Monthly Archives: February 2014

Along for the ride

I just noticed that when you stare at the word “along” long enough, it looks really weird.  Though I guess that’s true of any word.

along for the ride

Auden is an insomniac.  She’s also a dedicated student and completely clueless socially, mostly because she just didn’t really hang out with other kids when growing up. Now, having just graduated from high school and waiting for College to start in the fall, Auden finds herself bored.  Tired of listening to her mother’s academic rants with grad students, Auden decides to spend the summer with her Dad, his new wife Heidi, and their brand new baby, Thisbe.

Turns out, this might be just what Auden needed: a chance.  There is another insomniac in town, Eli, who also needs a chance to move on.  With Eli’s help, Auden finally gets a chance to start living. 

I love Sarah Dessen’s books because they aren’t just meaningless fluff.  Although Y.A., she tackles real topics.  This one covers both divorce and the grief left over from losing a friend.  Auden reminds me in many ways of people I know – myself included.  Sometimes it is easier to avoid than to address issues head on, which is Auden’s modus operandi thus far.

I also appreciated the summer-time setting of this book, given that it’s sub-zero outside where I am right now!

I’ll rate this one a 4/5!

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Poll – Would you like to see the return of any features?

I’ve fallen off the feature bandwagon, and I’m curious if anyone has an opinion on whether to hop back on?

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The Diviners

The Diviners

Finally I’ve gotten around to reading Libba Bray’s The Diviners.  It’s been on my to-read list for a while, and I finally got around to actually visiting my local library branch (in person I mean, since I visit the library ebook website frequently).  With a renewed library card and a stack of books I left pleased with life!

This happy feeling has continued, for I quite enjoyed The Diviners and am anxious to read the next installment! Set in the roaring twenties, you get a feel for the spice and excitement of those heady days.

Evie O’Neill is a fiery seventeen year old flapper, sent to stay with her uncle in New York after pushing too many social buttons back home in Ohio.  She is hell-bent on having a good time, New York Style.  Firmly against the Prohibition, Evie is the kind of girl to take life by the horns, and drat the consequences.  She is pos-i-tute-ly swell!

Evie’s once-pen-pal and now best friend Mabel happens to live in New York, and Evie is convinced that Mabel just needs to let loose and have a bit more fun. From trying to convince Mabel to get a fashionable bob, to dragging her along to speakeasies and dancing, Evie is nearly more than Mabel can handle. Mabel’s parents are socialists and activists, and Mabel is used to rallies, protests, and police breaking up crowds. She’s also an orderly girl, with a secret crush on Jericho.

Jericho is the tall, broad and handsome blonde assistant to Evie’s uncle, Will.  Jericho is smart, and seems to carry secrets of his own somewhere in his hidden past.

Not to be outdone, Sam Lloyd is a petty theif and con-man who has weasled his way into working at the museum. Partly to follow an agenda of his own, and partly to be closer to the pretty Evie.

Memphis is a young man living in Harlem with his aunt and younger brother.  Working as a numbers man, he’s also a secret poet.  Struggling with his past, including a lost healing ability, Memphis is an interesting and likeable character.

Theta happens to be a Ziegfeld girl – performing as  part of the chorus line.  Living with her “brother,” Henry, in Evie’s new building, Theta also has secrets in her past.  Evie and Theta hit it off right away

Will, Evie’s uncle, is unused to dealing with the antics of a lively teenage girl. He’s also the curator for the Museum of American Folklore, Supersition, and the Occult.  Far from being a dull professor, Will seems to have a secret past of his own.  His academic background and history of working for the government mean that Detective Malloy call’s on Will when a body is discovered with strange occult markings.

Evie’s secret – an ability to “read” objects – is one that might help the investigation.  Faced with a rash of murders, all linked to the occult, it’s up to Will, Evie, and their team to help stop a killer before it’s too late.

Several thoughts:

  • The characters are generally well-rounded and believable.  They all have their hidden pasts, which adds to their depths and fuels their motivations.  Even though there are a fair number of characters, it’s easy to follow who is who.
  • The book takes a few turns that put it solidly in the fantasy/science fiction genre.  One of these relevations I was surprised by. The Occult/Supernatural stuff I bought without question.
  • It’s a somewhat creepy, hair-raising tale of a villain who is definitely the stuff of nightmares.
  • You get the sense that, even though this is a rather hefty book, it’s just warming you up for greater things to come.
  • I do love a good murder mystery.
  • Historical fiction = Bonus.  I really enjoyed the depiction of 1926 Manhattan.
  • Enough romance (though not as the central plot) = fantastc.

