Wedding Night, Sophie Kinsella

Wedding-Night-coverI love Sophie Kinsella despite the fact that she can be a hit or miss. Her hits are just that good (for me). Wedding Night, her 2013 release, is unfortunately a miss.

Older sis Fliss always looks after Lottie, and when Lottie breaks up with her long-time boyfriend, Richard, she is ready for one of Lottie’s Unfortunate Choices; rash decisions Lottie always makes after a break-up (like a bad tattoo, or joining a cult). But even Fliss is surprised when Lottie elopes with an old beau, and she is determined to prevent them from consummating the marriage, which would disallow the possibility of an annulment. Fliss teams up with best man, Lorcan, and together with Richard, who is now determined to win Lottie back, and her son, Noah, they plan to break up the marriage, traveling to the Honeymoon destination Ikonos, and teaming up with hotel staff to create the worst honeymoon ever.

So the book is a little insane, and there is not much else to redeem it. The comedy fell flat and the romance was far from compelling. Rarely do I have so little good to say about a book, but it’s looking like this will be a pretty short review. I’m always baffled by the roller coaster of Kinsella’s works. Her 2012 release, I’ve Got Your Number is one of my favourites of Kinsella’s, and of the entire chick lit genre. Wedding Night was far too easy to put down, and a burden to finish.

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Topics that Keep Me From Reading a Book

This weekly meme brought to you by the Broke and the Bookish!

This weekly meme brought to you by the Broke and the Bookish!

There are not many topics I won’t read about, as long as they’re well-researched and creatively approached. But even I must draw the line somewhere! Following is my list of words, topics, and types of books I generally steer clear of.

Soft Cover Romance Novels. I once made the mistake of downloading one of the Outlander books from my online library. Now every time I log in to my account my “Recommended for You” section is filled with such winning titles as Bedding a Highlander and Never Trust a Scoundrel. Just no.

Amish Romance Novels. Inside (and out of) the Christian publishing world these have blown up over the last few years. Trendiness is the main reason I don’t touch them, but here’s the real deal: I can understand why “the simple life” and a more “moral” take on romance is so appealing, but the reality is that most Amish themselves would find these novels at best highly inaccurate or at worst, offensive. “Write what you know” is still a good adage for authors. If you didn’t grow up Amish, I ain’t reading your book about it.

Dieting, fiction or otherwise. I don’t need to read about some quirky-funny girl with body image issues and a stubborn propensity toward chocolate cake. In the same vein, I can no longer read about Shopaholics, either. I’m all for “chick-lit” done right, but I have little patience for the vapid.

Space ships, Aliens, Body Snatching. This is one corner of the sci-fi world I have yet to explore. At least, that is, past the first 50 pages of War of the Worlds…which I gave up on.

Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies. I don’t get any of these fads. I don’t care how you spin it or package it, because all of these are awful to begin with. And on that note, other books I won’t read on principal are…

Disrespectful Money-Grabbing Knockoffs. It all started with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Jane Austen would be rolling in her grave (no puns intended) if she knew the extent to which her so carefully chosen words were being stretched, re-framed, and abused these days. Now we’ve got everything from Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters to Mansfield Park and Mummies. And Austen isn’t the only victim! Other atrocities include Little Women and Werewolves, Jane Slayre, Alice in Zombieland, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Undead. I am disgusted.

Horror. Mystical gross-out creatures aside, if it affects the way I sleep, it’s not the book for me.

Old People. I know this makes me seem ageist, but elders are one demographic I don’t really care to read about. Just as reading a book about an infant would probably be quite boring, so it is once you’re back in diapers. Hey, I can’t help it if teens are the ones stuck in impossible love-triangles, choosing factions, and mobilizing their friends to change the world! More entertaining stuff happens to adolescents, and that’s clearly irrefutable.

“Based on the Major Motion Picture”. It’s one thing to put the movie cover on the book. It’s quite another thing to write an entire book based on a movie. Adaptations should go novel to film, not the other way around.

What about you? Do you agree with my list or not? Sound off in the comments!

Light and Fun Summer Reading

This was supposed to be a Top Ten for early May, but we’ve decided to rework it into your personal summer reading list! Kaite and I will tell you our top titles for when you’re looking for something “light and fun”, plus some of the books we’re planning on picking up this summer.

