Friday, July 3, 2015

Alice's Review: The Secret Place

Author: Tana French
Series: Dublin Murder Squad
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 464
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Crime
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A taut mystery that has other great elements
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, in the grounds of a girls boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublins Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-yearold Holly Mackey brings him this photo. “The Secret Place,” a board where the girls at St Kildas School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why. But everything they find leads them back to Hollys group of close-knit friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephens links to the Mackey family. St Kildas will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Hollys father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points towards his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined. The Secret Place is a powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series.

Review:  Tana French is back with another intriguing installment of Dublin’s Murder Squad. Although I am not a huge fan of Mystery/Crime novels, I completely soak these in. I really enjoyed how different this novel was from her earlier work. This novel had a clear resolution whereas her others left something unanswered. The best part of this novel is the resurrection of one of my favorite literary characters, Frank Mackey.

I will seriously read anything, ANYTHING, that features Frank Mackey even in the smallest capacity. I love me some Frank. Give me an entire novel focused on him and I am in reading heaven. He can be so rough and crass and well, sometimes a jerk. I loved seeing him in what is probably his favorite role, Father.

Enough about my fictional husband, the meat and bones of this novel is about friendship. Any woman who had girlfriends understands the power that holds, especially when you are 16 and your life centers around these relationships. Tana French captured that beautifully. Each girl was so different, yet it was easy to see how they fit together. My favorite of the four was Julia. She had moxie, tough as nails, but probably the most sensitive of the bunch. She was the leader, the one who would go to bat for the others.

I enjoyed the mystery in The Secret Place. Tana French is a sorceress. She writes strong character driven mysteries where you are invested in their lives and situations. You open one of her novel and begin to read it, the next thing you know it is 4 hours later and you are elbows deep in a story you can’t tear yourself away from. There is a mystery you must get to the bottom of. Thankfully, there are one or two detectives asking all the right questions unraveling the mystery layer by layer. You don’t know who you can trust, you don’t know who is lying or who is telling you the truth. The only thing you do know is you are on one hell of a ride.

This isn’t the strongest of her work, but it’s still fantastic. I hope we have another go at the reluctant villain of this novel, Detective Stephen Moran. I didn’t envy his task and I can’t wait to see what comes next for him.

Continue reading the review...

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Julie's Review: In The Unlikely Event

Author: Judy Blume
Series: None
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Alfred Knopf
Pages: 416
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Judy Blume at her best
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on. In the Unlikely Event is vintage Judy Blume, with all the hallmarks of Judy Blume’s unparalleled storytelling, and full of memorable characters who cope with loss, remember the good times and, finally, wonder at the joy that keeps them going.

Review: In the Unlikely Event is pretty much everything you want in a Judy Blume novel. She's written fantastic characters that will stay with you the rest of your life and a near perfect storyline. I loved that it was based on actual events that happened in New Jersey during the 1950s and something that I had no prior knowledge about.

The story is told beginning in 1987 when Miri Ammerman is about to go back to "celebrate" one of the worst years of her life but we don't really know what happened yet. Why was it the worst? How has it shaped her? Most of the novel is spent from 1952 onward and this is where we get to know Miri, Rusty, Harry and Irene, et all. There are a whole host of characters in this one but you know pretty darn quickly who the focus is on..the Ammerman's. I adored Miri; I felt for her and I wanted to hug her. She was coming into the hardest years of her life and then to have two traumatic situations happen in her backyard, made being 15 even worse.

Everyone around her is affected in different ways. Her best friend, Natalie, starts to act strangely and Miri wonders what she can do to get her old friend back. She really does just want things they way they were before the accidents.

Miri is a wonderful character. She's everything that I love in a heroine. She's bright, spunky and endearing. Actually I really loved her whole family; from her mother, Rusty to her Uncle Henry. They are a tight family unit but Miri has questions about her father. This is where the family clams up but sometimes you can't stop things from happening no matter what you want.

