Sunday, April 25, 2010

Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

Beastly Beastly by Alex Flinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this retelling of the classic story Beauty and the Beast. This version was told from the Beast's point of view and the story takes place in present day New York City.

I liked this author's take on why the prince was turned into the Beast in the first place. It will appeal to anyone who is frustrated when a teacher adjusts grades for the all-star football player or allows a little more leeway in a school's honor code just to make sure the team wins the state championship. The author does a good job of showing the Beast's metamorphosis from spoiled, cruel brat to someone who can see that the value of others actually lies on the inside not the surface.

It will be fun to explore some of the other books this author has written. This is great for an easy, romantic read that and I loved it from beginning to end.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Review: The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

The Sugar Queen The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another sweet, snugly book by Sarah Addison Allen. Privileged Josey Cirrini has never really lived life. At twenty-seven years old she is still stuck at home serving her unhappy, demanding mother, trying to make up for wrongs Josey committed in childhood. Her only happiness comes when she is in her secret closet consuming sweets. When Della Lee, a rough but beautiful local waitress shows up to live in her closet, Josey's life is forever changed.

I love the quirky settings that this author creates. This is another small town where unusual things can happen and the people all seem to know each other or think they know each other. Josey has been viewed a certain way all her life as the daughter of Marco Cirrini a "great man" who revitalized the city of Bald Slope. In this book she gets the courage to find out who she really is, get out from under her mother's thumb and maybe even find love.

Again, this isn't earth-shaking literature but just a comfortable book with great characters and a nice ending. An escape book that I loved every minute of.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Review: War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

The War of the Worlds The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

I just can't do it anymore. I've slogged through 120 of the 160 pages of this book and just can't get through the tedium. I give great credit to H.G Wells for the futuristic plot that was groundbreaking at the time of original publication. It was interesting to see how slowly the news of the Martian landing filtered through to all the people. Nowadays this kind of information would be instantaneous. I also think I would have been able to relate a little more to the story if I was more familiar with the London area, Wells makes numerous references to the different areas and villages and I just couldn't relate. A DNF for me, though I am glad I at least tried it to see what it was like.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Girl Who Chased the Moon The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just can't help it, I have to give this book five stars because I loved it so much! There is not a whole lot to discuss and it is a bit more of a "fluff" book, but reading it was such a joy.

The story takes place in the quaint little barbecue town of Mullaby, North Carolina. There are two main characters and stories - Julia, a woman who grew up in Mullaby and left it as a teen, has recently moved back to take over her father's restaurant and come to terms with her past-life as a troubled teen who never quite fit in. Then there is Emily, a teen who has come to Mullaby for the first time to live with a grandfather she has never known. Her mother has recently died and Emily has to get comfortable with a place her mother never talked about and reconcile the altruistic mother she knew with the town's view of her mother as a cruel, spoiled girl who caused a tragedy. These two stories intertwine as the characters help each other overcome their difficulties.

Mullaby is a strange town where lights flit around in the forest at night, scents of cake are actually visible and there is even a gentle giant. The story is somewhat predictable but the characters are well-developed and enjoyable to read about.

Definitely looking forward to reading the author's other books.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Review: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Little Bee Little Bee by Chris Cleave

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don't know how to summarize this book other than just repeating some of the cover synopsis -

We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it ... we will just say this: This is the story of two women whose lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice ... two years later they meet again-the story starts there.

I don't know exactly how to feel about this book. Was it thought provoking? Yes. Tearjerker? Yes. Make me so grateful for what I have and ashamed of anything I have ever complained about? Absolutely. I loved the character of Little Bee. She is sensible and wise beyond her years, but she has also lived through horrors that no one should ever have to. Her life has gone through the wringer through no fault of her own.

Sarah, the other woman has lived a safe, secure life and takes it all for granted. Though I suppose that is the point of the book; to see the contrast. I didn't think she was very developed and the dialogue with other people seems so stilted and disjointed. I just didn't like her.

I am giving the book 4 stars because it made me think hard about life and the things I should be more grateful for and also to think about other people who live in these terrible situations and what I can do for them. But the writing is a little hard to follow. He switches narrators often and he goes back in time and sometimes it takes a minute to figure out what is going on.

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