3.5 stars. "Princess in the Spotlight" is the second book in the Princess Diaries series. I loved the movies when I was younger but I think I only rea3.5 stars. "Princess in the Spotlight" is the second book in the Princess Diaries series. I loved the movies when I was younger but I think I only read the first book of the series. I decided to go back and read the rest of the series so I could get to the royal wedding book that came out earlier this year.
It's no wonder why this series is so popular and why so many people enjoy it. This book looks at Mia after she's discovered that she is a princess of a small country in Europe. She has to go back to being a normal student but now bears the weight of having to learn how to be a princess as well. In this book, several things happen to drive the action along. First off, Mia receives a email and chat messages from a secret admirer. She thinks that she knows who it is but spends most of the book trying to find out who it is only to be surprised in the end. She is also dealing with her mom getting pregnant by her algebra teacher and getting married.
Mia deals with all of this and her very Mia, which means often sticking her foot in her mouth. This definitely makes for some funny and awkward situations throughout the book which had me laughing. Oh, to be a teenager again! This is a fun read it and it was definitely a nostalgic read for me. I'm looking forward to reading the next book!...more
Philippa Gregory is one of the first authors that really turned me on to historical fiction as an adult. Her books are always a lot of fun to read andPhilippa Gregory is one of the first authors that really turned me on to historical fiction as an adult. Her books are always a lot of fun to read and she is pretty much on my must read list. There is some criticism as to how realistic her storylines are but they definitely are entertaining and perfect for when I am looking for a story to just get sucked into.
In "The Taming of the Queen," the popular historical fiction writer Philippa Gregory takes on Kateryn Parr, the wife who will outlast Henry VIII. I like Gregory's books because they're kind of like candy. Gregory weaves a story about Kateryn, who is an expert at appearing to stay in line while going her own way in the background. There are a lot of elements of romance in this historical fiction.
I have read a couple other books about Kateryn Parr and what's so interesting to me is that by the time she marries Henry VIII, she knows that her life may be an danger if she displeases him. I really like the way that Gregory was able to show how she tried to do everything in her power in order to keep her relationship with Henry VIII on the up and up. I flew through this book very quickly because I got so into Kateryn's character. She is smart and was one of the first women to be published under her own name which is pretty impressive. This story doesn't go as far as I would have liked. I was ready to hear more about Parr after Henry VIII but that was not covered so the book seems to suddenly stop
This is a good pick for anyone who's looking for a fun and frothy read on the end of Henry VIII's reign....more
"Paperweight" is the story of Stevie, a girl who is only going to rehab for her eating disorder in order to keep a promise to her brother who passed a"Paperweight" is the story of Stevie, a girl who is only going to rehab for her eating disorder in order to keep a promise to her brother who passed away. Stevie doesn't know how much longer she can hold on. Her brother is gone, her mother ran off to Paris, and her father seems to be totally absent. Stevie is beginning to wonder if it would be better for her to just end things. This book is a powerful reminder that even when things seem hopeless there is hope if you look hard enough.
This is a young adult book that tackles a huge and difficult subject. There are so many people who deal with eating disorders and depression and this book gives those issues a face with the characters in its pages. I really felt for Stevie; you can see how difficult she feels things are and how hopeless she thinks that her life is. She blames herself for her brothers death, which is a huge weight on her and doesn't feel like she can go on. I wanted to reach through the pages and give her a hug. I think the author does a good job of clearly showing how Stevie feels about her situation and why she's having such a tough time.
The subject matter in this book is definitely difficult but I think the author takes it on it in such a way that it makes the issues accessible and understandable too young adult readers. I think it's so important to have books like this what show readers that even though things aren't always easy, but it's possible to come through even the in the most difficult circumstances....more
3.5 stars. "Dark Places" is by Gillian Flynn, the author of "Gone Girl." Ever since I read "Gone Girl," I've been on the lookout for a book about me a3.5 stars. "Dark Places" is by Gillian Flynn, the author of "Gone Girl." Ever since I read "Gone Girl," I've been on the lookout for a book about me away as much as "Gone Girl" did. The character of Amy in that book is just so devastatingly dark. This book is a lot different than it "Gone Girl." Libby was only seven years old when she believes that her brother killed her mother and her sisters. He gets thrown in jail and she grows up. She is pushed to recall old memories when a secret society that focuses on crimes believes that her brother wasn't really the killer will be it hasn't lived that great of life and when the club promises her money, she decides to get involved. Little does she know how her life get turned upside down.
This book took me a little while to get into but once the story started unfolding and Libby began to confront her past, I was pulled in. Libby is a way different character than Amy but it definitely works for this book. Even with a slow start, once the book got going I was hooked. The spark hold my intention and is definitely a good thriller.