I also loved the time period that Ms. Blume chose because it is such a significant time of change for the country. This mirrors the time of change that Miri is going through as well. While this is marketed as an adult novel, I view it as a coming of age story. Sure it's a flashback from Miri's POV but it's really about her being 15 and experiencing a range of emotions. It is about finding what love and heartbreak is all about while dealing with a phenomenon you don't quite understand.

There's really not more I can say except it's a wonderful book and it's JUDY BLUME! So, do yourself a favor and read it.


Continue reading the review...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Julie's Review: A New Neighbor

Author: Leah Stewart
Series: None
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Touchstone Books
Pages: 304
Obtained: published
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Intriguing look at the secrets we keep and who we tell our secrets to
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: In the tradition of Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, The New Neighbor is a darkly sophisticated novel about an old woman’s curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her new neighbor’s complicated and cloaked life. Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is content hiding from the world. Stoic and independent, she rarely leaves the Tennessee mountaintop where she lives, finding comfort in the mystery novels that keep her company, that is, until she spots a woman who’s moved into the long-empty house across the pond. Jennifer Young is also looking to hide. On the run from her old life, she and her four-year-old son Milo have moved to a quiet town where no one from her past can find her. In Jennifer, Margaret sees both a potential companion in her loneliness and a mystery to be solved. But Jennifer refuses to talk about herself, her son, his missing father, or her past. Frustrated, Margaret crosses more and more boundaries in pursuit of the truth, threatening to unravel the new life Jennifer has so painstakingly created—and reveal some secrets of her own.  

Review: The New Neighbor is a riveting novel that will have you turning the pages to find out what it is that Jennifer and Margaret did because you know they both did something. Margaret is a 90 year old woman who lives by herself in a small mountain town. When a younger woman moves into the house across the pond, Margaret finds her curiosity peaked.

Jennifer is escaping her past. We don't know what she's escaping but we know it's something that she desperately wants to move away from. In order to support herself and her young son, Milo she puts up fliers to get work as a massage therapist. This is how her and Margaret get acquainted. What Jennifer can't possibly know is that this business relationship will change her quiet existence. 

Margaret is an interesting person. She's very callous and yet she wants to be liked. She also has a secret she wants to unburden but refuses to acknowledge this fact. Instead she enlists Jennifer to record her personal history. This is also her way of trying to get Jennifer to open up about her past. The thing is that Jennifer has built a pretty big wall and she's not too quick to fall for Margaret tricks.

Neither of these women is particularly likable but that didn't stop me from wanting to know what happens to their stories. Ms. Stewart does a great job of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs along the way with both of their stories. I really liked how the story was told from both Margaret's and Jennifer's POVs. I don't think you would get a full picture if only one of them were telling their side of the story. I also liked how she included another point of view at the very end that adds another dimension to the storyline.

If you are looking for a great summer mystery, then look no further than The New Neighbor , it will hold your attention no matter where you are reading it.


Continue reading the review...

Monday, June 29, 2015

Brittney's Review: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

Author: Chris Bohjalian
Series: None
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition
Pages: 288
Obtained: Purchased
Genre:Literature-Coming of Age
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Heartbreaking, raw – a must read.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!

Emily Shepard is on the run; the nuclear plant where her father worked has suffered a cataclysmic meltdown, and all fingers point to him. Now, orphaned, homeless, and certain that she’s a pariah, Emily’s taken to hiding out on the frigid streets of Burlington, Vermont, creating a new identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson.

Then she meets Cameron. Nine years old and with a string of foster families behind him, he sparks something in Emily, and she protects him with a fierceness she didn’t know she possessed. But when an emergency threatens the fledgling home she’s created, Emily realizes that she can’t hide forever. –


I have a soft spot for books that get me emotionally wrapped up into a character. Such was the case for Emily Shepard, our main protagonist.

