I LOVED this book. A perfect combination of humor and heart. All the characters had a lot of depth and were really fun to "get to know". Definitely reI LOVED this book. A perfect combination of humor and heart. All the characters had a lot of depth and were really fun to "get to know". Definitely recommended!...more
For the first little while, this book drove me crazy - because I was thinking that it actually had something to do with, as the title indicates, "happFor the first little while, this book drove me crazy - because I was thinking that it actually had something to do with, as the title indicates, "happiness." Once I stopped expecting it to be about happiness, I enjoyed it for the most part. What the book is REALLY about is how bad we are at predicting/imagining the future. Gilbert writes like Malcolm Gladwell with a chip on his shoulder - readable and entertaining, but at times extremely acerbic. By the end of the book I still felt a little frustrated; I felt like there were a lot of things that Gilbert didn't take into account. His view was also a profoundly nonreligious one, and as a religious person I felt like he was missing some fairly obvious ideas. Overall, though, it was an interesting read. I'm not sure whether I'd recommend it or not....more
OK, I think I'm sending this one back to the library unfinished. When I am halfway through a book and honestly don't much care what happens to anyoneOK, I think I'm sending this one back to the library unfinished. When I am halfway through a book and honestly don't much care what happens to anyone in it, I know it's a wash! I had some high hopes for this series based on good reviews from friends, but it really just didn't do much for me. I have very little interest in reading about catty, shallow characters who do scandalous things just for the sake of sensationalism. All of the characters and their relationships felt very flat to me, and I felt all through as though there was way too much "showing" rather than "telling" - I had no idea why Henry Schoonmaker was such a "catch"; I had no idea why Will and Elizabeth were so in love; and I REALLY had no idea why Elizabeth and Penelope were friends.
I also was bothered by the casual immorality, both from a personal moral standpoint and from a historically accurate standpoint. While I fully believe there was plenty of sleeping around going on in 1899, I DON'T believe that all of these high-society girls were doing it without a thought to their reputations. In 1899, a girl's virtue was still considered a priceless "selling point," and girls as conceited as these would if nothing else have thought twice about taking a lover. I especially found myself having a hard time believing that Elizabeth, who is so motivated by doing what she feels is "right" and necessary for her family, would not have had qualms about a long-standing affair with an unsuitable man.
I may pick it up again sometime, but probably not. I'd rather spend my time on characters who are actually worth reading about....more
Overall Review: Twins Diello and Cynthe are excited to turn thirteen and come of age—but their birthday doesnReview Date: 01/05/2012
Recommended Age: 12+
Overall Review: Twins Diello and Cynthe are excited to turn thirteen and come of age—but their birthday doesn't shape up quite how they'd hoped. Instead of a celebratory breakfast and a day spent at the market fair, they are given a list of errands... and the day turns from bad to worse when they return home to find their farm in flames. Plunged into an adventure neither of them had expected or hoped for, Diello and Cynthe have to stay safe, retrieve a magical secret, and uncover the truth behind their parents' real history—before it's too late. Crystal Bones hooked me from the beginning! Although the book is aimed at a middle-grade or early young adult audience, C. Aubrey Hall has created a wonderfully sophisticated setting for this first book in her Faelin trilogy—the story of half-human, half-Fae twins Diello and Cynthe. I loved the realistic-feeling fantasy world and the development of Diello's character as he makes his first steps into manhood. My only complaint was that I felt a few more things could have used fleshing out, including the character Cynthe. Overall, though, I heartily enjoyed Crystal Bones and would happily recommend it to any fantasy-loving young teens!
Content Analysis: There is no actual profanity, but several angry insults.
There is moderate violence throughout the book—an army of goblins raids the twins' farm and kills both of their parents (the twins come on the scene afterwards), and the twins have several run-ins with violent goblins throughout the book, as well as a fight with a "trog" monster in the woods. At the end, a central character kills several goblins and feels great remorse for it (although it was necessary). Throughout the book, themes of death and violence are handled with respect and gravity, and the violence is never gratuitous.
