Let me start by saying that Francine Prose's Goldengrove is a beautifully written, thoughtful novel. It's part bildungsroman, part grief story, and alLet me start by saying that Francine Prose's Goldengrove is a beautifully written, thoughtful novel. It's part bildungsroman, part grief story, and all told by thirteen year-old Nico whose voice is utterly believable. Prose does a great job of conveying the grief that consumes Nico and her parents.
However, for all of the dark and touching moments, and the perceptive observations from Nico, I didn't find myself moved enough to particularly care for this book. The course of events that follow the death of Nico's sister, Margaret, are a lot more sedate than I thought they would, or should, be. Whenever a tense moment would arise, I found myself greatly anticipating some explosive or revealing outcome only for the plot to fall short. I think the blurb led me to expect big blow-ups and heroine that goes of the deep-end slutting around. Maybe that'll teach me not to build a book from a new author up too much in my mind...
Something Borrowed is the story of Rachel, whose best friend since childhood, Darcy, is getting married. The trouble starts when Rachel sleeps with thSomething Borrowed is the story of Rachel, whose best friend since childhood, Darcy, is getting married. The trouble starts when Rachel sleeps with the groom-to-be after her drunken birthday party. On the surface, Something Borrowed is set up to be yet another romp through Manhattan and its shallow lifestyle, with characters who know they shouldn't be engaging in distasteful behavior but do because hey, that's what chick lit is all about. Lucky for the reader, that's not the case here. Something Borrowed is a moving tale of what happens when best friends are no longer "best." It's a situation that is all too common, but one that makes women uncomfortable. After all, boys may come and go, but girl friends are forever...aren't they? When deep female friendships go wrong, it can cause just as much sadness, guilt and recriminations as breaking up with a lover - and sometimes more. Giffin handles this emotional landscape well. While the burgeoning relationship between Rachel and Dex, Darcy's fiancé, does get its share of print, it's the tangled, messy and complicated relationship between Rachel and Darcy that gives this book heart and resonance.
Giffin manages to hit the perfect balance between humor and pathos. Unlike other tales told in first person, narrator Rachel tells us just enough so that we fully empathize with her without turning the book into a showcase of neuroses. And Rachel has some easy to identify with problems; she's about to turn thirty, trapped in a job that pays too well to quit, and she doesn't even have a crush object, much less a boyfriend. Meanwhile, the always more popular and always more gorgeous Darcy won't turn thirty for a few more months, has a fabulous job as a PR exec, and is engaged to Dex, a friend of Rachel's from law school.
Yet this isn't a tale of jealousy. Rachel genuinely cares for Darcy. They've been friends since grade school. And while being Darcy's friend has its disadvantages - such as never having the spotlight while she's around - being Darcy's friend also has its benefits - such as the reflected glory. However, as Rachel discovers over the course of the novel, sometimes a shared past isn't enough to justify a shared future. And while both Rachel and Darcy have physically moved on from high school, emotionally it appears that only one of them has fully graduated to adulthood. Yet like all habits, her friendship with Darcy is hard to break - even though staying friends means saying goodbye to the love and life she deserves....more
For those of you unfamiliar with it, this is the second novel in Patricia Briggs's latest series, but there's alThis series just keeps getting better!
For those of you unfamiliar with it, this is the second novel in Patricia Briggs's latest series, but there's also a prequel novella, "Alpha and Omega", that does a great deal to establish everything. It's set in the same world as her Mercy Thompson series and deals with a mated pair of werewolves who've recently met and married.
Briggs is great at creating believable fantasy plots . This installment is even more action-packed than the last one and builds nicely on the established story arc. The impending revelation of the existence of werewolves is causing a great deal of tension and Anna, Charles, and Charles's father Bran, the ultimate Alpha, are being bombarded with problems and don't know whom to trust. Vampires, which are prevalent in the companion Mercy series, are introduced for the first time in this series. Their involvement further complicates matters and makes it all but impossible to figure out what will happen next.
