Sunday, February 21, 2010

Clear Away the Clutter Mini Challenge

What is the Clear Away the Clutter Mini Challenge?

This challenge is being hosted by Kate at The Neverending Shelf, and  I swear this it was created for me. My current count of books I own but haven't read is 116 129, which is completely ridiculous. I've been meaning to bump these up on my to-read list, but there are so many great books that keep coming out, I just haven't been able to get caught up! Here's a brief rundown of what's going on copied from Kate's blog:

Clear Away the Clutter's purpose:
If you are like me, you have an abundant amount of review and TBR books that need desperately your attention. This mini challenge will challenge you to read and do something with those titles once they have been completed.
Your goal is read as many titles as you can and pass along those that you do not absolutely want to keep. This means that if you do not plan to reread a certain book at least once or twice... get rid of it, it is just clutter.

You can get more details and a complete set of guidelines here. And don't forget to sign up if you're interested in joining the challenge!

I have no idea what or how many I'll be reading yet, but here are some of the contenders:

Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
Dirt Road to the Derby Bob Baffert
The Last Week Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan
Flyboys James Bradley
The Last Summer Ann Brashares
Wuthering Heights Emily Brontё
Running with Scissors Augusten Burroughs
Sacred Bones Michael Byrnes
Every Visable Thing Lisa Carey
The Hours Michael Cunningham
The Truth About Forever Sarah Dessen
When They Were 22 Brad Dunn
The Memory Keeper's Daughter Kim Edwards
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café Fannie Flagg
My Father's Secret War Lucinda Franks
The Boleyn Inheritance Philippa Gregory
Jack's Life Douglas H. Gresham
The Longest Trip Home John Grogan
The Curious Incident of Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon
Firefly Lane Kristin Hannah
A Death in Belmont Sebastian Junger
Appointment at the Ends of the World William B. Karesh
Schindler's List Thomas Keneally
Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd
The Mermaid Chair Sue Monk Kidd
Moutains Beyond Mountains Tracy Kidder
Confessions of a Shopaholic Sophie Kinsella
The Boys from Brazil Ira Levin
The Horse and His Boy C.S. Lewis
Prince Caspian C.S. Lewis
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader C.S. Lewis
The Silver Chair C.S. Lewis
The Last Battle C.S. Lewis
Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Angela's Ashes Frank McCourt
Tis Frank McCourt
The Lost Daniel Mendelsohn
Schulz and Peanuts David Michaelis
A Beautiful Mind Sylvia Nasar
Abundance Sena Jeter Naslund
Her Fearful Symmetry Audrey Niffenegger
Polio: An American Story David M. Oshinsky
The Almost Moon Alice Sebold
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Lisa See
The Cage Ruth Minsky Sender
Mockingbird Charles J. Shields
The Rhino With Glue-On Shoes Lucy Spelman, Ted Y. Mashima
The Fellowship of the Ring J.R.R. Tolkien
The Two Towers J.R.R. Tolkien
The Return of the King J.R.R. Tolkien
Flory Flory Van Beek
Hostage to War Tatjana Wassiljewa
The Shack William P. Young

Cupcake by Rachel Cohn

Please be aware that Cupcake is the third book in a series. In order to give even the briefest synopsis, this review does contain spoilers to the first and second books. The Gingerbread review can be found here, and the Shrimp review can be found here.

Cyd Charisse graduates high school and moves to New York City where she plans to share an apartment with her older half-brother, Danny, and begin culinary school. After she agrees to a clean break with Shrimp, CC is looking forward to a new, exciting life in Manhattan when disaster strikes. She falls down the stairs of her walk-up fifth floor apartment and breaks her leg, rendering her immobile. For weeks CC is only able to order take-out, watch movies, spy on her neighbors, and think about Shrimp. When she finally emerges from her apartment cast-less, CC ditches culinary school and gets a part-time job as a barista in a run down coffee shop. Just when CC is beginning to make a new life for herself, who else should show up on her doorstep but Shrimp? Shrimp claims to only want Cyd Charisse and even stays in New York for a few months, but he eventually flees to San Francisco to get back to the ocean. CC must choose between the new life she's made for herself in New York, or her old life in San Francisco with Shrimp.

