3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Essays · memoir · mental health · non fiction

ARC Book Review | Nobody Cares by Anne T. Donahue

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Nobody Cares by Anne T. Donahue

Published: September 18, 2018 

Publisher: ECW Press

Pages: 240 

Genres: non fiction, memoir, essays

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: relatable tell it like it is memoirs, people in their 20s and 30s who don’t have it all together but feel like they should 

Foodie Vibes: wine, noodles with butter because it’s cheap and helps numb out life

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the popular newsletter That’s What She SaidNobody Cares is a frank, funny personal essay collection about work, failure, feminism, and the messy business of being alive in your twenties and thirties.

As she shares her hard-won insights from screwing up, growing up, and trying to find her own path, Anne T. Donahue’s debut book offers all the honesty, laughs, and reassurance of a late-night phone call with your best friend. Whether she’s giving a signature pep talk, railing against summer, or describing her own mental health struggles, Anne reminds us that failure is normal, saying to no to things is liberating, and that we’re all a bunch of beautiful disasters — and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, ECW Press and Anne T. Donahue for an ARC ebook copy for review. As always, an honest review from me.

My rating is actually 3.5 stars, but since there aren’t half stars I always round up.

Nobody Cares is funny, poignant, relatable and ridiculous in all the best ways. Through the author’s essays we experience her highs and lows, struggles and life lessons learned. She’s like the older sister/friend with the cautionary life tales to help you feel less alone and avoid her mistakes. Number 1 being figure out your stuff, be vulnerable and don’t be afraid to seek therapy. It will save you a lot of difficulty and heartache along the years.

I really liked her honesty. She says the things that people often sugar coat, without going out of her way to be edgy and dramatic. Her story is so dang (damn? I still feel bad about swearing in reviews, like I’m going to get in trouble for doing so) relatable. The life lessons that she passes on to the reader are validating.

However, some of the stories bounce around a bit so there’s an adjustment when reading. Also, it became redundant reading about her making the same mistakes multiple times. While it’s authentic to her and life in general, I felt frustrated after awhile.

Overall, an incredibly relatable and funny memoir of essays. I think the tone of the book is best summer up by this quote.

“In our small section of the galaxy, many of us are dealing with things that aren’t ours enough to talk about, but are still ours enough that we have to deal with them.” Bam! That’s so it.

 

What advice would you give your 20 something year old self?

4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · Sports · Sports Fiction · Young Adult

Skid by Doug Solter

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Skid by Doug Solter

Published: May 20, 2012

Publisher: CreateSpace

Pages: 270

Genres: young adult, contemporary, sports, sports fiction

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: fiction books about sports, racing, driven passionate women, females in male dominated sports/careers, action packed books

Read with food: cheese fries ~ Samantha’s favorite

 

Synopsis:

Love and romance at the speed of death.

Seventeen-year-old Samantha Sutton races cars. She’s good. Crazy-talented good. A girl who breaks all the stereotypes. But she has a temper that always gets her into plenty of trouble. After her father died, Samantha focused her life on winning every race. Nothing short of that goal will do. The girl knows she has a debt to pay back.

Eighteen-year-old Manny Wolert loves the engineering side of racing. The nuts and bolts. The supercharged engines and intricate aerodynamics. He’s a racing nerd who grew up inside his uncle’s Formula One team. This is their year to win. If only they can find their Mozart behind the wheel.

A story of two teens, brought together by their love of speed.

Fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s THE SCORPIO RACES and Enid Bagnold’s NATIONAL VELVET should find SKID exciting and emotionally compelling. Fans of Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY series will enjoy the international settings and lifestyle.

This book is the first part of the SKID young adult racing series filled with young romance, bite-your-nails-racing action, international travel, a girl you want to root for, and above all else…a story about racing for people who don’t care about racing.

 

Review:

Skid pulled me in right from the beginning and didn’t let up. The author is phenomenal at bringing us into the world of racing. I know nothing about cars or racing, but I could easily follow the story. The writing made the story work so well. The main character, Samantha, is realistically written as a passionate teenage girl trying to make it in a male dominated sport. Her passion and determination races off each page, making me want to keep reading. I also really enjoyed that the story can be really inspirational for a lot of teenage girls. The more books we feature with strong passionate females, the better. Skid should really be in the hands of more middle and high schoolers.

The only critiques I have are that Samantha kept calling the car her best friend, while driving. Is this a racing thing? After awhile the repetitiveness became a bit annoying. Also she doesn’t have a ton of professional race experience, but after a few months of intense training, she’s competing against seasoned pros. Not incredibly realistic, but young phenols do happen in sport. It certainly makes the world of sports super exciting!

But overall I really enjoyed the book for the exciting world of competitive racing, inspiring character of Samantha and overall fun that made the entire book work.

 

 

As of the date of this initial post, Skid by Doug Solter is available for FREE on Amazon.com in ebook format. Such a great way to see if you like the first book in the series.

*Not an affiliate link, just noticed it was free when I went to buy it and thought I would pass along the info to you all.

