while this series might include every possible mystery novel / crime procedural stereotype imaginable, the protag detective is what would happen if inwhile this series might include every possible mystery novel / crime procedural stereotype imaginable, the protag detective is what would happen if inspector lewis and DI hathaway were really merged into one remarkably good-looking borderline alcoholic, so i will now proceed to read...all of them....more
i should probably preface this with: i don't love science fiction.
mostly because i'm paranoid and sometimes worry that it's a subtle way of preparingi should probably preface this with: i don't love science fiction.
mostly because i'm paranoid and sometimes worry that it's a subtle way of preparing us for the future dystopia that will probably attempt to eradicate the human race as we know.
that's why the aliens in the book look like us, RIGHT??? because we're the ones who are mostly likely to erase ourselves from the earth.
but then i try to calm down and remind myself IT IS JUST A BOOK. because that's the saner thing to do.
honestly, my biggest problem with this book had little to do with science fiction (although, and admittedly i have a weak body of comparison, the "science" here felt of vague and flimsy...like JUST GO WITH IT, TEENS, JUST GO WITH IT! instead of the martian where you get the impression that the science is so detailed and accurate that you, too, could survive on mars.
my biggest problem, however, was the character of cassie and what i'll call "the wally lamb effect." several years back, wally lamb wrote this book called she's come undone which is one of the first adult encounters i had with a male author writing a first-person female narrator (i'm sure i had other instances of it, but it is one of the clearest memories i have as an "adult reader" with the concept). it reminded me of the scene in "as good as it gets" where jack nicholson's character describes writing females ("i think of a man and then i take away reason and accountability")...and here, yancey has a bit of the same trouble.
first off, i get that she's a teenaged girl, and probably very lonely, but i don't care how lonely you are, most women don't find themselves longingly commenting on their would-be killer's bottom quite so much (particularly after figuring out what the killer is). and while i appreciate the plight of the protagonist in regards of hoarding her post-alien-apocalyptic tampon supply, ultimately she just didn't feel authentically female to me. she spends a great deal of her narrative bemoaning the loss of her beloved crush ben parish (until she finds ben, of course) or ogling her captor-boyfriend's goodies, even though she suspects he's a silencer. it's very edward and bella and jacob...if jacob had no clue that bella existed and edward was a pure-consciousness alien inhabiting a hot teen male bod.
that sort of bummed me out. the narrative where ben talks was much more effective for me because he spent much less time bemoaning his teen angst (sure, he gets his own crush - BECAUSE FOILING - but he doesn't turn into a simpering and stupid lovelorn puppy who wants to kiss death...the army turns him into that, i suppose, to some degree, but that's more mind control than anything else). i worry for the next installment should evan return and cassie have to choose between the boy who doesn't know she exists and the boy who would stalk her to the end of the earth.
it's gale and peeta, if peeta were a trained sleeper agent for the entire series.
or the manchurian candidate set in ohio.
also, can we talk about how the alien army chooses to set up its main base in dayton? not my first choice for intergalactic takeovers.
i don't know. it's quick, it's enjoyable, it's science-fiction-y, but i worry about its depiction of women and their glossy hair and raging loins.
3.5 stars - will read the sequel with a little fear in my soul....more
i read these for one reason and one reason only: my unadulterated love of angela lansbury.
or, more specifically, my deep-rooted wish to morph into somi read these for one reason and one reason only: my unadulterated love of angela lansbury.
or, more specifically, my deep-rooted wish to morph into some sort of septuagenarian crime-solving novelist.
i feel similarly about miss marple, you see.
that said, the book series has never been - at least by my standards - particularly good. this one is a middling effort (a cursory/perfunctory knowledge of both spanish and classic cinema will help considerably if you're one of those "i must solve it before the detectives do" sorts), but there should be no major surprises here.
in fact, i would go so far as to say that there isn't really even at attempt at a red herring in this one. you know who is bad and who is misunderstood, and you're pretty sure how both those things will intertwine by the predictable conclusion.
i will say this one succeeded in getting the flavor of the series better - even including what i would call dramatically long pauses focusing on key items or "clues" that will be important later. that hit me in the nostalgic feels in a pleasant way, even if it did relatively little for the mystery itself.
two stars. i'm pretty sure i've read most of the 44 of these and i'd read 44 more, if they write them. but that's me....more
i'm always strangely interested in stories that get into the mind of killers...mostly because it seems like such a terrifying place to be and i don'ti'm always strangely interested in stories that get into the mind of killers...mostly because it seems like such a terrifying place to be and i don't entirely understand how you get to a place where that seems like a fun place to hang out.
that said...i don't know that i liked this one very much.
