Posts Tagged ‘Book Reviews’
Friday, April 19th, 2013
Remember that entire month of Marissa Meyer/CINDER/Joss Whedon fangirling I gave you last year??? (Yes, yes you do because it involved an awesome cupcake campaign and one of the FUNNEST interviews EVER. Seriously. Like ever.)
Weeeeeellllll…I’ve just finished Book 2 in the Lunar Chronicles, and I’m happy to report…
SCARLET = rocked as a sequel!!!!!!
Therefore…a review I give you: ;0)
“A relieved grin filled up Thorne’s face. ‘We’re having another moment, aren’t we?’
‘If by a moment, you mean me not wanting to strangle you for the first time since we met, then I guess we are.’”
Quick Summary from Goodreads:
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
What I liked:
- Captain Thorne. OH. MAN. His personality is just…YES.
- Ms. Meyer’s ability to weave both Cinder’s and Scarlet’s stories together SO dang well.
- I’m not the biggest fan of excessively multiple points of view in books, unless it’s done SUPERBLY. In Scarlet, it’s done superbly. Like, I think I counted 5 POVs. And in a YA? That freaking rocks.
- Prince Kai. Gah!! That boy is THE. HOTTEST.
- Cinder’s expanded world. (CINDER was located in Asia. SCARLET in Europe. I cannot WAIT for them to get to Africa.)
- The Lunars. MORE please. NOW.
- Wolf. Such a dangerous, delicious boy with the whole “brooding-with-a-mysterious-past-and-quite-possibly-going-to-kill-you” thing going on. (In fact, I kind of loved him more than our main girl, Scarlet. Mainly because Scarlet’s personality was a leeeetle too intense for me. Although, when I mentioned her to Wolverine, he was like, “Soooo basically you don’t like her because she’s a lot like you.” Um…humph.)
- Oh, and I LOVED that this was a solid sequel. Is it just me or do a lot of “sequel/series” books these days feel more like filler than story. Marissa Meyer absolutely gave us story. And I adore her for it.
Okay, SO now let’s get down to business.
The real question is—what kind of cupcakes should we use this time to launch another cupcake campaign? Because seriously, Joss Whedon needs to get a clue and make these books into movies.
*cover pic from Goodreads
Sunday, February 10th, 2013
Seeing as this coming week is Valentine’s Day and all, I figured it’s the perfect time to review my very-favorite-in-all-the-world kissy book. Which, oddly, has way too little kissing in it (none actually, as I recall — although our main hottie does manage to smooch some stairs). But there’s oh so much romantic tension.
Also? It has a hunky Brit who’s a total precursor to Zorro and Batman, so… *lesigh
The Scarlet Pimpernel
They seek him here, they seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere…
Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, The Scarlet Pimpernel is a yummy, swashbuckling story about a nearly-wrecked romance, blackmail, and a totally hot spy.
Homesick for her beloved country of France, beautiful, young, and oh-so-clever Marguerite Blakeney is struggling to save her marriage to the biggest (albeit most fashionably dressed) idiot in England—Sir Percy Blakeney. But when a creepy man from her past shows up to blackmail her with the life of her brother for the identity of an elusive spy called the Scarlet Pimpernel, Marguerite is torn between sisterly love and admiration for the man who risks life and limb to rescue women and children from Madame Guillotine’s bloody blade.
What results is a fabulous adventure surrounding an even more fabulous cast of characters, who drag your heart along with them on the journey. :0)
What I Love:
- The fact that this is my favorite romancy book EVER and the main couple never even have a make out scene. <– Pure. Writing. Talent, people.
- And the fact that I’ve read it at least 10 times over the years and STILL manage to get caught off-guard by the Scarlet Pimpernel’s disguises. (Although, this probably says more about my mind than the book. Ahem.)
- Sir Percy Blakeney’s fabulous obsession with fashion. He makes me laugh. :0)
- Marguerite’s internal transformation. I love the gradual changes that come as the result of her choices. Some of which are good, some bad. But all leading to a wonderful character arc.
