I began this so optimistically sure it would be a new favourite as I have always been drawn to holocaust stories and, no matter how many I have read,I began this so optimistically sure it would be a new favourite as I have always been drawn to holocaust stories and, no matter how many I have read, always have room to discover the events from a fresh individual story. I like knowing the history and witnessing stories of courage and resilience and knowing where humankind has been ~ that sense of experiencing a story of 'one' (or a few) among the millions giving the unspeakable events an intimate face.
I liked: how meticulously this novel seems researched. I enjoyed seeing so many little details of the time woven in, relevant to the characters backgrounds, careers and circumstances.
I found myself being emotionally moved a few times towards the beginning but rather than falling deeper into the novel I became progressively distanced. For me, it was the three alternating POVs that disconnected me. Each POV chapter ended on a cliffhanger for that character, where the chapter had built me up to feeling emotionally charged and then there would be an abrupt change to the next character and by the time I worked through two more chapters (each with new climaxes) and got back to the original one, I'd lost the tension and emotion from the last time I visited that character. Cutting each chapter off at the pivotal point of the scene really left me unsatisfied. It also did not help that I found one POV to be significantly less interesting (Caroline, with so much name-dropping, and socialite events which just does not hold my interest) and another POV (Herta) started out interesting and sympathetic but just became increasingly unlikeable (and boring despite her fascinating role) to the point I no longer was interested in her as a character.
I feel like 3 stars makes me an outlier as so many people have been moved and amazed by Lilac Girls. ...more
Started off promising but I found the bumbling string of (comical?) disasters on the road trip tiresome and the ending really twee with everything jusStarted off promising but I found the bumbling string of (comical?) disasters on the road trip tiresome and the ending really twee with everything just working out unrealistically perfect (i felt this undermined the true-to-life struggles presented earlier in the book. it went from being realistic to overly sweet hollywood-style gimmick)I feel like a scrooge for being a downer on this one as obviously the message, etc, is great but it was not the romantic feel-good kind of read I'd hoped for. Obviously not for me. ...more
Despite my vow to no longer preorder books but library-test titles first, I preordered this bc it's Kasie West and I adore all she has written so far.Despite my vow to no longer preorder books but library-test titles first, I preordered this bc it's Kasie West and I adore all she has written so far. That is, until this title :/
This felt very young, immature and sadly just hollow and bland -- with cringe-y perfunctory dialogue and cardboard cut-out characters. Some of these elements I can forgive if needed for a character arc. I am also forgiving if there are other awesome elements (such as sexual tension/swoon) that make the story worth reading. But I could not connect on any level. Maybe pre/young-teens will enjoy this one? (despite the characters being 17/18).
I'm really sad one of my most anticipated reads did not work for me. Despite this, I very much recommend The Distance Between Us and On the Fence - both outstanding and fun contemporary YA's -- I have read both twice and am in awe of West's talent for swoon, fun and genuine emotional connections in those two books.
It started off strong/intriguing but things quickly deteriorated for me. I could believe in the concepA short note for the curious: read just over 40%
It started off strong/intriguing but things quickly deteriorated for me. I could believe in the concepts but not the actions/dialogue of the (mostly unlikeable) characters. The lead was too whiny, melodramatic and immature and oblivious for my tastes (even if that is part of the character arc, once I started rolling my eyes at her I could not stop). Finn was the only character I liked and I lost respect for him in the way he allowed himself to be such a doormat -- and the fact that he would like such a rude, bratty girl made no sense to me.
The plot was intriguing and fast-paced, sure, but I grew tired of Em and really could not root for her -- or even handle her any more -- and thus could not possibly bear to continue. ...more
I was so looking forward to Echols' first adult rom-com-style offering.
The beginning was slow, but I didn't mind reading through all the set-up for tI was so looking forward to Echols' first adult rom-com-style offering.
The beginning was slow, but I didn't mind reading through all the set-up for the sake of building the premise. Around the halfway mark I had finally seen some flashes of the Echols I love: the promise of slow burn, the smidges of chemistry, the snappy/witty dialogue. But then the book went ... nowhere.
Too much faffing about with the (highly ridiculous and cliched) PR storyline (revolving around two spoiled stars). Two much telling with back story. Not enough focus on the leads and their chemistry.
I should have DNFed it earlier on but I remained (fruitlessly) optimistic to the end.
Despite this, the leads, Maggie and Daniel, were likable and my 2 stars is for them. ...more
Jarzab has a way with words -- her prose is sharp and evocative. The nuances of her characters and their experiences make them seem real, almost as ifJarzab has a way with words -- her prose is sharp and evocative. The nuances of her characters and their experiences make them seem real, almost as if you are in the room with them, as if you have known them (or someone uncannily like them) all your life.
