Monday, April 2, 2018

March 2018 Reads

I only read three books in March. I'm hoping to get more read in April. We'll see.

I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting by Karen Alpert

This was an Audible book. 

I thought it was funny. I don't think it was meant to be anything more than that. It's hard being a mom, and Karen Alpert has no problem admitting that sometimes she's less than perfect. She loves her kids, but could care less if she's a Pinterest mom. 

I enjoy books that talk about parenting in a non preachy way. I enjoy people who can admit they aren't perfect as parents. None of us are. 

Walk It Off: The True and Hilarious Story of How I Learned to Stand, Walk, Pee, Run, and Have Sex Again After a Nightmarish Diagnosis Turned My Awesome Life Upside Down by Ruth Marshell

This was a true story about a Canadian actress written by the Canadian actress. After a surgery, she lost the feeling/use of her body from the waist down. 

The book shows her struggle in relearning to walk, and live her life. Basically, the really long title says it all.

I thought she handled the writing with humour, but was able to admit when things were tough for her. I can't imagine having to go through it, and I think she's entitled to have bad days. I'm glad she was honest about them. I don't think I could have handled a book where she was nothing but happy and joking about what she'd been through.

It was definitely a good read.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I listened to this on Audible.

I had heard a lot about this book before I started it, and really wanted to read it. It didn't disappoint.

I'm pretty sure this was a book meant for teenagers, but all ages can and should read it.

It's written from the point of view of a black female who watched her friend shot in front of her by cops. This is something I haven't experienced, but it's a huge topic. 

I think something I really liked about it was all the other things that were going on in her life. It wasn't simply about the shooting, but about everything in her life that somehow connected to it.

She went to a private school with mostly white students. I think one of my favourite things was seeing her struggle with her two different persona's. One for her home life and one for her school life - with people who don't understand her real life. 

The book is an eye opener, and unfortunately, to many, not an eye opener at all, but just a fact of life. 

I think I'd read it again for sure. There was probably a lot that I missed. I also enjoyed watching the main character fight and learn how to speak for herself.

Happy Reading.

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

February 2018 Reads

I was able to read more books in January. Two of the books I finished this month were from Audible. It turns out I definitely have more of an opinion depending on how it was read.  Hopefully next month is better for reading. I've got a few on the go.

Here are my February books:

Peaceful Parenting, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Laura Markham

This was an Audible book. I have been reading self help type books lately, and this one appealed to me because I can always be a better parent. Also, I am a yeller. (I also cry sometimes). I yell when I'm excited and when I've lost my patience. It's in my nature, and I'd like to get it out of my nature.

So, I gave it a go. She made a lot of great points, and gave a lot of great advice. She gave alternatives to yelling, and how to stop worrying. She gave ideas on how to help your child change their behavior without having to discipline.

There were also things that seemed a bit silly. Like the fact that she thinks you should not praise your children as much as acknowledge that they've done a good job. In my humble opinion, I think the world is negative, and me telling my child he's doing well is never a bad thing. I understand the point she was trying to make, I just don't think I'll stop telling my son how great he's doing if he is doing great. He will know when I'm proud of him.

While I think this is a great book, I also like the approach of letting parents know they're doing a great job. Everyone needs help now and then. This book focused on everything every one does wrong, and basically made it seem as though they are wrong if they don't parent like she wants them to. We're all different. We won't all parent the same.

However, I do feel there were a lot of useful tidbits in this book. Obviously, I don't want to yell at my toddler if he's done something to scare me, or something aggressive (hitting or biting for instance). He doesn't deserve it, and I don't want him to grow up in a yelling household. So he won't.

I'll take her advice, and work to be a better parent. I'll also be proud of myself for the good things I've done, and keep learning from my negative experiences.

Domestic Secrets by Rosalind Noonan

This was an actual book. (Not from Audible.) I found it in a drawer in my 'to read' section. I have no idea where it came from.

I finished this a couple of weeks ago, and even now, I still don't quite know how I feel about it. It followed two mothers with VERY different parenting techniques. One of them was a horrible woman, and I guessed a few things before they happened.  I hated her. And I hate hating characters, but if you think about it, it's pretty good writing to make me hate a character like that.

It felt like I was waiting for a very long time for the shocking event that was mentioned on the cover to happen. I wanted to put it down many times, but that kept me going. It honestly took a long time to get to. Too long in my opinion.

That being said: it was a shocker. I didn't see it coming. At all. I had guessed a few things, but I didn't expect the major trauma. I probably cried.

