Mini Reviews: May 2010

These short reviews come from before I started blogging- they were recorded on sites like Library Thing and Goodreads. That’s why I’m giving you a month at a time!

So Much for That: A Novel by Lionel Shriver

Well, so much for that.
This book wasn’t what I thought it was going to be- an opinionated piece about America’s health care system. Sure, we get that it costs the individual a lot to be treated for cancer and that aged care homes are expensive (although not really that much different to Australia with the thousands in ‘care’ [as in 'we don't'] fees and bonds up to a half a million). But I digress- although I’m sure that the character of Jackson would be happy with that.
Essentially this is about life and facing death in several different forms and how everyone copes. Dark and serious in places, light and sunny in others. I enjoyed this more than The Post Birthday World but I don’t know that I’d tell you to go out and buy this. It’s well written, but don’t assume that it will be an easy ride. Much like life itself.

7.5 out of 10.

Old Sins by Penny Vincenzi

I think this is one of the earlier books by this author. It’s a bit muddled towards the end (yes, we know exactly what’s happened but wait patiently for the characters to realise) and a bit dated. Some of the dilemmas could have been easily solved with DNA technology and a mobile phone (had they been invented). There’s also a lot of sex involved, some of it a bit creepy.
All that aside, this is a great bonkbuster holiday novel. I would suggest starting with some of the author’s other novels first though.

8.5 out of 10.

New Europe by Michael Palin

Palin’s writing really transports you to Europe. From misery at Auschwitz to a fashion catwalk, I smiled and wiped away tears at various points. Very well written travel book with a good dose of history thrown in. Can’t wait to read some more of his books.  (NB. My first Palin!)

8.5 out of 10.

Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes

A delightful chick lit from the master, Marian Keyes. This sticks with familar topics such as single women in Dublin and life on a magazine. There’s Lisa, the reluctant new editor of Colleen magazine, Ashling the ‘ever prepared’ deputy and Ashling’s married friend with children, Clodagh. Add in a variety of nice sounding men and you’ve got a recipe for a bumpy ride.
I originally aimed to read this book on holidays but never got around it- instead, reading it during a very busy time. I suspect it would be good either way- easy to pick up and put down, engaging story and language that’s easy for a tired/relaxed brain to navigate.
My only criticism is that time seemed to fly after the launch party- months go by in pages- I suppose it had to end somewhere. I much prefer this to her latest book.

8.5 out of 10.

Playing the field by Zoë Foster

Fairly well written chick lit (with bonus extra adjectives) about a relationship of your average Aussie girl with high profile football (rugby) player. The plot doesn’t really advance beyond meet the boy, insecurities compared to other WAGs, problems with ex-girlfriend, repeat. The twist at the end wasn’t terribly plausible, but it was a bit different. Nice book, but nothing special.

7 out of 10.

For Crying Out Loud: v. 3: The World According to Clarkson  by Jeremy Clarkson

Ahh, Clarkson is back and he hasn’t become any less opinionated (if anything, he’s more spot on…or am I getting older?). His witticisms are spot on and there’s some insider Top Gear trivia for the fans. A great train read (but don’t read in a silent carriage- you’ll be glared at for laughing).

8 out of 10.

5 responses to “Mini Reviews: May 2010

  1. I love Penny Vincenzi’s The Lytton Trilogy, and have read a number of her other books, altho none as good as those three. This one I had not heard of will look for it soon, thanks!

    • The Lytton Trilogy was great, wasn’t it? Wicked Pleasures was another one of hers I really enjoyed. She does historical fiction really well. The plots and characters are so involved.

  2. Pingback: How Hard Can it Be? By Jeremy Clarkson « Sam Still Reading·

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