December 30, 2008The Last Summer (of You & Me) by Ann Brashares
I had time to squeeze one more book into this year's count, thanks to actually getting a full lunch hour both days at work this week!
I picked this book up over a year ago because I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by this author. I thought I'd see how I enjoyed her work actually aimed at adults.
It was interesting. It took a long time for me to get hooked and I felt like it was trying to be loftier and more literary than it actually was. I didn't really connect with the characters and I felt like sometimes the prose was trying to be obtuse instead of actually telling what was going on, which was very frustrating. It improved as the book went on, but it took 200 pages before I really finally clicked with the concept and the plot. I'd probably read another book by her, but after loving the Sisterhood series, this was a bit of a letdown.
December 25, 2008Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
I wasn't sure whether I would like this book since it's about "mommies" and it's a murder mystery - two things that aren't usually my style. I had gotten this book autographed when it came out over two years ago, but this was the first time I decided to actually dig into it.
I should have known better. Even though it wasn't my usual fare, Jennifer Weiner knows how to write and I loved it. The murder mystery plot kept me guessing all the way to the end (I didn't know whodunit at all!) and the relationships plots kept me interested as well. The book didn't have the usual happy ending bow at the end, but I think that made me like it more. Things don't get solved just because the book is ending and neither was this.
I'm ready for the next Jennifer Weiner outing - as soon as she finishes writing it!
December 22, 2008American Girls About Town by various authors
I finished this book last week, but this is the first I've had time to actually write about it.
As I predicted, I really loved this collection of short stories. They go by very quickly and there were several that I wished had been turned into full-length novels. I could relate totally to some and not really at all to others, but they were well-written and just really fun reading. Some of the subject matter was the light, fluffiness you expect from these authors, but some was really dark and angsty.
The collection introduced me to some new authors to check out, which is always a plus. To sum up - check it out now!
December 09, 2008Always The Bridesmaid by Sarah Webb
This book has been on my list for quite a while. Seemed like one of the quintessential chick lit books that I should read.
It wasn't awful, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. First of all, the title is a little misleading. The main character, Amy, isn't like in danger of breaking the 27 Dresses record or anything. It just happens that her best friend and her sister get engaged before her and pretty close to each other and plan their weddings a week apart. Amy may have just broken up with her fiancee (and SHE did the breaking up), but she sees plenty of action in this book, so I really don't know what the big deal is.
Beyond that, Amy was pretty awful to people most of the time and seemed to be deliberately making things harder for herself just so she could whine about it. I really don't understand why the "main" guy kept even speaking to her, much less asking her out because she was a total bitch most of the time.
The book is also littered with common and not-so-common Irish slang, which was a little bit frustrating. The author is Irish as are the characters, so I don't blame them, but it was hard to figure out what on Earth they were talking about sometimes because I just don't know the vernacular. Also, there's a ridiculous typo on page 290 of my copy that I just can't believe got all the way through to the printing stage.
All that aside, this book put me over last year's total, so I am ahead of where I was a year ago! I am hoping to get at least one more book read before the end of the year when the challenge starts all over again. :)
December 03, 2008The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig
Three days behind schedule, I finished the last of the published books in this series. I didn't love it, but it was still engaging and had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. Reading these three books in a row in a short period of time, I caught onto the pattern in Willig's books: the first 19th-century female and male mentioned when grad student Eloise drifts away into their world will at first hate each other and then as they are forced together by circumstance or convention, they will declare their love around page 300 and commence with the romance novel sex. Perhaps all chick lit has this kind of formula, but by the time I finished this book, it was growing a little thin with me.
I was also a little disappointed that we didn't get more from the Eloise/Colin storyline. I feel like the earliest books had about 1 Eloise/Colin chapter every 2-3 19th century chapter. But now it seems to go 6-8 chapters before we check back into the modern day romance. I wasn't as interested in the romantic leads of this book, so the relative lack of Eloise/Colin was a little frustrating. Of course, what we did get was enlightening and answered a lot of questions from the first book.
Lauren Willig is still one of my favorite authors (even if I'm crazy jealous of her ability to simultaneously write a series of novels, complete law school AND a PhD [both from Harvard]) and I'm still eagerly awaiting the new novel in January. I think I'm just ready for a break from the Pink Carnation universe for a while.