I will preface this review by saying that I am not going to worry about spoiler alerts and hiding spoilers. “Jane Eyre” is 165 years old and a part of...moreI will preface this review by saying that I am not going to worry about spoiler alerts and hiding spoilers. “Jane Eyre” is 165 years old and a part of our collective cultural consciousness. If you don’t know the story, you probably should go read the book instead of reading this review.
I could have sworn that I read “Jane Eyre” sometime in my teens. There are parts that I distinctly remember. However, when I read Jasper Fforde’s “The Eyre Affair”, there were plot points mentioned that I had no memory of at all. If I ever had read it, I must have read an abridged version.
“Jane Eyre” turned out to be a completely different book than I remembered. What took me by surprise was how feminist it was at certain points. As a child, Jane is surprisingly strong and independent. Throughout the book, she shows these traits. Therefore, it is really disconcerting that she falls for Edward Fairfax Rochester. There is so much that’s wrong about this relationship. He’s twice her age and keeps referring to her as a little girl. He really comes off as some sort of creepy pedophile. He’s very possessive and can’t take “no” for an answer. After it’s revealed at their almost-wedding that he’s got a crazy wife in his attic, he’s in major denial about what he’s doing. He’s planning to become a bigamist and just can’t understand why Jane wants to get away from him. He has a rationalization for everything and it’s all just all a bunch of delusional BS. I really admired Jane for being strong and getting out of that totally dysfunctional relationship. She continues to be admirably strong afterwards in her rejection of St. John Rivers’ rather insistent proposals of marriage. However, the story ends completely wrong. She goes back to Rochester and everything’s okay because his lunatic wife died in a fire that burned down Thornfield Hall. Really? Really? Did the story have to go there? Couldn’t Jane have met a nice man and settled down? Did she really have to go back to Rochester?
Charlotte Bronte does use her novel to effectively illustrate what life was like for single women and orphans in Victorian England. There really was no safety net. Jane’s parent died when she was a baby. She was fortunate enough to be taken in by her sister’s brother, but is badly treated by her aunt and cousins when he dies. She gets shipped off to a boarding school for poor girls and the conditions there are appalling. The best life these girls can hope for is to be governesses or teachers at the same type of school as the one she’s growing up in. When she leaves Thornfield Hall, there is no safety net for her. She almost starves to death in the snow before she’s taken in by the Rivers family. She only ends up with hope because of the miraculous discovery that she’s heir to a fortune left her by her father’s brother. At that point, she’s perfectly capable of taking care of herself or choosing a husband who isn’t a total freak like Rochester.
I really enjoyed the social aspects of this book. However, I really got irritated by Jane and Rochester’s discussions of their “love” for each other. As I said before, it just seemed wrong in so many ways. I can’t even imagine that there was ever a time in history when their relationship would have been considered something to strive for. If Jane had been raised by her mother and father, and have spent time in girlhood around normal men, maybe she wouldn’t have fallen for that creepy Rochester. (less)
What the heck is going on with me? Lately, all that's been holding my attention is frothy, romantic, humorous books. My usual reading style is gritty...moreWhat the heck is going on with me? Lately, all that's been holding my attention is frothy, romantic, humorous books. My usual reading style is gritty and thought-provoking.
Molly Harper's humor is right up my alley. It's snarky. The narration here is good too. This book is pretty light, so there's not much else I can say about it other than it kept me smiling. (less)
This is definitely the middle child of the trilogy. You know from the animosity between Hope and Ryder starting in the first book that they'll be a co...moreThis is definitely the middle child of the trilogy. You know from the animosity between Hope and Ryder starting in the first book that they'll be a couple at some point. After all, there are three brothers and three friends. This book follows the growing romance between Owen and Avery. They've know each other all their lives. When she was little, Avery announced that she was going to marry Owen.
One of the things about romance novels is that you know how they're going to end. There really isn't any such thing as a spoiler because the rules are all laid out early. I wouldn't want a steady diet of romance novels, but a good one is kind of a nice change of pace.(less)
When I won this book through FirstReads, I thought it could be good or it could be cheesy. It's a bit of both. For a smart woman, Troy Chance makes so...moreWhen I won this book through FirstReads, I thought it could be good or it could be cheesy. It's a bit of both. For a smart woman, Troy Chance makes some really stupid choices. While it was really brave of her to jump off a ferry to save a child she sees fall into Lake Champlain from another ferry, it was really stupid of her to take the child home rather than calling 911. From there, the story gets more and more implausible. Yet...I couldn't put it down. I've been in kind of a reading slump lately, jumping from book to book and having a hard time finishing any. Learning to Swim only took a few days to read and gave me a respite I needed from the heavy science fiction and fantasy I've been reading lately.
I will give credit where credit is due. The story was quite suspenseful and had some twists that I never saw coming. I really appreciated that (view spoiler)[the author didn't take the easy route with the romantic aspect. Troy doesn't get a happily ever after ending with the boy's father. Rather, she learns something about herself and about what she really wants out of life. I would really like to see her end up with Detective Jameson instead of Phillipe, and that is an open possibility. (hide spoiler)] (Aren't these spoiler tags great?)
I recommend this for anyone looking for a quick, escapist read.(less)
There seem to be quite a few books about Count Dracula lately. Maybe the popularity of vampires is making people re-visit the original popular vampire...moreThere seem to be quite a few books about Count Dracula lately. Maybe the popularity of vampires is making people re-visit the original popular vampire. Dracula in Love is far, far better than Dracula the Un-Dead and less boring than The Historian. It's got plenty of mildly graphic sex and sexual fantasy for those who like that kind of thing, but isn't so over the top that it's gulp-inducing for those who don't. My biggest complaint is the way it twists Bram Stoker's story and puts a completely ridiculous interpretation on Dracula's origins and why he's obsessed with Mina. It starts out pretty good, but really stretched my suspension of disbelief towards the end.
