It's strange how much I like the film Breakfast at Tiffany's, even though it's really not a very good one, and it's even offensive in some parts. SomeIt's strange how much I like the film Breakfast at Tiffany's, even though it's really not a very good one, and it's even offensive in some parts. Something about the wistful mood it sets, the effervescence of Audrey Hepburn and her gorgeous Givenchy clothes and hats, that lovely soundtrack, and the indelible characters till makes for a wonderful film-watching experience despite its flaws.
Reading the book was an unusual experience because so much of the dialogue was so familiar, and the story isn't very different for at least the first two thirds of the book, though Holly Golightly is a much bolder and bawdier and than she is in the film. But as I was drawn further into this story of a man who is platonically but irresistibly fascinated by this marvelous woman, I was intrigued by not only this notion of being absorbed in another person nearly to the exclusion of all else, but by this portrait of one of the strongest and most positive relationships that can exist: that between a woman and a gay man.
I was surprised to find how quietly complex and poignant this story was, and how skillful the writing, especially in regards to the unnamed narrator and the careful masking of his sexuality. (The clues are so subtle, but they're there.) While the film always gets me teary against my will with the cheap shot of the cat being thrown out in the rain and the swelling Mancini when he comes back, the very different ending of this book left me with a subtle but lingering sadness. Losing friends can be an intense and life-changing experience, too; it's a shame that we haven't yet seen the film that shows the love story Capote meant to tell.
3.5 stars I really enjoyed this series, though this one is my least favorite. Points for the sister plot line (both her smart, sassy character and his3.5 stars I really enjoyed this series, though this one is my least favorite. Points for the sister plot line (both her smart, sassy character and his protectiveness towards her), as well as the eventual (view spoiler)[adoption (hide spoiler)] bit. I think the orgy scene was meant to be edgier/hotter than it was, though, and it just didn't quite work/ring true for me. Or maybe I'm just cynical and think that everybody would jump right in and touch everybody else at that point, hah.
Really like this author, though. Must read her older titles, and the Akira one.["br"]>["br"]>...more
This year, only two books have made me cry so hard I had to stop reading. This was one of them.
But it's not because it's sad--it's actually a sweet, hThis year, only two books have made me cry so hard I had to stop reading. This was one of them.
But it's not because it's sad--it's actually a sweet, hopeful book filled with the ordinary joys of childhood. It's more the understanding of how isolated the Georges of the world must feel, and the hope that every single one of us takes the time to listen, to understand, to be supportive, and to be kind.
Reread for our classics discussion on Friday 8/28! :)
One of the first scifi/paranormal books I ever remember reading, and one that still holds uReread for our classics discussion on Friday 8/28! :)
One of the first scifi/paranormal books I ever remember reading, and one that still holds up as an adult. I loved the whole idea of a girl with telekinetic powers who doesn't fit anywhere--until she finds out that there is a small group of other kids just like her. Well-written with memorable characters (and a lovely old cat), it's one of the first books that started my love for non-realistic fiction.
This one's a bit obscure, but it's still in print and available as an ebook, and well worth seeking out....more
3.5 stars Really great for an airplane/beach type read. It unravels a bit towards the end (and pretty early on it seems clear what's happened--and def3.5 stars Really great for an airplane/beach type read. It unravels a bit towards the end (and pretty early on it seems clear what's happened--and definitely telegraphed by three-quarters through), so I felt a bit impatient for things to be resolved), but it's a fast-paced Agatha Christie-ish mystery that keeps your attention with an enjoyable narrative voice. Also well-plotted and written overall; it's hard to sustain suspense with first person narration in which the POV character knows something she's withholding from the reader and also (in parts) has amnesia, but the author does this well.
Not really creepy, though--your expectations are set up for that with the title and description, but it's a fairly straightforward psychological thriller.
One question for someone who's read it--(view spoiler)[at one point, there was a reference to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and for a time I thought the author was implying that with James, as with Brick, there was repressed homosexuality. But there wasn't. (hide spoiler)] So what's the correlation there? I'm missing it!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
3.5 stars This is one unreliable narrator I don't think I've seen before--a crime writer who is slowly succumbing to Alzheimers, one who is accused of3.5 stars This is one unreliable narrator I don't think I've seen before--a crime writer who is slowly succumbing to Alzheimers, one who is accused of murder.
