Making Mischief by Elizabeth Young

I can’t quite give a summary so here’s the back of the book description:

Abby Morland’s been making mischief since she was not-so-sweet sixteen, when she spied gorgeous Guy from the neighborhood being attacked by curvaceous Cara, the “Topless Piranha.” It was a racy, tasty, spicy piece of gossip Abby couldn’t resist passing along. But years later, her indiscretion may be coming back to haunt her — since she now wouldn’t mind a little nibble of Guy herself. With four cousins, two weddings, and a re-emergent piranha in the offing, the recipe for making more mischief is at hand, and it might just turn Guy in Abby’s direction at last!

It would have been funny, because the characters are charming, but I think the author went overboard with the plotline — it was just too complicated. There’s Cara the piranha, then there’s the riotous wedding, then there’s the family tradition of boyfriend-stealing subplot, and there’s the adorable little brother that brings Mr. Right closer to home…. One at a time, they’d have made a great story, but all together, they’re quite chaotic. There are enough characters to fill a school bus, and it just takes so long for the necessary action to take off that it can be quite dragging.

It’s just a long way to happily ever after.

***
My copy: trade paperback, from the NBS bargain bin

My rating: 3/5 stars

Photo courtesy of HarperCollins (http://cdn.harpercollins.com/harperimages/isbn/large/2/9780060784782.jpg)

Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes

This is actually a piece of fluff masquerading as a novel, like I suspected that I never bought it til there were stacks of them on sale at National over the weekend. And for good reason too, now that I think about it. I mean, what kind of book gets marked down to 50 bucks? (Hehe, they marked down citizen girl to P30! I knew it! I knew it was a rotten read. But at least that one had a story, albeit also not a very good one.)

Not much of a storyline, the book drones on and on about the frivolities of high society New York living without going in any particular direction. It’s not even about the subject matter. I can handle a fair amount of brattiness if there was a remote semblance of a story that featured it. I think if the author had been a bit less mediocre she could’ve worked something palatable out of it.

Sigh. There are so many chick lit titles around, but there are good ones, and there are abysmal ones. On that scale, this is almost negligible.

***
My copy: I had it mooched as fast as I could, haha, a mass market paperback from the NBS bargain bin.

My rating: 1/5 stars

The Patient’s Eyes by David Pirie

Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite detectives (alongside Encyclopedia Brown, The Three Investigators’ Jupiter Jones and Nancy Drew). I was a big Sherlock Holmes fan when I was a kid, and I loved The Hound of the Baskervilles, which is why I got this book, because I thought it would be really interesting.

I wasn’t disappointed.

The first in the Murder Rooms trilogy, The Patient’s Eyes details how the young Arthur Conan Doyle was bored in med school and was all but ready to drop out when he met Dr. Joseph Bell (supposedly the real-life basis for Sherlock Holmes), a surgeon/teacher (moonlighting as the Edinburgh police’s secret weapon!) who took him on as his assistant (mostly to disprove his cynicism, making Doyle the actual Watson).

After a tragic loss (something which I feel would be explained in the succeeding books), Doyle moves away from Edinburgh to start over, shakily establishing the foundations of his medical practice. And then he meets a new patient, Heather Grace, who is suffering from an eye complaint, psychological trauma, and has a mystery stalker.

Fascinated by his new patient, he decides to call on Dr. Bell to help him solve the mystery terrorizing Heather Grace, before it’s too late… Who is trying to scare Heather Grace to death? The uncle with a massive collection of exotica (also her trustee)? The perpetually cheerful (or so it seems) almost-fiance? Or the unscrupulous doctor attracted to Heather Grace, who is smarting from Doyle’s “piracy” of his patient?

The novel skims over elements from the Sherlock Holmes stories, such as the Speckled Band, The Solitary Cyclist, and Wisteria Lodge. It’s a murder mystery that twists and turns with a lot of surprises, and really, at the end of the novel I was totally scared out of my wits that I shoved the book under the blanket because the cover was freaking me out.

Now, if only I can find copies of the two other books in the series…

***
My copy: trade paperback, from the Powerbooks bargain bin

My rating: 4/5 stars

Wendy by Karen Wallace

Karen Wallace’s Wendy is a novel inspired by the children’s classic Peter Pan, but it is no fairy tale. It is a story of Wendy in a real world, in the dark late Victorian period — A Wendy that has to deal with domestic problems such as child abuse, parental indiscretions, alcoholism, family problems, and other social issues.

I wouldn’t actually recommend it for younger readers, because the summary on the back of the book doesn’t give one a clue that it’s not a tale of magic and wonder… It might actually be quite traumatic for the younger reader, because Wendy’s pain and the poignancy of the story is all too real.

It’s a good read for those who can appreciate it however. Wendy is a troubled child who lives in a world that forces her to grow up, and her best friend Thomas is a 15-year old boy with a case of autism, her very own Peter Pan.

It’s a clever adaptation, neurotic at times, but moving to the end.

***
My copy: trade paperback, a bit spotty now after living in Enzo’s dorm for about a year… (Brothers, harr…)

My rating: 3/5 stars

Ten Little Elvi by Duffy Grooms, Laura J. Henson / Illus. by Dean Gorissen

“TEN little Elvi gettin’ ready to shine
One made a comeback and then there were NINE.”

Ten Little Elvi by Duffy Grooms, Laura J. Henson and illustrated by Dean Gorissen is a unique counting book featuring ten little Elvis impersonators (hence, Elvi), with references to the King’s life and song.

The Elvis homage will probably be lost on toddlers. I mean, even I just recently learned to appreciate Elvis, and mostly that was because of Lilo and Stitch. I just had to buy this because it was so cute. It’s the sort of book that’ll really cheer you up. I bow to the illustrator: the Elvi are squee-worthy!
***
My copy: salvaged from the bargain bin at Powerbooks a couple of years ago, for P75, hardcover with dustjacket.

My rating: 5/5 stars

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