Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday & Recently Read Vol. 4 (Jan. '16)

Today my blog is pulling double duty: I am linking up with the gals over at The Broke and the Bookish for their weekly Top Ten Tuesday feature post and with Steph @ Life According to Steph and Jana @ Jana Says for their monthly Show Us Your Books link up.



Today's TTT theme is - Valentine's Day Freebie!
  • Lucas from Easy and Breakable by Tammara Webber - Lucas is smart, mysterious, sensitive, and protective.  Oh, and the fact that he rides a motorcycle just adds to his appeal.
  • Boyce Winn from Sweet by Tammara Webber - As I said in my review of Sweet, if Boyce Winn had a theme song, it would be Real Good Man by Tim McGraw.  Boyce absolutely radiates bad boy sex appeal.
  • Four from the Divergent series by Veronica Roth - There's something very appealing about a guy who not only wants to be brave, but also selfless, smart, kind, and honest.
  • Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series - He's gentle, noble, strong, forthright, and protective.  Oh, and he wears a kilt.  I need not say more.
  • Travis Maddox from Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire - It's been 2 years since I read DB and WD, but I distinctly remember thinking as I read both books, Travis, despite his bad boy tendencies, would make an awesome boyfriend.
  • Joe Pike from Robert Crais' Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series - There's just something I like about Joe Pike's character.  He's quiet, he mysterious, he's loyal, he likes cats, and he knows how to handle himself.
  • Ranger from the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich - My explanation needs to only contain one word...babe.
  • Joe Morelli from the Stephanie Plum series - I know what you're thinking, "How can you be for Ranger and Morelli?"  Well, I can because I like them both.  In certain books I have liked one more than the other, but in the end, I like them equally for very different reasons.
  • Jacob Black from the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer - Yes, yes...  I was team Jacob.  What can I say?  I like guys who are tall, dark, and handsome and who can serve as my own personal heater in the winter.
  • David from Lick by Kylie Scott - He's a rockstar and he's deep.  There's much, much more to his character once you peel back the layers.  
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WORTH THE TIME - RECOMMEND


Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming
Read January 1

Before reading Cumming's memoir, I was vaguely familiar with him. I recognized him from The Good Wife and from a movie that took me forever to recall (Burlesque). I thought he might be gay, but wasn't 100% sure of that. That was about it in terms of my background knowledge before starting this book. I'm not sure I would've ever picked up this audiobook had I not been on the lookout for a book with the words "mother, father, son, daughter," or "child" in the title. 

What makes this memoir stand out from the crowd of the endless sea of celebrity memoirs is that it is not a recounting of his, as he put it, "fabulous celebrity life" but rather a book about something he really felt passionate about. Because of that, this is one of the best celebrity memoirs/autobiographies I've ever read/listened to. I laughed, I teared up, and despite never having met the author, I felt a connection with him - a human connection. I cannot relate to his life or to his childhood, but when I finished I felt a deeper understanding of his experience and of what he was trying to convey.

Also, Alan Cumming narrates the audiobook which only enhanced my experience of feeling connected. Admittedly, it did take me about 30-45 minutes to get used to his native Scottish accent, but once I acclimated, it was a great book to listen to.
My rating: ★★★★



This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Read January 21-29

This book was featured in Buzzfeed's "32 Books Guaranteed to Make You Laugh Out Loud" article from October 2015.  This gave me the impression that this book was going to be absolutely hilarious.  Well, there were definitely some laugh out loud moments, like the birthday cake scene for example, but it wasn't as hilarious as I thought it would be.  But, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  I found the story of the Foxman family, a dysfunctional family who gather together after the passing of the family's patriarch to sit shiva, a week long mourning period in Judaism, to be a well balanced read, incorporating both the funny and the poignant.    It's a snapshot of life and of family, which as most people can attest, is often very complicated.
My rating: ★★★★


OK - 50/50 - ADEQUATE FOR PASSING TIME OR BASIC ENTERTAINMENT


Before He Finds Her by Michael Kardos
Read January 2-8

This is a hard book to review because my feelings are mixed. I liked the book, but it didn't blow me away. I never had the feeling of "OMG! I can't put this book down!" I enjoyed listening to it during my commute and even listened to it a little bit in the evenings when I got home, but the story never hooked me so intensely that I wanted to listen for more than 2 1/2 hours a day. The story has an interesting premise, however there are some parts of the story that I felt were not plausible. Maybe those things are what prevented me from being completely hooked, I don't know. It's a well written story, is an easy read, and is a good book to pass time with.
My rating: ★★★/★★★★ (3.5)



Dust to Dust by Tami Hoag
Read January 11-18 

Dust to Dust is the second in the Kovac and Liska police series. I haven't read the first book in the series, but that didn't hinder my comprehension or enjoyment of this book. I liked the characters of Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska, two Minneapolis PD homocide detectives. These partners seemed real with real life issues and even though I may not have been able to relate with them on a personal level, I still enjoyed their individual personalities as well as them together as a team. Hoag's writing was clean, concise, descriptive, with an easy flow. The dialogue seemed genuine and not forced. I didn't devour this book like I have many books in the past, but it honestly had nothing to do with the book itself, but rather the timing. (I'm in a slight reading slump and waist deep in a winter funk at the moment.) The story was enjoyable enough that I have already acquired the first book in the series, Ashes to Ashes, which I plan to read at a later date.
My rating: ★★★/★★★★ (3.5)



Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding
Read January 18-21 

This is a re-read for me. I first read this book back in the year 2000 and, honestly, I don't remember much about it. I remember the plot of the movie adaptation, which is quite different, more than the plot of the book. Obviously, the first time I read it, it didn't make much of an impression on me. This time around, I listened to the audiobook and my experience was much better. The vocal artist, Imogen Church, did a wonderful job at giving each character a distinct voice and personality. Had she not, then I don't know if I wouldn't liked it.

Listening to this audiobook 20 years after its initial publication and 15 years after the release of the wildly popular movie adaptation was an interesting experience. As I mentioned earlier, the book is a lot different from the movie and I really, really liked the movie. I also felt this unspoken pressure to have the same feelings towards the book that I, along with thousands of others, have for the movie. Well, I didn't. This is one of those rare instances in which I prefer the movie over the book. Maybe my experience was skewed because I have seen the movie dozens of times and it's what I am familiar with.

All and all, it was a fun, light read. Even though I wasn't blown away by this book, I'm glad to have revisited it for a second go around.
My rating: ★★★



PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
Read January 8-23

This is the first philosophical book that I've ever read.  I was drawn to the book for several reasons: first, it has been featured on several "Books Everyone Should Read in His/Her Lifetime" lists; second, I found the idea of a road trip, even if on a motorcycle appealing; and third, because this book was published the year I was born and thus would satisfy a category in the current book challenge I am participating in.

As for my thoughts on this book, it wasn't my cup of tea.  I was expecting something earth shatteringly brilliant.  I mean, honestly, this book is over 40 years old and is still makes the list of books that everyone should read in his/her lifetime.  My expectations were high,
but sadly, were not met...not even close.  


The story involved two parallel plots. The first detailed the cross country road trip the author and his son took with family friends. The second was about the thoughts of a intellectual loner by the name of Phaedrus. It was the kind of book that I couldn't listen to continuously until finished, nor could I listen to it over the course of consecutive days. I listened to this audiobook and several other audiobooks at the same time, something that I rarely do. (When it comes to books in general, I'm usually very monogamous until the end. LOL!) I discovered that listening to the constant philosophical talk was difficult at times, especially during my 6:30am commute to work. Overall, it was just too deep and philosophical for my taste. It did provide an interesting look into values and perspectives, but honestly, it didn't make enough of an impression on me for it to have made any difference in my life. Bottom line - I did not enjoy it. If you are really into to philosophy, then you might want to give it a look-see. If you're not, well, you probably just want to skip it.
My rating: ★


Ever had a crush on a literary character? Also, what have you read lately? Please feel free to share. Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!


9 comments:

  1. This Is Where I Leave You is one of those I keep meaning to read, sounds interesting!

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  2. I like a good detective story so I'm going to check out the Tami Hoag one.

    I enjoy Alan Cumming as an actor and I've heard good things about his memoir but I'm really not in a rush to read it. Not sure why.

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  3. I love Jonathan Tropper. I enjoyed This is Where I Leave You. I love love love Bridget Jones.

    And Travis Maddox.

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  4. I love the literary crush idea! The first two that came to mind for me are Mr. Darcy and Gilbert Blythe. Oh, and Rhett Butler. And YES to Jamie Fraser. Oh my. I have to disagree on Twilight though - Team Edward!

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  5. I was Team Jacob too. I felt a little creepy about it being my age and all, but I was. My literary crush is Virgil Flowers - he's a detective in a series of books by John Sandford.

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  6. its been a looooong time since i have read bridget jones, so i might have to check out the audiobook for a re-read as well.

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  7. Love Four! He's one of my favorite literary characters! I've been hearing a lot of good things about "This is Where I Leave You.

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  8. I have This is Where I Leave You checked out from the library right now, but I haven't gotten to it yet. It's one of my picks for Erin's book challenge, and I'm hoping I like it as much as I think I will.

    I'm not a big chick-lit fan, and even I loved Bridget Jones's Diary. To be fair, I did read the book before I saw the movie, and I liked the book more. I also read it at a time in my life when I could identify with some of the things Bridget was dealing with (though definitely not on such a dramatic level!), so that may have been part of the reason I liked it so much. I've been thinking about rereading it at some point, but there are so many other books I want to read. I'm sure I'll get around to it eventually.

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  9. I'm originally from Minneapolis so I'll have to check out the Hoag book. I've read her books before, although I can no longer remember the series, and enjoy her writing. This is Where I Leave You also sounds intriguing and is going on my read list too. It can never have too many books on it, right? While I believe it's possible to be both a Ranger and Joe fan, because I like both characters (more than I actually like Stephanie), I am rooting for Ranger. Like you said, all I need to hear is "babe" and my heart swoons a bit. :)

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