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Book Worm: January's Book Reviews

This month was a productive one for getting a start on my 2016 Goodreads Challenge. I was able to get through eight books in all, some I loved and others I found disappointing. One thing they all seem to have in common is beautiful cover art. I must be a sucker for a pretty book jacket. I think that this list may have something for everyone;  historical fiction, noteworthy/award winning literary fiction, a beach read, humor and young adult fiction.

Reading Recommendations: Martin Luther King Jr Day

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King Jr

It's Martin Luther King Jr Day today (as if you didn't already know) so I thought it would be appropriate to share six of my favorite books that fit into the black American literature and civil rights themed genre. I know that there are a lot of amazing books in this genre that are not listed here, so feel free to list your own recommendations or additions to this list.

The Best Books in the World According to My Kindergartener

One of my favorite things to do is take my son book hunting with me. We enjoy looking for books to read at nighttime as we wind down for the day. I'm not sure if all kids are like this, but we seem to have a rotation of favorite stories that we read night after night. Are you kids like this? I'm pretty sure I was - I have memories of reading Make Way for Ducklings over and over again.

I asked my little guy to pick out his five favorite books and here is what he brought to me:

Book Anticipation: January 2016 New Releases

There are a slew of new releases out this month that I can't wait to read. Here are a few new reads out this January that sound interesting to me:

Title: The Longest Night by Andria Williams
Genre: Literature & Fiction, Historical Fiction
Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Random House (January 12, 2016)
Publication Date: January 12, 2016

Set in Idaho Falls 1959, Nat and Paul Collier move with their two daughters to a remote military town where Paul will be stationed to oversee a nuclear reactor.
When Paul discovers that the reactor has been compromised and that the military intends to cover it up, he keeps the information from Nat.
His lies, along with her growing unrest and difficulty settling into a new town takes its toll on their relationship and they begin to drift apart.

Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

image via amazon.com
Title: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Genre: Mental Health, Biographies, Memoirs
Print Length: 300 pages
Publisher: Flatiron Books (September 22, 2015)
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Rating: 5/5 stars

Furiously Happy is about "taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing, because those moments are what make us who we are, and they're the same moments we take into battle with us when our brains declare war on our very existence. It's the difference between "surviving life" and "living life". It's the difference between "taking a shower" and "teaching your monkey butler how to shampoo your hair." It's the difference between being "sane" and being "furiously happy." -Furiously Happy

Book Review: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

image via amazon.com
Title: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Print Length: 391 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Books (September 15, 2015)
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Rating: 4/5 stars

"Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years." -
via hardcover edition

Transparency. It is seemingly the stuff that strong relationships are made of and what many couples strive to have with each other. Complete and total honesty in every situation no matter what. Lauren Groff's novel, Fates and Furies, flips this ideal on its side entirely. Told first from the perspective of Lotto Satterwhite and then later from his wife, Mathilde, Fates and Furies shows the reader both sides of the marriage coin and how two people who have spent the better part of their lives together can have completely different perspectives of life, love and success.

New Year, New Blog!

Hello my fellow readers!
If you've been following me, you'll know that I formerly wrote the blog, the daydream list. While I enjoyed working on that project, I've had something new in the works that focuses more on something that I'm passionate about.

Welcome to the Book Gawker! I'm bringing my love of all things literary to a new space that will focus entirely on my favorite topic - books. Have you ever stood around the aisle of the book store trying to find something new? If you're like me, you're always looking for another book to read and can have a hard time choosing. I'm hoping that this little piece of the blogosphere will help you find your next book to read.

In the past I've formatted my reviews as a monthly post about the books that I read over the previous month. With this blog, I'm hoping to post more frequently so that I can spend more time thoroughly reviewing each book and giving my recommendations. While I probably will not do a thorough review of everything that I read, I will write my recommendations for the books that I finish this year as I did for last year. I did import all of my 2015 reviews from the daydream list here so you'll be able to look back at them if you choose.

I hope you'll enjoy reading along with me in 2016!

Book Worm: December Book Reviews

December Book Reviews

Sadly December came and went and I was unable to complete my Goodreads challenge of reading 52 books in the past year. I’m not going to dwell on it, I came up on 8 books short and completed a total of 44 books in 2015 which in my opinion was a great effort. Because of some traveling, holiday events and the overall busyness of December I was only able to finish four books. Without further ado here are my reviews:

A Spool of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler:

This is one the best books that I read in 2015, it was short listed for the Man Booker and I can see why. Anne Tyler is a master when it comes to family dynamics and relationships told over a number of years in this novel. A Spool of Blue Thread follows the Whitshank family throughout the years, chronicling the lives of its members. This is a beautiful read, so take the time to enjoy it (ie: this is not a beach read).

The Martian, Andy Weir:

I wasn’t sure that this book was in my wheel house, but I’m glad I gave it a shot. I really enjoyed reading The Martian. I loved Mark Watney’s sarcasm and irony throughout. It gave an air of comedy to a situation that was anything but funny. As far as all of the scientific calculations and information in the book, I’m taking it for what it is (fiction). I know that some people were put off by how accurate the novel is scientifically – I don’t care. It was overall a very entertaining read. I would recommend for next time you’re on a long road trip, or an airplane.

Tricky Twenty Two, Janet Evanovich:

If you’re like me, you’re basically the biggest Stephanie Plum fan girl alive. For Real! I have read all of the other Plum books and they’re all essentially the same. You can count on the following: You will crave donuts, Someone is always getting flashed, Stephanie will be abducted at some point, Ranger is still hot, Morelli still has ulcers, and Lula will kill it with the one liners. If you enjoyed the other Plum novels, you’ll love this one too. Read it with a glass of wine after a long day. I promise you’ll feel better.

Luckiest Girl Alive, Jessica Knoll:  

Will someone please explain to me why there was so much hype about this book?! For the life of me, I could not get into it. Ani Faneli was the most vapid wannabe that I’ve met in literature thus far. I could not stand her. This book has a fairly simple plot, I’ll break it down for you:
  1. Parents send daughter to upper class school
  2. Girl will do anything to fit in
  3. Typical dumb teenage decision making leads our main character to make terrible mistakes that will haunt her for the rest of her life
  4. Tragedy strikes
  5. Revenge in the form of becoming the most successful (unhappy) person in the world at whatever cost.
I will say pass on this one. I just couldn’t get into it and I think for the subject there are better stories.

And that’s how December of 2015 played out. This month I’m traveling, but hoping to get a good start on my reading challenge for 2016. As always, I’d love your feedback or any recommendations you may have!