Becky’s Fifty-Ninth Book Review: “Mr. Maybe” by Jane Green

I just finished reading “Mr. Maybe” by Jane Green. I hadn’t read anything by Jane Green in the past, but I am a big fan of chic-lit so I thought I would give her a try. I actually got this book for Christmas last year and am surprised that it took me so long to read it. “Mr. Maybe” was a pretty entertaining book, although it was rather predictable. The main character, Libby has some very funny dialogue that by itself makes the book worth a read.
The book actually started off pretty slow and I considered putting it down to find something else. I’m glad that I didn’t because it was an enjoyable read. Libby is a pretty likeable character most of the time, albeit on the shallow side. Once I got a bit into the book, I was loving Jane Green’s comedic touch. One of the funniest lines in my opinion was, “…and at the grand old age of twenty-seven I’ve realized that the best contraception of all is hairy legs…”. I loved this quote.
As for what the book was about, it was your typical chic-lit plot line. Silly single girl looking for Mr. Right and eventually learns some moral lesson and learns exactly who she is and almost always, she does find that guy. It was a pretty formulated plot, but like I said the book was enjoyable.
Would I recommend this book? To some, yes. I believe that if you’re looking for a ‘beach read’ Jane Green’s Mr. Maybe would be a good pick. But if you’re looking for something more substantial I would recommend picking something else.

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Becky’s Fifty-Eighth Book Review: “Sweet and Deadly” by Charlaine Harris

After reading “The Stand” I decided that I wanted a break from all the heavy stuff and picked up a couple of lighter reads. First I read “I’ve Got Your Number” by Sophie Kinsella. I didn’t write a review on it because I did that before. It was nice reading something light and happy that I’ve already read. I do want to reiterate the fact that it was a very good book and would recommend it.

Once I read that, I picked up a book that I haven’t read before but by an author who I have really enjoyed in the past. “Sweet and Deadly” by Charlaine Harris only took me a few days to read. Once I finished reading it I did some checking and it turns out that “Sweet and Deadly” was the first book that Charlaine Harris wrote, it was published in 1981. This made a lot of sense to me because it really felt like an author’s first attempt. I’ve got to say, “Sweet and Deadly” was pretty awful.

I read almost all of Charlaine Harris’s other novels, all the Aurora Teagarden Series (8 books), the Lily Bard (Shakespeare) Series (5 books), the Sookie Stackhouse Series (12 books with only one more to come), and the Harper Connelly Series (4 books). I enjoyed all of these books and naturally wanted to get my hands on the rest of the novels that Charlaine Harris wrote. So when I got “Sweet and Deadly” as a gift from my parents, I was very excited. It wasn’t until I was actually reading the book that I realized not all of Harris’s novels are at the same level.

That being said, “Sweet and Deadly” is a stand alone novel where the main character, Catherine Linton returns to her hometown of Lowfield, Mississippi six months after her parents were killed in a car crash that Catherine is convinced was not an accident. When she stumbles upon a body Catherine becomes more determined than ever to find whoever killed her parents and bring them to justice. The writing in this novel is very choppy and the entire time that I was reading it I felt that it must have been one of the first books that Harris wrote because of the amateur feel to it. Now while I did need to keep guessing until the end as to who the killer was, I felt the book was not great in so many ways. As I stated before, the writing was very choppy and the plot felt kind of rushed. I am glad that this wasn’t the first book that I read by her because I probably would not have picked up anything else had that been the case. I would have missed out on all of the great series that she has since composed.

Would I recommend this book? Not really. I doubt that anyone who read anything by Harris beforehand would enjoy “Sweet and Deadly” and anyone who had not read anything by Harris would most likely not want to read anything else by her after reading “Sweet and Deadly”. Not a great book.

Becky’s Fifty-Seventh Book Review: “The Stand” by Stephen King

It has been a long time since I’ve written a review. I am aware of this. The reason behind it was the book that I was reading was just shy of 1500 pages. In case you didn’t know, that is a lot!! The book that I just finished reading was Stephen King’s “The Stand”. This is regarded by many Stephen King fans as his best work and Stephen King shares that opinion as well, at least according to his “On Writing”.

 

 The reason that I started to read this particular Stephen King book is that I was reading “On Writing” and throughout the book Stephen King uses various examples of his own work and the process that he went through to produce such works. Stephen King was covering writer’s block in “On Writing” and mentioned how when he was writing “The Stand” he had gotten roughly 400 pages written and got stuck. Since he had already invested so much time in his book he didn’t want to just abandon it and then he got to talking about how he came up with the ideas for the rest of the book. I don’t want to give them away, but when he was talking about this I realized that I had to read “The Stand” before I could continue to read “On Writing”. So that is just what I did.

 

“The Stand” is Stephen King’s tale of a flu epidemic that spreads when one man escapes from a testing facility resulting in 99% of the population to die. After this devastation, two groups form under two different leaders. The ‘good guys’ follow Mother Abigail who is 108 years old and “still makes her own biscuits”. Mother Abigail believes that she is following the word of God and leads people, both in person and through prophetic dreams to Bolder, Colorado. Then on the other side are the ‘bad guys’ led by a man known as Randall Flagg or the Walking Dude or The Dark Man. He sets up in Las   Vegas, Nevada. Both Mother Abigail and Randall Flagg have the ability to send messages out into the world via dreams. Dreams are the big connection between the survivors. All of them have always been big dreamers and they share the same dreams of Mother Abigail and The Dark Man.

 

The way that Stephen King writes his story is through the perspective of many different characters. Frannie Goldsmith and Nick Andros were my favorites. Other characters who helped to tell the story include Mother Abigail, Stu Redman, Larry Underwood, Trashcan Man, Lloyd Henreid, Harold Lauder, and Randall Flagg to name a few. I really do like this technique and have used it myself, the only down side is you get really caught up in one character and then you have to wait to find out what happens next. I guess that is the whole point.

 

In “The Stand” there is the obvious fight of good vs. evil or Mother Abigail vs. Randall Flagg. There are more subtle struggles throughout the novel as well. People are learning how to behave in a world where there is nothing and everything. There is no electricity, no government, no normalcy and at the same time “everything is lying around waiting to be picked up”. The lack of electricity isn’t because it hasn’t been discovered, but is because those who were in charge of making sure that everyone had it are gone. Stephen King paints a horrible picture with his novel. This is not because he is a bad writer, quite the contrary, but the events that he invents in his mind are frightening because of how easily it really could happen.

 

I wouldn’t recommend “The Stand” to everyone. I know that the average person cannot get through a 1500 page book easily. Plus if you’re not a Stephen King fan then you definitely wouldn’t enjoy “The Stand”. For those of you who enjoy reading the insane things that come out of Stephen King’s mind—it is a must read. It may just be my favorite Stephen King book (although I still haven’t read them all).