I'm not sure if I would have picked up this book if I had been at the bookstore. I wasn't too thrilled about the cover, but the blurb was intriguing,...moreI'm not sure if I would have picked up this book if I had been at the bookstore. I wasn't too thrilled about the cover, but the blurb was intriguing, and it was described as a modern take on the Alice in Wonderland storyline, so I thought, why not give it a go? And boy, am I glad I did! This is one of the most amazing books I have read lately. Taken by itself, there's nothing spectacular about any aspect of this book on its own - but taken together, as a big whole, you're in for an experience.
My first impression when I started reading this book is that this is serious chick-lit (and no, that is not an oxymoron! And that's why the cover didn't sit well with me - this book could do with a lighter, quirkier, chick-lit cover!) Chick-lit can be light, funny, but serious as well and provoke questions inside your brain - exactly what Ms. Smith accomplishes with Alison Wonderland. The book is described as literature - it is, but at the same time, it's not dry, stuff-it-down-your-throat British literature. Let's just say it's a cross between the lightness of Jane Austen, the humour of Janet Evanovich reminiscent of the Stephanie Plum novels but with a dry, totally British twist that makes you chuckle loudly instead of bursting into laughter, all amid a world of suspended fantasy.
Let's see if we can elaborate on that description. The book and its plot is light - no saving the Third World or big reflections of the kind here. And the humour - British wit at its best. Anyone who loves British humour will dig this story (and there's talks of Alison Wonderland being made into a TV series - I say 'bring it on'! I can totally see this as a typically Brit TV show in the style of Being Human).
As to the suspended fantasy... let's just say I've never read anything like this before. The story takes place in modern London and England, but this take that Ms. Smith infuses into the location turns the world-building into a full facet of the book. Imagine a psychic postman who gets a psychic message from a witch warning him that so-and-so is in danger, and he writes down the note on a postcard and slips it through your mailbox - there's nothing more mundane than a postman sliding a postcard in a mail box, right? So that's why this, and other such fantastic episodes and happenings in the story, strike you. When you put this book down, you start to look at the world around you with different eyes - maybe, just maybe, what you see is not the reality you imagine it is... And that's a strength of Ms. Smith's writing, making you question your reality in a subtle, curious way.
Another strength of this book is the characterization. Like many books by British authors, this story and its plot focuses on the characters. It is these people living inside the book that take you places and show you their world - their quirks, their foibles, this little sneaky peek into their minds. The POV hops between chapters and that's a little confusing at first, but you get into the rhythm along the way. Throw in some Brit pop culture references - such as how Alison's friend Taron kinda looks like an old flame of Prince Andrew and they're travelling to an area where there are lots of army men, so possibly they could fall on the prince himself; not to mention Jaffa Cakes, liquorice allsorts, and Wagon Wheels (making me crave British sweets and biscuits, darn!) - and you feel like you're in England right along with Alison on her quirky journey.
All in all, a book to be added to your to-read list. There's something almost magical about Alison Wonderland, and I cannot wait for you to discover it for yourself. (less)
Another one I got into without knowing it was somewhere part of a series, but mind, any reservations I might've had about jumping into a book with a p...moreAnother one I got into without knowing it was somewhere part of a series, but mind, any reservations I might've had about jumping into a book with a prior-established cast and storyline melted right from the prologue itself.
Ms. Davis introduces us to the whole Sophie clan, and within a few paragraphs, has introduced everyone and settled her reader right there into the scene. She won me from here already.
I loved the light, fun tone of this book. Sophie and her clan are over the top but this comes across in a hilarious way, and not in any grating or airhead-y manner. Kudos to Kyra Davis for managing that feat. Everyone was well-drawn, unique, and felt like people you could really meet out there (yes, even the Disney-afficinado ones!). Sophie herself is a refreshing character, and what I really liked also about this series, Sophie is in a relationship (okay, somewhat in a relationship...) and she's not the nausea-inducing-heroine-type who has all the hot men in the book falling in love with her! She's really a normal girl with a somewhat-extraordinary life. The addition of hunky Anatoly and the 'normal couple' vibe he and Sophie give add another layer to the truth of their actual positions - the quirkiness of Sophie's life, and the dangerous, mysterious shroud around Anatoly.
The book ends on a screech-worthy cliffie, and will make you crave to get your hands on the next Sophie book to figure out what's going on.
