Monday, 28 January 2019

November/December Book Review

I'm pretty behind on book reviews, since it's the end of January.  I didn't read much in November and December, because um, Christmas.  But I had this post ready to go, so figure might as well post this and then work on a post for all the books I read on vacation!

The Perfect Mother
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
I read this book in 2 days.  It was good and I really needed one of these mystery books that I haven't read in awhile.  This book is about a group of women who met through an online mommy message board basically.  They are called the "May Mothers" as they all had their babies in May.  One day, one of the babies is kidnapped.  This book goes through the 13 days that follow from different perspectives of the different mothers trying to find baby Midas.

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
I gave this book 5 stars.  It wasn't my favourite book every, but I did enjoy it.  But I gave it 5 stars because it had so much depth.  It made me think, it made me smile, it made me cry.  

This was my book club book for this month, and I'm glad I actually read it, even if I can't get to the book club meeting. 

Ove is an old man whose wife recently passed.  This is what bothered me the most, that he was described as a grumpy old man, but was 59.  That's not old enough to be considered a grumpy old man and have friends who have Alzheimer in my opinion, but I digress.  This story is about him, but it's also a love story about a man who doesn't know how to function once the only person who understood him is gone.  And it's a story about a man who comes across as miserable but actually has more compassion than most people.  To watch Ove develop, and relationships develop was enjoyable.  

A main takeaway from this book is the common line "be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" and also that by being kind to someone, you never know what kind of impact that might make on their life.  You might be giving them something to live for. 

An Unwanted Guest
An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

When you are in a reading rut, get yourself a good murder mystery.  I had started reading Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill about her life in Scientology.  I found it interesting, but biographies are sometimes difficult because things aren't constantly happening an they are slow.  So it was taking me forever, and I had already renewed it once.  So I returned it and grabbed this one.  I read it in less than a day. 

Like other Shari Lapena books, I found the whole premise a bit odd and unbelievable.  But that doesn't stop you from wondering who dun it. 

A group of people are at a cute boutique hotel in the middle of nowhere.  A big storm hits, they lose power and are stuck. Suddenly someone is murdered.  Is there a murderer in their midst or is there someone else there that they don't know about.  

This book was kind of like reading a murder mystery dinner.  A group of people, one is a killer, who is it?

Monday, 5 November 2018

October Book Review

Slow month.  I only read 2 books this month.  They were both good, but definitely not my favourite.  And I got distracted by fall TV shows and The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix.  Oops!

Every Note Played
Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
Lisa Genova writes stories about people who are diagnosed with neurological diseases.  They are always different diseases, but I find they give such great insight into the disease itself.  This one is about a man who was a famous concert pianist who is diagnosed with ALS.  His ex-wife helps him out as his disease progresses.  It's about his experience, her experience, and their relationship.

What I didn't love was that I found Richard slightly unlikeable.  I felt for him, and I felt for how terrible the disease would be, but he just didn't seem like that great of a person.  I think that the purpose was to see his progression and understand him better and see how the disease changes him.  

It wasn't my favourite Lisa Genova book but it was still good and definitely was an interesting read.

Educated by Tara Westover
You may have heard of this one as it's at the top of everyone's reading lists!  This book is a memoir about a girl who is raised by survivalist parents.  This means they are very religious and they believe that the end of the world is coming.  They fear the government and so the kids don't go to school and although they are supposed to be homeschooled they really aren't.  Eventually a few of them, including Tara, study hard enough to pass the tests to get into University.  Tara ends up getting a PhD as well.

I did find portions of this book slightly unbelievable.  Whether they were fabricated or her life and her mind were truly that messed up, I don't know.  She has an extremely abusive brother and her parents consistently take his side.  There are so many injuries that should of killed them in the family that they "heal" with essential oils as they don't believe in doctors that I just found that a bit unrealistic.  You know how much I love my oils, but severe whole body burns, falling 20 feet onto your oils don't do that!  I did of course though find it interesting that her family owns a very successful essential oil company.  

Her family is messed.  That part is interesting and it's crazy that people live that way. This is similar to The Great Alone, which I absolutely loved.  So I definitely recommend this book as it is an interesting read.  

