Mini Reviews: Can’t Live Without ’em

26263629Remember to Forget by Ashley Royer

Published: April 5th 2016 (first published 2014)

Publisher: Blink 

Genres: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Format: Hardcover Source: Publisher

My Rating: 2.5 Stars two-half-stars

In Remember to Forget from Watty Award-winning author Ashley Royer, Levi has refused to speak since the tragic death of his girlfriend, Delia, and can’t seem to come out of his depression and hindering self-doubt. Desperate to make some positive change in Levi’s life, his mother sends him to live with his father in Maine. Though the idea of moving from Australia to America seems completely daunting, Levi passively accepts his fate, but once he lands faces personal struggles and self-doubt at the same time he and his dad battle through resentment and misunderstanding. And then, while at therapy, Levi meets Delilah, a girl who eerily reminds him of someone he lost.

 

My Thoughts

The topics of grief and depression are ones that I take seriously, so I was sure that I would fall hard for this book. I didn’t. In fact, it was actually quite boring at times. I tried to really connect with Levi, but his character isn’t well developed. That really sucks because he had a lot to be messed up about, but I feel this whole story has an amateur feel to it. It seems like, maybe, the author just created Levi and decided that the facts about everything in this book would just magically appear. Maybe it’s just me, but I felt nothing really deep for these characters. Levi is depressed, but he is super annoying. His personality made no sense to me. Even after meeting new people, in a new country, he still acted the same. There was no growth, or even some semblance of order for what he has been through. He did get better at the end, but his situation didn’t endear me to him at all. I am in the minority with this one, I’m afraid. I just don’t think this book is really up there with books that have the same tropes. It was an okay read that I am sure I won’t be going back to. I’m sure that the author will grow as a writer, but I just feel like this needs more.


 

25614272Shylock Is My Name by Howard Jacobson

Publisher: Hogarth Date: February 9th 2016

Series: Hogarth Shakespeare

Genres: Adult Fiction, Retelling

Format: Hardcover Source: Publisher

My Rating: 3 Stars 3STAR

Man Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson brings his singular brilliance to this modern re-imagining of one of Shakespeare’s most unforgettable characters: Shylock

Winter, a cemetery, Shylock. In this provocative and profound interpretation of “The Merchant of Venice,” Shylock is juxtaposed against his present-day counterpart in the character of art dealer and conflicted father Simon Strulovitch. With characteristic irony, Jacobson presents Shylock as a man of incisive wit and passion, concerned still with questions of identity, parenthood, anti-Semitism and revenge. While Strulovich struggles to reconcile himself to his daughter Beatrice’s “betrayal” of her family and heritage – as she is carried away by the excitement of Manchester high society, and into the arms of a footballer notorious for giving a Nazi salute on the field – Shylock alternates grief for his beloved wife with rage against his own daughter’s rejection of her Jewish upbringing. Culminating in a shocking twist on Shylock’s demand for the infamous pound of flesh, Jacobson’s insightful retelling examines contemporary, acutely relevant questions of Jewish identity while maintaining a poignant sympathy for its characters and a genuine spiritual kinship with its antecedent—a drama which Jacobson himself considers to be “the most troubling of Shakespeare’s plays for anyone, but, for an English novelist who happens to be Jewish, also the most challenging.”

 

My Thoughts

The thing about this novel is that if you haven’t read The Merchant of Venice, then you may find this boring. We read lots of Shakespeare in high school, but TMoV was never on the syllabus. I like this book, I just found it very perplexing at times. Not knowing when to laugh or be “serious” definitely took away from the reading experience. It’s a fast read, and I read it in a couple of sittings. Modernizing Shylock must have taken a great deal of thinking. The writing is great, but even without me having read the original play, I feel like there was a lot of quoting. Discussing politics and religion has never been my thing, so I know that turned me off of this one. I’m actually glad that we never read TMoV in high school now. Shakespeare’s plays are all about politics-turned-comedies and/or tragedies. I really only liked a couple of them. If you are a fan of the man, then you may find lots of enjoyment from this. I haven’t read the others in this collection, but I’m looking forward to reading Vinegar Girl next.

 


 

26029528Love of the Game by Lori Wilde

Published: April 26th 2016 

Publisher: Avon

Genres: Adult Fiction, Sports Romance, Contemporary

Series: Stardust, Texas #3

Format: ebook Source: Library

My Rating: 3 Stars 3STAR

A sexy sports superstar discovers his body isn’t the only thing that needs healing in this newest Stardust, Texas novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde.

With major league good looks and talent, Dallas Gunslingers relief pitcher Axel Richmond was living the good life. Even if the roar of the crowd could never distract him from the loss of his young son. But now with an injured shoulder and his career on the line, Axel is stuck recuperating at a ranch in Stardust, Texas . . . striking out only with his gorgeous physical therapist.

Kasha Carlyle has one week to get Axel back in action or she can kiss her much-needed job with the Gunslingers goodbye. And any chance to seek custody of the orphaned half-sister she never knew existed. She quickly learns that Axel’s guarded heart also needs healing . . . requiring all kinds of sneaky plays and sexy moves in extra innings.

 

My Thoughts

I’m not really a sports romance reader, but I’ve read enough to know if one is really unique. This is just another romance to me. The only thing that stood out was the two protagonists’ problems. Axel’s grief was very real, and I empathized with him. Did that make me look over his arrogance? No. He wanted Kasha the moment he saw her and he knew she wanted him as well. Kasha is a little complicated, but I love that she wanted to take care of her family. I still feel like she really had no clue on how to care for a special needs person, but was more driven by her need to know her biological sister. Kasha’s and Axel’s chemistry was there, but it felt so intentional. I wanted to be eased into it gradually, not knowing right away what the ending will be. An okay read, but I would like to go back and read the other books. This can definitely be read as a standalone; as I had no trouble reading it. If you like baseball, this one’s for you.

 

 

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12 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Can’t Live Without ’em

  1. I love mini reviews! Shylock is My Name is the only on this list that I’ve been wanting to read but not sure I will after your review — middle of the line books are seriously the hardest for me to review. They aren’t always bad but sometimes they are just so forgettable.

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  2. I am not a big sports reader, I have read The Merchant of Venice, so a little curious about it. The first book -I struggle with books about depression, mental illness etc unless it is adult and a thriller.

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  3. Wow, these seem like a bunch of middle of the road books. No bueno. I’m glad you were able to see the good in some of these, but I think I’m gonna pass. They just don’t seem like enough for me.

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  4. These all seem very meh which is too bad. I’ve never read The Merchant of Venice either but have been wanting to. I hope I’ll get to it someday. I hope your next batch of books are more entertaining and satisfying than these were.

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  5. Awww, it seems like you’re in a bad book slump (well, you haven’t read the book that just makes you FEEL ALL THE FEELS) None of these books really caught my eye, although the first one, “Remember to Forget” seems like it’s a good one and I’m really loving the cover. I hope your next reads give you all the feels again. 🙂

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  6. Oh that sucks that the character development in that first book was so meh. I would be so disappointed too!

    I was curious about the Lori Wilde one, but nothing drew me to the book for some reason. It doesn’t look like I’m missing out, so I’ll probably not read it.

    Thanks for sharing these!

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  7. A stack of ho-hum ones. And the retelling of Merchant of Venice sounded so appealing. I might still try it just b/c I feel compelled to read retellings. LOL Might reread the play to get a feel since it’s been eons for me with that one.
    I love baseball romances, but a jerk hero wouldn’t appeal.

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  8. Seems like these were a lot of mediocre kind of reads. It’s a shame about Remember to Forget and I don’t think it’s one I will ever try. It has such a promising synopsis but it sounds like it really failed to deliver. I did like Shylock is My Name but then again, it’s one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. I though the twist on the adaption (in comparison with the original) was really clever and good. And I’m all for politics in my novels, so maybe it was better suited for me. :/

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