I didn't think it was as good as The Yummy Mummy. I found many of the character traits hard to believe, for instance, the Mom who knows her kid is doing drugs and is OK with that. It was also a bit weird how the characters could go from liking to loving someone or liking to hating someone so quickly. One of the hardest things for me to believe was a reminiscence that 2 of the characters were about to kiss, when another woman interrupted...so the male protagonist just goes off with this new woman and starts dating her instead of the woman he was just about to kiss!!! And I found some of the events to be way too neat and coincidental. I kept hoping that the main character (Stevie) would stand up for herself and assert herself more instead of just inwardly protesting things--especially in a chick lit book!
That being said, there were a few plot twists that I definitely didn't expect, which kept the story interesting.
I read this entire book in less than 24 hours. I found it easy to read, and kept wanting more. The ending was bittersweet, and made me cry. I especially enjoyed seeing the narrator's metamorphosis in life, and the ending where she acknowledged how she had changed. I highly recommend this book.
If you liked this book, I would also suggest Girlbomb by Janice Erlbaum.
I read this book thinking the focus would be on how the author focused on understanding her son with ADHD. What I found, however, was that the author really focused on herself, her own ADD diagnosis, and how she felt about HER ADD diagnosis. I found that how she felt about her son's diagnosis to be secondary to her concerns about herself.
I felt that the author was somewhat of a helicopter Mom--even going so far as to sign up her teenage son up for a summer camp that the Moms also attended. I found it a bit off-putting that she framed everything about her son's behavior and diagnosis in the context of how it related to HER. Take the following excerpt from page 215 for example:
"I recognize the heightened risk that Buzz could die ignobly, as the result of some impulsive move--like so many I've made myself--in which case, for the rest of my life, I'll be a bad parent. Or he could die at the end of a brilliant life, in which case I'll be a genius."
It's not really about Buzz. It's all about Katherine Ellison.
I did like the parts where the author bared her heart and discussed how she truly felt dealing with her son's behavior and diagnosis, as well as it's effects on the rest of the family. I thought her passages where she debates the different therapies and their costs to be particularly heart-wrenching and enlightening. Unfortunately, however, too many times I felt that the author reverted to her own diagnosis and used her own ADD diagnosis to try to explain why parenting a child with ADD was so difficult.
I think parents of children with ADD might find some benefit in reading this book. The book held my interest, however I was disappointed in the "all about Mom" vibe.
I try to read as much Holocaust literature as I can, especially diaries and first-person accounts of those alive at the time, so I looked forward to this book immensely. I was not disappointed. This is the story of Clara Schwarz, a Polish Jew, one of 5000 Jews in the town of Zolkiew at the time of the Nazi invasion of Poland. Clara was hidden by a Polish couple in a bunker with 17 other Jews, and because of their bravery she lived to tell her story.
What I enjoyed most was seeing how the families that were hidden together and the family that hid them truly became bonded to each other not only during the Holocaust but throughout the remainder of their lives. I enjoyed Clara's portrayal of Beck, the man who not only hid 18 Jews, but remained behind in Zolkiew at great risk to his family's safety rather than abandon these 18 Jews. Clara idolizes beck, but even as a young teen is able to distinguish that while he is an amazing and generous man as a rescuer, he is a far different person as a husband and father.
I found this story especially touching because the author familiarizes the reader with the names of so many loved ones who perished in the Holocaust. While many tomes refer to the 6 million, or in this case, the 5000 Jews in Zolkiew, Clara talks about her Aunts, Uncles, neighbors, and others who are killed. And as in every Holocaust memoir, the brutality and hatred displayed by both German soldiers and citizens alike is hard to understand and endure. When Clara describes hearing a german policeman describe with pride how many Jews he had killed, not knowing that 18 Jews were hidden under the floor beneath him, my stomach clenched for Clara and all Jews in Poland at the time.
I highly recommend this book to all interested in Holocaust memoirs and literature. Clara's diary, which she wrote while in hiding, is part of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum now, and my only regret about this book is that it did not include many more excerpts from her diary.
I was eager to read this book, as a Jewish woman of Hungarian descent. Unfortunately, this book did not meet my expectations. For one, the author repeatedly stated that he discovered something, but that he'd tell us about it later. Later, later, later. One time there were three instances of this on a single page. I found this frustrating and annoying and almost stopped reading because of it.
I also was not a fan of the author's style. He interweaves conversations he is supposedly having with his deceased ancestors. I presume he uses this as a vehicle to convey what he has learned about their lives, and while novel, I found the whole concept strange, perhaps because I'm just not one for the paranormal. In at least one instance, the first half of the page is spent with him explaining to the deceased relative that they're dead and that he's in the future having the conversation with them in his mind. I got tired of reading fluff like this.
In the end, I did like the parts where he mentioned the history of Hungary, which was my main reason for reading this book. However, unless you're a relative of the author, I'm not sure how much you'd really get from this book.
I received a copy of this book from Librarything Early Reviewers in exchange for my honest review.
