Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: My Not So Perfect Life – Sophie Kinsella

30634785Everywhere 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. The final, demeaning straw comes when Demeter makes Katie dye her roots in the office. 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.

Sophie Kinsella is one of my favorite authors, and there is so much more to her repertoire than Becky Bloomwood and her shopping problem. When I saw she had a new book coming out, and that I could grab a galley of it from NetGalley to read ahead of time no less, I was super excited. My Not So Perfect Life did not disappoint. Ms. Wickham (let’s face it, Sophie Kinsella is a pseudonym) does not disappoint this time around. Super-relatable characters – who hasn’t had an awful boss that they’ve wanted to exact revenge upon? (Of course acting upon it is an entirely different story…what Katie does to Demeter is what everyone with an awful boss wants to do but knows they shouldn’t) There also was cute, but not nauseatingly so romance because it is a chick lit book after all. Overall, Katie/Cat, Demeter, Alex, Biddy, Katie’s Dad and the farm of yurts for glamping make this a highly entertaining book and I strongly recommend picking up a copy if you want something light and entertaining to read!

Obligatory disclaimer: I was given an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Non-obligatory ramble: If you like to read, I strongly recommend signing up for NetGalley…because free books are awesome. Especially when you get to read them before everyone else. The only catch is, these are e-books, so if you’re grossly opposed to reading from a phone/iPad/Nook/Kindle, etc you might not enjoy the site so much

Book Review: Virgin – Radhika Sanghani

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Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.

Yet.

This is normal, right? I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?

It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.

The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?

Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?

I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.

Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

Virgin has been rotting in my “to read” pile for an embarrassingly long time. In fact it was one of the first galleys I ever got on NetGalley. At least I had the wherewithal to send it to Kindle before it was archived and purged from my queue…not that I actually, you know, HAD a kindle until July of this year (or whenever the last Prime Day was and Kindle Fires were $30) since I’m still staunchly a Nook girl. Except I almost bought an eink Kindle this week too, until I told myself I could get it for dirt cheap next Prime Day so no… Since I prefer to read on eink devices (even the Kindle fire bothers me after a while) and I only read on my phone in really desperate situations…we have a recipe for Virgin to sit untouched for a couple of years. Now that I have the aforementioned Kindle Fire, I’m making an attempt to catch up on my galley backlog…because hey, free books…and I need to improve my abysmal feedback ratio on Netgalley, so I can be approved for books that are annoyingly difficult to get. Hopefully, there’ll be a bit more action around here as a result. Eventually I’ll even get to the eat & drink part of the title of this blog too. Baby steps!

Ellie is our virginal main character in this book, and she’s decided that as an almost graduate of college (or uni as it’s referred to in the book, which is delightfully British) and 21 years old, it’s time to bite the bullet and lose her virginity because she “wants to be eligible to take a chlamydia test” after visiting the clinic, where her doctor is kind of incredulous that she’s not sexually active. After a traumatic experience at 17 where it almost happened, Ellie hasn’t really had much luck in the male department…

Ellie was a pretty whiny and annoying character to be completely honest. It drove me up a wall. In spite of this, I did actually enjoy this book because it was just too painfully real – in a way, I was like her. Although, my virtue did not stay intact until 21, I can identify with the whole late bloomer thing and feeling like a repulsive loser because I didn’t have a boyfriend while most of everyone else around me did…like Ellie, when that ball finally did get rolling, these guys weren’t particularly fantastic human beings to say the least. Spoiler alert Ellie: It does get better. (That’s an IRL observation…not anything book-related.)

Ellie’s fascination with not seeming like a noob when she “lost her V plates” was pretty entertaining. Of course, I always managed to be reading these awkwardly hilarious passages while on the subway, so I had to give the side eye to make sure no creepers were ogling my Kindle over my shoulder while Ellie goes allllllllllll in about learning about sex toys and masturbation in graphic detail.

Thank you Goodreads for tipping me off to the fact that this is actually a series now. I feel like the 2nd installment will be much better since Ellie might actually be able to enjoy herself and not be so concerned with her de-virginizing.

Obligatory disclaimer: I was given an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Non-obligatory ramble: If you like to read, I strongly recommend signing up for NetGalley…because free books are awesome. Especially when you get to read them before everyone else. The only catch is, these are e-books, so if you’re grossly opposed to reading from a phone/iPad/Nook/Kindle, etc you might not enjoy the site so much

Book Review: All The Ugly & Wonderful Things – Bryn Greenwood

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As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.

I’m going to keep this review short and sweet because I don’t want to give the book away…

That said: a part of me wants to cringe at the premise of this book. A questionable friendship between a child and an adult that eventually turns completely inappropriate…but the story doesn’t come off as “Ew OMFG Kellen is a pedophile!”. Wavy is an old soul…so despite the vast age difference between Kellen and Wavy, the two have much in common and get on well. The stories of both of them are both ugly and wonderful as the title of the book suggests, and if they weren’t so far apart in age it would be a sappy love story.

At the end you’re rooting for them though – they both deserve their happy ending!

Obligatory disclaimer: I was given an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Non-obligatory ramble: If you like to read, I strongly recommend signing up for NetGalley…because free books are awesome. Especially when you get to read them before everyone else. The only catch is, these are e-books, so if you’re grossly opposed to reading from a phone/iPad/Nook/Kindle, etc you might not enjoy the site so much

Book Review: The Swans of Fifth Avenue – Melanie Benjamin

25279165“From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife comes an enthralling new novel about Truman Capote’s scandalous, headline-making, and heart-wrenching friendship with Babe Paley and New York’s society “swans” of the 1950s.

