ARC

Pobody’s Nerfect

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I was graciously provided with an advanced reader’s copy of Sophie Kinsella’s recently released My (not so) Perfect Life via Netgalley.

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Here is the synopsis from Penguin Random House:

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

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Full confession: I am one of those few people who was actually not a fan of Confessions of a Shopaholic.

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*sigh* … I know

Yet I liked My Not So Perfect Life. It was not exactly written in the way that I would have liked – there were some cringeworthy moments, and some moments where the writing was a bit over the top. But there were also moments that made me giggle, and overall, I felt a strong connection to the story.

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I’m going I let you guys in on a little secret: I am not perfect. I would love to be, but I’m not.

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Katie works in marketing, a job that demands creative thinking, grueling hours, and can feel pretty thankless. This description likely sounds familiar to anyone who works a white-collar job.

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I would actually highly recommend this novel for work-book clubs, because it could facilitate discussion regarding many aspects of work-life relationships:

  • Work-life balance
  • Relationships with co-workers
  • The importance of hard work
  • Being true to yourself
  • Perception vs. reality
  • Teamwork
  • Goals, and how to achieve them

Sophie Kinsella creates characters who are believable and relatable, and if you are feeling overwhelmed, trying to find your place in the world, or looking for the next book for your book club, then you might enjoy My (not so) Perfect Life.

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Less Interesting than Pretty Little Liars #bookreview

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I recently received and read an ARC of Rachel Bateman’s Someone Else’s Summer from Netgalley:

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I have mixed feelings about this novel. I actually really liked the plotline, though it was fairly predictable. Someone Else’s Summer follows Anna, the effortlessly beautiful, popular high school cheerleader who realizes upon the death of her sister that she has potentially lost touch with a reality that her dead sister Storm understood intimately. She discovers her sister’s list, meant to be accomplished during the summer after Storm graduates and before beginning college, until the car crash on graduation night that prematurely took her life.

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Beauty, death, road trip… it’s like an episode of a TV show on ABC family.

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Except that unlike the earnest beauties of questionable intelligence becoming embroiled in drama and solving mysteries on a popular cable network, this novel features an earnest beauty who is fucking annoying as hell.

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Give me an “A!” Give me an “N!” Give me an “N-O-Y-I-tkN-G!!”

Overall, it was difficult to feel sympathetic for Anna. And it was difficult to see why her love interest, literally obvious from the first page of the novel, was in love with her, other than her beauty.

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… which brings us to the same question as this movie: is this girl just the equivalent of a dessert to [love . If I were to sum up the interest]?
In addition to featuring an aggravating, unsympathetic protagonist, I was also not particularly a fan of the writing style. There were moments, glimpses in the writing, of the book that I had been hoping this one would be. However, overall, the writing is not quite as polished as it should be. This novel reads as a draft, that should have been further edited.

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This YA novel is okay. If I were to sum it up in one word, it would be “meh.” I like the idea of the novel, just not its’ execution. Unfortunately, I do not recommend.

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#dontrecommend

Have you read Someone Else’s Summer? Or are you planning to? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Shattered Fan Fiction

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I received an ARC of Rosemary Rey’s novel Stained Glass Shards via Netgalley.

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This novel is a romance/erotica that switches viewpoints between former long-time lovers Griffin and Elyce, who had a 50-Shades-of-Fucked-Up-Even-Though-That-Isn’t-A-Saying relationship until Elyce abruptly grew a backbone and ended it.

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Griffin is a movie star. Insanely good-looking, great actor, went to school in Boston with Elyce, which is where they met and became friends-with-benefits.

Elyce is the gal who secretly wanted Griffin to fall in love with her and marry her, but didn’t think it was within the realm of possibility until she realized, well, fuck, if he’s not into it I should dump his ass and find someone who is. So she breaks up with him, and writes a thinly-veiled fictionalization of their relationship which becomes a bestseller. That is optioned for movie rights, and furthermore, is actively picked up to be made into a movie. I think you see where this is going…

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#dundunduhn

This novel was not quite my cup of tea. Rey’s writing is a bit too literal to me, reading a bit woodenly. Also, Elyce kind of got on my nerves.

