Sunday, December 28, 2014

Love and Drowning

Sometimes I like to trawl through Buzzfeed Books.  Their content is hit or miss, but I like the articles they pull together with 20 books for cranky people, or 5 books to read before the movie comes out, or any combination of various numbers of books that meet various off-the-wall conditions.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that Buzzfeed recently had an article called "20 Under 40 Debut Writers You Need to Be Reading."  I added quite a few to my "books to look for" shelf in Goodreads.  Then, as I was in the local library for an unrelated reason, I saw one sitting there on the new arrivals shelf, just waiting to be checked out.

This book is set in the U.S. Virgin Islands, both before and after the islands become a U.S. territory.  I have had a bit of an interest in Caribbean literature after visiting the DR and reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, so this book fit right into that groove and pulled me out of making a final push toward finishing my 2014 Challenge books.

This is mostly the story of two sisters, but it's also about how Virgin Island society changes as tourists, cars, TVs, and American-style racism show up on the islands.

There's a strong mystical bent to the story.  People move between myth and supernatural activities and normal day-to-day life without much comment.  Annette, the main character, has a wonderful, strong, unique voice.  She and her sister Eeona are elemental.  They take action based on urges, compulsions, and fate, despite rational thought warning them away.  Annette speaks and thinks in a strange English, she makes the words bend to her.

I am not whole-heartedly endorsing Land because I am not sure I understand a major facet of the book, the thematic element that blends together and confuses familial and romantic love.  

Final Call:

That being said, I do recommend this book, strongly.  The author does a wonderful job of capturing the relationship between people and their homelands.  At catching racial nuances.  She weaves a spell and its worth getting caught up in it.  At the end, I actually missed being in a place I have never physically been!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fevre Dream

This is George R.R. Martin, of Game of Thrones fame, but well before he became a household name.  And let me tell you, this book is like a really really quick version of Game of Thrones.

First, the basics of the story are really engaging.  The setting is a knock out.  You meet a lot of interesting characters, and a lot of intriguing action occurs.  And then.  And then.

The plot doesn't go well for the good guys.  They disperse.  They take FOREVER getting their acts together.  When they do get their ducks in a row, their victories are anticlimactic.  Sound familiar?

Actually, it probably doesn't, because Game of Thrones still is not this far along in its development.  After TWENTY YEARS of real life writing time.

At least this is all one volume.  

Final call:


Imagine Mark Twain's Mississippi River, only with vampires.  And Martin is really honing his knack for making you feel uncomfortable in this story.  If you like babies at all, you really should skip a few chapters in the middle altogether.

But in the end, Abner is a great character, Martin has an incredible gift for dialogue, and this is still way better than most. 

Don't Tempt Me

I am still on the fluff train.  Loretta Chase writes romance.  Better romance than a lot of folks, but still romance.  Don't Tempt Me is more or less ridiculous, given its basic plot premise, but the entertainment level is still decent.

This book is basically cotton candy, all fun and no substance.  Don't let that stop you, but don't let it rot your brain, either  :)

Final call:

This may be cheesy romance, but at least its pretty good cheesy romance!