Showing posts with label General Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label General Fiction. Show all posts

Monday, March 13, 2017

Everything


AlwaysAlways


by 
Genre: General Fiction
Rating 3.5 stars

Summary:

While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiance, Ryan, at one of Seattle's chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can't believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister. 

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense everything connected and felt "right." But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what and whom she wants. 



My Thoughts:


I have difficulty figuring out how I felt about this book. There aren't very many books that I actually like the whole flip-flopping between two time periods. Kate Morton is one of the few authors where I have to read what is going on with each generation/time period. About halfway through I just passed on all of the parts taking place in the 90's. I knew how that part would end and that the mystery wouldn't be resolved there but rather in the present time.


It was good subject matter. I live and work in an area that has a rather high homeless population and it really is easy to forget that these people didn't start out here, they had a past and perhaps - if they accept help - they can have a much better future. 


Kailey is a well rounded woman - at least she would be if Cade hadn't suddenly popped into her life. The feminist part of me is thinking "Girl, finish your work focus on the life you have and don't let some boyfriend from the past mess it up." The nurturing part of me thinks "good job, way to take care of your man - even if he hasn't been yours for a long time." The only thing that drove me nuts was the fact that she wasn't straight up and honest with Ryan.  I think that it was a childish move and that she could have avoided a lot of pain had she done the adult thing and practiced open communication with her partner.

Overall I thought it was decent. I'm not racing out to purchase my own hard copy, but if I see anything else by Jio I most likely will get it. 


I received a galley for free in exchange for a review. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What a Disappointment...


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


By: John Tiffany and Jack Thorne.
Genre: Drama (It's a script after all)
Rating: Goodness, like 2 stars.


Here it is, the big one, the one we've all been waiting for...Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

And what a load of rubbish it was. Let's make one thing very clear - ROWLING DID NOT WRITE THIS. Her's might be the biggest name on the cover but she didn't write this book. I am very disappointed with the results Jo. And so is Minerva.


While perhaps the story might have come from her, the words most certainly did not. I was not at all reading the same characters in this script which I grew up reading and listening to almost daily at some points. (It helped me go to sleep as a child, it's almost impossible for me to read the books without Jim Dale narrating for me.)

The story was good and when I get to go and see the play I know that it is going to be phenomenal. The magic that those stage hands are going to have to do, the technical work that will have to be done. Goodness it is going to be amazing. 
But this was not Rowling's characterization, these were not her words. It got frustrating at times to read because all I could think of is THIS. IS. NOT. RIGHT.  
The part that was the worst was the fact that in the alternate universe they freely used the Dark Lord's name. Voldemort was said all over the place. That is in direct conflict to what Voldemort stood for - the fear, mystery and intimidation which surrounds him. We remember that "fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself." Even in the 7th book when the ministry had fallen and the dark powers were in charge he made it taboo. That part of his mentality was never going to change.
Nor was he capable of having a child. Nope, nope, nope. His lust was for power, his drive was all funneled toward his ambitions, his release from death and torture. To imagine that he had a child with Bellatrix? Esp. when we clearly saw a not at all pregnant version of her when escaping from Malfoy Mannor.



Read on if you dare, there are spoilers in the rants.

And then there is the relationship between Scorpius and Albus which while reading makes me wonder if Scorpi's obsession with Rose is merely a cover up. 

This is NOT the 8th installment of the series. This is just bad fan fiction - granted it did better by the Harry Potter series than 50 Shades did to Twilight. But goodness, not worth the hype, time or money. (But I am still excited for the play, just because the stage directions promise that this will be great.)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Reads - Save Me


Save MeSave Me

By: Kristyn Kusek Lewis
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
Daphne Mitchell has always believed in cause and effect, right and wrong, good and bad. The good: her dream job as a doctor; Owen, her childhood sweetheart and now husband; the beautiful farmhouse they're restoring together. In fact, most of her life has been good--until the day Owen comes home early from work to tell her he's fallen head over heels for someone else.

