Book Review: My Not So Perfect Life

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Image: Goodreads

Every time I read another Sophie Kinsella novel, I think that she can’t possibly get any better, and then she simply does. And what’s even more amazing than her writing is the journey it took to hone her craft.

Before she was the pseudonymous author of the bestselling Shopaholic series, she was known as Madeleine Wickham.

If that name doesn’t ring any bells, that’s probably for the best. Wickham is the writer of 40 Love, one of the lowest rated novels on Goodreads.

But over 20 years after the publication of that flop, Kinsella is now considered the queen of chick lit. Her latest novel My Not So Perfect Life tells the story of Katie Brenner, a young marketing professional from the English countryside just trying to make it in London and live up to her Instagram feed.

While her social media posts feature fancy meals and luxe locations, her real life is much bleaker with an entry-level salary, tiny apartment, and eccentric roommates. And just when she thinks she might be getting a big break at work, she’s fired by her uber-posh boss who can’t even remember her name.

Tucking her tail between her legs, she returns to her hometown to help her family launch a glamping resort and nurse her bruised ego. That is, until Demeter books a reservation and doesn’t recognize her own staff in farmgirl clothes. What’s a burned employee to do?

What starts off as a juicy revenge tale morphs into something with much more substance. There are humor and romance, of course, but there’s also insightful commentary on  Millennial social issues, like the fear of missing out and the urge to present your ideal self online.

As someone who left a rural town to navigate a marketing career in the big city, this book was especially relatable. If you’ve ever been frustrated by professional setbacks or envious of seemingly more successful colleagues, this story is a great reminder that everyone is struggling in some way. As the cliche goes, don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel!

I highly recommend My Not So Perfect Life as the oh-so-perfect lighthearted read. If you love it and want to check out more of Sophie Kinsella’s hits, read my reviews of Wedding Night and I’ve Got Your Number.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Five-Star Reads

In this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, we’re sharing our latest five-star reads: the best of the best, la creme de la creme, our very own A-game! As luck would have it, in the five years that I have been blogging, I have only given a five-star rating to exactly ten books, out of 107 books total!

I’d say that less than 10% is reasonably selective, so if you’re searching for a perfect springtime read, make sure you pick up one of these!

5 Star Collage

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  3. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
  4. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  5. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Ed note: sequels not recommended, so read at your own risk!)
  7. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
  8. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
  9. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  10. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

So which books would give five out of five stars? Share your top recommendations in the comments!

Top Ten Books When You Just Want to Laugh

Image by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, has us talking about moods. There’s a book for every emotion your heart desires: anger, sadness, and even fear (Side note: Why in the world do people like to feel terrified? I will never understand you, horror fans!)

So what should someone read if she just wants to laugh? Here is my list of my top ten funniest books–and if you can get them on audio, even better!

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Celebrity memoirs

  1. Tina Fey, Bossypants
  2. Amy Poehler, Yes Please
  3. Chelsea Handler, Uganda Be Kidding Me
  4. Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?
  5. Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck

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Love, lunacy, and LOLs

  1. Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
  2. Alida Nugent, Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse
  3. Sophie Kinsella, I’ve Got Your Number
  4. Vicki Lewis Thompson, Talk Nerdy to Me
  5. Mallory Ortberg, Texts from Jane Eyre

So which books have you rolling on the floor laughing? Recommendations are always welcome!

Top Ten Books For People Who Like Romance

Let’s get right to it! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, has bloggers recommending ten books for readers of a particular genre, and I since love reading about love, I decided to choose romance as my category.

Love stories come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so I’ve broken my list down into several types. Without further ado, here are my top ten books for people who like romance!

Classic romance: Love doesn’t get any better than this

 

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Romantic tragedies: Bust out the tissues

 

3. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
4. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Romantic comedies: Love that makes you LOL

 

5. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
6. Talk Nerdy to Me by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Sexy romance: It’s about to get steamy

 

7. Something About You by Julie James
8. It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

Unique romance: Love outside the box

 

9. Every Day by David Levithan
10. The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss

I would love to hear recommendations of your favorite love stories! Which type of romance do you like the best, and which other novels would you suggest?

My 2014 Reading Recap!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

2014 has finally come to an end, and I’ve read some great books in the process! To recap, I have completed 20 books, totaling over 6,877 pages! Eight of these were audiobooks, which goes to show how valuable my commute is in staying on track to meet my quota.

The video above discusses my top five books in detail, but below is the full list from best to worst. 2014 was all about comedic memoirs and chick-lit, with a few YA fantasies and works of literary fiction in the mix. I’m excited to see what’s in store for the new year!

