6 Books to Read This Winter

 

With winter in full swing, this is the perfect season to snuggle up with a book and dog. It’s also the season of travel and what better way to pass the time waiting for your flight than with a good book?

I haven’t shared a reading list since the summer and I thought it was about time to share another one, this time for the winter. I plan to read lots of books on our flight to Atlanta and also on my parents’ screened-in porch with a cup of coffee.

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6 Books to Read this Winter while Snuggling on the Couch

A Court of Thorns and Roses // Several friends suggested this book to me but once my friend put it on her blog, capsule, I knew I had to read it! It’s the first book of a trilogy and is similar to The Beauty and the Beast story. Since I am such a fan of that movie, I can’t wait to read about the love story between Feyre, a girl who kills a wolf in the woods, and then a beast comes and takes her as he demands retribution for the kill. I guess it’s loosely based on the movie but the two do start to fall in love. I’ve heard it’s a page-turner and will probably be the first book I read!

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir // This just sounds hilarious! It’s about a tell/tale book about a sitcom writer who decides to travel the world by herself while all her friends are getting married and having babies. It is the perfect book for me because it’s all about getting the travel bug and focusing on yourself, living your life and not comparing yourself to anyone.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky // This book is about to be made into a movie and is a story of one man’s bravery during World War II. An Italian boy doesn’t want to join the war until his home in Milan, Italy is destroyed by Allied bombs. He decides to join the underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps. It sounds like a gripping tale and I’m glad to read the book before the movie.

All the Missing Girls // Apparently this book is a cross between The Luckiest Girl Alive and Girl on the Train, both books I absolutely love. I love thrillers and this one sounds right up my alley. It’s the story of two girls who go missing ten years apart and it’s told in reverse. The Amazon reviews all make it sound like a great book and I can’t wait to dig into it!

Turtles All The Way Down // From the author who wrote The Fault in Our Stars, this New York Times bestseller is a story about lifelong friendship. It’s about a sixteen year old girl and her best friend and how they are trying to investigate a billionaire that comes with a hundred thousand dollar reward. I’m intrigued.

A River in Darkness // A true story about one man’s escape from North Korea. The author, Masai Ishikawa, and his family moved to North Korea when he was 13 years old because his father was lured there by the promise of work, great educational system and a life in high society. Ishikawa recants his 30-plus years living under a communist rule and how he was able to leave and repatriate in Japan. This sounds like a humbling book and one that will shed some light on the situation in North Korea.

What’s on your reading list? 

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Summer 2017 Book Reviews

 

In June I wrote about the 7 books I wanted to read this summer. Now that it is officially fall (!) I thought I’d share what I thought of some of these books. I didn’t read all 7 because finishing my other book (Dark Moneytook me way longer than I anticipated, but I did manage to read 4 books, so that’s what I’ll be sharing today.

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Truly Madly Guilty 

I had big hopes for this book since it’s written by Liane Moriarty who wrote Big Little Lies. But I have to say that I was quite disappointed by this book. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for the big event to happen only to be disappointed by it.

The premise of the book is that a group of friends all gather for a BBQ when something tragic happens. The book is told from each character’s perspectives and it bounces back from the BBQ scene of the crime to present day. The writing is well done and the characters are definitely developed but I did not think the climax was all that great. And I actually was pretty upset and exhaling like crazy when I would finish another chapter and be pissed that nothing happened.

Would I recommend a friend to read this book? Probably not.

Into the Water 

Now this book by Paula Hawkins, who also wrote Gone Girl, was the opposite of Truly Madly Guilty. This book got better the more I read it. Initially, I was nervous about it because it was slow to start, but the suspense keeps growing.

This book is about a town in England that has a reputation of witch hunting and then years later, women continue to go into the water as suicide. A high school girl is found in the water and not shortly after, the girl’s friend’s mother is found the same way. The story is told from different character perspectives, which I love, and you learn the backstories about what made the women go into the water. There’s a lot going on, ranging from a manuscript to a forbidden relationship to a marriage on the verge of divorce because of cheating. It’s a deep book but I thought the twists and turns were really well done.

Survey says, this book is worth reading, but probably not if you’re headed on a beach or lake vacation!

Talking as Fast as I Can 

A memoir from Lauren Graham is all about her life as an actress on Gilmore Girls, Parenthood and the Gilmore Girls reboot. If you’re a fan of her shows, you will like this book. She doesn’t go into super detail or share too many behind the scenes drama instances, but I enjoyed it. It was especially interesting to read about how she became an actress and struggled to land roles in the beginning. The stories of her childhood living on a boat with her dad are extremely fascinating and funny.

