We did it! In February 2009 we turned in our first childrens book entitled MANDY... more »
- Southampton, NY, USA
- member since October 25, 2007
Nighthawk reviewed a book.
“Cargo of Coffins (Kindle Edition) is really one short story (imagine my surprise!) by L Ron Hubbard. I'd classify this tale as "high seas adventure" and sadly this story does not hold up very well after so many decades. You might not see the ending coming but somehow I doubt it.”
“Cargo of Coffins (Kindle Edition) is really one short story (imagine my surprise!) by L Ron Hubbard. I'd classify this tale as "high seas adventure" and sadly this story does not hold up very well after so many decades. You might not see the ending coming but somehow I doubt it. ”(read full review)
tapbirds plans to read a book.
Kiki68 reviewed a book.
“"You can reinvent yourself with a different alphabet."
This is the story of two little girls, growing up in 1980's Washington DC: Sarah and Jennifer. Sarah's family is dysfunctional. The death of her little sister, Isabel at age 4. Her father, an Englishman leaves his family and returns...”
“"You can reinvent yourself with a different alphabet."
This is the story of two little girls, growing up in 1980's Washington DC: Sarah and Jennifer. Sarah's family is dysfunctional. The death of her little sister, Isabel at age 4. Her father, an Englishman leaves his family and returns to the UK, seemingly because of Sarah's mother's inability to cope with Isabel's death, and her obsessive behavior regarding the possibility of nuclear war between the US and the USSR. Sarah is a quiet, loner of a girl, until a new family moves in across the street. The Jones family is all American and seems perfect to Sarah, especially their daughter, Jennifer. Sarah and Jennifer becomes fast friends.
They two school girls share secrets and swimming, and spend lots of times together. For Sarah, the Jones family and their complete normalcy is a respite from her mother's somewhat paranoid antics. When Sarah announces to Jennifer she is writing a letter to Yuri Andropov, the current head of the USSR, and Jennifer also writes a letter. However, the outcome of what happens when one of those letter receives a response from Andropov himself.
Sarah is an unreliable narrator: a smart girl who underestimates her own intelligence and likableness throughout her life and the novel. While Sarah is quiet and studious, Jennifer is popular and confident. But Jennifer isn't as smart as Sarah, and she is capricious and disloyal. Sarah struggles with both her mother's problems and fears, and her own more rational apprehensions. She feels abandoned by both her dead sister and her dad, who has remarried and has another child. She uses Cold War terms to deal with the pain: sister and father are both "defectors." It was easy for me to identify with the reserved, intelligent and thoughtful Sarah.
I loved the way the plot is unfurled like an exotic carpet for the reader to carefully examine, close up for themselves. Sarah grows up, in the shadow of both her parent's failed marriage, with the disappointments of childhood still following and grieving her. I didn't know too much about the plot, except that one of the girls has a response to her letter and life changes dramatically forever for Sarah. Fast forward to her college years, and we learn more about Sarah's parents, as most young people gradually understand their parents as they grow older. Sarah's trip to Russia also reveals so many things the young Sarah might not have understood as unsavvy child.
I have to say, while there were points where I felt the plot was slightly weak, I truly enjoyed both the writing and the elegant way the author allows the story to unhurriedly unfold. Nothing in the story feels forced. No storybook endings here, but that is hardly the point of this book, which is about how well you think you know people: especially family and friends, those you are closest with in this world.
I grew up in the 1980s (I'm a little older than Sarah by 4 years), so this book naturally appealed to me. I remember worrying about the missiles the two greatest powers on the planet had pointed at one another. I was influenced by musicians like Sting and U2, and was watching "The Day After Tomorrow" the night it first aired. If any of these touch points ring a bell with you, this book might be for you.”
A.K. Klemm reviewed a book.
Jennifer rated a book.
Jennifer is now reading a book.
Kiki68 reviewed a book.
***SPOILER ALERT***:If you've read Sense and Sensibility before, no need for a spoiler warning here. But if not, you might just want to go into this one cold, and just try it. While I have problems with this kind of book, there are certainly worse books of this type around. Skip my review...”
***SPOILER ALERT***:If you've read Sense and Sensibility before, no need for a spoiler warning here. But if not, you might just want to go into this one cold, and just try it. While I have problems with this kind of book, there are certainly worse books of this type around. Skip my review below though!
3.5 stars I am a big fan of Jane Austen. Generally, I am not a fan of sequels or prequels written by someone other than the original author This yea do I go in for fanfiction. I read Longbourn earlier this year (one of my favorite books of the year), and also one of my most highly anticipated reads of the year as well. I had heard about the Harper Collins Austen Project, and when I saw this on Vine, i decided to take a chance. I have never read anything else by Trollope, so I was taking a chance, since I don't think her fiction is in line with my normal reading habits.
