Book Reviews–June 2019 Part One

Welcome!  I have large stacks of books TBR (To Be Read) on my nightstand, plus electronic stacks of books lined up in my Kindle, as well as books on hold at the library.  As I read these books, I love to share my thoughts and opinions of what I’ve read here in this space, because I enjoy sharing my passion for books with 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.  Finally, the page numbers I list here reflect the number of Kindle pages, not paper pages.  Thank you!)  I hope you enjoy this series.

Book #1: 

The Last RomanticsThe Last Romantics by Tara Conklin (Length: 368 pages).  This is an excellent read!  The writing is top-notch, the characters are well-developed and I wanted to keep reading.  This novel is told from the perspective of the youngest sibling of 4 (Fiona), and is primarily about the familial/sibling bonds of this group.  While it’s broad in scope and of time, the pace is quick enough to hold a reader’s interest (which I was very pleased about).  Book clubs would enjoy this book as there are opportunities to discuss your own bonds with your siblings.  (Note:  climate-change deniers, whoever you are, may want to skip this book because there is a somewhat intense and VERY realistic peek into our planet’s near future in the flash-forward scenes.)

From the publisher:

When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time.

It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected.  Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love.

A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories—how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.

Book #2: 

Packing for MarsPacking for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach (Length: 335 pages).   I’m not sure where I heard about this non-fiction pick, but I’m SO glad I read this book.  I’ve read the author’s “Stiff” and “Gulp” previously, so I knew I’d find this exhaustive account of the preparation that must occur before spacewalks and our eventual travel to Mars to be worth my time.  This book, as with her previous books, showcases the author’s wit.  (For example, the line, “‘They didn’t want the hot water cooking the skin flakes'”, he said, speaking four words together that have no business being so.”)  The author does get bogged down into the minutiae (as is her style) . . . for example, what is it like to go without washing for two weeks in space, what it’s like going to the bathroom, etc but the minutiae IS so very interesting, in my opinion.  I will say, this book is difficult to read in one go, but by chapter it’s fine.  Definitely do NOT skip the footnotes!  (If you’re reading this on a Kindle, just click on the asterisks within the text itself).  These often contain the most interesting (and funny) factoids!

From the publisher:

“America’s funniest science writer” (Washington Post) explores the irresistibly strange universe of life without gravity in this New York Times bestseller.

The best-selling author of Stiff and Bonk explores the irresistibly strange universe of space travel and life without gravity. From the Space Shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule, Mary Roach takes us on the surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

Book #3: 

Fierce KingdomFierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips (Length: 278 pages).  Whoa.  This book is INTENSE.  If you’re looking for a lightning-fast, thrill-ride of a read that you’ll finish in one sitting, this is it.   This novel is very well-paced, and the author is all about moving the plot (about some gunmen in a zoo at closing time) forward, but what characters there are, you absolutely understand them and their motivations along the way.  The main narrator, Joan, is a mom at the zoo with her young son.  She’s heroic at times, and shockingly not at others.  She’s very believable and makes you think about what you’d do in that same situation.  There is a secondary character of a retired third-grade teacher (who’s seen at least a dozen of her former students on the news in some capacity after they reach adulthood), and having been a substitute teacher for third-grade, I absolutely related to her character.  The novel’s ending is very sudden, and you can read what you want into it.  Love those types of endings–definitely worth a read.  This would be a fantastic book to read on a long airplane flight or car ride as the time will fly by!

From the publisher:

One of the New York Times Book Review’s Best Crime Novels of 2017

“Warning: you’ll finish this in one sitting.” —TheSkimm

“Expertly made thriller . . . clever and irresistible.” —The New York Times

An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours—the entire scope of the novel—she keeps on running.

Joan’s intimate knowledge of her son and of the zoo itself—the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines—is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.

A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself—from its tender moments of grace to its savage power—Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?

Book #4: 

Chasing FirefliesChasing Fireflies by Charles Martin (Length: 351 pages). I LOVE me some Charles Martin.  This is yet another great novel of his.  He does touch upon (briefly) some tough subjects such as child abuse (both physical and sexual) as well as HIV, but he’s never too graphic and it’s never gratuitous.  The narrator is a younger male (30 years old) who is a journalist.  He’s adopted and lives with an older couple he calls Uncle Willie and Aunt Lorna, and we learn about Uncle Willie’s very storied past.  As always, Martin does a fantastic job of painting a sense of place, in this case, the marshes of Georgia, with his always-beautiful writing style and a fantastically-paced plot.  You HAVE to keep reading to find out how it ends.  There’s a mystery within the plot, per usual, but Martin definitely doesn’t spoon feed it to you.  I LOVE this book!  

