Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: The Bridesmaid By: Julia London

The BridesmaidThe Bridesmaid by Julia London
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Julia London and I really did enjoy this novella, I just wish it was a novel. The characters, Kate and Joe were very likeable and put in funny situations filled with chemistry.
Think a splash of Planes, trains, and Automobiles a dash of Forces of Nature and maybe a little of 27 Dresses.
Kate is her cousin's maid of honor and must return to Seattle to the wedding, Joe is starting a new job. With blizzards, air controller strikes, and only one car available at Hertz, the two manage to get to know each other. But when the wedding is over and Kate needing to return to New York, is this the end of what maybe fate started?

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Andrew's Brain By: E.L. Doctorow

Andrew's BrainAndrew's Brain by E.L. Doctorow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enter the mind of a cognitive scientist. A man who has observed the life he has lived and those he has affected, sometimes oblivious to the damage he has inadvertently caused more often than not. Written as therapy lessons and we, the reader, as interlopers into the stream of consciousness into Andrew's brain. At times so painful and others laughable, all both fantastical and human at the same time.
Andrew might be flawed, but his story shows the flaws of the world and makes one ask just who the Pretender really is.
Looking for a book to lose yourself within in the pages, the writing so beautiful - almost poetic, something just off but it makes it even more profound... this is it.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: Thirty Postcards Away By: Sara Ventas

Thirty Postcards AwayThirty Postcards Away by Sara Ventas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

************** This was a First Reads Goodreads Giveaway*** Thank You Goodreads****

Take a man that had a wife and a girlfriend, yet has a strange fear of superstitions and is neat and orderly, add a girl that is a whirlwind of emotion, loses track of time and items and put them in an apartment building. With chance encounters, elevator rides, humor, and vulnerability - two characters emerge off the page, Sofia - with snap judgements and a scarred heart and Jamie - wound a little too tight and maybe needs to listen to what he really wants and what is right.
Filled with dashes of what would make a perfect Nora Ephron film, this is the perfect book for a woman to lose herself and share with others.
At first these two might not seem to like each other, then upon second glance they find a spark, it is within a couple dates and the exploration into the other's personality that something seems to grow. Add a family secret, a crazy (ex)girlfriend, a few misunderstandings, a not so best friend, a few moments of omitting, 30 postcards, some more jumping to conclusions, and then ... well, you'll just have to read it!!
I enjoyed this book immensely, found the characters likeable, well developed, dimensional and faceted. Secondary characters were great and are so lovable, some interactions left me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes (I will not look at tour guides the same). Although this book was translated, there was nothing missed or lost in translation - a great story. Recommend for travel, beach, or for just because.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: Bridget Jones Mad About The Boy By: Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy (Bridget Jones, #3)Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Okay, first let me be honest, I wanted to hate this very badly - Mark dead - who would do that, I mean, that is just sick and evil.
Enter Bridget at 51/52 a widow of 5 years (although parts of the book flashes to a year before), a mother of two - Billy (who has his father's eyes, and makes you cry every time he enters the page) and Mabel (who seems to have her mother's spirit). Mark has quite appropriately died while doing human rights work and has thought way in advanced by making sure his family would be secure - money would never be a problem (no matter how much Bridget spends or how much a Nanny costs).
Bridget's voice is still funny, self deprecating - but... magically she has written a screenplay (is this the same Bridget that worked in publishing yet didn't read at 30), she lost 50 lbs in 3 months yet eats like a garbage bin and drinks like a lush (has children ever made her grow as an adult or losing a husband), she acts like a 20 year old when she finds a toy boy and loses sight of being a mother (which lets face it - makes me hate her, these are Mark's children, no toy boy is worth her not putting his children to bed for). There are funny moments and there are times that Bridget feels so real and relatable - the hectic day to day mother, the deep sorrow and fear of tomorrow, even the crazy unbelievable, but unfortunately a lot of this book felt forced, artificial, and contrived.

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Review: Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason By: Helen Fielding

The Edge of Reason (Bridget Jones, #2)The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Locked myself up with Bridget with a re-read for the upcoming release of the new book and found myself liking this book even more than I did the first time I read it.
Do not confuse yourself thinking that this is the movie, because although Fielding had a hand in it, this is much more and - dare I say better, and I wish they could have added more to the movie that was in this book.
Mark and Bridget fiddle with relationship issues - or rather with Bridget's issues of friends and insecurities and not knowing a healthy relationship when she is in it. This of course leads to misunderstandings, jumping to conclusions, friends giving too many opinions, the real Colin Firth, Daniel Cleaver, a Thai prison, and an amazing voice that gives us the adventure.