- The time period and setting. Yes, it’s horrific. Yes, it’s political. But that drama sets off the daring and mystery and romance all the more effectively.
- The outdoor staircase scene in which Percy kisses the steps. One of my book club peeps had the audacity to call it cheezy. I call it AMAAAAZING!
- The MOVIE, which is based upon the book. The one with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. <– *TOTAL SWOON*
What Annoys Me Every Time:
- I always want a little more of a make up scene at the end. You know…just for the whole “happy ending” thing.
Alright, preciouses. You’re turn. Have you read it? Do you love it? And tell us…what’s YOUR FAVORITE LOVE STORY??!!!
*cover pic from Goodreads
Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
Ahem. This is my child, Rilian.
She’s a reader, writer, drummer, and all-around tormenter of her siblings, with serious ninja skills (aikido, to be specific). And photo editing savvy, obviously. (Nice Halloween pic, Ril. ;0))
And this is her first official book review for us.
Sixty-four years ago, love was identified as a disease. And Lena is about to get the cure…
Lena lives in a dystopian future, in Portland, where amor deliria nervosa, also known as “love,” is a disease. And not just any disease, it’s the worst disease thinkable. With symptoms including stress, heart disease, anxiety, depression, hypertension, and many more. All of which, in the end, lead to death.
Lena knows the deliria runs deep in her blood. Both her sister and mother had it, and Lena’s just glad she hasn’t gotten it yet, especially since there’s only ninety-five days to go until the procedure that will completely cure her. Except, Lena’s world is flipped upside down when her best friend, Hana, drags Lena to a forbidden party where she meets Alex and catches the deliria disease. Now Lena is caught between what her heart says is right and the cure she’s been taught to believe in.
As her procedure day crawls closer and closer, she begins to see the life she’s lived so far for what it really is as well as what the authorities look like without the masks of their uniforms and badges. Now she must escape with Alex to the wilds over the electric fence, which she thought was for keeping danger out. Instead, it was keeping her living inside a lie.
What I liked:
- This is one of those books I couldn’t put down. It’s exciting, sad, beautiful, and happy all at the same time.
- Alex. I simply loved him.
- Grace. Lena’s little six-year-old cousin.
- The thrill of following Lena through the book, especially as she’s chased by the regulators, finds out what happened to her mother, and tries to escape to the wilds with Alex.
- The one slightly awkward scene was short enough to skip over.
- Lena’s relationship with her best friend Hana.
- The themes of love and sacrifice.
- The ending. It’s infuriating and sad, but at the same time sweet. I loved it! I have to read the next books. Ahem, MOM.
*Warning: this book is obviously not for anti-kissing people . (Also, some swearing.)
So, what about you readers? Have you read it? WOULD you read it? What do you think?
*book cover from Goodreads
Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
Well Preciouses? I recently went off my Dystopian kick to indulge in a little light fantasy reading. I fully blame it on my friend, Becky, who recommended this book to me. :0)
Alina Starkov is an insecure, barely-good-for-anything soldier, who’s infatuated with her clueless (but awesomesauce hunter/tracker) best friend Mal. Raised together as orphans, they’re now stuck in an army regiment marching their way into the Shadow Fold – a massive shroud of darkness infested with man-eating monsters (cool, yes) that’s slowly engulfing the country. But soon after the regiment enters the Fold, they’re attacked and Mal is almost killed. And it’s only at the last minute that Alina’s power – which she didn’t even know she possessed – erupts to save her best boy.
And just like that, she becomes her nation’s greatest hope.
Alina is immediately carted off to the Grisha palace by the intriguingly powerful, and disturbingly yummy (think yummy as in a Howl’s Moving Castle sort of way, and disturbing like he’s older than Twi-Edward) Darkling. There, Alina is immersed into a beautiful world of the magically gifted and elite Grisha peeps. A world she can almost imagine fitting into.
But with the Shadow Fold creeping down upon them, Alina must figure out what secrets the Grisha are keeping, as well as what sits hidden within her own heart, before they cost her the country and Mal. Forever.
