This book was a very enjoyable re-read -- between the magic, the cooking, and the brave woman rescuing herself from a bad situation and starting over,This book was a very enjoyable re-read -- between the magic, the cooking, and the brave woman rescuing herself from a bad situation and starting over, it was exactly what I was in the mood for....more
Charlie Nolan is caught in the middle. His best friend, Nate, wants to use school discretionary funds to send the Robotics Club to a competition, butCharlie Nolan is caught in the middle. His best friend, Nate, wants to use school discretionary funds to send the Robotics Club to a competition, but his ex-girlfriend, Holly, wants those funds to buy new cheerleading uniforms. When Nate decides to run for student council president to get control of the funds, Holly starts campaigning for Charlie instead. Shenanigans ensue.
This book is delightful. It’s funny, it’s full of wacky antics and shenanigans, and it navigates the treacherous waters of high school cliques without ever resorting to the use of clichés. Even though you could boil the plot down to “jocks vs nerds” (Charlie is the captain of the basketball team), none of the characters or plot points are hackneyed or clichéd; all of the characters feel like real, specific, and unique individuals.
I also really appreciated the treatment of the female characters in this book. Most of the characters are male, but there are a few women – notably cheerleader Holly and Joanna, the lone girl in the Robotics Club. Despite being on opposite “teams,” as it were, neither girl is snide or rude to each other. They aren’t friends, but they are friendly and polite whenever they interact. Holly in particular could easily have been the worst kind of female stereotype, but she wasn’t, which I was glad to see. ...more
Set in a dystopian future version of Chicago, Divergent takes place in a world where everyone is divided into five factions based on their main personSet in a dystopian future version of Chicago, Divergent takes place in a world where everyone is divided into five factions based on their main personality trait: Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Erudite (the intelligent), Amity (the kind), and Candor (the honest). When you turn sixteen, you take an “aptitude test” (a virtual reality simulation) that tells you what your strongest trait is, and then you pick the faction you want to join. Tris, the main character, takes her test only to find out that she is Divergent – that is, the test does not work on her the way it was designed to. She is aware that the test isn’t real and is able to manipulate the simulation the way lucid dreamers can manipulate their dreams. Without the guidance of the test, which faction will she choose – Abnegation, the faction of her family? Or Dauntless, the faction she secretly longs to join? Will she be able to live with her choice? And will she be able to hide the fact that she is Divergent, which is a dangerous thing to be?
I really enjoyed this book. It’s a fun, action-packed thrill ride of a story that catches you up in the action and sweeps you along relentlessly to the end. I also was very relieved to find that there wasn’t a love triangle! There was a romance subplot, but no love triangle, thank goodness! I am sick and tired of YA love triangles. Also, despite all the action and political intrigue, the main focus of this novel was internal – this book is Tris’s story, it’s her coming-of-age, it’s the narrative of how she learned to truly be herself and how she grew into her own person.
This book suffers from some weaknesses that are fairly common to the YA genre – a very simple, straightforward prose style, occasionally clunky dialogue, and first-person narration (which I personally don’t mind, but many people I know can’t stand). YMMV, though.
The main caution I have for Divergent is the violence. This book is filled with fight scenes, some quite tame, others unexpected and intense (at one point, one character (view spoiler)[sneaks up on another character while he’s asleep and stabs him in the eye with a butter knife, for instance) (hide spoiler)]. However, if you were able to handle the violence in the Hunger Games, you should be able to handle the violence in Divergent. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I really enjoyed this book a lot. In a world of magic and magicians, Abby is an ord -- ordinary. She can't use magic, and magic can't affect her, whicI really enjoyed this book a lot. In a world of magic and magicians, Abby is an ord -- ordinary. She can't use magic, and magic can't affect her, which makes her a social outcast. Her status as an Ord is clearly a metaphor for disability, in that the entire world is set up for people who can use magic and the fact that she can't use it means she needs accomdations -- and she needs to learn how to live (and thrive) in a world that thinks she is lesser than they are. Most families react with shame if one of their children is revealed to be an Ord. Abby is lucky; her family loves and supports her. Even so, she has many challenges to face because she's an Ord. She has to rely on her own wits and strength -- and the support of her family -- to make it. A great lesson wrapped up in a great story, not didactic or preachy at all. Recommended!...more
I really enjoyed this novella! It was short and some of the characters -- especially Amelia, the heroine's sister -- were pretty one-dimensional and nI really enjoyed this novella! It was short and some of the characters -- especially Amelia, the heroine's sister -- were pretty one-dimensional and not well-developed, but that tends to happen with novellas. I really liked both Phillipa and Blair; they were both kind, decent human beings in a tough situation who try very hard to do the honorable thing. I really, especially enjoyed how the author resolved the scene where Amelia (view spoiler)[tried to break them up by arranging for Phillipa to walk in on her (Amelia) attempting to seduce Blair, making it look they they were having a torrid affair. Phillipa simply chose to trust Blair. She believed him when he said it wasn't what it looked like. She took what she knew of him and of her sister, and she trusted him. What a novel approach! Delightful! (hide spoiler)].
