Showing posts with label sophie kinsella. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sophie kinsella. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

[Review] My Not So Perfect Life - Sophie Kinsella: Farm Eggs and Instagram

In MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE, Katie's super glamorous big city boss goes on a holiday in Katie's hometown after firing her.

What intrigued me: Solely the author. Didn't even read the blurb before I picked this up.

Where's the fun?

I'm starting to think Sophie and I have to part ways. She's been one of my favorite authors for years, but I have now read every single one of her stand-alones and her 5-star quota is... well, not so good. Just like with THE UNDOMESTIC GODDESS, WEDDING NIGHT, and CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?, I just really didn't care for this one. 

MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE is chronically missing the charme and hilarity that made me fall in love with Kinsella's writing in the first place. It just reads like a weird train-of-thought-esque narrative without an actual plot and Katie, the heroine, just feels like she's a recycled mix of the protagonists of Kinsella's earlier stand-alones. It's also really, really long, 540 pages in my translated version and about 100 pages less in English, without a plot you can imagine how tedious this was to read. Beyond that, the blurb is actually way more interesting than the book, Instagram doesn't really play as much of a role in it, it's more about going back home and life outside of the big city, and ... meh.


Way Too Serious and Angsty

There isn't really anything to talk about because so little happens and I found myself forcing myself to continue instead of actually reading it for fun and breezing through it like I did with my favorites REMEMBER ME? and I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER. Maybe this is also because I guess this is a different type of book that I'd probably expected to see published under her Madeline Wickham publications. It just feels less fun and happy-go-lucky and more serious and contemplative, which is just not what I want when I'm picking up a Kinsella book. Katie spends a lot of time thirsting after her boss Demeter's life and contemplating the validity of her own experiences and just being sad, and I just couldn't bring myself to care about that. 

Even though all of Kinsella's books have somewhat of a New Adult aspect to them, in terms of angsting about the future, this one dig into it too hard for my taste. I want awkward situations, I want a hilarious heroine, I want a straight-forward plot and an unputdownable read. I didn't get any of that.On top of that, the love interest has the personality of a raw egg. 


Rating:

☆☆☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I think this might be the one book to make me never want to pick up a Kinsella book again. I found it quite dull and boring and now looking at my Kinsella shelf makes me sad.



Additional Info

Published: May 15th 2017
Pages: 544
Publisher: Goldmann
Genre: Adult / Chick Lit
ISBN: 978-3-442-48550-5

Synopsis:
"Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?"
(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read a book by Sophie Kinsella?



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Monday, June 12, 2017

10 Beach Reads For People Who Don't Like Beach Reads feat. Sophie Kinsella, Julie Hammerle & more






I'm one of those dreadful people who are easily bored by straight up romance books unless they are absolutely extraordinarily excellent. 

Here are some of the books that I would bring to the beach.




THE REPLACEMENT CRUSH - Lisa Brown Roberts
A really cute story about a girl looking for a rebound crush. Especially recommended for trekkies.

TALON - Julie Kagawa
Okay, listen, hear me out - this may be about shapeshifting dragons turning into humans but it's totally a summery beach romance. Sounds weird, is weird.

KEEPING THE MOON - Sarah Dessen
In terms of beach reads you can never go wrong with a Dessen book. This is a super light contemporary with a great protagonist!



PLUS ONE - Elizabeth Fama
As a dystopian novel this really isn't a regular pick for a beach read, but listen: This book is so light and easy and pretty much about people stealing babies. It's a weird fairytale-feeling kinda thing.

WEDDING NIGHT - Sophie Kinsella
This is partially set at the beach and kinsella, what more can you want!

FATED - S.G. Browne
The personified fate falls in love and it's absolutely hilarious!



THE PRINCESS DIARIES - Meg Cabot
I love this book so much if there is one light, funny book that I have and can read over and over again, it's this.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE - Jennifer E. Smith
Such a pleasant surprise!

THE SOUND OF US - Julie Hammerle
A sweet contemporary that's equal parts hilarious and unique. Also classic music!





WE AWAKEN - Calista Lynne
I think dreamy, magical books are always excellent pics for beach reads! This one features two lesbian asexuals and dreaming!

What are your favorite beach reads?

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

[Review] Can You Keep A Secret? - Sophie Kinsella: Why You Should Never Spill Your Secrets to a Stranger


When Emma Corrigan experiences major turbulences on her flight, she's convinces she's going to die. So she confides all her secrets, things she has never told anyone, in her seat neighbor. But it turns out he isn't just a perfect stranger she'll never see again.
What intrigued me: Sophie Kinsella is my favorite author. She's the queen of chick-lit. She could write something in lipstick on a napkin and I'd pay $9,99 for it. Jokes aside, this one is apparently the best Kinsella novel according to a couple of my friends. I had to check it out.



Hilarious, But Not For Long...

Kinsella definitely has a success formula. Take a dorky heroine in a dead end relationship, her dorkiness leading to meeting the Super Serious Businessman Guy™, and then throw in some complications and hilarious secondhand embarrassing scenes before they finally get together and realize they were made for each other.