People often wonder why a woman stays with an abusive husband. In this book, Leslie Morgan Steiner describes her courtship and marriage to a husband who tried to kill her. In doing so, she describes how an abusive marriage can happen to anyone. The author describes all the reasons why she loved Conor, but also described all the red flags that she explained away to herself.
I could not put this book down. What I found especially wrenching were 2 things. At one point, before going through with the wedding, the author decides to tells someone about the abuse. First, she calls a domestic abuse hotline--only to get a busy signal. So then she decides to tell her father. She arranges to meet him for breakfast--only to find that he didn't show up. I had to wonder how differently things might have gone were it not for these 2 critical failures. The other thing I found amazing was that in doing research on abusive relationships, the author discovers that while numerous studies have been done on the female victimes, few studies have been done on the male perpetrators. The one researcher she conversed with, without ever knowing that she was a victim, described her husband and their relationship perfectly.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to understand domestic violence.
I really enjoyed this fast-paced, quick read. Chris Tusa's descriptions are some of the best I have read in a long time--giving you enough details to accurately picture a scene without ever venturing into too much description and not enough action. I really felt that the author accurately described how these people really live, and was extremely impressed by how he portrayed the difference in how each character interacts with the other characters. In my opinion, the contrast in how each character acts to the others is the most impressive characteristic of Chris Tusa's writing. I was excited to find out the resolution of the plot, and hope to read other works by this author in the future.
This is one woman's first-hand account of life at Birkenau and Auschwitz. While imprisoned there, she made it her goal to survive, explicitly to tell the world about the atrocities perpetuated by the Nazis. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in true accounts of the Holocaust.
I finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo late last night. I was intrigued from the beginning, and can't get the book out of my head. It was a fabulous read and I highly recommend it to any mystery fan. I read Elizabeth George's first novel not too long ago, and this reminded me of that book in some ways, but was even better. Gripping! Five stars!
I read Christopher Hitchens' column in Vanity Fair every month, and after reading an excerpt from his book, I decided to read it.
Well, it is extremely rare that I cannot finish a book, but this book set a new record. I quit in the middle of the second chapter. In my opinion, this was one man's laundry list/rant of atrocities committed in the name of religion--at least the beginning of chapter 2. But what put me over the edge was how after each example, the author then repeated his catch-phrase "religion spoils everything."
This book definitely had it's good points and bad points. I really enjoyed getting to know what is was like to grow up as a Jehovah's Witness and to learn more about what their actual beliefs are. I had empathy for a girl who was not allowed to play with other friends and who was often ostracized from school because she was not allowed to celebrate birthdays and holidays.
I did feel, however, that the author was a rather spoiled and selfish "adult." Someone who cursed out her parents, cried and screamed and even moved out every time she didn't get her way. Chapter after Chapter details how she asked yet another friend to take her in because she was unhappy at home. These parts of the book made me feel less and less empathetic with the main character as the book went on. I still don't understand how someone who was so worried about bring disfellowshipped could be OK with calling her mother a bitch and cursing out her father. I was also not impressed with how the book ended.
This book is a history of the autism diagnosis as we currently understand it. However, it's more than that. It's the story of the medical professionals who realized that autism was not a psychosis, it's the story of the parents who fought for understanding and acceptance, and even more important, the right to be educated, for their autistic children. While this book is a fact-based history, it reads like a novel. I was drawn in and enjoyed the progression of the book.
I received an Uncorrected Proof of this book from Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for my honest review.
This book states it is "a true and intimate picture of a child's life changed by war." Unfortunately, this assessment didn't ring true for me. Yes, the author was a small child in Germany during WWII, but the vast majority of the traumas she writes about had little to do with war: an emotionally abusive father, a mother who, while physically present, had shirked much of the responsibility of caring for her children and who later died young, and a rape. While I'm not downplaying that these factors led to a sad and unhappy childhood for the author, the war had little to do with them. But for her issues with sirens, none of the issues she deals with were because of the war, but were the result of her neglectful parents.
I generally did not find myself sympathetic to the author. She repeatedly talked about how angry she was that she didn't have a good childhood. After a while this got old--especially in light of the fact that she mentions the Nazi flag hanging at her house. Yes, her father was awful. But it was significantly better than what Jewish children in Germany were suffering at the same time. The author alluded to the Holocaust only twice, for half a page or less each time, once to say she didn't know about what happened until she came to America (which I personally find hard to believe), and again where she mentions being uncomfortable around Jewish customers because of the Holocaust. Can't say I had any sympathy for her yet again.
At other times the author wrote about how she would break off a relationship with a man rather than be hurt by him breaking up with her, but then she'd pray that very same night for a nice husband. I wanted to ask her: hypocrite much?
In the end this book was nothing special. I did like how the author went into great detail about how psychiatric help was able to help her cope with the anxiety, panic attacks, and physical pain she suffered from as a result of her childhood traumas. That was the only thing that made this book worthwhile, but I'm sure there are plenty of books out that do better justice to that subject.
I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for my honest review.