While this is an urban fantasy series, the real draw is not the action but the novel romance of the two main characters. Both Anna and Charles have come into this relationship with significant baggage. Briggs does a excellent job of developing the intimacy between these two. After a pretty non-existent courtship, they're both still learning about each other and how to deal with one another. The intense nature of their bond and feelings both aids and hampers them in their efforts to grow as a couple...
I have yet to meet a Sophie Kinsella novel that I don't like. Kinsella remains true to her lighthearted, hilarious style with Twenties Girl and I, forI have yet to meet a Sophie Kinsella novel that I don't like. Kinsella remains true to her lighthearted, hilarious style with Twenties Girl and I, for one, am grateful for it. Lara is comparable to the rest of Kinsella's heroines: sweet, idealistic, and a bit ditzy (but not so much that you end up hating her). Of course the plot is rather far-fetched, but that's what you should expect and want when picking up a Kinsella book. It just makes the story that much more enjoyable.
Lara and the ghost of her great-aunt, Sadie, make such a fun and complementary duo. When Lara bumbles around, Sadie serves to just throw even more hurdles in her path. Like in her other novels, Kinsella isn't just all about the laughs here. The importance of family, friendship, loyalty and honesty are all major focuses throughout the plot. And, of course, there's the romantic subplot involving a hero who's more sweet than sexy, lending to the overall pleasant feeling about the novel...
I liked that the focus of this story was on the sisters and their family dynamic. Otherwise, it was a pretty average chick lit novel. My only issue -I liked that the focus of this story was on the sisters and their family dynamic. Otherwise, it was a pretty average chick lit novel. My only issue - I didn't really see what attracted Ava to Russell. He wasn't a total ass or anything, but dude had baggage and I couldn't shake the slight gay vibe. Maybe I'm just too used to the Alpha-male type....more
Told in alternating POVs, Caprice Crane tackles an interesting subject in a humorous way. Unfortunately, all the humor in the world can't make up forTold in alternating POVs, Caprice Crane tackles an interesting subject in a humorous way. Unfortunately, all the humor in the world can't make up for Brett's selfishness. He's initially unwilling to work on their (relatively minor) issues and instead decides to dump his wife. After that, he goes on to be pretty hateful towards her when what she really deserves is some compassion and sympathy. While he goes on to make it up to Layla, I can't say that he was totally redeemed in my estimation. Still, Crane's trademark humor managed to rescue this novel for me somewhat. However, if you're looking for more likable characters, try her novels Stupid and Contagious and Forget About It....more
Elizabeth Berg writes like she is your girlfriend and she is telling you the story about someone she knows and cares greatly about.
As with all of herElizabeth Berg writes like she is your girlfriend and she is telling you the story about someone she knows and cares greatly about.
As with all of her books, they touch upon the real human side of life. Betta Nolan's husband dies and she is faced with the propect of living alone. She decides to drive until she finds a place where she would like to live and sell her house in Boston and move to the new property.
She does find this little town and decides to look for a place to stay. As she is looking for a place she finds a house that is being sold and has the real estate agent show it to her. She falls in love with this house, it is just like one that her deceased husband and Betta talked about. As she lives in this town, she befriends some of the local people. Her next door neighbor is a little boy. The two of them become fast friends.
Betta "finds" her old college room mates and invites one to her house where they rekindle their old friendship. The other girls from their "group" are excited that they "found" their new friend, they had been looking for her for a long time. Betta has a little reunion with her friends and restores her friendship with them.
This books is very pleasing and enjoyable, and the characters, and the setting is all well described as only Elizabeth Berg can do. I would recommend this book to anyone....more
Kimberly Frost has fashioned lovely treat of a series with her Southern Witch novels. I greatly enjoyed the previous novel, Would-Be Witch, and was exKimberly Frost has fashioned lovely treat of a series with her Southern Witch novels. I greatly enjoyed the previous novel, Would-Be Witch, and was excited to get my hands on Barely Bewitched. Barely Bewitched is only the second novel in Frost's new series but, if you're new to it, you'd be better off starting with the first novel. The events of this novel take place almost immediately after the end of book one.
