Tuesday, November 5, 2019

To Be Read : 5 Fall Reads about Family - Top Ten Tuesday


Happy Top Ten Tuesday! This week's prompt was to find Books That Give Off Autumn Vibes. And oof, because living in Texas, "fall/autumn vibes" just isn't as much of a thing for me! And I'm kind of salty about it. Some years the leaves change, some they don't, the temperature is totally all over the place, and it just doesn't have a consistent traditional feeling to it. But regardless of the weather or scenery, family in the fall feels consistent. Gearing up for the holidays means lots of time with family, which can be so different from person to person. So, keep reading, because I've compiled a list of books that I absolutely adore that have strong messages about family, enjoy!




Monday, November 4, 2019

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides - Book Review



Time for a book review! So, let's discuss my most recent read "The Silent Patient" by Alex Michaelides. I am definitely not alone in reading this book during the month of October and while I have some critical things to say about the book, one thing it does do very well is strike that eerie mystery thriller vibe that is so sought after in October. Still reeling over here from the ending to this novel - it is definitely know for its twists! 


"The Silent Patient" is told from two perspectives - Theo, a psychologist, and Alicia, the silent patient. Alicia has gone silent since being charged with the murder of her husband. Theo takes a job just so that he can work with Alicia, he has been following her case and really wants to figure out what makes her tick - why has she gone silent? Did she really murder her husband, if not then why wouldn't she defend herself, and if she did do it, then why go silent? This book is super easy to spoil - so like Alicia, I'll be silent about the rest of it.

After finishing this book, I've landed somewhere between 3 and 4 stars on it. I really enjoyed parts of it, I loved the spooky Daphne du Maurier feel to it and am glad I read it when I did. But the ending, the one that is so well loved, it was just so frustrating for me!

Part of the reason I have a hard time deciding how much I liked this book, is because it was a book club read. When I finished reading "The Silent Patient" it really felt like a three star read - I was v annoyed and felt let down by the ending, but then after chatting with four other women who *loved* it, I felt myself flipping it to a 4 star read, and I started to see why the ending was so appealing.  So I'm rounding up, but with a huge caveat because I'm still not totally on board, I guess?


So much of the enjoyment of this book is built into the twists, and if you aren't into it - the book feels completely different and disappointing. I listened to most of this book, and I don't think I would recommend it as an audiobook. When the twist happened, all I wanted to do was go back to the beginning of the book and see if it actually "worked", and that's a lot harder to do with an audiobook. I was taken so off guard by the ending - which you would think would be the goal with a twist - but it's too the point where it felt cheap to me and just too easy. 

If you have read The Silent Patient, comment down below and let me know what you thought of the twist! If you haven't read it, keep in mind, there will likely be lots of spoilers in the comment section! But even if you haven't read this book, comment down below and let me know the last thriller you read with a twist that totally threw you for a loop! Thanks for reading and watching!



Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Trial of Lizzie Borden - by Cara Robertson - Book Review



 

Time for a #60secondbookreview that feels very fitting for October - "The Trial of Lizzie Borden" by Cara Robertson. This is a non fiction book, and it covers exactly what you think, and it does it in a really informative way. The author did an outstanding job completing this research. It is definitely one of those books where when you're done you just want to invite everyone to your TED Talk about this new topic you've learned so much about. But this book did make me realize just how much personality is part of my enjoyment of murdery things ( can i get a hey hey, fellow murderinos?). Most of the time, but especially when a case happened over 200 years ago, I'm not here for the outcome, I can Google that - I am here for the personality of the individual telling me the story. So while the research was top notch, I do think it fell short on that aspect. 

As you're reading "The Trial of Lizzie Borden", whether you think she is guilty or innocent - it's hard not to become angry for her. One of the arguments for why the murder couldn't have been completed by Lizzie, was that, "Abbie Borden was killed not by the strong hand of a man, but by the weak and ineffectual blows of a woman." huh. Because they both looked pretty dead to me - the pictures are gruesome, guys, don't Google it - plus, the story isn't that she could barely muster a whack, it's that she did 40 and 41 whacks! My favorite parts of the book explored this obvious sexism and how frequently it came up in the trial, as well as the at the time burgeoning field of forensic science. It was super interesting!

Have you read "The Trail of Lizzie Borden"? Comment down below and let me know what you thought of the book! Or let me know your favorite book about murder! Thanks for reading. Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Five Amazing Books You Should Read ( that also happen to have numbers in the title)



Happy Top Ten Tuesday! This week's posting prompt from host, That Artsy Reader Girl, is to find "Book Titles with Numbers In Them", so I have rounded up five books that I really enjoyed reading that also just so happen to have a number featured in the title. This prompt was way easier than I expected it to be, I guess I've just never realized how many books have numbers in the title. Keep reading to check out my picks!

