Thursday, June 26, 2014

ARC review: The Man Who Left by Theresa Weir


Book Summary(via Goodreads):

THE MAN WHO LEFT is about the importance of fathers. It's about the men who leave, and the men who stay.

It's a familiar story. Father leaves his wife and children and never looks back. Theresa Weir was five when her father left his family for a better life with a wealthy socialite. Many years passed with only occasional and grudging contact by Theresa's father. When Theresa married into a successful farm family, her father resurfaced, but she couldn't help but be suspicious of his awkward visits.

Years later, when the aging socialite dies and Theresa's father is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, people expect Theresa to move to Florida to care for him. A daughter's duty.


This is Theresa's personal story of a strained and painful father/daughter relationship.

What does a daughter owe the father who abandoned her?

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Belfry Press for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***


This insomniac's review:

This bravely honest memoir was highly engrossing and full of twists and turns. It was emotionally charged and honest. I was glad that there was no saccharine sweet ending to this story, which was complex at best.

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes.

Rating:

4 stars




ARC review: Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

 
Book Summary(via Goodreads):
 
Goodnight Moon is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the "great green room" might have come to be.

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.
***Many thanks to Net Galley and Penguin/Plume for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. ***
 
 
This insomniac's opinion:
 
This book was engrossing and highly readable...until the final quarter when it became unbelievable and so saccharine sweet that I was gagging back the too much sugar nausea. Ugh.
 
This is my second attempt reading a Sarah Jio novel, and I think it may be my last. It just isn't my cup of tea.
 
Worth staying up all night to read?
 
Ummmm.....no.
 
Rating: 2 stars
 
 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18667906-goodnight-june

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

ARC review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes


Book synopsis(via Goodreads):


 Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Penguin Group/Viking for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This novel will be published July 1, 2013.***



This insomniac's review:

Oh, Jojo. You have done it again.

The characters in this novel drew me in right away, even though they really weren't all that likeable. However, they were certainly believable.

I slowly fell in love with all of the central characters in the novel and, although the plot was simple and everyday, I fell in love with the novel as well. I gobbled this book up in just a couple of sittings and let out a contented sigh when the last page was turned.

Now, what shall I do until the next Moyes is published??


Worth staying up all night to read?
Yes!

Rating:

4 stars



ARC review: Things We Set on Fire by Deborah Reed


Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):



A series of tragedies brings Vivvie’s young grandchildren into her custody, and her two estranged daughters back under one roof. Jackson, Vivvie’s husband, was shot and killed 30 years ago, and the ramifications have splintered the family into their own isolated remembrances and recriminations.

This deeply personal, hauntingly melancholy look at the damages families inflict on each other – and the healing that only they can provide – is filled with flinty, flawed and complex people stumbling towards some kind of peace. Like Elizabeth Strout and Kazuo Isiguro, Deborah Reed understands a story and its inhabitants reveal themselves in the subtleties: the space between the thoughts, the sigh behind the smile, and the unreliable lies people tell themselves that ultimately reveal the deepest truths.


***Many thanks to Net Galley and Amazon publishing for this advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. ***


This insomniac's opinion:

If you enjoy character driven fiction, this novel is for you. This was a highly emotional novel, full of twists and turns and discoveries as the plot unraveled. The characters were well-fleshed out and highly engrossing.

I admit that as the plot twisted and turned, there were several almost unbearably sad moments. However, the novel did end on somewhat of a hopeful note.


Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes.

Rating:

4 stars




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18187519-things-we-set-on-fire


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Coreyography by Corey Feldman

 
Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):
 
Lovable child star by age ten, international teen idol by fifteen, and to this day a perennial pop-culture staple, Corey Feldman has not only spent the entirety of his life in the spotlight, he's become just as famous for his off-screen exploits as for his roles in such classic films as Gremlins, The Goonies, and Stand by Me. He's been linked to a slew of Hollywood starlets (including Drew Barrymore, Vanessa Marcil, and adult entertainer Ginger Lynn), shared a highly publicized friendship with Michael Jackson, and with his frequent costar Corey Haim enjoyed immeasurable success as one half of the wildly popular duo "The Two Coreys," spawning seven films, a 1-900 number, and "Coreymania" in the process. What child of the eighties didn't have a Corey Feldman poster hanging in her bedroom, or a pile of Tiger Beats stashed in his closet?

