Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mini Reviews...

You guys, I have been reading like crazy lately.  So many books, so little time.  And yet, I somehow manage to read a few books a week. I am loving this reading frenzy - its fabulous!  Of course, my blogging has fallen to the wayside as a result.  I'm just so busy lately, plus the holidays are here - well, you know what I mean.  Anyhow, I figured a great way to get me blogging again was to post some mini reviews.  So, here goes:

Fun and fast read that you will gobble up in under an hour.  Its filled with creative and imaginative text conversations between characters from some of literature's most famous works.  Think Rochester using all caps to talk at Jane and Hamlet's teen angst popping up in his replies to his mother's concerned texts.  This book is truly a delightful read for the literary-obsessed.  I know I loved all the snark, humor, wit and silliness dispensed throughout this quirky read - it was fantastic!!

As a fan of Lovett's last novel, The Bookman's Tale, I just knew I would enjoy his latest book, First Impressions.  A mix of historical fiction and murder mystery, this new story takes us on quite the adventure.  We have Jane Austen penning P&P (aka First Impressions) and falling in love to provide the historical context for modern day Sophie's search for an illusive novel that everyone seems to want, but no one can find.  There is romance, danger, mystery, murder (possibly), books, Austen, and so much more in this fun and thrilling read.  Its a treat for fans of Lovett, Austen, old books, and love.
What a disappointing read!  After hearing King talk about this book being his return to scary, I really did expect one creepy read.  Well, it was not scary in the least.  Even the Frankenstein-ish aspects were not spooky.  Nope, this book was simply about death (what happens after death?) and drug addiction.  I know King had a problem with drugs, so perhaps that's why he considered this book a horror story - since it was a horror he had experienced first hand. I was expecting more from this book, but in the end was just happy to be done with it.  I think I'll be taking a break from King for a while.
Precious Ramotswe is one of my favorite characters and I absolutely love getting caught up in her life.  So, of course I was absolutely thrilled to get my hands on a copy of Alexander McCall Smith's latest installment in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.  Once again Precious has cases to solve, business hiccups to deal with, and several other dramas to endure.  And like always, she manages to get through it all with her usual determination, grace, and intelligence. Plus, her family and friends help her along the way as well.  I'm going to be sad when Smith stops writing these books, so until that happens I will happily devour them as they come out.  Here's to hoping that he's working on another one as I type this.
Disappointing dystopian  YA novel.  Basically, there is something causing humans to kill themselves and others.  What that "something" is no one really knows.  All they know is that in order to prevent death from happening they need to shut their eyes (or wear a blindfold).  Yep, apparently its something that if you see it you will want to die.  Anyhow, this book goes back and forth in time and pretty much winds up where you expect it to.  At first I liked where the story was going, but then the more I read and the more predictable it became - well, I just lost interest.  Definitely not a good read.
I read the first book in this trilogy and was underwhelmed.  Of course, I had to read the second one to see if if would improve.  And, it did.  Well, sort of.  I'm still not sure where this story is going, but I know that I enjoyed reading it more this time round.  Once again Cassie and the motley crew she is now a part of continue to fight for their lives against the aliens' many waves of destruction - they want to exterminate the human race (ahhhh!).  The Infinite Sea is a thrilling and adventurous read that I really did enjoy.  I'm definitely looking forward to the last book.

Veronica Mars is once again on the case.  This time round she has to find a serial rapist and murderer, before he strikes again.  Plus, she still worries about her dad (especially considering that he was almost killed in the last book) and struggles to figure out how she'll cope with Logan leaving her again for work.  She's confused, angry, determined, smart, and riled up - basically, she's her usual Veronica Mars self.  I loved the TV series and now I'm really digging these books.  They have a bit of noir-ish feel to them, along with a great cast of characters to read all about.  I'm definitely hoping that they keep churning out more of these books, because they are a great way to touch base with Veronica Mars and the seedy underbelly of Neptune, along with the constant battle between the rich and the poor. 
What would you do if you found out that you had one year (this has to happen before you turn 30) to see the 6 types of love that exist and write about them in an old journal that has been passed down from one 'gifted' woman to the next or else you would be doomed to never experience true love?  And this 'gift' is the ability to see love - like, you see a couple and suddenly your eyesight blurs or begins to notice colors around them and you realize that these two people are absolutely, truly in love with one another.  What would you do?  Would you believe the woman telling you this or would you think she's crazy?  Well, in Sarah Jio's latest novel, Jane believes Colette (the woman who told her this news) and begins to understand and see the various types of love all around her.  The book was predictable and a bit sappy, but it really was sweet and made for a fun read.  I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of her works. 
This book is a 'single white female' of the older woman variety.  Grace is married to a popular author.  They have one daughter and appear to live charmed life.  Except, Grace is extremely unhappy with her marriage - all her husband does is bully her and verbally abuse her.  Of course no one knows this dark secret, because Grace pretends they are happy.  Plus, Grace also has a mother who is an alcoholic and manic depressive - another deep, dark secret she hides from the world.  Talk about too many secrets, eh?  Well, the story finds Grace slowly being replaced by the very assistant she found for her husband.  Soon, she is being heavily medicated by a crackpot psychiatrist the assistant recommended - and her husband even wants to have her committed!! So, Grace flees.  She literally escapes the hospital and flies to London to meet up with a dear old friend and finally take full control of her life.  All the while, Beth (the assistant) has taken over her house, monies, husband, jobs, and life.  Its crazy, creepy, and such an addictive read.