Unable to hate him, but also equally incapable of moving forward, Daphne's life hangs in limbo until the day Owen's new girlfriend sustains near-fatal injuries in a car accident. As Daphne becomes a pillar of support for the devastated Owen, and realizes that reconciliation may lie within her grasp, she has to find out whether forgiveness is possible and decide which path is the right one for her.

My Thoughts:
"You can never know the truth about anyone's marriage, including your own" -Nora Ephron

That was a great quote to set the book rolling. Daphne is coming home from a business trip - something routine, she plans for her husbands birthday dinner, only to come home to the announcement that he has fallen in love with someone else. 

This was enough of a draw to get me involved. Not because of the physical messiness that was potential here. But because Lewis did her best to go through all of the various shades of emotional turmoil that this kind of event - which sadly is all too common - could cause.  Owen easily could be written off as the bad guy and this turn into another one of those books of woman independence, finding yourself outside of your relationships, and whatnot which are very prevalent in today's culture. But Lewis did far more than that.

She explored where relationships come from, what they need to thrive and how and when is the time to draw the line. Owen was far from the bad guy. He wasn't excused for his actions. But it seemed to be a case of life rather than something where you can suddenly point fingers and everything is black and white.

I was surprised by it's ending. And am still not quite sure how I feel about it. But it was definitely one that left me thinking. 

This novel explores fidelity, love and what is needed to keep a marriage going and I recommend it. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Misc Monday: Love Water Memory


Love Water MemoryLove Water Memory

By: Jennie Shortridge
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
Caution for conservative readers - multiple uses of strong expletives and adult content.

Summary:
Who is Lucie Walker? Even Lucie herself can't answer that question after she comes to, confused and up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay. Back home in Seattle, she adjusts to life with amnesia, growing unsettled by the clues she finds to the selfish, carefully guarded person she used to be. Will she ever fall in love with her handsome, kindhearted fiance, Grady? Can he devote himself to the vulnerable, easygoing Lucie 2.0, who is so unlike her controlling former self? When Lucie learns that Grady has been hiding some very painful secrets that could change the course of their relationship, she musters the courage to search for the shocking, long-repressed childhood memories that will finally set her free.


My Thoughts:
What an interesting premise. What would you do if one day you found yourself somewhere with no memory of how you got there, nor of who you were? And what are you to do if that happens to someone you love?

It was an idea which got me thinking. What would I do in that position. Which of my habits would I go back to and what would I think was idiotic/strange/foreign? Lucie wonderfully captured what I imagine all of the confusion, heart ache and loss which would come with such an event. So many times trying to figure out who she was, and who she is going to choose to become. It was great to see her rebuild from the tragedy and become a woman even better than she was before. 

Throwing in an approaching wedding added a depth of complexity. Could Grady still love a woman who was so entirely different from the one he proposed to? Both versions of Lucie were so completely different but Grady managed to find the similarities, and I liked seeing the two of them begin to reconnect.

I just wished that it hadn't been so needlessly laced with profanity. Are there times that call for it - occasionally it can be justified. But there was just too much of it for me personally.

I liked the premise and the characters, it was well executed. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Misc Monday - The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs


The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs (Cyrus Mills, #1)The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs

By: Nick Trout
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary:
After fifteen years, Dr. Cyrus Mills returns to rural Vermont to inherit the Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, the failing veterinary practice of his recently deceased and long-estranged father. Cyrus, a veterinary pathologist far more comfortable with cold clinical facts than living, breathing animals (not to mention their quirky, demanding owners), intends to sell the practice and get out of town as fast as he can.

Then his first patient—a down-on-her-luck golden retriever named Frieda Fuzzypaws—wags her way through the door, and suddenly life gets complicated. With the help of a black Labrador gifted in the art of swallowing underwear, a Persian cat determined to expose her owner’s lover as a gold digger, and the allure of a feisty, pretty waitress from the local diner, Cyrus gets caught up in a new community and its endearing residents, both human and animal. Sensing he may have misjudged the past, he begins to realize it’s not just his patients that need healing.

