Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2019

 

Happy Monday everyone! Are you as excited as I am about the crop of books coming this winter? SO many sound amazing, actually too many for me to include in this post but I had fun picking out my MOST anticipated.  I think I’ve got a variety so hopefully some are also on your lists or you’ll find some new ones to add to your TBR’s. If you have time, feel free to share your thoughts on my choices as well as YOUR most anticipated upcoming book(s) in the comments below

 

JANUARY

Out of the Dark  (Jan 29) When darkness closes in―he’s your last, best hope. Evan Smoak returns in Gregg Hurwitz’s #1 international bestselling Orphan X series.
**This is the 4th book in the Orphan X series by Greg Hurwitz and from early reviews, apparently his best yet. This series is well written and action packed with a main character you can really root for. I recommend reading the books in order, starting with Orphan X

Here and Now and Then  (Jan 29) A uniquely emotional genre-bending debut, this book captures the perfect balance of heart, playfulness, and imagination, offering an intimate glimpse into the crevices of a father’s heart, and its capacity to stretch across both space and time to protect the people that mean the most.
**I love books with time travel elements and when I see emotional and genre bending added to the mix I’m all in

99 Percent Mine (Jan 29) Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend.
**I loved The Hating Game and feel confident that this new romantic comedy with its seemingly star-crossed lovers will be right up my alley

 

FEBRUARY

The Winter Sister (Feb 5) In this spellbinding and suspenseful debut, a young woman haunted by the past returns home to care for her ailing mother and begins to dig deeper into her sister’s unsolved murder.
**Another debut that sounds intriguing. I love unsolved murders and early Instagram reviews are very positive for this one

The Unwinding of the Miracle  (Feb 5) A rare and inspiring memoir by a young mother with Stage IV metastatic cancer that challenges the pieties with which we usually write and talk about death, and serves as a guide not just through the ordeal of disease, but through the universal experience of struggle.
**I”m always on the look out for thought provoking nonfiction along the lines of past favorites like The Bright Hour  and When Breath Becomes Air  (yes, both serious tearjerkers) and this memoir sounds just as good

The Lost Man (Feb 5) Two brothers meet at the border of their vast cattle properties under the unrelenting sun of outback Queensland but only one returns
**
I loved Harper’s first book, The Dry but didn’t care for her second novel Force of Nature so I’m looking forward to finding out where I fall with her new one. This is a standalone which I like and the mystery seems to be more on the lines of The Dry

The Last Romantics  (Feb 5) A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family. An unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love
**I love stories described as sweeping and epic so those buzzwords caught my eye right away. This is a book about 4 siblings and I really enjoy those types of family stories

American Spy (Feb 12) What if your sense of duty required you to betray the man you love? One woman struggles to choose between her honor and her heart in this enthralling espionage drama set against an unforgettable historical backdrop.
**I love every part of what this book is about…part spy thriller, part heartbreaking family drama, part passionate romance…inspired by true events! Yes please!!

MARCH 

When All is Said  (March 5) If you had to pick five people to sum up your life, who would they be? If you were to raise a glass to each of them, what would you say? And what would you learn about yourself, when all is said and done?
**I think the success of this story, for me, will hinge on the main character Maurice. I really hope I connect with him as he spends an evening alone at a bar, toasting to 5 people in his life who left him behind

The Mastermind  (March 5) The incredible true story of the decade-long quest to bring down Paul Le Roux—the creator of a frighteningly powerful Internet-enabled cartel who merged the ruthlessness of a drug lord with the technological savvy of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur
**I LOVE thrilling true crime and this sounds like it will be suspenseful yet fascinating. Am I the only one who has never heard of an internet cartel? If the writing holds up, I predict I’m going to love this one!

Before She Knew Him (March 5) Catching a killer is dangerous—especially if he lives next door. An exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder . . .
**I loved The Kind Worth Killing  and have been waiting on Swanson to write something similar to that one and this sounds like it could be just as chilling and creepy. I always enjoy some suburban chaos and maybe a little murder thrown in for good suspense!

Grace After Henry (March 12) Grace sees her boyfriend Henry everywhere. In the supermarket, on the street, at the graveyard. Only Henry is dead. He died two months earlier, leaving a huge hole in Grace’s life and in her heart. But then Henry turns up to fix the boiler one evening, and Grace can’t decide if she’s hallucinating or has suddenly developed psychic powers. Grace isn’t going mad – the man in front of her is not Henry at all, but someone else who looks uncannily like him.
**I’m very curious about this love story…will it be sad or humorous? More rom-commish?  I don’t know but I’m looking forward to finding out. I’m feeling like suspension of disbelief might be needed but I’m ok with that if I connect with the story and characters…we”ll see.

