Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Evernight, Claudia Gray

I really should have known better when I saw that LJ Smith was providing the author blurb on the back of this book. And I don't mean that in a snarky way. The Vampire Diaries is just not up my alley so it would stand to reason that this series would not impress me either.

And in the end I have mixed feelings. I definitely like this better than The Vampire Diaries. I do plan to keep reading the series but I was frustrated with a lot in this book. And I'm frustrated with my life at the moment so I don't have the energy to write that much about fictional frustrations. The short version is I was irritated by Bianca a lot of the time, I wasn't feeling the romance, and hello crazy unsupported plot twists! I wholeheartedly agree with the following reviews:

"I wasn't disappointed, but I wasn't blown away by this tale of a teenage girl who is dragged to Evernight Academy, a gothic boarding school, by her parents when they take positions as teachers there. Bianca, the main character and narrator of the book, wasn't a particular deep, insightful, or unique character. It is pity that the book is from her point-of-view. The author tries to pull off a surprise twist in the middle of novel, but instead of being a shocking revelation my reaction was more "uh, okay, that really doesn't work with what's happened already in the novel." It was not a good reaction. "

"I truly did enjoy the story. I just don't think it's realistic that Bianca as POV wouldn't mention her secret (which wasn't a secret, but everyday life to her). First person puts you inside the character's head, and for Bianca to mysteriously not talk about a major part of her life for half the book then talk about it without a thought in the next half is awkward. Either the reader should have known with her from the beginning, or she should have discovered the truth in the book with us. "

"Basically, I felt like the beginning went one direction and then when the twist came, it veered another direction completely, and the two parts, together, were incomprehensible." - Review X

I don't think I loved the rest of the book as much as Reviewer X but I did keep reading while I mermaided out. And I was mildly entertained. Where I disagree is in her "rant" about Twilight. I get that not all vampire books are made in Edward's image (and that reviewers don't need to compare everything to Twilight) but I have to say that, for me, Twilight holds up to rereadings. I am consistently entertained by it and I don't know (or want to know) what that says about me. I really cannot imagine rereading Evernight. So there, you win SMeyer!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reading Notes: Atonement, Ian McEwan

"At the age of eleven she wrote her first story- a foolish affair, imitative of half a dozen folktales and lacking, she realized later, that vital knowingness about the ways of the world which compels a reader's respect. But this first clumsy attempt showed her that the imagination itself was a source of secrets: once she had begun a story, no one could be told. Pretending in words was too tentative, too vulnerable, too embarrassing to let anyone know. Even writing out the he saids, the and thens, made her wince, and she felt foolish, appearing to know about the emotions of an imaginary being. Self-exposure was inevitable the moment she described a character's weakness; the reader was bound to speculate that she was describing herself. What other authority could she have? Only when a story was finished, all fates resolved and the whole matter sealed off at both ends so it resembled, at least in this one respect, every other finished story in the world, could she feel immune, and ready to punch holes in the margins, bind the chapters with pieces of string, paint or draw the cover, and take the finished work to show to her mother, or her father, when he was home." (p.6)

"Marriage was the thing, or rather, a wedding was, with its formal neatness of virtue rewarded, the thrill of its pageantry and banqueting , and dizzy promise of lifelong union. " (p.8)

"…Briony knew her only reasonable choice then would be to run away, to live under hedges, eat berries and speak to no one, and be found by a bearded woodsman one winter's dawn, curled up at the base of a giant oak, beautiful and dead, and barefoot, or perhaps wearing the ballet pumps with the pink ribbon straps." (p.14)

Strange Angels & Betrayals, Lili St. Crow

I heard about these books on The Story Siren and was interested enough to sweep them into my recent self-pity book buying spree. And I really liked them both. I agree with The Story Siren and other reviews I read mentioning the slow start to Strange Angels and the occasional odd descriptions but overall they are very entertaining stories. There is a lot of suspense and the action is fast paced. In terms of the reading experience they remind me of how I feel about Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers series, Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely, or Holly Black's Tithe- except that I still prefer those 3 writers to this.

I do think that these stories got better as I kept reading. I love the character Graves and his relationship with Dru. And I guess in the end the true test of how I feel about a book is how much I want to read the next story in the series. And I am really mad that I have to wait until July to read the 3rd book! These are definitely very entertaining & stress relieving- and those are often my main objectives in reading, so I would rank Strange Angels & Betrayals as successes.

