3 1/2 stars. So close to four stars here. So close.
This is a funny, entertaining chicklit novel. It's pretty standard fare; quirky but lovable main ch3 1/2 stars. So close to four stars here. So close.
This is a funny, entertaining chicklit novel. It's pretty standard fare; quirky but lovable main character with loyal and charming sidekick/friends faces a few stumbling blocks both in her career and her love life. She wins in the end, because she's funny and charming and has a hand from her loyal sidekick/friends.
I laughed a lot during this book. It's very, very entertaining even if it is very "typical" chick lit fare. Sometimes - especially in the summer time - that's exactly what you want. This is a fantastic summer-in-the-backyard, vacation or beach read. It's light and has enough twists and turns to keep you interested without being so involving that you actually have to use your brain to get through it. Like a quality episode of reality TV, this takes you away from life for a while and lets you relax, recharge, and get ready to take on your own world again....more
Up for some Apocalyptic fiction with a slightly different twist? This book is about a big bang - the kind that makes all the lights go out. That's rigUp for some Apocalyptic fiction with a slightly different twist? This book is about a big bang - the kind that makes all the lights go out. That's right, an EMP pulse. It's interesting that as a big reader of Apocalypse novels, I don't see much that has to do with EMPs. Though it's a part of the book The Fifth Wave, it isn't a huge plot point, and it's rarely seen elsewhere.
I spent an awful lot of time thinking the characters in this book were incredibly stupid. I was frustrated with the author; although he seemed well-versed in both weaponry and military strategy, he (or maybe just his characters?) seemed to have no clue about how to survive in the wild world of no electricity. I won't spoiler the plot for you, but sheesh... I really hope that our society isn't so incredibly dependent on technology that we would fall apart so badly, so quickly. Has everyone forgotten every homesteader skill? Did no one read Little House on the Prairie at least? Or watched Preppers on some random Saturday when there is nothing else on TV?
Because of how clueless the populace in general was in this book, I was frustrated and annoyed and can't give it above three stars, even though I requested the sequel from the library the minute I finished this. I just felt cheated by the author, who created wonderful characters and an interesting plotline, but then made everyone clumsy and used clunky plot twists and some unnecessary gore and violence (I know, standard in Apocalyptic fiction, but still...)....more
“Living did not mean one joy piled upon another. It was merely the hope for less pain, hope played like a playing card upon another hope, a wish for k
“Living did not mean one joy piled upon another. It was merely the hope for less pain, hope played like a playing card upon another hope, a wish for kindnesses and mercies to emerge like kings and queens in an unexpected change of the game. One could hold the cards oneself or not: they would land the same regardless.”
Oh, the vast darkness that abides in the human soul...
This collection of eight short stories is unsettling. It's about the weirdness in us, the darkness in us, the quirky things that make us human and inhumane.
“Observing others go through them, he used to admire midlife crises, the courage and shamelessness and existential daring of them, but after he'd watched his own wife, a respectable nursery school teacher, produce and star in a full-blown one of her own, he found the sufferers of such crises not only self-indulgent but greedy and demented, and he wished them all weird unnatural deaths with various contraptions easily found in garages.”
I'm not sure I can say that I liked it, but it's very well written. There are tales of death, of life, of relationships, of the ways we hurt one another, and of rat kings. If you don't know what that last one is, and you are tender hearted or stomached, don't go and look it up. Also, when people in this book start to head into the cellar, just consider yourself done with that page. Skip ahead. Trust me on this one.
Here's the thing; I can definitely appreciate the artistry in the author's writing. Her turn of phrase is brilliant. Her prose is crafted like finely sculpted marble - to the point of being cold and unfeeling in places. I feel as though these stories were told without judgement or emotion, so that you could make up your own mind about the characters, but that made me feel incredibly uncomfortable.
“She was wearing an old summer dress as a nightgown, but in the mornings it could work as a dress again, if you just tossed a cardigan over it and put on shoes. In this risky manner, she knew, insanity could encroach.”
I kept thinking that the next story would be the one that I related to, or liked, or could see real validity in, but I never quite got there, even if I did have moments of "Oh! That passage is just brilliantly written!" I never connected with the author, or with the characters, or with the stories themselves. I just felt terribly empty after finishing this.
“If you were alone when you were born, alone when you were dying, really absolutely alone when you were dead, why "learn to be alone" in between? If you had forgotten, it would quickly come back to you. Aloneness was like riding a bike. At gunpoint. With the gun in your own hand. Aloneness was the air in your tires, the wind in your hair. You didn't have to go looking for it with open arms. With open arms, you fell off the bike: I was drinking my wine too quickly.”
I generally really like short fiction, and if you like very weird, very dark short fiction that is written by someone incredibly talented but also incredibly morbid, you may like this book. For me, it's left me unsettled and uncertain, and in need of a Disney princess movie to settle my nerves.
“A woman had to choose her own particular unhappiness carefully. That was the only happiness in life: to choose the best unhappiness. An unwise move, good God, you could squander everything.”
“But there was something telling about that photograph, I thought; our protective glass frame shattered and now here we were, punctured with microscop
“But there was something telling about that photograph, I thought; our protective glass frame shattered and now here we were, punctured with microscopic holes that might one day tear. Those holes all had names: mortgage, adolescent child, lack of communication, retirement savings, cancer.”
Chicago. The L. Heidi is on her way to work, to tutor immigrants at a non-profit, when she sees a teenage girl panhandling at the station. The baby she clutches to her chest captures Heidi's heart and imagination, but the train pulls away. Until she sees her again, this time boarding the train. And again, this time at the public library. She feels like it's fate, and the next time she sees the teen, she brings her to dinner. Then she brings her home.
“I love the quietness of the library, the gateway to knowledge, to the French language and medieval history and hydraulic engineering and fairy tales, learning in a very primitive form: books, something that's quickly giving way to modern technology.”
I completely felt like I knew Heidi from the inside out; her heart works a lot like mine. I, also, would have had a hard time leaving that girl on the streets. There was a time a few years ago when I desperately wanted to bring a homeless teen we knew into our house (we didn't, and I regret it with all my heart now, because ... well, that's another story for another day). I understood her, I felt, why she did the things she did. Why she opened her home to strangers.
I also understood why her husband was leery. Why he didn't understand his wife's impetus to bring someone they don't know into the home where they are raising their own daughter. I could see why he would want to investigate her past, know where she came from and why she was doing the things she was doing.
I loved this book. I loved that this book took place primarily in Lincoln Park, one of my favourite neighborhoods in my hometown of Chicago.
That said, it was fairly slow moving. You spend a very long time getting to know the characters, only to find out that you didn't know one of them the way that you thought you did. Then all of a sudden, about three quarters of the way through the book, things start to move very, very fast. Everything falls apart and you're left not knowing which end is up.
I wound up feeling very depressed at the end of the book. Unfortunately, just as I could relate to Heidi at the start of the book, I could also relate to her at the end. I could all too easily see how what she has gone through in her life could lead to her actions at the end of the book, and it broke my heart right in two.
“As it was, it was the baby or me, and I chose me, a decision that would haunt me for the rest of my life.”
I shelved this as a mystery, but really it's more of an emotional drama. If you have a soft spot for Chicago and are interested in slow moving character books, you'll like this as much as I did. The author has a crisp, clean writing style that I really enjoyed, and her prose is kind of addictive - I had a hard time putting the book down....more