Shelf Control #91: A Little Something Different

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Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! Fore more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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My Shelf Control pick this week is:

Title: A Little Something Different
Author: Sandy Hall
Published: 2014
Length: 272 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….

How and when I got it:

I bought myself a copy of this book soon after it came out. The cover caught my eye, and then once I read the description, I had to have it!

Why I want to read it:

Every once in a while, I’m in the mood for a quirky, upbeat love story, which is exactly what this sounds like. The idea of fourteen different viewpoints (including a squirrel’s!!!) is so charming. I’m glad that I just “discovered” this book on my shelves, because I really do want to read it!

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

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Take A Peek Book Review: Forever, Interrupted

“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.

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Synopsis:

(via Goodreads)

Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped.

Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.

Interweaving Elsie and Ben’s charmed romance with Elsie and Susan’s healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there’s more than one way to find a happy ending.

 

My Thoughts:

Get ready for heartbreak.

Seriously. This books picks up your heart and smashes it into little bits within the first few pages. We start with newlyweds Ben and Elsie reveling in the simple joys of a lazy day as husband and wife, and within moments, Ben is dead and Elsie is left alone, devastated, and unwilling to even imagine her life without Ben in it.

The book alternates between Elsie’s life after Ben’s death and chapters focusing on how Elsie and Ben met and fell head over heels in love. Their love story is sparkling and fresh, but carries with it the knowledge of tragedy looming. Meanwhile, in the present, Elsie is forced to figure out how to deal with incessant grief and to confront a life without the man she intended to build her future with. By opening herself up to Ben’s mother Susan, she is able to understand the magnitude of love, whether in a marriage that lasts days or years, and what life can still hold once that love is gone.

Forever, Interrupted is a lovely, powerful look at unexpected love and loss, and the families we find along the way.

Also by this author:
Maybe In Another Life
One True Loves

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The details:

Title: Forever, Interrupted
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication date: July 9, 2013
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Source: Library

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Shelf Control #37: The Hypnotist’s Love Story

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Welcome to the newest weekly feature here at Bookshelf Fantasies… Shelf Control!

Shelf Control is all about the books we want to read — and already own! Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available, and in most cases, sitting right there on our shelves and e-readers.

Want to join in? See the guidelines and linky at the bottom of the post, and jump on board! Let’s take control of our shelves!

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My Shelf Control pick this week is:

Redesign_9780425260937_HypnotistsLo_cover.inddTitle: The Hypnotist’s Love Story
Author: Liane Moriarty
Published: 2011
Length: 480 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.

Braced for the worst, Ellen is pleasantly surprised. It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her.

Ellen doesn’t know it, but she already has.

How I got it:

I bought it!

When I got it:

A couple of years ago, after reading The Husband’s Secret.

Why I want to read it:

After reading two amazing books by Liane Moriarty, The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies, I decided I should investigate some of her earlier books as well. While I’ve had The Hypnotist’s Love Story on my shelf for a while, I just haven’t gotten around to it. Meanwhile, the author’s newest book comes out this summer, and I can’t wait!

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link below!
  • And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and have fun!


For more on why I’ve started Shelf Control, check out my introductory post here, or read all about my out-of-control book inventory, here.

And if you’d like to post a Shelf Control button on your own blog, here’s an image to download (with my gratitude, of course!):

Shelf Control

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten extra special love stories

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is a Valentine’s Day freebie, meaning we can come up with our own take on the theme.

I’m keeping it simple, and going with a list of love stories that have really stayed with me:

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Love Across Time

Jamie and Claire, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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Henry and Clare, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

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Richard and Elise, Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson

Somewhere

Married Love

Rosetta and Jeremiah, I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

ISBNTY

Don and Rosie, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Rosie

Unrequited Love

Severus Snape and Lily Evans, the Harry Potter series

Always

Sidney Carton and Lucie Manette, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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Love Between Friends

Maddie and Julie, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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Supernatural Love

Matthew and Diana, All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

ADoW

Mercy and Adam, Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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What kind of Valentine theme did you pick this week? Please share your links so I can check out your TTT posts!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

 

 

 

Book Review: Flat-Out Love

Flat-Out LoveIn Flat-Out Love, college freshman Julie learns an important life lesson: Never rent an apartment sight-unseen via Craigslist.

