Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Actor and the Housewife, Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale has exceeded my expectations for this book by a long shot. Initially I just wanted to read this out of religious solidarity. I had mild enjoyment from Austenland and haven't gotten around to reading her books for kids (which I hear are wonderful) but what sold me on this one is that the main character is a Mormon in a book not published by Deseret Book (or Covenant, Shadow Mountain, etc). This is a mainstream book with a character being Mormon in the same ways characters get to be Jewish or Catholic in other novels. Maybe I am seriously out of the loop but I don't know of any other mainstream, mass-market novels with main characters who are Mormon without said religion being the major theme of the book. So I was interested to see how this one went and impressed that this story hadn't been relegated to the softback Seagull book catalog Mormon romance department (full disclosure: of course I read those too).

Shannon Hale does a great job explaining Becky's Mormon faith in a natural and seamless way. I also love that Becky is so every-Mom. I think anyone who reads this book will have a more well rounded idea of the average Mormon family (clue: they're pretty much any average religious family).

I also think the "meet-cute" is pretty cute. It's a clever hook for a story and the story goes in so many places I did not see coming at all. It's a complete fantasy but the writing makes it believable. The characters are so fully drawn that it just makes sense that things would go they way they do for them. It did take me awhile to invest emotionally in this story but once I did it got a little too intense. I was not prepared to bawl my eyes out when reading this book. I know the emotional impact is never the same if you have an inkling of what is coming but I wish I had been slightly prepared. I could not stop crying for a good chunk of the last hundred pages. So not fun.

I also had slight issue with the ending but I know that is just my pathological need for fairy tale romance endings no matter how inplausible they may seem. This one is a pleasant happy ending and I guess it is for the best but I was ready to believe things were going end in a wedding. Especially after I had to be so emotionally drained by the story it only seems fair.

All in all a very impressive book with a very tacky looking book cover. The book cover would truly fit in with the Mormon romances in the Seagull catalog. Which is unfortunate because the story is light years better than its cover mates.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Bride in the Bargain, Deeanne Gist

Another book that I purchased because of pretty cover art. That and the bit about mail order brides. I always like a good mail order bride story. This one surpassed my expectations in a big way. The romance was believable, the history was woven in without feeling preachy or having any characters deliver lectures instead of dialogue, and the Christian element was very natural and not forced into the story. It did get a little soap opera-esque near the end but at the close of the book I can see why the author chose to have so many "and then this happened and that happened" moments in the last 20 pages or so. She wanted her characters to have absolutely no doubt about their motives for being together. I really liked this book and plan to read some of Deeanne Gist's other titles.

Sea Change, Aimee Friedman

I was compelled to buy this after seeing its beautiful cover art and realizing that it had something to do with mermaids. I've always loved a good mermaid story ("flippin' your fins you don't get too far, legs are required for running, dancing..." sadly I'm being completely non-ironic with these lyrics. I could (and sometimes do) break into a full Part of Your World number at any moment) but even more after having a kindergarten student who was completely obsessed with them. What makes the mermaid craze in this kid even more memorable is that this student is a boy and that he held fast to his love throughout the 2 years that I knew him even though the other kids definitely thought this was a mite strange. He drew mermaids & mermen constantly, brought in mermaid dolls/books/posters for sharing, told me lovely stories about an actual mermaid that he met named Catalina, discussed the finer points of Aquamarine, Splash, and The Little Mermaid with me at the playdoh table, and a million more mer-inspired things (including getting his parents to invest in mermaid art for their home). I miss him and can't help but remember him when I come upon anything to do with mermaids. And I'm dying to know if his obsession has held as he has gotten older.

So I was primed to like this story. I was even more inclined to like the story as I started reading and realized that it was taking place at a summer house on an island off the coast of South Carolina (or maybe Georgia?). I have been spending my time since school got out desperately trying to find an idyllic beachy vacation to go on (equal parts inspired by The Summer I Got Pretty and last year's amazing Hawaii trip with Mom). This story fed my beach trip fantasy even more.