My Thoughts:
I thought this was a sweet novel, I just got Netflix and am on a Gilmore Girls binge right now, and this fit right in with the whole "small town/bad relationship with my parents" vibe. The characters are quirky and fun, and the reason why I love small towns - particularly the receptionist - she really is her own person - and the pets are cute too. 

I found this to be a sweet read, though too much whining about how parents weren't there and so I am going to be grumpy about it. Though it looks as like it the story continues in Dog Gone, Back Soon, so I will be interested to see how things further develop.

It was a sweet read, and I will get the sequel to see how it goes. It also probably rings truer for those who are huge pet owners. Go ahead, try it. It is a fun way to pass the time. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Misc. Monday - The Stolen Girl

The Stolen GirlThe Stolen Girl

By: Renita D'Silva
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating 4.5



Summary:
‘Your mother has been arrested. She stole you.’

For as long as thirteen-year-old Diya can remember, it’s always been just her and her mum, Vani. Despite never staying in one place long enough to call it home, with her mother by her side, Diya has never needed anything else. 

Then, in an instant, Diya’s fragile world is shattered. Her mother is arrested, accused of abducting Diya when she was a baby…

Vani has spent a lifetime looking over her shoulder, determined to make the best possible life for her daughter. Now she must fight for her child, re-opening the door to her childhood in India and the woman who was once as close to her as a sister.
Aarti had everything she could possibly want and lost it in the blink of an eye. She has spent these last 13 years hunting for the daughter she refused was lost.

My Thoughts:
Well after having been out of the book reading world for so long I was so glad that this was my first read. I loved it. It kind of took over my Saturday, work? homework? grad school prep...who cares! I need to figure out what on earth is going to happen here.

Right off the bat I had fallen in love with Diya for her down to earth personality and Vani for the immense love which she wasn't afraid to show her daughter. 

The story really reminded me of the work of Kate Morton. If you haven't read any of her works yet I would highly recommend The Distant Hours. Both authors have a way to make the world come alive and add a true texture not only to the characters, but I have never wanted to eat Indian food as much as I did while I was reading The Stolen Girl.

I love how the story of the past and present are woven together to help shed light on the truth. D'Silva manages to develop this empathy not only for the heroines of the novel, but also includes for the 'villain.' I was worried how she would wrap everything up - I had fallen in love with two of these women and wanted the 3rd to come out all right yet I couldn't figure out how she was going to do it. But do it D'Silva did and it was wonderfully done.

Overall I am so glad that I have found this new author, I will be running to check out her others books The Forgotten Dauther and Monsoon Memories...After I catch up on everything that was put on hold this weekend.

**I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Angelina's Bachelors


Angelina's Bachelors: A Novel with FoodAngelina's Bachelors: A Novel with Food

By: Brian O'Reilly
Genre: General Fiction
Rating: 5 stars

Summary:
Far too young to be a widow, Angelina D’Angelo suddenly finds herself facing a life without her beloved husband, Frank. Late one night shortly after the funeral, she makes her way down to the kitchen and pours all of her grief and anger into the only outlet she has left—her passion for cooking. In a frenzy of concentration and swift precision, she builds layer upon layer of thick, rich lasagna, braids loaves of yeasty bread, roasts plump herb-rubbed chicken; she makes so much food that she winds up delivering the spoils to the neighbors in her tight-knit Italian community in South Philadelphia. Retiree Basil Cupertino, who has just moved in with his kindly sister across the street, is positively smitten with Angelina’s food. In a stroke of good fortune, Basil offers Angelina (not only husbandless but unemployed) a job cooking for him—two meals a day, six days a week, in exchange for a handsome salary. Soon, word of her irresistible culinary prowess spreads and she finds herself cooking for seven bachelors—and in the process discovers the magical power of food to heal, to bring people together . . . and maybe even to provide a second chance at love. 

