Monday, September 28, 2020

Book Review - Volume Seven

I am happy to report that on the 'official' last day of summer (9/22), I finished my 17th book! 

Over the past five months I've averaged just about 3-4 books a month, which is a happy change from my usual one....maybe two. With everything going on in the world, not to mention being "stuck" at home, reading has been a great escape mechanism for me.

It's been nice to read some NYT best sellers, but to also read lesser known books, as well. Several of the books I've enjoyed this summer have been exchanged between my mother and I, including two on this list. You know you've read a good book when you force someone else to read it too! 

Here's a look at what I've recently read. Like usual, I've included a summary of the book, as well as my rating (1 to 5).

The Silent Wife

Lara's life looks perfect on the surface -- gorgeous doting husband, Massimo; sweet little son, Sandro; and the perfect home. But Lara knows something about Massimo. Something she can't tell anyone else, or everything he has worked so hard for will be destroyed: his job, their reputation, their son. This secret is keeping Lara a prisoner in her marriage.

Maggie is married to Massimo's brother, Nico, and lives with him and her troubled stepdaughter. She knows all of Nico's darkest secrets -- or so she thinks. Then one day she discovers a letter in the attic that reveals a shocking secret about Nico's first wife. Will Maggie set the record straight or keep silent to protect those she loves?

For a family held together by lies, the truth will come at a devastating price.

Rating: 4/5. This was a really fun page turner. It definitely brought family dynamics and secrets into play, and had a lot of fun twist and turns. It had you asking yourself what you would do if you were put n that same situation (which I love). It was a quick, easy weekend read! Highly recommend. 

The Last Flight

Two women. Two flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he's not above using his staff to track Claire's every move, making sure she's living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn't know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.

A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets―Claire taking Eva's flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it's no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva's identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

Rating: 5/5. As soon as I started this book, I couldn't put it down. I kept guessing until {close} to the end exactly what was going to happen. I love how the two stories were so polar opposite, but still had similarities that intertwined effortlessly near the end. After I finished this book I gave it to my mom, and she really enjoyed it, as well! 


This is how you find yourself.

There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent—even from ourselves.

For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her own discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. But she soon realized they had come to her from within. This was her own voice—the one she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions, cultural conditioning, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl she had been before the world told her who to be. Glennon decided to quit abandoning herself and to instead abandon the world’s expectations of her. She quit being good so she could be free. She quit pleasing and started living.

Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is the story of navigating divorce, forming a new blended family, and discovering that the brokenness or wholeness of a family depends not on its structure but on each member’s ability to bring her full self to the table. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is.

Untamed shows us how to be brave. As Glennon insists: The braver we are, the luckier we get.

Rating: 0/5. I don't know if a 0 rating is even allowed with book reviews, but if you read the summery above, I would tell you to leave it at that and walk away. I absolutely hated this book. It has been a long time since I've stuck with a book that I didn't like and continued to read it,but I was hoping this would get better (especially based on all the accolades it received). Lets just say, it fell painfully short for me. I don't want to come off harsh due to the fact that this is a memoir, but I found it to be a rambling mess. I didn't fine a clear objective to the story line, and found most parts to be completely unrelatable and egotistical. Just not my cup of tea. 

The Lost Girls of Paris 

1946, Manhattan

One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

Rating: 5/5. Ahhh another beautiful work of historical fiction (my fave). This is the first book I've read by this author, and it certainly won't be the last. Not only was the story captivating, but she also intertwines the lives of three women seamlessly. I loved learning more about the real, undercover work these women did during WW2 - it was incredibly powerful, and showcased what a difference they made and how often they're overlooked. 


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