Book Review: The Wedding Guest

Title: The Wedding Guest

Author: Jonathan Kellerman

Format: Netgalley Advancer Reader Copy Ebook

Published: 2019

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read The Wedding Guest before it is released on February 5, 2019 in exchange for my honest review!

I really want to like this book, however, it became like a chore for me to read.  I think I read 2 other books during the time I was reading this one.  I would like to say that I did not care for the writing style of Kellerman, that is just my personal preference.  I did not enjoy frequent use of short sentences (or parataxis if I may use a big word).  It kept throwing off my pace of reading and I found it to be distracting.  If you don’t mind it, pick up this book!

The book seemed to drag on…and on.  This is number 34 in Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series.  Did I think I missed much by not reading the first 33?  No.  You are able to piece together who the characters are even with (what I found to be) a lack of background on them.  The most important part is that the characters involved in the murders (yes, more than one) are clearly described and grow throughout the story.

I felt it was a lackluster ending.  To be dragged along for so long it ended pretty nonchalantly.  I actually had to re-read one of the last chapters to understand what happened to the murderer.  Maybe it was my lack of focus and that I missed it at first.  Like I said, I was not that into this book.  If you are a fan of Kellerman I am sure you will enjoy this book.  It just was not my cup of tea.

I am going to give this book 3 stars.  If you come across it, don’t stop what you have in line for your TBR list, continue on and get to this when you do.  It does have key character development and keeps you guessing on whodunit until the last quarter of the book when we know (or assume we know) who did it and that drags on until we know for sure, he was the culprit.  To each their own!  If you pick this book up let me know how you enjoyed it!  Tune in next week for my review of Believe Me by JP Delaney!

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Books Review – The Bride’s Little Book of…

Title: The Bride’s Little Book of Cakes and Toasts
Title: The Bride’s Little Book of Customs and Keepsakes
Presented By: Brides Magazine
Format: Hardback
Published: 1993-1994

This review is a two-fer.  I was looking for better wedding books at the library and came across The Bride’s Little Book of… series in the online directory, so I placed holds on both of them.  When they got to me, I realized they were much more little than I expected, but I checked them out anyway, hoping they’d be even a little bit useful for a minute.

oh lordt.

So, for starters, I’m going to recognize the fact that the books are almost 25 years old, which is an eternity in something like weddings, which change stylistically all the time.  But the type of information I wanted from these were things I thought could transcend that, so I opened the book.

They’re both short-short.  Like 40-ish pages each.  And they’re both small.  Like four or five inches, and barely thick at all.  And since they brag about having “Over 30 images of…”, there’s an understandably small amount of space left to hold any actual information.    Y’all, it’s all so dated-traditional that I don’t think this stuff was useful at the time.  Seriously, I don’t think anything in this book was cutting age when the thing rolled off the press.

I had expected information like who should do toasts, what to expect from them, etc…  What I got was one page of quotations that were so overused that they were beyond clichee.  (May the road rise up to meet you…)  Come on.  We can do better than that.

These books *did* have a bit of cool historical information.  Like the origins of ___.  Which was neat, but not what I was going to these books for.

Which brings me to the saddest ratings ever.  These could have been those tiny gift books we find today boxed with weird trinkets.  (Customs and Keepsakes, complete with blue ribbon and old penny!)  But they weren’t.  They were just sad.

If you come across them at a yard sale, give somebody a nickel for them and then throw them in the trash to better weddings everywhere.  I hope these were better when they were originally published, but they absolutely fail the test of time.  I’ll give them a very overly optimistic 2/5 for the historical tidbits and nothing else.

 

 

Book Review – The Anti-Bride

TITLE: Anti-Bride Etiquette Guide: The rules and how to bend them
AUthoR: Carolyn Guerin
Format: Paperback
Published; 2004

I got engaged on January 1, so of course the first thing I did when I made the next trip to the library was to find the wedding section and get a couple books.  I started reading this one right away and was done in a  very short amount of time.
The purpose of the book is pretty much to make brides relax a bit.  Just because your mother talks lovingly about wearing her mother’s wedding dress or your sister shared her special day with 18 attendants in matching head to toe ensembles doesn’t mean that you have to continue those traditions.

The initial format of the book is pretty nice.  She’s arranged chapters by thing, and they’re pretty much chronological.  There’s definitely nothing complicated about this.  Each chapter starts by telling you the history of whatever it is, and then expands in to a Q&A/FAQ type format where it talks about ‘do you have to’ or what ifs or whatever.  [note: the wedding cake history isn’t entirely right]

It’s not bad.  It’s nice to know why we do the things we do, and the author wants you to understand things before you decide to do them differently. There are charts to show expectations of things like what to wear and when.  It’s also nice to know that there are silly fuddy-duddy things that don’t need done anymore.  (And have people say it’s okay – there are so many details a bride has to think of that I’m sure there are plenty that are afraid to go off script.)

