Friday, July 22, 2011

My love is like a Waterfall.

Days like today, I always think back to what Harry says in Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword, "I come from a cold country, where the witches live in cool, green forests." Seriously, I can't take this heat. And in addition to myself, now I need to worry that my insulin might combust or just generally become useless? It is too much! I should move back to Canada (or just south of there).

Luckily, there is air conditioning. And good books. Like the one I just finished reading last night.

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren.

I first heard about this on Goodreads and it sounded quite fascinating so I went out and purchased it (because I wanted it in time for the 48-hour reading challenge and the library just wasn't there for me). Of course, I found it so fascinating sounding that I ended up not reading it for the challenge because I wanted to enjoy it (trust me, it makes sense in my head). But, I have read it now!

Waterfall tells the story of Gabriella (Gabi) Bettarini, a 17-year-old American who is in Italy over the summer with her younger sister Evangelia (Lia) and their mom who is an archaeologist with a focus on the Etruscans. At the outset, their mom has discovered quite an Etruscan find. Gabi and Lia know it is going to be a long, boring summer stuck out in the backwoods of nowhere (don't I know that feeling!). One morning, Gabi convinces Lia to go exploring one of the tombs with her. In the tomb, Gabi comes across a strange set of handprints on the wall. Her hand fits in one, and Lia's in the other. Suddenly, whoosh!, Gabi finds herself alone in the tomb with the sounds of fighting outside. Rival archaeologists or hot, Italian men from the 14th century fighting out a territory dispute? I'd go for the hot Italian men option. Which would be correct.

The rest of the action takes place in Medieval Tuscany featuring rival families. Gabi convinces Marcello and Luca Forelli that she is from Normandy (to explain her modern clothes) and has been separated from her sister Lia on their way to discover where is their mother. The family Forelli, fighting on the side of Sienna, takes her in and provide her assistance in her search. On her journey, she will need to use all of her skills and knowledge to survive in this foreign land, and perhaps begin to seek God's purpose in all of this.

Gabi reads as a modern teenager. I kind of giggled when at one point she was thinking that all she needed to do was "Google" something to find the answer. Because don't we all say that? And yet, she did manage to slip into fourteenth-century Italian language believably due to studying "the poet" Dante's works. And despite being able to beat people at swordplay, she isn't perfect because, well, her hair just won't stay in place.

There is quite a dash of romance in this book. Gabi is soon drawn into feeling something for Marcello, the presumed heir of the Forelli estate (his older brother Fortino, who is also fabulous, severely suffers from allergies and asthma and isn't expected to live much longer). Except Marcello has a long-standing engagement with Lady Rossi whose father is one of Sienna's "Nine", so this is a big time arrangement for the Forelli family. Marcello also has similar feelings for Gabi. But to pursue such a relationship has the potential to destroy the Forelli family. What is a girl to do?

I also was a fan of Luca. Perhaps because in his way, he made me think of Benvolio. Just as long as Gabi and Marcello don't have to stupidly die for their love. But, I think it was more the sidekick role (and the fact that he was of the "California surfer" type which makes me think of Gregori Baquet from the French Romeo et Juliette). Well, all I'm saying is that I'm still rooting that he and Lia get together (if I'm allowed to happily pair everyone off like Louisa May Alcott did at the end of An Old-Fashioned Girl.

All in all, a very fun read and I would recommend it if you have a thing for historical fiction/time-travel. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Cascade, the second book in the trilogy.

But, I will leave you with a bit of silliness. In other words, this is an example of why Kristin shouldn't read good books so quickly.

Quote from Waterfall:

[The doctor] stood again, this time moving to the head of the bed to examine my eyes, tongue, and then the beds of my fingernails. Looking for what? Signs of fever, infection, dehydration? Oh, or that body humours thing? I was surprised when he didn't ask for a urine sample. Apparently, they figured out a lot by the odor, appearance-even taste-of a person's urine.

"You are far[t]ing far better than I expected," he said at last.

So, yes, I'm the girl who read the last line with the word "farting" in place of "faring". My mind apparently went from urine samples to that. Sheesh. As soon as I realized my mistake, I could stop laughing. But, maybe you had to have been there (in my head) to really appreciate it.

And, the Waterfall book trailer:

Monday, July 18, 2011

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.

Ah, it's been so long. My one excuse is that it is summertime at the library. And the living isn't quite so easy. My days are filled with all sorts of summer programs, the most well attended being the Lego programs we run. I can't quite seem to fill the teenagers with nearly enough excitement to attend the teen parties. Free food! X-Box games! Crafts! Just not good enough. But give the younger kids piles of Legos and they are happy as clams and clamoring for more. I've already had the good fortune as to be able to add a couple more programs in. Next one is on Wednesday.

