Sunday, April 08, 2012

Sunday Salon: reviews that made me want to read the book

Here are some reviews and books that caught my eye and made my TBR list that much longer...

New Girl Paige Harbison

A modern teen retelling of Rebecca? Go on...

Forever YA says:

I liked the main character about 80 times more than her literary predecessor.


Harbison did a pretty good job. Anyone expecting a word-for-word retelling of Rebecca (see below) will be disappointed, as she didn’t translate every last detail to this version, and put in some disturbing sexual elements that weren’t part of the original material — although I’m not saying she shouldn’t have, because they’re definitely a part of real life. It alternates between the main character and Becca’s points of view, which sometimes works, and never makes me like Becca. For the most part, it’s atmospheric and goes down like a dark and stormy (that’s one part dark rum, two parts ginger beer, and a slice of lime).

The Sister Queens Sophie Perinot

A story of sisters Eleanor(queen of England) and Marguerite (queen of France). I mean, this book had me at Eleanor of Aquitaine.

The Broke and the Bookish says:

While they were best friends, they were also each others greatest enemies. They tried to oust each other and win their battles vicariously through their husbands. Children, war, money, and power were all ways they could triumph over the other. Still, through all this, they were completely and truly devoted to each other. Almost the entire was through, I was so envious of their sisterly bonds, something I've never known.

This is an excellent slice of an extremely interesting period of time. We get the politics and social aspects of not one but two countries (always a bonus!) as well as in the the latter part of the book, Louis' crusade to the Holy Land. I felt very connected to them and their personalities were extremely opposite and varied. I enjoyed watching the sisters grow from young teenagers to mature mothers, queens, and friends. Recommended to all historical fiction lovers!

Sita's Ramayana Samhita Arni, illustrated by Moyna Chitrakar

A scroll painting as graphic novel telling the Ramayana from Sita's point of view. Oh yes.

Pink Me says:

The book's layout merits particular mention: translating the scroll transitions to pageturns has been done very skillfully. Large panels on pages with abundant white space are interspersed with busier, more action-packed pages. Panels with diagonal edges indicate movement, while round dialogue bubbles and rectilinear swatches of narration are used as compositional elements, sometimes captioning a panel, sometimes stitching two panels together.

It might be a tough sell to your average middle schooler, and it might not even be a choice for leisure reading at all. But even if this book were not created in a little-known traditional medium, even if its story were not one of the most prominent epics in South Asian culture, even if the authors had not made the unusual choice of presenting the Ramayana from Sita’s point of view–this book would be a must-purchase based on the strength of its dramatic story and arresting art, enhanced by superior design and high-quality production.

Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China Paul French

An unsolved murder mystery in China is usually enough to get me, but add in the fact that this is nonfiction? Yeah, I already have it on hold.

The China Beat says:

French reconstructs these events with sympathy and style as he elegantly recreates the world of Old Peking and explains the significance of Pamela’s death for the community around her. And while her murder may officially remain unsolved, Midnight in Peking more than satisfies French’s desire that “some sort of justice, however belated, be awarded her” (p. 251).

A Temptation of Angels Michelle Zink

So, with most of these reviews, it's not really the review that's getting me, it's the book. They're putting books on my radar that I'd likely pick up if I had run across them in the stacks or at the store, but... this one? A paranormal romance with angels? *yawn* This is one where it really is the review that's making me take a closer look.

Bookalicious says:

There are plenty of details left around the book like a trail of breadcrumbs leading you to the stunning conclusion. I loved the lore involved with the main plot and it was plain to see that Zink spent time researching and building wicked webs of friendship and deception. The side characters were fleshed out and not used to advance the plot. Holy Action, Batman! There was tons of kick ass moments where Helen and the brothers truly got to shine.

A Temptation of Angels is breathtakingly written. The boys are hot, the friends are great characters and out protagonist is torn between light and dark. Her inner struggle, her feminism, and her bad-assery make Helen one of my favorite characters this year.

If you enjoy fantasy, or have read a bunch of angel books that have sworn you off the genre- give A Temptation of Angels a go.

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