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Monday, June 30, 2014

One Plus OneBy Jojo Moyes

Published by Pamela Dorman Books
Release Date: July 1, 2014

*ARC received at BEA


One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted stateside, she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation, Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story that reads like a modern-day Two for the Road.

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.


One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again.

Review: As a reader I tend to gravitate toward fantasy or historical literary fiction, One Plus One was a bit of a departure for me. I’m really happy to say I enjoyed it. The plot of the novel, a road trip fraught with various mishaps as a family travels to a competition, is reminiscent of the movie Little Miss Sunshine but includes a lot more romance. It’s funny, poignant, sad, romantic in an unexpected way, and I always found it entertaining.
           
One thing I appreciated was the fact that this is not a narrative where the heroine meets a rich man who then solves all of her problems with his money. Cinderella stories are all well and good, but with contemporary romances I prefer to read about couples coming together as equals. This is something that Moyes does very well, as Jess and Ed both have issues that they help each other with, though ultimately they take individually take action to solve their problems. 

Another of the novel’s strengths is the way it presents class issues. Jess is a single mother supporting two children by working two low-paying jobs. They live in a neighborhood with a family whose teens are targeting Jess’s adopted son Nicky, going as far as putting him in the hospital with severe injuries. The constant stress and anxiety caused by this inescapable persecution affects Nicky’s school performance and leads him to consider dropping out entirely. The police are no help or protection, they are dismissive of Jess due to her lower-class status. Jess's daughter Tanzie earns a scholarship to a school that would open up many opportunities for her future, and also allow her to escape the bullying Nicky is facing, but the scholarship does not cover the exorbitantly expensive uniforms and all of the fees. Jess first meets Ed while cleaning his house, and at that point he treats her like a tool, not a person. 

As far as the characters, while Jess (resilient single mother who always tries to stay positive) and Ed (computer geek who has disconnected from his relationships) felt like extremely familiar character types, they were developed and dynamic enough that their characterizations had depth. Nicky and Tanzie, however, are a bit more two-dimensional. Some of the story is told through their POVs, but I found their characteristics a bit on the cliche side. Still, the writing of each POV was distinct, adding many different voices to the narrative.

This story includes car sickness, a flatulent dog, surprise reveals, characters taking responsibility for their actions, characters being mature about divorce, and characters maybe not always following their better natures. I had fun reading this book and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a novel with well-developed romance, a humorous road trip, and some social commentary. I'll have to check out more contemporary novels in the future. 

Four Stars


Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where I highlight an upcoming release I'm excited about.

This week I'm waiting on…
The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
By Amy Ewing
Published by HarperTeen
Release Date: September 2, 2014

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

This could be really excellent and interesting, though I've been fooled by pretty covers before. Sounds like an awesome romance with a dystopian setting.




Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Topic: cover trends I like/dislike:

One trend I enjoy are use of symbols from the stories on the cover, particular the re-released Abhorsen novels. 


One trend that's very common is "girl in a dress", it's everywhere and it's getting kind of old, but there are still some gorgeous covers:


I also love the trend that keeps it simple by focusing on the title:


Finally, some covers I dislike: giant floating heads!


Everybody stand around and look constipated!


What are some trends you've noticed? 
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga's Reviews where I share  books acquired recently.

This stack right here is from the past month, a product of a couple of pre-orders, a visit to my favorite independent used bookstore, and another bookstore visit prompted by my need to escape a rainstorm and an inability to leave without buying something:

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Euphoria by Lily King
Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
Conversion by Katherine Howe
The Quick by Lauren Owen

Also a couple of titles from Netgalley:

Neverhome by Laird Hunt 
The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien

I think I'm set for book buying for the summer, but I'll probably be at the library next week looking for something new. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm waiting on...

By Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: Sept. 2, 2014

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

This book had me at "allergies". I often wonder why we have so few heroes or heroines inconvenienced by common things such as allergies or bad eyesight. One of the thoughts I have late at night is how I would never survive the zombie apocalypse because my eyesight is terrible without glasses/contacts. My cousin would not survive either as she is allergic to most foods. Anyway, this book sounds amazing. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Early Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

One Plus OneBy Jojo Moyes

Published by Pamela Dorman Books
Release Date: July 1, 2014

*ARC received at BEA


One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted stateside, she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation, Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story that reads like a modern-day Two for the Road.

