May 25th, 2010

Pale Pink Rose

Book 17: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Here is book seventeen from my Book List 2010. The link leads to a more detailed review in my journal.

17. Title: Princess of the Midnight Ball
Author: Jessica Day George © 2009
Pages: 272
Thoughts: Link
Review in five words or less: Inconsistent actions; beautifully descriptive writing.
Personal Rating: «««½ out of five.

This book is a retelling of the classic fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. George's book uses many of the details and plot points of the original, but adds richness and depth by expanding on the story. In this version, a war between kingdoms has just ended, and Galen, a career soldier, seeks refuge with family members he has never met.

Galen's uncle is the king's head gardener and the uncle gives Galen a job tending to the plants in the royal garden. He meets Princess Rose, the eldest of the king's twelve daughters and forms an attachment. However, there is a mystery surrounding the princesses, one that is dangerous and deadly to those who try to uncover the secrets. No one knows that the princesses have been cursed to dance each night for King Under Stone in his palace deep beneath the earth.

While I liked this book for the most part, I found a few inconsistent actions by the characters that were really distracting. Unfortunately, these actions directly affected the plot and in doing so, I felt that they weakened the story a bit. George does have beautifully descriptive writing and I loved many of the details in the book which evoked strong imagery. I also liked the Galen character; he was strong, sensitive, and highly intuitive.

Recommended to those who like fairy tale retellings.

17 / 50 books. 34% done!

5814 / 15,000 pages. 39% done!
Dead Dog Cat

#34, 35, 36, 37, 38

I got several books done, yesterday and today. They're all Osprey books, elst I wouldn't have been able to read them so fast.

First was Campaign #122: Tannenberg 1410: Disaster for the Teutonic Knights, poor quality art. Second was Elite #178: Hatamoto: Samurai Horse and Foot Guards 1540 - 1724, good information and art. Third was Elite #167: Scottish Renaissance Armies 1513 - 1550, good art, interesting background information. Fourth was Campaign #204: The Second Crusade 1148: Disaster Outside Damascus, poor quality art, fair information, good maps, interesting photography at the battle sites. Fifth was Fortress #73: Hittite Fortifications c.1650 - 700 BC, good graphics, off beat topic about which I knew only a little.
Reading feet

Books 9 - 19

I really should have done this forever ago. Now it's been almost 4 months since my last book entry, and I don't have as strong feelings about the earlier books as I did when I read them. Nor, in all cases, do I remember what those feelings WERE! Not only that, but I'm positive that there is at least one book, if not two, missing from this list. Library books - I misplaced the receipts listing the books, and the library does not keep track of what books I've borrowed. But I know in at least one case I borrowed three books, but can only remember two. And I think that happened one other time as well. I'm consoling myself with the thought that if I can't remember them, they probably sucked.

To be less annoying, I'll list the book titles, authors, genres and ratings first, then put the reviews under a cut.

rating scale9. A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance: Portrait of an Age, by William Manchester. Non-fiction. 4
10. The Cartoon History of the United States, by Larry Gonick. Non-fiction, graphical. 2.5
11. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi. Memoirs/biography, graphical. 4
12. Killing Mr. Griffin, by Lois Duncan. Teen Fiction. 2.5
13. Julie and Romeo get Lucky, by Jeanne Ray. Fiction/Romance. 2
14. Little Bee, by Chris Cleave. Fiction. 5
15. Red Rocket 7, by Mike Allred. Science Fiction, graphical. 3
16. Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague, by Geraldine Brooks. Historical Fiction. 4.5
17. Daughter of Fortune, by Isabel Allende. Historical Fiction. 3
18. The Dress Lodger, by Sheri Holman. Historical Fiction. 4
19. Priestess of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana L. Paxson. Fantasy/Spiritual/Historical Fiction. 3

Collapse )

Books 20 - 22

Book 20
I'll Mature When I'm Dead - Dave Barry

The essay on men versus women is a bit flat, even for Dave Barry. And that is my sole criticism for this book, which is a showcase of comedy writing in episodic stages.
In fact, I thought I would love it for no other reason than the essay, "A Practical, Workable Plan for Saving the Newspaper Business (I Sure Don't Have One). Too much to go into now, but brilliant and sadly hilarious.
But actually, the parody chapter of Twilight, "Fangs of Endearment," could be one of his best pieces ever.
I recommend. Times twenty. Unless you hate to laugh. Then maybe check out Carlos Mencia.

Book 21
Strip - Thomas Perry

The formula is your basic thriller plot line: an innocent man, wrongly targeted by a vicious gangster, trying to outfox the bad guy. But in this case, nothing is what it seems. The innocent man is innocent of a particular crime but hardly defenseless or helpless. And the gangster, it turns out, is far more human and kind than Bad Guy typecasting requires.
Even better than the wonderfully drawn characters - like the bigamous police lieutenant trying to sort it all out - is the ending. Plot lines be damned. The twists are truly unique and cleverly done. I grabbed this for in-flight reading based on its slim size, but I suspect Perry will be on my booklist again soon...

Book 22
This Is Not the Story You Think It Is - Laura Munson

A main problem of the New Thought church of spirituality is the innate selfishness. Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism have taught the concept of non-attachment for far longer, and with more reason. New Thought suggests they all fall short of the ideal: to respond positively and joyously even when confronted with hurt is true enlightenment.
This is where Laura Munson, the spoiled rich girl who grew up to believe that shedding her housekeepers and personal trainer was deep sacrifice, lives.
Her husband came home one day to tell her, "I don't love you. I'm not sure I ever did." And first in an essay for the New York Times' Modern Love column, and then in this book, Munson explains her New Age answer, "I don't buy it."
Munson proceeds to tell us she chose not to accept her husband's statement because, having nearly reached enlightenment, she has decided to give up suffering. She then becomes a martyr for her cause, to remain married. She isn't suffering when her husband pulls away. Sadness is a choice, and the only real choice to make is to choose freedom.
Yes, her version of freedom is for her husband to choose to come back home and love his wife again.
Reason would dictate that a commitment to non-suffering and freedom for her husband would be to give him the freedom he asks. But that is not the New Thought way.
Instead, New Thought requires her to journal daily about her sacrifice and deeper understanding of what her husband needs. And were that not enough, it is very important to remind readers several times that you are a Writer (who likes to "make beautiful things") despite a pile of rejection letters from your 14 previous attempts at a book.
The self indulgent and selfishness ultimately triumphs, as it does often in daily life. But that doesn't make Munson's writing ring any more true. And having landed a publisher, and published a book, does not make you a Writer.
Harsh, perhaps. But see, I did not commit to giving up suffering, or else I'd never have finished his waste of time called her debut book.
did you know you could fly?

(no subject)

Book #30 -- Glenn Dakin, Candle Man, Book One: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance, 300 pages.

Kind of like a steam-punky version of a cross between Sherlock Holmes and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Quite fun.

Book #31 -- A. M. Jenkins, Night Road, 362 pages.

A very different type of vampire novel. A gritty and surprisingly realistic look at growing up, and what makes us human.

Progress toward goals: 143/365 = 39.2%

Books: 31/100 = 31.0%

Pages: 8196/30000 = 27.3%

2010 Book List

cross-posted to 15000pages, 50bookchallenge, and gwynraven