Tag Archives: New York

Catherine – April Lindner
Book Reviews
December 29, 2012 posted by Nichole

Catherine – April Lindner

A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.

Chelsea has always been told that her mom died when she was very young. One night she finds a letter from her mother telling her otherwise, so Chelsea sets out on a mission to discover the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. This is how she ends up in New York at the club that her mother grew up in along with the mysterious Hence. Turns out, Hence is Chelsea’s mom’s old boyfriend and one true love. Together, they must find out what happened to Chelsea’s mom.

Catherine has grown up in the music scene for as long as she can remember. Her dad’s the owner of a famous club, and she’s on the right track to Harvard. But things start to change when Catherine meets Hence, the boy without money or a place to stay. Convincing her father to let Hence stay in their basement, they slowly begin to develop feelings for one another. But their relationship gets rocky and their love gets put to the test. Will their pride tear them apart or will they make it last?

 

I instantly fell madly in love with Catherine by April Lindner. The words, plot, character….everything…they  were all so gorgeous. I devoured the book in a little over a day, and I was depressed towards the beginning that it was going to end soon. I especially loved Catherine and Hence. What a gorgeous couple! I wish that the book would have eliminated Chelsea’s section and just focused on the romance between Catherine and Hence, because their relationship was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced.

It was interesting to read about Chelsea’s POV. For awhile, I really didn’t know what happened to Catherine, and it was cool reading about Chelsea play detective. Again, though, I wish that she hadn’t existed. I wanted to read about Catherine and Hence, and I found myself wanting to fast forward through Chelsea’s sections.

I want to point out that I have not read Wuthering Heights before, so I have no idea what happens at the end of it.  I’ve heard positive and negative things about it. One thing I’ve heard is that the main male character plays a very domineering male, which is something that I am not interested in reading about. But let me tell you, if the ending of Wuthering Heights is ANYTHING like the ending of Catherine, I will never ever ever ever EVER read it!

The ending of Catherine upset me so much that it dropped from a 5 star to a 2 star in less than five minutes. I finished the book the night before I’m writing this review and my emotions are all over the place. I’m angry, sad, and devastated. I had guessed what had happened to Catherine and everything that surrounded her mysterious disappearance long before the ending, but I thought it was some sick joke when Lindner put it to action. I wanted to see romance between Catherine and Hence, I didn’t want to see her completely ruin her story and her character.

As I’m writing this, I’m trying to give as little away as possible because the ending was so intense and upset me so much. I do want to say that I will never read this book again. Not only that, but I didn’t even finish the book. After what she did at the end, I didn’t even care about the last few chapters. I skimmed them and turned off my laptop. I was not impressed.

I honestly felt a little violated, actually. I invested so much time and energy into that book. I fell in love with it and considered it one of my favorite books of the year. I cannot recommend this book, because I know that the ending will devastate other readers. Some might say that the ending was romantic, but I would disagree. It wasn’t romantic…it was sick! No. I am really disappointed with Catherine, and I will not be reading it again in the future.

People who loved Wuthering Heights might enjoy this book..I really don’t know. But as someone who has not read Wuthering Heights, I was really crushed by what was done to the book. I want my contemporary to have a romance that will last. And when the romance is so beautiful, I don’t want it to be messed with. So, I wouldn’t really know how to recommend this book even if I wanted to. I guess if you loved Wuthering Heights, give it a shot. But if you didn’t read Wuthering Heights, stay far, far away.

Pages: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: January 2nd, 2013

Rating: : ★★☆☆☆

 

Book Reviews
February 21, 2011 posted by Christina

Other Words For Love – Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

“Ari Mitchell feels invisible at her Brooklyn high school. Her hair is too flat, her style too preppy, and her personality too quiet. And outside school, Ari feels outshined by her beautiful, confident best friend, Summer. Their friendship is as complex and confusing as Ari’s relationship with her troubled older sister, Evelyn, a former teenage mom whose handsome firefighter husband fills Ari’s head with guilty fantasies.

When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York – and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn’t think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship.

Ari’s  family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future. Meanwhile, Summer warns her that what she feels for Blake is just an infatuation. No real love. But Ari’s world is awash with new colors, filled with a freshness and an excitement she hasn’t felt in years.”

———–

For this review, we’re doing things a little differently. Never has a debut novel been so sought after by almost every member of the yaReads team and had us all in a flutter, so it seems fitting that we bring you a joint review of Lorraine Zago Rosenthal’s Other Words For Love.

Ivy: Holy Guacamole!  Two days after, I’m still thinking about Other Words for Love.  It was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  For an urban fantasy lover like me, it’s a breath of fresh air to have read something as real and believable as this book.  It could be your sister, friend, or neighbor’s story.

This is an easy 5 stars.  Outstanding debut Ms. Rosenthal!

