Upon reading the summary of this book, I had a feeling how the plot would go. Let's just say I was right. As for you, whatever you are thinking this book is about - it is. Besides the predictability of the storyline, it was a good listen. It kept my attention throughout and it was a nice light listen, which is ironic because a lot of events in the plot are not anything to take lightly.
This was such a moving account of a woman's journey through her diagnosis and day to day life of living with ALS. Before reading this book, I was quite unfamiliar with ALS but Spencer-Wendel does a phenomenal job of explaining how debilitating this disease could be. My mouth dropped to the ground when she described how transculent her hand was right before she started seeking medical care that led up to her diagnosis. I sympathized for her when she detailed her gradual loss of all of her muscles - even her tongue. It was devastating to hear someone go through this - I can't imagine what her family and her had to endure.
With that being said, her title did her story justice. She did in fact live with joy. Little things that healthy women take for granted - such as applying make-up - she became proactive about. For example, she made sure that she wouldn't need to worry about not being able to put on make-up or having someone else do it. She simply had make-up permanently tattooed to her! How ingenious! She discovered (spoiler alert) her birth parents and even traveled to Greece to reconnect with some family. There are healthy people that haven't been able to travel anywhere outside of the States so to hear her travel, not once but twice, to Greece was commending.
I was inspired by her bravery and her refusal to succumb willingly to ALS. Even though she had a definite death sentence, she managed to still live her life. It was amazing - a very inspirational read! Unfortunately, she recently passed but I hope that her legacy continues to live on through her family and children. It's never good-bye Mrs. Spencer-Wendel, but we will see you later!
I wanted to read OITNB, so that I could watch the series on Netflix. I wasn't sure what I was getting into - if it was a social experiment, a joke, or a scary tale of a woman doing hard time. It was none of those. It is a recollection of the author's experience in Danbury prison for 13 months. Prisoned in Danbury, she clearly could not have had the typical prison experience. I was shocked at how cushioned her time was. It was not how I expected prison to be. Granted, her offense did not warrant maximum security or lockdown, it is a bit unsettling to hear how comfortable she and other prisoners were kept off of my tax dollars.
Kerman not only describes her experience at jail in detail but her offense that led her to prison time as well. Her romance with her friend-turned-boyfriend-turned-fiancee, Larry, is also described heavily in the book. It was amazing the loyalty that people must show when dealing with someone in jail because there are so many obstacles against them. Overall, this novel details all aspects of her prison experience - she even describes having her annual OB/GYN check-up in prison (it did not sound pleasant in the least).
One thing that I did appreciate about Kerman's tale was that she gave her fellow inmates personalities. When I think of female prisoners, I think of a rough around the edges, butch, scary woman - not a tender caretaker personality like Pop or Natalie. It showed me that whatever their offenses are or were, there is still good in them.
Piper Kerman's book is enlightening in the sense that now I have a better idea of what goes on in prison and through the justice system. It was disappointing in the severity of her and her other inmate's punishment (although I don't believe her particular crime justified it anyway). It was frustrating hearing her complain about what she felt entitled to and what she didn't have or was missing. Although, it seemed quite inhumane that she was not granted permission to attend her grandmother's funeral. That was incomprehensible!
If anything, Kerman's description of her experience in jail will open up discussions regarding the prison system. For example, processes like reintegration, that she described as lackluster, should be given attention to. Corruption in the jail system should be eradicated. I know for me, comfortable or not, I never want to share her experience!
Cycle of Lies was a true eye opener to not only what Lance Armstrong did but to the history of cycling. Prepare yourself for a jaw opener because it was truly unbelievable what Armstrong and his fellow cyclists put their bodies through in order to win. Blood doping, the use of testosterone and cortisone, as well as EPO were all employed to achieve cycling domination. What was equally astonishing was his arrogance. He vehemently denied doping throughout his career until he was forced into a corner and even then he was anything but remorseful. "If everyone was doing it, then it was not cheating." Never mind the physical consequences that he and others riders put themselves through by taking these toxic drugs - winning was all that mattered.
Besides relating about his cycling career and personal life, there are quite a few mentions of the charity, LiveStrong, that he founded and how it was affected by his "victories" and then ultimate downfall. It is a shame that such a positive cause was diminished by the selfish actions of one person. What's even more discouraging is the fact that he tries to justify his doping and actions by arguing that he helped millions of cancer patients with his charity.
Macur did a great job at writing from a neutral standpoint. She could have been more subjective in her painting of him but the readers can come to a clear understanding and judgment of Lance Armstrong just by listening to the quotes that she offers from him. First hand witness accounts are also provided and they also shed light on the person that Armstrong is. He is a brutal monster that equates himself to some god. It was liberating to finally read that he was held accountable for his actions.
