30 November 2010

Review # 6 - 'Psych Major Syndrome' by Alicia Thompson

Psych Major Syndrome - Alicia Thompson

Using the tools learned so far in Intro Psych, write a brief self-assessment describing how things are going in your freshmen year.

The Patient, Leigh Nolan (that would be me), has just started her first year at Stiles College. She has decided to major in psychology (even though her parents would rather she study tarot cards, not Rorschach blots). Patient has always been very good at helping her friends with their problems, but when it comes to solving her own ... not so much.
Patient has a tendency to overanalyze things, particularly when the opposite sex is involved. Like why doesn't Andrew, her boyfriend of over a year, ever invite her to spend the night? Or why can't she commit to taking the next step in their relationship? And why does his roommate, Nathan, dislike her so much? More importantly, why did Nathan have a starring role in a much-more-than-friendly dream?
Aggravating factors include hyper-competitive fellow psych majors, a professor who is badly in need of her own psychoanalysis, and a middle-school-age mentee who thinks Patient is, in a word, naive.

Psych Major Syndrome

Wow, what a book. I received my copy of Psych Major Syndrome last evening and finished it a few hours later. I didn't want it to end. At all. I fell in love with it. From the first page. It's hilarious, wonderful and moving.

Psych Major Syndrome is set in College life, something I haven't encountered before in the Young Adult genre. It felt a bit different, but oh so right. The best thing about this book is the protagonist, Leigh. I immediately felt some kind of kinship with her. My first thought actually was, wow, someone's written a book about me. Leigh is intelligent and strong and at the same time completely oblivious and as her mentee Rebekah calls her 'naive' and 'dumb'. Her narrative is completely endearing, she is snarky and loyal, she's concentrating a bit too much on the small details and is terrified of change.

This is my favorite part,(small spoiler): " 'But it's all broken, right? Everything's broken.' I knelt down, trying to scoop up the glass and confetti - for what I don't know. Maybe it seemed symbolic, although all it really meant was that I was acting completely pathetic over a ten-dollar souvenir that could never be whole again. I guess that's symbolism for you, another term-paper topic to win a contest." (© Alicia Thompson, Psych Major Syndrome,2009, p.202)
Actually it's the part that comes after this that I like most....

29 November 2010

Review # 5 - 'Jane' by April Lindner

Jane - April Lindner

To be honest, this isn't an easy review for me to write. I'm still a bit undecided about this book, feeling divided inside.

I was about 11 or 12 years old when I first encountered Jane Eyre. I was sitting on the cold floor in front of the small upstairs TV on Christmas Eve. I was so engrossed in the movie ( it was the adaptation with Charlotte Gainsbourg and William Hurt), I didn't even hear my mother calling to come downstairs and open the Christmas presents. As soon as the holidays were over I went to the library to get the book. I've read it several times since, falling in love with it all over again every time I start reading the first sentence. It was a few years back, another chance encounter with another Jane Eyre Tv-adaptation. This time in the middle of the Night, watching the one with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson. The next day I ordered the book, in English, I'd only read in in German before that.
As you probably understand by now is that I really love the original. I was very excited when I heard about Jane, someone was finally taking on Jane Eyre and give it a modern setting.

So, with all that said, I'm really sorry to say that I didn't like Jane. I was really disappointed. For me it lacked the heart and the spirit of the original and all that was left was the lifeless body of it. Don't get me wrong. Jane isn't a bad book. It is very well written, has some great ideas and the original idea is executed really well. But it didn't engage me, I wasn't lost in the world of Jane. I probably would have liked this book if I hadn't read the original Jane Eyre so many times. I probably would have given it four stars instead of two. There are a few parts in it that are unrealistic and don't feel right but that's what happens when you take a book from the past and set it in the present.

So, bottom line is, read it if you haven't read the original Jane Eyre, don't if you have.