This is the story of The Prophet Muhammad's second wife, A'isha. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found the writing to be elegantly descriptive--I felt like I could see, hear, and even smell exactly what A'isha was experiencing. I also enjoyed learning more about the birth of Islam as a religion. I was actually sad to see this book end--I finished it in 1 day! Throughout the read, I did have to keep reminding myself of A'isha's young age--she was known as Muhammad's child bride because she was married to him at age 9.
I highly recommend this book to Historical Fiction fans, those interested in the roots of Islam, and those who like to read books about strong, empowered women.
I found this story to be very engaging. I enjoyed how the narrator, the Father, told his story, "warts & all", even when it made him look less than stellar. I thought his raw honesty at how he felt about his teenage daughter to be the absolute best part of this book.
There were a few things I did not like about this book however. First, the editing was atrocious. Wrong words used (forward instead of forehead and flair instead of flare, for example), names changed spelling during the story (one boy was Donavon or Donovan, depending on the sentence). I found these issues distracted me from the story because I had to sometimes stop and decipher what the author really meant. I also did not like that the passages from the Father's point of view were written in the first person, while the daughter's passages were written in the third person. I found it disconcerting to switch back and forth.
As for the story itself, it is interspersed with the Father's reminisces of his own teenage years. I'm not exactly sure why they were there--to compare the Father's teenage years to his daughter's perhaps?--but I felt that not only did they not add to the story, I found them to distract from the story. Another part of the story I had trouble with was the teenage daughter's supposed mental problems. Specifically, maybe halfway to 2/3 through the story the teenage daughter starts hearing voices in her head. These voices have names and she talks back with them. Then at the very end of the story, these voices miraculously disappear after an event that in real life would NEVER cure mental illness. I feel the story would have been immensely better without the addition of these "voices".
I decided to read this book after seeing videos of the author on youtube and Facebook. Unfortunately, this book didn't even hold my interest enough for me to get through the first chapter. In the first few pages, the author repeats over and over how he is God's creature and that God had a plan for him. If that belief is what works for him, then that's great, but this statement is repeated several times in the first few pages, and if you don't believe in Jesus or God's plan for an individual then this book is not for you. This book set a new record for me--I gave up on page 8.
This book can't figure out if it wants to be chick lit, Jodi Picoult, or a mystery/thriller, and as a result, does very poorly. The main character is shallow and unsympathetic, as are her parents. Skip it. Don't waste your time.
The "snapshots" in this book were originally written for the newspaper, and have now been combined into a collective book. The stories are short, easy reads, which I liked.
The book information on the dust jacket basically states that the purpose of these essays is to show that Latinos are just like everyone else and to further acceptance of Latino immigrants.
My reactions to each essay varied considerably. I found the essay in which adults were working hard to get their GED to be particularly inspiring. The essay about the men who are serving their less fortunate neighbors through the church was also enlightening. However, I felt that many of the essays showed Latinos in a negative light. In one essay, for example, a woman was repeatedly cited by the police for noise violations for playing her music too loud, so much so that she was facing eviction. Instead of simply turning the music down, she stated that she played it loud in her country of origin and that she would continue to do so, even though there were multiple complaints from other residents of her apartment building.
I also found that many of the essays actually reinforced negative stereotypes of Latinos. One essay described how, despite numerous attempts at getting them more involved, Latino parents were uninvolved in their children's education, a contributing reason to why Latino children lag behind their peers in school. Another essay mentioned how an illegal Hispanic immigrant used hospital services and couldn't pay, leaving the burden to the hospital and the community. Yet another essay discussed how Hispanics wanted college students to come to their neighborhood and frequent their shops, yet they refused to go to the other neighborhoods.
I found that several of the essays had conflicting conclusions. For example, while several of the essays discussed how Latino buying power is contributing to the local economy, many if not more of the essays mentioned how the money earned by Hispanics was being sent to South America and was not helping the local economy. Many of the essays mentioned how Latinos were generally poor, yet other essays described Hispanics living in affluent neighborhoods and gated communities.
I feel that these essays were probably better left as short newspaper articles, each standing on its own merit. While some of the essays furthered the author's goal, I felt others set him back.
I found this book to be a fun and fast read. I found that it sucked me in and I hated to put it down.
I was particularly drawn to the relationship between the 2 main characters, Serena and Dolores...how they had a bond that was so strong and how they loved each other no matter what wrongs, real or perceived, the other had done. Thus, the "Aftermath" (this novel's equivalent of an epilogue) surprised me in some ways but not in others. After reading the Aftermath, it really made me reevaluate how I had viewed Serena during the course of the novel.
I decided to read this book because I read a rave review of it in a magazine. After I started reading it, I found out that the magazine that gave it that rave review also has Janice Lee on staff.
I thought the book was just okay. Not good. Not great. To me, it didn't really have a point other than to demonstrate how people's lives can change because of war. The synopsis on the book jacket said that a terrible secret would be revealed, but IMHO there was no big terrible secret revealed. It was actually quite a let-down, waiting for a big reveal and then none was coming. There was one plot twist that might have been the reveal they were talking about, but if that's the case it wasn't such a big shock like it was made out to be.
I gave this book 3 starts, and that's being generous.