Great Reads

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Hello and Happy New Year!!! For those of you wondering if I’m alive, I am! I’ve been super busy with my new job but in a really good way. I enjoy it a ton but I never have a second to myself during the day. BUT before we went on Christmas break, I went overboard and did a bunch of work early so today I actually have a free second. With resolutions flying around, I don’t like making them because I never truly stick to them; however, this year I’d like to get back to more regularly posting because it truly did make me happy. Being off this last week allowed me to emerge myself in some reading again and it felt great. With that being said, I finished 91 books for the 2019 year! I would be happy to reach even half of that goal with my busy schedule for 2020 but we’ll see! So, here’s a review for a book I DID actually finish recently!

Publish Date: 10/8/19
Author: 
Kim Liggett
Started:
12/27/19
Finished:
1/2/20
Pages:
416
Rating:
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Summary:

A speculative thriller in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power. Optioned by Universal and Elizabeth Banks to be a major motion picture!

SURVIVE THE YEAR.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

My Review:
MAJOR UNPOPULAR OPINION HERE: I DISLIKED The Handsmaid’s Tale. I went into this a little weary because it’s been compared to it. BUT I have recently found more of a love for Dystopian and Fantasy reads. They’re not usually what I go for but recently I’ve been craving them so with The Grace Year popping up EVERYWHERE, I figured why the hell not?! So onto what I thought… QUESTIONS! THIS BOOK HAS LEFT ME WITH SO MANY QUESTIONS! Why is The Grace Year an actual thing? What has happened to make this world so primitive? What started these horrific traditions? ANSWERS…NONE. The book works and you don’t actually need any of these clarifying questions to understand it but it’d be nice to understand what occurs in this world to lead to The Grace Year.

I’ve seen a ton of wonderful reviews for the book and I’m not knocking them. I enjoyed the story but I felt a little underwhelmed. Tierney and Ryker’s relationship felt like it needed more clarification and was underdeveloped for what it turned into. I also felt like with such a wrenching premise, that more could have been added to keep me at the edge of my seat. The first 150 pages or so for me was a roller coaster. I would get interested, something would happen, and then I would be bored again. This happened again and again but the interesting parts were just enough for me to keep flipping those pages.

More questions that I felt could have been answered without adding more layers to the story…  What made Kiersten so evil? I want to know more other than the obvious reasoning. And why did the girls so blindly follow her as a leader? These questions took a bit away for me. Because of this, I felt like character development was underwhelming. And Hans! His character development was lacking as well. His entire character was underused in my opinion which left me wanting more from him as well.

I really teeter tottered with what to actually rate the book because I wasn’t blown away for a five star read and I wasn’t underwhelmed enough for a three star read. For me I felt like there could have been so much more. The last 125 or so pages really redeemed the book for me. It got super interesting and crazy in my opinion but again, I feel like the book could have been this good in its entirety.

Overall, I recommend the read for the insight.

Great Reads

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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Publish Date:
7/15/14 (earlier in Sweden)
Author: 
 Fredrik Backman
Started:
9/20/19
Finished:
9/26/19
Pages:
294
Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Summary:
A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

My Review:
Hey all! It’s been quite a busy few months lately and my posts have really died down so I apologize! Life has been awesome but a whirlwind for sure. I’ve read so little and so sporadically that now as I sit down to update I am embarrassed to say it’s difficult to write a review on something I read so long ago. But I do have something to comment on and it’s what I’ve just finished!

A Man Called Ove is my very first Fredrik Backman and it won’t be my last. I wish that it hadn’t taken me so long to pick one of the many books I own by him off of my shelf. The book had all the feels to it! Ove is a very likable grumpy old man in my opinion. His life story had me laughing and crying in many points. I liked Ove a lot because he reminds me of my fiance and my father and late grandfather. They are all not overly friendly and not much of people people. Ove’s scheduled visits policing his neighborhood is something that reminded me of my grandfather as he was someone who believed in what was right and what was wrong. Ove had quite a few short straws drawn in his life and for the traumatic life he had, Ove was rather pleasant in my opinion.