That said, I had some issues.  For starters, the author likes ridiculous examples of things and doesn’t offer real world solutions nearly as often as she could.  Also a lot of the things she brings up are a little clichee – like dyeable shoes – but that could also be a product of the fact that the book is 10 years old.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is that I didn’t learn hardly anything from this book (I did learn that “honor of your presence” should only be used if the wedding is in a church), and a lot of the scenario/answer things were pretty common sense or out there. “My mother’s been telling her yoga class.  Help!”  Well, so what?  Is your wedding a government secret??  And some of it wasn’t even thorough.  “I didn’t get a present, I feel slighted!” should have had the “hello, they have a year!” reminder in addition to her actual advice of don’t keep score.
I didn’t gain anything whatsoever from this book and I think it fell very short where it could have been fabulous.  Also, updating things would make a lot of these answers so much better.  I mean, the book is over a decade old, so it barely mentions the internet’s existence.  (And really, if it were done today, there’d be a total ETSY RULES!! chapter.) I think the book had potential, but I think it fell completely short of where it should have been.  If you’re new at this and don’t have a clue, it may be helpful.  But I can sum the book up as “it’s okay to relax tradition” and you can skip it, too.

Also, the book is in two font colors – black and pink.  Which maybe would be okay with the right font, but the font is a skinny little thing and it made reading really difficult at times.  So there’s that.  I want to be generous and all and give it a better rating, but in my heart, I know this needs to be a 2/5.

Book Review – I Do

Jessica Simspon I Do: Planning your dream wedding
Hardcover, 2003

I feel a very very strong urge to preface this review with the following comment/statement.
I have, near me, the most incredible used bookstore, where prices start at a just five cents for a book and the ones they can’t take for whatever reason end up in a free bin outside, where people can take what they can carry.  Last time I was there, I made two trips and my mother has been devouring the stack of fiction I got for her.  (This is where the Fancy Nancy book came from that I reviewed last week.)  And this one was in it.

I’m one of those gals that subscribes to Modern Bride from time to time just because.  So when I saw this, I grabbed it, fully expecting it to be silly and to return it the next time I went.

From the back cover:

On a rainy Texas day, Jessica Simpson married her longtime love, singer Nick Lachey in a wedding that was, in every way, a dream brought to life.  With exquisite photography and Jessica’s own personal stories and insight, I Do: Achieving Your Dream Wedding invites you to share in her incredible experience.

For the bride-to-be who is planning her own wedding, I Do is filled with expert advice from the same professionals who helped Jessica prepare for her lavish nuptials every step of the way.  No matter your budget,  you can learn the tips and tricks that make any wedding an unforgettable event, from some experts as: <list>.

Okay.

First of all, the book is designed to look like Jessica is either the author or her name is in the title, and according to that paragraph, her name isn’t in the title and according to the title page, her mother conceptualized it and then got somebody to write it.  And I read the title page, which implies that like one person wrote it, but there are a dozen people listed on the back cover who contributed in a somewhat important way, so me not putting an author up there in the header isn’t an accidental omission since there is technically no author listed on the cover and I chose not to. I could have listed her photographer as the photographer for the book, like they sort of did on the title page, but really… if you bought a book that had used a photo from somebody that he didn’t make for that book, they wouldn’t do that, so the fact that this book did…

Next, the back cover suggests that this is a combination “ooh, look at Jessica” and how-to wedding planning book.  Except then I looked through it.  And it’s really a five thousand photo ode to Jessica – Nick himself is barely in the photos and not at all on the cover.  The articles written by experts that they brag about?  Fluff.  “It was so awesome to work with Jessica.  She was incredible and everything she wanted she got.  So if you can’t afford what she did, try this…”

Really, it’s a book without a proper purpose.  From reading the back cover, I expected a gallery of her wedding and tips and tricks to do your own (that were decent and usable).  What I got was a bunch of photos that don’t even look that great (there’s an exceptionally creepy black and white one of her and her father where you can’t even see their faces because they’re in total shadow and has been manipulated to be blurry… dafuq?!) and none of the traditional ones.  In fact, about a quarter of the photos in this book are of the celebrity experts that helped by getting paid for doing something.  (For instance, a full page shot of Vera Wang since she made the dress.)