When Julie arrives in Boston from small-town Ohio to start her college adventure, she’s in for a rude awakening. The apartment she’s rented (and paid for via cashier’s check — not smart) doesn’t exist… although there is a bustling burrito place at the same address. Left on the sidewalk with all of her suitcases and no place to go, Julie is taken in by the family of her mother’s college roommate, although the two have been out of touch for years.

Julie is welcomed into their large home, and despite the family’s oddities, finds it warm and comfortable. Odd? You bet… especially the life-size cardboard cut-out that the youngest, 13-year-old Celeste, takes with her wherever she goes. Flat Finn looks just like real Finn, the absent oldest brother who, Julie is told, is busy traveling the world on a non-stop adventure combining volunteer work and thrill-seeking. Flat Finn sits at the dinner table with the family, comes in the car to drive Celeste to and from school, and watches over Celeste when she sleeps at night.

When it turns out that there simply are no affordable apartments to be had and the dorms are all full, Julie’s temporary refuge turns into a permanent arrangement for the year. The family loves having Julie around, and she forms a tight friendship with middle brother Matt, a self-proclaimed geek studying at MIT who lives at home and seems to be Celeste’s main caretaker. Meanwhile, Julie also finds Finn on Facebook and strikes up an online friendship with him… which turns into a flirtation… which turns into a whole lot more.

But why is Celeste so socially awkward and friendless? Why are the parents almost never around? What IS up with Flat Finn, and why will no one explain to Julie? What it with all the underlying weirdness?

Flat-Out Love is a fast-paced read filled with humor as well as sorrows. The Watkins family members clearly have secrets and painful incidents in their past, but author Jessica Park handles it all with a light touch. There’s no needless melodrama here — we see everything through Julie’s eyes, with a mixture of amusement, bafflement, and frustration. Julie truly cares about the family, and is able to slowly gain Celeste’s trust and help bring her out of her shell, and yet she’s still kept in the dark about all of the reasons for the family’s problems, up to and including Flat Finn.

There’s a love triangle, which in many books is enough to send me running for the hills, but it’s actually handled quite well here. Julie spends almost every day with Matt and has a close connection with him, but Finn is the one who makes her feel more, despite never having met him.

An underlying story about Julie’s absentee father and their strained relationship is underdeveloped and feels rather tangential to the whole story. Other than that, the author does a nice job of capturing the excitement of the freshman year experience, including new friends, a new city, the chance to break away from the social pressures of high school and start fresh, and the joy of finding classes and professors who inspire you.

I did pretty much guess the family secret right away (really, it wasn’t hard), but that in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the story — and I still found myself gobbling up the final chapters to get all the details and see how it would all turn out.

The dialogue is funny and breezy, and I liked the little touches such as Facebook status updates from the different characters and ongoing commentary on Matt’s choice of geeky T-shirts.

I was interested to note that Flat-Out Love was self-published via Amazon. I always assume that self-published books won’t appeal to me, but Flat-Out Love showed me that I should perhaps expand my horizons a bit!

I definitely recommend Flat-Out Love. It’s a great choice for anyone looking for a quick and light read that mixes quirky humor with real emotion. I understand there’s a companion novella (Flat-Out Matt) and a sequel (Flat-Out Celeste), and I hope to track down both.

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The details:

Title: Flat-Out Love
Author: Jessica Park
Publisher: Amazon Children’s Publishing
Publication date: 2011
Length: 389 pages
Genre: Young adult contemporary fiction
Source: Library

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten things I like or dislike when it comes to romances in books

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is all about the LOOOOOVE. What works in a book romance? What sets our teeth on edge? I’m finding it a bit easier to come up with dislikes at the moment, but I’ll give it all a go:

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Starting with dislikes:

1) Love triangles: Been there, done that. I think we’ve seen enough.

2) Insta-love: I just can’t buy these mad, passionate, yours-for-eternity love stories where the characters have seen each other once and maybe exchanged five words. Love needs to build. I won’t believe it’s there just because the author said so. Show, don’t tell!

