Review: The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary Fiction

img_5443 Ani (pronounced Ahh-Nee) FaNelli is the type of woman that most people love to hate. She’s wealthy, pretentious, judgmental, snobby and she’s preparing for an extravagant New York wedding.  Portraying the perfect image is very important to Ani and she does everything in her power to make sure that happens. But as the is story unfolds, we slowly get to see that Ani’s perfection is only a facade put in place to hide the truth of her very dark teenage years.

When a documentary crew approaches Ani and asks her to participate in their film about her past, she hopes this will be her one time to share her side of the story. As the film crew continue to film and interview Ani, her seemingly perfect world begins to crack as she soon realizes that the buried past must eventually come to surface.

So….this is a hard book for me to review. I think part of the reason for my low rating is the way the book was portrayed. It seems like lately, every other book is called “the next Gone Girl”, and that expression is getting old because it’s very rarely correct. The Luckiest Girl alive has an unreliable narrator…but that’s pretty much the only similarity that exists between the two. And while I normally don’t mind and even I enjoy a good unreliable narrator when it’s done well….I didn’t care for that angle with this book. I don’t feel like an author should start with a narrator that you wouldn’t trust as far as you can throw them and then expect sympathy and understanding toward the same person half way through when they never really become authentic and real. I just never got there with Ani. Without giving too much of the storyline away….the reader SHOULD feel sympathy for her and for what happened, and at certain specific times I did….but then I felt like I lost it just as quickly as it came. All throughout the story, her character’s motivations, feelings and personality seemed to shift too often that I had a hard time feeling any sort of connection to her. Beyond Ani…pretty much every other character in this story is unlikeable, snotty, rude or just a plain jerk. Because of that, I spent the first 50-75% feeling like I was reading a story about nothing other than spoiled, pretentious, snobby rich people who were rude and mean to everyone around them. Once the climax of the story happens, the book did redeem itself quite a bit…but sadly, it seemed to not be quite enough for me to give it a higher rating.

I can definitely see why some people enjoyed this book, and I’m sure I would have had this story been written with a more reliable and honest narrator than the one the author used here. The Luckiest Girl Alive was definitely a quick book for me and I didn’t have any trouble finishing it….so that was good. I was just left with a feeling of disappointment overall.

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

The Luckiest Girl AliveAmazon

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Double Review Ahead!

Double Review: Between Here and the Horizons by Callie Hart & Yes Please by Amy Poehler

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For some reason I got a little behind on writing reviews for my last two books. Both books  enjoyable, but neither of them really blew me away…it’s the only reason I can come up with for the delayed reviews.

First up:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I listened to this selection as an audiobook because I enjoyed Tina Fey’s BossyPants so much. Similarly to Bossypants, Yes Please is a compilation of different stories from Poehler’s life growing up, starting in theatre, working on SNL and beyond. We get personal stories about friendship, relationships, love & sex. We also get Poehler’s experience with motherhood and balancing that role along with her career. Most of these parts, I found incredibly funny and heartwarming. There was also quite a bit in this book about her beginning days in theater working with the Upright Citizens Brigade. It was this section of the book where I felt sort of bored after a while. There seemed to be too much name dropping and mentioning of specific details and scenarios that might have been hysterically funny to her and to others who were there to experience it…but not so much for someone from the outside. Kind of like telling an inside-joke to people who aren’t part of the “inside”.

Overall, the book was funny and enjoyable…and I definitely suggest the audiobook version because, like BossyPants, Poehler narrates this herself and it definitely adds to the humor.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Next up:

Between Here and the Horizons by Callie Hart

img_5174  Ophelia Lang is recently divorced and in desperate need of money. She has just lost her position as a third grade teacher, her parent’s business is quickly losing money and they are on the brink of losing their home.  So, when Ophelia is offered a very well paying private tutoring position by a wealthy man for his two small children, she can’t really justify saying no.

Ronan Fletcher is a recent widower…and he’s young, handsome and very wealthy. He’s also incredibly cold, rude and has a very large mean streak. Ophelia immediately begins to regret taking the tutoring position but decides that the large salary is more than worth dealing with Ronan’s moods and distant personality. But Ophelia soon learns that Ronan is hiding some very dark and deep secrets…and some of those secrets will come to impact Ophelia in more ways than she could have imagined before taking the job.

