Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Witness-a quick disparaging cry.

The Witness The Witness by Sandra Brown

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Skimming was the only way I could get through this book. The characters were flat and more like caricatures and none of them likeable. The "mystery" of the author not revealing any of what was really going on went on for FAR, FAR, FAR too long. And amnesia, despite being an awful plot device, also needed to be researched a whole lot more before Sandra Brown decided to use it in ways that make no sense. I could not suspend my disbelief for even the events of the first page, and it all got harder and harder to swallow as the book went on.


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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Heist Society

I feel like I come down harder on this book than I really meant to do. But, I think that's because I was so excited about it and it didn't meet my expectations.

Heist Society Heist Society by Ally Carter

Katarina Bishop is kicked out of the Colgan academy, framed for a crime (that this one time) she actually didn't commit. Before she's even off school grounds the real reason she's been kicked out becomes apparent (in the form of billionaire heartthrob and burgeoning teen thief W.W. Hale the somethingth.) Hale is the bearer of bad news. Her dad is in trouble and he's refusing to try believe that situation is as bad as it is.

It is up to Hale and Katarina and their junior thief friends to work one of the most difficult heists in the world to keep her dad safe. Katarina has been gone from "the world" and "the family" for three months, and her confidence is shot. Add to the mix a new boy who is...interesting and who Hale is jealous of and doesn't trust and you have what could be an explosive time. I was underwhelmed by this book after really enjoying the Gallagher Girls books. Katarina didn't engage me very well and I liked every other character much more than her. I think that's because--despite the specific description and background-- Ally Carter was trying for that "everygirl" sort of character that we can all identify with and it didn't work for me. I found the inevitable love triangle a little predictable.

I wasn't a huge fan of the audiobook reader either. She wasn't bad, but I wasn't drawn into the story through her voice. That has a big impact on how I like the book. At no point did I feel the tension that should have been inherent in the scenes where Katarina and her loved ones are being threatened or in the scenes where they are pulling off a huge and impossible con job.

But! In concept and secondary characters this book shines. It was one of those escapes where, even though hackneyed a bit, I did feel like I was a part of a criminal underworld I would never even glimpse in real life. I don't want to be an art thief, but it was kind of fun to think "what if." Could be a younger read-a-like to some of Jennifer Cruisie's books, like "Bet Me.'

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Vintage Veronica

Quick confessions before I get into this book review. In a total first for YA fiction, this book harkened me back to my high school days to the point where I actually looked at my graduating classes' facebook group. (Ugh, btw.) I love vintage and vintage style clothes. I wore a 1960s dress to the biggest social event of my high school career (which, I might add, was NOT prom, but the Thespian Club dinner/awards.) My wonderful grandmother is using a vintage pattern to create my wedding dress. Though I have never been obsessed with vintage funky clothes to the point that Veronica is in the book, I can still relate to using clothes/style as a barrier and shield as well as a sense of identity. I loved this book and can't wait to see more from Erica S. Perl. I actually hope to see more of Veronica, because she's one of those characters that doesn't have just one story to tell.

On a slightly unrelated note this book cover/design is one of my favorites I've seen, especially in YA lit. WELL DONE.

The Review.

Vintage Veronica Vintage Veronica by Erica S. Perl

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Veronica has a dream job for someone who wears funky and vintage clothes like a shield. She works by herself (dream come true!) in the consignment corner of the largest vintage clothing stored in the Northeast (home of the famous Dollar-A-Pound.) She is the deciding authority of what clothes are depped (sent into the Dollar-A-Pound chute, the language of this book is phenomenal) and what clothes are mined for the higher end spaces of the store. The book sticks mainly in the inner workings of the store and the groups of people working and interacting there, but ventures into Veronica's home life some. The store: there are the Florons (the girls who work on the sales floor), and there are the pickers who spend all day in the Dollar-A-Pound pile, there's Bill the stoner boss, and then there is Lenny a boy who has interesting interests and who thinks Veronica is different in a good way.

This summer job, which her overbearing skinny-is-winny type mom thinks is at an animal shelter, is a turning point in Veronica's life and the way she relates to other people. Two of the Florons actually seem to like her and want to be her friends. But that friendship seems to have a pretty hefty price.

This book is one of those character-driven reads that is just riveting. Un-put-downable, even as I wanted to yell at Veronica that SHE KNOWS BETTER THAN THAT, COME ON! A great read for anyone who likes clothes (or anything) more than most people. Also a great read read for anyone whose ever felt, even a little bit, like an outsider.

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