From the publisher:

On a stifling summer day, an old Chevy Impala ignored the warning signals and was annihilated by the oncoming train. What no one realized until much later was that the driver had paused just before entering the tracks and kicked a small boy out of the car. A small boy with broken glasses who is clutching a notebook with all his might . . . but who never speaks.

Chase Walker was one of the lucky ones. He was in foster care as a child, but he finally ended up with a family who loved him and cared for him. Now, as a journalist for the local paper, he’s moved on and put the past behind him.

But when he’s assigned the story of this young boy, painful, haunting questions about his own childhood begin to rise to the surface.

And as Chase Walker discovers, learning the truth about who you are can be as elusive—and as magical—as chasing fireflies on a summer night.

Book #5: 

Good Morning MidnightGood Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton (Length: 274 pages).   This book is based on SUCH an interesting premise, even for a dystopian novel.  The main characters (in alternating chapters) are:  An elderly scientist who stays put after an evacuation of a research station near the North Pole, and a female member of a crew of 6 en route back to Earth from a study/exploration of Jupiter.  The female crew member, Sully, is estranged from her daughter, much like August, the research scientist on Earth.  The author creates a fantastic sense of place in both locales–and since I really enjoy reading about space AND the Arctic, this novel is really my jam.  While this is more about “the journey” and the meaning of life than the arc of the plot, it’s definitely worth a read.  Just a warning that the last two chapters are definitely a bit of a surprise (that I suspected but really didn’t see coming).  I’m okay with the (rather abrupt) ending but some readers may not be.   I absolutely will read whatever else this author publishes!

From the publisher: NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SHELF AWARENESS AND THE CHICAGO REVIEW OF BOOKS • COLSON WHITEHEAD’S FAVORITE BOOK OF 2016 (Esquire)

Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes that the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.

At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success. But when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crewmates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.


As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives? Lily Brooks-Dalton’s captivating debut is a meditation on the power of love and the bravery of the human heart.

Book #6: 

Becoming OdyssaBecoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis (Length: 322 pages).  Fun fact:  I’m OBSESSED with the Appalachian Trail, and have read more than half a dozen books about this trail, and thru-hikers in particular.  This particular memoir is now in my top 3 primarily because the author’s writing is very good, and descriptive, and for a 22 year-old woman (at the time she hiked the trail), she isn’t whiny, but instead is very positive and empathetic to others.  She definitely encounters some difficult people and dangerous situation and endures physical trials, but she handles all of them with admirable strengthe and grace.  Her writing (and viewpoint) is a bit too religious for my taste in part, but not enough to put me off reading (and recommending) this book.  

From the publisher:

After graduating from college, Jennifer isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life. She is drawn to the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Though her friends and family think she’s crazy, she sets out alone to hike the trail, hoping it will give her time to think about what she wants to do next. The next four months are the most physically and emotionally challenging of her life. She quickly discovers that thru-hiking is harder than she had imagined: coping with blisters and aching shoulders from the 30-pound pack she carries; sleeping on the hard wooden floors of trail shelters; hiking through endless torrents of rain and even a blizzard. With every step she takes, Jennifer transitions from an over-confident college graduate to a student of the trail, braving situations she never imagined before her thru-hike. The trail is full of unexpected kindness, generosity, and humor. And when tragedy strikes, she learns that she can depend on other people to help her in times of need.

July 2021

Thank you for joining me here!   I typically post a few times per month but as I was on vacation for most of this month, I didn’t have a chance to post. Oddly enough, I also didn’t read as much as I typically do on vacation, so this month’s a bit shorter than other months. On the flip side, I really enjoyed most of what I did get a chance to read. Enjoy!

Book #1:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (Length: 293 pages).  OMG. I LOVE this book! It’s been on a library hold forever for me, and it was absolutely worth the months of waiting, and it definitely meets the hype! This is a fantasy fiction novel about Linus Baker who is a caseworker tasked with visiting an island orphanage filled with children with “magical” abilities to be sure they’re properly cared for. From Chauncey the amorphous blob whose dream is to be a bellhop to 6-year-old Lucy, the AntiChrist, the character development here is stellar. There are several LOL moments, but overall this is a very touching, compassionate portrayal of children (and people) who are “other” and how the world needs to do better. I appreciated how a few of the main characters being queer is 100% normalized here as well. This is a must read!

