To be honest, in the beginning I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. I was excited by the prospect of Susie's family attempting to solve her mur...moreTo be honest, in the beginning I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. I was excited by the prospect of Susie's family attempting to solve her murder, because the point of view of the murder victim is an extremely clever plot device and it had so much potential. However, when that story line died down, I found myself actually being angry at what the book chose to focus on--an incredibly frustrating mother character, with absolutely no redeeming qualities, a father with seemingly no backbone, a psychotic murderer that actually gets away with it, and a completely two-dimensional younger brother. Lindsay, with her determination, genius and fully evolved relationship was the only one to show a spark of character and growth
Truly, the only part of the book that redeemed it for me was Susie's experience with Ray towards the end. I thought that scene was heart-warming, well written and beautifully conceptualised.
It had so much promise as a murder mystery, but quickly turned into a window in the life of an extremely boring family. (less)
Good, in a somewhat weird way. It has flashes of Coelho philosophical brilliance, but the plot and characterisation was very thin, and the ending did...moreGood, in a somewhat weird way. It has flashes of Coelho philosophical brilliance, but the plot and characterisation was very thin, and the ending did not satisfy.(less)
A relatively good thriller, although it could've done with a little editing. I liked it though, read it as often as I could, which is always a good si...moreA relatively good thriller, although it could've done with a little editing. I liked it though, read it as often as I could, which is always a good sign. Subject matter not for the faint of heart.(less)
**spoiler alert** I have to say another delightful and easy read by my personal favourite 'chick lit' author, Sophie Kinsella. In this installment, Be...more**spoiler alert** I have to say another delightful and easy read by my personal favourite 'chick lit' author, Sophie Kinsella. In this installment, Becky is dealing with her maybe spoiled two-year old daughter Minnie, the financial crisis preventing her from shopping and planning a once in a lifetime surprise birthday party for husband Luke.
As before, the book includes the same mixture of humour (mostly in the form of Becky's correspondence and crazy ideas, i.e. shipping clothing in boxes marked 'Office Paper'), heart (a second baby, an estranged mother-in-law) and of course, shopping (a bartered Miu Miu bag and a beautiful Valentino evening gown make an apperance).
In fact, what I did find a little jarring about the book was the sheer number of sub-plots. On the one hand, Minnie is being a handful--she covets mannequins and screams for Starbucks) so they hire a nanny, and then an ultimate TV nanny when that doesn't work out. On the other hand, Luke and Becky are desperate to buy a house so they can move out of her parents, but that keeps getting jinxed. She is also trying to convince Luke to have a second baby, handling a new personal shopping service at work and secretly taking Minnie to meet her other grandmother, Elinor. The last half of the book then mostly deals with a surprise birthday party for Luke and this involves being friends with his PA, bartering clothes, and somehow getting all her family and friends quite upset with her until the situation, naturally, manages to all work itself out.
All in all, so much happens (and additionally the set-up for the new book, Shopaholic in Hollywood, if I read in between the lines correctly) that by the end, you don't get the same satisfaction I've always had previously when Becky manages to charm her way out of the situation. That said, I enjoyed it and it really is a great choice for a fun, light and fast read.(less)
Much, much better than the first two in my opinion. Less action might not be to everyone's taste, but I found that it read like an elaborate chessgame...moreMuch, much better than the first two in my opinion. Less action might not be to everyone's taste, but I found that it read like an elaborate chessgame where different players made moves that affected the entire book and the actions of others. I also really enjoyed reading about the inner workings of the Swedish government (however true it may be). It was a really well thought out consipiracy theory plot, which, thinking about it, may make a reread of the second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, more enjoyable than the first time I read it.
The book had a lot of new additions, but I have to say I liked the majority of new characters. I found myself rooting for every little victory against The Section and genuinely concerned when any of them were in danger. Lisbeth, who I have to admit I was not too fond of in general, I really enjoyed in this book. Partly because she gets less screen time, but also, she's at her best solving cybercrime and communicating via computers and word documents.