My Thoughts:
I have tried to become more stingy with my 5 stars, only offering them to books which changed me in some way, be that on a philosophical plane or something more shallow such as picking up new habits and hobbies. All of my food books that I've read recently has made me want to cook more, but this one seems to take all of what the other books started and brings it all together to the point where I am going out and buying supplies to make my own recipe box. 

Right from the start where she is making her "Frangelico Chocolate 'Dream' Cake" I was hooked. I loved her indignation at someone serving a store bought cake as homemade. (Though this may or may not be something that I am guilty of.) The whole book made me want to get up, go to my pantry and see if I could whip up something tasty. I also really loved the different bachelors that Angelina had coming up to her house. My favorite one being a man who isn't really in the mafia...but still "knows a guy" who can take care of pretty much anything. 

The plot overall is a very sweet, and heartwarming. The writing genuine and well executed. I was actually surprised when I looked at the author's name and realized that it was written by a man, he has good insight in to the feminine perspective.  Also, since he is the head of Food Network's Dinner: Impossible the recipes he includes are all great.

I love it and would recommend it to anyone who wants to read something heartwarming and sweet.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Kitchen Daughter


The Kitchen DaughterThe Kitchen Daughter

By: Jael McHenry
Genre: General Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Summery:
After the unexpected death of her parents, painfully shy and sheltered 26-year-old Ginny Selvaggio seeks comfort in cooking from family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning (“do no let her…”) before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.

A haunted kitchen isn’t Ginny’s only challenge. Her domineering sister, Amanda, (aka “Demanda”) insists on selling their parents’ house, the only home Ginny has ever known. As she packs up her parents’ belongings, Ginny finds evidence of family secrets she isn’t sure how to unravel. She knows how to turn milk into cheese and cream into butter, but she doesn’t know why her mother hid a letter in the bedroom chimney, or the identity of the woman in her father’s photographs. The more she learns, the more she realizes the keys to these riddles lie with the dead, and there’s only one way to get answers: cook from dead people’s recipes, raise their ghosts, and ask them

My Thoughts:
I loved, loved, loved the point of view character here. She doesn't have a disorder, she has a personality. It was great to read a book from a person with mild Aspergers  Syndrome. And I also liked how the beginning of the chapters had recipes from the story. (Some of them worked I tried and they made me happy.) Now, the book does have a lot of food references but the story really does focus on how Ginny grows and learns to cope after the death of her parents. One thing I really love is the relationship between her and her housekeeper. She is like a second mother who teaches Ginny how to grow beyond her difficulties. 

I think that this book, while it isn't a total foodie book, is a great one to read. It deals with grief and all of its different forms and beautifully describes life after death.

Monday, July 30, 2012

School of Essential Ingredients


The School of Essential Ingredients

The School of Essential Ingredients

By: Erica Bauermeister 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
The School of Essential Ingredients follows the lives of eight students who gather in Lillian's Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each one seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. Students include Claire, a young mother struggling with the demands of her family; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer learning to adapt to life in America; and Tom, a widower mourning the loss of his wife to breast cancer. Chef Lillian, a woman whose connection with food is both soulful and exacting, helps them to create dishes whose flavor and techniques expand beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of her students' lives. One by one the students are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of Lillian's food, including a white-on-white cake that prompts wistful reflections on the sweet fragility of love and a peppery heirloom tomato sauce that seems to spark one romance but end another.

My Thoughts:
I read this for the first time about 3 years ago and the story has stuck with me.  The language  is wonderful to read and rich and decadent like some of the dishes the students create. Each chapter focuses on a different member of the class, how they got to be there and the wonderful healing power which good food can offer.  Each character relates to different people, a mother who has lost her identity, a teenager who is still trying to figure out who they are and a man who is trying to get over the loss of his wife.