Centered on two dynamic, complicated, and compelling protagonists—Truman Capote and Babe Paley—this book is steeped in the glamour and perfumed and smoky atmosphere of New York’s high society. Babe Paley—known for her high-profile marriage to CBS founder William Paley and her ranking in the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame—was one of the reigning monarchs of New York’s high society in the 1950s. Replete with gossip, scandal, betrayal, and a vibrant cast of real-life supporting characters, readers will be seduced by this startling new look at the infamous society swans.”

Allow me to preface this post by saying that I have never read any of Melanie Benjamin’s other books. When I posted my review on Goodreads, I read through a bunch of other people’s reviews and they all seemed to be previously enamored with the author’s work…an advantage which I don’t have, and that may or may not contribute to the fact that I rate this book a weak 3 out of 5 stars…more like a 2.5. I love dishy and scandalous stories, but quite honestly the characters, with the exception of Truman Capote bored the crap out of me. The privileged ladies who lunch set were a snooze-fest.

My primary thought upon finishing the book was “Wow, Truman Capote is a conniving little bitch!”

Below is my review from Goodreads, since aside from above I don’t feel like there’s much more to elaborate on about the book.

This book is a fictionalized account of the lives of New York society darlings who lead a very charmed existence and are enamored with this fabulously flamboyant literary wonder who sucks up to them and inserts himself into their lives under the guise of being this whimsically fun guy – which they of course lap up as the bored ladies who lunch types that they are. Later, Truman betrays their confidences for the sake of his art, and all hell breaks loose in their circle of friends.

I felt sorry for Babe, her husband is a douchebag who seemed like he realized what he had too late. (That part isn’t fictionalized.) It’s sad that she felt obligated to put up with his crap for decades.

Obligatory disclaimer: I was given an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Non-obligatory ramble: If you like to read, I strongly recommend signing up for NetGalley…because free books are awesome. Especially when you get to read them before everyone else. The only catch is, these are e-books, so if you’re grossly opposed to reading from a phone/iPad/Nook/Kindle, etc you might not enjoy the site so much.

Book Review: The Scam – Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

Nicolas Fox is a charming con man and master thief oThe Scamn the run. Kate O’Hare is the FBI agent who is hot on his trail. At least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality, Fox and O’Hare are secretly working together to bring down super-criminals the law can’t touch. Criminals like brutal casino magnate Evan Trace.

Evan Trace is running a money-laundering operation through his casino in Macau. Some of his best customers are mobsters, dictators, and global terrorists. Nick and Kate will have to go deep undercover as high-stakes gamblers, wagering millions of dollars—and their lives—in an attempt to topple Trace’s empire.

It’s a scam that will take Fox and O’Hare from the Las Vegas strip, to the sun-soaked beaches of Oahu’s North Shore, and into the dark back alleys of Macau. Their only backup—a self-absorbed actor, a Somali pirate, and Kate’s father, and an ex-soldier who believes a rocket launcher is the best way to solve every problem. What could possibly go wrong?

In addition to cooking, I love to read. So occasionally I’ll be reviewing books here as well. I may as well kick off that tradition by reviewing a book written by one of my favorites, Janet Evanovich. I recently finished reading “The Scam” which is the fourth book in her Fox & O’Hare series that she co-writes with Lee Goldberg. If you’re at all familiar with her Stephanie Plum books, replace Stephanie the bounty hunter with Kate the FBI agent, and Morelli with Nick Fox the con man. Change the locale from Trenton, New Jersey to Southern California (with a bunch of more exotic locales sprinkled in) and you have the Fox & O’Hare series. As much as I love Stephanie Plum, the series, at over 20 books, is getting a bit old. Fox & O’Hare is still new and fresh. I’ve enjoyed all four full-length books, the prequels and the between-the-books novellas – and I’m sure there will be many more of all of the above mentioned things to come (A list of everything that the series comprises of can be found here.)

Sure, the books are not exactly literary works of art, and they can quite frankly be a bit formulaic, but reading a Janet Evanovich book is like scarfing down a pint of Ben and Jerry’s after a particularly crappy break-up…they both make you feel better!

Just like the previous books, the entire story features a boatload of sexual tension between Kate and Nick, and it seems like this time around is the closest they’ve actually come to relieving that. I really hope that this does not become a recurring theme in the manner of the Stephanie/Ranger/Morelli triangle in the Stephanie Plum books, because that has gotten kind of exhausting. Here, the will-they-or-won’t-they is getting irritating, but things are still interesting…and the way that their storyline progresses in “The Scam” gives me hope that this tension is actually getting somewhere.

The ending of this particular book was the least neat and tidy of the series, but I think that’s why I liked it so much. I can’t wait to see what the fifth full installment of the series brings…whenever that may be.

Overall, I’d give the book 4 stars – and if you haven’t read any of the other books in the series, go read those first because these really don’t work as stand alone books at all.

Obligatory disclaimer: I was given an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Non-obligatory ramble: If you like to read, I strongly recommend signing up for NetGalley…because free books are awesome. Especially when you get to read them before everyone else. The only catch is, these are e-books, so if you’re grossly opposed to reading from a phone/iPad/Nook/Kindle, etc you might not enjoy the site so much.