Enh. This is pretty much where Sweet Valley and I broke up, so I don't have any nostalgia glasses to don while re-reading this.
If you like your SVH wiEnh. This is pretty much where Sweet Valley and I broke up, so I don't have any nostalgia glasses to don while re-reading this.
If you like your SVH without Elizabeth, this is definitely one to keep in mind as she only appears very, very briefly. Otherwise, Lila and Jessica go to NYC and romance blossoms.
Remember Bo, Lila's boyfriend from DC? Yeah, I think that's a bit of a trick question for a lot of people, actually. Anyway, he's in this and there's a case of mistaken identity (the employees at the hotel Lila's staying in think she's Princess Charlotte of Le-whocares and this means Li and Jess get an upgrade while the princess and her bodyguards are a little confused.) and Jessica falls in love with the newest popstar who probably hasn't been mentioned before or since.
It was a quick read and it wasn't bad, it just didn't quite have the zing you'd expect from a Jessica and Lila adventure. And that's even with the kidnapping and the girls saving their bumbling boyfriends, though that last bit did help.
This is also the last book before the series started using the Daniel twins on the covers and that's teased at the end of the book. /trivia...more
Third star is awarded for Runaway Christmas, as it actually deserves four and a half stars on its own. Sadly, like many short story collections, this Third star is awarded for Runaway Christmas, as it actually deserves four and a half stars on its own. Sadly, like many short story collections, this one is really hit or miss.
Making Spirits Bright is, I imagine, the big sell for people based on the author (Fern Michaels) alone. I haven't read much of her other work and if this were my first experience with it, it would also be my last. It's not that the writing is bad, it's that the whole story is just about as realistic as the times I would pretend to run an orphanage for my My Little Ponies as a kid. Only my excuse was that I was seven and this was from the pre-historic times of Before The Internet. Even with the 'out' that something is wrong with the orphanage in question, there's too much suspension of disbelief needed to make the story work. I lost track of the times I rolled my eyes or just told the book, "No. Are you stupid? No."
Poor book. Since we began with this story and it's probably meant as the draw, the whole rating took a big hit.
Runaway Christmas (Elizabeth Bass) was the highlight of the book for me. It's not exactly a traditional love story, whatever that might mean, because the romance takes a backseat to the relationship between an aunt and her niece. I love the way grief is dealt with and how it extends farther than most people are willing to admit. Which sounds depressing, but really wasn't. Thumbs up for sure.
Home For Christmas (Rosalind Noonan) is another good one. I liked the build up of the relationship and didn't even mind the standard misunderstanding. It's the kind of story where you want to slip into the town and learn everyone's stories and that's always a good thing.
Christmas on Cape Cod (Nan Rossiter) finishes the book and it's my second least favorite of the bunch. I felt like I was dropped into the middle of a story and never managed to catch up. Maybe if I were more familiar with the characters or the story, I would have felt the storyline flowed better, but as it was it felt choppy. Which is a shame since I think I would have liked the characters if I'd ever gotten to really know them. ...more
Between Shades of Gray is one of those books that manages to break your heart and teach you something all at the same time. It shines a light on a pieBetween Shades of Gray is one of those books that manages to break your heart and teach you something all at the same time. It shines a light on a piece of history that is mind numbingly awful and yet so seldom talked about that I'm not entirely sure I'd really heard of it before picking up the book. That alone makes the book worth reading....more
**spoiler alert** First things first: French Pastry Murder isn't a bad book, and if you haven't read the other Lucy Stone books, that's okay because t**spoiler alert** First things first: French Pastry Murder isn't a bad book, and if you haven't read the other Lucy Stone books, that's okay because this doesn't require much (if any) knowledge of the previous books. Lucy, her husband, and her friends win a trip to Paris and naturally murder ensues.
The book reads quickly and some of the little slices of Paris are nice, as are some of the family moments between Lucy, Bill, and Elizabeth. I also liked the realization for Lucy's group that the freedoms Americans take for granted are not extended into other countries simply because they happen to be American while in, say, Paris.
Nope, the stars start dropping because things just felt off throughout the book. Throw in a heaping pile of possible terrorism and all the rants that's bound to dredge up in Americans and we're in free fall, really. There aren't enough sights to be 'seen' to distract from the weirdness of the murder (I'm fairly certain that if my roommate, even if I hated her, had been tortured for reasons unknown, my parents wouldn't have just sent me back to my apartment alone. Nope, nuh uh.)
There's a bit of a love triangle with Elizabeth which is a bit jarring since we last saw her being Truly In Love and now, not so much. Also, my final star fell off when we found out that Sylvie's death was indirectly caused by Elizabeth picking up a shiny she found while cleaning. Elizabeth hears this and there isn't enough a moment of the traditional bout of guilt (even though it's not her fault someone is insane enough to torture/kill over this shiny bit) because she's too busy being fought over by two men.
Right, sure, yes.
Meh. You could do worse, but you could also do far better....more
**spoiler alert** Grace follows young Grace Thomas to Paris one summer. Her aunt is on bed-rest and apparently the summer is the busy season at their**spoiler alert** Grace follows young Grace Thomas to Paris one summer. Her aunt is on bed-rest and apparently the summer is the busy season at their bakery, so Grace's mother and Grace both fly to France to help out around the house and the bakery.
