Dec 12, 2009

TSS Classics, vampires, football and a giveaway

Since I didn't post any proper review this week (which doesn't mean I didn't read anything!) here are three quick mini-reviews for the books I read on bus last month.

Cirque de Frique: The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan ( from the library)

I heard a lot about this series, especially now the movie is in the theaters, but never really felt so keen on reading it. I picked it up randomly at the library, and now I'm glad I did!
First I thought it would be a lean back, take your time, let your thoughts wander book.
Boy, I was wrong!
The vampires in this series are more freakish and fierce than in many other vampire books aimed at older readers, and this is supposed to be an MG book! I'm not quite sure I'd let any kid under ten read this, though the main character is nine or so.
I'll read the whole series as I heard it's just getting better. It's bloody, creepy and twisted. I loved it!
The writing itself is nothing special, but Darren as MC is just magnetic. The movie looks good, though the characters are older. Can you imagine Salma Hayek as The Bearded Woman?

Daisy Miller (1878) by Henry James (from the library)

I actually finished this novella even before I got on the bus. It has only 60 pages and you can read it online here.
It's about a young girl from America who travels through Europe with her family and meets a gentleman who studies in Switzerland. Basically, it's a very simple allegory-Daisy represents the New World, a family from a new class of rich American who travel to Europe just for a trend, completely ignorant of it's customs, culture and habits. On the other side there is Winterbourne, an American expatriate who takes it all a bit too seriously-even more than the Europeans do. It's a great introduction to The Portrait of a Lady, which I'm reading now and where this topic is explored deeper.

Bleachers (2003) by John Grisham 
(paperback, from the library)

A group of former high school football players return to their hometown to say their last goodbye to their coach who, using quite some radical methods, managed to pull out the best out of his players and shape the boys to men. They reminisce old victories and try to let go of old grudges and gasp what an impact coach Rake really had on their lives-even long after they left the field.
This one left me with mixed feelings. It made me think about the people who influenced my life, pushed me to give my best and whose approval I'm still subconsciously seeking, even if they are not around any more. It is nostalgic and sad, but I have to admit that I expected more. Maybe it's my fault for picking up a book about football when I really have no clue about it, but I really thought that 180 pages of boasting about scores would pay off. It didn't. The last speech left me cold. It failed to capture the full importance of this one man on his players (and that's what it's supposed to be about) and completely focused on-guess what-scores and championships.

This week was crowded but nice. It's just 12 days to Christmas (do you hear me singing?) In the light of that-don't forget to enter my giveaway for Lauren Kate's Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove. Lauren was kind enough to answer a bunch of my questions and donate a signed copy of her book. I'm preparing some more author interviews and giveaways, stay tuned!

Lots of love, hugs, kisses and cuddles from your festively Ivana!

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