Chris writes a no holds barred look into the life of a not-your-average teen who lives through the unthinkable, and just when you think things couldn't get worse, Emily endurs even more. It's rare to see a level of writing that is so factual when portraying a teen, which is probably why I find the YA genre difficult to read. Not the case here: Chris delivers writing that is beautiful, raw and realistic. This is far from a YA read and in the end, is a beautiful coming of age story.

This book is a stark reminder that we never know the battle someone else is fighting until we've walked a mile in their shoes.

I snagged Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands from the new trade paperback releases shelf at the airport about a week ago, and only later realized that Julie had reviewed the hardcover edition. I echo her sentiments in that this would make a fantastic book club read. It'll provide some difficult questions for the group to debate, as so much controversy and pain surrounds Emily's life.


Continue reading the review...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jenn's Review: Mr. Kiss and Tell

Author: Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
Series: Veronica Mars #2
Publication Date: January 20, 2015
Publisher: Vintage Books
Pages: 336
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Crime, Mystery
Rating: 4.0
Bottom Line: A must for Veronica Mars fans!
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Blurb:  The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?

Review:  I adore Veronica Mars from the series right through to the fan funded movie.  There is just something about that snarky girl that I can never get enough of...  so it was an obvious choice to pick up the novels to continue where the movie left off. While I enjoyed the first book, The Thousand Dollar Man, it was a lot like reading a script in that we seemed to get only the surface details.  Mr. Kiss and Tell was more fleshed out and far more satisfying in the story telling department.

The case was one of Veronica's heavier ones but Rob Thomas has never shied away from tough topics.  Neptune is full of familiar characters and it's not surprising that this case centers around someone we've met before.  It's one of the many things I love about this franchise.  The characters go on existing in Rob Thomas's world and every  once and a while we get a glimpse of them.  Although sometimes, this time, it can be a little heartbreaking.

Logan and Veronica fans said there wasn't enough Logan last novel.  While this is remedied in Mr. Kiss and Tell, Rob Thomas can't seem to stop poking at their relationship.  It's like he keeps throwing cherry bombs at it hoping to trigger a bigger explosion.  Now it is Logan who is stable and Veronica who is floundering.  I LoVe Logan and Veronica together but I'm not sure that Rob Thomas knows how to write them happy.

This is a series I can't stay away from ...and if this is the only way to get my Veronica Mars fix from now on, besides re-watching the DVDs, I'm okay with that.  Would you like this if you aren't a VM fan?  Yes.  I don't think the first book worked outside the VM realm, but the second one is solidly written.  You will miss all the references though and if you aren't a Veronica Mars fan, why the heck not?!?


Continue reading the review...

Friday, June 19, 2015

Julie's Review: Under the Same Blue Sky

Author: Pamela Shoenewaldt
Series: None
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 352
Obtained: Caitlin Hamilton Publicity & Marketing
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A wonderful novel about finding out where you belong
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: 1914. In the coal-dusted shadows of Pittsburgh's steel mills, shopkeeper's daughter Hazel Renner dreams of adventure under blue skies and escape from her German-American parents' ambitions for a respectable career. But war in Europe shatters her plans and community, pitting neighbors and friends against each other and shaking free a family secret. Seeking peace in the countryside, Hazel is visited by a mysterious healing power—a gift that swiftly leads to tragedy. Resolved to discover who she is and where she belongs, Hazel follows her past to an exiled German baron fighting private demons in an American castle. There she meets Tom, a gardener who shares the freedom of flight, but their powerful bonds will be tested by the chaos and voids of war. Betrayed by her healing powers, struggling to protect those close to her while keeping her own heart safe, Hazel must reconcile youthful dreams with the devastating realities around her. She discovers that escape is closer than we think, and true healing can take unimaginable forms in a world after war.

