Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ingenue (The Flappers #2) by Jillian Larkin~~Review

Ingenue (The Flappers) by Jillian Larkin

We start up this second book in the Flapper’s series in New York City, Gloria and Jerome hiding out from the mob, Lorraine working for the mob, Clara is back in the city that almost ruined her, can she stay away from her old life or is it too much of a temptation and Vera trying to find her brother and hopefully save his life and make up for what she had done in Chicago. Relationships go through some growing pains in this one! You’ll be surprised who ends up the happiest in the end.

This one was a lot of fun again with some major intrigue as the stories and people converged for the climax and what a climax it was! It isn’t really a cliffhanger but the end of one chapter and the next book will be a new one because parts of this story were wrapped up very well, yet with just enough mystery to keep fans reading to see what happens next.

I so enjoy the atmosphere in this series, the 20’s ,flappers, bootleggers, booze, gangsters and some famous people of the time play into this story! I love who Vera meets backstage at the Cotton Club and who engineers some of the bad things that happen! (No Spoilers)

I think this is a great YA historical fiction series that teens and adults alike will enjoy no fantasy involved just a look at life in a different time when women were just starting to come into their own, segregation is in effect except of course that it’s ok for the African Americans to entertain you but they must come in the back door and an interracial relationship will get you in trouble I think it gives a great look at a life we can only imagine and hope that we have moved far away from. I do love books that that show strong women and this one is full of them , women in 1920 leaving the notions and traditional roles their parents have laid out for them to make their way in the world on their own, scary as that is.

I look forward to the next installment of this series!

4 stars

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by, Helen Simonson ~~Review

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by, Helen Simonson
Description:Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired, of Edgecombe St. Mary, England, is more than a little dismayed by the sloppy manners, narcissism, and materialism of modern society. The decline of gentility is evident everywhere, from tea bags, to designer sweaters, to racism masquerading as tolerance.
Mutual grief allies him with Mrs. Ali, a widowed local shopkeeper of Pakistani descent who has also resigned herself to dignified, if solitary, last years. The carefully suppressed passion between these two spawns twitters of disapproval in their provincial village, but Pettigrew hasn't time for such silliness: real estate developers are plotting to carpet the fields outside his back door with mansionettes and his sister-in-law plans to auction off a prized family firearm. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ali's late husband's Muslim family expects her to hand over her hard-won business to her sullen, fundamentalist nephew, a notion she finds repellant and chauvinistic.

It's a testament to Simonson that in this delightful novel, Pettigrew
must navigate the tragic, the absurd, and the transcendentally joyful aspects of a familiar life turned upside down by an unfamiliar and unexpected late-life love affair. That two people from opposing and mutually distrusting worlds are able to bridge every gap with unerring respect and decorum serves as a quiet suggestion that larger conflicts might be avoided or resolved in much the same way. Finally, a way forward that Major Pettigrew would approve.

My Review:

This was a delightful story, the Major is such a charming gentleman trying to come to terms with getting older and ending some of the “proper” things he is used to. I really enjoyed the blossoming relationship with Mrs. Ali who is a Pakistani shop keeper although she was born and raised in England the people of the town don’t see her that way as the major soon finds out.

This was almost like a coming of age story but in an older very British man. This was such an interesting love story and for the Major to “see” his peers and friends in a whole new light and in turn seeing himself too. The Major’s son Roger had me mad a few times he’s a pompous git.

I just found this a great story it is all about the characters there’s no murder, no fantasy, just a wonderful group of characters beautifully written.

I think if you liked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society give this one a try!

4 ½ Stars

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain by, Garth Stein~~Review

The Art of Racing in the Rain by, Garth Stein
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human only a dog could tell it

My Review:

This is an interesting book because it is narrated by the dog, Enzo. This book is bittersweet a dogs perspective on life in his family. A mix of sadness and humor as is real life. Parts of this book angered me the grandparents really made me mad! Enzo has seen enough on TV to think that if he is smart enough he will be reincarnated as a man.

When he gets left alone with the demon zebra stuffed animal that he must destroy is too funny. When they washed his stuffed animal I could just picture my old dog when I washed his toys. Also when Enzo got old it made me sad for my old dog who had a lot of the same problems when he got old and to hear it from the dog point of view was definitely something different and made me sad.

This book was so believable even if it was narrated by the dog it was a great look into the mind of a dog and as I have always believed that they understand everything. The racing jargon/talk may be a bit much for some but I enjoyed it. But it’s not really a story of a dog but about a family and the crisis’ they go through and how Enzo is there to help them through!

Bark Twice!

Warning sad ending have tissues ready! Not a spoiler you will know it’s going to happen!
I listened to this on audio narrated by, Christopher Evan Welch who did a really good job! Would listen to him again.
4 Stars

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London

Let’s call this one a double feature, but first, a little backstory (but just a little). The Call of the Wild was published in 1903 and tells the tale of a dog named Buck and his journey to becoming a wild beast. Published three years later, White Fang focuses on a wild wolf pup who finds a domestic home, quite the mirror image. While The Call was published first, I’ve always thought of it as a sort of “sequel” to White Fang, and I don’t think those who have also read both would call that too much of a stretch. Anyway, both novels are extremely accessible considering the ever-growing gap between then and now. The writing is such that it isn’t dressed up and dragged down by unnecessary flourishes or “padding” for the sake of page length. In fact, The Call of the Wild clocks in at just over one hundred pages with White Fang at roughly three hundred. London achieves a straightforward yet eloquent style that keeps the story at an even pace and readers ever eager to turn the next page. I could go on praising these two classics, but it all comes down to this. The Call of the Wild and White Fang are both highly enjoyable and refreshing. They warrant, at the very least, a look from those who are unfamiliar with the two titles and a revisit for those who are.