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3) Good girl saves the bad boy with her awesome superpower of LOVE. Redemption stories are so yesterday.

4) Rudeness as a sign that he’s really, really into you. If he’s name isn’t Darcy or Rhett, then I’m not buying it. Guys who are worthy treat their love interests with respect.

5) Perfection: Why do male romantic leads always have to have the perfect abs and faces and eyes and everything else? Can’t a love interest be less than gorgeous?

6) Money: Does Mr. Perfect always have to come with heaps of money? It would seem so, based on quite a bit of fiction.

Okay, turning to the positive…

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Likes:

1) A relationship between equals. Sass, snark, and witty banter are great, so long as it’s two-sided. I love reading about two strong and intelligent people who find a connection.

2) Slow burn. Maybe the attraction is there from the start, but the most convincing love stories in fiction are the ones where feelings build over time, until they just can’t be denied any more.

3) Standing together against a common enemy: If the whole book is just about the gooey-eyed faces they make at each other, it gets boring pretty quickly. I like a romance where the love gets a chance to sizzle, and then there’s some sort of harrowing adventure or danger that unites the couple and lets them fight side by side. (There’s a chance that I read too much urban fantasy. Sorry.)

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4) Interesting lives: For me to sustain interest in a fictional romance, the people involved also have to have something in their lives besides their relationship. I like reading about strong, smart people who do cool things and ALSO find love. Is that asking too much?

5) Love that lasts. Weddings aren’t the end of the love story; in the best of cases, it’s just the beginning. Oh look, I haven’t mentioned Outlander once in this post. So here goes: One of the things I love about the Outlander series is that Jamie and Claire remain in love, passionately and physically, throughout their lives together. Their love story isn’t only about getting together; what makes it beautiful is everything they go through to stay together and nurture their commitment and passion throughout their lives. *swoon*

Yes, I know that 6 + 5 = 11. I’d finished writing my top 10 list before I remembered #6 in the dislikes, and I couldn’t leave it out!

So what are your pet peeves about romances in fiction? And what do you really love about love stories?

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly feature, Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

 

Thursday Quotables: The Last Letter From Your Lover

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Welcome back to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!
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The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
(published 2010)

The romance just drips off the page:

When you looked at me with those limitless, deliquescent eyes of yours, I used to wonder what it was you could possibly see in me. Now I know that is a foolish view of love. You and I could no more not love each other than the earth could stop circling the sun.

 

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Leave your link in the comments — or, if you have a quote to share but not a blog post, you can leave your quote in the comments too!
  • Visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

Book Review: The Rosie Project

Book Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie ProjectThis charming, funny novel was exactly what I needed after a couple of weeks filled with horror, wartime secrets, and violent crime. And you should hear about the books I’ve read! (Kidding, kidding…)

The Rosie Project is a first novel by Australian writer Graeme Simsion, which he originally wrote as a screenplay and then adapted into a novel. And now apparently a movie is expected as well! I can absolutely see this sweet, romantic story working fabulously on the big screen.

The Rosie Project is narrated in the first person by Don Tillman, a professor of genetics who is more than a bit lacking in the social graces department. As it quickly becomes clear, Don most likely falls somewhere on the autism spectrum, although a possible diagnosis has never occurred to him, despite being an incredibly intelligent scientist whose best (and only) friends are psychologists and despite being a guest lecturer on the subject of Asperger’s syndrome. Don’s days are dictated by his schedule, with every moment accounted for and planned for maximum efficiency. He has a seven-day food schedule (Tuesdays are for lobster), so he never has to waste precious brain resources deciding what to eat. His life is fixed and defined — but he’s 39 years old and feeling the need for a life partner.

To solve his problem, Don devises The Wife Project, a 16-page questionnaire scientifically designed to select only the most compatible women for Don to meet and potentially marry. But when Rosie wanders into his office, she throws Don’s careful plans into a tizzy. She’s clearly unsuitable mate material — but why does he enjoy her company quite so much?