Now, in this brave and moving memoir, Corey is revealing the truth about what his life was like behind the scenes: His is a past that included physical, drug, and sexual abuse, a dysfunctional family from which he was emancipated at age fifteen, three high-profile arrests for drug possession, a nine-month stint in rehab, and a long, slow crawl back to the top of the box office.

While Corey has managed to overcome the traps that ensnared so many other entertainers of his generation—he's still acting, is a touring musician, and is a proud father to his son, Zen—many of those closest to him haven't been so lucky. In the span of one year, he mourned the passing of seven friends and family members, including Corey Haim and Michael Jackson. In the wake of those tragedies, he's spoken publicly about the dark side of fame, lobbied for legislation affording greater protections for children in the entertainment industry, and lifted the lid off of what he calls Hollywood's biggest secret.
 
 
This insomniac's review:
 
I have a couple of confessions for you, my favorite bookish buds..
 
1. I read full-on beach trash in the summer to give my weary brain a break.
 
2. In the 80's I had pictures of BOTH Coreys on my wall...and....I may or may not have kissed them each night before going to bed(shhhhhh....don't tell!). Also, I spent quite a bit of time fantasizing about being Kerri Green- a perky little cheerleader wonder.
 
Soooo- now that's that's over- to the review!
 
I expected this book to be a bit(or a lot)douchey.(Yes, douchey is a word-don't mind your spell check.)
 
However, it was surprisingly down to earth and easy to read. For an 80s child, it was a wondrous romp through a deliciously  screwed up celebrityville. I relished every page. I read this book in, like, 4 hours flat. Oh, wondrous beach trash! How lovely thy dishy pages are!
 
Worth staying up all night to read?
 
Yep! Dishy goodness!
 
Rating: 3 stars of trashy loveliness
 
 


 
 

Candy Girl by Diablo Cody


Book Summary(via Goodreads):


Decreed by David Letterman (tongue in cheek) on CBS TV’s The Late Show to be the pick of “Dave’s Book Club 2006,” Candy Girl is the story of a young writer who dared to bare it all as a stripper. At the age of twenty-four, Diablo Cody decided there had to be more to life than typing copy at an ad agency. She soon managed to find inspiration from a most unlikely source— amateur night at the seedy Skyway Lounge. While she doesn’t take home the prize that night, Diablo discovers to her surprise the act of stripping is an absolute thrill. This is Diablo’s captivating fish-out-of-water story of her yearlong walk on the wild side, from quiet gentlemen’s clubs to multilevel sex palaces and glassed-in peep shows. In witty prose she gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at this industry through a writer’s keen eye, chronicling her descent into the skin trade and the effect it had on her self-image and her relationship with her now husband.


This insomniac's review:

I could do a 2 word review for this book.(language warning)

HOLY FUCK!

Buuuuuuut......you probably want more.

I am a nurse and mother of three, bookish buddies. So I am really, really hard to gross out.

I was trucking through this book thinking to myself that it wasnt' quite as racy as the critics have said(remember that I am hard to shock, folks). Then I got to the scene in Sex World that describes a certain male client. If you've read it- you know who I'm talking about. At this point my brain shut down. Really. All I could think was clean thoughts so that I didn't vomit. Ugh.

But, truly- it made me thankful for my quasi boring life that is sans body fluid loving people(that I know of). It was very honest and entertaining.

Just try not to vomit. Mmmmkay?


Worth staying up all night to read?

If your bed partner doesn't mind an occasional gag as you read.

Rating:

3 stars. Fascinating, gregarious romp through the underworld.