I really like the shiny cover art too. But it's funny to me how Dru constantly describes herself as not being very pretty and the model on the covers is obviously quite good looking.

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume I, Stephenie Meyer, Young Kim

I think it's pretty obvious that I love Twilight. Sometimes that fact embarrasses me and sometimes I have a more zen attitude about it. Either way the fact remains that I really like Stephenie Meyer's story. I've never been into manga, comics, or really graphic novels much either but when I heard about this I was mildly curious.

Then in the great pattern of my life I was in Barnes & Noble at the end of horrible, horrible day walking around grabbing anything that I thought might cheer me up and saw that this was out. And I went home and couldn't stop looking at it. I completely agree with the Entertainment Weekly writer here:

"What strikes me, looking at the book, is how faithfully, and how beautifully, artist Young Kim has translated Meyer’s original vision. Kim, who has a fine arts background—in fact, this is her first foray into graphic novels—didn’t just read the book; she absorbed it. Her Bella is the Bella I had in my mind’s eye the first time I read Twilight; her Edward is the Edward I always imagined. It took me back to reading Twilight pre-movie: Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson faded into the background."

Being completely honest, the art work does have that 1980's fashion illustration look to it at times. But overall I really like the look and it was a cool way to experience the story. I was sad at the end because I hadn't paid enough attention to realize this was volume one... now I need to figure out how long I have to wait to read more. And I want to know if they are going to adapt all 4 books or just Twilight. Knowing me, I would buy them all.

Express Night Out Review

USA Today Review

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wags World: Playing the Game, Anonymous

An ordinary girl thrown into an extraordinary life . . . Amy, sixteen, has moved to London for the summer to be near her eighteen-year-old boyfriend, Damien. He's just been signed to a top premiership football club and is getting a taste of the no-limits lifestyle – and he wants Amy to come along for the ride. She soon learns that the other wives and girlfriends are playing games too, but theirs are strictly off the pitch . . . Will a normal girl ever be able to cope in this fast and furious WAGS' world?

I'm not too proud to acknowledge my fondness for the trashier side of things. I've had a fascination with the whole UK wags subculture for a long time. It started cause I had a soft spot for Posh Spice. Youtube has kept this fascination going with gems like this readily available:
Buying Hello at ridiculous import prices whenever Kate Middleton is on the cover introduced me to Wayne & Coleen, Cheryl Cole, etc, etc... And then once when I was home sick (the repeated theme of my life) I watched a marathon of this insane program on bbc america:

Which leads me to this book. I bought it with incredibly low expectations. I imagined a loose retelling of the Wayne & Coleen childhood sweethearts story, which it was, but it was actually quite entertaining. It had some decent suspense and hey in the time I would have spent reading an issue of US Weekly cover to cover I read this instead. It probably had an equally brain jellying effect but definitely nothing worse that US Weekly.

And I love how on the last page there's an ad for the sequel asking me, "Will Amy's indulgent shopping sprees come back to haunt her? And what will happen when she falls into a trap of blackmail and scandal?" I know the answers: #1 Yes and #2 Drama. I am quite the astute predictor.

My only complaint is comparing the lovely Victoria Beckham to the scary, manipulative wag in the story. I'm just too loyal to believe that about Posh :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Minx, Julia Quinn

It takes a minx to tempt a rogue...
Henrietta Barrett has never followed the dictates of society. She manages her elderly guardian's remote Cornwall estate, wears breeches instead of frocks, and answers to the unlikely name of Henry. But when her guardian passes away, her beloved home falls into the hands of a distant cousin.
...and it takes a rogue to tame her
William Dunford, London's most elusive bachelor, is stunned to learn that he's inherited property, a title... and a ward bend on making his first visit his last. Henry is determined to continue running Stannage Park without help from the handsome new lord, but Dunford is just as sure he can change things... starting with his wild young ward. But turning Henry into a lady makes her not only the darling of the ton, but an irresistible attraction to the man who thought he could never be tempted.
I was loving this book and completely high on Julia Quinn's writing until I got to about the last quarter of the book. I think Julia Quinn is a really talented writer and I absolutely loved What Happens in London. Part of my love for that book came from the light tone of the book. I am so frazzled at the moment with report cards, parent teacher conferences, and my mysterious & never ending cough that I cannot abide any additional stress- particularly in books I'm reading at the end of the day to forget my troubles in. So when things got more stressful in this one I got a little frustrated.

