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Search tags: slumming-it-disparity-in-class-or-social-standing
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review 2016-07-29 18:48
"It Happened One Midnight" by Julie Anne Long
It Happened One Midnight - Julie Anne Long

I have been slowly working my way through the Pennyroyal Green series for years, and finding it extremely uneven. I've loved some of them (Perils of Pleasure, A Notorious Countess Confesses), hated some of them (Since the Surrender, Between the Devil and Ian Eversea), and been just "meh" about most of the rest. This one falls in the "Meh" category. The characters are likable enough, the dialogue is snappy, the plot moves along at a reasonable clip, but still... meh.

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review 2016-03-08 15:38
"The Hostage" by Susan Wiggs
The Hostage - Susan Wiggs

I picked this up on sale a month or so ago because of the series premise: a quartet of finishing school girls get caught up in the swarm of humanity fleeing the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This first book in the series focuses on Deborah, the only daughter of one of the city's most wealthy men. During the fire, she is kidnapped and held for ransom by Tom Silver, a fisherman from Isle Royale who blames Deborah's father for the death of a loved one killed in an explosion at a mine her father owns.


Susan Wiggs is very, very good at setting a scene. The descriptions of the fire are masterful. The journey by water from Chicago, up through the locks at Sault Sainte Marie, and finally to the pine wilderness of Isle Royale is beautiful. The months of isolation during the winter on Isle Royale are simultaneously cozy and compelling, and desolate and lonely. I'm happy to have read the book just for the unique settings.


The romance fell flat for me. Deborah was too sheltered and too timid for my tastes. Tom was too much a stereotypical villain with a heart of gold. Their relationship was believable, albeit predictable (yet another kidnap victim falls in love with her captor), but it didn't connect with me emotionally.

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review 2016-02-15 01:14
"Act Like It" by Lucy Parker
Act Like It - Lucy V. Parker

I enjoyed the heck out of this book. I loved the smart, fast-paced, funny dialogue. I loved the British slang. I loved the London setting. I loved the sensible, intelligent, kind heroine and the cranky, misanthropic hero. I love discovering a new author I will definitely read again. I really loved that it only cost $0.99!


Lainie is an up-and-coming actress with a supporting role in a West End play, and work has become very awkward since her boyfriend-slash-onstage-love-interest got caught very publicly stepping out on her. This makes Lainie a sympathetic figure in the media, and the bosses at her theatre decide to capitalize on her newly-single, media-darling status to help polish the reputation of the actor who plays the show's villain, who has a bit of an anger management problem in real life. Richard is delightfully grumpy and gruff, which is only fun because Lainie doesn't waste time trying to please him. She does as she likes, and in time, he comes around to wanting to please her. 


Everything about this book was fun, and I loved that the setting and the language made  "Act Like It" different from everything else I've read lately. I loved the interplay between the characters' private relationship and their public personas as London theater celebrities. I loved that their work was an integral part of the plot. I loved how smart both Lainie and Richard are, and how they communicate like reasonable, responsible adults. I'll definitely be re-reading this one again soon!

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review 2016-01-20 20:26
"Take Me On" by Katie McGarry
Take Me On - Katie McGarry

I think some authors, in their zeal to avoid the cardinal sin of telling too much and showing too little, err on the side of brevity so much that they leave the reader hanging. This fourth installment of Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series, which I have totally devoured this week, is an example of such a book. This story has an interesting premise: both the hero and heroine are homeless, though by very different circumstances. Haley's family has been on a slow slide from lower middle class stability since her father lost his job, and they've been bouncing around from shelters and friends and finally settle in an overcrowded two bedroom house already occupied by Haley's mean-spirited and controlling uncle and his family. Meanwhile, West goes from being the pampered scion of Louisville's wealthiest family to living in the back of his car overnight when his rebellious behavior gets him kicked out of school, which is the last straw for his father, who kicks him out. There are so many issues this book could have explored about the similarities and differences between West and Haley's positions and their attitudes toward their shared circumstance, and it's not that the book didn't touch on these things... but it only touched on them, it didn't sink its teeth in.


That's true of so many of the subplots as well. There's a lot going on in this story: issues with Haley's family and West's family, Haley's history of domestic violence with an ex-boyfriend and the trauma associated with it, West's discovery of a deeply guarded secret regarding his past, West's sister's recovery from an almost fatal car accident, Haley's efforts to find a way to pay for college, Haley's history as a champion kickboxer (a sport she's walked away from) and West's introduction to that sport, a final confrontation between West and Haley's ex, and West's and Haley's developing feelings for each other. "Take Me On" deals with all of these things, but only glancingly. The plot skips right along, but all of these issues are too weighty to be addressed as summarily as they are. The whole book whet my appetite, but didn't satisfy.

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review 2016-01-19 17:48
"Crash into You" by Katie McGarry
Crash into You - Katie McGarry

My full-on glom of this YA series continues. This third installment focuses on Isaiah, who is about to age out of the foster care system. (Readers of prior books in the series will know Isaiah as the best friend of book one's hero, Noah, and the boy who was in unrequited love with book two's heroine, Beth.) Needing to come up with rent money, Isaiah enters his Mustang in an illegal street race, where he meets Rachel. Rachel is the precious daughter of one of Louisville's most privileged families, but when she can sneak out from under the parents' and brothers' overprotective thumbs, she likes to race. She winds up at the street race more or less by accident, because Plot.


When things at the race go sideways, Rachel and Isaiah end up indebted to a scary crime boss who will hurt/rape/kill them if they don't pay him back. (Also because Plot.) This makes them unlikely allies, who eventually become unlikely lovers. (Well, unlikely heavy petters, anyway -- this is YA.)


I was fond enough of Isaiah from the previous books to be excited to read his story, and mostly this didn't disappoint, though this whole series is a little angsty for my tastes. (Again, it is YA.) I thought Rachel's backstory was interesting and well done. (There are only so many ways you can make a "poor little rich girl" a sympathetic figure, and McGarry did well in taking an unexpected route.)


I really disliked the ending, which was abrupt and rather of the deus ex machina variety, but otherwise this book was fun. On to the next!

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