Bookit Review: PS from Paris

Title: PS From Paris (Previously called Elle & Lui )
Author: Marc Levy (Translated by Sam Taylor from French to English)
Publication Date: September 2017  (US Edition, Kindle First program)
My Grade:  B-

I thought the idea of the story sounded interesting, so when I saw it on the Kindle First list for August, I decided to choose it.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Kindle First is a benefit of the Amazon Prime Account where you are given a selection of six books to choose one book to get free each month before its released to the general public on the site.  I’ve gotten a few good books this way.  I got PS From Paris during the August books, and it was released earlier this month so if you are interested it is on Amazon now.  These often show up in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program for the first few months.

Back to the book.  The book is actually a sequel to a book I’ve never read.  The book, whose title I forget at the moment, was made into a Reese Witherspoon film called Just Like Heaven.  The connection was another reason I choose to read it.  Its been awhile since I’ve seen the movie, but I remember the basic plot of it.

PS From Paris takes on the story of Paul, Arthur (the lead male character in the first book)’s best friend.  Paul had moved to Paris after writing his first novel, which was based on the story of his best friend and his wife.  He wasn’t that comfortable with the low-key fame he was getting so he went to Paris to get away from it, and write other books.  Since then he’s found he has an amazing following in South Korea. He has also been having a long-distance relationship of sorts with his translator, Kyong.  Arthur, who thinks this relationship is a bit of a bad idea, ends up setting him up with a date through a dating site.  There he meets Mia, thinking she is there to talk to him as an architect which makes things very awkward at first.  But then it becomes an interesting friendship.  This being a romance, its typically predictable where this will end up.

The novel has a few clichés, and I think there are some background stories that could be fleshed out, but overall it was an enjoyable read.  The translation (as the book was written originally in French) may have not crossed over some of the flow of the book that you might find in a native language, but I rarely found anything choppy to indicate that it was a poor translation. I have the first book on my wish list for a later purchase as I’m interesting in other writing by Mr. Levy, but at the same time I’m not driven to read it right this minute.

My only issue is I feel the end was rather rushed, and the book could have used a better sense of timing for each of the acts so to speak.  However, like I said, it was enjoyable, there weren’t any characters that I despised, and while I wasn’t particularly attached to either of the main characters, I found them to be tolerable.

Advertisements

Translated Works: A Question

I am currently reading a novel called PS From Paris by Marc Levy.  Mr. Levy is a French Author, so my edition is an English Translation (and also from Kindle First, so not quite out yet to the non-prime purchasers). It’s the sequel to another novel which was made into the movie “Just like Heaven” starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo. It made me curious.  This is only the third time I knowingly read a book that was translated (I’m sure there were a few in English class I never considered being translated during High School).

My question to you:  Are you more likely, less likely or neutral to read a book that says its been Translated from its native language?  And if you do read translated books, have you ever attempted to read the original language?  Or found it lacking a little due to the translation losing some of the intent?

The last book I read that was translated before this one ended up being a unlikable one, but apparently one that was very popular.  It was called the Glassmaker, and I can’t recall if I posted my review here or on Bubblews (now gone).  This book however is something I am enjoying so far.  It made me wonder if perhaps I limit myself by not searching out books that are translated from other countries.  There are so many stories out there that I may be missing because I don’t come across them.

 

Bookit Review: Falling for The Highlander

Title: Falling for the Highlander (Book #4 in the Highlander series)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publication Date: January 2017
My grade: C

I found this book to be a bit underwhelming.  It over all had the best potential for the background mystery, but it failed to really go there.  I understand it’s a romance novel, but I was actually disappointed by the amount of time spent on the romance versus the plot.  Maybe it was because the main characters, Murine and Dougall are not really compelling characters in this book.  They were actually more interesting as secondary characters in the previous books.

I’m wondering why this series, unlike the Argeneau series, has failed to really grab me.  I enjoy the books, but I don’t find them particularly worth talking about.  I can recommend as a light read for a day you don’t want anything too heavy.  It has a happy ending, too, which I appreciate right now.  But it’s not something I can say “Oh, you must read this!” like some of Sands’ other books.

THe basic premise of the novel is that Murine’s older half-brother tries to sell her off as a mistress to pay to keep his image as a country gentlemen by having a horse.  Dougall, the older brother of Saidh, is disgusted by the offer and leaves.  Murine, unwilling to stay after that happens takes off on a cow to see if she could make it to one of her friends homes and find a way out of her brother’s care.  She runs into Dougall and his brothers, who decide to help her to Scotland.  On the way there, the brothers all claim they will marry her, which Dougall finds annoying as he has started to be interested in her.

