I was lucky to receive an ARC of this book thanks to Book Reporter (http://bookreporter.com) and after my life settled down (if you didn't know, my grI was lucky to receive an ARC of this book thanks to Book Reporter (http://bookreporter.com) and after my life settled down (if you didn't know, my grandfather was in the hospital and then stayed with my family for two weeks) I finally got a chance to pick it up. I read the book in 24 hours and put all other books and my job search aside. It was that good.
BOND GIRL follows Alex, a recent college graduate who has aspired to follow in her father's footsteps and work on a financial trading floor since she was a child. She joins Cromwell Pierce and immediately realizes her ideas of what it would be like are completely and 100% wrong. There is sexual harassment, no desk for her, bullying, tricks, high pressure scenarios...and a love interest that doesn't take as much interest in her as she thinks.
Alex as a narrator is fun and insightful, as well as fresh and interesting. I loved her story and wanted to know more after the book even ended. The characters were well fleshed out, including the secondary and tertiary ones, and the way this book was written has "make this a movie!" stamped all over it. The situations in this book seem all too real, even for someone like me who worked in Lower Manhattan (albeit not on Wall Street) and saw women like Alex daily rushing about in a world that still treats them as a joke.
The way Alex deals with the problems of her career are fresh, exciting, and driving. A client constantly hits on her, for example, but she is pressured into not saying anything thanks to her extremely large paycheck. But her increasing disenchantment with the field she's always admired makes the book compelling and harrowing, while Alex brings to the narration her ever-present humorous take on her life, her job, and the people around her.
If you don't have a business background, some of the concepts might confuse you (I took economics courses and don't have a clue what bond trading even is still), but putting that aside, BOND GIRL is an exceptional novel that I will recommend to anyone and everyone. And if you want to know more about the type of office where Alex works, trust me, it helps to look it up. I found THIS from UBS that pretty much sums it up. Trust me, it's kind of scary. Especially if you're like me and multiplying 6x15 is a cause for a calculator.
VERDICT: BOND GIRL is a hilarious book with some real impact about a world most of us will never know. It's funny, thrilling, and compelling. Trust me, you want to read this book. It's that good....more
I was lucky to receive an ARC of FRENCH LESSONS from a Goodreads contest, and being the sucker that I am for chick lit and France, I was eager to readI was lucky to receive an ARC of FRENCH LESSONS from a Goodreads contest, and being the sucker that I am for chick lit and France, I was eager to read it. I finally found myself picking it up and jumping in, and the first thing I noticed was the writing style – third person, present tense, and a distinct leaning towards the poetic and literary. The immediate problem – this style of writing immediately seems more forced than effortless. In my experience, this literary lilt is much harder to pull off than your normal, everyday prose, and I feel that Sussman didn’t pull it off like I hoped she would.
The story follows three French tutors and their American clients over the course of a day in Paris, further linked by the filming of a movie on the Pont des Arts in Paris. The story is told mostly in the form of three linked vignettes connected with two short before and after scenes amongst the tutors Nico, Chantal, and Philippe. Their clients are Americans Josie, Riley, and Jeremy, in Paris for various reasons, but all suffering from relationship issues, person problems, identity crises, etc. Having visited Paris in January (for 12 hours on a day trip from London) and having taken two years of French in high school, I wanted to love this book. Instead, I only kinda sorta liked it.
Why, you ask? I felt no connection with the characters. Any of them. They all seemed like two dimensional characters that I couldn’t see as real. I didn’t feel them or believe in them. And, being so short, the story didn’t really give us any closure for many of the characters, and happy endings were in short supply.
Sussman has a tendency to use French language to convey things to other characters, except one teensy weensy problem… The characters understand, but the reader who hasn’t had a French class since 2002? Ehm… I had Google translate open on my computer ready and waiting and I was still confused.
But something about this book kept me intrigued and I finished it relatively quickly considering I was reading other stuff at the same time. It was interesting, the imagery of Paris stunning and alluring, but I couldn’t connect with the characters and their stories. I was more invested in discovering more about the City of Lights than the people inhabiting it. I think Sussman might have missed the boat a little on this, but she still delivers an interesting, light summer read that mixes literary fiction with a beachy flair that makes this ideal for the pool.
VERDICT: With characters that aren’t easy to connect to but a fascinating story to set the scene, FRENCH LESSONS doesn’t quite achieve what it sets out to, but for a beach read, it’s fairly good.
Let me start this review by saying I am a cultured kitty and I do not read books aReviewed by Wilson the Cat for Book Brats Reviews
*clean clean clean*
Let me start this review by saying I am a cultured kitty and I do not read books at random. Most of the stuff my caretaker Megan reads just does not interest me in the least, although I did find ANIMAL FARM to be most intriguing. Megan asked me to read SEX AND THE KITTY by Nancy the Cat as a favor. I owe her a few favors after the money she spends on me so of course I said yes, after several hours of relenting and ignoring her offerings of kitty treats. I was just hungry and milking her for all she was worth.