Confessions is an interesting premise...a teacher gives a final lecture to her middle school homeroom, a well-planned exercise meant to initially mislead and lure the class into a false sense of security until the punchline.
that punchline? two of the members of the class murdered their teacher's four-year-old daughter.
this is an interesting case full of revenge and sociopathy which spans not only the teacher and her two initial targets but also the class president and the mother of one of the boys. it's bleak and bare and very...japanese horror story. the core story is not terrible - it's engrossing and demented - but there were a couple major issues for me...
1. the laertes effect: in act four of hamlet, laertes and claudius plot to kill hamlet via poison and fencing (totally normal)...while the plan itself is immensely convoluted, the credibility of the scene is also damaged by laertes' assertion that he just happens to have this uber-potent rat poison just chillaxing in his medieval danish dorm room just waiting for such an occasion to be used. this is what many plot points in "confessions" feel like...oh, i just happened to have these chemicals that test for the presence of blood...things like that in conjunction with a highly convoluted murder plot that feel disingenuous and over-the-top.
2. repetition rather than suspense: minato actually had a really interesting opportunity to present the teacher's initial lecture and then subtly undermine her declaration as potentially false through the myriad stories that follow...but instead, we get the same story told basically five times and really not much gets changed and not much deviates from her original assessment. sure, the last few reveals/"shocks" (GET IT? GET IT?), helped make it feel less than repetitive but overall there wasn't much new happening except another sociopath being revealed or someone's mommy issues being confronted. i would have liked a bit more suspense or questioning of accuracy to the story rather than have the basic premise hold repeatedly true scene after scene after scene.
3 stars - this one is quickly digestible and scary as fuck. if you're a mom and a teacher. which i am....more
This would have been my all-time favorite book as a child, I can promise you that. It reminds me, in a way, of those excellent Betty Ren Wright and MaThis would have been my all-time favorite book as a child, I can promise you that. It reminds me, in a way, of those excellent Betty Ren Wright and Mary Downing Hahn books from my youth...it's a mix of ghost stories, the underlining threat of danger, and childhood...just fantastically nostalgic stuff in a gorgeously illustrated package.
if you're a fan of Angela Carter, graphic novels, ghost stories, and children's books, i'd say this would be an excellent choice for you. Creepy, sumptuous drawings highlight creepy, gothic-inspired stories and provide one of those epic summer reads from your past (you know, when you bought the ghost story book from the book fair and waited until dark to read it with a flashlight in the cozy safety of your bed and then probably woke your sister up to make you vampire crosses out of barrettes JUST IN CASE vampires turned out to be a real thing...thanks, jen!)
4.5 stars - great summer reading, something I'd want for my kids when they're a bit older (and sleeping mostly through the night in their own beds) ...more
look, i'm up for kate middleton fanfiction like the rest of the free world, but this just feels...done.
let me explain...
when the duke and duchesssigh.
look, i'm up for kate middleton fanfiction like the rest of the free world, but this just feels...done.
let me explain...
when the duke and duchess of cambridge were getting married, there were a series of wonderful middling television programs that purported to examine the eight year courtship of the soon-to-be-newlyweds. some were more fact-based journalism and some were lifetime movies.
i just had a baby and i'm pretty sure i watched all of them.
so this book is now about 5 years too late on that front.
not much here has changed from the original storylines...instead of st. andrews, it's oxford; instead of harry, it's freddie instead of a sapphire, it's am emerald; instead of kate middleton being a british commoner, she's an american commoner; instead of being dubbed "waity katie" by the press, she's "sexy bexy"...
you're getting the point.
there's even an attempt to explain her horrible fashion designer friend's professional decision making circa that horrible picture of kate middleton wearing a lace top and crimped hair.
the names have obviously been changed to protect the innocent but most of the key players were there,
and don't get me wrong, it's cute and readable, just not so dramatically different as to add anything new to the conversation.
and i'll probably read the sequel...i predict "the royal us" featuring the decision to have an heir and a spare of their own.
