Monday, July 16, 2012

Brief Reviews

Finished three books in quick succession.  I already blogged about some of them, but some final thoughts.

Almost a Scandal, by Elizabeth Essex.  How I love Harlequin Historicals.  There's such comfort in their familiar rhythms, even when they don't make perfect sense.  This book, for example, didn't have a misunderstanding keeping the hero and heroine apart, but rather a practical situation.  So the resolution was almost unnecessary--they were in perfect agreement by the end.

But the best part is that my calculations were proven true.   A HH novel is between 280 and 320 pages long.  Let's say 300 for mathematical purposes.  On my Kindle, that means that each percent that I tick off is three pages.  So if I'm right, they'll have sex at 180 pages = 60%.  I think 59% is well within the margin of error.

As I said before, this is a great book for someone who wants to read about the British navy but with some romance and a chipper girl as your heroine.  There's a lot of naval lore here.  It's like Bloody Jack only a bit less convoluted.  Good stuff.

I'm a Stranger Here Myself, by Bill Bryson.  Dude is an old crank.  It made me so sad to dislike Bill Bryson so much, when I've loved him so much in his other books.  Admittedly, only one was a memoir (A Walk In the Woods), and the others all research-based (At Home, A Short History of Nearly Everything, The Mother Tongue).  And in Walk, he does get awfully opinionated in a cranky old man kind of way (why is the Adirondack Trail so woodsy?  In England they'd have charming farms and cottages with privet hedges.  All this nature is so dense and thick--where's the fun in that?).  But anyway--I'm reserving judgement on him in general till I've read the  next one I picked--In a Sunburned Country.  I am neither defensive nor knowledgeable about Australia, so I think this will be a good test.

Finally, The Face On the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney. That cover makes it look creepier than it is--this is the story of a girl who sees her own childhood portrait on a milk carton, and the fallout from that.  I saw the movie--After School Special?  Made for Lifetime?--ages ago, and I really liked it. 

Turns out this book is only the first half of what the movie covered, which made me a little impatient with it.  This book is entirely about Janie Johnson's internal struggle with the question of what this Missing Persons photo means.  Are her parents not really her parents?  Are they kidnappers?  Who can she trust?  What will happen if she tells?  There's a lot of good, complicated family stuff here, though it feels a bit dated--Janie's parents are so great and perfect, they're all so close, and there's an underlying assumption that it's all either-or.  Her parents are the wonderful people she assumes, OR they're monsters who are terrifying and evil.  OR maybe they're crazy and have amnesia about what they did?  Black and white--is that because she's in high school, or because the book is from 20 years ago, when "suburban" meant "safe" instead of "soul deadening?"

Anyway, it's all worth going through, but I was much more interested in the complexity of what happens after this all comes out, and that's really where the book ends. It reminded me of The President's Daughter series in that way, actually.  I liked the ones about PTSD and the character dealing with her life being turned upside down more than the one where she's actually kidnapped.  But I'm definitely going to read the next one, Whatever Happened to Janie?, which promises to be exactly what I'm looking for to follow this up.  Too bad the library doesn't have it for the Kindle.

So, now we're up to date.  Hopefully I won't fall off the map again.  Toodles!

1 comment:

KnittingLawfin said...

I remember getting Face on the Milk Carton from the book order 20 years ago! I loved it then but don't want to re-read it now as i'm afraid it wouldn't hold up to my memory...