Month: May 2014

My Thoughts on The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

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There was a lot of magic in this book, and the idea was fabulous. A secluded estate. A stormy night. Visitors sent into the house following a horrible accident. A dinner party that has a guest straight from hell itself. The idea was really great!

But then it went horribly wrong. It went from magical to just weird. I thought about not finishing it, it was slow in many sections, but I am glad that I held on because the ending had some of the better, magical scenes.

It was the 200 pages before that that I did not like as much.

What I’m Reading Now: The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

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A grand old manor house deep in the English countryside will open its doors to reveal the story of an unexpectedly dramatic day in the life of one eccentric, rather dysfunctional, and entirely unforgettable family.

Set in the early years of the twentieth century, award-winning author Sadie Jones’s The Uninvited Guests is, in the words of Jacqueline Winspear, the New York Times bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs mysteries A Lesson in Secrets and Elegy for Eddie, “a sinister tragi-comedy of errors, in which the dark underbelly of human nature is revealed in true Shakespearean fashion.”

My Thoughts On “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green

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I am always a little weary when starting a book that is the focus of so much hype. What if I do not like it? What if I am disappointed? Or worse, bored? What if I don’t get it? Will my best friends who swear by this book defriend me from Facebook? Will I be “that book reviewer” who did not like the most likeable book ever?

Thankfully, The Fault In Our Stars lived up to every bit of hype. I laughed. I cried. And then I sobbed. It was a brilliant story told brilliantly.

As a Mom, I loved Hazel for wanting so desperately to save her parents from further pain. I loved that she went all the way to Amsterdam in order to find out the ending for the mother of her favorite book. Is she okay? Clearly Hazel needed to know that her Mom was going to be okay when she was ‘no longer a Mother’, and I loved that about her.

I am excited for the movie to be released on June 6th. But can I confess something? I do not think that the actor who plays Augustus is very cute, and that is a big deal. Hazel mentions on nearly every other page how attractive Augustus is, and looking at the movie clips, I am not convinced. Is this another Peeta disappointment?

What I’m Reading Now: The Fault In Our Stars

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At 16, Hazel Grace Lancaster, a three-year stage IV–cancer survivor, is clinically depressed.

To help her deal with this, her doctor sends her to a weekly support group where she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer survivor, and the two fall in love. Both kids are preternaturally intelligent, and Hazel is fascinated with a novel about cancer called An Imperial Affliction.

Most particularly, she longs to know what happened to its characters after an ambiguous ending.

To find out, the enterprising Augustus makes it possible for them to travel to Amsterdam, where Imperial’s author, an expatriate American, lives. What happens when they meet him must be left to readers to discover. Suffice it to say, it is significant.

Writing about kids with cancer is an invitation to sentimentality and pathos—or worse, in unskilled hands, bathos. Happily, Green is able to transcend such pitfalls in his best and most ambitious novel to date. Beautifully conceived and executed, this story artfully examines the largest possible considerations—life, love, and death—with sensitivity, intelligence, honesty, and integrity. In the process, Green shows his readers what it is like to live with cancer, sometimes no more than a breath or a heartbeat away from death. But it is life that Green spiritedly celebrates here, even while acknowledging its pain. In its every aspect, this novel is a triumph.

What I’m Reading Now: The House Girl

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The House Girl, the historical fiction debut by Tara Conklin, is an unforgettable story of love, history, and a search for justice, set in modern-day New York and 1852 Virginia.

Weaving together the story of an escaped slave in the pre–Civil War South and a determined junior lawyer, The House Girl follows Lina Sparrow as she looks for an appropriate lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking compensation for families of slaves. In her research, she learns about Lu Anne Bell, a renowned prewar artist whose famous works might have actually been painted by her slave, Josephine.

Featuring two remarkable, unforgettable heroines, Tara Conklin’s The House Girl is riveting and powerful, literary fiction at its very best.

My Thoughts On A Hundred Summers by Williams

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hundredThe further I get away from this book, the more that I like it.

Okay, I can explain.

This novel is a love story. Girl and boy meet. They quickly fall in love. They are driven apart by their families. They plan to run away and get married. Things go horribly wrong.

Good news, this one does not end in a double suicide.

The thing is, in reading this love story, I thought I knew where the author was going. I thought I knew what the “shocking ending” would entail.

But I was wrong. And for awhile, I was a little mad. I thought my ending in my head was better.

Now that it has been a few days, I have to admire the author for taking it in another direction. (But my ending was still better).

What I’m Reading Now: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

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As the 1938 hurricane bears down on Rhode Island, a storm of another kind is brewing in this novel that “blends history, romance, and social commentary into…much more than a summer guilty pleasure” (Connecticut Post)…

Memorial Day, 1938

Lily Dane has returned to Seaview, Rhode Island, where her family has summered for generations. It’s an escape not only from New York’s social scene but from a heartbreak that still haunts her. Here, among the seaside community that has embraced her since childhood, she finds comfort in the familiar rituals of summer.

But this summer is different. Budgie and Nick Greenwald—Lily’s former best friend and former fiancé—have arrived, too, and Seaview’s elite are abuzz. Under Budgie’s glamorous influence, Lily is seduced into a complicated web of renewed friendship and dangerous longing.

As a cataclysmic hurricane churns north through the Atlantic, and uneasy secrets slowly reveal themselves, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional storm that will change their worlds forever…