Showing posts from May, 2017

Sleepless Nights and Kisses for Breakfast: Reflections on Fatherhood by Matteo Bussola: A Review

Sleepless Nights and Kisses for Breakfast is a set of essays about Matteo Bussola's experiences being a father to his three young girls.  They are some of the sweetest and funniest things I have read in a long time!  His love for his family leaps from the page and I found myself smiling the entire time that I read it.  Before handing his daughter off to his wife, Bussola cherishes the minutes he has to hold her.  Bussola's honesty about his, and other fathers, frequent confusion was refreshing.  When he and his neighbors planned to fight off a robber with common household items, he had me rolling.  I really enjoyed this nice, light read and would recommend it to anyone looking for a funny, charming book.  It would be a great gift for father's day!

My rating:

Reviews of books like this one:
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner

This book is currently available and can be …

Best Intentions by Erika Raskin: A Review

Marti is mother to three children and wife to a doctor but she is tired of being just the doctor's wife and often wishes she could use her social work training to help others.  A chance encounter leads to a job in the hospital where her husband works but Marti soon becomes too involved in the lives of her clients and is asked to be at the delivery of one of her client's babies.  When something goes wrong during the delivery, Marti finds herself accused of murder but there may be something more sinister going on at the hospital.

The beginning of the book was a bit slow but towards the middle of the book, it started to get really interesting.  The book touches on some really important issues.  In the hospital where Marti works, doctors are routinely asked to work so many hours that they are overtired and can't work.  While extending the hours of physicians is often necessary in order to meet the demands of patients and can contribute to more opportunities for learning for t…

The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown: A Review

After the death of her husband, Alice is summoned home by her brother, Matthew, with news that her mother has also recently passed away.  When Alice arrives to her hometown, she learns that Matthew has a new job, one that finds him investigating suspected witches.  Alice tries to dissuade Matthew from his actions but soon finds herself too close to the women who Matthew accuses.

I appreciated how the author touched on how those that accused others of witchcraft did, at times, have ulterior motives.  Witchcraft, just like some accusations made today that are hard to prove or disprove, was one of those claims that could be made and your problems could vanish while you appear to be the pious one for coming forward with the claim.  I think this book provides an important lesson that these kinds of accusations can be quite damaging and are often unfair and untrue. 

Alice was an interesting character.  She doesn't really believe in all of the witchcraft accusations that are being mad…

You Were Here by Gian Sardar: A Review

Abby is plagued with nightmares that seem to be a revelation of her grandmother's past.  She returns home to attend her high school reunion and to investigate the connections.  She reunites with a high school crush, Aiden, who is a detective investigating a string of brutal sexual assaults on young women in the area.  While Abby and her neighbors are understandably frightened by the threat of a serial rapist in their midst, she and Aiden seem to uncover a love triangle involving a neighbor of Abby's grandmother.  Could a crime involving the couple living next door to her grandmother decades ago be the reason why Abby is having nightmares?

You Were Here started out a bit slow but became more interesting as the story progressed.  Towards the middle of the book, the suspense still built slowly but the story became much more exciting and a little bit horrifying.  The end did have some twists that I didn't see coming.  The characters are fascinating.  Eva needs William so much …

Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson: A Review

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to raise children in a communal setting, given every opportunity to further your child's education while pursuing your own passions and being surrounded by a support network so strong that you call them family, you need to read Perfect Little World.  Izzy feels lonely and isolated as she lives with her distant father after the death of her mother.  She begins an affair with her art teacher which results in an unwanted pregnancy.  Izzy doesn't know how she will manage to raise the child after the father commits suicide but knows that she wants to keep her baby.  This leads her to an interest in a study conducted by Dr. Grind, a child psychologist who is suffering from the ill effects from his own psychologist parents' experiments on him.  The study aims to determine whether or not a child will turn out better if raised communally by many parents and professionals.  The study is generously funded by a rich eccentric and promis…

Trail of Miracles by Smadar Herzfeld: A Review

Gittel, the daughter of a torah scholar, is only twelve when she is sought out as a wife for a much older rabbi.  She doesn't like her husband's cold and unfeeling ways of dealing with her but finds comfort in her father-in-law, a man who is renowned among the Hasidim in her community.  She also finds great joy in her two sons.  When both her father-in-law and husband die in quick succession, Gittel is encouraged by her community to seek a new husband.  Her husband visits her in dreams to demand that she not remarry and Gittel is more than happy to oblige, remembering the loneliness she felt in her marriage.  She instead decides to embark on a journey to Jerusalem as she once did as a child with her brother.

