Category Archives: book review

Book Review: Laura and Emma

Laura & EmmaLaura & Emma by Kate Greathead
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What a weird book. I didn’t hate it. I liked reading about the relationship between Laura and Emma but it felt like there wasn’t really a point. And then it just ended. Still, I laughed in some places and was interested in the characters.

View all my reviews

My 10 Favorite Books of 2017

I tried really hard but didn’t quite read 80 books this year. Still, at the Goodreads challenge, I had only challenged myself to read 50 books so it was a good reading year. Since I’m of the opinion that life is too short to read bad books, most of the books I read this year were really great. I did read two that I didn’t care too much for. Why I completed them, I’m not sure. It’s not how I usually do things. The second half of one of them made up for the first half so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. Anyway, I’ve challenged myself to read 82 books for 2018 and I’m currently in the middle of two really good ones. But let’s get to the ones I loved last year.

10. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

l didn’t plan to read this book. I didn’t even know about it when I saw it on the front shelf at the library. What drew me? The green cover, green evening gown. I loved this book, though! The story is about an old world Hollywood icon who has decided, at the age of 79, to tell her life story and reveal the love of her life.

She contacts a relatively junior journalist and tells her if she will help her tell her story, she can publish the book upon her death and keep the proceeds. A highly unusual opportunity because Monique, the journalist, couldn’t understand why she would choose her for this role. 

The story is entertaining with unexpected twists and turns. I promise you won’t be able to put it down!

9. The Tumbling Turner Sisters – Juliette Fay

This is a historical novel that takes place in the days of Vaudeville. After their dad loses his job, the mom decides that the four Turner sisters should form a tumbling act and take it on the road. The book is full of great characters and a good storyline as the sisters go from town to town to perform their act. It’s another of those books you don’t want to end. 

8. We Were The Lucky Ones – Georgia Hunter

Oh, such an awesome book. It’s no secret that I love to read books about Holocaust survivors. The strength of the people involved is miraculous and they are heroes in my eyes. This book involves a Polish family with four adult children. Based on a real family, their story is incredible. They were flung far and wide during the war but, in the end, they all survived. Truly amazing!

7. Rules of Civility – Amor Towles

I’m always looking for book recommendations and this one came to me from the Expat Book Club on Instagram. I’m not quite sure how I found them but I’m glad I read this book! So good. The prologue takes place in 1966 at a photo exhibit where Katey recognizes Tinker, a man she met 20 years previous. The book is her story with that man. Such delicious writing made me feel like I was in the moment with the characters. Wonderful book!

6. Class Mom – Laurie Gelman

Oh, how I laughed! This book is about a year in the life of a kindergarten mom. The difference is, Jen is an older mom. Her two older kids are in college and her son is just starting school. You all know “those” parents, right? Well, Jen is NOT having it. She takes over as class mom and the results are absolutely hilarious. You will laugh out loud!

5. The Windfall – Diksha Basu

The Jha’s are moving up in the world after Mr. Jha sells his website for big money. He’s decided that they need to move from the neighborhood they’ve always lived in to a better one with wealthier neighbors. As they move, he feels the need to compete with the neighbor regarding which one is wealthier, Meanwhile, Mrs. Jha is having a hard time in her new life. She misses her old neighborhood and friends. Their son, Rupack, is in America studying and trying to figure out his life. He’s in love with an American girl but feels his parents won’t accept her. He gets tossed out of school and comes back to India to live. This is a cute story that’s fun to read.

4. Rich People Problems – Kevin Kwan

This is the third in Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians trilogy and I have loved them all. I was excited to read this book and get lost in this zany world again. In this installment, the matriarch Su Yi, is on her deathbed. The family flies in from all over the world to take care of her but really all they are thinking about is how they will spend her money when they are named the heir. 

