Friday, August 17, 2018

Still Lives

Still LivesStill Lives by Maria Hummel
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I just can't.
I got through 47% of this book & I still felt like I was forcing myself to read it & gouging my eyes out all the way.
I just thought the book was so boring - especially for a mystery. I honestly had no interest in the characters & can easily walk away not even caring what happened to Kim.
I've got too many other books to get to then forcing myself to try & enjoy this & thinking it'll get better. Half way done & still hate it? It's not gonna happen.

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Kim Lord is an avant garde figure, feminist icon, and agent provocateur in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibition Still Lives is comprised of self-portraits depicting herself as famous, murdered women—the Black Dahlia, Chandra Levy, Nicole Brown Simpson, among many others—and the works are as compelling as they are disturbing, implicating a culture that is too accustomed to violence against women.
As the city’s richest art patrons pour into the Rocque Museum’s opening night, all of the staff, including editor Maggie Richter, hope the event will be enough to save the historic institution’s flailing finances.
Except Kim Lord never shows up to her own gala
Fear mounts as the hours and days drag on and Lord remains missing. Suspicion falls upon the up-and-coming gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson, who happens to be Maggie’s ex. A rogue’s gallery of eccentric art world figures could also have motive for the act, and as Maggie gets drawn into her own investigation of Lord’s disappearance, she’ll come to suspect all of those closest to her.
Set against a culture that too often fetishizes violence against women, Still Lives is a page-turning exodus into the art world’s hall of mirrors, and one woman’s journey into the belly of an industry flooded with money and secrets.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Then She was Gone

Then She Was GoneThen She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Talk about creepy & emotional.
This story of a missing girl & what happened to her really got to me. It held my attention & kept me wrapped up in how it was all going to end. I ended the book so sad for Ellie & her family & just so super freaked out at the crazy mentality of people.
I'm still a little confused about what happened to Frank - I mean, I know what happened to Frank - but the why. I dont think he deserved that ending really.
I really enjoyed the style of writing - seeing everyone's story from different time lines of the events. It makes me want to check out this author again & see if the suspense & the story telling is just as good.

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She was fifteen, her mother's 
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. 
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. 

It’s been ten years since Ellie 
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up 
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a cafĂ© and sweeps Laurel off her feet. 
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. 
Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away. 

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. 

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? 
Who still has secrets to hide?

Friday, August 10, 2018

Furiously Happy

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible ThingsFuriously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jenny Lawson... what an interesting person.
I read one of her other books & knew how she came across - so I was prepared. Some chapters have me laughing out loud & some have me frustrated & feeling like its rambling - but I hang in there because I know its all honesty.
I appreciate a person who shares her struggles with depression & mental illness in an open way.
This was another book full of insight, humor, struggles & yeah, for me, sometimes, rambling & frustration - but in the end, I totally understood her & appreciated her a little bit more

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In LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

According to Jenny: "Some people might think that being 'furiously happy' is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he's never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos."

"Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you'd never guess because we've learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, 'We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.' Except go back and cross out the word 'hiding.'"

Jenny's first book, LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. FURIOUSLY HAPPY is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it's about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn't need a bit more of that?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Obesity Code

The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight LossThe Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Jason Fung
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've got so many emotions on this book.
It started off full of detailed information - & read easy enough for someone to understand that isn't a doctor or a dietitian. Some facts that were eye opening & it did a really good job of explaining how insulin & cortisol are the big contributors to the yo-yo of weight gain. I even at one point was like, This needs to be a documentary.
It left me sort of feeling defeated reading how badly diets dont work & how its like a loosing fight trying to eat healthy, or watch the carbs, or proteins, & repeating over & over how exercise doesnt work or change anything.
The detail & information was so in depth - & at times, repetitive, which I thought was trying to emphasis the point - so I was so excited to get to the end of the book. The HOW to apply all of this information.
Except at the end, I felt totally let down. Like that Sesame Street Book where "There's a Monster at the end of this book" - only to see its just a let down.
Literally, his answer is to eat a balanced, clean diet. After he pretty much downed it the whole book... & then the BIG SECRET of it all? Fasting.
& I get that it may be something to look into, but we just read over 300 pages about diet & nutrition & how bodies work with insulin & we get one little appendix that says to fast for a few days a week. No big detail or research, except a lot of "people have been doing it for years - even Jesus & Buddha" sort of thinking. & the thing that got me with that, he even says that it will come to a time where you will plateau. Isn't that what he just dogged out other methods of loosing weight for doing?
I'm just frustrated. I felt like it was a total let down at the end.
& I will say, I am intrigued to look more into intermittent fasting - though he's suggesting going like 36 hours (or longer if you can) just to see how it makes me feel & if there are any changes in my body because of it.
All of this to say, Mr. Fung pointed out so many times in the book how diets in our country were like a good business scam. How America promotes eating 6 times a day, eat breakfast, eat more protein, eat cleaner, eat more superfoods.... why? "Because no body makes any money when you eat less".... but in the end, I feel like this book has a bit of a scam on it as well - just telling you NOT to eat at all for hours on end - even after a chunk of the book is drilled in our head "Eat Less DOES NOT WORK! FACT! ACCEPT IT" That's a direct quote....
A lot of contradiction.

