Thursday, July 31, 2014

This is Where I Leave You: 3 Stars

This is Where I Leave You
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

I saw that this book was being made into a movie starring Jason Bateman.  I  have adored Jason Bateman ever since Arrested Development (which I realized is towards the middle of his career since he was a child star), but I tend to watch everything he's in, even if it's stupid (Identity Thief was terrible!) Anyhow, the book was on sale on for like $2 so I bought it and read it. 

Judd Foxman's father has passed away. As if that's not enough, he must now go to set Shiva with his distant family right after his divorce. His wife's affair with his radio shock jock boss is now public knowledge, as well as the death of his child only one month before it's birth. With a brother who lost a scholarship and now runs the family business, a sister who's husband doesn't seem to treat her well, a much much younger, flighty brother, and a grieving mother who was never ashamed to talk about anything with her kids, Judd's seven day stint at home may not be ideal.

The concept of this book looked absolutely fascinating.  Forced to deal with all of his issues in a one-week trip, Judd is living every man's nightmare. His life has spiraled to a point of extreme depression and tragedy and EVERYONE knows it. He has long since buried and neglected issues with each of his siblings and his parents. He has very new issues with his ex-wife, ex-boss, and situation in life. Judd has wanted to get in a car and just drive; leaving his problems behind.  But with the death of his father, Judd doesn't have that option for at least seven days. 

I love the way this book addresses the issues in Judd's life. While his biggest issues may be his recent divorce and punching his boss, Judd's issues go back much further. Judd is able to pry back the layers of his life, slowly getting to the root of many of his issues.

I was pretty disappointed in much of the unnecessary plot lines of the book. The whole scene with Judd and his sister-in-law, I just...I have no words.  I thought it was poorly addressed and poorly written. It was a very serious issue that well....let me just explain it flat out.  


Unable to get pregnant from her husband, Judd's older brother, Alice confides in Judd, her ex-boyfriend. Then she sneaks up on him, forces him to have sex with her, and then leaves, hoping that he will give her the child she wants with the closest DNA to her husband. Judd and Alice barely address this later. It was rape, plain and simple, and I do not like how lightly and casually the author deals with this topic.  Just because it's a man being raped by a woman doesn't make it any less of a horrific and terrible crime. I was appalled and disgusted with the author lack of taste and tact.

Rating: R

Recommended for those who like family drama, therapeutic novels, and humor.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

 Its time for Top Ten Tuesday!

This week's theme: Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

I own a lot of books thanks to a few library sales. I have purchased most of these for $1 or less. I apologize for the terrible pictures.  I lent my camera to my sister so these were taken with a cell phone....a crappy cell phone at that.

1. John Grisham:  I adore this man's writing and his books are very easy to come by at used books stores and library sales.

2. Tom Clancy:  His books are also very easy to come by used, but I have yet to read any of these.  My husband on the other hand loves his book.

3. James Patterson:  This is another author my husband loves, but I haven't read.

4. Patricia Cornwell: Yet another author I have read NONE of.

5. Dan Brown: after Angels and Demons, I started reading more and more of his books. I have The DaVinci Code somewhere.

6. F. Scott Fitzgerald: I found this set and loved it!

7. Erik Larson: I also have The Devil in the White City.

8. Micheal Connolly: He's easy to come by and my hubers loves his books.

9. CS Lewis: I love his books!

10. Mark Twain: He is one of my favorite authors.  How do I not own more?!

Making Up For Monday: Angry Reads

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question:
Is there any books that made you angry? If yes, why?

The answer to this, plain and simple, is yes!  I have read several books that made me angry.  Often times, I get annoyed and just quit reading, but here is one case where I kept reading, HOPING it would get better.

Sex on the Moon by Ben Mezrich

This is a "non-fiction" book about the man who stole moon rocks from NASA.  It looked so fascinating!  I love true crime books and this is a very unique crime. Sadly, I think the book was less "non-fiction" and more of the author repeating a self-obsessed, lying criminal.

Keeping it simple: This guy claims he stole the moon rocks because they were referred to as "garbage" and for his girlfriend, whom he loved. But there were major errors to the sory, namely that he didn't steal the "garbage" rocks, but from someone who was using them for research purposes, he met his girlfriend MONTHS after he started the process to steal the rocks, he was seeking out buyers to make lots of money, AND HE WAS MARRIED!  Check out my whole review here.

What about you?  Have any books left you steamed?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

It's time for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This week's theme:  Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

I wasn't able to come up with ten for this one, so this is a Top Six.

1. Ford Perfect from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:  If Ford Perfect can get off Earth before it blows up, I am pretty sure he can get me off a deserted island! 

2. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird:  With no order or law, we will need someone with integrity to guide us.  I can think of no one better suited for the job.

3. Edmond Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo: Let's face it, he's an expert at getting of islands! 

4. Ralph from The Lord of the Flies:  Ralph knows that there are certain tasks that must always be tended to, like trying to be rescued!  

5. Percy Jackson from The Lightning Thief:  He's got some pull with the God of the sea. 

6. The Cat in the Hat from The Cat in the Hat:  He's got everything in that hat!  I bet he's got a boat!

Making Up For Monday: Critics

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question:
Do you typically agree or disagree with critics?  Or are you somewhere in the middle?

I NEVER read what critics like about a book until after I have read the book.  Even then, I usually read reviews on Goodreads, rather than critics.  In the rare occasion I do read reviews, I totally disagree. It takes a long time to find a critic who likes a book I like, and the more I hate a book, the more critics love it.

But I figured out awhile ago that I have WEIRD taste in books!  

What about you? 


Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Maze Runner: Two Stars

 The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Thomas woke up in an elevator with no memory of who he was, or where he came from. All he knew was his name.  When the elevator opened to the Glade, he realized he was not alone. Every boy there had arrived the same way; without memory.  Outside of the Glade was a giant maze.  Does it hold the answer to everything?  And why does Thomas have faint feelings of recollection?  And why did a girl (the only girl) appear on the elevator the day after Thomas; a girl he feels connected to?

Oh boy...where to start....

#1: This is a YA dystopian novel. I don't like YA or dystopian novels.  I only read this for my book club.  I wanted to note that right off the bat, because that probably is a big portion of why I didn't like this book.

#2: The language was obnoxious and distracting. The author made up a profanity for the kids to use, and let me tell you, they used it ALL THE TIME.  "You are the shuckiest shuck-faced shuck that ever was."  Yes, that is an ACTUAL line from the novel.  What's worse, is the language is literally just replacement words for ACTUAL swear words.  Shuck=Fuck, Klunk=Shit, and so on and so forth. If you are replacing a swear word (especially with rhyming words) with another word, its STILL swearing. Either use the real words or just don't swear.  It would have been fine if the words ended up having a purpose to them, but I felt like the only purpose was to swear without actually swearing and the end result was a major distraction.  Also, the last 1/4 of the book seemed to have dropped the swearing practically all together, which was just sudden, strange, noticeable, and distracting.

#3: These kids were kind of slow on the uptake. They are supposed to be 14-16 year old boys who are incredibly smart, but I felt like they would look at obvious answers for a ridiculous amount of time. Thomas himself would question almost everything, but not not bat an eye at things I am sure most readers questioned (which were clues to the end).  I understand that they are young boys, but I think if the author wanted their ignorance to be believable, he should have lowered their age to about 10.

#4: The end was disappointing and the characters didn't grow. I expect that most novels end with the characters having progressed.  I didn't feel that way in this book. The kids have spent years trying to solve this riddle and the answer came because it was given to them. I don't want to spoil anything, but if you read the book, you'll see what I mean. Its like the answer was finally handed to the kids through Thomas.

#5: Anyone seen Cube? I felt like this was a tame, YA version of this movie.

Now, you may be wondering why I didn't give this book a rating on one star, and the answer is simple: the concept was awesome. I loved the intrigue and mystery.  I just didn't like the author's interpretation of the concept.

Rating: PG is you don't think fake language is swearing, R if you do

Recommended for people who like: YA, dystopian, thillers,

Monday, July 14, 2014

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows

It's that time of the week when I participate in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

This week's theme:  Top Ten Favorite Movies or TV Shows!

I chose to list TV shows because I tend to watch more TV shows than movies lately.  No use in delaying; let's get started!

1. Community: When this show first came on, I decided to check it out because I liked Joel McHale (from The Soup).  But after the first episode, I stopped watching. I felt the show was "cookie cutter".  It was going to be a show based solely around whether or not Jeff and Britta got together. But if I had just kept watching, I would have realized the show was about to take a dramatic and hilarious turn. Filled with marvelous themed episodes and prolonged jokes (like Annie's boobs), the show regained my attention quickly.  #sixseasonsandamovie

2. Supernatural: I started watching Supernatural when it first premiered because I LOVE ghost stories and the two main actors are very attractive.  It didn't take long before I was hooked.  The show was very serious with a lighter element of humor for the first few seasons.  Then they tried something new.  The show is still serious through most episodes, but there are now a significant portion of silly episodes that crack me up.  The addition of the character of Castiel was brilliant  This is cast that seems to love what they do and who they work with every day.  Totally worth watching.

