Thursday, January 24, 2013

What I'm Reading This Week

For various reasons, I’ve been finding it very difficult to review as of late. Some of it has been that I have been disappointed with many of the books that have crossed my path, or I’m reading the book so far ahead of publication that I have to wait to publish, and of course time is an issue—I’m just plain busy.

In an effort to maintain some degree of criticism I’m going to attempt to map out some of the titles I’m reading each week and a few of my thoughts. If I really love or hate something I’m sure I’ll be moved to write an in depth critique, but until my schedule opens up a bit, I’m going to give this way a try.

Right now I’ve bumped my usual reading quotient down to 3 books a week. So, here’s what’s on my desk, night stand, and bedside floor this week.

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay (Release Date: July 23, 2013)
I’m all sorts of fairy tale driven these days, and since I’ve had the misfortune in the last few weeks to read a truly horrid fairy story (The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani—interesting premise, poor execution, and putrid ending) I was both eager and reluctant to pick-up another fairy tale inspired novel. Yet Of Beast and Beauty, which is of course a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (one of my all-time favorites) has an interesting twist that actually worked for me. In this version the hero and heroine are descendants of humans who escaped to an alien world. Isra, is a blind princess confined to her lonely tower, and Gem, a mutated boy trying to save his dying people, are the protagonists of this story, but who is the “Beauty” and who is the “Beast” is rather cleverly played with. I would recommend this one—original twist on an old tale, an entertaining and fun read.

Towering by Alex Flinn (Release Date: May 14, 2013)
Another revisionist look at a fairy tale. Towering is a Rapunzel-esque story of a broken boy, a hidden diary, and a girl possessed of magic hair locked in a tower. Flinn, the author of several other fairy tales re-workings, including the well-known Beastly, has an interesting concept with Towering, but the plot gets bogged down with bad dialogue, and an utter lack of mystery. The plot is fairly easy to figure out, and sadly it’s not really a plot worth figuring out. This one was simply put, a disappointment.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Out Now)
I’m a big fan of Forman’s first two novels If I Stay and its sequel/companion Where She Went—I’m interested to see what she does outside of that particular world. Preliminary reviews have been quite good, so we shall see.

Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer (Release Date: February 5, 2013)
Like The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, Frances and Bernard is a novel inspired by a real life relationship, this one being between Flannery O’Connor and Robert Lowell (although they are not characters in the book as is the case with the former), and told through letters. I’m reading this at the same time as the Forman book. It will be interesting to compare the two romantic themes from two very different eras (today and the 1950’s) by an “adult” author and a “teen” author.

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