I hope I’ve expanded your TBR’s! An added note if you’re interested, I will be randomly posting other books I’m excited about throughout the winter in my Instagram Stories which you can access here as well as on my Twitter (here) and Goodreads (here

Happy Reading!

 

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The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom: Book Review

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven  By Mitch Albom
Publication: October 9th by Harper
224 Pages
Affiliate LinkBuy on Amazon 

From Publisher: In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.

My Thoughts: I can’t believe it’s been 15 years since Mitch Albom published The Five People You Meet in Heaven ! That book has always stuck with me so I wouldn’t have guessed it’s been that long. In The Next Person You Meet in Heaven , Albom tells Annie’s story, the little girl Eddie (who was killed) saved one day at an amusement park. If you haven’t read the first book I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely necessary as Albom does a really good job of providing some backstory in this one but I do think my reading enjoyment was greater having read the first one. I actually realized I remembered more about the first book than I thought.

Obviously, if we’re getting Annie’s story you know something has happened to her for her to end up in heaven. I loved that Album starts the story with Annie’s story while she’s still alive, it allowed me to get to know her as she was but also created suspense because I knew what was going to eventually happen but Annie didn’t…and I really liked her! Albom structures the story alternating brief glimpses of Annie’s childhood with her journey in heaven and I LOVED this! I was equally invested in both parts of the story because of how Albom created interconnections. That may seem like a vague reason but you’ll understand when you read the story.

A couple other things really stood out to me: Albom’s creative vision of heaven and the fact that he can sneak a twist into a story when I least expected it. Well done. This book is the perfect length for a one sit read but, honestly, I would’ve loved for it to be longer and I don’t often say that about a book. I’m still thinking about parts of this story days later, especially Albom’s take on fate in our lives

Had he taken the truck, this story would be different. Had the limousine driver remembered to bring a bag that was sitting by his apartment door, this story would be different. The tale of your life is written second by second, as shifting as the flip of a pencil to an eraser

If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming, bittersweet story that just might give you much to contemplate, give this a try. My last advice: have tissues handy!

Many thanks to HarperCollins via Netgalley for my copy

 

Us by David Nicholls: Throwback Thursday Book of the Week

Throwback Thursday is 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 months or years 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 backlist books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere!

MY PICK THIS WEEK IS: 

Us  by David Nicholls
Publication: October 28, 2014 by Harper
400 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy On Amazon
 

From PublisherUs is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves and learning how to get closer to a son who’s always felt like a stranger.

My Thoughts:
The short of it…I loved this book!  Douglas Petersen, a 54-year-old biochemist, is awoken in the middle of the night by his wife of 24 years, Connie, a 52-year-old former artist turned art gallery employee. Douglas assumes Connie is worried about burglars again and sets off to check  the house. But it’s not burglars she’s concerned about — it’s their marriage. Connie believes their marriage has “run its course” and tells Douglas (who’s madly in love with his wife) she wants a divorce after their son, Albie, leaves for college in October. And just like that, the story is off and running.

Douglas convinces his wife not to cancel their Grand Tour of Europe with their son (one last family vacation before college) in the hopes that he’ll be able to make his wife fall back in love with him.  The narrative flows with 180 short chapters that have catchy titles like “On Practical Ethics in the Breakfast Buffet System” (this one is hysterical). The chapters alternate between the present-day Grand Tour and flashbacks of Douglas and Connie’s early days. Can you say opposites attract? Douglas is a type A, by-the-book type of guy. Connie has always been a free spirit who feels she has lost herself over the years.  As a result, she seems to have a case of “I love you; I’m just not IN love with you anymore.”

I enjoyed getting to know all the characters in this story but it’s Douglas I was rooting for. Through his triumphs and missteps with his wife and son throughout the Grand Tour, you will laugh and sometimes cringe, but you will always be entertained. Nicholls cleverly puts him through some tricky situations that beg the question: Is Douglas going to bend or break?

This ended up being a one-sit read for me. Once you get to know these characters, you’ll have to learn how it all turns out for them. Will it ultimately be a story of the inevitable failure of an opposites-attract marriage to go the distance? Or will it be a tale of – that which doesn’t kill us (i.e. marriage, children, family vacations) makes us stronger and keeps us together? You’ll have to read Us  to find out.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday Book of the Week

Throwback Thursday book of the week is a fun way to share a book I’ve loved that was published in the past and somehow either wasn’t on my radar or I chose to pass it by. These books are usually much easier to get ahold of at the library or usually sold at a lower price in paperback or ebook. This week I’m sharing a book I read in the spring and have been recommending to everyone ever since!

