This is why I Don’t Get the Flu Shot: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski Book Review

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Don’t Even Think About It

By: Sarah Mlynowski

Released: March 11th, 2014 by Delacorte Press

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal-ESP

Rating: 3 Stars

Acquired: via publisher

Getting a flu shot was never rewarding…until 22 sophomores get ESP as a side effect. The results: funny, witty, and down right amusing. But, they already know that.

When the students of homeroom 10b at Bloomberg High School lined up to get their flu shots, none of them expected to get super powers. Sure, there was Pi who had the second highest GPA in her class; and, always wanted to be extraordinary. But, to get ESP after the shot a day later, now that was something. Told as a collective we, Don’t Even Think About It takes place over a week with around 22 floating main characters all trying to deal with their new ability to hear people’s thoughts.

There’s Olivia, who is constantly sick or afraid of getting sick out of habit living with a hypochondriac OCD mother. She now knows the school nurse used to be a stripper and has sex. A lot. Like go on a condom run doing school a lot. Olivia is also afraid of public speaking of any kind; even talking to Lazar, the cute boy who likes her until she can read his mind.

Then there’s Tess and Mackenzie, best friends forever. Until, Mackenzie forgets Tess can read her mind and let’s her thoughts slip to Tess needing to lose weight. And that Mackenzie cheated on Cooper, another ESP, the last one to get it.

There’s also BJ, who hits on Tess in every way possible– through ESP, in person, through text. Sadie, who is the center of Teddy’s mind who is not an ESP but the center of Tess’s mind. Plus, a pair of twins, a guy named Levi, and too many more.

The whole homeroom became a we. They would talk to each other through their thoughts. Cheat in class. Know more secrets, like about Mackenzie cheating on Cooper. Hear everything. And comment on everything. There were italics throughout the whole novel; so many scattered thoughts from too many voices.

Pi takes charge in this novel, but it is Olivia who shines for me. I just adored her. She had her issues with public speaking; maybe even a character flaw or two. But there was so much in her that was likable. She was quirky, adorable, and funny. Kind, considerate, and without even realizing she could, she could stand up for herself.

This novel was a cute and quick read. I’ll be honest. When I first got it, I thought it would be cheesy. The cover wasn’t very promising. The title gives too much away. But, this cynic liked it. Not a lot, but enough. It was funny, witty, and although had way too many featured characters, some of them, when given the time to develop, developed rather nicely; like Olivia, Tess, Pi, and Cooper. When they were given their own time, they showed maturity in situations and choices that were made. The side characters were good. The concept was original. The writing wasn’t juvenile. Although I believe it deserves a three star rating because I simply just liked it, it is a strong three stars. I think if I was at the targeted age, which I am not, I would give it a four, or higher star rating. For an author that writes a lot of series, or has written series in this past, this was a good standalone novel in my opinion.

Nora Ephron would be pleased: What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin Book Review

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What Nora Knew

By: Linda Yellin

Released January 21, 2014 by Gallery Books

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

One Assignment to write about love, channeling Nora Ephron. One cynic journalist. One love-enthused crime writer who kills all his main character’s girlfriends.  One story Nora Ephron would give her stamp of approval

 

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine year old cynic, but don’t tell her that. Divorced from a high powered divorce lawyer, Molly knows she hasn’t found “the one”. Instead, she is dating Russel, the chiropractor. Russell is stable, a pragmatist, and lacks romance. Molly feels settled. When she is assigned to write about soul mates in the tone of Nora Ephron, Molly knows she is the last person who should be assigned the article; and the truth is, she was the last choice. When she tries to create a romantic dinner for Russell, it fizzles. They settle into each other, both knowing neither are the romantic types, but that’s OK.

Cue You’ve Got Mail. During Memorial Day weekend at the Hamptons, Molly meets her match in fellow writer Cameron Duncan. A famous crime writer, Cameron kills off every girlfriend in his Mike Bing novels; while still managing to make every woman reader swoon. Molly doesn’t believe he’s sincere as he says Sleepless in Seattle his one of his favorite films. Like Joe Fox, Cameron Duncan starts to appear everywhere, infuriating Molly; but slowly waking her up in the perfect Nora Ephron way. 

Does the article turn out great? Does she even write it? Well, you’ll just have to read the book because there may be some predictable surprises. I could definitely see this book being adapted to film. It’s a great homage to Nora Ephron, but it’s the characters that are so great. Molly is so much like Kathleen from You’ve Got Mail. The cynicism is spot on. The references to the movies. The way the plot moves; even the slight character growth. I read this book surprisingly in one day. I laughed a lot. And, I admit, cried at two spots. Cameron Duncan was a great character. And, so was Dr. Russell. How boring and simple. There is a scene in the book, a realization between Molly and Russell that I think many couples who have felt stagnant in their relationship can relate to. It is a very relatable book that truly reads like a romantic comedy movie. I will see it in theaters if it gets adapted into film. I hope it does. It would be a pity if it didn’t. The material is all there.

