Banned Books Week - September 24 - 30

Thursday, March 31, 2011

NOVEL GLIMPSES (3)--THE LAST QUEEN, ACROSS THE VEIL, AND A DNF



Novel Glimpses is my feature for mini-reviews...really just a fancy name for them! The only difference than with my traditional mini-reviews is that I will include my Goodreads rating, something I do not do with my regular reviews. Feel free to participate...just credit me and link back if you do. (The titles are linked back to Goodreads, if you would like to read the book description).


The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner
finished on March 8, 2011

My Goodreads rating:  5 stars
The glimpse:  There is a reason why historical fiction is my favorite genre and this book is one of them.  An author that can take an historical figure, write a book about him/her based in fact, and make it historically accurate and entertaining at the same time is truly gifted.  I have been interested in Queen Juana since I watched a brilliant Spanish film based on her life called "Juana La Loca" (or "Mad Love").  Not quite sure how accurate the film was, but my interest was piqued and I wanted to know more about her.  However, at the time there were no historical fiction novels about her and very little non-fiction at that (at least after a search at my library).  And then I entered the book blogging world in 2009 and I started hearing about this book and I wanted it.  I put it on my wishlist and lucky me, my lovely Holiday Swap partner sent me the book (with my other goodies)! Well, the waiting paid off.  Gortner has constructed an historically accurate novel with characters that make you want to hate (Felipe) and to cry (Juana).  The subjugation of Juana by the men in her life is both infuriating and heartbreaking and I felt every misdeed against her to the bone.  Gortner has landed himself on my list of favorite historical fiction authors and I'm pretty confident that he will stay there.  I have his The Confessions of Catherine De Medici on my TBR pile and I can't wait to sink my teeth into it.  It just inched closer to the top of the pile.

Qualifies for the following challenges:
Alphabet Challenge
Historical Fiction Challenge
Outdo Yourself


Across the Veil by Lisa Kessler (e book)
finished on March 25, 2011

My Goodreads rating:  4 stars
The glimpse:  I have been following Lisa's writing since I met her on MySpace, where she posted weekly short stories on her blog and I'm a big fan.  I have been rooting for her writing journey and I'm happy to say that a week (or so) after she published this story on Amazon, she received a three book contract for her Night trilogy and a novella.  Congrats to her! So, on to the review of Across the Veil.  I love Lisa's characters.  They are so real and believable.  And her blending of the real world with the fantasy world is effortless.  The life and adventures of Princess Talia, aka Natalie Thurmont, are exciting and intriguing and I can only hope that Lisa will expand her story into a full novel someday. *fingers crossed*

Qualifies for Outdo Yourself Challenge

The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans by David A. Ross
DNF

No star rating...DNF
The glimpse (sort of):  I really hate abandoning books and I rarely do, but I have vowed to give a book 50 pages (or so) and if it's not grabbing me by then, well....  All I can say is that this book started off like a course in learning a virtual world and then forayed into a preachy treatise on global warming.  Now don't get me wrong.  I think global warming is a very important issue, but I own An Inconvenient Truth and I think I can learn what I need to know from that book.  I want works of fiction to have a story and interesting characters...not to read like a how-to manual narrated by one of those virtual talking avatars we see so much of online these days.






I received Across the Veil from the author for review and The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans from the publicity company for review.  The opinions expressed are my own and I did not receive any monetary compensation.

6 comments:

I apologize for word verification, but I turned it off and had close to 50 spam comments within 12 hours (nobody has time for that) so I had to turn it back on. Sorry!

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  1. Thanks for the review Michelle!!!

    I really appreciate your time and your opinion!!!

    Lisa :)
    aka Across the Veil's Mom

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  2. I'm with you on that last one, I've never read it but I know how you feel. When books get too preachy or on message, even when it's a message you agree with, it's hard to read if the rest of the story is sacraficed for the message.

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  3. You are so welcome, Lisa! You know I always enjoy your stories. =O)

    Thanks Ryan. It's a hard call sometimes, but I have to make it at times, although it doesn't happen very often. And story should never be sacrificed for a message, in my opinion.

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  4. Great reviews!

    The guy on the second cover is so swoony and the third cover is so cool.

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  5. I am intrigued by The Last Queen; going to keep my eye out for it!

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  6. I would never pick up Across The Veil if I were picking up books in the store; the cover is something that screams to me "you will hate this book!" Proof that blogs are a good thing because now I'm going to have to pick this one up and give it a try.

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