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Reinventing Mona

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What's new? Me, for starters...

It all began when my job offered me a buy-out package. That's when the realization hit: I'm young, I'm rich (thanks to a hefty inheritance), and I'm boring. Not "needs a little zip" boring, either. More like "mustard stain on a Sears tweed couch" drab. French's in a squeeze bottle, that's me. But suddenly I have Grey Poupon aspirations! Things are gonna change-starting now...

Building a better mantrap...

First things first: Exercise. Carrot juice. Straight hair. Whiter teeth. Clothes that fit (I have breasts? Who knew?) But wait-there's more. Life's kicked me around a bit, and I've been nursing my wounds for too long. I'm finally ready to take a chance on love with the perfect guy. He's handsome. He's smart. He's reliable. He's my CPA. Problem is, I'm clueless about winning him over. It's time to call in an expert. It's time to call in The Dog.

Down, boy.

Mike "The Dog" Dougherty is a man's man. A guy's guy. Okay, he's a chauvinist pig, and his sty is "The Dog House," a testosterone-charged column in Maximum for Him magazine. On one hand, I abhor all he stands for. On the other hand, who better to coach me? So here I am. Learning the complex unspoken language of the American male (Talk, bad. Sex, good.); trying exciting new things (Stripping lessons are empowering. Really.); falling for Mike. Uh oh. But the Mike I'm getting to know is different from The Dog. And the Mona I'm becoming isn't quite who I expected, either.

This whole makeover scheme is getting crazier by the minute. But "crazy" beats "boring"...right?

Jennifer Coburn is an award-winning journalist who has written for magazines and newspapers in the United States, Canada and Australia. She lives in San Diego with her husband, William and their daughter, Katie. Jennifer desperately wishes she had Mona's unlimited cash, beachfront estate and singing voice.

When she's not living vicariously through chick-lit characters, Jennifer runs a public relations business which serves non-profit organizations and small businesses in southern California. She is also the coordinator of the Del Cerro Soccer Moms League and coach of the real-life Kickin' Chicks, the best seven-year-old girls to ever tear up suburban soccer fields.

314 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 2005

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About the author

Jennifer Coburn

18 books505 followers
Jennifer Coburn is the author of CRADLES OF THE REICH, a historical novel about three very different German women who meet at a Nazi Lebensborn breeding home.

She is the author of a travel memoir, six contemporary novel, and contributor to five literary anthologies. Jennifer has written for U-T San Diego, Washington Post, Miami Herald, Mothering magazine, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, and numerous other newspapers and magazines. She lives in San Diego with her husband William and their daughter Katie.

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5 stars
600 (16%)
4 stars
1,050 (29%)
3 stars
1,274 (35%)
2 stars
468 (13%)
1 star
166 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 346 reviews
Profile Image for Anu.
365 reviews884 followers
May 14, 2016
If you want a book that tells you you need to change every aspect of yourself to make a person fall in love with you, read this shit. Mona "my self esteem is so low, I could be renamed rock-bottom" Warren has been secretly planning her wedding to Adam "I'm that perfect pastel upper middle class guy that you want to bring to your parents" Zielger. But then she falls for her er, "coach" Mike "the ultimate chauvinist" Dougherty, though he likes calling himself "The Dog". So basically, Rock Bottom quits her boring job to, er, reinvent herself, which in her case is basically changing everything about her face, body, and soul to be the perfect wife for Perfect. She hires Ultimate Chauvinist to help her become the "perfect woman that all men want", and he in turn hires his stripper sister to help her with the "looking good" aspect of it. What follows is a series of er, misadventures, for lack of a better term, where she tries to woo Perfect. Needless to say, she ends up with Ultimate Chauvinist, because why the fuck not. The only voice of reason here is Rock Bottom's best friend Greta "I'm a closet lesbian" something or the other, who gives Rock Bottom sane advice like not changing just so a boy can like you, but of course, she's stupid and naive and innocuous, so she really doesn't listen much. I liked Closet right up until she confessed her feelings for Rock Bottom, and fessed up about leaving a perfectly wonderful woman who actually cared for her just so she could get with Rock Bottom. Why? Just why?

