Books

Book 553: Dear Mr. Knightley – Katherine Reay

"Dear Mr. Knightley" book cover artThis book is what I was worried of when I found out these were categorized under clean romance and Christian fiction. It could’ve been A LOT worse, but it was just enough to start to put me off toward the end of the novel. That being said, I know there’s a HUGE market for both clean romance AND Christina fiction, so I can’t really fault it too much because it was just a little too preachy for me at some points. I’ll talk more about this later.

I’m still not sure where to categorize this for my own references. I think they’d be more accurately described as inspired by Austen rather than the traditional fan-fiction/fanfiction. Reay does a great job weaving in the stories and characters from Austen’s works but doesn’t necessarily use them as frameworks or even plot outlines. I’ll read the other’s books in her oeuvre that are Austen/Brontë connected because they’re such quick reads, but I’m not sure I’ll follow her into the future.

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Books

Book 551: The Austen Escape – Katherine Reay

I picked this up at the library after reading about it on Jane’s blog greenish bookshelf, and wasn’t sure what to expect. I do occasionally like a clean romance, but let’s face it I also enjoy some pretty trashy and raunchy novels/works. I also wasn’t 100% sure where this would rank on the romance scale with it often being categorized as Christina Fiction, but I did ultimately enjoy the book. I have also complained multiple times about the books where characters jump right in to sex and living together and the whole book happens in two months. So basically, I don’t know what I want in a romance novel. But seriously though, coat it in Austen or Brontë, no matter how tenuous, and I’ll be happy!

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Books

Book 545: You Think It, I’ll Say It – Curtis Sittenfeld

I’m slowly making more progress on my ARC/Galleys. It’s been a while since I last read a collection of short stories, last summer I read a couple of collections, but they’re not something I seek out very often. So when the publisher reached out about this one I figured why not.*

I’ve enjoyed Sittenfeld’s writing, Prep, from way before I started this blog and more recently Eligible, her retelling of Pride and Prejudice as part of the now (seemingly?) defunct The Austen Project. The downside of this collection in particular, is because I enjoy Sittenfeld’s writing, I had already read at least three, if not five of the previously published short stories of the ten, but I’ll talk more about this later.

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Book 542: Final Girls – Riley Sager

I received a request to review this back in December* before everything happened with my mom and before we moved and I’m just now starting to play catch up four months later. Right as I’m finally making progress on my backlog of ARCs and galleys I start to request more. When will I learn?

This was a super fast read and it kept me engaged, yet I still have mixed feelings on the book. I went back and actually lowered my rating on Goodreads from four stars to three stars. I think it deserves 3.5, but didn’t feel it deserved the round-up. I’ll let it marinate for another week and decide if I’ll keep it at 3 or bump it back to 4. I’m going to try not to spoil the book, but I can’t guarantee it so read the Goodreads synopsis here and decide if you want to read past this.

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Books

Book 502: Jane Austen, the Secret Radical – Helena Kelly

Perhaps I’m too smart for my own good, but overall this book was a bit disappointing. With a title like Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, you’d expect there to be revelations of sorts and yet there weren’t. I mean that’s why I requested a copy from the publisher.* I was hoping as the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death rapidly approaches there’d be something completely new and innovative to talk about, but there wasn’t.

Sure Kelly highlighted a few things that I missed when reading Austen, but really she just expounded upon the things that those of us who don’t read Austen ONLY as a romance novelist, but as a social commentator hopefully picked up on. She provided more detail of course, especially when it came to names and places, but overall there just weren’t a lot of revelations.

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Books

Book 480: Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood

I picked up my copy of Cat’s Eye back in December of 2011 and I’ve waited WAY too long to read it. I’ve been looking at my bookshelves thinking I needed to read more of those books and so I went back to my list and looked at the oldest on there and this was one of them.

I’m glad I read this because every time I read a another Margaret Atwood novel I ask myself why in the hell I waited so long between novels. I’m doubly glad I read this as it’s kept my belief that the short and long list booker prizes are more approachable than the winners. I haven’t read the 1989 winner yet, it’s Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day, and it could break that streak with how much of an impact Never Let Me Go left on me.

I think what has always drawn me to Atwood are her strong female characters, her awesome speculative fiction, and what seems like her fascination with age and aging. I thought it was weird at first, but then I realized that some of these novels I’m reading from the late 80s were when Atwood was already in her late-40s/early-50s. So it made a lot more sense when I realized that. Continue reading “Book 480: Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood”

Books

Book 471: Ray and Joan – Lisa Napoli

napoli-lisa-ray-joanWhat a fascinating story. I figured it would be, I mean it’s about the guy who made McDonald’s what it is today and his wife who gave away billions of dollars, but I was still surprised at just how fascinating it was.

When Dutton reached out to me about a copy of the book* I jumped at the chance because not only do I find philanthropy personally fascinating, but I also work in fundraising, so it was a win-win either way for me.

I mean the subtitle “The man who made the McDonald’s fortune and the woman who gave it all away,” caught my attention pretty quick because I knew nothing about the founding of McDonald’s or the people behind it. I had no idea about most of it.

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