Monday, December 27, 2010

Hearts on a String

Hearts on a String, by Kris Radish.

None of these women are from Florida. Four of them live in places where winter claims the most days. Places where it often snows in April and people cry in the morning when they open the window and see yet another gray skyline. Cities that literally rejoice when the temperature jumps past thirty or forty degrees. Towns where wool is always in high fashion. In Milwaukee, where Margo lives, it's not uncommon to see people walking toward the grocery store in shorts the moment it's one degree past forty-three. In San Jose, where Patti leaves her bag when she's not traveling, the California sun is often obscured by car exhaust, fog, and smog, and clouds that have a tendency to move in and never leave. Cathy's hometown of Denver is a freezing snow bowl that often closes freeways.

Paradise for each one of these women is suddenly right outside the long balcony that caresses the three sides of their lovely suite.

This book was kind of cheesy in parts but the premise was interesting: five women meet in a bathroom at an airport, where they help one of the women whose iPhone has fell in the toilet. When all flights are canceled due to storms around the country, they decide to share a suite together at a hotel where one of the women was staying. They are stranded there for about four to five days, and within that time they learn everyone's secrets, and find that they all have more in common than they thought.

4 stars out of 5.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Carrie Diaries

The Carrie Diaries, by Candace Bushnell.

I've had boyfriends before, and frankly, each one was a disappointment.

There was nothing horribly wrong with these boys. It was my fault. I'm kind of a snob when it comes to guys.

So far, the biggest problem with the boys I've dated is that they weren't too smart. And eventually I ended up hating myself for being with them. It scared me, trying to pretend I was something I wasn't. I could see how easily it could be done, and it made me realize that was what most of the other girls were doing as well - pretending. If you were a girl, you could start pretending in high school and go on pretending your whole life, until, I suppose, you imploded and had a nervous breakdown, which is something that's happened to a few of the mothers around here. All of a sudden, one day something snaps and they don't get out of bed for three years.

But I digress ...

I am a big fan of the TV show "Sex and the City" but I didn't start watching it until my senior year of college (2 years ago), when it was being syndicated on TBS. I checked out the book of the same name, by Candace Bushnell, and was very disappointed - it contained vignettes of which Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte were only featured slightly, and I got through about 1/4 of the book before deciding to stop reading it. This novel, however, I liked a lot, as its a prequel of sorts to Sex and the City, and features Carrie in her high school years. The ending made me smile, as it basically sets up the entire TV series, and I liked reading about how Carrie was in her teenage years, since I already know what she was like in her 20s and 30s thanks to the TV show.

4 stars out of 5.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mini Shopaholic

Mini Shopaholic, by Sophie Kinsella.

I feel totally inadequate as I scroll through pictures of smiley girls with long shiny hair cooking vegetable risottos, bouncing balls in the garden, or dressed up in judo kit. No wonder Minnie has tantrums. It's because no one's doing martial arts or making sushi with her. All this time I've totally deprived her. Suddenly, making jam tarts in the kitchen with Mum seems totally lame. We don't even make the pastry ourselves; we get it out of a packet. We have to hire an Ultimate Nanny, as soon as possible.

This is the newest "Shopaholic" book by author Sophie Kinsella, of whom I've been a fan for a long time. Her books are hilarious and Becky, the protagonist of them, has such a strong "voice" that the books are a pleasure to read (and can also be read rather quickly). In this installment, her daughter Minnie is now two years old, and Becky wants to throw a surprise party for Luke, her husband. The Bank of London has just gone bankrupt, however, and no one is really spending any money, so she has to be thrifty about it - not one of her strong suits.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender.

He pressed the mute button, and the room filled with sound. Horns, voice-overs, snatches of songs. It was like we were exchanging codes, on how to be a father and a daughter, like we'd read about it in a manual, translated from another language, and were doing our best with what we could understand.

This book is about Rose, a young girl who has a unique talent: she can taste people's feelings in the food that they make. The first time this happens to her, when she is nine, she can taste desperation and unhappiness in her mother's cooking; and from then on, she is unable to eat it. She eventually learns ways to make eating more pleasurable for herself (mostly eating junk food that is made at plants where no humans touch it), but as the years go on, she must figure out what to do with the information she receives this way about others.

The book was interesting, although there is a side plot with her brother that was a bit confusing to me. Rose's talent is definitely not one I would like to have, and I found it interesting when she actually cooked for herself one time; she did not like eating her own food at all either, as it revealed to her what emotions she was feeling.

3.5 stars out of 5.

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