Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry & Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren: Mini Reviews

Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog by Dave Barry
Publication: October 23, 2018 by Simon & Schuster
208 pages
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From Publisher: Faced with the obstacles and challenges of life after middle age, Dave Barry turns to his best dog, Lucy, to learn how to live his best life.

My thoughts: I confess, I have an older dog, a black lab actually so when I saw this cover I immediately wanted to read this book. I assumed it would only be about Barry and his dog but it was so much more. Dave Barry is funny! He breaks the book up by chapters and each one is a lesson from Lucy. My favorite: the fourth lesson from Lucy, letting go of anger. I read this in a restaurant waiting for a friend (of course I had my kindle in my purse) and I was cracking up. Barry talks about his skill of having “a black belt in instantly hating strangers.” He details the many (funny) times he needs strangers to know he hates them including…

This is how I feel about you if you drive your car past a long line of vehicles waiting to exit an expressway so you can butt in at the front…Or if, when you stop at a red light, you immediately look down at your phone, and it apparently doesn’t occur to you to glance up at the light from time to time in case for some crazy reason – who knows, in this crazy world?- it might turn green again, which means that when it does turn green, to get you moving again, I – because I am always the driver behind you- have to honk, and in response you shoot me an annoyed glance in your rearview mirror, as if to say, Can’t you see I’m texting?”

Hasn’t this happened to everybody? I really enjoyed how Barry took his real life struggles and turned them into lessons his dog has taught him.  I found Barry’s writing  conversational, tongue in cheek , and sarcastic in the best possible way. What he says about dogs and living with them is so spot on, funny, and sentimental that I loved those parts as well. Overall, this was a wonderful feel good book that made me laugh and appreciate by best furry friend.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster via Netgalley for my copy 

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Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Publication: September 4, 2018 By Gallery Books
309 Pages
Affiliate LinkBuy on Amazon

Single Sentence Summary: Hazel is quite the handful and Josh isn’t sure he’s up to handling her so they spend a lot of time going on double dates, just not with each other

My thoughts: Unpopular opinion review coming your way. I had been seeing such glowing reviews for this book and thought I’d give it a try, but I have to say this wasn’t for me. We’re first introduced to Hazel and Josh when they’re in college and from the first chapter I wasn’t connecting with the extreme quirkiness of Hazel. I’m all for eccentric characters (to a point) but she was too much…of everything. Fast forward several years and they’ve reconnected one summer day. While I liked Josh, I didn’t feel a connection with Hazel due to feeling slightly annoyed during her sections.  I will say that one thing I did like about her character though was her love of animals. That I appreciated.

I do have to say, I don’t think I was the right audience for this particular story because I don’t really enjoy romances that have the majority of the book revolving around the characters fighting their feelings or extended drama until the end like we had here. The amount of double dates these two set each other up on got to be way too repetitive in my opinion. I just don’t think this was a good choice for me from the get go. In the end, while I did like Josh’s character, I never felt his connection to Hazel, I just couldn’t find any chemistry between them. Overall, this wasn’t the book for me but it may be for you, especially if you enjoy lots of quirkiness and drama in your romances.

Thanks to Gallery Books via Netgalley for my copy

 

 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere.

If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

My Pick This week is….

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Published Oct 2015 by Atria 

From America’s favorite football player turned morning talk show host—a man who makes just about everything look easy—a mélange of stories and motivational advice to inspire the reader to turn up the heat and go from good to great in pursuit of their personal ambitions.

Michael Strahan spent his childhood on a military base in Europe, where community meant everything, and life, though idyllic, was different. For one, when people referenced football they meant soccer. So when Michael’s father suggested he work toward a college scholarship by playing football in Texas, where tens of thousands of people show up for a weekend game, the odds were long. Yet he did, indeed, land a scholarship and from there a draft into the NFL where he scaled the league’s heights, broke records, and helped his team win the Super Bowl as a result of which he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. How? Inspiring and chock full of advice that will help the reader make significant strides toward pursuing his or her dream, Wake Up Happy is a book no one, young or old, male or female will want to miss.

