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Miki B. (MikiOz) - Reviews

21 to 40 of 44 - Page:
Love the One You're With
Love the One You're With
Author: Emily Giffin
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 500
Review Date: 9/10/2009


I don't know what it is about Giffin's writing, but her books are highly addictive, even though, on the surface, they are about the common, almost boring, details of "real life." She also has an amazing way of developing a character who is thinking and doing extremely controversial and unsympathetic things - at least by society's standards - and making their dilemma wholey understandable and relateable.

In this book, we meet Ellen Dempsey Graham who struggles through a decision between the man she married and the love of her life who once broke her heart. Ellen's journey touches on the growth process of every woman in her 20's who, while trying to get to know herself, develop her career, establish a foundation of self-esteem, also dates, and sometimes falls in love with, men who change her course of self-discovery, with mixed results.

Who among us doesn't have at least one man in our past whose chemical attraction was so strong it could pull us out of ourselves and our better judgment, despite the consequences? From this novel, I'm guessing Emily Giffin does.


Love Walked In (Love Walked In, Bk 1)
Love Walked In (Love Walked In, Bk 1)
Author: Marisa de los Santos
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 977
Review Date: 10/27/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This book is SO good that I'm taking my copy out of PBS circulation and bestowing it on all of the people in my life whom I love with the kind of effusive, unabashed love felt and expressed by the captivating main character of this book.

Normally, my reviews are a little more detailed, but I don't dare reveal even one illuminating, heartfelt moment of this twisting and turning saga through the sorrows and joys of every kind of love - romantic, familial, and parent/child. Get into your jammies, grab a box of tissues and a glass of wine or cup of cocoa, sit under a blanket next to a fire, if possible, and settle in for a few hours to let the emotions of "Love Walked In" wash over you.

I also cannot WAIT to read the next novel by Marisa de los Santos, "Belong to Me."


The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 67
Review Date: 2/4/2009
Helpful Score: 3


I love this book, plain and simple. It's one of the most beautiful coming of age stories ever written with the twist that the main character, a teenage girl, narrates the ongoing saga of her friends and family in the aftermath of her disappearance and death from the vantage point of her version of heaven.

Grab a box of tissues and prepare to stay up all night reading this one. The beauty and heartbreak of this relatively short, unassuming book will stay with you long after you put it down.


Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
Author: John Grogan
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 281
Review Date: 4/28/2009
Helpful Score: 1


How many of us get a dog as "practice" before trying to have kids, wanting to make sure we can successfully care for another living thing (and keep it alive) before taking on the ultimate adult responsibility of parenthood? John Grogan's extremely personal, heartfelt, and openly honest book perfectly explores the ups, downs, heartbreaks, failures, and joys experienced on the road to parenthood and most especially how our beloved dogs, well-behaved or like Marley, enrich the process and sustain us on the journey with their loyalty, empathy, and love.

This book is the ultimate love letter to our pets, how they help us develop into the parents, and people, we become, and how they enrich all of the relationships in our lives. While I know it sounds trite, you will laugh, you will cry, and you will hug your dog for dear life during the course of reading this book.


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Author: John Berendt
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 622
Review Date: 3/26/2009
Helpful Score: 4


While this stunning work of non-fiction is undoubtedly well-written and interesting, after reading it, you almost feel physically and morally dirty after having consorted with the cast of characters in this book. It's a study in the underbelly of humanity, how Southerners appear polite, virtuous, and cleansed, but can say the nastiest things behind your back, hide the dirtiest secrets, and struggle with the dichotomy between how they want to appear to society and who they really are.


My Ex-Best Friend : A Novel of Suburbia
My Ex-Best Friend : A Novel of Suburbia
Author: Beth Brophy
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 2/8/2009


You can definitely tell that this book is the first novel published by the author. The writing has too much of the author in it - she's obviously not able to keep her direct voice out of her fiction, which is the mark of a truly great writer (think Shakespeare and Austen).

I picked it up because I read her essay "Good Enough" in "Mommy Wars," which was very good, but non-fiction is definitely her forte. Hopefully, she'll stay away from novels in the future.

Jennifer Weiner handles VERY similar subject matter much better in "Goodnight Nobody," so I would recommend reading that instead.


New Moon (Twilight, Bk 2)
New Moon (Twilight, Bk 2)
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 4083
Review Date: 8/24/2009


I actually liked this one a lot better than the first one, Twilight. It seemed to move a lot faster and keep the plot going better. I do find the main character, Bella, a rather whiny, annoying, ungrateful person though. She just doesn't strike me as deserving of the love/admiration of all of these men/boys.


One Day
One Day
Author: David Nicholls
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 244
Review Date: 8/29/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Sort of like life, some days in "One Day" are better to read than others. Finding yourself in India? A vacation to a Greek island? A friend's wedding? A summer day in Paris? Yes, please. These are the chapters that resonate and make you feel and experience the strength of the bond between the 2 main characters. Working in a cruddy restaurant? Buying a dumpy apartment with the wrong guy? Seeing drugs destroy your relationship with your best friend? Not so much, but, really, "One Day" is pretty close to life. Escapism mixed with harsh reality. Hints about what makes a friendship, and ultimately love, last over time. When the reason for the central conceit is revealed, it sort of jumps up and bites you and can ruin the rest of the story, but the overall ride is like life: sometimes worth the trip, but often just a series of days to get through.


