Fiction · Horror · Science Fiction · Young Adult

Cut Off

44806125

Title: Cut Off

Author: Adrianne Finlay

Page Count: 384

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: August 11, 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: eBook

Review: I was obsessed with the Lost series back when it was airing, so when this book was described as “Warcross meets Lost…” I knew I simply must read it.  Unfortunately for me, it was just…meh.  There were a couple scenes that creeped me out in the beginning, but overall it was not particularly exciting.  The one thing it did have in common with Lost was that the final reveal was truly disappointing.  I knew there was going to be a science fiction element to the story, but it was a bit more sci-fi-y than I was expecting.  I also wanted to see more character complexity and development.  The characters felt very formulaic to me: the brainiac, the deceiver, the loner, and the closed off beauty.  Nobody really surprised me or made me question what I knew about them.  I wasn’t really feeling the romantic angle either.  In a story like this, I feel the romance should add more depth to the plot or characters, but it didn’t really serve to do so as much as I wanted.  It was not a terrible read, but also not one I enjoyed enough to give a higher rating.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Contemporary · Fiction · Romance

Real Men Knit

Real Men Knit

Title: Real Men Knit

Author: Kwana Jackson

Page Count: 320

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 19, 2020 by Berkley

Format: eBook

Review: After reading some more “serious” books, I was in the mood for something light and fun.  When I read the premise for this book, I was hooked.  Hot men knitting?  Yep. Sign me up.  The book certainly followed through on it’s promise, starring four uniquely hot adopted brothers.  Although this book focused more specifically on the youngest brother, Jesse, I find it hard to believe that Ms. Jackson will not be turning this into a series.  There are, after all, three other strapping young men to find attachments for.

I could be off base, but I couldn’t help but think that the author was imagining none other than Jesse Williams when she penned the character description for Jesse Strong….

Jesse Williams - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Aside from the locs, he pretty much matches his physical description exactly.  I’m not complaining though, and I don’t think other readers will be either.

Naturally I had to investigate whether the hashtag #RealMenKnit exists and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it does.  Feel free to look it up for some eye candy.  Thank you, Ms. Jackson, for the share.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

 

Historical · Non-fiction · True Crime

Say Nothing

Title: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

Author: Patrick Radden Keefe

Page Count: 445

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2019/Doubleday

Format: Ebook

Review: This was beautifully written and researched. Not being from Ireland, I’ve never had a full understanding of the Troubles and what happened during that time between the Catholics and the Protestants (or Republicans and Loyalists). It dives deep into the history of the IRA and their crimes and motives. It gives a human side to it, detailing the lives of the people involved and their trials, convictions, time in prison, all of that. It talks about how Gerry Adams went from the head of the IRA to the head of a political party and his time as a political prisoner.

It was a very fascinating book, and I recommend it to anyone interested in this part of Irish history.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Historical · Non-fiction · President List

A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland

A Secret Life: The Sex, Lies, and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland by [Lachman, Charles]

Title: A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland

Author: Charles Lachman

Performer: Joe Barrett

Length: 12h 24m

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: Feb 8, 2013/Skyhorse Publishing

Format: Audiobook

Review: This can really be summed up as follows:

Book- good

Grover Cleveland- bad

I knew going into my presidential reading list that Grover Cleveland was a horrible man and I refused to read (or listen to) a book that applauds his time as president and governor, so I picked a book that deals specifically with the most horrendous moments of his life. Before he ran for public office, he sexually assaulted a woman, who then became pregnant. He kidnapped the boy (multiple times), gave him to his friends to raise, publicly humiliated the woman, and tried to get her committed to an asylum. This book dives into all the horrid details and describes the history behind why Maria Halpin would not have felt comfortable coming forward with her story.

If you, like me, are trying to read a book about every president, I recommend reading this one, as it doesn’t heap praise upon a man who is undeserving of it.

Reader: Kymberly

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fantasy · Fiction · Science Fiction

Chosen Ones

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Title: Chosen Ones

Author: Veronica Roth

Page Count: 304

Series: The Chosen Ones, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: April 7, 2020

Format: eBook

Review: This was a very original concept…what really happens to a hero after they have defeated evil? I think that Roth gives a really realistic depiction of how ordinary people would cope with extraordinary pressures and trauma.  I have always thought that being famous would be incredibly stressful – always dealing with scrutiny, invasion of privacy, and false narratives.  Each of the five heroes in this story deal with it differently, some withdrawing into anger or addiction, while others seemingly embrace it.  When evil rears it’s ugly head again, the heroes must take a critical look at the past, and what they think they know about themselves and each other.

It’s difficult for me to put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would.  Roth does a decent job of fleshing out the characters, but I think her set up took just a little too long.  I struggled to remain actively engaged and I could put this book down for days at a time without feeling compelled to pick it back up.  Now that the characters and story have been established, I imagine I would enjoy a sequel far more, though this is difficult for me to say with any certainty.  Considering this is accurate to how I felt when reading her Divergent series, I remain hopeful that the series will prove to be worth reading even though the way she ended it makes me uncertain.  It ended with a bang, but then tapered off into different directions.  If it wasn’t being advertised as the first in a series, I would have assumed it was a standalone.

Although this is Roth’s first “adult” fiction book, I still think it will mostly appeal to a younger demographic.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fiction · Historical

City of Flickering Light

40539186

Title: City of Flickering Light

Author: Juliette Fay

Page Count: 400

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: April 16, 2019 by Gallery Books

Format: Hardcover

Review: Interestingly, this book addresses very similar themes to another book I read recently, City of Girls.  This book is, however, much better in my personal opinion.  Though these characters are also flawed, I found them to be much more likeable than any of the characters in City of Girls.  It is hard for me on a personal level to understand the allure of the film industry, but it was fascinating to get a historical view of the glitz, glamour, and seediness of early Hollywood.  I also think this is a very timely novel, as it addresses the topic of sexual abuse and manipulation within the industry.  Despite it’s heavier content, this book is ultimately a book about unconditional friendship and the transforming power of love.  I especially enjoyed the character of steadfast Irene, and her relationship with naïve but charming Millie.  Overall it was an uplifting read.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Memoir · Non-fiction

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

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Title: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Author: Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

Performer: Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

Length: 6 hr, 40 min, 10 sec

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Penguin Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: This was a love story that tackled many topics other than a love story.  Megan and Nick talk about how they met, fell in love, and continue to stay in love, but they also talk about things like achieving fame, past relationships, and their childhoods.  I listened to this book in audiobook format, and I don’t know how this story could have been read in print format.  There is a lot of banter between the couple and I am curious as to how this was accurately captured.  At some point I may check out the hardcover and flip through it just to assuage this curiosity.  I also want to see the photos that were described in some detail by the authors that are apparently included in the book.

There isn’t a lot of depth to this book, so if you are looking for something pleasant to have playing in the background while accomplishing other tasks, this is a good option.  I had some familiarity with these two actors, but I really did not know much about them prior to listening to their story.  A lot of what they include is mundane and boring, if I’m being perfectly honest, but it’s refreshing to hear from a famous couple that is still very much in love after 18 years together.  Nick’s worship of his wife was over the top in some chapters…we get it, Megan Mullally is great…however I found these were good times for my attention to drift off without feeling like I needed to rewind and re-listen.  I never felt like I missed much when I tuned back in, which is nice when you have a toddler screaming commands at you from the backseat of your car.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold