Abundant Books

The blog of a self confessed book addict. Reviews and musing about what, where and how I read.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Belly Dancing for Beginners
by Liz Byrski

Gayle and Sonya are a study in contrasts one reserved and cautious, the other confident and outspoken. But their very different lives will be turned upside down when they impulsively join a belly dancing class. Marissa, their teacher, is sixty, sexy, and very much her own person, and as Gayle and Sonya learn about the origins and meaning of the dance, much more than their muscle tone begins to change. Gayle, crippled by the secrets at the heart of her marriage, is forced to face who and what she has become; the seriously single Sonya begins to explore her isolation from her family; and even Marissa, accustomed to seeing other women changed by the dance, must finally confront a horrifying event from her own past. And then there are the men in their lives: Oliver, deeply confused about why his politically correct attitude to women never quite seems to work; Brian, blissfully unaware that he's sailing towards the rocks; and Frank, who's battling his own demons.

'Belly Dancing for Beginners' is a warm-hearted, moving, and often funny story of what can happen when women and men are brave enough to reveal who they really are. I loved this book even though it is about middle aged women "discovering" themselves, much like her other book that I have read, "Gang of Four". She tells a story so well though, and makes it seem so realistic and plausible, that it is a genuinely good read. The twist in the last few pages gives more depth to the story and keeps you thinking.

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by L. A. Banks

Damali Richards is a rising star of Warriors of Light Records - but her fans would never guess that she is also the most important vampire hunter in a millennium. However, unfortunately for the inexperienced young huntress, the vampires and demons have both discovered her existence. An age-old war escalates to unprecedented heights of violence as the dark forces strive to slay Damali before she comes of age and gains her full powers.

Damali is an appealing heroine, the concept is intriguing, and the series is promising. However, the first novel is rocky. Damali is a vampire-killing martial artist, and Minion presents an epic struggle between good and evil, yet the novel doesn't have much of a climax - a sequel is obviously forthcoming. Damali's teacher withholds crucial information from not only the huntress, but also her guardians, who should have learned everything many years ago. In contrast, the characters frequently tell each other things they already know. Readers craving the twisted erotic charge of the Anita Blake novels may be dissatisfied that sexual tension is less important to Minion.

I'll give the next few books a go and see how it pans out - there are eight books in the series to date.

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