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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Once Bitten, Twice Dead by Bianca D'Arc (Read 4/2/17 to 4/7/17) - 2.5 Star

This book was given to me as a birthday present.  There has been a mistake at a lab and instead of super soldiers, the scientist created zombies!  Officer Sarah Petit was attacked while on patrol, and instead of turning she is one of the very, very few who is immune and she joins forces with the Green Berets to fight the infestation in her home town.  There is a love story, here with Sarah and one of the Green Beret officers Xavier Beauvoir. I liked the story premise.  My issue with the book is the sex.  I'm not saying I had an issue with the sex itself, was it a little more unrealistic, vulgar and violent than my preference, yes but that wasn't my problem.  This is a paranormal romance, I expected sex and even some rough sex, and unrealistic romance novel sex.  Maybe my sex life has sucked for the past 18 years, but I have never had the sort of sex portrayed in romance novels, I've had good sex but not that connected OMG he kisses me and I come sex.  I don't mind that is how it is portrayed.  My problem was that the sex was a bigger part of the story than the story.  D'Arc has a great storyline with the attempt to make super solider and ooops we made zombies.  Its not a world wide epidemic yet, and it not a post apocalypse world.  It was what would lead up to that unless they get it under control.  I love that, I loved the science aspect and wish that had more detail.  I wish there had been more investigation into culprits behind the scenes, expand on that criminal thriller aspect.  I liked the fight scenes, and was disappointed that there were so few.  I feel like if D'Arc had focused more on the storyline and a little less on the "amazing" sex that I could have rated this book higher.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Homeland by R.A. Salvatore (Read 3/8/17 to 3/28/17) - 2 Star

This is March's BOTM book. In Menzoberranzan, a city in the underdark, is here the dark elves or drow live. This is the story of Drizzt Do'Urden from birth until he reaches adulthood. I found the writing very dense and I had to really concentrate. A lot of the book dragged for me.  I will say that it was fun to read from the bad guys perspective, the backstabbing and pettiness, different from always reading from the Hero.  Although the idea that evil society being matriarchal  had some social commentary messages I'm not sure I am so keen on.  It is obvious that this is part of a series, but I can say for sure I have no intention of picking up the rest.  This just didn't interest me enough to continue.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton (Read 3/24/17 to 3/27/17) - 3 Star

This book was recommended to me by a friend, that it would speak to me where I am in my life.  She was both wrong and right.  I could see that Glennon was going through a personal crisis and facing a divorce.  However I couldn't relate to her indecision and inability to see herself. When I left my ex-husband things made sense again, there was no indecision or doubt.  I could relate to her sense of loss, and once she found her inner warrior that made sense, but the difference is my warrior appeared the night I left and I walk the path to this day.  I knew from the start the healing had to start with me, for my children.  I can relate to her feeling of not belonging and inadequacy, I have my own self esteem issues, not going to try and cover that up.  But it seemed like she had a much further journey than I did, where she ended is where I started at.  It felt like she was confirming things I already knew, not opening my eyes to a new view.  And maybe that was my mistake, my friend made it seem like there was great insight in this book, which there is, but it is insights I discovered over a year ago and it didn't speak to me as much as I thought it would.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch (Read 2/28/17 to 3/3/17) - 4 Star

This is from my March book club book, and recommended by another member.  This was a super fun book, and I can't wait to read the whole series.  One of my other book club members said it was like X-Files, Men in Black and Buffy all rolled into one, and she is right!  There is a fun an quirky sci-fi element that doesn't take itself or the storyline too seriously along with a kick ass protagonist with witty repartee to give Joss a run for his money.  There were times where the cheese factor was a 10, but your so busy laughing that you don't care.  You are thrown into the action from the very first page and it doesn't slow down. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts (Read 2/16/17 to 2/27/17)

300 years ago to avoid persecution during the Salem witch trials, 3 witches Earth, Air and Fire joined powers to create a safe haven, Three Sisters Island.  But their haven wasn't as safe as they thought it would be, each sister made a choice that set a course for their decedents.  300 years later each "sister" must face their ancestors mistake and make it right, or doom the island they love to sink into the sea.

Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts (Read 2/19/17 to 2/11/17) - 4 Stars
This was for my book club February read.  We are introduced to Three Sisters island and the three witches that must break the curse to prevent it falling into the sea.  The first witch is Nell, I could easily relate to her. Be warned she is an abuse victim and there are some graphic scenes that could cause the need for some trigger warnings.  Nell has run to the island to escape her abusive husband, and there she finds what she has always been looking for, a home and a family, but how long can she hold on to it?   I really liked it, I think I just like Nora Roberts.  The Characters were very relatable and likable, and I enjoyed the magic element.  The love story was good, not overwhelming but just right. I thought Nell and Zack were great together, he was just what she needed.  He was there, he acknowledged her past, but didn't treat her like a victim.  He showed her respect and love, and allowed her the time to trust him and open up to him. 

