Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Reviews

One of my favorite things to do is read.  Some books that I read this school year (August to June) include Gimme a Call by Sarah Mylnowski,  Mini-Shopoholic by Sophie Kinsella, A Desirable Residence and The Wedding Girl both by Madeleine Wickham (who sometimes writes under the name Sophie Kinsella).  I thought I'd post a little something about each of them.

I've read a few books by Sarah Mlynowski and thought Gimme a Call would be a good read like the others.  It is chick lit, which I'm a big fan of.    I like books that make me think and that I can learn from, but I have to read a lot of research articles for grad school and sometimes I just want something simple, straight forward and entertaining.  I love chick lit for that reason.  It is often predictable and has happy endings or at least endings I approve of.  There is nothing worse than spending several days reading a book and then being disappointed by the ending.  In fact, I can't stand that.

Anyway, Gimme a Call was a cute book.  It was a little more pre-teen than I was expecting.  Mlynowski writes to both teenagers and women and I didn't realize this was a young adult/teen book.  To give a really brief summary, it's about a girl in her senior year of high school who ends up being able to call herself when she was a freshman.  The book progresses as the senior girl gives her freshman self tips and pointers on decisions she wished he had made differently and of course, you can imagine that small changes had a big impact on her "future" self.  It was interesting, but it did take a little while to read.  In fact, it took me 4 months to finish.  For some reason I just couldn't get into it like I do with other books.  It had nothing to do with bad writing or a bad story line, it just didn't suck me in.  If I wasn't so protective of my things, I would leave it on my shelf at school for my students to read.  I know a lot of the girls would enjoy it.  I'm just worried I wouldn't get it back.  I've had many books stolen from my classroom so I try to have books that kids like, but I'm also not attached to.  Once I've read a book, I want it forever.  I know it's silly, but I love books and I would love to have a library in my home one day.  I hate when books go missing or someone borrows them and never returns them.

In the meantime, while I was slowly reading through Gimme a Call I started to read A Desireable Residence.  Madeleine Wicham, who also writes as Sophie Kinsella, is my favorite authors.  This book followed her writing style that I like.  It took me a few weeks to finish because I was busy and it also didn't quite suck me in as much as some of her other work.  I still liked it nonetheless.  It is about a family that purchases a school that provides tutoring for British students (the author is British so all her books are set in England).  The couple who buy the school had to take out a loan to purchase the school with the agreement they would sell their house, which didn't happen.  They ended up renting it to a young married couple, who their teenage daughter becomes enamored with.  There are of course love triangles and drama that I enjoy reading.  Compared to Sophie's other novels I wouldn't put this one at the top of my list, but I enjoyed the read and would recommend it.  However, if you've never read her other work I would not recommend this one first one you read by her.  My favorite Sophie Kinsella novels include the Confessions of a Shopoholic Series, The Undomestic Goddess, and I've Got Your Number.

As I just mentioned, the Confessions of a Shopoholic Series is one of my favorite books from Sophie Kinsella.  I was very excited to see this new book come out in print.  It is the 6th book in the series.  I hate to give a poor review of her work because I do absolutely adore her novels.  However, I was disappointed with this novel.  The writing and story line itself were fine.  I have no qualms about that, but the character development was lacking and I feel like it was the same old thing.  After you've been reading a series for a while, you expect the character to change a litlte.  In 6 books the beloved character, Rebecca Bloomwood, has aged and had changes in her life.  She's married and has a child now.  You would think she would also develop and grow as a person.  I know the premise of this series is that Rebecca has a shopping addiction, but I have one too and have learned that I have to make smarter choices.  I can still spend more money than I should or that is necessary, but I have gotten much better.  It was disappointing to see that she has not seemed to learn from past mistakes.  The ending was set up in a way that there could be a 7th novel.  I would buy it and read it, but I just hope that if there is a 7th novel Rebecca has some slight changes.  I still enjoyed the book and love the series, but was left frustrated with the main character.  I wanted to see her "grow-up."  I would still recommend this book to readers, but obviously only after you've read the first 5 in the series.

I also read The Wedding Girl.  Kinsella writes a lot, and under two different names, so she can be hard to keep up with.  I have gone back and bought some of her older books because I didn't realize she had so many under her real name, Madeleine Wickham.  I really enjoyed this book.  Although it's a new main character, I can always relate in some way to them.  Kinsella's characters always have little quirks that I see in myself. I feel like if Sophie and I met in real life we could be friends.  I imagine she must be like some of her characters and if she is then we are a lot alike.

This book is about a girl who is engaged and is in full wedding planning mode.  Her mother is very involved, maybe even too involved, with the plans and that aspect of the book is funny to read.  Early on the reader discovers a secret the main character is keeping that could potentially ruin her wedding if it comes out.  The book is about how she tries to resolve the issue (although I was surprised she waited so long to try to solve it).  It was a very good book and took me a week or so to read it, which is pretty typical for me when I'm reading her novels.  I could read it in 2 days if I didn't have to work :)  I give his novel two thumbs up!

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