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So Many Books... - Book 1: ANGEL KISS, Laura Jane Cassidy

Jun. 8th, 2012

10:30 pm - Book 1: ANGEL KISS, Laura Jane Cassidy

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Nice start!  Am wasting valuable reading time trying to figure out size adjustment and image deletion and various other stupid things I've forgotten, so the cover can be seen (I like it), without taking up everyone's friends' pages.

Anyway, this one probably isn't going to be well known outside Ireland/the UK, so I'll pop in the blurb from Goodreads:

Jacki King is fifteen and adjusting to her new life in a small village. She's missing Dublin but she's making new friends: artistic Colin, feisty Emily - and Nick, gorgeous yet unavailable. But no sooner is Jacki settled than the torturous headaches and nightmares begin - followed by strange visions, voices and signs...Jacki refuses to believe that something paranormal is happening. But then she discovers the unsolved murder that occurred in the village years before...

Actually, I've just spotted something on pasting that in, though it's something that will only mean anything to a small number of readers (especially ones, like me, considerably older than the book's target readers): the tone of the book reminds me quite a bit of the stories in Jackie magazine and
its like. It's very girly.  Nick is gorgeous, and within one very brief and highly embarrassing meeting, Jacki is pulling petals off a flower and thinking about first love. After a second, where he's with his girlfriend (who's also gorgeous but fake, so it's okay!) , she's writing love songs about him, pretty much, and so it goes.

While this is very off-putting, there's quite a bit of good stuff in here along with the fluff. The author has a nice ear for dialogue, and the village (not a real one) is fun to read about - this isn't the kid of cod-Irish we get so fed up with seeing in books and on film/TV, and it's not played for the cheap laughs either.

The other thing I liked is that Cassidy bucks the usual trend of this type of story, in having the local GP recognise from the one office visit that something supernatural is actually going on, and send Jacki straight off to a local healer. Jacki does drag her heels a bit before giving in and going to see him, but it's rather a nice twist on the 'nobody will believe meeeee' theme. (Though that can be effective too, of course.) The characters' behaviour does occasionally seem more than a bit unlikely, and the murder is pretty obvious.  But, despite the weaknesses, it kept me entertained enough, and I'm happy to try the next book, which is set up in the short framing sequences with Jacki being asked to participate in solving the murders of four girls.

Comments:

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From:diceytillerman
Date:June 8th, 2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
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cod-Irish

May I ask what that means?
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:June 8th, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
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Oh -- uh, hmm. Oirish (Actually, this may not even be a real expression - having a totally blank moment about whether it's just our family!) Do you remember the ads that used to be on TV for Irish Spring soap? With lilting music and beautiful red-haired lasses and people saying "Top of the mornin' to ye!". And all the villagers would have to be quaint, or real characters, you know?

That just reminded me of a favourite rant of mine about one of the British soaps that came here, and I happened to have gone with the girls down to a small town in Wicklow on the day they were filming and all cars got stopped for ages. It's a beautiful town, and very up-market, with nice cafés, and some quite expensive shops. But for the filming they'd turned it into a market town with livestock for sale in front of the fountain, and apparently the episode was proper 'pigs in the parlour', dirty Irish! I didn't watch it, but I heard there was even a government protest about it.

Okay, the rant didn't really have much to do with what I was talking about here! But just portrays of Ireland by people who don't know it as well as they think they do - or don't even consider it quite a real place they'd need to know before writing about?
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From:diceytillerman
Date:June 8th, 2012 10:34 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! I do know what you mean, now. I didn't know the "cod" term. :)
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:June 8th, 2012 10:36 pm (UTC)
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Well, good, so there has been communication, even if nobody else had ever known the cod term before either! :)
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From:dorianegray
Date:June 8th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
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See this TV Tropes article for a fairly comprehensive discussion of the phenomenon. And no, it's not just you that calls it "Oirish".
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:June 8th, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
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Oh, thanks! It wasn't Oirish I was unsure about though, it was cod Irish.
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From:dorianegray
Date:June 8th, 2012 11:21 pm (UTC)
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I've heard that term elsewhere too...cod anything, really. Not to mention "I'm only codding you".
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From:diceytillerman
Date:June 9th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC)
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i've never heard of cod anything!
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:June 9th, 2012 09:13 am (UTC)
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I have the worst time knowing where expressions come from - not just the straight Irish vs American, but southern US vs not-southern, and things that are said in Dublin where I grew up vs much older sayings my mother picked up from my dad & therefore also Cork vs Dublin. It's a definite muddle in the brain!
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:June 9th, 2012 09:10 am (UTC)
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Well, of course! You know how it is when you start doubting something.
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From:ccwtaylor
Date:June 9th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
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I like reading about villages! I'll look out for this one.

I hope your reading goes well!
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:June 9th, 2012 09:22 am (UTC)
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I'm not sure about its publication outside the UK, actually.

Thanks for the reading wish! I've returned it on your blog. :)
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From:asakiyume
Date:June 13th, 2012 05:31 pm (UTC)

gonna start w/number 1 and work my way forward!

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Authentic-sounding dialogue and a pleasantly real-seeming setting can do a lot to make a book worthwhile, and I like that you say it bucks the nobody will believe meeee trend.
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:June 13th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)

Re: gonna start w/number 1 and work my way forward!

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I did like those elements, but I wouldn't recommend it to you. :) And now I'm curious about whether there was a US equivalent of Jackie. I don't think of the younger teen girls' magazines as having stories in them, but that might not be right? Ooh, reminds me - at the church fair this year, there was a Jackie annual, with the cover shouting out "The best thing for girls - next to boys". And it was 2005, too! Ugh.
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From:asakiyume
Date:June 13th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)

Re: gonna start w/number 1 and work my way forward!

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Have you heard about the horrible gender-coded Scholastic survival guides? And that's *this* year :-( As Ryan North said, why not just call one the adventure survival guide and the other the social survival guide? Why specify sexes?
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From:lady_schrapnell
Date:June 13th, 2012 07:01 pm (UTC)

Re: gonna start w/number 1 and work my way forward!

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Ergh. I hadn't heard about those!
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