Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!
I am realizing now that "Lisey's Story" is a combo of some of King's earlier and then later works. Lisey herself is like an early version of Holly from the Bill Hodges story. Her saying "smucking" is working my freaking nerves. Swear or don't, but my eyes are staring to glaze over. We also have a mysterious man telling Lisey she better provide Scott's papers or he is going to hurt her. This man can't spell and is southern, reminds me a bit of "Secret Window."
I wonder at times was Lisey and Scott's story a real love story? Because when you get further into the story a lot of it felt like Scott manipulating Lisey. That said, this was a favorite of mine when I read this on vacation in Jordan in 2009. I remember waiting to go off on my tour of Petra and being in the first soft bed I felt in months and just snuggling in with this book. While staying there they kept calling me the girl with the book since that was all I did. Had wonderful spa treatments, went to the Dead Sea and sat and watched, and enjoyed such good food with books.
This is card 9 though it reads as card 8.
It's 432 pages which would make that 401 to 800 pages: $5.00
Trigger warning: Suicide.
Wow. So I had inklings this one wasn't going to go well with the pop up questions and people waiting on me to finish this on Goodreads. BTW, thanks for not giving a heads up on how bad this was going to be people! I was looking for a slow burn psychological thriller and this turned into nothing that made coherent sense with the women going to increasingly lengths for men or over secrets that would have people going who cares.
"An Anonymous Girl" has 20 something year old Jessica Farris who is struggling to make ends meet as a makeup artist. She had hopes of being part of the theater world and when those ended she works for a company that has her going to clients to do their make-up. While waiting to finish up a client she hears her turning down a study over the phone that would entail $500. Jessica we now know needs money and she decides to show up in Jessica's place to get the money. Jessica finds herself as part of a study of ethics and morality and quickly becomes obsessed with Dr. Shields (the person behind the study). She finds herself wondering what would Dr. Shields do in situations that she finds herself and then wonders if Dr. Shields is being truthful or wants something else from her after Dr. Shields offers Jessica a chance to meet and become even more involved with the study.
If the book had just kept us following Jessica it would have worked better. Or even if the authors had chosen to keep Dr. Shields as more of the omnipotent narrator it could have worked. I am guessing since this book has two authors, one person wrote the Jessica POV's and the other wrote Dr. Shields. Eventually Dr. Shield's mask falls off (Part Two and beyond) and she became pathetic. Jessica was already dancing in that category so we just ended up following these two as they try to outsmart each other. I yawned through the whole thing until Game of Thrones. I put the book down, and picked it back up after that terrible finale and went to bed discontented.
Jessica has a lot of issues. We find out that through this study she is finally being truthful about things she has kept hidden. There's a lot of resentment towards her supposed best friend around money. We know that Jessica has a lot riding on her getting funds for her family. That said, she was just there as a vessel to be filled. I was hoping that the authors would have Jessica turning into a female version of Joe from "You." But no such luck. Also what freaking ethnicity is Jessica supposed to be? At one point she's described similar to another character and she's white, but we have a whole line about Jessica's skin being darker than Dr. Shields (who is also white). I went what for a second and moved on.
Dr. Shields at first seemed kind of bad ass and scary. And then she gets increasingly lame as her POV's go from being written as an outside observer to a study to something else. The ending for her was such a cop-out though that I rolled my eyes. Her supposed whys behind things made zero freaking sense.
We have one main man in this who doesn't seem worth the bother at all. And we have Jessica trying out a fledgling relationship that I wish had been focused on more.
The writing wasn't very good. I started going dun dun dun after a few sentences because that cracked me up and also distracted me from the terrible writing. Also Jessica's POV at times is written in the first person and then we have omnipotent Dr. Shields and not omnipotent Shields. It got confusing as hell.
"It was the question you didn't answer, though, the one you struggled with as you scraped at your nails, that holds the most intrigue. This test can free you, Subject 52. Surrender to it."
Oh I forgot to mention that Dr. Shields calls Jessica Subject 52 through most of her narration. This was supposed to sound foreboding I guess.
"You stand out, and not only because of your unconventional beauty.
From every angle, you are enchanting."
Oh yes, Jessica is an unconventional beauty. And Dr. Shields is also beautiful. Apparently plain women don't exist in New York.
The flow becomes pretty bad and it's hard to keep straight who is lying to who about what. We have reveals galore coming at us fast through Part Three and you don't even have enough time to wonder if the reveals made sense. To me they didn't when I re-read some parts. We think we know Dr. Shields's motivation. When we initially find out what it is I went seriously. Then we find out it's something else, but maybe it was the first one, or maybe not. Eh. It just ping-ponged back and forth. Why Dr. Shields decides to focus in on Jessica was beyond dumb after a while.
