Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffma

Genre: General Fiction

img_0007 Cecilia Honeycutt is not like other twelve year old girls she knows….while her peers are having fun and being kids, CeeCee is busy taking care of her mother. Camille Honeycutt is this small Ohio town’s laughing stock, with her frequent mental breaks and public outburst. CeeCee is the only one around to take care of her due to her mostly absent father.

When a horrible tragedy strikes the Honeycutt family, Tootie Caldwell, a long lost great-aunt of CeeCee, arrives to help the family. CeeCee soon finds herself moving to Savannah, Georgia with her great-aunt….the deep south is completely new to her and she finds herself catapulted right into a whole new world. CeeCee will spend the summer around some of the most eccentric and interesting women she has ever met, she will learn the true meaning of Southern hospitality, and she will finally experience what it’s like to just be a care fee kid.

“Don’t go wasting all them bright tomorrows you ain’t even seen by hanging on to what happened yesterday. Let go, child. Just breathe out and let go.”

I really enjoyed reading this easy, feel-good, coming of age story. I am part of a online reading group on Goodreads and once every quarter members can participate in a “reading swap”. No physical books are actually exchanged…but everyone who chooses to participate is partnered up with another member and we suggest a single book for that person to read. This was the suggestion that was given to me….and it’s also the perfect example of why I enjoy that particular swap. Had this not been suggested for me, I likely would have never read Saving CeeCee Honeycutt because I had never even heard of it…so it was a very pleasant surprise. The story is full of colorful and interesting female characters that remind me of some of the women in The Help or Steel Magnolias.

If you are in the mood for a light, easy, feel-good read with a touch of Southern charm…this would be a great choice. ***Even though this is my first review of 2017, I did finish this book last week, so it’s part of the 75 I read in 2016….just catching up on reviews***

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt – Amazon

My favorite Books of 2016!!!

My favorite Books of 2016!!

img_00212016 was a fantastic reading year for me! I finished out the year with a grand total of 75 books…which is exactly how many I challenged myself to read at the start of the year. I still can’t get over that amount….75…crazy! I’ve always been a big reader, ever since I was 10-11 years old, I’ve loved to read. But I think I used to average bout 20 books a year most years. Then at the beginning of 2015, a friend of mine suggested that I start a PopSugar Reading Challenge that had a grand total of 52 books in it. I agreed to start it, fully expecting that I wouldn’t come anywhere close to actually reading all 52 books….but I did! I actually ended out 2015 reading 55 or 56 books (I can’t recall exactly). I was so pleasantly surprised and I promptly decided that I would challenge myself to read even more in 2016. The addition of audiobooks has definitely helped with increasing my reading total. I spend quite a bit of my day on mindless chores; vacuuming, folding laundry, cleaning floors, etc. Listening to an audiobook while I do them makes the chores slightly more tolerable as well as helping me to crack at my never ending “to be read” list. Win, win. So, if you haven’t yet ventured into the world of audiobooks, I highly recommend that you give them a try! I still much prefer to actually sit down and read a real book or read on my beloved Kindle Voyage, but audiobooks are definitely something I’ve recently learned to love.

img_0022As for my favorites of the year…I’ve read a lot of really fantastic books, and just like last year, it was hard for me to narrow them down into a smaller list. All 20 books in this list are books that I gave a 5 star rating to. I feel like there is a pretty good mix of genres, lengths, authors and subject matter. I didn’t have any specific book goals for 2016 other than to read more than I did in 2015 and to read a lot of the books or e-books I already owned before I bought more (this one probably wasn’t considered a great success 😉 ) I also had a handful of rereads on my list for this year…some of which are included in my favorites below.

20. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – This was one of the many rereads for 2016. It has been so long since I first read this book, that I figured that I was due for a reread. If you haven’t yet read this classic or if it’s been decades since you have…I highly recommend reading this beautiful and classic novel.

19. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson – I’ll actually put the entire Millennium Trilogy in this list as a favorite of mine for this year. I started the trilogy in 2015, but finished out with the second and third book this year.

18. The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison – I could not put this thriller down! I love a great serial killer/psychological thriller story and this one did not disappoint.

17. Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher – Another trilogy that I loved. These are actually 3 shorter, novella length books that make a gripping mystery with a nice romance aspect that I couldn’t stop reading.

16. Sutton by J.R. Moehringer – Historical fiction mixed with some true crime make for a fantastic read I couldn’t put down.

15. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – Historical fiction with biblical references and stories make for a wonderful tale of the strength and determination of the human spirit.

14. The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein – A must read for any dog lover! Make sure you have your tissues close by because it is a total tear jerker.

13. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler – I consider this book to be incredibly important and something that should be read by all kids ages 14 and older. It covers consent & sexual assault in a very honest and profound way.

12. Cinder & Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – These 2 are part of the Lunar Chronicles which is a YA Fiction series that takes a modern day twist on old school fairy tales. Very unique and entertaining stories…I’m looking forward to finishing this series in 2017.

11. It by Stephen King – Another reread for me. I was very glad that I decided to take on the beast that is this book again, because I feel like I got so much more out of it the second time around. Interestingly enough….this was also the longest book I read in 2016 at 1153 pages! It’s also 1 of 3 Stephen King books on this list.

10. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane –  A fantastic mystery/thriller that had quite the shocking twist I never saw coming.

9. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld – This was a pleasant surprise of a book that I only picked up because of an online book club pic. It quickly became a favorite of mine with it’s beautifully tragic writing and story.

8. A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman – A beautiful feel good story that will appeal to most readers. Another tear jerker…but not in an overly depressing way…this book will leave you feeling good about humanity.

7. The Stand by Stephen King – Another beast of a book at 1152 pages and the second of three Stephen King books on this list. I’ve had this one on my TBR for decades and always put it off because of the length….but I’m so glad I read it this year. If you normally shy away from King because you feel like his books might be too scary or gory for you, this would be a good choice for you.

6. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – Neil Gaiman is adult fantasy at it’s finest! I’ve read 3 of his books so far, and this one is definitely my favorite so far. Fantastic characters with some of the best world building you can imagine. If you’ve been thinking of reading Gaiman, I highly recommend this one!

5. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – The Kite Runner is one of my all time favorite books and this second novel of Hosseini’s didn’t disappoint. Historical Fiction paired with the strength of the human spirit can be found in this wonderfully tragic story.

4. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – Yet another Historical Fiction (can you tell that’s my favorite genre?) that had me reeling. It’s an epic multi generational tale about the slave trade in West Africa. A must read for fans of historical fiction.

3. The Shining by Stephen King – Another reread for me and my favorite Stephen King book of all time. It definitely needed to be included on this list. If you are a fan of King or the horror genre in general and haven’t yet read this (or even if you have before), definitely pick this one up!

2. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – WW2 Era Historical Fiction by another one of my favorite authors. A very important book with some heavy subject matter that will definitely require a box of tissues near by.

1.A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – I cannot say enough about this book and how much I absolutely loved it…how much it wrecked me, moved me and affected my mind. This was, by far, without a question, my favorite book of 2016 and quickly found it’s way into My All Time Favorite Books list. It’s HEAVY….really heavy. The subject matter here includes things like; drug addiction, assault and suicide…so it’s not a light, easy, feel good read by any means. But it’s by far one of the best written character studies I’ve ever read. It’s a book that, upon finishing, I found myself not able to move on to anything else because I just could not stop thinking about the story or the characters in it. If you can handle some heavy and deep subject matter, I HIGHLY recommend this beautiful and tragic story of love and friendship that is like nothing else I’ve ever read.

Phew! That’s it….my top 20 books out of the 75 I read this year. There were sooooo many other 4 and 4.5 star reads that were also excellent books…so please check out some of the many reviews I’ve written this year.

I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings on the reading front for me! I’m going to work on getting through my very large and ever expanding to-be-read list, as well as finishing up some in progress series. I’d be happy with finishing another 75 books in 2017, but ideally even one more than this year will be a win for me 😉 What are some of your 2017 reading goals??

 

Review: The City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

The City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) By Cassandra Clare

Genre: YA Ficiton, Fantasy, Romance

img_0006 When fifteen year old Clary Fray heads out for an evening with her best friend, Simon, she doesn’t think that particular evening will end up any different than the average night out. She would never expect that her night would include witnessing a murder…a murder committed by people that only Clary seems to be able to see. Within a short 24 hour period, Clary’s entire life is flipped upside down as she learns that there is a whole other world besides the one we see and experience every day. A world with demons, vampires, werewolves, angels, and fairies. A world with Shadowhunters… a secret tribe of warriors committed to keeping the world safe. These Shadowhunters roam the streets in secret, protecting the rest of the human race from the demons and “down worlders” that intend to cause harm.

