Friday, August 31, 2018

The Kiss Quotient

The Kiss QuotientThe Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I keep seeing this one everywhere & all the raving about it.
Me? I thought it was ok. I wasn't as wrapped up in it as it seems everyone else is. That's OK. Why everyone has an opinion. I just wasn't expecting it to be so .... so.... R-rated. I have no problem with those sorts of books - I just wasn't expecting it in this one. I guess I should have known better when the main character is male escort. I didnt even realize that was the case when I picked up the book - I just grabbed it when I saw it at the library knowing it was what everyone else was reading.
In the end, I thought it was a simple read, but that's it - I didnt think it was much of a story besides the 'relationship' between the 2 characters. I thought it had its sweet moments when Michael would protect & care for "his Stella" but mostly I was just feeling like there was more to the deeper story with Stella's Asperger's that could have been touched on & it just wasn't.
This is still a fun weekend read if you are into that sort of racy & blushing sort of read.

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Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between OceansThe Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All the feels!!!!!
This was written so beautifully & so heart felt. I felt like my own heart was being pulled in every direction & broken for everyone throughout the story.
I haven't seen the movie yet on this one but now I feel like I have to check it out.

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A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel that opens in 1918 Australia - the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds. 

Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. 

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom's judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them. 

M. L. Stedman's mesmerizing, beautifully written debut novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel's decision to keep this "gift from God." And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another's tragic loss

Friday, August 24, 2018


AudaciousAudacious by Beth Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A really fast read - short enough to enjoy but long enough to inspire you.
I always love Beth's insight on the Bible & the adjectives she uses to describe them all.. a southern girl with a great use of wording.
It really did leave me with a WANT to find a bigger & BOLDER passion for God.
Glad to stumble on this book.

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Thirty years in the making, Audacious is a deep dive into the message that has compelled Beth Moore to serve women around the globe. Glancing over the years of ministry behind her and strengthening her resolve to the call before her, she came to the realization that her vision for women was incomplete. It lacked something they were aching for. Something Jesus was longing for. Beth identifies that missing link by digging through Scripture, unearthing life experiences, and spotlighting a turning point with the capacity to infuse any life with holy passion and purpose. What was missing? Well, let's just say, it's audacious and it's for all of us. And it's the path to the life you were born to live.

Side Effects may Vary

Side Effects May VarySide Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A sweet read. I totally could see this book made into a movie. It touches on all the heart strings of a teenager - & its got that added touch of how precious life is. I really loved Dumplin' & was excited to read another Julie Murphy book. This didn't disappoint. It wasn't amazing or horrible - it's just a really enjoyable, easy read.

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When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend, Harvey, to help her with a crazy bucket list that's as much about revenge as it is about hope.

But just when Alice's scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she's said and done.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Year of No Sugar

Year of No SugarYear of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I'm not sure I get the point of the book. Spoiler alert - they did NOT indeed go a year of no sugar.
& what the book is telling us is basically, its IMPOSSIBLE to do. So there's that.
I did find some things interesting in the book - but most of the things I found interesting were facts she shared from other writers on the subject.
She never really mentioned anything about how it effected her family, except little snippets of her daughters journal, who basically felt tortured & hated every minute of it, but nothing about health & energy. I think she mentioned one time about the fact that they didnt loose any weight - that was the extent of her documenting their health. Oh, & that her kids missed less days at school by a few days. M'kay.
& then she COMPLETELY 100000% lost me when she talked about an anniversary trip to Tanzania where they slit a goats throat & how she wished she could go back & do it again - because then, she was a pescetarian & now, she's a carnivore - & even drinking the blood mixed with milk (A local tradition) sounds interesting to her. EXCUSE ME? She also goes on to talk about why eating meat is a good thing & even goes as far as visiting a friend's farm to watch chickens being "processed" & even slits a chicken's neck herself. Needless to say, for me - after this chapter, I really didnt even care what else she had to say. This was a book on sugar, not about a switch from vegetarian to a carnivorous life style.
In the end - I'd tell everyone to skip it. You'll not really learn anything & you'll be very sick of hearing the word "Dextrose"

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It's Dinnertime. Do you know where your sugar is coming from?

Most likely everywhere. Sure, it's in ice cream and cookies, but what scared Eve O. Schaub was the secret world of sugar--hidden in bacon, crackers, salad dressing, pasta sauce, chicken broth, and baby food.

With her eyes open by the work of obesity expert Dr. Robert Lustig and others, Eve challenged her husband and two school-age daughters to join her on a quest to eat no added sugar for an entire year.

Along the way, Eve uncovered the real costs of our sugar-heavy American diet--including diabetes, obesity, and increased incidences of health problems such as heart disease and cancer. The stories, tips, and recipes she shares throw fresh light on questionable nutritional advice we've been following for years and show that it is possible to eat at restaurants and go grocery shopping--with less and even no added sugar.

Year of No Sugar is what the conversation about "kicking the sugar addiction" looks like for a real American family--a roller coaster of unexpected discoveries and challenges.

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.