Friday, November 9, 2012

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

I actually really loved this book!  A few months ago I finally got around to reading Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand.  I loved it!  So someone else recommended Silver Girl to me. I added it to my wish list and the first one I was offered was the audio version, so I ended up listening to this one instead of reading it.

The story is about the wife of a man who lead a ponzi scheme.  Think Bernie Madoff.  In fact I think this had to be somewhat based on that because even in the book the husband is in a federal prison in Butner, NC which is where Bernie ended up.

It was so interesting to see the story from the wife's perspective.  How everyone hated her even though she was hurt in the whole thing too and had no idea what was going on.

There are also some side stories that get pretty good too.  I really enjoyed it!

I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, November 5, 2012

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

I picked up this book in the airport in Las Vegas back in September because I had already finished the other two books I had brought on my trip and wanted something to read for the flight home.  I was intregued because it was about a good girl and a bad boy who are in love with each other but afraid to admit it to themselves and everyone else at first.

The first half of the book was ok.  It kept my attention for a while.  But then it just got to be rediculous.

Abby the main female character: Seriously I do not get why they guys are all in love with her.  There was nothing special about her and she honestly acted like a stupid, bitchy, self-righteous girl thoughout most of the book.

Travis the main male character: He is C-R-A-Z-Y.  Girls, you are stupid if you want a guy to act like this over you.  I know it seems romantic in stories sometimes, but in real life behavior like this means that person has serious, serious issues and you should stear clear.

I imagine their relationship to probably be like what Chris Brown and Rhianna's relationship would be like in my head.  Very passionate yes, but out of control and way too predicatable and drama (that is mostly created in their own heads) filled.

I was so over this book towards the end I contemplated quitting all together, but I ended up just mainly scanning the last 150 pages or so as the story continued on it's perdictable path.  The ending made me want to vomit.  Teenagers...this is not what love should look like at all.  I would not reccomend this book.

2 out of 5 stars  only because it held my attention for the first half and I was at least able to finish it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Room by Emma Donoghue

I loved Room by Emma Donoghue!  At first it was a little weird.  It is written from the perspective of a little boy.  And I listened to the audio version which is read by a little boy.  His language and the way he talks about things is strange until you piece together what is going on.

Here is a synopsis from

To Five-Year-Old Jack, Room is the world. It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where Jack is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven foot space. But Jack's curiosity is building alongside Ma's own desperation - and she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

There was one point in the story when things got really intense and I sat in my car listening to the story to find out what happened long after I had arrived home.  It was a really good story!  I talked about this book with my mom so much while I was listening to it that she went and got a copy and ended up finishing it before I did!

I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

I LOVED this book!  I cried at least 5 times while reading this book.  This book made it to my "Keep Forever" shelf (which only has about a dozen books on it).

This book is the story of one dog.  But he is re-born as a new dog multiple times.  It is all told from his perspective.

First he is the puppy of a mutt.  Then he is the adopted puppy of a family (in particular a boy who he pretty much grows up with).  Then he is kind of an outlaw looking for his way back to the boy...will he find him?  and his purpose?  and how all his lives are connected and gave him what he needed to fulfill his purpose?

It is hilarious, interesting, heartbreaking, and just generally cute (in an amazingly awesome way!).  I read it while I was on vacation in Vegas and it made me miss Cam so much.

If you love a dog, you will probably love this book and wonder what the dog you love would say if he could.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

A friend had recommended this book to me because her book club had read it and loved it.  It is set in 1968 and one night a black man and white woman show up on Martha's doorstep with a baby.  The woman does not speak and the man is deaf. But she can tell they are in trouble.  Martha helps them.  The authorities come and search Martha's house and find the woman but not the baby and the man escapes.  As the woman is being taken away she whispers "Hide Her" to Martha.  The whole book follows Martha and the baby, the deaf man Homan who is determined to make it back to the woman he loves- beautiful girl, and Lynnie (aka beautiful girl) who has been taken back to the "school" they had escaped from.

It is such an interesting story.  Seeing the adventures Homan takes on his journey back to Lynnie.  Seeing how Martha hides the baby and how things progress over the years as she grows up.  And getting to know Lynnie and the stories at the school. And then how it all comes together at the end.

It's a beautiful story.  Because I am a sucker for love and happy endings.

It was a little slow for me in the beginning, but the ending was worth it.

My favorite quote from the book was in the middle and came from a secondary character:

"You think you know what you want until you realize you can have so much more."

Love that!

I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sorority Sisters by Claudia Welch

I bought this book on a whim at Barnes & Noble one night.  Funny story- I spent 3 hours in Barnes & Noble one Saturday night reading a book Social Q's and He's Just Not That Into You because I wanted to read them but not buy them.  You probably aren't supposed to do that- oh well!