Overall I think it is a great first piece and foodie and non-foodie alike would enjoy it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Attachments


AttachmentsAttachments

By: Rainbow Rowell
Genre:Romance
Rating: 4 (excessive language kept it from 5 stars)
Parental Guidance suggested for hard language


Summary:
Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can't seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.

When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he'd be sifting through other people's inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories.

But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you." After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it's time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can't see exactly where it's leading him.

My Thoughts:
It has been a long time since I have finished a book and just wanted to yell to the world (or at least type to them) that they must read it! But this book had me texting friends to get going on it before I was even done. 
Now, it is fluffy, (I have seen it described as "it's so fluffy I'm gonna die!" said of course in a Despicable Me voice)  and the email gimmick has been done before and failed miserably, but it is witty fluff that was very nicely done. Beth and Jennifer have these hilarious conversations that had me giggling through the whole thing, even though currently this is quite a painful thing for me to do (wisdom teeth..blech). That really is what made this story so wonderful for me, yes it was fun to see Lincoln go from this sad, empty life to a fun, fulfilling one, but it was the true friendship between the two women that have me loving it and setting it apart from other romances I have read.

Now is it somewhat creepy and stalkerish that he was reading their email? Well, in a word kinda... it is his job and the way it's portrayed doesn't have him come across as all that bad. He is a relatable guy who is dealing with the awkward position he's been put in.

There were a couple of curves at the end which were really quite nice. At one point I wasn't sure if it was going to end the way all romances end and I feel like I would have been satisfied if it hadn't. It was just written that well.

I feel like this is one of the few books I've read that will appeal equally to both men and women. It is a fun, quirky, lovable read - one that I will probably return to.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Misc. Monday - The Replacement Wife

The Replacement Wife.
By: Eileen Goudge
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
 

Summary from Goodreads:
Camille Harte, one of Manhattan’s most sought-after matchmakers, has survived more than her fair share of hardships. Her mother died when she was a young girl, leaving her and her sister with an absentee father. Now in her forties, she has already survived cancer once, though the battle revealed just how ill-equipped her husband Edward is to be a single parent. So when doctors tell Camille that her cancer is back—and this time it’s terminal—she decides to put her matchmaking expertise to the test for one final job. Seeking stability for her children and happiness for her husband, Camille sets out to find the perfect woman to replace her when she’s gone. 

But what happens when a dying wish becomes a case of “be careful what you wish for”? For Edward and Camille, the stunning conclusion arrives with one last twist of fate that no one saw coming. 

At once deeply felt and witty, The Replacement Wife is an unforgettable story of love and family, and a refreshing look at the unexpected paths that lead us to our own happy endings. 



My Thoughts:

Caution to conservative readers: lots of strong language and some sex.


I really liked this story. I thought the author did a really good job at portraying a marriage and all that it could go through when facing something like this. It also made me think about what I would do if I had 6 months or so to live. Thankfully as I don't have a husband and kids my choices could be a little more selfish. 


I thought Goudge did a great job with all of her characters I somehow loved Angie in spite of what was going on plotwise, and that was something that really was necessary.Spoiler, Highlight to see what is written If you have a mistress as a point of view character in a story you really have to like her otherwise you will skip most of what she is saying. SSpoiler done.


I did like the way the plot twisted and turned making a few different problems - cancer, cheating, and divorce all be focused on in one novel. I think this was a great book. And really heartwarming in how all of it was dealt with. 


The only thing that is keeping me from giving this five stars is the language and sex which I generally just skipped over. I loved it otherwise.


Thanks to Open Road Media for giving me a copy for review.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Just For Fun Fridays - Anything

AnythingAnything
By: Michael Baron
Genre: General Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Summary
What if you got a chance to change the past? Would you take it?  This chance presents itself to Ken a week before his wedding to Melissa, the absolute love of his life. Going back and seeing her past, he is given the chance to erase her worst memory - make it so it never even happened. But doing so could change the present so completely that they would never have met. Should he take the chance? Would you?

