Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Labor Day & Vacation Reads

The first few weeks of September I read some really great things, and then I predictably didn't get around to blogging until now. So, here's the latest and greatest books I've found!

The Light We Lost was a recommendation from a co-worker. It was beautifully written, so much so that I ended up in tears at the end. The book starts on September 11th, 2001, and it follows a couple through their lives together (and apart). It's worth the read, but Kleenex is necessary for sure.

The Wife Between Us was an advance reading copy I received. This one comes out in January, and when it does, Y'ALL NEED TO GET THIS BOOK. The initial premise is about an ex-wife and her replacement - or so you think. There are so many twists in this one, and I could not stop reading. I had to know what was next. Calling it now that this is the next big thriller that everyone will read and want to talk about. Just remember, I was ahead of this trend.

Red Teaming: How Your Business Can Conquer the Competition by Challenging Everything was interesting at times, but also, not all the times. The book was a little too business-y for me. There were a few activities and things that are transferable, but for a lot of it, it just wasn't my jam. Oh, and thanks to Blogging for Books for the hook-up once more.

Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction was phenomenal. From the title, you can figure out the subject. This was such a fantastic read that really explained what it's like to love an addict, try to get that addict help, and what the recovery (and relapse) process looks like for all involved. It's an honest and raw memoir that really helped me learn more on the topic of addiction.

Bumped was okay. Megan McCafferty wrote one of my all-time favorite teen angst series - Jessica Darling (aka Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, etc.) This one was an intriguing concept, but also just wasn't my thing. It's about a society where teen girls become infertile at 18, so getting preggers early is big business. So, yeah.

Small Great Things was outstanding and infuriating and everything in between. It's a story that alternates between a black labor and delivery nurse, a white supremacist whose son has died in the nurse's care, and the lawyer who is defending the nurse. The storytelling is amazing and real and y'all, check this one out.

What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen is another heartbreaker, but amazing read. It's about Madison Holleran, a freshman runner at UPenn who completes suicide. Kate Fagan (who is an incredible writer) goes back through her social media to trace just what happened and show the dichotomy of how Maddy lived on social media and in real life. It's a read that also had me in tears and also really made me think.

Enjoy: A New Approach to Stress and Burnout Prevention was okay. It was a Strengths-based look at how to manage stress in your life. There were some good tips there and there. However, there were also profiles of the author's clients she used as examples. Because their Strengths weren't my Strengths, I struggled to connect/do anything with these. I wanted something more actionable, and it just wasn't what I got.

Stay tuned for the rest of Septembers reads soon-ish!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

August Reads

I'm unsurprisingly behind in blogging books. Conveniently, I read all of these in August, so let's pretend this octet of reviews was planned.

Harlan Coben is the only "mainstream" mystery writer I regularly read. He writes a good story, and his plot twists are not too predictable. Fool Me Once definitely kept me guessing. It was a multilayered story, and the ending was definitely a surprise. If you love Coben, you won't be disappointed with this installment. If you've never read Coben, this is a good one to check out.

Where We Belong was okay. There have been Emily Giffin reads that I have loved, ones that I hated, and ones that were just meh. This was meh. I felt like the story was going somewhere, and then it just kind of stopped. The ending wasn't my favorite, and while I know what I'm getting with these reads, I guess I just wanted more.

Luckiest Girl Alive was a good thriller. It was not the best thriller of all-time. It was interesting, but not something I would recommend to any and everyone. Honestly, I think the book falls victim to the hype. I hate when authors are compared to other authors because THEY ARE NEVER GOING TO BE THE SAME. Because of this, I went in wanting something from that OG author. That is not what I got. 

On the other hand, Good As Gone is a thriller that you should absolutely check out. I read it for my online book club, and it kept me guessing. There were lots of twists and turns, the character development was great, and the ending was one I didn't see coming. 

Carolyn Parkhurst is an interesting author for me in that she wrote a book I just loved (Lost & Found) and one I absolutely hated (The Dogs of Babel). The Nobodies Album was the tiebreaker by default. Good news - I really liked it. The book is interesting in that it has a couple of storylines. First, the narrator's son is accused of murdering his girlfriend. Second, the narrator is an author, and she's writing new endings to all her old books. So, the chapters alternate between the main plot, and then the old and new endings of her books. Honestly, I wish some of those books were real. It was a really interesting spin, and I'm glad Carolyn and I have reconciled as author and reader.

Miller's Valley was my fifth or sixth Anna Quindlen. I like her because she writes strong, deep characters and really captivating plots. This one was interesting. It was about a family and the stories they each had through years of living in the same area - an area that was going to be soon gone. I've liked some of her other stuff better, but still enjoyed this one.

The Shape of Ideas was a graphic nonfiction book that was just a fun read. It's one that I'd highly recommend for a quick dose of creativity and inspriration.

A Man Called Ove was the first read for my new in-person book club. It's one of those books that gives you all the feels. You also don't realize how many feels until you get to the last page, and you're a hot, sobbing mess. Ove is one of the most endearing and interesting characters I've read in a long time, and I still find myself thinking about this one days later. 

P.S. Pictured in this book picture is my new Jessie Spano figurine. Fun Fact - Jessie is my fave SBTB character.