So, I have to start off with a confession: I have never read Jane Eyre. I know, know #englishmajorfail #librarianfail, but I'm not unfamiliar with the...moreSo, I have to start off with a confession: I have never read Jane Eyre. I know, know #englishmajorfail #librarianfail, but I'm not unfamiliar with the story of Jane Eyre. I've...seen the movie?! Ok, I know, you're rolling your eyes! Does it help that it was the newest Masterpiece Theater version of Jane Erye? No? Well fine. But keep in mind that, although I haven't read Jane Eyre, I do know the story and I LOVED the version I saw.
With that confession out of the way I have to admit, this book did not work for me. At all. Lindner stuck close to the storyline, however I felt this modern translation failed for the following reasons:
Jane. Our heroine did not translate well into the modern world. Whereas in the original story Jane is this stead fast, level headed heroine, our Jane, who also had these same traits was just so...flat. I found her boring and uninteresting, I wanted to admire her and her strong will to survive anything but mostly, she bored me. It wasn't until she left Thornfield Park and she moves in with the St. John family, around page 286 that I really got interested.
No chemistry. I did not buy Jane's feelings for Nico, nor his for her. The whole romance felt flat. That makes it difficult when this is supposed to be such a romantic story. Also the whole younger girl with the older guy, felt a little pervy, whereas the original felt realistic and appropriate for the time period.
Nico. I felt he was a poor substitute for Edward Rochester who was a surly, mysterious, tormented individual. Nico Rathburn, on the other hand, came off as hot headed, controlling, and devious. I also did not buy into his feelings or interest in Jane.
Long. Now, I don't have anything against long novels. But there were huge chunks of text that I felt were just Jane droning on. There was a lot of telling going on and not enough showing or doing. By the last 50 pages or so I just wanted it to be over.
I used this adjective several times in this review and I feel it pretty much sums up how I felt about the book: flat. I think this attempt to modernize the story failed. Read the original, hell rent the Masterpiece Theater version, but I'd skip this one. (less)
I really don't know how to write a review that will do this book justice. All I know is that I laughed, I cried, then I laughed some more. And this re...moreI really don't know how to write a review that will do this book justice. All I know is that I laughed, I cried, then I laughed some more. And this review will be my feeble attempt to convey the genius of Sherman Alexie's writing. While this is my first Alexie book, it most certainly will not be my last.
Junior is a Spokane Indian living on a reservation who takes a huge risk by transferring to the white high school twenty-two miles away from the "rez." This takes a lot of courage for a boy, who is already known around the rez as a "retard" and a "faggot". Most of that has to do with the brain damage that he endured as a child, the subsequent seizures that would often plague him, and his general awkwardness. So already he's an outcast. When he transfers to the new school he isolates himself even further because his tribe views him as a traitor. Add to that alcoholic parents and a best friend turned frienemy and Junior is about the loneliest soul you could imagine. But he keeps trucking on.
Through it all, the good and the bad, Junior never loses his sense of humor. I find that heartening and hopeful. When faced with poverty, death, prejudice, and bullying Junior still manages to find humor in such tragic circumstances. Junior even verbalizes this saying:
". . . I realized that, sure, Indians were drunk and sad and displaced and crazy and mean, but dang, we knew how to laugh. When it comes to death, we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same thing." As a white person, I cannot say whether or not The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian accurately portrays the Native American experience however, Debbie Reese, a Nambe Pueblo Indian woman and assistant professor in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, whose blog discusses "Critical perspectives of indigenous peoples in children's and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society-at-large", praises the book stating:
"There's a lot in the book that I really like because I connect with the character, the setting, the experiences... It is real and brutally honest."
If Debbie finds it a valid representation of the Native American experience, I'm certainly going to believe her considering her heritage and her educational background. I encourage you to check out Debbie's blog if you're at all interested in the representation of Native Americans in YA (or Children's) lit. Her blog is a wonderful place to get recommendations for accurate portrayals of Native Americans.
A lot of the tragedy that befalls Junior is, in some way, related to one of the harsh realities of life on the rez: alcoholism. As I understand, this is a huge problem among Native Americans. It was interesting the way Junior described having an alcoholic father and how that compared to his white classmates' fathers:
"I mean, yeah, my dad would sometimes go on a drinking binge and be gone for a week, but those white dads can completely disappear without ever leaving the living room. They can just BLEND into their chairs. They become their chairs. . . There are white parents, especially fathers, who never come to school. They don't come for their kids' games, concerts, plays, or carnivals." " I realize my parents are pretty good. . . they make sacrifices for me. They worry about me. They talk to me. And best of all, they listen to me."
