BOOK REVIEW: I’ve Never Met a Dead Person I Didn’t Like by Sherri Dillard

42789300Title: I’ve Never Met a Dead Person I Didn’t Like

Author: Sherri Dillard

Book Length: 200 pages

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Religion, Spirituality

Read Start Date: April 9, 2019

Read Finish Date: April 28, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: The extraordinary travels of a young, alone and broke psychic. The heart-warming and adventurous true story of a young woman on her own at age seventeen, broke and surrounded by talkative spirits that don’t want to go away. Living in-between the physical world and the spirit realm, yet feeling a stranger in both, Sherrie Dillard criss-crossed the country by bus, train and hitchhiking in a search for answers. Along the way she was led to help the poor and homeless on skid row, install water systems in Mayan Indian villages, live alone in a tent in the mountains and make art with juvenile offenders. It was in these diverse environments that she came face to face with saints, angels and dark spirits and learned to trust her psychic ability. From her early secret encounters with spirits who guided and ultimately saved her life, Sherrie Dillard finally accepted that what made her different and odd, was also her greatest gift. I’ve Never Met A Dead Person I Didn’t Like, is a powerful story for anyone who listens to – or doubts their own intuition and the presence of their loved ones on the other side. Even in our darkest hour, in the depths of loneliness and overwhelming challenges, divine guidance and miracles are always present.

My Review: The Goodreads plot description actually makes the book sound much better than it is. I had high expectations and was disappointed. I received this book from a publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I think that I received the book because I had written a good review of Haunted: Horror of Haverfordwest. My review of that book is here.

I did not know that this book was a religious book, otherwise I never would have read it. I was totally open to believe that the author saw ghosts, until that is, she said that she sees the spirit of “Mary”, angels and saints. I was immediately turned off and became a disbeliever in her “psychic” ability. I also found her Mayan spirit “Tetchuwatchu” to also be unbelievable. I googled the name and literally nothing came up. Is it even possible that google doesn’t know something? The author claims that the name means “teach you watch you”, but I mean come on. Are we really supposed to believe that the ancient Mayans had names that sound like the English meaning of their Mayan name? “Techtu” in Mayan means “teach you” in English? Highly doubtful.

Do I believe that the author has stronger intuition and instincts than most people? Sure, it’s possible. Who doesn’t get bad feelings sometimes when danger is present. I could even believe that the author believes she sees these spirits, but it just didn’t seem realistic to me.

I am going to have to give this book 2.5 stars. I am really on the fence as to whether to give it 2 or 3 stars. In the end I really just struggled to finish this book. I definitely would have given her book 3 stars had it not been for the religious aspect. Overall the book was, for my taste, too spiritual and not paranormal enough. However, if I were open to religion or spiritual topics, then maybe I would have liked this book better. That is to say, please don’t totally discount this book based solely upon this review.

10 Book Reviews

Professional Reader

 

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

Sunday Stills April 28, 2019: A Dog’s Life

The theme of this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge, is called “A Dog’s Life”. I grew up with dogs, but don’t have any of my own currently (I have a cat). Therefore, I will introduce you to a very spoiled dog, who rules my parent’s house.

A dogs life 3

This is Krieger, my brother’s 100+ pound doberman. After my brother died, Krieger moved in with my parents, and my parent’s 8 pound poodle. He was already familiar with the house and my parents and Bella (the poodle) because my brother would drop Krieger off at my parent’s house while he was at work.

Krieger, taking the example from Bella, believes that he is a lap dog too, and tries to climb into people’s laps. He also takes up half the couch, but doesn’t mind sharing (see photo to the left).

He enjoys being played with 24 hours, 7 days a week. He especially likes when my father holds the chew bone for him (for hours). He likes to scratch at the treat cabinet whenever he wants a treat (which is all the time), and he likes to step outside the house and come back in immediately, because he knows he “deserves” a treat whenever he comes back in from being outside.

He barks at everything, including the many squirrels that frequent the trees in the front yard, because THOSE ARE HIS TREES AND HOW DARE THOSE SQUIRRELS USE THEM!

His only regret in life is that the poodle was master of the house before him, so he is only a beta and not the alpha. This is only a problem sometimes, when he would really like to finish his breakfast, but the poodle wants to eat some of it first.