I liked the way that the author created a sense of suspense throughout the book. I was really eager to unravel the story. I will definitely read more by Gillian Flynn in the future....more
If you know me, I know that I love reading about royalty, particularly the British royalty. Any time that I see a biography of one of the members of tIf you know me, I know that I love reading about royalty, particularly the British royalty. Any time that I see a biography of one of the members of the royal family I have to pick it up. This book was no different. These books always promise unfettered access to royalty, which is never really true. I always hope. Prince Harry is a fascinating guy and I wanted to get closer to him.
In a lot of ways for those who are already for familiar with the royal family. this book will probably fall a little flat. For those who are not familiar with the royal family as much, those readers may be more interested in the heavy dose of background that is given to us at the very beginning. The author goes into a lot of detail about Prince Charles and Princess Diana and doesn't really paint either in the most positive light. Nothing really new or different was offered here.
I definitely like the book a little bit more once I got to more of what Prince Harry is doing as an adult and how he has changed since his childhood. The later part of the book was definitely more interesting to me. Overall, this book fell a little flat for me because of the beginning....more
"My Age of Anxiety" is part memoir, part exploration on what anxiety is and its history. Anxiety affects many people and is often hidden. I saw Scott"My Age of Anxiety" is part memoir, part exploration on what anxiety is and its history. Anxiety affects many people and is often hidden. I saw Scott Stossel speak at the 2014 Gaithersburg book Festival and he was speaking about his book my age of anxiety. His talk really hit home for me because I also deal with anxiety on a daily basis. It's not particularly fun but through this book it so that helped me understand what was going on a little bit more.
As I said, this book is part memoir and part history of anxiety disorders. Stossel is a great author for this book because he suffers from extreme anxiety to the point where he has to self medicate in order to be able to deal with things such as making speeches. He really puts himself out there so that readers can understand what it feels like to deal with anxiety and to try to treat it.
Stossel covers a lot of different angles of anxiety. He talks about how scientists have tried to figure out why it happens. He weighs all of his cards out on the table and I realize how difficult that must be for somebody who has major anxiety. This is an intimate look at what it means to suffer from this mental on this as well as take give some context around how scientists are beginning to look at this. Overall, this book would be a great pick for those that suffer from anxiety but also those that love someone who deals with anxiety!...more
Let me caveat this review by saying I am a huge Murakami fan. I love reading his books and always enjoyed them for the most part. That being said he'sLet me caveat this review by saying I am a huge Murakami fan. I love reading his books and always enjoyed them for the most part. That being said he's definitely not for everyone. His stories are wholly original and most of them feel like dreams this book is no different. In this book, we meet a young man who once had four very close friends, each with different colors in their names. He doesn't have a color in his name and so he becomes Colorless Tsukuru. Mysteriously, they leave him behind without an explanation. He wonders about this and it haunts him.
This story definitely feels very dreamlike to me and may not be everyone's cup of tea. For the Murakami fans, this is definitely an enjoyable book. Tsukuru is such an interesting character. He is an adult now and is continuing to wonder about his friends. We get to follow him on a journey filled with surprises and twists!
This book is a translation and a pretty good one at that. There's a couple places in the book where is the translation gets a little garbled and makes the story a bit confusing but overall I thought that it was translated wonderfully. Again M Murakami has a very unique writing style that is definitely present in this book. I can't wait to see what he comes out with next....more
In "The Boston Girl," at the ripe old age of 85, Addie tells her life story to her 20 something-year-old granddaughter. Her story is one of trying toIn "The Boston Girl," at the ripe old age of 85, Addie tells her life story to her 20 something-year-old granddaughter. Her story is one of trying to become a modern, all-American girl in a family of immigrants who are tied to their old country ways. Addie is respectful but has a major difference in opinion as to what a woman's role should be in this brave new world. The book covers a long time period as Addie goes from an adolescent to an adult.
This book is by Anita Diamant. She also wrote "The Red Tent," which I absolutely love. This book is completely different from that book but a lot of the storytelling elements that I loved in that book are present in this one. Diamant has a great eye for detail and adding enough detail to make characters jump off the page.
Addie is a fascinating character because she is living during a very quickly changing time in the world. Her life will be unlike any other life in her family and it is up to her to forge her own path. She told her story with no bars hold and although the audience is supposed to be her granddaughter, we the readers get a front row seat to what her life was like. This writing style was utterly engrossing and pulled me in from the first page.
