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The 'B' List. A look at the beautiful things in life. This blog is devoted to that list. Join me on the journey, why don't you?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sweet Valley Confidential and Big Girl

I had been meaning to take Sweet Valley Confidential out of the library for weeks now, and then, one day, I open my mailbox and it's there! No joke. Turns out I forgot I entered a contest for an advanced readers copy a couple months ago, and I guess I won, because it was sitting in the little box screaming - "Read Me!" If you grew up in the 80's like me, you must remember Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley U and all those other associated titles. Sweet Valley Confidential just came out, and it is "the long-awaited conclusion" to the series. It starts off in New York, where Elizabeth Wakefield is living and working at a small theatre magazine. Why isn't she in Sweet Valley, California? What did her twin sister Jessica do to drive her away? It is the answer to those two questions that sets the premise for the book and the incredible heartache and twists and turns that follow.

Overall, if you're a fan of the original series, you will probably like this book as it's meant to be nostalgic and hit our generation, but there are a few discrepancies. Jessica's personality seems to have changed a bit (she speaks inordinately like a "valley girl" which can get a bit much at times). The Epilogue, which is nice as it revisits old characters sounds a bit like a roll call, and the family dinner scene at the end is definitely supposed to be explosive, but in all honestly, it comes across like a trashy episode of Jerry Springer. Not like what I remember from the series. But overall, it is a quick read and a nice revisit to Sweet Valley.

Once in awhile, I like to read a Danielle Steel. I find her books quick, lively, and surprisingly absorbing. Big Girl, which got many negative reviews from others, actually hit the mark with me. It follows the life of Victoria Dawson, who eventually moves across the country to New York to follow her dream of teaching, while getting away from her narcissistic and hurtful parents. Victoria isn't terribly "big" (she vacillates from a size 10-16) but she feels worse because her parents make her feel worthless. Her journey after leaving them also consists of struggling to find and accept herself - difficult to do when she's felt otherwise her whole life. I found this story to host a complex cast of characters and enjoyed the journey through the first 30 years of Victoria's life (this may have something to do with the fact I just turned 30 as well).

Well, the summer is 2/3 of the way gone, but I still want to get through a few more books before September comes calling and my program gets underway again and I get lost in my dissertation proposal!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A good week, book-wise...

Well, three books this week. I've been a busy little bee. Ok, so only one of them falls under chick-lit technically, but I will explain why I chose the other two as well.

While I was at the library (apparently, my new favorite spot, especially since this is a very lean summer for me, money-wise) my eye fell on The Stepford Wives. First, it was in the general fiction section; second, I didn't know the movie was based on a book and third, I never saw the movie, but thought it was girly, you know, and fun. I didn't know it was a thriller or that it contained robot-women. However, it still was a great read, and fast, I read it all in one go.

Second was The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I also saw this at the library, and snapped it up, because when I was browsing a chick-lit website a few months back, they had a giveaway for this book. But it turns out it is definitely more fiction than chick-lit, and a bit existential and all that (reminded me of James Joyce with all the no quotation marks when characters speak). This follows the main character, Rose, from when she was a little girl until she is in her twenties. Rose has this uncanny ability to taste emotion in what she eats, so when her mom makes her lemon cake, she tastes sadness, and that's where the story unfolds. It was a really unique read, as the characters seemed real, but there were extraordinary things going on. If you think the food thing is neat, wait until you see what her brother can do.

And last was something I pulled on a whim from the library shelf: Got You Back, by Jane Fallon. This is the "true" chick-lit for the week, and it was something that many chick lit books touch on, but don't pick apart - infidelity. James is married to Stephanie, who lives in London, but is also dating Katie who lives in a small English town. When Stephanie and Katie find out about each other, they don't get mad (at each other, that is) they get even with James. The twists and turns show that infidelity is always riddled with complications and surprises - about oneself and others. Definitely recommended - on of the best parts is how one of the characters goes a bit off the deep end, a la Fatal Attraction.

So, lots of reading fun I had this week!