I was expecting (and hoping for) a similar light & romantic tone in Minx. I love the premise. The scenes when Henry and Dunford meet and she tries to run him off the estate are hilarious! They make a great couple and I was happy to see them getting together. I got worried when they were confessing their feelings for each other and there was still so much book left.

And I was still a happy reader through many of their jealousies, misunderstandings, etc. Where I got a stomachache was the whole debacle with the mistress... that was not cool, not cool at all. I wanted vulnerable & tender hearted Henry to be reassured and comforted not left to stew and fester for weeks & weeks! That was awful! I like happily ever after weddings not grit your teeth and say I do because the bride and groom are too prideful to talk to each other honestly weddings.

So my issue is not with the writing or even that one particular plot thread so much as how long and extended the unhappy portion felt to me. It didn't fit the light hearted, sweet tone of the rest of the book. Don't get me wrong I still really liked this story I just wasn't in the mood to be that stressed out. And I loved these two characters but I was so busy holding a grudge against Dunford for being such a jerk that even when they worked things out I was still a little bitter but by then the book had ended. It's like this makes me feel:

Now I love North & South both the book and the miniseries, but I have to be in right frame of mind or it is just too uncomfortable to watch it. And that is saying something because I love Richard Armitage!
So, basically I hate those kinds of moments where if the characters would just talk to each other or in the case of North & South just look at each other many pages of problems and misunderstandings would be avoided.

On that note I love the internet for providing me with 3 minute roundups of 4 hour miniseries complete with fancy font quotes and the soundtrack to The Piano. Cause I clearly couldn't find the above clip without getting caught up in some important Richard Armigate youtube research. Which leads me to ponder why he isn't making any movies I want to see...

As You Wish, Jackson Pearce

Ever since Viola's boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing—to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again—until one day she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes.

Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can't deny that he's falling for Viola. But it's only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she's in love with Jinn as well . . . and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life—and her world—forever.

Jackson Pearce spins a magical tale about star-crossed lovers, what it means to belong . . . and how important it is to be careful what you wish for.

This was a really sweet and entertaining story. It seems like YA books return to the same supernatural creatures over and over (Say It! Out loud! vampire!) so the whole genie in a bottle (well not really a bottle in this case) thing was a fun idea. And I can't type the words "genie in a bottle" without wanting to join Xtina in some awesome late nineties nostalgia:

I loved the ending of this story- believable but happy. And everytime Jinn granted a wish and said "as you wish" I was instantly thinking this:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Emma: Reading Notes

It's been interesting rereading Emma at such a slow (maybe leisurely would sound better) pace that I feel like I'm noticing things I'd never picked up on before.

Like how big of a jerk Emma is to Harriet! I mean I knew that she was self-centered but I think I just glossed over how amazingly snotty Emma is. You always hear that quote from Jane Austen about thinking no one will like Emma and I see why she was worried. Here is Emma telling Harriet how low Mr. Martin is:

"I should be surprized if, after seeing them, you could be in company with Mr. Martin again without perceiving him to be a very inferior creature--and rather wondering at yourself for having ever thought him at all agreeable before. Do not you begin to feel that now? Were not you struck? I am sure you must have been struck by his awkward look and abrupt manner, and the uncouthness of a voice which I heard to be wholly unmodulated as I stood here." (p.43)

She's certainly not shy! I guess it just goes to Austen's writing ability that I still like Emma in spite of her arrogance. I really was giggling reading Mr. Knightley and Mrs. Weston "arguing" about Emma's new interest in Harriet. I love Mr. Knightley's description of Emma's reading plans. I so relate to making reading plans, and really plans for all kinds of self-improvement, and never following through with them.

"Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old. I have seen a great many lists of her drawing-up at various times of books that she meant to read regularly through--and very good lists they were--very well chosen, and very neatly arranged--sometimes alphabetically, and sometimes by some other rule. The list she drew up when only fourteen--I remember thinking it did her judgment so much credit, that I preserved it some time; and I dare say she may have made out a very good list now. But I have done with expecting any course of steady reading from Emma. She will never submit to any thing requiring industry and patience, and a subjection of the fancy to the understanding. Where Miss Taylor failed to stimulate, I may safely affirm that Harriet Smith will do nothing.-- You never could persuade her to read half so much as you wished.--You know you could not." (p.47)

Magic Under Glass, Jaclyn Dolamore

Nimira is a music-hall girl used to dancing for pennies. So when wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing acompaniment to a mysterious piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it will be the start of a better life. In Parry's world, long-buried secrets are about to stir. Unsettling rumors begin to swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry's involvement with a league of sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers that the spirit of a dashing fairy gentleman is trapped within the automaton, she is determined to break the curse. But even as the two fall into a love that seems hopeless, breaking the curse becomes a perilous race against time. Because it's not just the future of these star-crossed lovers that's at stake, but the fate of the entire magical world.

