Monthly Archives: February 2013

Book Review : Fire

Title : Fire Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)

Author : Kristin Cashore

Publisher : Dial Books

Publication Date : October 5th, 2009

Pages : 461

Stand Alone or Series : #2 in the Graceling series BUT this is a companion novel rather than a sequel so you could read it without reading the other books.

How obtained : ebook from the library

Three Words : fantasy world, character driven, intrigue

Red Flags : frank depiction of sex, violence and gore, no language

Summary (from Goodreads):  It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men. This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own. Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there’s more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren’t afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

My Take : Can I just say that I love Kristin Cashore! I love her so much I want to marry her and have her babies or possibly just lock her up in a basement forcing her to write fantasy novels forevermore ( I’m kidding!) This book was so fantastic, I love, love, loved it. Okay, I’ll stop gushing and actually tell you why I loved it. First, this is NOT a sequel to the Graceling (click for my review) which I also very much enjoyed. That threw me off at first but then I started to enjoy the story so much I didn’t care. Fire is an interesting, flawed character. I enjoyed the concept that she was so beautiful that people were basically bewitched by her monster abilities but that this actually was a problem rather than an asset for her. Her father had these same powers but used them for the most evil depraved things so she is fraught with anxiety that she is going to turn out just like him. Then we meet Prince Brigan, who hates her instantly but also must admit that her powers are useful to the kingdom. He is stubborn and prideful but also kind, interesting, intelligent, and a fierce warrior. This is very much a character study that studies what it means to overcome your past, including having a crazy evil parent. Unlike many other fantasy novels, the romance isn’t necessarily central to the whole story but they actually spend some time on it and make it more than just instant attraction = love. I really cannot say enough about how much I liked this book and I can’t think of one bad thing to say about it.

Rating : 10 SHOES! (It happened again……)

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Filed under book review, Cashore; Kristin, fantasy, Fire, ten shoes, YA

Book Review : The Last Dragonslayer

Title : The Last Dragonslayer The Last Dragonslayer (The Last Dragonslayer, #1)

Author : Jasper Fforde

Publisher : Harcourt Children’s Books

Publish Date : October 2nd, 2012

Pages : 296

Stand Alone or Series : #1 in the The Last Dragonslayer Series (however each book is a stand alone story)

How Obtained : from the library

Three Words : witty, fantasy, YA

Red Flags : none really, small amounts of violence – I would recommend for older adolescent but only because many of the jokes, etc.. is intended for a more educated audience.

Summary : Jennifer Strange is a foundling working as an indentured servant for the Kazam Employment agency for magicians where she runs the every day business. Back in the day, magic was strong and magicians were well respected. Nowadays magic is disappearing and magicians are only hired for things like rewiring houses and unclogging drains. Suddenly, magicians everywhere are having visions that the LAST dragon will die at the hands of an unknown dragonslayer. Big Magic is coming and it will mean big changes for Kazam and Jennifer.

My Take : I love Jasper Fforde – every time I read one of his books I feel a little bit smarter. If you aren’t familiar with his writing style it is full of puns, literary references and whimsicality. He really is an author after my own heart- he loves fantasy and he loves books- what could be better. If you ARE familiar with Jasper Fforde, then go out and get this book. You will get your usual dose of interesting and fascinating new world, witty repartee and a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at the foibles of humans especially bureaucracy. This is a solid fantasy world complete with magicians, war, corporations, kings, a reluctant hero and a stalwart (although somewhat scary) sidekick. I loved Jennifer Strange, she is old beyond her years. She’s seen it all at Kazam and can be a little blase. Even though she has plenty of reason to want to better her situation she won’t do at the expense of anyone or anything. She does what is right. Plus she drives a Volkswagen Bug. It’s one of those books where you keep wondering “how is the hero going to get out this??” but when the ending does come you are like “Oh of course, how silly of me….” I highly recommend this book and if you haven’t had a chance – please go out and read Fforde’s awesome book The Eyre Affair. It is wonderful beyond words (plus it has Jane Eyre in it and we all know how much I love that book.)

Rating : Nine Shoes – Practically perfect.

Love,

Trina

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Friday Five : Five Things You SHOULD Be Doing at the Library

Some of you may know that I have a Master’s Degree in Library Science. Although my priority right now is to stay at home with my children, I hope to one day work as a librarian (or at the very least use my degree in some other manner).
So naturally I am an ardent supporter of the library – I love it and I am there at least once a week (if not more). Where else can you go and take away 10-15 books at a time and NOT HAVE TO PAY ANYTHING???? But I realize that not everybody loves the library as I do and you might not realize what the library has to offer…..so here is my list of five things that the library offers that you may not know about! (I live in Indianapolis and all of these things are available through IMCPL. Obviously some libraries may not offer these things depending on their size but I encourage you to ask….they may have other things available).