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.


One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again.

Review: As a reader I tend to gravitate toward fantasy or historical literary fiction, One Plus One was a bit of a departure for me. I’m really happy to say I enjoyed it. The plot of the novel, a road trip fraught with various mishaps as a family travels to a competition, is reminiscent of the movie Little Miss Sunshine but includes a lot more romance. It’s funny, poignant, sad, romantic in an unexpected way, and I always found it entertaining.
           
One thing I appreciated was the fact that this is not a narrative where the heroine meets a rich man who then solves all of her problems with his money. Cinderella stories are all well and good, but with contemporary romances I prefer to read about couples coming together as equals. This is something that Moyes does very well, as Jess and Ed both have issues that they help each other with, though ultimately they take individually take action to solve their problems. 

Another of the novel’s strengths is the way it presents class issues. Jess is a single mother supporting two children by working two low-paying jobs. They live in a neighborhood with a family whose teens are targeting Jess’s adopted son Nicky, going as far as putting him in the hospital with severe injuries. The constant stress and anxiety caused by this inescapable persecution affects Nicky’s school performance and leads him to consider dropping out entirely. The police are no help or protection, they are dismissive of Jess due to her lower-class status. Jess's daughter Tanzie earns a scholarship to a school that would open up many opportunities for her future, and also allow her to escape the bullying Nicky is facing, but the scholarship does not cover the exorbitantly expensive uniforms and all of the fees. Jess first meets Ed while cleaning his house, and at that point he treats her like a tool, not a person. 

As far as the characters, while Jess (resilient single mother who always tries to stay positive) and Ed (computer geek who has disconnected from his relationships) felt like extremely familiar character types, they were developed and dynamic enough that their characterizations had depth. Nicky and Tanzie, however, are a bit more two-dimensional. Some of the story is told through their POVs, but I found their characteristics a bit on the cliche side. Still, the writing of each POV was distinct, adding many different voices to the narrative.

This story includes car sickness, a flatulent dog, surprise reveals, characters taking responsibility for their actions, characters being mature about divorce, and characters maybe not always following their better natures. I had fun reading this book and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a novel with well-developed romance, a humorous road trip, and some social commentary. I'll have to check out more contemporary novels in the future. 

Four Stars


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where I highlight an upcoming release I'm excited about.

This week I'm waiting on…
The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
By Amy Ewing
Published by HarperTeen
Release Date: September 2, 2014

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

This could be really excellent and interesting, though I've been fooled by pretty covers before. Sounds like an awesome romance with a dystopian setting.




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top Ten Tueday: Top Ten Book Cover Trends

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Topic: cover trends I like/dislike:

One trend I enjoy are use of symbols from the stories on the cover, particular the re-released Abhorsen novels. 


One trend that's very common is "girl in a dress", it's everywhere and it's getting kind of old, but there are still some gorgeous covers:


I also love the trend that keeps it simple by focusing on the title:


Finally, some covers I dislike: giant floating heads!


Everybody stand around and look constipated!


What are some trends you've noticed? 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #1

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga's Reviews where I share  books acquired recently.

This stack right here is from the past month, a product of a couple of pre-orders, a visit to my favorite independent used bookstore, and another bookstore visit prompted by my need to escape a rainstorm and an inability to leave without buying something:

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Euphoria by Lily King
Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
Conversion by Katherine Howe
The Quick by Lauren Owen

Also a couple of titles from Netgalley:

Neverhome by Laird Hunt 
The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien

I think I'm set for book buying for the summer, but I'll probably be at the library next week looking for something new. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Waiting on Trial by Fire

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I'm waiting on...

By Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: Sept. 2, 2014

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

This book had me at "allergies". I often wonder why we have so few heroes or heroines inconvenienced by common things such as allergies or bad eyesight. One of the thoughts I have late at night is how I would never survive the zombie apocalypse because my eyesight is terrible without glasses/contacts. My cousin would not survive either as she is allergic to most foods. Anyway, this book sounds amazing.