2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge

2022 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 0 books toward her goal of 48 books.
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Monday, January 17, 2022

 


Thank you to MacMillan Press for sending me this e-copy to read and review.

TITLE:                   The Doomsday Mother
AUTHOR:              John Glatt
GENRE:                 Nonfiction
RATING:                4 Stars

I have 3 books written by John Glatt and I enjoy his writing style, despite the difficult subject matter.

I have rated this book 4 stars because it is obvious how much research was done by Glatt.  I found out quite a few things that I did not even know, despite following, up to a point, this case.

This book is slower paced than his other books - which I get because the story itself was kind of a slow burn development.

As I was reading, I kept shaking my head...... how can people be falling for this?  but Glatt gives us some background on each "main" person of this story and you can see how they slowly, but surely find and believe Chad Daybell as he grooms them to believe in zombies.

Of course, the more horrific parts of this story (and this is where I learned a lot of new information) centers around those poor babies.  I cannot even phantom having a child and doing anything to him/her, but Lori was so far gone, that she actually had her brother kill them - a mother specifically putting out a "contract" on her own children, I just can't....

I appreciate the way the author writes the story, but keeps away from judging or putting in his own feelings or opinions.

This case is not finished, so more might come out, but to say this is a nightmare situation would be underselling it.

Intriguing and horrid and engrossing - the book touches all of these aspects.

I will most certainly read John Glatt's future books.


Saturday, January 1, 2022

BOOK REVIEW for Enough Already by Valerie Bertinelli


TITLE:                Enough Already

AUTHOR:          Valerie Bertinelli

GENRE:              Memoir/self help

RATING:            5 stars


Thank you Mariner Books for this e-copy to read and review.

I got this book two days ago and I literally could not put it down.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Valerie Bertinelli. I love pretty much everything she is and stands for, but I find it difficult to truly understand how someone with such an amazing life, could be anything but happy.

"Enough Already" gave me a better understanding. It is obvious that Valerie is basically looking for joy in the small things, while working on eliminating the negative self talk that often rears its ugly head. It is a challenge to live a balanced life. THIS I absolutely relate to.

It also made me realize that while she does, indeed, have an amazing life, I am guilty of comparing my insides to her outsides. Something I do all the time with people

This book was obviously written with honesty and love and I admire her for writing her story. I imagine it must be hard to open your life and your heart in this way, not knowing what you might get back.

Of course, she writes quite a lot about Eddie Van Halen and you can hear the pain in the writing, but she also sounds calm and spiritual about their life together and his death. The other moving aspect of this book is her words about her son.....she is lucky to have Wolfie as he sounds like a kind and caring person. Anyone who visits their mom so he can play with the cats is automatically wonderful to me. She is a proud momma and it comes through in this book.

The writing is both deep and breezy if that makes sense. The subjects are deep, but Valerie does a wonderful job of making us feel as though everything will be okay.

I loved the writing,

I loved the message

and I loved the honesty.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Book REVIEW for Seven Dirty Secrets by Natalie D. Richards



TITLED:         Seven Dirty Secrets
AUTHOR:      Natalie D. Richards 
GENRE:          YA thriller 
RATING:         5 Stars 

Book will be released November 2, 2021

A huge thank you to Soucebooks Fire for sending me an e-copy of this book to read and review.

 How much do I like this author? I fell in love with her last book and had high hopes for this one and I was not disappointed. I think what worked so well, for me, in her last book was the amazing way the author created a feeling of isolation - snow, one stranger not to be trusted, etc.....we experienced the story "live" --that is the reader was in real time along with the characters and experiencing every twist and turn at the same time. 

For this book, we are actually starting the read AFTER the event. Again, there is a bit of a feeling of isolation in this one - but hands down, nothing beats snowstorms for isolation. I hope Richards sets all her future books during snowstorms. 

In this book, the isolation feeling is felt when we read that a 7 YA went into the woods and only 6 came out. We learn, ultimately that each person becomes "a dirty secret" because everyone has a role/responsibility in the fact that only 6 people came out. 
 
It is very hard to review this book without giving any spoilers, but suffice it to say that the author was very clever in setting up this fated woods trip intertwining it with the "now". We stay mainly in the present, but we do get a few clues as to what really happened during this trip and how it has affected every member in their present.

Some very stressful/scary moments and a very clever plot that I kept trying to decipher kept me reading, but every time I thought I had it solved, I turned out to be wrong. Loved the Hope character and she does have a central part in this. Cleo.....I am not sure. At times, I found her to be a little annoying. Another interesting aspect of this book is that the author doesn't even bother to incorporate Connor and Cleo's parents. They are mentioned in passing, but never in a particularly positive way - I liked that, because too often, YA books feature parents that are way too perfect and it does not feel like reality to me. 