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? has a very similar premise to I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER by Kinsella, but comes nowhere near the hilariousness and solid plot. Kinsella does have a way of making you laugh out loud with almost every single sentence. Her character voices are always on point. But the biggest flaw of this novel is that it starts with the premise and then just tries to keep up the narrative with tons of filler content. The secrets are spilled by page 20 and then it's just an annoying tug war between the protagonist Emma and her love interest Jack until they get together. It's still funny, but it just couldn't keep my attention and make me read this all in one go as other Kinsella books usually do.


Brilliant Character Building

What I've definitely missed with other novels by her are the side characters. In this one, the side characters are developed to perfection and it just seems effortless. She manages to introduce a new character and instantly make you sympathize with them/hate them. Usually Kinsella novels focus solely on the heroine, but in CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? everyone gets their little story and I love that. I loved to hate Emma's cousin Kerry and to sympathize with her sweet co-worker Katie. It's just perfect character building and you feel like the people you're reading about are real.

But then again, it all feels like filler. None of the side characters get a satisfying ending to their little quests and the whole novel just seems very unstructured. The idea absolutely can't carry an entire book. It should have ended somewhere halfway in, because the rest was just a torture to read for me. I wasn't invested in Emma, merely annoyed by her over the top dorkiness and naivete.



Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

No, not really. The first half is brilliant, but the rest is just boring. I stand by my favorites REMEMBER ME and I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER if you want to read a Kinsella novel.




Additional Info

Published: December 27th 2005
Pages: 218
Publisher: Dell Publishing
Genre: Adult / Chick-Lit
ISBN: 9780440241904

Synopsis:
"Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets: Secrets from her boyfriend: I've always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken. Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur. Secrets she wouldn't share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is. Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company's elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her..."
(Source: Goodreads)

 Have you read a Sophie Kinsella book before?

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Friday, March 4, 2016

A Letter to My Favorite Author Sophie Kinsella





If you don't know it already - Sophie Kinsella is my favorite author. I have only talked about her 3890289389 times on my blog.

She writes upbeat, hilarious women's fiction and you SHOULD, MUST, HAVE TO check out her books if you like that genre.

So for this week's Feature Follow Friday, I'm writing a letter to her. Let's hope I'm not being too weird. Nobody tweet this to her please this has to stay my dirty little secret


Dear Sophie,


your novels are a guarantee to get me out of ANY review slump. Nobody writes dorky heroines as funny as you do, nothing makes me smile the way your writing does and I'd like to thank you for that.

THANK YOU for:

  • being the ONLY author who always managed to make me forget whatever hard times I'm going through
  • making me feel not as clumsy as I actually am, because your heroines are often actually doing worse
  • making me laugh in public transport until people start looking at me like I'm crazy
  • instantly giving me a conversation starter - I've actually made good friends by asking them whether they've read a book of yours
I wasn't really much of an avid reader (get it, my blog's name is The Bookavid, ha) before I read Remember Me, and this book basically changed my life. I obsessively went through a bunch of similar books after I read it but never found someone who could make me laugh quite the way you do. Your books are always guaranteed to make me smile, just seeing them on my shelf makes me happy. 

Thanks a thousand times, honestly I wouldn't know if I'd even be here, reviewing books, if it weren't for you and your fabulous sense of humor. 

Can't wait what you're coming up with in the future!!! I'll be there for sure to cheer on your newest book!!

To many more hilarious books,

Your absolutely not weird fan Jen 




Have you read books by Sophie Kinsella? If not, I suggest you start with these...


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Friday, February 19, 2016

7 Reasons Why I Love Chick-Lit






Chick Lit is and always has been one of my go-to genres.

For this week's Feature Follow Friday, I'm giving you a list of reasons why I love it:

1) It can lift me off any bad mood! 
Chick-lit is usually funny and upbeat, and you can't be angry or sad when you read a gem like I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER

2) It's the #1 reading slump cure
It's honestly the one genre that's so easy, so light to read that no matter whether I'm sad that a series is over or just not feeling like reading, it always works.

3) You can reread chick lit novels 50 times over and it's still fun. 
I have a hard time rereading series or any high-concept book, usually. With chick-lit, that never happens.

4) There are endless possibilities!
It's weird, but honestly I don't think there are any chick-lit tropes that I'm tired of reading about. In fact, a lot of my favorites like REMEMBER ME? and LIFE AS I KNOW IT have a similar premise. I could read 20 of those and still be happy about it.

5) It's addicting.
When I first discovered Sophie Kinsella I was so absolutely obsessed with her, that I bought about 4 of her books. If you read one, you can't just stop at that.

6) Sweet blend between romance and humor
I just love that, some people are really into romance novels, but I've never been one of those people. I like side plots, I like humor, I like intrigues. And all that is what you get with chick-lit.

