FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

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FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:35

My ratings:
1star : utter crap
2stars : not worth reading
3stars : okay but nothing out of the ordinary
3+stars: pretty good; you will probably enjoy it
4stars: really good; I recommend it
4+stars: very good indeed; I'll be reading this one again
5stars: the best I've read in a long time.

AoC = author of colour
CoC = main character(s) of colour
L = significant lesbian content

In compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255 (http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm), I hereby declare that all books read and reviewed by me on this site have been purchased by me or received as a gift from someone other than the author, publisher, or editor; that I have not been requested to write a review by the author, publisher, or editor; and that I have received no compensation in any form for posting these reviews.
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:37

#1. Pigs Don't Fly, by Mary Brown:
An entertaining, easy-to-read fantasy. I liked the unconventional ending; I liked that the female protagonist was the strong leader (with the male characters being followers). I didn't like the premise that the fat ugly girl becomes beautiful and desirable when she loses weight. 3+stars

#2. The Fairy Godmother, by Mercedes Lackey:
Another entertaining, easy-to-read fantasy. I liked the fantasy premise: that the fairy tale Tradition tries to force people into paths such as the Sleeping Beauty or the Rescuing Prince or the Seducing Cad. The story of the life and job of a Fairy Godmother was cute. However, as with most of Lackey's characters, the protagonist was too utterly perfect in every way, and the plot/ending pretty saccharine. 3+stars

#3. A Convenient Marriage, by Georgette Heyer:
Heyer's Regency romances are old favourites: comfort reads for me. This one is unusual in that while the hero is handsome, titled, intelligent, etc, the heroine isn't beautiful, accomplished, and desirable. Instead she's plain, prosaic Jenny, a rich merchant's daughter whom the Viscount marries for her money. She's in love with him; he's in love with someone else. She remains in love with him; he learns to care for and appreciate her, if not love her. A non-traditional romance, and on some levels an offensive one, but it's far more true to life than traditional romances, and, sadly, I can strongly identify with the protagonist. 4stars
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:37

#4. Blind Curves, by Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall:
CoC, L. A slow, pointless, and unengaging lesbian murder mystery. I tried desperately to finish the book but gave up about 2/3 of the way through. The contrived plotline defied disbelief, the lack of tension was stultifying, the heaps of irrelevant backstory rapidly became annoying, the book-saidisms made me wince ("Yes," she affirmed), and the multicultural aspect seemed forced and cliched (Japanese character -- drinks tea! Black character -- says y'all! Rich California girl -- wears Armani!). There are six or seven point-of view characters, most of whom are flat and unengaging, the rest of whom are unlikeable and offensive. Props to the authors for writing disabled characters, though. 2stars
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:39

#5. The Unlikely Ones, by Mary Brown:
A light, enjoyable, easy to read fantasy. A witch's slave kills her evil mistress. Once freed, the slave and the animals bonded to her through witchcraft (a cat, a toad, a goldfish, and a raven) travel together to find a way to free themselves from the spell, which causes them constant physical pain. Together with a knight enspelled by the same witch, they seek out a dragon, have many adventures, and eventually achieve their goals. 4stars

#6. A Question of Integrity, by Megan Magill:
L. A mystery/romance/character study. The mystery was a bit overacted and so didn't quite work for me; the romance was pretty predictable. The writing was a bit unpolished. But the characterisation of a woman with an eating disorder was superb. Jess's thoughts and actions and reactions were beautifully described and very believable -- and very thought provoking. A bit less understanding and approval on the part of her friends and family would've added to the realism, but in the context of lesfic with its perfect Armani superwomen characters, Jess was a refreshing and welcome stand-out. 3stars

#7. Beloved and God, by Royston Lambert:
A very readable and comprehensive text about the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his boy-lover Antinous. The author carefully sifts through the evidence about Antinous's life (not much), his death (a bit more) and the worship of Antinous as a god after his death (judging from the statues, he was a beeeeaaaauuuuuutiful boy indeed!), societal customs and acceptance of homosexuality at the time in various parts of the Roman empire (pretty cool stuff). From this, he pieces together the most likely story about the origins of the unknown boy from Bithynia, his relationship with the megalomaniac emperor, the reasons for his death, and why Hadrian turned Antinous into a god. It's a bit outdated (1992) and the pics are in black and white, but it's well written, well researched, and utterly fascinating. 4+stars
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:39

#8. The Kitchen God's Wife, by Amy Tan:
I should've liked this more than I did. The voice is distinctive yet accessible; the writing skilled; the characterisation superb; the subject matter interesting. Part of what bothered me was the overall structure: it begins with a contemporary mother-and-daughter setup (typical family friction), then devolves into the mother's history, which quickly segues into her mother's life and death. At that point my interest really flagged. After a while it picked up again, and the mom's story of forced marriage, abuse, death of her children, etc was very interesting but a bit slow; finally, at the end, it returns to the mom and daughter story, but by then I'd pretty much forgot what the daughter's issues were. It's an awful lot like The Joy Luck Club, possibly too much so; maybe that's why I liked it less than I should've. 3+stars
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:40

MEC wrote:I enjoyed this one, but I do agree that the contemporary relationship of the mother daughter almost detracted from the mother's story of her life in China.
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:40

MEC wrote:Mary Brown! Thank you for the reminder. I had this and her other books marked down somewhere as ones to look out for. Now they go back up to the top of my list.
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:41

#9. Dreams of the Woman Who Loved Sex, by Tee Corrine:
L. This is another book that I should've liked this more than I did. The writing is skilled and smooth. Part of the problem is that it's a disjointed collection: a 10 page autobiography/introduction, then a 90-page erotic-romance which appears to be autobiographical; then 31 short poems; then a 20 page bi/lesbian short story. The short story was quite interesting; the poems did nothing for me (I'm useless with poetry). The erotic romance was, to me, peculiarly un-erotic, probably due to the combination of it being (seemingly, anyhow) autobiographical -- TMI squick! -- and the nature of the characters, for whom sex was some kind of religious holy incense-burning tree-worshipping woo-woo obsession. 2+stars
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:42

#10. The Blue Place, by Nicola Griffith:
L. A really superb mystery/thriller with a bit of romance thrown in. The attention to detail, the realism of the setting, is phenomenal. The story is gripping, the prose excellent, the characterisation superb, and the ending was absolutely, positively perfect. At first I found the perfect-superwoman-protag a bit offputting, and there were a few situations that seemed a bit contrived or out-of-character near the end, but overall this was a fabulous book that I'll read again and again (unless Bakey sends it back to Wildlx) (shrink-wrapped, put in a Portuguese plastic bag, duct-taped into a cardboard box, and sealed in a lead-shielded briefcase). 5stars
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Re: FranW reeds sum buks in 2010

Postby FranW » 27 Mar 2010, 07:43

Nurse Jo wrote:I completely agree with your opinion of The Blue Place.
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