Overall, I LOVED this book. Richards always has excellent pacing and her main plot idea in this one was genius. I can't believe I will have to wait to read her next one. I want it NOW!!! please.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

BOOK REVIEW for Mom Jeans and Other Mistakes by Alexa Martin

 



A  big thank you to Berkley Books for sending me an electronic copy of this book to read and review.


TITLE:               Mom Jeans and Other Mistakes

AUTHOR:          Alexa Martin

GENRE:             Romance/chick lit

RATING             4 stars


I have stopped reading romance/chick lit because it got repetitive.

I decided to throw myself back into the genre with this book.

This book is all about empowerment and I can always stand with that.

The two main characters are kind of a mess, which is the whole point of this book.

The author does a great job of basically making us feel as though we are right there with these ladies.  The friendship is so strong and that is Martin's strong point, in my view.  Her readers get to "feel" everything, while cheering on for brighter days ahead.

I will admit that the writing was a little slow at times, but bonus points for creating such powerful characters who are multi facet with some good, bad and everything in between.

It goes to show that you should never compare your inside to someone's outsides, because you never know what is truly happening behind closed doors.








Wednesday, August 25, 2021

BOOK REVIEW for Ordinary Heroes A memoir of 9/11 by Joseph Pfeifer



Thank you to Portfolio and Penguin Publishing Group for sending me an e-copy  of this amazing book to read and review.


TITLE:          Ordinary Heroes A memoir of 9/11

AUTHOR:     Joseph Pfeifer

GENRE:        Non fiction

RATING:       5 Stars

Book will be released on September 7, 2021

What an amazing read.  I basically read it in three sittings, including late at night, which made me gave me dreams about 9/11,


I can hardly believe that this year is the 2oth anniversary.  I remember all of it like it was yesterday. I am sure that those directly affected by 9/11 have spent many days/weeks/months and years thinking about this senseless attack.


I am Canadian and did not know anyone in the towers or planes, but, being so close to the anniversary and reading this book, I now have a new understanding of events, thanks to Joseph Pfeifer,  someone who was right there for ALL of it.  I have always heard that in moments of crisis, "look to the helpers" and nowhere is this more obvious than during 9/11.


I actually remembered Pfeifer's name from seeing him in the documentary - 102 minutes.  Pfeifer does actually talk about the filming of this documentary, which is the only "real time" 9/11 movie in existence. He also does an amazing job of going through the events of the day, by giving us just enough  details.


The book basically starts on the morning of (who hasn't seem the clips of Pfeifer, on the streets of NYC, hearing a plane and looking up in time to see it crashing into the tower?  What follows is a harrowing, far from glamorous look,  at what happened.  What makes this so compelling is the fact that coupled with the description of events, we get to read and feel Pfeifer's thoughts, feelings and actions in real time.


The horror cannot be overstated, but this book, time and time again, brought this reader right back to what matters most - the people who sacrificed, the people who died and the people who lost loved ones.


There is, maybe, one sentence in passing attributed to the terrorists and later in the book, he does speak about Bin Laden and I am amazed that he kept the narration on point - i.e. no terrorist will break the spirit of first responders and the people of New York.


I absolutely loved this book.  I just wish this was fiction and not reality.


RIP to all who died on that day and to those who are still dying every day because of exposure to toxic elements.


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

BOOK REVIEW for Sleeping with a Psychopath



TITLE:         Sleeping with a psychopath

AUTHOR:  Carolyn Woods

GENRE:      True Crime

RATING:     5 stars

Wow, so many different emotions triggered me while reading this book.

First, I want to say that the paste and writing style are A+.  The author manages to write a story that basically captures you from the first page and then doesn't let go, even when Woods uses the "third wall" by giving us her view on psychopaths, while still telling the story.

I would like to believe that I would never be taken in by these conmen, especially considering how much lying Mark did, creating more and more elaborate stories, but I cannot say with 100% truth that I would not have fallen for it too.  Its important to remember that Woods basically outlined all of his lies in one book - Woods did not have the benefit of seeing his lies on paper one after another and basically saw these over a period of 18 months, not 18 hours.

Having said all of this, though, I can honestly admit that I did not like either Mark nor Carolyn.

Mark should remain in jail for the next few decades - he was horrible and we all know that once a conman, always a conman, which means he probably will always be stealing from people.  

But Carolyn Woods is not so likeable either.  She comes across as extremely snobbish.  Its a bit hard to pinpoint what bothered me about her, but I knew I was not going to like her when she really got into the part of her story where she is "broke".  Somehow, the concept of getting a job to "unbreak" herself was not even considered.

She also turned people off of her......her best friend and husband,  her sister in law, her brother  what do these people have in common?  maybe she was the problem?

Woods never deserved what she got and for this, I feel so badly.  In my opinion, many women (myself included) get "stupid" when it comes to the men we are dating, instead of listening to that interior voice that is screaming at you to "run!).

