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Girl with a Pearl Earring: A Novel
Girl with a Pearl Earring: A Novel
by Tracy Chevalier
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.91
1235 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting, Despite Mary Sue of a Main Character, July 12, 2012

I read this book for the first time when I was 12 (sometime in 04) and I loved it then. It seemed so magical...a young Dutch girl called to work in the house of infamous painter Johannes Vermeer and his large family. While working there she shortly becomes the desire of a number of men who frequent the house or who work in the bustling town square, and eventually becomes the subject of one of Vermeer's better known paintings. It was a pre-teen's dream! Obviously, there were much darker themes at play in this novel; themes my little 12 year old mind didn't grasp upon first read and now have.

I still find this novel amazing, with the long, beautiful descriptions of Delft and of Vermeer's paintings, as well as references to the religious and wealth divisions in the city, but eight years after my original read the character of Griet bothers me some. She is, for lack of a better term, a complete Mary Sue. Perfect in absolutely every way, while having a very cold and judgmental view of everything and everyone, she makes everyone else look bad by comparison. She cleans and cooks more efficiently than the older, more experienced maid right off the bat, and manages to mix paints perfectly on her first try. The real kicker is that she is able to mentally complete one of Vermeer's own paintings before HE realizes what the painting needs. Riiiight. And to complete her Mary-Sue-ness she is rescued by a well-off and handsome butcher (who loves her for no particular reason - just because) once she is tossed out on her butt by the Vermeer family. Yay!

Still, it's a very good read and totally worth it just for the wonderful description of 17th century Holland.

Girls: Season 1 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
Girls: Season 1 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
DVD ~ Various
46 used & new from $4.99

332 of 437 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars As a "Girl" I just don't like it..., July 10, 2012
I'm 20, slightly younger than the "Girls" on this show, but close enough in age that plenty of their problems are relate-able for me. I was really excited for this show - it was like Sex and the City but with younger characters; characters who didn't have great jobs and were NOT yet in a place where they would be really looking for husbands or ready to have children.

Sadly, the first episode left kind of a bad taste in my mouth and so did the following ones until I let the series go about 3/4 the way into the season.

I think my main problem is the central character, Hannah. I really just couldn't bring myself to like her, which is odd because I think the actress who plays her (also the creator of the show!) Lena Dunham is lovely, and I'm taking a leap by assuming she based a lot of Hannah's personality off of herself.

You see, in the first episode she tries to convince her parents to keep financially supporting her by claiming she "feels that she is to voice of her generation...or something (yes, that was heavily paraphrased). I have nothing against aiming big, that's not it. It's just I feel that you can change the world and hold down a paying job at the same time. Also, with the job market still so rocky, wouldn't a better argument be "I just really don't know when I'm going to be able to find a paying job?"

Then later on she blows a huge job interview by making, and I am not kidding, a rape joke. Okay, I must admit that I am absolutely not the master of small talk or impressive job interviews but I feel that you would have to be ABSOLUTELY INCOMPETENT to make a rape joke (!) during a freaking JOB INTERVIEW, even with a friendly, like-minded interviewer. I doubt somebody in middle school would ever make that joke - much less a 25 year old woman. I realize it's just a TV show and it was put in there to make for a "fun" (and really, when are rape jokes ever appropriate?) awkward moment, but seriously?

There are other things that bothered me, for example the (LE GASP!) 22 year old virgin who the others are shocked to discover has not done the deed. Oh, by the way, this is while they are with Hannah who is getting an STD test (guess how it comes out you guyzzz!). Maybe it's just the bitter teen mother in me talking but is it really that odd to find a 22 year old virgin? Not that I believe there is ANYTHING wrong with premarital sex, but why be unflattering shocked when someone hasn't partaken in it yet? Especially when she is only a college student?

I do get that this is just a satire of young womanhood, and this fact has to be taken into thought. Being a girl myself I just don't believe this is how "girls" really are. Maybe it's a New York thing?

