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A VERY LONG Conglomeration of Books, Females, and Angela Morrison

March 5, 2010

Due to the fact that there’s a new book coming out by an LDS author named Angela Morrison, you may notice that Saya and I are writing a few reviews on some of her books.  Namely, Taken by Storm and Sing me to Sleep.  Oddly enough, this is because Sing me to Sleep is coming out today/tomorrow.  We were incredibly fortunate to get advance copies of her new book (WHICH IS FREAKIN’ AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!  Even if the book is no good then there’s one thing that I can say, which is that it is really fabulous to get an advance copy of any book and realize that you happen to have your name signed in the front of it), and so that means that we also get to write our own reviews of both of these books.  Just for further information, we will actually be giving away signed copies of Taken by Storm.  Details to follow.  Probably in some other post.  Ask Saya*.  🙂  But first, I think I will make some vague attempt to write reviews of these books.

Taken by Storm

I’m not entirely sure what to say about this book.  I would like to think that I have some unique viewpoint of this book, seeing as this is a story about an LDS teenage girl, and seeing as I am LDS, but I’m not sure that I can really argue that.  I daresay that that is something that most religious females can relate to, so I can’t really say that my view is totally unique and therefore valid.  But in any case, I can say that there were several things that I did like about this book and that there are some things that I could potentially abhor, but I don’t think I currently have enough energy to abhor any book.  Any of my “Abhorring Energy” is currently aimed at the Twilight series anyhow.

First of all, I am absolutely terrible when it comes to remembering the names of characters now.  For instance, the only reason that I remember the name of the main female character in this book is because a friend informed me that I have “Leesie hair.”  For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the main male character without looking it up.  As it turns out, his name is Michael.  Do not take this as a sign that I haven’t actually read the book; instead I would actually appreciate it if you took it as a sign that I have simply read too many books.  What a tragedy.  😄

Just as a basic background, this book is about a Small-town LDS teenage girl who follows all of the “rules” who runs meets a “heathenistic” boy who has been struck by tragedy, losing his parents in a freak accident and somehow surviving himself.  As one might be able to guess, they fall for each other, and as always, Drama ensues.

On the list of things that I love about this book:

1) Style.  The writing style is impressive.  Nothing is written as if it is in the voice of the author(ess?) herself.  No exposition from the Author.  Zip.  Nada.  Nothing.  Everything is written either in the voice of Michael in his journal, in the poems of Leesie, or written in the dialogue between people chatting online.  Which means that you get an interesting cross between prose and poetry (I’m in a literature class, deal with it!).  The shifts between is a powerful way to capture an audience, because you actually get two different accounts of the same event, and they’re told in such different ways that you still read them, and like them both.

2) There is an interesting dilemma that takes place in this story between what feels right and what feels good.  That is a personal theory that I have recently been coming up with.  You know how in the King Arthur legends there is always a dilemma between might and right, and how the two don’t always coincide (if you haven’t read any King Arthur goodness, just watch part of X-Men 2 or something– it vaguely brings it up, mostly by how it alludes to The Once and Future King.  Go figure.) ?  Well, I have come up with a new theory which in my opinion is the reason for all literary romantic tragedies– and it is the dilemma between what is right and what feels good.  You may notice, the two do not always play well together.  Leesie manages to find herself right in the middle of that dilemma, and I think that Angela Morrison managed to capture that quite beautifully.

Things that I’m not so sure about (which happen to be things common to both of Angela Morrison’s books, so I can get them out of the way right now!!):

1) The sensuality.  Maybe it’s because I was raised a good little mormon girl where such things were not ever talked about unless one was over the age of 16 and the guy had the parents’ approval.  Or if they didn’t have the parents’ approval and it was therefore discussed in harsh tones.  While I appreciate the fact that the sensuality in the case of Taken by Storm increases the dilemma, I can’t help but think that even reading about that kind of sensuality takes a toll on me; both on my energy and my moral stamina.  I feel like there are probably other ways to show intense affection besides using the physical attraction of a relationship.

2) I’m not entirely sure how much I like the character of Leesie.  I can’t say anything about Michael, because I am not a guy and don’t really know how realistic he is (or is not).  But just because of my own personal preference, I wish Leesie was slightly more controlled by her brains and heart than her raging hormones.  But once again, I realize that this merely increases the struggle for her, and I do very much appreciate the artistic intent of that.  But I can’t help but feel that every woman needs at least one kick-butt heroine.  There don’t seem to be quite enough of them in the world.

All in all, I found that this was a reasonably engaging book, in spite of any of the qualms that I may have about it.

Sing me to Sleep

Once again, I have to double check names.  Beth is the heroine; Beast turned Beauty, and Derek and Scott are the males creating the legendary love triangle.

Things that I love:

1) Everything goes back to the music and the passion of singing.

2) The plot is fantastic.  I was thinking that this was going to be another book that goes on and on forever about how she likes this guy but also likes this guy and la-dee-da-dee-da.  Ugh.  Terrible.  However, Angela Morrison completely takes the reader for a ride, turning this from a drama into a something else.  I was amazed.  Just hurry up and buy it and read it.  I can’t explain it all online until then.  I think someone would take me out and kill me.  🙂

Things that I question:

1) Same things as last time.  First off, I question the sensuality.  I can’t really say that I see it having any kind of a contribution to the plot this time, that it’s almost like sexual tension for sexual tension’s sake.  At some point it becomes “OKAY, I GET IT!!!  She likes the guy!  A lot! Can we move on?”  Perhaps this is still quite mild compared to a lot of other books, but I still have to wonder.  I don’t think something should be in there unless there’s actually some way that it advances the plot.

2) Once again, the female character.  I like that she is in fact a dynamic character, that she does change.  But I do wonder at one of the transitions, where I just feel like Beth becomes a very shallow character, which I do not think is accurate at all.  In my mind, even Beauties remember being Beasts, and there’s no way that they forget that quickly, I don’t care how hot the guy is.  But I do like the transition that she makes after that, from Shallow Beauty to Beautiful Woman.  That’s something worth reading.

Because I feel like I have jabbered about this entirely too long, I think I will finish up here.  All in all, I think that these were two books that were in fact well written, with a rhyme and a reason which I haven’t seen in a lot of chick-flicky books in a long time.  I was quite impressed by the style in both of them, and I think they’re worth reading at least once, probably lots of times.

* To enter the contest to win SIGNED COPIES of ‘Taken By Storm’, click here!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2010 8:56 pm

    Hey, Rivenheart. Angela here. I appreciate both of your thoughtful reviews. Thank you. I would love to discuss the issue of steaminess with your fellow bloggers. It was something I struggled with as a I wrote both books. And it might be too much for some readers. But others have commented that it was artificially PG-13, ie. should have been more steamy.

    If I’m going to write to today’s teens about relationships, sex has got to be a big part of the story. I want my readers to know that they will get a frank discussion–I won’t talk down to them–and lots of great kissing scenes (skip those if you must!), but I won’t cross the border into what I feel is explicit material.

    My judgement of what is explicit might be different than yours, but I do try to keep well on the non-porn side of the equation. I’m troubled at how much explicit material is in YA books. I want my readers to know they are safe from that when they see my name on the cover. If you felt I violated that trust, I want to know! It gives me ammo for my next fight over this with an editor.

    I’d love to hear how your fellow bloggers feel about the issue. I’ll check back when I can. I’m in Ontario finishing up my launch tour for SING ME TO SLEEP!

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