7) The fact that it's still used derogatorily and considered inferior to other genres.
It's ridiculous, but everything that's considered Women's Fiction isn't as critically acclaimed and considered on the same level as Literary Fiction written by men for example. Just this mere fact makes me want to single-handedly buy enough chick-lit books to land all my favorite authors on the New York Times bestselling list.



What do you think about chick-lit?

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Do We Need Books About Mental Illness By Neurotypical People? | YA Talk


Mental illness is a topic that I've only recently started getting very interested in. Sadly, the books I've encountered that deal with OCD, depression, anorexia, bipolar disorder, and many more, are just not realistic. 


Raising Awareness: Why I think it's important

In everyday life there is no way you'll just stumble upon the different kinds of mental illness, unless you meet somebody who actually has it.

If it weren't for the internet, I had no idea social anxiety was a thing. And there aren't even only a few people that live with it. Same goes for many other mental illnesses - you just don't run into people randomly that care to inform you about it. I understand that no one wants to talk about a personal matter like that in real life. This is why I think books on those topics are insanely important.

...

But here's the twist. I don't think I can endure any more poorly researched novels, else my head will probably explode. I recently tried FINDING AUDREY by Sophie Kinella, I tried SOLITAIRE by Alice Oseman. Two books that are very popular and praised for dealing with sensitive topics. I don't want to make any guesses on whether those books are inspired by experiences of the authors or not - but I can tell you, both of them are pretty poor excuses for diverse books.


What really bugs me here: Being Allergic to Research

The two books I mentioned play into all the clichés you have in mind when thinking about social anxiety and depression. 
The characters are cliché, the plot development unrealistic, and romanticized. It just doesn't feel like you're reading a novel about a sick person. I mean that's what mental illnesses are, ILLNESSES. It's not fun, it's not quirky, it's an actual illness that limits peoples' lives. I want to learn about it, because I think it's important to raise awareness that these things do exists. But books like these aren't helping us. They are making things WORSE.

What good does a book that deals with a controversial topic, but just fuels stereotypes? 

We simply don't need it. I want books that show the ugly sides of mental illness. I want books that even just show both sides, it just doesn't have to be all sad and depressing. I'm just tired of reading about characters who are completely over the top, or miraculously cured when a cute love interest enters their lives. 

So please, non-neurotypical authors, help us out. I'm craving realistic portrayal


Do you think we need more books based on experience with mental illness?



Come back next tuesday for a new YA Talk!


More YA Talks:


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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

[Review] Finding Audrey - Sophie Kinsella





"Finding Audrey" by Sophie Kinsella tells the story of teenager Audrey who suffers from an anxiety disorder.

If you asked me who my favorite author was, I'd usually say Sophie Kinsella.

There are very few people that haven't received at least one recommendation from me that was a Kinsella book. With "Finding Audrey", Kinsella makes her YA debut. As a fan of Kinsella's work, I am absolutely disappointed with this.



Over the Top - Not in a Good Way..

Writing about mental illness is not a game. You have to do lots of research. It's very obvious that Kinsella used Audrey's illness as a plot device.
Kinsella's writing style is usually upbeat, funny and sometimes even a little over the top. Paired with a teenager whose anxiety is so severe that she can't even take her sunglasses off at night because she can't stand eye contact, Kinsella's writing makes the story sound ridiculous.
The entire novel just feels like joke. Audrey is defined by her illness and oh surprise, she is miraculously cured when a cute boy enters her life.

This isn't what happens. Mental illness isn't cured instantaneously. Weren't I such a fan of Kinsella, I wouldn't even have bothered to finish it. I read the whole book hoping to receive some kind of explanation, but there simply is none. In general the novel feels very directionless. The first third is about her brother Frank's video game "addiction" and could have just been summed up in a single chapter. There is no common thread in the plot at all.

Target Audience: ????????

After about one chapter I realized that "Finding Audrey" is extremely reminiscent of Kinsella's old works written under her real name Madeleine Wickham. These books are also contemporaries and just like this one lack direction (The Gatecrasher, The Wedding Girl).

The novel may be advertised as a YA contemporary, but to me it's an adult novel. The focus isn't even on Audrey, but on how her family deals with her illness, especially her mother. I think the novel would have been better off having the parents as the protagonists instead of Audrey.

The romance is as instant-love-y as it gets and I don't think it's appropriate for YA, it's more of a MG romance. They meet, they kiss, they fall in love. It's very dull.


Rating:


★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I read this in about a day. The writing is flawless - it's Kinsella. The plot however just made me upset because of the poor inaccuracy and I imagine that this might be pretty offensive to actual mentally-ill readers. I wouldn't recommend it, simply because I don't support poor research when writing about illness.

Additional Info

Original Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: July 27th 2015
Pages: 384
Medium: Paperback
Publisher: cbj
Cover: cbj, 2015
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN:  9783570171486

Synopsis:
"An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. 

She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. 

As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family."
(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read good books about mental illness lately?


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Monday, July 20, 2015

[Review] Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic #1) - Sophie Kinsella

Becky Bloomwood is addicted to shopping. While many people casually say this, with her it's actually true. She can't walk past a single shop without entering. It's not even only clothes, it's everything!