EDIT: Haha! Okay judging by the fact that somebody went through my profile and disliked everything I've ever reviewed within a half hour I'm going to assume that somebody REALLY likes this show. I really didn't mean to offend, I'm just being honest about not really liking the show!
Comment Comments (30) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 6, 2015 6:18 AM PDT

Meet Addy: An American Girl (The American Girls Collection Book 1)
Meet Addy: An American Girl (The American Girls Collection Book 1)
by Connie Rose Porter
Edition: Paperback
149 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My (and my niece's) favorite American Girl!!, July 2, 2012
Slavery is a horrid and painful part of America's past. I read Addy's story when I was around nine years old, and absolutely devoured all of the books about her life. While all the "American Girl" books are very entertaining, "Addy" is the girl who has to overcome the most trials and tribulations.

My 6 year old niece is now obsessed with the American Girl culture and my sister and I have read her many of the books. Although I have all my old books we were planning on saving the "Addy" books until she was a little older, as the subject matter is definitely more mature than most of the others. As a 6-year old little white girl from rural Wisconsin, racism is not something she has obviously dealt with on a frequent basis. Yet she begged me to start Addy's story, and I finally gave in; warning her that Addy's story was not quite as happy as the others' until the end.

It took us only two days to read through the first one - while I answered some very intelligent questions she had about slavery (slightly edited versions of the truth in some case) and we started on the other books. My niece was blown away by Addy not being able to ride the street car with other patrons, shop in certain stores, and Addy not even knowing the exact date of her birthday was. Although Addy is still a child at the end of the series, we both agreed that Addy went to college and became a teacher just like her instructor at school.

Addy is a great addition to the American Girl collection and a good way to introduce slavery and racism to your child, while still keeping it edited and age appropriate.

Men in Black 3 [Blu-ray]
Men in Black 3 [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Will Smith
Price: $7.99
137 used & new from $1.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tommy Lee Jones + Will Smith = Never Fail, July 1, 2012
This review is from: Men in Black 3 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Men in Black is my one of my favorite movies of all time. It came out when I was about 5 and I have watched it maybe a million/ a million and a half times. Although I liked Men in Black II (as opposed to most critics, who despised it)it definitely fell short of the original. I am happy to say that, in my personal opinion, Men in Black III was totally awesome - totally deserving of the MIB title.


It made me laugh (a whole bunch- this movie was seriously the funniest movie I have seen this year) and it made me cry at the end.

TLJ and Will Smith have such great chemistry - it's unmatched by any other buddy comedy I think I've ever seen.

The one sad thing: Tommy Lee Jones is not in the movie very much. However, Josh Brolin does a picture perfect impression of a younger him- it's fantastic.

Without giving anything away, I am telling you to rent see this movie. It's just awesome!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.19
414 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Hipster's Guide to the Galaxy (of High School), June 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is considered a young adult classic by many people and literary critics and with a movie coming out I decided it was high time I picked it up. As with many of the "critically acclaimed" novels I went in with high expectations and was in turn, somewhat disappointed. I'm not a literary snob by any means (I read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for Christ-sakes) but I am sometimes let down when I have certain ideas about what a book is going to be about.

Charlie was a really nice character to read about. He had a very sweet demeanor and his personality was interesting. I think we're supposed to infer that Charlie is on the autistic spectrum, and his mind frankly does not seem like that of a 15/16 year old but that of someone much younger.

However, I would argue that Charlie is not really a "wallflower." Although he is definitely socially awkward, he is not shy by any stretch of the imagination. Actually his social life is booming. He goes to a party every week and has tons of really cool 90's hipster friends who do stuff like preform the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and hang out of cars while saying really cool 90's hipster things.

Charlie also has no problem getting girls, but of course the only one he wants, Sam (whose main objective is to be really cool and say sensitive things, all while having a jerky boyfriend on the side) does not like him back. Not in that way.

And of course there is the super cliche English teacher who decides that Charlie is just plain better than any student he's ever had- and tells him so. Seriously, read any book about a "not popular" teenager dealing with emotional issues and you will find the teacher who discovers that they are really the best person on the planet. Where was this teacher when I was in high school?

To sum up this book is about as cliche ridden as any other teen novel out there (Charlie manages to somehow come by pretty much every "teen problem" a kid can come by in the span of one year), but the author has a much better and more unique voice than most YA authors today. It's worth a read.

