Friday, January 31, 2014

What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin

What Nora KnewWhat Nora Knew
Linda Yellin
320 pgs, Jan 2014

Summary from Goodreads

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business. For the past four years Molly’s been on staff for an online magazine, covering all the wacky assignments. She’s snuck vibrators through security scanners, speed-dated undercover, danced with the Rockettes, and posed nude for a Soho art studio.

Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-year old chiropractor. He’s comfortable, but safe. When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance in the style of Nora Ephron, she flunks out big-time. She can’t recognize romance. And she can’t recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man who gets her. But with wit, charm, whip-smart humor, and Nora Ephron’s romantic comedies, Molly learns to open her heart and suppress her cynicism in this bright, achingly funny novel.

My Thoughts

Have you ever read a book that felt like it just missed being really good and at the same time was REALLY flawed? That’s how I felt about What Nora Knew. I’ll start with what I liked. First of all I liked the main character, Molly Hallberg. She was interesting and funny and I was engaged in what happened to her. Second, I laughed out loud at a lot of conversations and situations. The author did an excellent job of letting you view the situations.

Unfortunately, the bad outweighed the good. The author has a really bad habit of info-dumping. New character equals full page description of said character - very Jane Austen except without the benefit of quaint 19th century English. I liked Molly’s friends from description, but it was a case of tell instead of show. While Yellin’s descriptive ability was a positive during certain funny scenario it hampered other areas of the novel. I have way too clear of a picture of the ping-pong table in her parents basement when it has absolutely no importance anywhere in the story. Detailed description can be awesome but the author needs to really consider what the reader needs/whats to know.

I DID NOT like the male lead. I’m not the girl who thinks all literary characters need to be likeable. I’m a big fan of unlike-able realistic interesting characters, but I’m a little pickier in a romantic comedy. I realized about 75 pages from the end that I didn’t want the MC to end up with the guy. I was never able to let go of the reasons Molly didn’t originally like him cause they were good reasons. Obviously that’s just my opinion, but in a rom-com if you don’t want the heroine to end up with the romantic lead it’s probably not a winner.

My Rating

Enjoyability (2.5 out of 5 stars)
Relationships (2 out of 5 stars)
Writing (2.5 out of 5 stars)  

This book will stay with me… not very long. I read it a couple weeks ago and had to consult my notes to remember enough to write the review.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bout of Books–Progress report

I hope all my reading days are this over-achieving.


Hours spent reading – 3.25 (My goal was 1.5)

Pages read – 354 (That’s a puffy Netgalley 354 – final printing will probably be less)

Books finished – 1

What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin

The good news is that the book definitely had plenty of material to write about in a review.  Unfortunately I didn’t like it.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bout of Books

 Bout of Books is a week long, very relaxed Read-a-thon that runs from Monday, January 6th through Sunday, January 12th.
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

After a little deliberation I decided it would be a great way to kick off the year and get started on a couple of my reading/blogging goals for 2014.

So this is my “Yes I’m participating” and “My Goals” post all rolled into one.

Time Devoted to Reading

  • 1.5 hours daily Monday through Friday and 6 total hours over the weekend.
My Goals
  • Get my Netgalley reading list down to a reasonable number.  Right now it’s at 8 and I’d like to get it down to 3 or fewer.

Books to Read

2014 Goals–Reading, Blogging, and a few random

I’m not even going to check my 2013 goals – I know some I didn’t come close on and won’t repeat and others will be up here again.

1) Read 1-2 books a week from a variety of genres.
Reading 1-2 books/week is actually pretty simple.  The harder part of this goal is to expand from Contemporary YA, New Adult, and Contemporary Adult.
2) Do not grow my list of books owned and unread.
Currently between physical books and ebooks, I own 110 books I have not read (including Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis that I picked up on Amazon this morning for $1.99).  At the end of this year that number can’t be any higher and I’d love to get it into double digits.  *This list doesn’t include Netgalleys
3) Read a few longer/harder books.
This kind of goes with both the goals above, but my list of “owned/unread” books tends to grow because I buy more serious books that I really want to read, but am rarely in the mood for like And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.  I’ve also got 3 books by Norman Mailer.
1) Post 1 review/week. 
This shouldn’t be that hard.  I just need to write reviews before I forget the bookish details.
2) Write down key thoughts about a book before starting a new one.
And maybe a few key quotes.
3) Get my Netgalley list under control and keep it at 1-2 books unread.

1) Drop 10 pounds (I’m female and I can’t help it)
2) Start jogging again
3) Retrain Gizmo – My puppy’s manners have gotten a bit rough lately.