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review 2018-03-22 19:36
Folk Tales of the Maldives by Xavier Romero-Frias
Folk Tales of the Maldives - Xavier Romero-Frias

This is an enjoyable book of folklore from the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Though the author’s writing in the introduction is a bit stiff, the 80 tales included are characterized by strong storytelling, and paint a vivid picture of the traditional culture of the Maldives. The stories are perhaps best described as legends, featuring kings, ghosts and spirits, good and evil sorcerers, and monsters from the sea, alongside regular people who interact with all of the above, and of course a few animal stories. A few tales are based on recent historical incidents, while most seem to be set sometime in the distant past. Despite the large number of stories, ranging in length from 1-2 pages to 12 or 14, they felt fresh and engaging throughout. In fact, two different stories about a man who falsely sets himself up as an expert have opposite endings.

I would have appreciated more information about the Maldives and the storytellers, who are identified by name and place of residence but not otherwise discussed, though the author might reasonably have seen that as beyond the scope of this book. I was surprised to learn that the book is actually banned in the Maldives, which currently has a strict Muslim government; Islam has been in the islands for centuries and appears in many of the stories, but the stories treat it casually, as part of the backdrop. More information about life in the islands today, to put all this in context, would have been helpful. That said, I think this is an excellent choice for those who enjoy folklore, and I enjoyed reading it.

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review 2018-03-16 18:55
The Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) - Holly Black

After months upon months of ignoring new releases, and trying to stay away from the hype, I finally gave in and picked up The Cruel Prince. Okay, more accurately, it actually popped up on my library loan list and I went "Oh, that's right! I put myself on the waitlist for this!", and then proceeded to devour it. I knew I wanted to read this from the moment that I saw Holly Black's name across the cover. If anyone knows Fae, it's Holly Black. I had high hopes for this one and, I'm glad to report, I wasn't disappointed in the least!

First off, true to form, Holly Black expertly drags the reader into the darkly glittering world of the Fae. A world where things are both beautiful and terrible. A world where humans definitely are at a disadvantage, and where they are so enchanted by it all that they don't even seem to care. What I've always liked about Black's fairy world is that it isn't always a kind a one. It's one where there is suffering, war, and hatred. It's one where beautiful beings have sharp edges and sharper knives. It's the kind of world that you love to read about, but would be terrified to visit. In other words, it's my kind of setting.

Even more impressive is the fact that every single character who graces these pages is perfectly rendered, and multi-faceted. I was stunned by how easily I fell into step with Jude. Her inability to conform, despite the fact that it would have been the easiest thing to do, made me fall in love with her character. Jude is strong as steel, and equally as intelligent. The stark contrast between her, as a protected human in a fairy world, and Vivi, as an unwilling fairy in a fairy world, was perfection. I ate up their sisterly bond, swooned over the descriptions of balls and battles, and couldn't stop myself from hating the same people that Jude found herself hating. I think what made me fall for Jude the hardest was that she was never afraid to admit that she was wrong. She was human to the core, and beautiful because of it.

Truthfully, even the plot the blew me away. It was perfectly paced, and set up in a way that I never saw the next move coming until right when Jude did. Black weaves a gorgeous web on court intrigue, filled with backstabbing and death. Even when I was absolutely sure that I knew where things were headed next, I was wrong. It was wonderful. I love a plot that keeps me on my toes. As for the ending, well, I knew going in that this was the first in a series. So I'll say that the ending is good for a first book, and satisfying enough. You'll see, after all, that I did give this a full five star rating.

If you're looking for viciously lovely Fae, more court intrigue than you can shake a stick at, and a book that will keep you reading well into the night, this is for you. 

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text 2018-03-08 17:28
Reading progress update: I've read 65%.
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) - Holly Black

So, surprisingly, I'm really digging this book. Well, I guess it's not all that surprising. If there's one thing that I know for a fact, it's that Holly Black can write about the fae. I've read a few of her other fairy related books, and have always been impressed with how easily she can pull her readers into their dark and beautiful world. My biggest issue is usually the plot! It never seems to be as good as the world building.

 

In this book, I'm actually really seeing what I've hoped for from Black for a long time. It's her same darkly glittering fairy world, but the plot here is superb as well. There's court intrigue, strong characters and, unless the ending lets me down, a good build up towards the end.

 

I desperately hope this book doesn't fail me, because I'm kind of in love right now.

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text 2018-02-28 17:10
February 2018 Recap
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook - Leslie Connor
Wolf Hollow - Lauren Wolk
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) - Holly Black

The month of February was a drastic improvement over January.

 

I enjoyed most everything I read!!! The above books are my 5-star reads.  I had four! If I had to pick a standout it would have to be Wolf Hollow.  Amazing book - go read it!  It's bound to be a classic in the vein of To Kill a Mockingbird. 

 

All together I read 13 books- closing out with the five-star read of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. This book was flooding my Bookstagram feed with great reviews and I will add mine to the mix - it's amazing. I do recommend it.

 

I read:

 

5 Middle-Grade books (4 of which were part of my Newberry Medal project) 

1 Young Adult

2 English Mysteries

1 Historical Fiction

2 Contemporary Literature

2 Non -fiction Books ( 2 books about diabetes to help my parents)

 

Nice. I like diversity.

 

Onward to March! Happy reading!

 

 

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review 2018-02-22 21:58
The Cruel Prince / Holly Black
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) - Holly Black

Holly Black is my latest author crush. It helps that many of her books feature the Fae and Fae characters are one of my favourite things.

The Cruel Prince was one of those books that I asked my public library to order and then fidgeted while I waited for it to arrive and to be catalogued. It was worth the wait, in my opinion. It may be a young adult book, but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying it too.

I like Black’s version of the Fae—they don’t play nice, they aren’t always fond of mortals, and there are rules that both sides have to follow. Jude is a mortal girl, living in the Fae world, trying to fit in despite the sneers of her contemporaries at school. She and her mortal sister are picked on and disparaged by the princes and princesses of the Realm of Faerie. And, of course, there’s a boy—Prince Cardan, the cruel prince of the title—who captures her imagination, though maybe not in a good way. Jude decides that if she can’t be accepted by playing nice, perhaps she can scheme and plot her way to a protected position in her adopted world and she proves to be highly adept at it.

It’s pretty obvious where this story will be heading in the second book—Jude & Cardan obviously have some chemistry, despite the rather evil trick on Cardan that Jude indulges in. However, it’s not immediately clear how Black is going to change these passionate enemies into a couple. Now I just wish there wasn’t a whole year to wait for the next installment.

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