I didn't finish this book. I liked none of the characters and thought they were all jerks to each other. I wouldn't want to be friends with any of theI didn't finish this book. I liked none of the characters and thought they were all jerks to each other. I wouldn't want to be friends with any of them and I certainly didn't want to read about how they all backstabbed and cheated on each other for what felt like a zillion pages....more
The first Eva Ibbotson book I read was "A Countess Below Stairs." I was immediately hooked on her lightness and whimsy. "The Morning Gift" deals withThe first Eva Ibbotson book I read was "A Countess Below Stairs." I was immediately hooked on her lightness and whimsy. "The Morning Gift" deals with love, Nazism, prejudice, the difficulty of refugee life, and a world on the brink of war, yet the style remains lighthearted throughout. It took me a while to become into to the characters like I did those in ACBS, but once I did (around page 150) I could barely put the book down.
The synopsis is straightforward: Ruth Berger, a part Jew in Vienna in 1938, needs to escape. Quin, a former student of her father, marries her so she can get safely to England, with the plan to annul or divorce quietly ASAP. Once she's reunited with her family, Ruth starts classes at a university where Quin happens to teach. Quirkiness and misunderstandings ensue.
In response to some of the more negative reviews: This is marketed now as a YA novel but was originally for a more adult audience. The "sex scene" was a) hardly out of left field, and b) not so much a sex scene as an implication that sex happened. The author has a charming, old-fashioned style, so nothing graphic ever happens. The book has Ibbotson's usual quirky main characters, and though I've yet to love any of her characters as much as I did those in ACBS, these were fun and likable. There are also her usual benign villains, in this case the childish Heini, Verena, and Verena's detestable mother. As always, the arts (especially classical music) and sciences are interwoven with the plot. If you don't enjoy that sort of thing it would probably be best to avoid her books, although you'll be depriving yourself of some wonderful light historical reading....more
I was way, way, super excited when I heard about Sweet Valley Confidential.
I mean really, what reason did I have to not be excited? I was a devout fanI was way, way, super excited when I heard about Sweet Valley Confidential.
I mean really, what reason did I have to not be excited? I was a devout fan in my youth. Hell, I still buy all the books I can get my paws on when I go to the local used bookstore. And then I get angry when there aren’t any more. I just don’t understand why more people in my city haven’t sold their old Sweet Valley books so I can have them.
So I bought SVC as soon as I had the money to spare. And oh wow this book is bad, and I don't mean that in the cool Michael Jackson way.
The premise of the story is a bit contrived, like any Sweet Valley premise: Elizabeth and Todd, the most established and boring couple in the history of YA lit, are all set to become Mr. and Mrs. Borington when Elizabeth discovers that Todd is actually in love with Jessica. Who, weirdly, loves him back. Upon finding out about this, Elizabeth gets hella pissed and moves across the country to NYC to pursue a career as a writer. At the start of the book, Elizabeth hasn’t spoken to Todd or, more importantly, Jessica in about eight months.
Disturbingly, the sentence “She cried after every orgasm” is written in reference to Elizabeth within the first 10 pages. I can honestly say I was slightly queasy at the realization that Elizabeth Wakefield was old enough to be having rebound-induced crygasms, but I quickly moved past this. The first chapter was pretty boring, and I wanted to get to the fun part.
Unfolding over the course of the next 283 pages are a series of minor surprises (view spoiler)[(Aaron’s gay? And Jessica never liked him? Didn’t they date a couple times in Sweet Valley Twins & Friends? I could be wrong) (hide spoiler)], predictable plotlines (Lila marries a famous fellow SVH alum and separates from him because she gets bored and can’t keep it in her pants), and way too much bandying about of the word “lover” (I really, really hate that word). The only thing that genuinely shocked me was when I first read that Bruce and Elizabeth are BFFs now.
Most of the book reads like a more watered-down SVH novel, with grown-up phrases like “fuck you” and “he’s a shit” thrown in to remind you that you’re reading a book about 27-year-olds and not Ye Olde Teenage Wakefields. The twins are unsettlingly different from how they were in the books; Elizabeth is like a bitter facsimile of the Old Liz, whereas Jessica has became so transformed by love and the loss of her sister that she isn’t even fun anymore. I feel like maybe “Kate William” could have written it a little better, and probably without the random French words and phrases scattered pretentiously throughout the book. And can we please discuss why Francine felt it was necessary to have Elizabeth, of all people, be so surprised that someone is attracted to her twin sister but not her? Every single book in every single Sweet Valley series began with something about how their personalities were wildly different, even though they looked the same down to the dimples in their cheeks. Come on, Lizzie!
The book took a while to pick up—I honestly wasn’t really in to it until I got about halfway through—but I still suggest you read it if you’re a Sweet Valley fan. The book wasn’t quite what I thought it would be, but it was still fun to go back to Sweet Valley and see how everyone turned out. Most importantly, Bruce’s Porsche is still in the picture. We'll always have 1BRUCE1, folks!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Is it of the same caliber as Georgia's diaries? No.
