MINI-REVIEWS: How Not to Run a B&B, Lucky Fools, Lost Girls

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117. How Not to Run a B&B by Bobby Hutchison
Publication: self-published, ebook, 157pp
Genre: Memoir
Read: July 5, 2012
Source: Freebie

I download a LOT of free books, most of which turn out to be dreck. This is unfortunate, but unavoidable. Some freebies, though, turn out to be really good! And some are just so-so. How Not to Run a B&B is one of the so-so freebie; not horrendous, but it just isn’t for me. It’s a light-hearted book, focused on one aspect of the author’s life– the opening of her bed-and-breakfast in Canada– and that’s an interesting enough thing that the book basically writes itself. The recipes included at the end of each chapter are nice bonuses (I plan on making some of them, actually!).

However, I can’t help but feel that How Not to Run a B&B is aimed at a slightly older reader, not just because the author herself is older but also because it just has that feel to it. Sort of like how Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is aimed at a slightly older reader. Know what I mean? So while I kinda liked it I’m not overwhelmingly in love with it, either.

Sidenote: the author’s a romance book writer, too! There’s not much about her writing job in this book, but there’s a few interesting tidbits that book lovers might enjoy reading.

120. Lucky Fools by Coert Voorhees
Publication: Hyperion (July 10, 2012), ARC, 292pp / ISBN 1423123980
Genre: YA Fiction
Read: July 6, 2012
Source: ALA 2012

Somewhere in this book one of the main characters says that he feels stupid for worrying about getting into a private college and all the rest of his rich white teenage male problems, and another character says that just because someone else got their hand cut off doesn’t mean the first character’s black eye doesn’t hurt, too (paraphrasing, here). Which, yeah, that’s true, but how many more books do we need that’re about rich, white, young, able-bodied, straight teenage males worrying about which expensive private school they want to go to? Which hot young white etc. teenage girl they want to date? Whether their parents like them? And so on? Some stories are universal, yeah, but stories about kids like the ones in this book are ones that you’d expect to see on a soap opera. Maybe they’re true-to-life stories, but in the book world, they’re out of date.

There’s just something about this book that rubs me the wrong way, like it was trying too hard to be relevant to kids when really it reads like a book written for an entirely different generation. We’ve already got so many Holden Caulfields, and I’m tired of it. Maybe a black eye hurts, but that doesn’t mean I want to read yet another book about it, y’know?

The ending, at least, was unexpectedly good. So there’s that. The rest. Eh.

123. Lost Girls by Ann Kelley
Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (July 10, 2012), ARC, 304pp / ISBN 031609062X
Genre: MG Historical Fiction
Read: July 7, 2012
Source: ALA 2012

Yay: Diary entries! Historical fiction that isn’t just Victorian or Edwardian or whatever! Non-US setting! Survival stuff! Enduring friendship through trials of fire!

Nay: Iffy writing, especially when people died. Ending was somewhat abrupt. Cover is very YA but it’s actually a children’s book (MAYBE MG if you don’t consider death to be a children’s thing).

Verdict: I liked it, but I have some reservations. MG writing sometimes gets on my nerves because often I don’t think it’s detailed enough; that’s what happened here. Still, it’s a good story, with an interesting setting, and the protagonist is very likable.

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