Just, save yourself the trouble of reading this and watch The Ugly Truth. They tell literally the same stupid story, but at least in that, you have the glorious pleasure of ogling at Gerard Butler.
Profile Image for Tammy.
9 reviews
January 26, 2014
Ughhhhh! I picked this book for its potential as a between reads read. I didn't expect much more than a quick, light read. Halfway through, I realized that I was really enjoying it. But THEN about 92% of the way through, a particularly corny and unbelievable scene completely turned me off and I didn't even finish what little I had left. This ending screamed of a looming deadline and I hope the author did, in fact, rush the ending, otherwise I worry about how in touch with reality she is. Awful ending to an otherwise enjoyable story.
Profile Image for Kira.
319 reviews6 followers
August 13, 2015
This was a hard book for me to rate. Mona was annoying as a character at first, but I enjoyed the developing storyline where she got a life, and I kept waiting for more to be revealed about Mike's backstory and for them to get together. However It killed the story for me.
There were a few aspects I didn't think were delved into enough too, but for a fast, light read, it was okay.
Profile Image for Jacqueline.
1,628 reviews148 followers
April 18, 2018
A decent enough enough read until the ending *cringe*
Profile Image for Sandy.
498 reviews20 followers
June 29, 2009
Honestly, I think this book is terribly boring and awkward. I regret ever picking it up and it's the most boring book in the history of fiction and literature. Storyline was exciting but not the story. I won't ever pick up another book by Jennifer Coburn. I want my time back. 0 stars.
August 23, 2016
This was an okay story. What I enjoyed the most was the sarcastic writing. It made me laugh in many parts. The development of the romance, if too quick at the end, was paced better than I thought. Mona and Mike started as business acquaintance but slowly developed a friendship that's bound to turn to romance. Mike has definitely grown from the arrogant self-centered man who is also anti-women. His relationship with Mona was sweet and supportive of her as a person. I found the moment I loved that part the most.
Profile Image for Taryn.
24 reviews2 followers
February 3, 2017
I picked this book off my daily bookbub in hopes of one of those quick easy love stories to break up my heavy fiction books. It was awful. I read it as quickly as I could just so I could be done with it and move on. Mona was so unrealistic it hurt. I cannot even imagine a person who thinks or acts like she does. I have to say I have made minor changes because of the person I'm dating, but never for someone I haven't even started dating. And by minor changes I mean going to a concert of a band that I'm not particularly fond of, but enjoying the beer while I am there. Nothing even close to what the main character did here. Overall I would recommend skipping it.
26 reviews1 follower
October 19, 2015
So enjoyable!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The storyline was different and so well written. The characters were so unique. I will definitely read more of this authors books.
Profile Image for Michele.
109 reviews54 followers
October 2, 2017
I got this book for free on Kindle. I usually browse around the amazon store for free books and sometimes I find some hidden gems - this was definitely one of them. I loved this book so much. It was free and the cover was not very appealing, so my expectations weren't very high, but I'm so glad I decided to give this a try anyway. This is not a great piece of literature, but it's was so funny and entertaining that I still think it deserves 4 starts.

In this one we follow Mona and she's not happy. She has a great job, but her social life is a joke and she's not happy with the person she is at the moment. Her job offers her a buyout and she inherits a lot of money. So, without a job and with a lot of time in her hands, she decides to reinvent herself. Since she has no idea what she's doing, she decides to hire a coach to help her with that and they end up becoming great friends.

This book was so cute and I found myself actually laughing out loud while reading it! If you're a fan of chick-lit and romance, I'd say this one if for you. I have no idea if this is still available for free on Amazon, but I think it's worth buying it anyway!

For more book reviews and other bookish things: www.letmecrossover.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Lori Anaple.
304 reviews7 followers
August 15, 2012
I was expecting total fluff (and it is) but what I didn't expect was the backstory of what happened to Mona's family in Montana before moving to California. I found that part of the story so sad. Perhaps I gave it more weight and meaning because it caught me guard. I don't know. I know that I enjoyed it and wished there was more about that time in her life.

I did find it hard to believe that this woman who had no life just went out and got one in a matter of weeks. She should have been more lost I would think trying to navigate through everything. On the other hand, she did bury her feelings for so long perhaps she didn't know what to do.

Let me sum it up like this.... It was hard for me to review because I read the romantic portion of it as I would normally read chic lit, it was predictable and fluffy. But I wanted to read the backstory portion of it as more contemp lit and that is where my disconnect comes from. I liked it though. More than a lot of chic lit that is out there.
Profile Image for Leelo Loves-Books.
107 reviews14 followers
January 20, 2014
Ok, so at first Mona's moaning and groaning got on my nerves hence my original...

