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review 2017-06-22 01:58
A Doomed Love Story
The Bucket List - Emily Ruben

I am absolutely not amongst the audience for this book. I knew that from the title alone, much less the description. Still, I'd read Ruben's first book and enjoyed it and was curious about her take on this idea.

 

This is basically a take on the dying teen romance, with a splash of the Rob Reiner movie. I'm tempted to go on a rant about the whole dying teen romance idea -- <b>The Space Between Us</b>, <b>The Fault in our Stars</b>, and the like -- but I just don't have the energy. I don't get it, it seems like a highly artificial way to inflate drama. But whatever -- just because it's an overplayed idea, that doesn't mean the book can't be good.

 

Besides, the central characters in this book are 20 and 21, so by definition this is different.

 

Leah is surprised one day to find the new guy moving in next door is her old best friend that she hasn't seen for 5 years. Damon (think Ian Somerhalder) is glad to see her, but before they renew their friendship, has to warn her that he'll be dead within a year and a half. He has some sort of brain tumor (Ruben intentionally gives few details about this) that cannot be treated. Leah decides that she'll do what she can to renew their friendship in the time remaining.

 

Soon after this, the two decide that he'll write up a Bucket List and that each day, they'll cross an item off of it until it's too late. This will lead to all sorts of travel, adventure, changing of existing and/or new romantic relationships and (this isn't much of a spoiler, you can tell it'll happen from the get-go) their eventually falling in love.

 

The worst part about this book is how everything that happens to them is the best, the greatest, the ____est (or the worst). Leah and Damon live in the extremes -- they never have a normal day, a blah experience. It's just too much to handle -- a few things that are okay, a few things that aren't bad mixed in with all this would make this easier to read. Yes, you could say that given the heightened situation, everything they do is given a hint of the extreme, but still . . .

 

The tricky thing with Damon having an unnamed disease -- it's hard to have any idea how realistic this is. But a brain tumor that causes organs to decay before death, necessitating an ethically/legally-questionable euthanasia method is stretching things beyond the breaking point. Beyond that, the amount of money that these people spend is utterly unbelievable -- talk all you want about plundering no-longer-necessary college savings, it's just not something I could buy.

 

There's an element of charm to the writing -- but I don't think that this is as charming as Ruben's first book -- there's something appealing about the earnestness of her writing. But this just wasn't for me. Although he probably didn't say it, Abraham Lincoln is often quoted as reviewing a lecture by saying something like, " People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." I feel like that about this book -- if you can find a grain of salt big enough to help you swallow the unbelievable, if you can tolerate the excess of superlatives, and like a love story in the face of certain doom, this is probably a pretty entertaining book. Was it for me? Nope. But I didn't hate it and can understand why many would.

 

<i><b>Disclaimer:</b> I received this eARC from the publisher in exchange for this post -- I do appreciate the opportunity, even if it doesn't come across that way.</i>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/06/21/the-bucket-list-by-emily-ruben
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text 2017-04-20 04:49
Child of Morning, Rosy Fingered Dawn
The Iliad & The Odyssey - Homer,John Lescault
The Odyssey of Homer - Elizabeth Vandiver,The Great Courses,The Great Courses

At last! I've finished The Illiad portion of the story and have begun The Odyssey. What a difference!  I'm trying to decide if it is the subject matter of one versus the other that makes the one so much better, so much more readable than the other, so much easier to tell or if it is that the writing of the Odyssey is actually that much better than that of the  Illiad. Or then again, maybe I will just leave it to the critics.

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text 2017-04-18 04:40
Slow going
The Iliad & The Odyssey - Homer,John Lescault

I'm about 20 books in and it is slow going. Lots of blood and gore and dead warriors. Lots of names I can't get my head around. Very repetitive--no wonder we read a very abbreviated version in high school. I can't wait for the men at war section to be over so i can down to the adventure story.

 

BUT a wonderful, easy to understand translation (I just have to keep reminding myself that "host" means "army" and not the "Master of the House"). AND, a marvelous narrator who uses just enough moderation of his voice that we can tell when he speaker changes. AND marvelous poetry, full of all those devices that do poetry make -- you know, all that stuff you learned in school and can't put a name to now but you sure recognize now when you hear it.

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text 2016-12-12 15:10
Abandoning after 1 hour
Nicholas Nickleby - Simon Vance,Charles Dickens

As much as liked David Copperfield, I am abandoning Nicholas Nickleby --and may even decide to return it and get my money/credit back. It is beautifully written but I don't think I can listen to another 34 hours of it. It is just depressing. The people aren't nice and they don't treat children very well. Even if it is satire and an exaggeration, I just don't want to read about it.

 

I'm off now, to choose a more up-beat book to read while I spend the next few days baking holiday cookies.

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review 2016-11-20 22:35
If you need a gentle romantic comedy that will leave you with a smile, try this.
The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart: A warm and uplifting rom com - Anna Bell

Thanks to Net Galley and to Bonnier Publishing for offering me a free ARC copy of this novel that I voluntarily have decided to review.

The plot of this novel fits perfectly in the category of chick lit or romantic comedy, and I could almost watch the movie in my mind’s eye as I read it. Abi , Bridget Jones’s spiritual sister, is suddenly dropped by her boyfriend of almost a year, Joseph (“the one”) and she’s desperate. She comes across his bucket list by pure chance and, clutching at straws, thinks that if she were to achieve all the items on the list (more or less) and share the pictures on Facebook, he would realise what a mistake he’d made and go back to her. Abi (and as we learn as we read, Joseph also) is not very adventurous. In fact, she’s worried about everything and scared of almost everything (especially heights). Her friend Sian, a fun character and a great contrast with Abi, doesn’t really like Joseph much, and her attitude to love is so different to Abi’s that she decides to lie to her and everybody else, and tells them that the list is her way to try and get over her break-up. On hearing that, everybody offers to help her. And, indeed, she needs all the help she can get.

The book becomes naturally organised around Abi’s adventures in trying to fulfil her bucket list, which go from pathetic to funny, passing from embarrassing. Apart from the events surrounding the ten items in the list, she’s also getting in trouble at work, at first through her own doing, and later bizarre things start to happen and she suspects that there might be foul play.

The novel is written in the first person from Abi’s point of view, and although she’s not the most insightful or reliable narrator, to begin with, and her weakness and her obsession with Joseph might make the reader cringe, eventually she does discover herself as a separate person and one capable of much more than she gives herself credit for. She is surrounded by a likeable supporting cast (and a few not so likeable when not openly bitchy) and through them, readers can appreciate that she is perhaps not the best at judging how she comes across to others. The author is also adept at giving us enough clues to allow us to make our own minds up rather than accept Abi’s biased conclusions, not an easy thing to do when the events are shown from a single perspective.

The writing is fluid and easy to read and although readers of the genre will probably guess what’s going to happen pretty much from the word go, the fine details are enjoyable, and there is a touch of intrigue to keep us interested beyond the pure romance. And for those who love romance, although we see Joseph mostly from Abi’s starry-eyed perspective and he is hardly a real person, Ben, who is almost too perfect to be true (other than by the tiny detail of having a girlfriend) is somebody easy to like and one to root for. And my bet is that you’ll like Aby by the end of the story and you’ll be wondering about the psychological benefits of bucket lists for yourself. I particularly appreciated the final words by the author who acknowledged there was a personal basis behind the seed of the novel.

In sum, a light and easy to read the novel, satisfying if you’re looking for an amusing and sweet read, with no erotica, and no shocking surprises. Great for those moments when you don’t want to test your brain and want a read that will leave you with a smile.

 

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