1) Putting items on hold –

Gone are the days of going to the library, spending twenty or thirty minutes desperately browsing the shelves and hoping something catches your eye, then getting it home and discovering you hate it. Now you can put items on hold and they send you an email letting you know it is at your home library branch waiting for you. Possibly even things that you read about on a delightful witty review blog 😉  If you are busy, it is so convenient because you just pop in and pick up your stuff. If you are like me and want to read about a million things, you will always get surprises – I’m always forgetting stuff I put on hold. Love.

2) DVDs –

Libraries have DVDs and BlueRays (some of them) on everything including popular movies, TV shows, exercise, crafts, etc…anything that is on DVD they have. I have Netflix so I don’t usually use this service but I am able to get exercise videos this way without having to waste my money when I inevitably don’t use it.

3) E-books and audiobooks

Yep, you can now download both ebooks and audiobooks directly from the library website to your device or into iTunes. Our library supports both EPUB and Kindle ebook formats. You can have them for 21 days and then it will expire on your device. I always check the library before I purchase a book I want to read – this has saved me a ton of money since I got my Kindle.

4) Programs –

I know, I know – sounds boring hanging out at the library… but they have SO many programs for every age and interest. Our library system is hosting : storytimes, dog communication classes, a celebration of Ray Bradbury, a workshop on diabetes, preschool yoga, book discussion clubs, sensory play discussion, how to pay for college, how to build a nonprofit organization, balloon twisting workshop, face painting workshop…..and that is just in the next couple of months. ALL FREE!

5) Downloading Music

This one I’m really excited about because I just discovered it but IMCPL has a new service called Freegal. It allows you to download three songs a week DIRECTLY to iTunes (and other music managers as well.) The list of what they have available changes every week but here is what I downloaded this week : Justin Timberlake “Suit and Tie”, Adele “Skyfall” and Adele “Chasing Pavements”. Amazing right???

#libraries

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Book Review : The Runaway King

Title : The Runaway King

Author : Jennifer A. Nielsen The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy, #2)

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Date Published : March 1st, 2013

Pages : 352

Stand Alone or Series : #2 in the Ascendance Trilogy

How Obtained : e-ARC courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

Three Words : adventurous, exciting, coming-of-age

Red Flags : none (appropriate for young to older adolescents)

***************WARNING!!!!!! This review contains unavoidable spoilers for the first book – The False Prince (click for my review). You have been warned!!

 

 

Summary : When last we saw Sage, he had just revealed that he was in fact the actual missing Prince Jaron, living in disguise and estrangement from his family. He has now divulged the secret to the kingdom and plans to take his rightful place on the throne. But it is never that simple, is it? First, there is an assassination attempt within the castle walls. It becomes abundantly clear that rumors of a neighboring country (one that is in allegiance with the PIRATES) getting ready for war may be more than rumors. Their country is woefully underprepared for war leaving Jaron with many hard decisions.  And now, Jaron’s council of regents don’t seem to believe that he is fit to be the king. What is the young king to do?? Jaron concocts a daring plan to rescue his kingdom that involves fleeing in disguise, joining the pirates and besting their king….easy, right??

My Take : Yeah!! I loved the False Prince so much so when I saw that this was available on NetGalley I jumped at the chance to read it before it was published. I am so glad that I did. What a fun and wonderful addition to the series!! First of all, the story was action-packed and full of adventure. Jaron is always getting into scrapes that he seemingly has no way out of but somehow he always manages to come out on top. Which brings me to the next thing that I loved about this book – Jaron!! I defy you to read this book and not fall a little bit in love with this reckless, daring, bold, adventurous, stubborn, intelligent, cunning man-child. We all know that I love a bad boy (with a heart of gold of course). He often does things that seem crazy and selfish and ridiculous but somehow it all turns out right in the end and that’s kinda the point, right? My only real issue with this book was the ending seemed a little bit too unrealistic….I won’t spoil it for you but it stretches the bounds of imagination. But honestly, the book is so much fun I find myself not caring that much….I honestly could not put it down. Great sequel and I can’t wait to read #3.

