Friday, August 28, 2015

The Job: True Tales from the Life of a New York City Cop by Steve Osborne


"How ya doin?" 

This book is a collection of personal essays about what life was like for, Steve Osborne as a NYC cop.

Steve Osborne is a storyteller. I very .... opinionated one at that. When, I was able to look past (or attempt to) his negative references to liberals, I was able to absorb myself into his life stories. I do have to admit, I had to take breaks from in between the essays and pick up other things because they can be a bit redundant. Don't let that sway you because the stories are worth reading.

Expect one story to break your heart (hint: it involves a dog). The first half of the book is is much less personal then the second half, where, Osborne touches on more personal subjects such as 9/11, the death of a family member and retirement.

Many thanks to NPR, without their coverage on this book, I never would  have picked it up!

Grade: B - 


Friday, August 21, 2015

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

The Knockoff starts of a bit slow but builds up rather quickly and leaves you in stitches.
I think we all have a little bit of both of the main characters inside us, making it easy to relate to certain aspects of their personalities.

The Knockoff is basically, "The Devil Wears Prada" vs "Mean Girls". It about being and becoming tech-savy in order to survive in a technological race to produce the better product.

Imogene editor-n-chief of her glossy has returned after a 6 month medical leave to find that her, former assistant Eve has taken over. Everything is topsy- turvy. Eve's app had taken over and if Imogene doesn't get with it or find a way to take back what's her's she just might lose it all!

Sit back, relax and enjoy this read.

Grade: A

 

Friday, August 14, 2015

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Violet and Theodore have forged an unlikely friendship. Their paths crossed on the edge of a bell tower on the day the both wanted to end it all.

Theodore, is able to talk, Violet down, sealing their friendship for life.  A friendship based on love, happiness,grief, heartache, loneliness, compassion, understanding and trust.

Theodore is the break out character. He is passionate about life and death, often spewing his knowledge on famous people who have committed suicide.

They embark on a school project together taking them to visit various parts of their home state, forging a deep friendship between them. You get to experience life with them and all the ups and downs that comes with it.

I do not want to give much more away other then to say.. read the book and ignore the reviews  calling it The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park..... 

Go in with no expectations, lean back and read this book. 

Grade: A

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish by John Hargrove and Howard Chua-Eoan



Beneath the Surface gives an insiders look into the life of, Orcas in captivity. Sea World to be exact.

John Hargrove always wanted to work with, Orcas. When, he was given the opportunity, he jumped at it  and found that working with them wasn't as glamorous as he was lead to believe. These beautiful, social majestic creatures where/are in turmoil, physically and emotionally. They suffer a great deal to entertain the masses. His book chronicles his time at Sea World, the love and bond between him and the Orcas and the secrets behind closed doors.

These behind the scenes gives you an understanding of why these lovely animals, act up or kill. Their health and minds suffer. They are torn apart from their families, and put into situations with other Orcas who don't "speak" the same language they do. They are forced into doing "tricks" or go hungry and worst of all --- they are not given adequate space.The suffer from a variety of ailments, many not seen in the wild. This include but are not limited to, sunburns, dorsal fin collapse, wearing down of the teeth and a variety of skin issues.

This book is well written and educational. This will make you think twice before considering a trip to, Sea World.

Grade: A+

Monday, August 10, 2015

These Few Precious Days: The Final Year of Jack with Jackie by Christopher Andersen

Christopher Andersen knows how to captivate his audience and deliver information. Many new facts (or at least to me, they are new) have been added. His book covers life before, during and after the assassination of JFK.

The stories are gripping and emotional, very little about the actual presidency is covered it is more about the personal relationship between the, Kennedy's. It's a very intimate read that will make you fall in love with the Kennedy's over and over again. Some of my favorite passages had to do with the relationship between JFK and his children.

If your a JFK fan or just want to know more about the era, this is a quick, easy entertaining read.

Grade: A-

Sunday, August 9, 2015

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

 “Terrible things can happen in this life but being in love changes everything. It gives you something to hold on to.” ― Judy Blume, In the Unlikely Event

 In the Unlikely Event is a historical fiction novel. It takes place during a three month span in the years 1951-1952. The small town of, Elizabeth, New Jersey experiences not one, not two but three unfathomable plane crashes within a three month period.

The city is in turmoil and residents have their own theories on why the crashes haven taken place. Everyone is on edge and understandably anxious but amongst the tragedy friendships, love and unity is forged and strengthened.

The story is told from several different perspectives, each giving their own unique insight and drawing the reader in. The characters are believable and Blume pulls you into her novel. This is a page turner and will be sure to keep you entertained.

It also took me on a research mission to find out the facts of what really happened in those three months and how it impacted those who experienced the tragedy.

Grade: A



Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North

 "Sometimes the sickest part of me just seems like the truest part.”  ― Anna North, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark

Sophie Stark is a film maker. Each of her films focuses on the tragic events of other peoples lives. Sophie tells other people's stories and now six individuals from her life have stepped up to tell their version of, Sophie.

Sophie is a walking oxymoron. She is strong yet weak. She is both love and hated. You get to learn about, Sophie Stark from others, she, like many of us, gives each person a different view of herself.

This book is interesting yet long winded. I am still not quite sure if, I liked this book or not. It isn't one that I would re-read.

Grade: C+

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Sixteen year old Jam, has been sent to a therapeutic school in, Vermont. She is in the process of recovering from a traumatic event. She quickly finds herself part of an elusive class taught by Mrs. Quenelle.
The students in this class each have their own, harrowing life changing event in which they must overcome or come to peace with. 

Mrs. Quenelle gives each student in the class a journal to write in, to record their thoughts and feelings. They quickly find out that these journals are special and serve a purpose. They are transported to a world called, Belzhar. 

As the pages in their journals fill up they realize that they time they have in, Belzhar is limited. They will be forced to make some difficult choices. 

Each character's event is unveiled in their own voice and touching. Wolitzer gives each character their own voice and writes a story that will keep you memorized.

Grade: A

Sunday, August 2, 2015

After (Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia) by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

I wanted to love, "After" but it's a mixed bag of nuts. Some you love, some you wish you hadn't bitten into.

After,  is an anthology, of 19 post apocalyptic and dystopian stories, written by a variety of authors, some more well known then others.

I had to skip two stories, one because it was impossible to read, due to the way the author choose to write  (the character didn't know how to write and it was written without prose) and the other because to put it simply it was boring. There were only two stories that I loved and that was because it held true to the authors characters in their full length novels.

Time has become precious to me, as I am working more then ever and I wish I had skipped over this book and read something else. If you don't have much time to spare or don't want your opinion on some of your loved characters to diminish, skip this book and pick up something else.

Grade: D+


The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

I read The Dead-Tossed Waves back in October of 2010. The link to that blog post is  HERE . I can honestly say that this time around I enj...