*Keep in mind that my reviews are strictly on my impressions of the books and the ratings are based on my enjoyment of the books and not necessarily a reflection of their literary merit
I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU
Why I bought it? This is one I had seen a few times and almost picked up because the title is so catchy, but I didn't--more shame for me. This was my daughter's choice when we were at the BN together, and it was the snazzy title that sealed the deal for her. She was the one who read it first and then recommended it to me.
Synopsis: Cammie Morgan is training to be a spy and goes to an exclusive, secretive all-girl school for spies. When she falls for one of the local town's "normal" boys she discovers how hard it is to have a relationship with someone who can never know who she really is. She and her friends are geniuses and can speak 14 different languages and kill a guy 7 different ways with their bare hands, but with boys they are clueless--well, except for the despised new girl.
The premise is fun and the book really delivers. I was captivated from the first page. The narrator's voice is charming and snappy. It's a very quick read and seemed to just fly by. I never wanted to put it down. When I was done, I was disappointed that it was already over. I'll definitely read it again when I need something light and fun. It has been optioned by Disney, so I'm sure there will be a film soon. It will translate well to the big screen--lots of action and comedy and romance. What more could a gal want? I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to, you know, kill ya.
My rating: ****1/2
My daughter's rating: ****1/2 (Wow! We agreed! That's saying something!)
CS: 3 This is really only for the "violence" parts which are really pretty tame. It ends up really being more about the intrigue. I kept thinking that there was a little language because there's an edgy vibe to the MC, but I've gone back through and other than a few British swears (by a British friend) and "Oh Jeez!" and "Heck" appearances and the like there's not much I could find. For the movie rating I'd say probably a PG, because you know they'll show someone getting punched in the solar plexus. G seems to be the kiss of death for a teen movie.
CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO SPY
Why did I buy this? I was browsing at the BN and saw it and immediately recognized it as the sequel. I couldn't buy it fast enough.
Synopsis: Cam's in real trouble for her relationship with the town boy from book 1. It breaks all protocol. Will she have to give him up forever? There's a big mystery going on at the school that brings some unexpected guests--some unexpected male guests. I don't want to say too much and make this a spoiler for the 1st book for those who haven't read it already, but I wanted to include this review with the first because if you loved the first one you will definitely want to read the second.
This sequel does not disappoint. I was worried at first, but I actually liked it better than the first. There's no question as to whether I'll read this again. Absolutely! This one would make an even better movie.
My rating: *****
My daughter's rating: ***** (Agreement again! Does that tell you how good it is?)
CS: 3--ditto as for the first book
A COUNTESS BELOW STAIRS
Why I bought it? I had seen it quite a few times at BN and had wondered if it would be any good. Then, when I was on Amazon buying something for my book club that I hadn't been able to find in the store, this came up as a recommendation. I finally decided to take the plunge and read one of Ibbotson's books to see if they were as good as they looked like they would be. The synopsis seemed interesting and the general reviews seemed high, so...
Synopsis: Anna is a displaced Russian countess in England after the Russian Revolution. She ends up working below stairs as a maid for an Earl and his household. She works very hard and is determined that no one will know of her past, but her manner conveys that she is more than a servant. It's hard to hide that royal upbringing, you know. She starts falling for the Earl, but his mean old fiancee is in the way. As the earl falls for her the conflicts deepen. He is trapped by honor. He will not go back on his promise no matter what.
I'm a romantic softy at heart, and so I was hoping to enjoy this. I'm always looking for good YA romance stories without the racy stuff. This one is pretty good, but I didn't have much trouble putting it down. That's never a good sign. There were times that the writing was more long-winded than I like. Sometimes though it was pretty lyrical. I enjoyed the storyline pretty well and the denoument was unexpected yet satisfying--actually it was kind of crazy. I'm glad I read it, but I don't plan on reading it again. I will recommend it to my daughter. I think she would like it. I will definitely read some of Ibbotson's other books though.
My rating: ***1/2
CS: 3--mostly for situation stuff--there's not really any language issues that I recall.