Sunday, April 29, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot by Stephanie Rowe

Becca Gibbs is tired of being Satan’s most infamous Rivka and the fun of thwarting his demands has begun to lose appeal. Inspired by her friend Teresa’s zest for life, Becca attempts to tie her life force to a goldfish hoping it will allow her to break free from Satan and still live. Unfortunately for Becca, her plan goes horribly awry when he shows up in the middle of the ritual. Now Satan’s commanded that she train Paige, her replacement, a wanna-be Rivka who seems to be channeling a ditzy cheerleader.

As if training her own assassin isn’t bad enough, Becca has to deal with Nick Rawlings, the sexy Markku who is demanding she help him save his sister from her kidnappers. Their price? The death of Satan – so unless Becca can find a way to break free first, she’ll be one dead Rivka. Luckily Nick is the last of the Markku, the only group of beings who broke free from Satan, so if she can convince him to tell her all he knows about how his ancestors did it, perhaps they can help each other – that is if they can keep their hands off each other long enough to figure out a plan!

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot
, the third book in the Goblet of Eternal Youth series, begins shortly after the events in Must Love Dragons, although it can easily be read as a stand-alone volume. Stephanie Rowe writes zany paranormal romances full of delightfully kooky characters guaranteed to make readers laugh. Once again, Satan steals the show whenever he appears. He is the stereotypical, insecure macho man: “And please, come to dinner on Sunday night. We can converse about how powerful and virile I am, and you shall regale me with stories about all the people you met this week who idolize me.”

As events unfold however, readers will quickly discover that despite his bluster, Satan is very attached to Becca and this humanizing aspect makes him a more appealing character. The addition of Satan, Jr. and his conniving mother, provides additional fodder for Rowe’s comedic wit. He Loves Me begins slowly but the action quickly hits a breakneck pace.

Read the review at Armchair Interviews.
Read an excerpt here.

ISBN10: 0446619019
ISBN13: 9780446619011

Mass Market Paperback
368 Pages
Publisher: Warner Forever
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
Author Website:


Thursday, April 26, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Homeland by Paul William Roberts

“At the end of WWII we were the only great power left unscathed by the carnage. We could have used this advantage for peace. Instead we started another war, which consumed the minds and the money that could have made America the earthly paradise.” – Homeland (pg. 49)

The year is 2050 and the United States has reinvented itself as a paranoid super-state, sealing itself off from the rest of the world. After the end of the Cold War, the efforts of the United States Military were focused inward and a policy of isolationism was implemented. For reasons of National Security, the President and Vice President are no longer publicly identified.

Most of America’s cities have faded and much of the country is a wasteland. Due to global warming, New York City is now underwater and operates as a theme park. Washington, DC is visited only by those on official business. David Leverett, a former policy advisor who played a major role in the development of the policies which have led to the current state of affairs. As last remaining player in these events, Leverett reflects on his role from the end of the Carter era to present and in the process exposes the backroom dealings and power plays which led to America’s destruction and rebirth as US-Global.

Homeland, Paul William Roberts’ new novel, is a cautionary tale against the Hobbesian belief in vogue with the current American administration, that “might makes right.” Drawing upon historical events and real people, Roberts weaves together a disturbing dystopian vision of our future; one which seems all too possible if the current policy for National Security continues. The belief that American must always be the most powerful military force is taken one step further in Homeland, as Leverett and his colleagues implement a foreign policy of preemptive wars/action; that is, deal with all potential threats before they become a problem.

Presented as the diary of Leverett, Homeland reads like a course on political philosophy and even includes policy briefing documents. The first third is very discursive on various schools of political theory, leading the reader through Leverett’s political education during his early years in Washington.

What is most compelling about this novel is the window it presents on the happenings between the last months of President Carter’s term and the presidency of George W. Bush. Homeland is one of the first anti-Iraq War novels, as Tony Christini states in his thoughtful essay its “focus is important.” He suggests that too little public-themed fiction is being published and that: “Fiction by way of its aesthetic charge, its conceptual flexibility, and its potent personal focus is one of the most powerful means available for cutting people and their ideas down to size, or conversely, for lifting them up – for halting and for propagating.” No matter that Homeland isn’t a conspiracy thriller as traditionally imagined by readers, there is enough here to give even the most jaded politico pause.