As far as memoirs go, I thought Lauren could have gone deeper and shared more of her feelings instead of just, “Oh, I went back to the set. It’s so weird being here.”

Read at your own risk. It’s a fast read but you won’t walk away knowing a bunch of new information, a bunch of on set drama or much of anything else.

Option B

I just finished this book today, literally. I read it in four days. It’s a book about facing adversity and building resilience by Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In, and Wharton Business School professor, Adam Grant.

Sheryl famously lost her husband suddenly and had to rebuild her life and be strong for her two children, while also being the COO of Facebook. She shares her experience of going through the most horrific event imaginable and Adam Grant shares more psychological and researched practices of overcoming obstacles. The two share their own experiences and experiences from others with facts and research sprinkled throughout.

Everyone will go through something difficult in life, whether it’s losing a spouse, parent or child, getting fired or being abused. We will all go through something. I recently lost my grandmother and this book was a reminder that while life does go on, relationships are forever.

I would recommend everyone to read this book even if you haven’t gone through something awful. It will give you the tools to go through the stages of grief and to get to the other side. Word to the wise, don’t read it in public, like say, on a train. You will ugly cry.

I am now going to read the final three books from my summer list before moving on to more books this winter. I am so happy that I am back in the groove of reading and find that reading before bed helps me sleep and helps me accomplish one more thing a day. Next on the list is Small Hours

Have you read any great books lately? 

Latest Books I've Read and Their Reviews

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7 Books to Read This Summer

 

*The links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that I will receive a small commission of the sale, but the price won’t change for you! Thanks for your support.*

I really enjoy reading but often fall into a rut where I don’t read for months at a time. One of my goals this summer is to spend time reading while on our trips and on our balcony. Sunshine and warm temperatures won’t be around forever, so I want to take advantage of it.

This summer I am committing to reading 7 books. I still have to finish reading my current book (which is terrifying because it’s about how a group of billionaires are controlling our government and public education, no it’s not fiction) but once I’m finished, I’m going to dive into these more beach friendly reads. I will share my thoughts on them either in one big post or as individual book reviews, depending on how much I like them!

 

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Truly Madly Deeply <— From the woman who brought us Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty brings her intense writing to a new book about how sometimes we don’t appreciate how wonderful life is until it’s too late. I love her books because she always has so many different characters (this one follows three different families). I love being able to see different perspectives of a situation.

Into the Water <— I have seen this one all over Instagram and other blogs lately, so it is definitely popular. It’s another book written by an author I love, Paula Hawkins of Gone Girl fame. So I have high hopes for this suspenseful novel about a single mother who turns up dead, leaving behind a teenage daughter. The plot has lots of twists and turns (according to reviews) about how the daughter copes after moving in with her aunt. I love suspense books (and movies and tv shows) because I always want to see if I can figure out the end. I wonder if I’ll be able to figure out this one!

Small Hours <— This book just came out like days ago and already has 17 reviews on Amazon. The story is told hour by hour over the course of one day where a husband and wife try to run away from their secrets. I can feel my heart racing just thinking about an entire book written about one day. It’s like that show 24.

Option B  <— Shout out to my mother-in-law, Karen, for giving me this book. One, it’s a physical book, which makes me excited and two, it’s written by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of bestselling book, Lean In. Option B is co-written by Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, and is all about how to move forward after life’s unexpected events. We all go through rough patches in life and I just love Ms. Sandberg’s positive outlook on life.

Rich People Problems <— The title alone has me hooked on this book. The story surrounds a family obsessed with fortune and how they go about inheriting the riches. It has 4.5 stars on Amazon and, according to reviews, talks a lot about fashion, home design and the luxuries of life. Perhaps this is the book version of my beloved Housewives? I am pumped for this read, perhaps on the beach in Croatia.

Talking as Fast as I Can <— Any Gilmore Girls fans here? If you even remotely loved that show or Lauren Graham’s other show, Parenthood, this is a must-read. Lauren Graham, the actress who played Lorelei Gilmore, reflects on her time in Hollywood, what it was like on the set of her two successful shows, including the Netflix remake episodes, and some other fun experiences. I think this will be the perfect read for those rainy, summer nights when I feel like gabbing a girlfriend. It is already downloaded on my iPad.

The Sunshine Sisters <— This is a family tale by Jane Green and is the story of three sisters who all come together after their mother reveals an illness and try to rebuild their relationships that were once torn because of jealousy and secrets. Maybe I can talk my sister into reading this book at the same time so we can share our thoughts.

