10.21.13

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Posted in Review at 9:02 am by Amber

Title: Sunshine
Author: Robin McKinley
Publisher: Jove Books
Source: Columbus Metropolitan Library

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

They took her clothes and sneakers. They dressed her in a long red gown. And they shackled her to the wall of an abandoned mansion-within easy reach of a figure stirring in the moonlight.

She knows that it is a vampire.

She knows that she’s to be his dinner, and that when he is finished with her, she will be dead. Yet, when light breaks, she finds that he has not attempted to harm her. And now it is he who needs her to help him survive the day…

This came up as a book recommendation in a conversation about funny fantasy books.

It wasn’t a laugh a minute like I was expecting but it did  have humor. It breaks from many urban fantasy formulas shortly after the beginning. It makes a declarative statement but it’s not until page 12 that you find out what happened to bring on the next chain of events. And even then it goes into more backstory.

Nothing ever reads like an info-dump. Told in the first person point of view, the main character has a strong voice and the book reads like a tale. A very long tale of what happened to her after she went to a lake by herself one Monday evening.

You’re in the main character’s head a lot. And McKinley never breaks from that.

It’s refreshing to have a novel with loose ends and to know there isn’t a sequel in the works. This is a world where magic is in the open and I can see lots of possible short stories about other characters (and the professions they have in this world).

10.15.13

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Posted in Review at 8:49 am by Amber

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Publisher: The Dial Press
Source: Columbus Metropolitan Library

“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

While the synopsis is accurate it didn’t pull me in as a reader. Mostly glowing reviews from book bloggers didn’t get my attention either. It wasn’t until my fellow Month of Letter participants decided to start an epistolary book club that I finally picked it up.

The title is horribly long and I can never remember it. But it’s an accurate title too. 🙂

The story takes place after World War II. It reminds us books can be a comfort in difficult times or serve as a means of escape. It’s a sweet story about people finding their way back from a horrible thing.