The writing zips along quickly, as we hear — from Don’s perspective — all about his adventures in dating and his everyday challenges in dealing with other humans. The Jacket Incident is but one example, featuring a fancy restaurant, an ambiguously worded dress code, and Don’s aikido skills. And then there’s his approach to a medical student who touts “creation theory” as a viable alternative to “evolution theory”. Let’s just say there’s a dead fish involved and leave it at that.

Don has an eidectic memory, which he uses to his advantage not just in academics, but also in a delightful scene in which he becomes a cocktail expert. He also successfully memorizes an entire manual full of sex positions, but doesn’t quite get why it’s not so appealing to the ladies to show them a book and basically instruct them to pick a page. (Note: he strikes out.)

Quirky and funny, the dialogue really enhances the narration:

“If I find a partner, which seems increasingly unlikely, I wouldn’t want a sexual relationship with anyone else. But I’m not good at understanding what other people want.”

“Tell me something I don’t know,” said Rosie, for no obvious reason.

I quickly searched my mind for an interesting fact. “Ah… the testicles of drone bees and wasp spiders explode during sex.”

All in all, I found The Rosie Project sweet, funny, and romantic, if a tad implausible in parts. I had a hard time believing that Don would be capable of making some of the substantial changes in his own behavior that he enacts by the end, especially considering how quickly he brings about these changes. Still, this book works because it’s a rom-com at heart, and what’s a rom-com without a happy ending? It’s quite clear all along that the boy will get the girl; the fun part is in seeing how it all works out.

A final thought: As someone who binge-watched five seasons of The Big Bang Theory last year, I couldn’t help but hear Sheldon Cooper as the voice of Don Tillman. To me, Don IS Sheldon, although perhaps a bit more flexible and only a drop less socially awkward. If this wasn’t the portrayal that the author was going for, well, what can I say? I think the comparisons are unavoidable. It didn’t detract from my enjoyment a bit, but it certainly made the character instantly identifiable to me and maybe even a little predictable at times.

That said, I do recommend The Rosie Project most enthusiastically. It’s ultimately a happy book, and I had a great time reading it. The characters are warm and interesting and full of life, the scenario is creative and entertaining, and the book is not without emotional weight and depth. If you’re looking for a fun, engaging read that just may move you as well, check out The Rosie Project.

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The details:

Title: The Rosie Project
Author: Graeme Simsion
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 2013
Genre: Adult fiction
Source: Library

Book Review: Attachments

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments is a love story, albeit one that’s a bit outside the usual boy-meets-girl mold. In this version of 20th century love, boy doesn’t meet girl, exactly — he snoops through her email files instead.

Lincoln is a midwestern loner in his late twenties, so badly burned by getting dumped by his first love during their freshman year of college that he’s just never tried again. Lincoln lives with his mom, works the graveyard shift in the IT department of a newspaper, and has a social life that consists primarily of Saturday night Dungeons & Dragons sessions. When Lincoln is assigned to work internet security, his job mainly entails reviewing emails flagged for violating company policy and sending warning memos to the offenders. But mostly, he sits around with not much to do, killing time in his lonely workspace and having dinner in the break room with Doris, the 60-something-year-old vending machine lady — who, incidentally, has a better love life than Lincoln does.

But as soon as Lincoln reads the first flagged email between Beth, a movie reviewer, and Jennifer, a copy editor, he’s captivated. He knows he should warn them and move on, but instead, he gets caught up in their daily chit-chat, their ruminations on life, their ongoing relationship woes, and most of all, their easy yet deep friendship. At some point, there’s no return: There’s no way for Lincoln to suddenly tell them to stop sending personal emails without revealing that he’s been reading their emails for months, and so it goes on. On the one hand, Lincoln gets more and more deeply involved and begins to really fall for Beth — but on the other hand, Lincoln starts to really despise himself for what he can no longer consider anything but creepy snooping.

There are surprises in store. We hear about Lincoln only from his own perspective, and he really does not think well of himself. So when Beth starts emailing Jennifer about the cute guy at work, it takes a few beats to realize that they’re discussing Lincoln. Wait, he’s cute? He’s big and handsome, kind of like the Brawny paper towel guy? You’d never know it, considering how little Lincoln thinks of himself.