I adored the relationship he had with Sonja. Like my fiance, father, and late grandfather, Ove simply melted for their significant other whereas others were not exactly well taken to by him.

The actual basis to the story is quite sad and had me feeling so sorry for Ove. His conversations with Sonja and his thought process was so bittersweet that it’s hard for me to give an exact feeling about how I felt about the situation. It is important to note that this sad story is not exactly for everyone and people should tread with caution who have dealt with suicide or suicidal thoughts in their own lives.

I have to comment on Fredrik Backman himself. He writes with such maturity and brings about life experiences so raw and filled with emotion that I honestly expected Backman to be a 70 year old man that has lived through some experiences himself. Although Backman’s young age does not mean that he has not lived through such profound experiences, it does speak on his maturity level profusely. He is a great writer and his writing feels as if he had been writing for ages (in a wonderful way).

I highly recommend A Man Called Ove. It has all the feels and I loved every moment of it!

Great Reads

Spin by B. John Gully

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Publish Date: 6/18/19
Author:  B. John Gully
Started: 8/12/19
Finished: 8/13/19
Pages: 96
Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Summary:

In the midst of an election, a career politician finds that he is unable to sleep at night. The bags under his eyes are becoming increasingly noticeable as he yawns his way through interviews. His eight-year-old daughter seems to be mimicking his poor sleep habits, but to her, staying up late is as cool as it gets. The current trend in politics is an age of spin. If one is not careful, they may spin so much that they find it hard to rest. 

My Review:

This.was.so.funny! Being in the book community, I get a ton of books to read. Many of them are sent from big house publishers, WHICH I LOVE. However, sometimes an opportunity comes up where I get to read something that is self-published and you just think to yourself, “someone should have picked this up!” Spin is just that!

Spin follows a mayor up for re-election and the qualms that follow such a high profile job. It follows what it’s like to be constantly “spinning” in the world of politics and shines light on the perspective of the candidate. 

This book had me laughing out loud countless times! From the second I picked up the book, I was immediately hooked. Gully has a real knack for writing. He was detailed and thorough the entire time without giving me too much information that I found myself skipping lines or paragraphs. No fluff involved! Super descriptive while being straight to the point and I SUPER appreciate that. 

Our characters were real and their relationships valid and believable. I zipped through the book. So why my four star rating for something that I loved? It’s just that! I loved it and wanted so much more! The book is short and sweet and I wanted more and more! Gully set this story up so well that he could have gone on! But, I get it. This was a snapshot of the life of a politician spinning and that’s what was accomplished. I just wish I could have gone on and read more about lives of the characters I grew so attached to after our unique conclusion. 

This is an awesome debut and I honestly hope that Gully gets around to writing more. More about these characters, or even a completely different premise and book, I’ll be lined up to read it! Take a chance and read an independently published book! It’s not something we get around to sometimes and this one was so well worth it. 

Great Restaurants

Duffenetti’s – Wildwood, NJ. STOP BY!

What’s better than spending some time during the Summer at the Jersey shore? The answer is finding a restaurant at the Jersey shore that’s so good you need to write home about it! That’s what Duffinetti’s is! This restaurant has a rich history and an even richer following! I don’t blame the following that this restaurant gets but that’s only just the start of it!

Duffenetti’s has been making Italian goodies starting in the 1960’s. 1965 to be exact. In the many decades, the restaurant has been an Asselta family staple. In the 70’s and at the moment, the gracious owner is Trish Asselta,  Duffy and Mary Asselta’s daughter. Even after closing for ten years for personal reasons, Trish knew that something was missing and in 2015, Duffenetti’s picked up a new location and has been back in business! Trish is so amazingly gracious, walking into the restaurant truly feels like walking into Nonna’s kitchen; but, that isn’t just Trish’s doing these days. Chef Stephen Quici came to Duffenetti’s in 2018 and if Duffenetti’s didn’t already have a following, Chef Stephen Quici added to it, for sure!

