Reviewed: Cleopatra: A Life

Cleopatra: A LifeCleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was all kinds of disappointing. When I saw Stacy Schiff on The Jon Stewart Show discussing the book I was really excited to read it and requested it from my library straight away.

Unfortunately, rather than getting a interesting book about the life of Cleopatra I ended up with a poorly written and editted book about Rome and Caesar and Marc Antony.

I couldn’t believe how much this book was about Rome. I understand Rome was a part of Cleopatra’s life but many of the chapters were irrelevant to her. I was so happy when Caesar finally died but then the book became all about Marc Antony instead and you know what? I think I’d love to read a book about him but that isn’t why I chose to read this book.

I found it very hard to read and stay interested. I had to re-read pararaphs to grasp what Schiff actually meant.

Overall a frustrating and dull read.

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Reviewed: Bright Young Things

Bright Young ThingsBright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was so excited to begin reading this book. It was a return to my guilty pleasure; YA fiction which was a nice change from all of the classics I’ve been reading.

Unfortunately, Bright Young Things is written in the new YA style, that is the bad style or as I like to call it the “Stephanie Meyer style”. It is quite sad these days to go to the bookstore and check out the YA shelf to find that most of the new titles are about vampires and guardian angels and werewolves and everything supernatural. I yearn for the days of coming of age titles where there was no mystery or murder and no one had any super powers. I blame Twilight for this! Curse you Stephanie Meyer!

Fortunately for me, Bright Young Things didn’t include too many Topaz eyes or irresistible scents and had something that resembled a plot so I was able to finish it and not feel like I had wasted my time.

Bright Young Things is set in 1929 and is the story of Cordelia and Letty who have run away from hicksville (Union, Ohio) to the Big smoke (Manhattan) to become famous! For me, everything falls into place far to easily. The girls barely have to try to get settled even though they had never seen anything like Manhattan before.

For me, Cordelia’s chapters are the hardest too take. I really couldn’t stand the character or the decisions she made and I found myself wishing for a Letty or Astrid bit with every new paragraph. I was really cheering on Letty though and hoping everything would work out for her.

I loved the setting. 1920’s America has always held a bit of a fascination for me and I think I’d love to go back in time and be a Flapper. It seemed like such a good age to be alive… until the depression that is. But, luckily for me, Bright Young Things doesn’t go there and keeps us in the Roaring Twenties… for now anyway. I kind of can’t wait for the sequel!

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Reviewed: Sense and Sensibility

Sense and SensibilitySense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think is my favourite Austen title I have read to date. The language wasn’t as hard and he characters were likeable.

Sense and Sensibility is the story of two sisters whose situation changes drastically at the beginning of the book. As with most Austen it is about exploring their character flaws but overcoming them in the name of love.

Initially, I found Elinor a bit dull but as her narrative continued I found myself liking her the most. She was caring and sensible and tried her hardest to make Marianne see a bit more than what was directly in front of her. I liked that she could change her first impressions.

Generally, I struggle to read Austen for long periods but Sense and Sensibility pulled me in and I just wanted and needed to know how it ended and was there a happy ending for our lovely sisters.

This one will definitely go onto the bookshelf.

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Reviewed: No Chopsticks Required

No Chopsticks RequiredNo Chopsticks Required by Katrina Beikoff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book completely surprised me and left me a bit shocked. It is the account of the authors year in Shanghai and what she experienced.

I thought it was a great read to get an idea on life in China has a foreigner and the roadblocks that can get in the way. It made me really a bit scared of ever gong or living there. Everything is so strict and children appear to be treated like robots.

One disappointment was the author, I got more and more frustrated that she lived there a year and didn’t appear to try and pick up the language. Her kids (2 and 4) were needed to translate for her! I just feel like if you’re going to live in a country where you don’t speak the language you need to actually give it a try instead of complaining about the language barrier every 5 pages.

It could have been more interesting and I think it might have been if they were able to integrate with the locals more but overall it was quite an enjoyable read.

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Reviewed: Jane Eyre

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the style of this book. I was concerned that given the time period it was written in it would be hard to understand and I’d have to read each page 5 times to understand what was happening. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do that… although Jane did tend to ramble on occasion and I felt like skipping parts.

I loved the beginning of this book, of learning about Jane and all the trials she had to get through but eventually everything started getting a bit unreal. I found myself enjoying the book but finding it a little too unbelievable. Some of the events were so unlikely that I couldn’t imagine even one of them happening to someone let alone someone having all of them happen to her.

I would definitely read this again but I won’t take it as seriously.

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