My Rating : eight and a half shoes – half shoe deduction for somewhat unrealistic ending.

Love ya,

Trina

 

 

 

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Filed under book review, eight and a half shoes, Nielsen;Jennifer, The Runaway King, YA

Book Review : Dead Time

Title : Dead Time

Author : Anne CassidyDead Time (The Murder Notebooks, #1)

Publisher : Walker & Company

Publish Date : May 22nd, 2012

Pages : 344

Stand Alone or Series : #1 in the Murder Notebooks Series

How Obtained : from the library

Three Words : mystery, YA, thriller

Summary : Five years ago, Rose’s mother and stepfather went out to dinner and never returned. Since that time, Rose has been either at boarding school or living with her strict, somewhat uptight grandmother in London. While trying to deal with the fact that her mom is GONE, she has also been unable to forget about the stepbrother that she lived with briefly – Joshua. On the night they decide to meet up again, Rose witnesses one of her classmates being murdered. She is completely shaken by the experience and meeting with Joshua only brings to the forefront, her desire to solve the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. Then she witnesses ANOTHER classmate getting murdered and she is determined to solve this mystery as well. When she and Joshua start investigating they realize that all of these things may be connected to their parents.  Is there a conspiracy? Who is committing these heinous murders?

My Take : I enjoyed this book – sort of. It was fast-paced and exciting. I was interested in the mystery and I couldn’t figure out who had done it till the end. I liked Rose. Many people criticized her for being a recluse and somewhat prickly in manner but I thought it fit in well with the character. She lost her mother and the man she looked to as a father figure, then she is torn away from the step-brother that she got attached to. That sort of thing has a tendency to make you not want to trust people.  However, I had a couple of issues with the book. There were a couple of times that my head said something to the effect of “Huh??” Occasionally she made choices that made me want to scream at the book ” CALL THE POLICE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!” The whole witnessing two murders thing without being able to tell who did it was somewhat crazy but ok – I’m able to suspend disbelief somewhat. My big issue with the book was the other “main” character – Joshua. I didn’t really like him all that much and not only that but I didn’t believe his character either. He was extremely nice and caring but then doesn’t want to include her in some things but then when she is upset gets even more upset with her and then back to being nice again. Who is like that? I’m all for conflicted characters but you have to give him some more personality then just swinging wildly from nice to upset. Then, despite having lived together (albeit briefly) as brother and sister, towards the end of the book they try to throw in this whole romance thing with Joshua. For me, it just didn’t work. It felt very forced and added on ( I have this image of an old, fat publisher with a cigar behind a desk yelling at the author “we gotta have a romance- the kids these days like romance” which I’m sure is how it really goes based on TV and movies).  I’m interested enough to want to read the upcoming books and find out what the heck happened to her parents – I’m just maybe not desperately waiting.

My Rating : Six Shoes

Anyone else read this book?? Any thoughts?

I sincerely appreciate every single comment AND will answer every single one of them.

Thanks,

Trina

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Book Review : Nightshifted

Title : Nightshifted Nightshifted (Edie Spence, #1)

Author : Cassie Alexander

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date : May 22nd, 2012

Pages : 331

How Obtained : from the library

Stand Alone or Series : #1 in the Edie Spence series (looks like three are published, four are planned- possibly more?)

Three Words : comedy, paranormal, romance

Red Flags : sexual situations, violence and gore, language and drugs (NSFC)

Summary (from Goodreads) : Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…

Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed.  But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…

My Take : This was one of those books that were on my loooooooong list of TBR books from around Halloween. I got it from the library and it sat in my bag for a couple of months. One day I picked it up and I am so glad that I did. It really reminded me of the Sookie Stackhouse novels which I love….just set in a hospital with a nurse instead of adorable waitress in small town. Edie is a fun heroine. She is very sassy, in control of herself, not afraid to have a one night stand (and not ashamed). She is a very knowledgeable and competent nurse (I like it when women are good at what they do in books.) She is also brave and more importantly sarcastically funny. (Another thing I like in women characters as I like to dwell in the land of Sarcastia). The story is also much like the Sookie Stackhouse novels with lots of interesting intrigue dealing with paranormal creatures and their crazy rules about killing people and dealing with each other. There is plenty of steamy sex plus enough romance to make you smile a little bit when you read it (does anybody else do this??). All in all, this is a fun book. Did it knock my socks off? Well no… but not every book has to. And if you occasionally wonder what the hell she is doing then you wouldn’t be the only one.