Yes, the tips are supposed to be helpful, but they’re sort of common sense/internet tips and you don’t need this book for those.  “Consider venue choices when picking your date.  An event at a local university affected Nick and Jessica’s plans early on and they couldn’t use that site…”  Um.  Duh?  Of course, I’m from the camp that would pick a wedding date that had significance, so I guess I wouldn’t care if I couldn’t rent something at a certain site.  But still.  We didn’t need a book to know that.

Based mostly on the fact that the layout person did a beautiful job, I’ll give this book two very wilted roses out of five.  It’s really a book about Jessica first and Jessica’s wedding second.  If you’re into her, you might want the book, but it is useless as a how-to.

Bonus: Book Review – Dementional by Tonya Cannariato

Title: Dementional
Author: Tonya Cannariato
Format: Paperback
Written & Published: 2012

Mark Inman has two loves: particle physics and Sarah. Just moments after the wedding, his Higgs Bossom program work goes terribly terribly wrong, and he leaves his very new bride with the promise that he won’t miss his wedding night.

Except he soon finds himself in another universe, seemingly parallel to his, where he’s a lizard-esque creature instead of human.  Sarah’s still there, and she’s just laid three eggs, which they start to care for.  When he soon finds himself in another universe, where he’s closer to human, although able to climb and with much less body hair than he expected (note, I think they put this line in so you knew he wasn’t a monkey, but it seemed really weird to me), and it’s before his wedding to Sarah, and he has his parents and a brother (that he didn’t have in ‘reality’ or any other dimension)…

I’ll stop there.  The book is written in first person, and there’s not that much dialogue.  So for most of this, you’re getting the observations of the main character.  Unfortunately in this book, the main character is a scientist, thinks like a scientist, and talks like a scientist, so if you like big words that you’ve probably never had the need to use ever in normal life, you’re going to love this, because every now and then, the author throws one in that just kind of stops the flow of reading.  I don’t know if it’s the case of the author trying too hard or what.  (I’ll let you in on a secret about me – I’ve read thousands of books in my life, but I somehow managed to suck at spelling and vocab, so I hate reading books that feel like I need to keep a dictionary handy just in case…)

Regardless of the author’s intent, this comes across really stiff.  What I felt like I was missing was the emotion of what was going on.  All of a sudden the MC is a lizard, and all we get is “I need to find Sarah, and observe this new life.”  I wanted to feel what he was going through, suddenly being a lizard and all.  Also, some of the details that he feels the need to tell us just seem weird to me.  (Did we really need to know that he could adjust his wedding garb properly so he could get to his junk if he needed to pee?)

Also, there were jumps in story that really bothered me.  For example, a character that was introduced in one jump was in another jump, and there was no surprise that she existed whatsoever.  I would have at least expected a comment that said something like “oh, so she was here too…”

If you know nothing about the publishing industry and don’t want to, skip this paragraph.  But I got the book, and the first thing I noticed was that the margins were wrong and the paragraphs had an extra blank line between them but no tabbing.  Also, the font was not one we usually see in books anymore – I think it was Times New Roman; the font as sort of gone out of style in the past decade.  Another red flag was that the cover price was only $7.99.  I know that if you don’t know the business you might not understand, but the book is underpriced for the average market.  This is usually a dead give-away that there is something amateurish about the production of the product.  (Or, if not, you’re presenting your product this way and hurting yourself.)  Unfortunately in this case, it’s not just perception.  Oh, and I handed the book to a couple of other author buddies that are published together on a small press, and said “looking at formatting alone, would you read this book?”  They noticed more things than I did.

There’s also the issue of the title.  “Dementional” is not a word.  “Dimensional” is, as is “Demential” (although spellcheck doesn’t think so), and either would have worked in this case.  Clearly, I am very irked by little details.  If there was a reference in the book to why that was the title, I didn’t see it.

Also, for the record, I talked to somebody who has seen Cannariato’s other book, and she said the formatting in the other one is beautiful, so I don’t know what happened to this one to fall so far off the mark.

My summation is this.  If you’re an analytically and/or scientific person, or you yourself have traveled to the lizard dimension via a bump on the head, I think you’ll like this more than I did.  There were a few things the author did that needed a bit of tweaking.  And I very seriously think the layout issues need fixed for future printings of this book (which the author should totally do).  With that said, I think if you catch it laying around and need something to read, it’s fine.  Because of that, I’ll put it solidly in the three out of four pages rating.

I don’t know why this is required, but here it is:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from First Rule Publicity from the author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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