I love the TV show GIRLS, so I was super excited to learn that Lena Dunham had written a book of personal essays.  I stayed up all night reading the book and absolutely loved it!  The essays were funny, sad, quirky, observant, smart, and totally relatable.  I found myself nodding along, smiling, getting upset, and even tearing up at times as I read Dunham's essays on college, friendship, writing, sex, love, and rape.  Her personal stories were terrific - they were candid in nature and showcased Dunham's talent for writing.  I found myself easily immersed in her world, her history, and her life.  And, I found myself inspired by her.  Not That Kind Of Girl is a worthwhile read that I would happily recommend to fans of GIRLS and Dunham.  You will LOVE this book!!
And there you have it, a smattering of the books I've recently read.  I may not have loved them all, but I did enjoy reading a variety of genres - I'm really trying to mix it up.  What about you?  Any good books to recommend?  Well, I'm off to finish reading my copy of Vogue and then watch The Pioneer Woman's Cowboy Christmas Special on Food Network.  Cheers!!


Brandie said...

I love mini review posts! I've been slacking on my reviews lately and it was so much easier for me to do some mini reviews instead. :)

I'm sorry the new King book didn't live up to your expectations. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews on it.

Glad you enjoyed the Jio book! Her stuff is predictable, but good for an easy, heartwearming read!

So, I'm curious about the Jane Green book. It sounds good and like something I would enjoy. You say it's addicting - is that in a good way? Did you like it enough to recommend?

I hope you have a great week, Nadia! I really enjoy these posts!

Lark said...

Texts from Jane Eyre sounds like fun; and I loved First Impressions. What a great way to review a lot of books.

BTW, I just finished reading Horrorstor. It was great. I loved the say it spoofed Ikea stores. Thanks for the recommendation!

And I'm happy to see that there's another Veronica Mars mystery out...I just barely checked The Thousand Dollar Tan Line out of the library. I'll be starting it as soon as I finish reading My Salinger Year.

So many books, so little time. :)

Nadia said...

Brandie, they are the best, because they are short and sweet :) Like your tweet reviews.

King was not as good as I had hoped. Oh well.

Jio is awesome - like always. And I agree with you that regardless of the predictability, they are such great heartwarming reads. I'm such a fan!

The Jane Green is so good!! I mean addicting like I didn't want to put it down at all!! I had to keep reading all night to finish it to find out what would happen. You have to read it!!

Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you have a great week, too!!

Nadia said...

Lark, Texts from JE is such a fun read. You will love it! And LOL a lot. Yes, First Impressions was soooo good! I'm really digging on Charlie Lovett's books.

Horrorstor is such a fun read. So glad you liked it!! Yes, the spoofing on Ikea was ace - I loved it as well :)

VMars is back and feistier than ever. Gotta love these books as they keep us up to date on her life and everyone in Neptune. You'll enjoy this series - I'm sure of it! Definitely let me know what you think of My Salinger Year - I loved that book! One of my favorites of the year!!

Enjoy your reads!! Cheers :)

Bellezza said...

A few books a week?! What is your secret? I can barely get down one a month lately.

I have The Look of Love, and Saving Grace, in my piles. Glad to read your thoughts on them. Who knows when I'll be able to pick them up.

I enjoyed the Austen take off this fall. It was a good escape.

Thanks for the recap of books you've enjoyed. They give me a good picture of what you've been up to, as well as if I may like the book or not. xoxo

jmisgro said...

I know what you mean about Stephen King - I haven't read him in years!

I didn't know that there were Veronica Mars books. I will be looking for them now!! THANKS...I loved that show and the new movie too!

Nadia said...

Meredith, I can't seem to help it, but I am on a reading jag and I love it! Of course, lately its only been a book or two a week, so its slowed down a bit. The holidays slow me down, but that's fine with me :) I remember that you enjoyed Lovett's book - it was a good read. I really like the Austen-esque books lately. Enjoy Saving Grace and Look of Love - those two are definitely fun reads. By the by, I love the new look of your blog - it looks wonderful!

jmisgro, King is definitely a good author to fall back into every now and again. He has such a huge catalog of books to choose from that you know you will always find something of his to read. As for VMars - yes! There are two books and they are good. Check them out! I loved the show and the film, too. I love that we are both Marshmallows :)

Dot said...

Love the sound of the Jane Green one!

Nadia said...

Dot, you would LOVE that one. Check it out!