One True Loves  By Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published June 7, 2016 By Simon & Schuster
352 pages
Affiliate link: Buy on Amazon

From Publisher: A breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.

My Thoughts: Last year I think I was one of the last people to read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (my review) which ended up being one of my favorite books in 2017! It wasn’t until this past spring that I decided to try Reid’s backlist books.  Once I dived into this one I was -again- kicking myself for waiting so long to read this book!  It’s the story of Emma and Jesse and Emma and Sam. Yes, a love triangle, but it felt very original.

The book is structured in a way that we get to know how both love stories develop over the first half of the book and then what happens when they are all brought together for the second half. It may sound a little clunky but believe me the structure and the concept work. I was completely sucked into the story after the drama filled opening pages.  I did, however, feel a little loss of momentum when she takes us back in time to their high school lives but this was necessary to truly get a feel for each of them and how they fell in love. I flew through the second half of this book because what a complicated, truly gut punching position for Emma to be in…I had to know who she would choose and what happened after she made her choice. Reid writes in such a realistic, propulsive way that the people and their complicated situations feel real and it’s just SO hard to put her books down. I read this in one sitting and really loved it so even if you think you’re not in the mood for a love triangle, I say give this a try,  you just might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Have you read and enjoyed this or other books by Taylor Jenkins Reid? 

Happy Thursday Reading! 

 

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 months or years 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.

My PICK this week is…

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Published Aug 2016 By William Morrow 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

*****

Why oh why did I resist reading this book for so long??!! This is another rom-com style book that has consistently gotten raves from fellow bloggers (most recently Amanda at Hanging with Amanda) and has a high Goodreads rating, yet I still passed it by. Maybe I was just meant to wait and read it last weekend after finishing and being terrified by I’ll Be Gone In The Dark (2/27, review coming next week); I knew I HAD to have a light, fun read to counteract that one.  This fit the bill perfectly and caused me to stay up way past my bedtime reading.

Possibly what made me resist reading this until now was my assumption that I’d heard this story before. A guy and girl hate each other, throw insults back and forth, and then somehow they each magically forget all the bad words and insults and fall in love. This isn’t that book. Yes, Josh and Lucy don’t like each other but their “hatred” for each other just scratches the surface of their relationship and the way Thorne wrote these characters and their banter was just so funny, witty, and down to earth. I immediately liked both of them and was pulled into the story with pacing that was fast and snappy and dialogue that zinged. I read it in about a day and I just loved it. It’s the perfect read if you’re looking for a crime fiction break or want a smart with substance lighter read to add to your summer tbr. Also, I listened to part of it on audio and the narrator was great!

HAPPY READING!!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Lynne at Fictionophile

Annie at The Misstery

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Laurie at Cozy Nook Books

Laura at Snazzy Books

Holly at Dressed to Read

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Diana at A Haven for Book Lovers

 

REVIEW: AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE By Tayari Jones

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Publication Date: Feb 6th, 2018 By Algonquin Books

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored and seeks comfort with someone else. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

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This was one of my most anticipated winter reads as I’m so drawn to stories about innocent people in prison. While I usually read non-fiction stories involving this topic I couldn’t wait to see how it was explored by Jones in this fictional story. I’ll admit I had a little bit of a hard time getting into the flow of the story in the beginning and I think that was due to the writing style and possibly the character’s voices. We are initially introduced to Roy and Celestial in the first year of their marriage with occasional backstory of how they met interspersed. The narrative switches perspectives between both Roy and Celestial so we get to “hear” from both of them. The glimpses we get of their  marriage were intriguing because I found myself wondering if perhaps Roy was more invested in the marriage than Celestial.

As the story progressed, I began to like it even more, especially when Roy was unjustly convicted…it was tragic and I can’t imagine how that would affect not just Roy and Celestial but their marriage and their extended families. Everyone was traumatized. I’m going to be honest, once Roy went to prison and the story shifted to quite a lot of letter writing between the two as well as quite a bit of what felt like emotional examinations of everyone’s feelings, the story took on a meandering pace for me. By the halfway point, I found my mind wandering and I started to skim many sections. For me, this can be my struggle with literary fiction…I love the story and really want to just get to it and find out what happens to Roy, who will Celestial ultimately choose, and what will become of their marriage…instead the narratives meander to the distant past and to details of their everyday living that I just struggled staying interested in.

