Tuesday, November 29, 2011

(88) Sometimes what you want is right in front of you

Title: Dangerous Pleasures by Fiona Zedde
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp
282 pages
Genre: Lesbian Fiction

Synopsis: Renee Matthews is starting over. Free of a demanding ex-husband who left her feeling worthless, she's ready for a purely physical connection, on her terms. Sex in the dark with a total stranger--a night of breathless passion without complications. An online ad leads to the first of many anonymous trysts. And when one partner takes her into a darker realm of pleasure, Renee discovers hungers she never knew she possessed.
Renee knows these encounters are risky. Nothing has ever compared to such exhilarating desire--certainly not her ex, or the "perfect" potential boyfriend her parents keep pushing her way. But as the excitement escalates, so does the danger. And walking away from her midnight lover may be more difficult than Renee ever expected. . .

Review: Renee and Mayson have been best friends since grade school, they do everything together, talk to each other all the time and are always looking out for each other.  Renee's ex-husband was verbally abusive and believed that Renee's relationship with Mayson was the demise of their relationship.  Renee is straight and Mayson is gay and they both look out for each other and haven't found the right person to spend their life with. Renee decides that what she needs is uncomplicated sex on her terms and decides to walk a line of danger by placing an ad on the internet. Mayson fearful for her friend makes a dramatic choice to interfere with Renee's choice to make sure she stays safe.  I'm not going to say more for fear of spoilers but I'm sure if you read it you can figure it out very quickly.

This book has very vivid descriptions of sensuality, sex and friendship and the fine line that divides it all.  I loved that the main characters were both women of color and the descriptions of their bodies wasn't your cookie cutter skinny, no curves.  There was a lot of straight sex in this book which made me wonder what I was reading a time or two and I think some of that could have been left to our imagination or not. I loved the two main characters and was left a little disappointed in the end when their union was so abruptly cut short by the end of the book.  Since I haven't read any of her other books I have nothing to compare this one to but it seems her other books are much more focused on the lesbian relationship while this book seemed to focus more on the friendship and Renee's heterosexual trysts.  I will have to point out that it would have been nice if the cover girl fit the genre of the book - since this is black lesbian fiction why is the girl on the cover so damn light?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Reading Challenge

I am starting a new reading challenge for 2012.  I am posting it now for people who want to start signing up.  I have fallen in love with Nordic Fiction and in the hope that more people will find these books I have decided to start my own Nordic Reading Challenge for 2012.

You won't be able to add links to the challenge page until January 2012 but leave a comment on the challenge page to let me know you are interested in participating.  Can't wait for new suggestions!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

(87)Vintage photos, fantastical adventures, and time loops

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
352 Pages
Genre: Fantasy YA

Synopsis: As a kid, Jacob formed a special bond with his grandfather over his bizarre tales and photos of levitating girls and invisible boys. Now at 16, he is reeling from the old man's unexpected death. Then Jacob is given a mysterious letter that propels him on a journey to the remote Welsh island where his grandfather grew up. There, he finds the children from the photographs--alive and well--despite the islanders’ assertion that all were killed decades ago. As Jacob begins to unravel more about his grandfather’s childhood, he suspects he is being trailed by a monster only he can see.

Review: There are so many mixed reviews on this book I find it fascinating.  I was intrigued just by looking at the cover.  When I found out that the story was based on old vintage photographs I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I guess there truly is a book for everyone because I loved this book. I loved how Riggs developed characters and a whole story around these fabulous vintage photos.

When I first heard about this book I didn't know what to expect but this is pure fantastical fun. It reminds me a little of Big Fish by Daniel Wallace. The way the story is spun and how no one really believes the grandfather's tales of adventure. I know a lot of people thought the photos were distracting to the telling of the book but I found they only added to it. The descriptions were so vivid they weren't even needed but I think they added something to it.  They were so weird you could easily see how someone could spin a story out of them.  This is a great diversion from the vampires, werewolves and witches that seem to be the main theme of YA lit these days. I can't wait to see what is next for this peculiar bunch.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

(86) Noir Fiction set in India

Title: Miss Timmins' School for Girls: A Novel by Nayana Currimbhoy
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
512 pages
Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: A murder at a British boarding school in the hills of western India launches a young teacher on the journey of a lifetime In 1974, three weeks before her twenty-first birthday, Charulata Apte arrives at Miss Timmins' School for Girls in Panchgani. Shy, sheltered, and running from a scandal that disgraced her Brahmin family, Charu finds herself teaching Shakespeare to rich Indian girls in a boarding school still run like an outpost of the British Empire. In this small, foreign universe, Charu is drawn to the charismatic teacher Moira Prince, who introduces her to pot-smoking hippies, rock ‘n' roll, and freedoms she never knew existed. Then one monsoon night, a body is found at the bottom of a cliff, and the ordered worlds of school and town are thrown into chaos. When Charu is implicated in the murder—a case three intrepid schoolgirls take it upon themselves to solve—Charu's real education begins. A love story and a murder mystery, Miss Timmins' School for Girls is, ultimately, a coming-of-age tale set against the turbulence of the 1970s as it played out in one small corner of India.

Review: I had mixed feelings about this book.  I really liked it in the beginning but really struggled with it in the end. I'm not sure if this was due to the fact that my school term is ending and I have a bunch of other reading to do and papers to write or if it just fell flat at the end.  Coming of age story has been tossed around a few times in relation to this book but I'm not sure if that's accurate.  Its more of a film noire in book form.  The young innocent teacher discovers more about the world and it changes her.

Charu Apte is a young teacher from a small town who comes to a small private British school to teach English. She finds herself thrust into a world where the color of your skin is even more important than the rest of India and anything British is better.  Teachers are seated at lunch according to their race, whites with whites, then the mixed blood Indian's then the full Indians.  Charu is drawn to the unconventional Moira Prince (Prin) for short and the odd ball characters she hangs out with. Where she learns to smoke cigarettes, marijuana, drink and explores her forbidden feelings for Prin.  You don't read many lesbian subplots in Indian books so this was a nice change.

After Prin is found dead at the bottom of a cliff the story turns more toward a murder mystery. Some of the girls from the school take it upon themselves to discover the mystery behind who killed the young teacher and during their investigation they uncover many deep secrets that may have led to her demise.

All in all it was a good book I found it just a bit tedious toward the end but that might have just been my frame of mind with all the other things I had on my plate.  I would recommend anyone give it a try.  I'm not usually a fan of Indian authors but I did enjoy this one.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...