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I like to root for the protagonist

BUT I also thought Rey did a great job of taking a storyline that was starting to read like a fan fic, and delve into the relationship a bit more. The stained glass metaphor was painfully drawn out, but I get why it’s in the book. Rey is dealing with appearance vs. reality, and her characters actively grow and change. Perspective is a major component of this book, which I loved.

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#metaphor

I would recommend if you are in the mood for some sexy fluff. I don’t recommend as a romance, but I do recommend if you want to escape a bit.

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#escape

Have you read Stained Glass Shards? What did you think? Who was your favorite character?

Cities & Swordfights

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I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Tell the Wind and Fire via Netgalley.

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Luck is the operative word in that prior sentence. Reader, I wasn’t initially even sure I wanted to read it. I requested it on an impulse, because a younger, more naive me used to enjoy reading Sarah Rees Brennan’s blog posts. I requested it expecting to be disappointed, because I didn’t particularly like the title, and because I loved the idea behind Unspoken, but had not been as enamored with its actual written self as I had hoped. I am gladly disappointed in my expectation to be disappointed; a cat licking stolen cream from its paws with satisfaction and delight. You should read this book.
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A bit of dystopian fiction, Brennan has created a world in which magic is a fact, the characters peopling it manage to be symbolic and realistic at the same time, and the knowledge of what people are capable can be both heartwarming and devastating, by turns. Inspired by A Tale of Two Cities, Brennan has created an entertaining read that, at the same time, should make you think. Brennan is not just basing her own novel off a work filled with literary machinations such as metaphor, character development, etc – it is clear that while her work is inspired and based off of a famous and well-known novel, her work is filled with metaphors and symbolism all its own. Her work is relevant as more than an homage to Dickens; her work manages to rise above the Dickens classic, to become its’ own story – one which, quite frankly, can be enjoyed whether you have read A Tale of Two Cities or not.
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Brennan wrote a fantasy book I enjoyed, though fantasy is not generally a genre I favor. She wrote a story including a love triangle that at least somewhat transcends the general story that includes a love triangle. She wrote about the power to create change and speak up even when it seems that the both of these actions are just well-meant yet ultimately meaningless phrases. I cannot rave about this book enough. Pre-order it, read it, buy it for your friends. This book definitely receives 5 out of 5 bowls of delicious spaghetti.
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Those are my thoughts! Share some of yours – what was the last book you weren’t expecting to like that ended up surprising you?

June is a Great Month & a Great Book

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Remember how excited you used to feel in June, as the sun shone through the window, and you studied for final exams because summer vacation was right around the corner? That excitement is exactly what you should feel for June, a novel written by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore.

daydreamJune is a well-written novel that revolves around a character aptly named June. The novel alters between two different timelines, in which themes of love, family, friendship, secrets, and honesty are explored in a way that is entertaining, well written, and truthful.

Rather than tell you more about how much I enjoyed this book, I thought I would show you by sharing some of my favorite quotes from the book.

Personification of a house:

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Delight:

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Marriage in the ’50s:

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Respect:

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I love this – no wishy-washy, hand-wringing. Kiss when you feel like it (as long as the other person’s into it):

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Romance –

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To sum up this post, I really, really liked this book. I might pick up a physical copy at the bookstore to read it again, and I think you should read it. What about you – any recommendations? What’s the last book you read that you really enjoyed, and think all of your friends should read?

The award-deserving book you need to read, like, yesterday

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Wow.

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I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reader copy of Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel
from Atria books, and now I know what to get the difficult people to shop for this year for birthday gifts. Britt-Marie was Here is certainly amongst the best books that will be released this year. I say this remark with confidence, despite the fact that it is almost March – the novel is that good.

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This book deserves ALL the awards

Britt-Marie and the town of Borg in which she tries to make a fresh start in life as a woman in her sixties are well-drawn and lovable characters. This novel is realistic, heartbreaking, heartfelt, and full of hope. And you should read it.

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That is all I want to say about this novel, because I think it’s best if you simply pick it up and read it for yourself. Which you can do May 3rd, when it is released. Happy reading!