Tuesday, March 25, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Home by Rachel Smith

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

After twelve years on top of the charts, country music superstar Lily Rae has decided to hang up the microphone and move home. Becoming Lillian Raftzen again is harder than she anticipated and soon, it seems running home is not enough to escape from her manipulative ex-agent, who not only threatens to end her happiness, but her life. When the girl of his dreams walks back into his life twelve years later, Justin DeLuca realizes as much as he loves her, she is no longer the girl he remembers. With everything they must overcome, can the two of them make their dreams come true? Lily's dream to sing and Justin's dream for a family are so very far from the same path. But by veering off course they find a new dream on a new path ending up right where it all began.....home.


Recently I had been hoping to find a book that I "just can't put down."  Despite the fact that I read a lot, I rarely feel that way about the books I read and I wanted to find something that really drew me in.  This book certainly did the trick!  I'm not sure I've ever read a book as fast as I devoured this one.

I occasionally read fiction, but never romantic fiction.  I (reluctantly) may have discovered a new favorite genre.  Home by Rachel Smith is a romance novel, but it also has a rich story line that builds in suspense as the book goes on and keeps you guessing until the very end.

If you're a woman (and/or a fan of romantic fiction), I highly recommend this book with one disclaimer - if this book were a movie, it would be rated R for language and sexual content (4 scenes, I believe).  If these things offend you, this may not be the book for you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Drinking and Dating: P.S. Social Media Is Ruining Romance by Brandi Glanville

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

On the heels of her New York Times bestselling book Drinking and Tweeting, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville takes readers on a wild ride through her dating life in this highly-entertaining relationship book.

Drinking and Dating chronicles Glanville’s misadventures stumbling through today’s dating world. From social media blunders to bedroom escapades, Brandi withholds nothing. Each chapter is inspired by a relationship encounter she has had since her sensational divorce from actor Eddie Cibrian. Hilarious, surprising, vulnerable, and outspoken, Glanville’s unexpected take on dating after heartbreak – and life in general - is as unique as she is. Just like Brandi herself, Drinking and Dating is sexy, funny, and eyebrow-raising.


I don't even want to write this review right now.  What's that saying...If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all? <sigh>  If you know anything about Brandi Glanville, you're probably thinking, "Well, what did you expect!?"  I know, I know.  I just love Brandi.  There's something about a woman with a strong personality and no apology for being who she is.  I love that about her.

I knew very well who Brandi Glanville was from watching Real Housewives, so I'm not sure what I expected from this book.  I have not read her first book yet, but from what I gather, the first book was more about her divorce and this second book is more about her life after the divorce (and her search for love, or an "emergency contact," in this new phase of her life).  I am a big fan of Real Housewives, so it was nice to get to know Brandi a little bit more in her book, but I think we all could have been spared a few of the (very graphic) details. 

I'm no dating expert, but I do watch The Millionaire Matchmaker, and I think Patti Stanger would have a few things to say about Brandi's dating habits!  Perhaps Brandi would have a better chance of finding Mr. Right if she followed a few of Patti's rules, i.e. "a 2 drink maximum" on a date and "no sex before monogamy!"  But I digress...

I would only recommend this book for you if you are a big Real Housewives (and particularly Brandi Glanville) fan, you're currently in the post-divorce dating phase (although, unless you're an ex-model dating NBA players, this book may not help with your self-esteem at this point in your life), you're in your 30s or 40s but are really a 20-year-old at heart and/or you just like pure trash.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The New New Rules: A Funny Look at How Everybody but Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass by Bill Maher

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

From the New York Times bestselling author and host of HBO’s Real Time, Bill Maher’s latest collection of political riffs and savagely funny suggestions for preserving sanity in an insane world.

New Rule: The next Republican Convention must be held in a giant closet. Every week there’s a new gay Republican outed. I have a feeling that “big tent” they’re always talking about is in their pants. There are so many Republicans in the closet, their symbol shouldn’t be an elephant; it should be a moth.

New Rule: If one of your news organization’s headlines is about who got kicked off Dancing with the Stars last night, you’re no longer a news organization. Sort of like, if you were on Dancing with the Stars last night, you’re no longer a star.