Tomorrow I am going to learn more about ebook and ebook readers. Should be exciting.

Even more exciting are the novels I have read/am currently reading at the moment. My boss, Peggy, borrowed Warped by Maurissa Guibord through inter-library loan, and was kind enough to let me borrow it when she had completed reading it. I had earlier snagged it from the desk where she had unsuspectingly left it, not knowing I would want to snag it from her. I mean time-traveling hotties? Sign me up for a little of that, please!

Warped tells the tale of 17-year-old Tessa Brody who pushes her father to bid on a lot of books at an auction after seeing a tapestry of a unicorn that was included in the lot. She is drawn to the tapestry, though at the same time somewhat repelled because strange visions overtake her when she touches it, dreams of a past where she was the virgin in the forest entrapping a unicorn. And then a thread is plucked, the unicorn disappears, and a man appears in her bedroom, straight from the 16th century. It is William de Chaucy, a hot young nobleman who had been transformed into a unicorn by Gray Lily, a witch who learned the art of stealing human life threads in order to weave them into her own tapestry. She wants him back in her art; it is the only way she can stay young and alive. At the same time, the Norn Sisters are after Tessa because they believe she is the one who has stolen the threads. They threaten to destroy her life and those lives of the people she loves if she doesn't return the threads to them. Will Tessa be able to fix the pattern before her whole life is destroyed by Gray Lily and the Norn Sisters? And what will happen to William de Chaucy, a man whom she has learned to love. Their fates were entwined in the past, can she still hold on to him in the present?

Okay, I admit it, I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. Perhaps it was because I picked it up and started it and then got distracted for a couple of days by life and other things and then finished it. So, I had forgotten some of the details of things starting out (like her unimportant date with some high school boy). And then the other part of me that wished that they had spent more time in the past. And the time in the past that they did spend was in the tapestry. So was that really the past or just some sort of Gray Lily's warped view of the past? Who knows. However, I did like the ending. And, as much as I'm all "meh" these days about girls meeting boys and falling in love with them after knowing them for a day (and the feelings being reciprocated), I'm giving this book a pass on that detail. Technically, they "knew" each other for centuries because apparently the Norn Sisters like to reweave your thread into the story even after it has been cut. Basically, she was the reincarnated virgin of the forest that had trapped Will when he was a unicorn. He got over that grudge, apparently, since they did have a nice make-out scene later in the book. All I'm saying is that the instant love kind of romance, I'm not buying it. But, then again, I'm the girl who has loved a guy for two years now. And he doesn't know I exist (as a girl, I mean, I'm like my own subspecies of an "it" to him). But, I digress. I guess that's why I take my inspiration from Helena (All's Well That Ends Well) and Cassandra (I Capture The Castle) these days. All about the unrequited love.

Still, it's nice to still be able to read and dream that these things can happen!

Speaking of Cassandra, I saw a wonderful reading of the new I Capture the Castle musical by Peter Foley held at Signature Theatre this past weekend. I had been looking forward to hearing this ever since three of the songs from the show were previewed a couple of years back in a cabaret. Okay, it was more like "They are doing a musical version of I Capture the Castle? I must to hear that!" Seeing as I always was a fan of the book by Dodie Smith. And, I happily wasn't disappointed. Now, some liberties have been taken. As a matter of fact, Cassandra and Rose's brother Thomas was written out of the show during the workshop process that happened in the three weeks prior to the reading. The actor ended up being the one to read the stage directions. And, it still dragged in places, but with a bit more work, I'm sure it will turn out to be a delightful piece. I put it very much in the same place of love in my heart as Paul Gordon's Daddy-Long-Legs musical. A show that I very much want to see, but I adore the recordings that I've heard because they take whole bits from the show. The one thing that I wish was expanded was the ending and how they have Cassandra say the line "I wanted to run after him and say 'yes!' But, that isn't enough, not for the giver." Because in the book, before the "but, that isn't enough" bit, there is the line about "And surely I could give him-a sort of contentment." I think you really should have left that it to make the last line make more sense. At least they have at the very end, "Only the margins left. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you...."

Ah, and yesterday I was sitting in the audience waiting for Oklahoma! to start at Arena Stage (very fun production, by the way) when I overheard the man next to me tell his son that when he was living in NYC everyone who visited him had to see Les Miserables. That meant he saw it all of three times and how it was four hours and fifteen minutes long. ::gasp:: I couldn't help but laugh because a)I've seen it too many times to properly remember how many, and b)it really isn't that long. Of course, he lost my respect when he smacked me in the face twice with his coat when he was taking it off and didn't apologize at all.