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


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Book Review: Fractured



My Rating: 4

I finished this book in less than a day if that gives you any indication of how much I enjoyed it (and I have a young toddler so this was no easy feat). Every time I pick up a book that sounds like it will be suspenseful, I am hoping for an experience like this one. The writing was engaging, the plot gripping, and the emotions were electric. 

Fractured is the story of a famous author, Julie, who moves with her family to a new suburban neighborhood to escape an obsessed stalker that has haunted her for years. She is hoping the neighborhood will not only be a great place to start over, but will also be the perfect setting to help her write her second novel. This community with manicured lawns and impeccable houses turns out to be far from idyllic, however. 

The story alternates viewpoints between Julie and her neighbor across the street, John, which makes the reading go that much faster. It also switches between ‘then’ and ‘now’, a technique that basically causes you to never put the book down. ‘Then’ is the story describing Julie and her family's beginnings in the neighborhood while ‘now’ is John and his family going to court for a trial- about what we don't know. 

The neighborhood is run by gossipy women who quickly dismiss Julie after a few mishaps, and her only connection becomes John, which adds fuel to the rumor fire. John works from home and Julie is working on her book, so it only makes sense he should help her out when the threat of her stalker returns, right? 

Overall, this was a fast read that was full of interesting characters, a solid plot, and twists that I was not able to figure out. I loved that I wasn't able to solve the mystery and it left me feeling stumped, which was awesome. Catherine McKenzie is an excellent writer and I am excited to pick up some more of her books. If you are looking for your next thriller that is full of suspense and surprises, then Fractured is the one for you. 


-Busy Brunette 


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Review: Hitler's Last Secretary


My Rating: 5


As an avid reader of anything about World War II, I was surprised when I realized I had never read this book. If you have any interest whatsoever about the final days of Adolf Hitler, this is definitely a must-read. 

Hitler’s Last Secretary is a one-of-a-kind piece as it gives you a perspective that you cannot get from any other book about World War II. Traudl Junge was Hitler’s secretary not only in the last couple of years of the war, but also the last few weeks of Hitler’s life in the underground bunker, and her chronicle of that time period is truly fascinating. 

The beginning was a little slow, as it gives a summary of Traudl’s childhood and family life, but I know it was necessary in order to better understand her background. I feel like those first chapters might turn you away if you think that's what the rest of the book is going to feel like, but just stick with it until the actual journals begin because you will not be disappointed. Traudl wrote down her time under Hitler in 1947, so everything was fresh in her mind, and this is evident in the amount of detail she shares as well as the emotions that are still fresh. 

This book was a little weird for me as I am so used to reading accounts of concentration camp survivors, American soldiers fighting in Europe, or other victims that suffered due to Hitler’s rule, so I am accustomed to only reading about how evil this dictator was and how he was such a monster. I'm not saying this book makes him seem innocent in any way, definitely not, but Traudl did something that no other book I've read accomplished: she made Adolf Hitler appear human. 

Traudl shares her duties as Hitler’s personal secretary, but mainly she talks about the daily routine, the people she lived and work with, conversations the group had, as well shares a softer and more personal side of Hitler that most historical accounts don't go into. What I found intriguing about seeing a different side of him was the fact that he must have qualities we don't usually talk about as so many people were literally so mesmerized by him that they would do anything for him. I think it is vital to see this person in his entirety so we can continue to try to understand how millions of people got completely seduced by a man with such radical ideas. 

Overall, this book was fascinating. It gives you a unique glimpse into the inner workings of one of history’s most hated men, and provides a perspective you will never get anywhere else. It is straightforward and unapologetic, yet also details Traudl’s life after the war and how this time of naivety affected her forever. If you have any curiosity at all, I encourage you to read this book. Whether you love it or you hate it, you won't forget it, and it stands as a lasting reminder of how one person can transfix a nation and change history forever. 



-Busy Brunette