3. When Dimple Met Rishi- Sandhya Menon

I read a fair amount of YA and this was my favorite for the year. Dimple is going off to college as is Rishi. They are Indian teens and their parents have arranged for them to be married. Rishi’s parents tell him (the obedient eldest son) and he sets out to meet the girl who will, one day become his wife. Dimple’s parents don’t tell her as she is a bit of a rebel. When she finds out what Rishi plans and her parents have done, she tries not to like him. Rishi then tries not to like her, either, but they are drawn to each other. Loved it!

2. When We Were Worthy – Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

In July, this was my favorite book of the year. Taking place in a small town where football rules, the story outlines the lives of four women after the death of three high school cheerleaders. One of the girls feels she should have been in the car with them except she was doing something terrible at the time. One is the mom of the boy who was driving the car that hit the girls. One is the mom of one of the girls. One is a high school substitute teacher who is targeted by the football players and loses her family because of it. This is such a good book I didn’t want to go to sleep until I had finished it.

And, finally. Drumroll, please…

My favorite book of the year was the last book I read in the year!

1. The Alice Network – Kate Quinn

    This story takes place after World War II when Charlie is trying to find out what happened to her cousin, Rose. She is given a slip of paper with a woman’s name and address in London. Eve is a grizzled ex-spy and meets Charlie at the door drunk and with a Luger. I couldn’t figure out how the paths of these two very different women would ever converge but they do.  The two form an unlikely duo and create a seriously readable story you will not want to end.  

So there they are! Ten really excellent stories that are more than worth your reading time. If you want to know everything else I’ve read, feel free to visit my Goodreads page.

What was your favorite book from 2017? I’m always looking for suggestions and I get them in the strangest places, sometimes. For instance, I have a reading list given to one of the characters in Kevin Kwan’s first book, Crazy Rich Asians. Even though they were given to a fictional character in novel, the books are real and the ones I’ve read were really good!

Book Review: Sadia

SadiaSadia by Colleen Nelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. It presents social issues that teens can learn from.

Sadia is a Muslim girl who wears hijab and loves to play basketball. She is accepted by her peers at school and makes the co-ed basketball team. It’s when they get to the tournament that problems arise with other teams not accepting her different style of uniform. Still, Sadia doesn’t want to remove her hijab for this because she feels deeply connected to her reasons for wearing it in the first place.

Sadia’s friend, Nazreen, has begun removing her hijab (un-jabbing) at school along with changing her more modest clothing to clothing that’s more trendy. Although Sadia doesn’t agree with Nazreen’s choice, she wants to remain friends and keeps her opinion to herself. When the first challenges come with Sadia’s hijab coming undone while playing, Nazreen (who is an aspiring fashion designer) designs her a sleek uniform that will allow Sadia to remain covered but also give her more freedom of movement.

I liked this book a lot. I loved the character of Sadia. She was committed and very sure of herself. I loved how her team stood up for her and how the story ended up.

View all my reviews

Book Review: This Love Story Will Self Destruct

This Love Story Will Self-DestructThis Love Story Will Self-Destruct by Leslie Cohen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This wasn’t my favorite book to read. The beginning is kind of jumbled up but when I got about halfway, I wanted to see what was going to happen.

One of my first problems with the book is that Eve told her boyfriend at the beginning of the book that her mother died when she was 10. The book is broken up into timeframes and in one of the flashbacks to when she was younger, she kept growing older and older and her mother was still alive. For some reason, that was sitting in the back of my head as I read.

The two characters, Eve and Ben, are very different and ultimately end up together and it works as it so often does in real life. They knew each other throughout college but only peripherally as they went to the same parties and hung around with the same people.

This story is about how two unlikely mates find each other. I’m glad I finished the book so I could see Eve and Ben end up together.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Surprise Me!

Surprise MeSurprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so excited to receive a copy of this book to read and review. I love Sophie Kinsella’s books and couldn’t wait to read this one.

In this book, Sylvie and Dan have been happily married for 10 years, have twin daughters, and are living a good life. They visit the doctor for their annual physicals and he tells them they will live a long time, they’re both so healthy. When they figure out they will be married for 68 more years, it throws them into a tailspin because it seems like forever and how on earth will they manage?

