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review 2017-06-06 02:51
Mad/Chloé Esposito
Mad: A Novel (Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know Trilogy) - Chloé Esposito

In this compulsively readable debut, set between London and Sicily over one blood-drenched week in the dead of summer, an identical twin reveals the crazy lies and twists she'll go through to not only steal her sister's perfect life, but to keep on living it.

Alvie Knightly is a trainwreck: aimless, haphazard, and pretty much constantly drunk. Alvie's existence is made even more futile in contrast to that of her identical and perfect twin sister, Beth. Alvie lives on social media, eats kebabs for breakfast, and gets stopped at security when the sex toy in her carry-on starts buzzing. Beth is married to a hot, rich Italian, dotes on her beautiful baby boy, and has always been their mother's favorite. The twins' days of having anything in common besides their looks are long gone.

When Beth sends Alvie a first-class plane ticket to visit her in Italy, Alvie is reluctant to go. But when she gets fired from the job she hates and her flatmates kick her out on the streets, a luxury villa in glitzy Taormina suddenly sounds more appealing. Beth asks Alvie to swap places with her for just a few hours so she can go out unnoticed by her husband. Alvie jumps at the chance to take over her sister's life--if only temporarily. But when the night ends with Beth dead at the bottom of the pool, Alvie realizes that this is her chance to change her life.

Alvie quickly discovers that living Beth's life is harder than she thought. What was her sister hiding from her husband? And why did Beth invite her to Italy at all? As Alvie digs deeper, she uncovers Mafia connections, secret lovers, attractive hitmen, and one extremely corrupt priest, all of whom are starting to catch on to her charade. Now Alvie has to rely on all the skills that made her unemployable--a turned-to-11 sex drive, a love of guns, lying to her mother--if she wants to keep her million-dollar prize. She is uncensored, unhinged, and unforgettable.

 

My mouth hung open throughout the reading of this book, which definitely pushed its limits.

 

I laughed out loud so many times while reading this and my boyfriend probably has a bruise from the amount of times I poked him in order to get his attention because I just had to share the amount of hilarious things that were written.

 

Alvie is abrasive. She's over the top. She's ridiculous. She's absurd. You're not meant to like her. I loved her--I loved to hate her, really. I cannot fathom so much as contemplating the actions that she took or having her priorities and desires, but she sure cracked me up.

 

I felt like the latter half kind of got too much for me--I enjoyed the lighter side of things, but the mafia did get involved, there were guns, and there was blood. I laughed less and was open-mouthed more with incredulity at the absurd events that were taking place. Very few of the characters in this book were actually as they seemed or as I had predicted them to be.

 

The plot similarly became ridiculous. The book started off as a more explicit sort of Kinsella novel with a less likable protagonist and much stranger scenarios, but then turned into a kind of mystery, then to a thriller, then just to an absurdist telling of a story.

 

Put your judgemental side away and read this book right now--it's sure to have you in hysterics. I'm cautiously but eagerly anticipating the next book.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-05-26 17:54
Mr. Right-Swipe/Ricki Schultz
Mr. Right-Swipe - Ricki Schultz

Rae Wallace would rather drown in a vat of pinot greezh and be eaten by her own beagle than make another trip down the aisle--even if it is her best friend's wedding. She's too busy molding the minds of first graders and polishing that ol' novel in the drawer to waste time on any man, unless it's Jason Segel.
But when her be-fris stage an intervention, Rae is forced to give in. After all, they've hatched a plan to help her find love the 21st century way: online. She's skeptical of this electronic chlamydia catcher, but she's out to prove she hasn't been too picky with men.
However, when a familiar fella's profile pops up--the dangerously hot substitute teacher from work (Nick)--Rae swipes herself right into a new problem...

 

This book was as it promised to be--light women's fiction with a lot of laugh out loud moments. Though it wasn't the deepest, the humour was lovely.

 

Rae's tone was absolutely fantastic--she's super witty and it's hilarious. I loved how she commented on the world and how I could very easily imagine her as someone I knew in real life. The way she interacted with the app was highly entertaining, and I adored how she and her friends were first grade teachers--not exactly what I had expected. I'm not the biggest fan of characters who are writers trying to be published simply because it's overused, but she at least had a great tone.

 

I did feel like Rae had the tendency to be quite judgemental--there was one scene in particular where she finds one guy with something wrong with him physically, and it's never quite clear if he just had a bad circumcision or some birth deformity, but nonetheless, something about how he looked was enough for her to lose interest in him despite how she had been completely into him prior. It fits with her character, but sometimes she really passed too much judgement.

 

This is mainly a book about guys, but Rae at least acknowledges that. She has an inherent mistrust of men in general and doesn't think that she'll find love, yet she seems to spend most of her time thinking about them or at the bar trying to pick one up. Quite contrarily, the ultimate message of this book seemed to be that Rae was happy when she had a man.

 

This was quite opposing to her strong friendship with fellow female teachers. Though she wasn't particularly supportive at time and seemed to want to ignore problems, she did value them quite a lot. A few of the scenes at the end of the book were quite heartening.

 

Oh, and she strangely uses hashtags all over the place... and it's really annoying. Not sure why the author decided to do that.

