Feb. 12th, 2013

goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: When God Was a Rabbit
Author: Sarah Winman
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 338
Date read: February, 2013

This is a book about a brother and a sister. It's a book about secrets and starting over, friendship and family, triumph and tragedy, and everything in between. More than anything, it's a book about love in all its forms.

In a remarkably honest and confident voice, Sarah Winman has written the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence-a magical portrait of growing up and the pull and power of family ties. From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, "When God Was a Rabbit" follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother Joe, and her increasing concern for an unusual best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own.

Very unusual book both in plot and in writing style. I really liked it, but it's certainly not for everybody. The rabbit/god played a surprisingly small part though.

A sweet childhood/growing-up story where people were just generally nice for a change. Not unrealistically so, but kind people who made mistakes not out of maliciousness, but because they were human. I grew to care about all the characters and were happy to see them evolve.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Border Wedding
Author: Amanda Scott
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 1/5
# pages: 387
Date read: February, 2013

Captured in 1388 in the act of stealing back his own cattle, young Sir William Scott faces hanging, then gets one other choice--to marry immediately his captor's eldest daughter, the lady Margaret Murray, known by all as Muckle-Mouth Meggie. With the line between England and Scotland shifting daily, the Earl of Douglas wants to win back every inch of Scotland that the English have claimed; whereas the equally powerful English Percies (under Hotspur) want to win back the land between Northumberland and Edinburgh; and the Murray family is caught in the middle, shifting its alliances to try to survive. Uncertain whether she is English or Scottish and abruptly married to Sir William who is staunchly loyal to the cause of Scottish independence but who also has promised he'll never take up arms against her family, Meg Murray learns two things: first, Will's word is his bond; second, her favorite brother is spying on Douglas for Hotspur. As Sir Will faces the dilemma of honoring his word to the unscrupulous Murray without betraying Douglas, Meg must choose between betraying the husband with whom she is rapidly falling in love, or betraying her own family and best-loved brother.

Wow.... that was a decidedly terrible book.

The first proof that something was wrong came when I discovered that the main character's name was different on the dust jacket than in the book itself (copied in full above - his name is actuall Wat/Walter. I'm not going to blame the author for that one though, as it's probably more likely to be the fault of her editor/publisher than of herself.

I started this book almost 3 months ago. It's not a long book - just under 400 pages in fact - but just utterly uninteresting. I liked it well enough while reading it, but never disappeared completely into it, and it was far too easy to put it down and pick up something else instead. It was as if it couldn't figure out what kind of book it wanted to be. Was it a period romance? Erotica? Period suspense? A spy novel? Or something else entirely?

I could have forgiven it for all of that though, and fully intended to give it 2 stars for being "OK" until the big reveal 50 pages before the end.

Cutting the rest for spoilers...
Read more... )

I seldom give out 1-star ratings to books, but unfortunately this one really deserved it. And it's the first in a trilogy? Spare me.
goodreads: (Default)
Title: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Author: Helen Simonson
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 388
Date read: February, 2013

Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired, of Edgecombe St. Mary, England, is more than a little dismayed by the sloppy manners, narcissism, and materialism of modern society. The decline of gentility is evident everywhere, from tea bags to designer sweaters, to racism masquerading as tolerance.
Mutual grief allies him with Mrs. Ali, a widowed local shopkeeper of Pakistani descent who has also resigned herself to dignified, if solitary, last years. The carefully suppressed passion between these two spawns twitters of disapproval in their provincial village, but Pettigrew hasn't time for such silliness: real estate developers are plotting to carpet the fields outside his back door with mansionettes and his sister-in-law plans to auction off a prized family firearm. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ali's late husband's Muslim family expects her to hand over her hard-won business to her sullen, fundamentalist nephew, a notion she finds repellant and chauvinistic.

Absolutely delightful book! I feared for it a couple of times because I felt Major Pettigrew was getting pushed around, but he kept finding his spine before it was too late. I loved both him and Mrs. Ali, and actually also Sandy, whom I wish we had seen more of. It was just plain sweet. A great comfort read.


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