I couldn't put it down after that. I have a lot of thoughts, but I don't like to get into spoilers on my book reviews, so I can't really say a lot.

It's one of those books that I get somebody else to read because I really want to discuss it with somebody. My mom is currently reading it.

That's all. I will spend some time reading the reviews on Goodreads. I don't think it has a great rating.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

I listened to this on Audible. Even though it was in the self help genre and about the author's personal experiences, it wasn't read by the author. I wish it had been. I might have liked it better. There were certain things that I didn't like in the reading. One that stands out was his impression of women (doing the voice of a woman). I think he could have just read it in his own voice without making them sound ridiculous.

Other than my complaints about the reading. I thought it was good.

A lot of it, to me, is common sense, but I guess it's not to everybody. He's not saying not to care about things, but not to focus on the things that can't be changed. (And of course, he said a whole lot more.)

One thing I found interesting because it's the opposite of what I've been doing was when he suggested people not just feel gratitude. I'm paraphrasing here, but he basically said instead of finding one happy thing on a crappy day, feel the pain. Because it's a part of life.

I get that, but I think you can also feel the gratitude. That's just my personal feelings about it. I need to see the good, or I'll sink.

There's not a lot to say about it. I liked it better than the self help book I read last year. I don't think I've written about it because of my horrible job at book blogging.

I did not know I was a self help gal. However, it's never a bad thing learning new things. Finding new ways to look at life. I don't have to agree, but it's still nice to hear other options. Living a good life is all I really need.

Happy Reading.

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

January 2018 Books

I'm not even going to pretend I can catch up on posting about the books I've read in the past two years, but haven't posted about. So I'm going to do monthly posts. This post is about the five books I read in January of 2018. I may get some more done as well (from years past), but no promises.

Here's what I've been reading (from first read to last).

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I listened to this one on Audible. I enjoy having a book to read, and having one to listen to. There are moments when it's hard to read while cleaning the kitchen and watching a toddler, but listening while I clean or craft or drive is a fantastic way to read. (I feel like I should have quotes around read.)

I think I will end up buying this someday. I know there is a movie, but it seems like a wonderful book to read to my son when he's old enough. There are a lot of wonderful characters in this book. Smart and kind characters. Of course, to balance it out, there are a few jerks as well.

It's life. There are mean people, and there are nice people. I'd love Anthony to learn from this book. If he sees somebody who isn't quite like him, I want him to be a nice person. (Obviously, I'll already be helping with this, but the book will be good.)

I think it's a book written for teens, but I'm guessing all ages love it. It's written from the point of view of a few different people. Sometimes that gets to be a bit much, but this one was good. I'm glad it had all the different views. They were all honest opinions about the story and about the little brother.

It's not a book for adults necessarily, but I'd definitely recommend it. It made me laugh, and it made me cry. That's the perfect book for me.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
I borrowed this book from the library. That photo is of me trying to finish it while doing laundry on the day it was due back to the library. I don't know why I take two books out at once. One is my limit even with renewing them.

I thought this book was a lot of fun. I found myself laughing out loud, and telling others about the awesome things the writer does in her spare time.

Other than the funny moments, this book is about somebody with a mental illness. Jenny Lawson lives with mental illness. She writes about it in her blog, and has two books out (I believe.) It's something that's not discussed a lot, and it has a lot of stigma. She makes a lot of interesting points.

One of my favourite points was when she said when somebody finally makes their way out of a deep depressive state, they don't usually get any congratulations. It was probably a HUGE battle, but for the most part, it gets ignored. I never thought of it that way, but it's true. She expands a lot more in the book about this topic.

It makes you think. It makes you laugh. It makes you grateful for what you've got.

At times, I saw a friend in the writer (not in a bad way), and other times, I saw myself in her stories. I don't think anybody gets away from mental illness. It's everywhere, and in many forms.

I haven't read a lot of the blog, but I plan to.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

This is book is about a woman who hits her head, and wakes up thinking it was ten years earlier. She believes she's pregnant with her first child, and so in love with her husband.

In reality, she's now had three children, and is separated from her husband. She's the perfect mom, and expects perfection from everyone. Alice can't figure out how she got to this place in life.

She also has no real connection to her children because she can't actually remember any of them. It's a crazy thing to think about.

What if I woke up, and couldn't remember giving birth to my son? Would I be surprised at the way my life had turned out?

The book has a great premise.