This book was very short and an interesting story but it was a bit slow for me.  I felt that the story had a lot more potential than was presented.  There were simply not enough words for good characters to be built but they were likeable.  I liked Gittel and her story.  …

Swing Time by Zadie Smith: A Review

A young woman takes a look back on her childhood and compares her experience with that of her friends to understand why the two have grown up to be such different women.  Both young women are the product of one British parent and one Jamaican parent but Tracey grows up with her father in and out of her life and exhibiting criminal behavior which causes her to act out frequently.  The other girl grows up with a caring father and a mother who loves her deeply but is determined to change the world, heavily criticizing the treatment of people of color in England.  Both young girls are heavily involved in their dance classes but Tracey seems to have much more promise than her friend.  The young woman goes to college and finds a career as an assistant to a star, Aimee, while Tracey dances in productions but has wild delusions of the Illuminati in her personal life.  The young woman envies Tracey's easy command of dance but is her own mother's vehement belief that a traditional educ…

Elle by Philippe Djian: A Review

Michele was traumatized after her father kills a large group of children at a camp.  While her father sits in prison, Michele and her mother suffer physical and verbal assaults, but now Michele's mother, Irene, wants her to visit her father.  In the meantime, Michele and her ex-husband, Richard, disagree with how to handle their young adult son, Vincent, when Vincent decides to enter a relationship with a pregnant woman and put his name on the birth certificate, despite having debts and having just started a low-level job at McDonald's.  Irene thinks herself a spring chicken and satisfies her desires with younger men but collapses at a party and falls into a coma.  Needless to say, Michele doesn't need the additional stress and anguish she experiences after being sexually assaulted.  Now, she knows she is being watched, her home broken into and her things rifled with.  Any man could be the man who raped her.

This book was billed as a psychological thriller but there is so…

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck: A Review

At a party at Burg Lingenfels, a castle frequented by the elite of German society, Marianne becomes aware of how horrible Hitler and the Nazi regime really are and a plot to halt the movement.  She makes a promise to her husband and best friend, Connie, that she will look after the wives and the children on the men who are planning the attack, if anything should happen to them.  Marianne is a very principled woman and, when the plot to assassinate Hitler goes awry and the men are executed, she works tirelessly to find all of the wives and children of the heroes of the resistance.  She invites Benita and Ania, wives of two of the resistance fighters, and their children to live with her in the castle.

This story was a very interesting and hopeful one but the characters were not the most complex.  Marianne is rigid and judgmental.  She believes that her kindness towards the women entitles her to meddle in their personal affairs.  I found that this book is not only about the war and the …

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica: A Review

Quinn may not be the best roommate to pious Esther but Quinn thought their relationship was great until Esther disappears one day and Quinn finds information that makes her believe that Esther is not the person she thought she was.  Through a bit of sleuthing with a friend from work, Ben, Quinn discovers that there are strange letters in Esther's room, that she plans on changing her name and that she is in the market for a new roommate.  It starts to get really scary when Quinn and Ben find out that Esther's last roommate died of an apparent accident and the family is asking questions.  Meanwhile, there is a new squatter in the house across from the one that Alex and his dad live in.  Lights turn off and on and some of the community believe that it is the working of a ghost.  When Alex investigates, he finds a young woman who acts very strangely.  What happened to Esther and who is the strange woman who lives in the haunted house across the street?

Mary Kubica is a gifted wri…