If you are a fan of romantic comedies; or, looking for a light, fun read this book is it. Spring is near. Summer, too. It’d be a great beach read. Yellin really nails the romance aspect. What it’s like to feel stuck in a relationship, in life. To meet that one person who drives you crazy.  To be closed then open. I hope you give this book a once over. It’s worth a read. 

For fans of Gillian Flynn: Eloise by Judy Finnigan Book review

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Eloise

By Judy Finnigan

Released September, 2013 by Redhook

Length: 384 pages

Genre: British contemporary mystery/ paranormal-ghosts

Rating: 3 and a half Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

A grieving best friend promises her friend’s ghost to save her kids from him

Set in Cromwell, with multiple references to Daphne du Maurier and her book Rebecca, both from Cromwell, comes a book about a woman who is haunted by the ghost of her newly dead best friend.  At forty-five, Eloise had succumbed to a five year battle with breast cancer. At the surface, it was cancer that took her life. But as her spirit remains, sneaking into Cathy’s dreams and pleading, mysteriously, with Cathy to not trust “him” and protect her girls, a mystery novel is born. Already fragile, having suffered from a clinical depression breakdown, Cathy isn’t the most reliable source when it comes to trying to convince those around her that there was something amiss in Eloise’s death and with Eloise’s husband, Ted.

Although Eloise’s ghost often haunts Cathy, I wouldn’t necessarily call this a ghost story. It is more of a mystery fueled by a spirit, if that makes sense. Nonetheless, Cathy is driven by what her best friend is telling her, alienating her from her husband and family. Part mystery novel, part novel on loss, Finnigan’s first novel is a success. I found myself drawn to Cathy; rooting for her when her psychiatrist husband shames her in front of her children, and everyone else; I could relate to her desperation and need to right a wrong, what wrong she doesn’t find out until the end. And, my the ending. I haven’t read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, but know of the twisty, holy hell ending. Let’s just say there was some of that here. I certainly didn’t expect some of what was discovered. Not even just secrets that were kept. It’s events, too.

I am normally not a fan of mysteries. I chose not to read Gone Girl and other similar books. I actually don’t remember what drew me to this book in the first place. I had it on my nook for a while. I picked up at page 30, where I left off two days ago, and promptly finished in one sitting. I’m glad I chose this novel. This wasn’t one of my regrettable choices. This is a solid contemporary mystery debut. The “paranormal” aspect isn’t so much paranormal and aliens are coming after you stuff. It is done in a nice, haunting way that is surprisingly relatable. The novel isn’t just about solving a mysterious case, it is a look at what happens when someone close to us dies; and, sometimes we never feel like they left, and if they did they left with unfinished business. I quite enjoyed this book as a whole. The plot was well-developed; you want to continue demystifying the mystery; Cathy is a great narrator; and the novel is multifaceted.  Well done Mrs. Finnigan on your first novel. I am impressed and look forward to reading another one of your novels.

I hope, my readers, that you will at least take a glance at this novel. It is more than what is at its surface. And, if you liked Gone Girl, I really think you’ll like Eloise.

Some Books can’t be read: Waking Sleep Beauty Freak Book Review

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Waking Sleep Beauty Freak

Released June, 2013 by Winking Buddha Press

Length: 256 pages

Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir

Rating: DNF

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Waking Sleep Beauty Freak is about waking up and realizing you are on the wrong life path and married to the wrong person. Now what? It is a non-fiction inspirational tale about disillusionment, self-discovery and the universal web of pain and growth. Its “Girls-grown-up” style narrative addresses what happens when an ambitious, hard-working, world traveling girl-verging-on-woman wakes up from a seven-year relationship to realize she is on the wrong life path and married to the wrong person. The subsequent unraveling and reweaving is crafted and delivered in a clever conversational tone, sharing ‘just enough’ – in a fun, poetic, modern philosophical way – to hold attention while simultaneously allowing the reader’s mind to wander down its own self-reflective path. While hilarious and bawdy at times, it digs deep and across multiple continents to provide a unique inspirational window into a journey through divorce – parental and her own – and disease (diabetes). This is an ideal summer beach read, especially for women between the ages of 25 and 45 who have lived in New York and/or experienced any of the above. If candid, witty, seemingly gorgeous, ambitious and fun on the surface – she’s imperfect. She’s real. Raw. Rough. A little dirty. Growing. And wanting the reader to grow alongside her..

goodreads.com description

When I was looking through titles on netgalley, this book jumped up at me. I thought the title was creative and witty. Although the description of the book is somewhat lengthy, it is a little vague as well. The description isn’t the only thing that is vague, though. I couldn’t get very far reading this book. There were a couple pages that had funny analogies, or that I thought were insightful, but the majority of the pages fell short for me. Even at page 50, or so, I never got a true feel of what the book was about. Maybe if I tried to keep reading; but, it took me over two weeks just to get to around that page. I might have stopped half way. There just wasn’t enough substance in it.

