You know when you start a book and it’s just terrible? And you try to decide whether it’s a Did Not Finish, or whether you’ll stick it out? I’m experiencing that with this book right now.
First, though we rarely write reviews where we don’t recommend a book, I really can’t recommend this book UNLESS you really want a nice, New England-y story and you don’t care about the writing so much.
From the beginning Neggers pushes anxiety, worry and fear. I had no idea why everyone was running around scared, why a private investigator was hired, why certain characters showed such contrived reluctance to be transparent. Then when I finally sorted it all out, I was still confused why Neggers made such a big deal out of some very little issues.
Anyway, this book needs a rewrite. It could use streamlining, some re-organization, and some changes in how it begins. Big edits.
I’m sticking with it (currently at 60%) because I like to know how books end. And despite the disorder, I’m sort of invested in a couple of characters. 🙂
I’m always up for a few hundred pages of fun when they’re written by Jill Mansell. If you’ve never read her British chick lit, pick up Millie’s Fling or Staying at Daisy’s – my two Mansell faves. And if you’re already a fan, try Good at Games. It’s not Mansell’s best, but it IS unique and enjoyable.
Main character Suzy finds herself engaged to a man she doesn’t love – or even really like anymore. Meanwhile, Suzy has chemistry with his brother, she lives next door to her ex-husband, and takes in her long-lost half sister. Between the the love triangle, misunderstandings, and sneaking around, Good at Games is a comedy of errors that had my head spinning!
Though a little convoluted for my “fluff” tastes, this book gets thumbs up for fresh, fun characters and a happily ever after.
Sara flies from her home in Sweden to nowhereville, Iowa to visit a pen pal and fellow book lover, but when she arrives, nothing is as she expected. The people surprise her, the town isn’t much of a town at all, and her old standby — books — are hard to come by. So she makes a plan and makes some friends and puts the pieces of her life back together.
In the course of telling the story, Bivald writes in some contrivances that just made certain aspects of the plot too obviously fake to me. I also noticed that as I read I kept asking myself, “is that supposed to mean something?” Maybe Bivald wanted to integrate symbolism in places? But those were just two bumps in the road.
Most of the book went along quite smoothly, introducing the reader to some stereotypically exaggerated characters (the old maid, the gay guy, the town drunk) which, to me, made Sara seem all the more plain and subdued. But she surprises people and makes waves in her own way. 🙂
I really loved that Sara shared her love for reading in the best, most apt way possible. She shared herself through those books, and I could feel the other characters’ gratefulness.
The best part of the book was the happily ever after because it gave me that “sigh, everything is as it should be now” feeling. Settled. Which is something Sara only felt at the very end as well.
I love Kristan Higgins’ books – always have. She writes hilarious one-liners that provide comic relief when things get heavy. Higgins writes authentic, deep characters… people I feel like I know, even though they’re fictional.
Higgins’ Blue Heron series adds beautiful scenery and a vineyard backdrop to the mix. I almost feel like this series is a saga – generations of families, light politics, and family owned businesses play a big role.
Anything For You is number five in the series. Connor has been in love with Jessica forever, but even after a decade she holds him at arm’s length. Oh the angst, my friends. I mean, you know (hope) there will be a happily ever after, but for so long things are looking grim! I was tense in the shoulders waiting for the other shoe to drop. And drop it did, though not in the way Connor or Jessica or I imagined.
The love story rocked (in all its angst), the subplot of new employees at O’Rourke’s and the vineyard — totally hilarious, and the recurrence of past characters in cameos was precise, deliberate, and perfectly placed.
I’m just going to keep on loving these Blue Heron folks. Thanks, KH!