Girl Reading

Girl Reading

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

In my top 5 personal development books I've read so far

The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday CourageThe 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of my favorite personal development books read this year. I am now a Mel Robbins convert and plan to listen to as many of her uTube videos that I can find! I have started to use the 5-second rule in my own life, especially when it comes to cheating on what I eat, ha ha. So far, this is in the top 5 PD books in my list of best ones to read, and I highly recommend it. I listened to the Audible version, narrated by the author. I want to check out the print version to see how it compares, because, to me, it felt like she was ADDING in comments as she read the book, more like a talk she was giving. I just loved it!

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A book that book lovers will enjoy!

My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot EnsuesMy Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I feel like the author is a kindred spirit and would love to meet her! I too keep a book of books (BOB) and have, for many years, although I now do it in Goodreads instead of in a notebook. I have the same feelings as she does about many of the books she read and it was a trip down memory lane to read this book! Interspersed is a memoir of her life. If you're a bookaholic, you'll want to check out this book!

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A really good book by a new author for me!

The Years That FollowedThe Years That Followed by Catherine Dunne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, once I dedicated myself to reading this book, I read it pretty quickly and I must say I LOVED it! It's the story of two women, Calista and Pilar, from the 1960's to the present, and how their lives intersect. I couldn't put it down and I want to explore more books by this Irish author. Highly recommend!

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

A good book club discussion book.

Keep You SafeKeep You Safe by Melissa Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The setting of this book is Ireland in today's times. One mother cannot vaccinate her child because of a medical condition of the child; another mother does not vaccinate her child because of her beliefs regarding vaccinations. Both girls, in the same kindergarten class, come down with measles. One recovers and the other faces serious medical consequences and is in the hospital. This book is all about the choices you make and how they can affect others. It is a great book for discussion and would be a good book club read. I recommend this book.

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A thriller you won't be able to put down!

Her Darkest Nightmare (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #1)Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whoa, this was a real thriller of a book! I definitely need to read the other books in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles. When Evelyn was 16 she was raped and tortured by her high school boyfriend, after he tortured and murdered her three best friends. She pretends to be dead and thus escapes. She grows up to be a psychiatrist dealing with psychopaths/serial killers. She establishes a prison in the wilds of Alaska strictly for psychopaths. But when two employees are murdered, she wonders if it's her attacker come back to get her. I won't give away the story except to say it kept me on the edge of my seat and I could not put it down. Wow! It contains romance, mystery, thrills, terror and more!

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A thought-provoking book about surrogacy and what it means to be a mother

The Nearness of YouThe Nearness of You by Amanda Eyre Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book about a famous heart surgeon whose husband, after years of marriage, decides he wants a child, after they had agreed they would not have any. This was because Suzette's mother is in a mental institution and Suzette herself, some time ago, had mental issues of her own. She does not want to pass on those genes to a child of theirs. So they decide on surrogacy, with the husband's sperm and the surrogate's eggs. They find a young girl as a surrogate, but early in the pregnancy she decides she wants to keep the baby and runs/hides away in another state. The book is told from the point of view of Suzette, her husband and the surrogate, in alternating chapters. I won't give away the story or the ending, but it is all about what makes a family and who is the "real" mother.

It was a very fast and good read; I recommend this book.

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The DuchessThe Duchess by Danielle Steel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, this has to be my second most favorite Danielle Steel book. I read it in two sittings. It is a real departure from her normal, contemporary novels, as it is set in England in the 1800's.

