Thursday, August 17, 2017

Library Book Haul - August 2017

I've been quite a few states away from home, visiting family for the last month - one of the first things I did before heading home from vacation - put book on hold so that they would be ready for me to pick up at the library the day I came home. I think I may have a problem. jk, the library is life. Keep reading to find out which books I'm excited to read in the month of August and comment below to tell me which of these books you've read and I need to read first/ immediately return to the library!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ginny Moon- by Benjamin Ludwig - Book Review

This book is one that grabbed me right away because of the description and the reviews. "Meet Ginny. She’s fourteen, autistic, and has a heart-breaking secret… Ginny Moon is trying to make sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up…." I had to know what Ginny's secret was, and I was really intrigued by the idea of an autistic narrator-  while there have been a couple of well known books from that perspective, I haven't read a book like this before and wanted to see how that might work as a narrative choice. Read more to see my thoughts on "Ginny Moon" by Benjamin Ludwig. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

When We Collided- by Emery Lord- Book Review

A YA book!? whaaaa!? Maybe it's thanks to #booktube, #bookstagram, my blog reading obsession- so many possible reasons- but YA has been on my brain lately. And with a million different titles to start with it was hard to know where to begin. The premise and cover for "When We Collided" just called my name- was it a good place to start? Did I break my curse of disliking YA fiction? Keep reading to find out! ; )

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hillbilly Elegy - by JD Vance - Book Review

Rarely ( like close to never) do I hear that a book is "politically charged" and then decide to pick it up- so I'm *super* surprised with myself that I picked this book up! Not only did I pick it up, but I finished it in record time, and I'm even more surprised that I *so* enjoyed it! Keep reading to see my thoughts on "Hillbilly Elegy" by JD Vance.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Siracusa - by Delia Ephron - Book Review

Delia Ephron, screenwriter of much loved films such as "You've Got Mail", "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants", and "Michael" wrote a fiction book? Well, sign me up! Sounds super cute, and just what I want to read these light weeks at the beginning of summer ! But, oh boy, was I surprised by what waited for me in Ephron's book, "Siracusa"!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Allie and Bea - by Catherine Ryan Hyde- Book Review

"Pay it Forward" is one of my favorite movies. While the cast is obviously wonderful, the story is just as strong and enjoyable. When I found out the author of the book that inspired "Pay it Forward", Catherine Ryan Hyde, had a new release, I jumped at the chance to read it - and I am so glad that I did! "Allie and Bea" was an absolute delightful book with strong characters and a diverse range of questions that it asks the reader to explore.

Monday, May 22, 2017

I Know What I'm Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself - by Jen Kirkman - Book Review

I'm sure that this goes against one of the main rules of blogging - but if you have not seen Jen Kirkman in Drunk History - I'm going to have to ask you to leave, you can't sit with us. You need to go to Youtube, watch Drunk History, and then, or course, you should head back here. annddd you're welcome. I love Jen Kirkman on that show. She is honest, fresh, and sharp, as well as drunk - and just so relateable. All of which pretty well sums up for me why I love her comedy and why I jumped at the opportunity to read her newest book.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Man Called Ove - by Fredrik Backman - Book Review

" She just smiled and said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realized that he wanted to hear her talking about all the things she loved for the rest of his life." - A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Friday, May 12, 2017

April 2017 Wrap up and May 2017 TBR

Oh, is it the middle of May? Sounds like a really good time to do my April wrap up ; )

Books I Read April 2017

I read 4 books in the month of April 2017. Not anything to write home about, but! it was a pretty busy month between traveling home from Missouri after visiting family and getting back into the swing of things at home with my kiddo. Below I have links and a few quick comments about each of the books as well as YouTube videos I made this month for the books I read.

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
(my review) (amazon)

I absolutely love WWII historical fiction- particularly when it is written about real individuals. "We Were the Lucky Ones" is just the kind of book, as it tells the story of Georgia Hunter's family. I really appreciate the unique aspects of this book - I have not read very many World War II novels about Polish families- and their story of survival spans the globe, which definitely gave a different perspective than what you might typically find in a book like this. I did struggle with some aspects of this book- it was a bit slow at times and I had a difficult time keeping the characters straight or connecting with them when the story and perspective changed so frequently.

Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L Walsh 
(my review) (amazon)

It's a double blessing when on top of finding a book you really enjoy, you also find a new author that you love! This was the case for me after finishing "Becoming Bonnie" by Jenni L Walsh. I enjoyed reading about Bonnie Parker and her transformation into Clyde's accomplice. I was so impressed by how plausible the author made this transformation seem. I can not wait to read another book by her!

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
(my review) (amazon)

I read this book for my book club, it was my turn to pick - and it was between this and The Circle by Dave Eggers, which I still very much want to read! I had heard of this book so many times, and didn't even read the synopsis before I purchased it several months ago. I was a little anxious when I started the book and found Ove to be such a grump. I really struggled with him as the main character and accepting his grumpy nature - but the writing in this book is just so beautiful that it completly made up for it! Another great author find this month as I am sure I will be reading more book by Fredrik Backman soon!

Always by Sarah Jio 
(my review) (amazon)

My only two star read of the month was "Always" by Sarah Jio. I really struggled to finish this book and I think my not enjoying it might be an issue of personal taste, as the book has almost four stars on goodreads. I just found so much of the book unlikely or uncomfortable. While I did like that the book addressed homelessness, it also felt heavy handed in that as well which took away from the story.

May 2017 TBR

I have six books on my May 2017 TBR. This month is already flying by, and so is my reading. Looking at the list, I have already finished half of them - woohoo!

Boundaries with Kids by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
This book was recommended and lent to me by a neighbor. This is one in a series of books that Dr. Cloud has written regarding the use of boundaries in relationships. "Boundaries with Kids" emphasizes the importance of teaching empathy and kindness to your children while setting firm and known boundaries with known consequences. I am already impressed by this book and plan to purchase a copy for myself to review as my little guy gets older.

I Know What I'm Doing by Jen Kirkman

I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. When I accepted the offer to read it, I didn't know that I knew who Jen Kirman is- but I do, and she is hilarious! This is a bit of a throw back, but if you have not seen her on Drunk History - you really need to check it out. Her stand up generally speaking is so funny and I really enjoy it. Hoping I enjoy this book as well!

Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde
I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. The first thing that really interested me about "Allie and Bea" was the author, Hyde also wrote "Pay it Forward" - which was adapted for film and stars some amazing people like Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey, and Haley Joel Osment. I freaking love that movie. I haven't read "Pay it Forward", so I was super excited to read a book by the same author since I enjoy that movie so much! "Allie and Bea" just sounds like a really sweet story with a good heart and message- I am excited to start it.

Other books I am hoping to read this month -

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Becoming Bonnie - by Jenni L Walsh - Book Review

" Life will do what it wants with you, huh? Eat you up, spit you out. Comes a point when you got to push back, make things happen for yourself" - Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh

One of my favorite kinds of novels are bildungsromans, coming of age stories. A young man or woman goes on a journey to find themselves, and typically, by the end of the book has evolved into an older, wiser, and more reasoned individual. There are so many excellent examples of this story-     "To Kill A Mockinbird", "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", and "Ender's Game", to name a few. "Becoming Bonnie" takes that same age old structure structure and flips it - telling the story of a good, smart girl who after her own trials and adventures becomes the infamous Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde. How does one go from a young girl married to her high school sweetheart to a gun wielding criminal side kick?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We Were The Lucky Ones - by Georgia Hunter - Book Review

World War II historical fiction is one of my absolute favorite genres! There are just so many heroic and harrowing stories to share from that time. And while the stories are often incredibly emotional, their importance lends the books an incredible feeling of authenticity and gravity. These feelings continually hit me while reading "We Were The Lucky Ones" by Georgia Hunter. This novel, inspired by the true life story of her family during World War II, was amazing, inspiring, and unique as well.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Always - by Sarah Jio - Book Review