Chef Stephen Quici is out of this world. Culinary-trained, his food is amazing and the amount of love and hard work that he puts into his dishes back in the kitchen is beyond obvious! Quici has only elevated an already solid restaurant. He’s brought some amazing recipes and his dishes really shine.

My family and close friends have visited the restaurant many times already and no one’s stopping anytime soon. I had the pleasure of visiting Duffenetti’s last week and it won’t be my last. Trish does a wonderful time hiring entertainment. During my recent visit, there was a live singer who was singing amazing hits from Sinatra to Neil Diamond. It added to the wonderful atmosphere and delicious food I was about to experience! The ambiance of the room is great and you feel like you’re in an Italian restaurant but definitely still taking part of being at the Jersey Shore! Let me take you on this culinary experience I was able to partake in!

We started with long hots (don’t take the “hots” lightly, they’re insanely hot!). We also had some fresh bruschetta. I could have licked that plate clean! It was served on toasted seasoned semolina bread and also featured some fresh shaved cheese on top. We ordered a round of calamari because I don’t recommend ever going for Italian and skipping out on calamari.

Our waitress also brought us warm bread served with an olive oil filled with fresh herbs and cheese. The bread was so good our table devoured two baskets! To go with our dinner choices, a special house salad was brought out. This dressing is a Balsamic Vinaigrette but it’s a house recipe and so unique! It’s sweeter than what I expected but in a great way! You can take home a bottle while you’re at the restaurant or even order online and I highly suggest it!

As for our dinners, everyone was so happy with our dinners! I ordered chicken marsala and had it served over a bed of angel hair, a favorite Italian dish of mine over my absolute favorite pasta. It was so good that I ate the ENTIRE thing! I ALWAYS bring home leftovers. I try to have some self-control and always look forward to a second helping but, I.JUST.COULDN’T.STOP. I finished it and even wanted more!
marsala

My fiance’ had a chef’s special of Eggplant Parm with “the best gravy ever”. He enjoyed it a lot! Gravy is definitely a very subjective topic in Italian families and he had no complaints!

We had a chef’s special bronzino sauteed with escarole, beans, and bruschetta. Another plate-licking dish!
bronzino

Also at the table was the crab cakes with a side of roasted veggies. The crab cakes are topped with a lobster bisque and had rave reviews!
crab cakes

Last but certainly not least, my father had the seafood pescatore (he’s had it every time he’s gone). It’s served with fresh shrimp, sea scallops, mussels, clams, and topped with a HUGE dungeness crab cluster. It’s sauteed in fresh Italian herbs, garlic, and white wine. It’s not only delicious but a beautiful dish!
pescatore

Also, I did not have them but I’ve been told by MANY people how amazing Chef Quici’s gnocchis are! They are said to be literally melt in your mouth pillows. Literally, my only regret of the night is not ordering these!

We were so full that there was no room for dessert but I truly believe the food was so amazingly decadent that it wasn’t even missed!

If you’re in Wildwood, or even if you’re not and don’t mind the drive, I’d highly recommend shooting down to Duffenetti’s! It’s not something that you’ll regret. AND Duffenetti’s is NOW OPEN YEAR ROUND! That’s right, you can enjoy Duffenetti’s even during Jersey’s off-season. There’s no excuse not to give it a shot! I promise, it won’t be your last and make sure to tell them I sent ya!

Duffenetti’s can be found at:
Duffinetti’s Restaurant & Lounge
4600 Pacific Ave
Wildwood, NJ 08260
Restaurant: 609-522-0002
https://duffinettis.com/

Great Reads

ARC REVIEW OUT TOMORROW -Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

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Publish Date: 
8/13/19
Author:
 Katherine Center
Started:
4/20/19
Finished:
4/28/19
Pages:
320
Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley who provided me this book to read in exchange for my honest opinion.

Goodreads Summary:

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds. 

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.