A young girl, Angelique Latham, is the daughter of a Duke and his second wife, a noble French woman related to two kings of France. The Duke is related to the current king of England. Angelique's mother dies after the birth, leaving her young daughter to be raised by her father. Her two older half brothers, from the Duke's first marriage, do not like their sister and did not like their stepmother, who was a wonderful woman and wife to their father. When Angelique's father dies when she is only 18, her older brother is left the estate. As the daughter, he cannot leave anything to her, although he hopes his son will take care of her financially and let her life in the guest cottage on the estate. Luckily, right before he dies, her father is able to give her some money he had hidden away, enough to keep her for the rest of her life. Immediately after her father's funeral, her older brother makes her leave immediately, having securing a spot for her as a nanny to a family some distance away who have 5 children with one on the way. She is the sole nanny, never having even been exposed to children before. Surprisingly, she does very well and grows to love the children (more than their parents do) and they love her. However, after 16 months, a guest of the family corners her in the nursery and tries to rape her. She fights him off but in order to save face, he goes to the employer and claims she came to his rooms and came on to him. She is fired on the spot, with NO references. She goes to London to look for a job, but with no references she is unable to secure anything. It is suggested that she try France, so she goes to Paris and, again, is unable to secure any position. She checks into a hotel to explore her options when she encounters a young woman in the gutter, a prostitute, who has been beaten and abused. She takes her back to the hotel and nurses her back to health and they become best friends. With her money, Angelique decides to open the best brother in Paris, with intelligent, beautiful women, who are able to converse with the top men in the city. She herself, however, although the madam, does not sleep with any of the customers. Instead, she becomes a friend to many, and enjoys great conversation and food with them. Her business becomes wildly successful, as she has found the pick of the crop of women to work for her. However, a few years into the business, two of the customers quarrel and one shoots and kills the other. One of the other guests, a man high in the government and good friend to Angelique, helps her "clean up" the situation, but at the cost of closing her establishment for 6 months to a year, until it all blows over. She goes to New York by ship, not knowing what she will do there, except live on the money she has made. On the way, on the ship, she meets the love of her life and they get married. I won't tell any more of the story, except to say that, again, it's another book I wish DS would write a sequel to, as it's so so good.

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My favorite Danielle Steel book of all time!

The Right TimeThe Right Time by Danielle Steel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm loving this book; it has to be one of my most favorite Danielle Steel books of all time! And it's inspiring me to want to write my own book, if I could come up with an idea for one!!

I really really liked this book; it spoke to me. It's about a young girl, Alexandra Winslow, whose mother abandons her and then dies when she is only seven, leaving her to be raised by her father, who is a crime novel enthusiast. Alexandra becomes a fan of that genre as well and starts to write (very well, by the way) at a very young age. But as a young teen, at age 14, she becomes orphaned when her father dies. As she has no mother and no other family, her family attorney arranges for her to live in a convent with (modern) nuns, who all become like mothers to her. She publishes her first book as a teenager, but publishes under a pseudonym as a male, because her father told her men would not read crime books by a female author. She becomes wildly successful and writes more books all during college, with only her agent, mentor, the nuns, and finally, her publishers knowing her true identity. I don't want to give away any more of the story, except to say it was wonderful, and I think this is one book I wish DS would write a sequel to! The writing and story just flow along seamlessly; a real delight. Bravo, Danielle Steel!

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

I loved this book; first in a trilogy!

My Brilliant Friend (L'amica geniale #1)My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an awesome audiobook! It takes place in Naples, Italy in the 50's and 60's, and is about two main characters, Elena and Lena, who meet in elementary school and become best friends. They are very poor and continuing their education past elementary school was rare in their community. Both are very intelligent and good students. The book goes into the many relationships with people and families in their part of town. It is the first book in a trilogy, translated from Italian. The book ends when they are 16 years old. The writing is among the best I have ever read; it's so beautiful! The narrator is also awesome and I highly recommend this book. It's in my top five books of 2017 that I've read, so far. Highly recommend!

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An excellent personal development book!

The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your SuccessThe Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success by Darren Hardy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a personal development book written by Darren Hardy. I listen to his daily podcasts to get motivated to improve my life and me. It is a very quick read, with lots of gems of wisdom. I think I'll need to buy a copy so I can reread it and highlight in it. I'm in a PD kick, and it is one of the first I've read. Highly recommend it!

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Monday, April 3, 2017

One of the best books I've listened to!