Seeing an old friend randomly is often a happy coincidence, but seeing an ex boyfriend... eh, that's a mixed bag. Kaily Crane is shocked when she sees her ex boyfriend, Cade, for the first time in ten years. Cade, once a successful businessman, is now homeless, barely recognizable, and doesn't seem to remember Kaily. "Always" follows Kaily's life as she tries to help Cade while balancing her relationship with her fiance, her friendships, and her career. Will it all come toppling to the ground? And if it does, would that be worth having the love of her life again?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Mercies in Disguise by Gina Kolata - Book Review

I simply can not imagine being in the shoes of Amanda Baxley. I can't imagine that my grandfather, uncle, and father have died from a degenerative brain disease. I can't imagine that I being faced with the decision of whether to find out if I have the same disease. And I can't imagine the myriad of ways in which life would be different if I found out that the genetic test was positive, or negative. "Mercies in Disguise" follows the story of the Amanda Baxley, and the Baxley family as a whole, as they deal with the emotional and physical blow of this terrible disease. The book also delves into the background, research, and discovery of several degenerative brain diseases.
Keep reading to see my thoughts on "Mercies in Disguise"...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Follow Me Down by Sherri Smith - Book Review

"Follow Me Down" by Sherri Smith is set in the fictional town of Wayoata, North Dakota. In typical small town USA fashion, Wayoata likely has five or six traffic lights, a local grocery store,  and a high school sports team for everyone to rally around- and rarely, a serious crime. The town is shocked when a beautiful high school senior girl is murdered, and one of her teachers, the lead suspect, goes missing. Like Mia, the main character, I was equally charmed and wary of Wayoata - never knowing who to trust, or what might happen next. And just like a good small town rumor mill, "Follow Me Down" sucked me in....

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

One of the Boys by Daniel Magriel - Book Review

" I did not want him to hit me. I did not want him to have to hit me." - One of the Boys

Reading "One of the Boys" by Daniel Magriel is a lesson in the power of parental love over children. In 176 beautifully written pages, Magriel explores the vulnerability and limits of such a crucial relationship. Between drugs, divorce, and abuse the relationships between "the boys" in this novel are pushed to the limits. Overwhelming, shocking, and heartbreaking, " One of the Boys" explores how meaning and stability are defined in our relationships and within ourselves.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson - Book Review

Before reading this book, I'm not sure I had ever really thought of middle school and high school as a dangerous place. I mean outside of a few extreme examples, going to school is rarely life or death. In " The Most Dangerous Place on Earth" the author, Lindsey Lee Johnson, shows just how those years can be dangerous, and why...

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Orphan's Tale- by Pam Jenoff- Book Review

"The Orphan's Tale" begins with a particularly tragic part of our history- during the Holocaust, Jewish infants were ripped from their parents' arms and sent to camps on trains- many not surviving the journey to their grim destination. When sixteen year old Noa stumbles upon a train car full of these infants, she rescues one and runs for the forest. While fleeing the Nazis, Noa is discovered by a circus, and joins them training to become a trapeze artist. Her trainer, Astrid, is Jewish and hiding with the circus, as well. "The Orphan's Tale" follows Noa and Astrid as they cope with the secrets they hide from each other, and those that they must hide from the world.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle- Book Review

“Not everybody wants to get out and see the world. Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you just want to figure out how to fit yourself into the world you already know.” - Universal Harvester by John Darnielle 

The back cover summary of "Universal Harvester" by John Darnielle is super unsettling and also incredibly intriguing. Jeremy works at a video rental store in a small town in Iowa during the late 1990's - his day to day work life is pretty relaxed and predictable. Suddenly, though, customers are returning tapes reporting a problem - there is something on the tape, something that doesn't belong. "Universal Harvester" follows Jeremy- and others affected by the tapes - past, present, and future. I enjoyed reading this chilling and unique book- check out my review below!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Setting Free the Kites- by Alex George- Book Review

Robert Carter and Nathan Tilly's friendship begins in an unlikely place-  their middle school's bathroom.  Nathan saves Robert from a dreaded middle school swirlie- and their friendship naturally takes off from there! "Setting Free the Kites" by Alex George tells the story of the friendship between Robert and Nathan, who find each other during a particularly tumultuous time in their lives. Certainly a time when they needed a friend the most. P.S. I absolutely *loved* this book...

