book review, books

Books Lately

Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books! Let’s take a look at my books lately.

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

The Ice Queen

To be honest with you, I didn’t really know how I felt about this book while I was reading the first half of it. It sort of crept up on me and then I found myself needing to know what was going on and thinking about it when I wasn’t reading. It is sort of a not so straight forward love story with a little life lesson of not taking things for granted thrown in. And how powerful a wish could be. I really enjoyed the characters and the whole story and overall I really liked it more than I thought I would. Also….this is the same author as Practical Magic. I just loved that movie!!!

Bottom Line: Read it! If you are in the mood for something different this would fit the bill. I really did enjoy it.

Rating: 4/5

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things

When you read the premise of the book, you know you are going to be in for a deep, frustrating ride based on the subject matter. Especially in the heat of all the racial issues going on in our country right now. This book flips between the views of Ruth Jefferson, Kennedy (her attorney) and Turk Bauer (white supremacist father.) I liked the flow of the book and some of the back story from past memories that the author shares.

No matter how far society has come on racial issues, we still have SO MUCH further to go and this book is a great reminder of why. While it took me longer to read this, I really enjoyed it and got to know each of the characters. You can tell that the author has done her research and I feel like she really nailed the emotions.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a book that hits on a deep topic like race or something that makes you think, then this is certainly for you!

Rating: 4/5

**I received a copy of Small Great Things from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

See Me

Call me cliche or cheesy, but I just love me some Nicholas Sparks. I have read every single one of his books dating back from high school and I am always in the mood for more. For me his books are just consistent. You know what you are going to get and sometimes I need that. What I really liked about this book that differs from most of his others…is there is some action and mystery!

Bottom Line: I really enjoyed this book. If you are looking for a little action, mystery and love…then give this a go! I found myself not being able to wait to get back to it to see what was happening.

Rating: 5/5

Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum, #22)

You all know my love for Janet Evanovich!! This is the newest installment of the Stephanie Plum series and I basically LOL’d throughout the entire book. You get everything you expect in a Plum novel…hotness between Stephanie, Ranger and Morelli…crazy Grandma Mazur…Lula and all her hilarious remarks…and the rest of the wacky characters you expect to meet along the way. I felt like the ending of this one gave a hint that maybe Stephanie is finally deciding what to do with her life? Then again, Janet could go on writing these forever and I would never tire of them!

Apparently Turbo Twenty-Three comes out next month! YES!!!!

Bottom Line: If you are in love with this series like me, you will not be disappointed! IfΒ  you haven’t read this series yet….go back to book one and see what you think!

Rating: 4/5

Martha Stewart’s Vegetables by Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart's Vegetables: The Essential Guide, with Recipes

I was excited to look through this book. The photos are just gorgeous and really got me excited to add some more veggies back in to my diet. I liked the way that this book was laid out and there are certainly some recipes that I am excited to try!Β There are some very basic recipes in here, and then some that are a little more involved. I liked the mix. I will say that if you have other Martha recipe books, you might see a few repeats. I was ok with that because I like that all the veggie and side recipes are in one place for me.

You can get more information on the book here.

Read the author bio here.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for great vegetable recipes for side dishes or you are vegetarian…I would say this would make a great book to have in your arsenal or gift to a friend!

Rating: 4/5

**I received a copy of Martha Stewart’s Vegetables from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are of my own.**

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

I will say that I was expecting some life changing information in this book based on the title and other reviews I have read and it sort of fell flat for me. I really loved the idea of only keeping things that spark joy but to be honest…I hold a screwdriver in my hand and I think ughhh this is so not joy. But it is a necessity and something I need for time to time. So that whole theory is crap. But I do see it working on things like clothing or dust collectors around the house.

Her idea of talking to your items or thanking them for their service to you is pretty ridiculous. I laughed out loud when she said something about not balling your socks because they needed rest in your drawer. Socks aren’t a person. And her idea of using shoe boxes to organize everything? I don’t want a bunch of shoe boxes sitting around my house that don’t have the shoes in the picture on my box! And taking your items out of your purse every evening just to need to put it all back in the morning when you leave is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of in my life. It was all sort of hokey for me.

One thing that I liked that really stood out was when she was talking about having a few clothing items that you don’t wear out but you save them from lounge wear instead. But then never wear them as that either. I totally do that! So I will say this book is making me go through my closet one more time to do a final purge of the things I haven’t been able to let go. And I guess that is really all I could ask for from this book.

Bottom Line: If you truly need inspiration to get your life and house in order and don’t know where to start or how to organize, I think this would be a great read. If you have a grasp on organizing even a little bit, you probably don’t need to read this book. I honestly skipped parts because my head hurt from rolling my eyes.

Rating: 2/5

Currently Reading:

The Happiness Project by Gretch Rubin

The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

Read anything good lately?

