• books

    ‘The Stranger Inside’, by Laura Benedict

    'The Stranger Inside', by Laura BenedictWhat would you do if you came home one day to discover a stranger living in your home? Sleeping in your bed, eating your food, going through your most private possessions…

    It gets worse. This stranger has changed the locks, produced a “lease” with your apparent signature, and convinced the police he’s the rightful tenant. They think you’re crazy. You know you’re not.

    Believe it or not, the story gets worse still.

    The stranger knows you.

    But who the hell is he?

  • books

    ‘All Happy Families’, by Jeanne Mcculloch

    All Happy Families, by Jeanne MccullochThey say money can’t buy happiness, and All Happy Families confirms that. I think this is a book that you’ll either love or hate, depending on your penchant for messed-up rich people stories. If you like memoirs that give you a peek at the dysfunction behind the gilded doors, then it’s a pretty interesting tale, albeit a sad one. But I will warn you that if you find those stories irritating, then you’ll probably want to skip this one.

    The story starts at the author’s wedding, but it’s really about the larger history of her family, and her fiance’s family. I think we’re all guilty of looking at other people’s families and assuming they must be happier due to some circumstances: money, how good a couple they make in public, etc. All Happy Families picks apart that notion and indeed, most of our notions about love, loyalty, tradition, and loss.

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    Book review: ‘Girls’ Night Out’, by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

    Girls' Night Out, by Liz Fenton & Lisa SteinkeThree is definitely a crowd for a group of estranged friends trying to make amends on a girls’ getaway. When Ashley, Natalie and Lauren book a vacation in Mexico, they’re hoping it will be a chance to repair their damaged relationship. But after a rowdy girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren wake up to discover Ashley has disappeared.

    Did she leave of her own free will with a man she met just days earlier? Or is it possible he’s harmed her? Then there’s the explosive avalanche of secrets the three women have been keeping from each other. Could the tension between them have led to a violent confrontation?

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    Book Review: Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?, by Alyssa Mastromonaco with Lauren Oyler

    Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?I’m teetering between three and three and a half stars for this book. I think that when I picked it up I expected more light, witty commentary and humorous anecdotes about life in the White House. There are some humorous stories, but there are also a lot of amazing, frustrating, and sad stories. It’s less of a humorous book and more of a general memoir/self-help tome, which I discovered partway through (and which reminded me to read book jackets more carefully whilst still at the library to avoid false expectations!).

    I’m trying to sprinkle more nonfiction books into my reading list, and Who Thought…? was a pretty good addition. Covering the author’s years working in the Obama administration, it’s a mixture of stories about her White House life and honest advice to young women looking to navigate the professional world, whether in government or the private sector. The book is divided into chapters focusing on the traits she feels are required for success, such as being prepared and showing kindness, and I felt like she had a lot of very down-to-earth experience packed into those chapters to back them up. It’s also a lot less condescending than a lot of the “self-help” books I’ve picked up in the past.

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    Book review: In the House in the Dark of the Woods, by Laird Hunt

     

    In the House in the Dark of the Woods, by Laird HuntI think that In the House in the Dark of the Woods is one of those books that people will either rate very lowly (and possibly shelve as DNF), because they find it too weird and nonsensical; or rate very highly, and write long reviews praising the genius of the author in crafting it.

    God, did I want to love this book. I mean, just look at that cover! I’m somewhere in the middle, though, at two and a half stars. I did actually finish the book at least, though this is partly due to the fact that it’s so short. But throughout, and afterward, I kept saying “What the hell did I just read?”