Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reviewing 4 recent reads

I have a few book reviews for you again today.

Ready? OK!

Twilight - book 1 of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer:
"About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him----and I didn't know how dominant that part might be----that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him."

(Above quote taken from this page on Fantastic Fiction's website).

I watched the movie ages ago, but it was only recently I read the book. I'd heard it was better than the movie, and since I enjoyed the movie I was all set for a good read. I wasn't disappointed; it was a fantastic book, and is even better than the movie!

The Star Of Kazan by Eva Ibotson:
"In a tiny alpine church, on a June day in 1897, an abandoned baby girl is found by a middle-aged cook from Vienna. So begins the unusual childhood of Annika, brought up in the house of three eccentric professors by their two domestic servants. By the age of seven she can bake and ice a three-tiered cake and polish parquet floors to perfection. Her life in this golden city of music, fabulous food, and the beautiful Lippizana stallions who dance before the Emperor Franz Joseph is greatly blessed - until her unknown mother tracks her down and comes to claim her... Here is another Ibbotson masterpiece of wonderful adventure, packed with dozens of unforgettable characters who weave their way through a faultless, intricate plot of enthralling events - sometimes hilarious, sometimes bleak, but always marvellously entertaining. It offers every reader who loved Journey To The River Sea an enchanting new world of fictional riches. It is a timeless classic, for readers young and old."

(Above taken from here).

This is only my second encounter with an Eva Ibotson book (the first being "which Witch; mentioned in yesterday's post) and I wasn't disappointed. I don't need to say more though... What I grabbed from the page on Fantastic Fiction covered it, I think.

A Small Place in Italy by Eric Newby:
"This book is a lush and beautiful memoir of a very special house and a superb recreation of a bygone era. In 1967, veteran travel writer Eric Newby and his heroic wife Wanda fulfiled their dream of a return to life in the Italian hills where they first met during World War II. But this fulfilment would not come easy. The dream materialised in the form of I Castagni ('The Chestnuts'), a small, decrepit farmhouse with no roof, an abandoned septic tank and its own indigenous wildlife reluctant to give up their home. But in the foothills of the Apuan Alps on the border of Liguria and Northern Tuscany, this ramshackle house would soon become a hub of love, friendship and activity."

"It lovingly recounts the quickly disappearing lifestyle of the idiosyncratic locals, and the enduring friendships they forge, whether sharing in growing their first wine harvest as novices or frying poisonous mushrooms for a feast."
(Above taken from this page on Waterstones' website).

I thought it was a really good - sometimes amusing - book; I didn't realize it was a memoir until afterwards and just thought it was a well written and interesting story at the time. But regardless, it was an enjoyable read, which - as I already mentioned - was amusing in places, and a little emotional in others.

City of Gems by Caroline Harvey:
"1879. Maria Beresford, the selfish and difficult but beautiful daughter of a failed tea-planter in Bombay, devotes herself to pleasure and social advancement. When her father is sent to Burma and she has to accompany him, she becomes embroiled in an exotic world of political intrigue."

(Above taken from here on Fantastic Fiction's website).

It wasn't too bad of a book; I wouldn't count it anywhere near my favourites though. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, especially the way the stories of the people didn't fully tie together until the end so that you were left wondering throughout most of the book. Like I said though, not one of my favourites of the books I've read recently; or at all, come to think of it. Still, it wasn't too bad.

7 comments:

Deanna said...

I loved the Twilight Series... and the movies, but, like you, I thought the books were better.

The Eva Ibotson books sound interesting. I'll definitely add them to my reading list. Thanks for the reviews!

Rita said...

They all sounds pretty interesting. You have really been reading a lot lately--wow! And pretty good books from the sounds of it. Perfect way to spend a winter's day. :)

Furry Bottoms said...

I read The Star Of Kazan and I love loveloveloved it! That was a good one. I am going to have to check out Small Place in Italy, on your say so! :)

Magaly Guerrero said...

Historical tales and Twilight? Interesting combination. I read the Twilight series, I liked the landscape. I would love to live close to some of those ginormous trees.

AliceKay said...

Sounds like you're enjoying some pretty good books.

LadyStyx said...

I love when movies are so good that you just absolutely MUST pick up the book. The Harry Potters were that way, the Lord of the Rings and The Devil Wears Prada all were that way as well. I caught Twilight on tv a month or so ago.... I hate to say, it didn't exactly inspire me to even look at the cover, never mind actually opening and reading the book.

Toriz said...

Deanna:
Hope you enjoy the Eva Ibotson books.

Rita:
Yep; I've always loved to read, and these cold days in Winter are just perfect for it! Nothing better than curling up with a good book while a storm rages outside!

Nikki:
Awesome; have you read any other books by Eva Ibotson? I've only read "The Star Of Kazan" and "Which Witch?"

Mags:
I read quite a variety, and jump from genre to genre all over the place depending on what's in my "to read" pile, or what I'm in the mood for.

I wouldn't mind living there myself; sounds like it has everything... Woods, a beach, and plenty of fresh air. OK, so it has plenty of rain too, but I don't mind rain. Mind you, I grew up in Wales, so I guess I just got used to it? LOL!

AK:
Yep; I'm running out of new books to read though, LOL!

Styxie:
Well, to each their own. I know at least one other person who has no interest in even bothering to read the Twilight books. I'll just enjoy them and let you read something else. :)