Tuesday, July 9, 2013


by Maya Banks

Dear Reader,

I read this book so that you don't have to. You're welcome.

Seriously... I am very disturbed by the current trends in "romance novels". I'm going to get on my soap box here, so feel free to ignore the following post if you choose. When did it become romantic for a man to stalk a woman, give her unknown drugs because she should trust him, force her to eat, hide their relationship from everyone they love & care about, give her away to other men, and make her sign a contract that he has total control over her? This is not just about this book by Maya Banks.... which on its own may have been passable. But just because Christian Grey's character had success in 50 Shades of Grey, that does not mean that every author should pursue the same storyline. I love romance novels. I'm not against a dominating male personality. But typically, they are balanced by equally strong female characters, who insist on a balanced partnership in their relationship. Not mousy little girls who lose every aspect of themselves in the relationship. Spoiler alert: in the end, the guy does finally come around. But it took long enough. And honestly, I DON'T KNOW WHY IN THE WORLD she believes herself in love with him for the whole first 9/10 of the book. Is she crazy?! This man is clearly unhinged. He tells her repeatedly that she should leave him, that he doesn't want her to let him change who she is. But... he does.

I know that Maya Banks is a fairly well-reputed romance author, so I'm going to just pretend I never read this book. The other characters in the book do seem interesting, with the lead females "brothers" taking up the lead roles in the rest of the series. Maybe one of them will salvage the series for me.

Beautiful Ruins

by Jess Walter

Alright readers, I'm sorry for my prolonged absence! I must now make up for lost time by giving you mere sentences on books which are deserving of much more praise! Including Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. This book had been featured in all the bookstores for some time, and I finally got my hands on a paperback copy. P.S. If you didn't know, reading 50 books in a year can be expensive. Thank goodness for paperback and the library! (Don't you dare tell me I should switch to an e-reader. We will have words.)

This book is crafted beautifully. Walter is a master storyteller, weaving the lives of many people in different times together. There are many characters to follow, but the story itself is easy to understand and somehow it all comes together!  I actually finished reading this book in May, and have thought of it many times since then. He incorporates old Hollywood glamor, the Italian coastline, disillusionment after the war and interpersonal drama in an epic story that begins in the early 1960's and comes to a close in modern day. The characters are all well developed, their motivations are clear, and they stay with you even after you close the pages of this masterpiece. Two thumbs way, way up.