How the Hell Did This Happen? The Election of 2016 by P.J. O’Rourke

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P.J. O’Rourke is one of my favorite political writers for one reason – his pure and very humorous honesty about the state of politics in America. And this book is no different. O’Rourke takes apart the 2016 election bit by bit and he does it in a way that reflects the crazy and disjointed nature of the whole election cycle. Each candidate is equally criticized and praised, as is the entire election process starting with the primary and caucus process, through the hot mess that was the debates, to the final two choices that literally left the country asking “How the Hell Did This Happen?” Equal parts crying and laughing to help us plow through the next four years!

Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker

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I absolutely love reading reworks of the classics told from an alternate point of view, and “Mr. Rochester” definitely caught my attention. “Jane Eyre” is one of my absolute favorites and Mr. Rochester ranks right up there with Mr. Darcy as far as I am concerned. “Mr. Rochester” is an imagining of the life of Edward Rochester, from his days as a young boy in boarding school, to his formative years as a young man learning the business world at a mill, to his time in Jamaica running his father’s sugar plantation. I love how Ms. Shoemaker was able to weave in what we know about the Rochester family, his turbulent love/hate relationship with Bertha, and his caring for Adele into his backstory leading up to the arrival of his dear Jane at Thornfield Hall. It was faithful to the tone of “Jane Eyre” and beautifully told, helping us to understand a bit more why Mr. Rochester had so many rough edges that only Jane could smooth down.

24in48 Readthon!

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How’s everyone doing with the #24in48 #readathon so far!  This was the perfect weekend for me to participate in this!  Our newest furbaby, Jyn, was spayed yesterday, so she needs a quiet weekend just as much as I do.  We are readin’, chillin’ and hatin’ on the cone of shame together!  By the way, I am working on an advanced reader copy of “Mr. Rochester” by Sarah Shoemaker.  As a huge devotee of “Jane Eyre”, I am absolutely loving it so far!  What are you reading?  Let me know in the comments!

Infinite Tuesday by Michael Nesmith

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Infinite Tuesday is a deeply personal and introspective memoir by Michael Nesmith. If you are looking for a tell-all about the Monkees, this is not the book for you. Nesmith discusses his family, friendships, marriages, successes and failures, and an incredible spiritual journey. The biggest takeaway from this book for me was his absolute perseverance in life. His desire to find new “bands” to work with, both musical and in the business world, was truly inspiring as he found ways to be creative in the industry. From recording, to inventing music videos, to producing, Nesmith has been on the ground floor of many new forms of media. Nesmith discusses the ups and downs of “Celebrity Psychosis” and the “Hollywood Mind”, giving insight into how you can start to believe your own hype, and how it can both help you and hurt you at the same time. This book felt very much like I had an opportunity to sit down with Nesmith and listen to his stories. His friendships and encounters with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Jack Nicholson, and Douglas Adams truly helped me understand a very important and creative time in pop culture. He really does tell a tale of a complete and interesting life.

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

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Special thanks to William Morrow for providing me an Advance Reader’s copy of this novel.

I adore historical fiction, especially during World War II, so when I received this in the mail, I was extremely excited to get a first look at it. It offers a female perspective of World War II which I highly enjoyed. “The Women in the Castle” tells the story of three very unique women, Marianne, Benita, and Ania, who are all deeply affected not only by the war raging around them, but by the losses of their husbands during it. Each woman approaches her struggle in different ways. Marianne looks for the deeper meaning of her husband’s sacrifice and tries to carry on his good work as the war ends and Germany rebuilds. Benita is desperately searching for love that she feels has been denied to her. And Ania keeps everything close to the cuff, until one day her secrets come raining down on her.

The powerful message of this book highlights the bonds of female friendship along with the shared sadness, loss and strength that woman of this time lived through. The ability of these three woman to create their own extended family in the aftermath of the war and keep each other safe was extremely uplifting when the overall tone of Germany at that time was one of defeat.

This novel had five parts and I was so pleased to see that the final part left me with the closure I needed. Seeing each of these women’s stories come full circle in so many ways left me extremely satisfied with the ending and in understanding the effect that they all had on each other and their individual families. For lovers of historical fiction, this one cannot be missed!

The Wanderers by Meg Howrey

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This book has been compared to “The Martian” but I don’t think that description does it any justice.  This is a highly introspective look at what it actually takes in order to survive the solitude, isolation, conflict, boredom and stress of a deep space mission.  I loved how all three of the main characters, Helen, Yoshi, and Sergei, deal with their own personal journeys as they participate in a mock (or is it) mission to Mars.  Their relationships with each other, their families, and their own minds are front and center in this novel, allowing you to put yourself into their shoes and try to understand how you would handle an adventure like this.  I also enjoyed how the story explored how far the astronauts were willing to go in order to achieve their dreams of the “Gofer”.   Even readers who are not typical fans of sci fi will love this novel!