Notably, I enjoyed the courtroom scene at the end of the book that finally acquits Lisbeth of her 'mentally unstable' status. Arguments presented by Advokat Gianini were concise and powerfully given and it was nice to see the looming and tiresome Dr. Teleborian figure taken down a notch.
As the others though, the book could have used a bit of editing. The Erika Berger stalker plotline felt out of place in the book--it was almost like the author threw it in randomly to comment on harassment of women in the workplace, but I felt the ignored-schoolmate plot has been overdone and it never really tied in with the rest of the plot. Also, Mikael's 'romance', if you call them that felt flat and unnecessary. Yes, we know he's attractive to women, but he's really at his worst when in a psuedo-romantic relationship. Friends with benefits is probably the state that suits him best.
I would've also liked to know what Lisbeth was planning to do with her 2.4bn kronor, but I guess with rumors of a half-completed 4th book, maybe I will find out! A nice sequel and ending to a very interesting plot.(less)
Room is a story told from the point of view of a young boy who just turned 5 about his life in 'Room', the only world he knows. The book is best read...moreRoom is a story told from the point of view of a young boy who just turned 5 about his life in 'Room', the only world he knows. The book is best read knowing as little as possible, because part of the beauty of it is the unfolding of the story through Jack's eyes.
The book is split into five parts (being Jack's favourite number), and the story peaks like a mountain. The first part is tedious and hard to get through. Jack's thoughts, and subsequently the voice of the book, is muddled and rambly. I found his wider perception interesting (such as thinking that everything that wasn't in Room was TV, and that the Moon was God's face), but his life, as you can imagine, is repetitive. It was hard to be interested every little detail, such as a spiderweb under Table, or what he ate for breakfast.
As the story progresses, and Jack and his Ma aim to get out of the unfortunate situation that they are in, it becomes decidedly more exciting. As Jack faces new people, environments and situations, it's really intriguing to watch his point of view expand. He is a curious, careful, smart boy and you end up empathising with him through his ordeal. Somehow though, the transition, both physically and emotionally from 'Room' to 'Outside' seemed all of a sudden too easy.
The story does dip right at the end, as we again are privy to Jack and Ma's routine life outside 'Room'. Right at the very end, however, is a poignant moment of reflection and courage, which wrapped up the book nicely.
All in all, the book took a while to settle into, but in the end it was a refreshing and unique read. I'm torn between admiring the clever concept and being frustrated with the style it was written in. The book has been highly rated and recommended, but after reading it, I don't think all the hype was justified. (less)
I haven't read a book that's made me feel that way in a long time. Would've been a 5, if I had liked the characters a bit more, but I guess their impe...moreI haven't read a book that's made me feel that way in a long time. Would've been a 5, if I had liked the characters a bit more, but I guess their imperfections were part of their charm. Great, engaging read.(less)
Anna and the French Kiss is a breath of fresh air. Amidst all of the supernatural, fantasy and mythology based young adult books that seem to be domin...moreAnna and the French Kiss is a breath of fresh air. Amidst all of the supernatural, fantasy and mythology based young adult books that seem to be dominating the market, this book is a fun read simply about the wonders of being a teenager in a foreign city.
Anna has been sent to a boarding school in Paris by her mainly absent father. Initially upset at leaving her best friend, her younger brother and a potential boyfriend, Anna eventually finds herself in a new circle of friends which includes the charming Etienne St. Clair. In the backdrop of this magnificent city, the budding film critic finds herself awed, confused and eventually in love.
The book flowed very naturally and Anna is a delightful point of view character. Perkins imbues her with charm and wit, while keeping her grounded and relatable. Her experiences and reactions come off wholly genuine. Perkins manages to string together a series of almost ordinary events in Anna's life, but keeps everything original and interesting. I empathised and rooted for Anna through every small triumph (movie theatres showing classic films, yes please) and heartache (who here hasn't been hurt by a best friend and that guy).
