Monday, June 28, 2010

Book Review: The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publish Date: April 27, 2010
Hardcover, 400 pages

My Review:
Okay, I am going to confess that I have never read Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell, but I have watched the first two seasons of the show.  Having said that, I'm not sure how Carrie really is in the books, but I know I felt that Carrie was very Carrie from the show in The Carrie Diaries, just a younger version.  She is just a fashion conscious, quirky, average high schooler.  I loved the look at her senior year that this book covers and I look forward to further installments in this series.

In this book Carrie is like most middle-of-the-road high school students.  She's smart and funny, has good friends, but she's not in the top clique at school nor does she want to be.  She wants to be true to herself and she wants to have a boyfriend.  I felt like she learned some things about herself in this book, but some of the things were tough to learn.  The book felt very realistic in covering teen issues and was a lot of fun to see the 80s in a young adult book instead of current times.  Maybe that is why I felt I could relate so well.  But I don't think that factor will turn off young adults from reading this book either because the issues covered are typical for teenagers in any generation.  Reading about Carrie just makes it fun.

It was fun to picture a younger Sarah Jessica Parker while I read this book and I could totally see her as this character.  Ms. Bushnell does a great job developing a younger Carrie and showing how things that happen in her high school life will shape her as she grows older.

It moves along quickly and is a highly entertaining read.  I wanted to kick Carrie sometimes, but in the end she comes through, she just has to learn some lessons.  So if you are a Sex and the City fan I think this is a must-read.  If you are not, I think this is a great introduction to Carrie Bradshaw.  All-in-all, this is a highly entertaining book that I read over two days while working out and even people talking loudly near me could not break my concentration while reading this book.  I can't wait for more of younger Carrie.

My Rating:  4.25/5.0

About the Book:
Before Carrie Bradshaw hit the big time in the City, she was a regular girl growing up in the suburbs of Connecticut. How did she turn into one of the most-read social observers of our generation?

The Carrie Diaries opens up in Carrie's senior year of high school. She and her best friends -- Walt, Lali, Maggie, and the Mouse -- are inseparable, amid the sea of Jens, Jocks and Jets. And then Sebastian Kydd comes into the picture. Sebastian is a bad boy-older, intriguing, and unpredictable. Carrie falls into the relationship that she was always supposed to have in high school-until a friend's betrayal makes her question everything. With her high school days coming to a close, Carrie will realize it's finally time to go after everything she ever wanted.

Rabid fans of Sex and the City will love seeing Carrie Bradshaw evolve from a regular girl into a sharp, insightful writer. They'll learn about her family background -- how she found her writing voice, and the indelible impression her early friendships and relationships left on her. We'll see what brings Carrie to her beloved New York City, where the next Carrie Diaries book will take place.

About the Author (from
Candace Bushnell is the critically acclaimed, international best-selling novelist whose first book, Sex and the City, was the basis for the HBO hit series and subsequent blockbuster movie. Her fourth novel, Lipstick Jungle became a popular television series on NBC. Bushnell’s novels include Four Blondes (2000), Trading Up (2003), Lipstick Jungle (2005), and her most recent bestseller, One Fifth Avenue (2008). 

Bushnell grew up in Glastonbury, Ct, and moved to New York City at age 19. She attended Rice University and New York University, and began her professional career at 19 when she wrote a children’s book for Simon & Schuster. 

Throughout her twenties, Bushnell developed her trademark style as a freelancer, writing darkly humorous pieces about women, relationships and dating for Mademoiselle, Self Magazine, and Esquire. In 1990, she wrote a column that would become a precursor for Sex and the City, called "The Human Cartoon", a fictional serial published in Hamptons Magazine. She began writing for the New York Observer in 1993; in November of 1994 she created the column Sex and the City, which ran in the New York Observer for two years. The column was bought as a book in 1995, and sold to HBO as a series in 1996. 

Recently, she hosted a radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio, called Sex, Success, and Sensibility, which aired from October 2006 to October 2008. She is currently at work on two young adult novels, The Carrie Diaries, which will explore the life of Carrie Bradshaw during in her teenage years in New York. 