Sunday, 30 September 2018

September Book Review

I have officially read my 30 books that I wanted to read for the year!  Anything now is bonus.  
The Great Alone

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

This might be one of my top books for the year so far.  It wasn't the one that I read the quickest, it maybe wasn't the most "enjoyable" (I did enjoy it, but I mean in comparison to a light and fluffy chick lit book).  But as a real literary book that has a bunch of depth but is still readable, this book is it.

Leni and her parents move to Alaska to homestead in the 70's.  It's a turbulent time, and her dad has changed since being released as a POW from the Vietnam war.  Leni finds herself in Alaska and this novel is an exploration of that, her family, the friends she makes.  

For me, I love watching Alaska shows, so that's what drew me to this book in the first place.  (Alaska: The Last Frontier anyone?)  But I felt like this book had some great character development, it was thought provoking and educational.  

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

This book is about Hal, a young woman who is living day by day and has loan sharks after her.  When she gets a letter telling her that her grandmother has died and she will get an inheritance, it seems too good to be true.  Especially since she knows that this woman couldn't possibly be her grandmother.  She is desperate so plans to deceive this family in order to come into the money anyways.  Unfortunately things begin to unravel once she gets to the estate that belonged to Mrs. Westaway.  

I did enjoy this book, but not as much as some of Ruth Ware's books.  I loved In a Dark, Dark Wood and the Lying Game.  This one was more along the lines of the Woman in Cabin 10.  Left me wanting a bit more from it.

I've Got My Eyes on You
I've Got My Eyes on You by Mary Higgins Clark

What can I say about this besides the fact that it's classic Mary Higgins Clark.  A young girl is murdered, the book takes on the perspective of her family, a couple suspects and the detective.  I found it slightly predictable and a few parts surprised me as being unrealistic, but this was a shorter book and an easy read.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

August Book Review

This month started off so strong, and then I just stopped reading. I read three books in the first week as I was on holidays, and then I only read one other book the entire rest of the month!  But four books isn't too bad either.

The Miniaturist

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

This was my book club book for this month.  So it's outside the norm of what I would usually read.  It's set in the 1600's and is about a young girl who marries a rich merchant.  She moves into his house with his controlling sister.  He gives her a miniature house that is a replica of the house they live in and then secrets begin to be revealed.  I don't like giving too much away! 

I found this book interesting and it gave a good perspective of life back then, although some parts seemed a bit unrealistic.  The general consensus at book club was that this was a good book!  

My Oxford Year

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

I picked up this book because it had been described as being similar to "The Royal We" which I absolutely loved!  This book isn't about royalty, but it is about an American girl who goes to school at Oxford and falls for her young professor.  Again, I don't like to give away main story lines when they are something that aren't straight up described in the book description.  But if you like chick lit and Nicholas Sparks I think you would like this book.

All We Ever Wanted

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

This book is oh so relevant these days.  Nina is married into Nashville elite.  Her son goes to a private school and their life is basically a combination of Wisteria Lane and Stepford wives.  But then one drunken night her son makes a huge mistake on social media and everything begins to unravel.  Told from the perspective of Nina, the girl involved in the snapchat picture, and the girl's father.  I thought this book was great.  Written in classic Emily Giffin style, but the topic was different and enthralling.

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

I kept picking up books and not wanting to read them, and realized I just needed some good chick lit.  Enter Lauren Weisberger.  You may know her as the author of The Devil Wears Prada.  This book is actually about Emily, the bitchy senior assistant from the Devil Wears Prada.  She has her own business that is falling apart, until an old friend connects her with a Senator's wife who has been charged with a DUI and whose life is unravelling.  (Emily's business is basically to clean up publicity messes for celebrities.) Loved this book.  Emily is still a bitch but totally endearing in this book.  I loved Miriam who was a partner at a law firm but quit to move to Connecticut and raise her children, but is feeling out of place among the Stepford wives.  And Karolina, the Senator's wife who was a model is totally lovable.  

I'm not even sure what my favourite book was this month.  I think it was probably All We Ever Wanted, but they were all truly good reads!  I'm at 27 out of 30 books for my goal for the year so I think it's time I set myself a new goal!