If you're hungry for a good story - don't purchase/read this book! It was an unfortunate disappointment because there was so much potential for it.
Koch details a dinner between two brothers and their respective wives. Through each course of the meal - appetizer, entree, and dessert - you learn about the dynamics between the two brothers and the dilemma that complicates them and their sons. When I say dilemma, I mean catastrophe - someone dies. A big part of my problem with Koch's novel is rather than the vindication of that person's death - which we often look forward to (think Spiderman or any other action movie) - there is a big effort to disguise what happened or prevent it from coming to light. It is absolutely disgusting. I hated the characters. They were all pompous and self-absorbed.
I suppose I am jaded because I am a moralist who wants justice for all - and I didn't get that from Koch's novel. If you can get past that, then you may be able to enjoy the novel. Beyond the plot, the narration was decent. Clive Mantle, the narrator, did a well enough job performing the novel. He could get dry and I would find myself nodding off, until you heard his voice become awfully whimsical as he was personifying one of the wives.
If you're interested in a cheesy story line that involves a group of middle aged women who have nothing better to do than to cheat on their cheating husbands, than be my guest...this is the read for you! A string of infidelities lead to the murders of the French president and his bodyguard. But who was the murderer? Surely, a group of horny, neglected wives couldn't have murdered anyone?
Unfortunately, James Patterson and David Ellis make an attempt at what could have and should have been a great book/read/listen. A huge problem was that there are men writing in a woman's perspective. They got it all wrong. The women were very sterotypical and cliche. What makes this novel terrible is that you endure almost 10 hours of a rather flat plot along with its dry characters. There was no appeal whatsoever.
I have never read a Patterson novel before - I'm not confident that I will read another because I was so turned off by this. The narration helped me get through this listen - January LaVoy was very engaging. Unfortunately, I don't necessarily pay to hear a good narration. I also want a good story! This just did not make the cut!
Walk along with Harold Frye! This is by far one of the most endearing books out there. Within the first 30 minutes of listening, you begin the journey of Harold Frye as he walks to save his friend Queenie from cancer after being inspired by a waitress at a bar. Yet, on his pilgrimage, he does so much more than attempt to save her. He tries to make amends for his past, he becomes a national hero of sorts, and he tries to just stand for something...anything! If you are looking for a book to encourage you to do that one thing that you never had the courage to do, this is the book to get you going!
This was my first novel that I read by Lisa Gardner so I wasn't sure what to expect. It was an entertaining read - but it was hard to read. The investigation seemed mediocre, especially to be representing Boston PD. Fictional mysteries need to seem plausible and actual in order for me to really appreciate them and this was not one of them. It was worse than watching CSI - highly predictable, which is astonishing because the author provided little to no evidence for the crimes that were committed. The story catches you in the background but in the actual investigation and layout of what happens it just crumbles somehow.
Upon reading the summary for Love Affairs, I knew that this was something that I wanted to read. As a single female, who doesn't want to understand the mind of a man more? I thought that this would be that book - a fictional tale delving into the psyche of a man and I would finish the book with a huge revelation about relationships...but I didn't.
It was an awkward story - I think that was in part to a woman being the author. There were times when Nate sounded more female than male and it made it hard to believe. It probably would have been much better if a man wrote from a man's perspective. There is no way possible a woman can write from a man's perspective. I know it is fiction - but I was hoping for more. It took me three times to even start and get into the story. It was just a disappointing read altogether.
Regardless of what you may think of Steve Harvey - how could HE write a book on relationships? He's been married 3 times!!! - He sure does make a lot of sense. I had a great time listening to his book. He really lays it out for you - I really feel like I went inside the thoughts of a man, which is so hard to say because any time you ask a man to open up, it's like talking to a brick wall!
I was hesitant about purchasing the audio book version, however, because Harvey is so over the top when he acts or on his radio show, that I figured it would be nauseating to listen to him narrate his story. It actually added to the listen! His personality and enthusiasm made it less of a "you need to do this and you need to do that to win a man" to "hey, here's what you could do different because this is what men like and why we like it".
For any black woman that is interested in the black male psyche when it comes to relationships, this needs to be your go to book!!!
What can I say about this novel? Completely moving. It was everything I had hoped for in a book. Detailing the psyche of a tormented young man, Matthew Quick addresses what few people in this country do. It truly sheds light on a lot of systems in this country - like the mental health system, school systems, familial relationships, etc. This needs to be a book that every young adult reads - so that they know that they are not alone in their feelings and emotions; and also to shed light on the consequences of our interactions with one another, especially during the critical developing years of our lives. Kudos to Matthew Quick! And to all of you Leonard Peacock's out there - we have heard you!
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