I thought it was well written and narrated. For that, I should give it 4 stars, but I can't say I personally loved it. There were some elements of Hol I thought it was well written and narrated. For that, I should give it 4 stars, but I can't say I personally loved it. There were some elements of Hollywood history that were striking and moving (particularly his segment on the gritty underbelly of Malibu in the 70's), but once we get out of his childhood, most of the book feels like a long conveyor belt of celebrity names and stories about movies and shows I've never heard of. I will say his voice imitations of celebrities cracked me up, and I did love the last chapter for the reflection/insight.
I think I am more interested in the grown up Rob Lowe than I am of his history. It's not that his history isn't interesting, it's just that I didn't really know who he was (other than "a heartthrob" and the rumor mill around his name over the years) until Parks & Recreation.
The humor in his role in Parks & Rec surprised me tremendously, and that is what appeals to me still: the adult who made it through his personal grist mill and found himself. The story of the mistakes of his 20's is not appealing to me right on the heels of another memoir with a similar theme (I really need to read something light and fluffy next, I think). Perhaps the next memoir will be a better fit for me.
In the meantime, I think it's a great read for longtime fans of Rob Lowe. As others have said, it IS nice to read a celebrity memoir that doesn't bash other actors. ...more
So, a side story first: I listened to a Booklist Webinar on Romances and had a huge list of titles to check out, this one among them. At the time, I'd So, a side story first: I listened to a Booklist Webinar on Romances and had a huge list of titles to check out, this one among them. At the time, I'd written down several LGBTQ titles, feeling I needed to read up and get a better familiarity with what is obviously a rapidly expanding genre.
I put the book on hold and forgot about it. When it eventually came in, I had forgotten its origins and thought it came from the LGBTQ list. I read and found myself stumped how this book was going to evolve into a romance between the female characters. Based on a true story, too? Wow, that seems strange... I mean, I'm sure f/f relationships are as old as time, but 3 women? And how would that be documented in such a way one could research and create a historical fiction?
I finally referred back to Goodreads and realized I had some crossed wires. Ahhh, ok, it's Christian Historical Fiction! Huh... did someone recommend it, then? Didn't seem likely, given one friend's lukewarm review. I referred back to my notes from the webinar and there it was, listed as "biblical Romance about a runaway slave."
It doesn't really fit that description, either. It's not really biblical or a romance, and she's not a "runaway slave."
So... at least I read enough to be clear on what it is not... it is not LGBTQ, a romance, biblical, or about a runaway slave!
It IS a clean read historical fiction novel that largely focuses on the vulnerability of a freed (and illiterate) black woman in the late 1800's America and a woman's (or, rather, womens') experience of the Oregon Trail.
Much in the way The Higher Power of Lucky examines adult (in that case, alcoholism/addiction) issues through the lens of a child's naivety, Mockingbir Much in the way The Higher Power of Lucky examines adult (in that case, alcoholism/addiction) issues through the lens of a child's naivety, Mockingbird provides a portrait of grief and pain through the eyes of a child on the Autism spectrum. Caitlin (who has Aspergers) and her father (a widower) are working through the loss of her brother Devon after a school shooting.
Caitlin can't connect what she is feeling and experiencing to emotions, or understand the emotions and reactions of people around her, but through her eyes, we see a simple, but vivid, portrait of a parent's grief and the confusion of a community trying to recover from a tragedy. It gets a bit...I'm not sure... meta, maybe? ... as the character herself doesn't understand it and struggles to see it with the help of her school counselor and friend, but through her experience, readers not on the spectrum can see it all clearly.
The book is therefore not only a portrait, but an illustration of the disconnect. It is simultaneously detached and intimate in a way that is almost unsettling. I really appreciated this and Erskine's attempt to create understanding.
It didn't leave me feeling good, but it was thought provoking. ...more
This was mentioned in a romance webinar & caught my attention as both LGBTQ (a fast growing genre) and a romance that also covers some unusual subThis was mentioned in a romance webinar & caught my attention as both LGBTQ (a fast growing genre) and a romance that also covers some unusual subject matter. This is about a relationship that springs up between two women while one is struggling to deal with rape and the aftermath. I was curious how the author would handle the subject and somehow tie a romance into it and if she could make that work.
Seems like she did.
While there is a romance that develops between the two characters and a couple steamy scenes, the main focus of the book is on Kim's situation. It handles the topic of sexual violence respectfully and thoughtfully (with particular attention to the stress of the offender being a superior officer) without getting too dark or heavy. It's a short book and a quick read, so do not expect a great deal of depth, but the characters and story felt believable.
As a quick read that doesn't drag readers down too deep, it's also not a bad introduction to the (considerably) darker (yet fantastic) fiction novel Sand Queen, by Helen Benedict, which draws on real women's accounts to create the story of a woman stationed in the middle east struggling with sexual assault.
Edit - to add: I'd agree with other reviewers that it seems tied up pretty neatly at the end. A bit too tidily, but I don't feel too bothered.
I would also agree that there doesn't feel like all that much to differentiate the two main characters from each other as the book moves along. That did not really seem like a focal point - so I wouldn't say this is a strong contender for the romance side of things, but more for the rest of the story. ...more
No idea how this ended up on my to-read list. I'm totally confused. Maybe a Hunger Games read alike? The main character is teenaged assassin pulled fr No idea how this ended up on my to-read list. I'm totally confused. Maybe a Hunger Games read alike? The main character is teenaged assassin pulled from mines where she'd been enslaved and sent to die, to fight in a competition to become the King's champion. It's a nifty premise, and goes all kinds of different directions as it moves along, being a bit mystery/a bit supernatural/a bit love triangle/a bit hunger games mashup (if not a few more things crammed in there).