As the story neared the end, I’m not sure I fully connected with the ending but I will say Roy’s character…his fate and his future…is what kept me reading and hoping things would turn around for him. This was a really well conceived storyline that shed light on how our justice system can and does ruin lives. Unfortunately, I didn’t love it like I expected to and finished feeling pretty middle of the road.

Many thanks to Algonquin Books via Netgalley for my copy

 

REVIEW: BEASTS OF EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCE By Ruth Emmie Lang

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Published Nov. 2017 By St. Martin’s Press

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. In this warm debut novel, Ruth Emmie Lang teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder.

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As many of you know, I’ve had a run of 2018 reads that haven’t worked for me lately and I’ve been dying for something to come along and sweep me away, compel me to stay up late and create that excited feeling of ‘I can’t wait to get home and read.’ I’m happy to say Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance has been that book! I don’t even know where I came across this book…Goodreads perhaps…but there was something about the synopsis that drew me in because really…this isn’t my typical type of read but it’s EXACTLY what I needed right now. Don’t you love it when just the right book comes along?

So what’s it about you might be asking and here’s the thing…I’m not going to tell you too much about the plot because this is a story best experienced by knowing as little as you possibly can before starting. Just trust that you’re going to experience a magical, original, charming story of love, friendship, and fate. This is ultimately the story of one man, Weylyn Grey, who we first encounter at his birth before quickly moving ahead several years to his childhood when he’s an orphan living in the woods with wolves. I was immediately captivated with Weylyn, so much so that I didn’t quite care where the story went, I just hoped he made it out of each situation with his essence still intact. I haven’t felt this invested in a character since Cyril Avery from The Heart’s Invisible Furies (my top pick of 2017)! In fact, this book reminded me of Heart’s in the way it was structured as well as how it made me feel. Similar to how Heart’s was set up, I loved that, through the years,  we got to meet many different characters who in some way were connected to Weylyn; some who resurfaced later in the story and others who became friends we never saw again.

I want to gush a little here about the fact that I thought the writing in this story was just beautiful! From the language, to the flow, to the dialogue…to me it was all brilliant. One of my favorite passages was made by Weylyn toward the end and made me literally smile while on the elliptical….

“I’ve been called magic, but I wouldn’t use that term exactly. I like to think of myself as always being in the right place at the right time, or the wrong place at the wrong time. Very rarely am I simply in an acceptable place at a generally convenient time.” 

By the middle of the book I had decided I was immediately seeking out Ruth Emmie Lang’s backlist and reading whatever she’s wrote only to discover this is a debut! Incredible is all I can say, and please write as fast as possible Ruth Emmie Lang because I’ll be first in line for your next book. Can you tell I loved this one? One final thought…yes, there’s a certain amount of suspension of disbelief required in this story and if you aren’t in the mood for magic, communication with animals, and strange weather phenomena then maybe this won’t be for you but if you’re willing to take a chance on a wonderful, charming story you just might be rewarded with your next favorite read. I’m calling this one now for myself…this will have a place in my top 10 reads of 2018!

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

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 months or years 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.

My Pick This Week is….

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Published April 2015 By Grand Central Pub

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

 

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Yet another book I’m kicking myself for not reading sooner! I’m also adding this one to my list of books I passed by because I hated the cover….I REALLY need to stop doing that because this book was fantastic. I would describe it as a light, fun read with substance and guess what, it even made me tear up at one point. That’s a well written book friends. This is ultimately a love story that takes MANY twists and turns, is filled with lots of drama, and does seem to be inspired by the romance of a certain British Royal Family. I’m not someone who follows Will and Kate but I’ve always been curious about Harry…or should I say Freddie?? He was one of my favorite characters in this book, along with Lacey and Bea. There were many supporting characters in this story and I thought they were all very well developed. Yes, I had my favorites and I was SO unprepared for a couple twists the authors threw in surrounding those favorites. I’ll say no more.

I think if you’re looking for a fast paced read filled with drama that enables you to get lost in the character’s lives, has excellent dialogue, and gives you a glimpse into the not always glamorous lives of royalty then this book is for you. I also really loved how the authors ended most of the chapters with little cliffhangers, that always leads me to telling myself “just one more chapter” and then it’s 1:00 in the morning!