Katherine (Rediscovered Classics)
Katherine (Rediscovered Classics)
by Anya Seton
Edition: Paperback
183 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but without much character development..., June 24, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
"Katherine" is considered a classic novel, published in 1954 when my parents were not yet born and my grandparents were around my current age. I picked up this novel because I have seen it grace several of the "Best 100 Books" or "Books to Read Before You Die" type lists. While it's stereotyping, I also seem to have better luck with books written long ago, as the authors always seem to have a prose and style more to my liking than what we see in books today (especially in historical fiction).

Also, I absolutely love Anya Seton's name. It's such a perfect name for an author, don't you think? But I digress...

Seton has masterful writing skills when it comes to painting a world long gone, so that was definitely not the problem. My main problem with the book was the characters; their personalities, their development (or lack thereof), etc.
Katherine de Roet, the protagonist, falls victim to the old "unbelievably perfect" main character archetype. She never has so much as a naughty or selfish thought. Despite being exquisitely beautiful she is not vain or silly for men (except with John of course) and loves John only for himself, not because of what his title could mean for her. It's not that she isn't likeable, but she isn't particularly relatable.

The other protagonist, John of Gaunt, is a little less angelic but quite bland as well. Although obviously a real historical figure, he seems to be pulled out here as "Heroic Knight in Shining Armor #1."

Then there's the love story. John loves his wife. Katherine loves John AND his wife. John's wife dies. John grieves. Katherine grieves. John looks at Katherine and realizes she's pretty. John falls instantly in love with Katherine. They bop like bunnies. This was my biggest problem, as there was no development to the love between them; one day John just decides she's pretty and he's smitten. Boom.

Other characters are introduced, and disappear so fast you wonder why the author bothered to mention them.

It's a beautiful story really, but the characters won't suck you in.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 23, 2013 3:00 PM PDT

The Boleyn Inheritance
The Boleyn Inheritance
by Philippa Gregory
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.87
333 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the Other Boelyn Girl, but..., June 23, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Boleyn Inheritance (Hardcover)
Spoilers (In this review and in history!):

So I was one of those crazy people who didn't like "The Other Boleyn" girl because of the bad history and undeveloped characters. I found "The Boleyn Inheritance" to be a better in both departments, although so little is known about the three protagonists of this novel it would be much harder to mess it up.

Anne of Cleves- Was the most interesting character of the first half of the novel, for the short time she was Queen. I found her to be the the most likeable, and I thought her story (escaping from one bad situation, right into another) was amazingly relatable to anyone, even in the 21st century. I don't know much about her history, so I can't comment on whether Philippa Gregory's depiction of her was very accurate or not. However, when Katharine Howard becomes Queen, Anne's chapters begin to dwindle and soon become far and few in between as she no longer really participates in daily court life and lives single far away from her new "brother" the King. I began to miss her character!

Jane Boleyn - Her character was kind of odd and delusional. I understand that the author intended to have her portrayed as mad, but I actually felt a little awkward when reading her chapters while she talked about how much she missed Anne and George who were portrayed in the last book as never liking her, not even a little bit. Plus her story presented a plot hole in the continuity of the story from the Other Boleyn girl, as a lot of the things that Mary Boleyn discovered to be true about Anne (and George) in the first book were then seen as lies Jane made up in the second book. Just kind of odd.

Katharine Howard - I think some people might have found her endearing but to me her whole repetitive "I want pretty dresses, jewels, and presents" got quite boring after a while for me. I understand that she was supposed to be very young (Howard's age is debated, but Gregory seems to always like to make her protagonists very young) but please give us young women some credit - we're not all so stupid! Although Katharine WAS actually reported to be quite dim, I found it hard to believe that she would not grasp the danger she was in by the end of the novel - she knew what happened to Anne. However, Kitty Howard (her nickname in the book) provided some real comic relief, so she could make an enjoyable read sometimes.

Other things:

Okay, I am a college student and I usually multi-task, one thing I do being read and eat at the same time. The long and repetitive descriptions of the king's open leg wound stinking and filling with pus, plus his digestive problems made this very hard to do!

Gregory sometimes uses words and phrases that would not have been natural to use in the 16th century. Minor, but still kind of bothersome.

