**spoiler alert** I got this book for free in a Goodreads Giveaways from Hachette Book Group. I was so excited, especially because I figured I was doo**spoiler alert** I got this book for free in a Goodreads Giveaways from Hachette Book Group. I was so excited, especially because I figured I was doomed to never win another Goodreads Giveaway. Anyway, I loved loved loved loved loved this book. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the author was Susan Jane Gilman, who had written "Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress", a memoir I had read previously and loved for its humor, wit, and blatant truths. It was also a pretty fun ride.
I really can't say enough good things about "The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street" (and not only because I won this book). I truly loved it and was very sad to see it end, because it was such a good read. I got through it pretty quickly, mostly because it was just hard to put down; I just didn't want to stop reading. I loved the vivid, colorful descriptive, well-written prose that seemed to fill in every single detail of early immigrant life in 1920s New York, from the strong smells, to the mass of human bodies crammed into the tenements and the streets, to the poverty, sending out small children as young as Malka and Flora to make some money for the family so everyone doesn't starve.
I loved Malka-Lillian as a character and narrator. Almost immediately I was taken in by her voice, all encompassing, brutally honest; she came off as 100 percent flawed human, sort of ruthless and single-minded in her pursuit to work and improve her and her husband Bert's ice cream business, willing to step on anyone—even her adoptive family—to get ahead and get what she wants. In the post-script, Gilman describes Lillian as an "antihero", as a woman who "hates children and would rather have a drink", someone who really doesn't see the error of her ways until her mid-seventies when it's just about too late. Despite this, I couldn't help but find Lillian likable, mostly because she just seemed like a real person, a real fighter, determined to make her way in the world and to do everything in a really big way (because why would she do anything in a small way? That's just not her).
I despised Malka's parents. Her mother abandoned her after the accident, and ended up in an asylum after her three remaining children were divided to other families. She just gave up, though Malka remembers her as a tough old woman. Her father deserted the family shortly after their journey to America, and then later reappears in Lillian's life only to swindle her out of $25,000. I was so mad at him for that! And poor Lillian just wanted his love and approval. I was glad when she finally "washed her hands of him" later in her life.
Loved the improbable (but probably not completely impossible) love story between Lillian and Bert. It's very obvious how much they love each other, though Lillian still can't help but question it every now and then. The day of Bert's 75 birthday was so heartbreaking; Bert wanted only to spend a little alone time with the love of his life, while Lillian's mind was again on business, and the party planning, and drinking. After his death, it would have proven Lillian to be some odd, cold fish not to react the way she did in her grief (and because she always does things on a large scale, everything had to be over the top, wild-dramatic and borderline crazy).
Loved that Lillian was able to reconnect with Flora near the end of the book. I couldn't help but wonder what became of Bella, but it seemed that once she left to be a nanny or babysitter to that family when they moved to Brooklyn, she was lost to them forever. And I loved the relationship Lillian had with her grandson in all its 1980s glory. It was a lot of fun reading about 80s fashions and music genres and having a "cameo" from Robin Leach.
There are many more good things I want to say about this book, but for now I will end with how much I loved and enjoyed reading such a great, sweeping historical novel, and how I think it's even better than ice cream! ...more
Bought this the other day and immediately tore through it. It's brilliant, love the artist's style of manga, and it hits on all the key plot points frBought this the other day and immediately tore through it. It's brilliant, love the artist's style of manga, and it hits on all the key plot points from the book, but visuals. Sexy visuals, at times. I actually wished it was longer and even more detailed, but I guess I'll just have to read it again. A welcome addition to my small but awesome manga collection. :)...more
**spoiler alert** I'm on page 62, but I am utterly bored by this novel and don't think I can stomach another page. I was trying to get it a good shot**spoiler alert** I'm on page 62, but I am utterly bored by this novel and don't think I can stomach another page. I was trying to get it a good shot because it was a Christmas gift—in hardcover, besides—but I just don't think I can manage. It's just drivel, a whining narrator who says the title of the book, "The Yonahlosse Riding Camp for Girls" just about a billion times per page, who wants to be popular yet also unnoticed at her new camp/school, who was sent away from her childhood home and family, including her twin brother Sam, due to a scandal. At this point, I'm not even sure I care what the scandal was. I can guess, from the vague hints the narrator gives, that the narrator probably slept with some boy and is pregnant or is viewed as "ruined" (1930s American South), and that her twin brother got into a fight with his sister's mysterious lover.
I really don't care to read anymore. I was wholly dismayed to realize this book was nearly 400 pages and at page 62, I have only a little idea of the narrator's–Thea—role in the whole scandal. I have not connected with Thea or any of the other characters. I think reading this book is a waste of my time. ...more
**spoiler alert** Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the first. The writing and plotting were sloppy and the whole thing sort of**spoiler alert** Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the first. The writing and plotting were sloppy and the whole thing sort of felt dumbed down and just a huge rehashing of what had happened in the first book. Even the ending was practically the same: Lena Claims herself to be both Light and Dark at the end of this one, and in the first book, she sort of ends up both Light and Dark but *without* actually Claiming herself. Also, Abraham, Sarafine and Hunting all get away again. I was pretty sure that Lena had killed them all at the end of the first book (not Abraham, who wasn't in it, but Larkin), but in this book it turns out they are very much alive. I think this one had way too many characters all crammed into one space.
