Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hillary Jordan's When She Woke

This novel is H E A V Y.  It takes so many twists and turns, that I even question my own moral compass.

When I started the novel, I thought it would be a modern rendition of The Scarlet Letter.  In some ways it is.  There are parallels in the characters' names, talents, and punishment.  But that's where The Scarlet Letter stops and When She Woke begins.

Hannah Payne is a young woman involved in her church, close with her family, confining herself to the social norms that are acceptable for her world.  When she falls in love with a man that can never be hers and eventually becomes pregnant, that small world opens up to reveal the true face of evil and humanity.

Jordan's writing style is beautiful and passionate.  I can tell that the content in her novel is something that she holds close to her.  It makes me wonder who she is and what kind of life experiences she's had, if she's been forced into her fair share of boxes.

I promise you will question your beliefs when you read this novel.  Whether you are pro life or pro choice, have an opinion about same sex relationships, and how crimes are punished, it makes no difference.  Jordan will take you on a journey, forcing you to see both sides of the spectrum, and perhaps have an awakening of your own. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Rose Pressey's Ghouls Night Out

Pressey's Ghouls Night Out is another lighthearted tale of medium/ bookstore owner Larue Donovan.  After uncovering Brianna's love spell and rescuing her beau from an awful life with Brianna, you would think all is well, right?  Well, it's not.  Karyn offers Larue the position of coven leader, and suddenly things start going awry.  Could it be a demon or another witch practicing black magic?  What lengths would you go through to save your best friend?

I thought GNO was more enjoyable than Me and My Ghoulfriends.  Personally, I couldn't relate to Larue's love issues in the previous installment.  But going on a mission to save a best friend? Totally engrossed!

I also like how Pressey incorporates dead celebrities into her novels.  I think it would be funny to have a devious duo like Bonnie and Clyde that don't realize they're dead.....Or perhaps Mindy attracts a "love ghost" and Larue has to persuade the poor guy to go over to the other side. Or maybe Pressey will branch out from the lighthearted and write in a demon to send back to hell.  Either way, I look forward to the new installments and who will be following Laure on her next mission.

And I'm so looking forward to inviting my gal pals over for  a Mindyrita night.....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

JS Bannerman's The Pitchfork Diaries- NOT FOR KIDS

Reader discretion is advised!  Okay, so maybe I'm not addicted to all types of fiction.

Bannerman's The Pitchfork Diaries is a compilation of short stories in the extreme horror genre.  I feel like I can best write this review in the form of "glows and grows," while I pretend to be a book reviewer and know what I'm talking about.

Glows: Bannerman is a really good writer!  He has excellent style and syntax.  His descriptions are detailed, visceral, and evocative.  I suppose these descriptions are what an author of extreme horror looks for.  I was easily able to visualize the descriptions in each of the stories, and his matter of fact tone created a gag-reflective mood in me.

Grows: Although the stories are short, and not meant to provide a full background, some of the stories I thought were really good and deserved to have some of the "plot holes" filled.  I know the author has a novel that is soon to be released, and I think it would be cool to see a full and complete story from Bannerman (I'm just not so sure I can stomach it).

I just can't get over the content, really.  You know "Separation of Church and State?"  Well, I guess in the literary world, especially the genre of horror, I would like a separation of church and fiction.  I happen to like movies such as "The Exorcist" and "The Omen," which I imagine had the religious folks up in arms back in the day.  I consider myself to be a fairly desensitized person, but some of the images that the author created don't sit well with me.  I am a Catholic, although not a very good one, and I do hold the crucifix and the goodness of Christ close to my heart.  Maybe this is a compliment to the author's descriptive skills, but my stomach didn't sit well (I didn't poo my pants, but I might've cried and barfed in my mouth a little bit).

This author has done something that I've never been able to do: publish literary work and create a following.  To that, I must pay much respect.  I've learned that extreme horror isn't my bag, but that doesn't mean it isn't yours.

Bannerman, if you ever write a kinda-scary-psychological-thriller-with-only-a-little-bit-of gore, I'll be one of the first to download.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Michelle Zink's Circle of Fire WARNING! Spoiler!


Circle of Fire is the last installment of the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy, and I'm breathless. When I read TPotS, Zink was amazing at building a rather large and complex back story with brevity.  I was amazed at how much information could be given with such intensity and even fewer words.  Guardian of the Gate is the second installment, and I think this novel is important in understanding the danger of the prophecy, and everyone's role.  Zink really played on sibling rivalry, I think, and not just with Alice.  Yes, the two were at odds because of their roles in the prophecy, but Lia is also betrayed by another sister, Sonia.  After reading Circle of Fire, all I'm left with are certain images in my mind.

I think of the Jorgamund, which is an image of a snake eating its own tail.  The shape forms a circle, and I think phrases such as "Circle of Life," and "ending full circle."  The prophecy ends at Avebury, where it began.  Clearly, the Jorgamund is a symbol for the prophecy's birth and Samael's demise.  But I wonder if the image of a snake eating its own tale foreshadows Samael's evil dissolving within itself as Lia closes the gate.

I also think of the Rite at Avebury, and the way Zink described all the necessary preparations.  To me, I thought of a wedding.  The bride being left alone, with a trusted friend, to prepare herself for the future while the others are making final preparations.  They walk in a procession together, dressed in purple robes.  In the Roman Catholic church, priests wear purple vestments to symbolize the pain and suffering during the season of Lent.  Lia is constantly reminded of the pain and sacrifices she has made in the name of the prophecy, and her fear of giving into evil. Purple was the perfect choice for her!

I knew Alice wasn't such a crazy/cruel/greedy bitch after all.  Alice and Lia's childhood didn't revolve around the prophecy, and I knew that Alice really did love her sister.  I was so relieved when she came through in the end.

I love to read historical fiction, mostly because I love to visualize lifestyles from another place and time.  The nerdy part of me is attracted to language and phrases are are true to the period of the piece.  Zink used phrases such as "work in concert" that are not in our everyday vernacular.  What I want to know is how an author researches and uses proper dialect in historical writing.  It just makes my brain hurt.

Overall, I think The Prophecy of the Sisters is an excellent read.  I'm glad to have closure and look forward to reading more of Zink's work.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rose Pressey's Me and My Ghoulfriends

Pressey's Me and My Ghoulfriends is lighthearted, and a fun read.  The novel centers around Larue Donavan, a bookstore owning medium with a pretty boring love life.  When Laure finally meets a great guy, he is cast under a love spell by Larue's bitchy nemesis, Brianna.

I immediately enjoyed reading the book.  Pressey's sense of humor comes to life in the first page, and I am also interested in paranormal activity.  I liked reading about the spirits that become attached to Larue. 

Pressey does an excellent job developing the characters.  I feel like I got to know Laure pretty well, and even Mindy too.  For a novel with such light content, I would've liked it to be shorter and more to the point.  The book is 639 pages, and primarily consists of swooning over the love-struck boy next door.  Honestly I felt like I was back in high school, sitting by the phone, and wondering if he'll call.  I'm all for reading a romance novel, I just would've liked to see more development with the ghosts and their unfinished business.

I did download the second installment of Pressey's Larue Donavan series, Ghouls Night Out.  I do look forward to reading it, and I hope that I can relate to Larue's troubles a little better.