Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

December's book club selection was a historical non-fiction.  Not a genre I gravitate to, but that is why I joined book club, isn't it?  Thing is, I did enjoy it.  Look at me, broadening my horizons or something.  It felt like American history with an NPR-like perspective and since NPR is the only news that I like, this is good.  

This is the story of the 1936 American Olympic eight man rowing team.  It tells the story of how 8 poor, working class boys fought and struggled their way to fame.  None of them ever set out for this goal, but the chain of events that led to it were interesting.  I don't know a whole lot about this period in history, I think I slept through those classes or was busy flirting with boys or passing notes.  These boys lived through the Great Depression and Dust Bowl and survived some serious hard times.  They lived in rural America and scrimped and saved to put themselves through college.  The boys from Washington State were a stark contrast to the Ivy League rowing teams that dominated the sport.  We get to see so many hardships and heartbreaking events in this book while also cheering along through some pretty impressive victories.

Though reading this would be equally good, I recommend getting the audio.  Edward Herrmann was a good choice for reading this book with his smooth voice and matter of fact way about him.  It almost made me want to learn more about American history.  I also felt like the author did a lot of research.  There were a lot of quotes from various people's personal journals and lots of technical information throughout the book.  Sometimes the technical stuff drug on a bit for my taste, but then I also saw the value of the information in the big picture.  I learned lots of things about the days leading up to World War II that I wasn't aware of.

Pick this one up, I think you will enjoy it.  It's not enough to make me want to add this genre to my regular choices, but I'm so glad that I read this one.  Another win for the book club!

What have you read lately that is outside your comfort zone?

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

If you are looking for a new fantasy series to read, this is where you start.  I really had no idea what I was missing when I skipped the whole YA genre!  In the first of this trilogy, Karou is a blue-haired, tattooed teenager who's life is a mystery to her friends and her past is a mystery to herself.  She sketches detailed pictures of chimaera, mythical beasts who are a miss-match of different animal attributes.  Her depictions of this fantasy world are legendary among her fellow art students, but is it really a fantasy world?  When an angel appears, Karou's world is turned upside down and she and her friends will learn a lot more about Karou's past and the world she lives in.

This book gripped me from the beginning.  There were a few places that is felt like it was dragging on a bit and it's not hard to figure out the twists before they are revealed, but all in all I really enjoyed this book.  I checked the audio out on the library's Overdrive site.  When the second book wasn't available in audio, I downloaded the ebook instead because I couldn't wait to get started.  I may actually FINISH this trilogy!  Okay, we know I don't finish anything so let's not hold our breaths, but I am liking the second book just as much as the first.  Maybe my New Year's resolution should be to finish a series.

Do you stick with your New Year's resolutions?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Heroin Love by I.M. Hunter

"Kevin had a perfect life, self-made millionaire, beautiful wife, and loving children.  As his family grew distant he finds himself yearning for more.

Walking into the wrong place at the right time, he encounters a young beautiful, angelic women who has demons of her own.  Unable to resist her allure he begins obsessing over the thought of being with her.

Rachael uses her cunning wits to rev up Kevin's obsession.  Plunging deeper and deeper into her grasp, he was destroying the life he worked so hard for."

If you can get past the grammar and  punctuation flaws of the synopsis, this book sounds pretty interesting.  The cover is beautiful and the font through the book was very easy to read.  This is about all the positive I have for this book.

Few things you should know about this review: (1) This is considered an Erotic Romance, which is NOT the kind of book I would generally read.  (2) I am generally grammatically and spelling challenged.  (3) As you should assume with all my reviews, this may contain spoilers.  This being said, for the errors in this book to have bothered me as much as they did, they would drive the Grammar Nazis bat-shit crazy.  Keep in mind, I received this as an ARC and I hope it hadn't been through it's final revision yet.  

Let me sum up my thoughts about the story in three words:  Over the top.  Kevin, the main character tells us right up front that he's a workaholic and only wants the best things in life.  He has a beautiful home and family with expensive cars.  He buys anything and everything any of them ever want.  His life is one of extreme, over the top luxury.  A lifetime of habits and his whole mindset in life goes completely out the window when he meets Rachael, a prostitute.  He falls nearly instantly in love with her and starts destroying everything in his life because of it.

I'm sure Erotic Romance is a nice way of saying Porn in the book genres, but using the word Romance is completely misleading.  While I would have a hard time defining romance for myself, this was definitely not it.  This was just dirty.

The book ended with lots of loose ends and it appears that this is going to be the first in a series.  I'm not interested in seeing this one to the end, but I wish the author lots of luck in his future endeavors.  I admire anyone brave enough to put pen to paper and give it a shot.

(I received this book for free in a GoodReads.com giveaway.  Nobody pays me money for my reviews, but I always love free books. If you want to send me your books for review, email me and we'll chat!)

Thursday, December 3, 2015


I've seen lots of fun posts with fun hashtags from bloggers with a plan for their December reading.  #AMonthofFaves seems to be popular, a relaxed time to read whatever you want after #NonfictionNovember.  This is such a lovely thing!  I'm not in such a nice place right now, though.  My reading pile is a disaster!  I got a huge pile from Mom, I have downloaded my December Kindle First selection, I have a GoodReads giveaway book that I should get read and reviewed, and I still have a First to Read to finish and review.  My Kindle is getting full and the stack of paper books on my nightstand is threatening to topple and crush me in my sleep!  Guys, it's getting bad.  So my December theme will be #ReadOrGetCrushed.

These piles haven't happened because of my lack of reading.  I didn't get lazy on you guys like I did with my workout plans and plans to declutter my house.  I read all the time.  I carry a bag of books in my car to read at lunch or while waiting on Princess' dance classes.  I read on my phone when I'm standing in line, I listen to audiobooks on my daily commute.  I try not to keep Husband awake at night with the lamp on while I read, but he's starting to look tired.  Shh, don't tell the boss, but I even have a Kindle app downloaded on my work computer.  I'm reading so much these days, problem is my hoarding.  Remember when I was going to declutter my closet/makeup/kitchen/etc?  I'm a hoarder.  I know this, it's no different for books.  Especially free books, but I have some that I've paid for in these piles.  I hope to cram in a ton of reviews to close out 2015.  Wish me luck!

What books have you read lately that I should add to my piles?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Zoo by James Patterson

Animals are attacking humans all over the world at an alarming rate.  What is going on?  Why hasn't anyone noticed that this is becoming an epidemic?  How can it be stopped?

This was an intense read.  I got the audiobook from my library's website and I was hooked from the very start.  Actually, let's back up a little.  They made a television series on CBS about this book.  I found season one on Netflix and was super disappointed when I got to the last episode and learned that the second season isn't going to be aired until Summer 2016.  I HAD to get the book so I could find out what happened.  Turns out, it's a totally different animal (ha!).  The series is VERY different from the book, but I still liked them both.  I look forward to the new season of the television show, but I'm glad the book wrapped up without any loose ends.

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagan

Libby's world is turned completely upside down when, in the same afternoon, she finds out she has cancer and she finds out her husband is gay.  It's a good time to make a few changes in her life and decide what is really important.

I received this book as a Kindle First (just one more reason to love being a Prime member!), and I'm very glad I've read it!  This book was touching, funny, sweet, and heart-warming.  This is definitely a four star read and I look forward to reading more from this author.