Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

In order to call a character an anti-hero I go through this thought process in my head: “They are horrible but also badass and even though I’d never do what they are doing, I get where they are coming from”. Which is why I hesitate calling Ani, the protagonist of this book, an anti-hero. I completely understand why she is the way she is and to be honest, I think everyone, even the strongest person in the world, would turn out just like her if they went through the same things as she did.

And trust me, horrible things happen to her. When you take into consideration that the author was inspired to write this book by real events that happened to her, it’s no wonder that this book packs such a strong punch. I was literally shaking from rage when I read some of the things that happened to Ani. Not only the event itself is extremely traumatic, but the reactions she gets from people afterwards are horrible too.

I really liked how Ani’s really shallow and narcissistic mother affected her future. Ani has found a way to cope with her trauma by focusing on achieving success, but I think it’s interesting how she’s basically trying to fulfill her mother’s idea of what success is.

Another observation: I think some of the negative reviews just further prove that we do live in a slut-shaming and victim-blaming society. Now I don’t want to start unnecessary drama and there are many people who didn’t like the book for the way it was written or other acceptable reasons. After all everyone is entitled to their own opinions.  Nonetheless, I am shocked by how many people were appalled not by the two big traumas in Ani’s and the people who caused them, by her very unsupportive fiancé (who I really despised btw) or all of the incompetent adults in her life. No, instead they were shocked by how bitchy or shallow Ani was. Seriously?

Oh and one last thing. This is nothing like Gone Girl, no matter how hard publishers try to convince us otherwise. But it’s a great book and even if you don’t enjoy it, it’s still a good idea to give it a read and re-think what you assume you know about the subject matter it deals with.

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Whew, finally! I feel as if I achieved something important by finishing this book. This is probably how Daenerys felt when her dragons hatched.

Okay so maybe I am exaggerating, but this series does require serious commitment. And after reading A Game of Thrones two or three years ago and liking it, but not quite loving it, I had decided that I lacked that level of commitment. But somehow a few weeks ago I changed my mind and now here I am.

What changed my mind were Cersei and Sansa. I hated them when I read the first book. But afterwards, since I didn’t really care about spoilers, I heard some things about their character development that got me interested again. I thought about it for a bit and I realized that I’ve changed since I read the first book and that my opinions had changed too. And just like that I was fangirling over Sansa even before I started A Clash of Kings.

The main thing that may put off some readers is that the buildup is so slooooooooow. Extremely slow. And the buildup takes like ¾ of the book. So is it worth it? Well after that, once the action starts picking up, things get crazy and violent and murder-y and shocking and unexpected and everything you wished for. So my verdict is: It’s worth it. It really is. It gave answers for some questions and raised some new questions. I am really intrigued. And this time I probably won’t wait two years to pick up the next book in the series.

The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig

I just finished this book and I am just aching to write a review. For some reason I feel like I have many things to say about it, even though it was just a ‘meh’ book.

Maybe it’s because this book had the potential to be a bit better. It still wouldn’t have been perfect, nothing to rave about, but it would’ve been a solid 3-star read. But honestly, it felt like a draft of a novel, not the finished product.

The sin it suffers the most from is too many plot points crammed into a short book, many of them leading to dead ends or underwhelming conclusions. There’s a budding romance between two secondary characters that is just a few sentences here and there and never amounts to anything. The main character’s absent father is also mentioned even though it has nothing to do with the plot and it’s again an issue solved in a sentence. Even the main character’s marriage problems, which are given some attention throughout the book, are solved really quickly. Not to mention some traumatic events that side characters go through that are handled in a very by-the-way manner which the gravity of the situation doesn’t allow.

The main character has an almost magical sense of taste which she uses to help other people. However this is just thrown at random moments in the book and never has a real meaning as a plot device. The main problem is not even solved with the help of this skill, it’s solved by sheer luck and a random chain of events.

The beginning of the book implies that food is a much more important element than it actually is. Cupcakes and wedding cakes are mentioned in passing but they never have the importance that the first few chapters imply.

There is also a number of underdeveloped side characters. They were just a string of names that I couldn’t keep a track of between the useless plot points and sloppy writing. I think the author was trying to do the whole “small town where everyone knows everyone” thing, but it just didn’t work and made things even more confusing.

However it was still not a horrible book. It was not infuriatingly bad, just very underwhelming and I think we should keep in mind that this was the author’s debut novel. But if you expect this to be the new Chocolat, don’t get your hopes up.