Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

Did you like The Devil Wears Prada (book or movie?) Well, Andy Sachs is back. It's ten years later and she's now co-founder of the high styling wedding magazine, The Plunge.

This book was just okay, but fun. So, if you're looking for a light, fun, summer read, and you liked The Devil Wears Prada, then this would be a good selection for you!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Snack, Nap, Read

Thank you to one of my favorite readers, Lisa, for sending this photo to me! She found the sign at a bookstore in Maine. Lisa introduced me to The Lord of the Rings and even let me borrow her copies to read. What a true friend. =D Thanks for sending this to me, Lisa!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

Wow, I could have used this book about ten years ago! It was still helpful to read at this time in my life though as I could always use tips on how to be more grown-up.

This book tackles all of the big areas of being an adult. Some of the chapter titles are: Domesticity, Cooking, Get a Job, Money, Friends and Neighbors, Love, and Families. Kelly writes short tips with brief explanations that are concise and funny. By the way, Kelly writes a blog at

One of the most helpful hints was Step 109: Rescue a conversation from the brink of disaster. Kelly writes that when someone says something very offensive, you should pause (so as to distance yourself a bit from the comment) and then say, "I'm sure you didn't mean that the way it sounded." And then change the topic. That is a great tip.

From houseplants to interviews, to how to break-up with someone to when to call 911, this book is a must read for any grown-up, or for anyone who wants to be more grown-up. This book would also make a perfect high school or graduation gift.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Why I Did Not Read This Week

My books were left untouched for multiple days this week because I was preoccupied. Instead of reading, I watched Season One of the TV series Homeland. I was a big fan of the early seasons of 24, so to watch something from the same producers was such a treat...and quite consuming. This week was: work and Homeland. Now that I'm done, I can return to my books and the laundry. Oh yah, and there's Season Two out there now...I'll have to wait until September for the DVDs to come out. Should I just go ahead and take the week off?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Nicholas Young takes Rachel Chu, his Chinese-American girlfriend, back to Singapore for his best friend's wedding. What Rachel doesn't know is that Nicholas' family is one of the most wealthy in the region, and that he's considered one of the most eligible bachelors. She's thrown into a world of materialism and crazy wealth, and doesn't know if she likes it.

I found this novel (it's Kwan's first!) to be highly original, funny, and very insightful. It's a fun and ridiculous look into the Asian jet set crowd, but there is a plot, and there is heart to this story. His descriptions of Asian aunts and how Asians evaluate each other is spot-on (albeit truly awful): "The only acceptable majors were medicine or law (unless you were truly dumb, in which case you settled for accounting)" (p. 55).

A fun, fast, original read. Looking forward to what Kwan writes next.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

J.K. Rowling's Secret Book

Thanks to Reader Grace for sending along the link below about the book J.K. Rowling published under a pseudonym. I'm #46 on the wait list at my library. I'll let you know what I think. Hopefully, it'll be better than The Casual Vacancy.

The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio

I've read all of Sarah Jio's previous books, and had pretty much the same experience with them. I couldn't put them down and then, at the end, thought that the story was pretty cheesy, formulaic, predictable, and tied up too neatly. So why do I keep going back??

I picked up The Last Camellia, and pretty much had the same experience as before. This one was slightly better in terms of storyline, but not much. Again, everything was tied up much too nicely at the end. But still, I spent the better part of the 4th of July reading this book and toting it around with me.

The story centers around the rare and coveted Middlebury Pink camellia plant. The story takes place on an estate in England, but the two inter-connected story lines alternate between pre-WWII and present day. Mystery, murder, and secrets abound.

I suppose I could mildly recommend this book if you're looking for an easy-to-read, light, predictable summer book. It would be perfect for an afternoon by the pool.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan

Before you read any further, make sure you have a pencil handy because you're gonna want to write down this title, and then visit your local library web site to see if it's available. If it is, check it out! If it's not, make sure you put your name down on the wait list!

This book was incredible. It's an ambitious story about marriage, following four couples who marry and who don't marry. It also follows Frances Gerety, a single woman working on an ad campaign for De Beers diamonds, who comes up with the "A Diamond is Forever" slogan.

At first, I thought that the book was going to follow these four seemingly unrelated couples throughout the book which would had been just fine. The writing is excellent, there's great character development, and the attention to detail is wonderful. There's just enough detail so you know that the author did her research, but not too many details so that they were distracting. Trust me, I read and savored every single word in this book.