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Great Believers - by Rebecca Makkai - Book Review





Time for a #60secondbookreview! And this week, we'll be discussing "The Great Believers" by Rebecca Makkai.

I love this book *so much* and just want to scream it from the rooftops - it is that kind of book love. What do I have to say to you so you'll be motivated to read this book, too - because it's all that matters to me right now. I want even more people to read it, fall in love with it, and it for it grow in popularity so that Amy Poehler, who owns the production rights, is forced to adapt it as quickly, but also beautifully, as possible. And that's not asking a lot because this book is amazing and really important, as well!

"The Great Believers" follows what is now, one of my absolute favorite literary characters, Yale. He is a gay man living in Chicago in the 1980's. He has this amazing crew of friends, including a woman named Fiona. The story in the book is told from dual perspective and timeline, following Yale in the 1980's - what it was like to be gay at that time, why it was terrifying but also how it could be wonderful. Side note, his story is also so much more than that plotline, and I really didn't feel this book falling into a trope-y or contrived story, which was awesome. The story also follows Fiona in present day as she tracks down her daughter in Paris - which I realize sounds separate, but it's not - omg this book is so good. The layers, you guys! Not only did the characters pull me in, but the book is SO well executed, with the perfect balance of plotting and character development with beautiful writing.  

Have you read The Great Believers? Comment down below and give everyone more reasons to check this book out! Thank you so much for reading! Have a great day!



Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Mars Room by Rachel Kusher - Book Review




#60secondbookreview aka reviewing books as quickly yet thoroughly as I can! And this week's review is for "The Mars Room" by Rachel Kushner.

"The Mars Room" by Rachel Kushner was a two-star read for me, and it's hard to not blame the description writer for some of that. Going into the book it really appealed to me, based on what I had read about it, I thought I would be reading about main character Romy Hall, a woman serving two life sentences in prison, and she is also a mother who is struggling with being away from her child. I'm not totally naive to the hype and also my own preconceived notions of what "female-centric prison stories" look like, I knew that this wouldn't measure up to Orange Is the New Black, for instance. But the reading experience is just SO incredibly different than the description because it leaves out the two other male perspectives that take up a good chunk of the book! Seems like a pretty important thing to include. At its best, for brief fleeting moments, this book did feel a bit like "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" where you had this behind the scenes look at the power trips, unfair treatment, and absurdity that runs amok in institutions like these, but then the perspective would change to the other characters that just added nothing for me to the novel. Overall, it was a pretty terrible reading experience.

Have you read "The Mars Room"? Comment down below and let me know what you thought of it! Was it as much of a reading struggle for you as it was for me? Or, drop a comment below with a female prison novel that you really enjoyed  - because I'm definitely open to trying others! Thanks for reading and watching! Have a great day : )


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

10 Favorites for 10 Years - Top Ten Tuesday

top ten books of the last ten years


It wasn't until I was creating the graphic for this blog post that I realized just how drunk with power this Top Ten Tuesday prompt should have made me feel! - Favorite Books Released In the Last Ten Years. It was easy putting this list together, only because if I really had to think about it, it would be impossible! The bulk of my reading has been books from the last decade - how could I !? How !? So keep reading, check out the shamble of a list I pasted together and let me know - what do you think the best books have been in the last decade!?

the help kathryn stockett

2009

Y'all we are starting off with a * super * eventful year! Random pop culture fact, in 2009 Somalian pirates kidnapped Captain Phillips and his crew, their story would go on to become a movie starring Tom Hanks, and coincidentally, an event that would also become a movie starring Tom Hanks, Captain Sully had his emergency landing on the Hudson River that same year!

In my reading life, 2010 is actually a pretty big year. At that point, I was just far out enough from college to start enjoying reading again! y a y! Not only did I rediscover my love of reading, but I was able to do it in a work environment that was super supportive of reading. I worked on a college campus and it seemed like everyone had a book they were working through, the office I worked in had a lending library, and my reader's heart was super content. My favorite book this year was "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. I read it during breaks at work, and it felt like everyone was reading also! When the movie came out in 2011, my coworkers and I went to see the movie and it was just one of those super fun reading moments we get, you know? Enjoying a wonderful story with friends and also getting to see it adapted perfectly to film!


 


2010

Random pop culture fact, the first ever version of the iPad was released in 2010!  

