Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. 

This was the first book I have read by Jojo Moyes. I am definitely going to look into what other books she has written. 

This story is about Louisa who is better known as Lou. Lou struggles living at home with: her mom and dad, her sister, Treena, Treena's very young son, Thomas and her grandfather. The home is crowded but income is limited and Lou and Treena are depended on to help the family financially. 

This big family are tightly packed into their small home, but are, for the most part, loving. There was one thing that irked my nerves a little bit and that was the way Lou's father spoke to her at times. Still, the author still manages to convey that his remarks are not meant to be malicious and that he is really only teasing Lou, but sometimes his comments came off as mean spirited. 

At first, Lou is perfectly content working in a cafe and seeing her boyfriend, Patrick.  However, the cafe closes and the family is panicked at the loss of income. After awhile, through a job placement agency, Lou is employed by the Traynor family as a caregiver to their son, Will. 

Will is a victim of a tragic accident that left him a quadriplegic. He has an assistant that comes in to help him with physical therapy and other medical needs, but Will's mother wants Lou to be more of a companion to Will, who is suffering from depression. There's more to that part of the story, but I am not going to spoil it for you. 

I finished this book today. I really got hooked on it towards the end. The author did such a good job that when I had to put it down, I felt like I couldn't wait to get back to it...almost like I had people waiting that I couldn't wait to catch up with and see how they were. 

Heavy at times, humorous at others, I found this to be a great read. I would love to hear your thoughts. However, if you do, make sure your comments include any kind of spoiler alerts if your comments contain them! :)  See you next time. Thank you for reading. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stranger In Town by Cheryl Bradshaw

This was the first book I read by Cheryl Bradshaw. Two girls who are kidnapped at different times. The police are unsuccessful in finding any leads, and something happens that indicates that the two kidnappings are connected. 

One of the daughter's fathers hires Sloane Monroe, a private investigator to see if she can help find both missing girls.  

While the book is fast paced, and I DID enjoy it, I thought it was unrealistic the way 1. everything was done so quickly and 2. the way the whole thing wrapped up almost too neatly. I am all for mysteries getting solved in books, but this one was a little TOO unbelievable. That being said though, I enjoyed it in some ways because sometimes you just need a quick, entertaining read. 

I probably will try the other books by the author at a later date, but just not right now. If you read this and liked it, let me know. If you comment with spoilers, just make sure you put in a spoiler alert! 

Next blog will be about Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes. Thank you for reading! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hoda- How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee by Hoda Kotb

I am about to make a stunning confession.  I don't watch the Today Show. Not because I don't want to, but I am at work by then, so I miss it. I know I am probably the only person who doesn't DVR it if they don't see it live. Now, pick yourself off the floor and read on! 

While on vacation in Rehoboth Beach, I saw a sign in the local bookstore, Browseabout Books, announcing that Hoda Kotb would be doing a book signing. Even though I don't watch Today, I still know who Hoda is. Who doesn't?  

 By the way, I love Browseabout Books. Check them out if you are in the Rehoboth Beach area or their website at www.browseaboutbooks.com

So, on July 5, I met up with my mom and we headed up to the bookstore. While I don't usually buy books full price (I am a library/Amazon.com kind of girl-gasp!), I love buying things at local businesses.  I bought a copy of both of Ms. Kotb's books and we got in line to have them signed. 

What a turn out! Ms. Kotb has so many fans and when we got around to where we could see her interacting with them, she was so gracious and funny. We got both books signed and had a great time. Here's a picture of me, my mom and Ms. Kotb: 

So, now about the book. I read it in two days. I know I had the time to do it by being on vacation but still, I was hooked. The book was very entertaining and humorous but also very moving in certain parts, like when Ms. Kotb shares her experience with her battle with breast cancer.

 She pulls no punches discussing it and even shares some pictures of her while she was in the hospital. And I dare you not to be moved when reading the part where Ms. Kotb discusses her experience of being in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. 

But, I also dare you not to laugh out loud during the book, too. I did!