Overall, this is a good book about family and making a life for oneself....more
3.5 stars. In "The Ship of Brides," we follow several women who are are leaving the only home they've ever known in Australia to go to England after W3.5 stars. In "The Ship of Brides," we follow several women who are are leaving the only home they've ever known in Australia to go to England after World War II to meet up with the British soldiers that they fell in love with during the war. One of the reasons that I most love reading historical fiction is because I often learn about things that I've never known before. This book definitely had that for me. I had never heard of these women who left their own countries to marry soldiers after the war. I also enjoy JoJo Moyes' books and although this is not my favorite book of hers that I have ever read, it is still a good read that will appeal to many of my fellow historical fiction lovers.
This book was a little bit hard for me to get into at first as I was getting to know the characters. Once the author begins to give us the motivations behind the reasons that these women got on the ships towards the unknown I got a little bit more into the story. This book is definitely one with characters where what you initially see is not always what you get. This story follows several several women each to have their own motivations in their own reasons for getting on the ship. Some of them fell in love. Some of them are looking for an alternative life. Some of them just want to run away.
Overall, this was a interesting story. As I mentioned, I love Moyes and up until this point, I had only read her books set in modern days. It was interesting to see how she took on historical fiction. I definitely enjoyed her take on this new-to-me historical event!...more
"The Mapmaker's Children" is a historical fiction tale focuses on two women, one in the past and one in the present. These women are connected by secr"The Mapmaker's Children" is a historical fiction tale focuses on two women, one in the past and one in the present. These women are connected by secrets hidden in an old house in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Sarah Brown, daughter of the famous abolitionist John Brown, is a woman before her time. She is brave and courageous. She gets involved with the Underground Railroad even though it could mean that her life is in danger. Eden and her husband are looking for a fresh start and buy an old house to fix up. She will find a hidden past that will take her on a great journey.
Historical fiction set in the past and the present is starting to grow on me because of books like this. Usually I like the parts of the books that are set in the past better than the parts set in the present. In the case of this book, I liked the part set in the present. I felt like I had something in common with Eden. I live in a really old house as well (not nearly as old as the one Eden has - mine was probably built in the 1890s). I liked the descriptions of her discoveries in her house because I always wished that I could find some connection to the past in my own house. I also liked getting to "meet" Sarah Brown through this book. I only really knew something about her father because of his rebellion but it was so interesting to see what she was up to and how she was making a difference on her own.
This is Sarah McCoy's third book. One thing that I have liked about this book as well as her previous books is how intimately you feel like you get to know her characters. Her books are always cozy because the characters begin to feel more like friends than mere characters. She also loads her stories with interesting secondary characters that hold pieces of the story in a way that demands a reader's attention. Her distinctive writing style is also present in this book!...more
"The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet" is a companion book to the popular YouTube series based on Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" - a personal fave o"The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet" is a companion book to the popular YouTube series based on Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" - a personal fave of mine. I still haven't watched the whole YouTube series and I definitely want to go back and do that at some point because it's very fun! This book is a lot of fun too. Before you read this book, you may want to at least see a couple of the videos so that you're familiar with the characters and their personalities and the basic storyline. This definitely helped me and my enjoyment of the book!
If you haven't seen the videos, the videos are a modern day video diary of what's going on in Lizzie Bennet's life. As you may have guessed, Lizzie is the Elizabeth Bennet of "Pride and Prejudice." All of the beloved characters are there for the most part. What I like about the YouTube series and this book is that it has the potential to introduce a whole new generation of people to the utterly romantic "Pride and Prejudice", which is one of my favorite classics. Retellings are a tricky business but this one definitely keeps with the spirit of the original and breathes new life into it.
This book is a wholly original and is definitely interesting take on the classic story. It's told through various means of digital communication and social media. Purists are probably not going to like this one but those that appreciate the spirit of the story will definitely enjoy this take. Overall, this is definitely a fun book for when you're looking for a light read....more
3.5 stars. "The Strange Library" by Haruki Murakami is a strange short story about a boy who goes to the library and is trapped. As with many of Murak3.5 stars. "The Strange Library" by Haruki Murakami is a strange short story about a boy who goes to the library and is trapped. As with many of Murakami's stories, this story has a magical bend to it. Fans of his earlier works will probably enjoy this one too.
I am a really big fan of Murakami and I must say that this was not my most favorite book of his. Short stories are generally sort of mixed bag for me. I've started to read more short stories and there are some really great ones out there and so I had high hopes for this book. While I still enjoyed this book, I think one of the biggest strengths of Murakami's works are his descriptions and the way that he is able to make the unreal feel real. And in the short story format, he didn't really have a little whole lot of room to work with.
That being said, I think this book still filled the want for weirdness and the extraordinary that I is I am typically looking for whenever I pick up a book by Murakami. If you're interested in trying this author I would definitely suggest starting with some of his novels as it's in these bigger stories where he really shines.