My Rating : Seven shoes – Fun but not earth-shattering.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but all the cover pictures that I get are from Goodreads. If you click on the picture it will take you directly to the Goodreads page for the book.

Love,

Trina

 

 

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Filed under Alexander;Cassie, book review, Nightshifted, paranormal, seven shoes, vampire

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Recommendations for my hubby….

Today I want to celebrate the awesomeness that is my husband. There are about a million reasons that I love him but here are a few reasons:

1) He is a great father (especially for girls!). He plays with them and listens to them. He even knows about the things they like – he knows all the princesses and little ponies. He is totally the fun daddy but NOT a total pushover. He loves to take them to sporting events, the comic book store, and teaching them important things like riding bikes and throwing balls.

2) We have been married for 10 years and I can truly say they have been the happiest of my life. I can’t say that I’m happy all the time every day but I can say that I feel happy at least once a day. And that’s pretty awesome.

3) He is an extremely thoughtful husband and he knows me in ways that nobody else does. Ex – When Elizabeth Taylor died, he called me because he knew I’d be upset. (I know it’s weird but just go with it…)

4) Even after being together for 16+years, he still manages to surprise me! There are so many times he tells me a story I have never heard before about himself. I’m not sure how that even happens.

5) He tells me all the time that I am beautiful and means it. (Sometimes that is all a girl needs to hear. )

Okay, enough sappiness… My husband loves to read long and complicated (and usually I think boring) science fiction/fantasy books. He is having a harder and harder time finding books he likes so I thought I would do some research to see if I could find some books he might like. Some of his favorite books are Anathem by Neal Stephenson (really anything by Neal Stephenson) and  Dune by Frank Herbert. So with those books in mind here are some recommendations for my hubby:

1) 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

(from Goodreads) The long-awaited magnum opus from Haruki Murakami, in which this revered and bestselling author gives us his hypnotically addictive, mind-bending ode to George Orwell’s 1984. The year is 1984. Aomame is riding in a taxi on the expressway, in a hurry to carry out an assignment. Her work is not the kind that can be discussed in public. When they get tied up in traffic, the taxi driver suggests a bizarre ‘proposal’ to her. Having no other choice she agrees, but as a result of her actions she starts to feel as though she is gradually becoming detached from the real world. She has been on a top secret mission, and her next job leads her to encounter the superhuman founder of a religious cult. Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange disturbance that develops over a literary prize. While Aomame and Tengo impact on each other in various ways, at times by accident and at times intentionally, they come closer and closer to meeting. Eventually the two of them notice that they are indispensable to each other. Is it possible for them to ever meet in the real world?

I tried to read this one about a year ago and I loved and hated it at different points. It comes in at 945 pages so it is quite the undertaking but I think that he would love this. Super complicated and intricately detailed…just like he likes it.

2) The Book of the New Sun Omnibus containing #1-4 by Gene Wolfe

(from Goodreads)Recently voted the greatest fantasy of all time, after The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit, Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun is an extraordinary epic, set a million years in the future, on an Earth transformed in mysterious & wondrous ways, in a time when our present culture is no longer even a memory. Severian, the central character, is a torturer, exiled from his guild after falling in love with one of his victims, & journeying to the distant city of Thrax, armed with his ancient executioner’s sword, Terminus Est. This edition contains all four volumes: The Shadow of the Torturer, The Claw of the Conciliator, The Sword of the Lictor & The Citadel of the Autarch.
I picked this one because it sounded adventurous, a new world but a little dark.
3) City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer
(from Goodreads) In City of Saints and Madmen, Jeff VanderMeer has reinvented the literature of the fantastic. You hold in your hands an invitation to a place unlike any you’ve ever visited–an invitation delivered by one of our most audacious and astonishing literary magicians. City of elegance and squalor. Of religious fervor and wanton lusts. And everywhere, on the walls of courtyards and churches, an incandescent fungus of mysterious and ominous origin. In Ambergris, a would-be suitor discovers that a sunlit street can become a killing ground in the blink of an eye. An artist receives an invitation to a beheading–and finds himself enchanted. And a patient in a mental institution is convinced he’s made up a city called Ambergris, imagined its every last detail, and that he’s really from a place called Chicago.…By turns sensuous and terrifying, filled with exotica and eroticism, this interwoven collection of stories, histories, and “eyewitness” reports invokes a universe within a puzzlebox where you can lose–and find–yourself again.
Again, sounds like a complicated and intricate story of a fantastic world.
4) The Borrible Trilogy by Michael De Larrabeiti
(from Goodreads) A small group of feral, street-wise Peter-Pan-type beings set out on three very different but related missions across the darker side of London. They are missions combining excitement, violence, low cunning, betrayal, loyalty, greed, generosity, cowardice and insane bravery. This is an epic fantasy adventure that is both thought-provoking and thrilling until the very last second, set against the backdrop of an all too familiar yet weirdly different urban landscape.
For the first time, Michael de Larrabeiti’s much-loved, classic novels THE BORRIBLES, THE BORRIBLES GO FOR BROKE and ACROSS THE DARK METROPOLIS are brought together in one volume.

