This was a pleasant, easy read. Told in alternating points of view and, flipping between past and present, it's the story of Miri, a WASP during WWIIThis was a pleasant, easy read. Told in alternating points of view and, flipping between past and present, it's the story of Miri, a WASP during WWII , and Elyse, a teenager in modern-day Pittsburgh.
It starts with Miri, now known as Mary, as a senior citizen in modern-day Pittsburgh who runs a writer's group at the local library. She meets Elyse, a high-school student, and hires her to help her write her memoirs. The story of Miri's childhood, her relationship with her sister Sarah and her niece Rita, and her time training to become a Women's Air Service pilot, is interwoven with Elyse's story of being a teen with boy problems, friend problems, and family issues.
My favorite genre is WWII-era historical fiction, so I thoroughly enjoyed the chapters that dealt with Miri learning to become a pilot. The chapters focused on Elyse seemed a bit YA for my taste. Overall, however, it was a good story, and I cared about the characters and their relationships.
A little too neatly wrapped up at the end, and I figured out the "twist" about half-way through, but still a nice read. ...more
I enjoy reading "behind-the-scenes" books that give you the insider view of a particular industry or career. Waiter Rant and Heads in Beds are two thaI enjoy reading "behind-the-scenes" books that give you the insider view of a particular industry or career. Waiter Rant and Heads in Beds are two that immediately come to mind; the back cover of this book even compares itself to Waiter Rant. However, I found this book to be more a recounting of the author's quest to get laid, than a true behind-the-scenes look at being a flight attendant for Virgin America.
I expected more on-the-job stories, but the ratio of the author's partying sexploits to actual in-flight happenings was about 4-to-1. This book was WAY more raunchier than I expected; I'm no prude, but honestly, am I supposed to believe that most flight attendants spend their off-hours drinking, partying, running around naked, and having sex with anything that moves? This book was less about being a flight attendant, and more about crazy parties and sex.
If Cosmopolitan is your favorite magazine, you'll probably love this book. Otherwise, I suggest giving this one a pass....more
I loved Water for Elephants, and when I found out that Sara Gruen's latest book was set during my favorite historical time period, World War II, I couI loved Water for Elephants, and when I found out that Sara Gruen's latest book was set during my favorite historical time period, World War II, I couldn't wait to read it. I was not disappointed!
Maddie, her husband Ellis, and their friend Hank are spoiled society young adults in 1940s Philadelphia. Living off their family money, their lives are filled with parties, drinking, more parties, and more drinking. Scandal abounds in both families, and Ellis' father was outed as a fraud after he claimed he had pictures of the Loch Ness Monster, only to have his hoax discovered and his honor destroyed. After one particularly crazy New Year's Eve party, where their behavior leads to them being thrown out of Ellis' parents' home, Maddie, Ellis, and Hank decide to make the crossing to Scotland to find the Loch Ness Monster, and avenge Ellis' father's honor, in hopes of being welcomed back into the family. They end up in a small village in Scotland, staying at a small inn, where they plan to start their search for the monster.
All three of these characters are entirely unlikeable. Rude, spoiled, and clueless about what's going on in the world around them. It was difficult to get into the book because I hated the three of them so much. However, as Maddie comes to realize that her marriage is not what it seems, and she opens her eyes to the world around her, I started to really root for her. She becomes friends with the girls who work at the inn, and slowly falls in love with the acting proprietor. At the same time her husband's behavior becomes more and more unpredictable and boorish.
After the first 100 pages or so, I flew through this book. The plot was intriguing, and moved quickly, with bits of magic and superstition lightly woven in to the story. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. Perhaps the ending was wrapped up too tidily, but it was still satisfying.
I read this book not having read the first two books in this series. So I expected I might be a little bit lost in the beginning, and I was OK with thI read this book not having read the first two books in this series. So I expected I might be a little bit lost in the beginning, and I was OK with that. However, that was definitely not the case, since the first 50(!) pages were pretty much a rehash of everything that took place in the previous books...to the point that it got tedious and I was ready for the story to start.