 

 

 

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · mystery

ARC Book Review | Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

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Shoutout to my wonderful mom who grows these gorgeous flowers featured in the photo. Thanks Mom!

 

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

Published: July 24, 2018

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

Pages: 352

Genres: contemporary fiction, contemporary romance, mystery

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: contemporary romance with a twist, complicated characters

Read with food: chocolate cake and tea

 

Synopsis: 

Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart.

When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.

Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened–there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason for Eddie’s disappearance, and it’s the one thing they didn’t share with each other: the truth.

Review:

I won this book for free through a Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to the author and publisher as well. As always, an honest review.

I was a bit unsure about Ghosted before I started reading. Contemporary romance books have to wow me for me to enjoy them. And wow me, it did!

Sarah and Eddie meet along a countryside road one day, immediately feel a spark, and spend the next week together. They know they have something special. Eddie goes off on his previously planned vacation. Sarah never hears from him again. And this is where the mystery begins.

The premise drew me in and captivated my attention throughout the entire read. As with many contemporary novels, it was a quick, easy and enjoyable read. Ghosted brought up so many relatable questions. Do you trust your heart? Your instincts? What other people are telling you? Logic and reasoning? Or hold out for hope that the best will happen?

I really liked that a lot of the writing was in the form of letters – both formal and informal. Eddie writing to Sarah. Sarah writing to Eddie. Both of them writing to other people. Except, most of the letters go unread or at least without a response. The unsent letters form a sort of journal of their mental processes through all of this. The writing style works really well and is quite enjoyable to read.
I can’t say too much more without spoiling the book. I will say this, when you get to a certain unforeseen twist, everything will make perfect sense.

There was very little I didn’t enjoy. However when Sarah was moping around about missing Eddie, it became a bit redundant and annoying at times.

Ghosted has a little something for everyone. Romance, heartbreak, hardship, caregiving, and mystery. Give it a read!

 

Random Question of the Review:

Where’s your favorite place to read?

5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Classics · Literary Fiction · Young Adult

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 

Published by Harper & Row in 1943

Pages: 493

Genres: fiction, classics, young adult, bildungsroman

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: life changing books, classic literature that you will actually enjoy, coming of age novels

Read with food: roasted chestnuts and black coffee … treats of the era and enjoyed by France

 

Synopsis:

The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

Review:

I had put the audiobook version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on hold at my local library … a year ago. I was hoping to read it for the 2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. Obviously that didn’t happen. I read another book to meet that challenge. No big deal. I then figured that if I had waited this long, why not a bit longer to read it, and kept my place on the hold list at the library.

I am so glad that I did! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an amazing novel. A true literary classic that almost everyone can learn something from. 

I was captivated with Francie’s story from age 11 to 17. Her observations, intelligence, progressive nature, and life lessons are still relevant to me as an adult 100 years after the book takes place. I can absolutely see why people would read this multiple times. You could probably pick out a new life lesson with each reread. 

I can’t really say anything bad about this novel. Of course, there are some actions, societal rules, and words of the time that would be unacceptable today. But nothing that detracts from the story. 

I highly recommend this amazing novel! Don’t let the length deter your, it’s worth the time. 

 

Fun fact:

I learned a new word and book genre today, bildungsroman. Definition: a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education. A sort of coming of age novel that focuses on psychological and spiritual growth. 

 

Also, bonus!

If you’re participating in the Great American Read, this is one of the books on the list. 

4 Star Books · Book Reviews

Book Review: The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

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The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Published by: Gallery Books on December 5, 2017

Pages: 288

Genres: memoir, humor

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: comedy, real talk, memoirs, books with good life advice

Read with food: corn on the cob … if you’ve read the book you will definitely get this 

 

Synopsis:

From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend.

None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy.

Tiffany can’t avoid being funny—it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others.

By turns hilarious, filthy, and brutally honest, The Last Black Unicorn shows the world who Tiffany Haddish really is—humble, grateful, down-to-earth, and funny as hell. And now, she’s ready to inspire others through the power of laughter.

Review:

The Last Black Unicorn is hilarious, real and vulnerable. Tiffany shares the story of her life, from childhood to present day, in the laugh out loud funny way that only she can. First of all, I highly recommend listening to this as an audiobook. It’s read the author herself and makes the memoir that much better! Beware, some parts are NSWF, not safe for work, so wear those headphones people! 

I appreciated her genuine life story and advice along the way. As hilarious as the entire book is, there are also a lot of life lessons to be learned from her story.

Follow your dreams, keep working hard, don’t take sh*t from anyone, mange your money well, and believe that you are worth it.

I went into this book not knowing much about it. I kept hearing people recommend it online for it’s hilarity, so I decided to give it a try. So glad I did!

Just a warning for you all: they talk about sex a lot. She says the word penis, and all the other euphemisms for it, a lot. If that bothers you or if you have little kids listening, maybe not the book for you. But otherwise, do like I did and give the hilarious The Last Black Unicorn a listen … or a read.