Those of you who are fans of Kristin Hannah will love this book, even though it’s a complete departure from her normAs reviewed on www.dineanddish.net
Those of you who are fans of Kristin Hannah will love this book, even though it’s a complete departure from her normal style. The Nightingale is a moving story of two French sisters who lived during World War II. One sister is part of the French Resistance and one sister is left at home forced to house Nazi soldiers. Their struggles over time and harrowing events they are faced with, along with Hannah’s descriptive writing, make this one of the best historical fiction books I’ve read.
I actually listened to this book on audio (I LOVE my Audible.com account, especially for keeping me entertained while I am on the treadmill) and I have to say it is one of the very best narrated books I’ve listened to....more
I’m going to come right out and say it – even with a few months remaining in 2017 and plenty of books left to read, I know the book Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine will make my list of favorite reads from this year.
This gem of a book is about a very quirky woman in her late 20’s, Eleanor Oliphant. Eleanor is a definite loaner with no friends, she has absolutely no filter, and says whatever is on her mind. In fact, I found myself laughing out loud at times at Eleanor’s straight forward bluntness when dealing with people.
Everything in Eleanor’s life changes when she finally makes a friend. As her friendship evolves, Eleanor evolves and the story takes an endearing, heartwarming turn.
I laughed and cried and laughed some more. If you loved the book A Man Called Ove and falled in love with Ove as much as I did, you’ll absolutely love Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I listened to the audio book version through Audible and the narrator was fantastic, but I’ve heard great things about the written version as well.
I give Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine 5 really solid stars. I hope you’ll love this book as much as I did!
My mom has been telling me to read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith for as long as I can remember. Why I didn’t listen to her before now, I’ll never know, as this classic novel was one of the best books I have ever read. This is Francie Nolan’s coming of age story as well as the story of her family and their struggle and hardship in Brooklyn during the early 1900’s. You will absolutely fall in love with this sweet, innocent, quirky, compassionate, creative girl. Your heart will break a million times, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll mourn and you’ll be incredibly sad the story is over when you reach the final page. I can’t recommend this book enough. ...more
I actually listened to the audio version of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and really liked it. The narrator was great and the storyline had me laughing out loud at parts. Don is a genetics professor who has aspbergers syndrome. He decides one day that he really thinks he’d like to find a wife, so he creates The Wife Project, a scientific step by step questionnaire that should validate any potential candidates and narrow down to the perfect one. What Don doesn’t understand, until he meets Rosie, is that the right person for him may not meet any of his Wife Project criteria. This is a funny, heart warming, and endearing book....more
I just finished this book and it has to be one of the most interesting, thought provoking books I've ever read. It's fascinating to think how changingI just finished this book and it has to be one of the most interesting, thought provoking books I've ever read. It's fascinating to think how changing one thing in history can effect the future... in good ways and in bad. I highly, highly recommend this book! (This was my first Stephen King book - but from what I understand it is not like his typical books.) Loved it. ...more
This Is Where I Leave You has been one of my favorite books recently. It’s irreverent and raunchy and will make youAs reviewed on www.dineanddish.net
This Is Where I Leave You has been one of my favorite books recently. It’s irreverent and raunchy and will make you laugh out loud, and at the same time will make you cry tears of sadness and sorrow. If you like to shake things up a little with your reading in the summer, this book will definitely do that!...more
Shonda Rhimes is the writer behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Private Practice and How To Get Away With Murder. It’s no doubt that Shonda is an extremely busy, successful woman. What’s not known is Shonda has severe anxiety…numbing anxiety…which keeps her from saying yes to anything that puts her in the spotlight. Year of Yes highlights Shonda’s year of committing to say yes to anything that came her way… playing with her kids, giving commencement speeches, doing TV interviews, etc. What resulted was a life changing year for Shonda, including a 120 pound weight loss.
I know for me, when I did the summer of yes this past year with my kids, it changed how I viewed the word yes in a very positive way. I could relate to this book so much because I learned before reading it even how powerful “yes” can be!
