stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Exhibit C(i) in the Great Warnings Debate - proof that a sugary pink cover doesn't guarantee that the book is free of violence, rape, misogynistic slurs, etc. Although this does become apparent in the first few lines of the prologue, so one would be reasonably likely to work this out before buying. It's not like you're suddenly getting slapped round the face with it in chapter fifty-three, or whatever. And actually Koomson deals with the whole lot in a refreshingly sensible way, gives her heroine supportive friends, has no patience with apologists, etc.

Having got past the prologue, the main challenge was ploughing through the first few chapters, which were sunk in a quicksand of detailed and ineffective description. (If, for example, someone is snatching up a scarf to run out of the door in a panic, she won't stop to talk about how the scarf is stripy, will she?) This slowed the whole thing down, and it wasn't even funny over-description. Not a cerulean orb in sight. (There was a cerulean sky later in the book, though, so I wasn't too deprived.)

Overall, a sensitive look at a difficult issue, but could really have done with better editing.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/6021939
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
A waterproof book for reading in the bath - so I did. It was a fairly average tale of a woman discontented with her life and unable to leave an unsatisfactory man. Shocking proofreading, I may say. Rather fun, though.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/7685703/
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
This story opens with the heroine, the titular Melanie, resolving to make the most of her new single life, her ex-husband having married someone else, and the rest of the book charts her battle to do so. Lightweight but enjoyable.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/10542945
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Mark Dunn, "Ella Minnow Pea"

Well, my first reaction to this was 'But Thurber did this better in The Wonderful O!' Actually, this is not the case. The Wonderful O is better, but it's not doing what Dunn does here. What both authors do is portray the havoc wreaked in society by the outlawing of a letter or letters. What Dunn does, and Thurber doesn't, is inflict the same privation upon himself. Inevitably, it felt rather contrived.


Various, "Spinechillers: Ghost Stories"

One of those 'get kids reading for a quid' things. Not really very scary, it must be admitted.


Davey Moore, "Dark Planet: Decide Your Destiny No. 7" (Doctor Who tie-in)

I used to love 'Choose Your Own Adventure'. Granted, one usually ended up dying horribly for the simple reason that one opened the wrong door, but it was fun to have a bit of control over a book. This was a bit of a disappointment, in that there were only three possible endings, and the choices that were offered to the reader didn't seem to make much difference to the overall trajectory of the plot - whatever you chose, you ended up in more or less the same place, in more or less the same state. Not so much fun.


Amanda Addison, "Laura's Handmade Life"

This is 'L' in the ABC roundabout, and the first one that I've really been apathetic about. ('J' was really Not My Cup Of Tea, but had a certain trainwreck fascination about it - 'she's not going to go there... she's really not going to go there... she went there'.) This one was just... meh. I really didn't care about anybody in it, nor did I find any of them interesting. Some of it was plain bad writing (important plot points happening offscreen, for example, after there had been a big lead-up); some of it was annoying. (A sewing business that just happens? Dream on. Where on earth does she find the time? And I don't care if Kitkat is fair trade these days; I was very disappointed to see the narrative unquestioningly endorsing Nestlé.)


Sarah Rayner, "One Moment, One Morning"

This one I liked a lot. While the plot is built around the death of a man, it is centred upon three well-drawn women. Well-written, sympathetic but believable characters, a positive portrayal of a lesbian character, and the sort of book that keeps you reading. Recommended.


Cassandra Golds, "Clair-de-Lune"

A rather strange little fable about a mute girl and a dancing mouse. Missing a couple of pages, unfortunately, but happily they're early on in the book so I don't think I missed too much. I will admit to shedding a tear or two.
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Judy Astley has been around long enough (or, at least, my father has been reading Judy Astley long enough) for me to remember the white covers with the vague watercolours. Somehow, these seemed more grown-up than the current pastels. Don't judge a book by its cover, though, and I am still very fond of Judy Astley (and not just because she's an Archers Anarchist - I would be an Archers Anarchist, but I stopped listening after they killed off Nigel). This was a fairly standard effort, playing with her usual preoccupations of family, mortality, and the importance of Doing One's Own Thing. (Query: why, when a man writes this sort of thing, does it count as Great Literature, while the same novel written by a woman would be Chick Lit, or at best an Aga Saga?)

I generally enjoyed this, though was a bit bemused by how the children's partners suddenly became much more interesting propositions half-way through the book. U-turn, though I suppose it was all Point of View... I recognised the trials and tribulations of a huge and unkeep-up-able house from my own childhood; found the parents likeable and their children just about tolerable, and winced at the Surrey jokes. (Funny because true, believe me.)

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/10065693
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
This novel managed to be both clever and amusing. It was rather like a cross between Small Gods and something written by one of the more competent chicklit authors. The Greek pantheon has come down in the world (literally) and is now crammed into a north London flat. The cheeky updates - Aphrodite doing phone sex, Artemis the professional dog-walker - and the occasional philosophising on the nature of faith combine with a predictable but rather sweet romance to make an extremely enjoyable read.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/10056850
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
This is the best chicklit book I've read in years - and if they were all as entertaining as this one I'd read a lot more of them. In this novel Tessaro plays with romance, love and reality, and the intersections between them. One by one, the premises on which the characters have built their lives are shown to be false, but each is shown a way out, a way to build on what they have and discover who they are. It's fantastically affirming, plays with gender expectations in a most satisfying manner (the people who spend the most time shopping, for example, are men) and one of the final couples is same-sex. I loved it.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/8034914
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
One of those charity tie-ins that only really makes sense if you're familiar with the original source material, but that are quite fun assuming you are. This includes the funny bits of Bridget Jones without the irritating plot, and I therefore enjoyed it rather more than the original novels, neither of which I finished.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/9950588
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
An abridged version. I'm not sure whether this means that only three stories have been chosen as opposed to all twelve, or however many there were in the original, or whether the three have been abridged themselves. Anyway, they were a harmless enough way of passing half an hour. I know it's irrational of me to get fed up with het romances for containing het romance, but perhaps I've been around fandom too long, or just long enough. Anyway, I kept wishing that the heroines would just get together with their loyal best friends, rather than pining over uninteresting and sketchily-drawn men. For this reason, the last story pleased me the most.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/9948227
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Just to prove that I do occasionally read stuff with pastel colours and wedding dresses on the cover. Sadly, this wasn't a good example of the genre. The characters were clumsily differentiated (frequently I called to mind the Robot Devil: 'You can't have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!") and the work seemed to be suffering from some previously unheard-of comma shortage. Though Williams attempts to deal with a range of issues that don't usually turn up (MS, abortion, euthanasia) it all felt rather superficial and unconvincing.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/9897205
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
I'm not sure why I keep up with Jill Mansell's output. Considering I'd got her plot (she only has one) sussed to the extent that I nicked it for my 2006 NaNoWriMo (and stuck it in space, thankyouverymuch) I was always several chapters ahead. But I do. This one is still on the posters in WHSmith. Good for a laugh, I guess.

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