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Review: Bridget Jones Diary By: Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1)Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is of course a re-read - could not resist locking myself away preparing for the third novel.
How I miss the voice of Bridget, fresh, raw, true - filled with humor, observation, snarky self-talk. I think that almost ever woman, if she is honest finds a bit of Bridget in herself. Is it the desperation, the fear loneliness, the wrong guy(s), the wrong choices, the want for something better, and the hope that we are worth it. Bridget is the inner voice - the self esteem, the crazy stalker, the bad eater, and wretched drinker we are.
Now if you think this is like the movie - think twice, yes Fielding had a hand in the movie, so it holds true to style and voice, but the book is different and just as enjoyable.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: From Notting Hill With Love...Actually By: Ali McNamara

From Notting Hill with Love...ActuallyFrom Notting Hill with Love...Actually by Ali McNamara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How did I not pick up this book sooner?!! Ms. McNamara has an amazing voice that describes the inner workings of my crazy movie/book/happily ever after mind.
Scarlett O'Brien has found herself stuck, looking at her fiancee and wanting more, at her job with her father wanting so much to know about her mother (who ran off), and often daydreaming of the modern day leading man sweeping her into a life where she gets the Oscar. Through some discussion her father and best friend convince her to take some time to get her head straight, one month off house sitting in London, in Notting Hill.
How many moments can Scarlett create that come out of the films she loves - Notting Hill, Bridget Jones, Holiday, Pretty Woman (don't ask), and so many others - well, with interesting secondary characters that pop off the pages all of it is possible, especially with a good looking neighbor that can offer up the adventures of her dreams.
OMG!! This is one book I will re read over and over again. It embodies the Brit Chick Lit, the movies that I find Cinematherapy in, and a great writing style that keeps you wanting more. The storyline was great, although somewhat predictable, but sometimes that is what you need - the best part is the adventure that keeps you going until the ending that was perfect and made for a movie.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Review: Some Kind Of Fairy Tale By: Graham Joyce

Some Kind Of Fairy TaleSome Kind Of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Suspend your beliefs and read a tale that glistens like dew in gossamer dreams (or nightmares, depending on your likes).
Tara Martin has landed on her family's front porch 20 years after going missing and she hasn't aged a bit. As her parents, brother, and old boyfriend are confounded simply by her presence and looks, they are asked to listen to a most unusual tale. We, the reader, are privy to reunion and what once was buried is now revealed. The pain becomes fresh again especially when Tara tells her story and that in her mind, she has only been gone for 6 months. But coming back has set off a chain reaction that impacts everyone that she comes in contact with.
Written in such a way, you will find yourself getting lost into a story that is reminiscent of Irish tales and lore. Curl up with some tea in a comfy chair and be lead in the forgotten beliefs of long ago set in the present day.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: Story Girl By: Katherine Carlson

Story GirlStory Girl by Katherine Carlson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Tracy Johnston is starting a melt down. She has turned thirty, found the best available guy in Hollywood was gay and wanting a marriage so he can hide from his parents, has no one interested in her scripts, rear ended a car, and lost her day job. All can't be that bad in the world.. afterall, it is a hotty that she is kinda into that she crashed into. James Wilson has stepped out of Tracy's dreams, but he carries some major baggage along the way - a writer, a spoiled rich boy, a runner (think Peter Pan Syndrome with a whine). Tracy runs herself from reality, to home which might be too much for her to handle. Her parents are celebrating 35 years, they live on separate floors in the house now, her grandmother has a dark secret she must release, and her sister just doesn't get her.
This is an okay book. I think the characters were somewhat unlikable - Tracy at 30 melting down every other hour it seemed, she is a bit off, and yet has a cruel streak that shows a very ugly center, James feeling weak, whiny, childlike for being 31..the story is a bit pretentious and self edifying - yet, there is humor that can be very hard to put down on paper, a wise mouth, smart alec, way of thinking (think Juno) that shows Ms. Carlson has some unexplored talent for and I hope to see in another book.

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Review: The Coldest Girl In Coldtown By: Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in ColdtownThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has come to a time that the vampire infection saw epidemic levels. No longer are you safe without locking down as the dusk turns to night. Unfortunately, Tana awakens after a late night lock down party to find everyone dead other than her, her ex, and a strange vampire. The escape brings her to Coldtown, a city locked down to keep the infected within the walls. Along the way the attraction between Tana and Gavriel intensifies yet once in Coldtown, each have their separate agenda - Tana to make sure she isn't near her loved ones if she goes "cold" from being infected and Gavriel with revenge that has been planned out almost since his making.
I couldn't put this book down, I found myself wanting more and more of the land and story that was effortlessly weaved. Ms. Black's descriptions leave you breathless and entering the world she created. Did the ending feel a little rushed, maybe, a little - but this is a stand alone novel, which has gotten very rare in this genre, so no complaints. I have found an author that I can't wait to read more from and I know you will not be disappointed.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Review: Beautiful Ruins By: Jess Walter

Beautiful RuinsBeautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Is our lives nothing but a beautiful ruin? There is a saying in my family, want to make God laugh - share your plan.
Enter a small forgotten Italian village in 1962, where Pasquale is keeping his father's dream alive and Dee, a movie star has gone into hiding. Flash to the present and infamous Michael Deane has his past confront him.
When Cleopatra was being filmed, Burton found solace in the arms of a new actress, Dee Moray. The result of which led to a pregnancy that Michael Deane chose to lie about and try to manipulate. Dee believing she has stomach cancer and will soon go to Switzerland for a procedure hides away waiting for Burton to show. Finding herself in a small fishing village with a young man, Pasquale, running The Adequate View Hotel and giving her a sense of life.
Each person, including secondary characters, find their pain, their truth, and their way back intersecting their lives once again.
I found this book thoroughly marvelous. The writing had me lost along the cliffs and in the intricate characters, I felt their pain, disgust, joy, and growth as their lives passed with each page. If there is one book you pick up - this is it.

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