Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Life Drawing for Beginners

 Finally, I'm back!  I have such a back log of books to write about that I have forgotten things I wanted to write about.  I really hated trying to type on the iPad and so just left things slide.  I bought a bunch of new books but really should work on my TBR list.  What can I say?  I love buying cheap books. 

Title: Life Drawing for Beginners
Author: Roisin Meaney
Published: Hachette Book Group,Inc; August 2012
Genre: Fiction, Chick-Lit
Source: Library
From Goodreads:
 "From the author of Semi-Sweet comes a delightful new novel about the art of friendship, love, and (still) life. When Audrey Matthews offers an evening class in life drawing, all she's looking for is a little extra pocket money and something to fill her Tuesday nights. So she hires a model and recruits five students - each of whom have their own reason for being there. For Zarek, a Polish immigrant, the class is a welcome distraction and a place to escape his dull cafe job and noisy roommate. Then there's the handsome, mysterious James who has moved to the small town of Carrickbawn looking for a new start for himself and his daughter. He's vowed to keep to himself, but then his interest in Jackie, the class model and single mom, takes a more personal turn. While Audrey has just fallen in love -- with the adorable puppy in the window of the local pet shop. Will she be put off by the store's brusque owner or does she find out that his bark is worse than his bite? As the weeks pass, it becomes clear to the members of the drawing class that their fellow students aren't exactly who they seem..."

I put this book on my TBR list because I saw a goodreads giveaway for it who knows when.  I was really attracted by the title and cover.   I thought this would be a fun romantic comedy and  a quick and easy light read.  I really expected some girl-meets-boy and they fall in love with a good sprinkling of quirky side characters.  Jacket blurbs are obviously not a criteria in picking out a book. I'm shallow and judge books by their covers.  This was more of a general relationship novel.

The story telling shifts from Audrey to each of her class members and a few others.  Even though the characters are strangers to each other, they have connections outside of class through family and friends.  Kind of like the story lines in Love, Actually are all connected. Some of these connections were apparent right away and others didn't reveal themselves until almost the end of the book.

I enjoyed this book.  Sometimes I had to remind myself that things weren't happening as quickly as the timeline my brain had.  The story stretched out over six weeks.  I liked seeing the relationships develop and characters find their footing in the world.  I even questioned the tough decisions one character made about his son and wondered what I would do in the same situation.

Sometimes the story lagged but I mostly enjoyed the book.  I wanted to find out what secrets certain characters were keeping and that kept me reading to the end.  Meaney was able to bring a human side to the more despicable characters and make them likeable.  As for my final verdict, I was charmed by the characters. I would probably only recommend this to bookworms and not the casual reader.  But who knows, my husband never picks up a book and really enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo.  So tell everyone to read it.  They just may like it.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sorry for the complete lack of content.  My computer has been having problems and I need to get it fixed.  I've been reading lots and have a lot of reviews I need to catch up on.  For now, I'm trying to work on my iPad but I hate typing things and the functionality kind of sucks for writing long blog posts with pictures and links.  I'll be back soon.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Bride Wore Size 12

Title: The Bride Wore Size 12
Author: Meg Cabot
Published: William Morrow; September 2013
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Source: Library digital loan
From Goodreads:
"Heather Wells is used to having her cake and eating it too, but this time her cake just might be cooked. Her wedding cake, that is.

With her upcoming nuptials to PI Cooper Cartwright only weeks away, Heather's already stressed. And when a pretty junior turns up dead, Heather's sure things can't get worse—until every student in the dorm where she works is a possible suspect, and Heather's long-lost mother shows up.

Heather has no time for a tearful mother and bride reunion. She has a wedding to pull off and a murder to solve. Instead of wedding bells, she might be hearing wedding bullets, but she's determined to bring the bad guys to justice if it's the last thing she does . . . and this time, it just might be."
I was turned on to Meg Cabot after watching The Princess Diaries. I loved her Boy series (The Boy Next Door, Boy Meets Girl, and Every Boy's Got One) and Queen of Babble series.  They are fun, easy, quick reads and the characters are very likeable.  I read about half of the Princess Diaries series about ten years or so ago.  Meg Cabot's books are the sweet, fluffy cupcakes of the literary world.  I've also read the first two books in the Heather Wells series and liked them a lot.

This book begins about a month before Heather's wedding.  So of course, I expected Heather to be up to her ears in wedding prep.  I remember what the month before my wedding was like.  I was finishing up last minute details and double checking that everything was in place.  It was pretty much all I thought about.  There were really only a few mentions of the wedding until the end of the book, when she and Cooper finally tied the knot.

Granted, she is the assistant hall director of a dorm residence hall (nicknamed Death Dorm) at a fictional New York City college.  She's busy with making sure all the incoming freshman are settling in and keeping said freshmen's parents happy with roommate assignments.  Oh, and one of her students is a prince of a fake Middle Eastern nation.  When a RA is found dead in her room, it adds that much more to Heather's already full agenda. 

I wanted to love this book.  Since I really liked a many of Cabot's other works, I was certain that this would be along the same lines.  The first few books of this series were engaging and really fun.  I liked the idea of an adult spending the majority of her time around college students.  This book just seemed to fall flat.  I kind of feel like Cabot just wanted to finish the series up because she was tired of it.

I can't really say why this book wasn't as good as the first few in the series.  Maybe I'm the one who changed, although I still love fluffy chick-lit and a good murder mystery.  I just wasn't feeling it.  The murder mystery didn't have me reading well into the night to find out who committed the crime.  I only finished this book a few days ago and I can barely remember the details. 

Underwhelmed.  That is the best word to describe how I feel about this book.  If you are a fan of the Heather Wells series, I would recommend this just to have some closure for the series.  Otherwise, pass it by for some of Cabot's better series.

Buy at Amazon/Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Rosie Project

Title: The Rosie Project
Author: Graeme Simsion
Published: Simon & Schuster; 2013
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Humor
Source: Amazon Kindle store
From Goodreads:
"An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

Sheldon (from Big Bang Theory, for those of you who don't watch) searches for a wife.

That is how I would describe this book.  Don Tillman is socially inept, due to not being diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.  I can't write much more about the story that the goodreads blurb doesn't say.    At least not without giving away the entire story.

I fell in love with the characters and the storyline.  It was charming and sweet.  I loved seeing the evolution of Don's feelings towards Rosie.  His goofy mistakes due to his lack of interpersonal skills were funny.

The book is written from Don's point of view.  This was really the only way to write a book about a character like him.  How else would the reader know why he was doing the things he did without knowing his thought processes?  I especially loved his attempts at using logic to explain Rosie's very obvious emotional responses to him.

This book is great.  I breezed through it in less than a day.  It's fun and light-hearted without making fun of autism spectrum disorders by taking low blows.  This book makes you smile and think.  It would make a great book club selection, especially after reading a more literary novel.  Buy this book because you will want to reread it.