Midweek Mini Reviews #1

I Had a Nice Time And Other Lies…: How to find love & sh*t like that by The Betches

betchesThe co-founders of the Betches website, and authours of, Nice is Just a Place in France: How to Win at Basically Everything are at it once again with their latest book being about dating and relationships. I Had a Nice Time and Other Lies: How to Find Love & Shit Like That is written in their trademark style which is both hilarious yet often rings true. Part satire, and part self-help book I Had a Nice Time and Other Lies: How to Find Love & Shit Like That is perfect for those who don’t take things too seriously. And while I don’t appreciate the subtle jabs that are made towards “book nerds”, I did appreciate the various pop culture references and quotes that are sprinkled throughout the book. After all it made for a more entertaining and amusing read. Overall, I think there is actually a lot of decent advice in I Had a Nice Time and Other Lies: How to Find Love & Shit Like That. And while it may be more tailored towards a millennial audience, I think that the underlying messages of appreciating yourself and only being in a relationship if it adds something “awesome” to your life are messages that are important for those of all ages.

Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen

9womendress

Recently, I went to my first out of country wedding and as the plane ride would be four hours long I knew I needed to pack some reads for the trip. When it comes to vacations especially if the reason for your trip is a wedding, you can’t go wrong with a light and fluffy contemporary novel. Though the title is slightly misleading (as there are male narrators in addition to the women), Nine Women, One Dress definitely fit the bill as it was a feel good, quick, predictable read with not much substance which was ideal for a summer trip. The book follows various characters who are all connected through a little black dress which was dubbed the “it” dress of the season. To be honest it felt as if there were too many characters crammed into the book, at times it seemed that some chapters and characters did not belong in the novel. Additionally as a result of the large cast, the reader doesn’t get to spend as much time with any of the characters. This is unfortunate as I would’ve much preferred the book to be focused on a smaller cast of characters like perhaps just Arthur, Felicia (his executive assistant), Jeremy, and the Bloomingdale employees. However, in spite of its flaws, Nine Women, One Dress is the book for people who enjoy those romantic comedies ensemble movies or for anybody who wants a summer read that has happy endings all around and leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

unexpectedAuthour:
Morgan Matson
Format:
ARC, 519 pages
Publication date:
June 2nd 2016
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
To be honest, I feel as if I’m one of the rare few that am not obsessed with SYBG that coupled with the length of The Unexpected Everything made me reluctant to pick it up. However, after reading a gushing review of The Unexpected Everything from Tiff at Mostly YA Lit I started reconsidering my decision to pick up the latest Morgan Matson book.

Andie is a girl who is used to being in control and planning out everything, however as the title hints, things don’t go according to her plans for the summer. Instead, in The Unexpected Everything she is forced to re-evaluate how she’s always lived her life which leads to numerous changes that “unexpectedly” cause her to realize who she truly is and what she’s always wanted.

What I adored in The Unexpected Everything is the portrayal of friendships, especially female friendships in this book. My favourite aspect of this novel were the scenes that featured Andie and her friends either hanging out or texting each other. And while there is some drama in the novel, I appreciated how it was handled in an authentic manner, even if it means no simple happy ending. Another thing I loved with regards to The Unexpected Everything is the father-daughter relationship which we don’t see that often in YA novels. The entire portrayal felt extremely true to life, as both are initially awkward around each other, and unclear as to what their roles are since Andie’s father has been mostly occupied with his work as a congressman. However, slowly they are able to reach a compromise and I appreciated how Andie’s father allowed her to negotiate with him as a way to continue to provide her with some freedom.

All that being said, I wasn’t too fond of the romance in The Unexpected Everything. Although, I will admit that Clark had his adorable moments and I did delight in seeing how he helped Andie slowly get out of her comfort zone. Also I’m always up for a good bromance, and loved that he and Tom (the boyfriend of one of Andie’s best friends) bonded over shared interests and the fact that Clark is one of Tom’s favourite authours.