Heaven and Earth by Nora Roberts (Read 2/11/17 to 2/16/17) - 3 Stars
This follows the second witch Ripley and her path to love and breaking the curse.  Ripley walked away from magic 10 years ago, and curse or no curse she has no plans to go back.  I don't really like Ripley, so I had a hard time getting through this book.  I also don't care for her love interest MacAllester Booke, the whole thing didn't do it for me really.  I just wanted to get it done with so I could read the third book.  There was a lot more internal struggle here, and the love story was very blah to me, probably because I didn't like the characters so I had no vested interest in their romance.

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts (Read 2/24/17 to 2/27/17) - 4 Stars
This is the final book in the series and we deal with the final part of the curse.  Mia lost her love Sam logan 10 years ago, he left her broken hearted, but unlike her ancestor she found a way to survive the loss and may have even grown stronger despite it,  Then Sam comes back to the island and she has to face not only her part of the curse, but her broken heart too.  I thought this was a great conclusion to the trilogy.  It did a great job of wrapping up all the storylines.  I like how strong and independent Mia is.  Sam has a lot to live up to earn her love in my opinion after the hurt he caused.  I'm actually kinda on the fence about him, there were things I liked about his character, but at time I felt he should get thrown in the sea too.  I think they were a good match ultimately though.



I've decided after these books and reading the in-death series (a loooonnngggg post to come when I get to end of that series)  that I like Nora Roberts writing.  I like her style and here stories are always engaging to me.  I know that she is known as a romance writer, and there is the romance element, but that is really a side factor to whatever story she is trying to tell.  Almost like throwing sex in a movie, does it make the watcher happy?  Yeah.  Would the story still be good with out it?  Yeah.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hangsman by Shirley Jackson (Read 2/2/17 to 2/21/17) - 2 Star

So this is supposed to be a coming of age story I think.  Natalie goes off to college and leave her childhood behind and becomes an adult.  Now I normally like Shirley Jackson, but I didn't like this book.  I felt it was hard to follow and the characters were un-relatable.  I think Jackson did it on purpose, made them all seem a little crazy but I can;t for the life of me see why.  Natalie's father is controlling and she is sheltered.  I also wonder if she doesn't have multiple personalities.  The writing felt disjointed and hard to read.  It almost felt to me like I was reading a stream of consciousness of a crazy person.  I couldn't follow the timeline or the character arc...and then it ended and I didn't see what was accomplished.  
The description says its based on an actual disappearance...totally missed that part, as far as I can tell nothing bad happens to anybody, besides miserable marriages.  Its supposed to be this chilling and suspenseful story, but I had no interest on what happened to Natalie and I didn't feel it was chilling, it was chaotic maybe.  I just didn't like it, I was bored and found it a bit tedious to read.

Monday, February 20, 2017

2017 to current.

I swear I am going to get back on the blogging horse...I just have failed...with this post though I am 100% back up to date and I will do it right from here on out!




The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore (Listened to 1/3/17 to 1/6/17) - 3 Star


This is the January book for my book club NNCC.  I listened to the book on audio, and as plus the narrator did a good job, in fact my kids listened to parts and liked it too.


This is the story of the famous lawsuit between Edison and Westinghouse over who invented the light bulb, and the reality that it was about much more than a simple patent, it was about the future of electricity as we know it.  It is set in New York in 1888; George Westinghouse hires Paul Cravath fresh out of Columbia Law School to be his lawyer on the billion dollar lawsuit between Westinghouse and Thomas Edison.   The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs.   In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.


The book was good; I liked the dynamics and the writing style.  I knew a little about the historical figures, especially the rivalry between Edison and Tesla because my Ex was fascinated by Tesla and had both told me a lot about him and I had read some of Tesla's papers and biography.  I liked the main character Paul and how in the end everything wrapped up nicely, I suspect if this had been more fact than historical fiction it may not have been quite so smooth, life rarely is.  I liked that there was enough fact in the fiction to make the story feel authentic and I don't feel like Moore took too much creative license. 


How to Murder a Millionaire by Nancy Martin (Read 1/6/17 to 1/7/17) - 3 Star


I have had this book on my shelf for some time, and I just finally got around to reading it.  This is about Nora Blackbird, a former Socialite in Philadelphia.  Her Parents left her with the family farm, and the 2 million dollar tax debt.  In order to pay the bill, she must get a job, and she beigns working for a newspaper as the society page writer.  It is during one of these parties that she finds murdered body of the host, and her friend.  This of course pulls Nora into the investigation, can she figure out who, what and why before it becomes her life on the line.