Well-plotted even if you guess the culprit (though one of the alternating POVs gets a little wearisome after awhile, as it's in second person), and definitely very entertaining. A great beach book if you're in the mood for a page-turner.
I really liked the ending as well, though not everyone will....more
This is a bizarre, violent story, one full of menace and dark magic. It's trippy the way that every Alice book should be, and full of nightmarish imagThis is a bizarre, violent story, one full of menace and dark magic. It's trippy the way that every Alice book should be, and full of nightmarish images and themes.
I loved it for the most part...but. BUT. I have one problem with it, and it's a pretty major one: the book is extremely rape-y. Huge trigger warning if you are bothered by sexual violence of any sort, because it's everywhere in this world, both blatant and implied, and both active and imagined.
While I've always thought most fairy tale retellings and re-imaginings could use a bit more meditation on the themes of seduction and coercion--it's in the very nature of many of the original stories, after all--I was extremely bothered by the degree of rape and abuse here.
If you are able to look past that--ugh, it pains me to even phrase this in such a way--the book is incredibly imaginative, and just what a grown-up Alice story should be. It's well-written, delightfully weird, and scatter-shot with wince-inducing horror. AND A GIANT RABBIT. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and I'm very interested in seeing where the story goes next!
But I also am very disturbed by the rape of past, present, and possible future. And I'm bothered by the implication that all men, no matter how good, are susceptible to bring overcome by lust, even under the most horrifyingly extreme circumstances. So...mixed reactions from me because I feel so very strongly about the way women are treated in this book, and the view of men. Please note, however, the relatively high rating despite that. Probably best to judge for yourself if you're interested.
A bit more of a polish on this review at some point. ...more
All I have to say is, this book is somehow even more awesome than the original series.
Don't be nervous about the multiple POVs--every character has hAll I have to say is, this book is somehow even more awesome than the original series.
Don't be nervous about the multiple POVs--every character has history and agency, and you'll care deeply about every single one of them. Plus diversity! Kickass heroines! Gifted thieves! Amaaaaazing action sequences! All perfectly paced and perfectly thrilling.
Eh. I liked this overall, but didn't love it. He's awfully into her awfully fast, which didn't quite gel for me for the type of character he's set upEh. I liked this overall, but didn't love it. He's awfully into her awfully fast, which didn't quite gel for me for the type of character he's set up to be...and the powerful/wealthy/sexy male/band of brothers thing wasn't totally convincing to me in this case, either. And the sex is fine, but not fantastic.
I also really hate it when books are set up to be series and a bunch of characters are thrown at you at the very beginning--it's hard to keep track and get invested in the primary characters when that happens. Authors, please take pity on your readers and trust that you'll have time to set up those other characters and relationships in later books, please. It's much more engrossing and emotionally satisfying (not to mention less confusing) if you let us learn about your main characters before you divert our attention towards something else.
Interestingly, I thought the mystery was done pretty well, however, which is often not the case in romantic thrillers. I liked the heroine, too. So I think your overall feeling towards this book probably depends a lot on whether you find the hero charming? And he didn't do all that much for me, I'm afraid. Oh, well.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher....more
My name is Lia Johansen, and I was named for a prisoner of war. She lived in the Tiersten Internment Colony for two years, and when they negotiated thMy name is Lia Johansen, and I was named for a prisoner of war. She lived in the Tiersten Internment Colony for two years, and when they negotiated the return of the prisoners, I was given her memories and sent back in her place.
And I am a genetically engineered human bomb.
Wow. I really, really liked this. Great beginning and terrific narrative--not to mention some scenes that'll make you clench your teeth with tension. My only quibbles: the romance wasn't that interesting to me, and we cycle through a lot of scenarios with what Lia is and Lia isn't. But the ending is exactly what I wanted, and I'm really excited to see what happens next in this world.
The audiobook narrator is fantastic--she does great voices, and her narration style is particularly great in the parts when she's counting down like a perfectly calm, unhurried, merciless clock. 3.5 stars
A review copy was provided by the publisher....more
This was an entertaining read, if a little heavy on the melodrama. But WAIT, Wendy, you know it's about a billionaire and an everyday girl, right? YeaThis was an entertaining read, if a little heavy on the melodrama. But WAIT, Wendy, you know it's about a billionaire and an everyday girl, right? Yeah, yeah, it's a popular trope but it can still be done well.
