2021 Reading Challenge

2021 Reading Challenge

2021 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 1 book toward her goal of 46 books.

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.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

BOOK REVIEW for Out and Back by Hillary Allen


A huge thank you to the publisher, Blue Star Press,  for sending me a copy of this e-book to read and review.

TITLE:                 Out and Back

AUTHOR:            Hillary Allen

GENRE:               Memoir

RATING:              4 out of 5 stars

Book will be released on April 6, 2021.

I finished this book in 2 sittings.

It grabbed me from the first sentence and did not let me go until the end.

I have mobility issues and I was in need of inspiration and this book was like a breath of fresh air.

Yes, HIllary went through hell, but somehow, her strength (mental and physical) just seemed to grow, instead of diminish.

She simply was not going to let anything gt her down permanently.

I am not a runner, but Hillary's positive attitudes and willingness to get help, without feelings of depression were so helpful to read.

The writing is down to earth and Hillary does not hesitate to let us into her most deep thoughts and feelings.

You can see how she gets better as her attitude gets better..

The description of her physical ailments and pain actually came right through the page.

I am so inspired by this book and I love it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

BOOK REVIEW for Under our Roof by Madeline Dean and Harry Cunnane

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

TITLE:                   Under our Roof

AUTHOR:              Madeleine Dean and Harry Cunnane

GENRE:                  Memoir

RATING:                 4 stars

Book released February 2021

I like the two different POVs from the addict (the son) and his mother.  

Its always so fascinating,  to me ,  hearing two points of view of the same situation being so different.  

This book is hard hitting while still, at times,  feeling as though some of the stories were sanitized - which is the one fault i will give this story.  Also, the parts where Madeleine talks about her political aspirations does drag the book down a bit.  I wanted to scream "I don't care, there are bigger things going on here".

There are two parts to this - using and recovery and both are compelling.  The writing is down to earth and scary and some of the situations Harry puts himself in are absolutely frightening, but it still felt to me as though a good chunk was glossed over.  

Nonetheless, a very good read

Sunday, March 14, 2021

BOOK REVIEW for Pain Killer by Brantt Myhres

TITLE:            Pain Killer

AUTHOR;       Brantt Myhres

GENRE:           Memoir

RATING:          5 stars

I loved this memoir on addiction and recovery.

I live in "the" hockey town of Canada, so I have been exposed to hockey since I was a little girl. I admit, I had to Google, Brantt Myhres though.

This story is beyond words.  This guy should be dead - its crazy to what level he pushed his body and it took 5 rehab stays for one to "stick".

I admit that if you really don't care  about hockey, you might be turned off a little bit,  as this memoir is basically Myhres and how much his hockey career was intertwined with his rampant addiction.  He does mention several players and describes his life on the ice quite a bit, which personally I enjoyed but may not be everyone's cup of tea

This writing is so down to earth and the author pulls no punches (no pun intended).  He tells it like it was and at times, he is basically disgusting in the things he will do and the things he encourages younger players/teenagers to do when it comes to drugs and booze.

He does spend quite a while on the addiction part of the story, but the recovery part is definitely engaging as well.  I was surprised that 12 step is mentioned and so are AA meetings and a level of spirituality, but I was expecting more on the subject.

I like that Myhres doesn't get into recovery and then say "i am good now" because we all know that is not how it works.

If you easily get squirmy, then this book is also not for you.  The eyeball story is so gross.

I admit, I went in not knowing what to expect, but I was immediately engrossed in this excellent memoir on a subject that is dear to my heart.

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