4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Books About Books · Cozy Mystery · fiction · mystery

Release Day | Murder by the Book

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Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott

Published: October 30, 2018

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation

Pages: 304

Genres: cozy mystery, mystery, fiction, books about books

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: books about books, feel good books with an intense edge, strong smart business women

Foodie Vibes: soothing cup of tea and a sack lunch brought to you by a new friend and fellow business woman 

 

Synopsis:

Addie Greyborne loved working with rare books at the Boston Public Library—she even got to play detective, tracking down clues about mysterious old volumes. But she didn’t expect her sleuthing skills to come in so handy in a little seaside town . . .

Addie left some painful memories behind in the big city, including the unsolved murder of her fiancé and her father’s fatal car accident. After an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, she’s moved to a small New England town founded by her ancestors back in colonial times—and living in spacious Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. Best of all, her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.

But there’s trouble from day one, and not just from the grumpy woman who runs the bakery next door. A car nearly runs Addie down. Someone steals a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then, Addie’s friend Serena, who owns a nearby tea shop, is arrested—for killing another local merchant. The police seem pretty sure they’ve got the story in hand, but Addie’s not going to let them close the book on this case without a fight . .

 

Review:

I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Kensington Publishing and Lauren Elliott for an ARC copy of the book. As always, an honest review from me.

What better than a book about books? Not much in my opinion. Murder by the Book centers around Addie who recently moved back to town and opened a bookshop. Previously she was in the business, along with her family, of selling, tracking down and authenticating rare books. Now she’s venturing out into business. The reception of her new shop is mixed. Some people are happy to welcome her to town, like Serena her new door neighbor, fellow business owner, and new friend. Other locals aren’t so happy to see her. 

Addie doesn’t have much time to dwell on that when there’s a rash of break ins at her shop, home and also other crimes about town. There’s something strange going on and she’s determined to get to the bottom of it. 

I like that Addie investigates based on her hunches but also allows the police to do their job investigating initially. She’s not just going about town willy nilly, searching for clues. The book retains its cozy mystery vibes while still being authentic and modern. A perfect mix. 

I wish there was more about Addie’s assistant. I think it would be a lovely heartfelt storyline that could definitely be explored more in a future book. 

Overall, a wonderful cozy but modern mystery featuring a great mix of small town and big city vibes. I definitely recommend it. 

 

Add to Your Goodreads TBR

 

Answer me this:

What’s your favorite part about books written about books?

5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Chronic Illness/Disabilities · feminism · LGBTQIA+ Books · Medical · memoir · mental health · non fiction

New Release | Flat: Reclaiming My Body from Breast Cancer by Catherine Guthrie

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Flat: Reclaiming My Body from Breast Cancer by Catherine Guthrie

Published: September 25, 2018

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Pages: 264

Genres: memoir, LGBTQIA+, medical, non fiction, feminism

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: memoirs that don’t gloss over the difficulties, women who tell it like it is

Foodie Vibes: green tea, rice cereal with almond milk

 

Synopsis:

A feminist breast cancer memoir of medical trauma, love, and how she found the strength to listen to her body. As a young, queer woman, Catherine Guthrie had worked hard to feel at home in her body. However, after years writing about women’s health and breast cancer, Guthrie is thrust into the role of the patient after a devastating diagnosis at age thirty-eight. At least, she thinks, I know what I’m up against.

She was wrong. In one horrifying moment after another, everything that could go wrong does–the surgeon gives her a double mastectomy but misses the cancerous lump, one of the most effective drug treatments fails, and a doctor’s error may have unleashed millions of breast cancer cells into her body.

Flat is Guthrie’s story of how two bouts of breast cancer shook her faith in her body, her relationship, and medicine. Along the way, she challenges the view that breasts are essential to femininity and paramount to a woman’s happiness. Ultimately, she traces an intimate portrayal of how cancer reshapes her relationship with Mary, her partner, revealing–in the midst of crisis–a love story.

Filled with candor, vulnerability, and resilience, Guthrie upends the “pink ribbon” narrative and offers a unique perspective on womanhood, what it means to be “whole,” and the importance of women advocating for their desires. Flat is a story about how she found the strength to forge an unconventional path–one of listening to her body–that she’d been on all along.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Skyhorse Publishing and Catherine Guthrie for an ARC ebook copy for review. As always, an honest review from me.