Beth’s got self-image issues too. She’s been involved with a gorgeous guitar player for years — but most of the time, he barely knows she’s there. She wants to get married, but mostly he just wants to perform and listen to music. Beth’s sisters are married, her friends seem to all be married or on their way to the altar, she thinks her upper arms are hideous, and she has a sad collection of bridesmaids dresses that taunt her from the closet.

This is, ultimately, a very romantic book, and so it’s clear early on that Beth and Lincoln are destined to finally connect. How they get there and what they go through is where all the fun lies. Attachments is a quick, quirky read. The Beth-and-Jennifer parts of the story are told via their emails, and really, these two women are people you’d just love to hang out with. They’re funny, they’re snarky, and they’re really there for each other, with an honesty that only best friends can truly afford. Lincoln’s chapters are the meat of the book, and their narrative flow is both sad and humorous. You can’t help but root for Lincoln as he takes baby steps toward manning up and moving forward — look, he went out to a bar! Look, he arranged a weekend outing! Look, he started going to the gym and bought some new clothes!

Attachments starts out in late 1999, with the world starting to seriously worry about Y2K and whether technology will grind to a halt. There ‘s a charm to the millenial internet jargon, the coding frenzies, the gradual introduction of email privacy (or lack thereof). This book was written in 2011, and I’m not entirely sure that I think the nostalgic look back at 1999/2000 is really necessary to the storyline — although I suppose things couldn’t happen this way today, with our firewalls, spam filters, and tech-savvy social media obsessions. There’s a certain sweet innocence to the emails between Beth and Jennifer, blithely talking about their personal lives with no thoughts about anyone reading their words, forwarding their emails, or posting embarrassing quotes on their Facebook walls.

Office settings are rare in contemporary fiction as anything but backdrop — the places the main characters go when they’re not on stage in their homes or other more action-packed or glamorous settings. In Attachments, the office is a bit of a social melting pot, where Lincoln is finally dragged out of his cocoon and forced to acknowledge himself as a person who needs and wants other people.

I decided to read Attachments after reading Eleanor & Park, the new (and amazing) young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell. I loved the author’s voice and approach to her characters so much that I decided to seek out anything else she’d written, and as it turned out, Attachments was her first and only other novel. If not for Eleanor & Park, I doubt I would have come across Attachments… but I’m so glad that I did.

Attachments is sweet, romantic, funny, and warm-hearted, and surprised me by being much more affecting than I’d anticipated. It’s a great love story, well-suited to a lonely world in which people connect best via their devices and screens. At its heart, Attachments is about real, live, human connection — how rare it is to find it, and how special it can be. Check it out! It’s a quick, satisfying read that’ll leave you with a smile on your face.

Rainbow Rowell has a new book, Fangirl, due out in the fall. You can bet I’ll read it!

If you liked this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies!

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to Wishlist Wednesday!

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Wishlist Wednesday book is:

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Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

From Amazon:

Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.

An archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact, an airman who finds himself far from home, a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking: the seven stories in this compelling novel all take place on the remote Scandinavian island of Blessed where a curiously powerful plant that resembles a dragon grows. What binds these stories together? What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this idyllic countryside? And what might be powerful enough to break the cycle of midwinterblood? From award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick comes a book about passion and preservation and ultimately an exploration of the bounds of love.

And from Goodreads, with more specifics:

Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you’ve never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens. In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumour has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain. Their deaths echo a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, victims of a vampire they come close to finding what they’ve lost. In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon – the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter’s moon, the blood moon – this is the story of Eric and Merle whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting.

Why do I want to read this?

First of all, this got a rave review in my local paper last week! I’d never heard of it before, but this new YA novel sounds fascinating — dark, mysterious, a little creepy, tragically romantic. I love the idea of the seven connected stories, and can’t wait to see how they all come together. The Amazon and Goodreads summaries are really different, but between the two, I’m fairly certain that Midwinterblood is a book that I’ll love.

Quick note to Wishlist Wednesday bloggers: Come on back to Bookshelf Fantasies for Flashback Friday! Join me in celebrating the older gems hidden away on our bookshelves. See the introductory post for more details, and come back this Friday to add your flashback favorites!