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Book Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Young Adult
Book Name: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Pages: 286
Publication Year: 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Sophie Kinsella’s books have always reminded me of the above poem. When I had first read one of her books a few years back – the first of Shopoholic series, I was totally hooked to such simplistic writing. Especially, when simplistic writing is not so easy and many writers have floundered there. I again picked one of her books today – Finding Audrey and found the first few pages absolutely delightful where the mom is crazy and ready to throw her son’s desktop from the window. Totally laughable! And then enters Audrey, and from there, the story goes downhill.

The book had its cute lovey-dovey moments. But these were dwarfed by typical characterization of a family – workaholic dad who never listens to his wife, anxious mother who has her own notions of career that her kids should have, rebellious teenager son obsessed with gaming, mentally ill daughter and a laughing kiddo. In between, I had a feeling that hey, this is an Indian family being described.

Of course, there are people who have liked this book. In fact, this one was recommended to me by my colleague who shared her book. However, for me, it was a tale very loosely framed where the reason for mental illness (the accident which changed it all) is never stated and the story-line very superficial. The writing in this book, is more like Audrey’s diary entry. It reminded me of my badly worded, self-obsessed diary entries I used to make at one point in time.

Read this just for timepass and nothing more.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .

About the author:
Madeleine Wickham is a bestselling British author under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. Educated at New College, Oxford, she worked as a financial journalist before turning to fiction. She is best known for writing a popular series of chick-lit novels. The Shopaholic novels series focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who cannot manage her own finances. Throughout the entire series, her obsession with shopping and the complications that imparts on her life are central themes.

Twitter: @KinsellaSophie
Facebook: @SophieKinsellaOfficial
Website: sophiekinsella.co.uk

Rating: 6/10

Read reviews of Sophie Kinsella’s other books on this blog – Cocktails for Three and The Undomestic Goddess.

Book Review: Wonder by R.J.Palacio

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Wonder by R.J.Palacio

Genre: Young Adult, Children Book
Book Name: Wonder
Author: R.J.Palacio
Pages: 316
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Knopf

Have you seen a movie trailer and it seemed so promising that even when it was 10pm in the night (oh by the way, I sleep at 10:30pm daily), you got an intense urge to get the book on which the movie is based on? I am referring to the trailer of a yet-to-be-released movie Wonder starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay. Do watch it! But even better, read this book. I was so impressed with the storyline and narration that if given a choice, I would have given this book a rating of more than ten on a scale of ten. The book does not have any flowery writing to make reading complicated, the storyline is just perfect and has a simple message to not make others so conscious of anything that they themselves do not have control on. And oh, I am eagerly waiting to see the movie adaptation as well.

The story is of Auggie and the people around him for whom Auggie is the Sun and others are the planets which revolve around him. Still, the book explores each and every character aptly. The best part is that this is not a book of only one person, but of others too who come into contact with him. A rare masterpiece and a debut book at that, which binds the threads and prints of the book so masterfully! It is a book which teaches its readers too a lesson or two in empathy and behavioral aesthetics.

The book is a must read for children and adults like. The quotes mentioned in the book are amazing as well, for example: “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind”, “Why blend in when you were born to stand out” or “I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

Post completing this book, I am on the lookout of similar books. Have any suggestions? Please share in the comments below.

Book blurb:
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid–but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” –indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

#1 New York Times bestseller
USA Today bestseller
Time Magazine‘s 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time
New York Times Book Review Notable Book
Washington Post Best Kids’ Book

About the author:
R.J. Palacio lives in NYC with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. For more than twenty years, she was an art director and graphic designer, designing book jackets for other people while waiting for the perfect time in her life to start writing her own novel. But one day several years ago, a chance encounter with an extraordinary child in front of an ice cream store made R. J. realize that the perfect time to write that novel had finally come. Wonder is her first novel. Since then, she has written several books – Auggie & Me (combined The Julian Chapter, Pluto: A Wonder Story, and Shingaling: A Wonder Story), 365 Days of Wonder, and We’re All Wonders.

Raquel J. Palacio / R. J. Palacio is a pseudonym of: Raquel Jaramillo.