This was exactly what I thought it would be, a fun light read.  The characters are quirky and the storyline is engaging.  The love story angle took a backseat to solving the murder, which was nice.  And it was obvious that Martian was doing some world building to set the scene for a series.  Which I admit, I went and put on my thriftbook.com wish list.  I enjoyed the characters and their craziness.  The murder was tame compared to some I have read, and the mystery was good.  Upon reflection there were some clues and I had my suspicions, but the actual murder was not who I thought it was.  Although, I knew the murder was involved in some way, just not the actual deed.  So although the clues pointed in the right direction, they did not give away the ending.  I liked it.  The writing was good, it flowed smoothly and made it a nice quick weekend book for me.


Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (Read 1/17/17 to 1/28/17) - 4 Star


This is a Victorian drama in true Dickensian darkness.  Sue Trinder is an orphan and raised by Mrs. Sucksby in the London slums.  Sue is offered to participate in a Con, become the maid of Maud Lilly and help Gentleman entice her in to marriage for her fortunes.  But there are twists, and then there are more twists!


Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris (Read 1/2/17 to 1/22/17) - 3 Star


This is the new series by Charlaine Harris and there are lots of characters from other books in it, which let me tell you sent me down some rabbit holes since I have read ALL of her books and I had to remember where they came from.  But it was fun, I like the town and the characters, they all have great back stories, maybe I liked them so much because I actually knew the back stories.  Gotta give Harris her props, my jaw actually fell open at the end of the who dunnit.


Day Shift by Charlaine Harris (Read 1/29/17 to 2/1/17) - 4 Star


The next one in the series, built nicely upon the first book.  I liked the storyline better, the end wasn't as shocking.


Night Shift by Charlaine Harris (Read 2/5/17 to 2/7/17) - 4 Star


This felt like a wrap up for me, everyone's storylines seemed concluded, a nice little trilogy.



Self Help that didn't help the way I thought


You know when I was married I read a whole lot of self help books to try and salvage my marriage, but out of shame I never put the reviews on my blog, I didn't want anyone to know I was reading them.  I didn't want anyone to know that my marriage was failing and that I was having to work at it.  Maybe if I had some people would have known to reach out, I don't think it would have made a difference at the time, but upon reflection I am proud of how hard I worked to save my marriage,  and true we didn't save it, we are still divorced, but I can honestly look back at all the reading and talking and therapy and say, I gave it 120%.  Our marriage ending in divorce is, and I have no regrets and no wonders if there had been more that I could have done because I did everything in my power, besides allow the situation to remain status quo. 

The Books I read that I didn't post reviews for were:

True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh  - This was a book recommend by my therapist, and on some of our joint sessions she would sometimes quote parts. 

Forgiveness: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Get on With Your Life by Sidney B. Simon - another book recommend by my therapist, intened to deal with trauma from my childhood and my rape, but did add some insight to forgiving my ex-husband.

How to Stop Lying: The Ultimate Cure for Guide for Pathological Liars and Compulsive Liars by Caesar Lincoln - I read this because he managed to convince me that I was a pathological liar, and I was so far down the rabbit hole that I actually believed him, even though I knew I wasn't.

I Love You But I Don't Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum - This was supposed to be for me to earn his trust back, but it ended up teaching me a lot about myself and the way my ex was treating and lying to me.

Tell Me No Lies  by Elen Bader - again it was supposed to be about showing my ex I was trust worthy, again it opened my eyes to some of the lies he was telling me.

How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh - After the first Thich Nhat Hahn book, something clicked and I began to buy them all

The 5 Love Languages: the Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman - this was insightful and for a little bit it, it did seem help, but it was sadly short lived.

One More Try:  What to Do when Your Marriage is Falling Apart by Gary Chapman - Yep too late for this to help, maybe if I had read it years ago.

Things I wish I'd Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman - ditto

The 5 Languages of Apology:  How to Experience Healing in All Your Languages by Gary Chapman - Sadly I spent most of my time apologizing, although no matter how I tried they were never accepted, again I believe it was because I was the wrong person apologizing.

The Argument Free Marriage:  28 Days to Creating The Marriage You've Always Wanted With the Spouse You Already Have by Fawn Weaver - I don't think we got past the introduction.

When Sorry Isn't Enough:  Making Things Right with Those You Love by Gary Chapman - Good stuff, just didn't work for us.

The Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh - we even signed the contracts but one of us wouldn't hold up their end of the bargin.