Overall, The Unexpected Everything is a book that I highly recommend to anyone in need of an excellent summer read. In fact, it has left me wanting more from Morgan Matson. In fact, given how her story concluded, I would love a novel with Toby as the protagonist, as I would love for her to have her’ own happy ending and finally find the “cure” to her “curse”.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Pen & Palate: Mastering the Art of Adulthood, with Recipes by Lucy Madison and Tram Nguyen

pensAuthour:
Lucy Madison and Tram Nguyen
Format:
ARC, 287 pages
Publication date:
May 31st 2016
Publisher:
Grand Central Life & Style
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
For those of you who aren’t aware, “Words of Mystery” is in reality currently compose of two of us. Though she is less involved now, my best friend from high school was instrumental when I first took over this blog as she often provided a second opinion on posts and assisted with some of the design of the blog. And perhaps that was why I enjoyed Pen & Palate: Mastering the Art of Adulthood, with Recipes by Lucy Madison and Tram Nguyen since I could relate to a majority of it.

Pen & Palate started off as a (still running) food blog run by Lucy Madison and Tram Nguyen who have been best friends since high school. Lucy is a New York based writer and journalist and Tram is an illustrator and costume designer who lives in Chicago. Both women contribute blog posts consisting of personal essays and recipe while Tram provides the lovely illustrations that go along with each of the post. While I was aware of the blog before this book, I’m glad that I got to discover their blog through this book.

An entertaining element with regards to Pen & Palate: Mastering the Art of Adulthood, with Recipes is how the book is structured as chapters that alternate between Lucy and Tram. As a result, we see various events from both their perspective which serves to illustrate that occasionally the grass may seem greener on other side however isn’t quite true. When it comes to your friends, the majority of them who seem as if they have things figured out probably are in a similar boat as you. Additionally, I enjoyed was how I can relate to numerous things that Tram mentions in her chapters, since also being of Vietnamese descent several instances of what she described appear as if they could have come from my life too. It’s always wonderful to read writing from people who come from a similar cultural background as you, especially as there are not that many Vietnamese writers out there.

Anyways, Pen & Palate: Mastering the Art of Adulthood, with Recipes is the perfect book for those who love food and who are in the so-called “emerging adulthood” stage of their life. I loved how it perfectly captures how female friendships evolve as people grow and perhaps embark on different paths.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Society by Jodie Andrefski

thesocietyAuthour:
Jodie Andrefski
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
May 3rd 2016
Publisher:
Entangled Teen
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I love a thrilling revenge story, however Jodie Andrefski’s The Society was much more than a revenge story. In fact, if I were to be honest the “revenge” aspect of the story is only a minor portion albeit a major theme of the story.

Samantha Evans was living what she thought was the ideal life, when her father is suddenly arrested for insider trading. As a result, her “best friend” ditches her, her mother flees and Sam is left to live with her aunt in a trailer park. What I enjoyed about The Society was how realistic it was in depicting bullying in schools, and while how victims may desire to get back at their attackers revenge may not necessarily be the solution. While, Sam essentially goes through with her plans she feels guilty regarding her actions for the majority of the time which often leaves her conflicted and confused. I found this to be realistic since in reality a person is able to complete some type of special revenge training where they learn to turn off their emotions and stuff. Revenge in real life involves real people, and things aren’t always black and white which means things can become messy.

Regardless, I did wish that there was a greater focus on the scheming and the revenge aspect of the story rather than the subplot involving the mysterious guy, Ransom. To be honest, I was getting a bad vibe from him, and felt a bit let down when nothing came of the subplot. That being understood, my favourite element of The Society was the relationship between Jeremy and Samantha which was slowly developing from best friends into something more. I adored the dynamic that the two have and was rooting for them to become a couple the entire time. I also adore how Samantha slowly came to accept her life as it is and appreciate the family, she does have, in her aunt and not the family she “lacks” at the moment.

The Society is a novel that I would suggest if you’re looking for more of an incredibly fast paced story concerning high school cliques, bullying and its consequences.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.