Miki O. (MikiOz) - Reviews

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The Accidental Mother
The Accidental Mother
Author: Rowan Coleman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 203
Review Date: 9/2/2008
Helpful Score: 4


A career woman accidentally falls into motherhood when her childhood best friend dies in a car accident, leaving behind her 2 young daughters. Sound familiar? This is "Baby Boom" with Diane Keaton, only set in London with presumably a younger, prettier main character who plans parties for her "high powered" careeer.

It is really cute though, and, if you are a mother or an accidental mother, the parts with the daughters will alternately make you smile, cringe, thank God for carpet cleaner, and break your heart.


An Innocent, A Broad
An Innocent, A Broad
Author: Ann Leary
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 26
Review Date: 10/15/2010
Helpful Score: 1


I must confess, I ordered this book because I am absolutely in love with Denis Leary and have been since I was 18. As a result, I very much wanted to peek behind the curtain of his private life and find out more about his wife and family. Who was this woman who managed to nab my dream guy? Turns out, she's a lot like me - a neurotic, worrying mother who was so mentally absorbed by her children that she managed to completely miss the fact that her husband was becoming famous while she went about the nurturing, sleep-deprived, cocooned days of early child rearing. In short, this woman whom I most wanted to hate turned out to be someone I could easily befriend, if given the opportunity. I'm now reading Ann Leary's first fiction novel, "Outtakes from a Marriage," and, while entertaining, it's not nearly as fascinating and eminently readable as this real-life portrait of a marriage, a burgeoning family, and a famous, yet totally human, husband.


Angela's Ashes
Angela's Ashes
Author: Frank McCourt
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 481
Review Date: 9/2/2008
Helpful Score: 2


If you enjoy reading about bad parents, alcoholism, extreme poverty, illness, and death, then by all means pick up Angela's Ashes. Why is it that many of the "critically acclaimed" books are unenduringly depressing? I understand that this is a memoir, and it is a miracle that Frank McCourt and some of his siblings survived this kind of upbringing, but it isn't exactly what I want to read about in my spare time.


Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral
Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral
Author: Kris Radish
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 297
Review Date: 9/2/2008


While the idea of getting a group of your girlfriends together with your ashes for the ultimate funereal road trip initially sounds intriguing and might get you to pick up this book, Kris Radish's treatment of the subject matter is disappointingly overblown, repetitive, and self-indulgent.

If you want a good cry, watch "Beaches" or "Terms of Endearment" instead. This book feels a little forced, like the author is trying to suck your tears into that hanky instead of relying on basic human emotion to let it happen.


Atonement
Atonement
Author: Ian McEwan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 372
Review Date: 9/2/2008
Helpful Score: 2


This book reminded me of looking at a very beautiful painting - rich, descriptive language, but not a lot happens, and what does happen is in the imagination of one despicable little girl. I don't want to ruin the ending, but it's really not worth getting that far in the book anyway.


Baby Proof
Baby Proof
Author: Emily Giffin
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 974
Review Date: 12/7/2008
Helpful Score: 3


While I enjoyed Something Borrowed and Something Blue, this book just falls a little short, considering the weighty subject matter it attempts to handle. I think the journey the main character makes through the book, while necessary, is predictable with an anti-climactic, somewhat circular ending that minimizes the emotional growth you would expect of the characters after what they've been through.

In the tradition of Something Borrowed and Something Blue, I do think it would be interesting to see this story from Ben's side of the equation, now that we've accompanied Claudia on her rollercoaster ride.


Belong to Me
Belong to Me
Author: Marisa De Los Santos
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 126
Review Date: 6/14/2010


While I loved, loved, loved the whimsicality and relationships of "Love Walked In", I found Marisa De Los Santos' 2nd effort to be real in a way that was burdensome and depressing, while marveling over her gift of character development. While there are moments of levity and the story and overall themes are nearly flawless from a literary perspective, this isn't a book for the faint of heart, especially those of us who have experienced losses similar to those detailed in the novel.


Bless Your Heart, Tramp: And Other Southern Endearments
Bless Your Heart, Tramp: And Other Southern Endearments
Author: Celia Rivenbark
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 93
Review Date: 1/17/2010
Helpful Score: 1


The lesser of all of Rivenbark's collections with the least number of wet-your-pants belly laughs, though the Bobbitt and Constipation Commercial chapters still sparkle and delight.