Anger:  Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh  - This was more for him and his anger issues, but I read it too, and it helped a lot during the divorce proceedings to calm my anger at him.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone - Found out afterwards that I didn't have problems with difficult conversations, I had problems with conversations with him.

Peace is in Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh - I use the ideas here everyday to ground myself and appreciate my life, even when it is full of turmoil.

Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh - Fear ruled my life for the last few years, this was great for facing and even embracing them.

No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering by Thich Nhat Hanh - Another great one, I love this guy!

The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh - sort of like Peace is in Every Step, but still good.

Your True Home by Thich Nhat Hanh - 365 days of thought provoking blurbs, I just skim it sometimes

Once the separation happened, the books changed from ones to save my marriage to ones that were to save me and to help me understand what I had been through.   Books to help me heal, books to help my children heal, and books to help me grow as a person in general:

You Are Here:  Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh (Read 2/20/16 to 2/22/16) - 4 Star

I have read more books by Thich Nhat Hanh than I can count.  He is a Buddist Monk, and he speaks to my soul.  This is a tiny book, only about 150 pages, but it talks about being in the present and how to appreciate exactly where you are in your life.  His words tend to flow over me like calming waters and I often turn to his books in times of anxiety and stress.

Screamfree Parenting:  The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping it Cool by Hal Edward Runkel (Listened to 5/1/16 to 5/22/16) - 4 Star

This is a parenting book about how to parent to raise independent kids, to stop yelling and over reacting and listening and actually connecting with your kids.  I found the audio book so good I recommended it to all the moms I know and bought a hard copy for my library.  It confirms so many things my parents used to raise me, but in more modern applications.  It talks about teaching children to make good decisions and how to do that in a society that pressures parents to hover and not let their kids be independent.  It helped give ideas of how to balance the modern world with the ideals from my own childhood.

It's my Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence by Meg Kennedy Dugan (Read 5/27/16 to 6/7/16) - 5 Star

This discusses how to recover once you escape from an abusive relationship, because honestly escape is just the first step there is a lot of work and a lot of healing that must happen after.  There were some great resources listed and book suggestions that I actually took.  It was a great first step down healing.

Victory Over Verbal Abuse: A Healing Guide to Renewing Your Spirit and Reclaiming Your Life by Patricia Evans (Read 7/8/16 to 7/29/16) - 3 Star

This was about what I had been through, it was good and it confirmed and showed me that no I wasn't crazy.  I didn't feel it did much on the path to recovery, but maybe I read it to early too.

Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Listened to 7/19/16 to 8/24/16) - 3 Star

These were supposed to be medetations, but there was a lot of chatter, they were ok, I would rather pick up a Thich Nhat Hanh book I think.

When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse by Lundy Bancroft (Read 8/29/16 to 9/9/16) - 5 Star

This is the most helpful book I read, it really helped me to change some of the ways I was doing things with my kids and how I was explaining/handling the situation with my ex and them.  After reading this, things began to improve.  I feel that this was most practical book I read, and it had actual advice to give.  Being a victim of abuse, especially verbal abuse, I doubt my own judgment and my own decision making skills not only about myself but about my kids and the decisions I was making for them.  The advice here allowed me to regain some of my confidence as a parent.

Boundaries in Dating by Henry Cloud (Read 9/9/16 to 9/11/16) - 2 Star

I read this because I'm back in the dating world, and I felt it might be nice to have some ideas it was nothing new, the boundaries I had already known.  It just gave a lot of christian reasons for why to have them.

How to Survive the Loss of A Love by Melba Colgrove (Read 9/12/16 to 9/20/16) - 2 Star

This was an odd book, it was full of poetry and odd advice, I didn't find it useful at all.  Although I did like some of the poems.

Codependent No More:  How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie (Read 9/24/16 to 9/30/16) - 4 Star

I am a co-dependent.  I enable and I take care of people, there are lots of reasons why I learned this behavior.  I always thought being co-dependent meant being weak, and found the term derogatory.  It isn't something I want to be, but I find it less insulting.  This real gave me some insight to my own behavior and how my actions had allowed some of the things to happen in my life, it made me look closer at myself.

The Little Book of Letting Go: A Revolutionary 30-day Program to Cleanse Your Mind, Lift Your Spirit and Replenish Your Soul by Hugh Prather (Read 9/11/16 to 10/5/16) - 2 Star

This was recommended by my therapist, and I found it might have been useful earlier on, but it felt repetitive as I had done most of the things it recommended already.

