20. how to eat like a hot chick by jodi lipper and cerina vincent.

I actually have no idea why I’m seriously reviewing this book, mainly because I’m not sure if it’s meant to be taken seriously. After a second read, though, I realized it does have some valid points and so here it goes on my book blog.

Book number 20 is How to Eat like a Hot Chick by Jodi Lipper and Cerina Vincent, a gift from my friend since I’m currently on a diet. (I’ve lost ten pounds so far!) It’s a self-help pep-talk manual filled with tongue-in-cheek comments on how to enjoy life without having to go despondent over diets. It tells you how to eat healthy while having room for the little indulgences you are entitled to (like chocolate).

What I liked about the book:

It’s very down-to-earth without coming off as preachy. Really, How to Eat like a Hot Chick is more of how to insert healthy eating habits into your day-to-day routine, as well as how to make smarter choices so you can have your cake and eat it too. It’s the latter which I find very informative, as it compares calories of foods you crave and foods you can substitute them with.

To my surprise, many of their tips make sense. It helps, too, that they really tackle every aspect where you can possibly exchange calories for, so that you’re still happy with yourself at the end of the day. What I learned the most is that if you eat like a pig for one meal, eat a pound of steamed spinach and you’ll be fine.

What I didn’t like about the book:

The language can be a bit trying-hard. It makes me want to scream “Jesus Christ, relax please” once in a while. The use of too many acronyms and terms made me want to roll my eyes. Honestly. It may seem like it’s engaging, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Though this book feels like a friend is talking to you, at times it feels like said friend is a ditzy cheerleader you secretly can’t stand.

That being said, I’m not sure if this book is entirely effective on its own as a weight-loss solution, but it will certainly supplement the one you’re on, if you are on one at all. However, I do like the fact that the book advocates self-confidence, and for most people, looking good equals feeling good.

It certainly won’t hurt to give this a read, though be warned you’ll find some ideas ridiculous and will probably be giggling after counting the number of times spinach is mentioned. Haha. 

Wednesday Jul 7 @ 02:24am
19. thirteen reasons why by jay asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I’m going to be biased right off the bat. This book is beautiful, simply beautiful in the way that sad rainy days can be poetic.  It has such a misleading title (makes you think of the horror movie) but it some ways it is a horror story, and a mystery story, and a sad love story with a tragic ending.

Hannah Baker is dead, there’s no denying that. But it seems like she lives on anyway in the form of seven tapes she left behind; seven tapes containing thirteen reasons why she took her own life. Now, Clay Jensen has these tapes and he is wondering what he did so wrong that he has to listen to Hannah’s final words.

What I liked about the book:

The narrative. I have not yet read other books that have done this—weaving two narratives into one story without sounding cheesy or forced. The way the story unfolded was perfect. The way Hannah’s thoughts were presented and the way Clay reacted to her stories were so believable. Nothing complicated at all. It happens in about an evening, and you really do lose your sense of time, which brings me to…

The story. I got lost in this book. I read it in one sitting and I kid you not, had to stare into space for about five minutes as I allowed the goosebumps to subside. It’s that good. This story affirms that these days, the lives of teenagers are so complicated. It can take one shameless act to completely destroy a person from the inside, moreso a series of unspeakable sins that can scar someone so deeply.

The message. The book is about suicide, yes, but it advocates people reaching out to others who may be suicidal. There is this definite call to action, as evidenced by Clay who tries to talk to another suicidal girl. Don’t wait until it is too late to help someone, and tell someone how you feel. Suicide is not something to be treated lightly, but can be prevented if people are informed about what it is.

What I didn’t like about the book:

Nothing! Well, I do have one tiny qualm, but it’s about the movie version which is going to be released soon. Selena Gomez is going to be playing Hannah Baker and I honestly don’t believe she’s a good fit for the role. As much as I love Sel, she’s too beautiful to play this girl who became so insecure about herself. I think a better fit would have been Jennifer Stone—someone beautiful, but in a quiet way, who does look like she has reason to… do what she did.

Anyway, movie version or no movie version, this book is BEAUTIFUL. It has helped so many teenagers stop from taking their own lives and help others find their purpose again. Plus, it’s been translated into about twenty languages, so when you’ve got this much of an international blockbuster on your hands, you know this won’t disappoint. I look forward to Jay Asher’s next book. 

Saturday Jul 7 @ 01:15pm
18. little pink slips by sally koslow

Little Pink Slips by Sally Koslow

This was a gift from my friend when she found out I joined the workforce. Yes people, I’m employed! It’s hard for me to believe I’m finally in an industry which I have loved for so long. Naturally, my friend gave me a book centered on the magazine world.

