Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.


This is a weekly feature that is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For this week, the topic was "Top Ten Things I am Thankful For." Hope that you enjoy, and let me know some of the things you are thankful for this holiday season!

1)      Family/Friends: This year has been quite the year. Lots of decision-making and leaps were taken. I could never, and I can’t emphasize this enough, NEVER, have done any of this without my support system. I am truly blessed to have such an amazing family and network of friends who have shown their support emotionally, through guidance, through the opening of their homes to me, and giving me the confidence to take chances!

2)      Coffee: Really, let’s be honest, I wouldn’t survive without the amazing ness of this beverage.

3)      Scandal: The show, not the actual act. I am obsessed with this show. I am ashamed because I am not ashamed of the love I have for this show. I don’t care for drama in my life, so this show gives me a little dramatic fix when I need it. And you just never know what is going to happen……each week I find myself with my jaw to the floor in shock. Shonda Rhimes is a genius!

4)      Being Employed: There are many who are not able to find a steady job right now, and with the holidays coming up, I am even more grateful to have a new job!

5)      Barnes N Noble: Or really any bookstore for that matter. This is where I go after a bad day, when I need me time, or just want to be surrounded by books for a little while. It makes me so sad that everything is starting to become all electronic….I cringe when another bookstore closes!

6)      Blankets: Doesn’t matter what color, shape, or size, there is nothing like curling up on the couch on a rainy day surrounded by the warmth of a great blanket and book.

7)      Pinterest: I know that it’s probably more of a waste of my time more than anything else. But I love the DIY ideas I get from it! There’s something for everyone on Pinterest!

8)      Having Basic Rights: To be honest, I am probably not nearly as grateful and thankful as I should be about this. I sometimes forget what a privilege it is to grow up and live in a country that has given me the choice of an education/career/childbirth, etc. I know this was not always the case, and I am also aware of some of the battles (same-sex marriage) that are still ongoing today. However, with that being said, there are still countries that don’t allow women to go to school, are given up as a child bride at the age of 11, and those who aren’t even given basic rights!

9)      Post-its: I make lists on those things allllll day long. I heart lists! :) And I know that I could make them on my phone and probably save trees in the process, but for me post-its are just so much more fun to use. They have neon color options, pastel options, small one, long ones, some post-its are lined, while other are not. The options are endless!

10)  Ryan Gosling: I mean…do I even need to explain?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling

By: Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

My Rating: 3 stars

Who Should Read This: Anyone who likes mysteries, but nothing too scary. This had a good plot twist, but you don't have to worry about anything gruesome. People interested in J.K. Rowling would probably also want to check this out!

Synopsis/My Thoughts:

I tried to dive into this book without any expectations. I knew that J.K Rowling had been the ghost writer, and although I LOVED the Harry Potter series, I was afraid I would find myself comparing the two when I shouldn’t because I knew these books would be so different from each other. The book started off great with the death of Lula Landry, coveted supermodel, and then jumps to a couple of months later with the character Robin starting a new temp job with a man by the name of Cormoran Stirke. The story is predominantly told from the point of view of Strike, with bits of Robin’s perspective from time to time. Strike has just broken up with his fiancĂ©, is having loads of money woes, and has a lack of clients. Then a man by the name of John Bristow, older brother to a deceased friend of Strike’s, comes into the office and requests Strike find the person who killed his sister, Lula Landry. The problem is Lula’s death has already been deemed a suicide. Although Strike himself thinks that John is wasting his money he decides to take the case on. Of course, through his investigation Strike comes to realize John is correct in his assumption of foul play in regards to his sister’s death, and so Strike becomes determined to find the truth.