With all of my expectations raised I was also slightly ready to be let down. Happily this is a really well written book. I felt the characters were believable and the story was paced just right. I liked the romantic element to the story but also appreciated that things ended a little bit wistfully. I think that is a lot more realistic than finding your one true love at age 16. This book hit the perfect ambiguous blend at the end. Which is really saying a lot about Aimee Friedman's amazing writing because I usually despise endings like this. She definitely sold me on this one. I loved it!

Handbags and Homicide, Dorothy Howell

I think this cute & fluffy mystery was an appropriate read for the week when I purchased my first Jimmy Choos! Am I shallow? Apparently! :) But I really do have a sense of peace now that this hole has been filled in my shoe wardrobe.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fairy Tale, Cyn Balog

I love this book's cover. The wings with the water droplets are almost three dimensional. And I love the premise of this book. I've been waiting for the release date for quite awhile, reading all the buzz on the blogs about it. I started reading it last night and was cautiously optimistic. The characters are likable and honestly who hasn't daydreamed about getting to grow up with a perfect next door neighbor/best friend/boyfriend who also happens to be super attractive. I was so ready to love this book. But I just didn't. And I'm actually sad that I didn't love it. I'm always hoping that the next book I read will suck me in, that I will have to stay up until 3am to find out what happens next, that I won't be able to stop thinking about the characters. This book isn't awful but it's just not great either. And I think it bothers me more because I had hyped it up in my mind.

I woke up this morning and read until I had to get ready for my piano lesson. After I got home I didn't pick it back up for hours. I wanted to finish it but it wasn't urgent. Not how I am usually with books that I really care about.

I don't know if I am just done with the whole secret fairy royalty changeling trope in YA or if the romance hit the wrong notes but I just was not into this book.

Magic Study, Maria V. Snyder

The first book in this trilogy was much stronger than this. That's not really saying much because the first book was pretty meh itself. I kept reading this one because I wanted Yelena (by the way what is up with her name?) to get with her man. Which she did after discovering her many impressive powers and saving the world with her superiority. The last book is not easy to find and I might just leave it with this one. These stories really remind me of the LJ Smith Vampire Diaries neverending story with a heroine who just needs to look within herself to save the day. I also felt like the magic stuff in these books was never really consistent or explained. It is hard to buy into a story about a magical world when the rules are inconsistent. I also didn't like the CSI: Magical Society bent that this story took with the disturbing crimes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Poison Study, Maria V, Snyder

Hooray for day two of summer! Maybe at some point I won't feel the need to celebrate each day but I'm still in the elated free at last mind set. I stayed up late last night reading this one and then spent the entire day shopping & eating chocolate covered strawberries with Mom. Not a bad way to spend my life.

This book reminded me a lot of Graceling. I liked Graceling a lot better and it was much stronger but this is an enjoyable, summery kind of fantasy/suspense/romance. There are 2 more books in the series that I plan to read but there's not much to say about the story. It's tv reading.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan

Today was my first official day of summer! I spent it in my favorite way: sleeping in, reading a book in the bathtub for 2 hours, playing the piano, and visiting with friends (Brit & Kim). I knew I wanted to read something light and potentially silly after being so overwhelmed (in an impressed by the book but brought down by the subject matter kind of way) by Columbine and this book fit the bill. It was mildly entertaining and I definitely wanted to keep reading (& did) but I was never that impressed. I liked Alan but I spent the whole book wondering why Nick was the narrator. There are some spoilery reasons why it couldn't be Alan but the whole thing just left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. Meh

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Flying Troutmans, Miriam Toews: Part II

While I was reading this book I wasn't loving it but the more I look at the passages I marked up the more impressed I am with Miriam Toews.

More Chapbook~

I wanted to ask her why she regretted being born, if it was a knife-in-the-heart all-consuming regret or an intermittent, passing regret like a loose tooth you worry with your tongue every once in a while. I didn't know how to say the words. I didn't know how I'd answer her answer. (p.73)

How do you love someone who wants to be left alone and die? How do you stay? How do you walk away? (p.130)

I also dreamt that I'd had a baby.
So did I! I said. the other night.
Logan rubbed his face and moaned and stared out the window. He didn't want to be having the same dreams and dark desires as his flabby-armed aunt. (p.134)

But, said Logan, a fifteen year old could technically live on his own, right?
No, a fifteen year old cannot live on his own, I said.
Pippi Longstocking wasn't even fifteen, said Thebes, and she-
Yeah, but she was a character in a book, I said.
And she was Swedish, said Logan.
So there would have been a solid safety net of social programs to help keep her afloat, I said. It doesn't work here.
Yeah but the point of Pippi was that she didn't need anybody or any social programs to help her, said Logan. She was that strong.
Yeah, I said, but unhumanly so. She could lift a horse. Can you?

