Allen writes stories that take place in the South. However, it's not Faulkner nor stories about rednecks nor, heaven forbid, Gone With the Wind. Inst...more Allen writes stories that take place in the South. However, it's not Faulkner nor stories about rednecks nor, heaven forbid, Gone With the Wind. Instead, it's the South I was raised in and still enjoy today.
This novel is no different than the others. She writes about the South, a more magical South than you see in the news (and I do not mean that youtube video on the Creighton Leperchaun). Her South, which I believe is closer to the true South, is full of sweet smells, beautiful trees, classic architecture, old family secrets and legends, old money, those with no money, the best food, and just a pinch of magic. What makes this one even better? The addition of barbecue, that's what!
Here's an excerpt from Allen's site that sums the story up: Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, offering them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth—but also in the hope of rekindling a love she fears might be lost forever. Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.
"A dusting of magic, the aroma of sugary cakes swirling through the breeze, and a girl who unwittingly brings change to a town of misfits makes for a sweet summer story filled with hope and forgiveness. The Girl Who Chased the Moon flirts with the supernatural while the light tinkling of a charm bracelet sounds in the night." - Beth Hoffman, author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
Plus, did I mention there was barbecue involved?
Okay, now to serious reviewer business. I cannot recommend this to most guys. It's comfy, cozy chick lit. Except, it's better than most chick lit. Better than Nicholas Ruins Endings Sparks. I do not like that man. He ruins endings. Exhibit A) Message in a Bottle.
So, we've established A) I don't like Nicholas Sparks and B) Allen writes mainly for women. However, if you are a guy and like that stuff, far be it from me to judge. I pretty much eat her novels up like...well, barbecue. She has beautiful themes in her stories that all tie together. Her stories are hilarious. It is not classic literature now, but it does tell a good story. Plus, she does not have any writer's quirks that annoy me such as noticeably bad grammar or irritating characters that the reader ought to be sympathetic towards (that was such an awkward sentence). I read that book in one day--during finals. Does that tell you how much I enjoyed it?
Okay, the last thing I posted was a scathing essay on Abelard and Heloise. This will be better. I'm talking about Jane by April Lindner. Here's the bl...moreOkay, the last thing I posted was a scathing essay on Abelard and Heloise. This will be better. I'm talking about Jane by April Lindner. Here's the blurb from her website that is on the back of the book:
"Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love? An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers."
I finished the book yesterday, and I have to admit, the girlish part of me absolutely loved it. It's a classic romance, and I mean romance in the non-Harlequin way. Granted, when I first started, the idea of Edward Rochester--now Nico Rathburn--being a rock star was off-putting. Rochester is my FAVORITE Byronic hero so I'm protective. I can see him as a moody musician, but as a rock star? That's far-fetched for me. Yet in the book, it kind of works. It's still not a move I would ever make, but I was able to go with it and still enjoy the book.
The story was, of course, modern and was geared towards a younger audience. It lacked the delightfully scrumptious language of the original, Gothic Jane Eyre. Also, some of the symbolism was cast aside. However, one thing I did like about it was that Lindner integrated Jane's past by using flashbacks. It kept the pace up while still getting her back-story. However, while I miss the more formal tones, there are definite pluses. The first is that it does become a toned-down romance while at the same time showing a young woman becoming strong and independent. The actual story becomes more tangible to the modern-day audience. I think this makes today's audience see the story of Jane Eyre in the clear way that the original audience saw it. Secondly, this is a great way to introduce today's teens, primarily girls, into classic literature. They've been eased into Jane Eyre so that they now can start on the actual book instead of reading volume upon volume about angsty vampires. I almost think there needs to be some sort of "Classics for Young Adults" series like they do for younger children. I think that one needs a good foundation in the classics to better understand the world of literature as a whole. After all, books are always in dialogue with each other.