Twitter: @rjpalacio
Website: rjpalacio.com
Email: rjpalaciowebmail@gmail.com

Rating: 10/10

Book Review: Nancy Drew Mardi Gras Masquerade by Carolyn Keene

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Nancy Drew Mardi Gras Masquerade by Carolyn Keene

Genre: Mystery
Book Name: Nancy Drew #28
Mardi Gras Masquerade
Author: Carolyn Keene
Pages: 144
Publication Year: 1988
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

My early teenage years were spent in reading Nancy Drew series from which I gradually grew up into Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie. Those were the days when there wasn’t a Nancy Drew book in my school library that I had not devoured in our weekly book pickings. And on a trip, when I got hold of this book, it was like visiting a paradise – coming home again.

Nancy Drew series is not that complicated a read. However, any teenage girl would love the character of Nancy who can practically solve any problem which even grown-ups cannot or would simply prefer ignoring. With the theme of the visited place that night on the basis of Masquerade, getting hold of this book prior to start of the event seemed a perfect match. And I was surprised when someone I knew mentioned that Carolyn Keene is not actually an author but a pen name with which many other writers have written. It’s like breaking the childhood dream brick by brick. Just kidding!

As for the review for this particular book,  I somehow still liked the plot for its predictable storyline, with the only constraint being that it took me not less than an hour to complete. I will of course not prefer to read more of these now, since it has not much to ponder over once completed. Not even anything relatable in life! However, I will recommend it as a book series for beginners – to later grow into Sherlock Holmes category.

Book blurb:
What could be more fun than a masked Mardi Gras ball at a so-called haunted mansion? George brings her digital camera, insisting that she’s going to bust some ghosts. I’m just looking forward to a night of dressing up and dancing with Ned and my friends.

Soon the fun turns freaking, though — things go haywire and everyone starts to wonder if the ghost stories could actually be true. But when Deirdre Shannon’s antique tiara is snatched, I’m certain the crook is a guest, not a ghoul.

About the author:
Carolyn Keene is the pseudonym of the authors of the Nancy Drew mystery stories and The Dana Girls mystery stories, both produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. In addition, the Keene pen name is credited with the Nancy Drew spin-off, River Heights and the Nancy Drew Notebooks.

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: I was a Bitch by Emily Ruben

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | I was a Bitch by Emily Reuben

Genre: YA
Book Name: I was a Bitch
Author: Emily Ruben
Pages: 508
Publication Year: 2016
Publisher: Inkitt.com
Notable: Winner of the Grand Novel Contest at Inkitt

Love Young Adult (YA) genre? Or, have too much free time at hand? Or, got bored with reading making-sense books and just want to dip into totally non-serious chick lit genre of books? Well, here is the one for you!

I was a Bitch, written by Emily Ruben, has all the recipe of what teenagers feel like, to expand any seemingly innocuous thing into drama and movie like panorama. Here, the main protagonist loses two years of her memory. Will she get it back? Or the story will be like the K-series drama that unfolds on melodramatic Indian television?

The book is very very easy to read, which one can read, sleep, wake up, and the story will still be pacing around at almost the same slow pace. But this book finds its innocence in its characters, and the seemingly fluttering romance where monkeys jump. Slangs are kept at the minimal, however the book trying to explain a lot of stuff (with a sense that it went through censorship) was quite exhausting.

Ok as a one time go. And again, repeating, read my first para to understand who does this book really cater to!

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
What if you forgot the last two years of your life?

After a horrific accident Lacey Jones wakes up from a two month long coma only to realize she’s lost all memory of the last two years. In that time, she turned from a wallflower into the Queen Bee of her high school: Gorgeous, popular, girlfriend of the hottest jock, wanted by every guy, and feared by every girl.

She became The Bitch, but has no memory of it.

Together with the mysterious and attractive Finn, she starts to put together the pieces of the puzzle that was her life.
Will she go back to being a bitch or will she turn her life around?

About the author:
Emily Ruben, a 20-year old French writer, have been writing since she could hold a pen. She loves to write the stories people wouldn’t automatically expect, with twisted plots or unhappily ever afters. As of right now, she is a student at the Panthéon Sorbonne University, a music lover and an avid eater of sweets.

Twitter: @emiisotherside
Email: ruben.emily@gmail.com
Website: emilyruben.com

Rating: 6/10
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