I bought this book because I wanted to get one of their beach bags and you had to buy a certain $ amount to get the beach bag for $9.99 and I will take advantage of any excuse to add to my growing "to-read" list.

This book was on a display and it sounded like the perfect beach read.  It was even autographed!  I read that the author is from NC so she must have had a signing at the store recently or something.

I LOVE LOVE LOVED this book!  I laughed.  I cried (multiple times).  I fell in love with all these girls and could identify with all of them at different parts throughout the story.  It had me re-living some of my memories from my college days.  It had me appreciating my girl friends and wondering how all our lives were going to play out over the next few years.

The book follows four main characters over about 30 years of their life.  It follows them through their college days to adulthood.  It had me gasping and telling parts of the stories to my friends.  And seriously I cried multiple times.

I started it last weekend at the beach and left the book at the beach to finish it the next weekend and I was actually sad to leave the characters behind and anxious to know what happened to them.

Put this one on your "to-read" list for sure!

I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Vow by Kim & Krickitt Carpenter

I really liked the movie The Vow.  Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams are two of my favorites!  And I love a love story!  So I really wanted to love this book.  But I didn't.

The book is very different from the movie.  And it is written more like a journal of events and their feelings during those events than a story.  It just wasn't well written I felt like.

I do love their story and how their faith in God and their commitment to the marriage got them through in tact.  It wasn't a pretty story, but life never is and their faith through it all really is amazing!

It's a good story and worth reading, but don't expect movie love or a story that sucks you in.

I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.

Empty Promises by Pete Wilson

I got a free copy of this book through  I admit, I'm shallow sometimes and judge a book by it's cover and I loved this cover.  I also loved the extended title:  Empty Promises: The Truth about You, Your Desires, and the Lies You're Believing.

I finally got to read this book on my long trek to San Diego.  Oh, I didn't tell you about that.  I went to San Diego in July.  My flight left 40 minutes late from Raleigh and I was stressing out the entire time about making my connecting flight in Chicago.  I made it just in time.  However, we sat on the plane at the gate for over 2 hours!  They had some kind of technical problem and were trying to get it fixed in order to be cleared for take-off.  They kept saying 15 more minutes.  But finally, they made us get off the plane and told us to stay close to the gate for further instructions.  They switched us to another gate/plane and we finally left Chicago around 4:30 (we were supposed leave at 12:30).  I started my journey my journey just before 10 am in Raleigh and was supposed to get to San Diego around 2:30, but finally made it 5 hours later at 7:30 pm.  Needless to say it gave me a lot of time to read. And I took advantage of it by devouring this book!

I LOVED this book!  The book is all about the things we chase and try to use to fulfill our lives.  The things we put our trust, faith, and hope in.  And how all of those things will only leave you empty.  Only God can fulfill those deepest desires and give you purpose.

There are chapters on Achievement, Approval of Others, Power (or really control), Money, Religion, Beauty, and Chasing The Dream (you know car, house, husband, 2.5 kids and a dog).  I could identify with every chapter.  I have made all of these things idols at some point in time and struggle with keeping them all from taking over control of my heart and mind.

But he doesn't leave it at identifying these idols, he gives you practical tips for keeping them at bay.  He has a chapter on "You are What You Worship" and "Living Close to the Truth".  He talks about you have to be disciplined and keep yourself in God's word and reminding yourself of the truth always.

I seriously can see myself re-reading this book for years to come!

I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

Also on a side not, I was telling some girls in my small group about this book and they asked who it was by. When I told them Pete Wilson and started to explain he was a pastor of a church in Tennessee when one of the girls stopped me and said "Oh my gosh!  He was the pastor of the church I went to in Nashville!"  What a small world!  She said she had read his other book Plan B, but had not heard of this one.  I might just have to check out Plan B because this one was so good!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand

I LOVED this book!  A co-worker recommended this book to me years ago and I have had it on my bookshelf for a long time.  I do not know why I didn't pick it up sooner.

Here's the synopsis from

The ties between women can run as deep as the ocean-but so can the secrets. — For 20 years, Kayla, Antoinette and Val have performed their own special summer ritual. Once a year, the old friends put aside their daily, separate lives to drink champagne, swap stories and swim naked under the Nantucket stars. But on one of those bonding nights, one of their trio swims out from the shore and doesn't return. After the surviving friends emerge from their grief, they realize that the repercussions of their loss go far beyond their little circle, and they begin to uncover layers of secrets-and their connections to each other-that were never revealed on the beach. What has made their friendship strong now has the power to destroy-their marriages, families, even themselves.

