Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Other Typist - Review(ish)



I guess I didn't get it.  Lol.

It started out promising enough - a film noir, 1920s kind of vibe.  I thought the author's writing style was pleasant and the characters, interesting.  But unfortunately, I found that the more time I spent with the story, the less interested I became.  I ended up renewing the book three times.  I finally skimmed the last 100+ pages on a boring plane ride just to "get it over with".

It wasn't until I was reading the epilogue that I sensed that anything was off with the main character, Rose.  I just remembered to google spoilers to figure out if my suspicions were right and apparently, they were.

I won't reveal the plot twist here but suffice it to say that either I'm dumb or the author didn't drop enough hints.  I don't think I'm dumb.

Eh.

I just haven't been in a reading mood lately and this book didn't help.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Raven Girl - Review



Weird.

I had Raven Girl on my must-read list for a while but I had no idea until I checked it out of the library that it's an illustrated short story.  I just read the entire thing in about thirty minutes.

I have to say, I don't know if it's a lack of patience or imagination but it didn't really tickle me. A younger version of myself would've been more enthralled by the fantastical elements but it didn't really do anything for me now.  Mostly, I'm disappointed because my expectation was that this was a full-length novel.  I was expecting something like The Time Traveler's Wife, which had the fantastical element of time travel interwoven with the reality of everyday life.  I think Raven Girl would've been better as a fleshed out version of itself rather than a short story, which left too much to the imagination.  It felt like a shell of a story.  Not to mention that my imagination isn't vast enough to explain away the impossibility of a man mating with a raven.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Allegiant - Un-review



I read Divergent and Insurgent but after having the final book in the series, Allegiant, sit on my kindle for over six months, I've decided to move on.  I've had little to no interest in finishing the series and finally, today, I decided to google the spoilers.

That being said, I'm glad I didn't waste my time or energy reading it.  I've read a lot of mixed, mostly bad, reviews of the final book and I can see why fans would've hated the ending. Myself included.  I hate it a lot less knowing I didn't have to struggle through a too-long finale but I hate it nonetheless.  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Bookman's Tale - Review



Well, that's annoying.  I wrote an entire review, pressed publish, and my blog entry was completely blank.     

Anyway.

This book was lent/recommended to me by my grandmother.  I'm not normally into her genre (mystery) but when she told me about The Bookman's Tale, I was intrigued.

It's about a young antiquarian bookseller who unwittingly stumbles upon a literary mystery in the English countryside.  He finds a 19th century watercolor that bears a close resemblance to his deceased wife and upon investigating its origins, finds himself immersed in an even greater mystery about a 17th century document that would undisputedly prove Shakespeare authored his credited works.

I really like how the author told the story through three different timelines - the distant past (covering the journey of the 17th century document), the not so distant past (covering the love story of the bookseller and his wife) and the present (covering the investigation of the watercolor).

I found the story easy to read and pleasant enough but sometimes I felt like I was reading an episode of Murder, She Wrote.  In other words, it was often cheesy!  The love story between the bookseller and his wife was sweet but also barfy.  And I found the plot twists and turns predictable.  I wasn't surprised or shocked at the mystery's conclusion because I had it figured out long before.  That's no fun.      

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Longbourn - Review



I've been on a bit of a reading hiatus (as the one person reading this might've noticed) but I'm finally back in the swing of things.

Over Thanksgiving my aunt lent me two books - The Cuckoo's Calling and Longbourn.  I tried valiantly to get interested in Cuckoo but found that I couldn't.  After several months of looking at it languish on my coffee table I finally gave up and picked up Longbourn.

Longbourn is a "sequel" but not really to Pride and Prejudice.  It tells the story from the perspective of the downstairs crew or the servants as it parallels the story of the upstairs people or Bennett family in Pride and Prejudice.

It was a relatively easy read with the exception of a torturous 40 page interval in which the footman's war escapades are detailed.  BORING.  I liked the characters though none of them were fleshed out to satisfaction.  I also found that the author took some creative license that seemed gratuitous and purposefully controversial.  For example, the implication that Wickham was a pedophile.  While that word is absent from the book's vocabulary it's very much insinuated that he has an appetite for little girls, more specifically, the prepubescent housemaid Polly.  I barely read Pride and Prejudice but I've seen it adapted to screen several times and I've never gotten the inkling that he was a child molester.  It's true that he marries a 15-year-old Lydia but that wasn't considered too young back then.  I thought the implication was a bit over the top.  Pride and Prejudice super fans might think otherwise.

To sum it up, it was a pleasant enough story but I wouldn't say it was the best effort either.  It was just OK.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Oops and Goals for 2014

I have a lot of excuses for not reading the past several months, I'm just not sure that they're good ones!

For one, we got cable in March after going without for two years.  If my options are reading or watching reality TV, I confess that reality TV often wins out.  It's a shameful confession but at least I'm being honest!  I've also been in a reading funk meaning that I've picked up lots of books but not a lot have held my attention.  For instance, I loved The Casual Vacancy and subsequently, I was thrilled to read The Cuckoo's Calling.  It just hasn't hooked me.  I'm a third of the way in and I can't find the motivation to keep on going. Lastly, what can I say? Work and life have gotten in the way.  Sometimes when you come home from work all you want to do is tune out.  The TV really helps me to forget the stresses of the work day whereas reading can feel like a job because I have to be present.

I don't have the same lofty goals that I had last year for this coming year.  I'm just going to try and read what I want to read and not worry about the numbers.

Happy reading!

Friday, July 19, 2013

This is Where I Leave You - Review



I loved This is Where I Leave You.  It was the perfect book to get me out of my reading slump.

It was everything from smart to funny to sad to over-the-top but most of all, really entertaining and interesting.  The characters were so well-developed and relatable, despite or because of their many unlikeable but very human qualities.

Judd Foxman, the story's protagonist/narrator, introduces the reader to his crazy, dysfunctional family over the course of seven days as they sit shiva after his father's death.  While simultaneously mourning the loss of his father, he's also grieving the loss of his marriage.  His wife, Jen, has been carrying on an affair with his boss for a year and has just revealed to him that she's carrying his (Judd's) child.  Complicated much?

One of the things I really enjoyed about the book was that even though a lot of family issues were addressed and even resolved, no loose ends were tied up in unrealistic ways. Even the status of Judd and Jen's marriage is left up in the air, which makes sense.

Something that Judd's brother, Paul, says to him really resonated with me.  I'll quote it here:

"...I've been pissed at you for a long time and that didn't do either of us any good.  I wasted a lot of time being angry, time I can't get back.  And now I see you, so angry about what happened to your marriage, and I just want to tell you, at some point it doesn't matter who was right and who was wrong.  At some point, being angry is just another bad habit, like smoking, and you keep poisoning yourself without thinking about it." (Tropper, 2009, p. 333).