The storyline overall, was pretty good. It could have been a little faster paced and a tiny bit more dramatic for me, but being from mostly the point of view from Strike, the story was very meticulously written. It was written in the way that showed the reader how Strike worked and enhanced his character’s subtle, no drama attitude. I think at some points I got frustrated because I wanted to know exactly what Strike was thinking in regards to who the killer was, and you are left in suspense of this for the majority of the book. I mean, I definitely kept reading because I was trying to see if any of my assumptions were correct. The writing was well written, not really surprising, but the one thing that I would have liked more of is having more character development for Robin. I felt like the reader kept getting small glimpses into who she was and how she felt, and then all of a sudden it went back to the point of view of Strike. I really liked Robin’s character because of her enthusiasm for the job and how dedicated she was even though her fiancĂ© didn’t approve of it, so I thought she deserved more time in the book. There was even some teasing I felt in relation to her and Strike’s relationship. They meet at the beginning of the book, but I feel like the reader could start to subtly see some chemistry between the two of them, and I started to kind of root for them. Probably one of my favorite characters though was Guy Some. He plays a small role in the book, but his attitude and eccentricity was addicting, and I found myself hoping that he would pop up in other parts of the book.

Even though I had my differences with parts of the book, I commend J.K. Rowling in writing a book for a different genre. Although the book was a little slow at times I found that overall I enjoyed it. As I stated before it was very well written, and in the end I was surprised on who the killer was. Once Strike started to explain the pieces I found myself wondering how I didn’t see it! I am a fan of trying to figure it all out and finding out in the end if I am right or wrong. This time, I was wrong. Way wrong. But maybe that is just a testament to the book! If you have read the book let me know what you think!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

By: Carol Rifka Brunt

Rating: 4 stars

Who Should Read This: This book is for those who are looking for a story to read a powerful story about loss and love, and how we find friendships in the most unlikely places.

Synopsis (Goodreads): 1987. There’s only one person who has ever truly understood 14 year old June Elbus, and that’s he uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about it, June’ world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life – someone who will help her to heal and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own self.

My Thoughts:

June is a 14-year old who has lost her best friend, her Uncle Finn, whom she loved most in the world. He was he confidant, the person who takes part in her favorite memories, the one person who she feels she can actually be herself around and who understands her. Tragically though, Finn has contracted HIV and dies of AIDS, leaving June feeling like her life has become one confusing, downward spiral. And then she meets Toby. Someone she didn’t even really know existed until her Uncle’s funeral. She finds out he was her late uncle’s partner, who her mother ad family view as “the killer,” the one who took her uncle away from them all. Feeling confused and frustrated herself, June attempts to keep Toby out of her life, but when he shows up at her house one day when she is alone and gives her, her Uncle’s tea set. Something in which she has always treasured, and with the promise of other things her uncle left her, June finds herself drawn to him realizing he knew a side of her uncle that she never did.

This book captured me right from the start. I used to work in HIV, so after reading what this book was all about, I knew I had to get it. I was not disappointed. From the very beginning my heart ached for many of the characters and I realized that this story was ultimately about love in its many forms. Whether it is the love of a dear uncle, a sister who picks on you relentlessly, a mother who is just trying to protect her children from the evils of the outside world, or the love you find in a new friendship you never thought would happen. Throughout the entire book, June is so vulnerable and I found myself wanting to protect her, while also wanting to let her experience situations that would push her to grow no matter how uncomfortable she might find herself to be. Her innocence is very endearing, and a lot of the time I felt I could relate to what she was feeling in her confusion towards life and its many questions. This is possibly why I might have also wanted to push her to try new things! And then there’s Toby. Oh, Toby! I absolutely loved him. His sincerity and patience is a gift, and his persistence in attempting to befriend June, when at first she deals constant low blows to him, is inspiring. The author did a fantastic job in shaping the characters and making them relatable to the reader. This book deals with some serious issues, but does so in a way that the reader roots for everyone. Even Greta, June’s sister, who is constantly hot and cold in their relationship, has demons she is struggling with from which you want to shield her. Not all is what it seems in this book, but that only enhances the writer’s goal for the reader. You learn to realize that there are always two sides to a story, and although on the surface some may seem perfect and that they have it all together, that is rarely the case.

I commend the Carol Rifka Brunt on a well written noel. I almost made it through the book without crying (was fighting them back ½ the time) but in the end I crumbled. I have not read many fiction novels lately that have done such a fantastic job showing the power that forgiveness, love and friendship truly have. This is definitely a recommended read!