reading rainbow

Book reviews! Book reviews! Calling all bookworms! Let's hug!

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: This is one of those books I love to hate. I despised nearly every character, but at the same time I couldn't put the darn book down because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. Yes, a little Gone Girl-ish, but less creepy. Still dark. The fact that it's set in England was my favorite part. Worth the read if you want to get sucked into a book. Just know that you might wish you could crawl inside the book to smack a few characters around.

Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls: I adored this book. It's the precursor to The Glass Castle, which I actually haven't read yet but is sitting on my coffee table right now and is next on my list to read. It's a true story about growing up in a wild-west-meets-Great-Depression-era. I found the whole story enchanting and fascinating. This book will make you want to hop on a horse and ride it to the nearest one-room schoolhouse.

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes: UGH. I liked the story until the end. I had no idea what this book was about, so I threw it in my bag as we were leaving for the hospital when I was in labor, and I'm so glad I didn't read it while I was there. The story plus my post-partum hormones and lack of sleep would've sent me to the depths of despair. It's essentially the whole Brittany Maynard saga in a book, which I did not realize until I started reading it. Everyone else loved this book, but given my contrarian nature, I am doomed to hate it.

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan: This book came out when I was newly pregnant, and I had to unfollow Jim on twitter and instagram because the pictures of the book along with various food items made me heave more than once. I had to wait until after I gave birth to read this book due to my 9 months of morning sickness, and it was worth the wait. It's hysterical. It made me crave hot dogs like I've never craved anything in my life. My only issue is that a lot of the book came straight out of his stand-up routines, which I'm quite familiar with, so it seemed a bit recycled. If you're not as familiar with his routines, read this immediately. Just don't read it while hungry. Trust me.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: If you've been around here for more than two seconds then you know I have an unnatural love of WWII. This book follows a blind French girl and a German boy through the war. The years and points-of-view bounce around which can be confusing at times, but it's such a good story that sticks with you. The writing is very poetic, and I wish I could've basked in it a little longer, but I had four days to read this to get it back to the library on time, and this book is a beast. 

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill: My aunt came to visit after Gracie was born, and she told me about this book. Jenna is the niece of the head of Scientology, David Miscavige. I knew Scientology was a weird religion, but I had no idea how bizarre it actually is. She wrote about her experience growing up in it and how she eventually escaped. It is a SAGA. I was seriously stunned at the things they teach people and what they force them to endure. If you're curious about Scientology or what it's about, it's worth the read. It's very detailed and wordy and could've used a little more editing, but it's crazy. It's insane. You'll never look at Tom Cruise the same way again.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler: Do I even need to write this review? Hasn't everyone already read this by now? I love Amy Poehler to pieces. I think she's one of the most talented performers/actors/comedians of our day. But I didn't love this book. There were parts that were great, but I thought she came off a little obnoxious at times. The chapters on Parks and Rec and her friendship with Tina made it all worth it.

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan: I remember when Marina died right after her Yale graduation. I remember reading her essay as it went viral. I loved it. It resonated with me as I was only one year out of college at the time. She reminds me of a real-life Rory Gilmore. She was from New England, went to Yale, and majored in English. Her writing could put many famous authors to shame. However, I didn't love all the essays and stories in this book. Some of her fiction was just weird and left me feeling like she just really likes smoking pot. Some of her non-fiction essays felt more like research papers and assignments her former professors handed over to the publisher. But overall, it's good.

What have you been reading? What should I read? Tell me everything. I'm definitely not reading a book on the Amish right now. Nope, not at all.


  1. I just finished Girl on the Train and I'm with you; there wasn't one character that I liked. And to be honest, I hadn't noticed it until now! HA!

    I'm reading The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst- a recommendation from Shay Shull blog. I have added Beyond Belief to my list to read. I'm not interested in Scientology per se, but love reading about other religions and things totally different than me.

  2. So I have only read two of your picks (thanks by the way fro building the rest of my summer reading list) BUT I COULD NOT AGREE MORE WITH "The Girl on the Train" how can I love/hate a book so much. SO STRANGE.

