Sophie Kinsella is funny, insightful, and can create the most wonderful, delightful, three-dimensional characters and unpredictable stories. In FindinSophie Kinsella is funny, insightful, and can create the most wonderful, delightful, three-dimensional characters and unpredictable stories. In Finding Audrey she's also saying some important things about bullying, parenting, mental Illness, what it means to be a friend, addictions, and the general zig-zag of life. She'd be my favorite author if she just cleaned up her language a bit. There is so much in this story that I would love to share with the young people and parents I work with, but the pervasive foul language prevents me from a wholehearted recommendation. ...more
Whiny girl. Predictable plot (at least I predicted it, and I'm not generally great at that). Characters I really didn't care about. I almost didn't geWhiny girl. Predictable plot (at least I predicted it, and I'm not generally great at that). Characters I really didn't care about. I almost didn't get through it. I don't expect YA fiction to be brilliant, although it occasionally is. But it should at least be entertaining. Think Shannon Hale. Or Gary D. Schmidt.
Remember that low point of the Hunger Games trilogy when you got so tired of Katniss being a mess that you wanted to bang your head against the wall? That's this book. From start to finish. Won't be catching the rest of the series.
Whistling Past the Graveyard is a yarn about an improbably precocious and hot-tempered nine-year-old who runs away to Nashville to find her mother andWhistling Past the Graveyard is a yarn about an improbably precocious and hot-tempered nine-year-old who runs away to Nashville to find her mother and escape her strict grandmother. Well-written, this is another in a growing genre of chick lit about young white girls in the 1960’s South who depend on nurturing black women because their own mothers are absent/crazy/dead/just plain mean. This particular book gets a PG-13 rating. There is some language, in particular from one character who mercifully appears only briefly in the book. There is domestic violence as seen through the eyes of a nine-year-old, an attempted rape, a murder, and more than one unwed mother. Rather than being about these things, the book is about their consequences, and stresses the need to take responsibility for your actions, find your gifts, learn the lessons God has for you, and value your family, whatever form that may take. ...more
Just couldn't do it. Got a couple hours into the Audible version and couldn't go any further. This book is ploddingly slow, with descriptions that pouJust couldn't do it. Got a couple hours into the Audible version and couldn't go any further. This book is ploddingly slow, with descriptions that pound you over the head again and again and again.... I didn't like any of the characters. The language was vulgar. No redeeming qualities in the part I read. I'll be returning this one. ...more
I’ve Got your Number is as modern, clever, frustrating, likable, and disposable as your cell phone. Really, it’s romantic comedy in the form of a bookI’ve Got your Number is as modern, clever, frustrating, likable, and disposable as your cell phone. Really, it’s romantic comedy in the form of a book. If you’re like me, sometimes that’s exactly what you’re looking for. The ending is brilliantly executed (in a British brilliant sort of way, not a neurosurgery brilliant sort of way), and the scene that you’ll go back and reread when you finish (yes, that scene) is so well set up and unbelievably satisfying, it will be the Titillating Scene You Remember Fondly and Always. And it’s just kissing!
In fact, this is a modern romance with no explicit sex. So happy to know it can still be done. The main character is definitely living with someone she’s not married to, but blessedly there’s no elaboration on the machinations.
What this book does have is a very, very foul mouth. Someone as clever with words as Sophie Kinsella really should be able to find better dialogue for her characters. I know I live in a precious bubble, but really! Do all reasonable, educated, mainstream contributing members of society actually talk like that always?! Even in England? Because all of Kinsella’s characters do. There are enough F-bombs to level all of London, if not Her Majesty’s Entire Realm, which, admittedly, may or may not be getting smaller as we speak….
An “A” for doing a great job of being what it is. An “F” for all the Fs. Giving it a 3. ...more
Let me start by saying I’m not generally a fan of fantasy. This book was a gift from a good friend whose judgment I trust. I have read Neil Gaiman befLet me start by saying I’m not generally a fan of fantasy. This book was a gift from a good friend whose judgment I trust. I have read Neil Gaiman before. His The Graveyard Book was delightful, made more so in the Audible edition because the bookend music is Camille Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre. Brilliant.
This is not The Graveyard Book. The set-up reels you in slowly. The plot is inventive, and the epilogue is especially rich and opulent and thought-provoking and satisfying. Gaiman knows how to turn a phrase and boil down philosophy into brief meaningful glimpses and clever epigrams.
But somewhere in the middle it muddles. Kind of in the same way that A Wrinkle in Time muddles. Which, when you think about it, puts it in very good company if you are a Fantasy Fan. This was an Audible listen for me, listed at 5 hours and 48 minutes. That’s very short, but it felt much longer. I kept checking the time thinking, “Really? There’s that much left?”
The bonus for the Audible listen is that Neil Gaiman reads it. His verbal voice matches his literary voice precisely (think Alan Rickman), and it’s wonderful when an author successfully performs his/her own words because you aren’t left with that nagging feeling that perhaps the reader has put in an inflection that subtly changes the meaning, especially in dialogue.
Gaiman is a skilled wordsmith with a gentle, ethereal, darkish voice as distinguishable as Poe’s but not nearly so, well, stark-raving lunatic. Like the difference between twilight shadows that make you look twice and unthinkable violent dreams in the black evil somewhere deeper than midnight.
