Showing posts with label funny. Show all posts
Showing posts with label funny. Show all posts

Saturday, April 16, 2016

[Review] Can You Keep A Secret? - Sophie Kinsella: Why You Should Never Spill Your Secrets to a Stranger

When Emma Corrigan experiences major turbulences on her flight, she's convinces she's going to die. So she confides all her secrets, things she has never told anyone, in her seat neighbor. But it turns out he isn't just a perfect stranger she'll never see again.
What intrigued me: Sophie Kinsella is my favorite author. She's the queen of chick-lit. She could write something in lipstick on a napkin and I'd pay $9,99 for it. Jokes aside, this one is apparently the best Kinsella novel according to a couple of my friends. I had to check it out.

Hilarious, But Not For Long...

Kinsella definitely has a success formula. Take a dorky heroine in a dead end relationship, her dorkiness leading to meeting the Super Serious Businessman Guy™, and then throw in some complications and hilarious secondhand embarrassing scenes before they finally get together and realize they were made for each other.

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? has a very similar premise to I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER by Kinsella, but comes nowhere near the hilariousness and solid plot. Kinsella does have a way of making you laugh out loud with almost every single sentence. Her character voices are always on point. But the biggest flaw of this novel is that it starts with the premise and then just tries to keep up the narrative with tons of filler content. The secrets are spilled by page 20 and then it's just an annoying tug war between the protagonist Emma and her love interest Jack until they get together. It's still funny, but it just couldn't keep my attention and make me read this all in one go as other Kinsella books usually do.

Brilliant Character Building

What I've definitely missed with other novels by her are the side characters. In this one, the side characters are developed to perfection and it just seems effortless. She manages to introduce a new character and instantly make you sympathize with them/hate them. Usually Kinsella novels focus solely on the heroine, but in CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? everyone gets their little story and I love that. I loved to hate Emma's cousin Kerry and to sympathize with her sweet co-worker Katie. It's just perfect character building and you feel like the people you're reading about are real.

But then again, it all feels like filler. None of the side characters get a satisfying ending to their little quests and the whole novel just seems very unstructured. The idea absolutely can't carry an entire book. It should have ended somewhere halfway in, because the rest was just a torture to read for me. I wasn't invested in Emma, merely annoyed by her over the top dorkiness and naivete.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

No, not really. The first half is brilliant, but the rest is just boring. I stand by my favorites REMEMBER ME and I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER if you want to read a Kinsella novel.

Additional Info

Published: December 27th 2005
Pages: 218
Publisher: Dell Publishing
Genre: Adult / Chick-Lit
ISBN: 9780440241904

"Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets: Secrets from her boyfriend: I've always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken. Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur. Secrets she wouldn't share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is. Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company's elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her..."
(Source: Goodreads)

 Have you read a Sophie Kinsella book before?

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Friday, April 1, 2016

[Review] Lucky Me - Saba Kapur: Bodyguards, Rich Kids, and Movie Stars

In LUCKY ME, rich girl Gia is threatened by an anonymous caller, which causes her father to hire a shockingly attractive bodyguard to follow her around.

What intrigued me: I was hoping for a light Kinsella-esque read.

Great first person narration

The most striking thing and actually also my favorite thing about LUCKY ME is definitely the main character, Gia. She's incredibly funny and just comes across as a real person. You hardly encounter novels about rich kids that don't play into stereotypes, and Kapur really managed to create a likable protagonist. I loved her witty banter with love interest and bodyguard Jack, their dialogues are definitely the highlight.

As much as I enjoyed reading about Gia, the other characters remain very one-dimensional and uninteresting. Because the narration is so focused on Gia and her internal monologue, LUCKY ME lacks world establishing. Hardly anything is described, from Gia's surroundings to the looks of the people around her. I do like that Gia's voice is so strong and seamlessly can transition from background information to the present tense storyline, but I would have liked this more if I didn't have to conjure up all images on my own. 

One-dimensional love interests

The bodyguard storyline isn't very groundbreaking and didn't really get to me that much. The immediate danger of the situation is mostly defused by the fact that Gia absolutely ignores it. There isn't much urgency in the story - which would have really spiced things up a little. 