The Pact: A Love Story
The Pact: A Love Story
Author: Jodi Picoult
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 694
Review Date: 12/27/2009


Maybe I shouldn't have read "My Sister's Keeper" and "Nineteen Minutes" as my first Picoult books. Everything I've read since is a disappointment after those two. Having said that, this book offers a perceptive, in-depth look at possible triggers for teenage suicide, the pressures of school and parental expectations as teenagers brink on the verge of college, and the extreme loyalty of lifelong friendships, including the events that can tear them apart. My major disappointment in this book was the extended jail scenes involving one of the main characters as he awaits trial. Part teenaged angst, part prison book, part courtroom drama, and part Romeo-and-Juliet plagiarism, "The Pact" does it best to play on your emotions and sympathies as it weaves a complex web of relationships and the harmful power they can have in bringing about a tragedy.


Picture Perfect
Picture Perfect
Author: Jodi Picoult
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 766
Review Date: 5/24/2009
Helpful Score: 3


It's amazing that Picoult can evoke sympathy in her readers for even the most unsympathetic of characters in "real life" - a husband who beats his wife, a wife who stays. In spite of that ability, this book still falls short. She didn't really know how to end it (obviously), so it kind of just stops abruptly without a satisfying sense of closure. As fiction, this novel is far from "Picture Perfect."


Piece of Work
Piece of Work
Author: Laura Zigman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 8/10/2009


Written in the spirit of "I Don't Know How She Does It," this book hits the heart of the stay-at-work vs. stay-at-home Mom dilemma. The main character, torn between supporting her family financially and having to be away from her son, is real, heart-breakingly honest, and full of emotions any mother can identify with. True to life, the author continuously emphasizes the need for work outside the home to be meaningful and worthwhile for it to be even remotely appealing to mothers who are being taken away from spending meaningful and infinitely worthwhile time with their children. A must-read for any Mom, whether she works outside or inside the home.


Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Shopaholic, Bk 2)
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Shopaholic, Bk 2)
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 1262
Review Date: 3/30/2009
Helpful Score: 1


While I was pleasantly surprised and amused by the first book in this series, this one leaves me wondering if the next 3 have the same theme - she digs herself deep in debt with obsessive shopping, gets out of it through some miraculous epiphany/deux ex machina (and a touch of hard work/soul searching), and then in the next book it all starts again? I certainly hope not . . .

Nonetheless, her lies during the downward spiral and the awkward situations she gets herself into are always worth a good laugh. And, deep down, Becky Bloomwood is a really nice person, a loyal friend, and a good daughter, so how can you not like her in spite of it all?


Shopaholic Ties the Knot (Shopaholic, Bk 3)
Shopaholic Ties the Knot (Shopaholic, Bk 3)
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1117
Review Date: 9/28/2009


Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Books 1 and 2 of the Becky Bloomwood series) were virtually identical in the main character's central dilemma, and thus needlessly repetitive a la did-she-learn-nothing-the-first-time-around. Thankfully, Hollywood combined the two books when making the (first?) movie.

In the third installment, Becky Bloomwood gets herself in deep again, but in a fresh, funny way that has the reader simultaneously laughing at her folly and biting our nails, sharing in her stress over the situation. Becky also grows up a bit in this novel when her significant other, Luke Brandon, enters a downward spiral due to some personal demons, and she needs to take charge for a change and get their shared life back on track, which she does quite admirably.

Whatever critics say about this character, especially in light of the current global economic situation, the problems she creates for herself are usually due to her desire to be kind to others and not hurt anyone's feelings, and, really, couldn't we all use a few more people like that in our lives, fictional or otherwise?


Songs of the Humpback Whale
Songs of the Humpback Whale
Author: Jodi Picoult
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 482
Review Date: 4/28/2009
Helpful Score: 18


Oh, this was terrible. I almost can't even begin to describe how terrible. I'm shocked that it got such good reviews from the newspapers. Okay, reasons why this book is terrible . . . 1) the time sequence is so out of whack that she ends up revealing the shocking parts of the book too early, which makes you not want to read the rest, but plow through it anyway hoping fruitlessly that it will get better, 2) you really, really dislike the Oliver character who is the guy communing with the humpbacks (I liked humpbacks before reading this book, and now they are tainted by this guy's scientific self-obsession/agrandizement), and 3) it's just slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

I guess, ultimately, it's about families and love, what brings people together and rips them apart, but there's no real issue/premise that makes it all a cohesive whole like the rest of her books. If you want a good introduction to Picoult, start with Nineteen Minutes or My Sister's Keeper. This book will make you avoid her forever, if you've never read her before.


Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank
Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank
Author: Celia Rivenbark
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 68
Review Date: 5/25/2009
Helpful Score: 2


Okay, so, I am a "Yankee" who went to college in Kentucky, which Ms. Rivenbark would probably dub a "border state" as opposed to the true South. My roommate and best friend, however, was an Alabama gal whose Mom made the best sweet tea in the country and who began a launch into gossip with the patented Southern phrase "I don't mean to be ugly, but . . . " This book not only brings me back to my 4-years of college in the South and all the cultural bizarritudes that I witnessed in the name of being "Southern," but it is also laugh-out-loud funny for a working mother who aspires to be a "slacker Mom" and is also a (self-acclaimed) expert in pop culture and politics. Way to go, Celia! I can't wait to read your other 2 books.


Sweet Life
Sweet Life
Author: Mia King
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 3/23/2010
Helpful Score: 3


While I love, love, love Hawaii, have been to every "touristy" island, and wish I could go to break up the winter blues every single year, this book just falls flat in too many ways to even be enjoyable. I read it while 8 months pregnant, and thus unable to board an airplane, hoping it would "take me away" to the gorgeous beaches, golf courses, and heady smell of flowers Hawaii is known for. I also hoped it would be at least as good as Mia King's first confectionary novel, "Good Things."

Instead, I found myself dragged into the negative, snippy, NYC attitude of the main character and the life she finds falling apart around her ears shortly after a move to the Big Island. This woman is so abrasive she puts SoftScrub to shame. Even as she creates a new "ohana" (family) by renting out rooms in her house to women who, WAY too coincidentally, she previously managed to tick off immediately upon her arrival to paradise, you never get a sense that she changes much throughout the novel, despite the personal growth "journey" she's supposed to be on.

Let's just say that anyone who complains this much about living in Hawaii kind of deserves some bad kharma, so sympathizing with the main character becomes a chore and makes reading the book one as well.


The Ten-Year Nap
The Ten-Year Nap
Author: Meg Wolitzer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 71
Review Date: 10/27/2009
Helpful Score: 7


If you are one of those people who enjoys the thrill of watching paint dry, then, by all means, pick up this book and read it. It really is THAT boring. And, as such, I think it's extremely insulting to the lives of the stay-at-home Moms it attempts to chronicle. (As a working mother myself, I can't claim personal insult, but I am insulted on behalf of all my SAHM friends.)

If you want to explore the inner life, the complex decisions, trade-offs, and compromises, mostly to professional self-development and financial gain, that SAHMs face, pick up a copy of "The Mommy Wars" instead. Yes, believe it or not, NON-FICTION is more interesting and exciting than reading this fictional account of 3 SAHMs in NYC wandering around crippled by their own inaction and self-pity.

In addition, there is very little talk about the JOY of stay-at-home motherhood and the benefits of choosing uninterrupted years raising your children over forays into the often brutal and harsh working world. The only happy character in the book is a woman whose banker husband provides an extremely cushy life for her and her twin sons. She is content in her beautiful apartment, SUV, and her worry-free life. Who WOULDN'T be? Is this a realistic picture of stay-at-home motherhood? It's definitely NOT representative.

Moreover, this one happy woman, who even adores her husband, also happens to be a brilliant mathmetician who goes on interviews and receives job offers all the time, but turns them down. So, the message is, as long as you have a rich, adoring husband and have a professional skill that can nail you a great-paying job any time you want, then personal and professional satisfaction come wrapped all in one in your cocoon of stay-at-home motherhood. Everyone else? You're just doomed to wander aimlessly, unhappily around, attempting to find your "calling," and, eventually, settling for an uninspiring, sometimes low-paying job to get out of the house and help your husband pay the bills.

According to this book, feminism really IS dead and gone.


The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 5296
Review Date: 7/26/2009
Helpful Score: 1


While an original love story that twists and turns through time and makes the reader question the issues of fate vs. free will vs. determinism vs. God, this novel ultimately peters out at the end and falls flat. Honestly, it is to be expected for a first-time novelist who took on such heavy, literary material mixed with science fiction. Good endings are difficult to write, and how satisfying could an ending be for these two star-crossed lovers who are trapped by time? Having said that, the rest of the epic journey is well worth the ride, albeit a long and winding one.


Twilight (Twilight, Bk 1)
Twilight (Twilight, Bk 1)
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 5157
Review Date: 4/18/2009
Helpful Score: 1


While this novel is a tad too long for the subject matter and extremely slow-moving in parts, the story itself, the relationships, and the ending (wide open for sequels) is ultimately satisfying. The author manages to combine high school drama, a courtly love story, macabre monsters and the interest humans have in supernatural lives, and a great hunt/chase into one seamless novel.

While it's aimed at teenagers, and obviously addresses the highs and lows of romantic angst during puberty, it's also appealing for adults, especially those interested in twists on vampire myth and lore. Buffy fans, you won't be disappointed.


Undead and Uneasy (Queen Betsy, Bk 6)
Undead and Uneasy (Queen Betsy, Bk 6)
Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 432
Review Date: 11/30/2009
Helpful Score: 1


By far my favorite Betsy book, this one actually seems to have a point, beyond the trying-to-be-funny fluff, and brings many of the themes and incidents from the previous books to bear in creating a story and situations that leave Betsy to her own devices and show her true mettle as the Vampire Queen. Fans of the series will be rewarded for their patience slogging through some of the lesser books to get to this one.


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