What I liked:
- THE DARKLING. That’s it. I can end the review right here. He’s enough, and that is all you ever need know. He’s a brilliantly written character, and if I tell you any more it’ll ruin the story. Suffice to say, Ms. Bardugo freaking nailed it with him.
- Okay, so I also liked the LIGHT FANTASY WORLD, which was enough to be refreshingly original but not so much as to make me waaaaaaaaaade through it. As er, some fantasties are prone to do. Ahem.
- THE HEARTRENDERS! Ohmygosh TOTAL. LOVE. (Although, admittedly, in real life they’d make me scream like a little girl.)
- And this might sound weird but I’m just going to say that I thought the hints about the King’s indiscretion and Genya’s spurned desires and even Alina considering whether to compromise her virtue were so well-done. Because they were realistic. They revealed the heart of each individual’s very basic need to be loved. They also exemplified how shame can be used against a person. I kind of adored that.
- The back and forth between the Darkling and Baghra made me giggle. Ms. Bardugo has a great gift for dialogue.
- And lastly. MAL. Hello dear boy.
Oh, and I’ve just gotta say that this is probably THE best book trailer I’ve come across yet.
So? What about you, Preciouses? Have you read it? Your thoughts?
And if you haven’t, then you must tell us what the absolute most embarrassing part of your month has been thus far so we can all cringe with you. And then, of course, we’ll tell you that it’s really not that bad. Really.
*Cover pic from Goodreads
Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
I’ve been on a fantasy kick lately and am enjoying discovering some really fresh stories. A few beauties were recommended by friends, another I picked up on a whim from the bookseller’s. I don’t know, maybe it’s the autumn weather easing in alongside the morning fog on the coastline, but between the books and the seasonal changes, it’s fully put me in the mood for things like petting giant wolves, stoking morning fires, and drinking cups of mead accompanied by the sounds of lustrous singing from random wood folk. Not that I know any random wood folk but…it’s on my to-do list.
(Note: *Make friends with small, singing, tree-chopping people who may or may not believe in magic.)
With each book, my mind keeps slipping back to the first fantasy series I ever read on my own – The Bracken Trilogy by Jeri Massi. I was probably eight at the time, and for many years they were my favorite in the genre. So of course I had to mention them on here :0). They’re little, middle grade level books, and adorably precious with strong female protagonists and sweetly colorful side characters. The first is:
When the kingdom of Folger attacks Bracken and captures its castle as well as the bridge connecting the two realms, the spoiled Princess Rosalynn barely escapes with the cloak on her back. Out on her own and hunted by Folger’s master, the young princess must make her way through territory saturated with spies and thieves who would sell her in a heartbeat to the highest bidder. Until she comes across a mysterious woman who may hold the secret to saving her kingdom. A secret involving the old bridge.
I’ll just tell you right now that this book is my favorite of the three. :0)
Rosalynn’s daughter, the Princess Rosewyn, is nothing like her royal mother — mainly because her favorite pastimes include beating up the stable boys and riding around on full-grown pigs. But one day when the little princess is heading off to draw mustaches on the fancy people in the royal library books, she stumbles across a plot to overthrow her parents. And like her mother before her, it’s up to Rosewyn to find a way to save her kingdom. Except to do so will require entry into a world of assassins and political betrayal.
Okay, my very favorite aspect of this book is the coal miners. Who are basically wood folk. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to live with them… *sigh*
In this final story, seven-year-old Krea works as a slave for a traveling circus. Her days are filled with hunger, and her nights are spent dodging beatings from her master. So when a seemingly kind woman takes a particular interest in Krea, she is both intrigued and terrified. What could the woman want from her? And with the unified kingdoms of Bracken and Folger cracking under the weight of an oncoming war, what does their conflict have to do with her?
Um…I pretty much love any story that has to do with traveling circus folk and evil villians. So there’s that.
All right, so what about you, preciouses? What are some of YOUR favorite fantasy books? Any I need to check out???
*Book Cover pics from GOODREADS!
Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
Thomas awakens to find himself on a lift being propelled toward a set of doors overhead. When the doors open, he is deposited in the middle of the “Glade,” a sunny homestead surrounded by massive stone walls and populated by a host of teen boys who welcome him–some with more suspicion than others. Unfortunately, Thomas has no answers for their questions because, aside from his name, he has no idea of who he is or where he’s from.
As the “Newbie” to the group, Thomas must quickly learn the rules of Glade society—the most important one being that only Runners are allowed to set foot outside the Glade’s walls into the maze, which completely encircles the homestead and keeps the boys trapped within. In the morning Thomas watches as the stone doors open and the Runners leave to race through the giant labyrinth, mapping as much of it as possible before nighttime falls and the maze walls shift into alternating patterns. In the evening, he sees the doors close as if by some unseen hand, locking the homesteaders inside the Glade, while shutting out the murderous monsters known as Grievers (think ginormous, all-purpose-pocket-knife-type monsters made from metal and jelly…yeah, totally weird, but creepy). Any Runners who haven’t returned by the time the doors close are as good as dead.
But something keeps nagging at Thomas—a suspicion that somehow he knows the key to solving the maze. Just as he’s seeking the truth about it, a comatose girl with telepathic abilities appears who seems to know Thomas from his life before. And with her arrival, Thomas is forced to face the possibility that he is more responsible for their situation that he can bear to imagine.
What I liked:
- The premise. Curious and creative.
- Dashner’s supporting characters. Am I the only one who thinks Chuck is wonderfully reminiscent of one of the Goonies?
- The slang words! Heheheh. ;0) Um, yes, since reading the book, I’ve totally been tempted to use them.
- The beginning. Okay, I’ll admit that at first the lack of Thomas’ orientation annoyed me (I was kind of like “Thomas, seriously, get on with your moody confused self already”) until I realized Dashner was employing it to enlist our empathy for Thomas. Nicely done.
- Thomas. Not too old. Not too young. He’s believable as a freaked-out teen guy trying to get a handle on himself and his environment.
- The level of creepiness. For whatever reason (don’t ask why), I was expecting a slightly “tamer” story, so the intensity of some of it caught me off guard, which is harder to do the older I get. One reviewer suggested the book feels like a cross between ENDER’S GAME and LORD OF THE FLIES, and that’s probably a pretty good comparison. :0)
- Although it’s a dystopian, I love the fact that it reminded me just a bit of ENDER’S GAME (my favorite sci-fi ever)!
What I’m looking (and hoping) for in the rest of the trilogy (which is on my to-read list):
- Teresa’s character developing more fully.
- A clear enough explanation for what’s going on behind the scenes as to justify the boys’ situation and some of the violence. While I don’t have an issue with mysterious origins or violence in books (when they’re done well and with purpose in the arc of the story), the ending in THE MAZE RUNNER definitely left me going, “Wait, what?! Okay, there’d better be a darn good explanation for all of this!”
- Rumor has it there are zombies in the next two books. Enough said. *big grin*
How about you, Preciouses? Have any of you read it? And if not, what’s your favorite bookish read of late???
THE MAZE RUNNER book trailer (which is a tad more terrifying than the book)
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
As you’ll recall from my recent post regarding Jonathan Maberry’s DUST & DECAY, I promised you a review of the most terrifying book I’ve read in years.
Well, Preciouses…here it is. :0)
Call me a wimp (remember I’m the girl hiding behind the blanket, stuffing Lucky Charms in my face while watching “The Walking Dead”), but this novel is seriously for hardcore creepfactor peeps. You know, the ones who love to sit and squirm cuz they can’t bear to watch the horror, but it’s so graphically absorbing that they can’t NOT watch. (And then they pee themselves.) It’s creepy. It’s plausible. It’s CSI and Michael Crichton challenging Stephen King to a dance-off to see who can best spin the yarns of H.P. Lovecraft. It’s pull up those granny panties you’re wearing cuz…well, it’s Guillermo del Toro.
A Boeing 777 lands at JFK airport and comes to a dead stop on the tarmac. The lights go out. The shades are drawn. The coms are silent. When no one emerges from the aircraft and no response is elicited from inside, Dr. Eph Goodweather’s CDC team is brought in to investigate the possibility of biological warfare. What they find is a plane full of dead passengers (save four), iridescent white matter splattered all over the cockpit and cabin, and a giant box of earth (which is very Draculesque).
Then the box disappears right in front of Dr. Goodweather’s eyes and, shortly after, the dead bodies from the plane begin rising in the morgues and heading back to their homes to feed on/infect their families with a vampiric plague. And it’s not the angsty, sparkly kind.
Pawnbroker, Abraham Setrakian, is old enough to remember the legend told by his grandmother of the Stroigoi, a vamp. He’s also old enough to remember lying awake at night in the WWII Holocaust death camps, listening to that same Stroigoi feed off of his dying bunkmates. While the rest of New York is trying to hush-up the horrors, Setrakian is the only man who knows what’s up: the Stroigoi has arrived. And Setrakian has been preparing for it his whole life. (Seriously. He’s got a very cool arsenal of weaponry. Well…that and a vampire heart he keeps in a jar that shoots a stinger if you get too close.) In his words, ”It will take this thing less than one week to finish off all of Manhattan, and fewer than three months to overtake the country. In six months – the world.”
Crammed with a diverse (and excellent) cast of characters, ranging from Eph and his son, to Abraham (“My sword sings of silver!”) and Vasiliy Fet (the pest exterminator / ghost buster who’s quite awesome), THE STRAIN manages to balance a fast-paced plot with many an excellent prose and a nice old-fashioned “good versus evil” theme. Oh, but toss in some swearing, intense gore, 6-foot stingers (a tad B-movie-ish IMHO), and a lot of traumatizing horror. Would I watch it as a movie? Probably not. But as a book with great writing and fabulous medical-thriller-babble, I enjoyed it. Also, I appreciated the father-son relationship between Eph and Zach, and the marriage-divorce discussion between Eph and Kelly (so well done).
Will I read it again? Er…no. Will I ever sleep again? Not likely. But will I read the next in the trilogy? Oh yes. And I’m putting together my arsenal of awesome weapons as we speak. You know…just in case.
Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Shortly after being crowned one of the elite few who is *MOST* likely to survive a zombie apocalypse (remember that Facebook test I rocked a while back?), I decided that it’d be a good idea to actually read a variety of zombie literature beyond just Mr. Cronin (and, yes, his creepers are more vamps anyway, but…whatever). You know…just to make sure my mad fighting/shooting/awesome-singing skills were really up to par (and also to see if there were any authors who might benefit from my newly-identified zombie survival advice).
Especially seeing as, before discovering this zombie-fighting-intelligence gift I’ve got, I’d never had ANY interest in zombies. Partly due to the whole rotting flesh thing, and partly due to the fact that they’re just so INCESSENTLY WHINY. As if us moms don’t deal with that enough. When I have my zombie apocalypse compound, I’m totally going to have to post a sign that says the exact same thing I tell my kids: “This is not a moaning/whining space. If you want to moan/whine/try to eat my brains, go do it in your own room.” (I predict these signs will be popular and I’m copywriting them as we speak.)
Anyhoo, as you’ll recall, one of the books I’ve enjoyed on this whole zombie enlightenment path is Jonathan Maberry’s YA novel “Rot and Ruin” (which I reviewed for you a few months ago). Not overly gory, not obsessively horrific, the book is zombies and YA and character development done with brilliance. And kind of a gateway zombie drug book, if you will. After reading it, I found myself seduced into thinking—This whole zom thing isn’t so bad; they just want to be loved! And promptly followed it up with indulging in the most terrifying book of my adult life (which I will review for you one of these days because it also was brilliant). It’s even gotten to the point where I can now watch “The Walking Dead” with my husband. (Cringing behind blankets and cramming obscene amounts of sugar-drenched cereal in my face because I eat when I’m stressed still counts as “watching,” right?)
