Book Review: Hope Is Our Only Wing by Rutendo Tavengerwei

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 216 pages

Published: Spetember 10, 2019

Publisher: Soho Teen

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction & Literature, Contempoary Continue reading “Book Review: Hope Is Our Only Wing by Rutendo Tavengerwei”

Book Review: Just Kids by Patti Smith

Format: Paperback

Pages: 320 pages

Published: January 19, 2010

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs Continue reading “Book Review: Just Kids by Patti Smith”

Book Review: Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 449 pages

Published: March 5, 2019

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction & Literature, Science Fiction, Romance Continue reading “Book Review: Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds”

Books to Read This Month: February Edition

February might be the shortest month but that doesn’t mean you won’t have enough time to enjoy great reads! From hip-hop to a thrilling mystery in the Scottish Highlands, this month brings great new releases that will make February the most entertaining month, instead of the shortest month, of the year:

Continue reading “Books to Read This Month: February Edition”

Book Review: Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes

Format: Paperback

Pages: 338 pages

Published: August 26, 2014

Publisher: Penguin Books

Genre: Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance Continue reading “Book Review: Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes”

Book Review: The Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell

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Format: Paperback
Pages: 432 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Published: February 3, 2015
Genre: Romance
Synopsis:

When Josh Strachan, newly returned to his home in north Cornwall from sunny California, first meets Sophie Wells, he’s immediately smitten. Sophie’s pretty, she’s funny, she has lots of friends and she clearly loves her job as a photographer, despite the sometimes tricky clients. There’s just one problem: Sophie has very firmly turned her back on love. It’s nothing personal, she tells Josh, but she just doesn’t do dates. And no one – even Sophie’s scatty best friend Tula – will tell him why. Josh is sure Sophie likes him, though, and he’s just got to find out what’s put her off romance. And then put things right… ”

If you are looking for your next heartwarming, romantic story, look no further. You can’t go wrong with this latest gem by Jill Mansell. I don’t read a lot of romance novels. If I do, they have to have some other factors and different plotlines mixed in. But there is an exception with Mansell’s books. The relationships are portrayed as deep and meaningful without any graphic sex scenes.
Continue reading “Book Review: The Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell”

Book Review: Echo by Lorena Glass

25424100Format: E-Book

Pages: 511 pages

Published: February 1, 2015

Publisher:  MyInkBooks.com

Genre:  Supernatural/Fantasy, Romance

Synopsis:

Echo is the first book of a trilogy that is the epic love story of two cursed lovers that fate, time, and death are constantly conspiring to keep apart; while they are determined to defy all three to be together. Whenever one dies, the other time travels to the lost lover’s next (or last) incarnation. The story spans over a millennium; to several different times, places, and lives of two extraordinary lovers whose devotion to each other defies all barriers and all odds—and an extraordinary love that will never, ever die.
Continue reading “Book Review: Echo by Lorena Glass”

Book Review: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

The Royal WeFormat: Ebook

Pages: 464 pages

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Published: April 7, 2015

Genre: Fiction & Literature, Romance

Synopsis:

“American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy-tales. Her twin sister Lacey was always the romantic, the one who daydreamed of being a princess. But it’s adventure-seeking Bex who goes to Oxford and meets dreamy Nick across the hall – and thus Bex who accidentally finds herself in love with the eventual heir to the British throne. Nick is everything she could have imagined, but Prince Nicholas has unimaginable baggage: grasping friends, a thorny family, hysterical tabloids tracking his every move, and a public that expected its future king to marry a native. On the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex reflects on what she’s sacrificed for love — and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break.”

I had high expectations for this one. Some of the reviews I read for it were decent. I love reading about British history so an adaptation based off a real-life royal romance was really interesting and a great jump-off point. It had great promise on being a terrific, however, I wish I could say that for this book. It was not bad but it wasn’t great either. It had a lot of promise but it just continued to get wrong at every turn.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan”

No, Pops: Book Review of Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published April 7th 2015
Publisher: Pantheon
Genre: Fiction, Romance
From Goodreads:
The summer after she graduates from university, Emma Woodhouse returns home to the village of Highbury, where she will live with her health-conscious father until she is ready to launch her interior-design business and strike out on her own. In the meantime, she will do what she does best: offer guidance to those less wise than she is in the ways of the world. Happily, this summer brings many new faces to Highbury and into the sphere of Emma’s not always perfectly felicitous council: Harriet Smith, a naïve teacher’s assistant at the ESL school run by the hippie-ish Mrs. Goddard; Frank Churchill, the attractive stepson of Emma’s former governess; and, of course, the perfect Jane Fairfax. This modern-day Emma is wise, witty, and totally enchanting, and will appeal equally to Alexander McCall Smith’s multitude of fans and to the enormous community of wildly enthusiastic Austen aficionados

Calling all Jane Austen fans!