  3. THANK YOU FOR THESE REVIEWS. So many of these I have read, or have thought about reading, or have abandoned most of the way through because I was bored (Girl On the Train).

    I felt the same way about Amy's book. I love her. She is human, pocket-sized sunshine. But she spent so much of the book talking about how hard it was to write a book, and how much she didn't want to write a book-- so I kind of felt like some of it was forced? But I agree with you, the inside look at Parks and even the history of UCB was enough for me to see it all the way through.

    Right now I am reading "Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek" which I believe I heard of because you marked it "to-read" on Goodreads. It is adorable, and a quick read. I am trying to go slowly because I am truly enjoying it!!

  4. Such a good review list! I'm adding most of these to my ever-growing reading list. I'm due for a trip to the library very VERY soon!

  5. Hated Girl on the Train, and I don't understand how it got such rave reviews. I feel the same way about The Martian. Don't bother, seriously. It's a good premise so I'll watch the movie when it comes out in hopes that it's better than the book, but the book itself sucks. Hard.

    I read a few reviews on Me Before You and realized what it was about and NOPE. I feel like I would be setting myself up for at least a few days' worth of raging over how that topic is so romanticized these days.

    Beyond Belief - YOU KNOW how I feel about this. I'm still thinking about it and it's been what, like 2 weeks since I/we finished it?

    I have a love/hate relationship with books written by celebrities. I loved Jim Gaffigan's other book and I'll definitely read Food but books by people like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and such...I don't know. I feel like it's some weird new requirement that television/movie stars write books and I never really feel like they're very good at it, and I always feel like it's a bit narcisisstic and I like them less afterward...maybe because I never really come away feeling inspired. More like, "Congrats, you're privileged and your life is full of first world problems."

    Is it terrible I have no freaking clue who Marina Keegan is?? Why is she famous, exactly? For graduating college??

    Adding Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle to my reading list...!

  6. Jeanette Walls is on my list! Glad you liked it :) agree about Girl on the Train completely. LOVED All the Light. One of my favorites I've read this year.

  7. I've read The Glass Castle a few times, and I LOVE IT. I can't wait for you to read it so we can discuss it. I haven't read Half Broke Horses, so excuse me while I read that.

    I didn't like Amy's book, either. I had high hopes for it- because I do love Tina Fey's Bossypants, and I love Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? but Amy's just didn't do it for me.

    I feel the same way about The Opposite of Loneliness- some of it was so, so good. And some of it was so, so strange. Her death is terrible, regardless. It's such a shame, really.

    Currently Reading: Jack Kerouac's On The Road. Not too far in yet, but I'm enjoying it!

  8. I can't wait to read The Girl on the Train. And also that Jim Gaffigan book because if there's two things I love it's laughing and food.

  9. I'm so glad you posted this. I need some reading recommendations for summer and I feel like we have similar taste. I think I'm going to skip the Amy Poheler book for now and put the Mindy book as a higher priority. I'm reading "Dead Wake" at the moment. If you haven't heard of it, it's about the Lusitania's last crossing. It starts off a little slow with kind of a recap of history, but if you are interested in WWI half as much as you are in WWII I bet you'll like it.

  10. I loved this!!! Being in the throes of grad school right now has writing a LONG list of books I want to read when i'm done and lying on a beach somewhere, haha!! Have you read The Boys in the Boat? One of the absolute best books i've EVER read! Just finished it while I was in Haiti, and I think you'd love it. SUCH great history (depression era story about a crew team that goes to the 1936 olympics in Berlin), and super compelling story about the rowing team!! I couldn't put it down!!!

  11. I have been so hesitant about Girl on the Train and couldn't figure out why, but your review gives me a little clue. I just have a feeling it won't live up to the hype for me. And I felt the EXACT same way about Yes Please. I wanted to love the book, because I love her so much, but it just didn't do it for me. I don't regret reading it, but I thought Bossypants was much better. If you haven't read The Storied Life of AJ Fikry yet, add it to your list. Positively delightful.


Talk to me! If your email is linked to your account, I'll respond to you via email. If not, I'll respond to you right here.