The author, who does not have her name printed on the cover, gave nicknames to the people mentioned. These nicknames were not helpful, descriptive, or useful at all. There was creative ambition. I don’t know what he really looks like. I can’t tell you a single personality trait of his other than he must have some creative ambition. Then, there is her husband, Ferrari. Given that he is named after a fancy car, I am going to make a hypothesis and assume he is wealthy. Do I know his age? Occupation? Anything special? Not really, other than that he was a poor husband. I think he worked on Wall Street, and was an older gentleman. I didn’t feel anything for him, creative ambition, and the other creative ambition she later added. I didn’t feel much for her, either.

She is a well-traveled woman, used to fancy things, and more than slightly obnoxious in her writing. She seemed selfish, especially when she cheated. I wanted to like her, to feel something, anything, for her. I just didn’t. There was nothing but a slight distaste for her. Maybe she got better, I just didn’t have the patience or desire to learn more about her or her diabetes (I never got to that part).

I guess a good title does not mean the quality and quantity of the writing is on equal footing, or better. I am not one to not finish books, but I couldn’t continue. I needed to wake that sleeping beauty freak up.

It’s Monday! What are you reading? A weekly Wrap up

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As per usual, It’s Monday is a meme sponsored by bookjourney.wordpress.com. Check out her blog and the others participating. Maybe you will find more books to add to that growing TBR list of yours.

Now, it’s Monday again. My does the week go by fast. I am going to be very busy this month. Lots of cool posts and literary adventures. This Saturday I will be going to the Lit Crawl NYC in NYC. It will be my first time going. As I am not a drinker, I am more looking forward to the bars that involve writing stories, even literary trivia. Pictures and reviews will be posted, of course.

I am always participating in one of my first blog challenges, Tackle Your TBR Shelf read-a-thon  co-sponsored by http://tressaswishfulendings.blogspot.com and http://burgandyice.blogspot.com/. I am looking forward to that. You can see my kick off post here. https://indiewritergirl0329.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/tackle-your-tbr-read-a-thon-kick-off/

This week I posted a few book reviews, as well as a book to movie review.

https://indiewritergirl0329.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/fallen-angels-nephilim-and-rephaim-what-could-go-wrong-shadows-the-rephaim-1-by-paula-weston/

Shadows by Paula Weston the first book in this debut author’s series The Rephaim. Two books are currently available for you to buy. It is a YA Fantasy book, similar to The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. So, if you readthat series, or the spin-offs Clare wrote, you may want to give this book and series a try.

Speaking of The Mortal Instruments. I recently went to see that film. And, no surprise there that I was disappointed. You can read my full review at https://indiewritergirl0329.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/they-did-what-how-the-movies-destroyed-the-mortal-instruments-city-of-bones/

I also read Just One Day by Gayle Forman. This is also part of a series, but only a two parter. The second book, available in October is called Just One Year. Can I tell you have excited I am over it’s upcoming release? My review can be found here. https://indiewritergirl0329.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/all-you-really-need-is-just-one-day-by-gayle-forman/ It is a quick YA novel that is as engrossing as endearing. It isn’t your typical YA book because there is country hopping, self-exploration that is realistic, but there is a cute guy. There must be.

Then, there was The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford. This was a cute YA novel that takes place in Russia, where an American exchange student meets a cute Russian boy that changes her world. My review can be found here. https://indiewritergirl0329.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/love-in-the-time-of-the-cold-war-the-boy-on-the-bridge-by-natalie-standiford-book-review/

Currently, I am struggling with reading Sideshow of Merit by Nicole Pietsch. The cover is a little creepy, and doesn’t really coincide with the novel itself.

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I am thinking of putting it on my DNF shelf. The cover is strange, but the novel is slightly disturbing and just as confusing as seeing a neck on the cover.

Happy Monday and Happy reading!

-indiereadergirl0329

Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon Kick-Off

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This fun read-a-thon is hosted by Tressa’s Wishful Endings and Colorimetry. This is my first time participating in one of these. So I am excited. I hope you are, too. And will participate, my fellow book lovers.

Goal One- Read 5-6 books: read two to three netgalley books on my shelf (I have 15, oh my!) my late library book The Ambassador’s Daughter, The Bookmaker’s Obsession, and a surprise.

Goal Two- Write a review for each and post on same day as read.

Goal Three-Participant in at least half of the challenges and visit most of the participants.

Goal Four- Read 2100 pages, whew.

If you are participating, even through commenting on my page, what are your personal reading goals?

Now time for pretty pictures of books I want to tackle.

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 15803233       17332564    and one surprise novel. Who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind.

Happy Reading!

-indiereadergirl0329

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