Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 18 and 19 - 2010

Book 18: Aphrodite’s Blessings: Love Stories from the Greek Myths by Clemence McLaren – 202 pages

Description from Amazon:
In this trilogy of love stories Greek myths expertly retold with a feminist slant McLaren (Waiting for Odysseus) brings to life three heroines, Atalanta, Andromeda and Psyche, and shows how each obtains a worthy mate. Romance links the stories, but it is not of the hearts-and-flowers variety. Themes regarding the repression of women and their secret yearnings for independence add an element of sharpness even as happy endings prevent these sagas from becoming unpleasantly bitter. In "Running from Love," for example, Atalanta's athletic skills and unorthodox views earn her a reputation as "a freak of nature." Caring more about self-preservation than others' opinions, she literally outruns her suitors to avoid the prison of marriage. Andromeda and Psyche are less rebellious. They reluctantly succumb to grim fates of loveless unions until supernatural forces unexpectedly intervene. McLaren endows her classical protagonists with new dimensions, making them vulnerable yet courageous, compassionate yet steel-willed. She artfully preserves the ambience of myth while offering an insightful glimpse of women struggling in a male-dominated world. A thoughtful afterword explores the status of upper-class women in real-life ancient Greece, identifies some of McLaren's sources and explains her variations on them.

This book was on my to-read list for a while and I’d ordered it from the library only to have not received it six months later – a quick email to the library revealed that the book had been lost (nice of them to tell me). So I did some more hunting and finally managed to buy a copy from book depository. And I’m glad I did, because not only was it a great little read, but it revealed another ‘clue’ to me. Now you may ask what I mean by ‘clue’. And I will tell you. Now while I’ve been writing my own book, I have constantly been on the look out for clues – little things in real life that tell me I’m on the right track with my story. And in this book I spotted one in the story about Psyche. The fact that one of my characters has the middle name Psyche was already rather significant to me, but then part way through the story, Psyche mentions a girl called Adrasta. What’s significant about that you ask? Oh, Adrasta just happens to be my main character’s given name. Yep, so maybe a bit lame, but it meant a lot to me! Having said that, the actual story itself is pretty cute – young, written more for 12-15 year olds than me at 23, but I enjoyed it all the same.

18 / 50 books. 36% done!

5796 / 15000 pages. 39% done!

Book 19: Goddess of the Sea by P.C. Cast – 344 pages

Description from Amazon:
After her plane crashes into the sea, an Air Force Sergeant finds herself occupying the body of the mythic mermaid Undine – and falling for a sexy merman.

This is the first in P.C. Cast’s Goddess Summoning series, the series she was working on before the vampire phenomenon took off and she started writing the House of Night series. Personally, I’ll always be a goddess/god/mermaid/merman/centaur/alien person. Werewolves and vampires have never really done it for me – probably because they’re so…trendy…and conventional. But oh well, back to the book. So this is the first in the Goddess Summoning series where ordinary woman summon goddesses and become embroiled in love affairs with unusual men – in this instance, a merman. This book’s got rave reviews on Amazon but it was a pretty standard romance novel to me – the main character was pedestrian, she fell for the love interest easily despite little previous romantic experience and despite a reasonably clever ending, it never really felt like it was stretching all that much. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, it just didn’t quite hit me the same way Elphame’s Choice and Brighid’s Quest did. I have the next two in the series, Goddess of Spring and Goddess of Light, so I intend to keep going though I may postpone them for awhile as I’d like to take out a few other books first.

19 / 50 books. 38% done!

6140 / 15000 pages. 41% done!

Still catching up – and failing!

Currently reading:
- The Constant Princess
by Philippa Gregory – 486 pages
- Angels and Demons
by Dan Brown – 620 pages
- How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 days
by Susan Grant – 377 pages

And coming up:
- The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls – 341 pages
- She’s Such a Geek: Women write about Science, Technology & other nerdy stuff
edited by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders – 223 pages
- The Boleyn Inheritance
by Philippa Gregory – 514 pages
Tags: love, myth and legend, romance

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