Favorite book published in 2010, that I didn't actually read until 2016, but who is counting - - is "Room" by Emma Donaghue. As much as I love to be on top of reading amazing books as soon as they hit the shelves, I'm just not sure that this one would have meant as much to me if I had read it in 2010 and do really feel like it was good that I - unintentionally - saved it. When the book was published, I was enjoying my early 20s and didn't have the life experiences needed for "Room" to truly resonate with me, when I read it in 2016 I was a new mother who was absolutely floored by the plot and themes of this heartbreakingly beautiful story of a mother and son. One of my earliest ever #60secondbookreviews was actually for this book!







 



2011

Royal wedding number one, Will and Kate were married in 2011. Also, really!? Because it feels like longer ago! 

"Bossypants" by Tina Fey absolutely wins this year. Because 2011 was * the year * of audiobooks for me, I had a really sedentary job where I answered the phone and didn't really have a reason to get up from my desk but a few times during the day. After work, I wanted to get exercise and started to notice how much better I felt getting exercise while also knocking out reading goals. I definitely recommend listening to this one, Tina's timing is amazing and it just brings the hilarious and heartwarming stories to life!






2012


Fun and timely pop culture fact in what was otherwise a pretty bleak year in the news, 2012 was the release year of the first Avengers movie, unpopular opinion from me - not a fan. 

H o w e v e r, I am a fan of SO MANY BOOKS that came out this year! Where to even begin, I mean really! "The Light Between Oceans" by M.L. Steinman, "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green, "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn, "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes, "Eleanor and Park" by Rainbow Rowell, "The Martian" by Martin Weir, "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed - I think I read that one twice that year - and last but not least, "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman. I can not pick just one, don't make me. They are all unique and amazing and I only chose TFIOS as the cover because it is the book that I enjoyed but also really enjoyed the film adaptation of as well, which is truly my reading favorite - solid film adaptations are bae. But then SO MANY of the books this year were turned into films, too. So I don't know - what a year, though, right!?









2013

This was another devastating year in the news ( Boston Marathon bombings, Bangladesh garment factory collapse, Moore, Oklahoma tornado, to name just a few) but this year also brought us Vine, which was probably more of a double-edged sword for internet culture - but, still pretty entertaining!

I actually don't have a favorite book published this year! But! Taking a peek at Goodreads ( side note, thank you Goodreads for making this Top Ten Tuesday post possible, finding the publishing dates for groups of books was super easy there!) I absolutely have quite a few books that I would like to read from 2013 - and would likely become favorites, too - such as "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt!













2014

The was the year Shia LaBeouf graced us with his "performance art", 2014 what a time to be alive.

My favorite book published in 2014 is hands down "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthoney Doerr. I read this book in 2016, and posted a picture of it on my personal Instagram - which was a gateway drug to #bookstagram and ultimately the blog you are currently reading! I can't imagine how different the last three years would have been without the creative and intellectual and just plain fun outlet of online book blogging, reviewing, photographing and more. Seriously, such a blessing!











2015

Time for some good news headlines, 2015 marked the year that global poverty fell to its lowest point. That year, the percentage dropped below 10%, and while there is still much progress to be made, considering that 50 years prior it was at 60%, it feels like an accomplishment worth noting!

My favorite book published in 2015 is "A Darker Shade of Magic" by V.E. Schwab. I didn't actually read this book, though, until 2018 after watching and reading countless glowing reviews for the series. I also had the opportunity to see Victoria speak at Texas Book Festival - seeing authors speak about their work always gets me jazzed to start it! Fantasy is totally out of my usual reading comfort zone, but I am glad I took a chance on this one!



 

2016

While I live in Texas now, as a former Chicago suburbian, I'm contractually obligated to mention that in 2016 the Cubs broke their 108 year World Series curse! 


My favorite book published in 2016 is a tough one, but I am going to pick "Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch. I *still* think about and recommend this book to others after three years. It is a psychological science fiction thriller - yeah, it's a lot but it does it so well and it does it with H E A R T! It's a such a rare kind of novel and definitely one I would like to reread! But there are so many other books I love that were 2016 books also, "Behind Closed Doors", "When Breath Becomes Air", "Talking as Fast as I Can", and "Lab Girl" by Hope Jahren. Check out a video review that I created for this book below!








 

2017


This year will stand out in my mind for a while because of Hurricane Harvey. My husband and I lived in Corpus Christi, Texas and the night that the storm hit, I was sitting in my parents-in-laws home in Austin, Texas, watching a giant blob move towards our home. Thankfully it stayed safe, but the loss of others and the emotions of the time will definitely stick with me.

