Friday, March 16, 2018

Books I'm looking forward to...

2018 is bringing some must-reads that I can't wait to get my hands on. I've been adding to my BTB (Books To Buy) list and here is what I have so far:







What do you think? Not a bad bunch, eh? So many good ones coming out in 2018, right? I am so excited about the Murakami, Ogawa, McCall Smith, and Laurain!! What about you? Which books are you looking forward to? Let me know if there are anymore I need to add to my BTB list.

Happy reading!!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mini Reviews...

I read this one at the gym, whilst on the treadmill. It was a quick and easy read that I was able to dip in and out of. The story follows an anxiety-riddled fangirl who has run off with her pop star dreamboat.  They are hiding out in Mexico when his manager finds them. He's running from his record label - overworked and exhausted to the bone. She's running from her stalker - terrified and paranoid he's always watching her. The two make for quite a pair and as their life becomes enmeshed in his pop star fame, their relationship gets rockier by the tweet.  There's also an obsessed fan called MET, a mother who is convinced her daughter should be locked away in rehab, a police interrogation about a murder, and another pop star who ran away.  Its all a bit much, but its also a bit of fun to read.  Yes, the story gets ridiculous and I rolled my eyes one too many times, but in the end, it was just silly enough to keep my mind preoccupied while I was on the treadmill. All in all, not a bad book for the gym.

Twists and turns a plenty. I was seriously surprised by the ending that I did not see coming. Okay, I saw some of it, but not all of it. This is the story of a mother (Daphne) who belongs to a group for women who suffer from post-partum depression. She friends one of the other mothers (Laurel) and soon they are a duo who vent about their anxieties over motherhood, their crappy husbands, and the other women in their support group. Except things get out of hand at home and Daphne decides to take her baby and run.  She lands a job as an archivist for her favorite author, a reclusive woman who lives next to an insane asylum in the middle of nowhere.  Daphne is worried that her husband will find her, but soon she gets caught up in her new job and her surroundings. She doesn't even realize what is really happening to her until its too late. By this point we start to wonder if we've been reading about Daphne or Laurel - seems that both women kept diaries, but who's been telling the truth? I really did enjoy this one. I thought it was fun, creepy, and filled with enough suspense to keep me up at night. I couldn't figure out what was happening for some time and I really liked not knowing - the guessing was the best part.

Loved this book! I'm a huge fan of Burke's stories - they are always gripping and suspenseful. This new one is seriously my favorite now. I just loved getting lost in this story of infidelity, lies, murder, and betrayal.  This is the story of Angela Powell.  She's married to Jason, a celebrity in the eco-political world. Their marriage appears to be picture-perfect: good-looking couple, a smart son who attends the "right school", a big house in NYC, a fancy car, and a busy schedule filled with meetings, vacations, etc.. Except, their life is not perfect.  Especially when Jason gets accused of sexual harassment by an intern at his office. Only, she's not the only woman to come forward. The next one accuses him of rape.  Yep, looks like Jason may not be the man Angela thought she knew.  Of course, he's not the only one hiding secrets.  Apparently, Angela has a past and its not a pretty one. And that is all I will say. This book is just too good to give anything away - you have to experience all the drama, suspense, and 'whodunit' for your self. The Wife is such a great read! I absolutely LOVED it!! I can't stop thinking about it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Berlin 1936: Sixteen days in August by Oliver Hilmes

(Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

A lively account of the 1936 Olympics told through the voices and stories of those who witnessed it, from an award-winning historian and biographer

Berlin 1936 takes the reader through the sixteen days of the Olympiad, describing the events in the German capital through the eyes of a select cast of characters—Nazi leaders and foreign diplomats, sportsmen and journalists, writers and socialites, nightclub owners and jazz musicians. While the events in the Olympic stadium, such as when an American tourist breaks through the security and manages to kiss Hitler, provide the focus and much of the drama, it also considers the lives of ordinary Berliners—the woman with a dark secret who steps in front of a train, the transsexual waiting for the Gestapo’s knock on the door, and the Jewish boy fearing for his future and hoping that Germany loses on the playing field.

During the games the Nazi dictatorship was in many ways put on hold, and Berlin 1936 offers a last glimpse of the vibrant and diverse life in the German capital in the 1920s and 30s that the Nazis wanted to destroy.

my thoughts:

What a fascinating and fun read! Berlin 1936 is a chronological day-to-day account of the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin, Germany.  We get the weather report, along with reports from the athletes and citizens of Berlin.  They are a diverse group, which help to provide a full picture of the political climate at that time.  The Nazis were pretending to be caught up in the games, when in actuality through notes, documents, and personal stories we find out about the concentration camps being built and the people being rounded up.  This is a historical lesson on the people's perspective and it is rich with detail, emotion, and history.

I loved reading Berlin 1936.  The writing was top notch and made for a quick, easy read.  The Olympics in Berlin make for such an interesting scope with which to explore history.  Not only do you get to learn about a diverse set of people, but you get a sense of the atmosphere they were living in/with.  You can't help but get caught up in their dramas, their losses, their wins, etc..  This book truly captures a moment in history with its factual narrative and historical tidbits.

I would happily recommend Berlin 1936 to fans of nonfiction and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!

Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living by Elizabeth Willard Thames

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

The deeply personal story of how award-winning personal finance blogger Elizabeth Willard Thames abandoned a successful career in the city and embraced frugality to create a more meaningful, purpose-driven life, and retire to a homestead in the Vermont woods at age thirty-two with her husband and daughter.

In 2014, Elizabeth and Nate Thames were conventional 9-5 young urban professionals. But the couple had a dream to become modern-day homesteaders in rural Vermont. Determined to retire as early as possible in order to start living each day—as opposed to wishing time away working for the weekends—they enacted a plan to save an enormous amount of money: well over seventy percent of their joint take home pay. Dubbing themselves the Frugalwoods, Elizabeth began documenting their unconventional frugality and the resulting wholesale lifestyle transformation on their eponymous blog.

In less than three years, Elizabeth and Nate reached their goal. Today, they are financially independent and living out their dream on a sixty-six-acre homestead in the woods of rural Vermont with their young daughter. While frugality makes their lifestyle possible, it’s also what brings them peace and genuine happiness. They don’t stress out about impressing people with their material possessions, buying the latest gadgets, or keeping up with any Joneses. In the process, Elizabeth discovered the self-confidence and liberation that stems from disavowing our culture’s promise that we can buy our way to “the good life.” Elizabeth unlocked the freedom of a life no longer beholden to the clarion call to consume ever-more products at ever-higher sums.

Meet the Frugalwoods is the intriguing story of how Elizabeth and Nate realized that the mainstream path wasn’t for them, crafted a lifestyle of sustainable frugality, and reached financial independence at age thirty-two. While not everyone wants to live in the woods, or quit their jobs, many of us want to have more control over our time and money and lead more meaningful, simplified lives. Following their advice, you too can live your best life.

my thoughts:

Lately, all you ever seem to hear about is this concept of "simple living" - the idea that you give up the materialistic world in order to embrace what really matters: family, friends, and enjoying life.  Basically, you have to pare down from all the excesses that you indulge in and start making your own clothes and grow a vegetable garden to live off of. Okay, so not that extreme, but you know what I mean.  And you have to admit that you've thought of trying out "simple living" - getting a tiny home and living off the land somewhere, so that you can travel more and see the world.  I mean, there are so many stories about it - couples selling their homes and moving to Costa Rica and living off their savings, because why work 24/7 if you are never going to be able to enjoy your money or your life, right?  Or couples who have decided to live extremely frugally so that they can achieve financial independence and finally live out in the woods.  That last one is the couple in this awesome book, Meet the Frugalwoods.

Elizabeth and Nate are tired of working in the city and not being able to enjoy the life they had always imagined for their family.  So, they decide to embrace a frugal lifestyle in order to save a LOT of money (like 70% of their net pay) so they can quit their jobs and move out to rural Vermont and spend their days as a family.  This book shares that journey with us, along with some useful financial tips and ideas on "simple living".

I absolutely enjoyed reading this book!  I loved the engaging tone, humorous anecdotes, and no-nonsense attitude that Elizabeth employed throughout her story.  She was honest about the struggles and successes, which made her so relatable.  And, I really enjoyed reading about her journey - it was interesting and inspiring.  She made her dream come true - how awesome is that?!

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the Frugalwoods (they have a blog!) and to anyone looking for their next great read - you will enjoy this book!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Meet the Frugalwoods
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Friday, March 9, 2018

My Friday Five

1.  Anxiety.  It sucks. It really does. Mine has been creeping up on me lately. In fact, I had a panic attack the other day and it was the worst. I'm not even sure what triggered it, which scares me.  So, I've started going to the gym again - yes, I stopped going and I realize now that I shouldn't have.  Exercise seems to really help with my anxiety, so I'm going to stick with it. Fingers crossed it helps.

2.  Books. My reading has gone a bit to the wayside. When I'm anxious, I can't seem to concentrate. So, I've been reading magazines - luckily, I had quite a few to read (Vogue, O, Wired, MarieClaire, US Weekly, People).  Although, I did manage to squeeze in a few books here and there:




3.  The X-Files. OMG! I am loving this season. It's fantastic! Last week's episode about technology taking over was hilarious. And this week we were introduced to the haunting figure of Mr. Chuckleteeth - that doll was crazy creepy!! My favorite bit was when Scully thanked Mulder for having her back and he replied, "You're my homie."- my heart melted.

4.  The Walking Dead.  Why is Negan still a threat? What is taking so long for Rick to take him down? I feel like this show has stalled and that's why they threw a curve ball at us by killing off Carl. I'll admit to tearing up when Carl was saying his goodbyes, but now that he's gone I have to say that I don't really miss his character.  As for Maggie, what is she even doing? She's leading the Hilltop nowhere.  And why is Dwight still alive - he tortured Daryl and killed Denise?  Oh and Judith - how is she still not talking? Ugh! This show is really disappointing me this season. I hope that this week's episode will finally be a good one.

5.  The Goat Rodeo Sessions. I'm still obsessed with this CD and have been listening to it non-stop lately. I even watched Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, Stuart Duncan, and Edgar Meyer perform music from it on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series on YouTube. Of course now I'm addicted to watching that channel and finding out which other musicians have performed in the series - my favorites were The National, Neko Case, Natalie Merchant, and this one:

Hope you have a great weekend! Happy reading!!