There is alot of time spent on Dougall trying his best not to be her lover till they are married and on Murine’s fainting problems.  I don’t particularly feel that Dougall’s interest in Murine really develops much.  It has one of those “Oh, it must be love because we are nearing the end of the book” type of realizations.  I’m hoping that the next book, which takes on the last lady from book #2, Edith and another Buchanan named Niels.

Previous in the series:

An English Bride in Scotland

To Marry A Scottish Laird

A Highlander takes a Bride

Bookit Review: A Highlander Takes a Bride

Title: A Highlander takes a Bride (book 3 in the Highlander series)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publication Date:
Grade: B-

This book was a harder read for me then the last two.  Mostly because I had to keep looking up terms I was unfamiliar with, like Applemoyse (An apple dessert) and tincture (a medication dissolvable in alcohol apparently). There were also a few names I had to google for pronunciation. This is medieval Scotland, so its well before the unification of Britain.  However, they keep it quite vague as to who is King of Scotland, or England.   Just that they exist.  So the exact time period is a little vague.

In this book, we follow Joan’s new friend Siadh, who after visiting Joan while she gave birth to her son Bearnard, goes to visit a cousin named Fenalla, who has lost her fourth husband in suspicious circumstances.  Saidh isn’t sure what to think as her cousin did in fact kill her first husband.  And the book keeps you guessing if the woman had in fact killed her husband, or if it was someone else.  Someone who is now after Saidh.  The result of that mystery is actually quite surprising when you get to it.

The romance end of it is Saidh catches the eye of Greer MacDonnell.  He’s the new Laird, having inherited the position after his cousin Allen’s death.  He immediately is fascinated with her, and she with him.  It’s not long before he decides they should be married (abit more because he wants to have sex with her but she’s a noble lady so no sex till the ring is on).  Which introduces us to the vast amount of brothers Saidh has, all who play a role with the story, and the next two according to the summaries.  I found the brothers, and Alpin who is Greer’s squire, to be interesting.  The romance was bit quick in my mind, but considering it is a romance novel, and you only have so many pages to develop a relationship and solve a mystery its understandable.

I did think the injuries were a bit much, especially when they seem to switch from major to something minor later on. In one scene Saidh is hit with an arrow through her upper chest that ends up being pushed through to the other side, but within a day or so seems to be alright to carry around the castle and have a love scene with her husband.  Alpin’s illness is never really explained, only that he is ill, but I suppose his minor character status would allow for that. And I have to feel sorry for Milly, who gets used by Greer pretty much (and apparently turns into a bitter person for it in the next book when she’s mentioned.)

Still not a bad read, so I gave it an C+  Great characters, but I feel it was bit too much about the sex that it took away some of plot.

Bookit Review: To Marry a Scottish Laird

Title: To Marry a Scottish Laird  (Second in Highlander series)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publication Date: June 2014
Grade: A-

In this book, we take a different path than most romance serials.  Usually the main character of the next book is a character mentioned in the first (An English Bride in Scotland), perhaps a friend of the main character or a sibling.  In this case, the main characters are Joan and Campbell, neither of which appear in the first book.  However, that is not to say it is not connected.  Annabel, her husband Ross and their three children appear in this story.  Campbell, for one, is a Sinclair, which happens to be the neighboring family. He comes across Joan, dressed as a boy (which fools him for a day or two) trying to make her way from England to the MacKay family with a message from her mother.  They fall in lust with each other, and maybe a little in love as they travel to the MacKay Keep.

Once there, Joan finds out she is the daughter of Annabel’s sister Kate, and her stable boy husband Grant.  The woman she thought was her mother was a midwife who delivered her, and then adopted her after Kate’s death.  Once again we are reminded on how horrible the Abbess and Annabel’s parents were in this novel as neither agree to look in on the now orphan.  However, the midwife Maggie does, and raises her as her own. SHe never tells Joan the truth about her parentage during her lifetime, instead sends her on a deathbed request to take a letter exposing the information to Annabel Mackay.

The second part of the book holds the mystery, as someone is trying to kill Joan to get her out-of-the-way.  She and Cam have to figure out which of the brides Cam’s mother had been preparing to suggest to him prior to his elopement with Joan is the culprit.  We are introduced to 3 ladies who will take on the roles of the next 3 books  and a few others.  I have to admit, this book was good at keeping you guessing at who it was.

This book was a nice easy day read, and I think a bit better than the first as she now seems to get into the new universe she’s created.  You don’t have to read the first book to read this one, though it would help for the back story about Kate & Grant, Joan’s biological parents, as well as the horrible grandparents.