At first, they try to surprise each other to keep things interesting but ultimately this doesn’t work out and over the course of the story, Sylvie realizes that she just needs to keep being fascinated with Dan as she sees something new about him daily.

I loved Sylvie. She reminds me of the zany Becky Bloomfield of the Shopaholic series. I loved watching her shed her Princess Sylvie, daddy’s little girl persona and become her own woman, too.

This is a really fun book. I loved it and highly recommend it!

View all my reviews

Book Review: Where the Wild Coffee Grows

Where the Wild Coffee Grows: The Untold Story of Coffee from the Cloud Forests of Ethiopia to Your CupWhere the Wild Coffee Grows: The Untold Story of Coffee from the Cloud Forests of Ethiopia to Your Cup by Jeff Koehler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a self-proclaimed coffee achiever, I really enjoyed this book. I loved reading the history and culture of coffee. I found the book to be a little slow moving at times but, still, very interesting and worth the read. An ode to my favorite beverage. Well done!

View all my reviews

Book Review: The Trick

The Trick: A NovelThe Trick: A Novel by Emanuel Bergmann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! What a great book! I couldn’t put it down.

The story starts in Prague before WWII and it about a Jewish boy who eventually grows up to join the circus. Moshe does the dirty work at the circus eventually learning how to be a mentalist. With the coming of the holocaust, Moshe adopts the moniker of the Great Zabbatini, has fake papers made, and actually goes about as if he’s truly Persian and not Jewish. This went on until he was turned over to the Gestapo in a revenge move by the owner of the circus where he learned his magic.

Alternately is the story line of Max a young boy whose parents are getting divorced. He’s devastated and wants them to remain together. When his dad is collecting his things to move out, he discovers a record album by the Great Zabbatini. Intrigued, he asks his dad if can keep the record and his dad agrees. As he listens he finds there is a love spell but is unable to understand it due to a large scratch on the album. So Max sets out to find the Great Zabbatini to learn the love spell to save his parent’s marriage.

Here is where the two stories intersect. This is a wonderful story with colorful characters and twists and turns that keep you turning the page. I highly recommend!

View all my reviews

Book Review: Class Mom

Laughing out loud funny, I loved this book!

Jen has two college age daughters and, with her marriage, little Max who is starting kindergarten. She’s been through the class mom thing with her other two and has no desire to revisit that role. However, her best friend is the PTA president and pushes her into it. At the beginning, she decides she not having the parental power struggle that comes with the positions and sends the most hilarious communication to the other parents, some of whom can’t take a joke.

This is a great book. I love the humor and the storyline in general. Two thumbs up! 🙂

Book Review: When We Were Worthy

When We Were WorthyWhen We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wowza. The VERY best book I’ve read all year. I feel like I need to sit and digest it before I’m ready to leave it behind.

Taking place in a small town where football rules, the story outlines the lives of four women after the death of three high school cheerleaders. One of the girls feels she should have been in the car with them except she was doing something terrible at the time. One is the mom of the boy who was driving the car that hit the girls. One is the mom of one of the girls. One is a high school substitute teacher who is targeted by the football players and loses her family because of it.

This is such a good book I didn’t want to go to sleep until I had finished it. I can’t recommend it more!

View all my reviews

Book Review: Fashionably Late

Fashionably LateFashionably Late by Lisa Q. Mathews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this madcap mystery! It was so cute.

A model turns up dead at a fashion show and Summer and Dot are on the case to try and solve the murder. Dorothy (Dot) is an older lady and Summer is her young friend. Dot lives at a retirement home and, as it turns out, the model’s mom is there but it seems not of her own will.

The characters in this book are colorful and awesome. I couldn’t put the book down it was so fun! This book is the 3rd in a series and I’m planning to read the previous books. 🙂

View all my reviews