Reading this book went by too quickly for me. I usually don't read biographies or memoirs, but I can truly say that this was a book I was actually sorry when I finished it. I wanted more!  Pick it up and see for yourself. I am a new fan of Ms. Kotb's and wish her the best. Follow her on Twitter @hodakotb. 

Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Amy, My Daughter by Mitch Winehouse

This book was a very moving, but heartbreaking story. Written by Amy's Winehouse's father, Mitch, it gives the reader a look into the Winehouse family struggles with Amy's addictions to drugs and alcohol. Don't think that Mr. Winehouse denies his daughter's addictions either. He is very aware of what is going on and expresses how helpless he feels in watching Amy's self destructive behavior. He also is very involved in attempting to help her in any way he can, sometimes sacrificing his own health in order to do so.

Even though I along with everyone else, knows how this story ends, I found myself hoping she would get better and rooting for her. However, I didn't know, and I bet a lot of people didn't either, Amy really tried to beat her demons and she DID beat one of the hardest-her addiction to hard drugs but couldn't seem to beat alcoholism. She did want to though, and went days and finally weeks without a drink. 

Mitch Winehouse really shares his personal feelings in this book and I can't imagine how hard that must have been to do. How many of us would reveal feelings and incidents that happen to our loved ones that might bring criticism instead of compassion? 

Which brings me to this: Just because someone is famous, doesn't give anyone the right to bash them and say hurtful things. Amy had problems, yes, but from my personal experience in my family, drugs and/or alcohol addiction does NOT discriminate. I hate when I hear people say, "I would never..." Please. You don't know that.  Believe me. It was and still is very hurtful towards Amy's family to hear her be made fun of or looked down upon because of her issues and Mr. Winehouse talks about this as well.  Amy was someone's daughter, sister, wife, and friend. She was famous, but she was a real person. I think people forget that. 

On a positive note, I, along with millions of others, heard the power and raw talent in Amy's voice. It is obvious that she would have gone far and that we are truly missing a great artist. 

Something positive that came out of their tragedy was the birth of The Amy Winehouse Foundation which focuses on the educating people about drug and alcohol abuse as well as providing assistance to those who find themselves already in battle with these diseases. Visit their site at www.amywinehousefoundation.org. 

If you are a fan of Amy's or even just want to read a true account of a family living through the problems of addiction, pick this book up. I read it very quickly and enjoyed it. Mr. Winehouse should be thanked for sharing Amy's story.  

Thank you to NetGalley who provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble


This week at the beach I have been reading two books. The first is Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble. I read one other book by Elizabeth Noble,  When You Were Mine, and I enjoyed it. So, when I went back looking for other books by this author, this plot caught my eye. 

Tom and Natalie have been friends their whole life. While Natalie is satisfied with the way things are with him,  Tom is in love with Natalie and probably always has been.  She, on the other hand, fell in love with Simon but after it turned into a one sided relationship, she was left brokenhearted.

Tom sees his chance and tells Natalie that he can prove they would be great together if  she would give him the opportunity.  He proposes an idea of 26 different activities, each one beginning with a letter of the alphabet. 

Not only is the book about Natalie and Tom, we also meet Tom's brother, Patrick and his wife, Lucy who are going through a rough patch of their own. And to make matters even more sticky during their trying time, Lucy finds herself attracted to her friend Marianne's husband, Alec. 

And we also get a glimpse into the marriage of Natalie's parents, Nicholas and Anna. Anna is struggling with depression and it is taking a toll on her family and while they have that to deal with, another event happens to turn their lives around as well. 

As they move through the alphabet, Tom and Natalie cultivate and grow their relationship. Will Tom emerge triumphant and win Natalie's love? Will Lucy and Alec act upon the attraction they feel? What will happen to a good book?

I hope that if you read the book, you enjoy it as much as I did. Let me know! Leave your comments below. Follow me on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4244227-deana to find out what is on my reading list and to see other reviews. 

The other book that I am reading at the beach this week is Amy, My Daughter, by Mitch Winehouse. It is a  father's story about his daughter, Amy Winehouse, the talented but troubled signer. That will be my next review and blog, so check back soon! 

Thank you for reading--Hope you are enjoying whatever you are currently reading! xoxo