DNF: Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

Looking-for-meDNF at 50%

Because I so loved the author’s debut novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, I picked up Looking For Me (Penguin, 2013) by Beth Hoffman on my Kindle.

Looking For Me was a different story and writing style than CeeCee. The narrator, Teddie Overman, is an adult woman (as opposed to the adolescent CeeCee), and the first half of the story fluctuates between her current life as a single antique furniture refurbisher in Charleston and her childhood memories of growing up on a farm in Kentucky. In particular, Teddie is trying to piece together what happened to her brother, Josh, who mysteriously disappeared many years ago.

While the writing is cozy, safe and sweet, the stories – both past and present – meander along for hundreds of pages without any sense of urgency, direction, or plot. At about halfway in, when nothing more seemed to be happening outside Teddie’s furniture business, I skipped ahead to see if she’d make any progress, solve the mystery of her missing brother, or experience any interesting revelations otherwise. Nothing more unfolds or is determined, other than an eventual love interest, who is fairly unrelated to the rest of the story and isn’t prevalent enough to deem the novel a romance.

Because the story in general lacked plot and direction, and a resolution was missing from the ending, I was not invested enough to go back and read the remaining 50%. The writing, however, is good. This title may appeal to readers of southern lit and fans of Fannie Flagg, or anyone seeking a story featuring a mature narrator with slow, easy pacing and real-life settings.

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures (Book 1) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures (2009) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is a contemporary paranormal teen romance. It’s a lot like Twilight, but set in the U.S. south, and told from the boy’s perspective.

Ethan Wate is a good southern boy in Gatlin, South Carolina, when a mysterious new girl arrives to his high school. With her strange abilities to break windows with her emotions and communicate with Ethan telepathically, it’s no surprise that Lena Duchannes (“rhymes with rain”) is a Caster (or witch). Because of her “differences,” however, she’s immediately out-casted by everyone except Ethan, who falls irrevocably in love with her. However, it’s forbidden – and impossible – for a Mortal and a Caster to share a future together.

Lena also has a colorful Caster family, who each possess their own supernatural gifts. Along with an historical Civil War subplot involving Lena’s great-great-great-great Caster grandmother and Ethan’s great-great-great-great Confederate soldier uncle, and the impending doom of Lena possibly turning into a Dark Caster on her sixteenth birthday, there is plenty of mystery to keep the reader invested. The first of a series, this book will enchant fans of Twilight and other teen readers interested in paranormal romance.

Book Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Beth Hoffman is the author of this lighthearted coming-of-age novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. After tragedy strikes her mentally ill mother, twelve-year-old CeeCee is whisked away from small-town Ohio to the home of her wealthy, larger-than-life Great Aunt Tootie in sunny Savannah, Georgia.

Between Aunt Tootie’s bold housekeeper Oletta, and their eccentric southern belle neighbors, CeeCee has enough to keep her entertained and bedazzled all summer long. This chick lit tale is a sweet mix of gentle and uplifting southern charm, at times reminiscent of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees. I truly admire Hoffman’s debut novel and look forward to reading her future work!

Book Review: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

friedgreenThis Alabama “chick lit” story of women, food, and friendship straddles two time periods and two sets of friendships: the 1920s friendship of Ruth and tomboy Idgie; and the 1980s friendship of lonely housewife Evelyn, and the elderly Ninny. The friendships and interactions between Ninny and Evelyn are sweet, as Ninny shares stories of her sister-in-law, Idgie. Meanwhile, Evelyn is trapped in a loveless marriage to an uncaring husband, with children who treat her poorly. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is the author’s unique exhibition of the southern woman’s spirit and the value of friendship, both past and present.