I really enjoyed it. At times, I found myself hoping her memory wouldn't come back because I didn't want her to become the person everybody was describing.

This book was written from three points of view. In my humble opinion, I think they could have done it with two. Obviously, Alice is the most important. Her sister also had a powerful voice, and at times, I found myself crying because of her personal story instead of Alice. The third voice was the Grandma figure in the family. She was an adopted Grandma. I love the character, but didn't need the story told by her.

I always check the reviews on GoodReads after I've finished a book. This one didn't have all great reviews. That kind of surprised me. It's one I'm sure I could read again.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

This was another Audible Book.

It's a collection of essays about many different topics. Obviously feminism is touched on quite a bit. She calls herself a bad feminist because she doesn't always fit the exact description many feel you need to be.

I know what she means. I would also probably consider myself a Bad Feminist.

This book talks about everything. She talks about her past, she talks about her present. She talks about culture and her life. She talks about books dealing with feminism.

Honestly, she talks about it all. Even reality television shows, and how excited she was when the Sweet Valley Twins came back ten years later. (And how although she loves it, the story is completely ridiculous.)

She talks about life as a black woman.

She talks about rape, and how it's portrayed on television and movies. (I wish she had written the book now. She'd probably have a few things to add.)

She has a blog as well. I will need to check it out. I haven't been reading blogs as much as I should lately, but I would definitely add hers to my list.

It's nice reading things that are all about perspective. She's talking about her stories from her perspective, and her life experience. I agreed with a lot of what she said. I felt like maybe I'd get along with her in a life outside of her book. I would read more by her, for sure.

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

I was obsessed with reading it. That's Anthony eating a cookie while I try to finish the book.

I've never read a Nora Roberts book before. I don't know why. My sister lent this to me, and I finally read one.

I'm glad I chose this one as my first Nora Roberts. The first two or three chapters made me cry. I'm not talking lovely tears from a sad part of the novel. I'm talking, ugly crying. 

I don't know what it says about me, but I like that in a book. If you can make me cry, I'm probably hooked. 

I didn't cry quite as much as the book continued. The main character grew up, and past her tragic past. I did cheer for her though, and for the other characters. 

It was also a bit scary at times. I tried to finish it one night because I was worried I'd get nightmares otherwise. (I didn't finish it, but didn't get the nightmares either.) I guess it was a little bit in the thriller category, but with one foot in and one foot out. It didn't start getting scary until closer to the end of the book.

Now that I've read my first Nora Roberts, I think I'll definitely read more. I'd read this one again as well. Even though I know the ending. (Also, I figured out who the bad guy was before they revealed him, but that's because I spend a lot of time trying to figure it out.)

That's it for my January books. Hopefully, I can read just as much in February. 

Happy Reading.

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

Dec 28, 2017

It's been well over a year since I last posted in my book blog. I've been busy. I've been distracted. I've spent so much time focusing on other writing and catching up on my other blog, that this one was ignored. I have been keeping track of my books so I might catch up someday.

I'm starting with a book I just finished. It had such an impact on me that I needed to post about it right now.

My mom bought me The Child Finder for Christmas.

I started reading it when we got back home on Boxing Day. It took me three days to finish it, but to be honest, I wanted to finish it the first night.

I loved this book, but my reasons for wanting to finish it aren't because I loved it. It's because I needed a happy ending. I had nightmares the first night I read it. I was restless the second. Tonight, will be better now that I've finished it.

This wasn't a scary book in the sense that it was in the horror genre. It was scary because it was so real. The world is full of scary situations, and this didn't shy away from that.

Somehow in the midst of the fear and disturbing aspects, the writing was still magical.

I don't like to give a lot away about the books I read because I think people should read them and find out for themselves.

It's not a book for anybody who wants an easy read. It's not for the faint of heart. It is good though. It was still a quick read for me. My heart felt heavy reading it, and at times, I cried. Other times, I hugged my child, and swore I'd never let him go.

I had a feeling the ending would make things better. It did, but it made me want to know more about the main character. I hope their are more books about her.

That's all I'm going to say. I think the writing was wonderful. I'm going to be reading more by Rene Denfeld as soon as I can.

Happy Reading.

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

Dec 19/16

I finished this book around June of 2016. After I discovered Audible and listening to audio books. It really helped while taking care of my baby.

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

I had to restart this because I originally started reading the third book of the series a year or two ago.

And of course, I read this so long ago, I can't quite remember everything I thought about it.

