Tag Archives: Fiction

Review: Luckiest Girl Alive (audio)

Luckiest Girl Alive

Luckiest Girl Alive (audio)
By Jessica Knoll (Read by Madeleine Maby)
Simon & Schuster Audio | ISBN 9781442380516 | May 2015

*No spoilers*

The Short of It:

How important is it to be perfect? What if it’s all a lie?

The Rest of It:

On the outside, twenty-nine year old Ani FaNelli has everything a woman could want. She’s gorgeous, is about to marry a handsome guy, has a glamorous magazine job, and everyone she knows seems to envy her. So what’s her problem?

Ani used to be known as Tiffany and when she was younger and attending a prestigious private school something happened to her that changed her life forever.  Now, right before her wedding, she is forced to deal with those events from the past and her world comes crashing down around her.

I read online that Reese Witherspoon plans to direct a movie based on this book. She’s been doing this a lot lately and seems to have a good sense for what makes a good movie. So when I was offered this book to review, I quickly snatched it up.  What I did not do though, was read anything about the story so I went into it cold. I wanted to be surprised.

I was surprised.

That said, there is a certain element of suspense that keeps you reading. It’s kind of like Gone Girl in that you want to keep reading. I mention it because it’s being compared to Gone Girl but they are very different in tone and the stories are nothing alike.

What I did not care for was the shallowness of the main character. Once I found out what her deal was, I empathized with her but not to the point of liking her. In the end, I came around somewhat and felt that the story came full circle but too much of the first half was spent on descriptive details regarding looks and well, just frivolous details, really.

On a technical note, I listened to the audio version and I can’t say enough about Simon & Schuster Audio. I’ve listened to a lot of audio books and so many of them have issues with the recording itself but I never have any issues with Simon & Schuster and the readers always seem to be spot on with their delivery.

In summary, once you get past the first half, the story really takes off but the main character’s shallowness held me back from really liking it.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.

Review: All The Light We Cannot See

All The Light We Cannot See

All The Light We Cannot See
By Anthony Doerr
(Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781476746586, May 2014, 531pp.)

The Short of It:

An absorbing story but not as riveting as I had hoped it to be.

The Rest of It:

This story is basically about two people, Marie-Laure,  a blind girl living with her father in France before the German occupation of France and Werner Pfenning, a young German boy, orphaned and living with his sister Jutta in a home for orphaned children.

Marie-Laure’s father is the key holder of the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, which is where a gemstone called the Sea of Flame is kept safe, at least for a time  Much of the story is about this stone and its whereabouts because in order to protect it, fake stones are handed out for safekeeping, the protectors unsure which stone is in fact the real gem.

As Marie-Laure tries to survive in France while her father is away, Werner has been chosen to attend an elite school for the Third Reich. His knack with all things electronic, primarily radios and how they work, make him a coveted asset to the Third Reich.

As you can imagine, the two stories intersect at some point and when they do, you can’t help but be swept up by it all. Marie-Laure is blind but a lover of books; books which are mentioned often in the novel itself. In between the serious bits, are fantastical parts of the story that lessen its blow somewhat, but at the same time, made it slightly unrealistic for me.

It’s not fantasy. I want to be clear about that but Doerr’s delivery lends a fantastical nature to the story. There’s a hidden room behind a wardrobe, a secret grotto, miniature houses,  and to me, it smacked of convenience (a little bit) and took me out of the story a few times.

We read this for book club and everyone enjoyed it, as did I. Maybe the hype of winning the Pulitzer had me thinking it would be a little more than what it was.  Not sure but it fell a little flat for me and I found myself skimming towards the end.

Overall, it was a good read but there were times where I found myself questioning the events that took place and each time that happened, I was pulled out of the story. It read like a screenplay. Very visual, and that part I enjoyed quite a bit. I thought it had been optioned for a movie but surprisingly,  I don’t think that has happened yet.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Source: Borrowed
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