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on January 8, 2010
"Easily Amused" has all the basic ingredeints of a good chick lit/light romance hybrid: the likeable single woman who's ready to meet someone special; two men (sortof) vying for her affection; a caring best friend; some nosey neighbors; and a troublemaking little sister. The writing is also smooth and engaging, and there are some good lines, although I'm not in agreement with those who thought this book was uproarious. It's cute, but some of the humor is cliched, and it's more subtle than hysterical.

The problem for me was poor plotting. The first third of the book meanders from scene to scene, with no clear sense of the actual story. It's fun at first--the excerpt does leave one wanting more. But after several more pages, I couldn't help but think: "Is there a point to any of this?" We meet Lola (yes, the requisite Barry Manilow reference does happen), who has an interesting sounding job and annoying co-workers, but that part of the story goes nowhere. Then we have her best female friend, Piper, who's annoying Lola with her obsession with her baby boy, but that never really goes anywhere, either. Finally, we have Hubert, her best male friend, who's devastated over being dumped by his hateful sounding girlfriend, Kelly. He's mopey and pathetic in the beginning, and essentially moves in with Lola. From there, the story morphs into a pseudo triangle with Ryan, Lola's mysterious neighbor, on one side, and Hubert, who shifts from heartbreak over Kelly to wanting to marry Lola in a totally unbelievable instant.

In fact, considering where the novel ends up, I don't understand why the author crafted the first part of the story the way she did. There's no sexual tension, or sense that Hubert has yearned for Kelly (although we're told later he did) so the romantic twist and resolution is ultimately unsatisfying. Plus, Ryan and Lola's sister (so irritating I blocked out her name) are caricatures rather than fleshed out characters--they never felt real to me. As for the neighbors, I simply can't agree with those who found them to be like people they know. I can't agree because I never felt like the author developed these characters at all. They morph together into a united force of buttinskies with no carved out personalities of their own. Lots of lost potential there.

If you're thinking about ordering this book, I do think it's a good price, and it is well written, but imo, the story and pacing needed more work. It read like a first draft to me in terms of plotting, even with the decent prose.

Grade: C
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on November 25, 2010
This was my first time reading anything by Karen McQuestion and to my surprise, I loved her writing! I just bought a Kindle and was looking for books to buy when I ran across this great find. I saw that other readers had rated this book high and for a great price, this book was a steal! The characters were loveable and the book was so entertaining that I could hardly put it down. Parts of the book even made me giggle! It was a quick read which I love. I can't wait to read more of McQuestion's work. I can easily see her being one of my favorite authors.
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on January 15, 2011
I couldn't wait to be done with this book because the heroine is so awful. She is whiny, complains, makes really bad decisions, is selfish, etc. The best friend is well written and I could kind of like the hero. But this was not a fun book.
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on June 1, 2012
This book was terrible. I am surprised it was re-released because I have read better novels from this author. I had a major dislike for the main character and most of the characters in the book. Not only were they unlikable, they were extremely boring, from the anti-social 'heroine', to the extremely distasteful sister, to the handsome hunk with no personality, to the asexual 'love interest'. I couldn't wait to finish it, and I didn't need to since I knew what was going to happen once all of the characters were introduced. It wasn't even slightly funny and you don't feel sorry for a hermit who refuses to try. Give me Bridget Jones any day. It's laugh out loud funny.
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on January 15, 2008
This is an engaging, inviting excerpt and a wonderful cliff-hanger. Lola is a first-rate heroine, self-deprecating and funny but grounded in real life. Her neighbors made me laugh--who hasn't suffered from being scrutinized like this?--and I loved her interactions with her friend Piper. Along the way mysteries are thrown in: why did Lola's great-aunt leave her a house? And how come Hubert visits Piper but can never make time for Lola? But the best is yet to come: tension builds as Lola arrives home to find an intruder in her house. Who can it be? This is smart, savvy writing from Karen McQuestion. I'd love to read on.
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on March 8, 2011
You get what you pay for. I have now read and hated three books priced below $3 and not one was worth the money. Here we have Lola, yet another shallow single career woman who cannot find a man but wait! He's been in her life all along! Now there's a twist the reader didn't see coming! Oh, and toss in the stock Evil Sister and Shallow Handsome Guy and Quirky But Lovable Neighbors and you have any TV sitcom you have ever watched. I agree with Twin Mom's review. Read hers for a good critique. Time for me to get back to true writers like Alison Weir and Ruth Rendell, to name just two whose writing always keeps me up late. On a kinder note, I do feel for the writer. I'm sure she cared about Lola and Hubert; she just didn't take the time to get to know them very well or to make them interesting enough for her readers. Not this reader, anyway.
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on March 26, 2012
This is supposed to be chick-lit, I guess. But bad on the romance department...I really hate when the romance happens between 2 people that have had no chemistry during the whole book.
The 3 stars go for Lola's neighbors, which are funny, interesting people. Not for Lola who's too self-absorbed to see the nice people around her, her sister who is despicable, Ryan who has no personality past the good looks and Hubert who is mopey and clingy. Grrr, they all drove me crazy.
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on March 22, 2012
"Easily Amused" is described as good chick lit, but I thought this novel fell short in a number of ways. The main character is unlikeable and self-centered. The suppoerting characters were much better, although they were saddled with awful names like "Hubert". I was hopeful throughout the novel that the main character would display some redeeming values, but alas it never happened.
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on January 20, 2008
This is the sort of book I would buy immediately after finding it on Amazon or at a book store. It is a style that I like anyway, but I was intrigued by what was going on with the main character and her quirky neighbors. I enjoyed the writing style, and the speaking/thinking style of the main character made her seem like someone my friends and I would hang out with. Of the other ABNA shorts I have read so far, this is the first one I am keeping in the hopes of getting to read the whole thing in the future.
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on August 18, 2014
Let it be known that my first impression of Lola, the heroine in this engaging humorous romantic novel was not positive. I found her sarcasm and negative reaction toward any person who dared to enter her space offsetting. Karen McQuestion ingeniously helps the reader understand the many facets of this character. You laugh with her. You cry with her. You get angry with her and you get angry at her. In other words you feel this character as only a very good writer compels you to do!
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