Friday, February 17, 2017

Lincoln in the Bardo- by George Saunders - Book Review

February 1862, 154 years ago - Willie Lincoln, age 11, son of then president Abraham Lincoln, died of typhoid fever. After Willie's death, newspapers reported that Abraham Lincoln visited his entombed remains- removing Willie from his tomb and holding his now dead son. George Saunders encapsulates this moment of grief into "Lincoln in the Bardo". Told from the perspective of others caught in the "bardo"- a purgatory, Saunders explores the mind of a mourning Abraham Lincoln, through a truly masterful weaving of fiction and non fiction. "Lincoln in the Bardo" is an absolute must read, and one of my favorites so far in 2017.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

My Husband's Wife - by Jane Corry - Book Review

"My Husband's Wife" is one of the twisty, turniest books I have read in a long time! No joke, by the end of the book  I had completely lost count of all of the unexpected surprises along the way. "My Husband's Wife" is told from the perspective of several characters, including Lily and Carla. When the book begins, Lily is a new lawyer as well as a newlywed wife to her husband Ed. Carla, a nine year old girl who lives with her mother, lives down the hall from Lily and Ed. Sixteen years later when their paths cross again, Lily and Carla are challenged by their circumstances, lies, and loves - past and present. And just how will things end, well...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Last Night At Tremore Beach - by Mikel Santiago - Book Review

"The Last Night at Tremore Beach" is one of the darkest, creepiest books I have read in a while- probably since "Behind Closed Doors" by B.A. Paris - which I loved ( check out my review here). The main character, Peter, is struck by lightning and begins having lucid and increasingly terrifying nightmares. Nightmares showing him what would be a terrifying sequence of violent crimes against his friends and family - leaving Peter, and the reader, wondering - are these nightmares omens of his future or is Peter losing his mind?

Friday, February 10, 2017

My Utmost - by Macy Halford - Book Review

As soon as I read the synopsis for "My Utmost" I knew I wanted to read it. I instantly felt a connection with the author Macy Halford, a former book blogger for "The New Yorker". Besides book blogging, Macy is also from Dallas, Texas, a hop- skip and jump from where I currently live. I knew her memoir would resonate with me - and I was right. I was surprised though, by just how much I would be able to relate to, and be inspired by, her story.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett - by Chelsea Sedoti - Book Review

Looking at the cover of "The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett" I'm pretty sure most readers would not be able to correctly guess the book's plot. In an ultimate test of "do not judge a book by its cover", this book most certainly does not match the bright yellow cover and flower petals it is adorned with. " The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett" was absolutely not what I expected at all - in some not so great ways, but also in some awesome super surprising ways...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pretty Little World - by Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino- Book Review

As an introvert, reading the description for "Pretty Little World" by Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino gave me shivers - three families combine their homes and disaster / self discovery ensues.  Throughout reading the book I just couldn't stop thinking - how could anyone just give up their space, privacy, and in my case, sanity like that? And then I'd catch myself, because on the other hand as a mom, I can absolutely relate to the need for assistance from "the village", and how dependent you can be on others for your household to run.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The River at Night - by Erica Ferencik - Book Review

"The thing is I don't mind the occasional twinge, because it takes me back there, to all that happened on that river in those woods, and reminds me that there are things that I should never forget. Not that I ever could."
Looking for a book that will keep you up past your bedtime? I just finished reading "The River at Night" and holy smokes, I couldn't put it down! This book is a suspenseful thrill ride and it surprised me in so many ways!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Everything You Want Me To Be - by Mindy Mejia- Book Review

"He's not an evil man. Evil is simple. It's a child's explanation for why people do bad things. The truth is always more complicated and worth pursuing..." - Everything You Want Me To Be

I absolutely love books that keep me guessing - not just who did it, but why, and how and when! This book had me on my toes until the very last page! "Everything You Want Me To Be" is an amazingly twisty page turner, that is insightfully written, and I completely loved it!