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Reviews Written by
Elizabeth Hendry (New Jersey USA)
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The Boy Next Door: A Novel
The Boy Next Door: A Novel
by Meg Cabot
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.36
95 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Light Reading, May 20 2003
Meggin Cabot's The Boy Next Door is a triumph of light reading--an amusing breezy novel that thankfully does not take itself too seriously. I admit, I was a bit hesitant when I discovered the format--a novel told completely in email--would that work? Well, it works and it works very well. The novel concerns a young, single New York woman who falls in love with a man pretending to be her next door neighbor's nephew. Not the most original plot in the world, but so what. The Boy Next Door is a lot of fun to read, very entertaining, lots of fun. If you are looking for a light, chick-lit-ish read, this is the perfect candidate. Enjoy.

The Dirty Girls Social Club: A Novel
The Dirty Girls Social Club: A Novel
by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Edition: Hardcover
66 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A Guilty Pleasure, May 19 2003
I have seen The Dirty Girls Social Club described in several places as a guilty pleasure and I have to agree with that assessment. The novel is fun and entertaining in a bubble gum-pop sort of way. The story concerns six Latina women in their late twenties--all close friends, to a certain extent--and their lives. It's a fun read, but afterwards, I had some criticism. The novel takes itself just a bit too seriously than the storyline merits. All of the characters are smashing career successes (at age 28!), yet all of them are failures in love. A bit of variation in their situations and perhaps a touch more lightheartedness would have improved the novel. Dirty Girls is not serious literature by any stretch of the imagination. What it is is a fun, amusing and entertaining read that is sure to please. Enjoy.

Adventures Of Miles And Isabel
Adventures Of Miles And Isabel
by Tom Gilling
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done, May 15 2003
The Adventures of Miles and Isabel is a well-written tale of two young Australians in the 1800s, born on the same night, to utterly different lives, who are linked through their devotion to flying. Both lead unconventional lives and thier paths seem to almost cross several times in the novel before they finally meet. This novel is enjoyable and just the right length for its whimsical focus. Have fun.

The Sniper's Wife: A Novel
The Sniper's Wife: A Novel
by Archer Mayor
Edition: Hardcover
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Thriller, May 13 2003
Archer Mayor's The Sniper's Wife is a gripping thriller and an enjoyable, compelling read. I have never read any of Mayor's novels before, so I cannot compare them to the rest of the Joe Gunther series, but as a newcomer, I thought this novel was excellent. Willy Kunkle is a man haunted by a number of ghosts, and at the outset of the novel, he gets a new ghost--his ex-wife, who is found dead of an apparent heroin overdose in New York City. Kunkle immediately heads to New York from Vermont to identify the body, but is immediately pulled into finding out the true cause of her death. Things don't add up for Kunkle and he embarks on a one man mission to discover what really happened. The novel reads like one of the better Law and Order episodes--you won't be able to put it down. Enjoy.

Shadow Without a Name
Shadow Without a Name
by Ignacio Padilla
Edition: Hardcover
21 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, May 12 2003
This review is from: Shadow Without a Name (Hardcover)
Things, and characters, are not ever what they seem in this excellent novel. The novel has four different narrators, each with a different version of reality. By the time the novel is over, the reader realizes that probably all of them were lying in their narratives for they certainly were all lying as they lived their lives. The novel opens with the story of two men on a train during World War I. One man is headed for the front, the other, for a cushy, safe railroad position. They play chess with high stakes. If the soldier wins, he claims the identity of the railway employee, if he loses, he kills himself. The name of the soldier, Thadeus Dreyer, changes hands several times in the novel. The man who is Dreyer ultimately organizes the Amphitryon Project during World War II, where doubles for high ranking nazis stand in for them at certain public events. The novel is intriguing and labarynth-like, and will have you questioning every word of each narrator in your search for "truth". An excellent read.

