Book Review: The Elephant In The Room

Title: The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America

Author: Tommy Tomlinson

Format: Netgalley Ebook Advance Copy

Published: 2019

 

I came across this on Netgalley one day and immediately became interested.  Once I started this book I could not put it down.

I have struggled with my weight all my life.  I am nowhere near the size of Tomlinson, however, I am no size 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc (just what size I won’t disclose now, come on guys).  The words he spoke in this story hit so, so close to home that they brought tears to my eyes.

This story was uniquely told.  He takes us on a year-long journey where he decides it is time to lose weight.  At the beginning of each chapter he tells us a story about his life and how he became the weight he is today.  At the end of each chapter we are introduced to the month and what he has been doing to try and lose weight.  He keeps us up to date with a total calculation on how much weight he’s lost or gained in the month and his current weight total.

If you have never struggled with your weight, congratulations.  It is to you I highly recommend you read this book to gain some insight on what it is like and the struggle that those face when trying to lose weight.  It sucks.  I am so happy that Tomlinson points out how diets essentially set you up for failure (read to see why his opinion is this) and cause you to gain weight back.  I appreciate the way he is losing weight and applaud him.

I loved the journey of his life as a journalist and found myself rooting for him.  You cannot help but root for him and if you can’t then you are just a monster.  I would love to grab a beer with Tomlinson and just talk life, that is the kind of story teller he is.  He is real, down to earth, and does not try to get you to feel bad for him at all; no, just for one to understand, that is all.

I am going on a limb and giving this book 5 stars.  The fact that he could move me to tears when he described what it was like to try and lose weight and all that goes on around us, yes sir, preach.  He gets it and expresses it in such a way that is astounding.  He is my voice and I am damn proud to say that.  Pick this book up whether you are skinny or fat and trust me, you will enjoy it.  Tune in next week for my review of The Suspect by Fiona Barton.

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Book Review: The Christmas Wish

Title: The Christmas Wish

Author: Tilly Tennant

Format: Kindle

Published: 2018

 

DROP EVERYTHING!  STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING!  Go and read this book now!  *Disclaimer: not for people who hate heartwarming, funny, feel good holiday romance novels.  This has become my FAVORITE holiday read ever; to the point where I may even re-read this!  (I know that’s a shock, I NEVER re-read my books!)

The story starts out with Esme who decides to break it off for good with her boyfriend and goes to her grandmother’s house for some solace.  She has neglected her friends and family while she was dating her tool of a boyfriend and has an estranged relationship with her parents.  Her grandmother is the only person she knows that will take her in with no questions asked.

They bond and her grandmother is hell bent on her repairing her relationship with her parents.  Shortly before Christmas, she passes away.  Esme discovers her grandmother bought a paid for a trip to Lapland, a place in Iceland she has always wanted to go but her husband would never take her.  As Esme goes through her grandmother’s belongings she discovers tickets to Lapland that her grandfather had bought but passed away before he could take his wife.  Esme is torn at what to do with the trip and, as any down and out woman does, goes back to her tool of a boyfriend.

She tries to convince her boyfriend to go on the trip with her but all he wants her to do is to get the money back for it and spend it on something else.  Esme decides to be bold, sneaks out of the house while her boyfriend is at work, and does what her grandmother would have wanted her to do; she goes on the trip by herself.

She meets up with 3 other solo travelers; Zach, Hortense, and Brian.  Hortense and Brian end up hooking up and that leaves Zach and Esme, as friends.  Esme starts to grow fond of Zach but he is keeping his guard up high and she cannot figure out why.  Don’t even get me started on his mood swings, they’re intense.  As she takes this trip, she starts to realize there is more to life than she will ever see with her boyfriend and she needs to start living her life.

I cannot say anything else without giving key parts of the book away so, go read it!  The detail in this book around Lapland just painted a vivid picture in my mind.  I know how a very high desire to visit Lapland in person and one day visit these places Tennant describes in this book.  The attention to detail is unreal and really makes this book stand out.  I truly felt like I was everywhere described in this book.

This is a 5-star book.  Yes, 5 stars!  I wanted to be in Lapland.  I was rooting so hard for all of the characters in this book.  They all faced some difficult things in their lives and all were able to see past those times.  This made my heart smile, and my face, and even made me tear up a little and laugh out loud.  The penmanship Tennant has is just stellar and remarkable.  This truly goes beyond your typical holiday novel and is a genuine, solid read.  Does it involve romance?  Yes, but, this book offers so much more than that!  Tune in next week for advance copy review of An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.

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Book Review: Winter In Paradise

Title: Winter In Paradise

Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Format: Hardcover

Published: 2018

 

I received this book from a colleague, she’s addicted to buying the latest hardcover reads from Amazon.  I reap the benefits.  I was so excited to read another Elin Hilderbrand book and this novel did not disappoint.  Well, it did, but, I will get into that at the end.

This book hooked me in from the beginning.  First, we read about a family in middle America who seemingly has it all for a low end high class family.  A marriage that is solid, beautiful children, and money to spend without worrying at night.  Then, we read about some friends on the beautiful island of St. John.  Her husband happens to die, mysteriously, in St. John, and his wife had no idea he was even there.

Hilderbrand intertwines the lives of these two groups of people beautifully.  I don’t want to give too much away, it will spoil it for you.  The characters have time to grow and everything feels so real.  I felt like I was driving around the island with how well Hilderbrand described everything.  The details are impeccable, no stone was left unturned.  She leaves you with just enough to develop your own theories on what is happening; some things you will get answers to and others you will not.

