Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review: Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski

Objects of My Affection: A NovelObjects of My Affection: A Novel by Jill Smolinski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Several years ago I read Jill Smolinski's The Next Thing on My List and really enjoyed it, and I have to say I loved Objects of My Affection even more.

Lucy's a little down on her luck - recently single, recently unemployed, and her son's just started drug rehab. Not a magical place to be in at the age of thirty-nine. She's sold everything she owns except for her car in order to fund her son's rehab, and in an attempt to get back on her feet she takes a job organizing the home of a well known artist. More of a challenge than she bargained for, when taking into account the artist's steely son, the sheer volume of things to be organized, and the fact that Marva, the artist, doesn't want to let any of it go. Pressed to accomplish her goal before the project deadline, Lucy has to learn a little about other people and a lot about herself to get it done.

If the idea of reading about a hoarder panics or depresses you, fear not. There are a lot of laugh out loud moments in Objects of My Affection. It's easy to relate to Lucy, especially if you've ever felt like you should have it all together at any given point in your life and been forced to realize you really don't have it together at all. At more than one point I found myself thinking, "Hello, Lucy, jump on the clue boat," but I think that's pretty realistic. Sometimes people don't see the obvious in themselves (or in others).

Marva is also hilarious, and it was fun seeing the layers of her character develop. Think Dorothy from the Golden Girls, attitude wise, although I think Marva could give even Dorothy a run for her money.

I also really enjoy Jill Smolinski's male characters. I wasn't crazy about Nico in this one, but Daniel was fantastic and Will definitely endeared himself to me by the end of things.

After my recent move, the first several free evenings were spent with a glass of wine and this book, and I very much needed the laughter! If you're a fan of general fiction, chick lit, or coming-of-age-again novels, check out Objects of My Affection or Smolinski's previous title, The Next Think on My List.

I received Objects of My Affection through Goodreads First Reads.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa


So, fervent apologies for creating a blog and then disappearing into the void. I hear that's bad for business. I moved and had no internet (long story, boo installation scheduling) but now I have internet. Yay!

And I have an apartment, which is fun. It's certainly different.

For instance, the maintenance guys are here chillin' as I write this.

Well, they aren't chilling, per say, as much as they are...maintaining? They're super nice, though.

At any rate, I digress.

While I had no internet I did get quite a bit of reading done, and I made my first foray into a teen fiction dealing with the Fey.

And not just any fey, The Fey. Fey of Shakespearean proportions and epicness, who wage fearsome politics, magic, and have love affairs with humans. (Also optional: Terrifying or kidnapping said humans.)

I bought The Iron King as an ebook ages ago, but hadn't gotten around to reading it until recently. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Don't get me wrong, the cover is gorgeous and the premise sounded fun, but as much as I love Shakespeare (and I do love me some Shakespeare) I wasn't sure I wanted a whole story about an American Teen in King Oberon's Court.

Ye who fear Shakespeare, fear not! Kagawa's world building is magnificent - and no stuffiness to be found. (The Bard forgive me.)

Meghan Chase, our heroine, is an average teen girl whose insecurities and difficulties mostly stem from economical and social class issues. Her family is poor, and all her classmates are aware of it. Meghan at points seems to wear it as a badge of honor. She's not a genius, but she's smart. She doesn't think she's the hottest thing since sliced French bread, but she (as far as I remember) doesn't think she's the ugliest stick in the woods either, which I appreciated. I like my lead characters to have some semblance of self-confidence.

For example, after she discovers Robbie's true identity and he does his "trick" with the crows, I especially appreciated her total and complete freak out. It wasn't some ho-hum moment where she knew it all along or wasn't phased because he'd been her best friend forever. It's a legitimate what-the-heck-is-my-life-right-now moment and it's fantastic.

Also fantastic? Puck. He's hilarious and dangerous and is willing to defy his King to assist Meghan in her quest to rescue her little brother. *insert girly sigh here*

I also loved Ethan, Meghan's younger brother. He's absolutely adorable. Think:

Honey from Ouran High School Host Club 

 It's a little ridiculous how cute this kid is. (And yes, all you Ouran fans, I know Honey is like ...seventeen. Work with me.)

There's a lot of action and adventure in this story, which keeps it moving at almost break neck speed as Meghan and her companions try to navigate the NeverNever to accomplish her mission of finding Ethan and discovering her own identity in the world of the fey. Meghan grows as the story goes along, and she becomes pretty savvy, even if she makes a few unfortunate deals. (The fey take their deals very, very seriously.) All though, one such deal brings us the character Grimalkin, who is the most awesome cat. If this ever gets made into a movie, Alan Rickman needs to be the voice of Grimalkin. That's how awesome this cat is.

And yes, there is the complicated fact that Meghan finds herself attracted to the Winter Prince, Ash. I'm not overly fond of Ash in this first outing, but I'm willing to give him a chance in volumes to come.

Over all, I very much enjoyed the Iron King and will certainly be continuing on with the series to find out what happens to Meghan, Puck, Ash, and Grim.

The Iron King was first published by Harlequin Teen in 2010.

I give The Iron King four out of five stars and would recommend it to teens and YA readers who enjoy fantasy, action/adventure, and snarky cats.

Booking it,