Sunday, September 19, 2010

Review: Romancing Miss Brontë by Juliet Gael

Romancing Miss BrontëRomancing Miss Brontë by Juliet Gael

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely enjoyed this novel; a blend of fact and fiction that relates the life of Charlotte Bronte and most specifically focuses on her personal love story.

This quote from the book is a wonderful description of Charlotte Bronte

I don't think I've ever met a being so deserving of success and human affection What she has endured, and yet overcome - her courage and perseverance through the most dreadful personal difficulties - and weathering all of this in utter loneliness, with her few friends always at a distance . . .

I can't believe what Charlotte suffered, the loss of her sisters, brother, mother and still carried on living, writing and caring for a father who was proud, stern and sometimes harsh. I loved reading especially about her sister Emily who had found "bliss" just in the natural world, in the simpleness of kneading bread with a book of German poetry propped onto the table and composed her stories while completing household tasks. She also savored the natural world - each leaf, blossom and insect was a wonder to behold and reverence.

I love this time period, while the Bronte's material comforts were few, they cherished their love for each other, the sparkling conversation and their writing. It's becoming a lost art - to sit around for hours and have discussions that are entertaining and enlightening and not punctuated with a phone ringing or someone receiving (or sending) a text.

The love story between Charlotte and Arthur is beautiful. Charlotte always dreamed of a deep romantic love that would lead to marriage and part of her felt that she was giving up this dream when she married the simple, yet constant and loyal Arthur Nicholls. After they married she grew to love him deeply and find a happiness she had been yearning for her whole life.

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Review: Beautiful People by Wendy Holden

Holden has created a trifecta of very different but fun characters. We have Darcy, the serious British theater actress who has just been offered the chance of a lifetime; to play the lead in a Hollywood movie.  Belle, an actress whose career has has some serious ups and downs the last year. She is shallow, blond, made of plastic parts and a bit slutty.  Then there is Emma, the sweet and capable nanny that has somehow gotten into a situation that really sucks for her.

Kind of trashy, highly entertaining. I really enjoyed it. The story is fairly predictable but fun to read with lovely characters.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Review: Linger by Maggie Steifvater

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second installment in the Shiver series definitely didn't disappoint. We have Sam and Grace back with their beautiful relationship. But now there is a new wolf, Cole, mysterious and with an unknown but troubled past. The wolf cure seems to be working for Sam but Grace is starting to show signs of shifting. We also get to know Isabel more in this book.

I really liked the addition of Cole and also getting to know more about Isabel. This book is told from the point of view of Isabel, Grace, Sam and Cole and that adds layers of interest to the story. The plot moves along nicely with enough tension to keep it interesting. After reading the cliffhanger at the end I am ready for the next book right now!

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review: Beach Music by Pat Conroy

Beach MusicBeach Music by Pat Conroy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a tough review, and I'm not going to even try to summarize the plot. It is so big and sprawling and spans the Holocaust to the Low Country to the Appalachians to Italy and back again. The story is beautiful and heart-breaking at the same time. Some of the characters are well developed and some seem more like cardboard cut-outs. I love how the ending tied up the loose strings though I think some of it was unfair.

The writing is amazing. The author has a gift for description that makes me want to live in Waterford as a young boy and fish and crab and catch shrimp and I definitely want to eat everything that Jack cooked. I also am impressed that the author has so much detail to this story, but on the downside, he probably could have left a couple hundred pages out and still told the story - as this was a whopper of a book at over 700 pages.

One reason that I am not rating this book higher is that is has a TON of swearing and rough language and some difficult scenes. I am not usually too worried about the language but this really had an overabundance that would make it hard for me to recommend and it is not always just swearing, the book is pretty vulgar and crude too.

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Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I can't really give this a star rating because I didn't technically finish ALL the pages. I was intrigued by this book but just couldn't finish it. Though I did skip to the end so I could see what was going to happen. I liked the premise and I liked how it ended but some of the writing was so tedious. I just couldn't take any more of Hannah's voice and complaining. I think she could have made her point sooner than she did. A bit of a disappointment for me.

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