I like Ali Wentworth. She has a self-deprecating and quirky sense of humor. She was Schmoopie on Seinfeld. She was a correspondent on Oprah’s show and...moreI like Ali Wentworth. She has a self-deprecating and quirky sense of humor. She was Schmoopie on Seinfeld. She was a correspondent on Oprah’s show and was very funny. So why didn’t I like this book more?
First and foremost it felt like she was trying to hard. It just seemed as if she just kept trying to shock or trying to be really over the top with her descriptions. It just didn’t flow nicely and sometimes the changes were jarring. There was the story of being in NYC on 9/11, it seemed out of place in this memoir and using it as a background for an amusing story about her mother was cringe worthy. There was also a story about her friend being stabbed and her almost being raped. This seemed completely out of place and out of step with the rest of this book. And what is the solution to both of these terrible experiences? Go to The Four Seasons, her mother’s solutions to all of life’s ills. The Four Season’s should pay Ali Wentworth, because they got free advertising throughout the book.
At the very start of the book Ali mentions that her family used to be rich, but now there is no money. Then she goes on to discuss going to a private boarding school, ski trips and going to Spain and Paris or, of course, the Four Seasons - all the time. That may be a very rich person’s definition of poor but I don’t think it resonates with ‘average’ people.
There were a few laugh out loud moments, but not enough for me, especially when Chelsea Handler, whom I love, has a testimonial on the back cover that says the book is “truly hilarious”.
I wish I liked it more, because I think she is a very funny person, but maybe she’s better at stand-up or acting than writing. This was a disappointing book for me. (less)
First off let me state that paranormal romance is not my usual cup of tea. However I didn’t know that this was a romance book, the description of the...moreFirst off let me state that paranormal romance is not my usual cup of tea. However I didn’t know that this was a romance book, the description of the book stated that Charley Davidson is a woman who sees dead people and helps the police solve crimes. I was thinking it would be a book along the lines of the TV series’ Medium or The Ghost Whisperer and I like stories about ghosts. So I started reading the book. Soon it became very clear to me that this was a paranormal romance bordering on erotica. Still I read on. Unfortunately I didn’t like the book that much, it had some moments but overall I felt the author tried too hard.
Charley Davidson does see dead people, she sees them because she is the Grim Reaper, born to apparently mortal parents and she is here to help people into the light. She consults with the Albuquerque Police Dept., helping her uncle solve murders by virtue of her inside ability to speak to the dead, especially murder victims who seem to stick around a bit longer than other dead people. She does let some people in on her secret but for the most part people just think she has an innate ability to solve crimes.
This book reminded me very much of the Stephanie Plum books, but with ghosts. Rather than being suspenseful the main character is sarcastic and trying really hard to be funny and it gets tiring after a while. There are two ‘men’ in her life, an entity that she is having some hot fantasy sex with and a very attractive cop co-worker that seems more than a little interested in Charley. I just found it a bit derivative.
If you are a fan of this genre you may really enjoy the book, it’s quite obvious this is the opening salvo of a new series. I just have no interest in moving on. (less)
Isn’t it time to retire the ‘friends since college, friends ‘til the end, and one of them is ill?’ theme?
There was nothing new in this book that hasn’...moreIsn’t it time to retire the ‘friends since college, friends ‘til the end, and one of them is ill?’ theme?
There was nothing new in this book that hasn’t been seen before, and done considerably better (Elizabeth Berg & Patricia Gaffney to mention two).
Julia, Astor, Byrd, Lanier, Corrine and Rosanelle have been friends since college. They have gone their separate ways, yet they meet twice a year. They call themselves The Same Sweet Girls, and during their yearly get togethers they choose a Queen for the year, replete with ceremony and lots of alcohol.
I cannot tell you how many times I rolled my eyes or laughed out loud at some of the dopey things done or said on this book. And if I had money for every time the word naïve or innocent was used to describe someone I’d have some bucks. The only part of the book I really enjoyed in terms of writing was the last 4 pages, and I can’t talk about them because they spoil the book.
Please someone come up with a more original way to tell these stories of women’s friendships that don’t involve illness and/or abuse.(less)
Holly Kennedy is 30 years old, and has recently been widowed. When Gerry dies, Holly loses the love of her life, her best friend. After 2 months of in...moreHolly Kennedy is 30 years old, and has recently been widowed. When Gerry dies, Holly loses the love of her life, her best friend. After 2 months of inconsolable grief, Holly finds a package that contains 10 letters for her from Gerry. He leaves her a letter saying that each one should be opened in the month written on the envelope. So begins Holly’s journey to healing and self discovery.
This book has a clever premise, and for the most part I enjoyed it. At times the writing seemed a little immature and the situations didn’t always ring true. Never the less there were moments of truly laugh out loud funny dialogue and others of heart felt sadness. Although the ending was a bit too pat, it didn’t end exactly as I thought it would. I did enjoy a good deal of this book, and think the writer shows promise. I would read another by her.(less)
I have yet to decide how I feel about this book. Parts of it were laugh out loud funny, but a lot of it was annoying, mostly because of the caricature...moreI have yet to decide how I feel about this book. Parts of it were laugh out loud funny, but a lot of it was annoying, mostly because of the caricatures of people were so over the top as to make you roll you eyes.
