Monday, 12 April 2010

Book Review -- Midnight Brunch by Marta Acosta

A few weeks ago, I was looking for a novel that was light, funny, but smart. Having read and re-read Bridget Jones countless times, I really wasn't up for another go-around, when I remembered, "That's right -- I'll pick up a Casa Dracula novel by Marta Acosta!" I'd read and loved Happy Hour At Casa Dracula, and I have to say -- Midnight Brunch -- even better than the first one!

The only negative thing I can say about this novel is that it's not available through iPhone apps; Happy Hour is, as well as Bride of casa Dracula, but not this one. This actually turned out well because I was able to read this on my vacation by the pool (not too brave to read my iPhone by water!), but I'm loving the iPhone books right now, just sayin'.

Midnight Bruch re-introduces us to Milagro de los Santos (and I'd always wondered what the "Milagro" in the title of that movie, The Milagro Beanfield War meant, and now I do!). Anyway, Milagro is living happily with Oswald in a cottage near a ranch, where the rest of Oswald's family (grandmother, cousin, and ex-fiancee) live. Oswald and his family have this, condition, regarding their blood and it makes them sensitive to sunlight, and yeah, they crave blood now and then. Human and animal.

What I love about these novels is the heroine, Milagro. She's hapless, though she's got a better sense of self than Bridget ever did -- Milagro knows she's prone to making mistakes and doesn't always try to stop herself. In this adventure, she meets Oswald's parents, who make it clear that Milagro is not good enough for their darling son. After Mil and Oswald fight, Oswald heads out of town on business, and trouble ensues...

Yes, Milagro gets herself into a pickle, though not all of it was her fault -- you can see why she trusted a certain person. In the last novel, Casa took a romantic diversion in the middle that I didn't really care for, but this one had a great, tight plot, smart, funny dialogue mixed with action, a little romance (you know it's just not my thing), and my favorite, the deeper soul-searching stuff. Milagro comes out okay, but she learns things along the way, and no man is responsible for saving her -- she does it herself.

In addition to plot, I love the tidbits of pop culture Ms. Acosta throws into the novel; the chapter title "I'm Not Sick But I'm Not Well" had me singing that song by Harvey Danger all day. And now I'm singing it again (thanks Marta!). Her prose is also sublime; I love the imagery and contrasts in these sentences:

I looked at Oswald's eyes, the color of rain clouds above, the stones in the creek, the weathered fence posts. "I like how you're color coordinated with the landscape."

Beautiful and funny and smart, all wrapped up into a nice, fun read that's great for vacation. Snap it up!

Marta's also got a FREE download right here called Shadow Girl of Birch Grove; it's a young adult novel set in a boarding school with vampires, that was turned down by an editor because vampires 'were so over'. Yeah, apparently they don't work for said publisher any more! I've not downloaded it yet, but it sounds amazing, so stop on over and check it out!

Hope you all enjoy your week and partake in Something Wicked along the way!

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