Derailed: A Novel
Derailed: A Novel
by James Siegel
Edition: Hardcover
43 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, May 6 2003
This review is from: Derailed: A Novel (Hardcover)
Derailed is an excellent, gripping page turner about a man whose life it turned upside down when he takes a later train to work one day. He meets a woman on this later train, and has an affair with her. In what may be seen as a thinly veiled homage to marital fidelity, our heroes life quickly spirals into hell as he attempts to consumate this affair. Murder, bribery, embezzlement, the list of evils he must face go on and on. While reading the book, I thougth I figured out where Siegel was headed--I was both right and wrong. I don't want to give away anything, but suffice it to say, the plot took interesting, unexpected and intriguing (yet still plausible) turns. Derailed is a clever, engaging story. You really won't be able to put it down. Enjoy.

The Accidental Virgin
The Accidental Virgin
by Valerie Frankel
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.02
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun, Amusing Read, May 2 2003
This review is from: The Accidental Virgin (Paperback)
The Accidental Virgin is a fun, breezy, amusing read--nothing to tax the intellect, but sure to amuse. It is the story of Stacey Temple, a thirty-something singleton who works at thongs.com (you know the novel can't be too serious with a job like that). Stacey figures out that she has gone almost an entire year without sex (and barely noticed!). She becomes obsessed with avoiding becoming an "accidental virgin"--or someone who has gone without for 365 days. She's got a week left and a couple promising candidates, but nothing seems to go right for poor Stacey. This is a funny and very fluffy novel. You can read it in one sitting, and you will enjoy yourself.

Backpack.
Backpack.
by Emily. Barr
Edition: Paperback
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done, April 29 2003
This review is from: Backpack. (Paperback)
Backpack is a very well-done and funny novel which is a bit of a departure from the chick lit novels we all know and love. For starters, the opening chapter has the heroine, Tansy, waking up in a hospital bed after having her stomach pumped on the day of her alcoholic mother's funeral. The rest of the novel is like that, a bit more gritty and real than your standard romantic comedy. Tansy's life in London, including her relationship with her boyfriend, begins to come apart and to escape it all, she travels to Asia, where she initially rejects the term "backpacker" although, that is what she is. Her experiences are very evocative of traveling, as a twenty-somthing, in a third world nation. The novel is funny and adds a bit of suspense with a murder mystery subplot that wasn't entirely necessary. Tansy--who began the novel as an annoying, coke addicted witch--grows up in a believable way as the novel progresses. Backpack makes for fun, breezy, enjoyable reading.

Soul Circus
Soul Circus
by George P Pelecanos
Edition: Hardcover
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, April 25 2003
This review is from: Soul Circus (Hardcover)
Soul Circus, George Pelecanos' third installment of the story of Derek Strange, the proud private detective in Washington DC is excellent. Pelecanos does not shy away from disturbing story lines and this novel is no exception. Strange and his partner Terry Quinn are caught, as they always are, in the middle of violence and drug dealing turf wars in Washington. The cast of characters is not pretty, nor is the action. You've got drug dealers, gun dealers, murderers, gang wars, etc. While the stories are disturbing, they are also entertaining. The background of the novel is filled with Pelecanos trademark soundtrack. The novel makes for a quick, gripping read. The one caveat I would give you is that Pelecanos gets a little preachy, through the characters, regarding gun control and the death penalty, but I do think his is an honest exploration of the ramifications of both of those hot potatoes. Enjoy.

Hazards Of Good Breeding
Hazards Of Good Breeding
by Jessica Shattuck
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.99
16 used & new from CDN$ 0.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific, April 24 2003
What are the hazards of good breeding? For Caroline Dunlap, a recent college graduate returning home for the summer, the summer, the hazards include divorced parents, a mother who has lost much of her grip on reality, a father who can't connect with his children, a younger brother who is a bit of a social misfit, an ex-boyfriend babbling on and on about living in Tibet, boring parties and even more boring people. Much of the action in the novel is seen through Caroline's eyes and luckily for the reader, Caroline sees through most of the garbage in the wealthy world she grew up in. The novel makes for entertaining reading and is very reminiscent of Cheever and O'Hara, but is told with more of an obviously discerning eye. Enjoy.

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