I'd come up with a plan. Min was in the universe. She was a dim and falling star, but she was alive. She hadn't loved watching the sun's eclipse as much as she'd loved watching it reappear. If she had really, truly wanted to die she'd have succeeded a long time ago. She loved the brink, going to it and returning from it. Or maybe she didn't love it. Maybe she hated it. But it didn't matter. Maybe going to the brink made her feel like she'd accomplished something extraordinary, like there was a purpose to her life, if only to prolong it in spite of herself. She was the captain of both teams, waging war against herself but always pulling back from any decisive victory because that would also mean a decisive loss.

I had a new career. I had a mission. I'd become a cartographer of the uncharted world of Min and I'd raise her from the dead, like a baby, sort of. We'd do it again from scratch. We'd start all over.


I had faith in my plan. I had faith in Min. And I loved her. She was the baby in my dreams and maybe in Logan's too. (p.258-259)

Columbine, Dave Cullen

When I first saw this book this spring I immediately went to my "fingers-in-ears, la-la-la, I can't hear you or see you Law & Order defense mode". I have reached this point in my life where I just can't process or even remotely handle hearing about violent crimes. I run from the room when Law & Order or other graphic crime shows are on, especially true life news magazine shows. I think part of my problem is these images get stuck in my brain and make me paranoid. And then I end up having creepy dreams after watching or reading about this stuff.

But Columbine is something I vividly remember watching unfold on the news. I was 17 at the time and was very upset by it. Obviously it's a horrific crime but I think the fact that it occurred in a suburban high school is what made it so haunting to me (& of course, lots of other people). High school is such a universal experience and I didn't want to have to imagine that happening in my own life. I think because I remember that day so clearly I always end up clicking on Columbine articles when I come across them even though I'd rather not. Which leads me to this book.

It is depressing and dark and part of me is surprised that I kept reading it. I credit that fact that I kept reading to the author, Dave Cullen, who does an amazing job both in telling the story & exposing the many myths perpetuated in the media but at the same time telling the stories of survivors like Patrick Ireland ("the boy in the window" who has gone on to have an incredibly successful life).

I feel like this book did such a good job explaining everything. I knew a lot about Columbine (thanks to reading www.acolumbinesite.com sporadically over the years) but was amazed but what I still didn't know. I was oddly relived to read the later parts of the book about the different families of the victims who have found some semblance of peace, about the principal, and about the FBI information for teachers about identifying risks. This book is powerful and completely draining to read. It was interesting to read interviews with Dave Cullen and learn that he suffered from secondary PTSD in the years since Columbine. I can only imagine what it was like to spend a decade of your life studying such dark material.

New York Times review of Columbine

Interview with Columbine principal


"Columbine was fundamentally different from the other school shootings. It had not really been intended as a shooting at all. Primarily, it had been a bombing that failed...
They [the media] saw what happened at Columbine as a shooting and the killers as outcasts targeting jocks. They filtered every new development through that lens." (p.125)

Chapter 24. Hour of Need ~ Dylan's funeral service p.130-133

"Judy Brown views Eric as a criminal in bloom." (p.163)

"It pissed him [Fuselier] off, watching them brag on video about the people they would maim. "You damn little jerks," he would hear himself mutter. But sometimes he felt a little sorry for them. Their point of view was indefensible, but he had to embrace it temporarily and empathize with them. If he refused to see the world through their lens, how would he ever understand how they could do it? They were high school kids. How did they get this way? Dylan, in particular- what a waste." (p.168-169)

"When I read that first sentence, all the commotion in the band room ended," he said later. "I just zoned out. Everything else faded." Suddenly the big bombs began to make a lot more sense. The f****** world. "That's not Brooks Brown," Fuselier said. "That's not the jocks. That is an all-pervasive hate." (p.169)