There is very mild sexual content—a boy and girl have small crushes on each other, and another (simple-minded) boy says that he likes to stare at a girl because she is pretty.
Mature Subject Matter: Mature themes consist of death (including the death of parents), cruel treatment, bigotry, and killing in self-defense.
This has been on my radar for a few years, but I only tracked it down last week. (And somehow had totally missed that they just made a movie of it, whThis has been on my radar for a few years, but I only tracked it down last week. (And somehow had totally missed that they just made a movie of it, which I now want to watch!) STILL ALICE hit me unexpectedly hard on a number of personal levels. It was gripping and heartbreaking; at the beginning I found it a little stilted, since I don't think that conveying minor memory slippage is particularly effective in print (it's hard to tell the reader that Alice is taking a walk down such-and-such street and then, two or three paragraphs later, have her suddenly confused about which street she's on), but as Alice's descent into Alzheimer's became more pronounced that smoothed out. Definitely recommended, though be warned that it's a tough read!...more
Being a longtime diehard fan of the Mary Russell series, I was pretty intrigued by the promise of a short story from Holmes' point of view, taking plaBeing a longtime diehard fan of the Mary Russell series, I was pretty intrigued by the promise of a short story from Holmes' point of view, taking place during the timeline of the first book. It was worth $.99 for me. And I'm glad I spent it - it was an entertaining read, and something nice and comfort-read-esque to wash the strange taste of "The Vespertine" out of my mouth for me.
Beyond that, though, I can't say I absolutely loved it. It fell into that awkward place that most "extra" series stories like this do for me - although I enjoyed a little more insight into Holmes, and a few new details about both his life and Russell's, the story definitely didn't hold a candle to the original. I also found the uneven narration (randomly switching from first to third POV) sort of jarring, although I can understand why King did it.
On the whole - recommended for lovers of Russell and Holmes in times past, but not necessarily a "must-read" on its own merits. Although I will say that the excerpt of "Pirate King" at the end has got me excited for that book's release!...more
Overall Review: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana's famous quote was always in the forefront of my minOverall Review: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana's famous quote was always in the forefront of my mind as I read Angie Smibert's compelling, fast-paced dystopian novel, Memento Nora. Set in a futuristic world where the citizens have chosen not to fight frequent terrorist attacks, but simply to forget them in the interest of continuing to live a "glossy," fear-free life, Memento Nora raises a lot of questions about the importance of holding on to even our painful memories. I wasn't sure what to expect going into Memento Nora, especially since dystopian thrillers are a dime-a-dozen right now. What I got was much better than I could have anticipated! Memento Nora has great pacing, well-developed characters, an intriguing plotline, and a chilling ending that makes me glad that Smibert is working on a sequel. In a genre that is full of the same old conventions, Memento Nora feels refreshingly original. Highly recommended! Overall Review is 4 out of 5 stars.
PROFANITY: Moderate, a few strong
SEXUAL CONTENT: Mild
MATURE THEMES: Moderate
RECOMMENDED AGE GROUP: 16+
There is moderate profanity (high school slang and "Biblical" epithets) throughout the book, and a few strong instances (no f-words) throughout the book as well. There is moderate violence, mostly consisting of explosions, bullying, and implied domestic violence. Nothing graphic or gratuitous. There is mild sexual content—a boy and a girl kiss briefly; there is a briefly mentioned homosexual relationship, and we know from another girl's thoughts that she is lesbian as well (no detail is ever given, but she does mention that one woman is "not her type" and has a crush on a "curvy" woman). Mature themes are moderate throughout the book and consist of greed and corruption, domestic violence, dystopian societies, and the importance of learning from the past.
Momento Nora is recommended for ages 16+.
This review was written by Cindy B. A Squeaky Clean Reads Book Reviewer This book was sent to Squeaky Clean Reads by Marshall Cavendish for a review...more