This author has an incredible talent for drawing a reader into the mindset and emotions of her characters, and those characters are well-defined and aThis author has an incredible talent for drawing a reader into the mindset and emotions of her characters, and those characters are well-defined and authentic with their quirks, etc., but there's really no story here. It was more like vignettes on the lives of various humans. Some readers will definitely find these humans relatable and interesting, but for me they fell flat - even though they didn't "feel" flat, if that makes any sense.
There were interesting dynamics between the characters, for sure - especially between Clementine and Erika, I thought - but not interesting enough to make me want to read all eight hundred bajillion pages of this book. (Confession: I started skimming through present-day chapters and only read-read the Barbecue pages.) There are tons of parenthetical asides (like I just did there...and here) that interrupt the flow of the narrative and become annoying.
I started enjoying the book much more when I focused mainly on the barbecue, but even that section of the story got tedious. For example, a pretty intense (by this story's standards...see? The parenthetical thing is irritating, right?) scenario is interrupted with paragraphs and paragraphs of tragic backstory on a very minor character - in chapter 83! In my opinion, that's way too late to ask readers to care about a character that's barely had any screen time.
The structure of this story felt wrong. Too much back and forth in time, too much build-up to a disappointing payoff, and too much bouncing between characters. If it had been carefully edited to half the length and told in chronological order, I probably would have enjoyed it. Instead, making my way through this behemoth of a book felt more like a chore - to me. But if you're a reader who likes long, realistic stories that are entirely character driven, you'll probably enjoy it.
A minor nitpick: I thought the reactions to the reveal about Tiffany's past occupation were juvenile and insulting. Lots and lots of people have that job in their pasts and that doesn't make them some kind of alien creatures. And why were they all so surprised? From the moment I met her on the pages, I assumed it was a possibility....more
This collection of real-life stories from women who hit their stride later in life should be required reading for all women who've completed their firThis collection of real-life stories from women who hit their stride later in life should be required reading for all women who've completed their first half century on this earth. These stories are honest and inspiring - the overall message being that it's never too late to reach for your dreams or turn your life around when it's gotten off track.
The book is divided into three parts: Career and finances, Fitness and Hobbies, and Personal Challenges. I took my time making my way through each section so I could absorb the lessons to be learned from each of these awesome women. ...more
If you’re looking for a story that will transport you, this is it. From the very first chapters, my heart thundered along with Eliza’s—the forebodingIf you’re looking for a story that will transport you, this is it. From the very first chapters, my heart thundered along with Eliza’s—the foreboding in her gut to what becomes an all-out crisis. The characters are well drawn and believable with intriguing depth. I got a clear sense of Eliza’s and Sharif’s backgrounds along the way, but the story stays focused on the moment. It takes talent to achieve that, and I’m sure a LOT of hard work.
Equally impressive is the research that went into this book. I’ve followed the author’s blog, so I know she did her homework and enlisted input from experts to create an authentic world. All that research paid off. The cultural elements as well as the legal intricacies feel so real.
Forbidden has twists and turns that’ll keep your mind whirring. Just when you think you have something figured out, a surprise awaits. The romance between the two leads builds up at a satisfying pace. These are two adults in dire circumstances, not insta-lovey teenagers, and Stone keeps them true to character throughout. There are beautifully written passages along the way to drive their intense emotions home.
Readers who like suspense with a strong element of romance will love this story. ...more
I never expected to say this about a Jane Austen novel, but I'm with Mark Twain on this one.
I read it for the first time many years ago, and all I remI never expected to say this about a Jane Austen novel, but I'm with Mark Twain on this one.
I read it for the first time many years ago, and all I remembered about it from then was that my reaction was "meh." So I figured I'd give it another chance. But this time, I enjoyed it even less. Anne Elliot was such a snob! Maybe not always about class (though even there we saw her judgments on Mrs. Clay - how dare the lowly woman not be satisfied to stay stuck in her lower class?), but she so obviously thought herself above everyone around her. Why? Because she read books? Because she was so much more boring than any other character in the book (save perhaps Lady Russell)? Because she spent so much time over-analyzing every look from Captain Wentworth?