Rating: : ★★★★★

Kiona: Other Words for Love is an emotional roller-coaster. Throughout the book, my opinion of Ariadne was ever-changing. In the beginning, I like her. She’s the relatable underdog: a pretty girl often overlooked due to the beauty of her best friend. She’s a hard worker, gets good grades, and is passionate about art. She also pretty much takes care of her out-of-control older sister’s son, which is very altruistic of her considering her sister, Evelyn, treats her like crap. I admire Ari’s inner-strength and ability to look past others’ flaws.

But then she meets Blake and he essentially eclipses the sun of Ari’s world. To me, Blake is a decent enough guy, but I was annoyed by his constant use of the word, “ nice” Anytime she considers doing something he doesn’t like, he makes her feel guilty by saying, “That wouldn’t be nice”. And while Ari is blinded by love, it’s easy to see how much control Blake’s father has over Blake’s life, which just shows how weak Blake is. I understand that that’s the point Rosenthal is trying to convey – that Blake isn’t actually the picture-perfect guy Ari thinks he is. Love interests don’t have to be likable for a story to be likable. But I was disappointed in Ari – who is such a smart girl – for not being able to recognize the signs of Blake’s imperfection and weakness. So halfway through the book, I began liking her less and less.

The middle is also when the story stops being relatable. I lost all respect for Ari when she dropped her friends and focused her entire world around Blake. I know first loves can be all-consuming, but Ari doesn’t have a particularly thriving social life. Yet she still drops Summer, a friend since childhood, and Leigh, a girl who could really use a friend, and she never really repairs these friendships. When Blake dumps her, Ari stops caring about school, her appearance, her nephews, SATs, and even considers suicide. While I’ll admit this happens to some girls, I definitely don’t feel like that it’s the norm. I had to put this book down several times so I could collect my emotions. While I admire that the author can illicit such emotions, I think she did so at the cost of alienating the reader from the protagonist. The ending makes me feel slightly better, but it’s not enough to redeem Ariadne in my eyes.

That being said, I think the writing is superb and Rosenthal clearly knows New York City very well. The descriptions of the city sound genuine and really ground Other Words for Love in the specific time period Rosenthal chose (1980s). I really enjoyed the detailed glimpse in the city and Rosenthal’s exploration of a dysfunctional family is very intriguing. I definitely enjoyed the psychological aspects of this novel, but while I think this is an interesting take on first love, I don’t think it’s a story many girls will be able to relate to.

Rating: : ★★★☆☆

Christina:  There are so many different ways to promote books these days. The one way that I completely trust is when everyone (with nothing to gain for doing so) is buzzing about a book as enthusiastically as they were for Other Words For Love. So I’m with Ivy on this one – I completely loved it.

The characters in this book were incredible. Each character was unique, so well fleshed out and had these realistic personalities with both virtues and flaws. Some characters you’ll completely hate and others you’ll grow to understand. Some of them were even quite cruel at times like Evelyn and Summer, who would say certain things that would make me go – GAAAAAASPPPPPPPPPPP! OHHHHH, she did not just say that!  I wanted to dive into the pages, step beside Ari and serve them a swift kick to head for how they acted. This just goes to show how invested you become in these characters and Ari’s story.

What really hit me was just how authentic I felt the emotions expressed in the book were. Everything Ari felt, from her elation at being with Blake, to her eventual heartbreak just felt so so real. Her feelings in the end might seem dramatic but if you’ve ever been heartbroken that’s exactly what it’s like – the colors fade to gray, food seems pointless and you’re stuck in a rut you don’t bother to get out of. I loved how the way Ari felt meant that she perceived the statue of Saint Anne differently – it was very clever and so true.

The part that particular struck me the most me while Ari’s world was falling apart, she felt like all the hard work she’d done up to that point, not just in school but in life, had counted for nothing because of a slip up right at the finish line. For me that was the part where I raised my hand and said “Oh I have been there” Which I think a lot of girls will feel the same about quite a few sections of the book.

If there was a flaw in this book I can only say it was the blurb – it gives too much away. I’ve omitted the last paragraph of the blurb in this review because it basically gives half the story away and I was able to have a good guess about what would happen in the rest. BUT! Despite that, the story’s execution was superb and even though I’d already been told what would happen it didn’t make it any less interesting or heartbreaking or amazing, which proves just how great this book is.

Ari’s life in New York in the 1980s was completely fascinating to read about, in particular to note what has changed and what is still the same. Even after finishing it I couldn’t stop thinking about this story for days after. I was so proud of Ari and what she managed to accomplish in the end, her experiences made her so much stronger. Sign me up for every thing Lorraine Zago Rosenthal writes next. Highly, highly, highly, recommend it.