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond by Patricia Evans (Read 10/10/16 to 10/26/16) - 3 Star

 

Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way by Patricia Romanowski Bashe (Read 10/8/16 to 11/10/16) - 3 Star

This was insightful, and I think that it would be a good book for parents going through a divorce that does not involve abuse, either physical or substance.  The advice there seemed like it would be great if I was divorcing a rational or even stable person, but due to the situation things were just not tenable.  There was a blurb in the book about halfway in that a lot of this information can be disregarded when an abusive situation is present; it was at that point that I started skimming.

Beyond Codependency: And Getting Better All the Time by Melody Beattie (Read 11/17/16 to 12/6/16) - 2 star

This was a slow read, and it focused a lot on 12 step programs, which turned me off.  I am sure there was a lot of good info in it, but it got lost in the promotion of joining a 12-step.

2016 in Review Part 2


Part 2:

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (Listened to 10/21/16 to 10/22/16) - 4 Star

Wow that was powerful!  An hour of pure terror, heroism, and love.  It wasn't a condemnation of massacre shooters, it was about the ability of one person going above for another, and about humanity.  The motives are immaterial when faced with such a terrifying event the unity and connections formed are admirable.   Great writing I was really drawn in.

California by Edan Lepucki (Read 10/1/16 to 10/26/16) - 3 Star

I enjoyed the story, I am not sure I enjoyed the shifting point of views.   Both Frieda and Cal are sad different people from the way they view each other, but I suppose that is true of any relationship.  The book is super creepy, The Land is a cult.  I can't stand Frida though, she is stupid and blind, and the poster child for "the internet can only publish the truth" type person.    It was an ok read, wouldn't recommend though.

Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding (Read 10/26/16 to 10/30/16) - 2 Star

Interesting that Colin firth playing Mr. Darcy in book is major crush of Bridget, and he played Mark Darcy in movie....hmmm  I know this is supposed to be a revamp of Pride and Prejudice, but I don't see it.  It totally reminded me of pre-married days.  I couldn't imagine living this way now.  I like the movie better.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding (Read 10/30/16 to 11/3/16) - 2 Star

I was bored, not sure as to why this book doesn't seem as fun as the movies.  Egads another book that I prefer the movie too.  The antics that are supposed to be amusing just aren't doing it for me.

Bridget Jones's Guide to Life by Helen Fielding (Read 11/3/16) - 1 Star

Cut little book, didn't add anything to the series.

Down the Rabbit Hole by Various Authors (Read 11/3/16 to 11/13/16) - 3 Star

This had 5 short stories:

Wonderment in Death I like it, I like the In Death series though, I like the futuristic twist to the detective stories.  The crime was a little predictable but  I still thought it was a fun little story.  I like the image of Alice at the "tea party."

Alice and the Earl in Wonderland  Another story that is from another series, so the characters were well developed, it was a bit of a teaser though, made me interested in reading the actual books,  so I guess it did its job.  It had a nice switch up of characters being pulled into future rather than the past.

iLove Our phones are the rabbit hole!  I loved the idea,  It was a cute little love story about appreciating each other.

A True Heart  IRS Revenue Office as lead character....so many things wrong that it made it really hard to focus on the story.

Fallen  very strange romance, the end seemed slapped together, like oops lets wrap this up.  It was ok for time travel, but I liked Alice and the Earl in Wonderland better.

The First Bad Man by Miranda July (Listened to 11/21/16 to 11/28/16) - 1 Star

Very strange story - the whole scenario seems off.  Cheryl is crazy and the way her inner dialogue works keeps it that way.  The whole book is crazy.  Who would give this crazy woman a baby?  I wasn't attracted to any of the characters, they are all creeps.

The Girl with No Past by Kathryn Croft (Listened to 11/29/16 to 12/1/6) - 4 Star

This was a good listen.  I really liked Leah and I was kept guessing until the very end as to what actually happened!

Only  a Promise by Mary Balough (Read 12/17/16 to 12/7/16) - 5 Star

OMG a romance book that I gave 5 stars to!  I really liked it.  I picked the book up based on a review that it wasn't your typically romance.  Sex doesn't fix the relationship issues, character growth does!  And the review was right.  The Characters weren't automatically in love because they had amazing sex.  Actually they had blah sex, which was appropriate for the story line.  I really liked it.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon (Read 12/8/16 to 12/10/16) - 4 Star

This was a fun supernatural mystery.  I saw part of the twists but not all.  The actual way it came about was unexpected.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (Listened to 12/2/16 to 12/15/16) - 4 Star

This was a check out from the library because I liked the movie, it was sorta similar, but not really.  There was a lot more depth to the story than I expected.

Holidays on Ice by David Sendaris (Read 12/8/16 to 12/23/16) - 1 Star

This was awful.  The author was too sarcastic and down right cruel in my opinion.  I didn't have a single story I enjoyed.