So while his parent's aren't perfect and as much as Junior may envy some of the advantages of his white classmates, he still understands, appreciates, and values his family and his community.
It's really difficult for me to articulate how amazing this book is. On one hand it's heartbreakingly sad, on the other it is humorous and uplifting. It just goes to show that we're not all just one thing. Junior, isn't just an Indian, this isn't just another YA book. This is something special. (less)
Finally, a solo title from Ms. Crusie! I've read some of her co-authored works, the only one I liked was Agnes and the Hitman which was excellent but...moreFinally, a solo title from Ms. Crusie! I've read some of her co-authored works, the only one I liked was Agnes and the Hitman which was excellent but I was glad to see Crusie doing her own thing again.
Maybe This Time is Crusie's re-telling of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I don't know this because I've read The Turn of the Screw, or because I was an English major, or a librarian. I know this only because Jenny told me. Well, not me specifically but the group of us that were at her book signing last night. It was pretty cool to hear how James had inspired Crusie but there were things about the story that she could not relate to (twenty year old virgin!) so she decided to write her own version and wha-la! We have Maybe This Time.
Jenny also said that Maybe This Time was a ghost story and not a romance. Wait! Romance folks, don't stop reading! While this is an excellent ghost story, it is also "classic Crusie." Long-time fans, you'll know what that means; newcomers, it means quirky heroines, hilarious hijinx, and a sexy hero. The only thing missing from this Crusie was a furry four legged character. This time around she's replaced (wo)man's best friend with....kids?!
Confession: I'm not a kid person. Sure I like some kids, usually a friend's kid. But I don't really enjoy kids. No offense to my lovely readers with little ones...I love seeing pictures of your cutiepies but am glad I don't have any or have to deal with kids on a regular basis. Wow, guess it's a good thing I didn't become a teacher eh?! So, when I see romance novels with kids in them I usually groan. But this was a Crusie so I didn't even think twice and Crusie, fantabulous writer that she is, totally sold me on the book's two kids, Alice and Carter. Although Carter is quite and withdrawn. I kept expecting to learn more about him. Especially after Andie, our heroine, had a discussion with her ex-mother-in-law about him. But nothing ever came of it. That was one of the only things the irked me about this book. Alice definitely gets the most attention. And, according to Ms. Crusie herself, we're going to get to see Alice star in her own book in the future!
Anyway, as far as the romance goes Andie and North are obviously still not over each other despite the ten years since their divorce. There's not as much interaction between Andie and North as I might have liked. The focus seemed more on Andie's relationship with the kids and trying to deal with those pesky ghosts. However, there's enough romance to keep those of us, who NEED romance, going!
Lastly, I have to say Crusie did a great job of building suspense where the ghosts and supernatural aspects were concerned. As I was reading I was thinking, "Wow, this is actually a little creepy." Which was something I wasn't expecting from a Crusie novel. But it's not nightmare worthy so those of you who don't care for scary stuff, it's not THAT scary!
Overall an excellent addition to my keeper shelf. Crusie, left to her own devices, never fails. If you haven't read any Crusie before, what the heck are you waiting for?! (less)
I first heard about Shit My Dad Says via the @shitmydadsays Twitter account. The first time I stumbled upon it I read through every tweet available. B...moreI first heard about Shit My Dad Says via the @shitmydadsays Twitter account. The first time I stumbled upon it I read through every tweet available. Bascially, Justin Halpern, after his girlfriend dumped him and he had no place to live, moved back home with his parents. He began leaving the outrageous one-liners from his 70 year old cantankereous father on his AIM away messages. Someone suggested to him that he create a Twitter account and, a million followers later, he has a book offer and a pending television show based on his father's one liners.
After reading some of the tweets, one might get the sense that Halpern's father is gruff and uncouth, both of which appear to be true but somehow I equeated that with not being a good dad? I don't know why. But after reading Sh*t My Dad Says, it is apparent that Mr. Halpern clearly loves his son. Sprinkled in among the obscenities are stories with real heart and,ultimately, the story is a classic father/son tale. With a lot of swear words thrown in!
It is a quick read that literally had me laughing out loud. If you're interested in the book but not quite sure, you can check out the twitter page or this article to get a sense of the writing.
