Saturday, January 19, 2013

History of a Pleasure Seeker

History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason was enchanting. As I read it, I fell in love with the main character. I mean, I really did. (Note the conversation I had with my boyfriend about it at the bottom)

I can actually tell you what it's about. It follows the story of a young man, Piet Barol. It begins with Piet successfully landing a job tutoring a genius young boy, Egbert, from an extremely wealthy family in Amsterdam. 

Piet acquires the position because of his gentlemanly and almost flirtatious manner to the mother Jacobina, who is not only interviewing him, but whose husband hasn't touched her in years. Getting attention from a young, attractive, and well-mannered young gentleman doesn't hurt her impression of this tutor-to-be and she hires him. However, the contract of the tutoring position is that Piet must somehow pull out the reclusiveness of Egbert. Egbert is frightened of the outside world and refuses to leave the house, much to the dismay of his father, mother, and his two clever sisters. The entire family is enchanted with Piet and his urbane ways. 
The daughters are taken with him, the mother is taken with him, the father trusts him, and Piet is gentlemanly, but not quite gentlemanly enough to cast his eyes away when Jacobina stares outwardly at him. 
I loved this book because Piet always finds a way to appease everyone in his suave manner, even from his rough beginnings. It's a lovely story - and it's a bit scandalous, too, which never hurt anybody. 

A Conversation Between My Boyfriend and I While I read History of a Pleasure Seeker One Afternoon
Me: Matt, I think I'm in love with this fictional character. 
Matt: Great.
Me: No... really. He's incredible.
Matt: Oooookay.
Me: No, I'm really, really, REALLY-
Matt (unfazed by my ardor): He's fictional, I'm not worried.
Me: Mmmm. Continues reading furiously

Five stars for this one!

The Brides of Rollrock Island

I ADORED this YA book by Margo Lanagan. She has written other books, too (Tender Morsels, Black Juice, Red Spikes) but this is the only one that I've read. It was incredible, especially if you're a slave to magical realism.

The story is told from several different points of view. From young children, to the ugly Misskaella, to adult men. Misskaella is a girl that grows up on Rollrock Island (an imaginary place set off the coast of what I presume to be Ireland) with magical abilities. She's had a difficult life, growing up ugly and unwanted by nearly everyone in her life, but she can magically pull unearthly beautiful women out of the seals that flock around Rollrock. The men of the island are bewitched by these stunning women and begin to pay Misskaella gobs of money for their very own seal wife. Trouble ensues, of course.

I could not put this book down. It captivated me more with every word that I read. Like any very well written book, it left you wanting more and more. Enjoy - I'm giving it five stars.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy New Year!

So I know I haven't updated in AGES yet again, but it's been a busy month! Now that it's January and there are a million less things to do, I'll be updating much more often - I promise! 
I'd also like to note that I read my goal of 55 books this year and if you want to see them, I'm on Goodreads! You can see all the books I read this past year! 

If you haven't read (or listened to!) The Help I urge you to drop whatever it is that you're doing and visit your local library - or buy it. It is INCREDIBLE. The audiobook is phenomenal and when it ended I nearly cried because the story had filled me up, made me laugh and cry for three full weeks as I drove from work to home, to the grocery store, and to friends houses. This book was my best friend for a while. (My boyfriend became very tired of me going on and on about it every time I talked to some of my friends about books - but he hasn't listened to it yet and he should!) 

In any case, it will pick you up, pull your heart out of your chest, throw it on the ground mercilessly and walk away. But you're going to love that about this book. Just read The Help, it's life changing. Also it's Kathryn Stockett's DEBUT. All I have to say is you go girl! Just amazing. 

I also finished The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle. This was about an Amish girl, Katie, getting ready for her Rumspringa (for those of you who don't know this is when Amish kiddos get to go out and explore the world and return whenever they want to or they can stay outside of the Amish for the rest of their lives - big decisions for young folks!)
Just as she's preparing for this exciting time in her life, she's unable to leave because the Elders of the village have decided that it's not safe in the Outside anymore. The Outside world has become a dystopian nightmare and evil creatures (SPOILER ALERT, but not really, vampires!) are roaming the world. Katie becomes even more headstrong than in the past (and she's also pretty pissed that she doesn't get to do her Rumspringa) and helps a hurt young man at the edge of the village one day even though she's forbidden to go near him.

I really liked this young adult novel. It was dystopian (of course), there was a little romance (mostly cheesy, but oh well), and the heroine was an intelligent, yet still believably sixteen year old girl.

It wasn't my favorite book by any means, but I did enjoy it for what it was. It was also pretty graphic for a YA novel. If it bothers you to read about limbs being ripped off and such, this may not be for you.

I'm still reading The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which I LOVE and I'm starting a few other things. While I was at the library last Friday, not one or two or three books came in for me, but FIVE did. So I need to spend some serious time with my books over the next few weeks. That means more updates and reviews for YOU!