of course, for what it's worth...#teamfreddie ...more
i've been excited to read this one for awhile now; it had such initially good buzz that i probably should have beenoh man, this was a disappointment.
i've been excited to read this one for awhile now; it had such initially good buzz that i probably should have been more suspect. but i wasn't. i was excited for what i felt was going to be the quintessential beach read...a book about people on vacation WHILE on vacation? kismet, i thought.
i was wrong.
straub's "the vacationers" reads like middle-aged fantasy fiction. it's the story of the posts - franny, jim, sylvia, and bobby - and franny's best friend charles and his loving hubby lawrence who are all destined to spend two weeks during the summer together in spain.
this is one of those "old secrets come to light" and "life changes beautifully" types of things.
and i really had no pretenses when i picked it up - it is supposed to be a beach read...a dysfunctional family drama with a hefty side of comedy and probably a happy ending of sorts. and it was, in the same vein as a "where'd you go, bernadette" only whereas that novel felt incredibly fresh and inspired, this one did not.
it felt convenient. and all neatly wrapped up in a bow. which is so unlike life as to almost be insulting.
i'm probably going to type some spoilers in here (which i generally disclaim since technically anything i reveal could constitute as a spoiler); consider yourselves warned.
the novel is told in alternating third person limited - we move through the posts (to a lesser degree, charles, lawrence, and carmen who all seem here to serve as convenient plot devices and...not much else, actually) and their fears, desires, troubles, woes, triumphs, and joys. but since we move so rapidly between six or so people, we never feel fully engaged in the development of any of the characters. we get that jim had a midlife crisis and a tawdry affair with a 23-year-old which results in his getting "permanently retired" from the work he loves as his first mistress. franny, the chubby post-menopausal wife of jim, alternates between using food and tennis as coping mechanisms, her longstanding unrequited love affair with her gay bff charles, and intermittent crying jags over jim's infidelity as her primary characteristics. sylvia, the 18 year old accidental baby of the family, has dedicated the next two weeks to learning spanish and losing her virginity while her 28ish year old brother bobby is on vacation to beg his parents to bail him out of financial debt crisis. they're lovely.
side characters include charles and lawrence - the charming gay duo eagerly awaiting news of their impending adoption, joan (pronounced jo-annnnn) who is the extremely hot spanish tutor...he seems to be paid by franny to help her daughter lose her virginity in fine spanish fashion, and carmen the 40-something trashy workout freak that bobby has been stringing along for 8 years or so.
girl, he's never going to leave his mother.
i don't know. the characters were colorful enough to be engaging but not so vivid as to be full-bodied slices of life. the events were all so contrived and EVERYBODY got what they wanted.
that's not vacation. that's dreamland.
vacation is stressful and exhausting. it's convincing yourself that packing half your family's belongings and shoving them creatively into the travel vehicle of your choice is a great idea. it's planning a solid itinerary and several plan bs, cs, and ds for when it rains or someone gets sick or everyone's too tired to move. it's squabbling when you've been stuck in the same house for 7 seven days with 7 people. and it's the magic of remembering it as the best time ever AFTER the fact, not during.
3 stars - a cutesy examination of what happens to a family where no one really ever has to understand human suffering for too long and everyone gets what they need, if not exactly what they want, from this crazy machine called life....more
i have a love-hate relationship with magic realism.
magical realists love to juxtapose the supernatural and the natural, the extraordinary with the ordi have a love-hate relationship with magic realism.
magical realists love to juxtapose the supernatural and the natural, the extraordinary with the ordinary; it's a beautiful concept in theory and can be extremely effective in narration if done well. but there tend to be - and, please, pardon the terrible pun - gaps in the narrative as well that can be highly confusing or deterring. magical realists don't love the fetishization of the little details, like fantasy novelists are prone to. there is no aching need or desire to explain how or why the magical elements exist in this very real world of ours. it simply does; no explanation needed. or given.
but explanation is generally wanted. and therein lies my frustration.