The setting taking place in New York doesn't do much to make the city part of the setting. We know that Jessica and Dr. Shields inhabit different worlds. I just wanted more of that. Make it more of a contrast. Instead we get bare boned descriptions of things here and there. I am glad I know what the wine that Jessica drank tasted like though (eyeroll).
That ending was such a letdown. I guess I was supposed to be shaken by it, but I went really? That's it. And we get a throwaway line about a bad dude from Jessica's past and it made no sense. This book I think was hoping to be the next "Gone Girl" but woo boy it was not and could not be that. They tried it with some unreliable narrator crap here and there. However, I wish authors would get that you can't do unreliable narrator with stuff that comes out of nowhere. It has to be worked into the story so that as a reader I feel fooled and go aha when I realize I erred, please go out and read "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd." I feel like modern authors just mess this up more than ever now. You can't hide key pieces from the reader to make your story work. It's just being lazy.
I received this book for free via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
So this book was published in 1993, and boy does it show. I think a few times Mansell probably went through and tried to update (she brings up Harry Styles at one point) but other dated references are still here (a new release of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie). I could have overlooked that if the story had been good. Too bad it wasn't. I think it's been a while since I disliked every single character in a book. And it didn't help that there is a whole romantic subplot that no one called out for the horribleness that it was. It was just glossed over with people thinking the other party in it was a slut. This book also is not a good send up of what makes a good relationship at all.
"Kiss" follows several characters. Wanna be singer Izzy and her 17 year old daughter Kat. Gina who is newly separated. Sam who is friends with both Gina and her estranged husband. Andrew who should have been drowned at birth (estranged husband of Gina). A love interest of Sam who I can't recall and then another male character who I can't recall.
The story gets going after Gina leaves her house in tears after her husband Andrew comes home and tells her that he is leaving her for someone else. And not only that, Andrew's mistress is pregnant. Gina ends up in an accident and hits Izzy who was on her motorbike. Izzy is in her late 30s and still trying to make it as a singer. She has her 17 year old daughter Kat and two boyfriends (I think they were named Mike and Rich) and everything comes to an ugly head and I wish I could have laughed, but I honestly disliked Izzy and even Kat for making sure that the two men were unaware of each other.
Gina feeling guilty due to Izzy losing her apartment tells her that she and Kat can live with her. Then Gina's old friend turns up and moves in with them all. Then the whole book becomes a mess.
I honestly don't know what to say. Gina is awful. You are supposed to pity her. But seriously. She has no personality at all. She is bereft because Andrew left her, but then demands that Izzy not sleep with Sam while he lives there. It's none of her business and I would have laughed at her demands.
Izzy is also awful. Her hiding having two separate relationships made me hard sigh. She's not some teenager. She is in her late 30s. If both men knew about the other and were okay about it that be one thing. And her deciding she had a thing for Sam, but playing games so he didn't realize it and want her more? Are you serious. Also I found her whole story trajectory to be 100 percent unbelievable. The whole thing read as soap operaish in a bad way after a while.
Kat. Sigh. She's 17 and her whole "relationship" made me scream inside. Also I am guessing the age of consent in the UK is lower? Cause in America I would have hoped that her "lover" would have been reported to the police. And after that mess that goes on she has another love interest who plays mind games with her in order for her to "fall for him." Bah.
Sam. That's another no. At one point I just went what is the point of this guy and realized there really was none except for three separate women to be into him. His whole thing with Izzy was boring and the stupid why we can't really be together thing came out of nowhere.
Andrew was garbage.
The mistress was pathetic and also garbage. And there was some fat-shaming going on that made me cringe.
There are other people but my brain refuses to remember.
The writing wasn't as crisp as other Mansell books. She has definitely learned how to juggle multiple story-lines. After a while I wondered if this book was ever going to end since it just jumped from character to character with no forward movement until everyone ends up making disastrous choices. Then the book gets into what I would call it's third act and some people get their shit together and others it takes until the ending.
The ending. I just can't applaud it. Ninety-nine percent of the characters sucked and there was very little development of anyone. There also seemed to be an underlining message of lie and manipulate the person you love so that they fall for you. See Gina and Kat's "romances."
Please note that I received this book for free via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
Well that was actually a good read compared to the other two books I finished this weekend. There were some weak subplots going on, but I did love the two sisters (Sunshine and Margot) relationship. For once we didn't get very little scenes with people who are related. These two depend on each other and love each other. The romantic interests were okay, I do have to call BS on Sunshine's though, there's a lot there that made me squirmy and I really wish that romance authors would stop with the boss/employee relationship. I read Ask A Manager too much because all I could think was the sexual harassment claims that can come in.
