Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “CBR4”

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #99 The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer

The Talisman Ring is another of Georgette Heyer’s swashbuckling 18th century romances, very much in the vein of the Scarlet Pimpernel.  It’s light and fun and entertaining and forgettable.  An enjoyable read.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #98 Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer is known as the absolute master of the Regency romance genre.  All other writers working the genre stand in her shadow.  But Regency Buck is the first of her Regency romances and it shows.  She’s not quite at home with the world yet.  She’s clearly done a lot of research and has read a lot of Jane Austen and all the details and mimicked dialogue sit uneasily on her romantic mystery plot.  While this is by no means a bad book, it is among my least favorite of her Regency romances.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #97 Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been rereading Georgette Heyer’s historical romances chronologically.  Devil’s Cub is a sequel to These Old Shades (which is one of my all-time favorite of Heyer’s novels) and has as its hero Vidal, the son of Avon and Léonie from the earlier novel.  Because the book is set a generation after These Old Shades, it can be read on its own.  While this book isn’t my favorite of Heyer’s books, it’s easily in the top ten of her best books.  It’s laugh out loud funny, moves along at a smart pace and is peopled by vivid characters.  Great fun.

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #15-#18: His Dark Materials, Books 1-4 by Philip Pullman

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A bit of a cheat on this one in my rush to get some more up for the CBR4 deadline. Review combining Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Books 1 thru 4, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass and short story, Lyra’s Oxford is at Loopy Ker’s Life.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #96 Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

I know it’s too late to make a top three list for 2012 but if I were to do so this book would be on it (along with Redshirts by John Scalzi and Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay).  Magic for Beginners is a collection of short stories and novellas and it is… extraordinary.  I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like her before.  I can understand why pretty much every fantasy and science fiction writer I admire is slavish in their praise of Kelly Link’s writing.  She’s definitely working in the tradition of Charles De Lint and Neil Gaiman, using mythological and horror tropes to inform her fiction.  These stories read like forgotten folk tales as David Lynch might tell them – dark and funny and weird, really really weird.  Wonderfully weird.  Her writing is delightful, witty, exquisite and haunting.  These stories are heartbreaking and beautiful, filled with unforgettable images.  Seriously, just do yourself a favor and download this book.  It’s available for free on her website.  You’re welcome.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #95 The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer

If I were to write a top five list of my all-time favorite Georgette Heyer novels, this one would definitely qualify.  Set in the 18th century, this romantic comedy has one of Georgette Heyer’s most captivating heroines – the stammering, diminutive Horry.  The Convenient Marriage is one of the first Heyer novels to be enlivened a pack of dimwitted and silly young society men (think Wooster in PG Wodehouse’s books) whose antics add a dimension of hilarity to the storyline.  This bright, light, witty romantic comedy is an absolute delight to read.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #94 The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer

As a close and passionate reader of Georgette Heyer’s novels (some of them I’ve read easily a dozen times), I’ve noticed that she seems to be heavily influenced by William Shakespeare’s comedies.  The Masqueraders shows this influence more than any of her other books.  In it a con artist brother and sister, fleeing the disastrous Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, hide their identities by cross-dressing.  The brother dresses as a woman, the sister as a man.  They rescue a damsel in distress at an inn and are soon drawn into the expected romantic hijinks.  This is by no means the best of Georgette Heyer’s novels, but it is a light, entertaining, fun read.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #93 These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

This is absolutely one of my favorite Georgette Heyer novels.  It is almost a sequel to her first novel, The Black Moth.  Almost all the main characters are here but with different names and slight adjustments to their back stories (hence the title).  It’s a swashbuckling historical romance in the vein of Scarlet Pimpernel and Alexandre Dumas and is absolutely delightful to read.  Georgette Heyer is one of the most elegant and witty prose writers I’ve ever come across.  She’s like a cross between Jane Austen and PG Wodehouse but with an air of sophistication and an exquisiteness of taste that is all her own.  This book is an excellent example of why Heyer’s writing has been so admired by various more famous writers such as A.S. Byatt.  But this book is not just well-written – it’s blessed with one of her best plots and most memorable characters.  It’s a book that will make you laugh and cry and which you will close with a smile on your face.  If you are only going to read one Georgette Heyer novel, then I nominate this as one of the contenders for that slot.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #92 Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer

Although Georgette Heyer is most famous as THE Regency romance novelist, she did not write her first Regency romance until she was ten years into her career.  Up until that point she played around with several different types of historical novels and mysteries.  As a teenager, Baroness Orczy (of Scarlet Pimpernel fame) was one of her favorite novelists and so quite a few of Heyer’s earlier romantic comedies are set in the 18th century and are very much in that adventurous, swashbuckling mode.  Powder and Patch is a straight up romantic comedy (almost no swashbuckling, though there is a duel) set in the 18th century and it is probably my least favorite of her romantic comedies.  It’s only her second novel, and she still hadn’t found her voice as a writer.  Unless you’re a completionist and want to read all the Heyers, I’d say give this one a pass.

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #91 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite books, it’s one of my desert island books. Absolutely every time I read it, I get something about it.  When I was in my teens, I read it for the romance, but as I matured, I started to get more and more out of it.  Although I’ve heard the book dismissed as “wedding porn”, the fact of the matter is, Jane Austen is pragmatic rather than romantic about marriage.  Written at a time when divorces were almost impossible to get, Jane Austen’s book takes marriage very seriously as who one marries permanently impacts the quality of one’s life (which is still true, particularly if one has children).  The book is full of unhappy marriages, most notably Mr. and Mrs. Bennett.  Although at first glance, Mr. Bennett is more sympathetic than Mrs. Bennett, closer reading reveals an indictment of Mr. Bennett’s laziness and contemptuous attitude towards his wife.  In all of Jane Austen’s novel, the romantic leads must earn their happy ending by getting to know one another very well, by establishing that their love interest is worthy of love and respect and, most importantly, have the stability that Jane Austen deems a necessary ingredient to a felicitous union.  In every book there’s an attractive, charming love interest whose flightiness makes them a bad bet for a long-term commitment like marriage.  Her heroes and heroines have near-misses, avoiding marriage to these creatures.  It’s not particularly romantic, but honestly, I think Jane Austen’s wisdom on these matters is still relevant.  Love is a good starting point, but it’s not really enough if you want to have a successful marriage or partnership.

I love this novel for its wisdom, it’s well-observed comedy of manners.  I love it because it’s light and bright but also deep and wise.  I love it because it entertains and informs.  I just love it.

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