book

Pobody’s Nerfect

Posted on Updated on

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

netgalley

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.

9780812998269

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

hello-1
*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.

alanspeak-see-saw-2400px

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.

tumblr_ojym90eixm1si3gq6o1_540

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.

penguinadmin-2400px

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.

ecard_4

Advertisements

2:1 – Two Books I Didn’t Finish that weren’t Completely Awful

Posted on Updated on

I recently received, and tried to read, a couple of ARCs from Netgalley.

netgalley

One of these was James William Brown’s My Last Lament,

31146821

the other, Alyssa Maxwell’s A Pinch of Poison.

29857433

I was unable to finish either of them, not necessarily because they were bad – they just weren’t for me.

4me

James William Brown’s tale is epistolary, a format I generally dislike. You meet Aliki, a lamenter, which is basically a person who professionally laments. You can read about them in Classical Greek works – at the funeral, you’ve got your coffin, your pallbearers, and your grieving women, who cry/scratch their faces/pull out their hair (aka, lament). Aliki has been approached by one of those young, ambitious educational people, who are seeking a PhD and need juicy subject matter to force themselves to write their thesis about. This chick wants to know about lamenting, and has provided Aliki with a tape recorder, since initial meetings were not very forthcoming (and also, it’s a tape recorder, which must be wicked cheap these days since everyone can just record on their smart phones now). But Aliki doesn’t want to talk about lamenting. She wants to lament on behalf of herself, on behalf of her village, which she witnessed nearly torn asunder by the awful World War II.

radioshack_tape_recorder

That is, unfortunately, all that I know. I did not get very far in this novel, because while the tape recording makes sense (a woman who makes her living by vocalizing grief will, of course, choose an oral, rather than written, method, to vocalize her own), I just generally don’t like epistolary novels. And this one was no exception. I am a fan of the subject matter, and think that if you do not have the intense hatred for epistolary novels that I do, you should most definitely give it a try.

grievingcouple-2400px

Alyssa Maxwell’s story is a mystery, set in the early twentieth century, and is the second book of a series in which a “lady” named Phoebe and her “maid” Eva since mysteries and talk about the plight of women. Phoebe’s all “Oh no, I’m supposed to find a husband and take care of the house, but all I really want to do is put myself in danger, get my maid in trouble, and flirt poorly with this guy I will obviously get married to and take care of his house later.” Eva’s like “I’m totes fine with being a maid. I’m good at it. I fucking LOVE it. But really, secretly, I don’t love it, which is why I’m trying to Sherlock Holmes my way through some local murders with my mistress, hoping that this will somehow get me out of my servants role. Also, I’m going to pretend I don’t like this constable guy, even though I’m obviously totally into him and I’m going to marry him and take care of his house and lose my role of lady’s maid that way.” Also, there are annoying schoolgirls, the headmistress dies, and I don’t really care who committed the murder. A mediocre mystery. But some people like those.

retrowoman-2400px
Are YOU in the mood for a mediocre mystery?

Those are two books that I could not finish recently. What about you? Did you pick something up, hoping to love, or at least like, it, and become sorely disappointed? Let me know the last book you Could. Not. Finish. below!

Tape recorder image: J.smith at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Update: How did I do in my 10 Books in 2016 Challenge?

Posted on Updated on

Um… well, I didn’t quite make it. Though I’m fairly certain I read more than 10 books before 2016 had ended, not all of them were from the list I created last August. This post will provide the 10 Books in 2016 Challenge Update: (aka, it’s now 2017, so here’s specific detail on how I did).

10-books-in-2016-challenge

  1. The Glass-Blowers By Daphne DuMaurier

glass blowers

2. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

wintergirls

3. Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

funny girl

4. The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale

  • STATUS: Read in 2016 #yay
  • Blog post

wicked boy

5. The Room: A Novel by Jonas Karlsson

  • STATUS: Did not read in 2016 #boo

the room

6. Odd Girl Out by Elizabeth Jane Howard

odd girl out

7. Off the Page by Jodie Picoult

off the page

8. Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming

  • STATUS: Did not read in 2016 #boo

22934446

9. The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida

  • STATUS: Did not read in 2016 #boo

diver's clothes

10. L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad

la andy

In conclusion, I read 7 of the 10 books chosen for the 10 Books in 2016 Reading Challenge. I didn’t knock the challenge out of the park, but I’m happy with my results.