What makes this book so good is that the story is so shocking and you can really see all sides to it.  It also has this underlying mystery that you are trying to figure out through the whole book.  What really happened to Antionette?  

It was really good and I can't wait to read more from this author!

I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

This book has been on my must read list forever.  I had heard about it through the blog world.  It's a series and it is about a dystopian world so it sounded a little Hunger Games-ish and I was hoping to be as hooked by it as I was with that series.

Here is the synopsis from

There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it. Then, at last, they found the cure. Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she'll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable.

I really identify with this whole idea of love as a disease right now because I am in the midst of fighting off a crush.  It really does make you feel desperate and a little out of control and sometimes I do wish there was a cure for it!!  But to never love or be loved?  That would be really sad.

The book was really good.  It started off a little slow for me, but I got sucked in and definitely want to know what happens in the next one.  It wasn't Huger Games good because I didn't run out to the book store to buy it immediately, but I did put it on my wishlist and can't wait to continue Lena's story.

I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.

Sweet Potato Queens One True Book of Love

I was invited to join a book club a few months ago and this was our very first book pick (our second was 50 Shades...yeah we're that kind of book club).

Here is the synopsis from

From the back of the book: — To know the Sweet Potato Queens is to love them, and if you haven't heard about them yet, you will. Since the early 1980's this group of belles gone bad has been the toast of Jackson, Mississippi, with their glorious annual appearance in the St. Patrick's Day parade. In this book, their royal ringleader, introduces the Queens to the world with this sly, hilarious manifesto about love, life, men, and the importance of being prepared. Chapters include:

* The True Magic Words Guaranteed to Get Any Man to Do Your Bidding

* The Five Men You Must Have in Your Life at All Times

* Men Who May Need Killing, Quite Frankly

* What to Eat When Tragedy Strikes, or Just for Entertainment

And, of course:

* The Best Advice Ever Given in the Entire History of the World

From tales of the infamous Sweet Potato Queens' Promise to the joys of Chocolate Stuff and Fat Mama's Knock You Naked Margaritas, this irreverent, shamelessly funny book is the gen-u-wine article.

For me this book was kind of funny and semi-entertaining, but I didn't love it.  It did make for some really awesome discussions at our book club.  

The book also includes some delicious sounding recipes.  One woman made the dip and brought it to book club and it was pretty tasty.  I tried the pineapple-cheese casserole dish on my own and it was just ok.

Overall I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

50 Shades of Grey by E L James

Of course I had to get on the 50 Shades bandwagon.  I know most of you all have already read these so I won't go in to what they are about, but you guys- this is porn!  Seriously.  How are they going to make a movie out of this?

I of course loved it.  I loved the story of Christian and what's her face.  I loved the fantasy of a rich guy buying you gifts like a car and a new computer.  I even loved the sex scenes.  Even though they made me super uncomfortable and blush like crazy.

The story really is outlandish.  Does this stuff really happen?  What girl doesn't have email?  Who buys someone they just met a car for graduation??

And I really can't believe that it is so acceptable that we are all so proud about reading these books.  Should men be ok and flaunt their Playboys by the pool?  Yes, I know that is pictures and not words, and there is no story behind it, but when did it become acceptable to consume porn in public and proudly talk about it all over the internet and in real life?  And talk about it in front of kids?  I was at the pool one day and 3 women were reading these books and discussing them very loudly so the whole pool could hear with 2 men.  One of the little boys kept asking what the book was about.  His mom just kept saying "grown up stuff" and being vague, but I bet that little 10 year old is going to Google them at some point and maybe even read them for himself.  It's just all so strange to me.

As much as I loved these books I stopped about 2 chapters in to the second one.  It just didn't feel right.  It was making me have all these lustful thoughts which just wasn't good for this single gal.  So I put the other 2 books on my bookshelf and will revisit them once I am married.  I think it would be perfect reading for the honeymoon actually! (if that ever happens!)

I give the first book- Fifty Shades of Grey- 4 out of 5 stars!

Love Lies by Amanda Lamb

When this trial was going on in Raleigh I was OBSESSED with it.  I even wrote about how I was going through withdrawals from it.  So I just had to read this book even though I had heard before that it was totally biased.

Here's a synopsis from Amazon:

Who killed suburban wife and mother Nancy Cooper...?
Suspicion fell on Nancy's handsome husband, Brad. But why would a devoted husband and father of two young girls want to kill his wife? Nancy's parents and friends knew why. And what transpired revealed secrets not only about Brad, but about their deceptively quiet town.

It would take a mountain of damning evidence to make sure justice was served.