A Dogs Life 1

The picture to the right is a picture of Krieger laying in the guest bed I use at my parent’s house. You see it correct: his butt is near the pillows. Of course he was laying in the middle of the bed, and even though he generously shared the bed with me (I had less of it than he did), I was sadly (for him) forced to make him leave after only a few minutes.

Normally, I would not be so cruel to the dog (becaues of course he is my ruler), but Krieger frequently has stomach issues, and that night it was in full force. After about the fifth expulsion in the general direction of my face, I just could not take it anymore.

After some general groaning and grunting, he agreed to leave, and promptly went into his own (dog) bed in my parent’s room. I wished them good luck.

Animals in my family are treated as members of the family. I often joke with my boyfriend that the cat is our “Overlord”. They tell us when we can go to bed (10:00 p.m. in the case of Krieger), and when we can wake up (6:30 a.m. in the case of my cat). Feeding time in the evening is 6:00 p.m. for my cat, (4:00 p.m. for the dogs) and when this is not fulfilled, then lots of complaining ensues. But that’s okay, because they are dogs and cats and they deserve it.

Do you have a dog or cat with similar experiences?

BOOK REVIEW: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

18693763Title: Everything I Never Told You

Author: Celeste Ng

Book Length (Audiobook): 10 hours 57 mins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Read Start Date: April 18, 2019

Read Finish Date: April 25, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

My Review: This is the second book that I have read by Celeste Ng (although this is the first book she wrote). The other book I read was Little Fires Everywhere. You can find my review here.

This book was fantastic. The characters were extremely well developed and really pulled me into the story. The opening lines really draw you into the story: “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning, no one knows anything but this innocuous fact: Lydia is late for breakfast.”

I don’t want to give too much away regarding the plot, but it is hard to review the book without mentioning some aspects. I do not think that the below gives too much away.

Lydia is the eldest daughter to Marilyn and James. Lydia struggled under the weight of her parents expectations. Marilyn, having had to give up her dreams of becoming a doctor (when she became a mother), tried to live vicariously through her daughter. James, who never fit in as a child (because he was Asian), tried to live vicariously through his daughter’s popularity. The problem was, that Lydia was neither popular, nor interested in becoming a doctor.

Nath, the oldest child and only son to Marilyn and James, lives in the shadow of his younger sister Lydia. His achievements are all but ignored.

Hannah, the unwanted third child, is basically invisible to her parents, as all their attention go to the favored child Lydia. There is a great quote from the book describing Hannah: “Hannah, as if she understood her place in the cosmos, grew from quiet infant to watchful child: a child fond of nooks and corners, who curled up in closets, behind sofas, under dangling tablecloths, staying out of sight as well as out of mind, to ensure the terrain of the family did not change.”

In the aftermath of Lydia’s death, the family and their relationship to each other is thrown into turmoil.

The story alternates between the past and the present to give a full picture of the Lee’s life together, and how they became who they are.

My younger brother died almost five years ago (a few days before his 29th birthday) in an accident (he was hit by a driver high on drugs who ran the red light). Some of the descriptions Ng gave of the family dealing with a child’s death really resonated with me. For example, Ng describes a scene where James is looking at his surviving children and he sees bits of Lydia in each of them. I often too experience this. I have the same teeth as my brother, and sometimes I think of him when I see myself in the mirror. Reading this book made me wonder whether when my parents look at me, do they also see my brother in my face? Do they see my brother’s eyes in the eyes of my sister, or his features in those of her son?

Ng’s descriptive language is so powerful and really makes you imagine what you are reading. For an example, James says something nasty to his son after Lydia’s death. Ng says something like, James’ words were like moths in the air that he wanted to catch and pull back, but he was too late because they were already crawling inside his son’s ears. I couldn’t find the exact quote again sadly.

Anyway, in conclusion, I highly recommend this book. Ng’s powerful storytelling with stay with you for quite some time.