But it all turned around somehow. I have no idea how. Well, maybe I do. Mike. One word....

He walked in like a ray of sunshine on Mona's overcast and pathetic life. He made the story fun. He was flirty, sarcastic, edgy and yes arrogant. Not to mention A-typical male 'dog' asshole. But he's forgiven. He made me smile and laugh and forget that Mona had dragged me unto her 'Sappy, no hope for Mona' train wreck...I mean,ride.

And of course she didn't realize he was perfect for her . Shame Mona! Shame on you!

Oh yeah, there were other characters in there....somewhere.....
Profile Image for Jessica Robinett.
7 reviews23 followers
July 31, 2014
This story had such potential!!! But apparently that doesn't make a good novel. The writing just left me feeling like an outsider. The book is written in 3rd person, but there was absolutely no connection to the characters.

The heroine was obnoxious most of the time and the hero was a douche rocket up until the last 10% of the book when he magically becomes interested and in love with the heroine. Really???

No. Just no.
Profile Image for Amber.
89 reviews14 followers
May 13, 2015
This was a fun read. It was better than I expected. It somewhat reminded me of the movie "he's just not that into you."
Profile Image for Marjorie.
667 reviews6 followers
April 15, 2018
From the publisher's blurb you could be led to believe that this is a humourous book. Sadly, it really isn't. There are attempts at an almost black kind of humour here but they really don't work. In fact I spent more time wincing than producing a smirk which is all I really expect a humourous book to do for me. If you want genuine funny read Susan E Paul.

The main character, Mona, certainly lives up to her name. She moans - a lot. This is dressed up as being in touch with her inner self or her feelings or some such. In reality it is just moaning - she doesn't know how to "be" in a modern world because of her hippy upbringing removed from all modern conveniences. Although nearly 30 and having spent the last 15 years living with her outrageously wealthy Grandmother she still doesn't have a handle on life because of her upbringing. I call hooey.

Even worse her pursuit of her CPA is nothing less than stalkerish but this is seen to be acceptable because she's female and clueless. The employing of "The Dog" is completely laughable and her constant turning to a local theatre troupe to provide scenarios for her dates just tips the whole thing in to farce. I'm not after realism in this genre because who wants to read about the perfect guy's foibles and filthy habits (we all have them) but I do expect there to be some grounding in the realism of how people actually are. This certainly has none of that.

The best I can say about this book is that it passed the time and took little to no brain power to read. The characters are all pretty much either unlikeable (the best friend who's a therapist you would have ditched long ago even if it left you friendless - who needs that negativity in your life?), preposterous or barely fill a sentence with their fictional personality.

This got 2 Stars instead of 1 because there is at least an attempt of a plot here. Unfortunately the skeleton of this can be seen through the text so you know after only 3 or 4 chapters more or less how things will unfold. At least the author tried to make one rather than meandering along with no real idea how to get from Point A to Point B.
Profile Image for Sandra Lopez.
Author 3 books318 followers
December 11, 2018
Mona is a dull drone that just wants “to be seen, to be known, to matter.” She feels insipid, vacuous, and plain vanilla. Her goal is simple: Marry Adam (her dream guy), have his children, and live a life of marital bliss and happily ever after. How very Donna Reed.

Right away, Mona strikes me as very naïve and neurotic. I mean, I wouldn’t have quit my job for trying to become the woman of some guy’s dreams and to transform her life into the “wonderful life.” I mean, it be interesting to see how she’d go about doing something like that. But I agree with Judy that Mona should really focus on loving herself rather than aim to be “disgustingly married” to Adam by next Christmas.

Narrator Mona deviates often with her inane ramblings and goes off tangent often. One minute, she’s an adult talking about her “plans” and, the next, she’s a teenager reliving her past. WTF?! Who cares!

Bulk of the story is on Mona yammering on and on over senseless, useless stuff. She’s basically a student of dating and was aiming to convince (or voodoo) Adam into thinking that she was perfect for him.

A fruitless story with no end.

