"Fangirl" is a coming of age story about Cath as she starts her first year of university in Nebraska. Cath's more outgoing twin, Wren, is living at a...more"Fangirl" is a coming of age story about Cath as she starts her first year of university in Nebraska. Cath's more outgoing twin, Wren, is living at a nearby dorm, and has big plans to party and meet the frat guys. Cath is an avid fan of Simon Snow, a literary character similar to Harry Potter, and has many followers who read her fanfiction. She is so caught up with writing Simon Snow fanfiction that she is not moving on with her life. Her quirky roommate, a special guy, and a persistent professor help her see her potential. Cath and Wren's parents also have individual issues that add to the story.
This is a YA book with humorous dialogue that shows the different sides of the freshman college experience. Cath initially seemed extremely isolated and unfriendly to others. This was the first time she had to navigate the world without her twin, so even going to dinner at the cafeteria seemed daunting. The college students were realistic, especially Wren who doesn't know how much alcohol she can handle.
Along with Cath's story, there are sections of the book with Simon Snow's adventures from both the "original author" and from Cath's fanfiction. Although I had heard of fanfiction before, I did not realize how many writers there were online using published authors' characters, and creating their own stories. Since I only read the first Harry Potter book, I can't evaluate how closely the Simon Snow experiences mimic Harry Potter's. The book is fun in many ways--as a coming of age story, as a cute "first love" romance, and as a window into the world of fanfiction.(less)
Laura feels trapped in her marriage to Dan who has been withdrawn and negative since losing his job almost two years ago. They live in Maine with a da...moreLaura feels trapped in her marriage to Dan who has been withdrawn and negative since losing his job almost two years ago. They live in Maine with a daughter who is approaching her senior year of high school, and a son off at college. Laura feels a sense of relief when she has the opportunity to go away for a weekend to attend a radiology conference in Boston.
At the hotel, she meets a salesman, Richard. They feel a connection due to a mutual love of words and literature. Soon, they are letting each other know the secrets of their lives including unhappy marriages, loneliness, and regrets for paths not taken. Is it possible to fall in love in 24 hours? Are they courageous enough to make changes in their lives? How will their decisions impact their families?
The book did not end the way I expected, but it was an ending with hope for Laura's future. Although there were a few parts that could have been edited down a bit, it was an interesting contemporary read about characters who had to make some difficult decisions.(less)
"The Rosie Project" is a very humorous romance written from a male character's point of view. Australian Professor Don Tillman is off the charts in te...more"The Rosie Project" is a very humorous romance written from a male character's point of view. Australian Professor Don Tillman is off the charts in terms of intelligence, but has a hard time with personal interactions. He's not quick to pick up on verbal and facial social clues due to Asperger's. Most of the humor revolves around Don's inept behavior with women, but the genetics professor is also presented as an intelligent, handsome guy with a good social conscience. He decides to make a questionnaire to filter out unsuitable women in his search for a wife, and calls it the Wife Project. When he meets Rosie, a bartender who contacts him for genetics advice in tracking down her biological father, he agrees to take on a new task--the Father Project. Rosie does not meet the requirements of his questionnaire, but he has the best days of his life when he's with her.
Although Don is presented as a stereotypical person with Asperger's for the sake of humor, there is also a chapter when he lectures about the syndrome noting, "Asperger's isn't a fault. It's a variant. It's potentially a major advantage. Asperger's syndrome is associated with organization, focus, innovative thinking, and rational detachment."
As I was reading the book, I was thinking what a great movie or situation comedy "The Rosie Project" would be. So I was pleased to see on the last page that the author's screen adaptation has been optioned by Sony Pictures. The book is engaging, heartwarming, and humorous.(less)
The terminally ill owner of Al's Diner told school teacher Jake Epping that the back of his diner contains a portal for time travel. It can take him f...moreThe terminally ill owner of Al's Diner told school teacher Jake Epping that the back of his diner contains a portal for time travel. It can take him from the present year of 2011 to the past year of 1958. He can stay as long as he wants time-traveling in the past, and only two minutes will have passed in the present year of 2011 when he returns through the rabbit hole to the diner in Maine. Al begs Jake to go back and prevent the assassination of President Kennedy on 11/22/63. Perhaps the war in Vietnam could have been prevented, saving thousands of lives, if Kennedy had lived.
When Jake goes back to 1958, he assumes the identity of George Amberson who is checking out real estate in Maine. He tries to right a few small events, and finds some "feathering." When one thing changes, many other changes must follow. If he changes history, will the world be a better or worse place?
Stephen King does a great job of transporting the reader back to the 1950s with cars with big tailfins, slicked back hair, milk with cream on the top, factory pollution, racism, and pervasive cigarette smoke. King was a young child during the 1950s, and he captured the decade well.
When Jake/George moves to Texas, he is not willing to knock off Lee Harvey Oswald unless he knows Oswald is the true killer of Kennedy. He has heard so many conspiracy theories that he feels he must investigate Oswald thoroughly first. George also meets a pretty school librarian, and falls in love. Can she trust a man that doesn't seem to have a past? What will happen if he rewrites her life? History does not want to be changed so it sets up multiple obstacles in George's way as he gets close to the 11/22/63 date.
