Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Noble Masquerade


Dear Reader,
From eight-year-old Mirandas' cheesecake landing in the dirt, to the exploding tomatoes - no, even farther than that - through the entertaining acknowledgements, "A Noble Masquerade" held me captivated! Riveted. Laughing. In suspense & yelling at various characters. Enchanted.
Only once before have I read an author's debut novel and couldn't believe it was their first venture into the world of publication. Kriti's novel is jam-packed. Armed. Overflowing. Oozing with genius and talent. It's been awhile since I have read a book so fast simply because I! I had to keep going and reach the climax (even while not wanting it to end). I read by the time clock at work, waiting for my shift; I read while I walked to my car after my shift. Constant intrigue and suspenseful developments of the mystery, with parties and history woven throughout, were delightfully balanced. Everything was revealed with perfect taste and timing- always either surprising me, or gratifying my suspicions. (So many times after I read one of the many -but never repetitive- punch or cliff-hanger lines, I would glance into the middle distance and quietly say "Well done, Kristi." I was so proud to be reading such a brilliant and witty masterpiece! Haha!) I felt completely in tune with the setting and plot, and drawn more and more to the characters, page by page. As a lover of written words, the theme of letters and journal-like correspondence was a brilliant ingredient and added novelty and depth to Hunter's characters.
I can't say enough about how wonderful this book was or how eager I am for book two. Reading this was like watching a movie. I could vividly see every facial expression and feel every silent implication as scene transferred to scene. Some of my favorite moments -mainly for the hilarious narration- were those including Miranda's brothers, Griffith and Trent, as well as Colin- Marshlands buddy. (I made several collages for my mental images of the characters faces that have been shared to my pinterest board here.)Ryland and Miranda were seriously one of the best fictional couples ever.
Movie makers- you had better hurry up and get writing this screenplay, and do it right! Everything about this masquerade (and it truly was one! from plot to characters, this title was symbolic.) was noble and epic.
If you enjoy it even half as much as I love it, you will be more than satisfied. One of the most fabulous releases of 2015.


p.s. I could go on and on about the plot and characters, but...a lady never reveals the outcome of a recommended novel.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Irish Meadows

Written in an engaging style, Irish Meadows is a fast-paced and well-developed read. Entertainging. I could vividly imagine the setting, and also could envision it as a BBC mini series. :)
The story of two girls transformation into sisters was sweet. Their individual tales, a bit different...
*spoilers ahead*
Colleen O'Leary's tale of redemption and complete turn-around was heartwarming and enjoyable. It could have been a novel all of it's own!
Brianna's tale of seeming injustice and independence was a bit disappointing. I kind of felt like she was a high-school drama queen, treated as a mature young woman, and no one- especially not herself- could see or acknowledge the errors in her character. Young she may be, but I couldn't really grow fond of a heroine so morose and irritatingly naive. I felt like some of the characters were constantly making mountains out of mole hills, and the real contention was continuous with no breathe-easy-fun-scenes. 
Also- frustrating as he was- both girls had an attitude towards their father that was disrespectful. (Colleen's turn-around brought more respect and daughterly submission, while Brianna felt light and free when in defiance- even in the end I didn't detect much change. I hate to harp on a character so much, but she was so immature.) 
I am not able to support the spiritual aspect of this book, which was also a negative for me. 
I just felt that some of the viewpoints of the characters and their beliefs were rather shallow or unworthy, and made to seem normal. One line in particular really soured my favorite character in my sight, said about a girl he doesn't even like: "How could he ask for her hand in marriage when he hadn't even kissed her yet?" ...getting things backwards here, aren't we? :/ Besides, he's in love with someone else, so lines like this made what was supposed to be the hero seem like a fickle and physical-attraction-focused guy; this whole "if she's good to kiss she's good to marry" mentality is ridiculously ungentlemanly.
My favorite thing about this book was Kathleen O'Leary; the girls mother and a minor character, but the most sensible and respectable. The author also did a good job at setting up for book 2 with just enough hints that, near to the beginning, I was already intrigued by Adam and wondering about his story.
The ending of Irish Meadows came together well - many issues were resolved and things left on the right track with the O'Leary clan - but, unfortunately, the getting there was rough and I wasn't entirely thrilled, though I did enjoy the story.