Sunday, June 28, 2009

Names My Sisters Call Me by Megan Crane

2 Star

Sisters Courtney, Norah and Raine Cassel haven't all been on speaking terms since middle sister, Raine, managed to ruin the eldest Norah's wedding several years ago.  But now the youngest, Courtney is announcing her engagement and wants to unify the family for her wedding.  Traveling to San Fransisco to reconnect with Raine, she realizes there are many emotions she has yet to process and isn't sure they will be a Cassel sister reunion after all.  

Lydia - 2 Star

Unfortunately Names My Sisters Call Me fell short for me, unlike some of Megan Crane's previous works which I’ve enjoyed. I don’t have any sisters, only brothers and family conflict is virtually unheard of in my family, so worried it was because of this that I was unable to relate, but sadly, Kathryn felt the same way and she has a sister although also has no family drama. We’re both quite lucky in this regard, but have read many a novel in which family qualms and conflict become relatable or at the very least, enjoyable to read, but unfortunately this was not the case with this novel.

I could not relate to the story line or characters, nor did I really like any of the characters other than her fiancĂ©, and couldn’t see for the life of me why she starting questioning her relationship. The plot, although it wrapped up for me in the end and explained the main Courtney’s motivations, also fell short for me.

Kathryn - 2 Star

I have really enjoyed other novels by Megan Crane but found Names My Sisters Call me a bit more difficult to love. The three sisters are completely different personalities and I couldn’t really see myself as any of them which made relating impossible at first. My sister (although completely unlike me) doesn’t have the need to push my buttons at every turn which seems to be a common way for other sisters to relate! I also found the “ex” really unpleasant and so couldn’t really relate to why the protagonist was interested or even thinking of him anymore. Her fiancĂ© was so much more interesting and I almost wish her ex had been more comparable so as to make me relate more to her dwelling on him.

I soon realized that I wouldn’t be seeing my own sisterly relationship anywhere in the story and so I was able to start to appreciate each sister’s qualities and, don’t worry, there is eventually a reason for her being drawn back to her ex that becomes clear. All in all it moves quickly and with purpose which made it fun to read. I also found the protagonist and her cello ties really interesting and this was actually where I found her to be most relatable to me (even though I don’t play an instrument with skill at all!). Towards the end you do feel closer to her and for anyone who has a sister who isn’t quite like them this story will probably ring a lot of bells and make you laugh. Despite all of this though, it was definitely not my favourite read.

Connect with Megan Crane:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner

4.5 Star

In this sequel to Weiner's Good In Bed, we find Candace Shapiro and husband, Peter, married and raising preteen daughter, Joy. While Cannie is attempting to move forward with her writing career, Joy starts to question everything, including her mother's first book and wants to spend more time with her father, Bruce, as she turns into a quiet and rebellious teen. Then Peter decides he wants to have a baby, throwing yet another curve Cannie's way. Can she juggle it all, curbing Joy's rebellion and then try to do it all over again? 

Lydia - 5 Star

I absolutely loved Good in Bed which is one of my favourite chick lit books so was worried about the sequel, but found that Certain Girls did not fall short. I loved it just as much and I was definitely not disappointed. I did find the alternating narrative distracting at first, but once I got used to it, I was hooked. I thought Cannie’s journey with her daughter was touching and moving and the insight into a thirteen year old girl’s mind was interesting not to mention frightening, and so much like I remembered it!

Although Good in Bed made me laugh frequently right from the start, I found that Certain Girls didn’t make me laugh out loud until I was well over 100 pages in, and then the laughs came frequently, until of course the tears (I am a sap, and cry at most things).

The ending was not what I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. Anything too predictable becomes boring, so I enjoyed this. The plot moved along quickly and I enjoyed the story that unfolded and really cared about the characters, all of which are signs of a great book.

My rating is 5 Stars and it is now one of my favourites. I found it irresistible, not to mention incredibly hard to put down, and is a roller coaster of laughter and tears that only Jennifer Weiner can provide.

Kathryn - 4 Star

Certain Girls is the sequel to Jennifer Weiner’s Good in Bed and I think I enjoyed it more than the first - which I’ve found is not always the case with sequels. There is just something about the way Certain Girls is the story written from both the perspective of the mother and her daughter (now 13!) that appealed to me from the beginning.

Perhaps I related to Cannie as a mother as I have just had my first daughter and am already trying not to panic about raising a teenage girl in a few years time! Strangely enough, despite the bizarre thoughts we read of the daughter’s, I actually think I was calmed a bit and made me think about how I can try to be a better mother to a daughter. It’s also made me appreciate my own mother more!

Certain Girls made me laugh and made me cry and made me incredibly frustrated a times. Then again, who knows what their kids are up to? My parents didn’t always know! And I was a good kid! Mostly.

This is one sequel that is certainly worth the read.

Connect with Jennifer Weiner here:



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