Hey y'all! Happy Sunday! I am finally back to bring you this long-overdue post ... So let's get into it!
Week Two Reads
The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Y'all. I am not sure a book has put my heart through so much in a very long time! This is such an important book, so poignant, and you heart, oh your heart, it will be broken, wrenched, warmed, lifted... the twists, the turns, the ups, the downs; this novel is the Texas Giant for your heart. The tears I cried, and the anger I felt, the hope, the sadness; this book is so paramount to today, and it is so deeply disturbing that the story of Cyril is not just a story, it is not just a work of fiction, the work of imagination; this is the story of so many humans that have had to hide their love away, shielding their true selves for fear of imprisonment, torture, brutality and harassment, and death. Most-especially death. I will never understand how one human can say "I don't understand/agree with/like how you live your life, therefore you aren't allowed to live that way" to another human being. But that is another story for another day. Everyone just please love one another, whether you agree with how someone lives, love them, lift them up and encourage them, because this world needs all kinds of kinds, and we must nurture them all. I gave this FIVE STARS on Goodreads. And that is only because five is the limit.
"From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Boy In the Striped Pajamas, a sweeping, heartfelt saga about the course of one man's life, beginning and ending in post-war Ireland
Cyril Avery is not a real Avery -- or at least, that's what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn't a real Avery, then who is he?
Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from - and over his many years, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more.
In this, Boyne's most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart's Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit."
So obviously having my heart beaten black and blue, I needed to cure my emotional book hangover... Enter Audible's Romance Package! I needed light, fun stories to get through and onto my next Literary Fiction read. I read three books in a series by Rachel Gibson about a Hockey Team ... Or at least I thought so, first of all, these are books 2-4 because I couldn't find the first book on Audible? I am not sure what the issue was, more-than-likely it was one of those 'User Errors'. I gave the first book (book #2 in series) FOUR STARS on Goodreads, and then the subsequent two (#3 and #4) THREE STARS and TWO STARS respectively, mainly due to not following the same people, but different players on the team. Listen, 'hate >to> love' is probably one of my favorite Romantic-Comedy tropes - HELLO! You've Got Mail is my favorite movie, Ohhkayy?? - but after the third book, I couldn't do it anymore...These were like a Hallmark movie marathon with some HBO smut thrown in; good in small doses.
See Jane Score (Chinooks Hockey Team #2) by Rachel Gibson
"This is Jane
A little subdued. A little stubborn. A little tired of going out on blind dates with men who drive vans with sofas in the back, Jane Alcott is living the Single Girl existence in the big city. She is also leading a double life. By day, she's a reporter covering the raucous Seattle Chinooks hockey team—especially their notorious goalie Luc Martineau. By night, she's a writer, secretly creating the scandalous adventures of "Honey Pie"...the magazine series that has all the men talking.
See Jane spar
Luc has made his feelings about parasite reporters—and Jane—perfectly clear. But if he thinks he's going to make her life a misery, he'd better think again.
See Jane attract
For as long as he can remember, Luc has been single minded about his career. The last thing he needs is a smart mouthed, pain in the backside, reporter digging into his past and getting in his way. But once the little reporter shed her black and gray clothes in favor of a sexy red dress, Luc sees that there is more to Jane than originally meets the eye.
Maybe it's time to take a risk. Maybe it's time to live out fantasies. Maybe it's time to....
See Jane score!"
The Trouble with Valentine's Day (#3) by Rachel Gibson
"Dumped by her boyfriend, stressed out by her job, Kate Hamilton needs to regroup and get back some self-esteem. She moves from the bright lights of Las Vegas to the wilderness of Gospel, Idaho for some small-town fun. But when her first attempted seduction of a hunky stranger is completely rejected, she wonders what else could possibly go wrong?
Well, for starters she quickly realizes that the Mountain Mama Crafters Original Poetry reading is about as good as it gets on a Friday night. Then she comes face to face with Rob Sutter, former ice hockey madman, owner of Sutter's Sports—and the hunky stranger who told her to get lost!