Fortunately, I won this book through FirstReads because it really would have been only worth the price of a mass-market paperback.(less)
Jane Jameson is getting into the routine of being a vampire. Her mom is in denial and her sister won't talk to her, but that's okay. She's not quite s...moreJane Jameson is getting into the routine of being a vampire. Her mom is in denial and her sister won't talk to her, but that's okay. She's not quite sure where she stands with her boyfriend, but she's also got more friends than she did when she was alive. She's loving her vampire superpowers.
This wasn't quite as good as Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs, but it's still entertaining. Amanda Ronconi does a really good job of narrating. My only real complaint is that Harper goes into a bit too much detail with the sex and some of the sex scenes don't really fit with the tone of the book. I guess that's what makes it paranormal romance rather than urban fantasy.(less)
I’ve tried to read Jane Austen several times and just couldn’t get very far in to her work. Perhaps if I had started in my pre-teen years, around the...moreI’ve tried to read Jane Austen several times and just couldn’t get very far in to her work. Perhaps if I had started in my pre-teen years, around the time I first read Louisa May Alcott, I might have been a die-hard fan. However, my first attempt was in my twenties and I just didn’t like anything enough to make it all the way. I’ve felt quite negligent in this regard because Miss Austen is so popular now. She has many admirers and copiers. I so often hear books described as “Austenesque” but only had the vaguest sense of what that meant. Therefore, when I happened upon an audio download of Pride and Prejudice read by one of the finest female narrators with whom I am familiar, I purchased and downloaded a copy. Kate Reading’s delightful narration led me to understand the charm of Miss Austen.
While Austen did use so many of the now-familiar romance novel tropes, she did it in a way that still seems fresh despite two centuries. I found her style to be quite humorous. Upon the commencement of the story, I already knew where it was going to go. There are no such things as spoilers when it comes to a 200-year-old novel. What did surprise me was how little I knew of the story despite all I had heard. It was quite a charming romantic comedy and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. Perhaps it was meant to be read aloud.
Now that I understand Jane Austen, I will attempt at some time in the future to read another of her novels. I am so fortunate as to have several Barnes and Noble Classics’ editions on my Nook that I acquired at no cost due to a generous giveaway the had this summer past. However, it does behoove me to read some books that are more current first as I cannot write or talk like a 200-year-old woman for much longer. (less)
I rarely read romance. I like romantic subplots, but I find most romances to be kind of stupid and predictable. I really didn't expect to like a Nora...moreI rarely read romance. I like romantic subplots, but I find most romances to be kind of stupid and predictable. I really didn't expect to like a Nora Roberts novel as much as I enjoyed The Next Always. I really feel like I got suckered because Audible was giving it away free through their Facebook page and I thought "Why not?". Yesterday's BOGO had the third book in the trilogy, so now I have to buy the second book too.
What really drew me into this story was the characters. Clare is a widow who owns a bookstore and is trying to raise three boys. Beckett is an architect who is restoring an Eighteenth Century inn with his mother and two brothers. They live in the small town they grew up in. Clare has wonderful friends. Beckett has great brothers. I want to move to Boonsboro because it sounds like a beautiful town with a great sense of community.
The narrator was okay, nothing special. At least he wasn't terrible.
I'm not a romance reader, but this was a lot of fun. Molly Harper has a great sense of humor. There weren't any surprises in this novella, but that's...moreI'm not a romance reader, but this was a lot of fun. Molly Harper has a great sense of humor. There weren't any surprises in this novella, but that's okay. I laughed out loud several times and that made it worth the listen.
I've never heard of the narrator, Sophie Eastlake, before. However, I will be keeping my eyes open for other books narrated by her. She was delightful. (less)
Bridge Of Souls is so utterly predictable and cliched. I knew every step of the way what was going to happen. I'm pretty sure I've seen the movie. I t...moreBridge Of Souls is so utterly predictable and cliched. I knew every step of the way what was going to happen. I'm pretty sure I've seen the movie. I think it was either called Sleeping with the Enemy or Stir of Echoes. I don't even like romance novels. (I did go through a brief period in my twenties when I read Harlequin romances like candy though, so I'm no stranger to the genre.)
HOWEVER, despite all of the above, I found Bridge Of Souls to be a very, very enjoyable book. It was very well-paced and it kept my attention. (I tend to get ADD this time of year.) The characters seemed like real people, not stock characters. The supernatural twist wasn't overdone or hokey. There wasn't an over-abundance of sex and the one sex scene was more subtle and better written than most that I've run across over the years. In some ways, it reminded me of the Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt novels I used to read in my early teens.
There's really nothing new or groundbreaking here, but Wohl does an excellent job with the genre conventions. I especially liked the cover. It doesn't scream, "I'm a romance novel!" and it fits with the story that rises above cookie cutter romance.(less)
Holidays Are Hell is an entertaining collection of four paranormal romance novellas. I had fun reading it and it was a quick light read for the Christ...moreHolidays Are Hell is an entertaining collection of four paranormal romance novellas. I had fun reading it and it was a quick light read for the Christmas-New Year season when life gets so busy. There were some sex scenes in a couple of the stories that made absolutely no sense. Do you really stop in the middle of a pursuit, either as chaser or chased, to have sex with some hot guy? Maybe I'm just old.(less)