If you enjoy chick-lit and/or light & funny mysteries, and if quirky characters rock your boat, this is the book and the series for you.(less)
African-American twins Pearl and Opal Jefferson live a blissful life along with their best friend, Latina chick Debra Flores. They have a beautiful ho...moreAfrican-American twins Pearl and Opal Jefferson live a blissful life along with their best friend, Latina chick Debra Flores. They have a beautiful house, a car, a successful business, pretty faces and nice bodies. Theirs is a ‘simple’ life, rhythmed by parties, outings, and no-strings-attached sex.
Until the day White guy Jake steps into their life. He falls for Pearl. Another White guy, Doug, has the hots for Opal, while African-American Rakim falls hard for Debra. There is also Jake’s racist brother, Frank, to contend with in this explosive multi-racial mix.
The girls are not really enthusiastic about the guys. Or so it seems. Pearl crosses the line they had set – it’s no longer just for sex. She is in love with Jake, and wants more. A full relationship, in fact.
Will she be able to stand up for their couple? Both her sister and Jake’s brother are against this relationship. And Pearl opens a whole can of worms with her decision – can interracial relationships really work, even in today’s times?
The book starts with a good premise. However, I have to say the issue got lost somewhere along the way. Too much happening, too many episodes of day-to-day life, too many details - which in the end, prevented the author from really getting into her characters’ heads. The implications the premise raises are lost and barely touched upon. In a way, the story almost reads like chick-lit, but unfortunately, the reader is not drawn enough into the minds of the characters. In many places, the dialogue was also hard to follow, since the author places three or more female characters in a scene and refers to most of them as ‘she’. The identification of the speaker is lost, rendering a chaotic dynamic to the mix.
It still remains a book of acceptable standard, especially if one is looking for a light read to while away the time.
The man of your dreams is within reach... is this reality or are you lostl in la-la-land?
Cathy Chambers is a literary agent. With her twin boys in col...moreThe man of your dreams is within reach... is this reality or are you lostl in la-la-land?
Cathy Chambers is a literary agent. With her twin boys in college, Cathy is settling down and savoring life. Things are good, and nothing could make it better. Well, a man certainly could, but not everyone out there will take his chance with a full-figured woman. So Cathy falls back on a fantasy - her man will be Marcus Fox, her favorite New York Yankees player. Of course, it is all naught but a dream.
Marcus Fox is a famous athlete. He knows it, and sometimes thinks this can hinder the real man inside him. Of course, he doesn't show this outwardly, preferring to live an uncomplicated life between his job on the pitch and a stress-free life dating stunning women who often happen to be models. Until a chance encounter allows Marcus to glimpse Cathy in a restaurant.
Marcus's attention is piqued by this beautiful, confident woman who carries herself with poise and grace even in the face of adversity. A woman who feels good in her own skin, however much it doesn't fit the required criteria of beauty in today's world, attracts him tremendously. Marcus knows he has to meet her, and that's how he strolls over to her table and introduces himself.
Cathy at first thinks she's dreaming, even when Marcus asks her to attend one of his team's game. But she cannot fight against waking up and facing the truth, as unbelievable as it may appear - Can Marcus, a man renowned to go after stick-thin women, really be interested in someone like her?
Even more important, does Cathy trust herself enough to plunge into this relationship? Never before had her stand and her self-consciousness been tested this way. Will Cathy be able to show to herself, to Marcus, and to the world, that she isn't NOT HIS TYPE?
A delightful story liberally sprinkled with doses of humor, NOT HIS TYPE however manages to address serious issues. Ms. Canton achieves the feat of showing the real turmoil and internal struggle of a woman with a full figure. Her mastery of her words and prose convey in a clear and precise picture what full-figured women face in today's world.
Cathy is an extremely likeable character. She comes across as realist and this trait is endearing, in that he reader has the impression, throughout the story, of dealing with a 'real' person. Cathy could be someone you are conversing with in your living room over a cup of coffee. That's how close Ms. Canton makes us feel to her main protagonist. Cathy's relationship with Marcus is one you cannot help but approve and root for. Marcus is a very likeable character too, in the sense that he stands up for what he feels is right and doesn't bother with what the world wants to dictate him to do.
On the whole, a very good story. NOT HIS TYPE is chock full of emotion. Laughter jumps off the page in many instances, none less than when the cast of secondary characters take the stage with Cathy and Marcus.