i don't need much, but i like rules. and magic realism tends to bend the rules. warp them a little, to play within bounds but by dancing as close to cheating reality as humanly possible. it's the literary equivalent of never winking in a cinematic farce; no one is pretending the genre is anything different but everyone is acting as if it is serious business. in "bone gap," this authorial reticence plays out in a complicated third person limited narrative that shifts among points-of-view here as one might shift through different elements of a dream. it can, of course, be highly effective in crafting a surrealist depiction of small town grotesques; however, when the magic seems to inundate at the end, it leaves the reader feeling as, perhaps, s/he should not have had that last handful of spicy food before bedtime. or, in the more appropriately symbolic parlance of the novel, it's like being surrounded by a gentle swarm of semi-tamed bees and thinking you have complete control of them - you remain in cool panic, slightly off-kilter and tense, and when the sting inevitably comes, you are not necessarily upset but more confused as to why it took so long for the spell to be broken in the first place.
i'm probably not making much sense.
for the most part, i loved this book. i loved moonfaced, face-blind finn and how he didn't romantically love roza but still felt compelled to save her (not just for himself, but for his brother and for their bond as well). i loved bee-faced petey and her bucket o'insecurities masked by a tough-as-nails warrior princess. i loved that i felt like i was trapped in a farm in 1950s iowa, even though we weren't. because that's the fundamental beauty of magic realism - where the mundane becomes beautiful and individuals can possess charm and power they are not entirely aware of. and for about 4/5 of the novel, i felt that ruby had that mastered...even in the strange moments with the man with ice-hardened eyes, it was never too much too soon. the pacing was masterful, the tension delicious (particularly as ruby juxtaposes the blooming love of petey and finn with the kidnapping and attempted seduction of roza and the iceman/scare crow).
but it fell apart around page 290.
here there be spoilers, so continue at your own risk.
the denouement felt...weird. and not a good weird...ruby seems to get a little too excited at the end, blowing her magic wad on a very bizarre trip to the gap-land dead-people circus world where finn must finally prove himself a worthy knight and roza must suffer a mighty wound in order for their magic captivity to suddenly disappear. the idea of roza having to, in essence, destroy her own physical beauty in order to be no longer worthy of the iceman's adoration felt like a hollow resolution (and not particularly feminist). i'm sure foiled with finn's own sexual journey that one could write an excellent thesis about vanity, sex, and death here. but it won't be me.
still, i loved the book a little more than i was weirded out by the end. there were some strange tonal shifts that were more off-putting than effective, but overall i enjoyed seeing how ruby played with the concept of love and identity, how she thinks about the myriad ways in which you can truly see a person for who and what they really are. i dug that, even if the end was wonky. so do with that what you will.
four solid stars - a good attempt at mastering a subtle and difficult genre. curious mystery, excellent (for the most part) pacing, and superb use of juxtaposition....more
i've been looking for a book like the red tent pretty much since i finished the red tent. i don't know if it's the biblically epic scope or the mix ofi've been looking for a book like the red tent pretty much since i finished the red tent. i don't know if it's the biblically epic scope or the mix of interesting females bound by love, faith, and sacrifice...or if it's just good old-fashioned story telling with a twist of human tragedy. whatever it is, i really loved this book.
sure, it's the equivalent of...oh, let's say..."the titanic"...you know based on the history alone that this ship isn't going to be seaworthy forever, but you find yourself hoping against historical fact that there's some happy ending to be found.
i think hoffman manages to strike the right chords here - she deliberately doesn't go for the traditionally happy ending. there are no amazing and unexpected reunions; the recurring theme is that we all must lose the things we love. but even in the face of overwhelming tragedy and the horrors of war, the novel doesn't end - like, say, ethan frome with the heavy weight of selfish love turned sour seeping into your skin and refusing to leave. instead, hoffman's narrative web ensnares with the possibility of changing one's fate, of continuing a legend, of being part of something larger, of serving as a witness and a voice to an event which demands a disparate point of view. and that alone perhaps saves the text from maudlin self-indulgence.
so, why 4 stars? why not 5? it's a bit...hokey...in parts. very "nature goddess one with the earth" mysticism. the women's fates all seem largely bound to the men in their lives, which, while a cultural expectation, also reminds the reader of how too often these types of stories feel like cheap romances in sheep's clothing. there are also several highly effective scenes that haunt - scenes that help display the emotional tension beautifully but are not things i wanted to read about ever. there is also the heartbreak that is yoav. for some reason, it is his story - told in bits and pieces through revka's and aziza's voices - that has lingered the most for me. and, while not inherently a negative, in a story that should be about these four women, to leave carrying the last breath of a man so tortured by his actions and inactions seems almost wrong somehow.
