Review: Home Work by Julie Andrews

Bentley’s Grade: B-

Title: Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years
Author: Julie Andrews (with Emma Walton)
Publisher and Date: Hachette Books/Hachette Audio, 2019
Length: 13 hours 23 minutes
Genre: Memoir

Review:
Julie Andrews’ second memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, was not one of my favourite things. This book was much harder to get through compared to her first one, which I mostly attribute to its rather melancholic themes. Continue reading

Review: Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

Bentley’s Grade: B

Title: Girl Online
Author: Zoe Sugg
Publisher and Date: Keywords Press 2014
Pages: 344
Genre: YA

Brief Summary:

Penny Porter, Brighton UK high school student, starts a blog so that she has a place where she can be her real self—while remaining anonymous, of course. Her anonymity only lasts a short time because soon after returning home from a family/work trip to New York City, someone exposes Penny as “Girl Online.” This revelation threatens the relationships in her life, including her newest relationship with Noah. It doesn’t take long for Penny to realize that social media is both a source of comfort and a source of anxiety, depending on who’s on the other side of the screen. 

Review:

Full disclosure, I wanted to dislike this book. I’m sceptical of Youtubers and their attempts to write books, but I enjoyed Girl Online. Continue reading

Review: The Mister by E L James

Bentley’s Grade: B

Title: The Mister
Author: E L James
Publisher and Date: Vintage 2019
Page Length: 494
Genre: Erotic Romance

Brief Summary:
Maxim and Alessia occupy very different stations in life. He is an earl. She is his house cleaner. Until recently, Maxim enjoyed a responsibility-free life and a steady stream of self-confident and experienced women. But when he sees Alessia, barefoot and clutching a broom in his kitchen, he falls for her like he’s never fallen for another woman before. Alessia is drawn to him, too, but her traumatic past and distrust of men work to prevent her from expressing her feelings to Maxim. It doesn’t take long for danger to come knocking at Maxim’s London door, forcing Alessia and her Mister to flee to his home in Cornwall—the perfect place for first times by the sea. 

Review:
Despite my initial skepticism, I have to say, I actually enjoyed E L James’ newest novel, The Mister. As I read, I found myself looking up at the page number and thinking, there’s no way this is going to be wrapped up in 100 pages… in 50 pages… in 10 pages. I genuinely wanted to keep reading, and not just for the steamy bits, which was an experience in complete contrast to that of reading the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (the sex scenes were what made it possible for me to finish those books). Continue reading

Review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Bentley’s Grade: A+

Title: Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley
Publisher and Date: Arcturus Publishing Ltd. 2018 (Originally published in 1932 by Chatto & Windus)
Pages: 220
Genre: Dystopian Fiction

Brief Summary:
Bernard Marx is unhappy, even though in the year AF632 “everybody’s happy nowadays.” Despite all his Alpha-Plus conditioning, no amount of soma, the feelies, readily-available women, or Orgy-Porgies can make him forget how abnormal he is compared to the rest of the people in his perfectly bottled and engineered caste. To distract himself, he decides to take a trip with a girl he wants to have. Marx and Lenina Crowne travel to a Savage Reservation in America, excited to experience an “uncivilized” part of the world; however, they find an unexpected surprise soon after arrival. They promptly return to London, where the lines of what constitutes “civilized” and “uncivilized” behaviour become blurred. 

Review: 
I certainly don’t need to review Brave New World, but I so enjoyed it and wanted to share a few thoughts with you. I can see why the novel has been, and continues to be, so popular because the issues Huxley manages to bring to the forefront are just as relevant today as they were in 1931. Continue reading

REVIEW: FAT GIRL ON A PLANE BY KELLY DEVOS

BENTLEY’S GRADE: A-

Title: Fat Girl on a Plane
Author: Kelly deVos
Publisher and Date: Harlequin Teen, 2018
Page Length: 376
Genre: YA Fiction

Brief Summary:
Cookie Vonn is an aspiring fashion designer and blogger who dreams of making clothes for all women, including, and especially for, the plus-sized women. Two years ago, Cookie herself was plus-sized, weighing in at 337 pounds. But now that she’s skinny, Cookie believes that without all the weight holding her back, she can accomplish anything; unfortunately, it’s not that simple. When Cookie finds herself at a crossroads—attend Parsons, the top fashion design school in NYC, or return home and continue her studies at Arizona State—she is forced to reevaluate her goals and confront her deepest insecurities. 