NightNight by Elie Wiesel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't know if read this in high school or not; I don't think so. What a wonderful book. I have read a LOT of books dealing with first person accounts of the Holocaust and this ranks among the best. I listened to the book on Audible and the narrator could not have been any better! I immediately went to the Internet to read up on Elie Wiesel after I finished and discovered he only died last year! The version I listened to was a new translation by his wife and included his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize. An interesting tidbit about this book was the location (Romania) where Elie and his family lived and that they were not taken by the Nazis until the last year of the war, in Spring of 1944 until the war's end in Spring of 1945. Mr. Wiesel wrote beautifully; he has a way with words. This book gives a lot of things to think about and I highly recommend it. I'm so glad that most high schools have it as required reading, because soon all the survivors still living will have passed.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

A modern terrorist-themed thriller!

The Ulterior MotiveThe Ulterior Motive by Jack Coleston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book in almost a single setting because I couldn't put it down! It is a debut novel and I thought Jack Coleston did a first-rate job! I found the story to be very contemporary and very realistic about what COULD happen in the US. Stanley Carmichael, the main character, has just been appointed Deputy Director of the CIA. His wife, Anna, is a well-known CIA operative. A revengeful Caliph wants to destroy the US for accidentally killing his family during the first Gulf War with an errant bomb. This terrorist and his followers need to be found and stopped. There are many twists and turns in this book and some gruesome beheadings, but the plot is well- written and thought out, in my opinion. I was literally holding my breath in parts and excitedly waiting to see what would happen. The book did not disappoint and the ending has an unexpected twist. The best part, there will be more books about the Carmichaels in a series by the author!! I highly recommend this book and am going to make my husband read it, too!

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Monday, March 6, 2017

A very different sort of World War II book

War, Spies & Bobby SoxWar, Spies & Bobby Sox by Libby Fischer Hellmann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book by Libby Fischer Hellmann depicted a different view of World War II, by characters in the United States, in three different stories. In The Incidental Spy, Lena is sent to the U.S. by her parents to keep her safe. She leaves behind the boy she loves (she's 16) and moves to Chicago with a cousin/aunt and becomes a secretary in the Physics lab at the University of Chicago, where scientists are working on secret plans in the nuclear weapons project. She eventually meets and marries Karl, one of the scientists, and they have a son. Then life becomes dangerous for Lena, she is forced to become a spy, and she has to decide where to align her loyalties. The ending was not what I expected as there was an unexpected twist!

The second story is P.O.W. and is about a young girl, Mary Catherine, who lives on a family farm in Illinois, outside Chicago. German POW's are sent to the farm to help with apple picking (who knew the US housed POWs during WWII??). One of the prisoners, not a good guy at all, catches Mary Catherine's eye. She is forced to make choices that do not end well for anyone, and is she is forced to leave home and move to Chicago and take care of herself.

The third story is The Day Miriam Hirsch Disappeared is about a Yiddish actress in Chicago during the war years, who is forced to gather information about a German sympathizer. This was my least favorite story.

But, taken together, this trilogy of stories, brings together part of what was happening in the U.S. during the war years. The book is extremely well-written, a quick read, very interesting, and well-researched. I highly recommend all of Ms. Hellmann's books that I've read so far!

***I received an e-book copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review but I also purchased a copy for my library.

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Another winner in the Edward series.

Edward AdriftEdward Adrift by Craig Lancaster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This 2nd book in the Edward trilogy was just as good as the first book! It continues his story with his old and new friends and his mother, after the death of his father. The same narrator read the book, and he is perfect for the story. Edward still keeps his daily logs, still has his routines and rituals, still has extreme OCD and suffers from Asperger's, but he is loving, smart, giving, and a wonderful man. In this book he takes a trip from Billings, MT to Boise, ID to a little town in Colorado, close to the Wyoming border. There he meets a new friend, Sheila, the owner of the hotel he ends up staying at. I won't give away any spoilers! I wanted this story to go on forever, and was delighted to hear there was a book 3 (which I promptly downloaded and started when I finished this book). My daily commute was enhanced 100-fold by listening to this book and I highly recommend it!

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My, oh, my, what a wonderful audio book!

