Category Archives: Book Review

Recent Reads…

A few reviews – only because I just read 2 really good books!  I’ve got 3 books on my “nightstand” right now.  It just seems that every night when I do finally lay down to read I am either distracted by mindless TV or I seriously fall asleep in like 90 seconds… #old  The three I am currently reading are:  Under the Banner of Heaven, Scorch Trials (seeing the movie tonight with Cady!) and The Martian.  I’ll let ya know how they are!

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes!!! Read this one!!! This was recommended to me by a friend who mentioned it was a gaming book and I never thought of it again. Then when I was looking for something to read I ended up coming across it on a bestsellers list on amazon. I figured what the heck… I LOVED IT! And I’m not a gamer. I am a child of the 80s though and I enjoyed all of the 80s references so much! These characters (though they mostly live in a virtual world) are believable and likeable and you will find yourself rooting for them. I was hooked by the 2nd chapter. I haven’t read a YA book with such a great premise since Hunger Games and that is a big compliment in my world.

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a cute book. You will definitely fall in love with Augie. There are certainly some sad parts and you want to strangle a few 6th graders but overall, you feel pretty good about things at the end of the story. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to go through life with a disfigurement like Augie has…it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be his mom. I would not classify this as a YA book, more like a middle grade book. It may be classified as that already but for some reason I thought it was YA. I had it on my “to read” list and my daughter actually owned it and told me she had read it in junior high. It’s a sweet story and you appreciate the strength people can exhibit when needed.

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Recent Book Reiews…

I thought I’d share my reviews of a few good books I’ve read lately.  Wow, I just realized although these are the 3 highest rated I’ve read recently they are super depressing!  But… they are all really good.  I didn’t include descriptions of the books because there is a nifty link that will take you to descriptions, additional reviews, purchase info, etc.  – Thanks Goodreads!  Next up I’m going to read something fun and happy!  Any suggestions?  Off to find something on amazon…

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished The Girl on the Train: A Novel. Loved it. I like characters that are a little bit crazy and devious, this story is that and more… It’s a great mystery and you aren’t really sure what is going on until well into the book. It has its fair share of abuse, loveless cheating relationships, depressing alcoholism – but I still found myself rooting for the main character.

Dark PlacesDark Places by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I gave this book a 4 because Gillian Flynn is honestly such a gifted writer. Her way with words transports you into these characters’ minds and their environments. I found their thoughts and perceptions disturbing and evoking – in my opinion that make the writing very good. That being said… The book is…well… dark. I felt like I needed to shower after reading it some nights and I also felt like I needed to read something light and uplifting when I finished it. I didn’t actually enjoy any of the characters or their stories because they were so grimy and depressing. I read this book in preparation for going to a screening of the film but after reading it, I knew I couldn’t sit through the film… So kudos on the writing and style, I just wish there was a little “light” to the story.

What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and LoveWhat Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love by Carole Radziwill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book…I saw Carole on RHoNY and became interested in her story. Then I had a friend mention how much she loved this book. So I downloaded it and I agree, it is so good. The writing is not great, but I think that lends to the authenticity of the story. It’s not full of prose and elaborate descriptions. It’s real. It’s written more like you are just sitting down with the author and she is telling you her story over a glass of wine. I ugly cried at the end. I knew the ending going in (obviously) but my heart still broke for Carole. I rarely read memoirs and prefer more fiction so this was way out of my general read list. I’m so glad I picked it up. “Bravo” Carole – I’m looking forward to reading more of your work. 🙂

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Book Review (s) – The Best of Me & The Longest Ride

I read both of these Nick Sparks books a couple of months ago.  I was going to review something I’ve read more recently but then remembered these.  I had the opportunity to interview Nick Sparks a few years ago when he wrote The Last Song.  I loved chatting with him about writing and the whole process and how he became so successful.  I was interviewing him because of the movie that was made based on the book starring Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth.  I also got to interview the rest of the cast – it was a fun weekend in LA to say the least.  Matt interviewed him most recently for The Longest Ride and also the cast from that movie.  (Hello Scott Eastwood – swoon!).  This will be a short book review but I’ll also put some links at the bottom to Matt’s movie review and interviews if you’re interested….

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The Best of Me – I did NOT like this book.  It had a sweet premise and I liked the characters but the ending was awful.  WAY too unbelievable and it just tried too hard to be something it wasn’t.  By the end I was like “this is ridiculous!”.  I have also heard from several people that the movie is awful so you may want to skip this one.