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  • Reply Heather October 11, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Haha, I agree the Life Changing really didn’t come with the tidying up book, but I do find myself going back to some of her thoughts and suggestions when I’m putting away stuff. I’m adding that Picoult book AND I’m hoping that veggie book is at the library those are my hardest things to get in my diet because I don’t really like salad!

  • Reply Andrea @ Living On Cloud Nine October 11, 2016 at 9:23 am

    I love Nicolas Sparks too!! The action/mystery factor may even amp it up a bit for me. JE reminded me I always get my mom one of her books for Christmas, I’ll have to order Turbo Twenty Three for her if she doesn’t get her hands on it first, lol. GREAT reviews as always!! PS Sooo excited: Chicago Fire back tonight baby!!!!! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Jenn @ Optimization Actually October 11, 2016 at 9:41 am

    I actually completely redid my wardrobe and dresser organization after reading Life-Changing, so… it made more of an impact for me! I’m also much more apt to let things go, especially sentimental things that I don’t actually get much use out of, and (slightly) more thoughtful about what comes in (especially with clothes). And I don’t mind a little mysticism and personification of everyday items. I won’t be talking to my clothes, BUT the idea that they’re only happy if they’re getting used helps me to get rid of more stuff. For “its sake.” Lol!

    I don’t know why, but for some reason I just assumed Ice Queen would be a Frozen retelling. Newp. Sounds interesting though! And I already said, but I’m so glad you’re enjoying The Happiness Project so far.

  • Reply laura October 11, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I just can’t with the tidying up thing — I would have laughed my ass off at my socks resting and probably put the book away. BUT I am glad you posted this review, because I was thinking about reading it. Now I’ll probably pass. πŸ™‚ AND GOD YES TO THE HAPPINESS PROJECT. LIFE CHANGING> πŸ™‚

  • Reply carly October 11, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I need that vegetable cookbook in my life- I’m in such a rut with healthy sides. I’ve never read anything by Jodi Picooult– I started one last year about elephants(?) but I couldn’t get into it fast enough before it went back to the library and I wasn’t intrigued enough to re-request it. I’ve also never read any Alice Hoffman, but have Faithful on my iPad from netgalley. I had no idea Practical Magic was based on a book- I haven’t watched it in years, but now I want to read it.

  • Reply SMD @ Life According to Steph October 11, 2016 at 10:06 am

    First off, love the e-card.

    Secondly, I think a lot of Kondo’s magic is crap. Things do not spark joy but are necessary.

    Can’t wait to get my hands on the newest Picoult. Library people are slow readers on that one.

  • Reply Rebecca Jo October 11, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I didnt realize Alice Hoffman wrote Practical magic!!! LOVE that movie. I need to find that book now!! ASAP!!!
    I used to read every Nicholas Sparks book too – I’ve missed the last few – need to jump back on that cheesy romantic train.

  • Reply Jennifer October 11, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I just finished The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman and really enjoyed her writing!

  • Reply Brittany Pines October 11, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Hmm the Tidying Up book was sounding interesting…but there is no way in hell is not balling up my socks, haha. I might have to search for a less…emotional tactic.

  • Reply Tanya @ A Mindful Migration October 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    I did not know Alice Hoffman wrote Practical Magic. I love that movie too! I’ve heard lots of great things about Small Great Things. The subject matter is more important than ever and will also admit it has made me temporarily hesitant to read it because will likely make me feel ragey at a certain segment of our population. And this election has already made me ragey, so it’s going on my TBR but I’m going to wait until my blood pressure is back to normal before reading it. LOL!

  • Reply lauren October 11, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    oh my! I didn’t know jodi had a new book out, buying right now! I enjoyed the happiness project a couple of years ago, and I still remember some of her sayings to this day. definitely a good read.

  • Reply Audrey October 11, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Hahahaha, I love your review of the organization book. I wondered what could possibly fill an entire book as far as tidying up goes. Now I know πŸ™‚ Haha. Sounds like overall you had a good month! The cookbook sounds like a good one for veggie lovers like me!

  • Reply Teh Megan October 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    After reading almost all of Sparks’s books while I was in college, I realized they were all the same. I needed some variety and after that, I refused to pay for the same story anymore. I’m glad to see he’s branching out though. I enjoy him as a story teller and he can give me the feelz, but I was sooooo annoyed at the same story over and over that he had to be boycotted.

    I need to read more Picoult books, but I also need to stop listening to audiobooks that are 40 hours long and then maybe I’d have time for other books. #outlanderproblems

  • Reply Heather October 11, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    I definitely enjoyed the general concepts of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but there was a lot that I could never see myself adopting in real life. AND I read it over a year ago and have not put it 100% into practice, so its impact is debatable, haha. I hope you enjoy The Happiness Project! I loved it and am anxious to find the time to read Better Than Before by her as well.

  • Reply kathy @ more coffee, less talky October 11, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    I’m not sure about that tidying up book although some hail that it’s life changing? not sure how that would even work?

