book review · books

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman {Review}

If you have read and enjoyed Fredrick Backman’s Britt Marie Was Here, I think you would enjoy this novel by Gail Honeyman.

Goodreads Blurb:

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. All this means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner.

My Review:

I received this book thru my Book of the Month subscription for December and it was my first pick from my TBR jar that I have dedicated to this year’s  Unread Shelf Project. What attracted me to this novel was my thought that it was so similar to the above mentioned novel by Fredrick Backman. I recently read Britt Marie Was Here and thoroughly enjoyed it.

In Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, you meet a 30 year old woman who is basically living the life of a 65 year old grandma. If her age was not mentioned you could imagine her as an uptight old lady. To be such a young woman, she is a creature of routine and habit. You can’t help but laugh at her ways from time to time. The more serious she is, the funnier her situation seems, until you learn about her past.

Eleanor survived a horrific fire during her childhood but as a result of it, she had to grow up in the foster care system. She does not have any friends, she is socially awkward, and her life is controlled indirectly by her mother. As the story progresses, you learn to love Eleanor and cheer for her from your reading spot because she attempts to make changes in her routine even if at first it is only because she is preparing to meet the love of her life. She steps into the world of technology and the world of beauty. I think her experience with waxing was my favorite funny part.

Even with her attempts to make changes, Eleanor’s life takes a near devastating turn. She then has to learn how to love herself and accept the love and friendship of others.

This is a quick, quirky read but is full of life. This book subtly addresses alcoholism and child abuse. It also touches on mental health and help.

I gave this novel 4.5 stars. It is available now.

book review · books · Family

Educated by Tara Westover {Review}

This story is not about  Mormonism.

I have to admit that I do not usually read the Author’s Note, but that one line captivated me. Probably because I was thinking that it was going to be about the religion and the effects of it. It turned out that that line was completely correct. Even without the line, I don’t think that I would have considered Tara Westover’s family devoted Mormons.

This memoir is my first non fiction feature on my blog. Definitely something different from what I usually read and review. I welcomed this story with open arms. This was an unexpected arrival and I chose to not read the synopsis before diving into the story.

The story follows Tara who is a native of Idaho and a member of a family who is living off the grid.

Goodreads Blurb:

Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

That is just a piece of what this book entails.

My review:

I don’t usually read physical copies of memoirs, but I am glad that I read this one. Sitting down with this book was like stepping into a world that I have only been involved with thru media such as movies or news articles. Tara’s family lived in the mountains of Idaho and were basically living in their own universe and not concerned with the “corrupted” world. Tara grew up experiencing life with a parent who probably suffered from a mental illness, a mother who seemed to be complacent, and a life with a sibling who is physically and mentally abusive.

Tara may have started life in that unusual environment but she was strong enough to desire a different style of life for herself, although it was not an easy task. Tara stepped foot in school at the age of 17 and it was not a high school classroom but a college classroom. By stepping into this life outside of her mountain life, she realizes that she has been sheltered from a world that has gone on and she knows nothing of it. I believe that Tara was like a sponge and absorbed all the information that she could. There were times that she was discouraged or felt that she was being a traitor to her family. Tara ended up risking her spot in her family and became the “black sheep” because she wanted a different life for herself. She wanted to discontinue the lifestyle that she was raised in.

I loved the language that the author used in her story. The story was well written and read like a novel instead of a memoir which I enjoyed. I definitely would not have believed that Tara didn’t start going to school until she was 17 years old and that most of what she learned had to be self taught.

I gave this novel 4.5 stars

I received this novel from Random House. I am was very pleased to give an honest review.

This book is set to be released February 20, 2018 from Random House.

book review · books · Family

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah {Review}

Hello everyone, I hope that you all enjoyed your holiday and hope that you were able to get some good deals shopping if that is what you participated in. I was fortunate to receive an ARC of Kristin Hannah’s new book that is set to be released February 6, 2018 from St. Martin’s Press.

Goodreads Description:

Alaska, 1974.
And for a family in crisis, the ultimate test of the human spirit.

From the author who brought you the phenomenon of The Nightingale.


Let me just start by saying get ready to go on an emotional adventure. Kristin Hannah does it AGAIN!!!

In this novel we meet the Albrights. They are a family of three. Ernt(dad), Cora(mom), and Leni(daughter). This novel takes place in the mid seventies, after the Vietnam War. Ernt has returned home after being captured and held captive for 6 years. He suffers from what would not be called PTSD. There really wasn’t a word for it then. The men were just described as “being changed by the war.” He cant hold down and job and he has anger issues. Cora tries to pacify him by giving in to his grand ideas and constant moving around, although their daughter, Leni, has to suffer because of all the changes.

The dynamic of the relationship of Cora and Ernt is not apparent at first but quickly surfaces once the family moves to Alaska. Ernt has been gifted a house and some land by a fellow war comrade. When they first move to Alaska, things seem as if they will be okay. As the time goes on, Ernt takes a turn for the worse. While he is spiraling out of control, Leni is beginning to grow into a young adult and she is becoming a mentally strong young woman. She begins to see things in her parents that she had not noticed before and is having a difficult time accepting them.

Leni meets Matthew Walker, a young man who is going to play a key role in her life. As will his family in her father’s breaking point.

I will stop there because I really do not want to give away much more about the story. Just know that there is so much more that is going on in their lives.

This is one of those novels that will make you think about how mental health and love can affect relationships. It also shows how unconditional love can either make or break a person. As I said earlier, this novel is another emotional adventure. I read The Nightingale a couple of months ago and was emotionally exhausted when I finished it. I love a book that can make me feel that way and The Great Alone did the same thing. Hannah puts on paper real life issues and makes you think and feel with her characters.

I may have had some watery eyes with the end of this novel, but I will neither confirm or deny it. I strongly suggest purchasing this novel when it is published if you are a fan of Kristin Hannah and if you have not read any of her novels, this is a great introduction to her style of writing. This book isn’t even out yet and I am already looking forward to her next novel. I guess I will have to go get one of her older novels off my shelf to hold me over.

I give this book 5 stars!