John Hughes's Sixteen Candles has long been a favorite of mine. When I heard that Ernessa Carter's debut novel would be a take on it my initial reactiJohn Hughes's Sixteen Candles has long been a favorite of mine. When I heard that Ernessa Carter's debut novel would be a take on it my initial reaction was elation. Anything Sixteen Candles-related had to be good, right? Then, I started thinking about the few encounters that I've had with re-tellings, adaptations and spin-offs lately. That's when dread entered the picture and caused me to put of reading, for a little while, a novel that I had been itching to get. All of that's to say that Carter has restored my faith in the concept with 32 Candles. It really is one of the best books that I've read this year. I didn't simply enjoy it - I know that I'll return to it, just like how I often return to the film that served as inspiration.
Davie's story immediately drew me in and had me hanging on every word up until the end. Her story is never predictable, largely due to the way that Carter plays with the timeline. Certain crucial events are withheld early on - something that Davie foreshadows up until the reveal - and when it's time for all to come to a head, Carter shows while Davie tells.
None of this outstanding storytelling, however, would mean squat if Davie wasn't a lovable character. The abuse that she suffers early in life is what makes Davie sympathetic, but it's her profound strength that saves her from being pitiable. This isn't to say that she's the most morally upright character in the novel. Despite the fact that she's always worth rooting for, she does some questionable things. No, the most forthright, kind and forgiving character would be her love-interest James. The man isn't perfect but he is perfect for Davie. She knows instantly upon first meeting him that having his love would be the ultimate gift but, in the end, she has to work hard to deserve it. Her so-called "atonement list" (for those previously mentioned deplorable actions) takes a while for her to accomplish and, unfortunately leaving a less than desirable amount of time dedicated to her "Molly Ringwald ending". She is redeemed though and her final scene will definitely resonate with Sixteen Candles fans.
32 Candles is populated with similarly drawn secondary characters. Each one of them is flawed, complex and feels honestly drawn. Their behavior and motivations are shaped by their various circumstances and not simply tacked on to further the plot, though they do that admirably...
Never having read anything by author Marta Acosta, and this being her first foray under the pseudonym Grace Coopersmith, I had no idea what to expectNever having read anything by author Marta Acosta, and this being her first foray under the pseudonym Grace Coopersmith, I had no idea what to expect from Nancy's Theory of Style. Since humor is a common hallmark of chick lit novels it wasn't the abundance of it here that caught me by surprise. What did, however, was the brand of funny put forth by the novel.
Nancy is an utterly unique and delightfully refreshing character. Her behavior and speech is often ridiculous and, the majority of the time, she's fully aware of that fact. Her way of viewing the world may be flawed as her story begins, but it's so much fun to watch her take on life. The development of her new relationships with her niece/cousin Eugenia and her new assistant/love interest Derek add touching notes to this captivating story of a women in transition...
I'm constantly extolling the virtues of Kristan Higgins's novels. I love her intelligent and current sense of humor and the great heroines through whoI'm constantly extolling the virtues of Kristan Higgins's novels. I love her intelligent and current sense of humor and the great heroines through whom she expresses it. Her characters, main and secondary, are always unique and utterly charming. The heroes she creates are subtly sexy and usually possess some quirk that simultaneously repels and draws the beloved heroine. And the romances are gradual, comfortable and completely realistic. All I Ever Wanted adheres to this formula while managing to feel fresh and fun.
Callie's perpetual cuteness and friendliness serves as a great foil to Ian's personality. He's a shy and formal man with a good heart who initially comes across as grumpy, rude and cold. Callie's need to make everyone like her, combined with her attraction to Ian's dangerous good-looks, make for a engaging friendship-turned-courtship. Callie is so lovable and, although she's one of those super-friendly, happy people, she never came across as annoying. Her loneliness and issues with rejection make her relate-able. Likewise, Ian's seemingly cool attitude is just a mask donned by a guy who's been hurt and doesn't know how to connect with others. His bluntness and dry wit make for some great dialog between him and the compulsively polite Callie.