Rob's been more than burned by love—but then he and Kate find themselves in an ultra-compromising position in the M & S Market after-hours, giving the phrase "clean-up in aisle five" a whole new meaning, and cause a whole lot of gossip in Gospel..."
True Love and Other Disasters (#4) by Rachel Gibson
"Hard knocks and hunger taught Faith Duffy not to believe in love. Still, when she married her very wealthy—and very old—husband, she became the perfect wife. And then he went to that big bank in the sky, leaving Faith with lonely nights, a pile of money, and a total mess of a pro hockey team. Heck, Faith doesn't even watch hockey!
Disaster Number Two: PASSION
But most of America and half of Canada is watching Ty Savage. His lethal sex appeal and deadly right hook make him the favorite of fans. For most of Ty's life, he's dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup. The last thing he needs is a bimbo messing up his plans.
Disaster Number Three: LOVE
Faith loathes Ty on sight, but she can't stop thinking about him all day ... and night. Then a moment of temptation ends with Faith in Ty's bed, and she begins to see there's more to him than sex appeal. Ty discovers there's far more to Faith than beauty and billions. But a relationship with Faith is impossible, and falling in love—that would be a disaster."
Week Three Reads!
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This is my Book Club's January pick, thus I am not going to go into detail, as they read this Blog, because they are my awesome, empowering, LIFT A SISTER UP TRIBE! So I will say, I gave this FOUR STARS on the ole Goodreads, and I loved it and cannot wait for the fantastic discussion that this novel is going to bring us!
"The brilliant new novel from the author of the New York Times bestseller, Everything I Never Told You.Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principal is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When the Richardsons' friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia's.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak."
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
If you haven't caught on, I listen to books on Audible, mostly - I do read physical books, but am blessed to have the ability to have my earbuds in at work, therefore creating reading time where they wouldn't be if I were reading a physical book, or even on my iPad. I say that to say this: if you are an audible reader and a fan of Anna's, do yourself a favor and get this one on Audible! Like so many autobiographies and memoirs, Anna is the narrator, and that takes the enjoyment and relate-ability factor so much higher than that of a physical book. At least I have always felt that hearing an author read their work aloud is a greater experience that I could have with those words and with their work in my own voice. If you know me, you know I love non-fiction, especially a memoir, biography, and all the like... I am an anthropologist by nature. I want to know someone, I want to the whys of their life, the truths of their souls, I want to dig into a subject with someone and know the reasons for the opinions and actions they exhibit. Chasing rabbits... Back to this book in particular! Anna writes with the same hilarity that we have come to love her for, she is a celebrity, but is the very definition of "Stars! They are just like us!" I felt a huge kinship to Anna; it is always nice when people of a certain caliber let their freaks flags fly so other freaks can find them, and especially if it can help to un-alienate someone and help them to feel less alone in this big world... I am so glad that I finally picked this one up, and that Anna decided to get all the "crazy" out of her head and onto the page! I gave this FIVE STARS on Goodreads!
"A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.
Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”
At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.
With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”
Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious)."
Happy Monday! Time to recap what I read last week!
The first book I read in 2018 was Works Well with Others: An Outsider's Guide to Shaking Hands, Shutting Up, Handling Jerks, and Other Crucial Skills in Business That No One Ever Teaches You by Ross McCammon
"Esquire editor and Entrepreneur etiquette columnist Ross McCammon delivers a funny and authoritative guide that provides the advice you really need to be confident and authentic at work, even when you have no idea what’s going on.
Ten years ago, before he got a job at Esquire magazine and way before he became the etiquette columnist at Entrepreneur magazine, Ross McCammon, editor at an in-flight magazine, was staring out a second-floor window at a parking lot in suburban Dallas wondering if it was five o’clock yet. Everything changed with one phone call from Esquire. Three weeks later, he was working in New York and wondering what the hell had just happened.
