Saturday, October 25, 2014

Unwound by Lorelei James

 Unwound by Lorelei James -  374 pages

UnwoundWhen sensei Ronin Black first encounters Amery Hardwick, the fire in her eyes ignites a sexual spark a thousand times better than the primal rush he used to get from mixed martial arts matches. She accepts his darker edges and admits to him that her desires aren’t as wholesome as he believed. And before long Ronin is grappling with emotions he’s never felt before...

Yet despite demanding Amery bare her body and soul to him, Ronin holds a part of himself back. When she learns Ronin’s secret and walks out, his life begins to unravel. To regain her trust he must let go of his pride and prove to her that it’s more than passion binding them together. But after their private pleasures are made public, Ronin is unsure if he’s the right man for Amery. Can they face the consequences together? Or will their differences rip them apart...

A Little F'd Up: Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word by Julie Zeilinger

272 pp.

This book is an excellent beginner's guide to feminist thought and history, with the emphasis on teaching younger women and men exactly what feminism is and isn't. It doesn't shy away from the movement's faults, but offers ideas on how the younger generation can possibly fix what she calls the movement's "PR problem". Includes a list of feminist websites, books, and organizations for further reading. Occasionally she strays into stereotypical images of a typical teenage girl, but usually it's to prove some kind of point. Excellent for anyone interested in the history of feminism and social activism.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

Some Luck: A Novel by Jane Smiley --- 395 pages

I had the great good fortune to hear Jane Smiley speak a few years ago, and since she grew up in St. Louis, I've always followed her career and read her books.

With this book I think she has now firmly established herself in the pantheon of Great American Authors. Not only is it a subtly crafted work of literature but it also has great popular appeal, for it is irresistibly readable. The lives of the Langdons, an Iowa farm family, provide a personal narrative of the American experience in the 20th century. Some Luck begins in the aftermath of World War I, and proceeds through the Great Depression, World War II, the Atomic Age and the beginning of the Cold War, ending in 1953.

Best of all, this is the first of a projected trilogy, The Last Hundred Years, that will follow the family from 1919 to 2019, 100 chapters, one for each of the 100 years, across three volumes. The second is scheduled for publication next spring and the third in the fall of 2015. This first book came out the beginning of October and has already been listed for the National Book Award.

Click HERE to read the Chicago Tribune review of Some Luck.

Click HERE to read an interview with Jane Smiley in the New York Times.

Click HERE to listen to an interview with Jane Smiley on Iowa Public Radio.

Click HERE to watch Smiley give a  reading from Some Luck followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne 376 pages

Growing up on Forge's streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that's not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.
But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she's not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he is persistent-and darkly attractive-and Kyra can't quite resist his pull.
Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by the Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.
When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival-and vengeance-might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra's past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson  339 pages

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram's beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation - on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting - from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it's as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives - all with hair as red as her own - in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she's trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac's intoxicating world.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely
by Melissa Marr
328 pages

Filled with good faeries, bad faeries, and in between ones too, this story tells us about a girls struggle to keep them from knowing her secret and finding some out that others have been keeping from her. In the end it turns out well and she sets her world and Keenan's on their heads.

The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks

112 pp.

There are few things I love more than lady superheroes, so I loved this. It follows the daily life of Superhero Girl, the lone hero of a nameless Canadian city. Overshadowed by her megapopular Superman-like older brother Kevin, Superhero Girl tries to carve out her own niche in the superhero business, fighting ninjas, the common cold, and her cape shrinking in the dryer. For anyone who likes superheroes even a little bit.