The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

“I hate airports.”

“Really?” Oliver says. “I love them.”

She’s convinced, for a moment, that he’s still teasing her, but then realizes he’s serious.

“I like how you’re neither here nor there. And how there’s nowhere else you’re meant to be while waiting. You’re just sort of… suspended.”

This is just one of many insightful moments by two teenagers in this lovely book. That’s really the only way to describe this novel; it’s just… lovely.

Oliver and Hadley meet in an airport. Hadley has just missed her flight to London, where she’s expected to see her dad marry a woman who is not her mother. Oliver is on his way home to London for a family affair. The two end up dozing on one another’s shoulders for the duration of the overseas flight. Separated at customs after a tantalizing kiss, Hadley isn’t sure she’ll ever see Oliver again. They exchanged no contact information, and she’s now running late–very late–to the ceremony. Will she ever see Oliver again?

“People who meet in airports are seventy-two percent more likely to fall for each other than people who meet anywhere else.”

“You’re ridiculous,” she says…

“Did you know that people who meet at least three different times within a twenty-four hour period are ninety-eight percent more likely to meet again?”

This time she doesn’t bother correcting him. Just this once, she’d like to believe that he’s right.

The entire novel takes place in a 24-hour period. Not only does it feature a “meet cute”, but the storyline ends up being much less predictable than you might think at the get-go. Through flashbacks, we learn about Hadley’s relationship with her parents, and the complexities of this weekend in London. Oliver’s situation turns out to be more complicated than we originally believe, and the two teenagers are able to support each other much more than your average airplane seatmate.

I would highly suggest this quick read for before-bed or pool-side light reading. It took me about three evenings to finish–and I tend to fall asleep quickly when I start reading at night.

In concordance with the many young adult blogs I read, I’d give this book lots of stars–if I gave books stars.

Jennifer E. Smith has written three other novels–You Are Here, The Storm Makers, and The Comeback Season–all of which are now on my TBR list.

Oh, and let’s add this to my Books I’d Like To See Made into Movies list.

Top Ten Tuesdays – Favorite Quotes from Books

Brought to you by the creators of The Broke and the Bookish

Presenting…

Katie’s Top Ten Quotes from Books

1. “You should be kissed often, and by someone who knows how.” – Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

2. “Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another!” – Jane Austen, Emma

3. “Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” – Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

4. “I’m right and you’re wrong, I’m big and you’re small, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

“Here it is,’ Nigel said. “Mrs. D, Mrs. I, Mrs. FFI, Mrs. C, Mrs. U, Mrs. LTY. That spells difficulty.’
How perfectly ridiculous!’ snorted Miss Trunchbull. ‘Why are all these women married?”

“I cannot for the life of me understand why small children take so long to grow up. I think they do it deliberately, just to annoy me.” – Roald Dahl, Matilda

5. “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

6. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

“It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

“It takes much bravery to stand up to our enemies but we need as much bravery to stand up to our friends.” – J. K. Rowling, the Harry Potter series

7. “Old Marley was as dead as a doornail. Mind! I don’t mean to say that, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a doornail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a doornail.” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

8. “Neither the mouse nor the boy was the least bit surprised that each could understand the other. Two creatures who shared a love for motorcycles naturally spoke the same language.” – Beverly Cleary, The Mouse and the Motorcycle

“Words were so puzzling. Present should mean a present just as attack should mean to stick tacks in people.”- Beverly Cleary, Ramona the Pest

9. “Maybe, sometimes, it’s easier to be mad at the people you trust because you know they’ll always love you, no matter what.” – Ann Brashares, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants #1

10. “I’m telling you, it’s fu**ing hard to be classy.” – Janet Evanovich, One for the Money

My New Author Obsession: Kate White

Before our honeymoon, I hit up Half Price Books to stock up on some cheap, light reads, perfect for the Hawaiian beaches. I ended up picking up If Looks Could Kill by Kate White. It was an author I hadn’t heard of, but from the blurb on the back cover, I thought it would meet the requirements I was looking for in a good honeymoon read. One of about seven novels I read that week, this one did not disappoint. It happens to be the first in a series of mysteries about the same character: Bailey Weggins.

Bailey Weggins is a true-crime writer for a women’s fashion magazine. She becomes wrapped in up some amateur detective work when he high-profile boss’s nanny is found dead in the town house basement. The story is ripe with murder, sex, fashion, suspense, catty women, and everything that makes a perfect summertime read.

Impressed with my first Kate White experience, I did some research to see what else she’d written. In my research, I discovered that Kate White is actually the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine. (I knew her name sounded familiar!) She’s actually written six Bailey Weggins novels, two stand-alone thrillers, and a career book entitled Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead… But Gutsy Girls Do. So, to sum up, Kate White manages to run what is arguably the sexiest, most well-known women’s magazine, publish at least one novel each year, and be a mom to two children. (Talk about “the seemingly impossible“!)

My next Kate White novels were A Body to Die For, Over Her Dead Body, and ‘Til Death Do Us Part–all members of the Bailey Weggins series. Over spring break, I broke out and read one of her other novels, Hush. I enjoyed reading about a new character, although I found the plotline to be very similar to a Bailey novel. Although her novels all follow the same basic pattern, which leads them to being fairly predictable, the characters are relatable, and the story details are different enough that I still find myself captivated. Kate always manages to capture her reader in the first few pages. The story gets moving quickly, and there’s little tip-toeing around with introductions, setting the scene, etc. at the beginning. Instead, you get to know the characters’ back stories through their interactions with each other, and the ties they make through their discoveries about the crime.