I re-read an Austen every year, and coincidentally, Sense and Sensibility was this year's. So the original was fresh in my mind. The reluctance on Trollope's part to deviate from the original story was disconcerting. I read Margot Livesey's The Flight of Gemma Hardy last year, a riff on Jane Eyre, and while the story was most certainly reflective of Jane Eyre, Livesey manages to make it very much her own story, as well as Gemma's. Trollope sticks very closely to Austen's plot and characters, which for me, with the contemporary setting, was a problem for me.
The plot is identical to Austen's: the Dashwood family (mother and three daughters) are forced out of their comfortable home by Isabel's (te Dashwood girls mother) stepson and his wife. Isabel is not only as sensitive as her daughter Marianne, she is a full fledged, perimenopausal hippie, and she and Mr Dashwood were not actually legally married, making matters more precarious for her children. So we do see some more actual character development in her than we do in the original novel. Same situation with Margaret, she is a tad more developed than in the original novel. Marianne and Elinor are practically the same as in the original, which results in Elinor's martyrdom, and Marianne's ninnydom. Because the innocence and sweetness of the Austen characters doesn't carry over, and instead, Elinor seems long suffering and Marianne, with her romantic ideals and artistic sensibilities just translates as annoying and narcissistic, unfortunately.
Trollope uses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, cell phones, computers and cars liberally to bring her characters into the 21st century. Even Mr. Middleton's business is high tech and world wide. Yet that just seems heavy handed. I would have preferred Trollope had let the girls be old fashioned letter writers: keeping their same personalities and using these devices to "update" them seems forced and dull. This is where the story needs to deviate from the original, especially along the lines of the family's money problems, and the highly important talk of marrying for money. There's a name for people who marry for money, and I believe it translates on both sides of the pond: gold digger. And while these girls are not necessarily gold diggers, all the talk of money and marriage makes me cringe. It is just completely anachronistic. And while it is a major theme in Austen's books, that is because it is a fact of life of her time. Women had to worry about who they'd marry and how much cash they'd have, because women couldn't work. Yet here in the year 2013, women CAN work and do. Two able bodied women cannot work in this story. Granted, Marianne's constitution is delicate, but even that illness (asthma, which also killed their father?) seems anachronistic and bizarre in this day and age, with so many medicines to control these kind of conditions. It just didn't work for me.
This was not the worst thing I've read this year. I think anticipating what was going to happen next (and knowing exactly what that would be), made this book a bit of a slog for me, especially after reading it this summer and enjoying very much: I have two daughters who are close in age, and while they are both serious musicians, I think of them as very much an Elinor and a Marianne (although the older one is our Marianne!). I might be convinced to try another of these rewrites of Austen, but if I was making a suggestion for a friend who loves Austen, I'd tell them to read Longbourn by Jo Baker: the writing is far superior with original characters and plot blending in seamlessly with that of the Bennett family, as well as some re-imaginings of what really goes on behind closed doors there. It was brilliant while this book is just so-so.”
Sleekfeline rated a book.
SouthWestZippy plans to read a book.
Barbara M rated a book.
rimmsky rated a book.
Carol is now reading a book.
Carol reviewed a book.
“Addison lives far beneath the busyness of the big city, well hidden from humanity, avoiding all people, lest the mere sight of him cause them to kill him. Meanwhile, Gwyneth lives in her own seclusion, locked on the top floor of her father’s mansion. Refusing to allow human touch, she is banned...”
“Addison lives far beneath the busyness of the big city, well hidden from humanity, avoiding all people, lest the mere sight of him cause them to kill him. Meanwhile, Gwyneth lives in her own seclusion, locked on the top floor of her father’s mansion. Refusing to allow human touch, she is banned to a solitary life. When Addison and Gwyneth meet, it becomes evident that their lives have a profound purpose.
Actually 2.5 stars is more accurate. It wasn't so much that I didn't like it as I just didn't get the point of it. The idea that Addison and Gwyneth are different, even special, was obvious from the very start but it was nearly the last page before we found any hint of what they were and why people reacted to them the way they did. Dean Koontz is one of my favorite authors so to say I was disappointed with this offering would be an understatement. ”
Nighthawk reviewed a book.
“Wow! I loved this quick novel by Max Allan Collins it is so nice to read something where you don't see the twist coming. What a great series the Quarry books are turning out to be.”
“Wow! I loved this quick novel by Max Allan Collins it is so nice to read something where you don't see the twist coming. What a great series the Quarry books are turning out to be. ”(read full review)