Perhaps the most disturbing theory expounded in Homeland is this: “you know, there’s a small number of men who know the detailed truth; the masses are told what they need to know and no more…Free inquiry outside the bounds of revelation is dangerous.” (pg. 82) Given the amount of controversy this novel is sure to engender, Roberts’ decision to propel readers outside the boundaries is a brave one. Whether he will find the audience and attention this book deserves is another matter entirely.

ISBN10: 1552638189
ISBN13: 9781552638187

303 Pages
Publisher: Key Porter Books
Publication Date: September 15, 2006


Saturday, April 21, 2007

2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction - Short List Announced

Another in the "better late than never camp"...

From the Press Release:
The Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman, announced the 2007 shortlist on April 17.

* Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
* Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk
* The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
* A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo
* The Observations by Jane Harris
* Digging to America by Anne Tyler

This year’s shortlist honours both new and well-established writers and reflects the international reach of the prize with authors from Nigeria, China, India and America represented. Two of the authors have previously been shortlisted for the Orange Prize. They are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2004) and Anne Tyler (1996).

- via Reading Matters

2007 Man Booker International Prize - Judges List Announced

I'm late to the party on this announcement; however, better late than never!

From the press release:
15 authors have made it on to the Judges’ List of Contenders for the second Man Booker International Prize. The writers come from 10 countries and four are writers in translation.

The Judges’ List was announced by the chair of judges, Professor Elaine Showalter, at a press conference held at Massey College, Toronto today (Thursday 12 April).

The 15 authors on the list are:
Chinua Achebe
Margaret Atwood
John Banville
Peter Carey
Don DeLillo
Carlos Fuentes
Doris Lessing
Ian McEwan
Harry Mulisch
Alice Munro
Michael Ondaatje
Amos Oz
Philip Roth
Salman Rushdie
Michel Tournier

The judging panel for the 2007 Man Booker International Prize is: Professor Elaine Showalter, academic and author; Nadine Gordimer, writer and novelist; and writer and academic, Colm Tóibin.

The Man Booker International Prize was announced in June 2004 and recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction. Worth £60,000 to the winner, the prize is awarded once every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.

Ismail Kadaré was winner of the inaugural Man Booker International Prize in 2005. He received the award at a ceremony held at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh. His work went on to gain well-deserved recognition around the world.

The prize is sponsored by Man Group plc, which also sponsors The Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

The Man Booker International Prize differs from the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction in that it highlights one writer’s continued creativity, development and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest fiction.

- also via Reading Matters

BOOK REVIEW: The Rent Collector by B. Glen Rotchin

Publisher's Synopsis:
"The fashion business meets Kabbalah in Montreal's garment district.

In a novel that does for Chabanel Street what Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz did for St. Urbain Street, a 36-year-old Orthodox Jew, Gershon Stein, collects rent in a large industrial building in the heart of Montreal's needletrade. Meanwhile, he struggles to reconcile his relationship with his ailing Holocaust-survivor father, find balance in his family life, and match wits with his arch-nemesis, Joey Putkin, an Israeli leather coat manufacturer leasing the basement of his building.

Gershon's days are occupied by an array of colourful tenants: Arnie Free, who makes footwear for Hasidic Jews and strippers; Sonny Lipsey, whose shtick is giving industry characters the perfect nicknames; and the delicate Michelle Labelle, whose face seems to emit a mysterious light. If there is one thing Gershon knows, it's that life is rented and everyone has a debt to pay: to their landlord, their family, their community, and, most of all, to their soul."

I fully intended to write a review about this exceptional debut novel (named as a finalist for the prestigious in Canada First Novel Award); however, after pondering The Rent Collector for many weeks, and reading several amazing reviews, I realized that anything I say will be lifted from one of those reviews. Instead, I'm providing links to several of the reviews and will allow the reviewers to speak for themselves.

Do yourself a favour, run out and buy this book!

Between God and schmatte - review by Brett Hooton at

Review: The Rent Collector - review by Charles Demers at Seven Oaks Magazine
- Demers' interview with B. Glen Rochin

Review by Kristine Kowalchuk at Montreal Review of Books (mRb), a publication of the Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec

ISBN10: 1550651951
ISBN13: 9781550651959

Trade Paperback
228 Pages
Publisher: Esplanade Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2006

Véhicule Press - Celebrating Literature

About Véhicule Press:
For over thirty years Véhicule Press has been publishing prize-winning books: poetry, fiction, social history, Quebec Studies, Jewish studies, jazz history, and restaurant guides. Esplanade Books is the fiction imprint of Véhicule Press. Esplanade publishes novels and short story collections--books that fall between the cracks, works of unusual structure and form, short sharp monologues.


