Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ladies in Waiting, by Laura Sullivan

Wildly unrealistic historical fiction set at the court of King Charles II.
3 Elizabeths, outspoken island girl Zabby, wealthy but bourgois Eliza, and impoverished but noble Beth are maids of honor to the King's bride Catherine...
This was so outlandish that it was almost funny, but in the end, it was just depressing- badly written, ludicrous, and stale.

Beauty, by Lisa Daily

Cute but predictable and many-times-told story.
After making a wish with a mysterious gypsy, Molly wakes up beautiful (seriously) and her life changes, but, yadda yadda yadda.

Article 5, by Kristen Simmons

This was a weird one. Felt like a cross between Hillary Jordan's When She Woke and Twilight, if you can grok it- near future right-wing religious America continuing to cut away women's rights (and many civil rights), but the main character, Ember, was a bit of a Bella, and despite the book focusing on oppression of women, there was a lot of weird psycho-sexual dynamics

Enigma, by Robert Harris

Excellent tense thriller set at Bletchley Park during WWII.

Gilt, by Katherine Longshore

Great lusty bodice-y hist fic!
I loved this for it's vitality and the realness of the characters as written- I don't know enough about the Tudor period to have any idea how realistic some parts were (the maidens' midnight parties, for example), but the book was a blast to read, and actually left me really interested in finding out more.
I bet this might be an adult-crossover title, as it would be right at home next to Phillipa Gregory/Michelle Moran et al.

Erebos, by Ursula Poznanski

Wow- well, this was one I've been so excited to read, but I can't help but wonder if something was (literally) lost in translation from the German...
While the plot was intricate and solid for a techno-thriller, many of the colloquialisms rang wrong to my ears- I know it is set in London, but still, it was very hard to make the dialogue sound natural in my head, and some other things I found jarring- on p. 11, even, Nick was eating lukewarm ravioli from a can, and it was like, hm??? He doesn't seem to have a problem with money- his computer is state of the art and he goes to a 'public' school, so why would he have heated a can in a pan of water instead of nuking it???

It's a shame when something comes from Europe and you just get the sense it's been mangled... I felt very much the same way about Ruby Red by Kiersten Gier, that I was fated to miss the great appeal of the book because of clunky translation.

The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls, by Julie Schumacher

I was expecting something much more like The Mother Daughter Book Club series, but this had a bit of a darker side.
Some really solid writing here, and the Adrienne, CeeCee and Jill were well drawn, as were a couple of their mothers. Really nice writing style here- will be looking for more from this author.

Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink, by Kate Strohm

Cute summer romance, set in a historical re-enactment settlement in Maine.
Awfully close in plot to Past Perfect, by Leila Sales.

A Voyage Long and Strange, by Tony Horowitz

Fantastic history of pre-Plymouth European contact with the Americas.

Damned, by Chuck Palahniuk

I still can't stand Palahniuk. This was loathsome.

Chelsea Mansions, by Barry Maitland

Decent mystery with a huge red herring and a LOT of characters, but it was nicely done, set around the Chelsea flower show.

Momentum, by Saci Lloyd

I LOVED both of the Carbon Diaries books, and had really high expectations for this one, but it felt like Lloyd, rather than keeping on writing visionary, very realistic near-future fiction, instead jumped on the far-out dystopian train, and fell off of it.
Splat. Much like the many falling parkourists through the book - and why the heck didn't she just call it parkour???? Like, people know what that is, Saci! You don't need to describe it at great length and then call it jumping.

Kill Switch, by Chris Lynch

Danny has always been close to his grandfather, Da, and during the summer after his senior year, Danny wants to spend as much time as possible with Da before leaving for college. Da, however, is rapidly losing his memory, and keeps telling the family stories that don't seem to fit in with his life as an agricultural department systems analyst. As Da becomes more loose-tongued, and ex-colleagues of his start coming around, Danny realizes that Da's wild stories about assassinations and so on are true, and he takes Da and his stoner cousin Jarrod on the run, in an attempt to keep them all safe.

The Night She Dissapeared, by April Henry

This was a fast paced mystery, and a decent read, but the police were painted as being such obstructionist dolts that it was ridiculous, and the ending was daft, they had cell phones, so ???

The Supergirl Mixtapes, by Meagan Brothers

Maria, desperate to leave the small Southern town she lives in, persuades her father and grandmother to let her go stay with her mother in NYC, who abandoned Maria as a child.
Getting to NYC, Maria finds her mother is still a wildly irresponsible person, with a boyfriend Traviss who is only 6 years older than Maria, and with questionable jobs and habits.
I did like Maria, and her relationships felt believable, but I felt like there was just too much CBGBs/Patti Smith/ etc shoved in as background, and too little character development, there was really no resolution, as the end felt very rushed and sudden.