Monday, November 6, 2017

Book Review: Carry On, Warrior


My Rating: 5

If you are in need of a good laugh- read this book. If you are in need of raw honesty- read this book. If you are simply in need of some relatable writing that will leave you laughing and crying- read this book.

Carry On, Warrior is a collection of stories that explore all of the ups and downs of motherhood, marriage, friendship, mental health, addiction, and family. Written by the founder of blog Momastery, Glennon Doyle Melton had a huge following before she even published the book, and after reading her real words, I can see why.

Honestly, I had never heard of Momastery or Glennon before picking up the book, but I started on one of the stories and found I could not stop. Glennon lives far from the perfect life, as do we all, but instead of being ashamed of her past (she suffered from addiction and bulimia) or trying to put up a front about how put-together she is (she often has stories about her depression or lack of housekeeping skills), she literally embraces her messy life and makes you want to do the same.

After reading her words and thoughts, she truly inspired me to want to be more real and authentic in my own life, as it does me no good to try to appear to have it figured out or that I’m doing okay when I’m not. Whether you are married and have kids or not, I feel like you can still benefit from her insights, words of wisdom, and ideas about life and love.

Overall, this book is quick, funny, heartbreaking, inspiring, real, raw, and authentic. Made up of short snippets and chapters, you will gobble it up and love her every word. I can’t wait to read more from this author. In the meantime, I’ll be embracing my messy, beautiful life.

-Laura

Friday, October 27, 2017

Book Review: Behind Closed Doors


My Rating: 5

It has been quite awhile since I’ve read such a shocking psychological thriller. To say that this book surprised me would be an understatement.

Behind Closed Doors is about Grace and Jack- the perfect married couple. They throw lavish dinner parties with exquisite meals in their stunning home, and are the main source of jealousy for other couples that admire them. Jack is a successful lawyer and Grace is his loving wife… or so it seems.

All is good with the couple to the outside world, but behind closed doors, things are nowhere near what they seem. The couple has many dark secrets, and their entire outward appearance is a lie.

I literally cannot tell you anything else about the context of this book, as I want you to be just as surprised by it all as I was. Each chapter alternates between past and present, so you begin to understand everything that happened to get to the current moment. The amount of planning and forethought this book required of the author was simply amazing, and I couldn’t even begin to guess how it was going to end. When it does, however, I promise you will have such an extreme book hangover, that you won’t know what to do with yourself.

Overall, Behind Closed Doors was worth every second of hype it has received since its release. It was so dark and twisted, yet completely believable, and it had you trying to figure it out until the final sentence. I loved how it ended and it made me instantly want to pick it up and begin again. If you decide to check it out, just remember, you never truly know what happens Behind Closed Doors…

-Busy Brunette

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: The Good Widow



My Rating: 4

I finished this book in under two days. TWO DAYS. Given the fact that I have a toddler now, that's saying something.

The Good Widow is about Jacks, a woman who finds out that her husband has died in a tragic car accident when on his business trip to Kansas. Or so she thought. Turns out he died in Hawaii… with another woman.

Now Jacks is left with not only the devastating blow that her husband was lying to her about his whereabouts, but also the fact that he was having an affair, as well. She is trying to pick up the pieces of her life when the other woman’s fiancĂ© arrives at her door, left with the same questions Jacks has about the mystery surrounding their deaths. Together, they will try to find out the truth about who their significant others really were.

The book had a lot of twists and turns I never saw coming. I liked how it switched perspectives and timelines of before/after the accident, as I felt this made the pace go a lot faster. The feelings the characters had to deal with were real and raw. So were the surprises that just kept coming. While I was slightly annoyed by a few of the twists, for the most part it was a great story.

Overall, The Good Widow is an excellent book if you are looking for a fast-paced novel full of suspense without any of the horror or gore you may find in other similar books. The plot is intriguing, and I guarantee it will have you hooked until the very end. If you are looking for a quick thriller- you will not be disappointed! 


-Busy Brunette 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: A Game of Thrones



My Rating: 5

Considering I have been a loyal fan of the drama on HBO since the beginning, it is kind of embarrassing to admit I just recently started reading the books in the Game of Thrones collection. Better late than never, right?

When I picked up the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire), I was seriously intimidated by the sheer size of the thing- 800+ pages. I was even further intimidated when I saw the detailed map at the beginning of the book, and all of the family trees and histories in the appendix of the novel. This one isn't for the faint of heart.

Although the book seemed to be large and in charge, I never once felt like the content was “too intelligent” or over my head. In fact, the writing style was surprisingly engaging and not at all what I imagined/feared, making me upset that I hadn't started it sooner. However, I am happy that I watched the series first and was familiar with the characters, as there are a lot. A LOT (repeated for emphasis). Once you understand who everyone is/how they are related/who are allies/who are enemies, etc., the book becomes extremely enjoyable.