Left behind are Grace's best friends Maddy and Ella, who promise to wait for Grace's return in August to start their summer business. Much to Grace's disappointment, they don't wind up waiting and instead start a dog walking service.
In France, Grace finds that the language barrier is harder to cross than she realized, as her cousin doesn't speak much English and her adult family members are busy taking care of the new baby and the bakery.
The only good thing, aside from the city itself, is a stray dog Grace's cousin has found. Grace earns the dog's trust and names her Bonbon. (She's on the cover of the book.) Bonbon will steal the show if you are an animal lover at ALL.
I'm not the target age for this and haven't been for awhile, but I do wonder how many kids will catch on that it's pretty ridiculous for adults to just assume that two children who don't speak the same language (at all) will magically be able to keep each other company for five weeks without a translator. It takes a bit of work to even get them to the point where they can ask, "how do you say...?" so how the adults thought this would work when left to their own devices is madness.
I am curious as to where Book 2 will go, and like I said before, Bonbon is a scene stealer. ...more
Grace is back home with her new dog, Bonbon, and the adjustment is difficult for both of them. Bonbon has lived on the streets for at least a few montGrace is back home with her new dog, Bonbon, and the adjustment is difficult for both of them. Bonbon has lived on the streets for at least a few months, probably longer, and isn't adjusting as well to needing to go outside to do her business and Grace is having to deal with that as well as the weird shift in her friendship dynamic.
I was so hoping we'd make it one GOTY series without the friend fight. Just one. But no.
Maddy and Ella are away when Grace returns and that just gives Grace extra time to feel left out so that when they do get back (the next day), she's just that much more hyped up to present her Brilliant Idea. Neither of her friends are immediately thrilled with the idea but eventually they come around in varying degrees.
Unfortunately, Grace's intense need to plan everything clashes horribly with Maddy's preference to go where the mood takes her and things explode, leaving the business in the lurch.
On the plus side, at least the dog drama doesn't hold back on the realities of having a new responsibility for a pet. So often books for kids kind of gloss over that and kids don't realize how much time a new pet takes and then are horribly surprised when things don't work out the way they do in fiction.
But that combined with the friendship drama? It's a little much to read about page after page. I think this is one of those books that would have fared well with illustrations to break up the stress induced freakouts on page.
Grace Stirs It Up is not a bad book and it's entirely possible that when the third book comes out in what, May, that reading all three together will improve the rating for book 2. As it stands, the most interesting elements are brushed aside (Ella's summer of worry for one) for now. ...more
My Milk To of is a really quick read but an adorable one all the same. Lardee and Ickle are charmers and I'm hopeful we'll get another book of their fMy Milk To of is a really quick read but an adorable one all the same. Lardee and Ickle are charmers and I'm hopeful we'll get another book of their further adventures....more
Otherwise, Flesh and Blood inches us back to the Scarpetta novels not requiring alcohol and a short memory iFreakin' cliffhanger!
That's your warning.
Otherwise, Flesh and Blood inches us back to the Scarpetta novels not requiring alcohol and a short memory in order to get through them. Yay! I'm not entirely sure I would get on board with anyone saying current Kay isn't cold (I think I found her less so earlier in the series but I'm not positive this isn't a case of rose colored glasses) but whatever floats your boat, guys.
The book starts off more like the cookbook we got eons ago and then kind of throws us into a series of murders that don't seem connected but most definitely are.
I do wonder how many pages we'd lose if anyone around Kay would actually communicate with her and not start a conversation in the middle and wait for chapters to circle around to the beginning.
Marino is on the road to recovery from his previous character assassination (yay!) but Lucy is still... whatever Lucy is. I continue to find Benton to be as dull as dishwater but that's a step up from wanting to throttle him as I have in previous books, so that's a thing. Also, I do fear for him in the cliffhanger and that's also a positive. (Me not wishing him dead, I mean. Not that he's in danger.)
I called the bad guy (well, one of them) but then spent the rest of the book trying desperately to remember anything about them aside from the obvious. I'm not so sure I should be re-reading Scarpetta books from before the shark jump, honestly, especially since it's taken so long to get back to a place where I enjoy more than I don't. ...more
It took me a little bit to get into the book because I could not keep up with which baker was which during the prologue. However, once we settled intoIt took me a little bit to get into the book because I could not keep up with which baker was which during the prologue. However, once we settled into the book proper, I really liked the first and the last stories.
The middle, however, was never ending. And, as you might expect, not in a good way. I liked Abby from the prologue and I thought she sounded interesting, but you'd never know it from her short story. The most life to be found in it was when the cat was 'on screen'. The sentences were weirdly stilted and the story just moved at a snail's pace for me. It didn't help that I never actually warmed to Lander as he seemed to be there to fix Abby... enh.
In comparison, Lily's story zipped by and hers was spread out over a much longer period of time. Also, technically it was labeled as her story, but it was really more of Peter's story with a little Lily on the side.
Clara and Will probably had the best chemistry of the bunch, though it's probably good the story didn't last much longer than it did. Fictional kitchens were certainly harmed in the making of this story. :p...more