I could not put this book down.  Then, it happened.  The end.  I looked around.  I am stunned.  I am still stunned.  This is the first book in her latest winter trilogy series and she makes sure you will stick around for the next installment.  If you can’t read a book and be left with a cliffhanger, knowing an answer is coming in a year, then wait until all 3 books are out in a few years.  Warning, once you start reading you can’t stop so I am sure it will be a binge read.  My only question is can I ore-order book 2 now?

I am giving this book 5 stars.  I was enthralled and finished this book quickly, as I had to find out what was happening.  She leaves us with almost everyone missing a very important phone call except one person.  We find out who was calling since one character answered, and this just opens up a whole new can of worms and new theories I have about what is going on.  I will be impatiently waiting for the 2nd book to come out, Hilderbrand really knows how to keep you hanging on.  I won’t leave you hanging on though, tune in next week for my review of Christmas Glitter by Ann B. Harrison!

Book Review: We Were Mothers

Title: We Were Mothers

Author: Katie Sise

Format: Kindle Edition (Amazon First Reads Edition)

Published: 2018

I am starting this review off with my overall rating.  5 stars.  This book was jaw dropping with its twists and turns.  Just when you thought the book was going in one direction it did a complete 180 and left you reeling in what was happening.  I reached out to the author on Facebook just raving about this book and stating what I just did.  I want to share with you her reply; “I’m so glad you liked it 😊 that’s what made it so fun to write – I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next 😊 this book really was so much fun to do!”

You can absolutely tell that Sise wrote this book and did not force anything.  Some books you can tell the author penned the novel with the twist in mind.  You can clearly tell that Sise let her creative juices flow with this novel.  If you can predict what happens next then you are a psychic and I would like to know what lottery numbers to play this week.

We Were Mothers is an intricate story which houses the story of two families that live across the street from each other.  The main family (and their best friend) is dealing with the loss of a daughter/sister in a drunk driving accident in which she was the driver.  It was the night of the living daughter’s engagement party.  This family is carrying a lot of baggage with this loss and this development within the characters with respect to this is absolutely amazing.

Now we have the family across the street that has been married since college and have two grown daughters.  The husband is a successful doctor in town and the mother dropped out of medical school when she became pregnant and has been a stay at home.  What deep, hidden, and dark secrets this family has.

The eldest daughter from across the street disappears and all I will say is that you will think that this book is about, but, it’s a far cry from it.  We go on a journey through each character and when you think you understand what is happening, Sise takes the wheel and jerks you around (in a good way).  I was left with my mouth wide open for the last quarter of this book.  I am still in shock!

So again, this master mind of a twisty, turny novel has earned a 5 star badge of honor from me.  This was just one of the best books I have read in a long time and makes any book I recently rated 5 stars seem like a 3 star novel now.  If you read this PLEASE let me know and comment here, I am DYING to talk about this book with someone! Tune in next week for my advance copy review of The Sisters by Rosalind Noonan.

Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Love Before Trilogy

Title: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, P.S. I Still Love You, & Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Author: Jenny Han

Format: Kindle Edition

Published: 2014, 2015, 2017

 

I read this, ok, these books because the movie is now out on Netflix.  I love reading a book and then watching the movie, but, I don’t know if I want to taint this series with the movie quite yet.  This was SUCH a GREAT and AMAZING series.  Let me just begin by saying that if I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before when it first came out I would be so mad at Jenny Han.  The lesson to take away here is you don’t read her books if they are part of a series until they’re all out!

I read all three books in a matter of three days.  Yes, they were that good.

Lara Jean is a high school junior who is a tad bit quirky.  As a teenage girl she as multiple crushes during her middle school and high school years and when she gets over them, she writes them a letter.  Lara Jean keeps these letters hidden in a hat box until one day when her younger sister mails them out.  Whoops.

The big blunder is that she once had a crush on her neighbor, the neighbor her sister was dating.  So she enlists the help of another former crush so her neighbor does not suspect she still likes him.  So now Lara Jean is pretending to date the great Peter Kavinsky (who just broke up with one of the most popular girls at school).  They make a contract which lets both Peter and Lara Jean know what they are supposed to do for each other (Peter must write Lara Jean one note a day, Lara Jean must call Peter at least once a day, preferably her last call of the night, Lara Jean must go to Peter’s lacrosse games, etc).  Peter decides to go for it so maybe he can make his ex-girlfriend jealous.

I know what you are assuming, they fall in love, but, I won’t tell you if they do or don’t.  I will tell you that at the end of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Lara Jean and Peter have a falling out and the book ends with Lara Jean writing him a letter.  Yes, it literally ends with, “Dear Peter.”  Oh, the cliffhanger!  You will be so hooked you will have to finish all three of the books.  P.S. I Still Love You takes us through the end of Lara Jean’s junior year and the start of her senior year (and finishes that letter!!!).  Always & Forever, Lara Jean takes us through the remainder of her senior year and the beginning of college.

Through the journey of these books her past crushes make appearances.  It appears that each of her crushes also had a little thing for Lara Jean too.  Some try to make moves and become an item with Lara Jean and some will fail.  One will succeed.  Which one will that be?  Read them all to find out!  We also go on a journey with her father, a widow, and a new love that Lara Jean’s younger sister sets him up with.

This is a 5-star book series.  It was such a fun and light read.  I forget how much I can love young adult novels.  The ending was very satisfying and I felt like it left us at a good place with Lara Jean.  Take my word for it when I say to buy all three books before you start reading one.  Tune in next week for my review of The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand.

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