This is McCammon’s honest, funny, and entertaining journey from impostor to authority, a story that begins with periods of debilitating workplace anxiety but leads to rich insights and practical advice from a guy who “made it” but who still remembers what it’s like to feel entirely ill-equipped for professional success. And for life in general, if we’re being completely honest. McCammon points out the workplace for what it is: an often absurd landscape of ego and fear guided by social rules that no one ever talks about. He offers a mix of enlightening and often self-deprecating personal stories about his experience and clear, practical advice on getting the small things right—crucial skills that often go unacknowledged—from shaking a hand to conducting a business meeting in a bar to navigating a work party.
Here is an inspirational new way of looking at your job, your career, and success itself; an accessible guide for those of us who are smart, talented, and ambitious but who aren’t well-“leveraged” and don’t quite feel prepared for success . . . or know what to do once we’ve made it."
I love reading career-related non-fiction! One of my New Year's Resolutions was to read more non-fiction, so I hope to bring you a lot of reviews and recommendations across the vast genre that is Non-Fiction!
I gave this ★★★★★ on Goodreads, and would highly recommend this to anyone who feels like an Outsider in the work place! This would also make a fantastic gift for that college grad going into their first "Real Job".
The next two books I read are part of a series, and they are Neanderthal Seeks Human and Neanderthal Marries Human by Penny Reid
Blurb from the first:
"There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.
After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse"
Another genre you are going to be seeing more from me is Romance I won't too wild, I promise! However, I did purchase the "Romance Package" on Audible, and have found quite a few authors that I always viewed as Contemporary in there, so it was worth it for me, as much as I read, to pay the $6.00 a month and have unlimited access to thousands of books! You should check it out if you are an Audible reader!
I gave both of these ★★★★☆ on Goodreads!
The final book that I read last week was Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Peterson
"From celebrity gossip expert and BuzzFeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen comes an accessible, analytical look at how female celebrities are pushing boundaries of what it means to be an "acceptable" woman.
You know the type: the woman who won't shut up, who's too brazen, too opinionated--too much. It's not that she's an outcast (she might even be your friend or your wife, or your mother) so much as she's a social variable. Sometimes, she's the life of the party; others, she's the center of gossip. She's the unruly woman, and she's one of the most provocative, powerful forms of womanhood today.
There have been unruly women for as long as there have been boundaries of what constitutes acceptable "feminine" behavior, but there's evidence that she's on the rise--more visible and less easily dismissed--than ever before. In Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, Anne Helen Petersen uses the lens of "unruliness" to explore the ascension of eleven contemporary powerhouses: Serena Williams, Melissa McCarthy, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, Nicki Minaj, Kim Kardashian, Hillary Clinton, Caitlyn Jenner, Jennifer Weiner, and Lena Dunham.
Petersen explores why the public loves to love (and hate) these controversial figures, each of whom has been conceived as "too" something: too queer, too strong, too honest, too old, too pregnant, too shrill, too much. With its brisk, incisive analysis, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud will be a conversation-starting book on what makes and breaks celebrity today."
This is another non-fiction pick that I have had on my radar since it came out. I have a lot to say about this book. Not all of it good. I understand the concept, as I too am certainly categorized in many people's minds as an Unruly Woman; I am certainly TOO: Too Loud, Too Extra, Too Nice ... but unfortunately for many of these profiles, the author missed the mark for me. Take Melissa McCarthy, for instance, a direct quote: "(...)both a woman and a fat person." Um, really!? How is that helping to end stereotyping, and the internal struggle every woman has with body-image? Again, it was almost there, but not quite; I was really hoping this would be a stellar work of non-fiction, compiled of incredible galactic women fighting off the robots of inequality, sexism, and stereotype.
I gave this ★★★☆☆ on Goodreads.
See y'all next week!