Jack is always just hovering around as the sole reminder that something is actually wrong. I didn't really connect with him, most of the time I just couldn't make sense of his personality. Is he being sarcastic? Is he just trying to come back at Gia for her sassy comments? The only info we get of him is that he's attractive, and that just makes him a very flat character to me that I didn't have any reason to care about from the start. Same with the other love interest, neither of them were really fleshed out enough to actually make me root for either of them to end up with Gia. I wish the novel had tried less to force the inevitable love triangle and had played more with the stalker sub plot.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

LUCKY ME is a sweet, fun contemporary novel. It may be very predictable, but it's without a doubt a nice pastime if you can look past the generic love interests. The narration is truly impeccable, hilarious, and absolutely unique.

Additional Info

Published: April 5th 2016
Pages: 329
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9780692536407

"For eighteen year old Gia Winters, having a movie star for a father, a former Playboy bunny as a mother, a Hollywood mansion, and a closet stocked with Chanel is simply another day in the life.

But her world is turned upside down when her father mysteriously hires a group of bodyguards to trail the family 24/7 and threatening phone calls from a "Dr. D" start buzzing daily.

When Gia scores the coveted role of Miss Golden Globe, she is forced to strike a deal with her bodyguard, Jack, who is almost as arrogant as he is attractive. Juggling Gia's romantic failures, fashion faux pas, and celebrity obsessions, the duo investigate a series of clues with the help of a police cadet, who has a special set of skills and an even better set of dimples.

But with the Golden Globes just around the corner, danger levels rise higher than her stilettos as Gia learns that the biggest secrets might be the ones buried in her own home.

In a place where the hills have eyes, high school nemeses, bad hair days, raging parties, and stolen kisses, there can only be trouble for a girl who was just starting to consider herself lucky."(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite light, funny book?

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

[Review] The Second Coming - John Niven: What Happens When Jesus Comes Back to Earth

In "The Second Coming" by John Niven, God returns from His 400-year vacation and is insanely displeased with the development of humanity in the 21st century.

Consequentially, He decides to send down his son Jesus a second time to preach His one and only rule to humanity: "Be Nice".

Strong beginning and premise!

This obviously not a read for people who easily get offended. I remember reading an excerpt of this a while ago and absolutely falling in love with the funny, witty, and super entertaining way Niven decides to tackle this topic. From everyone smoking pot in heaven to gay assistant angels and a quick visit to the ten circles of hell. However, I think a whole book on this is definitely too much. 

Throughout the course of the novel. Jesus gets sent down to Earth and decides to participate in a talent show, because that seems to be the only way to get the attention of 21st century humans. Until then, there is a lot of filler describing Jesus' new life on earth as a struggling musician. I noticed how I zoned out after a while. The beginning, set in heaven, is flat-out hilarious, but Niven is unable to keep up the pace and humor for the rest of the book.

Not for the highly sensitive

While I like Niven's humorist approach, he definitely overdoes it in some parts. Every time Jesus encounters another human that doesn't belong to his new-found group of apostles, they're portrayed as vicious and mean.
When writing parodies and social critique it's easy to overdo it, losing the entire message and just turning the whole thing into a joke. I'm definitely not someone that gets offended by religious critique very easily, but "The Second Coming" is walking on a tightrope. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's just flat out insulting and overdone. You can just tell that there is hardly any effort put in character development, but every single chapter is just part of some elaborate joke or pun. There is no way you can connect to the characters at all, so reading a whole book on this is very difficult.



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I absolutely loved the first 50 pages but quickly lost interest after 150 pages. This would have worked better as a short story.

Additional Info

Published: 7th April 2011
Pages: 376
Publisher: William Heinemann
Genre: Adult / Fantasy / Urban
ISBN: 9780434019564


God really is coming, and he is going to be pissed. Having left his son in charge, God treated himself to a well-earned break around the height of the Renaissance. A good time to go fishing. He returns in 2011 to find things on earth haven't gone quite to plan...

The world has been rendered a human toilet: genocide; starvation; people obsessed with vacuous celebrity culture; 'and,' God points out, 'there are fucking Christians everywhere.' God hates Christians. There's only one thing for it. They're sending the kid back.

JC, reborn, is a struggling musician in New York City helping people as best as he can. Gathering disciples along the way - a motley collection of basket cases, stoners and alcoholics - he realises his best chance to win hearts and minds may lie in a TV talent contest. American Pop Star is the number one show in America, the unholy creation of English record executive Steven Stelfox... a man who's more than a match for the Son of God.
 "(Source: Goodreads)
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