 

While this book will not teach you any underlying messages, it's a quick and easy book with some lovely scenes.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-02-21 16:07
The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)/Amy Spalding
The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distr... The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) - Amy Spalding

A ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It's practically every girl's dream.

But not Jules McCallister-Morgan's.

I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn't get to be the editor of my school's long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year-early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college-and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to "live a little," or boys.

At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.

And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.

I know what you're thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don't understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I'm not going down without a fight.

* Okay, I sort of did. But it's a sore subject.

** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn't go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.

***Some people think I'm overreacting. But this. Means. War.

Filled with romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that's sure to have you falling for The New Guy.

 

This was a really cute book, but I felt like there were some aspects that felt a little juvenile or unreal.

 

The relationship between Alex and Jules progressed way too fast since Jules supposedly was completely against boys and not at all interested in Alex. It would have been a lot more fun to see them have a longer period of flirting and of Jules trying not to fall for him. She ended up seeming just a total pushover in his regard; one kiss from him, and she's forgotten all of the reasons she had decided not to kiss him.

 

I felt like there were a lot of conflicts that just were solved too easily, that in real life would have been blown up a lot bigger and required a lot more discussion and solving than actually happened. If one has a huge conflict with their best friend, simply having dinner doesn't make it all better. I was frustrated by the lack of realism.

 

The main plot was a conflict over a dying newspaper, but the ending was honestly what I had thought of at the beginning and thus the entire conflict felt much more middle school than high school. I was also surprised by how many characters got involved within the conflict.

 

This was cute and I think the author has potential, but I felt that there were aspects that could have made it into a stronger YA rom com.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-02-21 13:50
Someone Else's Love Letter/Deborah Blumenthal
Someone Else's Love Letter - Deborah Blumenthal

Fixing your wardrobe is a dream job. Fixing your life is a work of art.

Sage Parker has the perfect occupation for a Manhattanite―she helps the rich and powerful keep their wardrobes current and suitable for every need. Her sense of fashion is impeccable, her connections are unsurpassed, and her eye misses not a single well-made stitch.

So when she discovers a love note left in the back of a cab, Sage admires the card stock and the ink, but also the heartfelt words. She sets out on a mission to find out who the love note was intended for―and who wrote it.

What Sage discovers will broaden her horizons and change her life, introducing her to an extraordinary woman who is revamping her entire world midway through life, a dashing Brit with a hive of secrets, and a free-spirited painter, whose brush captures the light in everything he paints, including Sage.

Fans of Isabel Wolff and Kathleen Tessaro will be hopelessly enchanted with Sage Parker and this mesmerizing, heartfelt novel of bold fashion and bolder choices.

Though the plot was a little more convoluted than I had expected, this was a fun and flirty rom com.

 

I'm not usually entertained by characters who have jobs like wardrobe designing; however, Sage really made this work and I almost felt inspired to go out and get a similar job. Sage made it so much about her clients' personalities and I loved seeing how they changed throughout the novel and how with her style advise she was able to shape their futures for the better.

 

The convoluted path following the letter brought forward mild hilarity with some unexpected results. Of course it was a challenge to track down the author of a love letter that just mysteriously happened to appear on the floor of a cab, but the book wasn't entirely about the chase.

 

The guy she's looking for is fantastically played, with a very stubborn personality that made me immediately like him. There were several scenes in which he won me over completely based on his total oblivion to what she was expecting, and I appreciated how he made his own decisions.

 

I definitely recommend this one for a quick and amusing read.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-01-07 15:06
Nookietown/V. C. Chickering
Nookietown: A Novel - V.C. Chickering

Recently divorced, 40-something single-mom, Lucy, is lonely, bored and craving physical connection. So, when her trusted long-time married friend, Nancy, begs Lucy to sleep with her husband to save her marriage, Lucy goes for it. It's such a success, the two friends invent a town-wide underground barter system whereby Nancy's married girlfriends sub-contract Lucy's divorcee friends to sleep with their husbands so they don't have to as often. It's a win, win, win- for a while. Then it all goes to hell in a hand-basket.
Laugh-out-loud funny, emotionally provocative and at times racy, V. C. Chickering's Nookietown is a story of risk-taking, marriage, honesty and desire, and what one woman rationalizes in order to get what she wants.

 

This was a hilarious chick flick that I enjoyed every page of reading.

 

I'd categorise this more as women's fiction than as a rom-com, but it could fit under both, and the hilarity and writing style made it hard to put down and a really fun read. There were some subtle messages that provoked thought also, and I was thinking about the scenarios in the book even when I wasn't reading it.

 

Lucy was my absolute favourite. A third-grade teacher, she was fantastic with people in general, very straight forward, and was a lot of fun to read about. She also had a great set of friends and I loved how her life felt so real. There were some absolutely hilarious scenes that I could really envision, such as her going through disdained online dating profiles drunk.

 

There were a few too many sex scenes for my liking, but I was able to skim over them with no problems.

 

Nonetheless, I really loved the sex positivity of this book, and how it had a subtle message that was very pro-independence and encourages women to enjoy themselves and make responsible choices. So many books have subtle sexism, but this did very well at portraying a realistic society and how a woman operates in this society. The underplay of roles in society was intriguing.

 

The unique plot of this book and the fun characters made this well worth reading and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys chick flicks or women's fiction.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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