Now I’ve just finished listening to The Sixes, and was pleased to see Kate break the mold a little bit on this one by changing the setting from the city to a small college town.

Kate follows the advice of “writing about what you know”, as her characters write for fashion magazines, are celebrity novelists, or work in public relations. I have yet to find a novel by White about a first-grade teacher in the Midwest, yet I still find the characters relatable in their life experiences and inner dialogue.

I am running to the end of my Kate White reading list, and plan to save Lethally Blond and So Pretty It Hurts for pool time this summer. It’s fun to have found an author I really enjoy all on my own, and I look forward to reading anything Kate White publishes in the future! (I’m also thinking about picking up my Cosmo subscription again. My own modesty led me not to renew it last time, as I found myself quickly turning pages at the gym to avoid embarrassment when other exercisers glanced at my reading material.)

Do you have an author that you can count on for writing enjoyable novels, or whose publications you always look forward to? What authors have you discovered recently?

Books to Movies like Apples to Oranges

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say they didn’t like a movie because “they didn’t follow the book.” Okay, I understand the frustration of feeling like you’ve been jipped out of seeing your beloved characters’ lives lived out accurately on the big screen (*cough*Princess Diaries 2*cough*), but altogether, let’s be honest: comparing books to movies is like comparing apples to oranges. They’re two completely different art forms: what makes a good book is not what makes a good movie. And if you’re going to get hung up on all the little details, then just don’t even bother.

I have a friend who swears she can’t even bear to watch the Harry Potter movies because of the screaming inaccuracies, i.e. Harry standing up on his broom when rescuing Neville’s Remembrall. “That did not happen in the book,” she swears. I’ll admit, there are times that the differences bother me, too (like when Harry stood there and watched Dumbledore die–he was under the body-bind curse in the book, which does seem like a big discrepancy). But I remind myself that the decision was likely made mindfully and with a greater purpose in mind–such as progressing the storyline more quickly, saving the HP movies from being 17 hours each, or for cinematic effect. For the most part, I highly enjoy seeing film adaptations of books I read and loved. And, overall, I don’t let those thoughts ruin the experience for me. Water for Elephants and The Help are both excellent examples of 2011 movies adapted from two of my favorite novels.

Recently, I discovered a new benefit for seeing a movie after reading a book. I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo during summer 2011, and was enraptured with the mystery aspect of the novel, but bored with the business and legal matters that book-ended (pardon the pun) the excitement. I couldn’t (and didn’t care to) follow the Wennerstrom affair, and ended up skimming through the last 100 pages of the novel. Fans who had rushed out to buy the second novel after completing the first seemed shocked that I didn’t feel the same sense of devotion to the series. But as far as I was concerned, I had no interest in reading The Girl Who Played with Fire.

Then, a few weeks ago, B and I decided to see the (American) Dragon Tattoo movie adaptation. Seeing the “boring parts” compressed down to about 15-20 minutes, I was able to better understand the connection to the story. By not wading through page after page of storyline that I had no interest in, I connected more to the characters. After seeing the movie, I finally felt compelled to read more about Lisbeth and Mikael. I just finished The Girl Who Played with Fire last week, and while I won’t be putting it on my Top 10 list, I am glad I read it and plan to read Hornet’s Nest soon.

Another pleasant surprise was One for the Money, the movie version of the first book in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. As a recent fan (I read the first novel on our honeymoon in June and have since finished #2, #3, and #4), I was a little concerned with the filmmakers’ choice to cast Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum. I still think she’s just too beautiful to play Plum, who I envisioned as a plain-Jane, Heigl delivered and pulled it off well. My mom, though, didn’t feel that the actor playing Joe Morelli was quite dreamy enough. Either way, I hope to see more movies in this series. If they make ’em, I’ll watch ’em.

 

The Faith Club

For the past year, every other Thursday night, I’ve been a part of a group of women who meet to discuss their faith. We started out calling ourselves Women’s Bible Study, but recently our name has changed, due in part to our most-recent read: The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner.

We chose this book after a study on John Stott’s Basic Christianity. Although we’d enjoyed reading about the background of our own faith, we agreed that we’d like to learn more about some of the other prominent religions of the world. We considered reading short books on each of the main five world religions, but in our search we came across The Faith Club, and knew it was right for our group (which now goes by the name Faith Club).

The Faith Club was written by three women–Christian, Muslim, and Jewish (respectively)–living in New York City after 9/11. They originally met with the intention to write a children’s book explaining the three religions, their similarities, and their differences. However, the realized that before they could write such a book, they had quite a lot to learn from one another. The Faith Club details the conversations they had, the stereotypes they shattered, and the relationships they formed. Each woman shares parts of her own story, from dealing with death, to anxiety issues, questions over the existence of heaven and hell, and what is deemed the “Crucifixion Crisis”. Each woman develops in her own faith, yet the respect they form for one another is outstanding.

The Faith Club highlights the similarities between the three religions, while also tackling the over-arching question: How can I be comfortable and devout in my own faith, yet recognize the validity of other faiths?

I believe anyone in my Faith Club would highly recommend this book, and would LOVE to discuss it with you. Now that we’ll be moving on to another to-be-determined book, I know I’ll miss Ranya, Suzanne, and Priscilla. Those Thursday nights, it felt like they’d become a part of our faith club.