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The Next Thing on My List

September 24, 2008

Hooray for wifi! I just now finished a book while hanging out, in an ever so flattering hospital gown, awaiting my proceedure (yep, today is Lumpectomy day) so figured I would post about a book that’s been hanging around my “draft” pile for awhile. What did we ever do without all this technology? 🙂 Huh, we probably read more, right?


A Novel# 2. Kiss a Stranger. June Parker has just six months to cross off twenty items on a “20 things to do by my 25th birthday” list. Only June is in her mid-thirties. And the list wasn’t even written by her.

Racked with guilt after getting in a car accident in which her passenger, Marissa, is killed, June decides to complete the list which she finds in Marissa’s wallet. Some of the items are rather simple like #16. Get a massage or #11. Pitch an idea at work, while others seem almost impossible, including the most intimidating one #3. Change someone’s life. With a crew of good friends and even some help from Marissa’s brother Troy, June sets off to meet her deadline. What June doesn’t realize that while trying to check off things on Marissa’s list, she will be also finding herself in the process.

First, let me say that the book cover for The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinksi is way cool. It’s hard to see in the graphic, but each little section of the dandelion that is floating upwards is numbered, just like the items from the list. It is an excellent visual representation of the novel and very well done.

Now, to the book itself. The death of a character, right at the beginning of the story might seem like a bummer, but Ms. Smolinski uses it as a catalyst for the rest of the story. Instead of a heavy book laden with deepemotions, the writing is kept light and the entire novel keeps a positive spin on the unfortunate situation June finds herself in. I zipped through The Next Thing on My List very quickly. A cute, quirky, laugh-out-loud little novel which is just plain fun to read. If you are looking for a sweet book to throw into your beach bag this summer, then look no further. June is a very likable character (think of a best girlfriend with a sharp wit and a great sense of humor). Even though some parts of the plot are a tad predictable, it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. You can’t help but root for June to finish the list, and in doing so see how she grows as a person. Add to that a satisfying ending (albeit a little too tidy) and you have the workings of a really nice read.

You can see more reviews of this book at Book Escape,, and Books on the Brain (where some of the members of Lisa’s book club also give their opinions). You can also read an interview with the author on Lisa’s blog.  

I read The Next Thing on My List for my book club and we were fortunate to talk to Ms. Smolinskiwhen she called into our meeting. This was only the second time in which we were able to talk to an author (the first time was with Kate Jacobs to discuss The Friday Night Knitting Club) and we were all so impressed by how genuinely nice Jill Smolinski is and were grateful that she answered all of our questions so thoroughly. After asking her about any good books she’s read recently, Smolinski admitted to being a big Twilight fan (and recently finished Breaking Dawn in two days flat). Now how could you not just love a girl like that? For more information about the author, check out her website here).

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Melanie permalink
    September 24, 2008 1:42 pm

    Good luck today. I have had ‘stuff’ taken out of my breast 2 times. I know what you’re going through. Best of luck.

  2. September 24, 2008 2:05 pm

    Good review! I read the book when it was first published and liked it. I agree with everything you said.

    Take care, I’ve been there too. We’re all sending positive thoughts :~)

  3. September 24, 2008 2:10 pm

    Thinking of you and good luck.

  4. September 24, 2008 2:18 pm

    Good luck today! I’ll be thinking of you!

  5. September 24, 2008 2:48 pm

    I’m jealous you got a call-in. We read it for our book club and I thought it was a fun read.

    Thinking of you today…

  6. September 24, 2008 4:19 pm

    Stephanie, thanks for linking over to the interview with Jill. Isn’t she a kick? We enjoyed that meeting so much- it ranks right up there with the top 3 or 4 book club meetings ever!

    I’m glad you’re able to be distracted by reading/writing while going through all the medical stuff you’re dealing with. Technology does come in handy at times! Good luck today (saying a little prayer for Steph).

  7. tammywiz permalink
    September 24, 2008 7:49 pm

    Glad your procedure is over with & I hope it is followed with some good news. I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts (and prayers, of course).

    Take care.

  8. September 24, 2008 8:14 pm

    I’ll be thinking of you, Stephanie!
    BTW, I’ve two awards for you. 🙂

  9. September 24, 2008 10:21 pm

    This sounds like a good bit of brain candy! Off to add it to my TBR list.

    Hope all went well today. As always, you’re in my thoughts. Take care, dear friend.

  10. September 24, 2008 11:06 pm

    I really hope everything went smoothly with your procedure today!

    This sounds like a chick lit book with some substance! Those can be difficult to find!

  11. September 25, 2008 12:32 pm

    Steph – I hope things went well for you! You are in my thoughts.

  12. September 26, 2008 6:04 pm

    Thanks for this book review — looks like one I’ll enjoy reading.

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