After Clary’s mother mysteriously disappears, she is thrust into this secret world full of dangerous demons and all kinds of creatures that she thought only existed in nightmares and fairy tales. Even though Clary is confused about who or what these Shadowhunters are….they are equally confused about Clary (she isn’t supposed to be able to see them at all) but she must learn trust them in order to get her mother back.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book! YA Fiction isn’t usually a genre I gravitate towards, even though there are some YA books and series that I have loved over the years. I started reading the book and ended up finishing it by listening to the audio book on loan from my library…and I think I really preferred listening to this one. The City of Bones is a great fantasy story to listen to while doing mindless chores. It’s not really the kind of book that contains some deep and profound message and I wouldn’t call the writing lyrical or anything all that special. BUT…the story is unique, interesting, full of action and quite entertaining. Most of the characters are interesting and well written. The Mortal Instruments is definitely a series I will be continuing (I’m actually almost finished with the second audio book now) and it fits the bill for a fun and entertaining fantasy series if that is what you are in the mood for. The story has villains, heroes, monsters, family secrets, twists and turns as well as a little bit of romance and relationship issues (although nothing too heavy for a young pre-teen to handle). If you are a fan of other YA fantasy series along the line of; The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc…you’ll likely enjoy this series. I know I am!

I am intending to finish out the rest of the series but I think instead of individually reviewing each other book in the series…I’ll wait until I finish and review them all together in one post.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

The City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1) – Amazon

**Also…stay tuned for my “Favorite Books of 2016” post coming up tomorrow! I still have two more book reviews to write up to be fully caught up, but those will be a few more days. **

Review: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson (Millennium #3)

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

img_5439 The Girls Who Kicked The Hornets Nest is the third and final installment of the Millennium Trilogy written by the late Stieg Larsson. (There is technically a fourth book, but it was written by a different author so I don’t really consider it part of the series.)

In this installment of the series, we find Lisbeth Salander gravely wounded in the intensive care unit of a hospital. The police are waiting on her recovery so that she can be formally charged with three murders. Together with her friend, Mikael Bloomkvist, she much prove her innocence as well as identify and bring to justice the authority figures who allowed her, and others like her, to suffer long term abuse. Salander spent the majority of her youth being a victim…and she’s ready to fight back and take revenge on the same people who destroyed her life over the years.

“I’m not going to apologize for the way I’ve led my life.” – Lisbeth Salander

Phew…i finally finished the trilogy! I’m not really sure what took so long other than the fact that these books can be wordy. And I guess at over 600 pages…they are long. I started this series a little over a year ago with the initial book The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and I immediately fell in love with the strength and intrigue that is the character of Lisbeth Salander. The second book, The Girl Who Played With Firewas a little bit of a slower read for me…you can see my review HERE. What I’ve since realized is that book 2 and book 3 are almost 2 parts to the same story. So, while book 2 moved a tad slow for me…..book 3 more than picked up the pace and made up for it. Yes, there is still quite a bit of information and the same large cast of characters….but the action in this book was almost non stop, only peppered with small amounts of background information. The ending was perfect and totally left me with a feeling of deserved justice for the characters in the series.

I ended up really enjoying this trilogy. The first and third were my favorites and easily both 5 star reads for me and the overall trilogy definitely belongs in the category of my “favorites”.
I love Lisbeth’s character and absolutely enjoyed getting to see a different, more personal and intimate side to her. Lots of great characters in this series with fantastic twists, I mostly never saw coming. These are a great crime, mystery/thriller series that I highly recommend to those readers who like that genre.

Review: The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Genre: General Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary Fiction

img_5443 Ani (pronounced Ahh-Nee) FaNelli is the type of woman that most people love to hate. She’s wealthy, pretentious, judgmental, snobby and she’s preparing for an extravagant New York wedding.  Portraying the perfect image is very important to Ani and she does everything in her power to make sure that happens. But as the is story unfolds, we slowly get to see that Ani’s perfection is only a facade put in place to hide the truth of her very dark teenage years.

When a documentary crew approaches Ani and asks her to participate in their film about her past, she hopes this will be her one time to share her side of the story. As the film crew continue to film and interview Ani, her seemingly perfect world begins to crack as she soon realizes that the buried past must eventually come to surface.