My Review:

There has been many books that highlight mental illnesses recently. I think it’s great but because I’ve read so many recently, I think that I need a break and it may have influenced my overall thoughts on the book. Many of these books have been giving us just a glimpse on how dark mental illness can actually be and they’re all too similar in my opinion. I have recently read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (review found here) and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill which I really enjoyed and the review will be posted closer to publication date. However, even though I enjoyed these books, they are all too similar to one another.

Dear Lily is a tad different as it is presented by letters to our narrator, Joy, to her sister, Lily. It’s through letters that we learn of the struggles Lily is going through in her new country of Denmark. The letters convey so many different levels of emotions. I found myself laughing, cringing, feeling sad, and even upset during some of the letters. There is  a lot of depth to Joy and the letters definitely portray that, however; I was always searching for more. Many of the books that I’ve mentioned have done a good job just portraying everyday humans going through hardships and mental illness, and maybe that’s what’s needed but I am always looking for more drama and more of a story line to follow. This is at no fault to the book itself but more of my preference so I can see many people really enjoying Dear Lily. 

Overall, it delivers a great message and can be very insightful. The format was unique and really helps the story feel personal. I commend Davies for this and do suggest it for a light read on dark themes.


 

My Review:

Wow, just wow! I don’t usually enjoy romance type novels but I LOVED this. I actually almost put it down. It started very slow for me and it seemed like it was going to be predictable but it was not! There is definitely romance in here but so much drama I ended up loving it. At first I was thinking, “Okay, I get it. We’re going to read about a badass woman firefighter that isn’t getting the credit she deserves. She’s going to fall in love and repair some broken relationship with her mother.” And yes, there is all of that in there but so so much more! Once, I got over my hump of wanting to put it down, I couldn’t put it down!

The theme of forgiveness is so prominent in this story and I can’t begin to express how much I truly admire Ana. If this was a true story, she’d deserve all the awards not only in firefighting but in life itself. The book is inspiring in every way and I recommend the novel to everyone. I feel like there is so much that people who enjoy every different genre would enjoy this.

This was my first Center novel and as soon as I was finished, I ordered her previous How to Walk Away.  I enjoyed this more than I thought I would and it was my first five star read of books being published this year! It’ll definitely be a favorite of mine for the year and I will be purchasing a finished copy to admire for years to come!

Great Reads

ARC REVIEW OUT TOMORROW – A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

michele campbell
Publish Date:
7/23/19
Author: 
Michele Campbell
Started:
6/1/19
Finished:
6/3/19
Pages:
352
Rating:⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy of this to read and review before publication. All opinions are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aiden, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aiden for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aiden’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

My Review:

This was my second Campbell book and I had some issues with it. I did enjoy it and thought that it was creepy at times but I wanted more from it. My issue with it is that it seemed like two different books to me. Although everything connected, I felt as if after Caroline disappears, the entire novel changes into a completely different book. I didn’t feel as invested at that point even though I had just reached the major turning point. It became somewhat predictable for me and I started to pull much of the plot together. Aiden was super unreliable as a character and I figured that the story couldn’t just rely on him creepy self. I have an unpopular opinion here and I can see why so many readers are giving high praises for this. It just didn’t work as well for me really due to the lack of cohesiveness I felt the story had. I also felt like the author could have given us more into Caroline’s husband’s life and less of Aiden and Caroline herself. That could have helped as I feel like there were some situations that were answered but just a bit cloudy for me. I still finished this read super fast and will pick up Campbell’s future works. For me, this one just left me wanting more.

Great Reads

ARC REVIEW OUT 7/9 – The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

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Publish Date: 7/9/19 
Author:
Abbi Waxman
Started:
3/23/19
Finished:
3/27/19
Pages:
352
Rating:
⭐⭐⭐⭐

A huge thank you to Berkley and Penguin Random House for sending me a copy to read and review! I loved every second of it!