It would have been nice to see her show one ounce of self-deprecation at some point in the story, but even about her most scuzzy action - backing out of her commitment to Wentworth because she caved to Lady Russell's argument that he didn't have enough money to make precious Anne happy - she gives a whole speech about how she's decided that she was right. And then Wentworth takes blame on himself! Ugh. Get me a femur. ...more
A perfect story. Rich atmosphere, elegant prose, loaded with intrigue. Info. & mystery were doled out at just the right pace to draw me deeper andA perfect story. Rich atmosphere, elegant prose, loaded with intrigue. Info. & mystery were doled out at just the right pace to draw me deeper and deeper into the world. The ending - amazing, fantastic, wonderful.
This is one of those stories I have loaded on my mobile Kindle app to read whenever I'm stuck waiting in line or whatever - in other words, in short spurts and at times when outside distractions abound, so I'm shocked at how quickly this one gripped me and wouldn't let go....more
This is an interesting story of an unlikely pairing. Kelly is self-deprecating, funny, and real. I couldn’t help but like her—and neither could AndrewThis is an interesting story of an unlikely pairing. Kelly is self-deprecating, funny, and real. I couldn’t help but like her—and neither could Andrew. For a while the relationship seems almost a little too perfect, but the way Kelly continually ignores Andrew’s references to his troubled past hints that their sweet romance will take a sharp downturn at some point.
Though the story deals with some heavy issues, swift pacing and humor throughout keep the overall tenor of this book light. The way it ended definitely has me curious to see where things go from here. ...more
I want to live in this world! The thing is, it's a totally realistic world - but seen through the imaginative & effervescent eyes of 6th grader, KI want to live in this world! The thing is, it's a totally realistic world - but seen through the imaginative & effervescent eyes of 6th grader, Kyle Constantini. She's a high-energy free-thinker, and spending time with her is a delight.
Her story of adjusting to middle school is told at a steady clip with tons of Kyle's offbeat, vibrant humor. She made me bust out laughing many times while reading. The side characters are a great collection of unique individuals. Even the adults - especially the Mom - reveal interesting hints of unexpected layers.
Although this story is light, deeper themes about relationships and their ever-changing dynamics are presented, which makes this story a great read for middle-schoolers as well as adults. Definitely looking forward to what's next from this author. ...more
This is a different kind of chick-lit story that’s well worth the read. Aimée is a hot friggin’ mess. She’s not just a little out of sorts or in a sluThis is a different kind of chick-lit story that’s well worth the read. Aimée is a hot friggin’ mess. She’s not just a little out of sorts or in a slump. She’s in the midst of a crisis, and the authors do a great job of pulling the reader right inside it—and somehow, they managed to make me laugh along the way. Just read the first chapter to see what I’m talking about. This story starts out with a major bang and continues at a swift pace from there, with Aimée in one crazy situation after another.
What I think is especially well done in this story is that it delivers a solid background for Aimée’s issues. At first I had trouble relating to such a manic character, but then I met her parents and a whole lot became clear. Definitely started rooting for her at that point.
Another thing I admire about this book is that the male characters aren't sugarcoated. Their flaws are exposed and portrayed honestly. A douche is called a douche.
Random observation: Intomesee makes great use of dog. A lot of times when there's a pet in a story, it feels forced or thrown in as an afterthought, but the darling Stud was consistent throughout the story and was a necessary, enjoyable element.
Loved, loved, loved the way this one ends. Aimée shows real growth. There were many moments when I was afraid for her going in a bad direction, and then our girl would come through with strength and wisdom and awesome Aiméeness.
Amid the fun, readers are treated to bits of philosophy and reflection that make you think beyond - always a bonus when that happens....more