‘A strong and vivid fantasy, much recommended’ “Observer”

‘There are books we like, and books we love, and books we need. And then there are books that mean so much to us that they embed themselves in us, irresistibly, and become permanent parts of our mental landscape. Ever since I first read it, THE BORRIBLES has been such a book for me.’ China Mieville

I picked this one because it had a quote from China Mieville who wrote Perdido Street Station and DH is currently loving that book.
5) The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick
(from Goodreads) Told with infectious joy and enthusiasm by an immensely talented new writer this is a landmark fantasy debut. The Chathrand – The Great Ship, The Wind-Palace, His Supremacy’s First Fancy – is the last of her kind – built 600 years ago she dwarves all the ships around her. The secrets of her construction are long lost. She was the pride of the Empire. The natural choice for the great diplomatic voyage to seal the peace with the last of the Emperor’s last enemies. 700 souls boarded her. Her sadistic Captain Nilus Rose, the Emperor’s Ambassador and Thasha, the daughter he plans to marry off to seal the treaty, a spy master and six assassins, one hunderd imperial marines, Pazel the tarboy gifted and cursed by his mother’s spell and a small band of Ixchel. The Ixchel sneaked aboard and now hide below decks amongst the rats. Intent on their own mission. But there is treachery afoot. Behind the plans for peace lies the shadow of war and the fear that a dead king might live again. And now the Chathrand, having survived countless battles and centuries of typhoons has gone missing. This is her story.
Another long and complicated one (noticing a theme??) this time about a ship….sounds interesting to me as well.
Here we are on our wedding day!!

Here we are on our wedding day!!

I love you! Hope you enjoy these books.

Trina

 

 

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Guest Post by Sasha! Book Review : Midnight On the Moon

Hello Dear Readers! Today we have a guest post from my daughter Sasha. She is ALMOST seven years old and just like her mom she loves reading! I suggested that maybe she would like to do a review on the Bookinista. She was so excited about it – it was beyond adorable. Anyway, I went ahead and typed her review for her (word for word). I think she did a pretty good job for her first endeavor. Thanks Sasha!!

Title : Midnight on the Moon

Author : Mary Pope Osborne Midnight On The Moon (Magic Tree House, #8)

Publisher : Random House Books for Young Children

Publish Date : June 15th, 2010

Pages : 80

Stand Alone or Series : #8 in the Magic Tree House series

Red Flags : none

Summary (from Sasha): Jack and Annie are brother and sister. They go to a magic tree house in the woods belonging to Morgan. Morgan is a ghost librarian. In this book, Jack and Annie go to the moon. They are trying to find four things that will save Morgan and the last thing is on the moon. Will they be able to do it??

(from Goodreads) Jack and Annie are ready for their next fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series—the Magic Tree House!

Three . . . two . . . one . . . BLAST OFF!

The Magic Tree House whisks Jack and Annie off to the moon—and the future. Their mission? To find the last “M” thing that will free Morgan from the spell. Can they do it before the air in their oxygen tank runs out? Will the mysterious moon man help them? And why is Peanut the mouse acting so strange?

Sasha’s Take  : I thought that it is a cool book. Also, they tell you stuff about the moon like the moon has no rain or wind so footprints will not go away naturally. They just stay there. I liked how they wrote it like it was in a notebook because Jack was writing it in a notebook. I think other people should read it because it is adventure stories and I like adventure stories.

Sasha’s Rating : Eight shoes

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Guest Post by Sara: Book Review – Painted Faces

Title : Painted Faces

Author:  L.H. CoswayPainted Faces

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Date Published: December 16, 2012

Pages: 358

Stand Alone or Series: Stand alone

Three Words: Romance, Cross-dressing, hilarity

Red Flags: some sexual situations, some language and did I mention there was cross dressing?