Best quote: “Changing yourself into who you think someone wants is hurting yourself. It’s a rejection of who you are…[it’s] emotional suicide.” (LOC 449)
1,578 reviews32 followers
January 27, 2017
I enjoyed Jennifer Coburn's book, Reinventing Mona. This book is the story of Mona Warren who decides to retire at age 30. She has one friend, no family left, no hobbies, and worst of all no boyfriend! She describes herself as "the mustard stain on a Sears tweed couch". Her fantasy is to marry her CPA of 7 years, Adam Ziegler. So when she reads a column called The Dog House by Mike"the dog" Dougherty, she decides to hire him as a male consultant/guy coach. She will use him to get insight into how men think. As Mike helps Sara, they get to know each other by e-mails and phone calls. Mike also enlists the help of his little sister, Vicki, for decisions on clothes and hair. Sara eventually manages to get a date with Adam by taking him to the Ozzfest event he wants to go to. The more time she spends with Adam the more she realizes that she is just using him to fill a void. Throughout her journey, Sara gets to know Mike and Vicki, and they become close. This fun book has a lot of quirky characters, a likable heroine, and self discovery. It was entertaining!

5 reviews
February 25, 2023
Hilarious Page Turner

If you like Monty Python , you'll love this book. It's a spoof about what used to be known in literature as a black comedy, meaning dark. (I don't know what they call it in this time of PC). Mona loses her way of life in a commune in Montana, when her whole family and her first love die in a car wreck. She lands an easy life with her rich grandmother in San Diego, but no good ever goes unpunished in this genre. Not only does her grandma die leaving her wealthy so the loss of her job is a good thing, but she hasn't a clue how to be normal and get the one thing she wants, a family, including the man of her erotic dreams. If you want a typical romance, this isn't it, but if you like comedy you'll enjoy the antics of Mona trying to get her man by hiring a male advice columnist called Dog. His advice is aimed at teaching women how to interpret the male species. I laughed all the way through the book as this alpha male becomes her mentor, and, yes becomes her love object despite the success of him teaching her how to catch the man of her dreams, her accountant. ❤️
79 reviews1 follower
July 3, 2018
I loved who and how Mona reinvented herself

Mona has spent her entire life invisible, not really on purpose, but when circumstances allow her the opportunity to do anything she wants to, she sets her sights on the man Adam, that had been her grandmothers’ accountant and had all the right ingredients to be the ideal man for her. To achieve this monumental task, Mona hires Mike, the author of a ridiculously male advice column to teach her how men think. She pays him for months of “no holds barred” lessons, but fires him half way through because she has actually fallen for him, it thinks he doesn’t share those emotions, or any emotions.

Along the way Mona’s former vanilla life gains more color than the rainbow in both friends and activities. This story also offers beautiful depictions of bygone days of Coronado, Ca and Missoula, Montana making me wish I could go back and see either location in their former pristine condition. Thank you for that.
532 reviews5 followers
August 11, 2018
Mona is boring, it's official! Then one day she gets a buy-out package from work which she jumps at. She can afford to after all, as she is rich thanks to a large inheritance. She decides that things are going to change and she is going to get herself a whole new look, a whole new mind set and in fact a whole new life.

This new life includes marrying the man of her dreams, her accountant, who barely knows she exisits. She is clueless about winning him over so she decides to call in an expert. She gets Mike "The Dog " Dougherty. He writes a column for a mens magazine and is a man's man, a chauvinist pig, but he knows how men think so Mona hires him to to coach her. Mike's first bit of advice is stripping lessons!

Gradually Mona gets to know Mike and she realises that the Mike she thought he was, isn't who he is. Nor is she becoming the person she thought she would. She no longer wants the accountant, she wants Mike.

Of course it has the happy, predcitable ending but this book is very funny and I actually did laugh out loud in places. A very good, easy read for when you just need a bit of light relief.
Profile Image for Stacy Sabala.
1,056 reviews3 followers
June 16, 2019
Book Review- Reinventing Mona by Jennifer Coburn