Fans of Shonda Rhimes shows will love her writing style and the inside peek into her life. Even non-fans will gain new perspectives and be inspired by Year of Yes. ...more
I’ll start off by telling you I’m giving this book 5 stars, which is something I didn’t think I’d do for a legal thriller. Defending Jacob is about a family struggling to hold things together when their teenage son is accused and charged with murder. The question at the core of this novel is… “How far would you go to protect your child?” It’s a heart wrenching, edge of your seat, can’t put down kind of book with twists and turns all along the way that keep you intrigued. I’ve never really been into the legal thriller genre, but Landay’s incredible way with the written word has made me an instant fan. He’s a really great storyteller. I can’t wait to see what other books he has that I can delve into. If they are anything close to Defending Jacob, I know I won’t be disappointed!...more
I hate to do this as I feel like maybe I lost something important I should have caught in this book, and so many people have raved about it, but I jusI hate to do this as I feel like maybe I lost something important I should have caught in this book, and so many people have raved about it, but I just couldn't love this book like I wanted to.
I think the premise of the book is a beautiful one, and the writing was beautiful, but I was lost the whole time and had to force myself to keep reading so I could try and figure out why this book was so loved.
Maybe I'm not deep enough... and maybe I have too many distractions going on in my life to be able to focus solely on the plot of the book, but at this time I did not love it.
I will say this reminds me of The Time Travelers Wife and The Ordinary Sadness of Lemon cake because those were two books everyone loved and I really didn't. ...more
As reviewed on my blog http://dineanddish.net/2013/01/connec... : I will be 100% honest about this book… I didn’t like it, at all, until I was more thaAs reviewed on my blog http://dineanddish.net/2013/01/connec... : I will be 100% honest about this book… I didn’t like it, at all, until I was more than half way through it. The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe, is a highly acclaimed memoir about a man, his terminally ill mom, and the unofficial book club they’ve created together. It took me a long time to connect with this book, but by the end I was hooked and needed tissues to dab the tears coming down my face. I gave The End of Your Life Book Club 4 stars on Goodreads, but would have done an actual 3.5 if that option was available....more
I rarely give chick lit books 5 stars, but I will admit to really liking Arranged by Catherine McKenzie. Ann Blythe has everything in life… a great job, a good family, wonderful friends, but failed relationship after failed relationship has her ready to find “the one”. Intending on going to a dating service, Anne finds herself at a service that does modern day arranged marriages instead. Funny, entertaining and light hearted, Arranged is definitely a very well written, fun, 5 star read....more
Madeline has a rare disease that has caused her to live her whole life in a bubble. When a cute neighbor moves in next door, they develop an interestiMadeline has a rare disease that has caused her to live her whole life in a bubble. When a cute neighbor moves in next door, they develop an interesting way of communicating, and fall in love. This is a sweet, unexpected romance - similar to The Fault In Our Stars - but not as sad. A quick read with great dialog and characters you'll fall in love with! Twists and turns as well... I wasn't expecting what happened in the last part of the book at all....more
OK friends, I usually wait until I have a few books to review when I do my Connect Through Reading posts, but I had to share this one with you now. I know summer is winding down and many of you are looking for a good book to read as you travel or are sitting by the pool.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I was up until 2am finishing this book. Even though I was incredibly tired, I couldn’t put it down until I figured out how it ended. In fact, I started reading it the night before we left for our Estes Park vacation and had to force myself to keep it shut until on the way home so I wouldn’t ignore my family the whole time we were away. Once it was open again, I was completely absorbed in the twists and turns of this story.
I don’t want to give anything away, but Gone Girl is a story about marriage, relationships and revenge with a whole lot of crazy thrown in. It’s a thrilling, twisted, insanely good read. I felt like the ending could have given a bit more closure, but other than that, loved it. I gave it 5 Stars.