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Why you’ve never been able to lose weight, and how that can change now 

Everything you believe about how to lose weight is wrong. Weight gain and obesity are driven by hormones—in everyone—and only by understanding the effects of insulin and insulin resistance can we achieve lasting weight loss.

In this highly readable and provocative book, Dr. Jason Fung sets out an original, robust theory of obesity that provides startling insights into proper nutrition. In addition to his five basic steps, a set of lifelong habits that will improve your health and control your insulin levels, Dr. Fung explains how to use intermittent fasting to break the cycle of insulin resistance and reach a healthy weight—for good.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Girl, Wash Your Face

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to BeGirl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would have given it 3.5 stars if half star ratings were a thing here...

& I could have potentially given it 4 stars if I didnt do the audiobook on this one.
I typically dont do audiobooks but I'm now in love with the Hoopla app from the library where I can listen to audiobooks on my phone & this was the first one that popped up.
This is why audiobooks make or break for me - the reading & the voice.
I struggled with the book because mainly of Rachel reading the book herself. Her voice just came across as very young & almost whiny at points & it just irked me, feeling like some 'kid' was giving all this life advice. It also irked me with how much she talked about raising her business & all her accomplishments - just came across as braggart more than anything. Again, I think if it was read, & not listened too, I may have had a different outlook on it.

Same with the info in the book. I did get so much out of it & loved her inspirational thoughts, but some of it was just so simple & repeated that it just left me rolling my eyes. I get it - write things down. Focus on positive. You're a runner. You've made this incredible company. Fingers crossed for your Hawaiian dream home on your dream board.

Saying all that, I did laugh at points of the book & I did take away some meaningful thoughts & did feel inspired at points. So that's why I'm keeping it middle of the road.
I totally do think its a good read to pick up - but I know I would have had a total different experience reading it in my own infliction & mind. & I may just do that down the road.

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ounder of the lifestyle website and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media, Rachel Hollis has created an online fan base of hundreds of thousands of fans by sharing tips for living a better life while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own. Now comes her highly anticipated first book featuring her signature combination of honesty, humor, and direct, no-nonsense advice.

Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.

From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son's request that she buy a necklace to "be like the other moms," Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Wife Between Us

The Wife Between UsThe Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*Would like to give 3.5 stars*
I saw everyone reading this & excited to find it in the library.
I was into it from the first chapter & it held my attention it all the way through. Love the little turns & surprises in the story. I will say, I wasn't as shocked by Daniel as I think I'm supposed to be - I think I've read a lot worse in books about some crazy characters.
But I did enjoy the twists throughout the book. You really have to pay attention because the story jumps back & forth throughout & it could be easy to get lost in what period of time you are in.

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When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Church of the Small Things

Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a LifeChurch of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life by Melanie Shankle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book. Someone who has stories that involve Xanadu & roller skating, & hair & style from the 80's & references of TV shoes & music from the same time I grew up? Yep... I love Melanie. One of those people that I know I'd be best friends with.
The book is just filled with each chapter being little stories of her life & they have subtle little life lessons in all of them. I'm all about books like this. They are easy to read - touch the heart, make me cry & totally make me laugh. Another book I'd buy all my girlfriends!

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Is my ordinary, everyday life actually significant? Is it okay to be fulfilled by the simple acts of raising kids, working in an office, and cooking chicken for dinner?

It’s been said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” The pressure of that can be staggering as we spend our days looking for that big thing that promises to take our breath away. Meanwhile, we lose sight of the small significance of fully living with every breath we take.

Melanie Shankle, New York Times bestselling author and writer at The Big Mama Blog tackles these questions head on in her fourth book, Church of the Small Things. Easygoing and relatable, she speaks directly to the heart of women of all ages who are longing to find significance and meaning in the normal, sometimes mundane world of driving carpool to soccer practice, attending class on their college campus, cooking meals for their family, or taking care of a sick loved one.

The million little pieces that make a life aren’t necessarily glamorous or far-reaching. But God uses some of the smallest, most ordinary acts of faithfulness—and sometimes they look a whole lot like packing lunch. 

Through humorous stories told in her signature style, full of Frito pie, best friends, the love of her Me-Ma and Pa-Pa, the unexpected grace that comes when we quit trying to measure up, and a little of the best TV has to offer, Melanie helps women embrace what it means to live a simple, yet incredibly meaningful life and how to find all the beauty and laughter that lies right beneath the surface of every moment.