The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?
Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go Skinny Dipping? Um…
M: It was a good cover.
R: I thought you said it was a great cover!
M: It was a great cover! I was getting there; I thought they chose perfect models for Sloane and Emily. However, the heart sunglasses should have been aviators, but aside from that, spot on.
R: That’s true, however, the cover doesn’t really scream “Read me!” to me. It does accurately say that it’s a realistic fiction though. Which would probably grab the attention of people who do like to read that genre.
M: I actually think it resembles an adult cover. Stylewise.
R: It’s very current with the mix of fonts. I don’t want to get into the things I didn’t like about the book, so we’ll hold off I guess. Because the story was really cute and it had some entertaining moments, Collins I’m looking at you. So let’s jump into that.
M: I agree. I liked Collins more than I expected, when we first met him I thought he was going to be a complete jerk.
R: Me too! But he quickly became one of my favorite characters. His goofy personality added a lot more to the story and I definitely felt for him when he got pushed to the side.
M: I thought Frank was kind of sweet too, at least at first.
R: I mean, he was all right. There didn’t seem to be that much about him that stood out to me. I didn’t dislike him and he had some adorable moments, but he didn’t call out to me.
M: I think it was the scene at the minimart that got me. But then it was all ruined when the author decided to MAKE UP a comedian. All of the bands and artists in the playlists were real, but for some reason she couldn’t find a comedian that would work. Comedy snob that I am, it really ticked me off.
R: Welllll, I guess I can see that. It is irritating to me when author’s make up music and/or movies that the story is centered around when they could have quite easily found something that would work. But I feel like the music/playlists were really unnecessary to the story. We didn’t need to see every single playlist that they made that summer, except to drive home the ending. I won’t go into any more detail than that. But honestly, I feel like that last playlist was the only one that we needed to visually see. The other’s we understood what was going on without seeing it.
M: That’s true, very true. And they kind of made it feel discontinuous because of it; it was like they interrupted the story. Ya know, I’m not sure how I feel about Emily.
R: Agreed, there were inconsistencies to her character. She’s supposed to be this shy and extremely introverted person, except when it’s just her and Sloane, but there were mentions in the story of behaviors that she had around other people that just didn’t make sense. And these were past behaviors, not as she was opening up and growing. So it just seemed odd.
M: Mmmhmm, though she did say that Sloane led her at those moments. Though it sounded more like she was lazy than shy if you ask me.
R: She did mention that she had friends before, it’s not like she was completely in a bubble with absolutely no friends her age.
M: Right. Anyhoo, there were really slow moments and I probably won’t read anything by this author again. I was expecting, after reading all the praise for this book, another We Were Liars caliber book and it wasn’t. It wasn’t even close.
R: Hmm, well I hadn’t seen any reviews alluding to that and to be honest I would have been extremely confused to hear that. Because I’ve read other books by this author, so I wasn’t anticipating that much. I was hoping for a little bit more humor, because I remember Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour being funnier than this book.
M: Yeah, I guess it could have been a comedy, though I hadn’t been expecting that at all.
R: Well not comedy throughout the book to the level where the book was absolutely hysterical and I couldn’t stop laughing. But just a really nice balance of funny moments.
M: So it disappointed us both, but it wasn’t a terrible book. The end.
Book: 3 out of 5 stars
Cover: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Posted in Books, Fiction, Reviews |
A misunderstood millionaire pursues a widowed bakery owner in English author Knight’s debut novel.
It’s a wonderfully awkward moment when Holly Jefferson meets Ciaran Argyll while delivering an adult cake from his stepmother to his father, Fergal, to commemorate their divorce. Recently widowed and insecure, Holly isn’t ready to take a risk on a rich playboy whose exploits she’s read about in the tabloids. It doesn’t help when Fergal’s nasty mistress plants seeds of doubt in Holly’s mind about Ciaran’s intentions. Undeterred, Ciaran tries to win Holly over with increasingly grand gestures while Holly busies herself with a mysterious influx of cake orders and helps her pregnant sister prepare for the birth of her baby. These scenes offer little insight into Ciaran’s feelings, but they do show Holly putting more effort into her cakes than her personal life as she hops from party to party in sensible shoes rather than high heels and leaves the home renovations she started with her late husband unfinished. Meanwhile, Holly’s dead husband, Charlie, turns up so often in her conversations and dreams that it’s as if he's challenging Ciaran from the grave. After friends and family convince her to give Ciaran a chance, Holly reluctantly has her Cinderella moment at his charity ball. It’s refreshing that Holly doesn’t entirely fall victim to the makeover trope—she says yes to the dress but not to the spray tan—since her frumpy clothes are fitting for her job and are worn, in part, to mask her grief. When Holly finally opens up to Ciaran, she finds out that he’s not the spoiled womanizer she thought he was.
Heartfelt revelations (and a creative use of cake frosting) make for a satisfying ending to a pleasant read.