I remember when I was younger, I went abroad to California for a summer course. It was the first time I travelled by myself and I went into the experience with a mixture of dread and excitement. And then I met a boy and those three weeks were definitely my best teenage memories. St. Clair is that boy. He's every high school crush and summer love you've had or never managed to shake. I would've definitely fallen for his cool English accent and his easy way, but liked that he was real enough so I was just as irritated as Anna by his annoying indecisiveness and somewhat weak will. The chemistry between them was palpable and that teenage girl inside me tingled every time they were together, seriously.
The beauty of Anna and the French Kiss is that it brought back all the good parts of being a teenager. For anyone who has ever had a first love or a new experience, this book is one for you. I'll definitely come back to it whenever I need to revisit those three weeks in the summer. (less)
I picked up this book on recommendation from a lot of friends and in anticipation of the upcoming m...more3.5 stars, originally published at Winged Reviews.
I picked up this book on recommendation from a lot of friends and in anticipation of the upcoming movie adaptation (my interest was piqued by the strong cast). While I enjoyed it, I think I'm past the point in my life when reading it would've made me feel infinite.
Perks is a set of letters from the main character Charlie to an unknown 'friend' (presumably us, the reader), about his freshman high school experience. The book starts on a fairly sombre note, with Charlie telling us about the suicide of his best friend Michael and the loss of his favourite Aunt Helen much earlier in his life. It goes on to describe the rest of a tumultuous year, focusing mainly on time with two new friends he makes early on, step-siblings Patrick and Sam. It tackles heavy themes, such as homosexuality, abuse, social awkwardness, drugs, teenage sexuality and much more.
I have to admit, at first I thought I missed a trick about who Charlie was writing to, but I ended up liking that the letters were written anonymously. It gave me a sense of voyeurism, the enjoyment of reading about someone else's adventures and scandals and knowing just enough to keep it interesting. The writing style which the author uses to represent Charlie is appropriate, but doesn't flow well. Charlie, we find out, likes to ramble on and sometimes I do get lost in his long sentences and mixed thoughts.
I enjoyed the characters, and even knowing as little as you do about them, all are well-defined and had distinct personalities. They made me care about what was happening to them, which in a novel that was just over 200 pages is a tough ask. As far as tackling the issues, I thought the book did very well in presenting and resolving them. What I wasn't too keen on was Charlie himself, really. Firstly, I couldn't understand if he was just socially awkward or if he had an illness. Then when you start unravelling his life, you begin to understand that he has had to go through a lot of struggles that normal teenagers wouldn't normally. However, he does make great friendships, has a great mentor and is loved by his family. He is invited to parties, has a girlfriend, gets straight-As. I found myself not really knowing why I was supposed to feel wholly sorry for him and in the end I couldn't bring myself to.
Either way, I found the book thought provoking and an altogether easy read. There were some very poignant moments that I really enjoyed, like when Charlie is describing how beautiful Sam looks through a photograph. Perhaps I would've enjoyed this book more if I read it in my teens as I feel like some of the shock factor is now lost on me. I will definitely go and see the film, but as for the book, sadly I think I missed the boat.(less)
Great read. Lola is a great character and I loved her journey from Max to Cricket and all the costumes in between. I adored her dads and her best frie...moreGreat read. Lola is a great character and I loved her journey from Max to Cricket and all the costumes in between. I adored her dads and her best friend, but felt I wanted more about Calliope. Cricket was awkward, and tall, and adorable. Loved having Anna and St. Clair pop up when they did as well. (less)
Probably more like 1.5 stars, but who Elizabeth ended up with in the end probably bumped it up by half a star. Instead of a welcome back to Sweet Vall...moreProbably more like 1.5 stars, but who Elizabeth ended up with in the end probably bumped it up by half a star. Instead of a welcome back to Sweet Valley, it was choppy, badly characterised, sloppy story-telling and to be honest, just not very interesting. I preferred the twins and the rest of the cast as Kids/Middle School/High School/University students any day.(less)
Picked this book up as part of the library's book discussion group. I was excited because 'one of the best books of the year' was splashed all over it...morePicked this book up as part of the library's book discussion group. I was excited because 'one of the best books of the year' was splashed all over its cover. While I appreciated the intelligent satire and commentary on today's internet obsessed society, I felt the emotion I was promised by the title "Super Sad True Love Story" was lost in-between all the clever words. I was impressed by it, but I don't know if I enjoyed reading it. (less)
Jen’s life of rebelling and sneaking out is growing stale. In an effort to combat her boredom, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a nice little geek, int...moreJen’s life of rebelling and sneaking out is growing stale. In an effort to combat her boredom, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a nice little geek, into a “bad boy.” She’s immediately pulled into Trevor’s world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even—ugh!—bowling. Unexpectedly, Jen discovers that hanging out with Trevor isn’t so bad after all. But when Trevor finds out about the wager, all bets are off.
