Big Kid Books | Extraordinary Adventures by Daniel Wallace

Extraordinary AdventuresExtraordinary Adventures by Daniel Wallace

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Socially awkward semi-hermit wins a trip of a life time, but the catch is that to redeem his vacation prize he must bring a companion with him! And so begins the Extraordinary Adventures as Edsel goes out of his comfort zone to find the girl of his dreams…or at least a girl to bring on vacation with him. Sounds interesting right? Well…sadly this was me for much of the novel.

I had high hopes for this romantic comedy. The blurb had me hoping for something along the lines of The Rosie Project, you know socially awkward guy searches for love and finds it in equally weird but perfect girl for him. Unfortunately this just felt like the poor mans Rosie Project.

The main character Edsel, was always just slightly too odd to be realistically whimsical and quirksome. I feel like there has been this trend lately, with socially awkward characters becoming very popular (I think the popularity of Sheldon Cooper is what ignited this trend). However not every author can find the right balance between quirky and serial killer creepy. The main character in Extraordinary Adventures straddled that line rather precariously.

The novel started off strong in my opinion. With Edsel being a somewhat relatable character with a bit of a boring existence, which was levied with strong side characters. However it quickly teetered to the unbelievable when we got to the love interest…or I suppose I should say love interests. Which in itself was a bit unbelievable as well, since Edsel was far from a catch. And while his inner monologue was at times interesting, all these other women certainly were not aware of it. I just find it hard to believe that three women would be giving googly eyes to a watered down Don Tillman (The hero of The Rosie Project).

Maybe it is unfair of me to compare this so much to the Rosie Project but I can’t help but recognize so many knock offs of the same variety that have been released since its debut. The love interest herself was so annoying that I had trouble enjoying any aspect of this. The moment when the awkward nerdy guy with a heart of gold finally meets the one special woman that really “sees” him is a trope that I am a true sucker for. But this only works if the love interest is actually worthy of such love.

Sheila was intended to be this cardboard cutout of the popular manic pixie dream girl, but she turned out to be more of a (view spoiler) The annoying part is that if she wasn’t so hot no one would consider putting up with this shit! Guess its like Barney Stinson Says…

Overall while just interesting enough to keep me reading, I can’t in good faith recommend this book. There is just so much better writing out there. Extraordinary Adventures is a decent time killer, but not much more than that.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Bin

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Big Kid Books | The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

The Best of Adam SharpThe Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb: From the #1 bestselling author of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, an unforgettable new novel about lost love and second chances

On the cusp of turning fifty, Adam Sharp likes his life. He’s happy with his partner Claire, he excels in music trivia at quiz night at the local pub, he looks after his mother, and he does the occasional consulting job in IT.

But he can never quite shake off his nostalgia for what might have been: his blazing affair more than twenty years ago with an intelligent and strong-willed actress named Angelina Brown who taught him for the first time what it means to find—and then lose—love. How different might his life have been if he hadn’t let her walk away?

And then, out of nowhere, from the other side of the world, Angelina gets in touch. What does she want? Does Adam dare to live dangerously?

My Musings: The best of Adam Sharp is another interesting offering from the author of the Rosie Project. While a story of multiple adulterers is certainly not as heartwarming or whimsical as the The Rosie Project, I still found it to be a unique and introspective read.

The protagonist, who seemingly wakes up one day and realizes how stale and boring his life is as he pines for the lost love of his youth, is certainly relatable to an extent. I found him to be a likable character, although admittedly as the novel continued on I found myself less fond of him.

There is a lot of inner dialogue in the book, and for a novel about infidelity and lost love it became tedious at times. For characters nearing half a century old I found them to all be rather frustratingly fickle. The back and forth, and back and forth started to grate on my nerves.

Overall though this was a decent read, but I’m not sure if I would recommend it. What drew me to the authors previous works is not found here, and the characters inability to sort out their lives (however relatable) was still annoying. Worth a read but I wouldn’t recommend a buy. Middle of the road 3/5.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Borrow

 

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Big Kid Books | The Heartfix: An Online Dating Diary by Stella Grey

The Heartfix: An Online Dating DiaryThe Heartfix: An Online Dating Diary by Stella Grey

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Stella Grey is a fifty something divorcee who is ready to start dating again. Warily she ventures into online dating. This book chronicles her three year long experience. The premise caught my eye right away, I am always interested in books about online relationships and I was curious how online experiences differ by age.

However what I did not consider was how online experiences would differ by personality. Here is where I had a hard time relating to the author, and indeed in a book with a premise such as this it is important that the author be at least a little relatable and sympathetic. It was hard to “ be in her corner” when she came across as so many cliches that are found in online dating, and what many men are accused of labeling online women as…bitter, angry, snobby, obsessive.

I think a small amount of each of these is understandable considering her situation, especially in the beginning of her experience. But the large amount of these qualities tainted the story for me. It was hard to agree that every guy was a classless jerk when in all fairness she herself displayed a lot of unlikable qualities.

There were also a lot of contradictions, for example she complains about one line greetings from men but then she herself does it. She also complains about clinginess in an admirer even though earlier she had practically stalked a man and went on and on about how daily communication was important to her….Of course nobody is perfect, but I have never had much patience for hypocrites. 1.5/5

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Bin

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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A Song to Take the World Apart by Zan Romanoff

A Song to Take the World ApartA Song to Take the World Apart by Zan Romanoff

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Goodreads Blurb: What if you could make someone love you back, just by singing to them? Fans of Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun and Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender will be captivated by this contemporary love story with hints of magical realism.

Hanging out with Chris was supposed to make Lorelei’s life normal. He’s cooler, he’s older, and he’s in a band, which means he can teach her about the music that was forbidden in her house growing up. Her grandmother told her when she was little that she was never allowed to sing, but listening to someone else do it is probably harmless— right?

The more she listens, though, the more keenly she can feel her own voice locked up
in her throat, and how she longs to use it. And as she starts exploring the power her grandmother never wanted her to discover, influencing Chris and everyone around her, the foundations of Lorelei’s life start to crumble. There’s a reason the women in her family never want to talk about what their voices can do.

And a reason Lorelei can’t seem to stop herself from singing anyway. Continue reading

Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

GlitterGlitter by Aprilynne Pike

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb: Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.
When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.
Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.
But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.
Continue reading

100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen

100 Days of Cake100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb: Get well soon isn’t going to cut it in this quirky and poignant debut novel about a girl, her depression, an aggressive amount of baked goods, and the struggle to simply stay afloat in an unpredictable, bittersweet life.

There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mien. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs.

Um, no. Never going to happen.

But Molly plays along, stomaching her mother’s failed culinary experiments, because, whatever—as long as it makes someone happy, right? Besides, as far as Molly’s concerned, hanging out with Alex at the rundown exotic fish store makes life tolerable enough. Even if he does ask her out every…single…day. But—sarcastic drum roll, please—nothing can stay the same forever. When Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a bleak country diner, her whole life seems to fall apart at once. Soon she has to figure out what—if anything—is worth fighting for. Continue reading

The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens by Jennifer Shannon

Adobe Photoshop PDFGoodreads Blurb: Do you have problems with anxiety? The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens is a much-needed, go-to guide to help you finally break free from the worry and ruminations that can get in the way of reaching your goals.

If you have anxiety, your fears and worries can keep you from feeling confident and independent. Teen milestones such as making friends, dating, getting good grades, or taking on more mature responsibilities, may seem much more difficult. And if you’re like countless other anxious teens, you may even avoid situations that cause you anxiety altogether—leaving you stuck in a cycle of worry and avoidance. So, how can you take control of your anxiety before it takes control of you? Continue reading