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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The Ship by Antonia Honeywell

The ShipThe Ship by Antonia Honeywell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My thoughts are very divided on this novel. I loved the premise, a resourceful group of people decide to abandon a failing land and live on a ship in the midst of the end of the world. A ship setting for a post apocalypse book is pretty unique and rare, and it did live up to its potential in that regard.

Where I struggled with the story was with the main character, on the one hand I want to commend the author for writing a very relatable and realistic teenager…but that realism is what makes her so bloody annoying! She was constantly going around in circles, contradicting herself, making hers and the people around hers life so much harder than necessary.

However the back and forth did allow for some deep thinking, and I love when you can see both sides of a very complicated situation. The writing flowed nicely and I flew through the story. Even when I was annoyed at the main character I couldn’t stop reading because I was desperate to know what happened next. I would enjoy reading a sequel for this.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Buy

 

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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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 | How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn

How Not to Hate Your Husband After KidsHow Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you only ever read one self-help book let it be this one. It’s almost a five for one deal in that the author has painstakingly researched and ferreted out the best of the best in various areas of psychology that is vital for a healthy marriage.

I think that many, if not most women can relate to the cover image of this book. The harried, flustered mother just trying to get by day by day with as much sanity as she started with, while her frustratingly nonchalant husband casually lives life by the seat of his pants. Probably because he has what we don’t…a wife looking out for everything!

I loved how thorough this book was. Everything that could be affecting a marriage was included in here, from chore distribution to sex life and date nights (or lack thereof), to child discipline to anger issues and ostrich syndrome (hiding your head under the sand). There really are so many moving parts in a marriage, and so many seemingly small things that can make a huge difference. I loved that they were all addressed in a very genuine and thoughtful manner.

The author was so honest in this book, I was very impressed. I think that honesty is what made this book impossible to put down. You can’t help but trust in her genuine desire to fix her marriage. That raw desire for improvement seeps off of the page and you find your own ember for change and happiness reignited.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Buy (This would also make a great baby shower gift!)

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

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Lunarbaboon Presents: We All Have Powers: And Other Things You Learn as a Parent by Christopher Grady

Lunarbaboon Presents: We All Have Powers: And Other Things You Learn as a ParentLunarbaboon Presents: We All Have Powers: And Other Things You Learn as a Parent by Christopher Grady

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As a new(ish) mother, I have been having a lot of fun reading about the “perils of parenthood”. In truth I enjoyed these works long before I was a mother, but now that I am one they are even more relatable, and therefore even more amusing/intimidating.

I’m not gonna lie, some of the comics I see of the terrible twos are indeed terrifying. However Lunarbaboon always levies these stressful situations with the funny and bizarre. These quick sketches/comics were great fun to read, and while a couple of them left me scratching my head, most had me giggling with delight.

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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