3. Psych: Speaking of silly shows with themed episodes, enter Psych. The show was about a fake psych detective and his straight man, reluctant side kick. With themed episodes like Dual Spikes (aka Twin Peaks), it serves as a mini-reunion for some old shows and movies. It's worth a watch, even just for the casual viewer.

4. Friends: I am one of those people who has watched very episode about 50 times and still, if I turn on the TV and its on, I will watch it again, laughing at all the same jokes, even though I know they are coming. (But I chose to ignore the fact that Joey and Rachel were ever a couple).

5. Desperate Housewives: This show started out as a guilty pleasure. When the Blockbuster across the street from my old apartment went out of business, they would sell whole season of shows for $5.  I got the first 4 season for $20, never having seen an episode.  I was a big fan f the show Sports Night, starring Felicity Huffman (love the reference in Season 2, Episode 5). I watched the show, slowly realizing it was hysterical. With reoccurring guest stars like Nathan Fillion (Firefly) and John Barrowman (Doctor Who), it's enough to keep the nerds happy.

6. Firefly: This show is a cult classic. When it first started, I was tempted to watch it because of Nathan Fillion, who played Johnny is Two Guys and a Girl (Love that show!) but ended up not because it looked stupid. My dad loved the show and after it was cancelled, I got it for him for Christmas. Trapped at home during a cold long winter break, I ended up watching it out of boredom.  BEST. DECISION. EVER! The show is hilarious and VERY well written.  Way to go Joss!

7. Arrested Development: Yet another show I didn't pay attention to until it was cancelled. I think I watched about a season a week once I finally started it. Brilliant show!

8. The Blacklist: This show is well written, well acted, and engaging. It's the only current show I am really keeping up with right now. James Spader is brilliant in his role.  You can never get a read on the guy!  I can't wait fr season two to start.

9. The IT Crowd: If you don't understand British television, especially the comedies, this show can help bridge the gap. The show is so funny, it caused tears more then once.  It's highly quotable and worth watching again and again. Season Two is by far my favorite.  It's streaming on Netflix now! Check it out!

10. Sherlock: My fondness for Martin Freeman is what made me watch the first episode (and a phone call from my dad telling me I needed to watch it). Now I adore Benedict Cumberbatch. As a modern day telling of Sherlock Holmes, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat hit the nail on the head with this one. This too is well written and beautifully cast.

Making Up For Monday: Self-Help

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question:
Have you ever read a self-help book?  If yes, did it actually help?

Reading a self-help book, to me, used to seem weird and somewhat embarrassing, until I read one.  Now I have actually read quite a few. They have ranged in topics and have ranged in the amount that they actually helped me. 

Here's I few I have read and enjoyed: 

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray, PhD:  Yep, I read it. A friend of mine bought this for me as a joke and I was stuck somewhere with nothing else to read, so I started reading.  It didn't take me long to realize I quite enjoyed this book AND that it was actually helpful.

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom: I don't know if this book can be classified as a "self-help" book per se, but I found it quite helpful. The book is all about not taking life for granted.  It's about making the most of what you have and not sweating the small stuff.

Feeling Good by David D. Burns, MD: I was diagnosed with depression when I was about 15 years old. It wasn't a huge surprise, but the official diagnosis was a bit scary and embarrassing for me. Those who know me well (particularly those that knew me in high school when it was at its peak), know that I have a tendency to shut down on occasion. I get mad at weird things and then just shut myself off. This book was helpful to me in that it helped me find my triggers.

Here's one book that has been on my shelf for a long time and I really want to read: 

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie: I have a tendency to worry about EVERYTHING, so this seems like a logical book for me. The reason I haven't started it yet is because I am afraid if I don't worry about things, I'll forget to take care of things.  It's a Catch 22!

 My husband has read and thoroughly enjoyed these:

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

 Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

What about you?  Have you ever read any?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Top Ten Blogging Confessions

It's time for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme: Top Ten Blogging Confessions

1. I take forever to review books.  I tend to read a book and then jump  into another one right away. This leaves me with a long list of books that need reviews written. Ugh.

2. I schedule my posts in advance and sometimes I barely touch my blog during the week. Sometimes the week just gets very very busy and checking in on this blog falls to the bottom of the list.  So sometimes it takes me awhile to respond to comments.  Sorry!

3. I am often embarrassed by my taste in books as they differ so much from everyone else. I used to think I had a fairly typical taste in books and then I started book blogging and discovered that I have very odd taste. What I LOVE, others seem to hate; what I have no interest in is wildly popular.