So, it seems fitting that the first zombie book I recommend this year happens to be the second in Mr. Maberry’s “Rot and Ruin” series: “Dust and Decay.” I enjoyed it (almost) as much as the first. Lilah rocks (as always), Benny and Chong are just as funny, and Tom Imura is still a total hottie.
As they head off into the Rot and Ruin in search of civilization (following the path the airplane flew), Tom, Benny, Nix, and Lilah (and accidentally Chong—poor Chong) come face to face with their deepest fears. And I’m not talking zombies (which is odd since you’d think dead people craving your flesh would be the most horrifying aspect to a person’s world). Their fears come in the form of their pasts—people, violence, memories, loss, internal demons—being carried into their futures—Gameland, death, love, and vulnerability. Combine that with just enough twists to keep me surprised and like “What the kraken?” at certain points, and sad at others as I felt the loss with this little band of tested friends. Oh, and I loved that the underlying themes developed so well in “Rot and Ruin” of love, family, friendships, and valuing human life are in there, working beneath the skin, pulling the reader into caring about the zombies, the harsh landscapes, and the broken individuals as they struggle through pain and, at times, anger in their quest for hope.
If “Rot and Ruin” was a coming-of-age novel, then “Dust and Decay” is a coming-of-relationship novel.
And it’s so good.
So, there you have it, Preciouses. Run off and read it. Or have you already? (Or any other zombie/apocalypse/scare-your-pants off books that we should know about?)
Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
Well? How goes the end-of-summer reading? Mine is playing out quite nicely thank-you-very-much. In fact, I’ve got a new book recommendation for you! It’s Mary E. Pearson‘s “The Adoration of Jenna Fox.” Is tres yummy.
Jenna Fox wakes from a coma one day (in the not-so-distant future) without a single recollection of who she is, let alone who the people claiming to be her parents are. Kept on a strange diet and observed intently, to the point of paranoia, Jenna is coached to watch home videos that range from her childhood all the way up through her birthday a year ago, when the accident that took her friends’ lives nearly stole hers as well. Little by little, memories begin to inject their way into her consciousness, as do the voices from the dark emptiness asking her to help them. When Jenna discovers that her father is the inventor of a bio gel that can effectively (and illegally) create synthetic beings based upon a mere fraction of a human’s original genetic material, she gradually becomes suspicious.
And believe me, she should be.
What I liked:
- The voice. Ms. Pearson does a fantastic job, particularly in the way she continues to make Jenna’s voice fuller throughout the story as her personality, suspicions, and memories begin to emerge. This is first person, present tense done REALLY well.
- The poetic inserts (given as Jenna’s thoughts) at varied points throughout the book. So lovely.
- The premise. Me likes the creep factor.
- The layers that develop into intriguing story elements then catch you by surprise.
- The relationships. Believable and complicated.
- The pretty world Jenna is surrounded by. Sweet and subtle descriptions.
So…yes. You should definitely read this one.
No, seriously. What are you waiting for?
What’s the mood noise of the moment? Edith Backlund
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
Meet my friend Mekenzi Stephens. She’s sweet and silly and marvelously full of spunk, which is why I like her and why I’m thoroughly convinced you will too. I recently invited her to write up a book review for us, and shortly thereafter she sent me her thoughts on Elizabeth Peters’ “Crocodile on the Sandbank.” I actually squealed when I got them and ran off to grab my sister’s copy of the book, which I hadn’t read in YEARS even though it’s one of my all-time favorite adventures! If you haven’t checked it out, YOU MUST DO SO. And in the meantime, have fun with Mekenzi’s review!
So when Mary offered to let me do a book review for her blog, I was first of all psyched out of my mind that she offered cuz I think she’s basically really super cool, and second, I was convinced THAT would never happen. Me, with the three amazing and crazy kids five and under…with the bedroom floor covered in laundry needing to be done…with free time between 12am and 6am? Do a book review? Ha! Yeah right! Or…maybe I was just a chicken.
