Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Book review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

Why I Picked It Up

Not sure why I thought this was going to be a light and funny chick-lit type of book. Maybe because apparently Reese Witherspoon has picked it up to produce it into a movie, and my mind has unfortunately type-cast it into being something a bit lighter. I had just finished reading a real downer of a book and needed a pick me up. While a great book, this was not a pick me up, and now I need an even lighter pick me up with my next book!

Yay

Finally, a book not set in New York City! It was refreshing to read a book set in Scotland. Eleanor grew as a character, and as a reader, I was really pulled into her world so that I felt like I was learning things about life that I already know in a fresh way. What I mean by that, is I’ve become a rather jaded, cynical person. When Eleanor discovered things about life that I already know, it was refreshing to see her unique perspective on that. I liked that she had a goal in mind and did not let herself get derailed. And even when life did knock her down, she pulled herself back up. I was really rooting for her the entire way, and happy for her ability to make peace with her past.

Nay

At times, the book made me feel rather uncomfortable. But I guess that was the point.

Final verdict:

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Be different. Be headstrong. Be yourself.

Book Review – Not Working by Lisa Owens

Not Working by Lisa Owens

Why I Picked It Up

Well, let’s face it. Everyone dreams of quitting the 9-5 and having the chance to “find themselves”. Sorry to my boss, but I don’t spend most of my days sitting at this desk because it’s my passion, I’m here because I need the money. Needless to say, I could relate very well to Claire’s extensive ennui.

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Yay

The vignette format was very refreshing. It was light and easy to pick it up and return to. Also was very fitting to show how she jumps from one idea to the next, with no real direction in life. Some of the really short, self-reflective vignettes actually made me laugh out loud while reading on the subway – that is always a plus with any book. I was able to sympathize with her crushing comparisons to other people, and her struggle to find meaning in life.

Nay

Not gonna lie, the one thing that had me hanging on ’till the end was to see what she discovers about her life purpose. She didn’t really find one, after all that? Well, that’s depressing. I guess there’s no hope for me, then?

Emoji rating: 😞💻🖨😕👠🍷🍷🍷🍷🙈😭🍷

 

 

Book Review: Dear Emma by Katie Heaney

Book Review: Dear Emma by Katie Heaney

<i>I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.</I>

The blurb gave this book so much promise, and that’s why I picked it up. Here’s what I expected to happen: Harriet writes an advice column. The horrible B who stole her two-week BF writes to her for advice. She actually plans revenge and advises Remy to carry out some crazy/hilarious tasks in a way to get him back, while instead making them both look like fools. Then she feels bad about it and befriends the B. (Please, someone write this book? Or is that just a clichéd rom-com?)

That’s not what happens. The plot point of her getting the Dear Emma letter from Remy doesn’t actually happen until 50% into the book. By that point, it’s luck that I actually stuck with the book. After that, it’s just a bit of a disappointment plot-wise. Too much of the book is dedicate to random ramblings, side-hangs, and wtf-does-this-have-to-do-with-anything moments rather than the actual advice column. Sometimes it felt like the advice column was forgotten, and randomly thrown in between chapters as an afterthought.

That being said, I did enjoy this book. If I was reading this while I was 21, I’d probably have absolutely loved it. (dear 21 year olds: enjoy it while you can!) The characters and situations are all people I could relate to. Harriet is SO me while I was in college. I totally had a frenemy like Remy.

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Her awkwardness and  social interactions made me laugh, cringe, and feel all warm and fuzzy about the best years of my life.

Emoji Review: 😂💁🏼😎😘✌🏻️🖕🏻🍷👠🍻🍫🍼😕

 

Book Review: Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Book Review: Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Why I picked it up

As you know, it’s the Year of the Wine, so I’m very much into wine right now. I’ve never read a novel set in wine country before, so I thought that was a pretty intriguing setting. The possibilities of that setting are endless, and this book had it all: nurturing the soil, family roots, family secrets, and all the sentimentalism that comes with losing it all.

Yay

Wine.

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Wine wine wine. Loved reading about the wine and the connection between family, love, and the struggle to keep it all going. It was a light, fast, typical chick-lit read. I indulged in a lot of wine while reading this which made me think to myself, why don’t more people write novels set in wine country?!

Nay

I didn’t really love Jacob at the end. It all seemed a bit too forced and predictable. The end was a bit of a downer. Actually, the more I think about it, the whole book was a bit of a downer. Maybe it’s because I just went through a break-up but reading about all these affairs and lies and growing out of love parts just made me feel cynical about love and relationships. The whole story just left me feeling unsettled, and now I need to read another lighthearted book to cheer myself up.

Or, drink more wine.

Emoji Verdit:  

 

Book Review: The King of Taksim Square

The King of Taksim Square by Emrah Serbes and Mark David Wyers

Why I picked it up

This was offered as a Kindle First and I thought the premise sounded interesting. On a recent trip to Ukraine, I got the chance to visit the Maidan square in Kyiv, where a recent uprising took place, and while there I thought to myself, it would be interesting to read a novel set within a revolution like this, but not too politicized, just something with some characters trying to get along in such an environment. So when I saw The King of Taksim square I thought hey, someone actually wrote something that I thought of!