So….this is a hard book for me to review. I think part of the reason for my low rating is the way the book was portrayed. It seems like lately, every other book is called “the next Gone Girl”, and that expression is getting old because it’s very rarely correct. The Luckiest Girl alive has an unreliable narrator…but that’s pretty much the only similarity that exists between the two. And while I normally don’t mind and even I enjoy a good unreliable narrator when it’s done well….I didn’t care for that angle with this book. I don’t feel like an author should start with a narrator that you wouldn’t trust as far as you can throw them and then expect sympathy and understanding toward the same person half way through when they never really become authentic and real. I just never got there with Ani. Without giving too much of the storyline away….the reader SHOULD feel sympathy for her and for what happened, and at certain specific times I did….but then I felt like I lost it just as quickly as it came. All throughout the story, her character’s motivations, feelings and personality seemed to shift too often that I had a hard time feeling any sort of connection to her. Beyond Ani…pretty much every other character in this story is unlikeable, snotty, rude or just a plain jerk. Because of that, I spent the first 50-75% feeling like I was reading a story about nothing other than spoiled, pretentious, snobby rich people who were rude and mean to everyone around them. Once the climax of the story happens, the book did redeem itself quite a bit…but sadly, it seemed to not be quite enough for me to give it a higher rating.

I can definitely see why some people enjoyed this book, and I’m sure I would have had this story been written with a more reliable and honest narrator than the one the author used here. The Luckiest Girl Alive was definitely a quick book for me and I didn’t have any trouble finishing it….so that was good. I was just left with a feeling of disappointment overall.

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

The Luckiest Girl AliveAmazon

Review – Troublemaker:Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Genre: Non-fiction, Biography/Memoir

img_5396 Actress, Leah Remini was first introduced into the church of Scientology as a young child living in New York with her mother and sister. Shortly after becoming members, Leah and her family moved to Clearwater, Florida…and eventually on to Los Angeles. Once in California, Leah eventually became a successful actress as well as a very active member of the church of Scientology.

Over the years, Leah began to see just how deep show business and Hollywood were intertwined with the church of Scientology. Remini spent hours upon hours as well as millions of dollars in support of the church attending courses, “auditing” (a strange mix of confession and psychotherapy) as well as doing press events . It’s also very apparent just how much pull certain popular celebrities have in the church and all it’s procedures. Names such as Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and Tom Cruise are discussed in this book. I was actually very surprised to hear quite a few of the details Remini describes about Tom Cruise specifically as well as his behaviors, personal relationships, and influence in the church.

It was actually at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes when Leah started to voice questions and concerns about certain actions of the church and it’s powerful members. Shortly after this wedding… Leah found herself a target of the church’s harsh punishments, both financial and psychological, for having had the nerve to even question anything in relation to Scientology and it’s practices. Finally, in 2013…Remini publicly announced her very difficult and scary decision to split from the church of Scientology as well as most of is followers, including the people Remini has known almost her life. Once a church member leaves and publicly denounces it’s practices, they are immediately referred to as an “SP” (suppressive person) and any current members of the church who wish to stay in good standing must completely and permanently cut off all contact with the “SP”.

Since I’m not a huge fan of sitcoms and I’ve never actually watched an episode of King of Queens…I wasn’t that familiar with Remini before listening to this book.  I kind of always took Lisa Remini for being funny but sort of crass and obnoxious. And…she is definitely those things some of the time, but after listening to her narrate this audiobook, I find those characteristics in her pretty endearing. She’s brutally honest, direct and rather funny in her descriptions of herself, her past mistakes & choices as well as the choices of others in her life. But you can also tell that she’s a very genuine person who seems very loyal and protective of the friends and family in her life whom she obviously loves very much.

This was a very interesting, sometimes funny and sometimes sad book about a topic that has always intrigued me. Personally, I am not a huge fan of religion in general, but it’s very obvious that Scientology is a scary and dangerous cult and not what I would consider a religion at all. Remini doesn’t go into a ton of long descriptions beyond the basic beliefs of the church and how it’s members are expected to behave and live. I’m sure there are better books out there if you want a down and dirty history and explanation of the church and it’s beliefs….this however is a very well written and intimate first person account of Remini’s experience and life growing up as a Scientologist.  Between this book and other previous members’ accounts there has slowly been more inside information coming out about the very secret church.  I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook, and as with most memoirs, I think the author narrating her own story adds a little something to it.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology – Amazon

Review: The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

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“In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…”

48 hours after Tanya Dubois’ husband falls down the stairs to his death, she finds herself cashing out everything she owns, changing her appearance and taking on a whole new identity. She flees town in the middle of the night knowing full well her life as Tanya is now over….but this isn’t the first time she’s had to do something like this. The main character and narrator of this story seems to change her identity as often as most people change their clothes.

