Sunday, January 20, 2013

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

by Maria Semple
January 7-20, 2013

What a refreshing change from the drab novels that I have been picking up! I found this one on several "Best of" lists for 2012, plus I'd heard buzz from other reading pals about it, so I nabbed it from the library. Set up as a series of emails, letters and faxes, I had a hard time finding the pace at first. But once I adapted, I flew through with an eagerness I haven't experienced in quite some time.

Bee aces her report card and cashes in on a promise that her parents made to her: a trip to Antarctica. Her father is a guru at Microsoft and rather detached. Her mother is an agoraphobic genius architect who hates the neighbors and hires a virtual assistant from India (to avoid said neighbors). Thus, hilarity ensues. When Bee's oblivious father senses a breakdown in Bernadette, he stages an intervention and in a blink she goes missing. Bee's new goal is to find her best friend and mother.

I really enjoyed the quirkiness of this book and found myself laughing out loud at times. Perfect example:

"Here's the thing. Do you get seasick? People who don't get seasick have no idea what it's like. It's not just nausea. It's nausea plus losing the will to live."

I am no stranger to any kind of motion sickness; car, airplane, boat, roller coaster, bicycle crunches (!); so this analogy was not only relatable, but dead-on. However, near the end, I feared the plot was losing its way a little bit. And maybe it did, but the more I think about the resolution, I'm satisfied. Where'd You Go, Bernadette was cute and quirky with just enough sentiment.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Witches of East End

by Melissa de la Cruz
December 10, 2012-January 6, 2013

"... I began to think that perhaps the toxin of Ragnarok had been found in our world, which could only mean one thing. Loki had escaped from his chains and had come to unleash his vengeance upon us."

In other words, too cheesy for me. This one's going to be short and sweet.

This book really had potential. Witches? Love 'em. Vampires? Ditto. Zombies? Not so much.

The premise was right up my alley: three centuries-old witches forbidden to practice magic. When their sleepy town of North Hampton becomes the home of several unexplained mysteries, it's time to dust off those wands and get back to it. But for me, Witches bordered a little too much on the sci-fi. And let me tell you, the Beauchamp family doesn't hold a candle to Matthew & Diana. The romance was there, but not in the brilliant way it was penned by Deborah Harkness. The magic was there, but it became tainted with demons and zombies.

The first in a trilogy, Witches of East End finishes with a decent cliffhanger. But, although it was a quick read, I don't care enough to pick up the remaining two.

And the book slump continues...

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