what i love about lauren oliver is her compelling writing style and her ability to create easily-digestible page turners.
what i dislike about this parwhat i love about lauren oliver is her compelling writing style and her ability to create easily-digestible page turners.
what i dislike about this particular effort is that it feels a bit...forced...and repetitive, particularly in light of recent novels like "gone girl" and "we were liars". it's the plot equivalent of wearing a dress that wears you - oliver becomes a slave to the gimmick here and i really don't think she had to be. she has such a fresh voice that it doesn't really need the twist. and i admire that she tries so many different genres and styles - mystery, romance, dystopian futures, loss of innocence/life/the great bildungsroman, children's...she doesn't allow herself to get pigeonholed into one arena. but here, i think a really good mystery would have been sufficient - the twist, which essentially forces the reader to confront the previous 300 pages or so as a violation of trust, plays more to the notion of playing to a popular theme more than practical extension of the preexisting narration. it just didn't jive with me.
i'm trying SO hard here not to spoil. CAN YOU TELL?
i also found myself exceedingly distracted by the description of clothing. this, obviously, isn't a complaint specific to oliver but to women writing for women. who gives a shit if you're wearing gladiator sandals with a small heel? or a linen dress that your sister hates? although, i weirdly had a flashback to this maria von trappy linen jumper thing from the gap that i owned in the late 90s. ouch. sorry, world. but on a more serious note, i guess i just don't get why women objectify our own bodies to the point where we expect to look at and assess our clothing, even if our fiction. i can imagine someone arguing that this is merely necessary detail to help create a clear picture in our mind, but the only time men seem to do this is in a dan brown novel and it's generally in reference to a harris tweed or fine italian leather shoe that i'm sure brown is writing off as a taxable deduction.
i don't know. i've never found this to be the compelling part of fiction for women, but i digress.
i also don't think i enjoyed the interspersion of "photographs" - although i did like the online news articles and comments from the trolling peanut gallery. it's a thing that also bugged me about "night film" - an authorial attempt to create truth or authenticity in a story plagued with lies and doubts.
it's really 3 stars for me. i read it quicky (under three hours!) which always makes me think i should rate it higher, but the reality is it just wasn't for me. ...more
this one isn't one of the series (so no marple, no poirot, no tommy and/or no tuppence)...it's another sti love agatha christie.
that's pretty much it.
this one isn't one of the series (so no marple, no poirot, no tommy and/or no tuppence)...it's another standalone with a nondescript would-be investigator named charles, with a real detective father and a maybe-murderer fiancee.
what i love most about christie is her ability to take something completely seemingly innocent (here, a children's rhyme) and subvert it into the perverse.
this is definitely not the only novel in which she does it; i just like it when she does.
murderer is, sadly, predictable if you read closely and listen to what is being said. but doesn't matter. it's still an enjoyable ride.
3.5 stars - a good, quick read on a snow day....more
it was billed to me as "lord of the flies" meets "bring it on" - which of course seemed like a good idea toi don't even know how to review this one...
it was billed to me as "lord of the flies" meets "bring it on" - which of course seemed like a good idea to me at the time.
but it isn't really LOTF-esque...unless it's focusing on jack and roger and the latent homoeroticism that burns quietly between them.
only, you know, with sparkly undies and anorexia.
because that's TOTALLY was golding had in mind.
and, maybe, that's the biggest thing between this time period and golding's...at least, then, there was a piggy. now, the piggies of the world are malleable, weak, and scarce. and if they were on your cheer squad, you'd probably drop them from a dangerous stunt on purpose just to not have to deal with them anymore.
this one is more...metamorphosis. it's not loss of innocence, although i've used that tag here...it's more like rebirth into evil. it's understanding and becoming that which you once feared or hated. it's embracing all that is cold, calculating, self-centered, and ambitious about yourself.
it's becoming cheer captain.
and that's when it lost me. because ultimately, it's the frivolity of the world that ruins it. it's JUST cheerleading - no matter what self-important metaphors you use to doll it up. and the fact that the girls never see it is just pathetic.
there's also some ridiculousness near - the weird lesbian-esque love the girls have for their coach who is cruel and manipulative to them. it's the coach enabling everyone's anorexia and alcoholism. it's the predictability of the murder - which should have been an awesomely drawn out cat and mouse game...it just never really took off and that was disappointing.
most of all, i just never felt genuine concern or care about any of them, and i should have if the tension was to build at all.
but they all could have broken their necks in three different spots and stopped cheering and i probably would not have cared a bit. that's the danger of depicting the two-dimensional cardboard nature of these teenagers.