This novella was quite charming, and I recommend it! This was the first book by Anna Campbell I've read, and I will certainly look for more by that author.["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was my first Kate Noble book, but it won't be my last. I really enjoyed this! I really liked both Bridget and Oliver (although it took a couple oThis was my first Kate Noble book, but it won't be my last. I really enjoyed this! I really liked both Bridget and Oliver (although it took a couple of chapters for me to warm up to Bridget, I absolutely loved her by the end of the book); watching Oliver slowly and gently draw Bridget out of her shell and seeing Bridget really come into her own was just delightful. The lyrical, gentle tone of the book was lovely, as was the focus on music and artistic achievement for its own sake. I have a feeling this is going to be a book I reread constantly!...more
Well, that was just fun. This was a delightfully weird book, full of antics and shenanigans, but with some pretty sophisticated commentary on colonialWell, that was just fun. This was a delightfully weird book, full of antics and shenanigans, but with some pretty sophisticated commentary on colonialism and the history of the USA's treatment of Native Americans slipped in there, too. It's told in the first person from the point of view of Gratuity Tucci (her friends call her Tip) through the medium of a school essay on the theme of (as the title says) "the true meaning of Smekday" (which used to be called Christmas before the Boov renamed it in honor of the anniversary of their invasion of Earth).
Tip is an amazing character; she may be only eleven years old, but she is smart, determined, and resourceful, and I really enjoyed getting to know her. She takes charge of the narrative right from the beginning and doesn't let go, bringing the reader along on her road trip across the country to find her mother. We travel from Pennsylvania to Florida to New Mexico to Arizona with Tip and her cat Pig, meeting all kinds of interesting people and aliens along the way. Early on in the story, Tip meets and starts traveling with a Boov who goes by the name of J.Lo. J.Lo is funny and sweet, a completely irrepressible character. In fact, he occasionally takes over the story -- literally! -- in short segments of illustrated pages, graphic novel style.
In short, this book was a delight and you should go read it!...more
Delightful Regency fun! The hero and heroine were trademark Quick characters -- she was strong-willed, intelligent, and unconventional; he was strong,Delightful Regency fun! The hero and heroine were trademark Quick characters -- she was strong-willed, intelligent, and unconventional; he was strong, wealthy, brooding, and notorious. He helped her with her madcap quest, which helped him feel alive again. They were both older characters (she was 30, he was almost 40) who had both already experienced life, which I appreciated.