600 Hours of Edward600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have two hours left on this audio book, and what a delightful surprise this book is! I got it on one of Audible's sales, and I'm glad I did. Can't wait to read the sequel to it immediately after. I'll write a longer, more detailed review when I finish, but it is a good good book, that I highly recommend!

I just LOVED LOVED LOVED this book and I loved Edward! Edward was 39 years old, had Asperger's Syndrome and extreme OCD. He lived alone in a house his father bought for him. He does not work anymore (with his condition he hasn't been able to for awhile). He pretty much doesn't interact with anyone except his parents occasionally when he goes over for dinner. His father mainly communicates with Edward through letters from his lawyer, rather than just talking to him. Edward writes daily "letters of complaint" that he never sends - about almost EVERYTHING and to everyone and to anyone that he finds fault with. He keeps a daily log of the weather and other items. He does not like conjecture, only facts. He loves vocabulary words and I really connected with him on that level, ha ha. When a single mother, Donna Middleton, and her 9 year old son, Kyle, move in across the street Edward's life is changed as they worm themselves into his life and become his friend. I loved seeing Edward's growth throughout the story.

The writing is delightful and I just couldn't wait to listen to the book every day. It is definitely in my top ten books read in 2017! I immediately downloaded the 2nd book in the series the day I finished this book and started listening. The narrator is perfect for the book, kudos to him!

I HIGHLY recommend this book!

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Another good psychological thriller! Soon to be a major motion picture by Ron Howard!!

The Girl BeforeThe Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is about an extremely modern house for rent, the different women who rented it, the strange architect who built it and his strange rules for those who rented it.It took me awhile to figure out that Emma and Jane lived in the house at two different time periods (at first I thought they were both applying to rent a room/apt in the same house), and then it all made sense. I liked how it went back and forth between the two women and it did keep me guessing at what really happened and what was going to happen. I did NOT guess what really happened and I was surprised! I do have a question about the ending - someone please email me and tell me what Jane decided about the baby!! I think the only character I sort of liked in the book was Jane; I did not like any of the others.

The book is well written and organized and I recommend it. It will probably become a talked-about book in 2017, and maybe even be made into a movie.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

I really like Catherine McKenzie's books and this one did not disappoint!

The Murder GameThe Murder Game by Julie Apple
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to the Audible version of this book and LOVED it! I liked the way it went back and forth in time, which tied the story together very well. I felt like I was in the courtroom during the trial and it made me want to be a criminal attorney, ha ha. I found the book to be well-written, a quick read, very engaging, and an excellent read! I did not expect the ending, however. I now plan to read Catherine McKenzie's book, Fractured, which is related to this book.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

A really good apocalyptic novel!

The After War: The Complete NovelThe After War: The Complete Novel by Brandon Zenner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received this book from Read for Review in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, what a great apocalyptic novel! I predict this book will become a big hit and would make a great movie.

Two years after a horrible world war and disease have ravaged the world, Brian and Steven emerge from their well-stocked and comfortable bunker. They were on their way to collect Steven's sister, Bethany, from the bunker where she had been staying,in order to meet up with her uncle, General Driscoll. Meanwhile, Simon Kalispell and his dog, Winston, emerge from their secluded cabin in the wilds of Canada in order to make his way home to find his parents, as planned two years prior, before the commencement of the war. Eventually, their paths cross in unexpected ways. The book then goes back in time to explain who each ended up in hiding for two years, telling their back stories.

First of all, I have to say how much I liked Winston, Simon's beloved dog companion.. He was every much as much a character as the humans!

I found the book to be well-written. The story grabbed me from the first page and I could barely put it down. The relationship between Steven and Brian was well-developed. They were complex characters, I thought, and at times it was hard to read about what they were going through. Most parts of the book relating to them was very graphic. Simon was a very so,Italy, spiritual, character, very strong and resourceful.

What happened when they all reached their pre-arranged locations is described in Book Two and is pretty graphic, and exciting. The other characters in the novel are varied, and not easily forgotten.

Overall, I really really liked this book and recommend it highly, if you enjoy this genre.

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