The Bunny Train
The Bunny Train
Author: billie Hazard
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 1/6/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I have a 3-year-old son who LOVES trains and cannot get enough of them. This book is perfect for him for that reason. The pictures are beautifully done in pastels, and he loves to point things out to me while we read the book together. When I ask him what he wants to read at night before bed, he'll shout "Bunny Train! Bunny Train!". The story is a good parable about not giving up when times get tough and having faith in yourself, but, really, ultimately, it's the pictures and the train motif that he loves. Well worth reading to your little one.


Certain Girls (Cannie Shapiro, Bk 2)
Certain Girls (Cannie Shapiro, Bk 2)
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 365
Review Date: 3/25/2009
Helpful Score: 2


While there were some touching and shocking moments in this book, overall, it was just not Weiner's best work. The writing is slow and kind of plods along.

She switches back and forth between the mother and daughter's first person voices, but this change of perspective adds little or nothing to the story. A third-person perspective would have worked just as well.

While "Good in Bed" is a great novel, this "sequel" falls woefully short. If you loved "Good in Bed," keep Cannie, Joy, and Peter magically in the past and don't bother to find out what happens to them. It's not worth the ride.


The Cinderella Pact
The Cinderella Pact
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 61
Review Date: 9/10/2009


The Cinderella Pact is a fast-paced, duplicitous twist on the traditional Cinderella story. When main character, Nola Devlin, is immediately rejected for the columnist job she wants at the magazine where she is a low-level editor, presumably due to her weight, she submits an application under the false identity of Belinda Apple, who is skinny, stylish, and British (according to the picture Nola photoshops).

Though this novel borrows heavily from the much-used Jennifer Weiner emphasis on the insecurities of overweight women and the related societal cruelty and indifference they face on a daily basis, including the extreme deprivation felt during a diet and exercise regime to lose the weight and "change their lives", the rest of the story keeps your attention through the ever higher stakes faced by the main character in the course of hiding her secret identity and trying to find true love.

The vignettes of Nola's flawed family ring true, as does her close female friendships. For anyone who identified with the Devil Wears Prada, there's also an evil boss thrown in for good measure.


Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic, Bk 1)
Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic, Bk 1)
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 1989
Review Date: 2/4/2009
Helpful Score: 1


While I've been a long time fan and reader of the "chick lit" genre, I avoided the "Shopaholic" series up until recently because, quite frankly, I HATE to shop. As a result, I figured I would find the main character too shallow and annoying to relate to.

When someone gave me a copy of this book for free, I figured I'd give Rebecca Bloomwood a try as some mindless entertainment on a recent trip to Hawaii. I have to say, I was not only pleasantly surprised by how relatable and universal this book and this character is, but I am now so addicted to the painful, but hilarious, situations the Shopaholic gets herself into that I can't WAIT to read the next book!


The Friday Night Knitting Club (Knitting Club, Bk 1)
The Friday Night Knitting Club (Knitting Club, Bk 1)
Author: Kate Jacobs
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 1890
Review Date: 7/5/2009
Helpful Score: 2


While the writing in this book seems stilted, too formal, and too detailed in many ways (probably because this is the author's first book), the story of these women coming together is ultimately satisfying.

In a world where many of us think we're too busy or wrapped up in our own lives to reach out and become part of a group, especially after the high school and college ties that bind have faded away and the politics of the working world often prevent solid bonds from forming, this book provides inspiration and reasons for seeking out and finding a "closeknit" (pun intended) group of women who want to hear what you have to say, will support you through the best and worst of times, and who show you the true meaning of love, friendship, strength, and courage.


Good Things
Good Things
Author: Mia King
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 62
Review Date: 12/27/2009
Helpful Score: 1


As a cook always looking for new, unique recipes and who appreciates descriptions of good food, I enjoyed the food-focus of the main character and her concoctions in this book. Beyond that, this book is highly formula: twist of fate/bad luck knocks girl out of her perfect life, she flees to the country to "find herself" and develop a new plan, she meets new friends in the country, she encounters a love interest along the way, after misunderstandings/misperceptions, all turns out well. Think Diane Keaton in "Baby Boom," only without the baby.


