Showing posts from November, 2021

A Boy Called Christmas

Crossposted from Mainlining Christmas A Boy Called Christmas Matt Haig, 2015 I knew the movie based on this book was coming out this year, so I decided to give it a read first. I'm writing this review before we see the film, or even watch a trailer. Hopefully, the adaptation will decide on a tone. I need to preface this review by admitting that I have never been a fan of Roald Dahl. This book often dips into a very similar style, so if that kind of violence-for-laughs from absurdly cruel or nonsensical characters is something you enjoy, you might enjoy this book, as so many apparently have.  I enjoyed parts of this book, but the tone kept swinging between absurdist children's book, outright farce, mythic/fairytale, and actually serious adventure. Every time I started to really get interested, the story took another weird turn. It's a story about a boy who "believes in magic" and grows up to be Santa, but it's vague and inconsistent in its historical setting. A

Whiteout (Seasons of Love, Book 1)

Whiteout (Seasons of Love, Book 1) Elyse Springer, 2017 Premise: Noah wakes up in a cabin decorated for Christmas, snowbound with a man who says he's Noah's boyfriend. But he can't remember what's true, and something feels very wrong.  First I need to say that I read this book because I was hoping to feature it for Mainlining Christmas , but I think it ended up not quite being Christmassy enough, and that itself was disappointing to me.  My larger problem with this book is that it falls neatly into two halves: one is an intriguing and fascinating mystery, the other is a somewhat bland romance. Is it a coincidence that the book goes rapidly downhill after Christmas? Maybe.  The first half of the book is unique for a romance. Noah had an accident and has temporary amnesia. On the surface, Jason does all the right things for a loving partner to do, but something's off. Noah doesn't know whether it's something Jason's currently hiding or something else hidin

Iron Widow

Iron Widow Xiran Jay Zhao, 2021 Premise: When Wu Zetian finally allows her family to sell her into servitude and certain death, they don't know about her plan. All she wants is vengeance for her sister, but how far will she eventually go? Wow. Big, big wow. I've been following this author on YouTube for months for her funny and insightful takes on Asian representation in media, so I reserved her book at the library when I heard about it. I was unsure during the first prologue chapter - by that time I'd heard only that the book had done very well. Then I hit Zetian's narration in chapter one and there was no turning back. This book is a rocketship: holding on is terrifying, but letting go is impossible. It somehow fulfills the marketing promise of being a blend of Pacific Rim, The Handmaid's Tale, and Chinese history and mythology while being an incredibly compelling read. Like, an if-I-wasn't-a-parent-with-a-full-time-job-I-would-have-stayed-up-all-night kind of

Seducing the Sorcerer

Seducing the Sorcerer Lee Welch, 2021 Premise: Fenn isn't just down on his luck, he's near the end of his rope. But when he suddenly becomes the owner of a horse made of cast-off fabrics and magic, it brings him into a new life, one which includes a mysterious court magician. I wanted to love this book. I pictured this review starting with a disclaimer about looking past the hokey title and cover. However, although I absolutely loved this author's previous book, this one was extremely uneven.  The world is intriguing, but there are far more ideas introduced than are explored. For how important magic is to the story, I wish I had more of a sense of the scope of it, how the different kinds act, and how people actually perform it.  I liked a lot of moments; Finn's narration is often entertaining. However, the crux of the problem was that I couldn't completely buy the romance at the center of the book.  I don't think that a romance has to feature both perspectives,