Bridget Jones’s Diary

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen FieldingBridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding is definitely a great summer read. Bridget Jones has decided to improve her life this upcoming year. She vows to quit smoking, to drink less alcohol, to decrease her calorie intake, and not find herself involved with men who do not respect her.

Bridget hilariously chronicles her year, trying to survive her crazy parents, mostly her mum who, along with her friend Una, dangles her in front of one Mark Darcy who can only seem to ask her if she’s read any good books lately. She also has to deal with her quirky friends and their vile significant others. And don’t forget about the smug marrieds who want nothing more than to rub Bridget’s single status in her face at every opportunity.

And then there is Daniel Cleaver, Bridget’s boss and crush who likes to make flirty comments about her skirt and blouse…

I realize it has become too easy to find a diet to fit in with whatever you happen to feel like eating and that diets are not there to be picked and mixed but picked and stuck to, which is exactly what I shall begin to do once I've eaten this chocolate croissant.I have seen the movie (who can resist Colin Firth?!) which I thought was hilarious but hadn’t yet read the book so when my friend offered to lend it to me, I was most pleased. Interestingly, I was looking at my bookshelf and noticed the sequel hanging out. Not quite sure when I bought it, or why as I obviously do not own the first. Oh well…

Almost every entry comes with a detailed list of her weight, number of cigarettes, alcohol units, and calories, along with a few other funny tidbits. Each number is followed by something along the lines of “v.g.” or “better” or “too shameful to smoke in presence of healthy young whippersnappers.”

I found myself often laughing at the hilarious situations Bridget found herself in while simultaneously wanting to hit her over the head when she did something incredibly stupid (especially when it had to do with a man). If you want a good laugh and a nice dose of British humor than this is the book for you!

A Game of Thrones

WARNING: This post might contain spoilers for the books and TV series.

I thought I’d write a post about this series since the season finale for season 2 of Game of Thrones just aired this past weekend. I’ll talk about the books first and then go into my thoughts on the TV show.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. MartinI first started reading George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Ice series about a year and a half ago. I was staying with my aunt and uncle in Indiana when my uncle suggested I check out this series. He and my cousin had been having a discussion about what the Seven Kingdoms are (still have no idea….no can seem to agree on anything), and I became intrigued. My uncle lent me the first book, and I was through it pretty quickly. It was easy to get drawn into the story. There’s so much going on, and each chapter focuses on a different character so you get to see a bit of everyone.

Certain characters started to stand out to me, and those were the chapters I looked forward to the most. These characters (Arya, Jon, and Tyrion) have remained my favorite through the series although I feel as if a couple of them have become lost to me in the latest book which is really frustrating, but I’ll come back to that a little later.

The plots are engaging and being able to see the “bad” people having good qualities, and the “good” people having some pretty major faults makes it so that each person is incredibly dynamic. There are a few people that you want to shoot in the head that I don’t see having many if not any redeeming qualities.Arya Stark A Game of Thrones

I flew through the second and the third books, loving every moment. And then I got to the fourth book. I could barely get through the fourth book. I had to push myself to read it as George R.R. Martin thought it would be useful to not only introduce a million more plots but a million more characters. For those of you who don’t know, there are already too many characters to keep track of as there is. I found myself forgetting who people were, especially those whose names changed…. I didn’t much like that.

Then the fifth book came out, and I was excited because I would get to read about all the characters I loved which were completely left out of the fourth book. This is where I got a bit angry. My favorite characters started losing Tyrion Lannister A Game of Throneseverything that made me like them in the first place. By the time I finished this book, I had barely anyone I was rooting for anymore. Some strange stuff went down in the fourth and fifth books, and I couldn’t trust anything I read anymore. People came back from the dead, and people suddenly had different names, and it was a bit of a mess. My uncle has decided that he can’t read them anymore because he’s just so disappointed, and I don’t blame him. I’m on the fence myself. We shall see when the next book comes out if I feel like it will be worth reading or if I will just be left disappointed.