What are you going to read? Or any favorite beach reads to share? Would you want to read any reviews of these books?

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When I Read a Book in 5 Hours

I enjoy reading a lot more now that I’m not forced to read something and write a report afterwards. I especially enjoy reading while traveling. There’s something about being on a plane that makes me want to read, something about being forced to do something other than scrolling through Instagram or watching tv.

Before our trip to Dublin I bought a new book, The Couple Next Door, specifically to read on the plane. It got incredible reviews on Amazon and is categorized as a mystery/thriller, which is a favorite thanks to Gone Girl. On our two hour flight home, I started reading the book and found myself so interested I then read it during the two hour drive home and then stayed up until 1 AM to finish it. I read the entire book in 5 hours, in one sitting. It’s that good!

I’ve only ever done this once before and it was in the third grade with an American Girl book about Addy who lived through the Civil War. It was only like 80 pages and it was the first time I felt so engrossed in a book that I looked up and forgot where I was. The Couple Next Door is the first time this has happened to me as an adult, so I just have to write a book review about it!

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The premise of the book is pretty simple: a married couple with a 6 month old baby go to dinner at their neighbors, leaving their baby at home and check on said baby every 30 minutes. But when they return to their home after dinner, their baby is gone! You find this out within the first five pages. The rest of the book dives deep into each character and unfolds exactly what happened that night. It is a transcript version of an episode of Law and Order: SVU. 

The author, Shari Lapena, does an incredible job of twisting and turning all the viewpoints of the night. You get the perspective from each character, from the mother and father to the neighbors and the mother’s parents and the detective in charge. My favorite was the perspective of the detective. In my mind he looked just like Elliott Stabler. He knew something was going on and that there was much more to the story than meets the eye.

The book goes through the events of the night, tackles the couple handling the media, how the very wealthy in-laws impact the investigation and whether or not the father had anything to do with the disappearance of his own baby.

I tried to put the book down to go to bed but just couldn’t sleep without finding out the ending. And the ending did not disappoint. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loved Gone Girl or Girl on the Train. This is the next big book and you will not be able to put it down. The biggest issue I have with the book is that I don’t know what book to read next! This is such a hard act to follow.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Any book recommendations?

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Book Review: The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

A while ago, I made some goals for myself, one of which was to read more. I’m happy to report that I have absolutely read more, and my latest book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, is worth sharing!book review amy schemer

Amy Schumer is hysterical. She writes like her stand-up, so if you don’t like her humor, I don’t suggest reading it. Quick synopsis: it’s a compilation of short stories and memories from Amy’s life. She talks about her childhood, about life on the road as an early comic, her sexual experiences (nope, she’s never done anal), what it’s like to be famous and lists things that annoy her.

She talks openly about her father’s diagnosis with MS and how it impacted her life. If you’ve seen her movie, Trainwreck, you know a little bit about this. These stories hit close to home because my mom has an incurable disease. Amy writes how her dad gave up on life and I am lucky that my mom has the most incredible attitude. You would never know by looking at her that she is in constant pain. She doesn’t let it slow her down. She is amazing.

Back to Amy and her book.

She tells hilarious stories of being on a reality show comedy competition, of telling jokes to nuns and that she’s only had one one night stand in her life. It’s not all humor, though.

In one chapter she talks about a shooting that happened in Louisiana at one of her movie screenings that killed two women. Amy is so honest in her feelings and actually brought me to tears. But this time, tears of sadness. Amy quit her book tour and left Australia to come back to the States to be with the families. She then made it her mission to take on gun control in our country. The man who killed these young women had a history of mental illness, his family filed a restraining order against him saying he was a danger to himself and others and yet, he was still able to buy a gun online. I commend Amy.

In another disturbing chapter, she talks about a relationship with a man that turned emotionally and physically abusive. And the worst part, that she didn’t even realize she was being abused at the time. She uses her story and experience to tell the readers that they are worth something and deserve more from a relationship. Here’s one of my favorite quotes, “I know my worth. I embrace my power. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story. I will. I’ll speak and share and fuck and love, and I will never apologize for it. I am amazing for you, not because of you. I am not who I sleep with. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you.”

I would say the book is certainly more humor than tragic. I loved that she referenced Cincinnati and it’s Skyline Chili because it is awesome. I loved that her message is to be yourself. I laughed, I cried, I would recommend it to a friend. 4 Stars!

Have you read this book? Who’s your favorite comedian?