Ellie is a twice-widowed woman raising her two adopted boys while working as an artist in New York during the early 1940s. When her oldest son disappears from school, and it turns out he's fled to Hollywood to become an actor, Ellie follows him west, to bring him back. However, she ends up staying in Hollywood, bringing her family with her.
I found Ellie to be a pretty unlikeable woman. Harsh, unfriendly, cold, and always thinking she was better than everyone else. She treated Stan, her love interest in Hollywood, pretty horribly. I felt absolutely no connection to her and could really care less what happened to her.
This book was filled with constant descriptions of things that happened in the previous books. As if the author felt the reader couldn't possibly remember something that we had already been told 75 pages previously. How many times did we need to be told how Ellie came to adopt Tom? Or how Ellie was so wonderful because she founded a woman's homeless shelter in New York?
For a book that takes place during World War II, there was very little mention of the war! Except for a handful of pages where Ellie's new half-Japanese friend Suri talks about the horrors of the internment camps, and a bizarre side trip to Manzanar, all of which seemed incredibly contrived, as if the author felt she had to somehow shoehorn in something about the Japanese internment camps to prove her book was set during wartime.
Overall, I cannot recommend this book, and I don't think I'm going to go back and read the first two books in the trilogy. If you've already read the first two, you may want to give this a try, just to finish the arc. Otherwise, give this one a pass....more
Having read all of Sarah Jio's novels, I was super excited to win this through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. But as I was reading this novHaving read all of Sarah Jio's novels, I was super excited to win this through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. But as I was reading this novel, I couldn't help but think that with this, her fifth novel, Ms. Jio is following a formula for her novels:
1. Something bad/emotional happens to woman in modern day. 2. Something bad/emotional also happened to woman in past. 3. Modern day woman finds unexpected love while also stumbling upon the "mystery" of the woman in the past. 4. Coincidences between modern day and the past abound. 5. Mystery solved. 6. Happy ending.
Don't get me wrong, the story was engrossing as it traveled back and forth from the past to modern day, and it kept me reading, to find out what was going to happen. The setting, a houseboat community on Seattle's Lake Union, was interesting.
But at times the story was just too predictable, and some of the characters actions were unrealistic. Modern-day Ada is a stereotypical Type A working mom that had a REALLY BAD THING happen to her. Past-time Penny was a weak, naive girl who married a man 20 years her senior who didn't treat her right. Something REALLY BAD happened to Penny in the past. Ada is uncovering clues to find out what happened to Penny, as she also is getting over her own REALLY BAD THING.
If you've liked Ms. Jio's other novels, you'll like this one too. It's a quick, easy read. But don't expect anything new or different. Ms. Jio is a talented writer - I hope that with her next novel, she can break free of this formula and write a story with more depth to it....more
In Jamie Ford's second novel, Songs of Willow Frost, he proves that he's not a one-hit wonder. This book was just as readable as his first, Hotel on tIn Jamie Ford's second novel, Songs of Willow Frost, he proves that he's not a one-hit wonder. This book was just as readable as his first, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter Sweet.
Beginning in early '30s Seattle, we enter the world of William and Charlotte, two orphans at the Sacred Heart orphanage. William, a Chinese boy, longs to find his mother. Charlotte, a blind girl, lives in fear of her father returning for her. After a chance sighting at the cinema, William is convinced his mother is Willow Frost, a well-known Chinese actress, and along with Charlotte, William sets off to find her.
This adventure, and its aftermath, is the first third of the novel. We are soon taken back in time 10 years to find out who Willow Song is, and how she got to where she is when William discovers her. The last third of the novel returns us to William's timeline for a satisfactory resolution to the story.
I found the parts of the novel about William and Charlotte to move much faster than the parts about Willow Frost (aka Liu Song). While it was interesting to read about how the Chinese were treated in 1920s Seattle, the story sometimes bogged down in the details.
Overall, however, this was an engrossing read. If you liked Lisa See's Shanghai Girls, you'll like this book too. And of course, if you enjoyed Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you'll want to read this book. Recommended!...more