Book Reviews

 Vows, Vendettas and a Little Black Dress

By Kyra Davis

Publisher: Harlequin

Genre: action/adventure, contemporary, suspense/mystery

Length: 311 pages


A Disney themed wedding with peach taffeta bridesmaids dresses (ew!), a chase through the park, and snarky Murder She Wrote Jokes.

Sophie is overjoyed for her friend Maryanne when she announces her engagement, and she’s excited for the fun to begin. But then Dena, Sophie’s best friend and fellow bridesmaid, is mysteriously shot moments after the announcement. Leave it to the pros to handle things? Yeah, fat chance. Dena may never walk again, and Sophie vows a vendetta (whoever it is) to marry her fist with the shooter’s face.

Dena is no saint (just ask the anti-porno crusaders who picket her store regularly), but she’s strong, smart, and loyal. The problem with finding Dena’s shooter is that the suspect list is off the charts, from stricken ex lovers to women with a penchant for conniving. Between trying to finger the shooter and getting plans together for the wedding, Sophie can barely think straight, but if she can keep her cool (and not trip over any taffeta), she may just get what she’s looking for.

Kyra Davis’s characters are chuckle-out-loud comical. They’re over the top depictions of stereotypical types of women – tall, strong, dominatrix Dena; unbelievably bimboish Maryanne; quick thinking, uncontrolled and unpredictable Sophie. The characters are intriguing enough to keep one reading despite the flaws of the book. The shortcomings fall onto the author for not developing the plot enough, which seems predictable at best. This is a good book to read if you’re looking for something light, fun and intriguing (the characters, not the plot). I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, but it’s no brain-teaser.

Queen of Kings

By Maria Dahvana Headley

Publisher: Dutton

Publish Date: May 12, 2011

Genre: science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, literature

Length: 416 pages


Cleopatra, immortal. No, for real. I’m not just talking about being immortal as a legend, I’m talking living dead-ish.. but I’m NOT talking Anne Rice. The year is 30 BC and Cleopatra and her husband Marc Antony, poised to defend Alexandria after already having lost the battle at Actium, are desperately trying to keep Octavian Caesar and his legions at bay. As Cleopatra remains safe in her stronghold, a messenger informs her that her husband has just died by his own hand. Cleopatra is desperate to save her country and to resurrect her hubby, and she turns to the gods for help. Whoops.

She summons Sekhmet, Goddess of Death and Destruction, the bringer of the end of the world, and strikes a bargain. In exchange for Antony’s soul, Sekhmet demands Cleopatra. Cleo submits, and is possessed and transformed into an immortal vampire-thingy/shapeshifter, ferocious and seductive. With her newfound strength, Cleo hunts and pursues Octavian all the way to Rome, she journeys from the tombs of the pharaohs to the amphitheaters of imperial Rome and to the underworld. Octavian dons the name of Augustus and knows Cleo is at his heels as he makes his way to Rome. He surrounds himself with witches from Britain, Thessaly, and some of Egypt’s neighboring countries as his comrades suspect him of insanity.

What follows is heartbreak, triumphs, battles, and the stuff of legends and myths; the battle between man and beast will determine the fate of humankind.

Cleopatra was a woman of a different breed, mystical, harsh, and completely seductive. Headley does a wonderful job of re-spinning the tale of Cleo’s final days leading up to her suicide. I almost didn’t buy this book for fear that it would butcher my love of Egyptian and Roman history, but I’m glad I did. The characters are rich and vibrant, and Headley spins their fates together in a tapestry of terrible beauty. I could not put this book down. Included in this book is an Author’s Note that explains the differences between what is true to history versus the dramas she created. It is clear that she put much effort into researching the time, places, myths, and legends that went into this book.

Queen of Kings is the first of a to-be trilogy, and I am excited for the publishing of the books to follow.

Wuthering Heights

By Emily Brontë

2011 Edition published by Barnes and Noble, Inc.

122 Fifth Ave. New York, Ny 10011

Genre: fiction/gothic fiction/romance

Length: 328 pages


“Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”

There are few tales of love and loss that emulate so bluntly the hurt felt in the wake of mistakes. A foundling falls in love with the daughter of his benefactor. Over a brief lifetime, the two are thwarted as lovers until Catherine Earnshaw dies of a broken heart – a process that takes years, literally. Heathcliff is left behind to become an even more cynical, cold man. He doesn’t know how to do anything but make anyone and everyone near him miserable – basically, he’s an asshole. The end.

Haha. Yeah, So here’s the sitch. None of the characters of this book are likeable. In fact, they’re actually annoying. They’re whiney, foolish, stupid, vindictive, self-absorbed, and absolutely unsympathetic. The author is a little presumptuous and the character behavior is rather cliché. I rather disliked this book for these reasons (mainly because the characters actually pissed me the fuck off), but found myself continuing to read. Why? I’ll tell you why.

Because this novel speaks to the death of romantic notions. There is something within the pages of this novel that conveys a deep loss of something that, perhaps, people should’t have lost sight of. The entire book is based around characters who feel a fiery love for someone but wind up quietly accepting what they do not yearn for, accepting an unspeakable heartbreak with it.

I can’t put into words how perfectly Emile Brontë captured how miserable people can truly be, and that is a gift. I think she wrote and successfully conveyed exactly what she intended – a lesson.


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