Friday, April 20, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Salmon Fishing in Yemen by Paul Torday

On the eve of his twentieth wedding anniversary, Dr. Alfred Jones decides it is time to begin reflecting on his marriage and his life, capturing in his diary “the increasing sense of intellectual and emotional restlessness which has grown in me as I approach middle age.” His life has been directed by his managing wife Mary and his greatest achievement at the National Centre for Fisheries Excellence (NCFE) is his study on the “Effects of increased water acidity on the caddis fly larva.” His life takes a sudden turn when he is approached the representative of a mysterious sheikh with a plan to introduce salmon into the rivers of Yemen, he dismisses the proposal out of hand as a scientific impossibility.

Unfortunately, the project has captured the imagination of some senior British politicians (or perhaps it is the millions of pounds that the sheikh is willing to pour into the project) and Fred is forced to either resign immediately or begin work on a project sure to destroy his career. Finding no support from his career-focused wife (who is on an extended assignment in Geneva), Fred buckles under to the pressure from the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications and embarks on transplanting 10,000 cold-water fish into the desert conditions of Yemen and the Wadi Aleyn. What he hadn’t expected was to find was himself in the process.

Paul Torday’s debut novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is the absurdist tale of a downtrodden Everyman finding his voice. Using Dr. Jones’ diaries as the framework, Torday has created a novel from memos, letters, emails, press releases, Parliamentary interview transcripts, newspaper articles, extracts from an unpublished novel and questions asked on the floor of the British House of Parliament. Altogether these pieces slowly coalesce into a picture of bureaucratic incompetence and political maneuvering, a farce worthy of Monty Python.

Through deft handling and shifting viewpoints, Torday’s characters are well-rounded and almost leap off the page. Through their words and actions, as well as some well-placed barbs, Torday is able to share his views of politics without appearing to preach. His attention to detail ensure that, with time, even characters who initially appear wooden exhibit unexpected depths and demand the reader’s empathy.

It is in Fred’s development that the underlying message of hope is found. Fred is in a passionless marriage, under the thumb of a domineering wife and pompously stuffy when it comes to science. Slowly through his work he comes to understand the meaning behind the sheikh’s words at their first meeting and why he so passionately believes that salmon fishing can bring peace to his country: “Without faith, there is no hope. Without faith, there is no love.”

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen quietly adds to understanding between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. Its message of the “importance of innocent belief: not the angry denial of other people’s belief”, wrapped as it is in farcical comedy, is sure to go down for many without them ever understanding the significance. Hopefully a seed will take root, and perhaps someday, flower.

Read the review at Curled Up with a Good Book.

ISBN10: 0151012763
ISBN13: 9780151012763

352 Pages
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
Publication Date: April 2, 2007


Friday, April 13, 2007

Spring & Summer 2007 - New Titles

H.B. Fenn is the Canadian Distributor for a range of publishers. After perusing the pile of catalogues, here are my selections from their upcoming lists. They also distribute (in Canada) Little, Brown & Company and Henry Holt, whose books I've previewed in earlier entries.

Key Porter Books
* Holding My Breath: a Novel by Sidura Ludwig (Trade Paperback, January 15, 2007)
* Consequences: a Novel by Penelope Lively (Hardcover, May 2007)
* Global Warring: Environmental Change and the Looming Economic, Political, and Security Crisis by Cleo Paskal (Hardcover, August 2007)

* Dreamquest by Brent Hartinger (Hardcover, May 2007)
* A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez (Hardcover, May 2007)
* Fashionably Late by Nadine Dajani (Forge, Trade Paperback, June 2007)
* Mainspring by Jay Lake (Hardcover, June 2007)
* Shelter by Susan Palwick (Trade Paperback, June 2007)
* The Wanderer's Tale by David Bilsborough (Hardcover, July 2007)
* Territory by Emma Bull (Hardcover, July 2007)
* They Came from Below by Blake Nelson (Hardcover, July 2007)
* Spaceman Blues: a Love Story by Brian Francis Slattery (Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* The Book of Joby by Mark J. Ferrari (Trade Paperback, August 2007)