Here's what I do know: I was somehow able to stay away from spoilers, but I knew something big was going to happen. I knew the Red Wedding had been mentioned a lot, and I had made up scenarios in my head.

I was wrong. I had no idea. I assumed the Red Wedding would be Joffrey's. I was hoping something terrible would happen to that little ass. (His was full of action as well.) 

I'll admit. I was shocked, and actually don't think I want to see it on the show. We do have season three ready to watch though. I will some day soon.

Either way, spoilers are bad, but I did know to expect something big. It was definitely big, but I don't think it ruined the book for me.

I actually think a lot happened in this one. It seemed exciting from start to finish. So far, I don't feel that way about book four, but we'll see. Unfortunately after long breaks, it's hard to remember every single thing that happened.

This is a short post, but all in all, I liked it. I feel bad that it took me so long to read it, but I needed a break. These books are huge, and sometimes I need an 'easy' ready. Something that I can't put down. While I enjoy the Game of Throne books, I can put them down, and I don't find them to be easy reads. 

(I also don't think that not being able to put a book down means it is an easy read. It just means it's good.)

I've got a lot of updates on books to write on this blog. The fourth book will be added some day.


©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Martian by Andy Weir

September 23, 2016

(Finished book in March of 2016)

The Martian by Andy Weir

I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure if I would, but I still wanted to read it. Of course, I also wanted to read it before I watched the movie. It was already out on DVD so I was pretty behind on reading it. My whole family had also read it, and I was the last person to get it.

I wasn't sure if I would like it. It's not really the kind of book I usually read, but I wanted to read it before I watched the movie.

The good news is I did like it. The unfortunate truth is I knew I was going to like it when they swore on the first page. I'm not sure what that says about my personality, but it's the truth.

I continued to enjoy the book as I read. I didn't know anything going into it, so I had no idea if Mark would survive the mission or not, and I was worried I wouldn't like the ending.

I'm also glad they eventually added more voices to the novel. I loved Mark, but I wasn't sure how Andy Weir would make it a one person novel.

Books that are able to add humour during serious moments make me happy. Tension in books is great. Tension in books is better when it can be cut with a laugh. Even if it doesn't solve the situation, it's a nice break. This book did it. I could be completely stressed out for the character, and then be able to laugh at a comment made.

I did watch the movie after I read the book, but I can honestly say I don't remember it at all. I had pregnancy brain while watching it, and now I have mommy brain so it's safe to say it left my brain immediately after watching it. The book definitely left more of an impact.

I would recommend this book to anybody.

I've got a few more 'catch up' reviews coming up. I'm slowly working on it.


©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

After Alice by Gregory Maguire

September 17, 2016

Finished in January, 2016

I've promised myself I would write one blog post tonight. I have about eight more books I need to talk about, and I have to update my writing blog as well. However, one post at a time. Slowly but surely, I am getting back into life, reading, and writing.

Side note, after Anthony was born in May, I realised that it wasn't easy holding a book while nursing. So I downloaded audio books. It almost feels like cheating, but I love it, and it's gotten me back into the world of books. I'm getting so many more books 'read'.

Now for a book I read so long ago that I probably don't remember anything.

I don't have a picture of the book, so here's one of me in front of big books.

After Alice 
by Gregory Maguire

I wanted to love this book. I wanted to love it because as far as I can remember, I loved Alice in Wonderland. I also expected the book would be great because I love other books Gregory Maguire has written. (Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister) (Mirror Mirror) (And More...)

I just didn't like this one. I felt the book was unnecessarily complicated.

My favourite story line was Alice's sister. She wasn't in the rabbit hole, just dealing with life outside the hole. The rest of the story annoyed me for the most part.

With his other books, we see things from a different perspective. Same story, but instead of it being from Cinderella, it's from her not so evil step-sister (or whichever altered fairy tale you're reading). 

This time, he added a completely new character. I'm not sure who I was hoping the story would be about. One of the Queens maybe, or the rabbit. Anybody really. This was just some strange girl with a strange life who was trying to help weird Alice out. 

I have read his books more than once, but this one, I gave to my sister and let her know I didn't need it back.

Just a quick note about that, my sister liked it.  I can't remember what she liked about it (because I read it a million years ago), but she did. I'm sure other people did as well. This was simply my take from the story.

I'll keep reading his books if he writes more. I love his themes and ideas, this book  just wasn't my favourite.

Until next time. (Hopefully soon.)

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.