Her credit cards are all maxed out and she's on the verge of getting a visit by a bailiff. So now she has two options: Cut Back or Make More Money. 

This is actually the very first thing that got me into Sophie Kinsella.
I've watched the movie about a couple of times and absolutely loved it, so I decided to check out a novel by her and ended up loving "Remember Me" to death.

Now I finally took the plunge and read the book that the movie was based on. However, I was absolutely disappointed.

No Match for Kinsella's Other Novels

The wit that makes Kinsella without comparison my favorite chick-lit author is absolutely missing. Becky is a shallow, conceited and surprisingly childish grown woman who doesn't have anything figured out in her life. She managed to cheat her way into becoming a financial journalist and is a pathological liar. She's not funny like the protagonists of other Kinsella novels, she's downright scarily naive. 
It's intended to be funny how Becky is unable to save even a penny and ends every day with having spend a couple of hundred pounds that she doesn't even have. To me, this isn't funny, it's just sad and seriously, I wanted to shake her so that she'll finally get a grip on her life. Becky is a really frustrating character that doesn't seem to have learned anything in life and she doesn't even act like a grown woman. The novel might as well could have been about a sixteen year old teenager maxing out her mother's credit cards behind her back.

Inredibly Boring Side Characters

The supporting cast of characters is basically non-existent. They don't really seem to be of importance, except for Becky's roommate who has multiple appearances. The time Becky spends with other characters just feels like filler content and her colleagues at work all seem like the same person, just copied and pasted into another chapter.

The love interest Luke is really one of the most boring characters I've ever seen. Their fling seems like a really cheap side plot and counting by the times that Becky straight up lied to his face and embarrassed herself, you'd think that a grown, successful man like him would want nothing to do with someone like her. They're like day and night and in this case, I don't think opposites attract.

The plot is basically non-existent and every day seems to be the same. Becky starts off with saying "I'm not going to spend more than 2.50 today" and ends up with a ridiculous purchase of over 200 pounds. It's the same over and over again.
The thing with Kinsella novels is though, that you can't put them down. This novel isn't for me, it's not witty, there's no plot, no tension and I didn't even like characters. The writing, however, is just excellent. There's no other word for it. The book has nothing that appeals to me, except maybe the little hope that it might get better. It reads very, very, very easily, because it's written so lightly. That's about all I liked though.

Rating:

★★½☆☆

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

No. I like the movie way better, because they decided to cut out a lot of filler material that's just cluttering the novel. It was an easy read, but I didn't like it personally.


Synopsis:
"Rebecca Bloomwood just hit rock bottom. But she's never looked better.... Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London's trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season's must-haves. The only trouble is that she can't actually afford it--not any of it. 

Her job writing at Successful Savings not only bores her to tears, it doesn't pay much at all. And lately Becky's been chased by dismal letters from Visa and the Endwich Bank--letters with large red sums she can't bear to read--and they're getting ever harder to ignore. 

She tries cutting back; she even tries making more money. But none of her efforts succeeds. Becky's only consolation is to buy herself something ... just a little something.... Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life--and the lives of those around her--forever. 

Sophie Kinsella has brilliantly tapped into our collective consumer conscience to deliver a novel of our times--and a heroine who grows stronger every time she weakens. Becky Bloomwood's hilarious schemes to pay back her debts are as endearing as they are desperate. Her "confessions" are the perfect pick-me-up when life is hanging in the (bank) balance. "
(Source: Goodreads)

The Series

Confessions of a Shopaholic (#1)
Shopaholic Takes Manhatten (#2)
Shopaholic Ties the Knot (#3)
Shopaholic on Honeymoon (#3.5)
Shopaholic and Sister (#4)
Shopaholic and Baby (#5)
Mini Shopaholic (#6)
Shopaholic to the Stars (#7)

Additional Info


Dial Press Cover, 2005.


Original Title: Confessions of a Shopaholic
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: December 30th 2008
Pages: 320
Medium: Paperback
Publisher: Dial Press
Cover: Dial Press, 2008.
Genre: Adult / Chick-Lit
ISBN:  9780385342353

Link on Publisher's Site 

(pictured above: Dial Press Cover, 2008.)






Have You Ever Read a Kinsella Novel? What's Your Favorite?

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella




It's not a secret that I'm obsessed with Sophie Kinsella and will read everything she'll ever publish. When I first heard about "Finding Audrey" - finally a YA novel from her! I just couldn't say no.

Release Date: June 9th 2015

Synopsis:
"An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. 


Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family. "


What are You Waiting On?

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Favorite Authors of All Time | Top Ten Tuesday





In this week's #TTT I talk about my ten favorite authors and why I love them and their work! 

I'll be linking the work by them that I've reviewed so far as well in case you're curious.