Revolt!

We have another horrible Austen adaptation on our hands brought to us again through the Austen Project. It was complete torture for me to continue with this one. But I am stubborn and I always try to finish a book, no matter how bad it is. People told me that it wouldn’t be good and it received poor reviews on Goodreads but I guess I just wasn’t prepared on how bad it would really be.

Let’s begin with the start of novel. How do you begin a novel with little or no mention of the main character?! This went on for at least 60 pages. You had to deal with tedious descriptions on how far Mr. Woodhouse’s hypochondriasis could go and going into too much detail on Ms. Taylor’s background. With all this unnecessary details, you never get the feel or the connections for that characters which is vital for a beginning of a story. And when Emma did finally enter the scene, most of the time you get a description of her education background, not her upbringing. That is another problem with this work: the characterization. Unlike with Austen’s original work, you get a personal connection with the characters. I did not get here. I think McCall Smith was trying so hard to mimic Austen’s characterization style but going into too much unnecessary details severely hurt his chances.

I am now writing a character that no one but myself will much like”

That is what Jane Austen said to described Emma Woodhouse and it is clearly true. I had discussion with friends and others where Emma is their least favorite Austen novel. But while Austen’s Emma was a snob, underneath that superior attitude was a compassionate soul. You did not get that with Smith’s Emma. In this novel, Emma is completely unlikable. She’s selfish, condescending, sexist (her views on love and marriage are outdated), small-minded, basically, and excuse my language, a total bitch. In Austen’s work, Emma and her father have a close relationship and she cares for him deeply. Here, you don’t get that sense here. You find yourself wondering how it McCall Smith perceived Emma’s relationship with her father turned into this dysfunctional relationship.

The depiction of Emma’s and Harriet’s relationship was really out there. Smith implied that Emma’s initial attraction was of a sexual nature. He enforced this theory by having Emma painting Harriet’s portrait nude. I don’t know where and why Smith decided on this interpretation. But if you are going to have a character who is so set against being in love and only marrying for money to having sexual desires for a woman, at least try to be consistent. This theory just really didn’t fit in with the story and just added to the problems  of the poor narrative structure.

But the thing that really irked was Emma and Mr. Knightley’s relationship, or I should say lack there of . A relationship that is the main focus of the story and the characters have a total of THREE conversations throughout this 368 page novel. How are we, the reader, suppose to believe that these two characters fall in love when they have little interaction with one another? There was no jealous sentiments due to Emma’s close relationship with Frank Churchill (another lacking relationship). I don’t think Smith and the rest of the world were reading the same Austen novel.

I could go on and on with the many flaws with this book. But, then I would be like this novel, dragging on to unnecessary means. I can’t judge Alexander McCall Smith’s status as an author because this is the first book I ever read by him and I don’t think this is the right book to judge him fairly on. That being said, I don’t think McCall Smith truly didn’t either read or understand Emma. In order to do any adaptation of an Austen novel, whether it is a modern adaptation or continuation of the original, you must have a real passion for not only the novel but the author as well. I just did not see that here. I believe that Smith lacked the personal connection that most of us Austenites have and that flaw gave him less determination to this narrative justice. You can see that with an article he did a month ago, viewing the passion for Austen as an industry. Also, authors have to remember when doing a modern adaptation of a 18th century, most of the ideals that were common during the time may not be relatable to the 21st century. For example, Mr. Weston’s reasons for giving up Frank Churchill were plausible during Austen’s time. But I have hard time believing that in the year 2015, a father, who just lost his wife, would just easily give up their only child, when he had the means to support him. Smith could have changed that part of the story.

The Austen Project and Harper Collins, I implore to you. STOP doing this project. It is not working. Like I said before, you are sullying up Austen’s hard work. Your intentions may have been true but sometimes bad things come out of good intentions.

So if you love Jane Austen and the novel Emma, don’t read this book. If you love Austen but you didn’t like Emma, don’t read this book. If you are just a fan of reading overall, don’t read this book. You shouldn’t put yourself through this torture. If you want a good modern adaptation of Emma, watch Clueless. I’m going to be like Emma and say that Clueless is far superior than this travesty.

Now I have to go reread Emma and forget that this torture ever happened.

Overall Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.

(NOTE: To my British readers, Do you call your father “pops”? Emma call it her father that and I didn’t know if it was a common thing to say. It was very annoying half the time)