The story did suck me in for the most part, and I felt the characters all had good and bad sides (minus the King who is now just completely off his rocker all the time).

You CAN read this if you haven't read TOBG. Just brush up on your history prior to this time and you're good to go!

3.5/5 Stars

Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far
Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far
by Nancy French
Edition: Hardcover
80 used & new from $1.06

18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars for Your Struggles, Zero for the Message, June 15, 2012
Okay I feel upfront I should say that I am definitely a liberal, so if you are not interested in that or are going to assume I am too biased to write a good review...skip ahead now.

I am also a teen mother, although I chose adoption for my child, so I felt the need to pick this book up. Bristol is a year older than I am and although I was firmly against pretty much every single thing her mother stood for, I felt awful for poor Bristol. It's hard enough being young and pregnant in a tiny town and I can't imagine how awful it must have been to be in this state on a national stage...ESPECIALLY when your mother is one of the most socially conservative candidates in the nation.

So I gave this book a shot. The writing is choppy, to say in the least, but some of the subject matter is much worse. For example, Bristol essentially claims her then-boyfriend Levi date raped her when she was drunk. This really bothers me for two reasons:
1) If it's true, then it's scary that Bristol didn't see what happened for what it was. I can understand being too afraid to tell someone, but not even really grasping the idea of date rape? Yikes!
2) If it's not true (as he says)...she's accusing somebody of date rape. Which is not cool. It can ruin lives.

Also, Bristol takes pretty much no responsibility for...anything. I got pregnant because I didn't use contraception, which was dumb and naive of me. And guess what? It was MY fault.

So in the end this book turns out as more of "Proving I'm Innocent" type book than the "This is my story and I hope you can relate" novel I was hoping it would be.

I think she needs to learn that it's A-OK to make mistakes, and not shame yourself or deny they were mistakes for the rest of your life.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2014 11:55 PM PST

Conversations with the Fat Girl
Conversations with the Fat Girl
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $9.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad Research Makes for a Sometimes Lame Story, June 11, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)

One of my closest friends who is plus-sized gave me this book and laughingly said that if I wanted to know all about her life, I should read it. Frankly, I think she sold herself kind of short because she is gorgeous, fun and friendly which is more than I can say for the protagonist of this novel, Maggie.

The story has an interesting premise. Maggie is a 28 year old (because all chick lit characters are 28 - it's the official chick lit age) with several degrees who despite all her fancy book-learnin' works at a coffee shop making minimum wage. Here is the first major problem with the novel - how could a young women making minimum wage afford an adorable, picturesque cottage in the swankiest part of California without parental help? Even in the most boring, rural and tornado prone area of Wisconsin where I live minimum wage will get you no more than a cruddy apartment...probably with a roommate or two.

Maggie is overweight, and although the author never says by how much I'm going to go ahead and assume it's by a lot because it's constantly on her mind and basically consumes who she is. Or maybe Maggie just can't handle much. Whichever. Anyway, Maggie's best friend from childhood, Olivia, was even bigger than Maggie until she was around 22 and after years of being bullied and abused, signed herself up for gastric bypass surgery. Now at 28, and a perfect size two,
Olivia is marrying the man of her dreams, a rich, handsome doctor from out east. She also has a fancy PR job (because in Chick-Lit someone always has to work in PR).

Here is problem two, the biggest and most annoying problem of all - the author has absolutely ZERO idea of what gastric bypass surgery entails. I think in the author's mind Olivia walked into the hospital ginormous (book's word, not mine) and strutted out a runway model. In fact, Olivia apparently meets her new best friend Gwen within five/ six months of her surgery and since we are supposed to believe Gwen is one of the most shallow people on planet Earth and has no idea Olivia was ever overweight, much less super obese, Olivia was evidently close to a size two within just a few months.

Okay, my aunt had gastric bypass surgery and I can tell you that is just not how it works. The surgery's recovery can take up to a month (in hospital care) depending on how big the patient originally was and although they do lose weight much faster than with traditional methods it's doubtful or at least rare that a patient would ever become a size two.

