Sunday, June 10, 2012

More Books: June 10

I recently broke down and bought a Kindle (I know, for an avid reader I'm late jumping on the bandwagon), so I've read a couple of e-books this week. Mostly library copies, because somehow paying $10 for a *real* book seems like a worthwhile return, but paying the same amount for something digital is a bit much for me. So apparently I'm not a full digital convert yet.

I read Jennifer Holm's Turtle in Paradise, which is one of this year's Beehive nominees. I liked it, but I didn't love it. The story follows an 11-year-old girl with the unlikely name of Turtle, who gets shuttled off to Key West to live with relatives after her mom gets a job working as a housekeeper for a woman who doesn't like kids. Since this is set in the Great Depression and good jobs can be scarce, Turtle doesn't have much choice but to go. Turtle isn't initially impressed with Key West, which her mom calls "paradise" but which to Turtle seems crowded and dirty. Gradually, however, Turtle is won over by the people and the vivid scenery. I thought the book was well written--the voice was charming--but some parts of the plot I found just a little implausible.

I also read Meg Cabot's Teen Idol, which I think I've read before, because some of the plot seemed familiar. This book tells the story of Jen Greeley, a high school junior who's assigned the coveted role of "Ask Annie" for her high school newspaper because she's the "mayonnaise" of her school--the one who's able to smooth things over, keep everything together, and make people happy. However, when Jen is asked to show the new student Lucas (aka film star Luke Striker, under cover to research a new role) around the school, things start to change. Luke encourages her to stop trying to just smooth things over and actively make a change. When Jen does, the changes surprise even her. Like most of Cabot's books, this is a fun summer read; it's a light quick read. It's not particularly deep, but I didn't go into the story expecting depth or particularly vivid language.

I also read Laura Levine's Killing Bridezilla, one of a series about L.A. based amateur sleuth and freelance writer Jaine Austen. In this one, Jaine gets hired to write the vows for a former high school nemesis, Patti, who wants to redo the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, only with a happy ending this time. Unfortunately, working for Patti is horrific, involving not only detailed and sometimes contradictory directions, but bringing back flashbacks of life with Patti in high school. However, when someone kills Patti during the wedding ceremony and another former high school friend is accused, Jaine springs into action to solve the case. I have to say, I found this book shallow and silly. I get that it's supposed to be funny, and parts of it were, but so many of the events seemed improbable (including the murder itself). The mystery, too, was kind of blah--I didn't feel like there were enough clues to the real killer's identity until the killer was revealed. While I'm generally a fan of cozy mysteries (I love Donna Andrews stuff), I don't think I'll be reading the other books in this series.

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