If you've read my Gingerbread and Shrimp reviews, you probably know that I am not a huge fan of Cyd Charisse. Apparently I am in the minority because everywhere I look, her books have gotten great reviews. I've been reading through these reviews in hopes of an "aha" moment where I discover what I've been missing this whole time. I still haven't found it. I did, however, find a review on Goodreads that explains what I don't like about Cyd Charisse much better than I could say it myself:
"...I think what rubs me the wrong way is actually lightly touched on in this, the third in the series: Cyd has lots of money, but never seems to consider it. She thinks of herself as cool/punk/rebel/coffee shop girl, but the books feel incomplete to me because she doesn't face any real consequences or struggle in her attempt to define herself. So when she seems to be handed opportunities to go to school, or work at a cool cupcake business, it rings bells of entitlement and inauthenticity. And, while this is addressed in the book when she gets the smack-down from a girl who works at a manicure shop, after Cyd admits she works only for spending money because her parents pay the bills, it never really goes anywhere." (You can read the rest of Meghan's review here.)
This! This! This! It's not so much the fact that Cyd Charisse is entitled (although that is pretty gag-worthy), it's the fact that there are no consequences! She never seems to learn anything, but everyone loves her anyway.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shrimp by Rachel Cohn

Please be aware that Shrimp is the second book in a series. In order to give even the briefest synopsis, this review does contain spoilers to the first book. The Gingerbread review can be found here.

Shrimp basically picks up right where Gingerbread left off. Cyd Charisse returns from New York City after getting to know her bio-dad Frank and her half-sibs Danny and lisBETH. Back in San Francisco, Cyd's only goal is to get back with her "one true love" Shrimp. And to avoid her mother's endless stack of college applications. CC (as she is now known) survives her senior year of high school with her two new friends Heather and Autumn at her side. Getting away from problems of his own, half-brother Danny visits CC on the west coast and brings her back to NYC for a long weekend away. During her second visit, CC is torn between her old life in San Francisco and the possibility of a new life in New York. CC realizes that growing up is hard to do, and that she needs to make some tough decisions soon that may or may not include Shrimp.

Well, I did not give Gingerbread a very good review, and I'm afraid this one isn't going to be much better. I do want to stress that I enjoyed the story, characters, and writing. I just can't get into Cyd Charisse. I have trouble reading about main characters I can't relate to, and this was my problem with Gingerbread and Shrimp. I'm moving along and am about half-way through the third and final installment of the series, Cupcake. Why, you ask? I told you, I am no quitter!

Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn

Gingerbread begins when Cyd Charisse moves home to San Francisco after getting kicked out of her fancy New England boarding school. Life in "The City" proves to be difficult when her mom and step-dad sentence her to Alcatraz (also known as her bedroom) and keep her from seeing her surfer boyfriend Shrimp. (Yes. His name really is Shrimp.) Cyd Charisse is eventually shipped off to New York City to spend some time with her real dad, Frank. In NYC Cyd meets her half-siblings Danny and lisBETH for the first time, and begins her journey to self-discovery.

I feel like I need to start off by saying that I DO like Rachel Cohn. I love love loved Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. I loved the characters, I loved the story, and I loved the voice Cohn created for Norah. I was so excited to start Gingerbread, but unfortunately it just did not hold up for me. I didn't care for Cyd Charisse's character at all. I thought she was a whiney, spoiled brat, and although I enjoyed parts of the story, I couldn't get past Cyd's annoying-ness. I had a hard time relating to her which I think is key to really getting hooked on a book. I also found it hard to believe that being sent to NYC was supposed to be a form of punishment, but I will say that once Cyd made it to New York the story did pick up for me.

I will be continuing with the Cyd Charisse series because 1) I already have them from the library, 2) I'd like to give Cyd a fair chance, and 3) I'm a sucker and can't give up on a series. Next up, Shrimp.
Related Posts with Thumbnails