Book #2:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (Length: 465 pages). I finally read this–after loving the movie for so many years. I will say I found the structure of the novel to be very interesting, with lots of funny asides and footnotes. This novel is based on the fake Morgenstern fairy tale but just with the “good stuff” (ie, pirates, sword-fighting, princess rescue etc). The writing is excellent here but I found it drags on way too long . . . I can absolutely see why this is a cult classic novel, but 100 pages less would’ve made it perfect for me.

Book #3:

Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez (Length: 299 pages).  This is the third book in The Friend Zone trilogy. I loved (and reviewed) the first two, but this may be my favorite of the group so far. The premise here is similar to the first two–angst-filled potential romance between a female You-Tuber who thinks she may have ALS in the future and the hunky attorney Adrian (from Book 2). Again, the two protagonists just need to have a freaking conversation to resolve any and all misunderstandings, but then there would be no basis for a romance novel. I did adore the banter between the pair (this is what Jimenez excels at) and her writing style is continually excellent. Worth a read, and it’s perfect for summer travel.  

Book #4:

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (Length: 320 pages). This is such a good historical fiction novel, and absolutely worthy of the hype, but I found it takes a while to get there. (The last quarter of the novel is where I truly became interested). I was an English major with an emphasis on Shakespeare, so I especially enjoyed and appreciated the author’s research of William Shakespeare’s personal and family life, especially his married life with wife Agnes and his three children (Susanna, and twins Judith and Hamnet). You know from the beginning that Hamnet eventually dies and that the play Hamlet is based on Hamnet’s death (allegedly). This is a very sad and melancholy novel, with lots of death (due to the plague and hard life in general). It’s incredibly interesting that the author goes the entire novel without referring to William Shakespeare by his name, but instead refers to him as the husband of Agnes, father of Hamnet, etc. This is a gorgeously-written and memorable novel (you’ll never forget the details) but be forewarned that it’s very intense. I adored the last chapter–what a way to tie everything together!

Book #5:

The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris (Length: 369 pages).  I’m in awe that this brilliant, sweeping novel is the debut of this author. This is set in the South immediately after the Civil War concludes and is about what happens to the slaves after they are freed by the Union soldiers. This novel focuses on a landowner George, his wife Isabelle and their son Caleb. (Their son is why this novel is characterized as an LGBTQ read). George befriends two freed slaves Prentiss and Landry. The writing is absolutely beautiful, the character development is masterful and the plot is compulsively readable. There is some violence so be warned of that. Overall, this is a well-written novel that you will always remember.  

Book #6:

Better Luck Next Time by Julie Claiborne Johnson (Length: 284 pages). I was so intrigued with the premise of this historical fiction novel set in Reno in 1938, on a dude ranch for wealthy divorcees who needed a place to stay to earn the 6-week residence required for divorce in those days. This is told from the perspective of 25-year old Ward, a Yale college drop-out who is working on the ranch just to pass time before he decides what to do with the rest of his life. The writing is strong, but while the beginning is interesting, the middle lagged quite a bit for me. I will say the (sort of surprise) ending tied it all together quite well, so I found it to be worth the read (at least a library check out). Just don’t expect to truly care about any of the characters (all of whom are remarkably vacuous) and instead, read for the interesting premise and setting.

Book #7:

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Length: 389 pages).  Given how much I adore this author’s novel Circe, I had a feeling I’d love this first novel of hers just as much. I was correct! I’m still not a huge Greek mythology fan, generally speaking, but this author has a gift for managing to make mythology so accessible as well as propulsively readable. This novel shares the beautiful love story between Achilles and his childhood friend/companion, Patroclus, as well as the story of the build up to the great Trojan War (to “rescue” Helen). Her writing makes this very hard to put down, and was a novel I was always thinking about when I wasn’t actually reading it. (Which I love!) This will absolutely make my top ten novels of 2021.

