Booktastic Reviews

I've been reading, reading lately, so let's see what made an impression and what didn't...

Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

I was looking for a shorter audiobook to listen to on my travels home, and grabbed this audiobook off the shelf. Interestingly, I don't think I've ever read a Delinsky book before, though I was sure that I had. In this one, Susan is the young, hip principal of high school in coastal Maine, the single mother of senior Lily. When Lily comes home one day and announces that she's pregnant, Susan's world is kicked out of orbit...even more so when two of Lily's friends also turn up pregnant. Suddenly, the principal is the target of a "pregnancy pact" problem, and the mother is dealing with her unwed, pregnant daughter. This was definitely ripped from the headlines, but was an interesting, compelling story with well-drawn characters. Recommended for fans of "female fiction".

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

I've read other YA novels by Dessen, so when this one was on the shelf, I decided to give it a go. Mclean and her father move constantly with his job, so she reinvents herself in every new place...but this time, for some reason, is different...and maybe it has something to do with the boy next door. This was...okay, but for Dessen, felt kind of empty and disappointing to me, though I can't put my finger on exactly *why*. It was okay, but I found myself losing interest part way through and never really regaining it. Maybe it was the wrong book for the wrong time...

Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey

This is the first in a planned trilogy charting the meteoric rise - and untimely fall - of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI. I've always been a fan of the period (and of the movie starring Kirsten Dunst!), so I was happy to grab this off the shelf! This first novel really delves into the character of Marie as a young girl, and all the years and years of training and reshaping she endured to be made presentable to the French court - something that really came alive in the novel. Marie is a sympathetic character, and her introduction to her husband and life in court is both fascinating and horrifying. I thought this was a truly engaging novel with fantastic historical details, well-fleshed-out characters, depth and emotion. I can't wait for the second and third books, and even though I know how it will end....I keep hoping it won't. Highly recommended for fans of the period or of historical novels!

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

This is a slim, spare novel of less than 200 pages, but that doesn't lessen its impact. This novel traces - in short, spartan prose and chapters - the travels of Japanese women who traveled to America in the early 1900s as brides for Japanese men already in the country. The novel progresses through their marriages, their struggles, and ultimately ends with the interment camps of World War II. Despite the brevity of the chapters and the prose, this novel is impactful and fascinating, a true glimpse into what these women endured - and overcame - in their not-always-easy lives. A wonderful snapshot of a little known culture in a little known time in America. Highly recommended - well worth the few hours it takes to read...

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

This is one of those suspense novels that's been passing from person to person all summer at the library, and with good reason - because it's FANTASTIC and impossible to put down! I'm going to keep this short so as not to spoil...Christine wakes up every morning with no knowledge of her life before. Nothing. Her memories are erased every night when she goes to sleep, so every morning she has to relearn herself - and her husband Ben and their home. She begins to keep a journal, and reads it every day, trying to unravel her memories when one morning she reads in her journal "Don't trust Ben". But she doesn't know why...

This is a taught, well-written, incredibly engaging suspense novel - you will keep flipping pages to see if Christine figures it out, to see what's real...and what's not. SUCH a great novel - no wonder it's been getting rave reviews! If you read nothing else I've reviewed here, read this one! Great!

40 Love by Madeleine Wickham

Wickham (also known as Sophie Kinsella) as written another frothy, fast, flirty novel about four couples who convene at an English country home one weekend for a tennis tournament - only to have it devolve into adultery, accusations, money problems and marital woes. As these things do. ;-) This isn't a "literary novel" by any means, but is a fun diversion into the problems of monied British families, if only for a few hours. For fans of Wickham's/Kinsella's other works...

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