My Thoughts:
It has been a few months since I have read a love story this well done. It shows not only the power of love but also the effects one person can have on multiple lives. The changes that occur for Ken throughout the novel are really interesting and got me thinking as to what changes I would have in my life had I made a few different choices.

Ken is a wonderful narrator for the story and keeps it moving at a nice pace. It is written in simple and classic prose very reminiscent of Nicholas Sparks. The supporting characters, of Stephon, Kate and Paul were all wonderful as well.

Overall I found it a very satisfying and quick read.

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me a copy for review.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fun Friday - A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar: A NovelA Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar
by: Suzanne Joinson
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: General Fiction

Summary from Goodreads:

It is 1923. Evangeline (Eva) English and her sister Lizzie are missionaries heading for the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar. Though Lizzie is on fire with her religious calling, Eva’s motives are not quite as noble, but with her green bicycle and a commission from a publisher to write A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar, she is ready for adventure.
In present day London, a young woman, Frieda, returns from a long trip abroad to find a man sleeping outside her front door. She gives him a blanket and a pillow, and in the morning finds the bedding neatly folded and an exquisite drawing of a bird with a long feathery tail, some delicate Arabic writing, and a boat made out of a flock of seagulls on her wall. Tayeb, in flight from his Yemeni homeland, befriends Frieda and, when she learns she has inherited the contents of an apartment belonging to a dead woman she has never heard of, they embark on an unexpected journey together.


My Thoughts:
This is one of the most enjoyable novels I have read in a long time. It tells two stories - Eva's and Freida's - in alternating chapters. This is among my favorite of narrative styles so I was greatly pleased. Also I loved the fact that Eva's story was told in a rather obscure location and time period - Western China in the 1920's. 

Freida while in modern day London, still is exploring different cultures both in her personal in professional life. And that really is what I feel this story is about. Both parts of the story explore the differences in culture and if they could possibly mesh. 

This was such a complex story all of the details which you think are irrelevant combine and are woven into a wonderful ending. 

Only thing I would change if I could would be the occasional strong language. This is something which fairly conservative readers might want to be cautious about.



Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA for giving me a copy for review.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Misc Monday - ...So There


...So There by William O. Wing...So There
by: William O Wing
Genre: Gen. Fiction
Rating: 3 Stars


Summary from Goodreads:
William O. Wing, a tousled-haired Catholic school boy spots Carmen Maria Bonocelli, a fiery little Italian girl walking in front of his house wearing his favorite football jersey, then proceeds to intercept her stroll and confront her with a healthy dose of male indignation. Carmen, a descendent of a long line of gypsies, has certain magical powers and quickly turns his anger into embarrassment as she temporarily paralyzes his mind and body, a trick some girls can perform even without the benefit of magic. Carmen has recently moved into William’s neighborhood with her five older sisters and robust Sicilian mother, while her father, who is an American bomber pilot, is stationed at an airbase on the outskirts of London. 


My Thoughts:
This was a story which attempted to explore puppy love. It starts with the meeting of William O. and Miss Carmen. These two seem to be made for each other and this novel tries to explore the first chapter of their story together. 


Overall I thought the writing style was quite fun, there was a lot of kid talk - words that your vocabulary drops as you grow up, and a smattering of 1940's lingo. I liked the story line and how it didn't seem to be leading up to some big moment but rather was merely a telling of peoples lives. It was about characters rather than the plot.


HOWEVER...these kids are 11 supposedly and well they weren't given a chance to be merely kids. I feel like they were a little sexualized, especially Carmen which is something that an 11 year old should most definitely not be. Had the story stuck with dancing and football and making sandcastles and the innocence of puppy love I would have loved it. It didn't though so I felt that it lost out on a lot of charm which it could have had. 