23 November 2010

Review # 4 - ' Swimming With Dolphins' by Deborah Wright

Swimming with Dolphins - Deborah Wright

I finished Swimming with Dolphins on the bus today. With a storm raving outside, snowflakes coming down madly. Look at the cover of this book and you'll understand how utterly wrong it felt! How out of place I felt to be freezing, sitting on a bus, looking out at the white landscape.

Anyway, this is the first book by Deborah Wright I've read. (I recently discovered though that I own one of her earlier books, that I'd started but never finished due to some sad circumstances in my life). There was quite a hype about Swimming with Dolphins before it was published and I was really looking forward to reading it.

Do you ever look out of your window and dream of lying on a gorgeous beach with a handsome stranger? Julia Rothwell certainly does. But with a high-powered job as a Hedge Fund Manager, she barely has time to clean her teeth let alone go on holiday. Then the credit crunch hits and Julia is left with nothing but her redundancy pay. Her best friend Reece encourages her to draw up a list entitled: Ten Things To Do Before I Die. Top of the list is to sleep with an Italian. So begins a crazy, wonderful, rollercoaster of an adventure that sees Julia crossing countries and continents, and experiencing romance and heartbreak, sushi and surprises, volcanoes and gambling, and – if she can make it to the end of her list – swimming with dolphins. Join her on her unforgettable journey! (Taken from Goodreads.com)

Well, it definitely is a Summer, Beach Read. But I actually don't know if I'd liked it better reading it in Summer on the Beach instead of reading it in freezing buses or the warmth of my bed while it being all dark and wintry outside. Deborah Wright does a really good job of describing all the exotic, warmth places Julia does get to visit. You can feel the warm air on you skin, smell the different flavours, feel part of the different cultures that actually emerge on the pages. It feels wonderful to be carried away to other places so different from where you are at the moment.

I actually liked the book, it kept me interested, guessing, wanting to know what happens next. And believe me, there's a lot of stuff happening. It's quite a journey it takes you on.

With that said it took me two attempts to get started with it. First time around I just couldn't *feel* it. But the second time I tried, a few weeks later, it captured me at once. The story is interesting, the development believable and the narrative flows throughout most of the book. The story is told from first person Point of View, and in present tense, (I  - now, am doing), which makes it kind of awkward sometimes. It feels like it is the first time for the author to use this Point of View and hasn't really gotten the hang of it yet. Don't understand me wrong, I'm a very very very big fan of first POV, present-tense I'm not so sure of. And it didn't keep me from finishing the book either. It just needs a little bit more practice :).

Two other, very small things that *annoyed* me: Sometimes it could get a bit naïve or a bit too fairytaily - too good to be true and I just wanted to yell at Julia that she was acting stupidly or was being naïve. I couldn't accept ALL the situations, feeling them removed quite a bit from how normal people react or speak. The second thing was the *time* thing, the duration of things. Towards the end, with all the e-mail-communication when you can see the dates, some really big things that take up quite few chapters and long flights take only 3 days, while a simple reply takes 12 days? Weird. I guess it's just some small mistake while typing the dates, but still.

Anyway, all in all I really enjoyed this book. And I actually gave it 4 stars on goodreads :) So, if you are looking for a breezy, summery story of a journey around the World, finding yourself, family and love and a whole lot of insight then check it out!

19 November 2010

New Books # 25

These are the new books I've gotten since my last *new books* entry.

Jane - April Lindner; Swimming with Dolphins - Deborah Wright

And these two, that are a bit older:
Girl Overboard - Justina Chen Headley; Naked in Knightsbridge - Nicky Schmidt
I've managed to read two brilliant books this week and hope to be able to write two reviews during this weekend.

10 November 2010

New Books # 24

These are the books I've got these past few weeks.
And I have a few books waiting for me at the postoffice, but due to tremendous amounts of new snow falling yesterday afternoon, I didn't have the chance yet to get them :(

The Book of Luke - Jenny O'Connell; That Summer - Sarah Dessen; The One Before the One - Katy Regan; Christmas Eve at Friday Harbour - Lisa Kleypas; Beachcombers - Nancy Thayer; Getting Away With It - Julie Cohen
Aren't these covers just gorgeous?