Ivy Ames seems to have it all, a high powered job, a loving husband, 2 great kids and fabulous life living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. All this comes to a crashing end when Ivy loses her job and finds her husband with another woman on the same day. Forced to start her own business when she cannot land another job, Ivy decides to become a consultant to those people trying to get their children into private school kindergarten. While Ivy seems to be moving on, I couldn’t stand the constant bemoaning of a need for a man in her life to make things right. The ending was rather clichéd, but some of the satire was so dead on that I couldn’t help but laugh. So therefore the 3***, even though I think I’ll hate myself in the morning. (less)
This is a quick, frothy, light weight read, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Kate McKenzie has been fired from her job as an HR personnel rep. She is also...moreThis is a quick, frothy, light weight read, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Kate McKenzie has been fired from her job as an HR personnel rep. She is also being sued by a former co-worker for wrongful termination, has the boss from hell, her long term boyfriend can't commit and she has no place to live. Through a series of emails, phone calls, journal entries and IM's we learn how Kate rises above all of this, and also meets the last person she expects to fall in love with. Cute and funny; this is a perfect beach book.(less)
How can a book about death be funny? Somehow Lolly Winston pulls it off in this sweet and poignant novel. Sophie's husband has died and left her a wid...moreHow can a book about death be funny? Somehow Lolly Winston pulls it off in this sweet and poignant novel. Sophie's husband has died and left her a widow a the age of 36. Coming to terms with his death leads Sophie to cope in many unique and sometimes painfully funny ways. A very hopeful and sweet book about learning to live again after you lose the love of your life.(less)
Frequently funny, often heartbreakingly sad. A look into the life of a Nanny for a wealthy NYC family. A kind of 'upstairs downstairs' story for the n...moreFrequently funny, often heartbreakingly sad. A look into the life of a Nanny for a wealthy NYC family. A kind of 'upstairs downstairs' story for the new millennium. I defy anyone to read this book and not fall in love with Grayer Addison X. Or want to wring his mother's neck. (less)
I enjoy Elinor Lipman’s books, they are generally very amusing with characters you can like right away or learn to like by the end of the book, so I w...moreI enjoy Elinor Lipman’s books, they are generally very amusing with characters you can like right away or learn to like by the end of the book, so I was expecting to enjoy The Family Man and I did- just not quite as much as usual.
The plot starts out well, Henry Archer newly retired attorney, gay, unattached and lonely reconnects with his former step-daughter, the child of his first (and only) wife. When Denise left Henry he gave up his rights as adoptive parent in order to avoid a nasty custody fight. Now 20 something years later the ex-wife, Denise and ex-daughter, Thalia have come into his life again and Henry will learn to love again, both his daughter and a new man that Denise fixes him up with.
The story was pleasant enough and as usual full of humor and sharp dialogue. It just seemed a bit too contrived with a peculiar sub-plot involving Thalia and her acting career. Although I liked most of the characters, even Denise the slightly kooky ex-wife, the character of Thalia began to grate on me, especially her affectations in dress which are mentioned ad infinitum throughout the book. While not the best book I have read by Ms. Lipman, that would be The Inn at Lake Devine, it was still a droll if lightweight read for a few days by the pool. (less)
First let me preface this review by saying I really like Adriani Trigiani’s books. I’ve read six of her books and have 3 more on my shelf. While they...moreFirst let me preface this review by saying I really like Adriani Trigiani’s books. I’ve read six of her books and have 3 more on my shelf. While they may not be “deep” reads they are always well written and enjoyable and I always see a glimmer of recognition in her characters.
Valentine Roncalli is 34 years old, has left her career as a teacher and is living with her eighty year old grandmother. Teodora is the matriarch of the Roncalli/Angelini family and the owner of the Angelini Shoe Company, one of the last family owned businesses in Greenwich Village. Valentine is her apprentice, learning how to make custom designed wedding shoes. What Valentine doesn’t know is the business is on the verge of collapse and the vultures are circling.
I really enjoyed this book. It is full of some the funniest and over the top Italian Americans, but not in a bad way. I’ve lived and worked in NYC all my life and I know these people, I’ve worked with them and hung out with them and I love them. The book is also a love story to the “Old” Greenwich Village, of cobblestone streets and small family dwellings slowly being pushed out by the proliferation of high-rise buildings. It’s also a valentine (no pun intended) to the Isle of Capri, Tuscany and Naples and the dying art of cobblers and shoemakers.
There is also a romance for Valentine, with the up and coming chef Roman Falconi; the couple meet cute and start a relationship that is often hindered by their respective devotion to their careers. Valentine is always struggling with the question of whether she is in love or in love with the idea of being in love. And how does one balance a career, family and an equally ambitious partner? In addition there are the dynamics of a large and boisterous family, a family who has never taken Valentine very seriously. When a chance to design a shoe and win a prestigious award comes her way nobody has much faith in her ability to pull it off.
One warning though - don’t read this book on an empty stomach. The descriptions of food, even just a simple tomato drizzled in oil will have you salivating and rummaging through the pantry for something to eat. And you will close the book and want to schedule a trip to Italy the next day.
I’m very much looking forward to getting to the next book in this trilogy, Brava Valentine. (less)