Sunshine is back trying to nanny again after finally ridding herself of the last guy she dated. She is determined to go back to college and get her degree in child psychology. Her new job has her being a nanny to a newly widowed father (Declan) of a young boy. Sunshine is determined to try to date "good" guys this time, but keeps finding more and more men are only attracted to her body. She also realizes that she may be falling for her boss.
Margot is an etiquette coach. She gets hired to transform an aging movie star (Bianca) who has plans to marry a diplomat and live abroad. She realizes this job may be tougher than she thought and she starts thinking about her client's son Alec.
Mallery does a good job with giving a solid backstory to Sunshine and Margot. There mother ran off and left them as did their grandmother. The great grandmother raised them and had dreams of one of them becoming Miss America one day. I don't even know what to say about all of that. I can't imagine having that as a goal for my great grand kids. Anyway, both women have scars due to their mother abandoning them and their lack of solid relationships. Both sisters end up picking losers and or people who just use and throw them away.
I enjoyed all of the dialogue with Sunshine and Margot. It reminds me of similar conversations with my sister and best friends.
I do have to say though that the twin plots didn't hold up much though. Margot and her job with Bianca starting boring me after a while. And when you realize why Bianca is acting the way she is it felt like a reach and too similar to Stephen King's Carrie backstory. Sunshine's plot with her going to school and trying with math was good though. I liked that she was focused on getting a good grade and did laugh at her math tutor going get a therapist, I am not here to listen to your problems.
The love interests were okay. Alec fitting the nerdy but secretly sexy type. Declan though bugged me a lot. We get a whole backstory on what was going on with his marriage. I still say that Mallery included it though so her readers didn't boo his butt for thinking sexy thoughts about his nanny.
The writing was very good and the flow was great. I have pinged Maller's other series before due to there being a plethora of characters and very little to tie them together. For once Mallery makes a book about sisters and stays fixed on them. I definitely liked this one better than "The Tulip Sisters."
The ending felt rushed with Sunshine's story, but I liked how Margot's ended.
What a weird book. The POV of Jessica and Dr. Shields started off interesting. But this test being about infidelity makes me yawn. Also the word “girl” is in the title that should have made me leery.
Had a wonderful 2 plus mile hike this morning! It’s going to be in the 90s so went around 9 AM! Hiked Jones Point and walked to a lighthouse (see picture 2).
So this is a re-release and you can tell. The characters are not very developed and there’s a subplot about a 17 year old girl having an affair with a 40 year old married man and my head almost exploded. I really couldn’t take Izzy, Kat, or Gina. And I loathed that every man in this story pretended to either not be interested or faked a romance with someone else to get the woman he was interested in to want to be with him. This felt like a really bad romantic comedy where I want everyone to end up engulfed in flames.
I liked both main characters and felt okay about the love interests. I thought the big secret the aging movie star was holding was pretty lame. I like that Mallery did have the two sisters interact and show their obvious love for each other. Not a very Earth shattering romance novel but well executed.
So far not feeling this one. Sunshine and Margot are fraternal twins who both meet men in the course of their work. Sunshine’s potential love interest is giving me creep vibes though. He’s her boss and she’s the nanny. I’m already over how Declan (the boss) is reacting to her body and mouth. Oh and Mallery just allows readers to know that his now dead wife and him hadn’t had sex for a year even though she’s been dead a couple of months. I’m sure this is to excuse the upcoming sex scene we all know is coming.
Every time you pass go (unless you are going to jail, of course), you collect $5.00 for your bank!
The jail square:
If you are just visiting: read enough pages to donate $3.00 to the bail fund.
If you are in jail:
Roll the dice to determine your bail, between $2.00 and $12.00. Check the bail fund to see if there is enough money there to bail you out. If not, make up the difference with your bank. If your bank doesn't have enough money to bail you out, read your way out of jail.
Roll 2 dice.
A 2 or a 3, sends you to the robot;
4, 5, or 6, go to the race car;
7,8 or 9, go to the Scottie dog;
10, 11, or 12 takes you to the cat
Do not pass go.
The novelty squares:
We are doing something completely different with the novelty squares this year. If you land on any of the following four squares, you put the card in your pocket to play later and roll again immediately to move to a reading square.
If you land on a square that you just can't come up with something to read, and you have one of these in your pocket, you can play it at any time regardless of what the square prompt says.
The Scottie Dog:
The race car
Spin the Wheel Decide
Here we go, people!
School's Out for Summer - spaces 1, 3, & 4
The Stay-Cation - spaces 6, 7 & 9
Beach Week - spaces 10, 11 & 13
Mountain Cabin - spaces 15, 16 & 18
At the Lake House - spaces 19, 20 & 22
Summer Blockbuster - spaces 25 & 27
Summer Romance - spaces 28 & 30
European Vacation - spaces 33, 35 & 36