Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Reviews 2017: Catching Up On Book Reviews

Okay, most of these were read in 2016, but of course, I'm behind on my reviews. If you are on GoodReads, you can follow me here. I'm better about posting reviews there as soon as I read the book! :) I also have more reviews there than I have posted on my blog.

The Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins

It took me a while to finish this book (mainly because I had a lot going on and didn't make time to read). I kept hearing how GREAT this book was, and while I feel it was okay, it just didn't jump out at me as a great novel. Maybe it was too hyped up and I was just expecting too much.

I'll admit, I liked the concept of the story, which is why I wanted to read it. The book jumps around from three different POV- Rachel (the girl on the train), Megan (the missing girl), and Anna (the girl who stole Rachel's husband from her). There was a heading so you knew who was narrating (which was helpful because all three characters talked and sounded the same to me). 

The character of Rachel was super annoying (maybe she was supposed to be). I did feel sorry for her though, it seemed nothing was going right for her and her life was falling apart. She was an alcoholic, she lost her job, and her husband cheated on her and was now married with a new wife and baby. She couldn't control her drinking or her drunk phone calls to her ex. The only thing she has going for her is that she thinks something bad has happened to a complete stranger she passes by everyday. 

After thinking about it, I didn't really like any of the characters in the book- it seemed everyone was messed up and whiny about something. Towards the end of the book, I didn't care what happened to any of the three main women (usually I can sympathize with at least one character and want something good to happen to them- but I couldn't care less what happened to the characters in this one). 

Even though I didn't care for the story itself, the writing style was okay and I would be willing to check out something else written by the author.

Book summary:

Murder Ties the Knot by Christy Fifield

I like Christy Fifield and I think her books get better with each one that she writes. I believe this is book four of this particular series. They are fun, easy to read mystery books. If I had made time, I could have easily finished this book in a day or two (but life gets in the way of my reading schedule, so it took me over a month). 

I love Glory, the main character, as well as Bluebeard, the talking parrot who may or may not be channeling the spirit of Glory's deceased uncle. 

This book didn't have as much to the mystery as the other three, but it was still an enjoyable read.

I read somewhere that the publisher did not pick up another book of this series, but I really hope the author either self publishes or finds someone else to publish one. I really hope there are other mysteries for Glory to solve.

I also love that the author includes the recipes for the meals mentioned in the book. :) 

Book summary:

The Stranger by Harlan Coben

This was the first book I've read (well, listened to) by Harlan Coben and I will definitely be checking out some of his other novels. 

This book has everything- secrets, deception, and suspense. I really enjoyed it. I was guessing up until almost the very end. 

I listened to the audiobook version read by George Newbern and he did a fantastic job. :) I'll also check out some of his other audio work! 

Book summary:

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

First of all, I really liked this book- I spent an entire afternoon reading it (it is my first book read of 2017). I personally wouldn't compare it to Gone Girl (which I've also read), but that's just me. It seems lately any suspenseful novel with a female lead character is compared to Gone Girl. In my opinion, this book is nothing like Gone Girl, but it is still excellent.

This is another book full of secrets, deception, but also sadness. Obviously with the description of the book, you know that Amelia is dead (so that's NOT a spoiler), but it's still heartbreaking to read the story of what happened leading up to her death. I don't want to get too much into the story because I don't want to give anything away. 

The author did a great job developing the characters and with the story. I look forward to reading more books by the author.

Book summary:

Have you read any good books lately?


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What I'm Loving!

I know, it's been months since I've done this link-up, but I wanted to try and get back to it. There has been so much hateful talk and negativity on social media lately, I wanted to try and bring something positive to everyone.

I'm loving...
That I'm finally feeling better. I was sick in bed for about a week. I'm happy to be back in the land of the living!

I'm loving...
That I was finally able to see the Monet: The Early Years exhibit at the Kimbell in Fort Worth. I was supposed to go a few weeks ago but I got sick. I also went to the Amon Carter American Art Museum for the first time- it was awesome! It's down the street from the Kimbell (and it's free), I highly recommend checking it out!