The Passenger is a fast moving, immediately gripping mystery/thriller about a woman who creates new identities as she needs them while traveling across the country to escape her past.

I absolutely love psychological thrillers and this one did not disappoint. As well as following Tanya through her current day travels, we also get a glimpse back in time with a series of emails. In these emails, we get the history of why and when Tanya first started to run and change identities….only…we don’t get the whole story at once. As Tanya travels back and forth across the country, changing identities and meeting new people, we slowly get more and more insight into just who Tanya is and where she came from.

The Passenger is a gripping, sometimes fun & entertaining and, other times dark thriller. I love the unreliable narrator in this story…I can feel iffy about them sometimes, but it worked this time. And I think that’s because as the story went on, we get more honesty.
When I started this book I didn’t quite know what to expect or where this was going but I was pleasantly surprised as the story continued. I loved the feeling of being on the run with Tanya and not quite fully knowing all the history, while at the same time knowing you’d be rewarded with answers little by little.  I quite liked the conclusion and I felt like this story had a unique and interesting cast of characters.
Great read!

My Rating: 4/5 Starts

The Passenger – Amazon

Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millennium 2)by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millennium 2) by Stieg Larsson

Genre: Mystery – Suspense – Thriller

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“Don’t ever fight with Lisbeth Salander. Her attitude towards the rest of the world is that if someone threatens her with a gun, she’ll get a bigger gun.”

In the second installment of the Millennium Trilogy…Mikael Blomvkist, publisher of Millennium Magazine, has decided to run a story about a very large and twisted sex trafficking ring in Sweden.  The day before the story is to be published, the two writers of the article are found murdered in their apartment. When the investigation into the murders begins…a murder weapon is found, along with a very clear set of fingerprints….and those prints belong to Mikael’s friend, Lisbeth Salander. Mikael Blomkvist is immediately convinced of his friend’s innocence and finds himself entwined in the middle of Sweden’s largest and most dangerous prostitution ring in order to help clear Salander’s name. Meanwhile, Salander herself must face the dark and long buried secrets of her past in order to save herself.

“There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility.”

This second book in the series took me a little longer to get through than the first. The beginning was a tad slower moving. And the typical long list of characters, names & places can be tedious at times. I’m still not quite sure how the opening chapters fit into the overall storyline of the rest of the book…other than to more clearly immerse the reader into Lisbeth’s mind frame and character. However, the pace does pick up dramatically not too long into the story…and about 1/2 way through the book, I found myself not wanting to put it down.

Overall…I really loved the continuation of the storyline from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo…while also taking us on a completely different journey. I absolutely enjoyed finally reading about Lisbeth’s past and getting more insight on her and the things she’s experienced that helped to mold who she is today. I’ve heard from a few people who’ve completed the trilogy that Book 2 can and should be seen as the prequel to the finish of the story in Book 3…and that makes total sense to me now that I’ve read this one.

The book ended on a very tense, high suspense note….and I’ll be going right into the third and final installment! If you haven’t yet started this trilogy, I highly suggest it if you are a fan of a suspenseful mystery/thriller.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Millennium 1) – Amazon

The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millennium 2)Amazon 

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest (Millennium 3) – Amazon

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

img_5221 “The Monster showed up after midnight. As they do. “

Thirteen year old Connor is having a recurring nightmare that leaves him waking up in a cold sweat and panting. But the monster who begins to show up after midnight is not the one from his nightmares…this one is something different. Something older, more ancient, and much more powerful.

Present day England….Connor is the sole child to a single mother who is fighting a losing battle with cancer. At the beginning of the story, Connor seems to be in denial about the seriousness and gravity of his mother’s health. His mother’s sickness isn’t Connors only struggle though….he’s also dealing with feeling ignored by both his peers as well as his father, a man who ran off to America with his new wife and young baby.

Then, suddenly a monster begins to visit Connor shortly after midnight to tell him stories. This monster both scares and intrigues Connor as it seems, at times, to take over Connor’s thoughts and actions. The monster appears because Connor has unknowingly called for him….and it will be up to Connor, himself, to figure out what the monster wants from him.

