2021 Reading Challenge

2021 Reading Challenge

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

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.

Monday, February 1, 2021

BOOK REVIEW for The Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto


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

TITLE:                  The Obsession

AUTHOR:             Jesse Q. Sutanto

GENRE:                YA thriller

RATING:               5 stars

What a great, scary and totally engrossing read.

None of the characters are likeable and I do mean none, but somehow it just added to the storyline.

Dee and her mom seem to share bad luck when it comes to men, but what follows was so well written and thought out. I could not put this book down.

Loved everything about it. One small comment, the author relied on the "she looked in his eyes and knew" trap once too often. There is no way someone can pick up on "subtle" eye and mood movements so much.

Otherwise great!

Monday, December 28, 2020

BOOK REVIEW for Skinny or Not, Here I come by Margaret Cupit-Link

TITLE:            Skinny or Not Here I come

AUTHOR:       Margaret Cupit-Link

GENRE:           Memoir

RATING:          4 stars

I pretty well read this book in two sittings.

I will admit that I found the first part more intriguing.

Having said that, this was a great read. I appreciated the focus the author puts on her youth, demonstrating that eating disorders are not the symptom, but rather the defense mechanism, which served us well at some point in our early days.

The author actually focuses a good chunk of her youth on giving us details about her life and while there is nothing horrendous, it is also obvious that her ED started at some point in her young life. Never managing to pinpoint exactly what was making her binge/restrict. It has been said, many times, that people with ED used food as a coping mechanism for some traumas (remembered or not) and that while the ED served us well at the time, it has stopped helping and has become a painful situation that needs to be looked at with love (even if you go kicking and screaming into it).

Margaret, up to this day, would probably not be able to tell you exactly what she is eating over. She mentions, in the second part of the book, that she believes she was not addicted to the food, but rather to the dieting.

There are plenty of studies out there who agree with her - dieting is absolutely the worse thing we could do to our bodies, yet, Margarent, knowing ALL of this and even being a medical doctor, could not "stop" the overeating, the undereating and the weighing, etc.

The second part of the book is about her recovery, learning to write, cry and talk about what is hurting her. She does admit that her recovery is not consistent and that she fails at times, but she focuses a lot more on getting outside help and working on her spirituality.

She does not talk about 12 step very much, other than to say that the lessons found in 12 step can be applied to everything in life. She also talks about God and her Higher Power, which I thought was very interesting as finding a HP can be challenging. I did like her "pointers" on turning to a God of our understanding.

She does go into the religion part a little bit more than I would like, but overall, this book is motivating, honest and REAL.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

BOOK REVIEW for Silencing the Enemy Within by Marsha Rene

TITLE:          Silencing the Enemy Within

AUTHOR:     Marsha Rene

GENRE:         Memoir

RATING:        5 Stars

My god I loved this book. I read many books on addiction and recovery and this is one of the best I have ever read. Absolute truth....Marsha does not sugarcoat it. I could not believe she survived her drug and alcohol addictions. 

I think her HP was already present in her life, long before she started AA and NA12 Step programs....how else can you explain the author's active addictions and ultimately surviving them. Beautiful look at 12 step programs without hitting us over the head with program beliefs. The writing is so down to earth and captivating. 

 I hope Marsha continues to be a beacon of hope for those who still suffer. I am so inspired when I read about recovery.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

BOOK REVIEW for Perfectly Impossible by Elizabeth Topp


Thank you to : Little A, Amazon Publishing, and Blankenship PR for providing me with an e-copy of this book.

TITLE:               Perfectly Impossible

AUTHOR:          Elizabeth Topp

GENRE:           Fiction

RATING:          4 stars

My favorite part of this book is definitely the crazy in depth look at what rich NYC socialites do or don't do with their days.  Some of the over the top stories are so nuts that it makes for fascinating reading, even if the story is "fiction".

There is a nice balance between Anna's life contrasting with the socialites.  She works as an Assistant to one of them and it serves as the background for a story of excess, optimism and sheer fun.

The tone of the book is consistent - almost an unbelievable "tone" of  "can you believe this?".  The writing is down to earth and totally engrossing.  I hate authors who spend too much time on minor details that brings the story down - it is not the case here.

At times, I found Anna a bit dense, but her character propels the story forward and I ended up really siding with her in the end.

Fun read.

Monday, November 30, 2020

BOOK REVIEW for How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell


TITLE:              How to Murder Your Life

AUTHOR:         Cat Marnell

GENRE:            Memoir

RATING:           4 stars

I really, really wanted to hate this book because I supremely disliked the author.

I ended up loving it while STILL supremely disliking the author.

Addiction memoirs are hard to write and I give Marnell a lot of credit for having the courage to be so honest.

The writing is engrossing. Just the perfect tone for a memoir on addiction and fashion.

Thankfully, not too much time was spent on the "baby Cat years". Rather, Marnell gives us the information we need to know, to better understand her future choices.

I always wonder about the parents of children who write memoirs and talk about the effect these same parents had on their lives as adults, especially if the kid's life was a train wreck.

Pretty much every person in this book is kind of a douche, except for some of her work colleagues, as well as her sister. I don't even do drugs and I can plainly see when someone is high, so the question needs to be asked .....how could Marnell go to work, all these years, without being called on her crap? Was she that "adorable" that everyone in her universe was blinded?

Speaking of adorable OR NOT, I don't get what everyone saw in her. Obviously, I have never met her in person, but she seemed to have the ability to fall into situations that benefitted her all the time. To me, her story should have followed the same trajectory as Marco's story, but instead Marnell found dream job after dream job and apartment after apartment, without even blinking.

I hope she gets on her knees every morning to thank whatever higher power, looked after her and made sure she never got STDs, DUIs, permanent poor health or any kind of payback (death), from the hundreds of poor choices she made. We won't even go into the fact that she was being subsidized by her parents well into her twenties.

Marnell talks about narcissism in her book and I kind of think she is describing herself. Ironic since she only seems to see it in other people

Finally, the author never has any regrets. She lives an unapologetic life...good or bad? Not sure.

I still think this book was great. Hopefully Marnell will be around to write another one.

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