This book was entertaining, and not what I expected at all. I loved Isadora's shakiness, and I loved that her relationship with her parents was centra...moreThis book was entertaining, and not what I expected at all. I loved Isadora's shakiness, and I loved that her relationship with her parents was central to the book. I was frustrated, though, in that so many of the other characters seemed flat and lacked real motivation.(less)
This is a good ya romance. I don't think that everyone will love it, as the story moves relatively slowly. But Caymen fairly jumped off the page for m...moreThis is a good ya romance. I don't think that everyone will love it, as the story moves relatively slowly. But Caymen fairly jumped off the page for me, and I'm willing to forgive a lot in a book where the protagonist seems so very real.(less)
Yes, I love the TV series on which this was based. Yes, I donated to the Kickstarter campaign that led to the creation of the feature film. And, yes,...moreYes, I love the TV series on which this was based. Yes, I donated to the Kickstarter campaign that led to the creation of the feature film. And, yes, I bought the book which is the official follow-up to the movie.
I have no dignity.
What I do have is a few more hours that I spent in Neptune with some of my favorite fictional characters. I don't think this book was as good as the best episodes of the TV show, but it was better than some of the worst. Did it advance the plot forward after the events of the movie? Perhaps. Things do happen in this book. If you want to know what happens "next," it's worth a read. However, I would not call it a game changer. Fun, yes. Well-written? Hmmmm. The jury's out. But I could occasionally hear the voice of the actors speaking the lines, so that helped.
Will I read the next one? Yes.
Why? I have no dignity, and I'm a Veronica Mars fan.(less)
It has been many years since I first read Mansfield Park.
As before, I find that I don't really like Fanny Price all that much. She's so good, so patie...moreIt has been many years since I first read Mansfield Park.
As before, I find that I don't really like Fanny Price all that much. She's so good, so patient, so quiet . . . such a paragon of virtue that I have a hard time rooting for her. Long ago, I read a critic's response to the book that stated (sorry, it's a spoiler, so I'll hide it) (view spoiler)[ that Fanny and Edmund's home must have been incredibly boring and that their neighbors likely dreaded an invitation to dinner at their house. (hide spoiler)]
I can't help but root for the underdog in this book: (view spoiler)[Henry Crawford. While he proves himself to be be morally challenged, I do believe that he loved Fanny and would have brought more emotion to her life than Edmund. In marrying Edmund, Fanny found happiness, contentment, and satisfaction. In a marriage to Henry, I can't help but think she would have found some emotional upset (after all, he wasn't always good) but I think that the emotional highs would have balanced that account. He, at least, was passionate. Sadly, both Jane Austen and the period in which she wrote were suspicious of passion, so Edmund had to win. Darn it. (hide spoiler)]
I realize this book is over 200 years old, but as it's a lesser known Austen, I've chosen to hide some of my comments. Feel free to read and comment--and don't hold back in the comments. Anyone that reads that far deserves to be spoiled. :)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It was extremely predictable, which is why it gets four stars rather than five and is not listed on my favorites shelf. Ho...moreI greatly enjoyed this book.
It was extremely predictable, which is why it gets four stars rather than five and is not listed on my favorites shelf. However, despite that failing, the book was entertaining and frequently lovely.
Ahern is a gifted writer. She's able to litter the everyday world with magic. Her characters seldom think twice about the way reality bends around them, and she's also able to get readers to suspend their disbelief.
From the few books that I've read, I'd say her work seems to focus on recovering from mistakes and embracing the glorious nature of one's own life.
Lucy's life is something of a mess. She's working a job she hates, among people she despises, and she dreads every interaction with her family. Her apartment is small and barely livable, and she's got an illegal cat. Before the start of the book, she receives cards mysteriously arriving in her apartment. They're from the Life Agency, and they're informing her that she has an appointment. As the book opens, Lucy is finally forced to keep that appointment. Her life turns out to be an ugly man, and she despises him on sight. Lucy is unable to avoid him, though, and she's forced to confront why she hates her own life so thoroughly. He is, he explains, something like the xray of a broken bone; he is the visible proof of what's wrong with her life. And he's going to follow her everywhere until she starts to face the decisions that have put her on this miserable path.
(view spoiler)[Her life winds up being something like Nanny McFee; as she comes to make better decisions and enjoy her own life again, he becomes more attractive and happier. Cheesy, I know, but fun nonetheless. (hide spoiler)]
Ahern's writing style is very interesting to me. She tends to take her characters just a little further than I'd like into embarrassing situations. Still, those situations seem real, and her ability to take readers along on her characters' mental journeys is fascinating. As a reader, I can point out the many plot and reality holes surrounding Ahern's Life Agency, but as the read the book, I really didn't want to. That may be what I think is Ahern's gift: she makes the implausible seem, if not likely, something you wish were likely. (That said, I'd rather not meet my life, thank you.)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I first read this book years ago. So long ago, that I did not remember it very well. At the time, I remembered thinking that there were parts of the b...moreI first read this book years ago. So long ago, that I did not remember it very well. At the time, I remembered thinking that there were parts of the book that were simply stunning but not really understanding other parts of the world.
