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Holly Ord has commented on (3) products.

Dream Life by Lauren Mechling
Dream Life

Holly Ord, January 28, 2010

Although Dream Life is a sequel to Lauren Mechling’s first book, Dream Girl, Dream Life is the first book I have read in the supernatural journey that is Claire Voyante’s world. That being said, Mechling first and foremost succeeded in creating a book that you can pick up and jump right into, without needing any back story from the first publication in the series.

Claire is a typical high school girl with a not-so-typical gift; ever since her grandmother, Kiki, gave her an onyx and ivory cameo necklace, Claire has been having black and white dreams that are major tips in solving some pretty influential mysteries. To make Dream Life even more intriguing, Claire isn’t just solving mysteries around New York, she (albeit, mistakenly) aligns herself with a secret society of do-gooders called the Blue Moons, who give her quite the mystery to solve–find a missing pink iPod that holds the secrets of a new and absolutely huge project to save the Brooklyn Bridge from real estate developer slimeball, Sink Landon.

Admittedly, Dream Life was a little slow to start for me, which I attribute to not reading the first book and really not knowing the who knew each other so well. However, the book surprised me with its ability to catch–and keep–my attention to the end. Claire is a remarkable and rememberable heroine that you find yourself rooting for in her entire series of problems, not just with solving mysteries, but also rifts with her friends, her complicated boy troubles and dealing with her eccentric parents. Through reading so many young adult books and seeing the amount of quirkiness young adult authors portray in their parental characters, it is my belief that YA authors write parents with the exaggerated qualities they had in parents growing up, with a myriad of additional attributes they wished their parents had and Dream Life had that ten-fold with a Paris-crazed mother with a love of the Zodiac and her parents’ insane Paris-themed house parties. But most of all, I fell in absolute love with Claire’s grandmother, Kiki, who reminds me of every genuinely close friend I have ever had that I could divulge anything to without feeling a hint of judgment.

Lauren Mechling not only presents a fabulous mystery novel that captures the attention of young adults and older adults alike, but also is the first author since the creators of Sex and the City to turn New York City into a character in itself. Being the wannabe-fashionista that I am (read: If I had money, oh the clothes, shoes and accessories I would buy), I really enjoyed the fashion appearances in this book as well. Kiki’s hand-me-down vintage dresses Claire wears and the footwear described in her best friend Becca’s wardrobe are enough to make even the savviest of fashionistas swoon.

I loved being given the opportunity to be a fly on the wall in Claire’s life; from her stance as a Half Moon in the Blue Moon society, solving a mystery that proved me wrong when I thought I had everything figured out, to finally figuring out who she is as a person and knowing her own level of morality, which makes Claire completely and utterly real.

I would recommend this book to anyone craving a serving of hilarious, page-turning, on-the-edge-of-your-seat read that lets you breathe a sigh of relief when you think things can’t get much worse.
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Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell
Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

Holly Ord, January 10, 2010

I must preface this by saying that I know very little when it comes to cooking, never mind French cooking. I know enough to prepare something with very simple instructions, but for the most part my partner does the majority of any cooking that involves more than boil water, add noodles, wait until noodles are tender and cover with sauce. In addition to my lack of culinary expertise, I also knew very little about Julia Child when starting this book, so one could assume that this would not be a book that I would be interested in, if not having to force myself through. However, I surprisingly took to this book very well because you don’t have to know pretty much anything about cooking, French cooking or Julia Child to enjoy the humor and biting cynicism of Julie Powell and her ability to bring you on the journey, the upheaval, the frustrations and the victories that became her life.

Julie Powell was just a temp secretary working at a government office full of Republicans in a post-9/11 era where, among other things like filing, she answered phone calls about people’s ideas for the September 11th memorial that had not yet been placed where the World Trade Center towers once stood. Living with her husband, three cats and what one could assume to be a minor drinking and chain-smoking problem, she worked a thankless job and lived a mundane life in a crappy apartment. She lived the life so many people are currently and will continue to live–getting by without doing much of significance.

But that’s where we get Julie Powell’s life all wrong. Of course she did not mean to do something of so much significance, but she did strive to do something. While being told she had a condition that would make it difficult to impossible to have a child after the age of thirty, and being twenty-nine, she set out on a mission to restore her ambition, change her life and save her soul… by cooking all 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I.

As she details her way through dish after dish, through long and excruciatingly-detailed pages on the insides of marrow bones and how to really go about stealing the lives of lobsters before turning them into delectable French cuisine, Julie & Julia is the kind of book you pick up on a rainy day when you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, so you don’t and allow yourself to relax the morning and early-afternoon away in bed with a good book.

A memoir was the perfect thing for Julie Powell to write, being an honest and often self-deprecating woman who bears it all and isn’t ashamed of it. However, on this same note she did write in the author’s note that throughout the book she did just make things up but of course, does not touch on what is made up and what is true-to-life. That did not necessarily have a negative impact on my overall enjoyment of this book because as I found myself laughing during certain passages and then wondering if that had really happened or not, I realized that if it had, well, that would have been hilarious and if not, then Julie Powell is equipped with a great and witty imagination–And she is.

Her blog that inspired the book, the Julie/Julia Project gained a great deal of media attention towards the ending months of her project. She prepared dinner for newspaper columnists she had admired and even missed the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to do it. Her blog garnered a great deal of attention from people whom she called bleeders that cheered her on and also pleaded with her not to make aspic-and-anything ever again.

More-so than the art of French cooking, I was more intrigued by Julie Powell the woman. I enjoyed her anecdotes and expletive-filled tangents about her boring and thankless job, her varied and equally satisfying and satisfied friends and of course, a husband in which she portrays to be the textbook definition of perfect. While I had seen the trailer for the movie before picking up the book, I was actually quite thrilled to see that the real Julie Powell was not as wholesome as Amy Adams portrays on the silver screen.

Julie & Julia is a satisfying journey of discovery full of laugh-out-loud tales and lists of foods I am certain I will never let grace my dinner plate.
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(7 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)



The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir by Laurie Sandell
The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir

Holly Ord, November 19, 2009

I could not stop reading The Imposter’s Daughter. I opened it, started reading and did not put it down until the next morning, when I was completely finished. I have read the book twice, both times taking me no more than two sittings and during the first time, I actually carried it with me to the bathroom a few times. It is a story that has yet to get old and I definitely foresee myself reading it again–It is that good. I really respect the course that Laurie Sandell has taken in her life, whether it be good, bad or destructive because she did wind up on her feet and rebuilding an impressive professional career. She had the nerve to air her family’s dirty laundry not because she wanted to have something over her father, but because her story is one that needed to be told and was a pleasure to experience however briefly and she did it successfully, with wit and honesty.
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