Honestly, much of the plot felt farfetched and required the extremes of suspending your disbelief, an overall effect which came off as forced. In the first book, you the reader gets information about the goings-on pretty much as they are happening in the present and at the same moment Ethan, the narrator, so you're basically choosing to accept the information as he is, whether or not he fully understands it all. But in this one, the information kept getting more ridiculous and out there. I absolutely despised Liv, as well as when the book goes out of Ethan's POV to show the return of Abraham and apparently the now Mortal Ridley releasing John Breed out of the retrieved Arclight. I also didn't like Lena in this book; in the first one, she had a better reason to be kind of whiny and bratty, but in this book, that got old really fast. I guess I could excuse that as Ethan did—when he *finally* found out the reason Lena had become so distant: because she was certain she'd killed Macon in exchange for Ethan's life.
I don't know, it just seems like Lena has no spine and is just this constant damsel in distress waiting for Ethan to swoop in and save her. And on that note, Ethan is always running headlong into trouble and waiting on Amma to come and save him. It's getting old.
I already purchased book three, "Beautiful Chaos" but I'm sort of on the fence about continuing the series/saga. Book two was so disappointing and kind of lame. Already crossing my fingers they don't make book two into a movie. ...more
**spoiler alert** This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Where in the world has this author been hiding?! She's amazing—the writing i**spoiler alert** This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Where in the world has this author been hiding?! She's amazing—the writing is excellent and brilliant; I was instantly drawn in at the first paragraph. I loved the characters, especially the two main characters featured on the cover, Elizabeth and Murphy, both separately and together as friends, lovers and possibly planet Ardagh 1's saviors. The whole plot was believable and tangible and vivid and lush, with imagery and fantasy ground in reality. The pacing is perfect, nothing is rushed or too slow, every detail is revealed at the appropriate moments. I was very sad to see this end. It's one of those books that's nearly impossible to put down—not only was the writing good but I was so interested and fascinated by what the characters were going through that I just wanted to know more and more.
I was very surprised that the plot took a turn into the VERY steamy hot romance territory. Sometimes, the overly over-sexed romance books are a total turn off for me because I think that all the sex scenes detract from telling the story, but actually in this case, the sex scenes added to the plot because Elizabeth and Murphy were just THAT MUCH in love, it was as if you could feel it coming off the pages, their love and their bond.
Usually I don't go for science fiction/books with aliens, but I was highly intrigued by the back of the book's blurb—it had already sounded cool and different describing Elizabeth traveling from Earth to Ardagh 1 to continue her psychology degree and counsel the colonists who are suffering from the "ghost" problem—aliens who take the form of the colonists' dead loved ones—and making an instant connection with Murphy, the man who was supposed to be her supervisor. And then I got to the part where it says that Elizabeth dies during the transport and is reborn as a "ghost". Murphy, the creator of the "Ghost Protocol" (instituted to help ease the colonists' states of mind), is forbidden from interacting with Elizabeth, since she becomes his "ghost", but Elizabeth isn't about to fade into the background, stay silent or waste away. It was really cool watching her adjust to being dead and being alive as an alien, and then watching her fight for everything, including the man she loves, Murphy.
I really wish it wasn't over, I just enjoyed reading it so much. I hope the author will put another book out soon. And I hope there will be a sequel to this book—this characters should live on for another life. ...more
I really like this book so far but I'm putting it down for now, only because I'm reading 2 other books and because life is just too busy right now toI really like this book so far but I'm putting it down for now, only because I'm reading 2 other books and because life is just too busy right now to focus on reading 3 books at the same time. xD But I am really enjoying the story. It's different from the show (so far) but that's not a bad thing at all. ...more
**spoiler alert** I can't help it, I really love Sunako and Kyohei as a (to use a fandom term) OTP. They are extraordinarily perfect for each other, a**spoiler alert** I can't help it, I really love Sunako and Kyohei as a (to use a fandom term) OTP. They are extraordinarily perfect for each other, and the best part (other than the fact that their friendship grows stronger and develops further with each book) is that they have no clue. XD It's like a OTP set in the stars trillions of eons ago, like absolutely destined, in spite of, ahem, appearances.
I also love that Sunako is growing more as a person and a friend to all of the guys without losing her love for horror stuff or her intentions to not ever become a "dazzling creature of the light" (without adorning herself with light bulbs or something). And I love that all five of them are acting more and more like a cute little family that's made of good friends, and even has the extended family with Noi, who is so cute about her love for Takenaga that she refuses to give up even when he can't properly express his feelings for her. ...more