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a.d.malouin has commented on (4) products.

Little Black Book of Stories by A S Byatt
Little Black Book of Stories

a.d.malouin, January 15, 2011

I first discovered A.S. Byatt's work a few years ago when I picked up this book, quite honestly because the cover was pretty. This little volume hooked me into her style right away, and I've devoured all of her other works since.

Her short stories have a quality that is so unique - many of them are set in the real world that we know, but have that one element of fantasy, mystery, or horror that tips them over the edge and makes for fascinating writing. "A Stone Woman" is my favorite in this collection, the story of a woman who, in her grief for her mother (and after a minor operation of her own), finds that she is slowly becoming encrusted in a kind of stone casing that slowly encompasses her whole self. The descriptions of her transformation are so vivid you can almost feel the crystals on your own skin, and hear them clinking as the woman moves.
Each story is a work in its own right, and each has its own merit as a piece of art. If I remember correctly, a review inside the book calls the stories "gems," which is precisely what they are - gems of stories to be discovered and treasured. If you're looking for an introduction to Byatt's style and artistry, this one is for you.
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Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange
Mr. Darcy's Diary

a.d.malouin, January 15, 2011

After reading Pamela Aiden's "Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman" trilogy a few months ago, I found this to be merely a much simpler version. Grange doesn't go much beyond the events we already know of from the original novel, and Darcy himself doesn't seem to have much depth at all. He switches from being determined to stop thinking about Elizabeth to suddenly proposing without almost any explanation at all. His feelings seem to flip flop to quickly throughout the novel with no basis. Overall, I knew exactly what was going to happen - there were no surprises. Nothing happens to Darcy that we don't already know about to some degree.
The book was enjoyable for the story itself, and of course I found myself smiling when Elizabeth finally accepted. The glimpses of their life after marriage were cute too. If you really want an in-depth look at Darcy, I recommend the Pamela Aiden trilogy. Although it can be a little far-fetched a times, she adds a slew of new characters for Darcy to interact with, and really shows the way his mind works.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

The Sister by Poppy Adams
The Sister

a.d.malouin, January 15, 2011

This novel is a fascinating exploration of the ways in which the mind can work, distort, and deteriorate. At the outset, this seems to be a fairly simple story of estranged sisters reuniting in their old age. While I could tell from reading the jacket that the real story would probably come in the possible scandal or heartbreak of their estrangement, I wasn't expecting the instability of the narrator.

It's the little things that tip you off gradually to what is happening here. Once you realize that Adams is using the classic technique of the unreliable narrator, it's impossible not to look beneath the surface of everything that she sees and remembers for the truth. It's also amazing how easily you can understand or sympathize with Ginny's logic, as twisted as it is - almost frightening once you realize how easily a mind can warp the truth.

The novel is a little slow to start out, but the story really picks up fairly soon. The descriptions of the moths and the processes that come with studying them may seem a little tedious, but I think they are necessary to completely immerse the reader in Ginny's mind - especially at the end of the novel. Adams includes little details in all the right places.

This is definitely a novel worth reading. Adams does a fantastic job of mapping the way Ginny's mind works, and also of manipulating the story. It's fascinating to see things from Ginny's point of view, all the while trying to figure out what's truly happening outside of her comfort zone and under the surface. This really is an impressive first novel - Adams certainly did her research, and knows what she's doing when it comes to her narrative.

*Review of ARC
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Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters Trilogy) by Juliet Marillier
Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters Trilogy)

a.d.malouin, January 1, 2011

I've heard good things about this book for so long, and I finally decided to give it a shot. So glad I did! Marillier's storytelling is captivating, and I wanted nothing more than to see Sorcha be successful in her task. A great love story doesn't hurt things either ;) I'll definitely be reading the rest of this series!
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