Mona decides to quit her job and enjoy life. She is determined to win over the man she loves. So, she hires the man behind the column in the magazine. She needs to know how men think and what they want. This story was interesting as Mona and Dog team up. He is such a jerk and some of the words out of his mouth are shocking and hilarious. I can just picture Mona looking at him just blinking, not knowing how to begin to process what he said.
What makes the story great is he is good for her. Her confidence grows, and she finds herself. She starts to realize what she likes. The story was a bit predictable but a fun ride to get there. The scene at the musical was a bit odd. I wasn’t expecting all the declarations. Mona is an awesome person with a huge heart. The reader gets a good ending that works for the characters. I liked the story and the realistic characters that the author developed. Great read. I give it a 4 out of 5.
Profile Image for Amy.
815 reviews17 followers
July 30, 2017
Chick lit at it's most mediocre. The references to Google, cell phones, current movies and music definitely date this book. Easy to see where it's going with the Dog and Adam from the get go, but the way it comes to a head is pretty much unbelievable. I could have certainly done without the liberally sprinkled political views. I would have liked to have seen more character development with Greta, and more background of Mona' s job, so we'd get a better idea of what she was leaving- not necessarily giving up. I did appreciate how she evolved fairly dramatically and nearly overnight. Slay those dragons, girl!
What the heck happened once she got in the Naval Base, anyway???
A few typographical errors and being a little disjointed here and there also lend their contribution to the two star rating. Read this if you need a giggle and you've exhausted everything else in your library.
Profile Image for Julia.
267 reviews4 followers
April 2, 2018
This book had an interesting premise. A socially awkward woman hires a man known to be a guys guy with misogynistic opinions to help her be more attractive to her long time crush. The author describes the main character’s backstory very clearly and her long time crush very clearly and she invents outlandish scenarios for her main character, but she doesn’t describe people, especially if her main character will eventually fall in love with them. She doesn’t describe genuine secure romantic feelings or deep romantic relationships or first kisses or anything physical.
The ending felt very cut-scene Hollywood style which for a book was a bit of a cheat. If she cut the plot line in half and went deeper with the remaining plot lines it would have felt more satisfying to read.

Profile Image for loretta larson.
118 reviews
March 27, 2019
Simply scintillating

I can’t figure out if I loved the book or not. It was just so crazy at every turn that I couldn’t stop reading it. Read most of it in one day! Mona has got to be the most complicated character I’ve ever come across. Very endearing. Clever girl, yet she had no idea just how wonderful she really was. How many of us can relate to that feeling of confusion, of doubting our own special brand of awesomeness? I know I can. And eventually she sees herself through others’ eyes. Coming to be at peace with herself at the end. I loved it. I really loved it!
Profile Image for Steph Hebb.
29 reviews
January 2, 2022
I didn't care for this from the start, it seemed to give the message of you have to change yourself to find live and that irked me. Despite that and the fact it had every chick lit cliche possible, it still held my interest enough to keep going. That was until I got to the part of hiring the actor for Ozzfest. It was just too much desperation for me but still decided to keep reading a bit. Got to the hired actor at the zoo part and just had enough. It was like a book version of a really bad Hallmark movie. It's nice some people seemed to enjoy this book but definetely not for me.
Profile Image for Elvira.
7 reviews
December 2, 2017
.dont bother

Don't bother getting this book. Even if it's free. It's a total bore. There nothing about this book that actually makes me want to finish it. I skipped around trying to actually find the point to the story and I couldn't. Mona was absolutely the worst character I've ever read. It was like reading the story of a sixteen year old. And mike. Ok goodness I have no words. Just horrible
405 reviews5 followers
April 13, 2018

First I would like to say this but definitely surprised me with how good it was, it has a lot of heart and meaning behind the story. It’s really great to see all the characters of all of and grow throughout the story. However, there are flaws and somethings are a bit ridiculous, it is the most horrifying some of the antics and behaviors in the story. But like I said it has a lot of heart and when you can look past some of the quirks it is extremely enjoyable.
April 20, 2018
An enjoyable, quick romance. Yes, the main character is clueless, but so is all the writers at Cosmo and Glamour and most female mags, so what's new? A fun read and the bonus is that I didn't end up in somebody else's bedroom while they are having sex. Always great as books don't come with PG ratings, like videos and sometimes (Okay, most of the times) I really don't want to a share a bed with another couple. The end is rushed and over the top, but this is a just for fun read, so it is okay.
148 reviews
May 12, 2018
Hilarious! Don't read whilst eating or drinking -

as you will choke. Absolutely laugh out loud funny. Page after page it was a pleasure to read about Mona's transformation. This book is chock full of laughter, joy, sadness, personal growth and my favourite - sarcasm. I loved the characters, so varied and we'll developed. The ending was fabulous and rather surprising. ;-) Treat yourself to a few darn good belly laughs!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 346 reviews

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