HAPPY READING!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Lynne at Fictionophile

Annie at The Misstery

Amy at Novel Gossip

Diana at A Haven for Booklovers

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Laurie at Cozy Nook Books

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING ON THIS THROWBACK THURSDAY

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My regular Throwback Thursday will return next week but today I’d like to say Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating in the US. There are many things I’m thankful for but in the book world I’d like to really say thanks today to all the authors out there who’ve taken so much time, effort and creativity to create stories and worlds that I get to visit. I’ve traveled, literarily speaking, to so many wonderful places this year and laughed and cried over so many amazing characters who I’ll never forget and it’s all thanks to authors.  Life gets crazy sometimes and books are a refuge for so many of us and I’m so thankful for them.

Since this IS a book blog, with Thanksgiving thoughts and Throwback Thursday in mind I’d like to toss out 2 books that I’m thankful for that I read during trying times in my life and that I STILL think about today, years later…..

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I have no words for how much I loved this book yet also found it to be the saddest story I’ve ever read. For the 5 days it took me to read it, I was consumed with these characters and their stories took me out of my own life which at the time was very stressful…parents of teenagers you know there are those times that try you in every way!   This story still haunts me and this is easily one of my top 5 books EVER!

***

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I am seriously considering re-reading this book soon to see if it still holds up all these years later. I read this book about 7 years ago while on vacation in Mexico. Oh, not just any vacation mind you but one in which I was so sick with the Swine flu that I couldn’t leave the hotel bed to fly home. It was awful and I don’t think I’ve ever been that sick in my life but…while in bed coughing, coughing and more coughing I read this book and for a short time I forgot about being sick in another country. I loved the wittiness of the writing and the characters of Dex and Emma and to this day I still think about how the author shocked me in such an unexpected way that I loved him/hated him for quite awhile after I finished reading.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

 

 

 

MINI REVIEWS: A SPELLBINDING FICTION & A FASCINATING NONFICTION

MINI REVIEWS

During my recent blogging break I decided that when I returned I’d incorporate more mini reviews into the blog in an effort to ward off further review writing burnout. As all book bloggers know, it’s a lot of work to write reviews for everything we read and sometimes it’s just as easy and convenient to write (and read) mini reviews. So, I’ll be trying out some new ideas here and there in terms of my review writing formats….

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Published June 2017 By Atria Books

Short Summary: Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

 

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I’m the first to admit that sometimes, ok many times, I’ve let books pass me by because of assumptions I make about them or as in the case of Evelyn, I read about 10 pages of it earlier this summer and thought nope, I’m not in the mood for a woman’s story about her 7 husbands. What a HUGE mistake that was and I’m so glad I came around to giving this another try. Being a mood reader is so bizarre sometimes and it took a complete reading slump and Sarah’s Alcohol and Advil post last week to bring this one back into my orbit.

Here’s what I found to be important about this book…I went into it not reading any recent reviews so the entire storyline was a surprise to me and there were SO many unexpected twists along the way. Legendary movie star Evelyn tells her story to young and inexperienced Monique and while you’ll wonder what she’s got up her sleeve for choosing Monique of all people, that will take a backseat as you’re swept into the 1950s glitz, glamour, and excitement of Old Hollywood. As we get to know Evelyn though, we come to find that her life wasn’t all glamour, there was plenty of heartache, drama, betrayals, and secrets to last a lifetime. And that’s what kept me completely captivated and made this a book I spent my entire Saturday reading. I was unprepared for the respect I felt for Evelyn despite not agreeing with so much of what she did; I really did like her…in the end I think she was her own worst enemy most of the time. I can’t forget to mention the supporting characters…sheer perfection! Get your tissues ready for this addictive, gorgeously written novel that’s earned a place on my 5 star bookshelf.

******

 

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Published March 2017 by Knopf; narrated by Mark Bramhall

Short Summary: In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later

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Believe me when I say this was the perfect audiobook for not only long dog walks but also cleaning the house, running errands etc. I listened to it nonstop. I was immediately drawn into the story which really starts at the end in terms of when Chris Knight, not of his own volition, ended his 27 years of solitude in the Maine forest. As a lover of psychology, I really wanted to know what made someone choose to leave society behind and basically spend 27 years camping. How did he survive? What did he do for all those years? The awesome thing about listening to this was that Mark Bramhall made Chris Knight come alive, so during the many long interviews it felt like we were hearing from Chris himself and I was beyond intrigued.

I still think about this story for many reasons but mainly for the ways it made me think about it from so many different sides. Chris Knight was a complicated individual and in no uncertain terms broke the law…over and over and over again. I loved hearing from the citizens whose lives he affected, some were forever (negatively) changed and some who brushed him off and even tried to help him. As I said, fascinating! If you’re looking for an engaging story for nonfiction November, I highly recommend this audiobook.

HAPPY READING!