Overall, fascinatingly good read.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

BOOK REVIEW for Golden Boy by John Glatt




Thank  you to the kind people at St-Martin's Press for sending me an electronic copy of this book to read and review.

TITLE:           Golden Boy

AUTHOR       John Glatt

GENRE:         True Crime

RATING:        5 stars

First off, I love this author's writing style.

I first discovered him when I read  his book on Chris Watts and I was thrilled to see that Golden Boy was coming out.

This book has a hugely difficult subject matter . Thomas' (the Golden Boy) actions were so "out there" that at times, I had to put the book down and just walk away for a few minutes.

The author does an excellent job of balancing the real life results of a real life mental illness.  I like that he does not take a side, other than to write the facts about what happened and let's us decide.  

Many times during this book, I kept asking myself is "Thomas really mentally ill or is he faking?"  I came to believe that both were in play here. He could be conniving, while being completely in his own world.

I also wondered how his poor mother could still  be standing after. all these events.  Glatt did an excellent job of describing her feelings, in most of the situations and while I am really annoyed at her comment about "the system did not help her son", I could only imagine her pain.


That statement...."the system let my son down"=== I absolutely believe because we hear this comment so many times when it comes to mental health, I will say however, that in this case, with the money these people had, they could have hired the "best" doctors to help him, but instead they just kept throwing money at their son, making him entitled and needy - not great when mixed with mental health. issues.  These people appeared so scared of "hurting" their son's feelings.....so I believe that the family holds some blame here.  They HAD the money to do something beyond the "regular channels of mental help for the average person".

The book reads like that to me.  Thomas was always on the periphery of things, living lavishly and the author really shines a light on this as well.


Ultimately, this is a really well researched book that is sad to read.....but what a good read.

Monday, June 7, 2021

BOOK REVIEW for Live Your Life by Amanda Kloots

 


Thank you to the wonderful people at HarperCollins for giving me an ebook to read and review.

TITLE:           Live Your Life
AUTHOR:      Amanda Kloots
GENRE:         Memoir
RATING:        5 stars

I admit that I had no clue who Amanda Kloots or Nick Cordero are, other than the fact that I kept seeing Amanda's name on my social media asking for prayers for her husband who contracted Covid.


So, I knew, going into this book what the outcome would be and I literally read the book, with a huge lump in my throat, over the course of two days.

This book, simply put is a love letter from Amanda to Nick. It is a book that made me cry (and I rarely cry when reading) while, at the same time, it is a book that I found inspiring. The love these two share is the central "plot" of the book and Amanda writes the words with so much love and respect for her husband and what he was going through.

It is inspiring to see how everyone bounded together to help her in such a difficult time. How I wish everyone had access to this level of help for every Covid patient.

Amanda is due a lot of respect, from the way she dealt with all the medical issues to how she managed to stay present in her day to day life for her son - I don't know if I could have done it.

I am so sorry for what this family is going through. I am sorry for all the families....

Beautifully written book.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

BOOK REVIEW for Brat: an 80"s story by Andrew McCarthy

 



Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for sending me a hardcover copy of this book to read and review.

TITLE:              Brat: an 80's story

AUTHOR:         Andrew McCarthy

GENRE:            Memoir

RATING:           3 stars

Wow, the only word for this book is "Vanilla".  Either McCarthy has had an uneventful life or he highly cherry picked what he was writing about.


Why do celebrities write memoirs if all they are going to do is give you the "better sides" of them.  I would recommend every celebrity considering a memoir to read Corey Feldman's memoir - now THAT was a memoir loaded with all kinds of difficult conversations.


So, if you reallllllly like McCarthy then I say buy this, but if you don't, this is a library book at best.


BTW its 200 pages with black and white pictures.


I was so sorry that I did not fall in love with this story, McCarthy is a good actor/director and I had high hopes.


Friday, April 16, 2021

BOOK REVIEW for The Next Everest by Jim Davidson

 


A huge thank you to the publisher, St-Martin's Press for sending me an e-copy of this book to read and review.


TITLE:             The Next Everest

AUTHOR:        Jim Davidson

GENRE:             Non fiction

RATING:            3.5 stars


It was difficult to rate this book because I felt as though I read two different stories.

To be honest, the best part of this book is the front. About halfway through, when the book suddenly shifts gear, it starts dragging. It feels like the author started off strong only to slow down toward the middle/end.

Also, the author does a back and forth thing, from his.past to the present which was a tad annoying. This is a method in writing that I dislike as it gets confusing and at times boring.

Descriptions.of being on Everest are vivid and the author gives us a very detailed and entertaining look at Mt Everest and just how dangerous climbing is.

I just recently discovered how much I enjoy books on climbing, even though I would never do it myself.

So...4 stars for the front part and 3 stars for the rest = 3.5 stars.
 

 
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