My honest to goodness first thoughts were something along the lines of, well this will be a depressing read. And in some ways it is. Cancer sucks. But the book is also educating, validating, inspiring, harrowing, and thought provoking. The intersection of medicine, feminism, and the LGBTQIA+ community is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Her story fills a gap of information and experiences that’s not discussed in the world of pink on pink on pink of breast cancer.

Flat gives a voice to women who choose not to have reconstructive breast surgery after a mastectomy. At first thought it seems like such a radical idea, but after reading I’ve become so much more educated the autonomy that women should have over their own bodies, especially when dealing with a health crisis. The story is not a happily ever after fluffy feel good Lifetime movie nor is it so utterly depressing, but a real life look at living with cancer and fighting for your life and happiness. 

As I’m writing this I cannot think of anything negative to say about the book, so I’m bumping up the star rating to a 5. 

While it’s a bit of a heavy topic, do yourself a favor and read the book. The discussions about health, feminism, the medical world, relationships, chronic illness and body autonomy are fascinating, necessary and impactful. 

 

How can books teach us things we didn’t know we needed to learn? #privilege 

4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · Domestic Fiction · fiction · mental health · psychological drama

New Release | The Girl In His Eyes by Jennie Ensor

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The Girl In His Eyes by Jennie Ensor

Published: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Pages: 353 

Genres: fiction, domestic fiction, mental health, contemporary fiction, psychological drama 

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: Law & Order SVU, karmic justice, validating books about surviving sexual abuse

Foodie Vibes: warm cup of tea with sugar ~ to soothe your soul and keep your energy levels up during this difficult time

 

Synopsis: 

Her father abused her when she was a child. For years she was too afraid to speak out. But now she suspects he’s found another victim…

Laura, a young woman struggling to deal with what her father did to her a decade ago, is horrified to realise that the girl he takes swimming might be his next victim. Emma is twelve – the age Laura was when her father took away her innocence.

Intimidated by her father’s rages, Laura has never told anyone the truth about her childhood. Now she must decide whether she has the courage to expose him and face the consequences.

Can Laura overcome her fear and save Emma before the worst happens?

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Bloodhound Books and Jennie Ensor for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

First of all, a major trigger warning for the entire book. There are many mentions and fairly graphic descriptions of child sexual abuse and rape. So please be sure you’re in a good head space while reading the book.

With that being said, I really enjoyed The Girl In His Eyes. The book gave a fairly accurate representation of the horrors and difficulties of dealing with the aftermath of surviving child sexual abuse. Both for the individual survivor and the family as well The novel gives a voice to the voiceless. It also makes it easier to understand how and why these pedophiles and perverts can manipulate children, entire families and societies into believing they’re good people. There were so many times when people suspected something was “off” about Paul, but brushed off their concerns because he seemed like a nice guy. Always trust your gut, people! These life lessons are so relevant.

There wasn’t anything that I really disliked about the book. However there was a lot that disgusted me, which given the general book topic was bound to happen. Some chapters are from Paul, the pervert’s, point of view. We hear all the disgusting horrifying things he thinks. It adds to the suspense and explains a lot. Also some of the reactions of people seem a bit too cookie cutter at times.

Overall, a really worthwhile read to further understand the topic but done in a fictionalized manner.

 

Who can relate relate to this story? 

3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · LGBTQIA+ Books · mystery

New Release | All Things by Amber Belldene

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All Things by Amber Belldene

Published: September 9, 2018

Publisher: Amber Belldene

Pages: 305

Genres: LGBTQIA+, mystery

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: books with great diverse representation, modern day religion, strong friendships

Foodie Vibes: green tea and vegan baked goods from a local bakery

 

Synopsis:

A priest and a rabbi walk into a lesbian bar…

If something is unjust in San Francisco’s Mission District, the Reverend Alma Lee will face it down. She leads her vibrant church of St. Giles’ with compassion and sass. Her busy days involve match-making, meddling, and saving the city’s beloved lesbian landmark, The Carlos Club. Alma meets the intriguing Rabbi Naomi Cohen there, and she’s smitten.