10. Jim Beaver
He's only written one novel and that one broke my heart. I am dying for him to pick up the pen again and write something new, because my copy is slowly falling to pieces. An insanely talented man.
Novel: Life's That Way

9. Lissa Price
She's not only a very lovely person, but has also written one of the most amazing debut novels I have encountered so far. I could not put the series down, no matter how hard I wanted to. And the worst thing is: I usually don't even read thrillers and action-packed stuff.
Novels: Starters (#1)   /  Enders (Starters #2)


8. L.J. Smith
Oh, how I loved her Vampire Diaries Series! Sadly, the series got worse as it went on (because it was ruined by a terrible ghost writer, but let's keep that for another post). I'm so glad I started reading her older novels, because they are just as wonderful as my memory of her Vampire Diaries Series. She builds worlds like no other.
Novels: The Craving (Stefan's Diaries #3)  /  The Hunter

7. Richelle Mead
Razorbill 2013 Cover
She broke me with her Vampire Academy Series. I have been in a massive reading slump ever since I read them and I don't think any fictional world can ever capture me that hard again. She ruined me and set the bar way too high for any vampire literature to come.
Novels: Vampire Academy (#1)  /  Frostbite (VA #2)  /  Shadow Kiss (VA #3)  /  Blood Promise (VA #4)  / Spirit Bound (VA #5)  / Homecoming  (VA #6.5)

6. Meg Cabot
I grew up with Meg. Not literally, but her Princess Diaries novels got me through high school. It's the only novel I own that I've read so many times that the pages are starting to come loose but I'll never ever get rid of that book.
Novels: The Princess Diaries  /  Insatiable  / Underworld (Abandon #2) / Abandon (Abandon #1)

5. David Levithan
God bless assigned reading. I read his first novel at university for a course and since then I've fallen hopelessly in love. The world needs more LGBTQ* novels and this wonderful man is doing his contribution to fixing that beautifully.
Novels: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares Six Earlier Days (Every Day #0.5)  /  Every Day (#1)  /  The Lover's Dictionary

4. S.G. Browne
The funniest author I've read from so far. His novels are satirical masterpieces and he somehow always manages to come up with ideas that have crossed my own mind once or twice already. Guaranteed to make you snort while laughing!
Novels: Breathers: A Zombie's Lament  /  Fated
Entangled Teen 2012 Cover

3. Jennifer L. Armentrout
I fell hard and quickly for her Lux Series. I haven't read an entire series in a very long time and I read hers in about a month because I could not, for the life of me, put it down. She hasn't quite managed to live up to that series again, but she'll get there eventually.
Novels: Shadows (Lux #0.5)  /  Obsidian (Lux #1)  /  Onyx (Lux #2)  /  Opal (Lux #3)  /  Origin (Lux #4)  / Opposition (Lux #5)  /  Don't Look Back

2. Sophie Kinsella 
Sophie Kinsella is the pseudonym of Madeleine Wickham, who's definitely gone through a major transformation that you can clearly see in her novels. She's the author guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.
Novels: I've Got Your Number   /  Twenties Girl  /  Wedding Night

1. Jodi Picoult
I love her to death. Every single one of her novels is a work of art, carefully crafted and with a beautiful message. She writes novels about controversial topics, novels about things that other authors don't even bother with.
Novels:  Second Glance    /    Handle With Care


Have you read novels by those authors? 

What do you think of them? 

Continue Reading...

Monday, April 13, 2015

[Review] The Wedding Girl - Madeleine Wickham





In WEDDING GIRL, Milly Havill gets married at age 18 to help a gay friend be able to stay in the country. After they married, she never saw him again. Ten years later, she's engaged to Simon, a wealthy heir to a Smoothie Franchise and has all forgotten about her first marriage. But when someone that has witnessed her first wedding turns up right in time to ruin her second one, she has to face her past.

This is the second novel of the author under her real name that I've read and I'm starting to realize why she decided to write under a pseudonym. Just like THE GATECRASHER, the novel is told from multiple point of views and is full of super unlikeable characters. I'm the first person that is all for adding a fresh breath of air and making your characters anti-heroes, but Wickham's protagonists are walking, unlikeable, unrealistic clichés. After you've read a fair selection of the Wickham novels, you will start to notice that she tends to recycle her characters and certain story elements. 

Poor Execution of a Great Idea

I love the idea of a marriage solely for immigration purposes and I am even more delighted to have that novel feature a gay couple. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with the premise, Wickham lacks extremely in execution. There's pages and pages of dialogue between the Havill and Pinnacle families, the respective bride's and groom's relatives, that only serve the purpose of establishing character relations- well, that's unnecessary! It's very easy to get who likes whom and who hates which character from the first pages on. She established everything perfectly within the first three chapters or something, I don't understand why there's the need for so much exposition and boring dialogue.

Highly Unrealistic & No Fun Read

It's absolutely unrealistic how Milly's first marriage is discovered in the novel. You wouldn't remember someone you met 10 years ago for five seconds, would you? No matter what kind of eccentric hair cut that person had. It feels to me like Wickham just needed a reason and didn't really think about it- there are so many way easier and believable possibilities! She could have let the former groom waltz in; she could have made an official realize that she's already married on paper; or she could have drunkenly confessed it to a friend who in turn told the groom. Everything that I love about Kinsella- the humor, the happy-go-luckiness and the relatable protagonists- is absolutely lacking in this one. 