The sassy, sweet, and funny Tammy Jo is such a relatable heroine - she's so down to earth that it makes her and the quirky world that Frost has created very to imagine. Her Texas charm and creative mind make for some exciting antics and lend a refreshing air to a the oft repetitive paranormal romance genre. The equally quirky and endearing secondary characters help, or hinder, Tammy along the way.
The plot is great too. Tammy's a somewhat reluctant and bumbling witch-in-training who finds herself unsure of whom to trust. As if that weren't enough, she's being bombarded with back-to-back problems, both supernatural and completely human in nature.
Being a paranormal romance, of course there are two sexy guys in the mix as well. Tammy is still finding herself drawn to the sexy and powerful forbidden fruit that is Bryn Lyons in this installment. As he proves to be an indispensable aid for Tammy, we get to see that there is more to the man...
This installment in Briggs's Mercy Thompson series is a bit of a departure from the style of the previous books. While there's still plenty of drama aThis installment in Briggs's Mercy Thompson series is a bit of a departure from the style of the previous books. While there's still plenty of drama and action, the story had a more romantic tone. It also happened to be Sam-centric which, I'll admit, I wasn't sure I would be into. Sure, I love Sam as a character, but I usually like stories to revolve around the hero or heroine. However, the way that Briggs handles the plot makes it just as intriguing as those past. Mercy's love for Sam and their close relationship makes it easy for the reader to be just as invested in his struggle with depression as they would if the tale was solely about Mercy.
Of course this doesn't mean that there's no Mercy-driven issues and her still new relationships with Adam and his pack make for some riveting stuff. I like that, now that the two of them have gotten together, there are still serious issues for them to contend with. Maybe even more so. Their bond is iffy and the tensions in the pack aren't helping matters any.
Throw in some fae intrigue and what we get from Ms. Briggs is, in my opinion, one of the best installments thus far. I love the personal feel that we get in this supernatural tale - it adds a more realistic feel to all of the otherworldly action....more
Before I say anything about Friday Night Bites, I'd be remiss if I didn't dispense some advice first: If you haven't read Some Girls Bite (see my reviBefore I say anything about Friday Night Bites, I'd be remiss if I didn't dispense some advice first: If you haven't read Some Girls Bite (see my review) yet, what are you waiting for? Seriously. Don't even think about picking this one up without having read book one. This isn't one of those series where the first book simply lays the groundwork and lacks action. You want to be able to completely appreciate the great story that Chloe Neill has put together in Friday Night Bites and, trust me, there's plenty to appreciate.
Sure this is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance novel - so there's all of the action, magic, and intrigue typical of the genre - but it's so much more than that. This series isn't just about a bad-ass vampiress and her beaus. It's a story about growth, change, betrayal, and loss. Merit's struggle to adapt to life as a vampire and all that entails continues realistically. While she's no longer railing against her Master, Ethan Sullivan, and the vampire world for her unjust turning, she's also still attempting to work through her feelings and find her place in the grand scheme.
As if that weren't enough, Merit finds pretty much every relationship of hers, no matter the nature, turned on it's head. The onslaught of changes left Merit unsure of almost everything that she held true, and me on the edge of my seat wondering when (or if) things would start looking up.
Despite her pile of issues, Merit remains a snarky, strong, and interesting character. All of the best friends and foes from the first book are back and even better this time around. The depth of character development and the complexity of the tale that Neill has woven in a mere two books is pretty amazing...
I think I'm falling in love with Molly Harper's Jane Madison series. I really enjoyed the previous installment, Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs, and thisI think I'm falling in love with Molly Harper's Jane Madison series. I really enjoyed the previous installment, Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs, and this one is just as good.
As far as paranormal romances go, it does get to a point where they all start to seem the same. What set's Harper and this series apart is the fact that the heroine is smart and has a great, witty sense of humor.
Jane and her friends' stories continue along nicely here. Her romance with Gabriel is pretty realistic. There's a lot of tension between them due to the nature of their relationship. As her sire, he can be domineering and that doesn't sit well with the independent Jane. She also becomes aware of some less-than-honest behavior on Gabriel's part, adding to their troubles. The impending nuptials of her best friend Jeb and her strained relationship with her family also add great fodder to the storyline...