Magnolia Gold is the head honcho of a popular ladies’ magazine, but things go awry for her when an obnoxious celebrity decides to take over the scene, undermining all her hard work and putting Magnolia’s reputation, as well as the magazine’s, on the line. This is sort of based on a true story, according to the author.

What I liked about the book:

It was different. Normally, you’d hear about girls or women rising the ranks, but this was the first time I heard of someone actually getting demoted. It paints the picture of a harsh reality where someone can be disposable, even after years of being on top. I liked that the main character was not your stereotypical Editor in Chief who is completely self-assured. I rather liked the fact that Magnolia had her insecurities, and admitted them to herself.

What I didn’t like about the book:

There were some elements that were too formulaic chick lit in my opinion, such as the romance which transpired between Magnolia and Cameron. It felt a little bit forced and a bit unnecessary to me. I would have appreciated the story more if their relationship was left ambiguous rather than painting a clear-cut happy ever after for the reader.

This is one piece of chick lit I wouldn’t mind rereading, simply because it was written so well and offered more than the usual fare. I would have liked, however, if it didn’t offer the usual as well. I would recommend this to the chick lit enthusiast who may appreciate it, but it definitely doesn’t offer something radically new. 

Saturday Jul 7 @ 12:32pm

sweetsoulreview asked: Oh goodness Jas, just the thought of reading one hundred books in one year tires me like crazy!!! My attention span has greatly diminished since we finished college - I can't even begin to reread HP Deathly Hallows even if I really want to! And that's Harry Potter we're talking about! Anyway, good luck! I know YOU can do it! (no such hope for me though) :)

Thank you! Man, I have a backlog of twenty reviews all written up but i haven’t got posted. ;P I shall upload them tonight. 

Thursday Jun 6 @ 04:49am
17. the pilot’s wife by anita shreve

I’m kind of kicking myself for not reading this immediately when I bought it a month ago. I guess I was intimidated by the author and the fame that preceded her name, but that isn’t even an excuse. 

The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve completely entranced me; I finished it in a six-hour drive with room to spare for sleep. It tells the story of Kathryn, whose pilot husband Jack is killed in a plane crash which leaves her and her 15-year old daughter behind. As she uncovers the mysteries behind her husband’s death, she finds that the man she has been married to is not the person she thought he was.

Eventually, she unravels the mystery that is her husband and the double life he lived that hurts more than the pain of losing him. 

At the risk of sounding like an obsessed broken record, Shreve’s writing is so captivating; I would definitely compare it to Jodi Picoult though Shreve came first. I was so captivated by the story that it felt like the events were unfolding too fast for me. 

What I liked most (and what sets the book apart from any Picoult novel) is that Shreve assumes her reader is intelligent. She does not offer any clear-cut ending, nor does she completely supply all the answers to the mysteries presented. The implications are left to the reader to make sense of. 

Shreve also does not go weepy-sappy emotional the way Picoult tends to do sometimes. The events she relays are enough to egg the reader into feeling, and there is no exact feeling either. 

The topic raised in the novel is primarily infidelity, or mistrust. The matter is handled so delicately that the reader isn’t even sure what is the worst of the mistakes made. 

I would read this over and over and I have. Definitely recommending this to anyone who loves to get lost in words. 

Saturday Apr 4 @ 08:27am

learningtolove-again asked: i saw one of your posts, and i LOVE jodi picoult too! :D
sorry, i just wanted to tell you, cause i can never find anyone else that reads her books! :)

Thank you! :D She is a captivating storyteller! You found a Picoulthead (?) in me too. :) I’m reading The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve at the moment; they write of similar topics but with different styles. Have you read any of her books? :)

Wednesday Apr 4 @ 11:11am
16. pictures at an exhibition by sara houghteling

Houghteling’s first novel is the story of a young boy who is part of a family dealing in art. He is not set to inherit the family business, however, because he grows far too attached to the paintings. As a young boy, he cries whenever a painting is sold from the family gallery, and so he reluctantly takes up medicine when he turns 17, without losing the love for his family’s precious paintings. 

With the onset of WW2, his family loses most of the collection, and Max Berenzon makes it his mission to get it all back, or at least try.

What I liked about the novel:

  • Captivating, but I may be biased. I love art, and it’s interesting to read about the background of these paintings and the way they are described in beautiful detail. 
  • It’s one of those stories where the journey is the destination. In a sense. Max doesn’t recover all the paintings, but his experiences help define and redefine what he has been looking for all along (I really don’t want to give much away!).
  • Real in all it’s emotions. The way Max pined for the object of his affections only to be left with love unrequited was absolutely true to life; one can definitely imagine it playing out. The way Max was trivialized as a boy and teenager were also very well-written and as he looks back on his experiences, they provide for very thought-provoking insights. 
  • It’s about life, and love in all it’s forms. The book will leave you filled with a sense of being so small in this world. In a good way. 