Each chapter is in a different character’s perspective, which makes it much more fast-paced and interesting. I found it amazing that the author was able to distinguish each character so clearly, creating complex people and personalities along with their detailed back stories and histories. He obviously spent a lot of time planning for this story, and it is well done.

Overall, A Game of Thrones is definitely worth reading if you are a fan of the show or just curious in any way. The book is long and tiresome at certain points, but for the most part intriguing and worth the length. Now to see if I can muster up the energy to read the rest of them…



-Busy Brunette 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Review: The Couple Next Door



My rating: 2

When my book club first chose The Couple Next Door, I was extremely excited. I have been really into suspenseful books that prove to be page-turners, which is how everyone described this one, and I don't deny that. However, overall, I was not that impressed with this popular hit.

The story is about a couple with a young baby who are invited to a dinner party next door. The babysitter cancels at the last minute and since no babies are allowed, the husband (Marco) convinces the wife (Anne) to just use the monitor and check on the baby every half hour. Weird to begin with, am I right?

They go home after the dinner party to discover the baby is missing, and the rest of the story is about them trying to find her while the police try to figure out who is to blame, and if the baby is dead or alive. The plot was fast at first but really began to become repetitive and slow as the book progressed. The whole thing also began to remind me of a certain movie (do you know it?), which left me feeling slightly cheated.

They end up revealing who stole the baby (guessed it) and added an ending that you would never predict, however, I cannot say that I feel this was a wise choice or that it added any real value to the book. In fact, I think it really just pissed me off more and made me mad I wasted my time.

Overall, not worth the hype the book is receiving and definitely not my cup of tea. Did you read it? What did you think?


-Busy Brunette 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Book Review: Carrie




My Rating: 4

While I am well aware that this book was published quite a few years ago, it took me a little bit of time to check this classic horror novel out. You may think you know the story of Carrie, especially if you have ever seen clips of the famous movie made after the novel, but you are probably completely mistaken unless you have ever read the book. 

I love Stephen King and admire him in an unhealthy way, so I knew that I had to read this book. If you enjoy his writing, you will want to read Carrie, one of his first published novels that made him famous, as well. 

The story is about an outsider girl who consistently gets made fun of by her peers. One event leads to another, and she finally has enough. What those around her don't realize, however, is that she has telekinetic powers, and can move objects with her mind. This leads to an ultimate and gory ending. 

What I found the most interesting about the book was the fact that although King originally wrote it in 1974, a lot of it is still relevant today. I think that while the book isn't intending to be moralistic in nature, that it should be seen as a warning against the destruction that can occur when we treat other people badly. Obviously it is meant to be a horror novel and a fantasy, but hurtful behavior has consequences, in some way or another. 

Overall, this book didn't disappoint and it was exciting to read one of the first major novels that catapulted a career. 


-Busy Brunette

Book Review: Leaving Time





My Rating: 5

I just finished this book about four minutes ago and was so excited to write the review. As I sped through the last 50 pages or so, I found myself constantly shaking my head in surprise, looking at my husband in shock, and alternating between “What!” and “I did NOT see that coming!”


Needless to say, this one got me.


Leaving Time was my first Jodi Picoult book and let me tell you, it was long overdue. Being an avid reader my entire life, I had heard of her as an author but had never taken the time to see what she was all about. I am now already looking forward to my next read by her.


Leaving Time’s main character is Jenna Metcalf, a thirteen-year-old girl who is wise beyond her years and is a self-proclaimed old soul. Her mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances when she was three-years-old and she has obsessively been trying to find her ever since. The grandmother she lives with is no help and her father suffered a breakdown the night of the disappearance and has remained institutionalized for the past ten years. She is determined to try to find her mother, who she is convinced did not leave her, and decides she will do it all on her own.


Well, mostly on her own.


She enlists a washed-up psychic, Serenity, and an alcoholic former cop, Virgil, who was part of the team that investigated that tragic night at the Elephant Sanctuary where Jenna’s parents worked and researched. Both of them have their own secrets they are trying to cope with and all of them must work together to try to make everything make sense again.


The book is told from multiple points of view, which in no way distracts or takes away from the story. I found it extremely intriguing to hear all of their sides of the story while trying to piece together the puzzle. I enjoyed that one of the voices was Jenna’s mother, Alice, in the past. I loved the research Alice shared about elephants and it was amazing to hear all of these extraordinary things about these magnificent creatures. Picoult definitely did her share of research and it made for an even more enveloping storyline.


The twists and turns in this book are unreal, and just when you think you have it figured out and that you are the best super-sleuth there is, BOOM, something else crazy comes your way and you have to start from scratch. There is no preparing for this one, and you will want to read it again as soon as you finish.


The characters are great. The writing is great. Overall, I was completely in love with it. Trust me when I say that you will love it, too. And don't worry, Jodi Picoult, I won't be leaving you anytime soon.


-Busy Brunette