Archive for Literary Fiction
“What is a use of a book, without pictures or conversations?” I would first like to thank TLC Book Tours for having me be a part of the tour and McBooks Press for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The first time I read anything about the WWII Fly Girls aka Women’s Airforce Service Pilots is when I read the YA novel Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith. I love the novel and the true story of the girls who not only helped the soldiers fighting overseas but also did their part on the American Homefront. So when I so the novel WINGS was available to review on the TLC Book Tour, I jumped at the chance to read it. If you’ve read FlyGirl, WINGS is similar in scope but a much different story. It’s about a lady named Sally Ketchum who was born on a dirt-poor farm in West Texas. Sally loves to fly and was trained by her boyfriend, Tex. They are barnstormers. What’s a barnstormer, you ask? Barnstormers were stunt pilots who performed aerial tricks over farms during the 1920s. But when Tex dies in an plane accident, Sally takes it upon herself to the turn the tragedy into a positive. She joins the WASPS to learn to fly military aircraft for non-combat missions during WWII. To learn more about the WASPS, check out my review of Flygirl.
Sally meets a variety of characters on her way to the Avenger school in Sweetwater, Texas. Fortunately, she’s not far from home, even though it feels like it. Sally is definitely easy to tease and can sometimes be a bit of a hothead and takes things the wrong way. Yet she can stand up for herself and doesn’t let anyone push her around. Sally definitely feels guilt over Tex’s death because she was in the plane with him, along with her father’s failures and her mother’s death. She feels like she has something to prove and faces her fears head on.
“We’re all mad here.” I especially love the character, Dixie Beaumont, a flamboyant Southern gal yearning to spread her wings and fly. Dixie is no-nonsense and has a sharp-witted tongue. She’s not only interested in learning to fly, but possibly snagging a male catch at the school. Sally makes some enemies and “frenimes” at Avenger. One of the girls she clashes with often is Geri Delaney, a rich girl who often mirrors Sally in ferocity, but can be a bit of a snob. Another interesting girl at the school is Twila Tschude, a brainiac who studied aeronautical engineering in college.
But no one is more intriguing than Beau Baynard, a flight instructor and aspiring novelist who captures Sally’s heart. He quickly get under her skin and the two connect romantically. He reminded me of Tyrone Power. However, Tex remains in Sally’s mind and heart throughout the novel. He felt like a spirit guiding her along. The flight instructors at Avenger push the girls hard in learning to fly. However, many put them down which forces the girls to try to overcome stereotypes.
WINGS is told in an easy-going natural voice that captured my interest from the first page to the last. It is extremely well-researched and when Sally was flying, I felt like I was in the cockpit with her. There is at no point did I not feel like I was reading about the 1940s.
WINGS, also, has some surprises along the way and the ending is satisfactory and poignant. The characters are rich and imaginative and come to life off the page.
I love the cover, too! It’s so feminine and very retro. The cover perfectly suits the story inside the pages.
By: Meg Cabot
Publisher: William Morrow
Pub. Date: June 2010
Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Electronic
Genre: Literary Fiction/Paranormal
Age Group: Older Teens and Adults
Review: Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper. What a great opening line for a book synopsis. Ha! Fooled you! INSATIABLE is about vampires, but this isn’t your typical vampire story. INSATIABLE is charming, funny, and downright wicked. It’s so good that it’s like eating your favorite candy all in one sitting. You know what protagonist Meena Harper’s fave candy bar is? Butterfinger. And she has a whole secret candy stash in her drawer. Sounds like me when I was at the PD. LOL
Meena Harper lives in NYC and is a dialogue writer for a weekly soap opera called “Insatiable.” She loves her job and desperately wants to become head writer…that is until Shoshana Lowenstein..er..wait! Wasn’t that Jerry Seinfeld’s ex-girlfriend? I meant Shoshana Metzenbaum. When Meena’s arch-enemy is promoted to head writer, Meena wants revenge. According to Meena, Shoshana is a lazy bum who only works there because her aunt and uncle are executive producers. Sounds like a bad case of nepotism to me! Then….to top it off the network wants to go vampire on “Insatiable.”
Meena’s thought she’s heard it all…this is her worst nightmare. She can’t stand vampire stories, especially since the world seems obsessed with vampires. It’s hard to escape the creatures of the night. While at work, Meena receives an invitation to attend a party at her neighbors — who she readily avoids at all costs. The party is being held in honor of Lucien Antonescu’s visit to New York City. He’s her neighbor’s relative and he also happens to be from Romania…where he’s a prince. Meena wants to groan and say “thanks, but no thanks” until she gets an idea. She decides to use the prince as an angle on her show.