"By this time, Fuselier had already read Eric's journal and seen the Basement Tapes. He knew what the media did not. There had been no trigger." (p.209)

"It was too much for Dylan. Kill? Everything? Apparently not. He made a stunning move behind Eric's back. He told..." (Dylan telling Brooks Brown about Eric's website the day before the Diversion program interview p.217)

"In a perfect world, Eric would extinguish the species. Eric was a practical kid, though. The planet was beyond him; even a block of Denver highrises was out of reach. But he could pull off a high school." (p.277)

Patrick Ireland's valedictory speech: "the shooting made the country aware of the unexpected level of hate and rage that had been hidden in high schools." But he was convinced the world was inherently good at heart. He had spent the year thinking about what had gotten him across the library floor. At first he assumed hope- not quite; it was trust. "When I fell out the window, I knew somebody would catch me," he said. "That's what I need to tell you: that I knew the loving world was there all the time." (p.302)

Dylan's story in creative writing (p.308)

The killers' parents deposed privately (p.319)

FBI guide for schools (p.322)
"The central recommendations contradicted prevailing post-Columbine behavior. They said identifying outcasts as threats in not healthy. It demonizes innocent kids who are already struggling. It is also unproductive. Oddballs are not the problem. They do not fit the profile. There is no profile." (p.322)

"Sue Petrone asked for and received the two sidewalk blocks her son Danny died on..." (p.324)

Chapter 50. The Basement Tapes: killers mimicing their parents- "if only we could have reached them sooner..." (p.328)

"Good wombs have borne bad sons" - Eric quoting Shakespeare (p.333)

Chapter 52. Quiet~ the killers' tape the morning of the massacre (p.349)

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places." President Clinton quoting Hemingway (p.355)

Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire, Rafe Esquith

I watched the documentary about Rafe Esquith and his class on the last day of school late at night and exhausted. It made me cry. He is an amazing person and it was fascinating to see his classroom. The whole time I was watching I kept wanting to know the details, the schedule, how did it really work...

This book does a great job of answering practical questions and letting you get to know Rafe Esquith as a teacher. I wish I had read it sooner.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Flying Troutmans, Miriam Toews

"The considerable charm of Miriam Toews' fiction comes, in part, from her ability to create characters in situations of long-term duress with a brilliantly emulsified mix of repression and humour, punctuated by bursts of real emotion." -Quill & Quire

I really liked this book but it took me forever to finish it. It's a very odd mix of quirky humor and painfully sad situations. I think because of the sad subject matter I could only read so much in a go. Because I was bracing myself for the inevitable depressing ending I loved the surprisingly hopeful outlook on the last pages. Very interesting and very unlike anything I've read before.

Apparently Miriam Toews doesn't believe in quotation marks which makes me feel funny about using them now. So here are my favorite quotes & passages free of any markings:

But you're not that old, said Thebes, right? You can still find someone if you look hard. How old are you?
Twenty-eight, I said.
Okay, twenty-eight, she said. She thought for a second. You have like two years, she said. Maybe you should dress up more, though. (p. 5)

You know what I hate? she said.
No, what.
When my teacher uses carpet as a verb, she said. She put on her teacher voice. We're carpeting. After carpet I'll help you work on your personal problems. When we carpet we keep our hands in our laps.
What's carpeting? I asked.
We sit on a carpet and talk, said Thebes.
That sounds nice, I said.
Show me ten! said Thebes.
What? I asked.
My teacher says that all the time, she said. It means show me ten fingers, like show me your hands so I know you're not fooling around with them during carpet. I told Thebes that the next time her teacher asks them to show her ten, she should say she's only got two, and hold up her middle fingers. (p. 37)

How much does a polar bear weigh?
I don't know, I said.
Enough to break the ice, hi, my name's Thebes, can I buy you a drink? (p.83)

socialized health care at the border crossing story p. 71

we're all alone in the world guidance counselor p.76

Min wanting Hattie dead... we could have established a new way of being sisters p.79

giant novelty checks p.92

a bovine choir of angels in solidarity with Thebes p.118

conversing with children is a fine art p.135

hopping on one foot in kindergarten story p.148

And there was that. I was the world's worst guardian of children. I was like the neighborhood cat lady, but with kids. They were filthy, broken and eating themselves and soon they'd feed on my old corpse. p. 226