Goodreads Summary:

“Abbi Waxman is both irreverent and thoughtful.”–#1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin 

The author of Other People’s Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings delivers a quirky and charming novel chronicling the life of confirmed introvert Nina Hill as she does her best to fly under everyone’s radar.

Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own…shell.

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all–or mostly all–excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

My Review:

Nina is socially awkward to the max but not in an Eleanor Oliphant kind of way. I don’t know if it was the cover but I was getting some major Eleanor vibes when looking at this book. Nina and Eleanor also have pretty ridiculous self-absorbed mothers. Nina is hilarious and so observant but that’s where the Eleanor comparisons end. This book also focused on some mental health topics but not in such an intense way. It was not as devastating and mental health informing as Eleanor. This is a much lighter read in my opinion.

I really love Nina. She resonates with me. She can’t make plans because it’s her one night of the week that’s free and she uses it for reading. Um, yes. I have often declined plans on my one free day knowing I just wanted to read in the bathtub. Her humor is great and I adore that she recognizes her own awkwardness and has no issue poking humor towards herself.

I had some issues with Tom. I really enjoyed his character but he also seemed to struggle emotionally here and there. More of an understanding of his character could have been beneficial. His attitude and actions towards Nina were justified but I still felt like they were a little dramatic from a character that seemed relitively calm throughout most of the novel. It was this that kind of had me a bit confused while reading but not in a confused way that I couldn’t understand the book obviously.

I loved how Nina’s father was tied in at the end and how Nina’s relationships grew with her family. I wish there was a little bit more on how her family stayed (or didn’t stay) in her life and how the family dynamics were with Nina. I really enjoyed that portion of the story and felt like it ended a little abruptly.

All in all, WOW. I love Nina and I loved the book! I’m sure this will be getting some rave reviews and will be seen from many book bloggers for great reasons! I highly reccommend this light yet serious read!

Great Reads

A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson – OUT TODAY!

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Publish Date:
 6/25/19 
Author:
M.T. Eddvardsson
Started: 6/4/19
Finished:
6/10/19
Pages:
400
Rating:
⭐⭐⭐

A huge thank you to Celadon books for sending me a copy to read and review!

Goodreads Summary:

M.T. Edvardsson’s A Nearly Normal Family is a gripping legal thriller that forces the reader to consider: How far would you go to protect the ones you love? In this twisted narrative of love and murder, a horrific crime makes a seemingly normal family question everything they thought they knew about their life—and one another.

Eighteen-year-old Stella Sandell stands accused of the brutal murder of a man almost fifteen years her senior. She is an ordinary teenager from an upstanding local family. What reason could she have to know a shady businessman, let alone to kill him?

Stella’s father, a pastor, and mother, a criminal defense attorney, find their moral compasses tested as they defend their daughter, while struggling to understand why she is a suspect. Told in an unusual three-part structure, A Nearly Normal Familyasks the questions: How well do you know your own children? How far would you go to protect them?

My Review:

Well, if you’ve been following ANY books lately, it is impossible for you to have not seen this one popping up everywhere. Everyone is loving it and it’s not hard to understand why! I really enjoyed it and loved that the book was told in three sections from Stella and a section for each of her parents. This is a pretty quick read and interesting but I had my own issues with it.

Morally, I did not quite understand the outcome and it’s acceptance from all parties involved. A good friend of mine and I both felt this why while discussing it. I felt like all of the characters were unlikable besides the father whereas my good fiend abhored the father as well (to each their own, right?). But the true reason why it did not get four stars for me is because the buildup was slow and I just felt a little underwhelmed after finishing it. I wanted more crazy and although it was indeed crazy, I was just wanting something bigger. I felt like I saw most of all of it coming and that’s a let down for me. This read as a drama in most places more than a courtroom thriller and that was my issue. I wanted more courtroom and murder suspense.

HOWEVER, so many people are loving it and I can see why! I would definitely recommend the book and may even like to reread it to catch things I did not catch on to before. I’d also like to reread it and be more open  to reading it as a family drama than just a courtroom thriller that I wanted. I feel like the way you anticipate a book could seriously make or break a book and that happened to me here. I’m happy to have read it and will definitely recommend it in the future to friends! Just be weary that there are quite a few triggers such as sexual assault in this one.