ARC review: Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

 Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):


"My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us."

So begins this remarkable novel by Amy Bloom, whose critically acclaimed Away was called "a literary triumph" by The New York Times. Brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny, Lucky Us introduces us to Eva and Iris. Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star, and Eva, the sidekick, journey across 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris's ambitions take them from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine through a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life. From Brooklyn's beauty parlors to London's West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat, and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species.
 
***Many thanks to Net Galley and Random House publishing group for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. ***
 
 
 
This insomniac's review:
 
There's an awful lot of buzz about this book. Which can be both good and bad. It's great because it cues me in on which books to read. It's bad because the novel has to live up to the hype.
 
I truly enjoy Amy Bloom's writing and immediately fell in love with Iris and Eva and their sisterhood. I voraciously devoured the beginning....then the middle fell, well, flat. Really flat. It picked up again at the end, but not enough to completely redeem the novel. Although, I truly adored the ending. The book was just a bit too meandering and there were far too many characters.
 
I still would chance to read the book simply to get to know Iris and Eva, though!
 
Worth staying up all night to read?
 
Unfortunately not.
 
 
Rating:
3 stars
 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18316089-lucky-us

ARC view: The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert



Book summary(via Goodreads):


Bay Singer has bigger secrets than most. She doesn't know about them, though. Her mother, Nan, has made sure of that. But one phone call from the sheriff makes Nan realize that the past is catching up. Nan decides that she has to make things right, and invites over the two estranged friends who know the truth. Ruthie and Mavis arrive in a whirlwind of painful memories, offering Nan little hope of protecting Bay. But even the most ruined garden is resilient, and their curious reunion has powerful effects that none of them could imagine, least of all Bay.



***Many thanks to Net Galley and Sourcebooks/Landmark books for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***


This insomniac's review:


I really enjoyed this read, bookish buddies! It has a bit of believable magic woven in, a la Alice Hoffman, which I found quite entertaining. It was slow-moving, but was full of loveable characters and a bit of mystery!

This is a great little summer's read for a long, hot day!


Worth staying up all night to read?


The pace isn't super fast, so it may not be one of those novels that would keep you up all night- but it is still well worth the read.

Rating: 3.5 stars




https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18601927-the-memory-garden

Saturday, June 7, 2014

ARC review: Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes

 
Book synopsis(via Goodreads):
 
When Mike Dormer heads out from London to a small seaside town in Australia to kick-start a hotel development, he expects just another deal. But Silver Bay is not just any seaside town, and the inhabitants of the eccentric ramshackle Silver Bay Hotel - the enigmatic skipper Liza McCullen, her ten-year-old daughter, and her legendary shark-catching aunt Kathleen, as well as the crews of the local whale-watching boats - swiftly begin to temper his own shark-like tendencies. He is left wondering who really has the greater right to the bay's waters. As the development begins to take on a momentum of its own, and the effect on the whales that migrate past the bay begins to reveal itself, Mike's and Liza's worlds collide, with dramatic results. New, unforeseen hazards emerge to confront both the creatures and the McCullen women. How close can you get, before you end up destroying what you love?


***Many thanks to Net Galley and Penguin for the advnanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***


This insomniac's review:

I'm a huge fan of the last couple of Moyes' novels. HUGE fan. I rather adore her, in fact.

"Old" Moyes(ahem, pre-2011) is not really thrilling me so much unfortunately. This novel was vaguely reminiscent of a Harlequin romance novel. It was full of bland characters and a slow-moving plot splashed with vague pools of drama. I really struggled to finish it.

So, my advice is to pass on this one and pick up Me Before You. *sigh* That is worth reading.

I must finish my review by saying that reading this novel made me really impressed with the huge strides Moyes has made with her writing. That is no small accomplishment! I'm so glad to have found her writing!


Rating: 2 stars

Worth staying up all night to read: NO. Save yourself-walk away!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2895896-silver-bay