I'll leave you with some of Mr. Halpern's pearls of wisdom:
"Don't ask for my opinion then. I said congrats on the car, just saying nobody's panties are getting wet from a fucking Honda Accord."
"There's a word for people like that...No, I'm saying, there's a word and I don't know what it is. I'm not being fucking poetic."
"You look just like Stephen Hawking...Relax, I meant like a non-paralyzed version of him. Feel better?... Fine. Forget I said it."
"That woman was sexy...Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don't do it for them."
"Sometimes life leaves a hundred dollar bill on your dresser, and you don't realize until later that it's because it fucked you."(less)
I was interested in The DUFF for two reasons 1) the positive reviews I'd seen so far 2) The DUFF is Keplinger's debut title and thus qualifies for the...moreI was interested in The DUFF for two reasons 1) the positive reviews I'd seen so far 2) The DUFF is Keplinger's debut title and thus qualifies for the 2010 Debut Author Challenge. I'm really glad I gave this one a go! The DUFF falls into one of my favorite genres, realistic YA fiction and Keplinger should know a little something about the genre seeing how she still IS a teen!
To understand the book you have to understand the theory behind being the DUFF. The DUFF is that one girl in a group of friends who, in comparison to her friends, is the "ugly" one. As Wesley, The DUFF's unlikely hero, explains that the DUFF isn't necessarily hideous, she just happens to be the least attractive among her friends.
When I first read about the premise I was kind of taken aback. How, I wondered, would the author redeem a man-whoring guy calling girls DUFFs? How would the author manage not to offend all of us DUFFs?! Easy, pretty much everyone thinks they're a DUFF. When Bianca explains the theory behind the DUFF to her gorgeous BFF, Casey, she refutes Bianca's status as the DUFF insisting that she is the DUFF. Citing her height as her major flaw and insisting that guys are not interested in her because of her Amazonian stature.
Keplinger realistically navigates the inner workings of female friendships and insecurities. I think a lot of girls (and women) can relate to Bianca. How many of us belong to a group of friends where we feel like the "ugly" one? Chances are, one or more of your friends are feeling the exact same thing.
Another reason I liked Bianca is because of her snarkyness. If this book were an episode of Sex and the City Bianca would definitely be Miranda. The smart ass, cynic who doesn't take shit from anyone. Perhaps, I enjoyed this book so much because I see a lot of myself reflected in Bianca. Now, if I can just find my own Wesley....
Speaking of the devil, Wesley was a really decent guy. Sure he started off on the wrong foot, calling her a DUFF and all, that certainly was a shitty move. But throughout the novel he proved to be much more than the self absorbed man-whore Bianca had pigeonholed him as. I think he genuinely had no idea that calling Bianca "Duffy" was so hurtful to her. Boys. Sigh. As the reader though we notice, at least I did, Wesley's lack of man-whoring when he's with Bianca. Sure we see him flirting with another girl. But I think Wesley fell for Bianca earlier than she could have imagined. Even from the first kamikaze kiss, he's like... "Wow." I really enjoyed Wesley and Bianca's bantering. It made me laugh and I really enjoyed their interactions.
I didn't always like Bianca. She's going through a tough time,what with her parents divorce and her Dad's falling off the wagon, but there are several instances when she knows she's being a shitty friend. She even says thing a long the lines of "Wow, I'm being a bitch" and "I'm a shitty friend." But she doesn't really even attempt to do anything about it.
So, on one hand I like that she recognizes that she's failing at her friend duties. On the other hand, I was somewhat annoyed that she didn't make more of an effort to be a better friend. But I totally understand where she's coming from. Sometimes you have so much shit going on in your own life that you recognized you're neglecting another aspect of your life but you don't have the time or energy to deal with it.
Lastly, I enjoyed the amount of cussing, snarkyness, and sex in this novel. I hope Keplinger is prepared for her book to be challenged. I can see that in this book's future. None of it bothered me, I found it realistic but not over the top, however I'm sure there are going to be some parents complaining. And for those of you who don't read YA because of the lack of sexy bits, this book might be for you! There's enough sex without crossing the line into too much detail.
Overall, The DUFF was smart, funny, sexy and realistic. I would put Keplinger in the ranks of Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott and I'm looking forward to more books from this author!
Disclosure: I received this ARC from the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for this review. (less)
I was first turned on (pun intended) to Courtney Milan thanks to Stacey's review of Proof by Seduction. Which I also ended up loving and have been eag...moreI was first turned on (pun intended) to Courtney Milan thanks to Stacey's review of Proof by Seduction. Which I also ended up loving and have been eagerly anticipating this sequel for some time now!