Book #8:

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary (Length: 336 pages). I loved this novel! It’s a rom-com but very well-written with a surprising amount of depth. The premise is simple: Tiffy and Leon share a flat (and its only bed) in the heart of London, but don’t lay eyes on one another for months thanks to their opposite work (and weekend) schedules). I will say I found it to be a bit of a slow start, but once the plotline deepens, it is difficult to put down. I appreciated the storylines of Leon’s brother being wrongfully imprisoned (with Leon working to get him released) as well as Leon’s work as a hospice nurse. There is a storyline about some pretty severe emotional abuse so be aware of that if it’s an issue for you. The main characters are all likeable here, and all are sufficiently quirky to keep them interesting, and I genuinely cared what happened to all of them. A two thumbs up for me!

June 2021–Part Three

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

As You Wish by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden (Length: 273 pages).  If you are even somewhat of a fan of the movie The Princess Bride, this is a must read! Written by the actor who played Westley, this memoir puts you right in the middle of both the pre-production and the production of this incredible movie. This is very well-written (the actor is super smart as well as being super good-looking–who knew?!) as well as very thoughtful about all of the major (and minor) actors. Full of behind-the-scenes information, this isn’t gossipy, but is just plain interesting. After reading this, I came away even more impressed about this charming movie, and I’m especially impressed with the director, Rob Reiner, who seems to be an amazing human being. The synergy amongst and the cast and crew is apparently like lightning striking, and this lightning resulted in one of the best movies of all time. In my opinion. 😉

Book #2:

When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain (Length: 370 pages). Wow. This is an intense, very well-written mystery/thriller, and I’m so glad I was able to pick it up. I happened upon it on the New Releases shelf when my local library finally opened to in-person browsing, and I was so excited to see it as I’ve been hearing so much about it. This is excellent!! Based around the real-life abduction of Polly Klaas in 1993 in Northern California, this novel centers around Anna Hart, a detective who specializes in crimes against children. Anna returns to Mendocino, where she spent 8 years of her childhood as a foster kid, and as an adult is escaping some (initially unknown) personal trauma of her own. The central mysteries here (involving other teen girls who are missing) are a bit thin–I guessed who the abductor was very early on–but this is still very much worth reading, for the character development, the excellent writing and for the very propulsive and exciting plot. Let me know what you think!

June 2021–Part Two

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston (Length: 413 pages).   This is a middle-grade (fourth grade and up) fantasy book that reminds me a lot of Harry Potter, but a bit more grounded in reality. I really enjoyed this book, and I’m not a huge fantasy reader. I believe I first learned about this novel while listening to the Currently Reading podcast (a fantastic listen for book lovers!) and I’m so glad I picked it up. The plot is propulsive as it centers around a young teen girl who goes to a type of summer school or training ground for those with supernatural powers, in hopes of finding her older brother who had gone missing from the same school. The character development is decent, and I’m hopeful there are sequels to this amazing book. The setting (the training school) is the star here. This is absolutely worth a read, for middle grade to adult!

Book #2:

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton (Length: 321 pages). I freaking LOVE this book!!! This is a fantastically imaginative story about an intelligent crow living in Seattle named ST (short for Shit Turd) who, along with the rest of the animal kingdom, domestic and wild, survives a zombie apocalypse triggered by a worldwide virus. This is laugh-out-loud funny (and I rarely find things funny enough to laugh about while reading), sad, very creepy thanks to some gory and scary scenes, with a hell of a plot. This is not for everyone (and admittedly the above description had kept me from picking it up for a while) but since many people whose opinions and reviews I respect highly recommend it, I finally took the leap. I’d suggest reading the first chapter and if that doesn’t hook you, don’t keep reading. I couldn’t put it down, and I am recommending it to everyone (with an open mind) I know. Five stars for sure!

Book #3:

Lonesome Cowboy by Debbie Macomber (Length: 177 pages).   I picked this one up at a library book sale, honestly just because it was cheap and I’m sometimes in the mood for novels where I don’t have to think too hard. This one is the first novel in the author’s Heart of Texas series. It’s cute, without much depth, which is typical of these types of romance novels. There is a enough plot here to keep the reader interested (will the sister of a brother/sister duo running their inherited ranch strike out on her own, personally and professionally?). The author also teases the significance of a nearby ghost town called Bitter End, in an effort to keep you reading further in the series. Since I also have the next novel in the series (Texas Two-Step) and that novel further develops characters introduced here, I’ll likely check it out. This is a quick beach read, worth at least a library check out.