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I felt like this was the perfect book to highlight this week because who doesn’t need a little happy in their life? I for one have had quite a bit going on lately so I thought why not profile one of my favorite non-fiction pick me up books. This book was surprisingly good and I say that because I initially hesitated as I really don’t have much interest in football but I really do think there’s something about Michael Strahan that makes me feel good whether I’m watching him on Good Morning America (and previously Kelly & Michael) or on the red carpet. I wondered if he’s truly as positive as he comes across. Turns out, he is. I listened to this on Audible and he narrates this book which was perfect as I felt like he was was having a conversation with me. I found myself walking extra when I listened because I was truly interested in hearing about his life. He had an interesting childhood growing up on a military base and his journey to being a top level athlete was not all that easy. I especially enjoyed hearing about his life in Europe and college in the US. Strahan had a fairly easy to follow plan for ways to wake up happy and while there wasn’t any new earth shattering ideas in it, I found myself agreeing with his principles and applying some to my own life. If you’d enjoy a little pick me up, especially if you have access to this on audio, I think you should give this try!

HAPPY READING!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Cathy at Between the Lines

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Lynne at Fictionophile

Nicki atThe Secret Library Site

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Annie at The Misstery

 

REVIEW: THE BRIGHT HOUR By Nina Riggs

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Published June 6th by Simon & Schuster

An exquisite memoir about how to live—and love—every day with “death in the room,” from poet Nina Riggs, mother of two young sons and the direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the tradition of When Breath Becomes Air.


“We are breathless, but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other.”

Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer—one small spot. Within a year, the mother of two sons, ages seven and nine, and married sixteen years to her best friend, received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal.

How does one live each day, “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty?

Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, even as she wrestles with the legacy of her great-great-great grandfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nina Riggs’s breathtaking memoir continues the urgent conversation that Paul Kalanithi began in his gorgeous When Breath Becomes Air. She asks, what makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?

Brilliantly written, disarmingly funny, and deeply moving, The Bright Hour is about how to love all the days, even the bad ones, and it’s about the way literature, especially Emerson, and Nina’s other muse, Montaigne, can be a balm and a form of prayer. It’s a book about looking death squarely in the face and saying “this is what will be.”

Especially poignant in these uncertain times, The Bright Hour urges us to live well and not lose sight of what makes us human: love, art, music, words. 

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I love everything about this very long blurb; I think it tells you all you need to know in terms of what this book is about. And Nina’s writing absolutely delivered on sharing with us her very poignant, thought provoking, often laugh out loud funny answers to every single question listed in that blurb. Now that you’ve read the blurb and know what this phenomenal book is about, let me attempt to share with you why I loved it so much. I only hope I can do it justice.

When I pick up a memoir, which arguably isn’t often, it’s usually always something true crime. Last year I decided to branch out and read When Breath Becomes Air which was a truly remarkable story and challenged me to think about mortality for maybe the first time. So, The Bright Hour is being likened to When Breath Becomes Air which is possibly good and bad. Good because so many people LOVED WBBA (it made my top 10 reads of 2016 list) but bad because no one should for one second think…’Oh I’ve read one book about death and dying, I don’t want or need to read this one….’ This book is completely unique and I have to say struck me on a level that WBBA didn’t. I’m not sure if it’s because Nina was a mom of 2 boys who was dealing with life, marriage, dogs, female friendships, etc and I’m also at a similar point in my life, although my boys are older, but I just immediately connected with her voice and writing. From page one I felt like we were sitting having a glass of wine and she was telling me her story. Here’s just a sample of her down to earth yet gorgeous writing from page one…

   “Dying isn’t the end of the world’, my mother liked to joke after she was diagnosed as terminal…I never really understood what she meant, until the day I suddenly did….There are so many things that are worse than death: old grudges, a lack of self-awareness, severe constipation, no sense of humor, the grimace on your husband’s face as he empties your surgical drain into the measuring cup…”

Nina not only had her own diagnosis to come to terms with but she also had her mother’s. I really, really liked her mom! I laughed about some of their book club discussions and then cried when they questioned whether there’s book clubs in heaven…man, I really hope so! For me, this was the ultimate page turner that I never expected to be a page turner because once I started reading I didn’t stop until the last page was turned. And then I spent the next hour crying. And going back in my kindle and trying to find passages I may have forgot to highlight. So yes, tissues will be needed but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. I was sad in the end, yes, but I was also changed and inspired. When I pick up a book I do so in the HOPE I will in some way be moved and Nina Riggs achieved this with The Bright Hour, a heartfelt book about family, love, the power of words, living and dying.  This is absolutely going on my 5 star reads bookshelf at home and I can guarantee you it will be one of my top 5 reads of 2017.

Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster for my copy via Netgalley. I’m so happy to provide an honest review 

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