She slapped her hands down on the table, palms up, like, go ahead, fill me up with your stories of reckless gynecology. p.238

Logan telling Thebes she'll always be his favorite p.261

A beautiful, heart-stopping smile, all badly disguised tenderness and tentative joy. p. 270

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Deadly Little Secret, Laurie Faria Stolarz

This is a change for me. I've read a lot of books this year that had the kind of cover art that forces you to remove the dust jacket in order to read in public but that were actually on some really well written books that I enjoyed. With this one, it's the opposite. I knew nothing about this story and probably wouldn't have picked it up if the cover hadn't been so pretty. I love the colors and the feel of the dust jacket.

And at first I liked the story. It's suspenseful and mysterious. I kept reading and trying to figure out who the villain was but about half way in I just didn't care. The characters are pretty flat and once the big reveal came I just shrugged my shoulders. I think this is the kind of story that would have felt really intense and deep if I had read it when I was 13. But now having the wisdom and experience that comes with adulthood (gained by viewing bajillions of Lifetime: Television for Women events that feature stalkers) I just couldn't be bothered. So I now have a new blog category: meh.

In honor of Gnorah, who is too busy to read my blog (how sad for her!), I have the following:

Homer: Kids, how would you like to go... to Blockoland!
Bart & Lisa: Meh.
Homer: But the TV. gave the impression that--
Bart: We said "meh".
Lisa: M-E-H. Meh.

So the lesson is that book covers are able to deceive for good (like with Going Too Far) and ill (like today). This cover was concealing 2 dimensional characters, a stalker trope, a Twilightesque van out of control almost hitting girl but girl saved by mysterious stranger with powers scene (& a biology lab partners scenario complete with mixed signals (I think they might even give our heroine whiplash) and a boy who doesn't trust himself to touch the girl he secretly loooooooooooooves!). It got lamer for the ending which, of course, leaves the romance not happening because there is a series planned (shocker!) and they need to drag it out.

In conclusion, meh.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Awakening, Kelley Armstrong

I'm going to continue my gushing praise of these books in this post. I was so relieved that I had this book and could just keep reading after the ending to The Summoning. Thankfully this one did not end quite so cliff hangerishly. I still can't believe I'll be waiting until May 2010 to read the next installment in this story.

I think that I liked The Awakening even more than The Summoning. One big reason for that is that Derek is my favorite character and he and Chloe got so much more time together.

Now, I really, really hate to reference Twilight here (because these books are better than Twilight) but the reading experience has been similar for me. The biggest difference is that the quality of writing is just so much higher (no one has liquid topaz eyes or a marble chest).

But reading these books did remind me of how I felt when I first read Twilight back before there were movies and all the ensuing Twimania of recent times. I remember being so stressed when I got to the end of each book and feeling so intensely about the characters. I remember having the Breaking Dawn release date on my calendar and forcing Gnorah to go to the bookstore at midnight and then staying up all night reading.

I've read the Twilight books so many times now (& full disclosure: I do still enjoy them) but I think that I had forgotten how it felt the first time you read them- when you really didn't know why Edward left Bella or if she was going to pick Jacob or really turn into a vampire. When you know what is coming it makes it so much less intense.

Which brings me to my point: I am going to be having a serious book thowing tantrum if Chloe ends up with Simon instead of Derek or actually anybody but Derek. Or if Derek is killed. It will just not be ok with me! I was getting really freaked out by Chloe holding Simon's hand during the last few pages. All the details that Kelley Armstrong has in the story that let you know Derek is pretty insecure (showering twice a day, etc) make me cringe for him having to watch that ickiness! And at the same time make me want Chloe to give him a hug! I am Team Derek all the way! (maybe someday there will be someone on etsy selling crazy bedazzled t-shirts for this very cause... at the rate I'm going maybe I will become that crazy person)

I realize I'm sounding a little bit intense but I have a history of getting mad at books. The first time I read Little Women and realized what was going on with Amy & Laurie I thought it was a red herring. I remember thinking that it was just a plot twist and that surely Jo would realize her mistake and tell Laurie she really did love him that way. Obviously Louisa May Alcott would know that Jo & Laurie were meant to be. Imagine my ten year old self's rage when I read that Jo marries a middle aged (& POOR) german professor. Absolutely disgusting!

I had another experience like this when I read I Capture the Castle and realized that Cassandra's poor lovable swain, Stephen, is not going to get the girl. I really did throw that book across the room and I was old enough to be more mature than that. All I can say is that some books get under my skin and Kelley Armstrong's have definitely burrowed in for the duration. May 2010 is feeling very far away!

The Summoning, Kelley Armstrong

This book was amazing! I have seen it and its sequel around for quite a while and for some reason I always thought it looked slightly creepy. I decided to give it a try when I saw it at the library and I was blown away!

This story is so well written and paced. I could not stop reading and was so grateful that I had bought the next book last night because I knew I would need to keep going. Especially when I got to the crazy cliff hanger ending on the last page. I would have been livid and way stressed if I had read this last summer with no closure for a year.

Beyond being hooked on the story and being involved with the characters I liked that this was a scary story that didn't veer into disturbing territory for me. I don't mind being scared but I really hate reading or watching anything truly psycho. This book is definitely suspenseful and had several moments where I was so tempted to turn a few pages ahead to make sure certain characters names were still appearing regularly.

This is such a fabulous book and one I will be buying my own copy of soon!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Improper English, Katie MacAlister

This was a cute and implausible romantic story. I liked that it was set in London and there were a few funny moments. Mostly I was just waiting for the main characters to get together which they did in a predictable smut fest. The characters in this are not very believable but I can be forgiving when a book takes me just over an hour to read and successfully distracts me from my back and its mysterious injury.

Big Boned, Meg Cabot

I think this might be my favorite in the Heather Wells books because.... Heather finally gets her man! I was so ready to be disappointed in this if the unrequited love was continued. So I am relieved and excited because I read that Meg Cabot is planning writing more stories in this series. Hopefully it will be soon!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Size 14 Is Not Fat Either, Meg Cabot

My envy of Meg Cabot continues to build along with my enjoyment of these Heather Wells books. They are definitely the strongest Meg Cabot titles I have read and they are so entertaining.
This one made me laugh out loud.

"Where does that jaded cynicism even come from? It can't be because I'm a washed up former pop star trying to put my life together, only to be told I have to take remedial math." (p.68)

"I'm too old for a singing-songwriting career," I tell him. I mean, have you seen those girls on MTV? I can't wear short skirts anymore. Too much cellulite."
"Don't be silly," Dad says dismissively. "You look fine. Besides, if you're self-conscious, you can just wear slacks." (p.89)

I love that Dad advice! Right to the heart of the problem. You've got cellulite? No problem, pull out the slacks and you'll be ready for your music video instantly!

"I have them throw in a GET WELL SOON bear for good measure, after first making sure the GET WELL SOON banner comes off, so Manuel can regift the bear to a girlfriend or niece. You have to think about these things when you're giving stuffed toys to a man." (p.191)

"But not everyone seems to find their incredibly slim waists (how do all their internal organs even fit in there? I mean like their liver, and everything? Isn't it all squashed? Don't you need at least a 29 inch waist in order for everything in there to have enough room to do its job?) freakish." (p.235)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Size 12 Is Not Fat, Meg Cabot

The Meg Cabot fluff fest continues as my school year crawls to a close. I have to say this is my favorite Meg Cabot title (so far). It's another grownup title but fortunately had no smut, hooray! I also loved the premise of the book. The thought of a teen pop tart being forced into a real career and a real body was very funny. After reading this one and She Went All The Way it's really easy to imagine Meg Cabot as an US Weekly subscription holder (she has just got to be into celebrity news; which I say with absolutely no malice. Clearly, I am into celebrity news too. The Target clerk who felt the need to point out to me that the 5 high quality magazines I was buying on Saturday all had the same picture on their covers clearly is not a fellow traveler in the world of celebutainment. As if the same pictures might be a reason to not buy all 5. )

Heather is a very likable, relatable character and I enjoyed the mystery element to this story as well. My only complaint is that I want Heather to land herself a man. I don't like when stories about chubby girls feel the need to show how empowering it is to be fat and single. Because that is just a lie. I get that some people feel discouraged if the only fat girl narrative is that happiness (& a hot man) only arrive with weight loss but in reality what single, fat girl wants to read about how great it is to be single and fat. We (I'll be the chubby, single girl spokesperson) want to read about the many interesting ways a single girl like ourselves might meet Mr. Right and/or get thin. It's called escapism and wish fulfillment!

