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Bitsy's Books

Note: I'm uploading my books from Goodreads and since there are like 200+ it's going to take awhile. The uploading seems a bit wonky too, so hang with me as I fix things. Also there may be spoilers until I can make all the appropriate tags.


I'm an ex-English Major who, sick of reading classics after college, decided to read all the trashy books I didn't before because I was too snobby. Since graduating, I've entertained myself with comics, YA, and romance novels, finding out they can not only be decently written, but superbly written. I've since recovered from my classics aversion, but I'm now more open-minded reader willing to read from any genre. If a book has kick-ass heroines and/or witty banter and/or takes place in a different time or place (including fantasy settings), I will most likely fall in love with it. My favorite authors are Jane Austen, Shakespeare, E.M. Forster, Meljean Brook, Sarah Rees Brennan, Rachel Hartman, Catherynne M. Valente, and Aliette de Bodard.

Currently reading

The Blue Fairy Book
Andrew Lang
Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet
Jennifer Homans

A Brief History of Montmaray

A Brief History of Montmaray (The Montmaray Journals) - Michelle Cooper 2.5 out of 5 StarsPrincess Sophia FitzOsborne has always lived in the crumbling castle on the island nation of Montmaray with her eccentric family and villagers. Yet, sixteen-year-old Sophie chronicles her dreams of England and balls and falling in love in her diary. However, the outside world may be closer than Sophie thinks, as political clashes across Europe threaten another world war and Montmaray itself.I would have loved A Brief History of Montmaray as a young girl – a historical tale about growing up in an isolated place with Gothic and supernatural overtones. However, I am an adult now and I was unimpressed. The novel isn't lacking in the intriguing, isolated, and slightly spooky atmosphere that infatuated my young self (and even a part of my older self), but my adult mind quickly started questioning the logistics of such a place. How could a tiny little island of about 500 people (and when this story is set, barely 10 people) survive for so long? How do they have any sort of sway in the international arena? How have they not been invaded before now? And when all the villagers eventually leave, how the hell can these people even have a kingdom when THERE ARE NO PEOPLE TO RULE OVER??? And Sophie and her family seemed incredibly well-informed and worldly for people who had never left the island (newspapers and books can only go so far). If Cooper had made Montmaray more of a very small country like Monaco, I would have been able to buy the story. But as is, I just couldn't believe a minuscule country like Montmaray could have survived for hundreds of years.Montmaray also suffers from the biggest problem of most epistolary novels – lacking an overall plot structure, the story becomes very episodic. And Cooper more than once goes for the most grandiose and unbelievable plot point. Crazy murderous uncle! Plane crash! Evil Nazis! Secret heir! Holy Grail quest (I shit you not. For a few moments I thought I was in The Da Vinci Code)! The book was at its best when it dealt with the politics of pre-WWII Europe, but sadly it does so rarely and superficially. I thought the Nazis would play a bigger role in the narrative, but they just came in to cackle evilly, create drama, and then cause a really improbable ending. Don’t the Nazis have better things to do like invade Czechoslovakia and Poland? I don’t think they’d care about some tiny island country in the middle of the ocean with no political power.The characters were alright, but none were out of the ordinary or groundbreaking.I think A Brief History of Montmaray is an enjoyable if far-fetched book that, had I read it 15 years earlier, I would have loved. As is, I couldn't suspend disbelief or care about the fate of Montmaray or its royal family.