 

BOOK REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (aka J.K. Rowling)

41899Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Author: Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling) 

Book Length (Audiobook): 1 hour 54 mins

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Read Start Date: April 17, 2019

Read Finish Date: April 18, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: An approved textbook at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since publication, Newt Scamander’s masterpiece has entertained wizarding families through the generations. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an indispensable introduction to the magical beasts of the Wizarding World. Scamander’s years of travel and research have created a tome of unparalleled importance. Some of the beasts will be familiar to readers of the Harry Potter books – the Hippogriff, the Basilisk, the Hungarian Horntail … Others will surprise even the most ardent amateur Magizoologist. This is an essential companion to the Harry Potter stories, and includes a new foreword from J.K. Rowling (writing as Newt Scamander) and six new beasts!

My Review: This book is short and fun! If you have ever seen the movie of the same title, you know that Newt Scamander is a wizard who works for the Ministry of Magic in the Beast Division. During the movie, he was writing the above mentioned book. J.K. Rowling writes as Newt Scamander, and the book lists in detail the magical beasts, their attributes, personalities, etc.

If you liked the Harry Potter series, this is a must read!

The Audiobook Recording: The audiobook recording was really funny. It had the sounds of the animals as Newt described them.

 

It’s Monday What are you Reading? April 22, 2019

I’m joining the Book Date It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

WHAT I READ LAST WEEK:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them by Newt Scamander (aka J.K. Rowling). I have not yet written a review about this book.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Please see my review here.

WHAT I AM CURRENTLY READING:

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King. I’ve been reading this book (paperback) since February 25, 2019, and I am currently on page 283. I originally bought this book for my trip to Japan and China in late February, early March. I guess that I have set this book aside in favor of some other books, but I should get back into it. So far I like it, but I guess it is not as stimulating as I thought, if I still haven’t finished it almost 2 months after starting it.

Year One by Nora Roberts. I’ve been reading this book (kindle) since February 10, 2019. I rented this book from the library several times to date, and sometimes the loan expires so I have to renew (and wait on a waiting list). This book is a little slow, so I am not really so enthusiastic about it.

The Iliad by Gareth Hinds. I’ve been reading this graphic novel (PDF) since April 6, 2019. I received this graphic novel as an ARC from Netgalley. I can only read this novel on my computer (it doesn’t look right on my kindle). Since I normally do most of my reading while in bed (or via audiobook), it is taking me a lot longer to finish this novel (even though it is rather short).

I’ve Never Met a Dead Person I Didn’t Like by Sherrie Dillard. I’ve been reading this book (kindle) since April 9, 2019. I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley. I currently read this book before bedtime, and am about 50% complete.

Everything I never Told You by Celeste Ng. I’ve been listening to this audiobook since April 18, 2019. I am about 2.5 hours into it (with 7.5 hours to go). I am enjoying it so far. I really like Celeste Ng. I read another book of hers last year, Little Fires Everywhere. My review is here.

WHAT IS COMING UP NEXT:

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. This is the 2nd book in the series, coming after The Raven Boys. This will be (hopefully) the next audiobook that I read. I am currently on the holds list at the library. I have had this book on my TBR list since 2012, so it is about time that I read it.

Wizard and Glass: The Dark Tower IV by Stephen King. This will be the next paperback book that I read after finishing Sleeping Beauties. I saw this book in a used book store in Amsterdam and knew that I had to have it. I have already read the first three books in the series, but the library did not have the audiobook of the 4th book.

Blink of an Eye by John H.K. Fisher. This will be the next kindle book that I will read. I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley.

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson

35901186Title: The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century

Author: Kirk Wallace Johnson

Book Length (Audiobook): 8 hours 9 mins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, True Crime, History, Science, Mystery

Read Start Date: April 10, 2019

Read Finish Date: April 11, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London’s Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin’s obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins–some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin’s, Alfred Russel Wallace, who’d risked everything to gather them–and escaped into the darkness.

Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist-high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man’s relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man’s destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.

My Review: When I first starting reading this book, I had no idea that it was actually nonfiction, and based upon real events. I had never heard of using bird feathers for fishing lures, nor had I ever heard of a “fly tier” enthusiast stealing exotic bird feathers from a museum — in some cases, the very same birds collected by Alfred Russel Wallace, and other naturalists of the same era (around the time of Darwin’s expeditions).

