Now I want that title to be a real movie, but it’s just a collection of book reviews. We’ll start off with the good:
Night of Many Dreams, by Gail Tsukiyama
This book is about a family living in Hong Kong during World War II. They end up escaping to Macao for the duration of the war, and when they move back the two daughters take divergent paths their parents aren’t happy with. I enjoyed the book, and it was well written. Reading the food descriptions gave me constant cravings for Asian food, which was hard to endure. The plot follows the two daughters over their lives, but toward the end it seemed as though the author was running out of space to write. A few things happened very suddenly, which weren’t bad, but didn’t seem very fleshed out. On the Clever Chick Scale this gets a “I’ll give it to my friends to read, and not ask for it back”.
Now the BAD: Shopaholic takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
I know the Shopaholic series is very popular. I know this because I see them on the clearance shelves at my local half price books constantly (Oh, Burn!!), so I eventually decided to grab one and check it out. I want my dollar back.
I think the author hates the main character. Every word in the book is written to show how idiotic she is. The main character, Becky, is supposed to be earning a living giving people financial advice on a TV show, but she knows jack-squat about anything financial. She gets bills and hides them under her roommate’s bed, she’s constantly asking her bank to raise her credit limit, and she daydreams about fashion constantly. In the previous book, she had gotten into loads of credit card debt, but eventually paid it off. In this book, she’s startled to learn that she owes money on her credit cards again because she “paid them all of ages ago”. She’s completely oblivious to the fact that she has gone shopping since then, using the same cards.
She decides to buy a $90 pair of shoes rather than putting it away for retirement, because what good would $90 do her when she’s old? This chick doesn’t understand the basic tenants of compound interest or credit cards, and she’s supposedly giving financial advice? This is the kind of irresponsible thinking that got us into the financial crisis to begin with. Rationalizing ways to waste money is simply enabling people that need a dose of reality. I got about halfway through the book, and I couldn’t take it any more. This book completely disgusts me, and insults my profession. On the Clever Chick Scale this gets a “Steer Clear of this Crap! And I will judge you harshly if you tell me you love this book”.
The last is a graphic novel called iZombie Volume 1: Dead to the World by Chris Roberson, illustrated by Michael Allred
This was given to me by Black of Two Tokens when I visited recently. The main character is a zombie who works as a grave digger, and lives in normal society without anyone knowing. Her friends are a ghost and a werewolf. During the story, they run into another zombie who promises to teach the main character how to survive and maintain her mental functions. They also come across some monster hunters and a group of vampires. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I liked this a lot. The artwork is great, as is the story concept. On the Clever Chick Scale it gets a “I can’t wait to read the rest of the story”.
When I picked up this book, I was looking for some basic, easy-to-read chick-lit. This is definitely a girly book, but the plot was much more substantial than I expected.
The book starts out with the main character and her long-term boyfriend in their kitchen. He up and leaves her, right after an unsuccessful in-vitro fertilization attempt. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Bastard!’, right?
But this is not your basic girl-gets-dumped-then-meets-someone-new story. She gets hell-a dumped, and then goes off on an adventure. The plot still follows the ex, and other characters, and weaves together a more complex plot than I expected.
What’s the Clever Chick rating? Why, I’m glad you asked. This earns a “I recommend it, and even gifted it to a friend”. In case you’re curious, that means, no it didn’t earn a place on my sacred shelves, and I probably won’t reread it. I was pleasantly surprised by the complexity of the plot and characters, and it was a bit of a departure from basic girly books.
I’m am a huge fan and uber nerd for Mercedes Lackey. She writes tons of fantasy books, and I’ve read most of them. That’s why I was super excited when I came across a new one at my local Half Price Books: The Fire Rose. This is basically a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, within Lackey’s Elemental Masters series. I loved it, and I wanted to do nothing but sit down and read it cover to cover.
You can read excerpts if you click the link above, and it has a description of the plot. Basically, a young girl is left at loose ends with no means to support herself once her father passes away. She receives a job offer that sounds too good to be true, and requires her to move across the country to San Francisco. She begins work as a translater for a mysterious employer she never sees, due to his disformity caused by an unknown accident.
This one is really well written, with fully fleshed-out, and likeable characters, and a plot that keeps moving, without feeling rushed or sluggish at any point. On the Clever Chick scale it rates as “Earned a home on my shelf, will be reread, and will only be loaned to friends grudgingly, followed by constant pestering until I get it back”.
You’ll have to excuse me if I’m not as hilarious as usual, but my back is acting up again, so my options are either be so drugged I can’t function, but it doesn’t hurt, or try to endure and be miserable. I’m currently miserable.
For some time I’ve had this notion that, for some reason, I should read the “classics”. I know the designation “classic” is really arbitrary, and I’ve been burned by it before (damn you, Madame Bovary!). I guess I just want to know what the big deal is all about. You know I peruse the clearance racks at Half Price Books religiously, so when I spotted “Around the World in 80 Days” for a dollar, it joined my stack of reading material.
I have always loved the movies made from Jules Vern books. Mysterious Island, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Journey to the Center of the Earth from the 60′s, are all awesome, and have some of the best claymation that exists, thanks to Ray Harryhausen.
Here’s where being observant would come in useful. The book I found was a kids version. Not only did it have bad illustrations every other page, and giant text, it was rewritten! Everything was completely oversimplified, and I would have found it insulting as a child. They also seemed to take out anything interesting. I’m tempted to find a normal copy to read, just to find out how terrible this version was.
Well anyway, don’t read the one I did, and I have no idea how good or bad the real book is. I’m mostly completing this book review to keep a count of how many books I’ve read this year, and because you people seem to love it when I make an idiot of myself. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go set the kitchen on fire so I get more blog hits. Happy weekend!