The addition of Callie's ongoing work and family drama are great subplots and connect well with the development of her relationship with Ian. The diverse, well-drawn and hilarious secondary characters do their part too and are what makes the novel truly standout among fellow contemporary romances...
Molly Harper's Jane Jameson paranormal romances are a favorite of mine due to their hallmark smart wit. She employs a great blend of physical and inteMolly Harper's Jane Jameson paranormal romances are a favorite of mine due to their hallmark smart wit. She employs a great blend of physical and intellectual humor that, along with an abundance of colorful characters, make for some of the most fun reading I've had. Her foray into realistic fiction is no exception. And One Last Thing... is a plausible account of a wronged woman's journey in emotional recovery, personal growth and rediscovering love that's both poignant and hilarious.
I love heroines like Lacey. Sure, she bemoaned her plight after finding out about her husband's affair, but she also did something about it. Not all of her actions are the wisest, but they usually lead to one juicy conflict or other. She's a smart woman that doesn't waste her potential, though she may occasionally need prodding from friends and family.
Set in a close-knit, Southern community, Harper's story is filled with plenty of the gossipy and traditional secondary characters that you would expect to find, as well as some wonderfully unique ones (i.e. Lacey's gay brother, Emmett, and ball-busting divorce lawyer, Samantha). Among the latter lies Monroe, an author and Lacey's new neighbor. His initial impression is of a rude, presumptive and blunt jerk. This, however, changes quickly as he and Lacey bond and develop a strong friendship like only two people in a somewhat isolated area can. The romance that subsequently grows is sweet and (almost) low-key due to the time spent on their friendly foundation. Of course, it's not always hearts and flowers. The two of them have strong personalities and - combined with Lacey's new found resolve to remain in control and not lose herself to a man again - a lot of the latter half of the novel's conflicts arise while watching them try to sort it all out.
As far as love-interests go, Monroe's okay. He fits the bill, is ultimately likable and suits Lacey. However, I wasn't enamored of him. I just didn't find him sexy enough or something, though that has more to do with my personal preferences than any real issue with the book...
I loved this one! Lucy is a great new sluething heroine to root for. Webber's novel was funny, charming and unique. I'm really looking forward to theI loved this one! Lucy is a great new sluething heroine to root for. Webber's novel was funny, charming and unique. I'm really looking forward to the follow-up, Deeply, Desperately, which is due out August 3, 2010....more
Just your average chick lit/romance here. The heroine is one of those fun, trouble-prone women typical of the genre. I would have like to have gottenJust your average chick lit/romance here. The heroine is one of those fun, trouble-prone women typical of the genre. I would have like to have gotten to know Ethan, the love-interest, better. I think that would have made the romance a bit more believable. Overall, it was an enjoyable story if not very memorable. There is a connected, previous novel called A Match Made on Madison that I wasn't aware of prior to reading the book. Some of AMMOM's characters carry over, but I don't think it's necessary to read it first....more
It's rare that I come across a novel that I can't find fault with. Benny & Shrimp happens to be one of those rare books.
Mazetti has a way of holdiIt's rare that I come across a novel that I can't find fault with. Benny & Shrimp happens to be one of those rare books.
Mazetti has a way of holding your attention despite the fact that nothing much happens. It's such a simple story, yet the romance between the main characters is anything but. Benny & Shrimp is not plot driven, it's character driven. Such stories require a great deal in the way of characterization and, with such lovable, quirky figures, Mazetti gives us just that.
The ways that both Benny and Shrimp describe their world and the events that occur between them are so honest. I quite enjoyed how the alternating points-of-view allowed for a complete understanding of both characters, their actions, and their developing relationship...
I'll admit it - the cover is what drew me to this book. Something about that red lipstick and the books; what more could a girl want? Fortunately forI'll admit it - the cover is what drew me to this book. Something about that red lipstick and the books; what more could a girl want? Fortunately for me, there is more to this novel than its cute cover.
Despite the fact that Dora obviously has family and friends who love her, she's utterly lonely when the novel starts - and it's all her fault. She sequesters herself up with piles of books for long stretches of time, unsure about what she wants out of life yet unwilling to examine the issue any further. So she settles for a sort of half-life of her own making...