One more thing: this didn't factor into my review of the book as I'm not one to judge a book by its cover but I must admit to you that I thought the binding of those book was really, really cool. Next time you're at your local library or bookstore, pick up the book and just look at the way that they binding was done. It's as strange as the story and very cool!...more
"Bad Feminist" is a collection of essays by Roxanne Gay. I had heard a ton about this book and even before I read it, I was following Gay on Twitter ("Bad Feminist" is a collection of essays by Roxanne Gay. I had heard a ton about this book and even before I read it, I was following Gay on Twitter (which is a great idea). She always has the funniest, most insightful things to say about a broad variety of topics. I was excited to see how her wit and wisdom translated to some long form essays. The good news is that it translates really, really well. I really enjoyed this collection and definitely recommend it!
This collection is filled with essays that made me laugh and make me think a lot about my place in the world is a woman. Gay is a fantastic writer who writes in such a way that her words really come to life! I love that her ideas are incredibly vivid. It's hard to single out a single essay that I liked best. I liked the funny essays that make me laugh out loud. I also liked the essays that were on more serious topics and those ones had a tendency to make me think a lot. There is a little something for everyone here.
This book will have me thinking for a long time and I am excited to read more by Gay in the future. This book is an incredibly important one for today's modern feminists and women would do well to read this book....more
4.5 stars. In the incredibly powerful and heart wrenching "Five Days Left," we meet Mara and Scott. Mara is a successful woman who is facing the thoug4.5 stars. In the incredibly powerful and heart wrenching "Five Days Left," we meet Mara and Scott. Mara is a successful woman who is facing the thought of what will happen to her as she deals with a devastating degenerative disease. Scott, on the other hand, is dealing with having to return the boy that he is been fostering and loves back to his mother who is in jail. Both situations are incredibly difficult. They're both situations that I hope that I never find myself in. The author takes an unflinching look at the decisions that both of the characters make in the last five days that they have left.
The key to why I enjoyed this book so much is that the other had a really good way of bringing the characters to life and giving me some insight into what they were thinking and what they were going through. This book will stick with me for a long time and these characters will be stuck in my head. Both characters have to make decisions, which allows the readers to see their innermost thoughts and what really makes them tick.
It takes a lot for a book to make me cry. Books can make me sad but only the most powerful books can make me actually shed tears. This book definitely made me cry and feel all sorts of emotions. I love books that make you think long after you close the book. The author had a great way of making me, as a reader, really feel for both of these characters and put myself in their shoes. You keep hoping that everything is going to be for it okay for these characters because you get to know them so well but you know that even books don't always have happy endings. The writing of the book kept me guessing and kept me hoping until the very end. This is definitely a good read! ...more
"This Star Won't Go Out" is a collection of journal entries, letters, and other things from Esther Grace Earl, who is probably most notably known as b"This Star Won't Go Out" is a collection of journal entries, letters, and other things from Esther Grace Earl, who is probably most notably known as being the inspiration behind Hazel Grace, who appears in John Green's "The Fault in Our Stars." After reading this book, it is no wonder that Green was inspired enough to write a character based on Esther. Esther got very sick as a child and carried her illness and all of the trials and tribulations that brings through her teenage years. What should have been some of the most carefree years of her life were marred by illness yet she remained strong!
It's always difficult to see a young person dealing with such a grave illness but you can see how full of life Esther was and why she was such a big inspiration. She went through things that most adults would have trouble dealing with. It was so fascinating to me to read her innermost thoughts and all of the things that went through her head. This book is also quite sad to read because it doesn't have a happy ending. That being said there's a lot of inspiration to be found in this person's life that left the world too soon....more
"Conversion" is the story of several teenage girls at St. Joan's Academy, a small private school in Danvers, Massachusetts. The book follows several o"Conversion" is the story of several teenage girls at St. Joan's Academy, a small private school in Danvers, Massachusetts. The book follows several of these girls as they fall ill with tics and other symptoms that seem to be totally unexplained. The town becomes an immediate media circus as many people try to figure out what is happening to these girls and why they are falling ill. Is there a connection to what happened in Salem Village back in the 1700s?
I was drawn to this book because it seemed interesting to me to tie the present back to something that happened to the same place three centuries prior. The Salem witch trials are still endlessly fascinating to so many people, myself included. I think many people are so interesting because it seems like something that couldn't happen today. This book shows that sometimes hysteria can occur no matter what time period you're talking about.
The premise of the book was interesting but the story was a little slow in some spots. Some of this story got bogged down in telling the stories of so many different people. I found it a little bit hard to keep track of who we were talking about. I had to keep going back in the story to figure it all out. It feels like it took a really long time to get to the overall conflict of the story. The storyline is intriguing but I wanted to be pulled into the mystery little bit more and that did not really happen with this book. Overall, the story has an interesting premise but moved a bit slowly for my liking....more