Here Today, Gone to Maui
Here Today, Gone to Maui
Author: Carol Snow
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 38
Review Date: 8/2/2009
Helpful Score: 2


If you're looking for a fun, fluffy read on a sunny day or at the beach, this is the book. The main character is witty, neurotic, and repressed, and the series of events that befalls her while on vacation in Maui is a true string of bad luck. Some of them we can even relate to. As a bonus, if you've been to Maui, the descriptions of the places to go and things to do are spot on (especially the details about the Hyatt Regency on Kaanapali Beach and the Grand Wailea on Wailea). And who doesn't love sea turtles and whales?


I Don't Know How She Does It
I Don't Know How She Does It
Author: Allison Pearson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 258
Review Date: 2/4/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I read this book in the bleary first months of working motherhood at night after putting my little one to sleep. No matter how exhausted I was or how often I seesawed on the decision between keeping my career going or quitting to stay home with my son, the daily life of Kate Reddy always seemed so much more harried, guilt- and sacrifice-ridden, painful, and heartbreaking.

The author, Allison Pearson, really takes the issues, both at the workplace and on the homefront, that confront working mothers to the extreme, putting into shocking relief the sacrifices required of us at the office and in the home that often don't apply to working fathers. This book is really a must read for all working mothers and for those who hope to understand us.


The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life
Review Date: 5/10/2009
Helpful Score: 18


Luckily, I got this book free from a friend, but, unfortunately, I can't get back the hours of my life it took to read it. It's a series of columns, which are really rants, by this woman who no one in their right mind would want to be friends with. Her sole goal in life seems to be to get "Stinkin' Drunk," of which she details the 12 levels. I guess if you never experienced your 20's or never had a gross, obnoxious, cynical friend who smoked and hated the "pretty girls," then maybe you'll enjoy this book. Everyone else, steer clear.


Jemima J
Jemima J
Author: Jane Green
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 1077
Review Date: 2/4/2009
Helpful Score: 1


While this book did manage to keep my attention during a beach vacation, the writing style of having an omniscient narrator in addition to first person accounts (Jemima) in the storyline was just distracting and bizarre. It would have worked in a movie, similar to "Little Children", but in a book it was just flat-out annoying.

Although I fully understand the concept of "willing suspension of disbelief", this book just flat out abuses that convention. The twists, turns, surprises, and coincidences just "aren't bloody likely" as Jemima would say. While it's a mildly entertaining read, there's much better stuff out there. As it's the first Jane Green book I've read, I'm not sure I'll pick up any more of her books.


Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
Author: Julie Powell
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 160
Review Date: 2/24/2010
Helpful Score: 1


While the movie holds a special place in my heart for giving all of us corporate or government drones hope of freedom through culinary exploits well-written about, the book, quite literally, leaves a bad taste in your mouth (pun intended).

I'm not sure if it's knowing that Julie Powell not only cheated on her husband at a later date, but also wrote a book about her extramarital affair, especially given how supportive her husband, Eric, is through her "year of cooking dangerously," or if she just comes across as not a very nice person in this memoir. No wonder Julia Child herself found Julie's blog disrespectful and didn't approve of the project immediately prior to her death.

Julie's personality in the text makes her seem like a mean version of Bridget Jones who can cook (sort of). She's definitely not someone I'd want to be friends with, but the book is interesting for what it is . . . one clutsy, disorganized, and somewhat bitter woman's quest to distract herself from turning 30 and a ticking biological clock.


The Language of Flowers
The Language of Flowers
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 97
Review Date: 10/2/2012
Helpful Score: 5


For a first novel, this book is surprising in its rich layers and character studies. It's amazing and heartbreaking. Anyone who is a mother will be absolutely wrecked by parts of this story. While not a manipulative tear jerker (the author is very straightforward in her descriptions and characterizations), I found it difficult to remain dry-eyed while reading this. Ultimately, the message is that the hardest person to forgive is yourself, and it's difficult to love anyone else until you have accomplished that. Towards the end, the author starts trusting that the reader has paid attention to the meanings of flowers and starts using them in the story without giving the definitions. (If you want to "cheat", there's a dictionary in the back of the book.)


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