Updated to add - one of the things I think really appealed to me about this story is that it was set in Carthage, MO area, which is close to where I grew up. I was very familiar with the setting and the characters being referred to throughout the book....more
I’m starting with a book that pushed to the top of my favorite books of 2012 list (which I’ll share soon!). Heft, by Liz Moore is a read you’ll connect with and you won’t want to let go when the book is over. Heft is about a 550 pound man, an alcoholic single mom and her son, a young house cleaner and a cast of additional characters that all weave together in a story of overcoming fear and obstacles, finding family and learning to love life. I closed the book on the final page and then immediately began scouring the internet wanting to know more about the author and not wanting to say goodbye to these characters. They had quickly become people I cared deeply about. Heft by Liz Moore is definitely a 5 star read!...more
Savor is a departure from some of my more typical shares. It’s also possible I am one of the last people on earth reAs reviewed on www.dineanddish.net
Savor is a departure from some of my more typical shares. It’s also possible I am one of the last people on earth recommending this book to you as I’ve seen it all over the place in the past couple of months, but there is really good reason for it. This is an absolutely beautiful book… it’s not a sit down and read cover to cover book (although that’s what I did), but more a daily devotional about everyday life and living abundantly (and sprinkled with really great recipes).
Definitely add this to your list of books to own and pull it out to read each morning. It’ll be a great way to start your day! (It would also make a great gift for a friend.)...more
I would give this book 4 stars for the first half and 3 stars for the second half. I loved the personal narrative and inside look at the 2016 electionI would give this book 4 stars for the first half and 3 stars for the second half. I loved the personal narrative and inside look at the 2016 election. Hillary and the obstacles she has overcome before, during and after the election inspires me. Also, she loves Chelsea so very much...I loved hearing her talk about her love for being Chelsea's mom.
The second half of the book really delved into the Wiki-Leaks and Russian interference into the election. It was fascinating, but got a little dry at points.
I'd definitely recommend this book for everyone to read. It was truly eye opening....more
Have your tissues near by when you read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. This is a beautiful memoir with a message everyone should read. Paul was a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer when he was in his early 30’s. In this story, Paul faces his mortality head on but also confronts the issue of how medical professionals treat the dying. As much as I loved the book, the epilogue by his wife was just as beautiful and life changing. ...more
I have another really great, 5 star book to recommend – The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. This is a heart wrenching, thought provoking story about a couple who makes a decision that will alter their lives, and the life of another family, forever. Without spoiling the plot, I can simply say this is a must read book… and one you’ll want to talk about with someone as soon as you are done reading it!...more
I finished this book today and honestly feel like I need a day or two to really process what I read. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is a dark, twisty modern classic that focuses on Esther, a person suffering from severe mental illness. It was a haunting book to read, in the sense that Esther seemed in the beginning to be a person who was constantly suffering from a distorted view of how the world was…everything was inherently bad. She suffered inside her head, through harrowing experiences and continuous suicidal thoughts/attempts. I was desperate for Esther to find hope, but with each turn of the page, hope seemed further away.
After reading The Bell Jar I was sad to discover author Sylvia Plath had committed suicide in her 30’s from carbon monoxide poisoning after sticking her head in a gas oven. Apparently, The Bell Jar, was a semi-autobiographical book, chronicling Plath’s own demons. I ended up giving this book 4 stars on Goodreads....more
Other People's Houses is about a high income neighborhood street in LA. It starts out with Frances, whThank you to Net Galley for an ARC of this book.
Other People's Houses is about a high income neighborhood street in LA. It starts out with Frances, who is a carpool mom who takes all of her neighborhood kids to school each day. One day, one of her neighbors kids forgets something important at home, so after dropping the kids of at school, she runs back to her neighbors house and ends up walking in on her neighbor Anne "in the act" with a younger man. It turns out Anne has been having an affair.
Basically, Other People's Houses is about how we don't know what's going on in other people's houses, even our closest friends and neighbors that we might see everyday. This book explores this theme with all of these different characters in Frances' neighborhood. There are revelations in each home that surprise and shock and aren't always as they seem.