I requested this book from NetGalley on a whim. To be honest, I’m a sucker for popular guy/unpopular girl love stories (see Nathan and Haley from One Tree Hill, most John Hughes movies, and the recently adorable Jenna and Matty from Awkward), so I thought it would be fun to see the She’s All That concept in reverse.
At first glance, Jen is your typical goth girl, while Trevor is a handsome geek. The idea was clichéd, but to be honest, I adored this book so much I read it in one sitting. While the premise may have been familiar, the book ended up being much more than I expected—it was a well-rounded story about trust, first love and self-discovery. The chemistry between Jen and Trevor was so palpable that I couldn’t contain my excitement and devastation through the ups and downs of their relationship. Everything about it was so real and natural and it had me absolutely hooked.
There were little touches that gave the story a lot of depth. Jen is a foster child, and her past is slowly revealed giving us a great insight into why she is the way she is. The book deals with other sensitive teen issues, like drugs, celibacy, abuse, adoption and drinking, which enhanced the story and added great insight to the characters. It was eye opening to see Jen’s deeply distrustful outlook on life and it was heartbreaking to see her disbelief in happy endings almost sabotage getting everything good she deserves.
When I enjoy a relationship in a book, it’s usually because I have developed a not-entirely-appropriate crush on the guy. This wasn’t the case with Trevor. He was everything you’d want in a boyfriend, but it was never about how much I liked his character and always about how good he was for Jen. I was rooting for them from the minute she asked him to dance, and kept rooting all the way to the end. I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop during their deep conversations, dates, arguments and witty banter, refreshingly unlike the ‘love at first sight’ premise that a lot of YA books would have us believe is the norm. I liked her awkward discomfort when she was in ‘his world’, then her slow realization that she actually enjoyed family time, bowling and volunteering at an old folks’ home. I enjoyed Jen’s voice and thought her sarcasm and dry humour was very endearing. The slightly-off sci-fi pop culture references she used with Trevor were very cute and a very real way to portray her growing feelings. Best of all, Jen and Trevor’s relationship always felt equal. They never forced each other to be anything more than who they were, but tried their best to adapt to each other’s world. In the end Jen’s development from rebellious teen, to geek girl, to finally finding her happy middle was truly believable.
If I had any complaints, it was that some of the supporting cast was under-developed and that Jen and Trevor felt slightly off-character as the book was rushing towards an ending, although it probably had something to do them being apart and struggling with themselves because of it. Even so, lines like, “Trev, all you had to do was breathe to make me want you” made me grin like I was 17 again. Even though it’s been a long time since I’ve been to high school, I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to laugh and cry along with two very different teenagers who fell in love, and worked it out in the end.(less)
Good, but more of the same. It had some good reveals as we finally learn a lot more about Zach, but I just feel like these books aren't enough to stan...moreGood, but more of the same. It had some good reveals as we finally learn a lot more about Zach, but I just feel like these books aren't enough to stand on their own. Too little there for me, but would appeal to a lot younger audience. Reminds me of the Sweet Valley twins books of my day.(less)