2.5 stars - quick, fast-paced, enough mystery to keep you going but not enough to particularly care which way it ends. ...more
i should be prepping for something called "english instructional lab" and instead i'm reading "men in kilts: return of the kilt".
i'm okay with my lifei should be prepping for something called "english instructional lab" and instead i'm reading "men in kilts: return of the kilt".
i'm okay with my life decisions.
here, it's the tricky reunion between our time-torn lovers who, having been apart from one another for twenty or so years, finally reunite when claire gets her history checked.
this is one of those frustrating things - when you want the characters to be together but you feel a little odd about them having so much reunion sex since they're like fifty now.
i mean, GOOD ON THEM, and all. but still. do i want to read it? mmm...
plus, and here there be spoilers, some things happen in this one that made me verra, verra angry.
first, DOUBLE. EWE. TEE. EFF. what happened to jenny in the last twenty years? she's not particularly nice to claire here - and i kind of sort of get her reasoning, but, damn. claire was jamie's first wife and all. surely that earns her something.
second, there is no way...and i mean NO WAY...that jamie would ever - despite whatever voodoo black matchmaking magic his sister wielded - ever marry leg-hair. he just wouldn't. don't we all remember how claire freaked out in the first book when leggy smiles at him after they return from their "honeymoon" and she's all "you can hook up with her; you owe me nothing" and he's all "damn you, lady, i just bought you a ring, will you please just CHILL?"
he could literally have married ANYONE else and it wouldn't have been a problem.
no, seriously, anyone. heck, he could have married grannie mcnab and the world would have rejoiced. but, nope, he was "lonely".
it's like twenty years apart and wee jamie fraser has no concept of honesty anymore. and sure he's a smuggling printer with a super-shady past, but he's usually more reliable than that when it comes to claire.
i mean, not telling her about his illegitimate son is one thing, but forgetting to mention that he's married???
come on now.
i don't know...i'm still obsessed but i'm worried that as claire and jamie age i'm going to start worrying about hip replacements and forget the whole "sexy kilt" bit.
not that i think jamie wore a kilt for most of the latter portion of the novel.
gaaahhhh. i am so obsessed with these books. i can't even.
in men in kilts part 2, we know right away something has gone terribly, terribly wrong in magaaahhhh. i am so obsessed with these books. i can't even.
in men in kilts part 2, we know right away something has gone terribly, terribly wrong in magic-scotland-land, where we last left our heroine and hero (or were they in france already? i forget...). either way, this one starts off about 20 years into the future, then we flashback and learn what happened to claire and jamie.
this one was emotionally trickier to navigate. i could predict a considerable portion of the more negative bits, but it didn't make them any easier to read through. and i found myself a bit heartbroken by the end of the flashback.
still, a thoroughly enjoyable series and i look forward to reading the third.
i sort of love kate white books but i also recognize that they're all repetitive, pulpy trash.
do with that what you will.
here, the protagonist's voicei sort of love kate white books but i also recognize that they're all repetitive, pulpy trash.
do with that what you will.
here, the protagonist's voice (robin trainer!) is remarkably bailey weggins-esque. and the plot is also something vaguely bailey-esque - tv personality lives glamorous but lonely single life in new york after rebuilding her career after her messy-ish divorce! then, SOMEONE DOESN'T WANT HER TO SUCCEED!!!
and crazy shit happens...like cockroaches in coffee and ambien-laced brownies.
whatever. i could have told you the killer on page 52. that's not really the point. these are quick, easy mysteries that make you think fondly of "murder she wrote".
you know, if mrs. fletcher was thirty-nine and was having uber-creepy (read: clinical and very not sexy) sexual relations with her co-anchor when she really, really shouldn't be.
first, they didn't see the world's biggest ball of twine. second, they never bought any drinkwas the detour really THAT epic, amy and roger???
first, they didn't see the world's biggest ball of twine. second, they never bought any drinks with caffeine in it.
i mean, don't get me wrong, cream soda rocks, but if i am planning on spending large portions of time driving at night, i'm fueling my body with sugar and caffeine.
but that's not really my problem here. i don't know, this one just didn't quite succeed.