Through her books and television series, Bushnell’s work has influenced and defined two generations of women. She is the winner of the 2006 Matrix Award for books (other winners include Joan Didion and Amy Tan), and a recipient of the Albert Einstein Spirit of Achievement Award. She currently resides in Manhattan

FTC Information: I checked this book out from my wonderful local library for my reading pleasure.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.


Book Review: Unspeakable by Laura Griffin

Unspeakable by Laura Griffin
Publisher: Pocket
Publish Date: June 29, 2010
Paperback, 352 pages

My Review:
What an exciting and sexy book.  I loved the interplay between the two main characters from the very beginning and the main storyline was equally exciting.  Unspeakable is a wonderful romantic suspense.

Unspeakable is the second book in the Tracers series, with Untraceable being the first.  I have not read the first one, but will go back and read it now.  I believe they work well as standalone books but I think reading them together gives a little more information in the background of the forensic unit.  However Ms. Griffin does a wonderful job giving some background in the book, so I was never lost, but I don't think it was too much where readers of the first book would be bored.

Wonderfully paced, this book hooked me from the first page.  I honestly didn't see the who the killer was while I was reading it.  Everythime I thought I figured it out, something else came up that took me away from that person.  It was well-thought out and while the crimes were gruesome, the detail was not enough to make the squeamish cringe.

I also enjoyed the character.  Elaina has some issues to work through and you get to know her little by little through the books.  I loved how Ms. Griffin layered her development of Elaina and Troy.  I felt like I got to know them throughout the book and I hope they make an appearance in the third book out this fall, so I can see some more of them.  The romance was also paced well, there is an attraction from the beginning and some tension several times before they take it further, and that sets up the romance storyline well.  It's never smooth sailing for these two and that makes it interesting.

So if you enjoy your romantic suspense, then make sure to check out this series from Laura Griffin.  Untraceable is on it's way to me now, I ordered it from paperbackswap about 1/4 of the way through Unspeakable and I will be in line to get the third book in the series in the fall.

My Rating:  4.5/5.0

About the Book:
Some crimes you don’t want to describe.
Some, you can’t even imagine…

Elaina McCord’s dream of being an FBI profiler is threatened by her very first case.  When she gets a call to investigate a string of murders near a popular Texas beach resort, Elaina comes up with a profile of the killer.  The victims, all young women, were drugged and brutally murdered, then abandoned in desolate marshland; Elaina believes these are only the latest offerings from a serial killer who has been perfecting his art for years, growing bolder and more cunning with each kill.  But local police won’t listen to her theory. 

True-crime writer Troy Stockton uncovers evidence that bolster’s Elaina’s case.  An irresistible playboy with a reputation for doing anything to get a story, Troy is the last person Elaina should trust.  But Troy and the elite team of forensic experts known as the Tracers are her only allies as the case begins turning dangerously personal.  Soon, Troy and Elaina’s unlikely partnership begins turning up leads—and creating sparks.  With the killer getting closer to Elaina, it isn’t just her career that’s on the line—it’s her life.

About the Author:
Laura Griffin started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of writing romantic suspense. Her articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, and her fiction work has garnered awards from writing competitions throughout the country. Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next romantic suspense novel. 

Laura's webpage
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FTC Information: I received this book from Ayelet Gruenspecht at Pocket Books Publicity (a division of Simon & Schuster) for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.


What are you Reading Monday - June 28

Come post weekly and see what others are reading too just so you can add to your tbr - I always do! For more information see Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books and join in!

Books Completed Last Week 
    Reading Now:
    • Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah (audiobook) 
    • I Love This Bar by Carolyn Brown (review)
    • The Rule of Nine by Steve Martini (review)
    • Shattered by Karen Robards (library)
    • Next Time I'm Gonna Dance by Linda Rettstatt
    • The Passage by Justin Cronin
    • Amanda Memories by Joel Gecht
    Summary -
    Another good reading week.  I have resumed going to the gym, which means about an hour of dedicated reading time each day while I walk on the treadmill or use the exercise bike.  This has been great for me on two levels - first on improving my health and mood and second the added reading time.  I feel like 6 months after my second surgery that I am finally back on track and have finally begun healing and hopefully will have no further surgeries.

    I didn't do as well with reviews this week, but I offered an author spotlight week, so I didn't want to take away from the authors by posting other reviews.  I'll play catch-up with some library reads this week.

    Please be sure and check out my sidebar for several giveaways I am running that end this week.