LongestRideBookcover

The Longest Ride – I liked this book.  I enjoyed the characters, they were easy to like and relatable.  I appreciated the bull riding aspect and know more about bull riding now than I may ever need to know in this lifetime.  I also really enjoyed that it was a dual romance (2 couples in love decades apart).  I did think the end (again…) was a little unbelievable.  I didn’t like that everything was wrapped up in such a perfect bow.  I was excited to see this movie tho.  Matt and I even went to a special press screening of the movie and Nick and Scott Eastwood and Brit Robertson were there…

LR

I don’t want this to turn into a movie review but I did not like the movie at all.  I’ve had a few friends say they enjoyed it and I’m like “did you see the same movie as me?!”.  Anyway.  We didn’t even stay to talk to Nick or the cast… I was ready to go home.  Matt had scheduled time with them the following day so it wasn’t a big deal.  In a nutshell… Read the book, I enjoyed it!  Make your own decision about the movie. 😉

Matt’s Reviews & Interviews: Click Here

Book Review: Silkworm

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I mentioned that after spending several weeks in November/early December working on my manuscript, I went into “receive” mode.  I wasn’t in the mood to express, just absorb whatever was happening around me.   I listened to lots of music (and even started the Serial podcast), watched tons of movies, and read several books.  One of my favorites was Silkworm.  I’m a fan of J.K. Rowling’s writing style (hello…Harry Potter).  Since the HP series she has branched out and started to write books targeted at adults.  I wasn’t immediately drawn in by Vacancy (I may need to pick it up and try again), but I loved 2013’s The Cuckoo’s Calling. Cuckoo’s Calling is book one in a mystery series that she writes under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

Silkworm is book 2 in the series (also known as the Cormoran Strike series).  It’s the story of a writer that goes missing.  The missing writer’s wife contacts Cormoran (he’s a private detective) to help find him.  As the investigation unfolds, it is discovered that the writer had a secret life and quite a few skeletons in the closet.  A book surfaces that is supposedly by the missing author and it is JACKED UP!  Like it’s gross and perverted and based on people the writer knew…it’s no wonder someone wanted the guy dead!

I love the writing style in these novels (smart and witty) and I love that they take place in the UK.  The language and descriptions are so good that you feel like you are actually on the investigation with Strike.  I should mention that these books aren’t quick reads.  Both Cuckoo’s and Silkworm took me several days (I had to recheck it out at the library).  If you’re looking for something to start and finish in an afternoon, this isn’t it.  You need to take time to digest the chapters, no skimming!  I can’t wait for the next one.

Oh wait, here is another reason it took me longer to finish... FEETS all in my face

Oh wait, here is another reason it took me longer to finish… FEETS all in my face

I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads.  I’m participating in the Goodreads 2015 reading challenge, feel free to follow along!

Book Review: Big Little Lies

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From Amazon:

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .

A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.


I started reading this book almost a month ago and I just finished it last week… which might be an indication for ya.  If I LOVE a novel, I will finish it in a couple of days.  If I hate a novel, I won’t finish it… This one fell somewhere in the middle.  I enjoyed it when I found the time to read, but not enough to read every free second I had.  I loved Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret so that’s why I gave this one a shot.

Here’s what I liked about the book.

1. It took place in Australia – I like reading books that take place in other countries/continents… it’s sorta like taking a vacation and exploring a new place.

2. This book was about being a mama and I’d say most types of moms were represented.  Professional, stay at home, single, divorced.  There are all sorts of us out there so it’s nice to see multiple types of moms with their own unique challenges.  I think we can all identify with parts of each character in the book… that being said…

Here’s what I didn’t like.

1. The book seemed so slow.  Every chapter was building up to the big trivia night which took place at the very end of the book.  It was a lot of build up for not much.

2.  Although I could identify with parts of the characters on some levels, I found myself not caring about any of them.  They seemed mostly shallow and not well developed.  And predictable… they were all so predictable.

Unfortunately I’d only give this book a 2.5 out of 5 stars.  I wanted to love it, but in the end I was just meh.  If you have free time (like a long plane ride and the book is free), it might be acceptable.  The book description starts out with “A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?   What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.   But who did what?”  The book is NOTHING like that.  If you are looking for an exciting page turner, this is NOT it.