Bookit Review: An English Bride in Scotland

Title: An English Bride in Scotland (Part 1 of the “Annabel” Highland series – Series title my own creation)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publication Date: June 2013  (Kindle Edition)
Grade: A-

I should start this out by saying I’m a huge fan of Lynsay Sands, so reading this was no hardship.  My sister had read them and suggested that I start to read her historical novels set in Scotland since both of us have been huge fans of her Argeneau series for years.  (possibly even more than a decade now, )  So I bought the book on my Kindle and settled down to read.

This book is not one of her best, but it was still enjoyable.  The issue is mainly that there are so many straight-out unlikable characters that you spend most of your time not really invested in the romance but just feeling sorry for the main character, Annabel.  The book starts out with Annabel as a novice awaiting to take her vows as a nun.  She is stunned however when her mother, who had basically shoved her away in the convent when she was quite small, shows up to tell her she’s coming home.  It appears Annabel’s older sister, Kate, has run off with the stable boy and now they must have their only other daughter fulfil a marriage contract with a Scottish Laird.  So Annabel remains quite baffled as she goes from one abusive home (I don’t understand how this Mother Superior managed to make it to being a nun) to another (her parents perpetually comment on how she is not what they wanted, ugly, fat etc.  NOt like her sister, so her to be husband might just run).  So the first couple chapters is just wishing Annabel could just get to somewhere where people won’t pick on her.

And she does, as Ross MacKay’s home in Scotland is full of interesting characters who really want the best for Annabel.  However, things seem to follow Annabel around.  She is attacked by a mysterious man in a kilt several times, and then her sister arrives hoping Annabel will take her in, having been abandoned by her stable boy.  Or so she says.  Annabel isn’t sure what to believe.

This wasn’t a terrible read, but I really didn’t feel any connection with the characters other than sympathy for Annabel, and later Grant, Kate’s Scottish husband. The minor characters were interesting, and since this series has four more books at least (well, 3 with one coming in January), I hope to see a few of them again. It was just the pacing and depth of character that I expect from Lynsay Sands wasn’t completely there with this novel.

I gave the book a A- because as I said she’s a favorite author of mine, the book was enjoyable though not great, and I didn’t find anything that particularly annoyed me or made me want to throw the book out the window.

Bookit Review: A Perpetual Estrangement

Title: A Perpetual Estrangement
Author: Alice B. Ryder
Publication Date: November 2016
My Grade: C

I’m once again am reading Jane Austin adaptations.  I really enjoy the ones based on Persuasion, which is my favorite of her novels.  This particular novel takes place in Modern England.  Anne Elliot is still Anne, but this time she’s moved away from her family.  She owns a bookshop she bought with her mother’s inheritance, and hangs out a lot with her mother’s side of the family (which takes place of the Musgroves.) She is estranged from her father and sister Roberta, which only gets worse as the book continues.

Frederick is replaced with Freddie, a young writer instead of soldier.  Roberta and Anne’s father talk Anne out of going on a world trip with him and they end up breaking up.  She regrets it, he’s trying to show he’s moved on, just like their literary counterparts.

I enjoyed this book to a point.  At times it seemed to drag on, and some of the related points seemed mixed up which isn’t too much of a problem.   The main problem seems to be that there isn’t much for me to say about it.  It’s not bad, but it’s not spectacular either.  The Author makes a point of reminding you throughout the book that this is a reimagined story, not just another modern version of the same story.  Some of the elements remain the same, but others have changed completely.  The book Persuasion (and other Jane Austen novels) are mentioned through out.

I think my problem was mostly I found it hard to connect with some of the characters.  Anne’s story has perhaps a bit too much sorrow.  The version of Cousin Elliot is a bit too far away from the original.  Most of his motivations are stripped away, and he’s after her Uncle who’s a literary agent. There are also a few scenes with Jane whose age I couldn’t really figure out.  She seems like she’s in her preteens but at the same time seems to be referred to as much younger. Freddie and Anne’s relationship is strained, like the original, but it seems the sudden Happily Ever After is, well, Sudden.  There isn’t so much the anticipation that he’s changed his mind.  Most of the time you are as confused as Anne as to what is going on.

Still, it was enjoyable and I wouldn’t avoid it.  If someone asked me if it was worth reading, I would say sure.  it’s a good rainy day read.  If you like Austen, this story is enjoyable if a bit awkward in parts.  I wouldn’t put it on my greatest reads list, but its alright.

~*~