Stephen King is a good storyteller, weaving science fiction, history, and a love story together. Jake/George is a good, likable person trying to do the right thing. But lots of things in the past are hidden, and no one knows what scary outcomes are possible if important events in history are changed. This is a big doorstopper of a book at 849 pages, but it seems shorter since it's such an engaging story.
Iris Dunleavy stood up to her husband, a Virginia plantation owner, because he was cruel to the slaves. After strong-willed Iris ran away, she was cap...moreIris Dunleavy stood up to her husband, a Virginia plantation owner, because he was cruel to the slaves. After strong-willed Iris ran away, she was captured and put on trial. She was convicted of madness and sent away to an asylum on Sanibel Island. Iris became especially close to another resident, Ambrose, who is haunted by memories from the Civil War. To calm himself, Ambrose concentrates on the color blue--blue sky, blue water, blue glass, blue clothes.
The book shows that wives were property of their husbands at the time of the Civil War, and they could be locked away if they became an embarrassment to the man's pride. Wives were supposed to be submissive and not think for themselves.
Some of the supposedly sane people in the story--the cruel overseer of the slaves, the sadistic officer in the army, the mean matron at the asylum--actually seemed as unstable as some of the odd residents at the asylum. Even the doctor and his family had some emotional issues. So how does a judge determine who is mad or insane?
The book tugged at the heartstrings as love developed between Iris and Ambrose, but with little chance they could have a life together. The story kept my attention as it slowly let us find out their secrets from the past. I enjoyed the interesting characters and the look back in history. 3 1/2 stars(less)
A gyrfalcon was carried by winter storms in northern Canada southward to British Columbia. Also called a snow falcon, it was a beautiful brown and cre...moreA gyrfalcon was carried by winter storms in northern Canada southward to British Columbia. Also called a snow falcon, it was a beautiful brown and cream colored bird with a wingspread of three feet. The falcon was shot by a hunter working for a taxidermist, but was found by Michael Somers who worked to rehabilitate her.
Michael, recently released from prison, had just moved back to his hometown to work through some difficult childhood memories. His attractive next door neighbor had a traumatized son, Jamie, who had not spoken since his father died in a hunting accident. When Michael and Jamie work together training the falcon, a strong bond forms between them.
The book is about trust, healing, and second chances for both the humans and the falcon. It would probably make an entertaining Hallmark movie. The book also had a good sense of place, a small town near Williams Lake and some beautiful mountains. My favorite parts of the book were the descriptions of the gyrfalcon, and the techniques used to rehabilitate her so she could eventually be released into the wild. It brought back memories of seeing some falcons presented by a woman who devoted her life to rehabilitating these gorgeous, powerful creatures.(less)
3.5-4 stars Sarah Jio has writeen another delightful book with two narratives woven together. In the early 1940s, a poor American girl leaves New York...more3.5-4 stars Sarah Jio has writeen another delightful book with two narratives woven together. In the early 1940s, a poor American girl leaves New York to work as a nanny on a large British estate. During the Atlantic crossing, Flora finds out that an international ring of flower thieves also expect her to locate a rare camellia, probably the last one in existence, in the camellia orchard behind the mansion.
In the early 21st Century, garden designer Addison is vacationing at the same estate, which is now owned by her husband's parents. She investigates the series of crimes that were connected with the estate in the 1940s. Addison is also in great danger due to events in her own past.
This was an enjoyable book with a combination of historical fiction, mystery, romance, and gardening. For readers who like "women's fiction", this is an engrossing story to pack with your vacation books.(less)
Lexi has lost the memories of the last three years of her life when she wakes up after a traumatic injury to her head. Remember Me? is humorous and en...moreLexi has lost the memories of the last three years of her life when she wakes up after a traumatic injury to her head. Remember Me? is humorous and entertaining, perfect for a "beach read".(less)
When Louisa Clark lost her job, she was hired for a six month assignment as a caregiver for Will Trayner. The active young man had been hit by a car,...moreWhen Louisa Clark lost her job, she was hired for a six month assignment as a caregiver for Will Trayner. The active young man had been hit by a car, and was left a quadriplegic. The gregarious Louisa was hired to help ward off the depression that was settling in Will's life. He also expanded her world by showing her that there was a big world outside her small hometown in the English countryside.
There is a lot to think about as Will decides whether he is willing to keep on living, knowing that his health will continue to deteriorate. The author showed that there are no easy choices. It was an emotionally touching story with humorous, warm characters. Warning: Stock up on your supply of tissues.(less)
Mirelle Martin is a wife and mother trying to balance her domestic life with her creative life as a sculptress. She also has to assert herself with he...moreMirelle Martin is a wife and mother trying to balance her domestic life with her creative life as a sculptress. She also has to assert herself with her domineering mother-in-law who is upset that her son married the illegitimate daughter of an opera singer and a portrait painter.