Thank to The Bookplex for the chance to read this book for review.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday - General Fiction


Loved Walked In
by: Marisa de Los Santos

Genre: General Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:
When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. But little does she know that her newfound love is only the harbinger of greater changes to come. Meanwhile, across town, Clare Hobbs—eleven years old and abandoned by her erratic mother—goes looking for her lost father. She crosses paths with Cornelia while meeting with him at the café, and the two women form an improbable friendship that carries them through the unpredictable currents of love and life.

This book impressed me because it isn't what you first expect it to be. I came into it thinking it would be your typical "Guy meets girl, they fall in love but complications arise; complications are then resolved and then we all live happily ever after" chick flick. It wasn't. It was beautifully written with an ending which was perfect for the situation without any real hints of sappiness to be found.

 The story is told from both eleven year old Clair's frame of mind and from that of Cornelia the other protagonist of the plot. The way that the two points of view complement each other is wonderfully done and I really loved the overall effect of the writing. The book also wasn’t entirely predictable. It took a little while for things to be pieced together and for the story to unfold.  Because of the way it was done it felt like I had an opportunity to savor what I was reading and fall in love with the language of the piece. Granted that De Los Santos used several movie references that I really didn’t understand (hey I read books not watch movies) I thought that as a whole the piece was delightfully executed. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Just For Fun Friday Sarah's Key


Sarah's Key
by: Tatiana de Rosnay

Genre: Historical Fiction, general fiction
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Summary:
Paris in 1942 finds Sarah and her family arrested and rounded up with all of the other Jews in Paris but not before Sarah has a chance to hide her little brother in a closet with a promise to come back in a few hours.

When journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article for the 60 year commemoration of  the Vel' d'Hiv' round up she stumbles upon the story of a little girl whose family is connected to her own. She is drawn to this little girl and her story and begins to weave it together and in the process begins to reflect more on her own life.

This was one I listened to in the car and I found it very well done. One thing that I really loved about this book was in the parts where it was from Sarah's point of view, we don't get names. Her mother, father and brother don't really develop much of a personality and we don't really get to know them. This had the effect of making this tragedy apply to every family that went through it. it was a way to remember all of the victims. The Starzynski's didn't have a corner on the pain and suffering.

This is a book that will make you think and will make you remember. I believe that Julia's journey is one that we should take ourselves. She becomes a deeper person because she faces the past rather than rejecting it.

The book did have occasional slow points and the ending did seem rushed but the overall theme of the novel is one that is still powerful even with these flaws. I believe that it is a wonderful book which will make you think and remember even if it is hard to do so.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Just For Fun Friday


The Distant Hours
by: Kate Morton


Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
It all begins with a long lost letter. Its contents compel young Edie Burchill to journey to the eerie realm of Milderhurst Castle, where her mother, then just 13 years old, waited out the London Blitz. What Edie learns about those distant hours in that faraway place will forever change her view of her mother and herself. 

Of the three novels that Morton has published this is probably the third favorite. I don’t at all mean to say that it isn’t a great novel I just like the other two better.  It does have mystery just as the others do, and I love that Morton’s mysteries revolve around a family’s past not around a murder, well not generally.

Here we are introduced to the Blythe sisters. They are quite a set. There is a depth about them that is generally found around in those who are heavy with secrets.  The castle in which they live seems like a place that could take you to Narnia, or perhaps another land that is darker, it is simply full of a kind of magic that comes with being an ancient building. Also I love how much writing, and the creative process is involved throughout the whole thing.


Edie Burchill is a wonderful concoction. She is very real with a marvelous fluidity about her – especially in regards to her relationship with her mother which undergoes much change throughout the course of the story.  It really is a marvelous read, very well written. Morton has her own unique style which I have fallen
in love with and I would love to see more from her.

In the Shadow of Lakecrest

In the Shadow of Lakecrest By: Elizabeth Blackwell Genre: Fiction, Historical, Gothic Rating: 3.5 stars Summary: The year is 1928. Kate...