Although the sentence structure of Ocean mimics that of the seven-year-old protagonist, this is not a children’s book. There is a suicide, domestic violence, adultery, nudity, and violence involving something indefinable and fantastic. Most of this is not especially explicit since it is rendered by a naive child, but that doesn’t make it less shocking. I don’t remember any objectionable language.
A solid 3.5, carried mostly by Gaiman’s voice, audibly and literarily. ...more
I rarely give five stars to a book. If I could give six stars to this one I would.
This is the most beautiful literature I have read in a long time, peI rarely give five stars to a book. If I could give six stars to this one I would.
This is the most beautiful literature I have read in a long time, perhaps ever. More astonishing than “The Book Thief.” More driven than “Cold Mountain.” More far-reaching than “A Tale of Two Cities.” All of this through simultaneously accessible and soaring prose (poetry, really).
This is a story about two young people coming of age in World War II. It is a depiction of the horrors of that war, but also a celebration of human qualities: curiosity, loyalty, humility, and an exploration of what it means to be brave. Alongside the main characters we investigate the wonders of math and science, and then apply real-world facts to transcendent worlds we cannot see.
My only regret is that I listened to this book rather than read it. It was a wonderful listen, but I found myself wanting to stop, absorb, and underline with soaring exclamation points. Fortunately, this regret is easily remedied.
With all that, “All the Light We Cannot See” about war. It is violent at times. The soldiers use the crude language of their circumstances. There is rape. But all of this is handled with tender care and lends to the ultimate truth and beauty of the novel.
I sincerely hope to never see this masterpiece made into a movie. ...more
Every once in awhile, you just need to read a good romance. Pride and Prejudice. Gone With the Wind. These Is My Words.
Unfortunately, once you get pasEvery once in awhile, you just need to read a good romance. Pride and Prejudice. Gone With the Wind. These Is My Words.
Unfortunately, once you get past the old standbys, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get in this genre. I mean, what if you’re after more of a romantic novel than a Romance Novel? Something with a plot and without beef on the cover. Something that might make you swoon without necessarily making you blush. Something slightly more than empty calories And something you don’t have to hide from your 14-year-old. The literary equivalent of a Cary Grant movie.
Occasionally I have turned to Christian Romance writers. I mean, at least they’re safe, right?
Wrong. In Bridge to Haven, Francine Rivers manages to be both overtly preachy (often an annoying problem with Christian Romancers) and seamy in the same novel. It’s been a week since I read (listened to) it, and I had to read the publisher’s summary to remember what this book was.
Thumbs down on this one. Guess I’ll have to reread P&P again. ...more
Before Katniss Caught Fire; before Cassia was Cross-Matched; before Beatrice Diverged; there was The Giver. Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel (movie to be releaBefore Katniss Caught Fire; before Cassia was Cross-Matched; before Beatrice Diverged; there was The Giver. Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel (movie to be released August, 2014) may have not been the original dystopian young adult novel, but it certainly foretold the current frenzy of fictional rebel-with-a-cause teen heroes and heroines. When it came out, The Giver’s power was in its stunning depiction of a world without choices. Now that Dystopia has become the favored setting for novels, The Giver remains popular among readers of all ages. This, despite the fact that there is virtually no action in this book.
So what gives?
This is a story in which words matter, both literally and literarily. Just beneath the banality of the text and its benign characters lies a pent-up subtext ready to burst. In its unassuming way, The Giver has something to say about choices, opposites, pain, snowflakes, memories, love, the color red, death, scapegoats, families, and a lot of other things that matter. Although The Giver is not a page-turner, it is still a quick – and ultimately worthwhile – read. ...more
This is a remarkable true story. I've never enjoyed zoos, and although I'm by no means an animal activist, or even an animal lover, I cringe at the thThis is a remarkable true story. I've never enjoyed zoos, and although I'm by no means an animal activist, or even an animal lover, I cringe at the thought of any wild animal being caged up. I couldn't help but fall in love with the elephants in this book, whose personalities are so well depicted, they make the human characters in many books look like cardboard. This book not only has well developed characters that grow over the course of the story, it is also full of action, humor, and drama. As a bonus for me, it was fun to hear the Zulu words (I listened on Audible) and learn more about the South African culture and how things have changed since my husband worked there as a missionary in the 1980s. He has always wanted to return. I have been less enthusiastic, but this book may have changed my mind. This story will undoubtedly make a wonderful movie. If the language is cleaned up a bit, it could be a great family film. Three stars instead of four because it could have used one more edit and the author lapsed into shameless preaching at the end. ...more
There are only two books I can think of that I have rated Five Stars: Pride and Prejudice and Nancy Turner's first book, These is My Words. Like TheseThere are only two books I can think of that I have rated Five Stars: Pride and Prejudice and Nancy Turner's first book, These is My Words. Like These is My Words, My Name is Resolute is a bit of a tough start, but somewhere along the line, you fall in love with the strong heroine and her man. Both books have a similar cadence, and the feelings expressed by both heroines of what it means to be a wife and mother, how to be alone, and how to move on with life when your children do, are themes that many of us relate to. At times I thought, "That is exactly how I feel!" I have often marveled at the everyday men and women who gave birth to this country, and this book reminded me of that. A perfect read for a summer vacation. Looking forward to Turner's next heroine!...more