This particular book came as a recommendation to me from a fellow reader who is trying to get me to love romance novels as much as she does 🙂 This particular book is a strong case of “It’s not you, it’s me”. Between Here and the Horizons has a storyline that had a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I really enjoyed 75% of the book. But at the end of the day, I’m not a huge fan of romance books….especially contemporary romance books.  I don’t mind a romance element if there’s another main theme to the story, but this one had too many cheesy and eyeroll worthy parts for me to give it any higher of a rating. I guess I’m just too much of a cynic. Lol

It was a nice change of pace after a gripping thriller I read previously and that’s usually when I decide to pick up a romance and give one another go. So, it was a good & entertaining read, overall….just not my cup of tea. If you really enjoy a steamy romance with an intense, dark, and brooding male lead…this will be right up your alley. I’m just personally not a big fan of contemporary romance novels….but again, that’s just my personal preference.

***NOTE*** – Between Here and the Horizon does contain some scenes of violence and sexual content, and so is directed at audience 18+

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Between Here and the Horizons – Amazon

Yes Please – Amazon

Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

img_2271When Tate Collins & Miles Archer meet for the first time, they don’t immediately feel any chemistry or even like each other. As time goes on, they both find that they are physically attracted to the other. However, neither of them are interested in a serious relationship. Miles is emotionally closed off and Tate is far too busy with work and school to pursue anything serious right now. They decide to continue seeing each other and keeping things purely physical….a friends with benefits type of relationship. But Miles has two rules for Tate to follow in order for him to continue with their arrangement. Tate soon finds that abiding by those two rules will be more difficult than she initially thought.

I should probably preface my personal review with this statement: I’m not generally a fan of romance novels or books that revolve solely around relationship angst and drama. This isn’t my usual genre of choice so maybe that’s why I felt the way I did. *sigh* I wanted to like this so much more than I actually did. I was hoping to love this book based off all of the glowing 5 star reviews. I did actually enjoy some (small) parts…but I was feeling more annoyed with the book than anything.

First off, I didn’t care for either of the main characters. I found both Tate & Miles irritating and unlikeable. Miles is an asshole. And, not your typical, seems like an asshole just until you get to know him, kind either. He’s a jerk who treats Tate poorly and uses the fact that he had a traumatic past as justification for that.  As for Tate…. Oh how I hate female protagonists who allow themselves to be treated badly by the men they are physically attracted to and then expect sympathy… *cough*cough* Anastasia Steele *cough*cough*.

Then there was the whole format of the “Miles” chapters. What was that??? Was that Colleen Hoover’s way of trying to make Miles’ perspective seem lyrical or poetic??  All it did was aggravate me and make those chapters feel flat & insincere.

I’ll preface this next part by stating loud & clear, that I am ,by no means, a prude. However… the sex scenes…the multiple, repetitive, overly descriptive sex scenes just became eyeroll-worthy after a while (again reminiscent of Fifty Shades Of Gray). We get it….He’s hot. She’s hot. They both are attracted to each other. They have great sex. The very descriptive, long and overdrawn, repetitive sex scenes just ended up feeling like a page filler after the first one.

The only thing I did like was the buildup of the mystery to Miles’ past. I enjoyed that storyline…just not the format that it was written in. I knew something had happened in Miles’ past for him to be so emotionally closed off, I just couldn’t figure out what it was. There were a handful of times throughout the book where I thought I had it figured out, but I was surprised when it was first revealed. So, if there is one redeeming thing in this book for me…it was that part of the story.

I actually don’t enjoy rating books so low or complaining about them too much. Because, after all…there are plenty of people who adored this book and raved about it. Just because I happen to not care for this genre means I’m likely going to be a little more critical of a particular book. In a way, I feel bad being so critical of a particular book…so if you normally enjoy the romance genre and like books with relationship angst, you’ll probably be in the camp of people who love this book. It just wasn’t for me.

My Rating 2/5 Stars

Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Never Never (Novella Trilogy) by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Have you ever had a book hangover??? You know….when a book is so good and just sucks you in so fast that you finish it and just feel….hungover. I’m having a major book hangover after reading the Never Never trilogy. So many feels!

This is the first book I’ve read by Colleen Hoover and I can’t remember exactly how I heard about her novels. But…I started looking at some of her books and I saw that a much anticipated conclusion to a trilogy was just released so I decided to jump in. So glad I did…this was a fun ride!!

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While this series is technically a trilogy, each of the books is a novella instead of a full length novel. So, they are shorter…the first two books being right around 150 pages with the third being under 100 pages.

Now, about the story: There’s not much I want to say because I feel like this is one of those stories that you just need to dive into without knowing too much about what to expect. I went in rather blind, not hearing a whole lot of chatter and I think it’s the way to go with this series.

“Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. Complete strangers since this morning. He’ll do anything to remember. She’ll do anything to forget.”

All I’ll say about it is this… it’s fast paced, mysterious, romantic and totally engaging! It’s a totally fun ride and I highly recommend it! Plus, the last time I checked… the kindle version of each book was only $2.99 on Amazon 😉

My rating: 5/5 Stars