2018 Book #65 – Smothered by Autumn Chiklis

51T99qCdIqLTitle: Smothered
Author: Autumn Chiklis
Date finished: 8/3/18
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A humorous debut crossover young adult novel about what happens when entering the “real world” means moving back in with your mother, inspired by actress and celebrity Autumn Chiklis’ real life.

Eloise “Lou” Hansen is graduating from Columbia University summa cum laude, and she’s ready to conquer the world. Just a few minor problems: she has no job, no prospects, and she’s moving back into her childhood bedroom. Lou is grimly determined to stick to a rigorous schedule to get a job and get out of her parents’ house. Shelly “Mama Shell” Hansen, on the other hand, is ecstatic, and just as determined to keep her at home. Who else will help her hide her latest binge-shopping purchases from her husband, go to SoulCycle with her, and hold her hand during Botox shots?

Smothered is a hilarious roman à clef told via journal entries, text messages, emails, bills, receipts, tweets, doctor’s prescriptions, job applications and rejections, parking tickets, and pug pictures, chronicling the year that Lou moves back home after college. Told from Lou’s point-of-view, Smothered tells the story of two young(ish) women, just trying to get it right, and learning that just because we all grow up doesn’t mean we necessarily have to grow old. (After all, what is Juvaderm for?)

My rating:  1.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This was the first book that I finished for ARC August 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “Book set in Summer” box.

I really love epistolary novels and so I thought I’d give this one a try. I have to say though I did not love it. Lou as a character was just a doormat and let everyone walk all over her. And her mother was so immature and self-centered. Really there weren’t many characters that I did like in the book, except for Theo who was amazing and did not deserve the treatment (and lies) he got through most of the book. Lou’s character was very whiny and also she lied a lot, and overall it really took away from my enjoyment of the book. It is hit or miss with me and young adult novels since many of them I find to be a little too teen angsty. But this novel was supposed to be about a college graduate, but Lou either would not or could not stand up for herself for most of the book, despite being on her own for 4 years. Her mother had no idea of what boundaries were and really was just overwhelmingly pushy. Anyways, the plot itself wasn’t my favorite either because it centered around Lou’s inability to stand up for herself and also be an honest person. There were some funny things but I honestly just couldn’t get past my personal downfall’s with the book.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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2015 Book #81 – The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield

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Title: The Guilty One
Author: Sophie Littlefield
Date finished: 8/5/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A man stands on the Golden Gate Bridge, poised to jump…if a woman on the other end of the phone tells him to.
Maris’s safe suburban world was shattered the day her daughter was found murdered, presumably at the hands of the young woman’s boyfriend. Her marriage crumbling, her routine shattered, Maris walks away from her pampered life as a Bay Area mom the day she receives a call from Ron, father of her daughter’s killer. Wracked with guilt over his son’s actions (and his own possible contribution to them), he asks Maris a single question: should he jump?
With a man’s life in her hands, Maris must decide, perhaps for the first time, what she truly wants. Retribution? Forgiveness? Or something more? Having lost everything, she’s finally free to recreate herself without the confining labels of “wife,” “mother,” or “mourner.” But will this shocking offer free her, or destroy her?

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for ARC August reading challenge, it is #3 on list from my sign up post. I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is about Maris Parker, whose daughter was murdered a year ago. As if trying to wake up each day and live with that isn’t difficult enough, her daughter’s killer’s father (Ron Isherwood) then calls her and basically offers to kill himself in a very “eye for an eye” situation where he gives up his life since his son took her daughter’s life. Plus her husband is leaving her.
Maris’ reaction to this phone call sets her (unknowingly) on a new life course. While she had planned to leave for her sister’s condo that afternoon, Ron’s call leaves her feeling unsettled and not quite ready to face the outside world. The next day she goes to Oakland to pick up a gift for her sister and its there that she meets Petra, who will help her quite a lot in the coming days actually. She ends up tagging along with Petra’s group of friends and hides herself away in a rundown apartment building in Oakland. It is there she learns that there are other people in the world who are hurting as well, if maybe in different ways. It is also in Oakland that Maris begins to find out who she is now, without the husband she’s been married to for 20 years or the child she’s raised for the past seventeen years. Maris discovers who she is as her own person again, and makes a few good friends along the way.
Overall I really did enjoy this book. There were a couple really good plot twists, both of which I actually never saw coming, and I liked Maris and Ron as main characters, they both had a lot of layers to dig through. I felt that Maris really grew as a character throughout the story. We really learned with her how to cope with the grief of losing a child, how to pick yourself up off the ground and push yourself to keep living life each and every day.

The bottom line: I really liked this book, it had a couple good shocker moments thrown in there and I thought the story line was well-paced. I was interested throughout the story and both grieved for and felt compassion for Maris’ loss. Good book, would recommend other readers to give it a try!

Favorite Quotes:
“You don’t do all of those things without building up a reserve for moments like this. Moments when the weak ones fail, the battered ones give up, the broken ones cry out for someone to take their hand.”
“How do you go back up the family tree, scrambling up the doomed bloodline, and make things right?”
“Her daughter was with her in the morning, when she stepped out of her apartment as the sun was just beginning to rise up above the distant hills.”

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page