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review 2017-07-01 23:28
A light, fun, and dynamic story set in the 1920s, particularly recommended to those with an adventurous and playful spirit.
Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story - Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I was the lucky winner of this book as part of a promotion the author run on her blog, Teagan’s Books and I freely chose to review it.

I have been a follower of the author’s blog for several years, although I was not following her when she wrote this serial. Teagan Geneviene is a fascinating and versatile writer. I have read her novel Atonement, Tennessee (check my review here) that is a magical experience, full of finesse, beauty, and attention to detail, evidently the fruit of a lot of thought, careful planning, research, and revision. On the other hand, she is also able to produce her legendary serials. She starts with an idea, or an image, and asks the readers of her blog to contribute certain elements. These might be things (objects, words, concepts), foods, words related to a certain era… She links each one of the posts to the blog of the contributor, and progressively builds up her story, going wherever the three things (foods, objects, or whatevers) and her imagination take her. Although, as I’ve said before, I wasn’t following the author’s blog when she wrote this serial, I have met the main character, Pip in a later serial and I have followed several others, some with familiar characters and a recent one with different characters, and more in the steampunk style. Unsurprisingly, they have a big following and the authors keeps her followers (and I suspect, herself) guessing where the story is going to go next.

Many of the readers of her blog had asked her to publish the serials in book format and finally, she obliged.

Anybody reading the description of this volume will get a sense of how it came into being. The story has a wonderful sense of time (the jazzy 1920s, brilliant, young, full of flappers, parties, movies, and excitement) and it is told in the first person by Pip, a young woman transplanted from the South to the big city, with a huge imagination and an endless curiosity that gets her involved in all kinds of adventures, including but not limited to: kidnappings, rides in fire trucks, romances, secret coded messages, international intrigues, hidden treasures… Pip also has a wonderful turn of phrase (she never swears, at least not as we understand it, and there is no bad language in the book, although she uses her own expressions that colour her language and readers will come to love) and believes she is a very modern woman, although she is less savvy and cool than she would like to believe.

This is a short novel, quick, fast and full of adventures that will delight readers of all ages and will not offend those worried about bad language, erotica or graphic violence. Although in this format readers do not have access to the wonderful images, fruit of the author’s research, which illustrate her blog posts, it does offer continuity and an easier to follow story that will keep readers on their toes. It has elements of historical fiction, of mystery (although not by design, it could fit into the cozy mystery category), and a few touches of romance (or rather, romantic interest).

Although this work is too short to fully demonstrate the author’s abilities, it does give the readers a taste of her sense of fun and adventure, and it introduces a character that will become a close friend in series to come. As an exercise, I would suggest you try and put yourselves in the author’s shoes and every time you start to read a new chapter, headed by the three things, try and imagine how you would use those three words to continue the tale. I am sure you’ll be even more amazed at the story.

The author is working on turning some of her other serials into books, so if you enjoy this one, there are more delights to come your way. And, do not forget to check Atonement, Tennesse.

Recommended to anybody looking for a light, fun, and dynamic story set in the 1920s, particularly those with an adventurous and playful spirit.

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review 2017-02-21 15:38
Chick Lit + Sadness = Really Works
Three Amazing Things About You - Jill Mansell

Well this is the first Mansell book I have loved. I think the reason why though is that we follow three separate couples/groups and then we get to see how in the world they all connect up with each other at the end. I maybe cried a bit too when I got to certain parts. I will say that I didn't buy the character of Flo getting along with her boyfriend's sister towards the end of the book. She (Lena) I found to be terrible. I don't know if I could have been so forgiving due to an accident that I still feel was Lena's fault. Either way though, I liked how the story moved months and then months again. We definitely get a sense of time passing and people growing up.

 

"Three Amazing Things About You" follows Hallie, Tasha, and Flo. These three women are thinly connected and until almost the end of the book, you don't understand why Mansell told the story the way she does.

 

Hallie has cystic fibrosis and knows that due to her condition that she does not have long to live. Her condition causes her to miss out on things that she yearns for like the ability to travel all over the world and just to walk without getting winded. What I really did like about Hallie though, is that she has her own blog where she gives out advice to her followers/readers. Due to Hallie's age though, I have to say that this whole thing with a 20 year old person giving out sage advice rung hollow for me. I have to call Dawson Creek levels of shennigans here. My friends and I say that all the time to each other when we read a book or watch a movie with a character who is young and dying and is full of wisdom about everything around them. Did I get a kick out of Hallie's column? Yes. Did I find it believable? Not a bit. I also found her responses to some readers to be harsh too.

