2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 0 books toward her goal of 48 books.

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.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

BOOK REVIEW for Ratex X by Maitland Ward

A big thank you to Atria Books for sending me an e-copy of this book to read and review.

TITLE:               Rated X

AUTHOR:         Maitland Ward

GENRE:            Memoir

RATING:          3.5 stars

I normally don't like "when I was young" stories in a memoir. However, I made an exception with this one because Ward did a great job of giving us just enough information to understand what he youth was like.

Surprisingly, there are very few stories of her time on Boy Meets World.  I am always annoyed by artists who write memoirs but don't bother to tell us much about their experiences with that TV show, band, etc.  Let's get real, this book (and other memoirs) would not even be written if it was not for Boy Meets World as we would have no idea who Maitland was.  Sure, she has so many more layers to her life, but what INITIALLY attracts the reader, for the most part, is what they are most known for.

In Ward's case, she basically has two careers - actress and porn star, but ultimately, I am willing to bet that many of the people who will buy this book are doing so because of her connection to Boy Meets World - whether she likes it or not, so why not embrace it and tell us stories about being on the show = its almost like she is afraid to go there, which is too bad.

As for the second career, she does a very good job of describing for us, what its like to work in the industry and how it makes her feel as a person.  From the very beginning of this book, we are privy to the fact that Ward is constantly trying new things in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of what makes her tick.  It is a thread that runs through the book and is quite interesting.

The writing is down to earth and very honest.  If you have issues with overtly sexual content, then I would recommend you not read this book.

For those of us who are okay with it, I find this the most interesting and honest part of her story.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

BOOK REVIEW for Your Table i Ready by Michael Cecchi-Azzolina


Thank you to St-Martin's Press for sending me this ebook to read and review.

TITLE:        Your Table is Ready

AUTHOR:  Michael Cecchi-Azzolina

GENRE:     Non fiction

RATING:    4 stars

I love these juicy, behind the scene looks, especially if they are restaurant tales and involve food, although the food takes a definite back seat to all the characters who walked through the doors of that restaurant.

I have always thought working in the food industry must be really difficult.  The good, the bad and the ugly on a daily basis and Michael pretty much confirms all my preconceived ideas.

The author writes his memoir with an open heart and gives us a true insider's world that melds royalty, the rich, the bad and the average guest all of whom give the author a story to tell.

Pacing is excellent and I keep expecting the author to whisper to me "come here girl, I have so much juicy gossip for you".  

As far as I am concerned pacing is EVERYTHING, but if you don't have a flair for telling your story, the book will go nowhere.  NOT the case here.
Thank you to the author as well for writing such an interesting book.


Michael Cecchi-Azzolina
Instagram: @cecchisnyc

St. Martin's Press

Saturday, July 2, 2022

BOOK REVIEW for A Shoe Story by Jane L. Rosen


Thank you to Berkley for sending me an ebook to read and review.

TITLE:                   A Shoe Story

AUTHOR:             Jane L. Rosen

GENRE:                Fiction

RATING:              4 STARS

I admit that the first chapter was slow moving, but I am so happy that I persisted as this is one of my favorite books of 2022.  Although there is zero similarity (not the same plotline at all) with Bridget Jones Diary, I kept thinking about that one while I was reading - both hit the nail on the head when it comes to be a woman looking for (or not) romance.

Esme our main character is an interesting mix of "I care" and "not very deep" - just like Bridget.  I am not sure if the author deliberately gave her character such opposition, but it worked very well and went a long way to explaining Esme - as a human who gets it right and sometimes doesn't.

The shoes are perfect for representing Esme's core - where she is at on any given day and how her mind is.  

The dog walking gig is the thing that did not really work for me.  I hate having any animals in movies, tv or books because I obsess whether they will be killed off.

I have never had a "thing" about shoes, but I know a bunch of people who do and to them, each and every shoe represents something to them - me, I just grab the closest shoes and hope they match.

The writing is breezy and the pace is really good. While this book is airy, there are a lot of moments where the writing and the character meet, in order to understand life - while wearing glamorous shoes, of course.

Monday, June 27, 2022

BOOK REVIEW for Cabin Fever by Michael Smith and Jonathan Franklin


TITLE:              Cabin Fever

AUTHORS:      Michael Smith and Jonathan Franklin

GENRE:            Non fiction

RATING:           4 stars

The author writes so well and manages to keep me engaged, without a bunch of details I don't need and it kept the story flowing well.

This is obviously a well researched book and if you can get pass the first chapter, I promise you it will keep you engaged until the end.

The first chapter is, to be honest, boring and I worried that this tone would be set for the book, but it wasn't at all.

I admit that I never gave a second though to people on cruise ships or other countries who were basically stranded when the various governments closed down the world.

While it was annoying for most in lockdown, we at least had our own stuff and families, but it is not the same for other people and what these people lived through is amazing.

Love the honesty.

Great read.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

BOOK REVIEW for When The Moon Turns to Blood by Leah Sottile


Than you to Twelve Books for sending me an e-book to read and review.

TITLE:        When the Moon Turns to Blood

AUTHOR:   Leah Sottile

GENRE:       Non fiction

RATING:     2 stars

I am very interested in this case and was hoping this book would detail timelines and focus on the situation while supplying pertinent information.

Well, I got lots of details, unfortunately, these details actually managed to ruin the story. This author was all over the place with this book and supplied a bunch of useless info.

