Bossypants by Tina Fey

Title: Bossypants

Author: Tina Fey

Publisher:Little, Brown and Company 2011

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 277

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – Written by a comedian; 52 Books – W52; Perpetual (Feminism #33)

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

A very enjoyable read for this Christmas holiday. I’ve been wanting to pick this one up for awhile and finally got it from the library. The first half the book focusing on her younger life was interesting,but I feel like the book really picked up once she started sharing stories and lessons from her professional life. The insights into the improv world, writing, and producing shined. I think I preferred Amy Poehler’s book, but that may be because her humor is more like mine. I still loved Fey’s lessons. I ended up reading this in three days. High praise as my reading time currently is limited.

The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo

Title: The Lady and Her Monsters

Author: Roseanne Montillo

Publisher: William Morrow 2013

Genre: History; Literature

Pages: 336

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: 52 Books – W51

The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Motillo brings to life the fascinating times, startling science, and real-life horrors behind Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein.

Montillo recounts how—at the intersection of the Romantic Age and the Industrial Revolution—Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein was inspired by actual scientists of the period: curious and daring iconoclasts who were obsessed with the inner workings of the human body and how it might be reanimated after death.

With true-life tales of grave robbers, ghoulish experiments, and the ultimate in macabre research—human reanimation—The Lady and Her Monsters is a brilliant exploration of the creation of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s horror classic.

A fascinating look at the creation of the classic Frankenstein. Montillo goes beyond the basic story of Mary Shelley crafting the tale during a dark and stormy night house party. Instead, we get an in depth look at the influences from history and contemporaries. We get a peek inside Shelley’s life with Percy Shelley, her sister Jane, and a variety of interesting characters. I was taken with the depth of research from Montillo in bringing the time period and circumstances to light. My only complaint is that at times the book read slowly. I would have liked a bit more brevity in a few parts, but overall I was sucked into Mary Shelley’s world!

13 by Nathan Lachenmeyer

Title: 13: The Story of the World’s Most Notorious Superstition

Author: Nathan Lachenmeyer

Publisher: Plume 2004

Genre: Nonfiction

Pages: 212

Rating: 2/5 stars

Reading Challenges: 52 Books – W50

While I usually love books that dive into folklore and culture, this one fell so flat for me. I think ultimately my issue was that the topic didn’t really seem that well-researched. The book read more like a high schooler’s paper about the superstition than something I would spend money on in a store. Thankfully I picked this up at a used sale for $1. So I guess no big loss.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

51qclyBhMyLTitle: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

Author: David Sedaris

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company 2013

Genre: Nonfiction

Pages: 275

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – Recommended by a family member; 52 Books – W48

A guy walks into a bar car and…

From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.

Sedaris remembers his father’s dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy.

Hmmm… So I really enjoyed Sedaris’s other books, but this one fell a bit flat for me. The essays felt a bit tired of overdone. I couldn’t really connect with his stories. I was very distracted while reading this one. I couldn’t seem to focus.

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Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

51yNFMVak9L._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Five Days at Memorial

Author: Sheri Fink

Publisher: Crown Publishers 2013

Genre: Nonfiction

Pages: 558

Rating:  5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: 52 Books – W47

In the tradition of the best investigative journalism, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs 5 days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and maintain life amid chaos.

After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several of those caregivers faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.

Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing.

Been meaning to pick this one up for months and I finally got around to it. What an amazingly thought-provoking book. Definitely a 5 star read. Fink’s research into reconstructing what actually happened at Memorial during and after Hurricane Katrina is detailed and thorough. We journey with the employees and patients through the harrowing experience of a breakdown in communication and survival. It took me two weeks to get through, not because he’s a bad book, but because there is so much information to process. Very fascinating. I warn potential readers that the topic is very heavy. This is not a good beach read.

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed

51IyLG-dL5L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Author: Cheryl Strayed

Publisher: Vintage Books 2013

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 342

Rating:  3/5 stars  Movie: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – Oprah’s Book Club; Book to Movie; 52 Books – W46

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

I wasn’t initially jumping to read this book. I have memories of hating Eat, Pray, Love and thought this was going to be in the same vein. Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, but I don’t think I’m the right person to love this book. I finished the book and had a neutral reaction. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I just wasn’t that into Cheryl’s journey or even her. I just kept thinking “okay fine, you lost your mom and lost your way. But where were the great insights during your journey?” So not bad, but not good.



I liked the movie a little more than I liked the book. I felt that the Cheryl in the movie was a bit more relatable. But the big plus of the movie is the visuals of the settings. Such gorgeous cinematography. Just for that, I had to add a start from my rating for the book.