 

 

Great Reads

Next Level Basic: The Definitive Basic Bitch Handbook by Stassi Shroeder

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Publish Date:
4/16/19
Author:
 Stassi Shroeder
Started:
6/10/19
Finished:
6/10/19
Pages: 
240
Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Summary:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER 

Discover how to embrace your best basic self in this laugh-out-loud funny guidebook from the breakout star of Bravo’s hit reality show Vanderpump Rules, perfect for fans of the relatable and entertaining books by The Betches and Andi Dorfman. 

Millions of Vanderpump Rules viewers and podcast listeners know Stassi Schroeder as a major defender of Basic Bitch rights. There’s nothing more boring than people who take themselves too seriously or think that you have to be pretentious to be cool. Stassi champions the things that many of us are afraid to love publicly for fear of being labeled basic: lattes, pugs, bubbly cocktails, millennial pink, #OOTD (outfit of the day, obvs), astrology, hot dogs, the perfect pair of Louboutins, romantic comedies…the list goes on and on.

This book is for people tired of pretending they would rather see a Daniel Day-Lewis movie about sewing or read War and Peacethan watch a Saw marathon or read…well, this book!

In Next Level Basic, the reality star, podcast queen, and ranch dressing expert gives you hilarious and pointed lessons on how to have fun and celebrate yourself, with exclusive stories from her own life and on the set of Vanderpump Rules. From her very public breakups to her most intimate details about her plastic surgery, Stassi shares her own personal experiences with her trademark honesty—all with the hope you can learn something from them.

My Review:

I couldn’t expect anything else from Stassi! Is this an instant classic? No. But it’s hilarious and embodies her spirit, attitude, and all of the sarcasm I’ve grown to expect from her. You won’t take home a life lesson, unless you want to be reminded that Birkenstocks are never in style (oops) or that Universal Studio’s serves possibly the best hot dog around; BUT, did you expect something different from this book? If so, shame on you! I definitely didn’t pick this up looking for a serious or life altering nonfiction read. It’ checked off my boxes though.

I could literally imagine Stassi’s voice the entire time reading the book and for what it was, it was highly entertaining and funny! I enjoyed it and if you’re a Vanderpump fan, I’m sure you’ll be a fan of this as well! Bravo (no pun intended)!

Great Reads

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

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Publish Date:
2/13/18
Author:
 Kimmery Martin
Started:
5/10/19
Finished:
5/14/19
Pages:
 348
Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Summary:

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2018 by Southern Living, Elite Daily, and Writer’s Digest 

A debut novel set against a background of hospital rounds and life-or-death decisions that pulses with humor and empathy and explores the heart’s capacity for forgiveness…

Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they’re happily married wives and mothers with successful careers–Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.

As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie’s life–both professionally and personally–throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick’s unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.

My Review:

First things first, THE COVER! How beautiful is this cover? They really hit it of the park for this and I’m sure this is what drew so many people to read it like myself but this is more than just a pretty face!

This is a book of friendships and forgiveness. I enjoyed both Zadie and Emma (for the most part of the book) and thoroughly enjoyed peeping into their lives as both doctors and mothers. Zadie’s daughter was a beyond hilarious toddler who I absolutely adored. I’m not huge into medical dramas and have never watched Grey’s Anatomy (gasp! I know) but I enjoyed this. Sometimes the medical stuff would get a little in the way but I understood. Zadie as a character is a way better person that I am. She embodies some awesome qualities.

My issue I think was how long it took to get to the actual drama of the story and how quickly it was cleared up. The drama was bubbling the entire time and I was anxious to figure out how it was connected. After reading this, I had some conflicts within myself over it. It’s hard to explain without actually giving away the plot and mystery behind it all.

This book deals with some pretty heavy issues so be cautious.