I bought this book after hearing about it during the whole cover dustup. And I am so glad I did. It is a great story with so many clever elements woven throughout. I need to stop saying this about every single book but yet again the UK cover wins for me. Especially after reading the story. I like that Erris is included in the art as well. And in the end I'm not a huge fan of covers featuring photos anyway.

I loved the gothic novel feel this book has especially the homage to Jane Eyre with the whole crazy wife in the attic. I liked the references to Rebecca as well with the Mrs. Danvers like housekeeper stalking the forbidden wing of the estate and being menacing. So much fun stuff.

I also really enjoyed reading about the automaton. I hadn't really read the whole synopsis of the book so I was honestly surprised and intrigued by the whole plot line with Erris. It also reminded me a lot of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which I also thought was really well done.

I really liked this line, "late at night I dreamed of things I scoffed at by the light of day" (p.2) and this one made me laugh, "... fairies are born of the dirt beneath our feet."
"What does that mean? Do fairy babies grow like carrots?" (p.49) That seems like an Anne Geddes portrait waiting to happen.

So in summary, this is an awesome book! My only complaint is that it ended before I was ready to move on. Please let there be a sequel!

Here is a fun interview with Jaclyn Dolamore on The Hiding Spot. She sounds like such an interesting person. I love all these sketches that she did for the characters. And the book trailer is cool too. She is clearly an artsy kind of person.

And the trailer had me thinking about the Musee Mechanique which I have not visited in years. Maybe they have a piano playing fairy prince on display.

Gone, Lisa McMann

Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she’d made her peace with it. But she can’t handle dragging Cabel down with her. She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He’s amazing. And she’s a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves: She has to disappear. And it’s going to kill them both. Then a stranger enters her life — and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she’d ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out...

I read Wake and Fade a long, long time ago. I really liked them and they are both very quick books to read. I really wish that I had read all 3 for the first time together instead of stretching out for so long until Gone came out. And here is why: I like this series but I don't love this series. I hadn't thought about these characters in ages which is why I bought Gone the day it came out and then promptly forgot about it. I tried a few times to read it but I couldn't remember who the characters were and what anyone's deal was. Being sick and bored last night I just gave in and sped read/skimmed Wake and then the last few pages of Gone to get caught up. But I don't like having to do that.

Having said all of that I did enjoy reading Gone. I like my stories to have endings and this one sure did. But then I read this review and found myself nodding my head. I wouldn't say that I am as disappointed as Wondrous Reads but I really agreed with almost all the points that led to her disappointment. To descend into lolcat speak: Needs Moar Cabel! That sums up my feelings. Especially at the end! I like Lisa McMann's characters enough to wish there was another book coming to give me some more Cabel.

Also this UK cover is vastly superior to the US cover, as usual. Why does every book I read have a prettier/classier/more interesting cover in the UK?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Perfect Timing, Jill Mansell

It's the night before her wedding when Poppy Dunbar meets Tom. He is tall, dark, and handsome with a quirky smile, and Poppy can't shake the feeling she's known him all her life. She can't go through with the meeting they arrange... but she can't go through with the wedding anymore either.

Suddenly notorious as "The Girl who Jilted Rob McBride" Poppy leaves for London and a fresh start. Soon she's installed in the bohemian household of Caspar French, a ravishingly good-looking young artist with a reputation for breaking hearts. But even in her new home and new life, Poppy can't get Tom off her mind. Until she's tracked him down, she'll never know if their meeting was destiny, or if it was just a matter of timing...

I adored Millie's Fling and based on that adoration I bought all the Jill Mansell books I could find at Barnes and Noble. But I have been hesitant to read any of them just in case it wasn't as good as Millie's Fling. I loved Millie so much I had a hard time really thinking I would like another main character as much. But I was wrong. Happily wrong.

I feel like Jill Mansell is the chick lit version of Maeve Binchy. I love the interconnected story lines that all come together in the end that they both employ. And I love, love, love Maeve Binchy so that is saying something about how I feel about Jill Mansell.