matson's other efforts - particularly, for me, "since you've been gone - felt more well-developed and thought out. here, the mom is the clear antagonist. i championed her other texts because of the healthy parent-child relationships with the protagonists. here, the mom is a cardboard cutout of grief and amy is too preoccupied with her own guilt to consider how her own mother must be suffering after the loss of her husband and the collapse of her family.
there is also some slight suspension of disbelief required as amy's mom lets her live by herself in the house they all once shared as a "happy" family while she moves across country.
i'm totally cool with my hyper-emotional, guilt-stricken teenaged daughter driving across country with a total stranger who is also of the teenaged persuasion and male and letting them share hotels along the way.
totally cool with it.
now, i get it. this is a quest! a redemption story! learning to live and to love again. blahblahblah.
do we think, perhaps, that needing a strong male figure in her life factors into her attraction for roger at all???
daddy issues abound.
i don't know. it was just all-right. a comfortable, predictable, and sweet sarah-dessen-esque YA yarn about road trips and love.
but is matson could lay off the whole "and then [male character name] lifted up his shirt revealing a thirty-seven pack of hard steel abs that set my teenaged lady loins a-quiver!" i'd really, really appreciate it.
so...i read both SYBG and Second Chance Summer back to back in one night...which probably speaks to their digestibility fairly well. and i was pleasanso...i read both SYBG and Second Chance Summer back to back in one night...which probably speaks to their digestibility fairly well. and i was pleasantly surprised. of the two, i think ultimately I like this one a bit better...I'm not sure why. It's one of those weird chemical reactions, perhaps, a more authentic nostalgia? less melodrama? it felt realer to me, in every sense of the word, but i'd gladly recommend either text to a sarah-dessen-lovin-YA-reading-chick-lit-book-machine.
here, it's the story of emily hughes, known predominantly as "the girl who hangs out with sloane". poor emily's plans for the summer change dramatically when sloane and her family mysteriously disappear without a word and emily's parents settle down to write their next masterpiece, a play about edison and tesla's friendship. emily receives a cryptic letter from sloane - a list of thirteen things for her to do, that, in typical high school logic fashion, emily interprets as "if i do this list, I WILL FIND SLOANE!!!"
whatever. it's thirteen reasons why you should live your life not in the shadow of your best friend.
and it's really stinkin' cute. we get to watch emily deal with her past relationships, develop new friendships and crushes, get a job, and figure out who she is...all without solely identifying her self-worth through the "vintage" glasses of her best friend's eyes.
and the relationships feel real, for the most part (i disliked the romantic resolution at the end, but until that point, i was fully on board). these kids don't just talk about who they want to date - they try to figure out who they are and what they want. they try to teach themselves to live beyond the fringes of their own lives. and that's a pretty good message for anyone.
i have to say, do you ever just read a novel and picture kate winslet as the female lead? i do. she's my "bernadette" (from "where'd you go, bernadetti have to say, do you ever just read a novel and picture kate winslet as the female lead? i do. she's my "bernadette" (from "where'd you go, bernadette?")and she's also my adele.
of course, she's also on the cover, so there's that.
i'm not sure josh brolin should go picking roles that involve a man hurting a woman in any capacity, however. i can see why they would pick him for frank, though. they need someone rugged, someone you could believe could bake a pie and be in prison for murder. but, still, he wasn't my frank.
it's okay, though. it's not like i'm going to see the movie anyways.
this is one of those perfect beach reads. it's not something you'd want proudly displayed on your library shelf, perhaps, but it's quick, digestible, and provides just enough emotion to keep you rapidly turning pages to see if they actually arrest the criminal or if they escape to anne of green gables' house and live a life of relative anonymity.
bit of a warning for new mothers: some hard bits in here, so if you're rocking the raging hormonal swings of a pregnancy, you may wish to avoid this one for the time being.
