Book Reviews–August 2017

I often post short reviews of books I’ve read in my personal social media pages, as I love to share my passion for books with others.  I’m listing the books I’ve read each month here on this blog, with my thoughts on each as well as whether I’d recommend them to others.  I do have an eclectic taste in books, and will choose books based on my mood, or what’s going on in my life that week.  (Most, if not all, of the books below include links to the Kindle store on Amazon, and the page numbers reflect the number of Kindle pages).  I hope you enjoy this series on my blog!

Book #1: 

Fitness Junkie

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza (Length: 306 pages).  Well, this one is kind of embarrassing to admit having read, but in my defense, I am a HUGE lover of fitness, and am currently obsessed with CrossFit (with past obsessions with BodyPump and yoga).  I thought I’d read about different types of fitness classes while reading a fun novels–two birds, one stone.  This book was NOT as fun as CrossFit.  Maybe it’s the copyright issues but the authors focused on more made-up types of fitness, and the plot was absolutely ridiculous and silly.  This is a fluff read, with zero substance and not much to redeem itself.  Pass.  

From the Publisher:  From the bestselling authors of The Knockoff, an outrageously funny novel about one woman’s attempt—through clay diets, naked yoga, green juice, and cultish workout classes—to win back her career, save her best friend, and lose thirty pounds.

When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin—the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin—her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. Sure, Janey has gained some weight since her divorce, and no, her beautifully cut trousers don’t fit like they used to, so Janey throws herself headlong into the world of the fitness revolution, signing up for a shockingly expensive workout pass, baring it all for Free the Nipple yoga, sweating through boot camp classes run by Sri Lankan militants and spinning to the screams of a Lycra-clad instructor with rage issues. At a juice shop she meets Jacob, a cute young guy who takes her dumpster-diving outside Whole Foods on their first date. At a shaman’s tea ceremony she meets Hugh, a silver fox who holds her hand through an ayahuasca hallucination And at a secret exercise studio Janey meets Sara Strong, the wildly popular workout guru whose special dance routine has starlets and wealthy women flocking to her for results that seem too good to be true. As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can’t help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place? A hilarious send-up of the health and wellness industry, Fitness Junkie is a glorious romp through the absurd landscape of our weight-obsessed culture.


Book #2: 

The Quiet Game

The Quiet Game by Greg Iles (Length: 436 pages).  This is the first book in the series featuring Penn Cage, a former prosecutor turned novelist living in Natchez, Mississippi.  This is a fantastic legal thriller set in the South.  It reminded me of Grisham’s earlier novels in terms of plot and pacing, but this series is much better written.  Iles has a knack for drawing characters with depth, and his plots are a lot more realistic than most.  I highly recommend!

From the publisher: From the author of Mississippi Blood comes the first intelligent, gripping thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling Series.

Natchez, Mississippi. Jewel of the South. City of old money and older sins. And childhood home of Houston prosecutor Penn Cage. 

In the aftermath of a personal tragedy, this is where Penn has returned for solitude. This is where he hopes to find peace. What he discovers instead is his own family trapped in a mystery buried for thirty years but never forgotten—the town’s darkest secret, now set to trap and destroy Penn as well.

Book #3: 

The Year of Living Danishly

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell (Length: 389 pages).   Having visited Copenhagen, Denmark last summer, I was really excited to check out this first-hand account of a woman living in a city outside Copenhagen for a year.  Her husband was hired to work at Lego (!) so she joined him while working at home as a writer.  This was a fascinating look, month by month, of daily life in Denmark, with a detailed examination of the social mores and culture of Danes.  The author tries to get to the bottom of exactly why the country of Denmark has the happiest people in the world.  While the author shares quite a few funny insights, I did find her to be a bit whiny at times, which was off-putting, but I still recommend reading this breezy, enjoyable book.  

From the publisher: When she was suddenly given the opportunity of a new life in rural Jutland, journalist and archetypal Londoner Helen Russell discovered a startling statistic: the happiest place on earth isn’t Disneyland, but Denmark, a land often thought of by foreigners as consisting entirely of long dark winters, cured herring, Lego and pastries.
What is the secret to their success? Are happy Danes born, or made?

Helen decides there is only one way to find out: she will give herself a year, trying to uncover the formula for Danish happiness.
From childcare, education, food and interior design (not to mention ‘hygge’) to SAD, taxes, sexism and an unfortunate predilection for burning witches, The Year of Living Danishly is a funny, poignant record of a journey that shows us where the Danes get it right, where they get it wrong, and how we might just benefit from living a little more Danishly ourselves.

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