4 Recent Book Reviews

in , , by Kristen Woolsey, 6:00 AM
Super late to the party on this guys, but did you know you can check out audiobooks from your local library through an app on your phone?! I had heard of this service before, but I could never get it to work. I was inspired to check again when my to-read list got longer and I didn't want to continue with my audible subscription. I'm so glad I did, because the app Overdrive has gotten a total makeover, and they've rolled out a new app called Libby where you can read ebooks and listen to audiobooks for free! All you need is a library card. It's just like your library and sometimes books are checked out and you have to get on the waitlist. I'm also not ashamed that I'm using my 4 year old nephew's library card because I can't find mine! Theren't aren't late fees because the book simply disappears when your time is up. 

I have a feeling that I will have more books that ever to review for you!
For now here are 4 books that I've read recently, and if I think you should read them:

Rating: 2 Stars
From Goodreads: Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

I mentioned how difficult this book was for me in my August goal post. I started it right after The Nightingale, and I thought that I couldn't get into it because it was another heavy book. I gave it my best shot, and I just disliked this book.

The two stories were painfully slow, and I felt like when they finally converged maybe the book would get going. Nope. It was a slow build up to nothing. I suppose it's more realistic of a story that way, but I felt very let down. I really don't see what everyone else did in this book. 

Rating: 4 Stars
From Goodreads: The success stories speak for themselves in this book from money maestro Dave Ramsey. Instead of promising the normal dose of quick fixes, Ramsey offers a bold, no-nonsense approach to money matters, providing not only the how-to but also a grounded and uplifting hope for getting out of debt and achieving total financial health.

Ramsey debunks the many myths of money (exposing the dangers of cash advance, rent-to-own, debt consolidation) and attacks the illusions and downright deceptions of the American dream, which encourages nothing but overspending and massive amounts of debt. "Don't even consider keeping up with the Joneses," Ramsey declares in his typically candid style. "They're broke!"

The Total Money Makeover isn't theory. It works every single time. It works because it is simple. It works because it gets to the heart of the money problems: you.

I've been researching different ways of budgeting, and Dave Ramsey is a big name in finances. Lots of people swear by his methods! This was an interesting book. What I didn't like was the for the first few chapters I felt like I was at a sales pitch. I kept thinking, "Dude, I already bought your book, just tell me what you have to say already." There are some really inspiring stories, and very practical tips in this book and I intend on employing several. If you listen to the audiobook, be prepared to be yelled at a lot. 

An American Marriage
Rating: 3 Stars
From Goodreads: Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This book had a big buzz because it was Oprah's book club recommendation. Overall this was a super interesting premise, and I really sympathized with Roy in being the wrong place at the wrong time. The letters he and Celestial exchanged while in prison were my favorite part of the book and they were written so well. I could really see the change in their relationship as time went on. My problem with this story is that I had a hard time connecting with these characters, and I have a really hard time reading about messed up marriages. Fair warning, there are some racey bits in this book.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
From Goodreads: Single mum Robin Wilde adores her six-year-old daughter and loves her job as a makeup artist's assistant. She has a wonderful best friend and an auntie who is bonkers, yes, but loves her to the moon and back. 
But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies everyday, things just feel ... grey. And lonely. She struggles to fit in with the school mum crew. Online dating is totally despair-inducing, and she worries every day about raising her little girl with self-confidence, courage and joy.
What Robin longs for is someone (over the age of six) to share with - someone who's always on her team. 
After 4 years (2 months, and 15 days!) of single-mum-dom, it's time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life. 
Exciting new opportunities are about to come Robin's way ... Perhaps a man, perhaps the chance of a lifetime ...
What will Robin do with the possibilities she creates for herself? And what potential will she unlock if she takes the leap?

I watch the Louise Pentland from time to time on Youtube, and when I saw she had written a book I was curious! This is definitely a quick book to read on a beach that will read like a romantic comedy. I really wish I had read this without the image of Louise in my head. I know she isn't the main character but I couldn't help but picture her. 

Robin is a frustrating person, but likeable nonetheless. I did not appreciate all the F words, but I think that's a British thing?? And a few extra descriptions of behavior I didn't care to read about. Overall this is a cute story that has good reminders that a little confidence goes a long way and that no one is perfect despite appearances. 

I will say this is supposed to be the first in a series, but I don't feel compelled to pick up the next one.

Leave a comment below with your book recommendations! Are you familiar with the Overdrive app? How often do you check out books at the library? Are there any books out there that you didn't like but everyone else seemed to?
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