Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Review: The Nest

Title The Nest
By Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeny
Genre Adult Contemporary
Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Plumb children have always relied on the certainty that when the youngest, (Melody) turns 40, they will receive their inheritance. Each, with their own reasons for needing the money, eagerly await that day. But when Leo, the oldest, gets in an accident, the money is all but drained to pay for his indiscretions.
The future they've all depended on and imagined is no more. Can they fix their futures with out money? And will their troubles pull them together or drive them apart?

First Sentence
Because the three Plumbs had agreed on the phone the previous evening that they should not drink in front of their brother Leo, they were all-unbeknownst to one another-sitting in separate bars in and around Grand Central, savoring a furtive cocktail before lunch.

I'm not sure what exactly drew me to this one. Peer pressure, I suppose. I saw it was nominated for best fiction book by Goodread's users and I had seen a lot of buzz for it around the web, though I couldn't see why, the meager plot line seemed too flimsy for a story, but for some reason I picked it up. And I'm glad I did! Though, a third of the way through it I was starting to reconsider finishing it.

The characters were so reliant on having the money that they all acted stupidly and immature. Not seeing what blessings they had right in front of them. But before you can completely give up on them you begin to see a spark of an ability to cope with their predicament and suddenly you can't put the book down for want of seeing them succeed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The meager plot line was indeed meager but this was more a story of character and I was wholly and completely OK with that. Very satisfied!

Should you read it   
Yes. I'd recommend it. Especially for a book group read. There's much to discuss within these pages.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: Ketchup Clouds

Title Ketchup Clouds
By Annabel Pitcher
Genre YA Contemporary
Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

"Zoe" as she calls herself in her letters to a death row inmate, has a secret. A secret that's tearing her apart. A secret that she feels like she can only confess to a death row inmate. After all, they have something in common; they've both killed someone.

First Sentence
Dear Mr. S. Harris, Ignore the blob of red in the top left corner.

Finally! A five star read! My first two books this year were a let down so I was glad I found this one. I wasn't more than a few pages in when I knew I'd found a good one. Don't you love that? Knowing, you've found a treasure just a few pages in?

Written in epistolary form this book tells the story of "Zoe" as she calls herself and the secret she's harboring.

There's something so perfect about a book that's both laugh out loud funny and heart rending-ly sad at once. Ketchup Clouds is such a book.

This may sound weird but "Zoe" was from England and her life, her family, and her shenanigans reminded me of Georgia Nicolson if Georgia Nicolson had some more serious things to deal with.

What more can I say? This is one of those books you wish everyone would read no matter their preferred genre. It was beautiful!

 I wish I could write a review that would make you drop everything you're reading right now and find this book. But, alas, I'm not that talented. Just take my word for it. Drop everything you're reading and grab this book! Or at least add it to your TBR list and get to it soon. Very soon!

Should you read it
If you love laugh out loud humor, swoony romance and struggling, relatable characters trying to make it through this crazy ride we call life, you have to read this one.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Review: The Pact

Title The Pact
By Jodi Picoult
Genre Adult contemporary
Rating ⭐⭐

The Golds and the Hartes have lived next to each other for 18 years. Their two children, Chris and Emily, have grown up so closely it's hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. It's no surprise when the two begin to date. What is a surprise is when Emily ends up dead and Chris wounded in what, Chris says, was a suicide pact. Is Chris telling the truth or did something much more sinister happen? Two family's worlds are shattered and torn apart as they try to understand what happened.

First Sentence
There was nothing left to say.

This is only the second Jody Picoult book I've ever read. I picked it up on vacation at a Goodwill on a whim and started reading it on the plane ride home. The other book I've read of hers, Second Glance, was quite good and while I've heard that her books are a hit and a miss, I wanted to try another. This one was a miss.

Her books are very readable. They suck you in and hold you down for the ride but that doesn't mean you'll like the ride when all is said and done.

Again we have a book that doesn't have any likable characters. It  makes it so hard to care about anything that's going on if there isn't one single character you can like. Why can't authors see that?! Or do they actually think they have likable characters? Ugh!

-Going to get a bit spoilery so read on at your own risk-

The parents, while totally unintentional, should have stopped their two children from having such a close relationship. I realize no one is perfect and that they probably saw no harm but how could you not?! These kids were each other's world. It was an unhealthy relationship and sad to me that no one saw it.

Emily drove me absolutely nuts! I felt like I was supposed to have all this sympathy for her because she was dead but she was so unlikable that I just couldn't. Plus, I found her thoughts and reactions completely unrealistic.

Chris, too, was unlikable and annoying. While I felt that he grew up a lot, I never felt like he truly understood Emily as well as he claimed to.

-End of spoilers-

This book also had that crime book feeling. We didn't follow a cop around but we did follow Chris' lawyer a bit and the ending covered the full court trial. It was interesting to read so I didn't mind but I did think it was a bit long in written form. I prefer to watch court scenes, not read about them.

All in all the book held my interest but I just didn't like the content or characters all that much.

Should you read it? 
If you're a Picoult fan and like long drawn out court scenes then, sure, give it a go. Otherwise, just avoid this one. She has at least one other book that's much better.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Review: The Girl From The Sea

Title The Girl From the Sea
By Shalini Boland
Genre Adult Suspense
Rating ⭐

Waking on a beach with no idea who she is or what her name is a woman searches for answers. Before the accident it seemed like she had the ideal life but something seems off. But as she searches for answers she might not like what she finds.

First Sentence
The scent of salt and seaweed.

This was my first book of 2017 and sadly, is not going down as a favorite. I actually read this one on the recommendation of my mother in law. She loves to read too and is always recommending books to me but we have completely different taste in books so I always decline. Which makes me feel a little bad that we can't discuss what we're reading with each other in depth. So when she mentioned this one I thought it sounded like something I might like and quickly downloaded it.