June 2021–Part One

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Length: 434 pages).   I’ve been hearing about this book for a long time so I was excited to finally read it. The main character Addie sells her soul to the devil in exchange for getting to live a more exciting life than she would if she stayed in her sleepy town in France. The tradeoff is that she will never be remembered by anyone the second she leaves their sight. I will say that the character development of the titular character is excellent, as are the plot and the various settings (France and NYC). There are a few factual inconsistencies that are a bit distracting (for example, Addie says she’s never had champagne before in Chapter 20, but in Chapter 18 she mentions drinking it). I also found the writing to be a bit overwrought and overdramatic, but the novel is still a total page-turner.

Book #2:

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (Length: 382 pages). If you enjoyed Beach Read by this author, you will love this novel as well. It’s chick lit but well-written and the characters have emotional depth. This time around the two central characters take an annual summer vacation together, regardless of whether or not they are involved with anyone else romantically. It’s very When Harry Met Sally, with flashbacks. Poppy works for a travel magazine in NYC (and writes a travel blog) while Alex is a teacher in Ohio. The travel aspect of this novel is a lot of fun as Henry does a great job with creating a sense of place. Like with Beach Read, the dialogue is the best part here as it’s snarky and witty in parts, and actually laugh out loud funny in others. I wish all romance novels were as well-written as this one, as I’d read them a lot more. It should go without saying that this is the perfect beach/vacation read.

Book #3:

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Length: 482 pages).   If you loved The Martian, this is the book for you! I think this is even better than Weir’s first book . . . it’s got the same very witty dialogue/thoughts, and a propulsive plot, but this one goes even further creatively than The Martian, and is a total joy to read. Just as with the first, I tuned out a lot of the scientific (and mathematic!) details but it’s all still incredibly interesting. My favorite part of the novel, and when it really gets interesting, is jazz hands! (When you know, you know.) This would make an excellent Father’s Day gift as well–even non-readers will enjoy it because it’s so fun to read.

May 2021–Part Three

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

No Bad Deed by Heather Chavez (Length: 325 pages).   This is a thriller set in Northern California that starts with a woman rescuing another woman she sees being chased by a scary-looking ex-convict. Complications ensue, and this is a nail-biter that’s difficult to put down. While it’s a bit graphic in terms of violence, I didn’t find the violent scenes to be gratuitous so they didn’t bother me very much. The central mystery is well-crafted even if it’s a bit formulaic (I felt like I’ve read something similar to this, but in a less well-written novel). The writing here is strong, as are the plot and the sense of place, but the character development is pretty thin–perhaps to preserve the mystery? Overall, it’s worth a read (a library check out for sure).

Book #2:

Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl (Length: 256 pages). This is an ARC of a memoir which comes out in October of 2021 I believe, and is written by a Broadway playwright living in NYC who suffers from long-term (over a decade) Bell’s Palsy, the onset of which occurred after she delivered twins. I was interested in this because a good friend also has the same diagnosis. This memoir traverses the past decade as she deals with this very obvious facial paralysis, first with intense frustration and depression, and eventually with grace and equanimity. The writing is excellent (as befits an award-winning playwright), but I do think the focus on Bell’s Palsy is a bit a too specific for most. I, for one, am glad I took the time to read this book as it gave me even more empathy for those who struggle with this disease, and I think I will always remember it.

Book #3:

Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Length: 314 pages).   The familial saga was written by the author of The Nest (which I’ve reviewed here previously). This novel is based on the world of theater in NYC as well as in television in Los Angeles and is based on two different couples, along with the daughter of one of the couples. The novel opens with one of the women finding a wedding ring her husband claimed he had lost almost two decades earlier, and the rest of the book attempts to answer the question why. This is very character-driven, and is told mostly in flashbacks. Since there is not much plot, this won’t be for everyone, but if you enjoy excellent writing and in-depth character development along with entangled family dramas (as I do), this is for you!

Book #4:

We Came, We Saw, We Left by Charles Wheelan (Length: 290 pages).   I LOVED this book! This is a family memoir/travelogue written by a Dartmouth professor about the nine months he and his family (three teenagers and his wife) all traveled to six continents in the span of nine months. He includes all of the nitty-gritty details of the planning, their daily budget, and how they decided where to visit. His writing style is very entertaining–witty, charming, and very real. He writes with honesty about his teenagers’ behavior and is also very self-deprecating. I loved reading about all of the places around the globe I’ll likely never get to visit–especially in South America. I never wanted the book (or their travels) to end. Definitely worth a read, and after you are finished, check out his family blog on Blogspot for more photos (he includes a handful in the book).