Helpful votes received on reviews: 88% (7 of 8)


Top Reviewer Ranking: 585,828 - Total Helpful Votes: 7 of 8
Maine by Courtney Sullivan
Maine by Courtney Sullivan
4.0 out of 5 stars Sharp escapism, 26 Sep 2012
This is one of those books that you can just sink into. Courtney Sullivan does a great job of bringing you into the world of the Kelleher family and others like them. That's not to say that it's easy to feel much empathy for several of the characters. For the most part, Alice is cold, and Kathleen can be very irritating. For me the real star was the flawed - and sometimes pathetic - Annmarie. Even though she's a delusional snob there's something endearing about her attempts to distance herself from her rough upbringing. To use an old phrase, she's more to be pitied than blamed.
The main reservation I have with Maine is one that has been pointed to by other reviewers - the back stories… Read more
Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand
Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre, 23 Sep 2012
This was my first time reading an Elin Hilderbrand book, and I can't really see myself trying another one. Many of the characters - eg Penny, Ava, Hobby - were very one-dimensional. I guessed why Penny was so worked up but was convinced I must be wrong because that hardly seemed like an adequate explanation for her extreme actions.
Ordinarily I like books with several different viewpoints, but here some of them felt a bit out of place. In particular, the sections where we are supposed to see events from the point of view of the rest of the island's residents seemed very clunky. Also, the relentless dropping of place names and restaurant and bar names was over the top. Disappointing.
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and smart, 22 Sep 2012
A lot of authors go to such huge efforts to make their characters likable that it's great to come across a book where everybody is pretty vile. The interesting thing is, the more loathsome they become the more you want to read about them. Some of the dialogue is laugh-out-loud funny and some of the observations are very sharp. I particularly enjoyed the section where Winn is looking back on how the wealthy managed to avoid going to Vietnam. Most of his fellow students seemed even more repellent than him!
I do have a couple of reservations. There is a little too much looking back - Winn's obsession with his father gets tedious at times. The second reservation is more fundamental… Read more