The writing of Kirk Wallace Johnson was so good, that I was convinced for the first portion of the book that it was a fiction story. After I got into it a bit further, and looked the book up online, I realized that this story is actually true! It seems to be a little known fact, which makes for an awesome and refreshing novel. The story is very engaging, and even though it is nonfiction, there is the distinct smell of a fiction thriller — a daring heist of rare, expensive bird skins leads an amateur detective into the bowels of the fly tier underground, where the secretive fly tier community not only trades in black market and sometimes illegal feathers, but closes ranks when threatened.

Did Edwin Rist work alone, or was there perhaps more at play?

I love that this book unwittingly educated me, not only in the not so known world of fly tying, but also the feather trade in general.

The book alternates between telling the story of the feather heist, and telling the story of the author trying to track down the thief. The author also explains about the history of feathers and fashion, and how during the Victorian age several species were almost hunted into extinction all in the name of women’s vanity and social stature.

This book gets a rare 5 out of 5 stars from me. Everyone should read about this strange little piece of history. Even if you don’t generally like nonfiction books, this book will not disappoint.

Fiction Friday April 19, 2019: First 1,000 words

I know that I am posting this a bit late, but I didn’t want to miss out on this week’s fiction friday. I am currently writing a book, and I just wanted to post the first 1,000 words here in the hopes of getting an unbiased opinion. It is my intention to add another 1,000 words of the book every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to the blog. Comments and constructive criticism is welcome and highly appreciated.

**The below contains adult language and situations. It is not intended for children.**

Chapter One:

Eleven days after Charles Frenchman, a promising young lawyer, and his new bride, Emilie, a business student at Columbia University, had returned to New York City from their honeymoon in Africa, Charlies awoke with a dull, throbbing headache. Again. Shrugging it off as only the beginning of another one of the stressed induced migraines he often suffered, he rolled over in bed and began to caress his bride’s inner thigh. His erection poked her in the small area of her back above her firm buttocks. She groaned expectantly as he began to stroke her in the sensitive place between her legs.

“Don’t tease,” she sighed groggily.

“I’m not teasing,” he said nibbling on her earlobe.

“Don’t you have to go into work early this morning?” she groaned throatily.

“Yes, but I have time for this,” he said rolling her over onto her back and getting on top of her.

“Aren’t you going to put on a condom?” Emilie asked incredulously.

“I forgot to buy more. Anyway, I thought you wanted kids?”

“Yeah…but not right now. I want to graduate from business school first.”

“There aren’t any condoms anywhere in this apartment?”

“Not that I know of,” Emilie lied. There were plenty of condoms stashed away in a secret place that she reserved for outings with her lover, but she wasn’t going to tell her husband that.

Charlies began to lose patience, and his erection. “So, are we doing this or not?”

Emilie sighed rather unenthusiastically, but relented to her husband’s wishes. “Just don’t forget to pull out in time.”

In some macabre sense of symmetry, at the very same moment that the virus inside Charles was thrusting itself into his cells, Charles pushed himself inside Emilie’s warm and moist opening. If the virus was alive, it too would have groaned in pleasure as it began to release nucleic acid into the cell, prepping the cell for the virus’ genome replication. As the newly weds made love for the first time since returning from their honeymoon, the virus was turning Charles’ cells into virus factories. As Charles’ pleasure reached a fever pitch, he didn’t know, and wouldn’t have imagined, not even in his darkest nightmares, that one of the most dangerous predators on Earth had stowed away inside his body from Africa, and was slowly, but surely, replicating. Although his immune system was making a valiant effort to fend off the foreign invaders, Charles’ white blood cells were losing ground. The virus was advancing quickly. Unfortunately for Emilie, the virus had reached Charles’ testicles ahead of their unprotected love-making, and it wouldn’t only be sperm ejaculating into her unprepared body.

When his climax came, Charles intentionally did not pull out, more out of spite than any true desire to have children. The couple had been arguing again. It seemed that they were always arguing now, and Charles hadn’t had any relief in over a week. Emilie could always take Plan B. No harm, no foul. Or, at least that is what he thought. Little did he know that the virus inside him was reprogramming the cells of his sperm. Instead of making babies, his sperm had only one mission now, and that was to make more virus. Soon this same mission would be taken up in earnest in Emilie’s body as well. But for now, Charles was too exhausted to think of anything. He nestled his face between Emilie’s head and shoulder. His breathing was labored more from the pain in his head then from the exertion.