After You by JoJo Moyes (Listened to 12/24/16 to 12/31/16) - 3 Star

This was an ok wrap up to the first one, it let us see what had become of Louisa, I thought it was good, but not as good as the first.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

2016 in Review Part 1


So per the agreement with my Lawyer, “Client Agrees that so long as Attorney represents Client and the case is an ongoing case and there has been no final orders entered in this matter, Client will not discuss the case or post the status of the case on any social media including, but not limited to, Facebook, My Space, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tweet, or any other chat line.  Client understands that any such puissant or discussion may have a negative effect on this matter as it proceeds in the court system.”  Hence none of this will be posted until after everything is said and done, I don't want to take any chances.

2016 has been a bit of a shit storm.  A very nasty and high conflict divorce has really taken up my time.  So sadly I did not get all my books written up as I read, but I did read and take notes, so instead, you are getting a year in review in 2 parts!

Royal Affairs: A Lusty Romp through the Extramarital Adventures that Rocked the British Monarchy by Leslie Carroll (Read 2/3/16 to 2/13/16) - 4 Star

This is a history of scandals of the British Royals for the last 1,000 years.  It was broken up by reigns and affairs.  It was a fun read.  Very light and well written.  I enjoyed it, but don't know that I would necessarily quote it or recommend it.

Angel's Share by Garfield Ellis (Read 2/17/16 to 2/20/16) - 3 star

This book is about Everton Dorril, a Jamaican man who goes on a search and eventually a road trip with his father and the evolution of their relationship.  This was a slow read for me.  I wasn't as invested as the characters, nor did I want to be.  I loved the imagery but the story line wasn't engaging to me.  I like the book ok, I thought it should have been more of mystery, where was his father, instead it was more of a journey of discovery.  Discovering who his father is/was and who Everton is.  The writing was good, the dialogue threw me off some, but I got used to it.  I'm not sure this would be a book I would recommend, but I wouldn't say don't read it either.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman (Read 2/16/16) - 4 Star

This is the Sequel to "If I Stay."  It takes place three years after the first book and is written from Adam's point of view.  The story wasn't as great as "If I Stay," but it does give the reader some closure as to what happened to the characters for which I am very thankful.  I felt the storyline wasn't quite as intense as "If I Stay," but I still really enjoyed it.

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis (Read 2/13/16 to 2/28/16) - 4 Star

This is timeline wise the first in the Narnia series, but I think it falls more like # 6 in the published dates.  Essentially this is the story of how Narnia was created.  There is a ton of foreshadowing, which would make sense since most the rest of the series had already been written.    I hate the Uncle, he is sucha coward.  I never really thought I got I the Christian theme in the any of the Narnia books, but it was a bit more prominent in this one.  Usually the theme is subtle and you really have to want to see, but there are a few scenes in this story that are overt. 

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Read 3/7/16 to 3/21/16) - 2 Star

In a future world, Controllers have created an ideal society through brainwashing and genetic engineering.    In some ways it reminded me of divergent.  The manufacturing as an idea makes sense now that I think about it because of all the references to Ford.  This takes place in AF 632, which is about the year 2540, not that far in the future.   The story line is incredibly raciest, but since it was written in 1931 it makes sense.  Although there were some comments that shocked me.  I didn't care much for the jumping between points of view in the first chapters.  It made it really hard to read.  Once Huxley picked a single point of view to follow, it became easier.  But after a while the reading felt tedious to me,  I had a hard time seeing the point of the book, besides to bash consumerism, which at this point is a worn out theme in my mind.  By the end I didn't like the book, it is totally my genre, but it just didn't do it for me.  I was happy when I finally finished, maybe it is where I am in my life and my divorce, but a bleak future portrayed here with no change just depressed me.

Room by Emma Donaghue (Read 3/23/16 to 3/29/16) - 4 star

This about a 5 year old boy Jack and his mom.   Room is Jack's entire world, then one day Ma helps him escape rolled in a rug, and he helps rescue her.  And the world is suddenly infinite.  The whole book is written from Jack's point of view, which could have been an epic fail, but it works.  I really enjoyed the book and the innocent and naive point of view.

Smarter Than You Think:  How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson (Read 2/22/16 to 3/30/16) - 4 Star

This is a nonfiction book discussing how technology boots our cognitive thinking.  I found it extremely well written and informative.  It made me re-think some ideas I had about how technology was dumbing down society.  That actually it might be doing the opposite, by changing our way of thinking.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene (Read 3/8/16 to 3/31/16) - 2 Star

Hazel has a terminal tumor, she accepts her inevitable death, and then she meets Augustus Waters and her entire life changes.  I think that because I have seen the movie and I know what is coming I can't seem to enjoy the book as much.  I just want to see if the book and movie endings are the same.  Additionally, love stories turn my stomach some right now, so I am especially disinterested.  I must be grumpy.  It followed the movie very closely.  I think I should have read this at a different time in my life to appreciate it.  I didn't, I found it to be a depressing read and it made me sad when I wanted to be anything but sad.

