2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 8 books toward her goal of 37 books.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

BOOK REVIEW for Behind the Door by Amy Price

TITLE:           Behind the Door

AUTHOR:      Amy Price

GENRE:         Non fiction

RATING:        5 stars

Thank you William Morrow for sending me an e copy of this book.

I loved it. I thought Price did a great job of focusing on her day to day view of the hotel and it's colorful tenants. Basically, this book pretty much screams "the Cecil is more than just creepy happenings". I really enjoyed the history of the hotel and reading about other tenants.

I discovered the Cecil when I heard about the Elisa Lam case.  Price does speak about this horrible event, but honestly, its a very short comment AND she does not go into the "how", which I was a bit disappointed, although the general consensus seems to be that nothing eerie happened.

Her love for the hotel comes through as well. It was a terrific read.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

BOOK review for: I Married A Thrill Seeker by Danielle Kaplan

TITLE:             I Married a Thrill Seeker

AUTHOR:       Danielle Kaplan

GENRE:         Memoir

RATING:        5 stars

I was on social media, and this author popped up. I read the small description of her book, with interest, but the word "novel" was used, so I emailed the author to clarify if this was, indeed, a memoir. She literally answered me 30 seconds after my initial question confirming that it was a memoir. I headed to Amazon. I bought it and read it in 3 days.

It's such an excellent book. Despite the difficult subject matter, I just could not put it down. I wish every author would write like Danielle Kaplan.....she writes with honesty and weaves the story so well that you feel everything. I had to put the book down occasionally because I was so caught up in the story. I also LOVE the fact that she doesn't go off on tangents but rather tells the story in a way that is compelling without describing every little detail...the pacing was excellent.

From a personal point of view, I had a valve replacement (aorta) surgery 4 years ago, and it took me six months to feel like myself as well. So I could doubly empathize with that part of the story.

I am so glad this family is doing so much better despite their hardships, including the loss of important people.

I do have one question. What happened to Danielle's moms dog? She mentions the dog in passing but does not say.

Monday, July 3, 2023

BOOK Review for The Glow Up Journal by Danielle Richardson


Thank you wonderful Simon & Schuster and Adams Publicity Marketing for sending me a hard copy of this book.  I love it.

TITLE:            Glow Up Journal

AUTHOR:       Danielle Richardson

GENRE:           Self-help

RATING:          5 Stars

Years ago, I took a test geared towards determining my strength and weaknesses.  I was surprised to learn that I am VERY goal oriented. At first, I did not agree, but over the years I see how much reaching goals matters to me, both from a personal and professional level.  

While this is great in itself (I think!) I needed something to help me clear my thoughts, so I could focus on what I want and who I am I found that Journaling really helps me.  So, I have become a journal freak.  Over the years, I have narrowed down my needs when it comes to selecting the perfect journal for ME.

The Glow Up Journal has everything I want.  I have been using it for several weeks now and wanted to put down my thoughts.

First off, it looks great.  The look is not the most important thing, but it attracts my eye, making it more fun to write in.

Self Care and mindfulness are important aspects for me and this Journal asks me to really think about what I need - what I feel.  It throws out questions and tidbits that challenge you to do more than just say "I want to change" as opposed to "I am changing".  Prompts kickstarts my inner dialogue, by writing it out - putting it out there making me feel it is attainable.

Where am I and where do I want to go?  How do I get there without forgetting myself for the sake of the dream.

The author has a knack for knowing exactly what to include in this Journal - and EVERYTHING is made towards empowering your best you.  Discovering issues/dreams that are maybe way back in your mind.

Lovely, lovely.  I carry this with me and find myself pulling it out often during the day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

BOOK REVIEW for Most Hated by Kara Alloway


A big thank you to author Kara Alloway for sending me an e-copy of this book

TITLE:       Most Hated

AUTHOR:  Kara Alloway

GENRE:      Fiction

RATING:     5 stars

Full disclosure, I do NOT like reality TV shows and this book describes exactly why.  This plotline is like a reality (no pun) check on the fact that TV, even reality shows are not "real" enough.  

This book is like having an "in" on a TV show,  as we benefit from all the gossip - ALL the gossip.  But we also get to see how each character deals with honesty and their futures.  

I did not root for the main characters, rather, I just devoured all the insight an average TV viewer would never get to see....and you know what, I totally believe that this book was based on real life events, or at least partly and I would be dying to know who "the most hated" actually is in real life.

The best thing though is the writing. The pace is wonderful - my pet peeve is a book that takes pages and pages to get things moving and to get us to the "interesting" places, but that's not the case here - from day 1, we are asked to listen to the gossip LOL and not only listen, but to become part of the circle.

Terrific, terrific  PS:  Great, great beach read

Monday, May 1, 2023

BOOK REVIEW for Hey, Hun by Emily Lynn Paulson



A huge thank you to Row House Publishing for sending me an e-copy of this book.

TITLE:             Hey, Hun
AUTHOR:       Emily Lynn Paulson
GENRE:          Memoir/business
RATING:         4 stars

The author even makes a small joke about "we are not good with birth control" ----- really? Open condom wrapper and attach - done! Millions of women manage to NOT have 5 kids. This is worth mentioning because it is one of the strong reasons she joins an MLM and the "5 kids" comment is a theme throughout her book. There is nothing wrong with having 5 kids, but constantly complaining about it is annoying.

