A book you’ve had a long time and haven’t read:
The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes
The Woman Who Stole My Life is about a woman called Stella Sweeney who is back in Dublin with a bang after a year living in New York and travelling the USA promoting her self-help book. There’s lots of twists and turns as the story looks back over Stella’s journey.
I must start off by admitting that some of the characters in this book are slightly unrealistic but that didn’t hinder how much I enjoyed it. I wanted to say that first and get it out of the way because it’s the only real negative I have for this book.
I absolutely love the way Marian Keyes writes and I often find myself smiling or laughing out loud while I read (much to the annoyance of anyone nearby). I would be really interested to hear what people from other countries think of her writing because her sense of humour, in my opinion, is very Irish.
This book held my attention right to the end and as each chapter closed, I couldn’t wait to hear what would happen to Stella next. Keyes has a wonderful way of jumping from different stages of a story to keep the suspense alive. It’s not my favourite of her books but it still has that feel good factor and I would definitely recommend it as a fun, summer read.
A book published this year:
City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
I want to start off by saying if you have any interest at all in Supernatural fiction, you should really read Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. There are 13 books in total and each one is written from the perspective of a different lead female supernatural character including werewolves, witches, ghosts, necromancers and more. This series was my introduction to this author and I loved them all.
City of the Lost is the first book in a new crime fiction series by the author. It follows homicide detective, Casey Duncan, to live in a secret, off the grid, town where everyone has a secret. My absolute favourite thing about Armstrong’s writing is how she develops her characters. This novel was no exception and by the time you get to the end, you’ll feel like you know Casey Duncan. It’s a solid story-line with a great ‘who done it’ theme.
As always, Armstrong delivers in giving you just enough information to keep you interested and wanting more. I still prefer her supernatural novels but would definitely recommend this read and will be looking out for the next instalment in the series.
P.s. I know the topic is ‘published this year’ and it was technically published in 2016 but I actually read it in 2016 & never got around to reviewing it.
A book by an author you’ve never read before:
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
I want to start by saying I absolutely love the TV show Girls. I don’t think there’s anything else on TV like it. I heard once that the second episode of a TV show tends to do worse than any other episode and that stuck with me while I watched Season 1, Episode 2 of Girl’s because 6 seasons later, it is still my favourite episode and I’ve watched it multiple times. It’s important for me to say that because I’m not going to be very pleasant about Lena Duham’s book.
You’ll notice first of all, that normally my book review posts include a picture of me holding the book in question, but this one doesn’t. I won’t lie it felt like it took a lifetime to get through this book because I really really didn’t enjoy it. I finished it on a flight to San Francisco and I won’t lie, the thing that annoyed me most is that I couldn’t throw it against a wall when I eventually finished it because that might have startled a few other passengers. I dumped it back on my book shelf when I got home and haven’t looked at it since. So it wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realised I never took a picture of it and I don’t want to either.
I have read some short essays and interviews with Lena Dunham that I thought were brilliant and I couldn’t wait to get more so I was delighted to dive into this memoir. There were definitely some pearls of wisdom, but over all, the only thing it did for me was confirm that Lena Dunham and Hannah Horvath appear to be very similar, which isn’t a compliment considering Hannah is the singe most narcissistic character I have ever come across. One thing I will say in her favour is that it’s really refreshing to see such candor coming from a woman in a world where plenty of women are still taught to put up and shut up.
A book “everyone” but you has read:
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love is a memoir written by an American women on a year long journey to Italy, India and Indonesia in an effort to find what is missing from her life. It seems to me that everyone has read Eat, Pray, Love or has at least seen the movie so it seemed like an obvious choice for me for this topic.
I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a book and been frustrated by it at the same time, the way I was with Eat, Pray, Love. The memoir is broken down into 3 sections – Italy, India and Indonesia. Each section has 36 stories, most of which are really well written. I loved everything about her time living in Rome. It transported me to a time and a place and I lapped up her stories of learning Italian, meeting Italian people and most of all, eating delicious Italian food. For a real home-bird, there was a moment or two were I really imagined myself packing my bags and heading for Rome. My favourite character from Elizabeth’s time in Rome was Luca Spaghetti.
India was where my frustrations kicked in. I’ve taken a real interest in meditation lately and I was looking forward to learning all about the author’s spiritual journey. I found this section of the book extremely difficult to read and I think Elizabeth came across really narcissistic. There was a LOT of wallowing and feeling sorry for herself and if I’m honest the term ‘first world problems’ came to mind a couple of times. What salvaged this section of the book for me was Richard from Texas, who was a ‘say it as you find it’ character who often brought Elizabeth back down to earth.
