Book Reviews, Books I Read

What I Read | May 2017

What I Read

Woah, I read 7 books this month! A few were slow going but a few I just flew through! As always, let me know below if you’ve read any of these books, and what you thought about them! And/or drop your suggestions for me – I never need new books to read but love getting recommendations anyway.

*Bite Me by Ally Hilfiger

Synopsis: Ally was at a breaking point when she woke up in a psych ward at the age of eighteen. She couldn’t put a sentence together, let alone take a shower, eat a meal, or pick up a phone. What had gone wrong? In recent years, she had produced a feature film, a popular reality show for a major network, and had acted in an off-Broadway play. But now, Ally was pushed to a psychotic break after struggling since she was seven years old with physical symptoms that no doctor could explain; everything from joint pain, to night sweats, memory loss, nausea, and brain fog. A doctor in the psych ward was finally able to give her the answers her and her family had desperately been searching for, and the diagnosis that all the previous doctors had missed. She learned that she had Lyme disease-and finally had a breakthrough. What she didn’t know was that this diagnosis would lead her down some of the most excruciating years of her life before beginning her journey to recovery from eleven years of misdiagnosis and physical pain. She would need to find her courage to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally, and become the survivor she is today.

I was really excited to read this book and it fell completely flat for me. I have quite a few friends that suffer from Lyme disease, and was looking forward to reading a memoir about living with this terribly misunderstood disease. However, I didn’t realize when I requested this book that Ally was the daughter of Tommy Hilfiger, and that this memoir would be more a story about her reality show and fashion mishaps, than her Lyme Disease. At the times she did talk about her disease, it always seemed to be name-dropping doctors or other well-known members of society, and talking about all the money her family has. Or it would be involving her belief in reincarnation, herbal medications and other like-things. I would love to read a Lyme memoir written by a normal, run-of-the-mill person, and not a super star.

2 stars.

Goodreads | Amazon

*Successful Leaders of the Bible by Katara Washington Patton

Synopsis: If you could drop biblical men and women into our world today, what kind of lessons might they teach you? In SUCCESSFUL LEADERS OF THE BIBLE, the Bible’s most exceptional leaders come alive in fictionalized form to help readers understand that the lessons God imparted in the Bible millennia ago are just as applicable today as they were then. For example, if David lived today and continued to chase after God, how might God help him rise to a position of great power just as he did eons ago? If Moses was alive, imagine how God might use him to advocate for others. These stories are perfect for those who want to better themselves and see biblical characters in a whole new light.

I haven’t really loved any books in this series like I thought I would. This was the 3rd one I read and I mostly just skimmed through it. I don’t think I’ll be reading any more of her books. (That said — some of you might like it! So if you think you might, you could still give it a try.)

2 stars.

Goodreads | Amazon

*Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman

Synopsis: Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it. Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan–to stay alive for another day. She knows he’s coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started. Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months–to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf’s bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they’ll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.

This was an entertaining, quick and clean read. It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but if the synopsis sounds interesting to you, go ahead and pick it up! (Just FYI, it is slightly faith-based – which I enjoyed since it wasn’t over the top about it.)

3 stars.

Goodreads | Amazon

**City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

Synopsis: Revenge. It’s something Sigrud je Harkvaldsson is very, very good at. Maybe the only thing. So when he learns that his oldest friend and ally, former Prime Minister Shara Komayd, has been assassinated, he knows exactly what to do and that no mortal force can stop him from meting out the suffering Shara’s killers deserve. Yet as Sigrud pursues his quarry with his customary terrifying efficiency, he begins to fear that this battle is an unwinnable one. Because discovering the truth behind Shara’s death will require him to take up arms in a secret, decades-long war, face down an angry young god, and unravel the last mysteries of Bulikov, the city of miracles itself. And perhaps most daunting of all finally face the truth about his own cursed existence.

This is the third (and last) book in The Divine Cities trilogy, and I LOVED IT. (See previous reviews here and here for more information about what the books are about.) This was a beautiful and perfect ending to the series, and I’m convinced RJB must be some sort of genius. He has created a fantastic world, terrible but lovable characters, and an insane story. (There is quite a bit of language, just FYI, but the book is SO GOOD – and so weird, but that’s part of the reason it’s SO GOOD.)

5 stars.

Goodreads | Amazon

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

3 stars. Read full review here.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Synopsis: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

There are YA dystopian novels, like The Hunger Games, and then there are general fiction dystopia like 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale, that chill us to the core because we can imagine, if only just, them coming to pass in the near future, in our lifetime. It is haunting and frightening and they stay with us. Reminding us of what could be, soon, if we don’t take good care, or even if we do.

4 stars.

Goodreads | Amazon

*All Day by Liza Jessie Peterson

Synopsis: All Day is a behind-the-bars, personal glimpse into the issue of mass incarceration via an unpredictable, insightful and ultimately hopeful reflection on teaching teens while they await sentencing. Eighteen years ago, performance artist Liza Jessie Peterson never thought that her day of substitute teaching at Rikers Island C-74 would change the course of her life, but it did. It ignited a lifelong passion–which continues in her work with incarcerated kids today–to make a difference in the lives of youth in trouble. Her powerful narrative captures the essence, humor, intellect, creativity and psychology of children in the penal system. She intimately introduces readers to her students. We see them, smell their musk, feel their attitudes, hear their voices and learn how they came to be jailed–residents of “the island.”

I really wanted to like this — it sounded interesting and right up my little Human Development loving alley. But the story was so disjointed, I was often confused by the abrupt switch of subject, and wasn’t too interested in the black history she spread throughout. (Not that I don’t care about black history, but I was reading this for a present day memoir, not a history lesson. It also took me almost the full month to get through, since I couldn’t connect with the story very well. It was an interesting look at what goes on behind closed doors, though, and I did appreciate that.

2 stars.

Goodreads | Amazon

Currently Reading: The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World by Kristin Rockaway.

On My Bookshelf: Put The Disciple in Discipline by Erin MacPherson and Ellen Schuknect.

*I received free product from FaithWords in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
**I received free product from Blogging For Books in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

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  • Seven books!!!!!! WOW! I felt a bit the same way about Successful Women of the Bible. I really want to READ Handmaid’s Tale before seeing it.