Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn BennettAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse on April 4, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Early last year, I read my first Jenn Bennett novel, her YA debut The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, and I loved it SO much that I read five books and a novella by Bennett in 2016. I’ve got three more backlist adult urban fantasy novels waiting for me, but my special love thus far are her young adult novels. If you read The Anatomical Shape of a Heart and loved it, you will absolutely not want to miss Alex, Approximately. Once again, Bennett delivers an OTP-level ship, excellent family feels, and a voice that charms from the very first page.


Cover Snark (225): All the Crooked Snarks

Welcome to Cover Snark, where the people are snarky and the covers quiver in fear. Since I don’t write many snarky book reviews here on A Reader of Fictions, Cover Snark is my outlet. If you click on the title of the book, where possible, I’ve linked to Goodreads. Clicking on the cover itself will show you the cover in a larger size, in most cases. Feel free to love covers I hate and vice versa. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Please note that you should by no means contact the author if you do not like their cover; they likely have ZERO control. Feel free to express opinions of the covers in the comments, but please do not @ an author on Twitter because of anything you’ve seen here.


Shiny and New:

1. The Girl Who Could See – Kara Swanson

Thoughts: C: HO.LY. SHIZ.NIT. May illustrated covers never stop trending. Love, me.


Size Doesn’t Matter (141): Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour; On Tyranny

Size Doesn’t Matter (141): Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour; On TyrannyAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster BFYR on May 3, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 344
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
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Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip - and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar - especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory - but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

Morgan Matson backlist reading project completed! Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour is Matson’s debut novel (at least under this name), and it’s the last one I read. Unfortunately, it’s by far my least favorite of her four Matson novels; in case you’re curious, my precise order of favorites goes in publication order. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour lacks the shippiness of Matson’s latter books, but it’s a pretty good road trip book nonetheless.


Size Doesn’t Matter (140): The Hollywood Daughter; Julia Vanishes; Chasing Truth

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (140): The Hollywood Daughter; Julia Vanishes; Chasing TruthThe Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott
Narrator: Erin Spencer
Length: 10 hrs, 4 mins
Published by Random House Audio on March 7, 2017
Genres: Historical
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository

Kate Alcott has become one of my go-to audiobook authors, because I really like high society historicals on audiobook. I’ve liked some more than others, and this may be my least favorite of the three I’ve read thus far. The Hollywood Daughter lacks focus, ending up a bit strange conceptually and lacking in depth.


Review: Bleaker House by Nell Stevens

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Bleaker House by Nell StevensBleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World by Nell Stevens
Narrator: Nell Stevens
Length: 7 hrs, 11 mins
Published by Random House Audio on March 14, 2017
Genres: Memoir, Short Stories
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

A girl, a laptop, and a waddle of penguins. In this witty and genre-defying memoir, a young writer can travel anywhere she wants to finally finish her novel—and ends up on a frozen island at the bottom of the world.

Twenty-seven-year-old Nell Stevens was determined to write a novel, but life kept getting in the way. Then came a game-changing opportunity: she won a fellowship that would let her live, all expenses paid, anywhere in the world to research and write a book. Would she choose a glittering metropolis, a romantic village, an exotic paradise? Not exactly. Nell picked Bleaker Island, a snowy, windswept pile of rock in the Falklands. There, in a guesthouse where she would be the only guest, she could finally rid herself of distractions and write. Before the spring thaw, surely she’d have a novel.

And indeed, other than sheep, penguins, paranoia, and the weather, there aren’t many distractions on Bleaker. Nell gets to work on a charming Dickensian fiction she calls Bleaker House—only to discover that total isolation and 1,085 calories a day are far from ideal conditions for literary production. With deft humor, the memoir traces Nell’s island days and slowly reveals details of the life and people she has left behind in pursuit of her writing. They pop up in her novel, too, and in other fictional pieces that dot the book. It seems that there is nowhere Nell can run—an island or the pages of her notebook—to escape the big questions of love, art and ambition.

Terrifically smart, full of wry writing advice, and with a clever puzzle of a structure, Bleaker House marks the arrival of a fresh new voice in creative nonfiction.

You can probably tell from the rating that reading Bleaker House was as horrible a mistake as Nell Stevens’ trip to the Falklands. I’d seen a couple GR friends rate this highly, and it has a penguin on the cover, and I love Bleak House (FYI it has nothing whatsoever to do with Bleak House other than the island’s name and that she brought a copy of the book instead of more food), so I went for it. Big mistake. Huge. Bleaker House pissed me right the fuck off. I recommend Bleaker House to readers who enjoy whiny memoirs by privileged white people AND also delight in the worst in literary penis feels fiction.