Review: Under the Same Blue Sky is a beautiful, quite story about finding where you belong when you life gets turned upside down. It's about finding some calm when the world is crazy. Hazel is a dutiful daughter of German immigrants who have made their American home in Pittsburgh. She loves her parents but dreams of being an artist. Her mother wants her to do something that will make a difference like being a teacher or a doctor. When war breaks out in Europe, Hazel puts her dreams on hold to become a teacher. She ends up getting a teaching post Galway, PA and works to win over the farming community. She befriends the "crazy" guy and unfortunately this has disastrous outcomes for both of them. It is here that Hazel discovers her healing powers and while she thinks she's helping people, it eventually becomes the thing that makes her leave Galway.

Hazel really comes into her own when she leaves Pittsburgh for the 2nd time to the castle where her mother worked. It is here where she finds her place. She works for the Baron in his art dealing business and makes herself at home in Dogwood. Hazel's life isn't ideal though. She slowly watches the war in Europe consume her father and take his soul. She is torn between two worlds: the America she loves and her parents homeland of Germany. She watches as the war makes the immigrants of Germany the enemy.

 Ms. Schoenewaldt does an excellent job of setting the stage for what is going to come in the novel. The tension is easy to feel through the plot and the characters. It is their experiences that you feel as a reader and it's what connects you to them. 

The story moves methodically but it is never slow or plodding. The pace of the book takes you back to a time where things didn't move so fast and news wasn't instantaneous. Where you had to wait weeks, months or perhaps years to find out what happened to family/friends during the war. I really enjoyed following Hazel on her journey. She's a lovely young woman who is seeking to breakaway from her parents dreams for her to create her own. She does this while also respecting their wishes and being a dutiful daughter. She never doubts herself or strays from her beliefs. She does come into her own at the end of the novel.

I will definitely be checking out her previous novels and keeping an eye out for her future books. For those that enjoy a story that reveals itself slowly and that enjoy coming of age stories, you won't want to miss Under the Same Blue Sky. 


Continue reading the review...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Julie's Review: Summer Secrets

Author: Jane Green
Series: None
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 320
Obtained: Amazon Vine
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.75/5.0
Bottom Line: Perfect vacation/pool/beach book
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: When a shocking family secret is revealed, twenty-something journalist Cat Coombs finds herself falling into a dark spiral. Wild, glamorous nights out in London and raging hangovers the next day become her norm, leading to a terrible mistake one night while visiting family in America, on the island of Nantucket. It's a mistake for which she can't forgive herself. When she returns home, she confronts the unavoidable reality of her life and knows it's time to grow up. But she doesn't know if she'll ever be able to earn the forgiveness of the people she hurt. As the years pass, Cat grows into her forties, a struggling single mother, coping with a new-found sobriety and determined to finally make amends. Traveling back to her past, to the family she left behind on Nantucket all those years ago, she may be able to earn their forgiveness, but in doing so she may risk losing the very people she loves the most. Told with Jane Green's keen eye for detailing the emotional landscape of the heart, Summer Secrets is at once a compelling drama and a beautifully rendered portrait of relationships, betrayals, and forgiveness; about accepting the things we cannot change, finding the courage to change the things we can, and being strong enough to weather the storms.  

Review: Summer Secrets is the story of starts, stops and re-starts. It is the story of a woman trying to learn to forgive herself while seeking the forgiveness of others. Cat is a woman who has been an alcoholic most of her adult life and is trying to stay sober for the last 18 months. She's lost her daughter and husband because of her drinking plus the relationship with other family members.

Summer Secrets is told in flashbacks and then the present. While I found that this works for most novels, it left me somewhat confused in the beginning. Not only do we get Cat's flashback to her summer in Nantucket but then we get her mom's flashback to even a further time back to when she met Cat's father. I think that's what I found confusing was that her mom's story didn't add to the flow of the book.

 While I liked Cat I wouldn't say that I could relate to her. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I felt badly for what she had been through and I wanted her to get better, live her life and enjoy her daughter. I wanted her to be able to make amends to those that she has wronged in her past so that she could move on.

