Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A New Favorite Author, I'm Pretty Sure

First I'll admit it...I am a newbie to Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Despite owning maybe three of her previous novels, this bibliophile just hadn't made the push to pick one up until Call Me Irresistible arrived. And now that I've finished it, I can promise you this: I'll be rooting out those other books and putting them on a special shelf so that I can easily grab one the next time I'm in a slump or I need a pick-me-up.

Apparently incorporating several characters from previous books, Call Me Irresistible is the story of Meg Koranda, daughter of famous parents and perennial floater through life; Meg arrives in Wynette, Texas, to be in the wedding of her best friend Lucy, but it only takes her a few moments to know that Ted is not the man for Lucy, despite all his stellar reviews and overall goodness. When the two break up, Meg's blamed by all and she's eager to leave town, but unfortunately her parents and family have chosen that time to force her to stand on her own two feet and she no longer has the means to leave. Being the town pariah is bad enough, but when Meg encounters Ted, sparks fly, though neither will admit it. Mixed into the mess is millionaire Spence Skipjack and his daughter Sunny; Wynette's desperate to land Spence's money to build a new golf resort, and his interest in Meg and Sunny's interest in Ted further complicates everything. Fireworks ensue.

Fun, fun, fun...light and breezy, there's nothing deep or soul searching in Call Me Irresistible, but it certainly came along at the exact moment I most needed this sort of book. The "romance" (if you can call it that...the two lovebirds keep insisting there is none) experiences its bumps and turns, though of course it's all very predictable. I did get a little bogged down trying to sort all the townspeople though that's probably my fault for not having read previous books beforehand. But Phillips' light style makes this an easy read, and even if I did get a little frustrated with all the denials of interest, I can definitely say I'll be dipping back into Phillips' works. I think I've found a new favorite author.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

In the third book in the Iron Fey series, Meghan Chase, half-breed daughter of King Oberon of the Summer Fey, would like nothing better than to return to her old life in the human world after being banished from Faery. The fact that her boyfriend, Ash, son of the Winter Queen, is with her eases any secret longing she might have had to remain behind. But it's never quite that easy for Meghan; before she can reunite with her mortal mother and brother, it quickly becomes obvious that the Iron Fey and the false king are going to continue to pursue her, no matter where she might be. So begins the journey to discover how she can finally defeat the Iron King once and for all and save the Nevernever from being decimated by its poison. Along with Puck and Grimalkin, Meghan, having defeated Machina, knows that she alone has the power to overcome the evil that is invading her father's world, and the quartet set out to vanquish the false king.

There's lots of emotion pounded into this book: Meghan reunites with the only father she's ever known in quite tragic circumstances, her love for Ash is tested, and Puck's seeming betrayal threatens their friendship early on. But even more than that, it's the sense of dread and the overwhelming fatigue that make Meghan's quest so real. Kagawa fills the novel well with atmosphere and creatures, and the impending doom that surrounds all decisions permeates everything. You just know it can't end well when Ash is deathly allergic to iron and that's the one element Meghan must battle in order to save Faery.

This entry in the series is well written and riveting, particularly as time runs out and Meghan realizes precisely what is going to happen. There's a lot of character development; it's good to see a relationship growing and also to see Meghan come to understand her full value. I particularly loved the resolution Ms. Kagawa came up with, feeling it made perfect sense and was well executed. There were a few times I did feel the story dragged slightly, but generally this was a good, solid read that has left me waiting for the Iron Knight. The world of Faery is well developed and engrossing, and I thoroughly enjoy my time spent there!


Monday, February 07, 2011

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Vixen is set in 1920s Chicago, a time when liquor was outlawed and only outlaws had liquor; a time when young women were beginning to discover the power they could wield in society; a time when the rich had the world at their feet but didn't quite know what to do with it. Thus we come to know Gloria Carmody, good girl extraordinaire, seventeen and engaged to the dashing Bastian Grey, longing to break out of the mold and experience life. All it takes is one illicit visit to a speakeasy, and her life is changed forever when she sees a black pianist who makes her heart sing in a way her fiancee never could.

Gloria's world is populated by her best friend Lorraine, who secretly lusts for Marcus, a playboy who is like a brother to Gloria, and Gloria's "country" cousin Clara, recently come to Chicago to help plan the wedding...or has she? Because no one is as they seem and appearances must be upheld at all times, even over happiness.

There is nothing deep about Vixen; it's sort of a 1920s version of many television shows currently popular. It would, in fact, be fairly easy to pick the book apart if I were so inclined: Gloria falls madly in love with the pianist without so much as talking to him; he is a young black man, which in this time and place would have meant both of them being ostracized if they embarked on a relationship, yet Gloria is willing to give up her life for someone she's known just a few weeks (I suppose that's the cynic in me coming out); Bastian is so typically evil as to be a caricature; Clara's past catches up to her way too easily and publicly. Mostly, had I read the word "flapper" one more time, I might've been forced to do physical harm to the next person I saw simply to take out my frustration. But despite its flaws, it is crammed full of atmosphere and fun, with plenty of emphasis on fashion and young, privileged lives spiraling out of control. The ending alone makes the book worth the read; naturally, I'm waiting for the sequel to find out where all this mess is headed. Perfect brain candy, and that's never a bad thing.