And then I picked up an old book that I had first read forever ago, called “Crocodile on the Sandbank,” and reintroduced myself to one of my favorite heroines ever, Miss Amelia Peabody. I think she is also basically really super cool, and I was inspired by her dauntless courage and use of a parasol to put on my big girl panties, take a deep breath, and write a review already! If Amelia can take on an ancient curse and a long dead mummy come back to life, I can do one book review right? Right. So. Here goes nothin’…
The story starts out by introducing its heroine, Miss Amelia Peabody, an extremely intelligent, efficient, and capable wealthy lady of Victorian Era England. (Think bustles, imperialism, and tea.) As she has reached the ripe old age of 31 without finding a husband sensible enough to tempt her, Amelia has decided to spend her resources and time imbibing the decadence and wonder of Egypt and the archeological marvels of that time. She is in Italy, getting ready to embark on her tour when her hired companion deserts her, being too delicate for the vibrant germs and parasites of abroad. But fortunate enough, she comes across a young and beautiful lady who has just fallen unconscious in the middle of a public square. After literally picking her up and dusting her off, Amelia discovers the girl is a deserted lady of questionable past, alone and destitute. Amelia’s compassion and need for someone to dress up and set to rights motivates her to engage the lady, Miss Evelyn Barton-Forbes, as her new traveling companion, getting a sweet, gentle, and loyal true friend in the deal.
The story follows Amelia and Evelyn as they make their way to Egypt. Upon arrival in Cairo, they visit the National Museum of Antiquities where they have a run-in with two English archeologist brothers over some pottery shards. Well, technically, Amelia has a run-in with the eldest brother, Mr. Radcliffe Emerson, who is as formidable as Amelia herself. Evelyn, on the other hand, falls immediately in love with the younger brother, Walter Emerson, intelligent, gentle and handsome. You can see where this is going, I’m sure…
After the aforementioned run-in, Amelia and Evelyn continue on their pleasure cruise up the Nile. Determined to grant Evelyn and Walter a little more time to get to know each other (*wink wink*), Amelia schedules a stop at Amarna, the site where the Emerson brothers are excavating. Their “impromptu” visit turns much more serious as they find Emerson in the grips of a rampaging illness and it is only Amelia’s sensible and capable ministrations that save his life. A true hero in distress. Amelia decides to stay on for a week to make sure he doesn’t relapse and during that time discovers a love of archeology blossoming within her. And that isn’t the only thing she falls in love with…
However, the week is a turbulent one, as an ancient curse and a long dead mummy arise to haunt them! With the help of Emerson, Amelia uses her indomitable powers of reason, her dauntless courage, and her trusty parasol to solve the heinous mystery!
What I liked:
- Probably my favorite thing about this book is Amelia’s tone. It is a first person narrative so Amelia is telling the story from her own viewpoint. Elizabeth Peters, the author, does such an immensely entertaining job of giving Amelia the right balance of sensible practicality and delightful disregard for encumbering social precepts that you can’t help but love her! She has a will of iron, a capability to take on whatever is thrown her way and yet is completely proper at every turn. She always has everything under control, and if she ever has to wing it, she’ll never let on. (I think she would have liked to borrow your throwing knives, Mary.)
- Emerson is one of my favorite leading men EVER. He’s got that passionate, manly vibe that is just so sexy, you know? I also love the interaction between Amelia and Emerson. Watching Amelia awaken to the possibility of finding love is super fun, like, in a perfectly girlie, giggly type of way.
- I really like how Peters uses factual information in the archeological aspect of this book. The tools and methods Amelia and Emerson use in the book are the same tools and methods the actual archeologists of the day used. So you are learning and being entertained at the same time. Two-fer.
- This is the first of at least seventeen books in the Amelia Peabody mystery series. THAT is a selling point in and of itself—am I right? The rest of the series follows Amelia and her budding family through escapade after escapade with lots of romance, suspense, and laughter thrown in.
So I hope you pick up this book and check it out. Then you can be inspired by Amelia’s kick-butt attitude to do something epic too, like uncover a crumbling pavement decorated in the days of the pharaohs, or hike up a pyramid, or take out a zombie mummy, or write your own book review!
What’s the mood noise of the moment? The super cute Cleopatra Stratan
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