I loved how Ms. Green described Nantucket. She almost makes me want to go there if nothing else just for watching the rich and famous. I loved Cat's best friend, Sam. He was a breath of fresh air in otherwise a pretty heavy subject matter.

I wouldn't say this was my favorite Jane Green novel but as always I'm happy to have read it. It really is a great summer book for the beach, pool or car ride.


Continue reading the review...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Julie's Review: The Status of All Things

Author: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Series: None
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Pages: 304
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Magical Realism
Rating: 4.25/5
Bottom Line: Are we as happy as we post on Facebook? Probably not.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: What would you do if you could literally rewrite your fate—on Facebook? This heartwarming and hilarious new novel from the authors of Your Perfect Life follows a woman who discovers she can change her life through online status updates. Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiancé, Max, breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner—to be with Kate’s close friend and coworker, no less—she goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something’s changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips, and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history. Kate's two best friends, Jules and Liam, are the only ones who know the truth. In order to convince them she’s really time traveled, Kate offers to use her Facebook status to help improve their lives. But her attempts to help them don’t go exactly as planned, and every effort to get Max back seems to only backfire, causing Kate to wonder if it’s really possible to change her fate. In The Status of All Things, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke combine the humor and heart of Sarah Pekkanen and Jennifer Weiner while exploring the pitfalls of posting your entire life on the Internet. They raise the questions: What if you could create your picture-perfect life? Would you be happy? Would you still be you? For anyone who’s ever attempted—or failed—to be their perfect self online, this is a story of wisdom and wit that will leave you with new appreciation for the true status of your life.  

Review: The Status of All Things is something that many of us can relate to in some way. You might not be solely focused on making sure that selfie you just took is perfect enough to post to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc but we do make our lives all shiny on social media. If we don't, we always mask in in cryptic messages. What if we were all honest? What would it look like then? Would you lose friends? Probably. This is the quandary for Kate who just got dumped by her fiance at their rehearsal dinner. What do you think her first question or thought should be? Probably, why right? Nope for Kate it's how am I going to update my status. It literally comes out of her mouth to her now ex-fiance, Max.

This gives us a glimmer into Kate and what she's focused on. What Kate gets is the ability to re-write her statuses for the last 30 days before the rehearsal dinner dump by Max. As we all know if you change one thing about the past, it sets into motion changes that you can't even think of, with consequences. Where Kate things she's going to save her relationship with Max and is so focused on that, she doesn't for one second think that maybe they aren't supposed to be together. Kate is a bit self-centered and going back 30 days shows her that maybe things aren't so perfect in Jules' marriage and maybe Liam being in a relationship isn't good for their friendship.

As Kate starts to realize that things aren't always great when you go back to fix them, she figures out that maybe the place she needs to be is right where she was in the beginning. It's a long road for Kate and her friends but I do think that she learned something from her journey. Sometimes what we need most is staring us right in the face and learning to let go is the hardest thing we need to do. Liz and Lisa have a great social commentary on the use of social media and what it does to our relationships, our egos and our self-worth.

We all have that one friend or maybe friends whose lives look so perfect but are they really or are they self-editing? No one's life is perfect, we all have our own struggles and I think this book is a reflection of that. There are very humorous moments and very poignant ones. You identify with Kate and want to shake her sometimes with in sentences of the novel. She's got a great heart but she's slightly misguided.

If you ever find yourself getting caught up in the perfect lives of your friends on Facebook, et. all, then I highly recommend The Status of All Things . Even if you aren't caught up in social media, you will still take something away from this novel.


Continue reading the review...

Friday, June 12, 2015

What Makes a Book Good?

I worked in the digital marketing department of one of the big five publishers for over six years, so like the rest of these ladies, I’ve read a lot of books. Like, a LOT a lot.
I’m a tough critic, but I’m far from being an editor! I’ve only read a handful of books that I really could not finish. And most of those involved a plot where girl is engaged, girl meets another boy, girl has overly sexualized affair with said boy, finance finds out…you get the idea. 
I rate my books on a scale of 1-5, with a score of five being one of the best books I’ve enjoyed, and a score of one meaning that I couldn’t finish the book. A score of five will be reserved for the best-of-the-best. Most good books will receive a score of four.