Nancy the Cat starts her story with her birth and how she came to be taken in by her family. I could not really identify with this, mostly because my mother was feral and lived in the basement of a condemned house in Newark, New Jersey. She kicked me out of the nest and when I was four months old I wound up in the right driveway at the right time. I’ve since moved to North Carolina and turned into a classy cultured southern kitty. I sleep with a picture of Zachary Quinto and have a closet full of clothing. I spend my days lounging around my house and playing with my best friend New Kitty (yes, such an unfortunate name). Sadly, in North Carolina, I do not have many friends.
Nancy’s story is one that humored me for three days of fun. Her shenanigans were very much unlike mine, but her story is one I wish I could live. My owner went to London in January and brought me back English cat treats and they were most tempting. I wish I could be a cat model and act and meet more cats than my two stepsiblings and that cat that sent me to the vet when he attacked me. I did nothing to him! Honestly!
While the story appears inane, it’s actually quite fun. *clean clean clean yawn* I stayed up late and kept reading when I should have gone to bed. I read when the power went out thanks to Irene since Megan wouldn’t let me go outside. I even read after my bath even though I wanted to yowl and get a warm blow dry. Nancy’s story is fun and adventurous, even though it’s outlandish. She is so right about birds and dogs and chickens. I’ve killed a large number of fowl in my life, and don’t get me started on dogs.
*clean clean clean*
Anyway, for my feline friends and the human readers of this blog, SEX AND THE KITTY might be up your alley if you are a fan of Sex and the City. Lolcats? No. I don’t see that at all. Besides, Lolcats aren’t even funny.
MEGAN’S VERDICT: Although the story is farfetched and for humor, Nancy’s story is entertaining and cute. For cat-lovers who enjoyed Sex in the City, it is a great book and makes you think about what your cats are up to a lot more closely....more
As a long time fan of Sophie Kinsella (not so much her real persona, Madeleine Wickham, though – I don’t like the Madeleine Wickham books at all), I’VAs a long time fan of Sophie Kinsella (not so much her real persona, Madeleine Wickham, though – I don’t like the Madeleine Wickham books at all), I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER made me fearful. Not that I would be scared by the book itself, but that the book would disappoint me and ruin everything I love about Kinsella. CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC is my go-to book for when I’m depressed. Well, let’s just say that I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER, while not as impressive as CONFESSIONS, is a great addition to the Sophie Kinsella library. If you just forget that Sophie Kinsella is a pseudonym for Madeleine Wickham, author of the dreadful THE GATECRASHER, that is.
I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER is the story of Poppy Wyatt, a young physical therapist living in London and engaged to the too-good-to-be-true Magnus Tavish, a genius from a family of geniuses. Poppy and Magnus barely know one another, but he’s proposed, wedding arrangements have been made, and in a few short days they’ll be walking down the aisle. By chance, though, Poppy acquires the phone of business consultant Sam Roxton’s PA (who chucked it in a garbage can after quitting) after her phone is stolen and her ring goes missing. Poppy decides to help Sam out while using the phone for her own purposes, and of course antics ensue. This is a romantic comedy, after all.
While she wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box, Poppy was an adorable narrator full of problems, concerns, naïve thoughts, and a desire to help that is often misguided. Paired with the brash, workaholic Sam, and the relationship between these two is fun and electric. Magnus is a wonderful secondary character that really does come off as a strange love interest with some secrets that rock Poppy to her core. The plot itself was cute, fun, and unique. And seriously, sharing a phone with anyone? Sharing a phone with my mother when we’re out is like pulling teeth, especially when she goes through my email thinking that she can find directions that way. Sharing it with a complete stranger? Agh noooo!
I did have a slight problem, but this is related mostly to my eGalley (from Netgalley) copy on Kindle. Footnotes are a major part of the story, tying in Poppy’s relationship with Magnus and putting in her own personal thoughts on situations. On my eGalley, though, the footnotes would appear on random pages at random places, making the experience confusing. I wish that Kindle would do a better job of incorporating footnotes, but I guess that asking anything of Kindle is a hard bargain.
This is a longer book, but after you hit the 50% mark or so, the book flies by. It’s quick and fun and definitely Kinsella’s best book since CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC. Poppy was no Becky Bloomwood, but she was adorable and I was definitely rooting for her. And I loved Sam! He was such a great character in my opinion, but I am notoriously fond of strong business-minded types over action heroes. Magnus was equally smarmy and skeezy, creating the perfect atmosphere for the story. This book was plotted and paced well for the most part. It was charming, quirky, and adorable.