Ready Player One by Earnest Cline (Read (3/31/16 to 4/2/16) - 5 Star

OMG OMG I love this book, it has shot onto my top 10 favorite books!  It is set in 2044 and the world is ugly, almost everyone lives in virtual reality and the book follows Wade Watts as he plays a VR treasure hunt.  It is full of 80's pop culture references, and made all my geek senses tingle.   The storyline isn't that fresh, but Clive's writing and all the geeky references make the story!

The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel (Listened to 3/31/16 to 4/3/16) - 3 Star

This is translated book from a Denmark Author, it is #7 in the series, but it's ok that you haven't read the others.  It makes me want to go back and start at the beginning, but I can't read Dutch.  I think translations start at book 2.  It was a great thriller and kept me guessing to the end.  It was an audio book and I enjoyed the narrator.

The Humbug Murders by L.J. Oliver (Read 4/7/16 to 4/30/16) - 2 Star

This is a murder mystery where the detective is Ebenezer Scrooge.  I loved the idea and the twist, but the reading was very slow for me.  It was such a slow read for me, I had a really hard time getting into it.  Almost like Dickens had written it.

Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis (Read 4/30/16 to 5/7/16) - 3 Star

This is the first in a new series, Reign of Secrets.  The Heir Allyssa appears to be an ideal princess, but she fights crime at night.  This of course gets her in hot water when she has to marry to stop a war.  It was good, I liked it, a bit predictable but good enough that I want to read the second book.

Summer Secrets by Jane Green (Read 5/14/16 to 5/24/16) - 4 Star

This is the story of a recovering alcoholic who is trying to follow her program and make amends.  There are twists and turns and betrayals.  I found this interesting because it made me wonder how much I would forgive my ex if he came to me further in his recovery and truly was sorry and wanted to make amends.  Would I forgive him for the pain he caused while under the influence or would I want to exact revenge?  I would like to think I would be the bigger person.

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (Read 5/1/16 to 5/25/16) - 3 Star

This was not my first read of this book.  I really like Lessa, she is hard and sometimes cold hearted, yes but sometimes to reach ones goals and means to a better end the actions are not always nice.  She spends a good deal of her time looking at the greater picture.  And yes she probably caused some harm, but I truthfully think the harm would have happened with or without her.  The dragons are not a soft species and they need a ruthless queen, and I think Lessa will be one.  Not ruthless as in rule the world, but ruthless in a way that will save lives when the Thread falls.  And Thread what an ambiguous and scary threat, not much is said beyond its deadliness.   As this was not my first read, I know that there is a ton of foreshadowing for the series end in the prologue which I totally missed on my first read through.  So the first time I read the series, I read in chronological order not publishing order so this was actually like book #15 or something.  Having the back story made this book make more sense, especially knowledge of the historical riders mentioned.  With that being said I could see how some of the story could be confusing as to what is happening for a first time reader.

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn (Read 6/25/16) - 1 Star

This is actually a short story.  Sadly I can't even remember what the story was about, it didn't go along with any of the other Gillian Flynn's I read, and it just was forgettable.

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright (Listened to 6/20/16 to 6/28/16) - 2 Star

This is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.  It was an audio book and let me tell you the narrator makes all the difference, the narrator of this ruined the book for me, I just couldn't get into it or even care about the twist.  It was awful.

The Witness Wore Red:  the 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice by Rebecca Musser (Read 5/31/16 to 6/28/16) - 5 Star

I seem to have developed a slight obsession with polygamy stories since I discovered Sister Wives on TLC.  I don't understand sharing your husband, I totally get sharing household duties and child care, but sharing a husband baffles me much the same as the swinger lifestyle baffles me.   I don't judge, but I don't understand either which is probably why I have an interest.  I thought this was an interesting insight from a woman who got out, and how much courage it took her to leave.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Read 6/17/16 to 7/7/16) - 3 Star

This was an ok read, I liked it better than The Secret History, but it was still really slow for me.  I had a hard time getting through the reading.  I really struggled throughout the whole book with boredom.  The storyline seemed static and full of social commentary; loveless marriages and everyone is a cheat or a fake.  It just felt very cliché to me.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Read 7/1/16 to 7/14/16) - 5 Star

I loved it and I want a sequel!

