Mini ARC Reviews | The Ones That I Read Way Back in 2016

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mini ARC Reviews | The Ones That I Read Way Back in 2016My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
Published by Bantam Press on 02/07/2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Humor
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
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five-stars

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

This Sophie Kinsella novel hasd all of the things I loved about her earlier books, plus really great, relatable characters and a hilarious plot. Some of the antics that the MC gets up to in this book had me grinning like a fool, and while trying to explain one particular part of the story to my boyfriend I was doubled up in laughter. (I think a lack of sleep and excess of caffeine might have had something to do with that, but it really was hilarious!)

My only …critique? (I don’t even know if I want to call it that!) is that the message of the book (essentially, appearances can be deceiving, even more so now that we have instagram filters) occasionally came off a bit heavy handed – but I honestly wouldn’t even knock off half a star for it. It’s just worth mentioning, I suppose?

All in all, if you loved Sophie Kinsella’s earlier standalone novels, or if you’re looking for a quick, fun, heartfelt, hilarious story about finding yourself in a #nofilter kind of world, this is absolutely the book for you!

Read: 12/06/2016 – 12/10/2016



I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mini ARC Reviews | The Ones That I Read Way Back in 2016The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
Published by Crown Publishing Group on February 14th 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction, Epistolary, Adult
Pages: 371
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
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four-stars

Kent, 1940.

In the idyllic village of Chilbury change is afoot. Hearts are breaking as sons and husbands leave to fight, and when the Vicar decides to close the choir until the men return, all seems lost.
But coming together in song is just what the women of Chilbury need in these dark hours, and they are ready to sing. With a little fighting spirit and the arrival of a new musical resident, the charismatic Miss Primrose Trent, the choir is reborn.

Some see the choir as a chance to forget their troubles, others the chance to shine. Though for one villager, the choir is the perfect cover to destroy Chilbury’s new-found harmony.

Uplifting and profoundly moving, THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR explores how a village can endure the onslaught of war, how monumental history affects small lives and how survival is as much about friendship as it is about courage.

I’m very happy that this turned out to be exactly what it was marketed as (and more!). I really enjoyed reading the story from so many different women’s POV (some told through letters, others through journal entries). This is one of those historical fiction stories that is filled with things that very likely could have happened, and for me it was much more enjoyable for that. There were some occasions when I found myself wondering if anyone would ever be so detailed in a letter/journal entry (and it hampered the believability a bit) (is believability a word?), but after some consideration I figured it was actually a lot more likely than not, considering that letter writing and journal entries were a completely different thing 60 years ago then they are now.

Another really great thing about this novel is the multitude of character ARCs that you are given – hardly any of the ladies are the same at the end of the book as they were in the beginning, and their journeys to become who they would be felt totally true and real. War changes everyone, not just the men – and I think Jennifer Ryan did a really good job showing what the women at the home front endured.

Also, I love love love LOVED the two main romances in the book, and would LOVE EVEN MORE to see this played out on the big screen – I think this would make for a great period piece!

Read: 11/16/2016 – 12/06/2016



I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mini ARC Reviews | The Ones That I Read Way Back in 2016Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
Published by Greenwillow Books on October 4th 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Expo America
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four-stars

Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

As if the prose alone were not enough to ask you to read this book (but believe me, it is), this was a really intriguing story about man, machine, technology, and how these things can coexist in a society that was torn apart by attempts to do so in the past.

I really loved the tenacity and fierceness of the main character, Nell. She had a lot of things thrown at her through the course of this book, but she handled them all brilliantly (if occasionally a bit standoffish).

In short, this is definitely a book that I would recommend (while also letting you know that it definitely took me a little bit of time to actually get into it!)

Read: 10/16/2016 – 10/16/2016



I feel like “RTC” is as great a myth as the idea that a book, once loaned and not promptly returned, will eventually make its way back to you. BUT LO AND BEHOLD, I have reviewed these books on my blog over a year later. *cries laughing*

Have you read any of these? Did we have similar thoughts? Let’s talk!

five-stars

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