Now that the TV series has just finished its second season on HBO, I thought I’d give my thoughts on how it compares to the books. I think the character portrayals are done very well. The cast is excellent. There were a few characters I pictured differently such as Sir Jorah whom I pictured as being older and less good-looking. I think the show does the books justice considering the large amount of information in the books. I do think they could Jon Snow A Game of Throneshave left out the sex and the gore and been fine. Some things they left out of the series which are fairly significant later on so I don’t know how they are going to adapt that. The books also give more information behind some things that I know people who haven’t read them are confused about. For example who burns Winterfell? In the books it’s clearly stated that Roose Bolton does it, but with the show the burning comes out of nowhere and with no culprit.

A lot of things were changed from the books that will make things that are supposed to happen later on much more difficult. That’s a bit frustrating to me. Especially the Jon/Halfhand killing scene. I thought that was poorly done. Very poorly.

Regardless of all this, I will continue to watch until I can’t anymore (either by choice or because George R.R. Martin hasn’t completed the next book).

What are your thoughts on the matter? Have you read the books? Seen the series? Both? I really want to know what you think!

Swept Off Her Feet

Swept Off Her Feet by Hester BrowneSwept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne told the enchanted tale of Evie Nicholson is head over heels in love with all things of the past. Evie is an antiques appraiser who spends more time imagining the stories surrounding the antique items than finding the monetary value in them much to the chagrin of her boss.

Evie comes from a family which believes that anything older than a few years should be thrown away. Evie feels the stark difference between her family’s extremely organized lives and homes. When her sister Alice offers her the opportunity to appraise an old Scottish castle called Kettlesheer rumored to be filled with incredible antiques, Evie jumps at the chance. It also helps that Alice’s boyfriend and the man Evie has a bit of a crush on will be accompanying her up in preparation for the annual ball thrown each year at Kettlesheer.

Upon arrival, Evie finds herself in love with the house and the pieces it contains. She is in paradise, imagining herself regally descending the staircase for a ball or being escorted by a handsome man. One thing she’s not so sure about is Robert McAndrew, the current heir to the castle who wants nothing more than to get rid of all the “junk” the castle contains.

I loved this book! It was playful and imaginative. Evie was comical and loveable and someone I could easily relate to. I mean what girl who’s read Pride and Prejudice or seen Downton Abbey hasn’t had a few fantasies as the female lead? I know I have. The supporting characters were great with the exception of Ingrid and Shelia whom I kept mixing up.

I liked Robert even if I didn’t always know what he was thinking or his motives. There were a lot of things I thought clarification would have greatly helped move the story along. But overall, I really enjoyed reading it. It’s a very hard book to put down!

Stupid and Contagious

Stupid and Contagious by Caprice CraneStupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane was different from many of the books on this blog. Heaven loses her high paying PR job and ends up as a waitress where she has a hard time not talking back to rude customers. Brady struggles to keep his record label afloat and has just moved to Heaven’s apartment building.

The two meet when Heaven brings over Brady’s mail which has found itself to her instead. Brady is not impressed with his open mail and Heaven’s forward personality. Heaven can barely stand Brady in return. The two continue to bump into each other and, as such, strike up a weird form of friendship. The two take a trip to Seattle and everything changes as Brady tries to pitch an idea to a large corporation and woo a band that just might be his salvation.
This story was quirky and a wonderful read. The chapters alternated between Heaven’s and Brady’s points of view and were sometimes as short as a sentence or a word. The dialogue was witty and funny. I couldn’t seen to take myself away from the two. It was really nice to get to know both of the characters from two points of view. I loved seeing their attraction grow even when they didn’t want to admit it to themselves.
Craprice Crane has a way with words as can be evidenced by her other novel Forget About It which I also loved. I can’t wait to see more from her especially since it could be something completely different as her first two novels were from each other.

Playing James

Playing James by Sarah MasonPlaying James by Sarah Mason was hilarious. Holly was one of the most funny characters I’ve ever met. After single-handedly donating a seeing eye dog and part of another one due to her language, Holly decides that something else should be put in place. So instead of using the traditional four-letter words, Holly and the rest of her workplace has adopted the use of much hated vegetables. So it’s hard not to laugh when she utters a “holy turnips” in the middle of an internal dialogue.

Holly has just been “promoted” to the less than desirable crime correspondent and finds herself paired up with one Detective James Sabine who has no desire to have him anywhere near him. They argue, the fight, and they want to be anywhere but near each other. But when a robbery turns into a series of robberies, the two find a way to work together.