Unlike other people who have reviewed this book, I thought there was wayyyyy too much info on the Mormons and the LDS. After which, the author felt the need to spend several pages detailing other women who have killed. Ugh!

I lost it when the opening line in one of the chapters was "In the 16th century". I just wanted to say "who cares about the 16th century?"

After that, I gave up and did not finish the mess that is this book.

It's pretty hard to turn this true crime story into a boring one, but this author managed to do just that.

Friday, May 20, 2022

BOOK REVIEW for Two Truths and a Lie by April Henry


A huge thank you to Christy Ottaviano Books for sending me this e-book to read and review.

Release date::  May 24, 2022

TITLE:              Two Truths and a Lie

AUTHOR:        April Henry

GENRE:          Thriller YA

RATING:         4 stars

I literally finished this book in two settings.  Admittedly, it is not very big and I could have used a lot more story.

This book has everything I ADORE in a thriller.  Snowstorm, rundown motel, plenty of teens and a whodunit that had me guessing.

All of these pieces fit perfectly into an engrossing plot.  Loved how creepy the whole thing felt, although I will admit, the author could have described the snowstorm and the wind a bit more, especially at the beginning of the book.

Still, we find young adults that find themselves in the same motel - all stranded with nowhere to go and only a few adults to supervise.  Things quickly fall a part when someone suggests pulling out that Ouija Board.  That part freaked me out because I sort of believe in the power of the Ouija Board (I know, I am silly)and refuse to even have it in my house.  Certainly never played it with my friends, who were equally suspicious of its power.

As it turns out, nothing supernatural what happening at the motel and through many, many clues, Nell and Adam, the two leads end up having to deal with very real things such as gas leaks, people getting attacked by cougars and a huge surprise in the back of Brian's truck, parked in the parking lot of the hotel.

I did go through several "oh, I know who did it" only to realize that I did not.  Plot is well paced and crafted and all of the loose ends get tied off by the end.

Writing is on point and doesn't drag the story down with too many useless details.

Two points.  As mentioned above, I could have used more description about the weather, making it even more creepy.  Also, there are A LOT of characters in this story and had to keep going back to figure out who was who - especially in the beginning of the book.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

BOO REVIEW for The Hunt by Fake Kellerman


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

TITLE:           The Hunt

AUTHOR:      Faye Kellerman

GENRE:         Mystery/ Suspense

RATING:        3 stars

I had been waiting for this book for so long. I have read all of the Decker books.

This one did not feel like it because there is wayyyyyyy too much time on Gabe and his dad (and mother and siblings).  It felt as though Kellerman did not know what to do with Harvard.  I say get rid of most of these characters and focus on the characters that make this story move forward.

I want a story with Decker and Harvard - everything else is white noise as far as I am concerned.

I liked Kellerman's writing style, but this is definitely a miss for me.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

BOOK REVIEW for Letting Ana Go by Anonymous


TITLE:              Letting Anna Go

AUTHOR:        Anonymous

GENRE:          YA

RATING:        3.5 stars

This is the second time reading this book and I have not looked at the review I wrote at the time.

I can say that the most distinct feeling I had while reading this book was anger. Anger at this disease, anger at this girl who had such distorted thinking that she ends up killing herself. I cannot believe just how proud and STUPID she was at the end, basically telling everyone, including her mother that she was going to stay thin and that her mother could go to hell. First thing I thought of was "if I spoke to my mother like that, I would have been sent to my room, after she removed all the books in there.

This book's biggest strength is definitely how well the author shows us how a person with anorexia thinks - how everything is distorted and how powerful the disease is.

The writing is on point and the author does not stray away from how powerfully painful eating disorders are FOR EVERYONE involved.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

BOOK REVIEW for My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams

TITLE:                My Friend Anna

AUTHOR:           Rachel DeLoache Williams

GENRE:              True Crime/ Memoir

RATING:             5 stars

I first read this book long before Netflix's "Inventing Anna" and have since then reread it.

reread this book because when I originally read it, I had just had open heart surgery and did not feel as though I could appreciate the story properly, not to mention the fact that I would wake up to find that I had fallen asleep in mid-read (nothing to do with the book being boring).

I am still amazed by this whole story. Of course, as soon as I started reading, I immediately thought "what would I have done in Rachel's place?"

I think, since I am a lot more suspicious of people, I would have picked up on the weirdness and the clues earlier than Rachel did and I would not have second guessed myself, even after it was obvious that Anna was not who she said she was. But it is easy for me to say this, while sitting in my living room.

Yes, Rachel is the victim, there is no denying that. Having said that, I can't stop thinking that part of the issue here is that the author's love of her "Sex and the City" lifestyle set her up perfectly. and Anna used it to her advantage. Most people, even in New York, do NOT bar hop every night after work or go to expensive restaurants at the drop of a hat, I don't think.

Rachel was successful and already had the magical paid trips, via Vanity Fair and she experienced lots of wonderful events through her job, yet, Anna managed to find her way in. That is scary.

Anna had absolutely no shame, no qualms....even when she was pursued. and "the gig" was up. I would never have been able to enjoy my trip or my hotel stays, knowing that anyone could intercept me at any time and demand payment. Just the shame of it would have made me crawl into a hole.

I am sure there are a bunch of psychological names for what is wrong with Anna, but just the fact that people like that exist, freaks me out.

As for the book, it gives us a very clear image of what Rachel went through.  She writes it well and is honest.  The book is "friendly" to read and I basically could not put it down. Both times.
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