Review:
As someone who’s spent a large part of her adult life being the fat girl on the plane (and the fat girl on the subway, and the bus, and the train, and the Uber…), I want to start by saying how refreshing it is to see a plump girl in such a positive leading role (well, plump for half the novel at least). Continue reading

Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Bentley’s Grade: B

Title: One of Us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher and Date: Delacorte Press 2017
Page Length: 358
Genre: YA Mystery

Brief Summary: 
Addy, Nate, Bronwyn, Cooper, and Simon end up in detention with Mr. Avery for having cellphones in his class; however, those cellphones don’t belong to them. Shortly after detention begins, Simon’s allergic reaction and subsequent death interrupt the boredom. The police declare his death to be premeditated owing to the peanut oil found in the cup Simon drank from immediately prior to his fatal reaction. So who killed Simon? Was it one of the four students with him in detention? They all certainly have motive, for Simon ran a gossip app that was scheduled to release new secrets about each of them the following day—secrets that could potentially destroy their teenage lives forever.  

Review:
As far as YA fiction goes, I enjoyed the novel. Continue reading

Review: Adèle by Leila Slimani

Bentley’s Grade: D+

Title: Adèle
Author: Leila Slimani (translated from French by Sam Taylor)
Publisher and Date: Penguin 2019 (translation) 
Page Length: 216
Genre: Fiction

Brief Summary:
Adèle doesn’t know what she wants. On one hand, she’s got the perfect life: mother, doctor’s wife, journalist; on the other hand, her insatiable desire for sex and secret rendezvous with various men leave her unsatisfied and discontented. After months of cheating, Richard finally learns of Adèle’s infidelity and confronts her. Unable to leave Adèle, and with the hope of rehabilitating her, Richard decides that they will leave their home in Paris and live a quieter, less complicated life in the countryside. But is rehabilitation possible for Adèle? 

Review:
I found myself racing through the novel not because I was enthralled, but because I wanted to get it over with. Continue reading

Review: All of this is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor

Bentley’s Grade: A

Title: All of this is True
Author: Lygia Day Peñaflor
Publisher and Date: HarperTeen 2018
Page Length: 418
Genre: YA Fiction

Brief Summary:
After the book reading, Miri, Penny, Soleil, and Jonah not only manage to meet Fatima Ro, but they also receive a personal invitation to the author’s upcoming book talk. In the weeks that follow, the four friends form a bond with Fatima, a bond that allows for intimate conversations, and the sharing of what Fatima calls “genuine human connections.” But when Jonah becomes the victim of an attack sparked by the publication of Fatima’s second novel, Miri, Penny, and Soleil head to the press each with the intention of telling her own version of what really happened during their time with the famous author. 

Review:
Third time’s the charm. Three reviews in, and I can finally rave about a book! I’ve had to pare this down quite a bit because I was going on and on and on about all the great elements of All of this is True, but you don’t want to read an essay, right? No, I thought not. Continue reading

Review: Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne (with Rowan Coleman)

Bentley’s Grade: C-

Title: Mirror Mirror 
Author: Cara Delevingne (with Rowan Coleman)
Publisher and Date: Harper Collins 2017
Page Length: 355
Genre: YA Thriller

Brief Summary:
Naomi, Mirror Mirror’s bassist and lead songwriter, disappears without a trace, leaving the remaining three band members in shock and confusion. Eight weeks later, Naomi is fished from the Thames bruised and broken—but alive. While Naomi remains in her induced coma, Red, Leo, and Rose attempt to solve the mystery of their friend’s disappearance and along the way, they find themselves face to face with their own troubled home lives and inner demons. With the help of Ashira, Naomi’s older sister and proud computer wizard-hacker, the band mates’ search for clues leads them around London, to Camden and back, and finally to the dark net, where they discover the unsettling and graphic truth of Naomi’s whereabouts and who lured her there. 

Review: 
Honesty, right? I promised to give you an honest critique, so here it goes: I did not enjoy this book.  Continue reading

Review: Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynne Weingarten

Bentley’s Grade: B+

Title: Bad Girls with Perfect Faces 
Author:
Lynn Weingarten
Publisher and Date: 
Simon Pulse; Simon and Schuster 2017
Page Length: 285
Genre: YA Thriller

Brief Summary: 
Although Ivy broke his heart and sent him into a month-long funk, Xavier agrees to get back together with his ex-girlfriend. Sasha, Xavier’s best friend and the novel’s protagonist, believes that Ivy has no intention of remaining faithful, so she decides to catfish Ivy by creating a fake Instagram account. In the weeks that follow, “Jake” (aka Sasha) and Ivy engage in a series of intimate DMs and text messages, all of which Sasha plans to reveal to Xavier as hard proof of Ivy’s infidelity; however, after a failed attempt to confront Ivy, Sasha makes more than a few poor decisions—decisions that land Ivy with a sweater full a rocks on the bottom of the Florida Everglades.

Review:
I was skeptical of the novel at first, but I found it to be surprisingly enjoyable. It’s a very quick read—three to five hours depending on your speed. Continue reading