"The Lucy" is a sculpture of her deceased friend, Lucy, who encouraged Mirelle to develop her artistic talent. Mirelle becomes a stronger person as she looks beyond her roles of wife and mother during an eventful year. Influenced by some new friends, including an attractive pianist, she becomes more involved with others in her Delaware community. She also carves out time for herself to work with clay.
Occasionally, the book which set in 1961 and written in 1986, felt a little dated. But overall, it held my interest.(less)
There was a sizzling attraction between psychologist Serena Sheriden and Lucky Doucet, a Cajun guide who was taking her through the bayou to her grand...moreThere was a sizzling attraction between psychologist Serena Sheriden and Lucky Doucet, a Cajun guide who was taking her through the bayou to her grandfather's fish camp. Her grandfather was being pressured by a chemical firm and Serena's twin sister to sell the historic family home on the edge of the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana. The chemical firm would provide needed jobs to the area, but would further destroy the delicate ecological balance in the area. There were people who would use violence to get the deal completed.
This book was a romance with a mystery and some ecology thrown in too. The swamp is almost a character itself, full of winding channels, snakes, and insects. It was a quick light read.(less)
Investigator Clint Evans rescues an heiress from four kidnappers. He has to keep her hidden in his Ohio home until he can determine who is behind the...moreInvestigator Clint Evans rescues an heiress from four kidnappers. He has to keep her hidden in his Ohio home until he can determine who is behind the kidnapping. This gives them plenty of time for an attraction to flame up. A light "beach read." 2 1/2 to 3 stars.(less)
When I saw this book in the library, I picked it up to see if it lived up to all the hype it has received in the media. As I was reading it, I asked m...moreWhen I saw this book in the library, I picked it up to see if it lived up to all the hype it has received in the media. As I was reading it, I asked myself what made it so popular. The author does set up sexual and psychological tension by having the two main characters polar opposites in experience. But she continues with variations of the same dominance/submission events, and discussing contracts over and over between the two partners for 514 pages. There is not much character development, and the book finishes without a real outcome so you have to read the next two books in the trilogy.
Anastasia Steele, an innocent college senior, has never had a boyfriend. She meets Christian Grey, a rich control freak who wants a relationship of dominance and submission. Christian is haunted by events from his youth, an abusive birth mother and an introduction to SM as a teenager by a "Mrs Robinson" type of woman. Christian will end the relationship with Ana if she does not participate in his controlling, kinky lifestyle.
What bothered me most about the book was that the author romanicized the idea that it was acceptable for a man to be beating a woman. If Christian had been ugly instead of handsome, poor instead of rich, and uneducated intead of talented, fewer people would be buying this book. He's close to the profile of the men written up in the police log for domestic violence or assault. No man is glamorous or romantic if he likes beating a woman with a belt, and gets pleasure from inflicting pain--even if he's piloting his own helicoptor or is a wealthy, powerful CEO. The character went beyond being kinky to being abusive. I hope some young people will not get hurt physically or emotionally by imitating Christian and Ana.(less)
Lincoln O'Neill is an IT security employee at "The Courier," a newspaper in a Nebraska city. Part of his job is to monitor the e-mails of other employ...moreLincoln O'Neill is an IT security employee at "The Courier," a newspaper in a Nebraska city. Part of his job is to monitor the e-mails of other employees, and certain words in their e-mails bring the correspondance to his attention.
Jennifer and Beth are best friends at the newspaper. Although they know they are being monitored, they discuss their personal lives in their e-mails. Lincoln has never met Beth, but he loves her funny, but caring e-mails to Jennifer.
I smiled through most of the book because the e-mails and romantic banter were very witty. But the characters also had serious sides, which made their lives seem real. One character felt that she was being pressured to have a baby. Another character was living with a man who really was not committed to the relationship. Lincoln was still living with his mother, and trying to figure out where his life was going. The book had the warm fuzzy feeling of a Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movie, and was an enjoyable read.
Lady Dona St Columb was bored with the stuffiness of London high society, and took off with her two children to her husband's estate in Cornwall. When...moreLady Dona St Columb was bored with the stuffiness of London high society, and took off with her two children to her husband's estate in Cornwall. When she is out walking, she finds that the creek on their property is being used as a hiding place for a French pirate, his crew, and their ship with easy access to the English Channel. The cultured pirate offers her a chance for the adventure and passion that has been lacking in her life. Even as a young girl, Dona was always jealous of the freedom that her brothers had while she had to stay behind with her dolls. After going on a raid with the pirate crew and participating in another dangerous mission, Dona must choose between staying with her husband and children, or life with the dashing pirate.
The book was both an adventure story in an atmospheric setting, and a romance. It also showed that women had very traditional roles in society during the reign of Charles II. Dona was too headstrong and smart to want a traditional role, although she was a very loving mother. Some parts of the book were very lyrical and beautiful, but other parts were a bit of a farce. It was hard to believe that Dona's husband could be so clueless. Although I have never seen the movie, I can imagine this book being turned into a very entertaining adventure movie. But the story paled in quality when compared to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. 3.5 stars(less)