Media, celebrity, Democrats, Republicans, religion, children, marine life, electronics, that couple making out in the next booth—when it comes to lighting up his targets, Bill Maher is an equal-opportunity destroyer. The New New Rules offers Maher’s new and best-loved observations about the world around us, along with some modest tips for its improvement. Because wouldn’t life be a little better if the inside of the office microwave didn’t look like a Jackson Pollock painting, or if fathers stopped signing up their nine-year-olds to win free hunting trips? Scathingly funny and relentlessly unafraid of sensitive topics, Maher’s hilarious brand of realism is more welcome and necessary than ever. So sit back, read on, and enjoy. You may not agree with all his views, but one thing’s for certain: If you’re listening, you’re laughing.

In my defense, I did not really know who Bill Maher was before I picked this book.  I mean, I knew of him vaguely - enough to say he was in news/politics, but that was about it.  I picked this book because I have been on a humor audiobook kick for a while now.  I liked the satirical humor of Denis Leary in Why We Suck, and I thought this book might be similar, but it was not.

Although I have been reading humor books lately, I really appreciate books that challenge me in some way.  I have found that humor books often do that by making me laugh one moment and then making me think about something in a new way the next.  The New New Rules by Bill Maher, however, did not make me laugh or challenge me in any way.  It is simply full of (often crude) one-liners. 

If you're already a Bill Maher fan (or if you have a short attention span), you may like this book.  But otherwise, I don't recommend this book for anyone else.

Monday, February 17, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):
Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.

I had never read anything by Kurt Vonnegut before, but recently something I downloaded on Audible brought him to my attention so I thought I would give one of his books a try.  I have to be honest, about 20 pages in, I considered giving up, but then I asked my Facebook friends if anyone had read the book and if it was worth reading.  I only received positive feedback, so I pushed on.  It definitely got easier to read as the story developed.

What originally caught my attention about Vonnegut was that he was an ex-soldier and antiwar activist.  The audio promo I had heard talked about Vonnegut's books being popular among college students and making the readers think about things in a different way. 

Slaughterhouse-Five is fairly short (the copy I had was 200 pages) and is the kind of book you may want to read more than once to fully grasp the messages Vonnegut portrays.  Some of those messages include war, death, time and money/success. It is certainly thought-provoking and I would not hesitate to read another book by Vonnegut.

Favorite Quotes:

All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I've said before, bugs in amber.”

But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned to a pillar of salt. So it goes. People aren't supposed to look back. I'm certainly not going to do it anymore.”

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle by Rachel Dratch

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

The former SNL star recounts the adventures and unexpected joy of dating and becoming a mom when she least expected it—at the age of forty-four. Anyone who saw an episode of Saturday Night Live between 1999 and 2006 knows Rachel Dratch. She was hilarious! So what happened to her? After a misbegotten part as Jenna on the pilot of 30 Rock, Dratch was only getting offered roles as “Lesbians. Secretaries. Sometimes secretaries who are lesbians.”

Her career as a female comedian at a low point, she suddenly had time for yoga, dog-sitting, learning Spanish—and dating. Dratch reveals the joys and terrors of putting herself out there in a quest to find love and then becoming a mother in an undreamed-of way. With riotous humor, she recounts breaking the news to her bewildered parents, the awe of her single friends, and romance and coparenting with her baby-daddy, John.

Filled with great behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Dratch’s time on SNL, Girl Walks into a Bar . . . is a funny book with a refreshing version of the happily-ever-after story, full of sensitivity, candor, and plenty of comic relief, as only Rachel Dratch can tell it.


I will admit, I knew Rachel Dratch was on SNL before I read this, but that was about all I knew about her.  And I couldn't have named a single scene she was in (now I know -- Debby Downer!).  I would not have been one to be asking, "What happened with 30 Rock?" or "So, what's the deal with you and John?"  I had no idea about anything in her personal life.  However, now that I've read this book, I love Rachel Dratch!

If you've been following this blog for awhile, you know I've been on a humor audiobook kick for awhile now.  Girl Walks into a Bar looked interesting.  I figured it would be similar to Bossypants by Tina Fey or maybe Here's the Deal by Howie Mandel, BUT...it was better than both! 

Dratch tells a little bit about her time on SNL and what happened afterward (30 Rock and "going in another direction"), she talks about the dating scene in New York and unexpectedly becoming a(n unwed) mother in her 40s.  For me, this book contained a perfect balance of humor and drama.  Dratch made me laugh in some moments and nearly cry in others. 

I highly recommend this book for any woman - particularly any woman who has at some point experienced the feeling of not being completely perfect in their career or motherhood (or both).  You will identify with Dratch and come to love her as I did.