Additionally, the heroine was secretly an author of "horrid" novels, which led to some really fun meta commentary on the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel's blend of noir-ish detective story and fairy tales. It was a fun read! From all the reviews talking about how the serI thoroughly enjoyed this novel's blend of noir-ish detective story and fairy tales. It was a fun read! From all the reviews talking about how the serial format hurt the story, I was kind of expecting it to be disjointed, episodic, and confusing. I didn't find it so at all. There was a bit of repetition, as the author introduced the characters and some of the details of the worldbuilding over again in the various episodes, but the narrative hung together really well as a whole -- as a story about narrative should. I liked the way Harry and Sloan took down the bad guy at the end; it reminded me a little bit of (view spoiler)[Terry Pratchett's Hogfather -- blood on the snow (hide spoiler)]. There were some loose ends -- whatever happened with the plot about Harry's brother's story activating? -- but on the whole I really enjoyed this book and thought it had a satisfying conclusion....more
This book was just delightful! It funny, moving, and genuinely touching by turns. I adored the main characters, especially Abby and Aunt Bea. Anne GraThis book was just delightful! It funny, moving, and genuinely touching by turns. I adored the main characters, especially Abby and Aunt Bea. Anne Gracie has the ability to create really compelling female friendships in her books; I really enjoy seeing such an abundance of female characters in a romance novel with such a real emotional connection to each other! I can't wait for each sister's book in this series (especially Daisy's -- I don't think I've ever read a historical romance set in this era featuring a working class heroine, so I'm really looking forward to her story). And Aunt Bea was such a hoot! Lovely, extremely enjoyable book....more
This book started out so well, only to take a sharp downward turn in the last third or so. The first half to two-thirds was a fun, contemporary romancThis book started out so well, only to take a sharp downward turn in the last third or so. The first half to two-thirds was a fun, contemporary romance with dragons! I loved the urban fantasy blend of the real world, with its bureaucracy and crappy bosses, and the mythological world of dragons! The book was funny and light, which was just what I wanted.
The heroine, Myrna, was smart and extremely competent at her job, which was fun to read. I wasn't crazy about the hero, the brooding, silent, mysterious Trian, and I didn't really get what Myrna saw in him, but I was willing to believe the book would eventually show me.
Unfortunately, the last third of the book was a train wreck. Myrna, who had been so smart and insightful about people up until now, suddenly became too stupid to live. (view spoiler)[The villain was dropping huge, anvil-like hints about his villainy, and Myrna just ignored it! I simply could not believe that she didn't realize he was the bad guy! It did not mesh with her character as portrayed up until then, and I simply didn't buy it. Also, the MacGuffin detector was literally flashing in her hands to notify her that one of the dragon-killing bombs was nearby, and she just shrugged and said, "That's weird," and IGNORED IT. WTF? (hide spoiler)]
Her worst sin as a too-stupid-to-live heroine, though, came at the end, during her climactic confrontation with (view spoiler)[her old boss. He has the deadly, dragon-killing bomb in a backpack in his office, she sees it, and then -- does she yell for Trian, who is right outside? No! She grabs the delicate, deadly bomb and runs for it! Of course, the bad guy tries to grab it back and it breaks in the kerfuffle! It was pretty clearly established that she isn't a fighter, and Trian is, so why wouldn't she ask him to subdue her evil boss first?. Of course the bomb's going to go off if you play tug of war with it! (hide spoiler)]
Also, Trian was a jerk from beginning to end imo, and the book never redeemed him. Myrna and Trian were together a few years ago, when Trian stole a highly confidential work file from Myrna and skedaddled without even saying goodbye. Quite a way to dump someone, huh? Myrna was demoted (which is why she was working for her incompetent boss) as a result. He somehow does not realize that his theft would have negative consequences for her at work until she spells it out for him! And his big excuse, the reason why he took the file? (view spoiler)[His boss asked him to! That's it! THAT IS NOT A GOOD ENOUGH REASON TO RUIN THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE'S CAREER AND BREAK HER HEART IN ONE FELL SWOOP! WTF, Trian? The file had an incriminating photo of him switching between his human form and his dragon form, and his boss wants to keep the lid on his shapeshifting abilities a little while longer. Trian's not even afraid that he might be kidnapped and experimented upon or killed! (Both of which would have been acceptable reasons to steal the file, even though I still would have thought he was a dumbass for not simply asking Myrna for the photo.) But no. His boss wanted him to. I can't even. (hide spoiler)]
CONS 1. Style looses its humor in the last third of the book, becoming SUPER SERIOUS all the time (and, I'm sorry, I just can't really take a dragon romance too seriously) 2. An extremely obvious villain 3. The heroine suddenly becomes too stupid to live in the last third of the book 4. The hero is a jerk who never redeemed himself
It was frustrating because this book had so much promise and potential, but in the end, I just can't recommend it. TWO THUMBS DOWN.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more