The other thing is that I wish she had ended her book a little earlier than she did. The last pages are basically just giving us a bunch of information on MLM. Stuff we could easily Google. What works so well here is the author's story. I also love how she deals with her drinking and I have already purchased her first book which details her drinking and recovery in detail. Overall, this is a great read. The author is entertaining and she is honest.
I recommend this one highly.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

BOOK REVIEW for Listen to My Heart by Marie Fredriksson


Thank you to 1984 Publishing for this complimentary e-book.

TITLE:              Listen to My Heart

AUTHOR:         Marie Fredriksson

GENRE:          MEMOIR

RATING:         4 stars

What a touching book.

I  loved listening to Roxette, and I was very excited when I heard about this book.

This is not a regular memoir. It is more a book with vignettes and snippets focusing on music and Marie's honest thoughts and emotions towards her illness. Her determination is so inspiring, and this book exists because of her determination.

Sad, inspiring, and honest.

This book is more about emotion and feeling so, I will leave my review short and encourage readers to discover this wonderful book.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

BOOK REVIEW for The Fraud Squad by Kyla Zhao


Thank you to Berkley for sending me an e-copy of this book to read and review.

TITLE:                        The Fraud Squad

AUTHOR:                    Kyla Zhao

GENRE:                       Debut fiction

RATING:                      3.5 stars

This book is interesting.  I knew nothing of Singapore and we get to find out what Singapore high society looks like.  It kind of reminds me of the novels of the 1980's featuring lavish lifestyles with people with too much money.

This book shows what happens when you will do anything to get into the "in" crowd.  Samantha is ready to be part of this society but its not what she thought it would be and all the hoops she has to go through, dragging her own mother through it all, is ultimately not worth it.

This, to me, is the best part of this book.  Kicking and clawing towards your goal, regardless of what you have to do - made it all worth the read.

There are a lot of things going on here and not all of it works, but the story is propelled by exciting stories and good writing.

It did feel a little long towards the end, but overall, this is a compelling debut - reality -vs- fraud.  Your version of reality may just be my idea of cheating and pretending - basically of fraud.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Bye bye 2022 and hello 2023


I wasn't sure I would write a post to close off 2022.  I use to do it and I just stopped for a while, but I find myself adding a few book reviews here and thought "what the heck, I am already here".

My friend Cindy keeps better track of this than I do, but I believe both of us have had our blogs running and active for 15 years.  I can't believe that.  I remember when I wrote my first post.....who knew I would have the joy of working with such great publicists both with "paper" copies and now e-books.

I am grateful for every book I have ever gotten/read.  I don't know a life without books.  

Thank you for all the good things that happened to me in 2022 and all the life lessons that were delivered to me though painful experiences.

I look to 2023 with hope and serenity - believing that "I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment".  I may not always like where I am, but there is comfort in knowing that there is a plan and a reason I am there.

Every person and every experience I have had has made me who I am - yes, even the experiences I reallllly regret (and there are quite a few of those).

Happy 2023 to all - may you get amazing books to read this year.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

BOOK REVIEW for Remainders of the Day by Shaun Bythell


TITLE:        Remainders of the Day

AUTHOR:  Shaun Bythell

GENRE:     Memoir

RATING:    4 stars

This book will be released in December 2022

This is the third book I have read by this author and honestly, I always have a love/hate relationship with his books.

I owned a used bookstore for 4 years and although it was not an antiquarian shop, I certainly got a lot of experience owning and working in a bookstore. Now, I am sorry I did not keep a diary of my time.

The best parts of this book, for me, are always the (too brief!) description of his buying trips. He does mention that one of the best things about owning a bookstore is the unboxing of books - never knowing what will be in the box. I totally agree with him - loved, loved that part so much.

I also had my share of particular customers and of funny stories. However, I wonder how his customers feel being basically put down by Bythell. I find him mean in his descriptions and yet, at the same time, he lets his employees and people around him call him horrid names. I don't understand his relationships, for the most part. Since he mentions these in his book, that kind of makes them open to comment.

I also question, as I did in the first book, where he gets all this $. He wants us to believe that bookselling is not about $ but he sure buys a lot of books, travels and stays in hotels which all cost a lot. It is never cleared up in his books.

The writing style is engaging, but there is definitely an undertone of....not sure what to call it, other than nastiness that makes me uncomfortable.

But then again, I suppose I could be accused of doing the same with this review.

I wanted to wish this author good luck - having two babies at the age of 50 is quite a feat. I bet its a lot more work than owning a bookstore.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

BOOK REVIEW for Don't Let In the Cold by Keely Parrack


Thank you to the wonderful people at SourceBooks for sending me an e-copy of this book to read and review.

TITLE:        Don't Let in The Cold

AUTHOR:  Keely Parrack

GENRE:     YA Thriller

RATING:    3 stars

I absolutely adored the premise of this book. Isolated cabin (checked) a snowstorm (checked) a survival story (checked).

I dove into this one with a lot of interest and the beginning of the story was engrossing and I was hooked.  Except that the middle and end parts really dragged down the story.  The creepy and scary "stuck in the snowstorm" part got bogged  down with scenario after scenario of improbable circumstances and "bad guys" that were, unfortunately, boring and did not make sense within the story.

Also, one of the characters has a dog and I kept worrying about him throughout the story (although I admit this is more my issue than a problem with the book).

I do like the writing style and the plot certainly captured me, but somewhere along the line, the author decided to add bits and pieces that both dragged the story and made it less creepy and interesting.  Too many characters that are not fleshed out and were simply dropped into the story to advance it.
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