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up:  The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing By Marie Kondo (Listened to 7/12/16 to 7/14/16) - 5 Star

I liked it, the tips were interesting and I really wanted to go home and declutter after listening to it, I may even buy an actual copy of the book.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (Listened to 7/14/16 to 7/19/16) - 3 Star

It was ok, I had a hard time paying attention though, I am sure I missed huge swaths of the story because it was audio and I zoned out.

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee (Read 7/8/16 to 7/29/16) - 4 Star

I liked the story it was engaging and interesting.  I did have to remind myself sometimes about the era that this book was written in, and not get my liberal panties in a twist.  I liked the book, I thought it was good, and I was a little sad that I had missed it in high school.

America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray (Read 8/1/16 to 8/11/16) - 4 Star

I liked the story, I know from the author's note that they tried very hard to make it accurate historical fiction but some parts of course were not.  It made me want to read more about Jefferson.

Priest by Sierra Simone (Read 8/11/16 to 8/13/16)

Wowsa!!!  This was an interesting twist and man was the sex HOT!

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Read 7/30/16 to 8/18/16) - 5 Star

I actually liked this one better than To Kill a Mockingbird, I don't understand what all the hollering was about.  I thought it was a really good book.  I could see where To Kill a Mockingbird came from, although this book had some of the facts, such as the outcome of the trial, different.  I thought the person Scout grew up to be was very reasonable and possible.  I was sad with her romance choice.  I felt the book did a great job of showing how conflicted people could be in the 60's especially in the south.  

The Martian by Andy Weir (Read 8/21/16 to 8/25/16) - 5 Star

I loved it.  Storyline, the language, the science, all of it, I did a happy dance.

Wreckage by Emily Bleeker (Read 8/25/16 to 8/29/16) - 3 Star

This was an ok book, but the plot twists were very transparent from the start and it all wrapped up a little too neatly for my taste.

Little Black Dress by Susan McBride (Listened to 9/21/16 to 9/23/16) - 5 Star

I liked this book alot, I have a special place in my heart for magical surrealism.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Listened to 9/18/16 to 9/26/16) - 5 Star

OMG this book hit me in an emotional spot.  I saw the ending coming from a mile away but still I cried like a baby the whole time.  It wasn't a typical love story, and I think that was part of the appeal.  To love and to have lost, really hits me right now.  I am still grieving the loss of my marriage some, and I have said to many people it was as if my ex had died, because he is so different from the person I married.  I could totally relate to Louisa at the end.

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Plahniuk (Read 9/7/16 to 9/30/16) - 3 Star

This was an outrageously satirical book.  Not in a lets laugh at ourselves and society, but more of a Hey took a good long hard look at yourself way.  I thought it was an ok ready, I didn't care for the style of writing, the multiple point of view and timeline jumps ere had to follow.  I didn't' see a moral of the story per se.  I felt like Pkahniuk wanted us to become aware of and reflect on society and its view of beauty and the damage that view does to us.  It was very random and wow every character was fucked up!  I wonder if the narrator is a monster because she is missing her jaw or because she is missing her compassion.  Is that the whole point?  That she is a more of a monster on the inside than the outside?  But then again none of the characters are nice; I can't name a single decent person as a character.  I wonder if it a social commentary that we all have a little monster in us, and Plahniuk just exaggerated and highlighted those traits to show us our own reflections.  Our Narrator seems to accept herself monster and all, I'm not saying that we should celebrate our monster traits, but maybe Plahniuk is saying we should embrace ourselves , flaws and all.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (Listened to 9/28/16 to 10/3/16) - 5 Star

This was a great book, and spent the entire listen trying to figure out who died.  I loved the characters; they were developed and very relatable.  I spent almost every chapter praying this character would not be the one to die.  I could especially relate to Celeste.  I have come to admire Moriarty's writing, her stories are never predictable and the characters are always well developed, even when they are not likable, they are at least relatable.

*SPOILER*  I am a domestic violence victim myself.  I was he breadwinner and seemed such a strong independent woman to everyone on the outside.  My Ex-Husband used to cut me down at every turn.  I could completely relate to having a "perfect" marriage to the outside world and living in a your own personal hell inside your home. 

Armada by Ernest Cline (Read 9/28/16 to 10/6/16) - 5 Star

This was just as loveable as Ready Player One.  I love the old school video games and 80's references.  It seemed set up as if there could be a sequel.  I wouldn't be disappointed if there was one.

From Ashes into Light by Gundrun Mouw (Read 10/6/16 to 10/8/16) - 2 Star

This was a slow and sad read.  It was an ok story, but it really had no movement.  It seemed like an endless cycle of discrimination and pointless violence and no sign of things getting any better by the end, just a shared historical experience.