In her early novels Wickham just wastes potential to no end. There are remarkable back stories, interesting characters, but everything is just told so slowly and boringly that you may risk falling asleep while reading this. This could have been so good, had there been more humor and more heart put into the story. There's no real protagonist that you can empathize with, Wickham just throws point-of-views around like they're confetti and gives every single character their five minutes to shine.


Rating:

☆☆☆☆

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I don't know if I ever want to read another Wickham novel. I love Kinsella's work, but if you've gone for "The Wedding Girl" because you like Kinsella- you've chosen the wrong book. It will always remain a mystery to me how she managed to reinvent herself so drastically and create a completely new style under her pseudonym.
While I'm complaining a lot, I have to make a fair judgement: Wickham novels are still fairly okay written and light literature, but not just as fun as I am used to being a Kinsella junkie. They are the perfect example that taste varies, I can fairly acknowledge that it's an okay read, but just not my cup of tea.


Synopsis:
"At the age of eighteen, in that first golden Oxford summer, Milly was up for anything. Rupert and his American lover Allan were all part of her new, exciting life, and when Rupert suggested to her that she and Allan should get married, just so that Allan could stay in the country, Milly didn't hesitate, and to make it seem real she dressed up in cheap wedding finery and posed on the steps of the registry office for photographs.

Ten years later, Milly is a very different person. Engaged to Simon - who is wealthy, serious, and believes her to be perfect - she is facing the biggest and most elaborate wedding imaginable. Her mother has it planned to the finest detail, from the massive marquee to the sculpted ice swans filled with oysters. Her dreadful secret is locked away so securely she has almost persuaded herself that it doesn't exist - until, with only four days to go, her past catches up with her. Suddenly, her carefully constructed world is about to crash in ruins around her. How can she tell Simon she's already married? How can she tell her mother? But as the crisis develops, more secrets are revealed than Milly could possibly have realised...
"

What's Your Favorite Kinsella/Wickham Novel?

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

[Review] Wedding Night - Sophie Kinsella


When her Lottie's old flame Ben calls her and reminds her of an old pact they made when she had been only eighteen, everything changes: They promised to each other that they would get married if they're still single at thirty and now they're intending to keep that promise, to the great displeasure of Charlotte's big sister Felicity. 


There's Nothing Like the Love between Sisters

The main conflict in "Wedding Night" is that Fliss, Lottie's older sister, is convinced that it's a bad idea to marry someone that she's just seen again two weeks ago after not hearing a word from them for fifteen years. Because Fliss is so eager on trying to keep Lottie from making another grave mistake, she does everything in her power to prevent her from making them in the first place. On the one hand I'm tempted to say that Fliss is a very controlling and know-it-all kind of character. On the other, Lottie is sometimes portrayed as an extremely naive and wordly innocent woman and I salute Fliss for not losing her temper all the time. I definitely identified more with Fliss, because she's the more mature one, but I'm having a hard time playing favorites.

The tricky thing about the situation is that Kinsella shows us both sides. She shows us how desperate Lottie is to fall in love and how eager Fliss is to do everything in her power to make Lottie happy. Even if her definition of happiness differs from Lottie's.

I think it's definitely an achievement to display both sides so realistically that I felt torn and unable to decide whose approach is the best. I wasn't so sure whether I was on the wedding crasher side or the wedding enthusiast side.

Queen of the Stalling Technique

Maybe it's just me but this novel feels a lot like the movie Mamma Mia, could be only because of the Greek island vacation-y vibe. And just like in every romantic comedy movie, the pacing is bit off in WEDDING NIGHT as well. You can read Kinsella novels almost always in one sitting, because her writing is just so light and easy.
WEDDING NIGHT  has definitely issues with the pacing. It certainly could have all been wrapped up in less pages and stripped down to the essential. Five hundred pages for a chick-lit novel is definitely on the longer side, but I don't see any need for this novel to be this long, because the plot is fairly simple and not complicated at all:

Girl gets dumped. Girl is sad. Girl meets old love. Girl gets married. Sister doesn't like it. 
Sister will destroy this marriage.


Rating:

★★

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

There's many, many better Kinsella novels out there. This one feels like a cheap, hastily written rip-off of other novels she's written with characters that aren't likeable at all. The writing is excellent, but there should have been more work put into the characters and the plot line.



Synopsis:
"Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad—not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married . . . right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. But Lottie is determined to say “I do,” for better, or for worse."

Have you tried anything by Kinsella?



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Thursday, February 26, 2015

[Review] The Gatecrasher - Madeleine Wickham





In THE GATECRASHER, professional gold-digger Fleur Daxeny picks up desperate billionaire widowers at their wives' funerals and tries to get as much money out of them as she can before dumping them. When she meets recently widowed Richard Favour and plans on taking all of his money, she didn't expect to grow this fond of his family.