As I said, I’m itching to read more!! Fantastic!  A solid 4 / 5!

(P.S. I HATED the Gemma Doyle series – I thought Gemma was vapid, stupid and careless – so I am surprised that The Diviners was so enjoyable. I guess I can’t judge an author by one series alone!)

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The Husband List

The Husband List

Finally!!! Something NOT cookie-cutter from Janet Evanovich. I think that’s probably due to a co-author.

The husband list is a perfect historical romance, featuring a feisty American heiress whose mother I determined to see her wed. Unfortunately for Caroline, Lord Bremerton isn’t quite her type – or all that he seems. Fortunately, there may be an Irish-American bachelor who can add some excitement to her life.

New York City in 1894 is hopping!

If you’re looking for a light historical fiction / romance, this was a fun book.  I found it refreshing and witty – and not at all serious.

4 / 5

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Towering

Towering

A Rapunzel story!!

Wyatt has moved to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with an old friend of his mother’s – leaving behind his hometown and the painful memories of his best friend, Tyler.

Rachel is a girl, trapped in a tower.  Her only link to the outside world, Mama, claims that the tower is to keep Rachel safe.  Rachel is lonely, longing for contact with the outside world but also frightened by it.  She has strange golden hair that just keeps growing…

Wyatt discovers that the sleepy little town to which he’s moved might have some secrets below the surface. When he stumbles upon Rachel in her tower, he’s sure of it.

This is a modern re-imagining of the Rapunzel tale- one which marries drugs, magic, and a contemporary setting.  It had a different flavour than other books by Alex Flinn, but as always I enjoyed it.  I always find a male main character refreshing (since I don’t read as many books with male leads), and I of course love a good fairy tale adaptation.  Not too many surprises, but I liked the twists to make it fit in the modern setting.

3/5

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Size 12 and Ready To Rock

Size 12 and Ready to Rock

Size 12 and Ready to Rock is book #4 in the Heather Wells series.  I read the first three ages ago (and own them all in fact) and only recently got around to reading the fourth installment.  This is a chick lit / mystery novel, featuring a former teen pop-star turned assistant residence hall director in what is now nicknamed “death dorm”.  Heather has a tendency to find herself in the middle of a murder mystery.

This time things revolve around pop sensation Tania Trace, who happens to be Heather’s ex-boyfriend Jordan Cartwright’s pregnant new wife.  Someone is trying to kill Tania. Unfortunately, the first victim is the producer of the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp. Which happens to be hosted by New York College, meaning Heather has a residence hall filled with Teen pop-star-wannabees, along with her summer staff and the basketball team.

Cooper Cartwright, Jordan’s brother and the black sheep of the Cartwright family, is hired as a bodyguard to Tania. Oh, and Cooper is of course Heather’s new (and secret) fiancé!  How could Heather NOT get involved?

My thoughts:

Tania – Someone is out to get her.  Yes, Heather broke up with Jordan after finding him and Tania in a compromising position.  Previously, Tania has just been this empty-headed skinny/beautiful pop star, but throughout the book you get to know her a bit and realize that she’s had a tough life.  You understand her choices, and you do end up liking her. And also hoping that she isn’t killed!

Jordan – Still annoying, though he seems to actually care about Tania in this one.

Cooper – Strong, sexy, perfect counterpart to Heather.

Heather – kick-ass, vulnerable in a realistic way, and a protective mama-bear to those she perceives as under her care.

I liked that the book dealt also with some real issues – abuse, infertility, and obviously murder. Good one!

4 / 5

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Bewitching

Bewitching

Alex Flinn’s book Bewitching gives some insight into Kendra, the witch behind Beastly.  The book delves into Kendra’s past, including some of her previous failures (you’ll recognize some familiar stories: Hansel and Gretel, The Princess and the Pea, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella). Kendra is torn – should she help Emma, a girl with a conniving stepsister, or should she stay away to avoid courting disaster?

Kendra is an interesting character. I like how she accepts her failures.

I also like that Emma is a decent person despite everything – but is also realistic and credible.

Lissette (the stepsister) is understandable even though she is an awful person.

I loved the weaving in of so many classic fairy tales.

The only drawback is how immature Kendra seems.  She’s supposed to be over a hundred years old, and yet she thinks and acts like a teenager.  I know this is the target audience, and she does explain why she prefers the company of teens – I just find that part of things a little unrealistic.

Great book overall though!  4 / 5

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