Rating: 5 out of 5
1. Yes Please – Amy Poehler (2014)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
2. Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan (2014)
3. Hollow City – Ransom Riggs (2014)

Rating: 4 out of 5
4. The Engagements – J. Courtney Sullivan (2013)
5. Wedding Night – Sophie Kinsella (2013)
6. Afterworlds – Scott Westerfeld (2014)
7. When We Were Orphans – Kazuo Ishiguro (2000)
8. A Well-Tempered Heart – Jan-Philipp Sendker (2014)
9. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson (2012)
10. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han (2014)
11. My Horizontal Life – Chelsea Handler (2004)
12. A Lot Like Love – Julie James (2011)
13. About That Night – Julie James (2012)
14. Love Irresistibly – Julie James (2013)

Rating: 3 out of 5
15. I Know I Am, But What Are You? – Samantha Bee (2011)
16. The Bedwetter – Sarah Silverman (2010)
17. Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham (2014)
18. Deeply, Desperately – Heather Webber (2010)
19. Absolutely, Positively – Heather Webber (2011)

Rating: 2 out of 5
20. Reached – Ally Condie (2012)

So have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think? And what were your top five books of 2014?

Book Review: Wedding Night

Image via Goodreads

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sophie Kinsella, author of the beloved Confessions of a Shopaholic series, has done it again with her latest stand-alone novel Wedding Night.

This chick-lit story begins much like the movie “Legally Blonde:” 33-year-old Lottie is out to dinner with her boyfriend Richard, assuming that he’s finally going to propose. Of course, this is just a miscommunication, and Lottie finds herself deeply saddened and embarrassed when he doesn’t get down on one knee.

It just so happens that an old flame contacts Lottie right afterward: Ben, her teenage fling during her gap year in Ikonos, Greece. After a night of reminiscing, they impulsively decide to get married and honeymoon where they met 15 years ago.

The chapters swap between the points of view between Lottie, and her older, recently divorced sister Fliss, who is determined to prevent Lottie from making what she sees as the biggest mistake of her sibling’s life.

This book is hilarious, but it also addresses serious issues like love, marriage, divorce, and overall compatibility. Lottie feels such an insane urge to get married that she jumps into a relationship without so much as asking what Ben does for a living.

That societal pressure is something that I see among many girls my age; they believe that marriage is the Holy Grail of “having it all,” feeling so rushed to settle down in their 20s regardless of whether they’ve met the right person.

But Wedding Night also brings up the idea of intervention, whether it’s better to let someone make their own mistakes, even if the consequences could be dire. And although the interventions in this novel are often absurd, it’s fun nonetheless to see what lengths Fliss will go to in order to sabotage Lottie’s plans.

If you’re looking for a light read that will be sure to make an excellent rom-com one day, then Wedding Night is a great way to start off your 2014!

‘Tis the Season! My 3 Favorite Books About Weddings

I just got back from a bridal shower of a friend who’s practically family. I’m one of her bridesmaids, and it was great to spend such a special day with her…which, of course, got me thinking about literary weddings. I decided to make a list of my three favorite books which deal with the chaos, stress, but also fun of planning a wedding:

Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot (2009). This finale of the Queen of Babble trilogy follows Lizzie Nichols as she makes the difficult decision between Luke, the man to whom she’s engaged, or Chaz, Luke’s best friend, with whom she’s also in love. The twist here is that Lizzie happens to work in wedding gown restoration, so how does a woman who’s already knee deep in bridal manage to get to the altar? If you’ve read the series up until now, you’ll know who Lizzie ultimately chooses, but this book’s so entertaining that you won’t care. Another gem by Cabot!

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The Little Lady Agency and the Prince by Hester Browne (2008). Another end to another great trilogy, this novel tells the tale of Melissa Romney-Jones, a curvy bombshell who dons a blonde wig and calls herself “Honey”–all for the sake of turning fixer-upper men into marriage material. Her current project is prince Nicolas von Helsing-Alexandros, who can’t seem to blind his wandering eye. And what happens when her fiance Jonathan Riley starts acting controlling? Can they work it out, or will she fall for her best friend Nelson? Clearly, there’s no shortage of love triangles in chick-lit!

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (2012). This book published on Valentine’s Day of this year has got to be one of the cutest stories I’ve ever read. Poppy Wyatt has just lost her engagement ring, an antique that’s been in her fiance Magnus’ family for three generations. So when she comes along a lost cell phone, what better thing to do than to enlist the phone owner’s employer to help find the ring? But when that boss turns out to be a sexy businessman named Sam Roxton, Poppy’s happily ever after just got way more complicated. The perfect book for the 21st-century reader, full of text talk, emails, and footnotes! Check out my full review here!

So there you have it! Three adorable stories if you can’t get enough of dresses, rings, cakes, and true love! I’m currently reading Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon, about a woman decades into her marriage, but it’s always nice to remind yourself of the newlywed stage! And for any of my readers attending weddings left and right, please share your own wedding reads!