Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever (Bevelstoke, #1) The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Julia Quinn is one of my favorite romance authors, but this is not my favorite of her books. I've now read it twice because I couldn't remember what happened in it/wasn't sure I'd read it before. I had. It just wasn't that great. I liked that the heroine, Miranda, wasn't ravishingly beautiful, for a change. And there are some funny moments. But the hero, Turner, takes a ridiculous amount of time to realize he loves his wife, and in the meantime, he makes her miserable. Frankly, I found Turner to be irritating and thought Miranda really could have done better for herself.

This is the first book in the new Bevelstoke series, and the next book, What Happens in London, is one of my new favorites. Read that one instead of this one!

Typically Quinn writes books with both story and character doorways, but in this case, I don't think the characters are quite well-written enough to justify a character doorway label. However, I would say setting is a secondary doorway since it's an historical romance.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

Knuffle Bunny:  A Cautionary Tale Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My very favorite part of this truly excellent children's book is when Trixie goes "boneless." Cracks me up every time. Well, the whole thing does, really. I LOVE this book! You really can tell that Willems knows kids and can capture their expressions in his artwork perfectly.

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Leonardo, the Terrible Monster

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster (ALA Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards)) Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Mo Willems' books. This one is an adorable story about a young monster who is terrible at being scary. It'd work well as a read-aloud at home or for a storytime. Just be sure to take a deep breath before reading Sam's big rant. :)

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Quatrain Quatrain by Sharon Shinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite contemporary authors because her stories are compelling, her main characters feel like people you know or want to know, and the worlds she creates seem real.

In Quatrain, Shinn tells four stories set in four separate worlds. The first--"Flight"--fits into her Samaria series--just before Gabriel becomes Archangel. Salome has spent the past 17 years avoiding angels and raising her niece, Sheba, and now her past is about to find her again.

In "Blood", Kerk's search for his long-lost mother leads him to a new understanding of the gender-based power dynamics in gulden society and a new appreciation for one particular indigo woman. This novella fits into the world Shinn created for her novel Heart of Gold, and the only thing I didn't like about it was that it wasn't longer! I actually exclaimed aloud in protest as I turned the last page and realized I'd come to the end.

The third novella, "Gold," is set in a world I didn't recognize (although for all I know, it may be from one of the remaining Shinn novels I haven't yet read). A petulant seventeen-year-old crown princess is escorted to safety in the magical kingdom of Alora to wait out the impending war. The longer she stays, the less she remembers her home and family. I think it's the weakest of the four stories, but I give Shinn credit for her portrayal of the self-absorption of so many teenagers.

The fourth and final story was, of course, my favorite. "Flame" features Senneth and the world of Gillengaria and its Twelve Houses. This one takes place in the days leading up to the start of book 1 of the series, Mystic and Rider. Senneth burns down three plague-ridden cottages as a favor for a village and later saves a small child from the flames of a hearth fire. In the process, she's exposed as a mystic and faces prejudice from both strangers and acquaintances when mysterious fires start erupting all over town.

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