I was sucked in by the mystery. Unfortunately the pacing was slow for me. The further I got in to the story it seemed the less I knew. The less I knew, the less I cared. In the end it seemed I barely cared at all yet I soldiered on (through great writing) to find some resolution. I would like to read more of her work, even though I just couldn't click with this particular book. ...more
Bruised is story of a girl (Tae Kwon Do talent) who survives a hold-up, but not without emotional scars and torment. The opening chapter is so compellBruised is story of a girl (Tae Kwon Do talent) who survives a hold-up, but not without emotional scars and torment. The opening chapter is so compelling, the PTSD that comes afterwards rings true. For a dramatic premise, the book never delves into the melodramatic, I think this is one of it's strengths.
The writing is strong and sure.
I really wish I had connected more to Imogen. As much as I admired what the author was doing with her themes, without this character connection I only felt a passing interest to everything that was going on (and sometimes I felt there was a lot going on - lots of little side plots). I also found the secondary characters a little flat and couldn't feel any chemistry with the love interest (it happens). That said, I did like Imogen's brother and the layers in their relationship.
Despite being disengaged, I can see the appeal and praise. It's a solid debut with an interesting topic (Tae Kwon Do and PTSD) and if the blurb speaks to you at all, you should check it out for yourself. ...more
I love the premise of the book (struggling actress! peanut butter commercials! charming guy in acting class! room-mates!) and I adore Lauren Graham (oI love the premise of the book (struggling actress! peanut butter commercials! charming guy in acting class! room-mates!) and I adore Lauren Graham (of Gilmore Girls fame). This book called out to me as a comfort read: cute and smiley and fun with a bit of angst thrown in.
This book was (as the blurb promises) CHARMING. Franny is delightfully charming, slightly quirky and kind of all over the place. She has the best of intentions and clings to her dreams... yet is constantly floundering - she's in danger of losing her waitressing job, her auditions never quite go as planned, others around her seems to be getting all the breaks.
Despite, at times, loving the narration, I felt Franny's asides started to weigh the story down and some scenes took a while to get through. At 30% in I felt like the book was only just getting started and I was kind of on the edge of my seat waiting for the plot to take off, but just as it did, the book ended.
It's a catch 22 for me: I love how Graham narrates, but the narration really bogged down the plot. Which meant even as I adored certain whimsical and charming scenes, the story as whole did not enchant me as I had hoped it would. I guess I love Graham's writing and the charm of it all, but wanted more from the story. More swoon, more stakes, more action.
Still. It was a lovely way to spend my afternoon. A breezy kind of chick lit read which I couldn't help but cast Lauren Graham herself as Franny. If you are a fan of chick lit and/or Lauren Graham you should definitely check this out for a relaxing and smiley Sunday afternoon read. ...more
I can't hide my disappointment with Maggie O'Farrell's latest book, made even more stabbing as I was ridiculously excited for this.
O'Farrell's writingI can't hide my disappointment with Maggie O'Farrell's latest book, made even more stabbing as I was ridiculously excited for this.
O'Farrell's writing is divine, as usual. She creates atmosphere and turns bland settings into the evocative, banal conversation into the profound.
It was just so hard to get into, usually I don't mind a hard slog at the beginning of the book in the hope of a brilliant pay-off but by the end I still felt disconnected. I couldn't bring myself to care for the characters, even once I understood them. Aoife was the only one with that touch of zing.
Sadly, I much prefer some of Maggie's earlier works, where the prose is not as dense and the characters are a breath of fresh air. ...more
I found the main characters a little too wooden and cliché to be truly invested in them or the story. Everything just felt a little forced and calcuI found the main characters a little too wooden and cliché to be truly invested in them or the story. Everything just felt a little forced and calculated somehow. I am a little disappointed as so many of my trusted friends are loving this ~ fair to say I am not the intended audience *shrugs*...more
For Sophie Kinsella, I will always suspend my disbelief. She puts her characters in ludicrous situations for a pay-off of genuine amusement and good tFor Sophie Kinsella, I will always suspend my disbelief. She puts her characters in ludicrous situations for a pay-off of genuine amusement and good times. She's an addictive read, swoony and ridiculous in the best of ways.
However even I, a long time fan, can not find much to love in this book. While there are little snippets of Kinsella charm hidden throughout, reading this book was still like watching a train wreck. What happened, Kinsella? Where did your magic go?
I can get behind ditzy characters doing stupid things, however the characters in this book were just plain unlikeable with no redeeming features. The situations they got themselves in made me cringe rather than giggle. There was no fun-ridiculous, it was just plain bad behaviour and in the end I was not rooting for anyone.
Still, if someone had told me this about Kinsella's latest, I still would have read it (I still did read it). I am so curious what her fans will think of this book.
Fingers crossed Kinsella gets her regular charming mojo back for her next project. This, I cannot recommend. ...more
There were a few moments where I got a little spark with the promise of good things to come. I held on hard and tried to let the magic happen for me.There were a few moments where I got a little spark with the promise of good things to come. I held on hard and tried to let the magic happen for me. Truth is, I just got bored :/...more