Monthly Archives: July 2012

Cum Laude by Cecily von Ziegesar

With so few books written with college students as the main characters, it was exciting to find such a story. This one follows freshmen Nick, Tom, Adam, Shipley and Eliza as they go through the first semester at the Maine college Dexter, along with Shipley’s older brother, who was disowned and now lives homeless around campus and Adam’s little sister Tragedy, who tries to make him less of a wimp. I wasn’t expecting too much from this book, since the Gossip Girl books by the same author were not well-written, but I was still disappointed. There was essentially no plot for the first two-thirds of the book and then the remainder had plot that was weird and hard to follow. By the time I finished the story, I felt that I had wasted my time.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Popular

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Jane was living the life of a single thirty-something in New York City when her great-aunt left a three week vacation to Austenland in her will. Jane had always measured all boyfriends (and dates) by Mr. Darcy, but she decided to use this trip as one last fling before giving up on men altogether. In the crazy pretend world of 1816, she fully immersed herself and got surprising results. As a huge fan of Jane Austen, and Pride and Prejudice in particular, I quite enjoyed this story. It has just the right elements of modern life and the classic story to be a fast, fun read.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Historical, Popular

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

This is the first book in a series surrounding Nicholas Flamel and various others. It starts with twins witnessing Nicholas (whom they think is a San Francisco bookseller) and Dr. John Dee over a copper-bound book. This leads to many adventures to keep the last two pages of the book from Dr. Dee and the Dark Elders he serves who are trying to control the world and make humans slaves. Nicholas, the twins and a vampire Scathach travel through various realms of the Elders as well as around California with Dr. Dee always right there. There the twins learn that legends and mythologies all have a ring of truth to them… This book was quite good, although it mostly just set up the plot for the remainder of the series. We are left at a cliff-hanger at the end, forcing us to go find the next book in the series. A good read, but not ideal was a self-contained enjoyment.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Popular

Understanding Social Networks: Theories, Concepts and Findings by Charles Kadushin

This book details the major areas of the field of social networks and what has already been found, as well as where the field is going. It starts with an introduction and some study of networks, so it is not necessary to have background going in. It then covers the major aspects of social networks, like formal and informal hierarchies and how things (like information and disease) travel through the networks. Since the chapters (except the first few on general network theory) are fairly self-contained, this is an opportunity for the reader to focus only on the topics of interest. The best part is the Coda that covers the 10 master ideas of social networks (which were covered in more detail in the body chapters). Although this book is intended for a general reader, it requires an interest in the topic going in to make it through some of the boring bits.

Leave a comment

Filed under Computer Science, Nonfiction, Science

The Prince and the Pauper: A Tale for Young People of All Ages by Mark Twain

Returning to the classics, I chose to read The Prince and the Pauper, particularly since there are so many retellings of it in modern times. This story follows Tom Canty, a poor boy from Ofal Court and Edward, who becomes King Edward VI before the end of the story. It starts in London with them noticing how similar they look and trading clothes. We then follow their adventures over quite some time while they are mistaken for each other and try to make the best of their situations while still trying to get their own lives back. This is historical fiction at its finest (it’s told from a time about 200 years after the story is set). Of all of the Mark Twain I have read, this is my favorite. As the subtitle suggests, it’s truly a tale for young people of all ages!

Leave a comment

Filed under Classics, Fiction, Fiction Classics, Historical

Love in a Nutshell: A Novel by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly

This book follows Kate, who has recently divorced and lost her job. She moves into the cottage her family used to summer in and starts working at the Depot Brewing Company, a job she desperately needs since her house is about to be foreclosed on. The owner of the brewing company, who is extremely attractive, hires her to spy on his employees since there have been a series of sabotages recently that are costing the business quite a bit of money. She must try to get her life back on track and find this saboteur before she loses her house (and a potential new boyfriend?). Janet Evanovich always manages to write a good story that has the right mixture of suspense and laughter. This time was no different. At times I was laughing out loud and others I was reading as fast as I could in the hopes that that would get Kate out of her current situation. Another perfect summer read!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Popular

I’ve Got Your Number: A Novel by Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella is the author of the Shopaholic series (you know, the one that got made into a move), and this book is definitely even better. It follows a girl named Poppy who has lost her engagement ring and then has her phone stolen, all in a matter of a couple of hours. She spots a phone in a waste bin and takes that, since she needs a number to give to people to let her know if they find her ring. It turns out the phone belonged to a personal assistant who quit unexpectedly (as in dumped the phone and left). This leads to tons of adventures with Poppy and the boss whose phone it is, Sam. The plot seemed like it could be really bad, but once I started I didn’t want to put the book down. It’s beautifully written, especially the use of texts between Poppy and Sam. A great summer read!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Popular