Death comes to the church’s door…

When the proprietor of The Carlos Club turns up dead on the steps of St. Giles’, Naomi’s brother is the number one suspect. She needs help exonerating him, and Alma’s knowledge of the neighborhood makes her the perfect priest to solve the case. If only Alma’s ex-boyfriend, homicide detective Cesar Garza will accept her help. She still feels the pull of their old connection, but she’s convinced the sexy-smart rabbi is her perfect mate. . . Too bad Naomi is playing by different rules.

Can Alma solve the case before the murderer silences her forever?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley and Amber Belldene for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

The book starts out with a lesbian Reverend at a bar. And no, that’s not the beginning of a politically incorrect joke. All Things centers around Alma, a Reverend at the local church. We are along for all the drama that’s happening in her life these days. The book is primarily a murder mystery with veganism, modern day religion, and LGBTQIA+ representation playing a significant secondary role in this unique book.

The characters and inclusivity were the best part. I wanted to keep reading about some of these characters no matter the plot. The character development throughout was good too. Inclusivity and representation of people in non traditional churches is refreshing as well.

However the murder mystery was only okay. It kept me guessing, but I wasn’t as pulled into the mystery as I would have liked. Also there were so many references to veganism. To be clear, I have nothing against veganism, but the references weren’t subtle. Way too much telling instead of showing. The repetitiveness of telling us she’s vegan became annoying after awhile.

Overall, an enjoyable unique murder mystery that has a little something for everyone.

 

Do you love books about religion or steer clear? Or maybe somewhere in the middle?

3 Star Books · Book Reviews · Philosophy · psychology · Self Help

The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga

Let’s start with the Random Question of the Review. I want to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Rank your book format preferences: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook, other 

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The Courage to be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness by Ichiro Kishimi, Fumitake Koga

Published: May 8, 2018

Publisher: Atria Books

Pages: 288

Genres: psychology, philosophy, self help

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: debates, learning about psychology and new ways of thinking, people looking to improve themselves

Read with food: nice cup of green tea to energize yet soothe us on our foray into learning

 

Synopsis: 

The Courage to Be Disliked, already an enormous bestseller in Asia with more than 3.5 million copies sold, demonstrates how to unlock the power within yourself to be the person you truly want to be.

Is happiness something you choose for yourself? The Courage to Be Disliked presents a simple and straightforward answer. Using the theories of Alfred Adler, one of the three giants of nineteenth-century psychology alongside Freud and Jung, this book follows an illuminating dialogue between a philosopher and a young man. Over the course of five conversations, the philosopher helps his student to understand how each of us is able to determine the direction of our own life, free from the shackles of past traumas and the expectations of others.

Rich in wisdom, The Courage to Be Disliked will guide you through the concepts of self-forgiveness, self-care, and mind decluttering. It is a deeply liberating way of thinking, allowing you to develop the courage to change and ignore the limitations that you might be placing on yourself. This plainspoken and profoundly moving book unlocks the power within you to find lasting happiness and be the person you truly want to be. Millions have already benefited from its teachings, now you can too.

 

Review: 

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

The entire book is centered around different conversations between an older philosopher and a young person, called youth. They discuss, in a back and forth debate style manner, elements of philosophy, happiness, psychology, and general aspects of life in the present day. It’s important to note that the book is based on Greek philosophy and the psychology of Freud and Adler. It’s not necessary to have previous knowledge of these concepts, but it certainly helps.

Overall the discussions had in the book make sense, but it doesn’t captivate me nor give me brand new life revelations. The biggest downfall was their discussions about trauma and abuse. The viewpoint is that trauma doesn’t exist as most people think. We use traumas as an excuse which is much different than most psychologists today believe. While your life is not determined by your past experiences, but rather how you choose to live. This aspect I agree with. However I didn’t like when the philosopher doesn’t take the effects of trauma and abuse seriously. It could be very harmful to someone who is vulnerable and takes the book word for word. The damage to one’s psyche could be enormous.

However, I enjoyed the back and forth debate even when I disagreed with either the philosopher or youth. The book definitely made me think. It had some absolutely spot on points, such as people who believe they’re the center of the universe. Also, I appreciated the reminder to focus on the present, not the past or future. We could all do this more.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the philosophical and psychological debates, even when I didn’t always agree with them. An interesting read, especially if you want to discuss the concepts further with other people.