The great surprise was that all of the four couples end up being connected in a very clever, subtle way, and that really tied the whole book together.

I loved this book! My most favorite book so far in 2013.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

This is one of the weirdest books I've ever read. It's about Daisy Stonewall Goodwill and told from her perspective, but somehow it's about everyone else except her. Daisy drifts about life and never really becomes a person of any substance which is perhaps why this book seemed to be about anything but her.

Readable, well-written, and meaty.

An extra note about my reading experience: I checked it out from the library and the front page had a red stamp on it: DAMAGE NOTED. Below the stamp the damage was specified: Writing, markings. Uh oh, I'm not a fan of writing in books, especially library books! The brilliant reader before me had read the book and circled every word related to "stone." Sometimes they even wrote: "Stone! A reference to the title???" If you're gonna write in library books (which you should NOT), at least write something smart! Thanks! =D

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Since you asked...

Since I received so many requests to post a picture of my new reading spot (actually, just one, from Grace!), here it is!

I bought this chair used, and when I went to the seller's house to take a look at it, I was much more interested in meeting his Samoyed dog than looking at the chair. He said, "So...what do you think about the CHAIR???" And I said, "Oh yah, I'll take it" as I kept petting the dog.

I wish I could have bought the dog!

Friday, July 12, 2013

One Good Egg: An Illustrated Memoir by Suzy Becker

Suzy was 39, single, and well-established when she decided that she was ready to have a baby. Much happens in the years following, including her getting married to her partner five months after she gets pregnant. With whimsical drawings throughout, this book follows Suzy's journey of deciding to have a baby, choosing on a sperm donor, trying to get pregnant, and going through fertility treatments.

Although disjointed and confusing at times (some more transitional words and sentences were needed along with more clarification about who was who and how they were related to Suzy), I so-so liked it. The illustrations were a plus.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel is seventeen years old, and diagnosed with terminal cancer. At the recommendation of her physician, she attends a Support Group of other teens also living with cancer. She's pretty depressed and fed up with the group until one evening, Augustus Waters joins the group.

The title comes from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar when Cassius says to Brutus: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

This is a fictional, young adult book and I LOVED it. It was beautiful, sad, funny, and super readable. It's one of my favorites of the year so far.

Thanks, Ryan, for the recommendation!

Monday, July 8, 2013

I feel this way often...

There are lots of different places around the house that I like to read. However, I don't have one dedicated reading chair. Surprising, eh?

This weekend we had a home improvement job done which required the movement of much of our furniture. As we were putting things back, I realized that if I don't create a reading area for myself, no one else is gonna do it for me.

And so I rearranged our family room so that there is a chair by the window with a table for books and another table for a lamp and a cup of tea. It is really beautiful and inviting. So beautiful and inviting that the cats are clamoring for the space as well.

Friday, July 5, 2013

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

We are in the Summer of the Re-Read! I read this book back when I was eight or nine and LOVED it.

Claudia decides to run away in order to show her parents what life without her is like. She plans strategically, taking her little brother, Jamie to go with her because he's saved up a lot of money. They run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A statue of an angel is on display and the sculptor of the statue is in question. Claudia is determined to find out who the real sculptor is. That's where the mixed up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler come in....and what Claudia discovers allows her to go back home to her family.

I was afraid that if I re-read this book, I wouldn't like it as much as I did when I was a little person. However, it was maybe even more charming, clever, and sweet than I had understood back then. I still love this book!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

I love books by Sarah Dessen. They're young adult books with female leads finding their own way. Her last couple of books were disappointing because they were all falling into a Dessen formula of girl experiencing some kind of family problem and unique boy shows up who shows her something about her true self.

I complained about this in my post about her last book, and maybe Sarah Dessen read my blog (do you read my blog, Sarah Dessen??), because her newest book does not follow this formula. There are still some problems with it (unresolved plot lines, etc.), but still, it was a nice turn of events even though it wasn't executed as well as it could have been.

Emaline has been dating Luke all through high school and they both grew up in the same small beach town. The summer before they leave for college, Theo, an ambitious filmmaker from New York City, enters the picture. What kind of life does Emaline want to lead?

Even with some minor problems, I did like this story and read it slowly because who knows when the next Sarah Dessen book will come out? (Sarah Dessen, if in fact you do come across my blog, maybe you can answer that question??)