Book Review: Holiday Catch Up!

I've been reading as we approach the holidays, and hope to pack in several more books before 2009 comes to a close, so let's round them up!

The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

This is a different sort of Christmas novel, and certainly didn't end the way I expected. Gabe is a homeless man-cum-guardian angel who begins helping Lou, who places too much emphasis on work and material things than on family and love. A quick read, but as I said, with a twist at the end I didn't like...

In the Country of the Young by Lisa Carey

This was recommended to me heartily by Nat, and I ended up reading it in one day! Part magic, part ghost story, part romance, part mystery, this deftly written book has it all! Oisin is a hermit on a small island, searching for the ghost of his long-dead sister, but instead, is haunted by a seven year old girl from years ago who begins to take shape in his world - and in his life. What could have been creepy or offputting was instead an imminently readable tale. Recommended!

Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie

This short novel was originally from 1994, and features Crusie's flair - fun characters, laugh out loud moments, and an easy to read plot and happy ending. Not her strongest, but a fun read for a couple of hours.

After by Amy Efaw

This YA novel has been getting a lot of coverage, and features the story of Devon, who gave birth to her baby, then dumped it on the trash, landing herself in a juvenile detention facility, though she honestly doesn't remember giving birth. This is a raw, jarringly written novel, and you can feel yourself inside Devon's head, and feel the raw emotion running throughout. The writing is very choppy and simple, but I think it felt the story well.

Splendor by Anna Godbersen

This is the finale of "The Luxe" series, set in 1899 New York (think Gossip Girls in period costume), and finally resolves all the storylines of Caroline, Diana, Elizabeth and Penelope. I was satisfied with the ending, though a touch heartbroken by one part of it. Still, it was a great YA series, and I'm glad to have some resolution!

Ash by Malinda Lo

This is a YA book, with a loose retelling of the Cinderella story, though with quite a twist! This novel involves magic and fairies in the woods and a lesbian subplot that definitely wasn't in the Disney version! Well written and interesting, those expecting a typical Cinderella story are in for a shock.

Devil's Corner by Lisa Scottoline

Another winner from mystery writer Scottoline! A drug bust gone bad, a lawyer on a mission, a unusual accomplice in crime and a dash of romance make for another great story! I listened to the audio version, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat - who IS Scottoline's novels to me!

The Penny Pinchers Club by Sarah Strohmeyer

Another fun, frothy novel from Strohmeyer, this time featuring a heroine, who, convinced she is headed for divorce, comes up with unusual ways to raise funds and live frugally after a life of excess. Fun!

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

I've enjoyed Tropper's other books, but this one definitely sticks in my mind the most. After Judd's father dies, the family finds out that his last wish was for the family to sit shiva for seven days, setting up a novel about a seven day stretch of the world's most dysfunctional, hilarious, heartbreaking family. I absolutely COULD NOT stop reading this novel - I found the writing and the slow burn of the story compulsively readable, and had to see if the family would survive each other, or not! What a great read - no wonder it's been optioned as a movie! Highly recommended!

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