It's rough around the edges, but it's a debut she started at 16, so...I say: well done. Reminded me a bit of Eragon in that way, though more polished.
I almost think half the fun of this book is reading the wildly diverse reviews about it. Some people HATE this gal, others think she's a badass. I more or less liked her, and didn't feel strongly in either direction. I didn't expect her to be a "nice" girl, but I will admit I was amused at her vanity and Barbie-like dress collection. I, too, was amused at the time she spent reading, but what else was there to do? It's not like she could train for 18 hours a day.
Overall, it's a quick YA read and it was thankfully much better than the cotton candy fluff I was working through just recently - particularly in "plucky female character" land. I hear the second book is markedly better, so that should be a fun read.
A couple things irked me: (view spoiler)[ Really? A secret door? Oy vey. How does anyone go in a room with a tapestry and not look behind it, really. The Secret Door to the Secret Passage is ALWAYS THERE.
Why is she so danged rude to Elena (did I get that name right?)? It seemed unnecessary when she seemed to be dying for a friend. You'd think with her ties and feelings about the fae and the past, she'd be thrilled, there.
This happiness and "enjoy your accomplishment" in becoming the champion. That was all odd to me. I suppose that was all on behalf of her freedom being in sight? Or, because this chick is off her meds and can't figure out what to get excited about.
Her sudden turn towards Chaol. Nothing really felt like there were sparks there (for her, at least), though there seemed to be a great friendship. I liked him better than the prince, but that was just strange. (hide spoiler)]
It's Christian Historical Romance that readers might appreciate as a light-hearted, clean read. It's meant to be a bit comical with a touch of drama. It's Christian Historical Romance that readers might appreciate as a light-hearted, clean read. It's meant to be a bit comical with a touch of drama. The main character is a plucky independent woman who speaks her mind and doesn't care for the consequences.
Some people seem to really love this and found it funny and enjoyable. That said, it just wasn't my cuppa tea and I couldn't finish. I couldn't really embrace or believe the story/characters/sequence of events that lead to the happily ever after. It felt forced and cardboard to me, but might qualify as fun fluff reading for someone else. It felt a bit like revamp of Pretty Woman in a historical setting (with a hat girl instead of a hooker).
I love Brené Brown's work and her insight and I love recommending her books to others - they're fantastic, eye opening, life changing...
This is more o I love Brené Brown's work and her insight and I love recommending her books to others - they're fantastic, eye opening, life changing...
This is more of the same. For that, I'd give it 5 stars. There's a great deal of good information in this book.
But, there are also parts that need to be taken with a grain of salt. Ultimately, some personal anecdotes she includes in the book seem to conflict with the message she's sending about living with integrity.
When I was going into 4th grade, I moved to the United States from Canada. I was a socially awkward, pale, nerdy kid who didn't fit in with my tanned, "friends since kindergarten" Ohio classmates. I talked funny, I was weird and I was bullied a bit by some classmates. I was always tangled up in some conflict, trying to establish some sort of safe ground for myself where I wasn't the odd kid everyone hated. One girl, the "popular" girl of our class, made up nicknames for me. Her favorite was "Canadian skunk." It caught on. It sucked.
We went on to high school. We never did become friends, but we didn't really continue with much hostility. We moved in different circles - or, largely, I moved between them and didn't quite fit anywhere, and she was in the "in" crowd. Senior year rolled around and we had a creative writing class. One of the assignments was to write a letter apologizing to someone. She wrote a letter apologizing to me for her behavior when we were kids. We read our letters in front of the class, and it would have been great, except in the process...she listed several of the nicknames, including that one. They still had the power to humiliate me, and I was horrified and embarrassed.
The equivalent of this happens in this book. Particularly with someone called "Pamela."
In my case, I understand that my classmate's intention was to put herself out there and make an apology. She was trying to do the right thing and own her bad behavior (as I expect Brené tries to do as she candidly talks about her sessions with her therapist and lets herself be seen in her vulnerable state). But in the process of trying to own her behavior and do better, she still slam dunked me like a pro. I didn't walk away feeling better, I walked away feeling like a loser.
I feel the same thing happens in a few of Brené's examples. In Pamela's case, a "written for my own gratification, but never sent" email is included in the book. I listened and thought, "You sure did send it...to thousands upon thousands of people. Holy shit..."
Was there a way to tell those stories and put herself out there that didn't tear someone else up in the process? I don't know. Would "I had a hotel roommate who blatantly broke rules, and I couldn't stand it, I thought she was a jerk" be as engaging as all the details? Maybe not, but it would have taken the edge of gossip out of it and protected the dignity of the other people involved.
So, there are parts of this book that made me feel like it needed a couple more runs through the editing strainer before hitting the shelves. Those parts took the "awesome" out and just made it "pretty good and thought provoking." I love the lesson of making ourselves vulnerable - working to be a better person, live with integrity, face our pain and fear and flailing dead on, and I feel the author is doing that, but I also feel some of those anecdotes ultimately undermine the overall message.
Edit: I'm still going to give it that one more star and make it at least 4 stars. Her work is too good to not give 4 stars. But I dislike that I felt uncomfortable at some parts while listening, and not because it was making me face myself - but because I felt some dingaling out there was getting much more than they deserved in payback for being oblivious....more