After reading the book, I can see why Amanda Lamb was biased.  She ran in the same circles as Nancy (had seen her around everywhere she hung out), their kids were similar in age, and they even lived in the same neighborhood I think.  So I am sure when this happened she thought "Wow, could this happen to me?"

The book is totally biased, doesn't tell as much info as if you would have listened to the whole trial, and basically assumed Brad did it from the beginning.  I think there was one small chapter on Brad's defense.  I kind of hate that I wasted my time reading it, but for some reason I was obsessed with that story, so anything to feed that obsession is something I will consume.  I am still waiting for the Lifetime movie!

I give the book 2 out of 5 stars

Fishbowl by Sarah Mlynowski

A few years ago I read Milkrun by Sarah Mlynowski and LOVED it!  I absolutely loved her writing style because it felt like I was reading how thoughts flow through my own head- random, all over the place, with humor and a little bitchiness throughout.

I don't know if her writing just wasn't as good in this book, if I had changed or if the story line was lacking, but for some reason I didn't enjoy this one as much.

Here's a synopsis from

Smart, witty and a little bit bitchy, Fishbowl lets you press your face against the glass, see into the lives of three unique roommates -- and laugh your head off. — Allison can't wait for Jodine and Emma to move in to her apartment -- until she realizes having roommates means living in a fishbowl: You are never alone. When one small, slightly accidental fire leads to one big repair bill, all efforts to avoid each other are finally abandoned: They've got to raise money... fast ("Insurance? You mean you have to pay for that?"). This means joining forces. Bonding? Well, at least they're talking to each other!
Amazingly, they agree on a plan: shamelessly exploit their combined expertise on the male species for hard cash.?Tactics: sell tickets to their swanky soir?es and How to Pick Up Women seminars... But their grand scheme sweeps away any last shreds of privacy with startling consequences. Now that they're forced to take a long, hard look at themselves, Allie, Jodine and Emma's lives -- and budding friendship -- are about to change, in ways they never imagined. 

I give this one 3.5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

When I went on the ski trip I woke up pretty early most mornings.  When I woke up I would go ahead and get out of bed and go downstairs so I wouldn't disturb the guy I was rooming with (it was bunk beds...we were not in the same bed).  The second morning I forgot to grab my book when I went downstairs.  I didn't want to go back in there so I looked at the dozen or so books they had on the bookshelf in the living room and decided on this one because it was not very big and I already knew the author.

Here is a synopsis from Nicholas Sparks' website:

Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life—boating, swimming, and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies—he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door. Despite his attempts to be neighborly, the appealing redhead seems to have a chip on her shoulder about him…and the presence of her longtime boyfriend doesn’t help. Despite himself, Travis can’t stop trying to ingratiate himself with his new neighbor, and his persistent efforts lead them both to the doorstep of a journey that neither could have foreseen. Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, The Choice ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

Some Nicholas Sparks books are so sad a predictable.  This one wasn't bad.  I flew through the first half. I love that his books are set in NC because I usually end up knowing some of the places he writes about.  I've been vacationing in Atlantic Beach almost all my life because my family has a timeshare there.  Beaufort, where the majority of the book is set is just over the bridge and is one of the cutest little towns ever.  Having been there really helped envision the story as it unfolded.

When I got to part two of the book I was like we go with the Nicholas Sparks tragedy portion of the book.  It sucked.  But suprisingly it had a happy ending.  Can you believe it? 

Not a bad book but not one to put on your must read list.  I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Host by Stephanie Meyer

I really enjoyed the Twilight series but had not heard much about this other book by Stephanie Meyer.  Then I heard it was going to be made into a movie and I had to read it because the book is ALWAYS better than the movie.  But in this case I am kind of hoping it's the other way around.

The book wasn't bad.  I just could not get into it and thus it took me forever to read!  It is a big book and I felt like maybe she should have cut some stuff out because it just was soooo LONG and not gripping me that I came to hate it a little. 

I know it sounds weird but it is about these aliens called "souls" that take over human bodies here on earth.  The main character "Wanderer" or "Wanda" has lived many lives on many different planets in many different bodies.  But this is her first time on Earth.  And her "host" Melanie is not very cooperative of her body being taken over. 

Melanie never completely goes away and they eventually become "friends" I guess you could say.  Melanie's thoughts and feelings are so strong that "Wanda" starts feeling them too.  This leads to them go look for her brother Jamie and her love Jared.  They are in hiding because they do not want to be taken over by the souls.

There is so much that happens and it was a pretty good story.  I can't wait to see the movie.  But I definitely didn't love this book just because it took me sooo long to get through so I only give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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