Anyway, this felt very much like one of those classic serial Harlequin romances, except with a lot more explicit sex. European, cultured guy, the "innocent," exotic, isolated setting, and so on, sometimes combined with some of the less sophisticated descriptions of emotions and scenarios as well. I never really felt a zing of emotional attraction between these two, but the the sex scenes are pretty good. Except--and this is strange since a lot of it hinges upon this--the BDSM scenes didn't seem that compelling/convincing to me? The most titillating of these takes place right in the very beginning (view spoiler)[and it doesn't even involve the heroine (hide spoiler)], and the rest of the dom/sub scenes just didn't play as well to me later on.
But hey, this one seems pretty popular when it was originally published as a serial, so if you're curious, give it a go. Different...strokes and all that. ;)
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
If there was a point to this book, I didn't see it. There is an astonishing lack of emotion and insight, it's too impressed with its own "cleverness,"If there was a point to this book, I didn't see it. There is an astonishing lack of emotion and insight, it's too impressed with its own "cleverness," and it's stunningly boring. I look at the synopsis describing this story as "dazzling," "funny," "wise," and "moving," and I'm just dumbfounded.
I wasn't crazy about the strident style of narration for this audiobook, either.
3.5 stars The diary structure, especially with the snarky, cluttered narrative, wore me down before too long. And yet this story had to be told this w3.5 stars The diary structure, especially with the snarky, cluttered narrative, wore me down before too long. And yet this story had to be told this way, and it has moments where it's genuinely funny as well as a little creepy--and I think the mystery is resolved in a mostly satisfactory way. I enjoyed it, though the style is going to be a turnoff for many.
3.5 stars If you didn't like The Girl on the Train, you certainly won't like this. If you're interested in characters over plot, however, this is anot3.5 stars If you didn't like The Girl on the Train, you certainly won't like this. If you're interested in characters over plot, however, this is another solid entry into a excellent year for psychological thrillers.
Eileen is one of the most pitiable and despicable characters I've ever read; she is not only neurotically self-absorbed and insecure and suffering from severe sexual and emotional repression, but she's also prone to feverishly obsessive behavior. She lewdly fixates on a muscular guard who works at the prison where she's employed, she casually wonders how much time someone would serve to be with a young boy who's incarcerated, and she is all too eager to succumb to the charms of a beautiful new female counselor who is intent upon befriending her. It's uncomfortable and often disgusting being in Eileen's head, but it's absolutely riveting as well.
I think it's so interesting to read these portrayals of unlikeable and loathsome women; we come in all shapes and colors and personalities, and while there are a lot of anti-heroes or men behaving badly who are the main characters in books as television and film, it's much rarer to see the focus on a non-sympathetic woman, particularly ones like Eileen or Rachel who aren't glamorous, seductive creatures. The Amy Dunnes of the world are the secondary characters in these books, and while this seems unpalatable to some readers, these types of characters are much more nuanced and realistic to me.
Anyway--as a mystery, this one's pretty straightforward, and I wish the ending was stronger. But as a character study, this book is completely absorbing and fascinating. ...more
I would like to lock Lauren DeStefano in an attic so she does nothing other than turn out charming middle grade novels for the rest of her life. But II would like to lock Lauren DeStefano in an attic so she does nothing other than turn out charming middle grade novels for the rest of her life. But I suppose that would be unreasonable.
You'll love this book if the sad, tender pull between Liesl and Po tugged at your emotions, if you delighted in the dark humor and dire dangers of the Lemony Snicket series, or if you shivered ever so slightly at the delicious creepiness of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. This book is so comfortably appropriate for children (though perhaps best read reassuringly curled up against a loved one, for both comfort and discussion of serious topics--parents might also consider reading it first before giving it to younger children), even as it doesn't shy away from intelligent use of language or touching on scary topics. The real world can be a sad, scary place, after all. The author's preface was also very moving--the idea of this young cousin of hers clutching a beloved book for security after a death in the family brought a tear to my eye.
Review to come. I loved this, and am so looking forward to book two. I hope the author writes many more middle grade books in the future--particularly ones that so deftly show her rather infamous sense of humor, as well as a glimpse of her heart....more