Multiple POVs done well!?

Not many authors can successfully pull off having multiple protagonists and point-of-views in a novel without utterly confusing and annoying the reader. THE GATECRASHER alternates between Fleur, Richard, and different family members. 

Surprisingly, every single protagonist interested me. Sometimes, with different main characters I tend to get bored and pick a favorite, longing for their chapter to begin. But not this time. Wickham is excellent at creating characters and you can clearly tell that a lot of work went into building them. Everyone has their secrets, unique thoughts and desires.  She adds bits of past events so skillfully into the storyline that you don't even notice that you're being fed information. 

I expected Fleur to be the main character, but turns out she isn't really. The novel is more about Richard Favour and his family and what they're all hiding (or not).

More a character study than fun chick-lit

Aside from the main six, Wickham introduces a bunch of old golfer buddies of Emily that I was hardly able to keep up with. She throws around character relations and past events so quickly that I didn't even get who's related to whom. The whole community of Richard and Emily's golf club friends are just portrayed as a bunch of gossiping old couples that are absolutely not essential to the story. Still, it would have been nice if Wickham had bothered to make them a bit more prominent or at least give us an insight in the minds of the few that were actually close with the Favours. 

In the second half of the novel this doesn't get very important anymore, because the novel becomes an in-depth character study of the Favours and Daxenys. There's not really much to say about the plot, it completely centers around "The Maples", the Favour's family estate. Wickham doesn't need anything but the characters' backstories to fuel her story, but at times I wished for a more defined plot. I felt like the novel was going nowhere and essentially, I could have stopped at any time and picked up 50 pages later without really missing anything. 


Rating:

★★½

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?


THE GATECRASHER has a gossip-girl feel to it. It's all about intrigues, about lying and about trying to deal with consequences. It's not as upbeat as you'd expect a chick-lit book to be and definitely unlike the Sophie Kinsella novels. 
Still, her excellent character development -and building makes you want to continue and find out everyone's secrets. Not as good as Kinsella- but still an average, quick read.


Synopsis:
"Everything's coming up roses for Fleur Daxeny, as she goes through more rich men than she does designer hats....if that's humanly possible.  Beautiful, charming, and utterly irresistible, her success at crashing funerals to find wealthy men is remarkable.  But behind Fleur's Harvey Nichols wardrobe, is a woman with a mysterious past. 

Fleur wastes no time in seducing her latest conquest, the handsome and rich widower Richard Favour, and she swoops into his life like a designer-clad tornado.  His children are caught up in a whirlwind as their father's new girlfriend descends on the family estate leaving chaos and excitement in her perfume-scented wake. Soon, more than one family member is suspicious of Fleur's true intentions.
   Fleur is not one to wear her heart on her Chanel sleeves, but she soon finds herself embracing Richard and his lovable family. But just as Fleur contemplates jumping off the gold-digger train for good and enjoying the ride of true love, a long-buried secret from her past threatens to destroy her new family. Fleur is thrown into a race against time to prove herself to Richard before it's too late.  Can she trust her heart or will she cut ties and run away as fast as her Prada pumps can take her?"

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Most Read Authors | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme originating from The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they choose topics that we are supposed to create a list about, considering our personal reading preferences.



This Week: ITS FREEBIE WEEK!
I decided to torture you guys by telling you who my most read authors are and spilling out my feelings for them. Enjoy!

10. Mari Mancusi (Blood Coven Series)
My heart! She made me fall in love with vampires. I read her series around the same time I read Princess Diaries for the first time and they both had a lasting impression on me. Thanks Mari!

9. Jodi Picoult (Handle With Care, Second Glance)
The Queen of character development! You can tell that she studied Creative Writing because her writing is just over the top amazing! Her characters are real, at least they feel that way and her insanely long novels are always an adventure. She'll hit you right in the face with emotion while still having another plot twist around the corner. I want to be as good as her one day.

8. S.G. Browne (Breathers, Fated)
He's the man for everything comedy and satire. He never ceases to make me laugh and his ideas are equally crazy and likeable. 

7. Sophie Kinsella (Remember Me, Twenties Girl, I've Got Your Number)
Sophie's my girl. My go-to-source for all things Chick-Lit and definitely a happy-go-lucky author! Whenever I'm down I reach for a Kinsella book and I always make sure to have at least one on my shelves in case of a feelings emergency. Thanks Sophie, you're the bomb!

6. David Levithan (Boy Meety Boy, The Lover's Dictionary, Every Day, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares)
My favourite LGBTQ* author, hands down. I will only trust him with these matters because he has got it down! I will read all his novels and I love, love, love and look up to the way he writes. He's truly an artist.

5. Cornelia Funke (Inkworld Trilogy, Igraine The Brave)
My favourite childhood author. She's amazing and I dearly regret growing out of her novels. I loved both the Inkworld Series and Igraine the Brave. I still catch myself rereading the latter even when I'm way out of the group she's aiming at. She contributed to making my childhood reading experience a happy one and I will always be grateful for that, even as an adult.

4. Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Series)
Yo. I'm not ashamed of this. I loved Twilight back when it was released and I probably have seen the movie close to 70 times. Pretty sure that's even an understatement, because I literally know the entire dialogue from side characters to main characters. While I do understand the problematics in this series, I still have to admit that I had an amazing time reading this series and I wouldn't trade it in for the world. I was indeed very young when I read it ~ around 12-14, but I never even for one second let the toxic relationship between Bella and Edward cloud my decisions. Even at that age I understood that it's fiction and hey, to me it's a nice series. So thanks, Stephenie, I don't care what the haters say.

3. Meg Cabot (Princess Diaires Series, Abandon Series, Insatiable)
Meg is my queen. She hasn't only written the one book that had the most impact on me as a child (Princess Diaries #1), but is also an amazing, amazing writer. I've always loved her witty, funny style that isn't shallow like most authors tend to slip into - but it always carries a message. Her novels are more than just about the characters, every novel lets you learn something new and I think that's what every writer should aspire to achieve. I will probably never be able to find the right words to express how much she helped me in life and I will always, always, always be loyal to her. Even when she writes shitty novels like "Insatiable", my god was that bad.

2. Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux Series)
Insert heavy breathing. This woman, I swear. You guys know that I'm crazy for everything she does and I'm just wobbling around on my seat thinking about the other novels she wrote. I will most definitely read everything she'll ever write and I will probably reread the Lux Series over and over again until the day I die. It's a guilty pleasure really, but I don't feel guilty at all. Bless her.

1. L.J. Smith (Vampire Diaries Series, Stefan's Diaries Series, The Forbidden Games Series)
Well, she kind of cheated to get to first place, because I hopelessly fell in love with The Vampire Diaries. Whether it's the show or her novels, bring it on! I even wrote fan fiction about the characters in this, don't remind me ... it seems whatever this woman touches, turns into gold. Her novel series The Secret Circle even got turned into another TV show. It's funny how some authors can write whatever the heck they want and there's still people like me who'll clap and bow. Thanks, L.J.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Recommendation: I've Got Your Number - Sophie Kinsella

In I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER, Poppy Wyatt loses her engagement ring that's been passed down in her fiancé Magnus' family and is worth a fortune. 

Wonderful Characters

Poppy's a fantastic character. She's probably my favourite chick-lit protagonist I've read about so far. She's likeable to no ends with her hysteria, irrational fears and adorable cluelessness. I loved her. Poppy goes through massive character development throughout the novel and the process of that is illustrated so beautifully by Kinsella that as a reader, you feel like you're growing with her. Kinsella uses every single character to their potential, from Poppy's fiancé Magnus to her colleagues Annalise and Ruby. No character remains without purpose and I can only salute to that.

The other protagonist is love interest Sam Roxton them, whom I couldn't really give any sympathy points because he remains very distant. He's a serious guy that's totally engrossed in his work and whose entire life revolves around that. The fact that his and Poppy's lives only cross on that professional level just puts emphasis on him being a boring workaholic. We learn almost nothing about him, other than that he likes to keep people on a distance and thinks using smileys in business e-mails is highly inappropriate. Well. Accordingly I didn't connect to him as a character while I did understand why him and Poppy got along. This is an achievement and another point for Kinsella again- without liking the character I still saw and understood the chemistry.

Full of plot twists!

Like I already said, I have to do some hardcore tightrope walking to avoid spoilers. Same goes for the plot. Basically Poppy finds Sam's phone and from now on is a makeshift personal assistant. Well, she hires herself. Sam just wants her to forward all the emails, keeping everything professional, but Poppy decides that Sam is way too distant and rude in his emails, so she writes some herself. And there comes the chaos! 
Everything Poppy does in the novel is just so poppy. Within 400 pages I managed to get a feel for what she's like and I caught myself predicting her actions already and getting secondhand embarrassment at the thought of it. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, it just shows that the characters are developed masterfully. There are so many twists and turns in the storyline and so many hidden hints that I probably would only get when reading it the second time. 

This is what makes this novel special, that I at no point could predict the twists. There's one and then you find yourself thinking "Eh, could've guessed that" and then just when you recovered from the first one, there's a second one. I just ... ahhh. That's so rare in chick-lit and I'm so happy that I decided to buy this novel. The writing is on point, it's Kinsella, you can basically swallow this novel up in about three hours despite it being almost 500 pages. New favorite.

Rating: 

★★★★★


Overall: Do I Recommend?

 I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER is very close to my all-time Kinsella favourite REMEMBER ME?, but not quite yet. It's a bit too long and even though I loved the whole texting passages, I would have wished they had used different fonts for Sam and Poppy, because at times it got confusing.

Especially when they sent a few messages in a row and you couldn't really figure out who sent what. I found myself hurrying through the pages just to get to the ending (which is by the way straight taken from a cheesy 80s romantic comedy). However, I enjoyed this tremendously and I can't wait to reread it which definitely makes it worthy of a recommendation.


Synopsis:
"Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life."

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