Friday, May 13, 2011

book butterfly reviews -- april

I just realized I never posted one of these for last month!  I'm actually amazed that I was able to get through three whole books with everything else going on, tearing my hair out at clinicals and school, (writing out careplans has got to be one of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks in existence) and still semi-participating in my children's lives.  Time-Suck is a real thing.  It's in the Bible.  Look it up.

Magic Study (Study, #2)

"Magic Study" (Study #2) by Maria K. Snyder

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After, I don't know, a year since I read Book One in this series (Poison Study, LOVE it!), I was excited to get back into this story. 

I liked it...not near as much as Poison Study, but it was a good imaginative story. As Yelena learns about her magic, I found it slightly too convenient that she was able to make up and do things without even knowing she could just exactly at the right time. *shrug* And personally I found the whole magic blanket/string analogy tedious, but that's just me.

Like many, I never knew who to trust. I was insistent that one character was going to end up double crossing her, but it never happened. And then of course the big crossover for the bad guy(s) at the end. The plot definitely kept me guessing!

I don't really understand the whole reason for the He/She character. I just don't get the point of having him/her in the story at all. Perhaps it's been too long since I read Book 1. I do love Ari and Janco though, they add a lot of fun and lightheartedness to the story.


Caleb's Crossing"Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Brooks

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{foreword: long review because I'm actually getting paid for this one on another site}

I didn't completely love it, and I'll tell you why: it simply didn't go the way I wanted nor expected it would go. I made some assumptions early on and when those never came to fruition, I was disappointed. Be advised this review will have mild spoilers.

"Caleb's Crossing" is told from the perspective of Bethia, a teenage Puritan who by chance meets Caleb, a Native American of her same age in the mid 1600's. She is the daughter of a Christian minister, he the nephew of a tribal chief. Their friendship must remain secret until he goes on a quest to become a man, so to speak.and then, it pretty much fizzles out.

Bethia believes that everything wrong she ever encounters or suffers from in life stems from her transgression of the unapproved earlier friendship with Caleb. Even so, as he is slowly allowed to take on instruction and eventually go to Cambridge and Harvard, she watches out for him and does anything she can to assist him.

The story of his endurance and eventual graduation is very inspiring. However, I was really hoping their friendship would regain its momentum and become more of a plot line in the book. I realize this is based loosely on a true character in Caleb, and that Bethia is complete fiction, but when it became apparent that her main contribution to his life was the introduction to the crossover to English and school and Christianity only to pretty much part ways, well, I was disappointed.

Neither did I completely believe the relationship with Samuel and in fact, was not pulling for him to win her affections. She refuses him, he chases her, grabs her roughly by the hair and forces himself onto her and--what? She's in love/lust with him all of a sudden?

Having said that, the language and writing are otherwise beautiful in this book-- very pleasant to read. Brooks has a wonderful way with words and I really enjoyed her writing style. Bethia is a strong character whom I really believed. I hated seeing her curiosity stifled, I hated her guilt when she blamed herself for tragedies, and I cheered for her when she was able to somewhat audit the Harvard classes by way of her job in the buttery.

The resolution is not a happy one, but it follows Caleb's true history. In the end, I would have liked to learn more about him, more about his motivation for higher learning, more about what he thought of Bethia. In truth, right up to the end, I was still hoping for him to profess his undying love and devotion to her--even if they just shared a moment such as:

"I want..."
"But we can't..."
"How will I go on...?"
"Yet you must!"

Not so much. Thus, the ending left me feeling kind of flat.


The Dead Don't Dance"The Dead Don't Dance" by Charles Martin

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I was very excited to read this after LOVING "When Crickets Cry" by the same author. This is another beautifully written story, about Dylan whose newborn baby died in childbirth and whose wife has been in a coma ever since.

The symbolism and description is so well done. Like "Crickets" there are a couple of "HOLY COW" chapters that left me literally near-breathless. Martin is a fabulous writer. Though I didn't enjoy this as much, it's really well done and I look forward to starting the follow-up sequel.

What have you been reading?  Actually, no.  Don't share with me.  I currently have 259 books on my To Read list.  I may get through those by the year 2020.

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