What I didn’t like:

  • It can get dragging and boring at times. It took me three days to finish this. 
  • The ending is kind of anticlimactic, but then again, they were my expectations and with books, you shouldn’t have expectations and just let the author tell you the story the way they want to. 

I’m not sure if I would read this again. Maybe if I am in a nostalgic sort of mood, I might. It’s a very serious read, admittedly, and has a lot more to do with the human psyche rather than the plot itself. 

Wednesday Apr 4 @ 11:08am
15. cracks in my foundation by marian keyes

Since I enjoyed Marian Keyes’ other anthology (Under the Duvet) so much, I just had to get this.

Cracks in my foundation is a collection of essays and short stories by Irish author Marian Keyes. I’ve written about her before, so I’ll just cut to the chase and list some highlights/faves from this book.

  • ALL THE SHORT STORIES. I mean it, they are just lovely! Bordering on the unusual, but always realistic, these short stories talk of things like the perfect couple and soulmates to shoes. My favorite was A Woman’s Right to Shoes which was both hilarious and sad in a way.  
  • Shorter essays which makes for easier doses of reading. All are extremely addictive, as usual. I laughed out loud at her experience with massages. 
  • More insider information of the time she worked at Marie Claire UK. Lots of experiences at fashion shows, shopping and strolling down 5th Avenue. Definitely a magazineholic’s interest. 

I guess there’s not much else to say! Keyes is still Keyes, so you won’t be disappointed with her hilarious way of storytelling. If you’re looking for a light read and don’t mind reading about mud tans, this is for you. 

Wednesday Apr 4 @ 11:54am
14. wide awake by david levithan

I am an avid fan of David Levithan. Of course, I’ve only read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Naomi and Ely’s No-Kiss List, but I am absolutely smitten with the way he writes. He is, after all, kind of a pioneer in the young adult gay literature field, and has been bringing wonderful stories to the table from the moment he started writing. 

It was with high hopes, therefore, that I picked up a copy of Wide Awake at my local bookstore. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful cover and started it on the same day, but I confess it was just not my cup of tea. 

The book is set in the near future, where a gay Jewish man runs for president of the United States and wins by a margin—sparking controversy. The story is told in the person of 16-year-old Duncan, who is in a gay relationship and is surrounded by religious people who are either gay/lesbian or accepting of them. There are however, the racists who do not come to terms with these developments. 

The book is a coming-of-age story that shows the developments in these gay and lesbian relationships alongside the developments in the campaign. 

Honestly, I had to force myself to finish this book, and to think it’s only 200+ pages. It took me three days to turn the last page, and when I did, I felt nothing. Normally, Levithan’s books leave me with this profound feeling that gets me thinking about life. This one? Nada. 

I guess this book is more for the politically-oriented teen. Maybe it’s a manifestation of the pathway to an ideal society in Levithan’s point of view. There was just too much idealism in the book—more than I could handle, I guess. 

Don’t get me wrong, the prose itself is brilliant as per usual, but this is definitely not one of his best. 

I would encourage Levithan fans to read this only to give it a shot, but I won’t be enthusiastically recommending this to anyone. Needless to say, I won’t be picking it up soon, either. 

Wednesday Apr 4 @ 11:43am
13. vanishing acts by jodi picoult

Okay. I promise this will be my last Jodi Picoult for a while. 

I just couldn’t resist this because it was half-off and a pristine new copy. 

Vanishing Acts is about Delia, a woman working in search-and-rescue who was raised by her father, Andrew, and has had a peaceful life for twenty-eight years, until the day she finds out that her father kidnapped her and changed their names and is now wanted by the state. 

Needless to say, she feels like her life is a lie and she wonders if the reason she is so attached to her job is because she has been lost all her life and is now being found. She asks her fiancée and best friend since childhood Eric, to represent her father and to find out what compelled her father to take her away from her mother all those years ago. 

Again, brilliant storyline. It’s funny that I bought this around the time I wrote that drabble about being lost (over on my project tumblr, onehundredwords) since the book is essentially about that. 

And once again, Picoult manages to keep the reader in two minds, blurring the line between what is lawful and what is the right thing to do. As issues of alcoholism and abuse come up, it is a wonder to me why this book didn’t do as well as her others because it certainly kept me up half the night! 

Go read this. You will not regret it. And I promise, no more Picoults for at least ten entries. Cross my heart. 

Friday Apr 4 @ 04:47am
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