By genre:

 Women’s Fiction, Mystery/Thriller -

I want to read a book that has me thumbing the corners so much that by the last page, the width of the book has doubled in size from bent pages. A book that is so well planned and executed that tears pour from my eyes, or have me shouting “WHERE DID THAT COME FROM??!” – in a good way! A book that might have some purple prose, but written with a purpose.
Favorites: Shantaram (Roberts), The Dogs of Babel (Parkhurst), Winter Garden (Hannah), The Lock Artist (Hamilton), Andorra (Cameron).

Business - 

I do, actually, enjoy reading business books, and I have a shelf devoted to them at home. It boils down to two things: 
         Does this book work for me, right now, with where I am in my career? Or do I need to be a C-level executive to put what I’ve learned to good use?
         Does this book use too many business terms that nearly put me to sleep? I recently tried to read a book that came highly recommended by a senior executive, and couldn’t make it past the first ten pages. Business ≠ robot. I want to be invested in the knowledge the book provides, not feel like I’m sitting in a college lecture.

Favorites: Managing Oneself (Drucker), What to Ask the Person in the Mirror (Steven), Reaching Your Potential (Kaplan). Almost anything by Drucker, Lencioni, Goleman.

Cooking, Health & Fitness - 

I love food. I love running. I have to run because I love food so darn much. I try (and regularly fail) to be health-conscious, so I am always up for a good cookbook or running book that I can put to good use.
Favorites: The Juice Generation, Eat and Run (Jurek), Born to Run (McDougall), The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics (use the turkey recipe amended for your needs - it works flawlessly every single time).

Memoirs/Travel Memoirs - 

I love a good memoir. There isn’t much to say here aside from whether I deem the person worthy of writing a memoir (sorry, Lena Dunham!), but I love little nuggets and insight into the lives of people I admire.
Favorites include: After All (Moore), Eat, Pray, Love (Gilbert) 


Continue reading the review...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Brittney's Review: Bossypants

Author: Tina Fey
Series: None
Publication Date: April 31, 2011
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Pages: 352
Obtained: Purchased
Genre:Biography-Entertainment and Performing Arts
Rating: 3/5
Bottom Line: Not for casual fans
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. 

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!) -


Let's start out my very first review with an obvious statement: I am very behind on my TBR pile. But better late than never, am I right? I'm so thrilled to be joining GJR so I have a good excuse to finally crank through my list, while also soaking in books in a way that I wasn't always able to do when I worked in publishing.

Look, I'm not a Tina Fey Super Fan. As in, I don't go out of my way to watch her work. I wouldn't even go as far as saying I'm a casual fan. But I have enjoyed the few things I've seen (Sarah Palin), admired her work and attention to the smallest detail (Sarah Palin), and knew that as far as books by comedians go that this would be my best shot at enjoying a book in this realm.

This review is for the reader that has considered picking up a copy of Bossypants – maybe because of all of the rave reviews you've seen – and you're not sure if it's right for you. My answer boils down to one question: are you a SNL-lovin', 30-Rock watchin', Tina Fey fanatic? Yes? Then absolutely buy and read this book.

If you're only moderate in your feelings for any of the above mentioned items, then sure -- you'll learn something about the comedy/show business industry, and you'll get a few laughs in, too. But there are a slew of pages devoted to some of Tina's work which is most ideal for her fan base, and I especially found myself struggling to get through the 30-Rock chapter.

If you're like me, your best bet is to snag a copy from a friend, or loan one out from the library. Keep it as that little nugget you read in between a sweeping, emotional novel and use it as a refreshing mental break. Or read it this summer while you're sprawled out on the beach, or in between errands. There are some great points in here about women in the workplace, which in and of itself makes the book a worthwhile read.


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