    I forgot that it was the linkup today; the long weekend is screwing with my schedule πŸ™

  • Reply kristen October 11, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    i haven’t read the ice queen, but i think it’s on my list. i don’t know if i want to read practical magic because apparently it’s super different to the movie and not as good, and it’s one of my favourite movies and i don’t want to ruin that!
    i took a lot of good things from the tidying up book, and rolled my eyes at the rest. some of it was helpful but yeah, most of it wasn’t. but it was a pretty quick easy read, so eh.
    small great things is on my list.. jodi picoult always hits you in the feels. i used to love nicholas sparks books when i was younger (the notebook and a walk to remember, oh so good to teenage me! and dear john and there’s another one.. with zac efron in the movie lol) but haven’t read any thing from him in years.

  • Reply alyssa October 11, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Jodi Picot always does an amazing job of getting to the core of serious, important issues and researching the crap out of them. She interviews and shadows tons of people and tells stories that need to be told. I’m so happy this book finally published today and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!

  • Reply Elyse@JustMurrayed October 11, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    I received Small Great Things at a book preview and I love Jodi Picoult but I know it’s going to be a heavy book that I’ve been putting it off because I know when I start I’m gonna wanna finish it. Glad you liked it! I’m going to have to try and carve some time out to get reading it.

  • Reply Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders October 11, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    The Ice Queen does sound really interesting! I really enjoyed the movie Practical Magic as well, so I’m sure that I’ll be interested. And even though Nicholas Sparks is super cheesy, I always love his books! I’ll definitely be checking out See Me! I’ve also never read a Jodi Picoult book, but everybody keeps on talking about Small Great Things. I need to actually give her a try!

  • Reply Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis October 11, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I can’t wait to see what you think about The Happiness Project. I just bought my 2nd audiobook (Girl on a Train — I’m late to the game I know) but I’m pretty sure I”ll be purchasing lots more.

  • Reply Kristin October 11, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    I will say that Tidying Up made me clean out some closets asap. I’m pretty sure I started that on a Wednesday night…which is not exactly the usual time to clean out a closet. However, she did go a bit overboard with a lot of it.

    I loved The Happiness Project so much, so I hope you like it too!

  • Reply Brie @ A Slice of Brie October 12, 2016 at 1:30 am

    I’m really looking forward to reading that Picoult book. It sounds really good and it’s been a long time since I’ve reading anything of hers. I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up a few years ago, right after Christmas and it was really motivating for me (maybe that was the perfect time to read it as my home needed a good decluttering!). The last N Sparks book I read was The Choice and it was just so cheesy. I enjoyed his older stuff, but I just don’t know if I can read him anymore. See his movies? YES! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply texerinsydney October 12, 2016 at 3:48 am

    I’ve already got my eye on that Jodi Picoult book, but it may take years before my turn happens at the library.
    The Stephanie Plum series is one I’ve never read, and I feel like I’d like it. But, I read so many series books, and I find that I’ve gotten behind on some, I’m scared to add any new ones. ha!

  • Reply Jana @ Jana Says October 12, 2016 at 6:58 am

    Jodi Picoult’s book was intense. Very intense. I wasn’t 100% in love with the way she ended it–there could have been a little more substance there–but overall this is one of her best.

    I felt like the Life Changing Magic was weird and waste of my time when I read it.

  • Reply Amy Getz October 12, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Bummer about the organizing book – I had high hopes for it because it’s had such a buzz . . . but I think I’m already mostly organized so probably not for me!

  • Reply Dani October 12, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I confess: I’ve never read a Nicholas Sparks novel. I always thought that they were *just* romance and I usually like a little more in my reads haha. I picked up The Choice by him randomly but haven’t read it for that same reason. This one sounds interesting though- adding to my TBR! I’m curious to hear your thoughts on The Happiness Project once you finish it!

  • Reply Rach @ This Italian Family October 12, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I had to quit reading Nicholas Sparks books because so many of them had such sad endings, haha! Or maybe it’s just the ones I read. I haven’t picked one up in years, but your review on this one is tempting me…

  • Reply Jill K. October 12, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I’m really excited for Turbo Twenty-Three. even though these books are all kind of similar, I just love them too.

  • Reply P.J. October 12, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    I need to get back into reading more. I have really gotten away from it and I miss it. That Jodi Picoult book is her new one, yeah? I saw it not long ago and thought it would be good to get back into reading her. I have several to catch up with. I like that she’s using the different view style, too. I’m a big fan. The one you are currently reading, too, is one I’ve had my eyes on.

  • Reply Jackie October 18, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Janet Evanovich is who actually got me back into reading as an adult. I didn’t read anything after high school, and then randomly I picked up One For The Money at a grocery store. I pretty much read her whole series within a few weeks. I love the audiobooks and laugh out loud the whole time as well.

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