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The Last Honest Seamstress by Gina Robinson

51lKpGe99wLTitle: The Last Honest Seamstress

Author: Gina Robinson

Publisher: Amazon Digital 2012

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 459

Rating:  3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: 52 Books – W45

After too many business setbacks and unwanted marriage proposals, beautiful and ambitious Fayth Sheridan, a seamstress who actually sews for a living, desperately needs to find a husband of convenience. Now if she can only convince handsome sea captain Con O’Neill, the one man in Seattle who’s shown no interest in her, that he’s the one…

When Seattle burns to the ground, taking Fayth’s shop with it, Con vows to do anything to protect her. Even marrying her before she falls in love with him. When he’s forced to make a deal with Seattle’s notorious madam, he risks losing everything, including any chance at love with the last honest seamstress in Seattle.

Another middle of the night read for me. This one was a bit of a disappointment. It was super slow and the characters weren’t terribly compelling. Plus they did the thing I absolute hate: a super convenient, super rushed ending that wraps up all the loose ends. So, not a terrible book, but something I’m glad I got for free instead of paying for.

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Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger

51yJz6cACeLTitle: Manners and Mutiny (The Finishing School #4)

Author: Gail Carriger

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company 2015

Genre: YA Paranormal

Pages: 330

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges:52 Books – W44

Lessons in the art of espionage aboard Mademoiselle Geraldine’s floating dirigible have become tedious without Sophronia’s sweet sootie Soap nearby. She would much rather be using her skills to thwart the dastardly Picklemen, yet her concerns about their wicked intentions are ignored, and now she’s not sure whom to trust. What does the brusque werewolf dewan know? On whose side is the ever-stylish vampire Lord Akeldama? Only one thing is certain: a large-scale plot is under way, and when it comes to fruition, Sophronia must be ready to save her friends, her school, and all of London from disaster–in decidedly dramatic fashion, of course.

Oh my! A very fitting conclusion to this series. I loved seeing the Picklemen’s plan uncovered by Sophronia and her band of misfit intelligencers. Very exciting! Plus we get the return of so many side character. And most importantly, we find out everyone’s allegiances. (I really should have Agatha’s, but she took me by surprise). This volume is a well-paced adventure from page one. Definitely an enjoyable read!

The Finishing School

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The Obituary Society’s Last Stand by Jessica L. Randall

51tWnJCvv8LTitle: The Obituary Society’s Land Stand (The Obituary Society #3)

Author: Jessica L. Randall

Publisher: Amazon 2016

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 232

Rating:  4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: 52 Books – W43

Juniper’s knack for finding lost things is downright magical. But so is the portal to the afterlife in her back yard. Soon the town of Auburn is overrun with restless souls, and some of them want more than just one more Bingo win. To make matters worse, Juniper’s gift goes wonky when she needs it most. With new allies she doesn’t trust, magic that won’t behave, and ominous ghosts threatening all she loves Juniper must find a solution to her haunting problem or else…

A nice conclusion to the trilogy. I felt like we get closure to the underlying conflict of the series. We get to see what happens to all the characters. And we get to spend more time with a few of the previously side characters in Auburn. I enjoyed spending time with Juniper and Levi. The supernatural elements added to the story but weren’t crazy. Definitely a good read for my middle of the night feedings.

The Obituary Society

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The Stranger’s Obituary by Jessica L. Randall

51LuRobVhjL._SY346_Title: The Stranger’s Obituary (The Obituary Society #2)

Author: Jessica L. Randall

Publisher: Amazon 2015

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 184

Rating:  4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; 52 Books – W42

Mina Fairchild keeps to herself, and that’s the way she likes it. Her secluded life protects the secrets she hides, as well as a certain peculiarity that even people in the colorful town of Auburn, Nebraska find strange.

But when her movie-star sister Bernadette shows up on her sofa, Mina’s cozy bungalow is overrun with paparazzi. One dark eyed reporter seems to see straight into Mina’s soul and her world begins to crumble. It’s bad enough when he noses around her secrets, but then he starts digging for information about her mother, and Mina can’t let that happen.

Not quite as good as the first book in the series, but still a very enjoyable read. I enjoyed Mina’s storyline, but found Bernie lacking. I just couldn’t get behind her motivations at all. Mina had reasons for her faults Bernie just seemed very self-centered. I was not a fan of hers even after her “redemption.” I loved revisiting some of my favorite characters: Gladys, Juniper, and Ada. Plus all the other townspeople make appearances. We also get a bit of a supernatural twist. Amazingly enough, it doesn’t feel weird or forced. The supernatural elements seem right at home in Auburn. I’m certain I will dive into the third book tonight during the late night feeding sessions.

The Obituary Society

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