VERDICT: A definite Kinsella success, I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER is cute and romantic while maintaining a wonderful comedic edge. If you’re into cute chick lit, this book is definitely for you....more
When I entered a contest and agreed to participate in an author discussion, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into with SKINNY. I thought I woulWhen I entered a contest and agreed to participate in an author discussion, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into with SKINNY. I thought I would be getting a book about one woman’s acceptance of herself. I rarely read into details about things and this has often led me down weird paths with books. SKINNY was kind of a discussion about acceptance and body image, but more so about grief, blame, and realizations about one’s self and one’s life. Gray is a 26 year old (note: I think the math might have been wrong because unless she spent several months in the hospital, she would have been 27 during camp if her father died on her 26th birthday fourteen months before she was in the hospital after 7 weeks of camp – small nitpick, but I could very well be wrong) New Yorker who has lost her dad and blames herself, diving straight into an eating binge before finding out she might have a half sister. She signs up to be a camp counselor at a fat camp in North Carolina (yay NC) in order to lose her fifteen extra pounds and to meet this sister she never knew she had.
The story is well paced and interesting, keeping me wrapped up in the storyline, especially the last 150 pages (read one morning when insomnia and a perky cat woke me up at 6 AM). For the most part, the characters intrigued me, especially Spider the allergic camper and Gray’s boyfriend back home Mikey, an up-and-coming comedian. The one character I really disliked, though, was Gray herself. Her whining was constant and by the end I really found myself wanting her to shut up. She blamed herself for things she had no responsibility over, cheated on her boyfriend who loved her, and ignored her own issues that prevented her from getting better. She wasn’t fat, she was just someone who needed to come to terms with herself. And a therapist wouldn’t have hurt.
I give this book props for the main male non-boyfriend love interest, Bennett. Not really because I found him too exciting, but because he was a Carolina Hurricanes fan. This really must be the first book I’ve ever read with a Hurricanes shout out. I used to live in the NC mountains so I enjoyed the setting and understood that well. Overall, the strength of this story lies less in the characters but more in the story. Even if I disliked most of the characters (especially Gray and her co-counselor Sheena, who I thought was exceedingly stupid and vindictive for little reason), I enjoyed the pace of the story and the flow. It kept me hooked, maybe because I wanted to see if the characters changed for the better. The ending, though, left a little to be desired. Gray found peace and moved on, but it wasn’t fulfilling like I had expected.
Despite the characterization faults, Spechler’s writing is engaging and fun. I was drawn in immediately, which was hard to do considering I started it at the beach with the ocean calling my name. I’m definitely interested in reading more from this author, just as long as Gray is not involved.
VERDICT: Besides annoying characters (including the MC), SKINNY is a fun, quick read for young women who have gone through grief and bouts of self esteem issues. It’s more of a 3.5 than a 4, but since I round up…
♥♥♥♥ - FOUR HEARTS
NOTE: This book was provided for free by Harper Perennial in exchange for participation in an author discussion hosted by The Next Best Book Blog on Goodreads in August. ...more
I admit, sometimes people get very confused when I tell them I am a real life (albeit American) version of Becky Bloomwood. I have a shopping problem.I admit, sometimes people get very confused when I tell them I am a real life (albeit American) version of Becky Bloomwood. I have a shopping problem. For example, books are one of my habits instead of scarves. I have received letter after letter, even calls, from my bank telling me that I owe them money. I am, for lack of a better word, broke.
I first read Confessions of a Shopaholic a few years ago and recently picked it back up. This might be my favorite light hearted book ever, especially since I find myself leaning towards literary books more than chick lit these days. This is definitely a fluff book, but seeing as how much I identified with Becky and her troubles, I fell in love with this. That’s really rare for me, considering that I am by nature a pessimist. I really shouldn’t admit that, that’s not really a good thing to say. With her budgets and bills and receipts, I saw flashes of myself on each page, especially the parts about lying about language ability to get a job. Luckily I deleted that part before I submitted the resume!
This book is probably not for everyone. I could see how people might consider her extremely unlikable. Becky is shallow, somewhat dumb, naïve, and doesn’t really care about others in pursuit of fashion and shopping. She’s a girl who is unhappy with her job, unhappy with a lot of things in general, but obsessed with clothes, and by the end of the book, we are able to see how she has changed, mostly for the better. It’s a cute story and a fun read. It isn’t supposed to make you think, and that’s why I loved Becky’s story and eventually went on to read the rest of the series, which did deteriorate in quality but not enough to turn me off.
I’ve suggested this book to everyone I know. Some have loved it, some not, but it’s a cute, fun pick me up that I wholeheartedly love....more