4. I finish books even when I don't want to just to write an accurate review. Sometimes it takes me forever to read a book because about 25% of the way in, I realize I will hate it.  But  I don't like writing reviews unless I have read the ENTIRE book, so I always keep reading.

5. I read so many books, it's hard to remember the plots of all of them. I have conversations with people about books I have read and typically need help remembering the plot or characters. It's like "Oh yeah, I loved that book!  What happened again?".  So embarrassing.

6. My best writing happens when I am dead tired. This actually makes me question my writing all together. If I am awake and focused, I hate everything that I write.  But when I am tired, the words just flow.

7. I don't understand HTML at all. Not even a little bit of it do I understand. So I ma stuck with a generic look to my blog because I have no clue how to change it.

8. I constantly doubt my writing. I am the kind of writer who goes back and forth.  "Man, I am a wonderful writer!"  "What was I thinking?  I am terrible!"

9. I worry too much about readership when in reality, it doesn't matter to me. If I wanted this blog to be something bigger, I would work a lot harder on it.  But it's just a place to write my thoughts, practice my writing, and reviews books.  Yet, I find myself constantly wondering how many people actually read it.

10. I rely WAY too much on the spelling tool. Yeah, my spelling skills have really declined since high school.  It's pretty bad.

Making Up For Monday: Book Buying

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question:
How often do you buy books and do you prefer new or used?

I don't necessarily have book buying routine.  But I do prefer used books over new.  There are two reasons for this:

1. Books are MUCH cheaper used.  When you like to buy books as much as I do, spending $15-$25 each book can really start to add up. I have found several places to find used books: used book stores, library sales, yard sales, and online (try  This saves me TONS of money.

2. Used books always seem to have lived a life already.  I feel like I am inherited a book that has already been read and loved before. I like continuing the life of the book by adding my name to the list of many that have read it before.

What about you? 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!!!!!

Dearest Americans,

While we often complain about issues with this country (and yes, it will always need improvement), it is good to remember just how lucky we are to be here. If you feel you need a little reminder, I have a book for you!

1776 by David McCullough

I previously reviewed this book, but felt today was a good day to mention it once more. This is the tale of how we came to be an independent and free land. It was not an easy journey and there was great adversity and controversy in the expedition. Many people gave a great deal for us to have the freedom we take for granted each day. 

Perhaps you will spend your day like me, with a family BBQ, a single A baseball game, and a firework show.  Perhaps you have your own traditions. Whatever you do, don't forget to take a moment to remember, you are lucky and blessed to be in this country. Take a moment to feel some gratitude and honor (no matter your political complaints).

Love always, 


PS: I realize people in other countries are blessed to be where they are too, so feel free to celebrate what you love about your country.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Something Wicked This Way Come: 4 Stars

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

I have seen the Disney movie based on this book probably about a thousand times.  It was one of my favorites as a little kid. It was the scariest thing my parents would let me watch, so I watched it repeatedly (although it's not that scary). I thought that Jason Robards  and Jonathan Pryce did marvelous work in their roles in the film. I have held a fondness for the two ever since I was young.

School has just started and Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway (both on the verge of turning 14) have submitted themselves to a long and adventure-less Autumn, when they comes across a lightening salesman who warns of a big storm coming. Both boys race home, filled with anticipation.

The following day the boys are amazed to hear of a carnival coming to town (despite it being very late in the year) and they become somewhat obsessive.  But when strange things start to happen, the boys aren't sure what to think.  People are missing and there are new, young kids in town. Mr. Dark, the carnival's head honcho, is mysterious and sinister, covered in tattoos of faces. Now, Will must try and figure out what is happening before Jim trades everything to be older.

As is typical with Bradbury, this story has a not-so-subtle deeper meaning. What would you trade for eternal life?  To be young a beautiful again when those days have past, or older and able to be independent? Would you trade your soul, not realizing that the trade is far from even?

This is something we all probably think about (although not in this detail).  When you are young, you strive to be older, because life will be better than.  You'll be independent and have money. You can do what you want.  Or you miss the days when you were young and fit.  The days when boys turned their heads as you walked by.  I am definitely the latter. As I come to the point where I exit my 20's and enter my 30's, I am reminded more and more of what I have lost (and gained weight wise, ha ha ha).

While it's difficult to watch your youth disappear, its good to be reminded of what  you gain through age.  I am married, have a college education, am gainfully employed, take care of a sweet poochie, and have gained valuable life lessons over the years. While I no longer resemble the 20 year old I once was, I am happy with the nearly 30 year old I am. She is far wiser than the aforementioned.

Rating: PG