St. Martin's
* A Much Married Man by Nicholas Coleridge (Hardcover, June 2007)
* Sarah's Key: a Novel by Tatiana de Rosnay (Hardcover, June 2007)
* The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (Hardcover, August 2007)
* The Mapmaker's Opera by Bea Gonzalez (Hardcover, August 2007)
* Sovereign Ladies: the Six Reigning Queens of England by Maureen Waller (Hardcover, August 2007)

St. Martin's Minotaur
* The Cruel Stars of the Night: a Mystery by Kjell Eriksson (Hardcover, February 2007)
* The Cairo Diary by Maxim Chattam (Hardcover, June 2007)
* Raven Black: a Thriller by Ann Cleeves (Hardcover, June 2007)
* The Companion: a Mystery by Ann Granger (Hardcover, June 2007)
* Death in the Truffle Wood: a Mystery by Pierre Magnan (Hardcover, July 2007)
* Shadows & Lies: a Mystery by Marjorie Eccles (Hardcover, August 2007)

* The Professor's Daughter by Emmanuel Guibert & Joann Sfar (First Second, Trade Paperback, May 2007)
* Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day by Toni McGee Causey (Griffin, Trade Paperback, May 2007)
* When She was White: the true story of a family divided by race by Judith Stone (Miramax Books, Hardcover, April 2007)
* Dusk Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko (Miramax Books, Trade Paperback, June 2007)
* In the Shadow of Lady Jane by Edward Charles (Pan MacMillan UK, Trade Paperback, May 2007)
* The Inner Life of Martin Frost by Paul Auster (Picador, Trade Paperback, June 2007)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Spring/Summer 2007 Titles from Penguin Group

With the Easter weekend and a visit from my Grandparents, I ended up taking an unintentioned, and unannounced, week off blogging. My apologies to regulars who came seeking new book reviews! To make it up to you, here are my picks from Penguin's Winter/Spring/Summer lines.

* Fangland: a Novel by John Marks (Hardcover, January 11, 2007)
* Jimi Hendrix Turns Eighty: a Novel by Tim Sandlin (Hardcover, January 23, 2007)
* Thomas Hardy by Claire Tomalin (Hardcover, January 11, 2007)
* Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (Hardcover, February 1, 2007)
* Knots: a Novel by Nuruddin Farah (Hardcover, February 6, 2007)
* The Dead Fathers Club by Matthew Haig (Hardcover, February 2007)
* The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu (Hardcover, March 6, 2007)
* The Gentle Axe: a Novel by R.N. Morris (Hardcover, March 22, 2007)
* Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet by Joanne Proulx (Hardcover, May 1, 2007)
* The Opposite House by Helen Oyeyemi (Trade Paperback, May 1, 2007)
* Unravelled by Robyn Harding (Trade Paperback, June 5, 2007)
* The Book of Other People edited by Zadie Smith (Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* Shining at the Bottom of the Sea by Stephen Marche (Hardcover, August 2007)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Boomsday by Christopher Buckley

Cassandra Devine, a cynical Washington spin doctor, is frustrated by the American government’s refusal to deal with the looming crisis. She vents her spleen on her blog “Cassandra,” determined that her generation shouldn’t have to pay the bill for the unrestrained spending of the previous generation. After inspiring a few minor protests, Cassandra offers a radical solution to Social Security’s insolvency – that the government offer incentives to commit suicide by age seventy-five.

Ten years earlier, her father’s suggestion that she sign on for a term of military service to pay for her education, landed her in Bosnia where she worked for military public relations – the Spinning Eagles. It is there she meets Senator Randolph K. Jepperson IV who later, against all expectations, puts forward Cassandra’s idea of “transitioning” as a Senatorial bill when all she wanted was for debate to begin about the issue. And thus the foundation is laid for the screwball events and nefarious political dealings which Christopher Buckley brings vividly to life in Boomsday, his newest novel.

Boomsday is a term economists use to refer to the day the first of America’s 77 million baby boomers retire. Buckley’s wicked satire combines truly outrageous ideas within a very real situation. Financial trouble is looming for Social Security and it is plausible that this may cause economic problems for the US. The generational conflict provides substantial fodder for Buckley’s Swiftian tale, and a new section of Washington to lampoon. Cassandra’s “meta-issue” spirals out of control as special interest and lobby groups amend and compromise the bill into oblivion.

Boomsday is read by Jeanane Garofalo, who quickly establishes distinct voices for all the major characters. Her adept and consistent voicing ensures that listeners soon forget the book is being read by a celebrity reader. Of particular note is her rendition of the news report which opens the book. Anyone who gets their news from NPR will recognize her tone and pacing.

