The back of the book says: Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father's grief. What they don't understand--although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in--is the that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose.
RCM says: *happy sigh* I loved this book. It is eminently satisfying and thoroughly enjoyable.
It's a retelling of a fairy tale (The Twelve Dancing Princesses), and manages to capture everything magical that a fairy tale should be. The writing, the characters, and the story itself are flat out charming. The plot stays true to the source material, while bringing a fresh originality to the tale.
Azalea, eldest of the twelve princesses, is delightful, and earns her stripes as an RCM approved fairy tale heroine. She doesn't go swashbuckling, but she has moments of great bravery and emotional strength.
The characters are all well-drawn and distinct, quite a feat with such a large cast. I adored Bramble and Clover. (All the girls have plant names, including a Delphinium, which amused me for reasons that readers of Texas Gothic will understand.) Even the youngest of the sisters had a consistent and dimensional personality, as did all the suitors--successful and not.
There's a delightful romance for Azalea (fairy tales need a happily ever after), but by far the most compelling relationship journey in the book was that of Azalea and her father, the King. The story begins with the castle plunging into mourning for the girls' mother, and the themes of grief and healing and family are explored very well. The resolution of this emotional arc was tied up with the external plotline in a most satisfying way. (There may have been a few sniffles. But I'm a daddy's girl, so there's that.)
This is exactly the type of story I enjoy most. Well-written, effortless prose, emotional depth, engaging characters, and an exciting plot. A ripping good tale, as Lord Teddie would say.
What else are the Bookanistas talking about this week?
I'm just a little excited about that. I would like to pretend I'm all blasé about a new book release and ho hum, it's my fifth book so whatever.
But the fact is, I'm all tied up with nerves and hopes and fears and more hopes...
This is the book my dad and I plotted together when I was sixteen. This is the one I started first, the high school boyfriend I left behind when I went to college, but eventually met up with again. The setting is an eyes-open love letter to the place I grew up, not perfect, but beautiful and full of people and things that, good or bad, you won't find anywhere else.
There's so much of me in this book. There's spitfire romance and matinee adventure and family dramady. There's forensic anthropology and paranormal investigation. There's girl power and there's boy crazy. There's Sonic cherry limeade and Dr Pepper and Shiner beer and coffee and chocolate chip cookies. There's nods to Mrs. Radcliffe, Kathy Reichs, and Carolyn Keene. And yes, even to Scooby Doo.
Amy Goodnight is full of neuroses and awesome, who plunges into danger with a sense of righteousness and a bottle of Purell. Is it any wonder I feel so close to this book?
So, for me, book release day isn't just about "will the book perform well," or even about "will people like it." A book is a collaborative effort, in a way. I put all these things in there, and ask you, the reader, to come along to the story. You bring your own experiences, which enhance and nuance the story so it becomes unique to you, too. So the excitement, in a way, is anticipation of what readers will take away from the book, and hope that it's a wonderful shared experience.
Or, they will think I'm a nut. That's okay, too, I guess. As long as they enjoy the read.
You can get Texas Gothic at your local retailer. (Ask for it if they don't have it on the shelf. It may have sold out already and we want them to order more!) It's also available in all e-reader formats and from online booksellers. There's a whole list of online retailer links here.
Or ask for it at your local library! You don't have to buy a book to help an author. Letting your librarian know there's a demand for the book is important!
Here's a list of my upcoming signings and appearances!
I have NOT forgotten that Texas Gothic comes out tomorrow! Don't forget there's a giveaway on Goodreads (see post below). And I'm signing the book at the Barnes and Noble at the Parks Mall in south Arlington, TX starting at 1pm on this coming Saturday (7/16).
But first... Green Lantern.
I was REALLY looking forward to seeing this movie, but the critical press reviews popped the bubble of my enthusiasm. I didn't go see it until this weekend.
And I LOVED it. It's not dark and gritty. It's not a post-modern examination of war profiteering or Cold War isolationism. It's a grand and slightly idealistic movie about the uncomplicated issue of good versus evil.
Eating planets? Bad. Digging deep and finding the willpower to overcome fear and save everybody? Good.
I especially like that the movie lampshades some of the awkwardness of the premise. Green Lantern is, after all, a magical space cop who makes stuff out of green energy. And Hal Jordan? Kind of an ass when the movie begins. Maybe even still a little bit of an ass when the movie ends, but in the best possible "I'm ready to put everything on the line" sort of way.
The bottom line is this: Green Lantern sets out to entertain, and it does. Are there other superhero movies with more undertones and psycho-social commentary? Yes. Superhero movies that go to a more "grown-up" place? Definitely. As my friend A. Lee Martinez pointed out on his blog recently, even Transformers is full of "gritty" robot gore.
But not everything needs to go to a dark, grown up place. Some movies need to speak to the kid in us. The one who can recite the Green Lantern oath without a shred of irony.
In brightest day, in blackest night
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power... Green lantern's light!
(I may have teared up a little just then.)
There's nothing cheesy or simplistic about a movie about a white (or green) knight fighting a dragon to save the village. Choosing good over evil doesn't have to be a complicated decision. Part of me thinks that if more people recited the Green Lantern oath in the mirror every morning, the world might be a nicer place.
Anyway. I really enjoyed this movie. Ryan Reynolds is adorable and cheeky, a likable rogue. Well cast as Hal Jordan, I think. Kinda nice to look at, too.
Terrific fun. Bring your sense of adventure and check your cynicism at the door. (Provided you can find a theatre still showing it! Movies come and go so quickly in the summer!)