Not far into it, however, I discovered this one was not published by a mainstream publisher. That's not a bad thing but in a lot of cases that's not a good thing either. There were several typos and discrepancies that irritated me and the writing had that unpolished, amateur quality to it. I just about gave up on it even though I really wanted to finish it for my mother in laws sake.

Luckily, at some point, I became just interested enough to know what happened to finish it.

I'd love to say the ending blew me away and that it totally made the read worth it. Well, the ending surprised me alright, just not in a good way. I sat there after finishing it thinking, "what the hell did I just read?". I think the author just wanted to shock us. As if that would make up for the rest of the shoddy book. Ugh! Now what do I tell my poor mother in law? Sigh!

Should you read it?
Absolutely not. Sorry, I can't recommend it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Looking Forward 2017

One last year end looking back/looking forward post. I promise. 

This year, I've set my Goodreads goal to 60 books. That's 10 more than I've managed in the last two years and I really want to reach my goal this year, dammit! I can do this, right?! 

I have no idea what this year will bring but I hope I still can read through whatever comes. 

Last year I read more adult books than YA which hasn't happened for some time and I see the trend continuing through this year. Does that mean I'm growing up? Eeep! I hope not. 

My only other goal for myself is to set aside a book if it's not making me happy or working for me with zero guilt! I've already done this on one book so hopefully I can continue. 

I like having a place I can review the books I've read. Whether anyone else reads it or not means very little to me. I like to look back at my old reviews to remember what I thought of a book. Sometimes I read so much that I forget the more detailed thoughts I had for a book. So, I plan on still reviewing books here. As for discussion posts or any other kind of post, well, we'll see. Sadly, this might me my last year of blogging....maybe. 

2017 is the year of no guilt! Seriously, guys. I have lived my entire life saying and doing things so other people are happy. I worry so much about what people think of me that I actually let it effect my mood. What?! No one can effect my emotions! No one! I finally realized this a few days ago and I'll be damned if I'm going to live my life for other people any more! 

So, this year I'm going to do what makes ME happy, read what makes ME happy and live so I'M happy.  I know that sounds selfish but after 35 years of trying to make everyone else happy, well, I just don't care. I think it's about time I took care of me.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Best & Worst Of 2016

It's that time of year again! OK, I've been really behind on my 2016 wrap up posts. Bear with me. I love doing a top ten worst books I read in any given year, but this year I thought I'd do top 5 best books and top 5 worst. Mostly because I didn't read a ton of books in 2016 so the pickings are slim. However, I did read some great books this year and some not so great books. So here you go.

My Top 5 Best Books of 2016
(in no particular order)

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
I love the books by Moriarty that I've read and this one is my favorite so far.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
I'm afraid some people will wonder what on earth I saw in this one but it just spoke to my soul. Right book at the right time, I guess.

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Who knew a GN would make it to my top 5 best books? Not me. This one totally blew me away.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Very cute story that dealt with some serious issues. Love these types of books.

 Roomies by Sara Zarr and Altebrando
Honestly, I'll give just about anything Sara Zarr writes 5 stars.

My Top 5 Worst Books of 2016

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Take the stupidest story ever...and then read it on repeat and you'll get this book. Never again!

Dead Ringer by Jessie Rosen
I can't believe someone thought this book was good enough to publish...even the author. Horrible!

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
While you can't really bash someone for writing a book about how they grieved the loss of a loved one, it sure is tempting with this one.

Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie
For a book about an Empath I don't think she had much empathy.
(sorry Jenni)

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
Sometimes, when you're really looking forward to a book and it disappoints you this much it doesn't matter that it wasn't THAT bad, you hate it anyway.

And there you have it. My top 5 worst and best books of 2016. Are we in agreement on any of these? Or total disagreement?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 Year End Wrap-Up

Well, I set a goal to read 65 book and only managed 49. Goodreads thinks I read 52 but I DNF 3 books.

I'm sad to see that most of my books were 3 star books. And there's far too many 2 star books too. Don't you think? At least there's a good number of 4 star books and only 2 1 star books. That has changed dramatically from previous years.

I found this past year that I leaned more towards adult books. I'm not sure if YA books are just too childish for me now or if I was just going through a phase but I definitely read more adult books.
25 adult
21 YA
2 MG
1 Children's book

I set a goal for myself to finish some series finally and I did manage to finish 4. I was hoping to do better but am pleased with what I did manage.

Mostly, I think I posted reviews and wrap up posts. I didn't do many discussion posts or random posts. I don't know why I find it so hard to blog but I do and have seriously considered giving it up. I'm not sure I'm quite ready to do that yet but I doubt 2017 will have tons of discussion/random posts either. I think it will be more of the same. Oh well.

I posted about my miscarriage and that, and a horrible cold that turned into laryngitis and a trip to the emergency room with pleurisy, made the latter end of the year incredibly horrible.

However, 2016 wasn't all bad. My husband and I were able to purchase two duplexes and though remodeling was a huge headache and stressful, I feel incredibly blessed to be securing our future.

We also took a trip to the Oregon coast and spent New Years Eve there. We had a blast...and guess what? I didn't even stay up on New Years Eve after all.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

December Reading Wrap-Up 2016

December came and went. And can I just say, good riddance! Sorry, but it was a tough month, a tough year and I'm ready to look forward...if I can get rid of this lingering cold that ruined my Christmas. Anywho, here's what I read in December.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, The Replacement but Brenna Yovanoff, Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira and What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan.

Favorite of the month was Love Letters to the Dead. It was so beautiful! Least favorite was What She Knew. It wasn't terrible, I just didn't like any of the characters.