Poppy is such a likeable character. The many side characters are well developed and some of them are just so tender. Poor Jake and Claudia with their massive insecurities had me cringing for them. And the fact that everything happens in London adds to the appeal for me. I am doing a really rotten job describing this book. But I loved it and can't wait to read the rest of Jill Mansell's books now. My confidence in her has gone up.

How could I not love a book with this in it:

"That was what happened when you listened to a girl whose favorite film was The Sound of Music." (p.102)

"I Can't Believe I'm Buying This Book.": A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating, Evan Marc Katz

Evan Marc Katz was featured prominently in Lori Gottlieb's Marry Him, which I thought was depressingly well done, so I was interested in reading his book. I agree with the title and fortunately I didn't buy it since the library had a copy. Someday I will probably have to give the whole online dating thing a try. It's probably a better idea than /wallowing in my spinsterhood. I did like Katz's attitude and advice.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Happens in London, Julia Quinn

When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancée, she doesn't believe it for a second, but still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits... and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.

Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He's not a spy, but he's had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she's nothing more than a nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself...

This book was awesome! It was so much better than I was expecting. It made me laugh so hard and was the perfect thing for me to read to cheer me up and forget being sick and behind on writing report cards. I am a new Julia Quinn fan. And as usual I wish I had this pretty UK cover instead of the lurid American one. I don't know why book publishers feel that Americans only want to read books with shiny, trashy artwork on the cover. At the rate I'm going this year with hideous cover art I'll end up starting my own etsy shop to sell book covers for 6.99 mass market paperbacks. Something in a nice plain wrapper seems appropriate.

Valiant, Holly Black

When seventeen-year-old Valerie Russell runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.

I really loved Tithe and Ironside a few months ago when I read them. I have issues with "companion" books in a series. I was so into the main story that when I realized Valiant was set in the same world as Tithe but didn't continue with the same characters I wasn't interested. But having read it, I really like it. It is just as strong as Tithe and Ironside, it's just different.

It's definitely an edgy story with a lot of things I am sure my mom wouldn't have been happy I was reading if I was still a teenager but I didn't feel any of it was gratuitous or unnecessarily icky. I adored the ending and I really liked all of the epigrams Holly Black used at the start of each chapter. I would love to read some more stories set in this world.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Emma: Reading Notes

"...she had a husband whose warm heart and sweet temper made him think everything due to her in return for the great goodness of being in love with him..." (p.21)
Even though that description is of an unhappy marriage (Frank Churchill's mother & Mr. Weston) I love that description. If the feeling was mutual it would have been a perfect situation.

"Mr. Wodehouse was fond of society in his own way." (p.26)
I think I'm turning into Mr. Wodehouse in terms of my social habits. I'm not so much a hypochondriac or worried on behalf of other people but I definitely would rather stay at my house, in my pajamas, in my comfortable chair. It takes a lot to make me want to put in some effort especially during the school year.

"and yet she was a happy woman, and a woman whom no one named without goodwill. It was her own universal goodwill and contented temper which worked such wonders." (p.29)
This paragraph describing Miss Bates really struck me. I don't remember reading it before. Miss Bates is always so tragically ridiculous in the movie versions (and I realize she is quite a figure of fun in the book as well) that I forget her good qualities. Obviously she is not so one dimensional as I had her filed away as. The entire paragraph is quite sweet. Maybe I'm not reading it subversively enough but I liked it.

I do love this movie. I need to get in the mood to watch the Romola Garai version at some point.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Single: the Art of Being Satisfied, Fulfilled, and Independent, Judy Ford

This is a very Louise Hay-ish, positive thinking about life type of book which is what I was looking for. All quotes are from Judy Ford unless otherwise indicated.

"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference." - Virginia Satir

Wasting energy wishing for something you don't have while ignoring all that you do have is a vicious mental trap. p.24

"Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it." -Polly Berrien Berends

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful that the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

"If you aren't good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you'll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren't even giving to yourself." - Barbara de Angelis

"The happier I have allowed myself to be, the happier my children have become." - William Martin

Most of us don't win the lottery or become "discovered" overnight. Instead, our lives unfold gradually, and those delicate moments set our path in another direction without our even noticing. p. 152

"Be daring, be different, be impractical. Be anything that will assert imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the common place, the slaves of the ordinary." - Sir Cecil Beaton

"If you're saddled by the need to know the outcome before you set out, you limit your possibilities." - Janet Carlson Freed

I liked the Try This sections throughout the book:

~Plan for Valentine's Day-and all holidays, for that matter- well in advance! p.69, p.146
~Eliminate negativity p.41
~Jump into your passion p.192
~Choose a "that's good" attitude p.195
~Don't believe the statistics about age, happiness, and being single. Don't even read them p.205

There is so much more in this book that I want to reread and think about. And I was glad to be reminded of my friend, Louise Hay, as well. I am a believer in all her mantras & affirmations- I just need to remember them and be consistent.

Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones

I'm continuing to read all the books on Sarah Rees Brennan's "Best Couples in Books Ever!" post.
I love her hilarious conversation style summaries. I had some prejudices against Howl's Moving Castle based on an impression that the movie was super weird but after reading this:

Sophie and Howl, Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle - A vain, cowardly Welsh wizard and a grumpy, practical hat-maker enchanted to look like an eighty-year-old lady. What could be more romantic? Again, they learn about each other through interacting: Sophie's impressions of Howl start off from Step 1) Cold-blooded murderer, eats hearts, to 2) Total idiot, in love with his own hair.

and this:

SOPHIE: Hello, I am your eighty year old cleaning lady.
HOWL: I could have wished for a sexier introduction.
SOPHIE: You should quit eating hearts.
HOWL: I don't eat hearts! Think of my trim figure. Now think of it some more. Excuse me, gotta get to a mirror, contemplate my own beauty.
SOPHIE: What do you do in the bathroom for five hours a day?
HOWL: MY HAIR. It's a work of art, baby. Art can't be rushed.
SOPHIE: Gotta clean up the bathroom and sort out the hair dyes.
SOPHIE: The kingdom is in turmoil. You should save it.
SOPHIE: I will help save the kingdom.
HOWL: Do you want to pretend to be my mom?
SOPHIE: I could have wished for a sexier undercover role.
HOWL: We have saved the day, due to our combined magics, your kind heart and me lying to myself about my own plans. God, I'm good!
SOPHIE: Yay, I am no longer eighty years old!
HOWL: Sophie, I want to ask you a very important question.
SOPHIE: *waits*
HOWL: My hair - is it a total mess?
I knew I had to read it. And I am so very glad that I did! It is definitely a new favorite and fully deserving of 5 stars. I loved it so much that I'm at a loss for what to say about it. I definitely want to see the movie now. Even though I'm not a big fan of anime style stuff. I love Sophie & Howl so much I got all excited watching the trailer:

And this is just crazy to me:

Howl's Moving Castle from Ben Millett on Vimeo.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Millie's Fling, Jill Mansell

When Millie Brady saves Orla Hart's life she doesn't realise how drastically it will change her own – not least because the boyfriend who was asking her to move in with him at the time stormed off in a huff. Actually, Millie's relieved. She's happy to enjoy a man-free summer in Cornwall. But Orla has other ideas. She's determined that Millie should meet the man of her dreams. Trouble is, Millie's taste in men doesn't tally with Orla's. The one who really interests her is Hugh Emerson, and he's the man with whom Orla's adamant she mustn't get involved...

I am so happy when things like this happen: I bought this book in a moment of weakness based on the glittery cover art. I knew nothing about it. Sometimes that leads to serious disappointment but in this case I ended up loving the book. Hooray for glitter not leading me astray!

This story was fun to read but not idiotic. It was light but not ridiculous. It is the best kind of chick lit. I literally LOL'd several times. I loved Hugh & Millie as well as the supporting characters. Hester's experience at the spa is exactly why I don't want to go to spas! It totally reminded me of this (except what happened to Hester might be slightly more mortifying!). Scroll to 1:56

And I learned about another UK candy courtesy of this description:

"Perched on one arm of the wooden garden seat, wearing a pink dress and hugging her knees, was a girl in her late teens with glossy waist-length hair the color of caramel, plenty of orange lipstick painted on her mouth, and a look of adoration in her eyes. It was the kind of look you saw a lot on the faces of the audience at a Tom Jones concert. Sort of dazed and gooey, like a half-chewed Jelly Baby" (p.150)

And this made me laugh:

"I love all this," Orla declared, "its so real and down-to-earth! No glitz, no glamour, no celebrities, just ordinary people living mundane lives, wearing chainstore clothes, and cheap shoes..." (p.156)

I am really looking forward to reading another of Jill Mansell's books!


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