Here's hoping Heather gets her man soon (she can stay fat but I will revolt if she is just so self actualized that she doesn't need to be with a man and/or get thinner at some point in this series)

The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren, Wendy Toliver

I am a fan of the Simon Romantic Comedies and their powerful relaxing fluffiness. Some are stronger than others (Jennifer Echols , you are the winner!) and this one wins for being the fluffiest and also the one that asks you to suspend disbelief in the biggest way.

Basically Roxy is a plain Jane band geek until her sixteenth birthday when she magically turns into a siren (sans mermaid tail). All of a sudden she is a supermodel and if she plays her flute she can enchant any man into doing her bidding… so yeah there’s a lot of suspension of disbelief going on in this story. Eventually she comes full circle and ends up with her geeky best band geek guy friend who liked her before she was a siren and then continued to like her in spite of her siren-ity.

She Went All The Way, Meg Cabot

I was drawn into this book by the shiny sequiny sandal on the front cover and my current thralldom to Meg Cabot. I really do want to know how she produces so many books… mostly because I am jealous. As an avid reader of fluff it is comforting to me that there are so many more Meg Cabot titles out there for me to read in the bathtub.

I really liked the story line in this one but since it is a Meg Cabot for grownups title it had some smuttiness that I could have done without. Overall a cute, suspenseful, beachy, romantic book (I’m throwing as many vague adjectives as possible in there).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lorraine Heath Books

I really need to read something less embarrassing if for no other reason than to hold my head high while blogging for my audience of 1. Something significantly less embarrassing would mean that I could bring myself to put the cover art of what I read onto said blog. But I am realistic and know myself well so I don't think I'll stop reading fluff anytime soon and I know I won't be reading anything more cerebral until school gets out. 8 more days, 18 report cards to write, 2 (that I know of...) crazy/neurotic parents to counsel/remind to take deep breathes before I am free! I am so excited for the summer and have been planning my (surely more worthy) reading lists.

On to Lorraine Heath. In terms of fluff reading I really enjoyed 2 of Rachel Hawthorne's books and then I found out that she had written these 2 historical romances for teens under the name Lorraine Heath and impressively the library had both. I read one last night and one tonight. They were both incredibly relaxing and sweet and so much better than their cover art and trashy library std appearances would lead you to believe. But I'm still not proud!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Being Nikki, Meg Cabot

So I was really eager to read this one after getting into Airhead and I was liking it right up until the last 20 pages or so. Everything was coming together, all the plot threads being neatly tied up for a satisfying ending, only to have the rug yanked out right before the end. And guess what there's a third book coming out. How convenient. It's shades of LJ Smith all over again. I really don't mind stories that have multiple volumes if it is necessary to the story. I get really irritated by books that could have ended (and should have ended) but keep going just to have another book to sell. The problem is I totally know I will buy this next book because I want to read about Em & Christopher's happy ending. The happy ending that could have been written at the end of Being Nikki if the whole Brandon blackmailing plot twist hadn't been introduced. I realize I'm complaining about a book about brain transplants starting to turn too soap opera-ish for me but I am. I feel like Dr. Drake Ramoray will be making an appearance sometime soon (which would probably reinvigorate my interest in the story!). But I think I've just run out of patience for this story. It's never good when it just sounds tiring to read the next volume.

Airhead, Meg Cabot

I really liked this Freaky Friday style story. It is clever and cute even though I felt like it ended pretty abruptly. Which led me to purchasing the sequel the next day and diving right in. I thought the romantic story line in this was really clever with poor Em having to try to convince her former best friend to be interested in her new supermodel self. I'm saving my negative thoughts for the sequel...

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