Venom

Okay, me continuously apologizing for insanely late posts is probably getting old by now, so I’m just going to jump right in for once. . .

Today’s post is on the book Venom, written by debut Young Adult author Fiona Paul. Cassandra Caravello lives near Renaissance-era Venice, on San Domenico Island, with her elderly Aunt Agnese and a number of servants. And boy, is she restless.

The rest of Cass’s life seems to consist mostly of an engagement and marriage to Luca da Peraga, a young man studying in France whom she hasn’t seen in years. The future looks bland and frightening indeed, and Cass honestly isn’t really looking forward to it. At the moment, she doesn’t really feel like she HAS much of a life, period. Until, that is, she discovers the body of a strangled girl in the graveyard near her home. Then things change. Just a bit.

Suddenly, Cass is on the trail of a crazed murderer, along with Falco, a young artist who Cass feels more and more attracted to, despite the fact that he’s obviously keeping secrets of his own. And when you catch a boy sneaking around graves late at night, can you really trust him?

One thing’s for sure: This story is bursting with detail. It throws you into the world of Venice, complete with masquerade balls, politicians, gossiping nobles, and murky canal waters. It’s original, and the plot is often gripping. The characters are pretty unique, and while I was sometimes annoyed by them (including Cass), overall they were entertaining and well-written. Cass’s character may not be as original as some of the others, but for me it doesn’t really hurt the story as a whole. Even if the writing itself is occasionally less than great, most of it was definitely good and enjoyable.

All in all, Venom is a pretty good read, and I would definitely recommend it to Young Adult and mystery lovers. So, what about that sequel? 🙂 Everyone have a great day!

Literary Quote of the Day: “. . .evil flows silently among us like venom. We are at its mercy.” –The priest in Venom, by Fiona Paul

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Good Omens

Jeez, you’d think since it’s summer I’d be posting more often. . .I apologize! Now that I actually am posting, the book of the day is Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. And there’s one thing I would like to say right off the bat: I have never read any other book that made the end of the world so funny. So that is a definite plus! Besides that. . .well, I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, obviously, the world is going to end. And in Good Omens, it’s going to end in just a few days. But we humans aren’t the only ones who aren’t exactly keen on everything going BANG. Aziraphale and Crowley, an unlikely duo made up of an angel and a demon, would rather the Earth stay intact also. Unfortunately, fate isn’t really on their (and our) side.

This book is kind of hard to describe, really. It features Anathema Device, who’s “psychic, you see.” It features Newton Pulsifer, Witchfinder Private, and his superior, Shadwell, Witchfinder Sergeant. It features the Them, a small gang living in the village of Tadfield in Oxfordshire, composed of Brian, Pepper, Wensleydale, and Adam, their leader. Oh, and another thing: Adam’s the Antichrist.

So this book isn’t about any one, or two, or three characters specifically. It’s about the Apocalypse and what happens to the characters as it approaches. And this book is good. It is most definitely good. The characters, the plot, the creativity shown throughout. . .it was great. Even if I didn’t get some of the references. Because they were British. And I’m not British. >cries<

Ahem. Anyway, the book was really enjoyable (in case you didn’t get the point). It’s funny, it’s smart-aleck-y, and the plot is really good. To me, Aziraphale and Crowley are the real stars of the novel; their scenes are most definitely my favorites, and I did find myself getting somewhat bored when they were out of the picture for a while. But really, that’s my only complaint. Overall, Good Omens is a great read, and I definitely recommend it. And no, it doesn’t feature zombies.