Yay

Story is based in the Arab Spring, with a young teen trying to help his sister get famous to boost her self-esteem. If you take out the random rants, the negative ways Caglar treats his mother, and his creepy obsessions with his sister, some parts of the novel are decent and enjoyable, a satire on modern culture, how we idolize people we love, and how everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame. Gives a great glimpse into life in Turkey as well as the personable desire to want something more in life than what we are given. Also appreciated the father-son moments.

Nay

Everything as stated above: pages of random rants, his weird behavior towards his mother and other women in the story, no real explanation on why he hates his uncle so much, and jeez, Caglar, stop touching your sister when she’s sleeping!

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At the end, the novel just kind of ends in a strange meandering way. At this point I would’ve preferred even a cliche ending of his sister actually becoming a Youtube star!

It was a frustrating read because I feel like the story had so much potential, and it almost reached it at some parts, but there was too much dragging it down at the end.

 

 

 

Book Review: Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry

(I received this from NetGelley for an honest review. Thanks!)

Why I picked it up

I work in finance, so I read about these groping coworkers with an eyeroll and “oh that is so like so-and-so”. Very accurate, especially the whole “raised rich and given a cushy, high-figure job where they goof off while the women do all the work”. I’ve seen and experienced that first hand and it’s soooo frustrating.

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I’m also obsessed with the 2008 financial debacle. Especially after seeing The Big Short, I wanted to read a women’s perspective on what happened.

Yay

Insider look into some attempts of bringing girl power into Wall Street. I enjoyed reading scenes criticizing the one-percenters of New York so that I could compare it to my dismal life and think to myself “Ugh thank god I’m poor.”

Nay

Character seemed a bit flat. Things just happen to her and she goes along with it, not much emotional depth or growth.  A lot of rambling whining about her situation that could have been cut. I was bored around the middle when things would happen and then the next scene would jump elsewhere. We get it: your husband sucks, your coworkers suck, your job sucks, you make too much money. It got a bit:

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The whole Henry thing and how it unfolded was weird and unbelievable. I kept reading because the end was building towards some drama and then all of that was just glossed over and we jump to the future where all is suddenly well. I would’ve liked to have experienced those moments instead of them just being skipped over like an afterthought.

Also, lots of typos and a serious need for commas, but that could be because I was reading an ARC. Hope they were able to fix that all before publication because I found it distracting.

 

 

Book Review: Smoke by Catherine McKenzie

Why I picked it up

I’ve read other books by Catherine McKenzie before, Spin and Forgotten, and I enjoyed them, so I figured I’d try this one too. It’s about a Elizabeth, an ex-firefighter, who is dealing with an impending divorce while a forest fire threatens to engulf their town. 🔥

Yay

The storyline about the fire and the arson investigation added a deeper level of drama to the typical “my relationship is unraveling” storyline, especially with the tension towards the end. I have to admit I am slightly obsessed with natural disasters (sorry, I know that’s weird), and especially how people come together in a crisis, or are torn apart, so I appreciated that part of the story. Also, loved Catherine’s detailed depiction of the setting. 👏🏻

Nay

I start off the book following the main character, Elizabeth, telling us her story in first person narration. Several chapters in, the narration switches to third person narration, following another character, Elizabeth’s ex-best friend, named Mindy.

My reaction:

michael-scott-no

Multiple narratives are one of my biggest pet peeves. Sometimes it works very, very well, but most of the time? No. Just no. I need a warning, thanks. Lol.

I’ll admit, I am a lazy reader. I want to get close to one main character and experience everything they go through. When I have to actively pay attention and switch from different narrators and narrative styles, it just bugs me. It’s also probably because I read predominantly while commuting, so I read during my morning commute and my evening commute. After an entire workday, I get on the subway, pick up my book, and want to continue the story from the morning. But when narrators switch like this, I’ll be momentarily confused and be all “Wait was this Elizabeth or Mindy I was reading?” And that just gets annoying after awhile.

My other confusing thing about this book was the location. In the beginning, Nelson is said to be in the Northern Rockies. So okay, that would mean Canada, right? But later, throughout the book, there are sheriffs and other American references, leaving me to assume it was actually set in the USA. Totally not important to the storyline, but something I noticed.

Fave Quote

“You’re going to admit defeat?” I said.
“Never surrender.”
I laughed. “Oh my god, Core yHart.”
“What now?”
“Corey Hart. The ‘Sunglasses at Night’ guy? We’ve talked about this before.”

This book should get 5 stars just for a COREY MOTHERFUCKING HART REFERENCE!!!!

😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

(Seriously I love this song, lmao.)

P.S. I read this answer to a question about the book on Goodreads before reading the book and I was like wow, this book is going to be more literary than I expected it to be. I read through the entire book waiting for a boy’s transition from living in the Mississippi to a man and the world’s establishment and their crushing the working class.

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