It's a game of "Where's Aaron" whenever we take pictures. Lol

This is at the Amon Carter museum, it's a piece by William Harnett. I was fascinated by it. It almost looked 3-D.
As always, I see a statue, I pose by a statue
I'm loving...
The TV show Timeless- I just discovered it on Hulu. I really hope it gets renewed for a new season.

I'm loving...
That I get to see my lifelong BFF this weekend, I'm going to Austin to celebrate her *29th birthday with her!

I'm loving...
That I got to see my friend Donny this week. He lives in North Carolina and we maybe get to see him once a year. I'm sad his beautiful wife Katie couldn't make the trip this time. She is also a blogger, check her blog out here!

I'm loving...
That I've extended my 101 in 1001 challenge. Hey, it's my challenge, I can extend it if I want. I was supposed to have completed it October 30 of last year, but I've extended it until April 30 of this year. So it's technically 101 in 1183, but whatever. 

What are YOU loving today?

*age changed to protect the innocent

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Happy 2017!

First of all, HAPPY 2017!! I hope your holidays and New Year were FANTASTIC! I know, I haven't posted in two months. Shame. On. Me. You have probably been wondering what I've been up to lately (okay, you probably couldn't care less, but humor me). I've just been so busy (so you can understand why I've been absent from the blogging world). I know, where are my priorities? Well, as you will see below, a lot of things were more important to me.

I have been hanging out with friends.

I went to San Antonio to see Billy Joel in concert. Shout out to my sweet friend Eric for taking me (it was my Christmas gift). We made the round trip in a day. San Antonio is about 4.5 hours from Dallas, so you can imagine, we got back like at 3:30am. Thanks to Eric for driving the whole trip as well!

I spent the holidays with my family.

My cousin Travis surprised my folks with a visit at Christmas. We hadn't seen him in eight years.  
I saw a handful of my nieces and nephews at Thanksgiving (no, this isn't all of them). Everyone takes a picture with Aunt Rachel (whether they want to or not). Lol.
I went to several Christmas parties.

My Sunday School class Christmas party
My friend invited some of his favorite co-workers (that would include me) to his church's Christmas party (which involves free steak). I won a door prize that included a free set of steak knives and a $100 gift card to a nice steak restaurant. Funny story: It was almost 80 degrees when I went to the party, so I didn't take a coat. A cold front hit during dinner, and it dropped to the 40s. I was quite cold when I left! 
I saw Breakfast At Tiffany's in the theater. Yes, I own it on DVD and have seen it 100 times (not an exaggeration), BUT, it was my first time to see Audrey Hepburn on the big screen. It was awesome!

I spent New Year's Eve with Stan Lee and a bunch of nerds/geeks (I say that lovingly). 

Stan Lee was super nice. He was so full of energy too. I hope I'm like that when I'm 94!

Maurice LaMarche and Rob Paulsen- better known as the voices of Pinky and the Brain (I'm standing by Rob- the voice of Pinky). Fun fact: When I worked for a newspaper, my nickname was Pinky. My friend was The Brain. We still call each other that to this day. When I got my picture signed, I told Rob that my nickname was Pinky, he signed it "From one Pinky to another". 

Peter Mayhew, better known as Chewbacca from Star Wars. Yes, he's tall. He's sitting down (and he's still almost taller than me).

I won an Emmy. Okay, I didn't. BUT, this is a real Emmy. It belongs to Mark Kistler. He's the host of a children's art program on PBS. He let me take a picture with it.

I would like to thank all my fans for making this possible....
I survived the great cold front of 2017. It dropped to temperatures my Texas body cannot handle. It was maybe 12 degrees at one point (all of you up north kindly stop laughing at me). HOW DO YOU PEOPLE LIVE LIKE THIS FOR MONTHS??

Okay, I am HOPEFULLY getting back to my What I'm Loving Wednesday post next week. Stay tuned!! :)