While Buckley has created another frothy tale of delight, Boomsday would have provided greater nourishment if he offered some solid solutions to offset his “modest proposal” for the coming Social Security crisis.

Read the review at Armchair Interviews.

ISBN10: 1594838887
ISBN13: 9781594838880

Audiobook, 5 CDs
Read by: Janeane Garofalo
Abridged by: Karen DiMattia
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication Date: April 2, 2007


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Black & White by Dani Shapiro

Clara Dunne was a celebrity before she truly understood what the words meant. The subject of her mother’s controversial photos, Clara’s childhood was consumed by art and her role as her mother’s muse. At eighteen she escaped and made a new life for herself, away from the glare of New York; now however, her mother’s illness is pulling her back into a world she’s spent a lifetime trying to forget.

In Black & White Dani Shapiro explores difficult territory - the issue of rights - for both artist and muse. She then makes the issue more complex by adding family dynamics to the mix, in this case the artist is also the mother of her subject. She raises a challenging question: “can a mother protect her child and still honour her muse when the subject of her best work is her child.”

The quick answer to this question appears to be no for when we first meet Clara she still bears the deep scars from being her mother’s muse. Clara’s raw, unfettered anguish roils off the page, causing the reader to gasp as the emotion hits like a ton of bricks. Her pain is so real that readers are cast adrift to share her gaping wounds.

Whose rights take precidence – the artist’s need to create or the child’s to own their life? Clara feels she is living a shadow life, that she never really owned her existence. “And so Clara wandered the campus at Yale University, surrounded by real people, as she thought of them, living real lives. She herself had forfeited that right – or perhaps she’d never had it at all…Was there a place in the world for someone like her?” Clara perceived herself as only existing when seen through her mother’s lens, perhaps an understandable reaction given that she dissociates from herself during photo shoots. The fact that Clara believes she's forfeited the right to a life is perhaps the most chilling statement made in this novel.

In Black & White there are no winners or losers. Shapiro does not take the easy way out, allowing readers to feel only sympathy for Clara. She insists that readers see all sides and manages her prose so deftly that within chapters readers are reluctantly driven to understand the urges that motivate Ruth. Within Ruth the artist continually wins out over the mother. She seems unable to refrain from capturing what her inner eye sees, even at the ultimate cost.

The ripple effects from Ruth’s decisions are far reaching. Clara and her sister Robin have carried their scars with them and the damage reaches their children as well. Robin was invisible to her mother and she has no emotional warmth for her own children. Clara has hidden her entire past from her daughter Sam, keeping her daughter away from Ruth and, by extension, an understanding of family history and Sam’s place in the world. The numbness in which she exists has kept her husband and child from feeling she is an active part of their family.

Within Black & White there are many competing claims of selfishness. Even though decisions are made to protect the individual, each character could make a valid claim that those decisions were made purely in another’s self interest. There are no black or white answers to the questions Shapiro raises, here there is only grey.

Shapiro only lightly touches on the most disturbing aspect of Ruth’s creativity, that the images of her naked child may be used by pedophiles. Given how far she already pushed her readers, she can be forgiven for not taking the last step and pushing them over the cliff.

ISBN10: 0375415483
ISBN13: 9780375415487

272 Pages
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: April 3, 2007
Author Website:


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: The Best Place to Be by Lesley Dormen

Lesley Dormen’s novel in eight stories, The Best Place to Be, provides snapshots of the life of Grace Hanford. In the first story “The Old Economy Husband,” we meet Grace at “fifty and holding.” Each of the other seven stories explores pivotal moments in her life and how they lead her to change her views and marry Richard.

The strongest stories are those which delve into Grace’s relationship with her brother Alex. The dysfunction of their childhood carries on into adulthood. In “Gladiators,” Grace describes their dynamic: “The thing about a brother? You live your whole life knowing there’s a surprise witness waiting right outside the courtroom ready to testify. You just don’t know which way.”

Grace and Alex are tragedy hounds, bound together by the scars of their mother’s failed marriages. It is only in difficult situations that they reach for each other, finding space within the tragedy to interact. Despite the conflicts they may experience, Alex is still the person Grace looks to for approval – and with whom she competes.