“You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”

I was pleasantly surprised by this book….and the more I sit and reflect about it, the more I find I enjoyed it. I’m not really sure what I was expecting….because, technically I think this is meant for a younger audience (maybe around the age of the main character….13 or so). However, it’s written in a way that both young and old alike will enjoy this story and get something wonderful from it. A Monster Calls is a very sad and emotional story about love, loss and grief. Connor, at the age of 13, must learn to accept and deal with the fact that sometimes life isn’t fair and that sometimes we don’t get a happy ending.

“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”

A Monster Calls is beautifully written with fantastic imagery and emotion all wrapped up into a smaller package. At just over 200 pages, it’s a short and quick read that grabs you right from the beginning. This emotional roller coaster of a book is one I highly recommend for readers both young (12+) and old alike. The style of this book reminds me very much of the writing style of Neil Gaiman…which is maybe another reason of why I enjoyed it so much.

A Monster Calls will also be a feature length film adaptation releasing in the US  on December 23, 2016! Liam Neeson plays the voice of the Monster and I’m thinking the casting director couldn’t have picked a better voice….super excited to see this one!

*** Even though Patrick Ness is the author of the book, he explains near the end that the idea for the story was actually one by Siobhan Dowd. She came up with the idea of the story as she was losing her own battle with breast cancer.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

A Monster Calls – Amazon

Double Review Ahead!

Double Review: Between Here and the Horizons by Callie Hart & Yes Please by Amy Poehler

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For some reason I got a little behind on writing reviews for my last two books. Both books  enjoyable, but neither of them really blew me away…it’s the only reason I can come up with for the delayed reviews.

First up:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I listened to this selection as an audiobook because I enjoyed Tina Fey’s BossyPants so much. Similarly to Bossypants, Yes Please is a compilation of different stories from Poehler’s life growing up, starting in theatre, working on SNL and beyond. We get personal stories about friendship, relationships, love & sex. We also get Poehler’s experience with motherhood and balancing that role along with her career. Most of these parts, I found incredibly funny and heartwarming. There was also quite a bit in this book about her beginning days in theater working with the Upright Citizens Brigade. It was this section of the book where I felt sort of bored after a while. There seemed to be too much name dropping and mentioning of specific details and scenarios that might have been hysterically funny to her and to others who were there to experience it…but not so much for someone from the outside. Kind of like telling an inside-joke to people who aren’t part of the “inside”.

Overall, the book was funny and enjoyable…and I definitely suggest the audiobook version because, like BossyPants, Poehler narrates this herself and it definitely adds to the humor.

My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Next up:

Between Here and the Horizons by Callie Hart

img_5174  Ophelia Lang is recently divorced and in desperate need of money. She has just lost her position as a third grade teacher, her parent’s business is quickly losing money and they are on the brink of losing their home.  So, when Ophelia is offered a very well paying private tutoring position by a wealthy man for his two small children, she can’t really justify saying no.

Ronan Fletcher is a recent widower…and he’s young, handsome and very wealthy. He’s also incredibly cold, rude and has a very large mean streak. Ophelia immediately begins to regret taking the tutoring position but decides that the large salary is more than worth dealing with Ronan’s moods and distant personality. But Ophelia soon learns that Ronan is hiding some very dark and deep secrets…and some of those secrets will come to impact Ophelia in more ways than she could have imagined before taking the job.

This particular book came as a recommendation to me from a fellow reader who is trying to get me to love romance novels as much as she does 🙂 This particular book is a strong case of “It’s not you, it’s me”. Between Here and the Horizons has a storyline that had a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I really enjoyed 75% of the book. But at the end of the day, I’m not a huge fan of romance books….especially contemporary romance books.  I don’t mind a romance element if there’s another main theme to the story, but this one had too many cheesy and eyeroll worthy parts for me to give it any higher of a rating. I guess I’m just too much of a cynic. Lol

It was a nice change of pace after a gripping thriller I read previously and that’s usually when I decide to pick up a romance and give one another go. So, it was a good & entertaining read, overall….just not my cup of tea. If you really enjoy a steamy romance with an intense, dark, and brooding male lead…this will be right up your alley. I’m just personally not a big fan of contemporary romance novels….but again, that’s just my personal preference.

***NOTE*** – Between Here and the Horizon does contain some scenes of violence and sexual content, and so is directed at audience 18+

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Between Here and the Horizons – Amazon

Yes Please – Amazon