Emilie, on the other hand was less than satisfied, and she was pissed. “What the fuck, Charles?”

“Sorry,” Charles mumbled into Emilie’s shoulder. “I’m not feeling so well. Can you finish yourself today?”

“I was talking about not pulling out, Dumbass.”

“It just came on all of a sudden. I didn’t have time.”

“That’s no excuse! Do you know how busy I am today? I don’t exactly have time either, especially not to make a detour trip to the pharmacy.”

Charles winced. “Can you please not yell in my ear? I have a really bad migraine.”

“Sorry. I’m just frustrated. That was a really shitty thing you just did.”

Charles sighed. “I’ll go after work, okay?”

Without so much as a cursory glance at his wife, and with an obligatory peck on her forehead, Neil got out of bed and shuffled to the bathroom. He looked at himself in the mirror of the medicine cabinet. He looked like shit warmed over. His headache was worse than ever, and there were dark circles under his blood-shot eyes. Maybe the morning sex had been a bad idea after all. Still thinking that it was only a run-of-the-mill migraine, Charles opened the medicine cabinet, took the bottle of migraine medicine from the shelf, and popped a few tablets into his mouth.

As he was swallowing the pills, Emilie followed came into the bathroom. She was still naked. “We weren’t finished talking.”

“Give it a rest, Emilie. I said I was sorry, what more do you want?”

“I want some God damn fucking respect, that’s what I want. Is that really so much to ask for?”

“Then put some clothes on and stop walking around the apartment giving the neighbors a free show like some cheap whore.”

“The cheap whore you married,” she retorted.

“Don’t remind me.”

Emilie scoffed and turned her back on her husband. “What a total bag of dicks,” she thought. As Emilie walked back into the bedroom to put on sweatpants and a t-shirt, she wondered, and not for the first time, why she had married Charles in the first place. All the warning signs of a bad relationship were there. If Emilie were being honest with herself, the warning signs had been there for quite some time before they were married, years even. They fought all the time and disagreed over everything.

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

34974310Title: The Last Black Unicorn

Author: Tiffany Haddish

Book Length (Audiobook): 6 hours 29 mins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography, Essays, Humor

Read Start Date: April 8, 2019

Read Finish Date: April 10, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend.

None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy.

Tiffany can’t avoid being funny—it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others.

By turns hilarious, filthy, and brutally honest, The Last Black Unicorn shows the world who Tiffany Haddish really is—humble, grateful, down-to-earth, and funny as hell. And now, she’s ready to inspire others through the power of laughter.

My Review: I had never heard of Tiffany Haddish before reading this book. I am giving it 5 out of 5 stars because I actually laughed out loud when I was reading this book — and that rarely happens, even when the book is supposed to be funny. This book is not only freaking hilarious, but Haddish reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly of her life in a surprisingly intimate fashion. From being called a dirty unicorn when she was a child (because she had an ugly wart on her forehead which looked like a horn), to sexism in the work place (comedy is still predominately men), and lastly to an abusive relationship with her twice ex-husband (she married and divorced him two times) Haddish reveals in poignant (and hilarious) essays how and why she is the person she is today. Where most people would have crawled into a hole and died, Haddish turned her pain into comedy and realized her dreams. I can’t help but to salute her for her triumph in the face of so many odds against her.

The Audiobook Recording: The audiobook is read by Haddish herself, which added tremendously to the book. Not only are the words themselves funny, but the way she tells the story makes it even funnier. Even when the subject matter is not really funny (like the parts about her abusive ex-husband) Haddish finds how to present it in a humorous way to get passed the uncomfortable part and get to the story. I think people in general do not want to hear about negative subjects like poverty, abuse, etc — but if you frame it in funny terms, people actually listen.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone!

BOOK REVIEW: When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

36373647Title: When Life Gives You Lululemons

Author: Lauren Weisberger

Book Length (Audiobook): 10 hours 14 mins

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Read Start Date: April 6, 2019

Read Finish Date: April 8, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads:
Welcome to Greenwich, CT, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito’s and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbor. Let’s be clear: Emily Charlton, Miranda Priestly’s ex-assistant, does not do the suburbs. She’s working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.