3 stars. solid summer stock with a slice of peach pie on the side....more
a while back, i wrote a review which basically detailed the formula of a stephanie plum book. the formula still stands, but the joy in this pulpysigh.
a while back, i wrote a review which basically detailed the formula of a stephanie plum book. the formula still stands, but the joy in this pulpy doughnut fiction is seriously waning for me.
first, either ms. evanovich is completely phoning these in OR she's hired herself a ghost writer so that she can focus on other series (like the 40 page excerpt from "pros and cons" i was "treated" to at the end of this text). that's fine; i begrudge no one making a dollar. but i'm tired of this reading like a tenth grader wrote it ("That's Lula. She's a ho. She likes to wear tight clothes. She's got big boobs. Lula loves donuts!") for 92% of the text.
the other 8% is like someone trying to work up the gumption to write "fifty shades of grey" but stopping woefully short of the awkwardness of the red room of pain.
i just wasn't feeling the love here. everyone does what they usually do, somehow stephanie makes money for rent by capturing the uncapturable skip... not that it matters since her apartment gets blown up again. she stays at joe morelli's and has creepy sex with a "toy" that joe...borrowed???...from a crime scene? or something. randy briggs is also back, as is ranger, who grandma mazur FINALLY sees naked.
wish stephanie could say the same.
i'm sort of done with the joe-stephanie storyline. they're like two old married people - they eat meatball subs and have safely kinky sex while bitching about work. isn't it about time for them to break up for a book so ranger fans can get a little love?
how am i the only person to really, really dislike this book?
the last two spellman "documents" have been incredibly grating. the todouble.ewe.tee.eff.
how am i the only person to really, really dislike this book?
the last two spellman "documents" have been incredibly grating. the tone from the originals is entirely gone and the attributes i disliked so heartily from the first books seem magnified here.
let's get down to brass tacks, shall we? here, there be spoilers. consider yourselves warned.
1. henry: WHAT DID HENRY EVER DO TO YOU, LUTZ??? it's like she had to try to come up with a way to make henry so unlikable that no one could ever possibly want him to end up with izzy ever, ever again. so she gives henry a baby mama (because someone who is impossibly fastidious about cleaning his apartment sure as hell is going to get all looseygoosey with the contraception for a woman he's been dating for a couple of months) and THEN has him drunkkiss izzy AND tell her that awful thing about being "more normal." but then, because she'll probably need henry for later installments, she tries to redeem him a little at the end by having rae point out how much happier henry is not dating izzy. right. because that feels good to the people who invested so much interest in the development of their relationship for the first four books. 2. morgan freeman and the footnotes: is it just me or did the tone of the footnotes gradually get meaner and meaner? i mean the plugs for the other books has always grated (BUY MY BOOK! NOW IN PAPERBACK!). here, izzy is just a bitch (IF SOMEONE WANTS TO GIVE ME A NEW CAR TO ADVERTISE, SURE, THEN I WILL TELL YOU THE BRAND). and more obnoxious than normal. and i'm so done with the morgan freeman thing. wasn't funny in the fifth, isn't funny here. 3. Al Spellman - this plotline felt similarly to the henry. izzy's corporate takeover and subsequent dictatorship made her so unpleasant and unsympathetic that even her own parents hate her. which, considering how little respect they seem to have for her in the earlier books, isn't that much of a change. but in order to basically right all the emotional wrongs established in book 5, lutz gives al spellman leukemia. i don't think it takes a rocket scientist for anyone to figure out who the bone marrow donor has to be in order to make sure the balance is restored in this greek tragedy of a family. 4. the set up: here, we get more voice memos from rae. she is even given the titular "last words" here, which sets up her voice to help take over the writing of the family "documents" from here on out. since rae has been far more sociopathic than izzy, i can only imagine the misery we are setting ourselves up for. 5. the mystery: not hard to solve, not even close to unpredictable. i don't even get why the mysteries exist if not to point out how shitty izzy is at doing her job. and she is. really shitty. she can't even run the business she purportedly is so good at doing. I DON'T GET IT. WHY MAKE HER SO USELESS IN ALL CAPACITIES OF HER LIFE??? 6. Max, babies, whatever: So, Henry isn't the right guy for izzy but single dad max is??? because izzy very loves children!?! or just not children related to her? WHAT?!
i don't know. i might be done with the series. i actually cannot believe how many good reviews this last book has; it's like we're all hoping lutz will take a break from the series and come back to it when she wants to, not when publishers push her into it just to make more money. i think this is sort of what happened with charlaine harris after she had to write about the love affair between sookie and eric when she was so staunchly team bill/sam/anyonebuteric; she ended up resenting the characters and her writing. i don't know. i just don't feel the love here, not from lutz, not from me. i devoured the first four of these and could barely make myself read the final installment. the two stars is more for nostalgia and hope than merit.