Four stars from me because I enjoyed it so darn much, though, it probably needs a 3.5. Though, that cover is so lovely it probably pushes it back up to four stars. Isn't it scrumptious? (less)
This book is so amazing. I read it so I could compare it to The Hunger Games. However, these books are totally different aside from the premise of "dy...moreThis book is so amazing. I read it so I could compare it to The Hunger Games. However, these books are totally different aside from the premise of "dystopian world has a horrible government that makes kids fight to the death." That premise isn't original to Takami no matter how much I love him. I honestly don't think Collins read this book and copied it. The Romans had gladatorial fights that sometimes used children. So, the premise is actually a historical one. And what is it that many post-modern artists say? There's no such thing as an original idea anymore?
This all being said, while I love Collins, Takami is better. Again, though, different books. The tone is different and the evolution is different. Also, the points are different. Collins work is best read through Marxist and Feminist lenses while Takami's book appeals more to psychological and cultural lenses the technical terms for these escape me at the moment). The reason the governments require the games also varies. I won't spoil it, but they are completely different in my eyes. I don't know how to say it best, but there is a quiet elegance amidst the violence that Japanese authors, filmakers, and other artists seem to have mastered in a way the rest of the world has not. Read it for yourself. I feel like this is the sort of book that could be discussed in a college lit class with no lulls in the discussion ever appearing. This book is so fun to analyze...my only problem with this book is that I have no one to talk about it with.(less)
I have time this day to write a review AND the writing bug has seen fit to bite me. So, lovlies, let's look at The September Society by the incredibly...moreI have time this day to write a review AND the writing bug has seen fit to bite me. So, lovlies, let's look at The September Society by the incredibly talented Charles Finch (Yale and Oxford, people. He got the education that still haunts the misty corners of my dreams). Without further ado, I present my much delayed review of The September Society.
This novel is the sequel to the much beloved and praised A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox Mysteries). That novel must be read first. Really, reading a mystery series out of order is a no-no. It was nominated for an Agatha Award, so you know it's worth your time if you're into the mystery genre like I am.
This novel, like its predecessor, is about gentleman detective Charles Lenox in Victorian England (so, naturally I'm all over this stuff). Here's a blurb from Goodreads:
"In the small hours of the morning one fall day in 1866, a frantic widow visits detective Charles Lenox. Lady Annabelle's problem is simple: her beloved son, George, has vanished from his room at Oxford. When Lenox visits his alma mater to investigate, he discovers a series of bizarre clues, including a murdered cat and a card cryptically referring to the September Society." "Then, just as Lenox realizes that the case may be deeper than it appears, a student dies, the victim of foul play." What could the September Society have to do with it? What specter, returned from the past, is haunting gentle Oxford? Lenox, with the support of Lady Jane and his other devoted friends in London's upper crust, must race to discover the truth before it comes searching for him, and dangerously close to home."
I found the novel very entertaining. Charles Lenox is like the functional Sherlock Holmes. However, I can't lie and say that it was fast-paced. It wasn't. It was dreadfully slow in the beginning. So. Slow. I was getting a bit antsy because I love Charles Lennox, really I do. He's very brilliant. And I love the characters. But they were stuck a plot that ran like a slow molasses. And then Dallington comes along and all is fine. JUST HOLD ON FOR DALLINGTON!!!!
But really, it is very well written and very enlightening. I liked his first one better, to be honest, but I still really enjoyed this one. I got a nice education on Parliament which is very helpful, I must say.
The setting takes place in Oxford and London--the descriptions of both are fantastic.
Nothing I could possibly say about this would be adequate. I am so in love with this book..it's incredible. The way it's told, the tension, the realis...moreNothing I could possibly say about this would be adequate. I am so in love with this book..it's incredible. The way it's told, the tension, the realistic questions, the ethical questions, the bond of people....so. good. Just read it. I can't say more or I'll spoil it. I've seen the movie and the book. They're both great, probably with the book being better, but the movie made me cry. So, I can recommend both.(less)