Also, considering that Olivia's future hubby was a doctor he must have either 1) Never seen her naked (possible- the author never said it wasn't) or 2)Been the world's lousiest physician if he didn't notice the scars from the surgeries Olivia had undergone and never knew she was ever anything but thin.

I liked the moral of the novel - Olivia becoming shallow and trying to fit her life into her perfect high-school fantasy, and I actually sympathized with her more than with Maggie, even though she wound up being unforgivably awful in the end. I mean any former High School student who had zits, braces, bad hair, etc. can feel for somebody who wants all her former classmates to see how beautiful she is, and how successful she's become. But Olivia loses herself in the process.

The last problem I had with the novel was the whole Domenic thing. He's the ultimate geeky girl dream boat, kind of good looking but weird. I could actually picture him being greasy for some reason. And though they wind up together in the end, I didn't feel like he was ever really into Maggie...Plus how often would a young guy realistically pick a rude, overweight girl over a model?

There were other things that bothered me: The stereotypical older sister who became a wife and mother when she was barely legal and yet gets drunk and into fights despite being described as uh...maternal? How Maggie hates when people criticize or judge her but has no remorse for being rude to anyone else (the Erin thing? Come on.) How Maggie keeps calling her nieces "girlies" and men "golden."

It's a good beach read, but not much else.

Baby Proof
Baby Proof
by Emily Giffin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.74
583 used & new from $0.01

13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The 50's called...they want their characters back.., June 5, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Baby Proof (Paperback)

This book left me pretty much speechless for weeks after I read it, as did the generally good reviews on Amazon and other websites. HOW I ask you, HOW(!?) could anyone read this and think it was a good book? Are we really still here? Shaming women for not wanting children and calling them selfish? Having kids when you don't want any or don't have the means/ mental capacity to take care of them - THAT is selfish. Trying to enforce the typical mommy, daddy, brother and sister family unit on people who don't feel as if it's where they belong or what they want- THAT IS SELFISH!!

Our protagonist, if you can call her that, is Claudia Parr a woman in her 30's who doesn't want children and never has. Claudia has had a difficult time finding a partner due to the lack of maternal gene but a few years before the events of the book takes place she met Ben, her prince charming, who is like her in every way - including having no interest in becoming a parent.

Then for no reason at all except that he saw a pregnant woman (seriously, has he never seen a pregnant woman before?)Ben does a complete 180 and decides that he wants kids and that Claudia had better dang well agree with him.

Here is maybe my biggest complaint about the whole book - Ben. Ben is seriously the most unlikable character I have ever read about in a book in the history of FOREVER. I am not over-exaggerating. I literally sat down and tried to think of a time a character disgusted me more and I came up with nada. I had more sympathy for Lord Voldemort. And Ben is apparently supposed to be a good character! I didn't see it.

Ben whines, he moans, and whimpers when he doesn't get his way. He is a grown man who pretty much stomps his feet in frustration like a spoiled toddler. I agree with another reviewer who said that once he realized a child is actually not a puppy, Ben is the kind of guy who would have been gone so fast it would have made your head spin. He's just...GAH...he's horrid!

The sad thing is everyone who is not Claudia apparently agrees with Ben, that Claudia is in the wrong. At this point I had to skip back to the first chapter to make sure this book didn't actually take place a half century ago or something. I actually screamed out loud, "Get it through your heads dummies: She doesn't want KIDS!"

So Claudia and Ben split up finally (actually it's not that far in but you'll already feel like you've been reading forever) and Claudia goes about making her life her own. I was hoping that Claudia would find a nice new guy who doesn't want children and live happily ever after with him while Ben gets hit by a bus the next day. Nope. Of course Claudia finds someone but he just doesn't live up to Ben (Me-WHAAAAAAT?!!).

To make a long story short Claudia returns to Ben with her tail between her legs and says "I'll be a good girl now" and King Ben affectionately pats her on the head as rainbows and sunshine appear, and all is right with the world. (Okay maybe not in those words but pretty much.)

I realize that I am only 20 and maybe don't fully understand adult relationships yet, and that compromise is a part of all relationships but the main character here is literally treated like a second-class citizen for having a different outlook on life than those around her.

This is the first and last time I will be picking up a book by the author. It honestly made me sick.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2014 11:49 AM PDT

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