The final part of the book took part in Bali, Indonesia. I learned a lot about Balinese people and how quirky the traditions of the island are. The purpose of Elizabeth’s trip to Bali was to find balance and it seems to me like the perfect place to do it. I hadn’t really considered it before but it is definitely on my list of places to go now. My favourite character from Indonesia, and probably entire book, was the medicine man Ketut. I loved his take on things, his unusual method of measuring age and his broken English.
Overall, the writing was very good and the author has a great method of capturing the essence of a character. I would give this book a 7 out of 10 and would recommend it. I would just suggest you take the India stage with a pinch of salt.
Amy Poehler is fricking hilarious. I lost count of how many times I laughed out loud whilst reading this book.
All I was expecting from this book was to read something over the Christmas that wasn’t heavy and was entertaining but I actually learned some very valuable lessons from it.
The lessons I learned from ‘Yes Please’:
- A good book should make you feel both happy and sad at different times. When a comedian writes a book that does this I’m more impressed because their default is to make you laugh.
- It’s very important to write down the little details about your children, and it’s very important to do it regularly. The small details Amy writes about her children are so important but they’re also easily forgotten as time goes on and their personalities change. I don’t have children but if I ever do I’ve learned how important it is to find a way to record the little things. This goes for other important people in your life too.
- It’s never too late to apologise and mean it.
- Writing a book is not easy.
- You don’t have to stay in a job that you don’t enjoy or stay with a bad boyfriend.
- I rely on technology waaaay too much. I should do something about that but I probably won’t.
Challenge Post 1: A Book Review (kinda)
I’m sure you’re all familiar with a well-known Irish author called Marian Keyes and if you’re not, you should be. She’s written dozens of books and I’ve read them all. Typically I like to read sci-fi (ish) books and her writing wouldn’t fall into this category at all. Mostly, I like to read fiction (which her books are) and typically stories about things that couldn’t happen in real life (there’s enough real life in real life, am I right?). Although Marian’s books wouldn’t fall into this category at all, I adore her style of writing. In my opinion, an author who can make you laugh out loud and sob your heart out on the same page, let alone in the same book is an absolute genius at what they do. I’ve yet to come across a Marian Keyes book where this failed to happen. Her comic timing and sense of humour are second to none. In her latest book – The Mystery of Mercy Close – she coins the phrase ‘The Shovel List’ which simply is a list of people, things, characteristics etc., that make you want to hit them in the face with a shovel. For me, this was comedy gold and I spent weeks after reading the book hastily adding things to my ‘Shovel List’. As anyone who knows me knows, I’m slightly fond, okay maybe obsessed, with making lists. Any kind of lists. So naturally I decided this blog was a perfect place to share my very own ‘Shovel list’. So here goes (in no particular order, as it changes from day to day):
- Men who find it appropriate to ask me what the offside rule is when they learn I like football, even though they would never ask another man the same question.
- People who have seen the way I drink tea a million times saying “sure that’s milky water, not tea”.
- Wagon wheels (the edible kind. I got them going to school everyday for a million years) Everything about the stupid reality TV show ‘The Only Way is Essex’
- People who say I need to ‘just’ relax when I’m stressing out. Oh I forgot it was so easy, sure why didn’t I think of that.
- Getting Diet Pepsi when you ask for Diet Coke
- Pointy toe shoes on men
- People who don’t indicate on roundabouts
- Skinny people who give out about being fat
- Cryptic Facebook statuses, such as, “just so happy today” and then when people comment asking why, the answer is always “I’ll private message you”Just don’t post this status if it’s some kind of secret.
- All of the deductions from my pay packet – universal service charge, pension related deductions, spouse & children deductions. I don’t even have a husband or a child?
- People who tell you every time they see you that you’ve lost LOOOOADS of weight. No I haven’t. Jesus I must have been the size of a house when you first met me.
- People who don’t keep their dog on a lead. The law states that you have to, so when your dog comes running up to mine at full speed & my dogs snap a warning of ‘go away’, don’t expect to complain to me.
- Extremely bold children being extremely bold while their parents look on & do NOTHING
- People who speak really loudly on the phone whilst using public transport.
- Actually…public transport itself, for many reasons. People touching off you, the waiting and wondering if it will arrive on time, people eating…don’t they know about all the germs? Ahhh!
- Construction work on your day off…at ridiculous o clock in the morning.
- People who ask you a question & then reword your answer into another question. For example…”what time is it?” “3 o clock” “it’s not 3 o clock is it?”
- People who say “you’d love it” about food to people they hardly know.
- People who say they don’t like something they’ve never tasted.
- Pat Kenny
- People working in supermarkets who put your change down instead of putting it into your open, stretched out hand. Just plain rude.
- The Irish government
Feel free to add to it. I’m sure I will.
For more information on Marian Keyes and her books, check out: http://www.mariankeyes.com/Home