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 Unprotected: A Novel by Kelly Sokol

The Unprotected: A NovelThe Unprotected: A Novel by Kelly Sokol

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lyrical and poignant, this novel follows Lara as she goes from “anti-kids” to “ try-anything- for-one”. The novel explores what happens when everything you have ever wanted turns out to be nothing like what you expected.

The gradual build up was so well done, it shows how easy it is to get to the extreme end of postpartum depression. I think that there are aspects to this story that every mother can relate to.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Buy

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

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Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

Things I Should Have KnownThings I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb: From the author of Epic Fail comes the story of Chloe Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl on a quest to find love for her autistic sister, Ivy. Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people, but Chloe can deal, especially when she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy.

Uncommonly honest and refreshingly funny, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love. Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan, who form a quirky and lovable circle, will steal readers’ hearts and remind us all that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal. Continue reading

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

A Quiet Kind of ThunderA Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb: Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout. 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

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

All the Ugly and Wonderful ThingsAll the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb: As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer. 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