Meena soon learns that Lucien is not only devastatingly handsome and mysterious, but he’s the Prince of Darkness better known as Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula. Oh, did I mention Meena also holds a supernatural gift? She’s psychic. She can predict when and how someone will die. Personally, I’d rather predict the winning lottery numbers and so would Meena.
Lucien is not in NYC for a social visit. Young woman across Manhattan are being found dead and drained of blood. Lucien wants to find out who is responsible…but his attraction to Meena begins to complicate matters.
INSATIABLE is a riot and a hoot. I fell in love with the witty and clever one-liners and vampire knocking. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good vampire book, but you have to admit there is some vamp storyline over-kill at the moment. INSATIABLE is also intermixed with the history of Vlad the Impaler and the legendary Palatine Guard who are a secret Vatican organization who want to end all things supernatural. There really was a Palatine Guard, but I don’t believe that was their real mission. But it’s definitely an interesting twist for INSATIABLE. There are some quirky characters apart of the Palantine Guard which adds high drama to the story.
The characters are real and imagined. I like that Meena doesn’t believe vampires exist and when she finds out she’s dating one…the scene is hilarious! What can I say about Lucien…dreamy, dark, dangerous and Mr. Unattainable. He’s striving to make the world a better place with vampires in it…which he wants kept on the down low. Lucien has made his responsibility to not let the secret vampires exist out into the world. He feels it will only cause more chaos.
The one thing that drove me crazy is that Meena says “oh” a lot. Some of the other characters get in on the act, too. Sometimes it feels like Meena is saying “oh” on every page. Many of the sentences would have been much more powerful by leaving out this word. It often makes Meena more of a damsel-in-distress instead of the kick-ass heroine she’s supposed to be.
I read INSATIABLE at a furious pace, until the end began to drag a little bit. Fortunately, it picked up and ends with a great cliffhanger…leaving the reader and Meena wondering what will happen next. Other than that, I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the second book in the series, OVERBITE.
I’m giving INSATIABLE 4 “Relaxing with a Good Book” Retro Pictures for being a satisfying adult vampire book with bite!
IN SEARCH IN OF THE ROSE NOTES
By: Emily Arsenault
Pub. Date: July 2011
Formats: Paperback and Electronic
Genre: Literary Mystery
Age Group: Older Teens and Adults
“What is a use of a book, without pictures or conversations?” I would first like to thank TLC Book Tours for having me be a part of the tour. I received the book from HarperCollins via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
During the fall of 1990, pre-teens Nora and Charlotte often read their coveted collection of Time-Life books. They are mysterious and strange stories to two young girls who are curious about their world and the people in it. They also are fond of their babysitter, Rose, a teenager who shares their love of the unusual and macabre. She regales them with stories and plays games with them — stuff that usually has to do with psychic ability and the paranormal. Then one day, Rose, goes missing. The girls attempt to investigate her disappearance through a series of notes she leaves behind. But they can’t figure out what happened to Rose. Years later, the police have discovered a skeleton and believe it to be Rose. The girls, now in their twenties, reconnect and once again try to unravel the mystery of what happened to their beloved babysitter and friend.
“We’re all mad here.” The story is engrossing as it is told from two different time periods. Mainly told in Nora’s POV, IN SEARCH OF THE ROSE NOTES is a great book for fans of literary mysteries. The characters have their own unique personalities. As I read the novel, I began to question which one of the characters might have had something to do with Rose’s disappearance. I became caught up in their lives and the entire mystery surrounding the unusual events in the story.
“Off with their heads!” There were some parts that were slightly boring and I wanted to get to the heart of the story. For example, when Rose and Nora reconnect they chat about old school friends and their lives, but to me these sections slowed the story down. Sometimes, it felt like the story was stagnant. I was expecting a little more from the novel, but because it’s literary it was a slower read and not as face-paced as I would have preferred in a mystery.
While the book has some issues, all in all the characters’ emotions, particularly Nora’s (who was the last to see Rose alive) has always remained troubled by her disappearance. This is the heart of the story. Since that time, Nora has left her old neighborhood and has not wanted to go back. She’s torn about returning but has missed her childhood friend and wants to know what happened to Rose. I definitely felt like I was solving the mystery along with Nora and Charlotte. I also liked how the girls relied on the books to help them solve the mystery, as well.
“Sentence first – verdict afterwards.” I’m giving IN SEARCH OF THE ROSE NOTES 3 “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Characters” for being an interesting literary mystery.