Rating: : ★★★★★

Two out of the three of us loved it, the other, not quite feeling it. Which side of the fence are you on?

Pages: 354
Publication Date: January 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Challenge: Historical Fiction/Debut Author
Average Rating: : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote: “I was looking out the window, checking for neighbors and hoping to give them something to see, when I felt Blake’s hand on my chin. I looked at him, at his straight nose and his perfectly carved lips, and felt his finger move back and forth on my skin. Don’t ask me, I thought. Just do it.”

Book Reviews
November 25, 2010 posted by Christina

Priceless – Nicole Richie

“Meet Charlotte Williams…

Rich, gorgeous, blonde and a talented singer, she has everything going for her. Spoiled and indulged, her life has always revolved around fashion, gossip, partying and men.

When Charlotte’s father – her only family since her mother’s tragic death years ago – is arrested on fraud charges, her glittering world shatters around her. Alone and penniless, she must make her own way for the very first time.

Harassed by paparazzi and the outraged victims of her father’s crimes, Charlotte flees to New Orleans to escape the scandal. But what happens when a Park Avenue Princess is forced to fend for herself? How will she adapt to the Big Easy’s bohemian lifestyle? And in the face of anonymous death threats, can she keep herself out of danger?

From the stylish avenues of Manhattan and dark clubs of the French Quarter to the bright lights of Los Angeles, Nicole Richie’s scintillating tale shows that the very life you run from is the one that won’t let you hide”


Sigh.

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about celebrities becoming authors and using ghostwriters. Overall, I wasn’t too thrilled by the idea but when the chance came along to read Nicole Richie’s second novel, Priceless, I was quite prepared to say ‘hey, maybe I don’t like the idea of celebrities writing books, but this one was really good, so they’re not all a bad idea’. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Priceless centres on Charlotte Williams – a young New York socialite, as she deals with the arrest of her beloved, workaholic father for fraud and embezzling millions of dollars. As her bank accounts are frozen and she herself comes under suspicion for involvement, she must face the world without support and without her millions.

As she leaves her father’s disgruntled clients and the paparazzi behind in the city, she seeks refuge in New Orleans with her former Nanny, Miss Millie. She soon discovers a new way of life and even a way to face the scandals that mar her every move.

The set up of this story had the potential to be quite interesting – to see how a rich, spoilt girl deals with suddenly being penniless and homeless, however the plot was lacking in its execution. From being cliché to predictable, the book often read like a cheesy midday movie. Though I can’t say I was completely bored, I wasn’t exactly thrilled either. At least half way through the book I knew how it would all turn out and what the ‘twist’ would be, but kept going just to see if I was right. I was.

Then there’s Charlotte herself. I found her very hard to relate to and could barely sympathize with her situation. You can hardly say she fell from grace, as her life was one big scandal even before her father’s arrest. Charlotte had just arrived back from a year studying in France after burning down one of the buildings at Yale the year before in a fit of jealous rage (as you do). That, along with a name for being one of New York’s party girls with a string of former boyfriends, Charlotte’s reputation wasn’t exactly squeaky clean.

Once she arrives in New Orleans and things seem to fall into place for Charlotte in a matter of hours. She already has a job, new best bud, a potential singing career and not one but two men vying for her affection. The way things fall so into place for Charlotte made it very difficult to ever feel sorry for her despite the reasons that brought her to New Orleans to begin with – a lot of the times she came off as superficial, self centered and played the weak, teary eyed damsel in distress often.

The men in this story were a bit hopless when it came to Charlotte. Their attitude was something like this –

Men in the book: Oh Charlotte you are so attractive, and talented, and beautiful. Although I shouldn’t like you, I’m apparently blind to your flaws and find it very difficult to stop myself from pulling you close and having my way with you. Right now.

V.o.m.i.t.

Priceless attempted to emphasize Charlotte’s social status by being pretentious and name dropping designer outfits at regular intervals, the clothesgasms were actually pretty annoying – Chanel! Lacroix! ZOMG VINTAGE ARMANI!

I’ve read quite a few books based on New York socialites (and –love- watching Gossip Girl) but I never felt annoyed by them the way I did with Charlotte (except for Serena, she’s annoying, but that’s because she makes dumb choices. She’s still cool though…but I digress).

Priceless is an easy read with some witty dialogue that I’m sure some people will enjoy reading, but it doesn’t come with my recommendation.

Dear Nicole Richie,

You have a cool sense of style and your accessories line is quite nice. Please stick to that.

Thanks.

Pages: 291
Publication Date: September 2010
Rating: : ★½☆☆☆

Teaser Quote: “That’s very noble of you.” Charlotte wasn’t in the mood to be made fun of.
He raised his eyebrows. “It’s called supporting the community. Google it.”
“I already did. Right after I Googled ‘superiority complex.’”