I wasn't sure if Trial by Desire could live up to Proof by Seduction. Especially because in Poof by Seduction Ned was kind of a fuck-up. Sure, I liked him and felt sorry for him but I was wondering how Milan was going to turn Ned into hero material. But hero material he turned out to be!
Ned, determined to prove his self worth, has spent the last three years working in China to sort out his cousin's business issues overseas.In the process, he has transformed from the joking, bumbling screw-up to a man this in strict control of all his emotions.
During his absence, his wife Kate has spend her time shopping and gossiping, or so she's lead all of society to believe. When, in fact, she has been fighting off a number of would be 'suitors' vying to win the attentions of the woman abandoned by her husband. In additon,Kate has been taking on monumental tasks like hiding her best friend from her abusive husband, hardly the acts of the oblivious socialite she's accused of being. And, in a time, when women were still considered property, helping her friend could put Kate in a great deal of danger.
When Ned and Kate reunite a battle of wits and seduction ensues.However, Kate is still hurt by Ned's abandonment and Ned is determined not to let his emotional guard down, especially where his wife is concerned. She is the one person who could unravel it all.
I have to say I think the book's description is a bit misleading. It says that "Ned is determined to regain his wife’s trust by using unbridled seduction." However, Kate is the one that is pushing for both physical and emotional intimacy but Ned is afraid of losing his grip on his hard won control.
I love how Milan manages to balance a slew of intense topics: abuse, betrayal, and depression with romance without having it feel like some historical soap opera. Instead she weaves a tale of strength, redemption, forgiveness, and love. Courtney Milan is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.
If you haven't already, I'd highly recommend reading Proof by Seduction before picking up Trial by Desire, but it's not necessary to read them in order. Trial by Desire is out now, what are you waiting for?! Go get it!(less)
I really wanted to like this more. I love Chicago and the whole serial killer aspect sounded intriguing however the architecture parts were way too lo...moreI really wanted to like this more. I love Chicago and the whole serial killer aspect sounded intriguing however the architecture parts were way too long in comparison to the serial killer parts. I didn't get too interested until the fair was actually over, that was where a lot of the interesting facts showed up. I had high hopes for this but I really just ended up struggling through most of it. (less)
A Clockwork Angel is the first book in Clare's new Infernal Devices series. Now, it's been awhile since I've read the Mortal Instruments series. So I...moreA Clockwork Angel is the first book in Clare's new Infernal Devices series. Now, it's been awhile since I've read the Mortal Instruments series. So I had a bit of trouble trying to recall all of the background on the Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Because the characters in A Clockwork Angel are the ancestors to Clary, Jace, etc. I kept trying to relate them back to the Mortal Instruments series. However, I have a horrible memory when it comes to recalling books. I read so many and I just don't retain a lot of the details that other readers seem to be able to recall. It's such a pain! I was kind of frustrating myself trying to remember all the stuff from the Mortal Instruments series that it was hampering my enjoyment of the story. So when I decided to just stop trying recollect everything and enjoy this as a stand alone title and not how it related to the Mortal Instruments series, I was able to immerse myself and enjoy the book. And enjoy it I did! I LOVED this book. I think I'm going to end up liking this series more than the Mortal Instruments series. I think the world that Clare has created works so well in the historical context. I think that is part of why I enjoyed this book so much!
The characters Clare has created with Tessa, Will, and Jem are complex. Tessa, clearly holds traditional views of women in her society. I think these views will be tested and eventually altered as the series progresses. In this book we already saw Tessa growing more independent and stronger. Doing things I don't think she ever imagined she could do.
I love Will. He's clearly a tortured hero, which is one of my literary weaknesses. I love his self deprecating, sarcastic sense of humor. I love the banter between Tessa and Will. I cannot wait to discover what his deep dark secret is!
Jem is the antithesis of Will. While I didn't love him as much as Will. I think he's an interesting character especially with his "handicap". I don't see him as a love interest for Tessa; I think it's all about Will for her. But I think Jem is and will become a great friend to Tessa. But I am decidedly Team Will, no doubt!
I loved the idea of the clockwork army, so creepy and the whole book has that Victorian horror novel kind of feel to it. I mentioned before but I really think Clare's world works really well in this historical setting. This was an excellent start to what promises to be another excellent YA fantasy series!