Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

GirlchildGirlchild by Tupelo Hassman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have had Girlchild on my TBR for awhile - it sounded like something right up my alley and that cover just drew me in! Add in the Girl Scout mentions in the description and I'm hooked! If only the reading of this novel lived up to my expectations!

I did not love this one and almost put it down halfway through the novel but forced myself to finish it in case there would be something at the end that would pull it all together for me and redeem all the time I spent reading it! Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

For a book about poverty, abuse and the dark side of life, I found myself not caring one bit about any of the characters or their experiences. I didn't find their stories compelling or their experiences interesting. I really wanted to like Rory (the main character) but I just never 'got her.' She seemed so far removed from the story that I just didn't connect with her or her experiences.

The style of the book is definitely unusual - a series of vignettes that are almost stream of consciousness at times. Ultimately, I found the vignette style to be a bit choppy. Not at all cohesive, which was disorienting to me. Perhaps that is exactly what the author wanted given the subject matter, etc. Either way, I didn't love that aspect of the book.

All in all, the book was ok but I didn't find it to be as interesting or compelling as I expected! But, many others have loved this book so perhaps it just wasn't the book for me!

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse, #13)Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was a bit hesitant going into this novel given how the series has not been wow'ing me for some time. Which is a shame since I love Sookie and the world that Charlaine Harris created with this series! But, since this is the final novel in the series, I felt like I wanted to see this series through.

And, all in all, I was pleased with how Charlaine Harris ended this one. I've heard a lot of negative reviews about this one but I thought it was pretty good. Not great, not perfect ... but a solid read. I happen to like how the author ended things in this novel but I can understand the disappointment if you'd hoped for a different resolution.

I went in expecting to hate this one so I was pleased to find that I actually enjoyed this final book in the series!

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Someday, Someday, MaybeSomeday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Lauren Graham's work so I was really excited to find out she'd written a novel and couldn't wait to read it! And I am so glad that I did! What a nice little book!

I found the story to be very engaging and I enjoyed the characters. The relationships in the book, particularly the friendships, were really well done! I thought the story was well paced and was ultimately more than a romance. It had elements of romance, of course, but it was more than that which was something that I appreciated.

I enjoyed getting to see some of what aspiring actors go through ... wow, so glad acting is not my passion! It can be a brutal business! I really liked the main character in this book - flaws and all! She was certainly a well rounded character which isn't always the case in these sorts of novels.

I was so happy to see that Lauren Graham can write! Although there were some flaws (many of which are common first novel flaws), I really enjoyed the time I spent reading this book. I already knew that Lauren Graham is witty, clever and charming ... but it is nice to see how well that translated into a really good novel! I found it charming and sweet! This is one that I definitely recommend!

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

2 Mini Reviews & BEA Announcement

I have been struggling recently with being in a reading funk. Nothing is grabbing my attention, nothing is really WOW'ing me. I keep reading a few pages, putting it down, starting a new one - and the cycle goes on and on. So, to try and break the rut, I picked up a few books in some of the series that I enjoy, hoping they will grab me and keep me interested. These two helped me get through the funk so I wanted to write up a couple of small reviews ... Also, I am going to be attending Book Expo America later this month in NYC as a Power Reader. I have the best mom ever ... she's taking me for my birthday & we'll be spending a few days in NYC before BEA! Very exciting! So, much of my time lately has been spent planning for my trip and being nervous about attending BEA for the first time! I'll definitely post here about the trip for those interested in how it goes! Okay, on to the reviews ...

Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)Lover At Last by J.R. Ward
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OK, I struggled with rating this one for a few reasons ... although I loved the fact that we FINALLY get the Quinn & Blay book and I think she handled their relationship very well, I am tired of having there be a series of other story lines going on which have no connection to the story being told. The books used to be primarily about the unfolding of a couple's story and the brotherhood. But, now there are all of these other extra things going on which I think ultimately muddy up the overall impact of each book. Although I understand that she needs to start creating additional story lines to keep the series moving, I felt that the other stories dominated a bit too much in this novel. I like the Xcor and Assail characters and I am interested in seeing more at some point but I felt the amount of content on them in this Quinn/Blay novel was overkill. And then there was this whole other Trez story line that started up in this one. I like where she's taking all of those pieces but I think she spent way more time on them in this novel than was effective for the overall novel. I get that she's setting up future books but it felt a little heavy handed to me. Anyway, that is my big beef with this novel. The only other thing that came to mind was that I may be getting tired of some of the language that Ward uses in the book ... the made up words (especially the verbs) in particular. But, that won't keep me from continuing with the series. All in all, I enjoy the escape from reality and can overlook the small things that annoy me. If you enjoy the series, you'll probably enjoy this one.

A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, #10)A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enjoyed this one ... solid continuation of this series. I continue to enjoy the world and characters that Harrison has created here! I've been in a bit of a book funk and this was a great book to keep me interested! Can't wait to read the 11th book in the series! (I enjoyed #9 a bit more than this one but this one was still really good).

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to LeadLean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As someone who works full time in corporate America while also juggling my responsibilities as a wife and mom, I found this book really interesting. There was a lot in this one that made me think about things in a new way. There are things that didn't resonate with me but much of the book did. There is quite a bit of food for thought here, things that I've never thought of as well as things that I've never thought of within a larger context. This book is very readable and interesting. I was never bored or felt it was moving too slowly which can happen with these sorts of books.

I will acknowledge that there isn't a lot here for single parents or for those without economic resources - much of the content makes assumptions about socioeconomics that just aren't an option for some women. I understand many of the criticisms that I've read about this book. However, I didn't experience it in the way many of the critics did. I found quite a bit in the book that has helped me begin to re-think how I behave at work and how I might not be helping myself in the workplace. That alone makes this book work for me.

I think this is a book that might resonate if you're a woman navigating the corporate ladder and would like to successfully move into leadership positions at some point in your career. And perhaps that is why I enjoyed it more than some - I saw this book as Sandberg educating the reader on her own successful career while providing helpful advice around how to do the same. If nothing else, I think this book begins a conversation that needs to happen about women and work.

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