Saturday, June 30, 2018

Review: The Perfect Nanny

Title The Perfect Nanny
By Leila Slimani
Genre Adult fiction
Format ebook
Rating ⭐️

Louise seems like the perfect nanny. She's loving, organized and goes above and beyond. Cleaning the apartment and cooking for the family. She stays late and comes early and is becoming quite invaluable. But Louise begins to unravel. Strange little habits she has hint of what is to come and goes to show you can never really know a person.

First Sentence 
The baby is dead.

This one sounded like a train wreck of a story. Something morbid and depressing that you just can't quite get enough of. I was exited to get my hands on it. Sadly, it wasn't for me.

I don't know if it was the translation (it was originally written in French) or the way the author didn't seem to want you to care about a single character but it just didn't work for me.

The whole story kept you cold and removed and I had a hard time caring about the horrors I was reading about.

It was also just overly depressing and I kind of wished I'd just skipped it. There's nothing worse than not liking a book and it not even have riled you up enough to hate it. I was just....meh.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Title Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
By Gail Honeyman
Genre Adult Fiction
Format ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Eleanor is completely fine. She has a nice, normal job in accounting, a modest apartment, and a perfectly ordinary routine. OK, she's a little weird and her coworkers make fun of her and she doesn't have any friends but so what? She's just met the love of her life. He just doesn't know it yet. As we learn more about Eleanor we begin to understand that maybe she isn't fine after all and that you should never judge a person you don't know.

First Sentence
When people ask me what I do-taxi drivers, dental hygienists-I tell them I work in an office.

I don't know why I decided to read this book. I don't think I ever even read what it was about. I just heard both good and bad things and was just inexplicably drawn to it.

I adored it. It was engaging and hard to put down. I had no real idea what to expect and I as I learned more and more about Eleanor my heart broke a little. She was so quirky and weird and if she existed in real life I bet I would have judged her too; imperfect human that I am and that makes me sad.

I think that's why I adored Raymond so much. He just accepted her as she was and offered no judgment at all. He was a great character.

In a world so full of the "I'm right, you're wrong" mentality and all the hate bursting from social media and the news it was delightful to read about how a little kindness can go a long way and be reminded not to judge.

I really loved this book and would highly recommend it. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Review: The Little Stranger

Title The Little Stranger
By Sarah Waters
Genre Horror, Suspense
Format Audio book
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Dr. Faraday is called to the Georgian house Hundreds Hall, home to the Ayres for over two generations. Always an admirer of the old manor he soon finds himself enmeshed with the family and their troubles. The house is struggling financially and as a result is falling down around them but soon strange occurrences begin to take place and Dr. Faraday struggles to determine if the house is truly haunted or if the family is slowly going insane.

First Sentence
I first saw Hundreds Hall when I was ten years old.

I saw a preview of the movie they're making based on this book and became intrigued. I'd heard of Sarah Waters but haven't read any of her books before. I guess this one isn't her usual style but it sounded good to me so I gave it a listen.

It was pretty creepy, guys. My anxiety was flaring up while listening and I had to put it down sometimes and give my poor nerves a break.

I really loved the style and slow mystery as it unfurled. I loved the creepy house and the recounts of the haunting that was taking place. I was emotionally invested and dying to know what was going on. It was hard to stop listening.

But that ending made me want to scream! I wanted answers and was offered none! I guess if I was expected to come up with my own answers I have a theory but that's MY theory and I didn't write the book. Waters did and I'd like to know what HER theory was! Sheesh!

Still, despite the lack of any answers I liked the book and am interested in reading Water's other books. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Review: The Hate U Give

Title The Hate U Give
By Angie Thomas
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

When Starr see's her friend get shot by a cop during a routine traffic stop her world begins to unravel. She'll have to learn to be brave and stand up for what she believes and speak out or risk never seeing a change.

First Sentence
I shouldn't have come to this party.

Another book for book club but since I found this one at a thrift store I probably would have read it eventually.

I was really terrified to read this book. I was afraid it was going to be very manipulative and make me feel like crap for being born white and "privileged" (FYI: I just had to look up how to spell privileged. Does that mean I'm not privileged?)

I was relived that Angie Thomas managed to just write a story that was a story. Yes, it was written with an agenda, and yes it was pro-black, anti-white, (a little)  but it was handled smoothly.

It showed good and bad black people and good and bad white people and also managed to tell an interesting, albeit longer than necessary, story. I liked it.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Review: The Outsiders

Title The Outsiders
By S.E Hinton
Genre YA Classic
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Ponyboy has only ever known the life of a "Greaser". Keep your head down and stay away from Socs but when a fight between the Greasers and the Socs goes wrong, Ponyboy's life gets turned upside down.

First Sentence
When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I only had two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.

There's plenty of classics out there that I haven't read and that, quite frankly,  I probably never will. The Outsiders was one I wasn't particularly interested in but I recently found out how young the author was when she wrote and and I became intrigued.

While I can see why it's considered a classic and had some surprisingly sound writing, I wasn't blown away by it. I only found it somewhat interesting and didn't really connect to any of the characters.

I found some of it a bit unbelievable and the lack of character growth depressing but at least it was a quick read and I can say I've read it now...right?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Review: The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

Title The Resurrection of Joan Ashby
By Cherise Wolas
Genre Adult Fiction
Format ebook
Rating ⭐️⭐️

A best selling author at the age of twenty one, Joan Ashby has a plan. Don't fall in love and get married and don't have children. Of course life never goes as plans and love and children come into her life taking over and Joan's writing is put on the back burner. Will Joan ever write again? When a horrible truth comes out about her first child Joan must relearn who she is and was to find happiness and fulfillment again.