Is it funny? Often.
This felt like a slow book to get into, but I thought the same of the first coupIs it of the same caliber as Georgia's diaries? No.
Is it funny? Often.
This felt like a slow book to get into, but I thought the same of the first couple of Georgia Nicolson books and that ended up being one of my all-time favorite series. My favorite thing about Louise Rennison's writing is how she plays with teen angst and makes it fun. Tallulah's legs are about eight feet long and the people she lives with in Yorkshire are all a touch insane, so there is more than enough opportunity for angsty hilarity. I have high hopes for the Misadventures of Tallulah Casey.
Also, there is a reference to The Smiths, specifically "Girlfriend in a Coma." Bonus points!...more
You know what is really a dick move? Killing yourself after sending around Cassettes from the Beyond to everyone you know in which you narrate all theYou know what is really a dick move? Killing yourself after sending around Cassettes from the Beyond to everyone you know in which you narrate all the reasons they should feel guilty for making you commit suicide, because obviously they left you no other choice and they should be traumatized forever.
I think I know what Asher was trying to do here. We're supposed to be seeing how we never know how our words and actions can affect somebody; how the smallest incident to us can be huge to someone else. And for Clay, opportunities missed, the road not taken, etc. But all Asher's done, in my eyes, is create a completely unsympathetic character (Hannah) who is so self-absorbed that because a couple of kids think she's easy, she thinks the only solution is to kill herself and then torture them from beyond the grave.
Suicide is an important issue and one which is very personal for me. It isn't about teen angst bullshit, as Veronica Sawyer would say. It isn't about showing those jerks and making them sorry. (Yeah, that guy who put his hand on your thigh really deserves to be told that's a reason why you killed yourself. Because he was an average, flirtatious teenage boy, he should spend the rest of his life knowing you blame him for your choice.) It is an incredibly final decision, a selfish one--though someone considering suicide most likely won't see it that way--and I just can't get behind the way it's presented here.
13RW gets two stars because the narrative style is good, and though the big mystery turns out to be pretty anticlimactic, I was drawn in enough to stick with it to the end....more
I picked this up at the library along with The Jewel of St. Petersburg, not realizing they had anything to do with each other. I read Jewel first andI picked this up at the library along with The Jewel of St. Petersburg, not realizing they had anything to do with each other. I read Jewel first and thought it was good, although initially hard to get into. The Red Scarf, however, had me hooked from the beginning.
You don't have to read Jewel to read this book--the main characters are completely different--however, I was delighted to find that two minor characters from Jewel, one of whom is only mentioned in passing as opposed to "met," were the focus of this book. Scarf is about two women in one of Stalin's gulags, Anna and Sofia. Anna is very sick and clings to childhood memories of a boy she loved in St. Petersburg, Vasily. When Sofia gets a chance to escape the gulag she takes it, promising Anna she will find Vasily and come back for her friend. The narration alternates between Anna inside the labor camp and Sofia's adventures on the outside as she struggles to reconcile her happiness with Anna's.
I loved this book. For me, the best thing about Kate Furnivall's writing is that she manages to make the characters very human. Every so often I'll find myself wanting to dislike a character for the way they behave but, just like with real people, every character has good aspects and bad, and you have to take them both and deal with it. The only thing about this book that I couldn't get on board with was the "magic" side-story. It felt too much like Furnivall thought, "Oh, I guess I'll throw some magic powers in here," forgot about it, and then remembered it 20 or so pages later and added a bit more. She never really fleshed out that part of the plot. I would have liked to know more about the powers or not have them at all, rather than random paragraphs and all the questions I was left with.
Sometimes I devour books and move on to the next one in my pile immediately and don’t think to write reviews until I’ve forgotten what I wanted to saySometimes I devour books and move on to the next one in my pile immediately and don’t think to write reviews until I’ve forgotten what I wanted to say (I should probably take more notes). So my review for The Name of the Star is very mini.
Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite YA authors. (If you’ve never read any of her books, read some of her Twitter feed and you’ll get a feel for her writing style.) And while Jack the Ripper is one of my favorite historical characters, he is a bit done. But Maureen took the well-known mystery, put a fresh spin on it, threw in some wacky characters, and gave the world this book.
Rory is a southern girl but no blushing flower. There is teen romance but it doesn’t dominate the novel. The ghosts aren’t all floating around and rattling chains; several of them just want to be useful in the afterlife and one’s heroics made me tear up. Some parts reminded me of Meg Cabot’s Mediator series, but thankfully without the human/ghost star-crossed lover aspect because that would’ve been too much to handle in this case.
One of the highlights of this book for me was her acknowledgements at the end. “Hey! This one is forty-five minutes of driving the Northern line tunnels! Grab a snack!” Maureen, please can we be friends? You can come hang out with Mindy and me. I’ll make the popcorn....more