Deborah’s (Few-and-Far-Between) Light and Fun Recommendations:

Not that I only read depressing stuff, but mostly I err on the serious/dramatic side of things. So whenever I read a book that makes me say “man, I feel GOOD”, I usually wonder what the heck my problem is, and go hunting for more. Here’s my (short) list of funnies I’ve liked so far.

1) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I read this last year, and it’s probably one of the single most funny books I’ve ever read. Just ask my BFF, who was trying to suntan in peace while I was reading this beside her. Every two seconds I burst out laughing, which made her jump. It does have some heart-wrenching “high school” (AKA sucky) moments, but they’re always tempered with more humour.

2) Any Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Waterson. Okay, okay, so comics shouldn’t really count, but why not? That little troublemaker and his stuffed tiger have some pretty philosophical moments! Other personal faves are The Far Side (Gary Larson) and Cul de Sac (Richard Thompson).

3) The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Despite the title it’s not a girl book. It’s a for-anyone-who-likes-to-laugh book! You’ll be amazed at all the background hilarity that simply didn’t fit into the movie (which is already pretty jam-packed with laughs). Downside: it’s super long, so may not be considered “light”. But hopefully I’ve aROUSed your suspicions enough to give it a try!

A few books I plan to pick up soon(er or later):

  • Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn. Mostly because the title is great (LMNOP, get it?!). Apparently it’s a book about letters, in letters.
  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. I didn’t love Levithan’s solo effort Every Daybut since I enjoy his writing and this is another collaboration…why not?

Kaite’s Way More Complete list:

Though I have love for all sorts of novels, I usually need to mix in some lighthearted books when I read some great literature*.  Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance wrecked me for a long time, and though I’m currently reading Susanna Clark’s (really slow) 1008-page Johnathon Strange and Mr. Norrell, I’ll probably read about 10-15 other books before I finish it. This is also why I cannot love J.K. Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy. I appreciated it very much and was really into the book after the first few chapters, but the darker side of mankind is just harder for me to enjoy. I’m still mulling over why I do this.

Usually my go-to ‘easy-reads’ are whatever YA or romance I have lying around. YA books always seem to provide a good mix of seriousness and lightheartedness, and the romance can sometimes be hilariously awful, but mostly end up sweeping me away. (Though they always have numerous annoying traits I  must overlook- it comes with the genre.) But there are many other great ‘Light and Fun’ reads out there outside of these genres! Here are some of my favourites:

Undomestic Goddess1) For some Chick-Lit, check out Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret, and Undomestic Goddess. These books actually make me laugh out loud, and the stories are Kinsella’s trademark mixture of embarrassing and cute. I would say they are her two best. If you’re not into Kinsella, you can try out any of Marian Keyes’ books. They go deeper than your usual chick-lit, but I enjoyed what I felt was an elevated form of the genre.

2) For some travel adventures, check out the works of Bill Bryson. I haven’t read very much, but I’ve always enjoyed reading a chapter here and there. He has a good sense of humour, and has definitely added some out of Neither here nor therethe way places to my must-see list. If you like history, try out his A Short History of Nearly Everything, which is great, though when compared to other books, not so short.

Welcome Home3) Though his books are pretty Canadian (which I love), Stuart McLean’s numerous books are great for those looking for something easy to read. His Vinyl Cafe books have little stories that still stick with me years later, and I recently purchased Welcome Home: Travels in Smalltown Canada which I’m waiting to get back from my Dad.

4) Does it really get any better than The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? No, I didn’t think so.Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

5) Bridget Jones’s Diary and the works of Sophie Kinsella definitely have a similar audience, but Helen Fielding’s bestseller outclasses all others.

*Not that lighthearted books cannot be classified as ‘great literature’.

Some books I’ll be reading this summer:

  • Someday, Someday, Maybe, by Lauren Graham – Yeah, Lorelai!
  • Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn – I’ve heard good things!
  • Silver Lining’s Playbook, Matthew Quick – Because I loved the movie so much.
  • Dune, Frank Herbert. Gotta get some science fiction in there.
  • Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard, Norrie Epstein – From last years’ summer reading list.
  • Legend, Marie Lu – Time for some new YA.

    Gone GirlSilver Linings PlaybookLegend