Now that I've read Swordspoint, the first book in the series, I understand the events of this one much better. I do think The Privilege of the Sword can stand on its own, but it is helpful to understand the relationships among the characters.
At its heart, I would say this is a book about what it takes to make a woman of this time and location capable of making her own decisions. Lacking the legal standing to do much of anything, women must rely on their families and their husbands. Disliking this exceedingly, the Duke Tremontaine decides to shake things up (he likes to stir the pot quite a bit) by giving his niece the privilege of the sword. In training her to be a swordsman, he gives her what amounts to a phallus--a legal right to act on her own behalf. I'm not referring to anatomy here--although there is an amusing scene straight out of Renaissance lit whereby Katherine wonders if she's growing a "birdie." A phallus is a symbolic representation of power, and Katherine's sword appropriates it for her own use.
This book is making miss academic writing--there's so much I could say about it in the right context. (less)
A light and fluffy romance, this was what I needed to distract myself from a bad day.
It does touch on serious issues, so calling it "fluffy" is a bit...moreA light and fluffy romance, this was what I needed to distract myself from a bad day.
It does touch on serious issues, so calling it "fluffy" is a bit inaccurate. What I meant by that is that this book is a very simple story about a young woman choosing between two men and the life they represent to her. There's no large social issues at play here. It is a very personal story of an emotionally scarred woman. That said, this book isn't about Pepper's scars. It's about what we look for to heal ourselves.
Still doesn't sound fluffy, does it. Hmm. I'm going to leave the word in this review because it accurately represents my emotional reaction to the book even if it doesn't reflect on the book itself.(less)
I wanted to love this book, really, I did. But it just didn't happen. The novel started strong, it's true. However, at a certain point in the narrativ...moreI wanted to love this book, really, I did. But it just didn't happen. The novel started strong, it's true. However, at a certain point in the narrative, I should have become more invested in the characters and their feelings for one another, but I didn't.
I was prepared to adore this book. I might revise my rating up in the future, but right now it stands at two stars, because the disappointment is still too fresh.(less)
There are times when non-book lovers have wondered why I read so much. At those times, I wish I had a copy of certain books in my hands where I could...moreThere are times when non-book lovers have wondered why I read so much. At those times, I wish I had a copy of certain books in my hands where I could say to them: "Read this. We'll talk again tomorrow." This was one of those books.
At the start of it, I really didn't like Sam, the protagonist. But that was expected, I think. At the end of the first day, she directly addresses readers and says, more or less, 'I made mistakes, but I wasn't that bad a person. Would you have done differently?' As she continues to relive that same day, Sam is offered the chance to reverse some of the choices she's made. Some choices cannot be altered--they were made in years past. All Sam can do is relive the day. By the end of the book, Sam is a far different person, one that I both liked and admired. Her growth is real, and the choices she makes are far different.
This book is an emotional journey, one that touched me deeply. That's what I meant about handing it to a non-reader. This is one of the books that is so well written, so thoughtful, that it touched me deeply. (view spoiler)[I really wish that it hadn't ended the way that it had, that, like Groundhog Day, Sam had found a way out of the loop. However, the loop was based on reliving the day she'd died. Once I think Sam accepted the idea of her own death, she knew that there was no way to change it. Even as she ended the day still alive, she awoke at the beginning of the same day again. Her death, then, was inevitable, but she could chose how and why it happened. The choice Sam makes gives her life more meaning than it otherwise might have had, but I would have liked to see the person Sam (and, by extension, her friends) would have become if Sam had been able to take the lessons of this day into the future. If this had been a horror novel, Sam wouldn't have found her way out of that loop. I'd prefer not to think about that option. (hide spoiler)] I've read Oliver's Pandemonium series, and I liked it. But that series simply could not prepare me for the emotional power of this book. Even non-readers might find that it would touch their souls, if they allowed the book access.
Once, long ago, I read the FAQ on Stuart Woods' website. Apparently, readers like to ask him if he'd ever write another book like Chiefs. In his answer, he tells them no, that he only had one book like that in him. I remember that answer because it seemed there was something so sad and honest about it. Chiefs was the first book Woods wrote. If he'd kept trying to write a story so grand as that one each time, he would have been chasing an impossible goal. Instead, he gave himself smaller goals: I can't repeat that first book, but I can write this one. I don't know if Oliver has another book like this one in her. I kind of hope that she does. I'd like to see more books that touch readers like this one can.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)