibility of The Little Council, including Liana Cantacuzino and other descendants of Romanian families with some natural resistance to vampiric powers. When the president requests that Liana help sneak a vampire into Romania, the secrets she learns will forever change the way Romanians interact with vampires. Continue reading