 

Tasha is single and I am going to say it, picky as anything regarding what guy she will date. I am too though, so I actually cheered her for this. Out of the women we follow, I have to say that Tasha was my favorite. Tasha ends up having a fun meet-cute with a guy named Rory. She doesn't think she will see him again, but luckily for her, Rory can't get her out of his mind and arranges to see her again. These two quickly start throwing around the "L" word and both know they have found the one they want to be with. However, these two are complete opposites. Tasha likes to be safe and worries a lot about Rory who drives a motorcycle, rock climbs, and seems to be a total adrenaline junkie. Both Tasha and Rory's best friends think the couple is doomed though since they don't have a lot in common. There was a couple of moments there that I thought I knew where Mansell was going with Tasha and Rory, but glad to be proven wrong.

 

Flo is a carer at a retirement home. She ended up working for an elderly woman who of course lavished all of her love on her cat (yep, catlady). When the woman dies, she leaves the cat to Flo with the condition that Flo can leave in her flat as long as the cat lives. This of course ticks off the great niece and great nephew (brother and sister Zander and Lena). Flo though finds herself becoming more attracted to Zander even though Lena does her best to break them up.

 

There are a few secondary characters heads we get into while reading. We get to see Rory's and Zander's POV a few times throughout the story. I wish Mansell had included them more too since a lot comes up because of these two men. We also get Hallie's doctor, Luke's, POV as well. We actually get more of Luke which I thought was a shame since I think the women and men in this book all meet because of one character, and I wish we get more insight into that person.

 

We also get some secondary characters like Hallie's best friend, Tasha's best friend, etc. that don't come off very well while I was reading. I think it was because we had whole things revealed about them that you get told about later. It would have been nice if that was included while reading instead of being told, why yes, I have been doing X this whole time.

 

The writing was pretty good. The plot I will leave out since it will spoil you on the ending. The flow for this one was a lot better than previous Mansell books though. I think telling this in three separate stories works for this book. Usually Mansell has a huge cast of characters you are supposed to follow who all know each other, are lying about something, or are sneaking around. It's too much to be believed at times.

 

The setting of this book with the small villages and other locations (Hallie's home, Flo's flat, etc.) were very well done. I could picture each place perfectly in my head.

The ending really ties everything up. I was glad that Mansell actually wrote what I would consider a more mature chick-lit. You still get the romance side of things, but we also get to see something realistic and you get to see how one person's of HEA could be someone else's tragedy.

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text 2017-01-07 04:42
January Haul!
The Land of 10,000 Madonnas - Kate Hattemer
Tell Me Three Things - Julie Buxbaum
Specials - Scott Westerfeld
Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick
City of Glass - Cassandra Clare

Have you guys read any of these?

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review 2016-12-02 12:00
A Touching Story to Remember
Three Amazing Things About You - Jill Mansell

There are way more than three amazing things about this book. Actually, too many to count! Jill Mansell has written an absolutely charming tale about several people whose lives all intersected in spectacular and astonishing ways. With her trademark hints of humor and emotional integrity, this proved to be a touching story to remember.

‘Don’t be sad that it’s over, be glad that it happened.’

I adore Jill Mansell’s writing style. She has a way of spinning a story that is lush with intriguing characters and filled with their honest reactions. Never has that been more true than with Three Amazing Things About You. I will admit that it took me a little while to get the gist of who each person was and how they related to the story overall (there were a lot of characters) but once I did I couldn’t put this book down. I found their individual situations all equally interesting and when they started crossing paths with one another, it made things even more compelling.

 

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review 2016-10-23 18:44
Let me tell you how great this book is
Tell Me Three Things - Julie Buxbaum

I can’t stop crying and my heart is full of such joy. One of my top reads of the year. What I loved about this story is that in a book about loss, it is really about hope. Buxbaum deftly weaves comedy and tragedy, perfectly capturing not only teen voices but the experience of loss and grief. However, the book is funny and sweet and lovely.

 

One of the highest compliments I can pay this book is how real all the characters sound. From the first page, I was rooting for Jessie to be okay. It’s not an easy road that she has to travel, and what I loved about the journey is that each relationship is measured in the tiniest of fragile baby steps. That felt so right and true to me.

 

A one sitting read. And for those of you who have never dipped your toe in YA pool, pick up Tell Me Three Things and come on in, because the water is fine.

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