Friday, July 6, 2018

One Of These Books Is Not Like The Other

If you've been reading my reviews for awhile (or even a minute), you've probably noticed that there is no unifying theme to my quartets. However, this last round it was finally going to happen! Y'all, I was pumped. Then, I started the fourth book, and I didn't dig it. I gave it my standard fifty page try, and it just wasn't for me. So, instead you get three books that have some common threads and a thriller.

Dietland by Sarai Walker is a book I'd learned about via an ad campaign on Goodreads. It is now a series on AMC hence the "Hey, this is a book, too!" ad push. This one is such an interesting read. First of all, I have to say it's just straight up well-written. From it's first pages, I was captivated in a way that's hard to explain. The story revolves around Plum, a woman who ghostwrites advice for a teen magazine, who realizes early on in the story she's being followed by a mystery woman. Additionally, Plum is preparing for weight loss surgery which she believes will lead to the life and self-love she's always quested after. Along the way, Plum becomes connected with the Calliope House, an organization dedicated to helping women understand there are multiple ways to be beautiful. Plum revisits her lifetime experiences and struggles with herself through her connection with this group. Y'all, this one is a different kind of read, but in the best of ways.

Read this book if - You're planning on watching the TV series. You'd like a book that offers a unique story around the concept of body image and self-love. You want to read something that builds a story around a commonly discussed topic in a very different (in a good) way.

Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins was also a book focused on the concepts of body image and self-love. It was an ARC I received awhile back, and I decided to take it on given it was in the same lane-ish as Dietland. This book took on a very complex topic as it focuses on three friends who met as teens as a weight loss camp. The story begins with the death of one of the women due to her extreme obesity. With her death, she leaves behind a list for her two friends they wrote at that camp of things they would do once they were skinny. Through the list, the story explores the messages these women have heard about their weight, the way weight impacts their relationships, and the way this has impacted how these women feel about themselves. There are some hard and aggravating messages and characters in this one, but they are there to explore the depth of the issue. I enjoyed and found an emotional connection, particularly with the love stories, with this one more than I anticipated as I went through these women's journeys.

Read this book if - You want a "chick lit" (I don't mean that in a rude way, I just needed to nail down a genre) read around body image. You're looking for a read that focuses on how relationships can impact our concepts of self. You want a read with characters that you'll emotionally connect with and root for throughout.

Rising Strong by Brene Brown was a book I picked up once I realized I was reading in a "type" for this round. If you've read/heard of Brene Brown, you know that vulnerability and authenticity are at the heart of her work. The main concept in this one was the idea of the "Sh*tty First Draft" meaning that we so often write the stories we think are happening without actually understanding all angles, especially the perspectives of others. We unintentionally often create hurt for ourselves instead of seeking clarity and truth. This one focuses on empowering readers to take a breath, evaluate the situation and act accordingly. This one was totally my jam and a good piece to remind me of how I can often be an author of many a SFD, and I need to watch that tendency for myself.

Read this book if - You are a fan of Brene Brown and haven't yet checked this one out. You want something to help you reflect on how you could better navigate your relationships and how you interpret what happens emotionally.

The Woman In The Window by AJ Faur was the thriller that hit that sweet spot just as I knew it would. This one is about Anna, a woman suffering from agoraphobia. One of the ways she passes her time is by being an observer of her the lives her neighbors lead. Fast forward down the road, and Anna sees something go down - or so she thinks. Her observations are called into question as is her whole reality. I will say that I figured out one of the twists in this one early on, but I think that's just because I read in the The Girl Who/Woman Who genre pretty regularly and know the formula. However, there were 2 -3 ADDITIONAL twists that I did not see coming at all, and that got that "WHAT?" gasp from me that make this a pageturner.

Read this book if - You want to check out the latest "like a Lifetime movie in a book" read. You have enjoyed The Woman/Girl Who thriller trend, and you want to check out the latest one that people are going to be talking about.