Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly GuiltyTruly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Truly Madly Guilty is the story of regret and shame. The two main characters Erika and Clementine have been friends from childhood, but it is a strange relationship. Clementine feels a sense of obligation toward Erika, who is socially awkward. Both Erika and Clementine are dealing with the remnants of their childhood as it was, rather than how they wished it could be. When Erika's loud and congenial neighbor invites both couples over for a barbecue, events unfold that cause everyone involved to rethink their actions that night. The characters were well developed and the story moved quickly, with chapters jumping from the night of the barbecue to the present. I wish I could give this book a four and a half stars, it had great potential but at times felt almost too suspenseful which took away from the overall impact. Truly Madly Guilty explores the aftermath of bad decisions and how regret affects each of us differently. I would highly recommend this book.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodBorn a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have had this book on my to read list for awhile, and I am glad I took the time to finally read it. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood was insightful and honest. I was amazed and horrified to realize that Apartheid still ruled in South Africa until 1991. Trevor's childhood was such a combination of love and anguish, it gives me such a different view of him as a person and a comedian. This book is a quick read, Trevor uses humor and brutal honesty to share the story of his life and those around him. His descriptions of life in South Africa both during and after Apartheid are shocking and very eye-opening. The institutional racism and sexism was evident throughout the the stories, which made it almost hard to read at times. His mother sounds like an incredible person, despite all of the hardships she went through and I have no doubt she is a big part of why Trevor is so successful now. Much more than just a biography, this book should be required reading for everyone for the light it sheds on racism and its lasting effects on a community of people. I highly recommend this book.

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff

The Kommandant's GirlThe Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Kommandant's Girl is an engaging story about a young jewish girl from Poland who reluctantly becomes involved with the resistance. Emma is a young newlywed when the war breaks out and when her husband fails to come home, she returns to her parents house only to find them gone. Searching for her parents leads Emma down a path to an assumed identity and ultimately to a relationship with a powerful german officer. While the characters were well developed, the story itself was incredibly unrealistic. While some jews were able to hide in plain sight, this story felt so unbelievable.  The Kommandant's Girl is a dark story about a terrible time in history, yet the author manages to include some moments of hope.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

BeartownBeartown by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! I have loved all of the books from Fredrik Backman, but Beartown is unforgettable. This story was so moving, so heart wrenching and so so so good. Beartown is a story about a small town and its obsession with hockey. The Beartown hockey program is such an integral part of this community that the highly successful team provides a source of hope and identity, but its star player makes a choice that will divide the community and threaten to tear apart the hockey program itself. Bachman tackles so many important topics with subtlety and authentic emotion. The characters are so well developed and the story is compelling, but the writing itself is what makes this book so special. Bachman has a gift for using very few words to make a big impact. This book is the kind of story that will keep you awake reading far into the night. Yes this is a story about hockey, but it is so much more than that. Bachman shows us the best and worst part about sports and it impact upon all of us. I highly recommend this book, you don't need to love hockey to love this book. Put Beartown on your to-read list.

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the SeaSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read quite a few stories from WWII but I had never heard the tragic story of the Wilhelm Gustloff. I found this book to be fast paced and interesting, but the constant switching from one character to another's point of view made the story feel choppy at times. The characters were well developed and I enjoyed the relationship that began between Florian the 'Prussian Spy' and Joana the nurse. I especially enjoyed the Shoe Poet character. The story explored a horrific time when some terrible atrocities were committed on both sides of the war. One particular line in the story illustrated this so well, "No one wanted to fall into the hands of the enemy. But it was growing harder to distinguish who the enemy was." The struggles and hardships that each of the characters had faced drew the reader in and created tension and the ending felt genuine, unlike many stories where the author feels the need to tie everything together neatly. Although the writing was not my favorite, I found this story compelling and would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle

Let it SnowLet it Snow by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let it Snow is a quirky collection of three intertwining stories with a fun holiday theme. This book is a quick enjoyable read, with three separate authors coming together to combine their talents for a sweet young adult story. Various groups of teenagers deal with life and love in the middle of a colossal snowstorm that brings adventure and romance into each of their holidays. A snowed-in train and an all night Waffle House add extra chaos to the mix to create a sweet, yet predictable trio of stories that will brighten anyone's holiday season.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Must Love Dogs: A Howliday Tail by Claire Cook

Must Love Dogs: A Howliday Tail (Must Love Dogs, #6)Must Love Dogs: A Howliday Tail by Claire Cook
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The holidays are all about spending time with friends and loved ones, so it seems only fitting that the next edition of the heartwarming Must Love Dogs series gives us a chance to spend the holidays with Sarah Hurlihy and her family. Preschool teacher Sarah and her fiancĂ© John have moved into her childhood home and are not only dealing with major home renovations, Sarah’s quirky father who also lives in the house and a very pregnant houseguest, but one of Sarah’s brothers shows up after splitting up with his wife. On top of all this chaos are John’s dog Horatio and Sarah’s flock of rescued kittens, the result is a lot of fun for the reader. Anyone with a large family will instantly feel at home. The Hurlihy family is chaotic and charming, and readers will enjoy the chance to spend the holiday season with Sarah and her family. Claire Cook has added another great addition to the series.


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