The Blurb (from Amazon):

Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love…

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn’t have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she’s around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn’t know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

My review:

I can admit that I am a walking cliché.  I am the stay at home mom of two kids and I read a LOT of romance novels.  A ridiculous amount that I think I’ve not even admitted to Trina, but she must know (or does now!). However, it is books like “Painted Faces” that allow me to go forth and state loudly and proudly that I do, indeed, read romance novels.    That’s right folks…it’s not all tawny skin, muscled perfection and huge members, it can be a multi-faceted and nuanced tale of two people who fall in love.  It can be unconventional and it can be entertaining and hilarious.

Freda (aka “Fred”), our heroine, is delightfully irreverent.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to highlight her monologues throughout the book, and I’m not normally a highlighter.  She’s pudgy – yet sexy –, self-deprecating and just real.  Her take on life is fresh, witty and I have to say that I felt comfortable and invested in her story from the get go.  She’s a very well-crafted character.  She meets our Hero, Nicholas (aka “Viv”), when he moves into the flat (yes, it’s a tale from Ireland that uses great words such as “flat”, “crisp”, “posh” and “snogging”) next door to her.  It’s not one of those “love at first sight” tales.  Fred and Viv meet, form a friendship, are wildly attracted to one another, but take their time to truly know each other…all the darkness and light that makes a person who they are.

Nicholas is a cabaret performer, and here’s the twist – he’s a drag queen.  He’s not gay…but he dresses up in women’s clothes to perform.  That is part of what makes this story so refreshing…he’s an unconventional hero, and I think the stories that challenge our preconceived notions of ideas of convention and societal norms are some of the best.  This book really kept me engaged and engrossed in the story to see where it would go and how it would all work out.  One of the most surprising books I have read in a while and an 8 shoe read for me!

Rating : 8 shoes

This sounds like such a different and surprising read! I’ve definitely put it on my TBR list. Thanks for another awesome review- Sara!

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Book Review : Rapunzel Untangled

Well it has happened everybody…I have finally joined other book bloggers out there and received my first ARC (for those of you who don’t know that is an Advanced Reader Copy….) to review. I officially feel like a REAL book blogger now 🙂

Title : Rapunzel Untangled

Author : Cindy C. BennettRapunzel Untangled

Publication Date : 2/12/2013

Pages : 304

Stand Alone or Series : Stand Alone

How Received : ARC courtesy of NetGalley on behalf of Cedar Fort, Inc.

Three Words : fairy tale, YA, romance

Red Flags : none really (appropriate for middle to older adolescents)

Summary :

Rapunzel is seventeen years old but she is far from average. For one, she has never been outside her apartment due to her disease which could kill her if she comes in contact with germs. Second, she has golden hair fifteen feet long. She lives in a mansion and sees her mother twice a day. When her mother gets a computer for her to complete her homework, she never dreams that it would change her life completely. Rapunzel has just discovered this wondrous thing called Facebook…..where she “friends” Fane. Soon they start chatting and Rapunzel can’t stop thinking about him. Then she starts wondering what it would be like to meet him. That’s when things get complicated.

My Take :

As you can probably tell from the summary, this is a modern retelling of Rapunzel. When I first read the description of the book, I was intrigued by her using Facebook as a means of the “princess” escaping her tower. I thought it was a really clever way to retell this fairy tale. The plot moves along at a quick pace and there is a LOT of romance. Talking between Fane and Rapunzel, cute little conversations, many of which have to do with Rapunzel knowing nothing about the outside world and Fane finding this adorable. The ending was also interesting and satisfying and I liked the turn she took with why Mother Gothel took Rapunzel and kept her in a tower. My biggest problem with this book though was Rapunzel herself. For a modern retelling, I was hoping for a more modern take on the feminine character. Rapunzel is mostly just kind of fragile and full of naivete, totally unable to help herself in most situations. She basically constantly relies on Fane to come and rescue her. Everybody needs help once in a while but come on sister friend! Use your brain and help yourself out once in a while. Also, I had kind of a big issue with the whole meet a guy on Facebook, invite him over and fall in love thing…as far as I know friending some random person on Facebook is NOT the best way of finding true love – (trust me – watch Catfish if you don’t believe me!). Also possibly not the best message for young girls out there – “don’t trust your parents, trust that boy you met online.” I enjoyed the book overall but I had some big issues with the underlying message. I give it six shoes – I liked it but I think it could’ve been better.

Trina

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Filed under Bennett; Cindy C., book review, fairy tale, Rapunzel Untangled, six shoes, YA