I gave Other People's Houses 3 stars on Goodreads. I liked it, but it didn't blow me away, but it was a good read....more
As shared on my blog Dine & Dish http://dineanddish.net/2014/03/connec... I am such a big fan of Rainbow Rowell. I absolutely loved Eleanor & PAs shared on my blog Dine & Dish http://dineanddish.net/2014/03/connec... I am such a big fan of Rainbow Rowell. I absolutely loved Eleanor & Park and Attachments. Fangirl gets the same accolades from me. I don’t know what it is about her writing style, but I just love it. Fangirl is a young adult love story about Cath, a college freshman who has built quite the online fan base writing fan fiction. The problem is, Cath is so tied up in her fanfiction that she has no desire to experience life offline. This book is full of endearing characters… Cath’s twin sister Wren, her roommate Reagan and a friend named Levi. Readers will fall in love with all the characters and will experience “love”, Rainbow Rowell style. I swear Rainbow Rowell is the queen of writing characters with sexual tension. If you loved Rainbow Rowell’s other books, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Fangirl just as much! (On a sidenote… I skipped through a lot of the fanfiction inserts in the book and still loved it)....more
Left Neglected by Lisa Genova is about a high successful, chronically “busy” woman named Sarah. Sarah is living the life she always dreamed of as a top Human Resources executive in a prestigious firm. She resides in a highly affluent neighborhood outside of Boston with her husband and 3 kids. One day, everything changes for Sarah when she picks up a text while driving and is involved in a terrible, one car accident. As a result, Sarah is left with a traumatic brain injury called “Left Neglect”.
Left Neglect is an injury that leaves the patient with perfect visual skills, but the message that the survivor’s brain is providing is that the left side of his or her world does not exist. Basically they don’t recognize anything to the left side of their center of gravity. It’s a really bizarre condition that I knew nothing about prior to reading Left Neglected.
As you can imagine, with this injury, Sarah’s world changes drastically. She’s unable to really use the left side of her body, she can only read the right side of pages when she’s reading, etc. Her life has turned completely upside down, and readers get to see how Sarah comes to terms with her new life and has a shift in perspective and priorities because of it. In addition, this book has some fascinating character relationships that bring another level of depth to the book.
Left Neglected is a 3.5 star review book for me. I really liked it, it was a quick and easy read but I didn’t love it nearly as much as the other two books I’ve read by Lisa Genova – Still Alice and Inside the Obrien’s. I loved both of those books. I definitely recommend reading Left Neglected. Some of my favorite reader friends have even put it in their Top 10 category. Like I said, it was a great book…I just loved her others better....more
It’s hard for me to say I enjoyed this book because it was heartbreaking… but I love books that make me cry, and thiAs reviewed on www.dineanddish.net
It’s hard for me to say I enjoyed this book because it was heartbreaking… but I love books that make me cry, and this one certainly did. My friend Aggie told me about this book (she also shares GREAT book reviews so follow her.)
Five Days Left is about two people…Mara and Scott. Mara has been recently diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and decided at the time of her diagnosis that once she gets to a certain symptom, she will commit suicide on her next birthday. Scott is the foster parent of a little boy whose mother has promised to take the little boy back once she cleans up her act (her son was poorly neglected and not well taken care of). Scott has become extremely attached to the little boy.
The story unfolds in parallel as both Mara and Scott, who know each other through an online parenting forum, come down to their final five days…Mara of her life and Scott with his little boy. This book will rip your heart open, but it is so good....more
I started and finished this book yesterday on a long car trip and couldn’t wait to recommend it to you. Hush Little Baby is a debut novel by author Suzanne Redfearn. If this is her debut book, I can’t wait to see what else she comes out with in the future. Hush Little Baby is a suspense filled thriller about a successful woman, named Jillian, who has been married to an abusive man (cop) for 9 years. She struggles to find the courage to take her two children and leave. When she finally does, readers are taken on an edge of the seat adventure that will keep your heart racing and make you both want to and scared to turn the page to read what happens. Fans of books like Gone Girl or Safe Haven will really enjoy reading this novel....more
Do you remember how much I enjoyed the book What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty? It was one of my favorite books from last summer. Liane Moriarty’s book The Husband’s Secret is a fantastic read, clearly pushing Liane Moriarty into a league as one of my favorite writers. Cecilia finds a sealed envelope in her attic with the instructions on the outside to only open on the death of her husband. Her husband is still alive, but the torture of not knowing what is in the envelope is eating Cecilia alive. She eventually opens it and discovers a secret so shocking that it begins to destroy the world around her....more