I laughed so much when I was reading this book. Holly is hilarious! And she knows just how to rile James up. The tension between the two was wonderful and kept me wanting to read. The background story of the robberies wasn’t cheesy and fit in perfectly with the main story. I couldn’t get enough of this book and can’t wait to read more by her.

Second Prize

Second Prize by Chris ManbySecond Prize by Chris Manby didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Lara’s best friend and roommate has just got engaged, and Lara feels like she’s being left behind. She hasn’t had any male prospects for awhile and is unsure she ever will. That is until the handsome Hugh Armstrong-Hamilton comes along. She falls for him hard and fast even accepting his last-minute date cancellations and insisting she pay for herself when they’re out on dates despite his deep pockets.

Hugh is the ultimate prize, but Lara soon finds that she’s only his second prize, using her when he and his longtime love are on the outs. And Lara cannot seem to get enough of him and keeps going back to him time and time again. In her blindness she’s missing out on someone who has never and will never treat her as a second prize.
Lara was the only interesting character the book had to offer even though she was a bit stupid when it came to Hugh. None of the guys in this novel seemed to be a nice catch, not even Lara’s roommate’s future husband Andrew. I kept waiting for some great guy to come in and sweep her off her feet, but he never came. I had a lot more hope for this story and was let down a bit with the ending.

Forget About It

Forget About It by Caprice CraneForget About It by Caprice Crane is about Jordan, a woman who’s tired of living her life. She has a jerk boyfriend who’s cheating on her, a boss who’s been stealing her ideas, a mother who doesn’t seem to care much about her, a spoiled sister who thrives on making her life miserable, and debts that keep piling up. So when she gets hit by a car on her way home from work and wakes up from the accident to a mother and sister who are discussing her getting plastic surgery while she’s there, she decides she’s had enough.

Jordan makes a split decision before embarking on the deception of a lifetime. She sees faking amnesia as a way to reinvent herself and get back at those who have wronged her. The only person she lets in on her secret is her “awefully wedded husband” since she was seven Todd. Jordan plays the fine line between abandoning her pushover past-self and losing herself altogether.
Things seem to be going well for the new Jordan especially when Travis, the guy who hit her, turns out to be a really great guy. She’s got a brand new boyfriend, a job promotion, and more self-confidence. But then something happens, and Jordan finds herself thinking she might have gone a bit too far…
It made me think of Sophie Kinsella’s Remember Me? only Jordan was only faking her amnesia. It was easy to sympathize with Jordan and her want for a new life. This novel provided one hilarious situation after another. The characters’ clutches she’s attempting to escape are just detestable enough to be real. They weren’t over exaggerated in the least. I wanted to tell everyone about what happened in this book but didn’t want to give it away.
As soon as I was lulled into a sense of comfort, and I knew what was coming next, something completely unexpected happened, and I was thrown for a complete loop. Once I got a couple chapters in, it became incredibly hard to put this book down. Because of this I spent an afternoon in which I should have been writing a paper to finish it. But it was well worth it.

Remember Me?

Remember Me? by Sophie KinsellaRemember Me? is one of my favorite books by Sophie Kinsella, well known for her series Confessions of a Shopaholic. The last thing Lexi Smart remembers is being out clubbing with her friends and falling in attempts to get a taxi. She wakes up only to find out that she can’t remember the last three years of her life. Everything is different. She’s married to a rich, gorgeous man. She’s head of the entire flooring department at her company. And her friends won’t talk to her.

Lexi struggles to remember something, anything in this new foreign life. But the more she lives her life, the more she realizes she’s become someone she doesn’t recognize, but she’s not quite sure what happened to the old Lexi or how to get her back at least not in the midst of a husband who eats no toast and has written her a marriage manual complete with alphabetical index.
This book is filled with a whole slew of characters including Eric, Lexi’s husband, who ends up not being quite as perfect as he seems. It was hard to see Lexi struggle with her memory loss but at the same time quite funny as she tries to rationalize the strange things her husband does. And I couldn’t help but laugh when Lexi got herself into a situation that was way above her head that ended in near disaster. But Lexi really grew and came to terms with who she really was: a Lexi that wasn’t necessarily who she had been for the past three years. I really enjoyed reading this book. There were some incredibly hilarious scenes along with some downright adorable scenes. It has a bit of everything.
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