Karolina Hartwell is as A-list as they come. She’s the former face of L’Oreal. A mega-supermodel recognized the world over. And now, the gorgeous wife of the newly elected senator from New York, Graham, who also has his eye on the presidency. It’s all very Kennedy-esque, right down to the public philandering and Karolina’s arrest for a DUI—with a Suburban full of other people’s children.

Miriam is the link between them. Until recently she was a partner at one of Manhattan’s most prestigious law firms. But when Miriam moves to Greenwich and takes time off to spend with her children, she never could have predicted that being stay-at-home mom in an uber-wealthy town could have more pitfalls than a stressful legal career.

Emily, Karolina, and Miriam make an unlikely trio, but they desperately need each other. Together, they’ll navigate the social landmines of life in America’s favorite suburb on steroids, revealing the truths—and the lies—that simmer just below the glittering surface. With her signature biting style, Lauren Weisberger offers a dazzling look into another sexy, over-the-top world, where nothing is as it appears.

My Review: This book was SO FUN to read! This book is the 3rd installment of the Devil Wears Prada series, but I haven’t read either of the first 2 books, which I have to say I am majorly regretting. My TBR list is already too long, but what can I say, I added the first 2 books–it just had to be done. I grew up a stone’s throw away from Greenwich, so these characters really brought back some memories of growing up in the suburban areas of New York City. Since I did not read the first two books, the characters were unknown to me, but this didn’t hurt the story at all.

It’s fun because the subject matter is light, and the satirical stories Weisberger tells in the book about living in the suburban shadow of the City rings so true and reminiscent of my childhood. I mean, in what place other than in suburbia Connecticut, would women sit around at a party and talk about bespoke vaginas? In case you have never heard of that, essentially, after giving birth, some women have plastic surgery on their lady bits to “tighten” things back up, and while they are at it, they custom fit said lady bits to their husbands man bits. I do not know if this is really a thing — but if it is, I do not have any doubts that it exists in Greenwich!

I also really liked the spunkiness and the tenacity of the characters, and they were just too funny! What else can I say other than this book is great, and a strong recommendation from my end! I am only giving it 4 stars because a 5 star rating from me is very coveted and is reserved for books which stay with me for a long time (like EducatedGame of Thrones, etc.)

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

17675462Title: The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Book Length (Audiobook): 11 hours 8 mins

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Read Start Date: April 11, 2019

Read Finish Date: April 18, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

My Review: I first read this book back in 2012, when the other books in the series had not yet been published (there are 4 all together). I had put the second book on my TBR list on Goodreads, and there is where it languished for 7 years. In an effort to clean up my TBR list, I wanted to finally read the second book, but since I hadn’t read the first book in a while, I read it again.

Since I didn’t really remember the book from my 2012 reading, it was like reading the book again for the first time. My overall impression of the book was very positive, and I would recommend the book for the following reasons:

Interesting and Addictive Plot. Even though this is a Young Adult novel, as an adult I enjoyed it immensely. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I will just say that the plot was rich with Welsh mythology, history, ghosts, ley lines, psychics and just every amount of weird and crazy that you can think of. It really kept me engaged in the story, and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next. At times though, the plot was a bit difficult to follow, as there were always several moving pieces–but it all came together in the end and there were several plot twists which I was not expecting, which made the plot even more interesting.

My only criticism is that after the “big finale” (you will just have to read the book to find out what I mean), the book has a sort of “Epilogue” (although it is just another chapter). There is a gap in time between the “big finale” and when the book ends, which isn’t explained very well. The book was so well paced throughout, and then all of a sudden BAM! a very fast ending, as though the author didn’t want to take the time to really explain what had happened. Maybe it will be fleshed out in the next book?

Overall, I cannot wait to see what happens in the 2nd book!

Well Developed and Likeable Characters. The characters are very well-developed, and the characteristics of each really support the story line. For example, Blue’s mother, and her mother’s friends are all psychic or mystical in some way, and each of their powers, including Blue’s, is important to the plot. The characters are simple on the surface, but somehow complicated underneath the surface–the author reveals these depths through out the story, and with each new reveal you become more invested in the story.

If you like paranormal / fantasy books, this book is definitely for you, and I would highly recommend it!