First Sentence 
Joan Ashby was frank with Martin Manning right from the start: "There are two things you should know about me.

I have absolutely know idea why I bought this one last year on a Kindle Daily Deal. Maybe someone was talking about it? (If that's you, raise your hand) Maybe I just thought it sounded interesting. I'm not sure and I'm not sure what made me pick it up when I did but here we are.

This one was a longer book at 550 pages and yet I was quite glued to it. The author did a wonderful job of making me want to follow Joan through her normal, rather boring, day to day life. Of course, things did pick up and get interesting when you learn about her oldest son and what he did but then it kind of fell back into a quiet, unassuming pace that still managed to keep me interested.

I think it helped, that I related to Joan. Not that I'm a great writer and I don't have children but I sometimes get that trapped feeling and it helped me empathize with her. I wanted to see her find herself again and find peace.

What I did NOT like about the story was endless pieces of Joan's writing that was scattered plentifully throughout the book. Joan's "amazing" writing was anything but, in my opinion, and made me want to tear my hair out. I found it incomprehensible and tedious and way, way, WAY too abundant. Seriously! Without all that dribble the book would have been much shorter and much better. I even thought that maybe the writing was supposed to be tied into the story and that it was symbolic but it was far too indecipherable to tell. By the end I was just skipping it all together.

  Horrible story excerpts aside, it was a slower but interesting story that I think a lot of women could relate to and appreciate.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Review: Leah on the Offbeat

Title Leah of the Offbeat (Creekwood #2)
By Becky Allbertalli
Genre YA contemporary
Format Audio book
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Leah has always felt like the odd one out in her group of friends. She's the daughter of a single working mother while her friends come from happy whole homes and she's bisexual and hasn't told her friends. Not even her best friend Simon who's openly gay. When her tight-knit group of friends hit a few bumps in the road on the way to their perfect senior year prom Leah will have to open up or risk losing her future happiness.

First Sentence
I don't mean to be dramatic but, God save me from Morgan picking our set list.

I'm a tiny bit obsessed with Albertalli's books right now. Have you noticed? I wanted to know how Leah's life panned out after Simon so I got my hands on this one and had a listen.

I don't know if I'm having and overload of her books or if I was in a mood or if it was Leah but I didn't really like this one. It was cute and had the great writing and dialogue Allbertalli is so good at but the story fell flat for me. I wasn't invested at all and I found Leah overly annoying and bitchy for my taste. Still, I feel like the author was true to Leah. She is who she is and makes no excuses. I just wish she didn't annoy me so much.

I was glad she got her happy ending and I enjoyed seeing Simon again but so far this has been my least favorite

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Review: Young Jane Young

Title Young Jane Young
By Gabrielle Zevin
Genre Adult fiction
Format Audiobook
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Aviva Grossman had a bright future ahead of her when she started interning for her congressman. When she makes the mistake of having a love affair with her boss and blogging about it the truth comes out and she takes the fall. Ridiculed and condemned for life she has no other choice to move far away from her home, change her name and try to start her life and career over and give her daughter a better life. But when she decides to run for public office will the truth come out again? And when her daughter finds out will she still be respected and loved as a mother?

First Sentence
My dear friend Roz Horowitz met her new husband online dating, and Roz is three years older and fifty pounds heavier than I am, and people have said that she is generally not as well preserved, so I thought I would try it even though I avoid going on line too much.

 I've never read a Zevin book and while this wouldn't normally be my first choice among all her books it was available on audiobook so I gave it a go.

Zevin is one hell of a writer. I loved her style and the voices of all the characters were endearing. I'm very excited to read more by her.

The plot of this one, however, was a little weird for me. I felt like we were really only getting a brief look into these character's lives rather than a start to finish story. There wasn't much closure or resolution; particularly with Aviva's daughter and her new opinion of her mother. Maybe I missed something?

Issues aside, I loved Zevin's writing so much that I ended up liking, if not loving, this one and am eager to try her other books now.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Review: Forbidden

Title Forbidden
ByTabitha Suzuma
Genre YA Contemporary
Format Print
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Stepping in for their alcoholic mother, Maya and Lochan work hard to get good grades and raise there three younger siblings while their mom pursues her latest love interest and goes on benders. Brother and sister forced into the roll of parents the two start to find themselves with feelings for one another.

First Sentence
I gaze up at the small, crisp, burned-out black husks scattered across the chipped white paint of the windowsills.  

This one has been on my radar since it's release in 2010. I wondered if the author could convince me that siblings falling in love wasn't the cringe inducing topic I think it is. She couldn't.

In fact, it's been several weeks since I read this one and the distance has made me reconsider the two stars I gave it. It earned a star for some beautiful sentences here and there that made me think this author was quite talented but the romance? Nope. Didn't buy it. I wanted to FEEL what these kids were feeling and be forced to look at things in a different way but I just didn't. Couldn't.

Oh well. There's other books out there that can shake me up and make me question the world around me better than this one, I bet. I just need to find them.

Friday, June 1, 2018

May Wrap-Up 2018

For some reason I feel like I read a lot more in May then I really did. Seven books isn't bad but it felt like more. Sadly, there weren't any 5 star reads either. That's always a bummer. Oh well. May was eventful. My husband and I took a short vacation to our happy place; the Oregon coast and then less then two weeks later, spontaneously drove back for Memorial Day weekend.

How can this not be our happy place?! It's so beautiful! Anywho, I listened to two audiobooks on the drive which made it a tinsy bit more bearable but, dude, that's a LONG drive. Flying is much better. Here's my books.

Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy, Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Allbertalli, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Allbertalli, Finnikin of the Rock my Melina Marchetta, Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin and Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. 

Favorite of the month was Being Friends With Boys. Least favorite was Finnikin of the Rock.