Literary Quote of the Day: “Just because you’re an angel doesn’t mean you have to be a fool.” —Good Omens, written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

A Crooked Kind of Perfect

This book is a great break for when you’ve just finished a humungous, confusing novel and your brain is going, “Aaaaahhh!” at the prospect of reading another. A Crooked Kind of Perfect, written by Linda Urban, is short and thoroughly enjoyable. You could even call it refreshing. The focus of the book is Zoe Elias, whose biggest dream is to become a champ piano player and perform at Carnegie Hall. All she needs is a gorgeous piano to get her started. So you can imagine her excitement when her father goes to buy her one. And what does he come back with? The Perfectone D-60. An organ. With “Luxuriously realistic walnut veneer!” says the brochure. Needless to say, Zoe is not exactly thrilled. Then she’s entered into the Perfectone Perform-O-Rama. It’s practice, practice, practice! And that’s not all Zoe has to worry about. Best friends, boys, and an ever-working mother also play parts in this book. This book is funny, honest, and Zoe has a unique voice that sucked me in right away. Like I said, this book is a good refresher after plowing through a big novel, but even if you’re not using it for that, it’s still a rewarding read. I suggest you check it out!

Angel on the Square

I humbly apologize for my laziness and taking-too-longness in posting again. No, seriously. Sorry! (I know some of you may be giving me dirty looks at this point, but I hope you’ll forgive me. . .eventually.) But let’s get down to business. This book, as you can see, is entitled Angel on the Square, by Gloria Whelan. I’ve previously read another one of this author’s books (Chu Ju’s House), so I figured, why not try another one? So I did. The story was every bit as good as I expected. The setting is Russia, in the 1910s, and the main character is Katya Ivanova. Katya lives the life many children in St. Petersburg can only imagine–her mother is an aristocrat, and they live in a large mansion, complete with servants, and always have enough to eat. Katya’s life only becomes more interesting and rich when her mother becomes lady-in-waiting to the Empress Alexandra, and she herself becomes the dear friend of the Empress’s daughters! However, it later becomes apparent that not all is well with the world. War hangs over Russian life like a shadow, and the people are becoming unhappy and thirsty for change. It seems that revolution isn’t very far away, and suddenly life becomes more uncertain than ever before. This book, though very sad, offers a portal into Russian history and how it affected people. Plus, it’s just a really good story, well written, too. If you like this book as much as I did, turn to the sequel, The Impossible Journey, and after that, the third and fourth books as well! This is a rewarding read for someone interested in history, and also for those who aren’t.

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup

This is such a great book. Really, I’m not sure how else to start this post. But since I certainly haven’t posted in a while, I decided I’d make it about something good. And this book, Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, written by Sharon Creech, is good. It’s about two twelve-year-old kids, Rosie and Bailey. Rosie and Bailey are about as close as you can get. Best best best best best friends. But one day, things suddenly change. Rosie doesn’t understand why things went the way they did. Luckily for her, though, there is a very special someone coming over that night to look after her while her parents are away–Granny Torrelli. And as Rosie and Granny Torrelli are making zuppa, soup, they start to talk. Just like they do when they’re making pasta. This book is a nice, short read that can pull a reader in and really make them care about the characters. The words are practically poetry, and I think that almost everyone will find something to like in this story. So why don’t you take a trip to the library?

P.S. This book, while it is on sale at Powell’s Books, did not have an image available, so you can just click on the book title for the link.

Flygirl

Flygirl, by Sherri L. Smith, tells a very unique story. Ida Mae Jones wants to fly. She wants to fly bad. But I guess that proves a little difficult when you’re a black girl living in Louisiana in the 1940s. Actually, it proves very difficult. Ida Mae doesn’t even have a pilot’s license. But she most definitely does not want to just live out her days cleaning houses, even if it is with her best friend, Jolene. So she can’t help but get ideas when her little brother shows her an article about the WASP program: Women Airforce Service Pilots. This is exactly the chance Ida Mae’s been waiting for, the chance to really fly, and to even help her brother, who is overseas fighting WWII. But there is one key obstacle–the WASP won’t accept an African American. Ida can get around that, but it means passing for white, using her light skin to her advantage. Flying is easy, but Ida Mae realizes that turning her back on her heritage and self isn’t.This book not only brings the reader into the character’s struggles, it also shows them the struggles of the WASP itself. Well-written and interesting, Flygirl is a great addition to the book world.