My favorite book published in 2017 is "Eleanor Oliphant is Completly Fine" by Gail Honeyman. Not only was this a favorite the year it was published, but it is also still one of my favorite books. There is so much to get out of reading "Eleanor Oliphant", and I would recommend it to most other readers. If you haven't read it yet, definitely give it a chance!


2018

This was a dumpster fire of a year according to most of the internet, but also, you know what - some good things happened - particularly in medicine - fun fact, in 2018, researchers discovered that dogs can help detect malaria! Neat!
My favorite book published in 2018 is "I'll Be Gone in the Dark" by Michelle McNamara. This book is terrifying, haunting, amazing, all of the words you might expect about a nonfiction serial killer book - but it's also hopeful! In part, because the killer was captured shortly after the book was published, but also because of the community of people who came together to make that arrest possible. Check out the #60secondbookreview below I created for the book!





Which brings us to 2019 - the end ta-da!! I don't have a favorite published for the year yet, and I'm excited, but also a little overwhelmed, by the number of amazing books published this year that I still want to read. I'm sure you can relate, reader friends. Comment down below! Let's chat about your favorites from the last decade!


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley - Book Review




#60secondbookreview aka reviewing books as quickly yet thoroughly as I can! And this week's review is for "Boy Erased" by Garrard Conley.

This book is a memoir Garrard wrote about his experiences as a gay teenager and adult, growing up in the bible belt - his dad is actually a preacher at their church. In college, Garrard was outed to his parents by a man who sexually assaulted and raped him. After finding out, his parents insisted that Garrard receive counseling at an organization called Love in Action - it was conversion therapy and Garrard initially willfully attended it because after living a life being told that his attraction to men was sinful, he sought out the help he felt he needed, too.

I had a really difficult time processing everything that happened to Garrard, and I truly appreciate the courage it took for him to share his story. The writing in this book is beautiful and he does such an amazing job really putting you into the story. The emotional toll this organization took on its attendees, it's quiet, and then it's loud, but it isn't necessarily the shock value some readers might expect - but still so harmful. It was hate, under the disguise of compassion and love.

My favorite parts of the book were when Garrard discussed his relationship with his parents - one that was otherwise happy and healthy, and how hard it is to respect and acknowledge that love when their attitude towards his sexuality was- and is - so negative. Side note, Garrard is hilarious, which thoughtfully does not come across in this book, but you should definitely check out interviews of his because they are charming and inspiring.

Let's chat books! What are you currently reading?  Have you read "Boy Erased"? Comment down below with your thoughts! 


   amazon
 goodreads 
 local library 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Bookishly Unboxing - Little Women Theme





So many thank yous to the creative and brilliant ladies at Bookishly for sending this box to me in exchange for an honest review! Check out the video above for my thoughts on the items included, and then head over to their website https://www.bookishly.co.uk/ for adorable bookish merchandise. I love that Bookishly has adorable book boxes, but also merchandise that can be ordered individually, as well!

Snapped a picture of the adorable tote bag included in the box in my IG post. *so cute* right!? Comment below and let me know - what quote would you love to have on a bookish tote bag?!


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A Place for Us by Fatima Mirza - Book Review


Time for another - way longer than intended - I should probably change the name of this thing I do, but I am also committed to the project. help. #60secondbookreview of "A Place for Us" by Fatima Farheen Mirza - a book that felt like being wrapped up in a warm blanket - so cozy.

This debut novel ( which holy moly how is this her first novel!?) follows an Indian American Muslim family, and when the book begins it is set at the wedding of the eldest daughter, Hadia. Hadia has decided to invite her brother, Amar, even though he has been estranged from the family for the last three years.

Through the next 400 plus pages, you get a very close look at the interpersonal relationships of this family : how the parents met, how the siblings interact with each other, and also their individual lives, how the parents interact with the children - and after all of that, you get a very good sense of why Amar is estranged from his family.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I think one of the reasons it works so well is the author's ability to make you feel like you are a part of this family - by the end of the novel you know all of their in's and out's - and because of that it is also does an excellent job of exploring identity. How family and religion can aide but also complicate that process. One you think you've found that, once you feel like you know yourself, your families fight against that image can be a misguided attempt at showing their love, but it can also be one of the most harmful things you experience. 

I did struggle a bit to get into this book, it's a common criticism of the book, so it's nice not to feel alone in that - the hurdle for me was that the book jumps around quite a bit in the timeline of this family, and also between different characters. But, once I was all in, I was all in, and also really want this book to be adapted to film, really rooting for this to happen!

Have you read "A Place for Us"?! What was your reading experience with this novel? Comment down below and let's chat about it!