2016-challenge-update

2016-challenge-update-1

How did your 2016 reading go? Or what are you aiming to achieve in 2017? I would love to hear about your accomplishments and your goals in the comments!

Fighting for Your Right to Be Who You Are

Posted on Updated on

Okay, I know the title makes it appear that this is a political post, but bear with me. I am not going to discuss our current political climate; I am going to review Walker Long’s upcoming work, Swapship Troopers:

swapship-troopers

Swapship Troopers is available for pre-order on Amazon, slated for release on Thursday, January 19. I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of this work, and in a snapshot, guys: I highly recommend.

Swapship Troopers is a satiric take on Robert A. Heinlein’s work Starship Troopers. Private Quantrill is in the marine corps, putting his life on the line in the war against Bugs. These aren’t your regular, disgusting creepy crawlies. These bugs are gigantic alien species who can easily render even the most skilled fighters lifeless in a matter of seconds.

In addition to having their lives on the line, there is also the question of whether or not they’re doing much living. In the midst of war, there is one thing, in particular, that people tend to miss: la petite mort.

Luckily for these soldiers, there are some genetically altering drugs that allow for some fun times…

futanari_-_hiragana

This work is fun. You don’t have to have already read Starship Troopers in order to enjoy it (although you might enjoy the work more if you have read it; I actually cannot comment on that, since I haven’t). Yet, this book is not simply an erotic fiction; it is a piece of fiction that happens to contain erotic scenes. Due to the opportunity at first thrust upon him, and later provided to him, Quantrill learns about himself, while simultaneously having to deal with the preconceptions and expectations that come with the very idea, as well as embodiment of womanhood.

I was impressed with the manner in which Long portrayed the developing romance and Quantrill’s self-awareness, which add an element of sweetness to the story. This sweetness is juxtaposed with the brutality of the war being fought, as well as steamy sex scenes.

zeichnung-5-svg-norm-2400px
#steamy

I really liked this novella. Have you read it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Glowing Comparison

Posted on Updated on

I was checking out Goodreads, as I am wont to do (especially when I have work for my actual job that almost pays me a living wage), when I came across this review for my short story “Let Down My Hair:”

let-down-your-hair-review

A comparison to Practical Magic? I’m flattered beyond belief right now.

cow-jumps-over-the-moon-2400px
Over the moon right now

Countdown to Good Writing

Posted on Updated on

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Paul Auster’s 4 3 2 1, and it. Was. Amazing.

4321
Look for this book on Jan. 31!

Archie Ferguson, born in NYC, is a normal boy with athletic and literary inclinations. This novel examines four ways in which his life might have occurred, if certain key moments in his life had or had not happened. There are certain desires and activities that remain the same regardless of the circumstances, but they generally manifest in different ways.

mv5bmti0njexndg2n15bml5banbnxkftztywmdmyota5-_v1_
It’s kind of like Sliding Doors, but on crack, and not primarily focused on romance.

Archie – in all four variants – is real. He has normal thoughts, he has flaws, he is smart yet sometimes foolish, and so easy to like as a character.

alternate-reality_o_2058571
As likable as a Keanu meme

In addition to the regular trials and tribulations of being a kid and teenager, Ferguson and his loved ones also experience the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and the turmoil and momentous moments of the time are interesting, and currently feel topical. Political dissent, and people arguing over whether or not others are treating them as equals? Definitely problems that our society is currently facing.

free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com

You should read this book.

belle-reading
… & you should, too!

Hello 2017 + Reading Goal

Posted on Updated on

I have signed up to take the 2017 Goodreads reading challenge – my goal? 60 books during the year.

goodreads-2017-goal

It’s not significantly more books than I read last year, but I am hoping to focus a bit more on my writing this year. Plus, it’s more than 1 book per week, so I feel that the goal is achievable without being lazy.

goal-post-2400px
Goals: let’s get a touchdown

Are you on Goodreads? How many books are you aiming to read this year? Or what are some of your other resolutions for 2017? I would love to read your goals in the comments!