Dormen’s writing tends toward the “stream of consciousness” style, perhaps most clearly exhibited in “The Old Economy Husband.” Despite the long sentences (which some may view as a bit run-on), her prose evokes images in a unique manner. “Being 50 give or take was like being an original Supreme” is a sentence most writers would never think of creating but provides immediate recognition for the reader.

It is in the “quieter” stories where readers will sense Grace most clearly. These narratives have less of the rambling language, allowing readers to find their own Grace within the space.

ISBN10: 1416532617
ISBN13: 9781416532613

192 Pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 3, 2007


Monday, April 02, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Angelica by Arthur Phillips

In 1880s London the Barton household is in chaos. Four-year-old Angelica has been moved out of her parent’s bedroom by her father, causing a great deal of anxiety for her mother. Angelica was born after multiple miscarriages and Constance has been warned by doctors that any further pregnancies will be fatal.

Fearing that Angelica’s banishment will lead to a return of marital relations, Constance is torn between anxiety for Angelica and herself. When the inevitable happens and Joseph exerts his rights, Angelica begins screaming for her mother. An apparition appeared in her room and Constance worries that her daughter is being plagued by spirits. In desperation she seeks out Anne Montague, a spiritualist found by her housemaid.

Is Angelica being haunted or is there a more rational explanation for what is happening in the Barton household?

Arthur Phillips' new novel Angelica is psychologically complex. Told from four separate and unique viewpoints, each new section adds confusion, misdirection and surprises in the tradition of the best Victorian novelists. Phillips explores class, sexuality, spiritualism, gender and the developing understanding of psychology and science. At its best, Phillip’s writing brings alive the Victorian era.

Unfortunately Constance’s section is weak compared to those of Anne, Joseph and Angelica and it occupies almost half the novel. Only once the narrative moves to Anne’s perspective does the novel gain depth and momentum. Readers should not give in to the temptation to give up on Angelica, the second half of the novel more than makes up for the slow initial pace.

ISBN10: 1400062519
ISBN13: 9781400062515

352 Pages
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: April 3, 2007
Author Website:


Sunday, April 01, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn

Exhausted from the media frenzy that has surrounded her since she turned into a wolf on national television, Kitty has retreated to a cabin in an isolated section of San Isabel National Forest in Colorado. Her plan is to have some peace and write her memoirs. Kitty doesn’t expect a warm welcome from the local residents but at least they are tolerant of her presence. So when animal sacrifices begin arriving on her front porch as part of curse rituals and the police won’t do anything about it, she’s surprised and hurt.

Kitty figures life can’t get anymore complicated but fate has other plans. Sexy werewolf hunter Cormac Bennett shows up with her lawyer Ben O’Farrell who’s been infected by a werewolf. Ben wants Cormac to shoot him; however, Kitty hopes she can convince him that he can still have a great life. As if curses and the situation with Ben isn’t enough, a creature of pure evil is lurking in the woods and appears to be hunting Kitty.

Kitty Takes a Holiday is the third in the Kitty Norville series (at one point it was tentatively called Kitty and the Wolf Moon’s Curse). A lovably flawed heroine, Kitty is prey to all the common worries of the modern twenty-something. A new radio host has taken to the nighttime airwaves stealing Kitty’s format of a talk show about the supernatural. “Ariel, Priestess of the Night” gets under Kitty’s skin with each show, driving her to making taunting phone calls to her competition. Even though she is facing the serious fallout of her “outing” on national television, she still spends more time worrying about Ariel. Vaughn perfectly captures the small details to which every reader can relate.

Carrie Vaughn continues to exhibit strong writing in the Kitty Norville series. She has created a solid alternate reality to modern-day America with each novel adding depth to her world. Old religions and traditional beliefs are handled with dignity and while the beliefs may conflict with Kitty’s or be viewed as “backward” by officials, Vaughn doesn’t belittle them. This compassionate treatment of those with outsider status is only one thing which places Vaughn’s work firmly “above the bar.”

Although Kitty doesn’t do one of “The Midnight Hour” shows in Kitty Takes a Holiday, Vaughn continues the tradition of including a playlist. Once again she has plundered the vinyl archives to pull together an outstanding collection of lesser-known gems such as “Animal Farm” by Madness and “Surfin’ Cow” by The Dead Milkmen.

Read the review at Curled Up with a Good Book.

ISBN10: 0446618748
ISBN13: 9780446618748

Mass Market Paperback
336 Pages
Publisher: Warner Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2007
Author Website: