Romance, Young Adult

PWNED by Matt Vancil

Reid is getting ready to propose to Astrid, his stunning girlfriend. But she will barely even look up from her game, Fartherall Online, and doesn’t even remember their anniversary. Then Reid gets very drunk and does something stupid to try and get her attention that causes her Guild to lose a raid they have been planning and working on all month. When he wakes up again the next morning she’s just gone. He does the only thing he can think of. He makes an account in Fartherall Online to try to find her. In the game his name is Noob, and he sure lives up to it. He makes friends and enemies and an admin promises to find Astrid’s info for him if he can complete an impossible Quest. So he gets to work…

This is a really gripping book, The adventures are epic video game level and the characters are incredibly human. I loved it, I found it because Matt vancil created two of my favorite shows JouneyQuest and The Gamers. I was ecstatic, but not surprised, to discover that his stories are just as amazing without actors to translate them. Seriously, I’m writing this at work and I’m glad it’s a slow day because I was up until 3:30 a.m. unable to put it down.


Humor, Romance

Eleanor Oliphant is just fine by Gail Honeyman

I loved this book I loved this odd, quirky character Eleanor. Written in Eleanor voice you laugh, feel compassion and sorrow for this woman. Raised in numerous foster homes she is intelligent, speaks perfectly and has a relegated structured life. She fights severe depression. She has no friends and is fine. Life begins to change for her as the IT person at work Raymond enters her life. Eleanor lacks a filter and says exactly what she feels that can and does lead to awkward social situations. Getting a Brazilian wax was hysterical. You can’t help enjoying Eleanor.



Cowboy Pride by Lacy Williams

So this is Pride and Prejudice, as a western. I enjoyed it, it was funny and light. Sometimes the dialogue was almost exactly out of Pride and Prejudice, like when Lydia and Kitty say that Bingley should throw a ball, (although in this one the ball is a barn-raising instead.) And some things get changed around, like Collins is not their cousin and he’s already married to Charlotte who is pregnant. So it skips that bit of subplot but it means that when the baby is born they have a reason to ask Liza to come help with their store, (instead of Lizzie visiting because of her class- women would routinely do long social visits.) Different times / settings call for different motives.
One of the things this book does differently is that it follows all the main characters and not just Elizabeth, instead of just hearing what happened with them secondhand later. So you get to see Darcy talk to Bingley about Bingley not thinking Jane was interested, and hear his thoughts as Darcy’s falling for Liza. Also the confrontation with Wickham is something you actually get to see (which, incidentally, the book also addresses some of the problems with.) Overall I like that choice, but it wasn’t always perfect.
I won’t claim this book is amazing literature, but it is really enjoyable, especially if you know the original book pretty well.


Historical, Romance

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This book was recommended by a friend. Jane Austen’s book is a commentary on the landed gentry of her time, the late 18th century. It is interesting as a window on the thoughts, manners, and attitudes of the English upper class, many of which have recognizable echoes in present-day America. It’s also a good read.
Watching the movie starring Keira Knightley is a great introduction to the basic plot of the book.



How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

I heard about this book through the Revels, and I really enjoyed it. It successfully weaves together several different people’s stories without them feeling disjointed. They all have their relationships, their will-they-won’t-they’s. And they all have their connection to the book shop. Like one as a customer, one sent to sabotage the new owner, who is just taking over after her father’s death, there’s also the lover of said father, and a shoplifter turned consultant. The author successfully makes all the storylines be unique and has separate tone while still wrapping it all together in one book.
There was even an adorable little title drop at the end that actually made me smile instead of rolling my eyes like they usually do. Thank you!

Fantasy, Romance

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Love, love, love this book. As soon as I finished the last line, I wanted to reread it. I like books with a little magic worked into real life. The author made these characters so real. There was comedy and tragedy, love and true heartbreak, hope and despair. The prose is exquisite. Hoffman knows how to create atmosphere and worlds. Trying to decide whether to reread it right now, then go on to Practical Magic, or to read Practical Magic first. Such a delicious conundrum to ponder.


Romance, Young Adult

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith


What would happen, what would you do if the joke-gift of a lottery ticket that you give to your best friend, the one you have a secret crush on, hits the jackpot? Alice’s life has had a rocky start and now she’s facing some big life decisions like college and what to do about the guy she pines for, when suddenly millions and millions of dollars change everything in her life… again. An interesting premise, but too often the plot falls back on time-worn cliches found in many young-love novels. And the main character’s diffidence and indecisiveness too often comes across as irritating. An entertaining read, nonetheless, in spite of a few flaws.