Friday, January 13, 2012

Review of the Audiobook Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

Can You Keep a Secret?

I feel like my last two reviews have not been the most, "OMG, I'm in love". So I decided to do an audiobook review! Now, a quick note. I'm going to be reviewing more than just the story, but also the narrator and the audio effect. Also, I know this isn't a YA or MG novel, but it is an exception. 

GoodReads Synopsis:

Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets: Secrets from her boyfriend: I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken. Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur. Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is. Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her...

My Take:

I've listened to Sophie Kinsella's Can You Keep a Secret at least 3 times. I'm in college and have a long car ride whenever I go home. I LOVE audiobooks. So I will be reviewing plenty of these. The audiobook is read by Emily Gray, who I must say did a fabulous job. An annoying narrator can easily turn a reader off, one reason why I had to turn off the City of Bones. Sad, I know. Emily Gray's ability to go from deep to a high pitched squeak works wonders when it comes to believability. Meaning, I was able to distinguish between each character by voice, tone, and pitch. This ability really makes a listener feel like we're actually listening to different people speaking, which in my humble opinion is hard to do when you don't have a full cast audiobook. I found myself going, "I know that deep voice! That's Jack!" Or, ""Ah I know that voice. It could only be...Artemis."

Okay, I'm almost done singing the narrator's praises. Really, it worked because Emily Gray knew just when to chuckle, snort, or what kind of high pitched tone was needed for any comedic or oddball parts. This is a great read or listen. Sophie Kinsella keeps the reader on their toes. Just when you think the guy can't find out anything more embarrassing you're hearing about how she has no idea if she has a G-spot and where and with whom she lost her virginity. What I love about this is the fact that Emma is just a regular twenty-something-year-old trying to find her way in the world. She's got all those embarrassing secrets we girls tend to keep, but would never say out loud. Kinsella is bold. I mean who really writes about trying to find one's G-spot? Okay, I'm giggling as I write this. 

You'll laugh. This is a total fun, light read, but the main character is totally relatable. A little pathetic at times, but come on, who doesn't have their moments?

My Rating:

4.1 out of 5

Review of Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

A note. I'm trying really hard not to give any spoilers away, but I wanted to be a bit detailed on why I rated it what I rated it. You've been forewarned.

Synopsis From GoodReads:

Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part,Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention

Then Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: She and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. But what Lissa never sees coming is her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling...

My Take:

I was originally drawn to the premise, since, right off the bat I realized it was a retelling of Lysistrata. I was excited, this had to get interesting. For those who don't know, Lysistrata is a Greek play where the women want to end a war so they refuse sex to their husbands etc.  It piqued my curiosity more than The Duff, which I have yet to read, although I've been considering it. Lissa is the girlfriend of a football player. He's constantly forgetting about her because of a stupid and sometimes violent rivalry with the soccer team. Thing is, I was expecting more from this book, but I really didn't connect with the main character, nor the others. There was also a character--an old friend of Lissa's--who ended on bad terms with her, but their issues felt like they resolved too quickly. Actually their issues felt non-existent when there should have been some sort of tension.

 I feel bad saying this, but occasionally it felt like Lissa was a teenager with adult wants and tendencies. Like I was getting a little of the author and NOT Lissa. It would have been fine if they had been just a bit more believable. Leading into that, toward the end the novel got a tad preachy about respecting how one feels about sex, but it was to an extent that felt forced within the novel. Almost like, "And the lesson is..." I'm all for a lesson or having the character grow or learn something about themselves and others at the end, but here it just didn't ring true. That's all I will say on the matter.

Yes, I had a few qualms while reading it. The characters weren't as developed as I would have hoped but it was straight teen gossip. You had the fun cliche characters and the slut who was happy as she was. I genuinely liked her, though wished for a tad more development. It was a a fun, yet light read. Nothing overly emotional. Call it a beach read. 

My Rating:


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review of Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Well, I figured I'd kick off the New Year with one of my resolutions: revamp the blog and include book reviews. Here is my very first review and I will follow a 1-5 scale rating. 1 being the worst and 5 being *sqee* utterly amazing OMG I'm in love. Simple, no?

Review of Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. The water calls to her, draws her in, forces her to sing her deadly song to unsuspecting victims. If she succumbs, she kills. If she doesn't, the pain is unbearable. To keep herself and those she cares about safe, she shuts herself off, refusing to make friends or fall in love-again. Because the last time she fell in love with a boy, he ended up dead.

Then Lexi finds herself torn. Against her better judgement, she's opening up agian, falling in love with someone new when she knows she shouldn't. But when she's offered the chance to finally live a normal life, she learns that the price she must pay to be free or her curse is giving him up.

My Take:

Honestly, this is the first book I've read about a Siren. It's also one of the first that intrigued me enough to pick it up. An interesting tale on how a teenage Siren has murdered the boy she loved and two years later is paying for it through her self-inflicted outcast status. Mandy Hubbard's style reminds me so much of chic-lit, similar to Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella's styles. It's light, although this work is one of her darker novels. It still holds true to the teenage voice.

One issue with the novel was the fact that her love interest wasn't as fleshed out as I would have hoped, while some of Lexi's decisions just didn't ring true. The story was entertaining. I finished it in two days on a trip to Disney World, but will I remember this novel this time next year? Probably not. The characters just didn't make me fall in love with them, like I would for a great series like Tamora Pierce's The Lioness Quartet. Sometimes it felt as though the pacing was a little too fast and the reader could have done with a little slowing down to flesh out the other characters that had entered Lexi's life. I wanted more to matter and it just didn't. That is not to say that this isn't a fun and entertaining read. The fast pace does keep and hold one's attention, so there is no dying halfway through wondering where the plot has gone. Hubbard throws you in head first and hopes you can swim. All in all, not a bad read.

My rating: