The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook - Matt Dunn

Ex-Boyfriend's HandbookEx-Boyfriend's Handbook by Matt Dunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Edwards girlfriend of ten years, Jane, has left him. There was no discussion, no fight, no warning; she just packed her stuff and left. She leaves a note explaining that Edward has let himself go in every way imaginable, and she can't live with it. He has 3 months to get his life in order for when she gets back, or else.

Because it's not done very often, I am a fan of books that are told from the male perspective and are also a part of a genre that I enjoy. The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook one ups that because it is, in fact, written by a male, which gives it a very different feel than normal. I would not call a romance novel by any stretch of the imagination - because it really does lack all the heat and passion that one would find in a romance novel, but it does include all attributes of boy-meets-girl, which I truly enjoy.

I really liked Edward, even in his fat, "I don't care" state of mine, he seemed like a very stand-up kind of guy. This, I guess, really is the point. The book really focused on how while being a good, faithful person really just isn't enough for women, especially when it seems like the guy has sort of checked out of life and is just living day-by-day as if there is another to come. Edward's growth through the book is wonderfully mapped out. I enjoyed joining him on his relationship epiphanies, when he has pealed back another layer of his life, and has taken the next step on figuring out where he has gone wrong.

Edward's best friend, Dan, is another story. As expected I'm sure, I do not like him. What an all around jerk! I think some of my favorite parts of the book are when Edward would say something to his lady admirers about him that was completely appalling and utterly untrue. I think I did most of my chuckling at these parts.

I honestly believe that this book would make a great movie. I could see it easily being converted into a romantic comedy quite successfully.

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Ape House - Sara Gruen

Ape HouseApe House by Sara Gruen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ape House was not exactly what I expected. I was expecting was a book about monkeys who are forced to take part in this reality TV show….and it is, to some degree. The book is actually about Isabel Duncan, the scientist who works with the bonobo monkeys, and has essentially made them her family, and John Thigpen, a journalist who was hoping to land an award winning story once he visits and discovers how remarkable the monkeys really are. It’s a story about how in one giant explosion, both if their lives fall apart, and then how they pick up the pieces again. The monkeys are at the heart of the book, but really are sort of a bi-product.

This is not to say I didn’t like the book. The story itself catches you early on. At the first interaction of with the bonobos you can’t help but want to move forward in the story and find out what happens. It started to slow down a bit for me right after the explosion, there seemed to be a lot of hem-hawing or fluff there…or so I thought. It is at this point that I realized the book was a little less about the monkeys and a little more about humans. It is around this time that I begin to have a vast dislike for Amanda, John’s wife. I can understand the depression and the desire to go off and do something, but she seemed to go through extremes and then went on a spending beige that – would never have flown in a normal household. Honestly the things that happen between John and Amanda in this book, I am not sure many marriages would survive. I DID like John a lot, and I really loved how much he loved Amanda, and continued to love her throughout, despite some of the crazy things going on. Near the end, John has a few of his own crazy moments – so I guess they really are perfect for each other.

I loved Isabel, her love and passion for the bonobos was evident, and I loved her drive. She did become a little paranoid of everyone, but with good reason. I mean, she was in a major explosion. I am so thankful she saw through her loser of a fiancé! It was really easy to see he was no good from the onset, it just took her a little bit longer to catch up with the rest of us. I am pretty sure that guy did not have an honorable bone in his body.

As far as the reality show goes…I thought it was as sad as it was made out to be. It really made me feel sorry for the bonobos for being so exploited. Yet, I really wouldn’t have put it past anyone to actually do something like that.

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Rebel Angels - Libba Bray

Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2)Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gemma, Felicity and Ann are back! In Rebel Angels it is Christmas time, and the girls get to go home for the holidays. Thankfully, a good portion of that time away will be spent together, so their new mission; finding the temple and containing the magic that Gemma let loose in the realms earlier in the year, will be that much easier.

Gemma is having new, cryptic and scary visions involving three white girls and someone that cannot be trusted. Between these visions, and the discovery of a young girl who was once part of the Order but is now placed at the mental hospital that Thomas, Gemma's brother, works at; the pieces of this mystery are slowly coming together.

I am a big fan of this book. It's a lot better than A Great and Terrible Beauty as the adventure picks up right where the other left off, and it is wall-to-wall suspense! I loved how, with the magic loose in the realms, you could see the corruption of the garden every time the girls went back. To me, it was like a distorted version of Alice in Wonderland though even more scary. A bad dream. It really was a wonderful visual for why the magic needed to be contained and protected.

Then there are Felicity and Ann. In this book you could see the desire and longing for their own control of the magic coming out, and how it is corrupting them. While Gemma is known to use the magic for her own uses, like trying to help her father, she is trying to keep her mind focused on the task at hand. Felicity and Ann are growing increasingly jealous of her, because they are wanting to use the magic for their own self-gain and without Gemma's; which to me is corruption in itself. I was a bit disheartened at Gemma's inability to stand up for herself and for what she believes in. Felicity and Ann are constantly pressuring her into doing things she shouldn't or doesn't even want to do. I would really like to see Gemma's character grow a backbone. This is not really the kind of role-model our teenagers need right now.

I must mention also, the very slight love triangle. I have already voiced my opinion of the ever popular love triangle fad that is running wild in all fantasy/teenagery novels....I'm not a fan. But in Rebel Angels it was done so delicately and rather appropriately. This was not an "Oh I LOVE HIM, but I also LOVE HIM," and then there is an epic battle for who the greater man is, scenerio. This was decision made by Gemma based on who she felt was best for her. A decision that is not influenced on society or the opinions of others, but based on her own gut feeling. This is a love story that I can respect. Wonderfully done!

The dramatic conclusion was a little predictable for me (she who reads over 100 books a year), but was very good none-the-less. I loved the end, and Gemma's one moment of "hey I do have a spine" when she stood up for what she knew was right for the moment. I really hope that The Sweet Far Thing continues with THIS Gemma!

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