Sunday, April 26, 2015

Review: Overseas

9780425261262_p0_v3_s260x420Title: Overseas
Author: Beatriz Williams
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Genre: Romance
464 pages
Release Date: May 10, 2012

When twenty-something Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson attracts the notice of the legendary Julian Laurence at a business meeting, no one’s more surprised than she is...Why would this handsome British billionaire—Manhattan’s most eligible bachelor—pursue a pretty but bookish young banker who hasn’t had a boyfriend since college? The answer is beyond imagining . . . at least at first. Kate and Julian’s story may have begun not in the moneyed world of twenty-first-century Manhattan but in France during World War I, when a mysterious American woman emerged from the shadows of the Western Front to save the life of Captain Julian Laurence Ashford, a celebrated war poet and infantry officer. Now, in modern-day New York, Kate and Julian must protect themselves from the secrets of the past, and trust in a true love that transcends time and space.
-taken from Goodreads

I've had this book on my to-read list for a while, simply because I love time traveling stories. However, I'm also very picky about time travel novels because they can so easily be done wrong. Time travel is tricky.

I know that it's technically impossible* in and of itself, but I don't like it when a book gets it wrong, when the time traveling doesn't make sense. Although Overseas keeps its timelines in order, it does the other two things I don't like in time travel novels: when the characters don't seem to understand it and when the how of it, the explanation for it, makes no sense.

Without spoiling the plot, in case anyone does decide to read this book, the characters make choices to try and change events, even though, if they were successful, it would make sense that they would suddenly lose certain memories,etc. For some reason, the characters don't seem to grasp this and continue to forge headlong into crazy plans that could affect them in way they don't think about that should be obvious.

The romance of it is weak. Julian is a bit overdone - a strange mix of some Jane Austen hero and Edward from Twilight with his flowery words and control issues. Kate was annoying in her hesitance to commit. Their relationship felt forced and not very believable.

Basically, Overseas felt like a letdown for me. It had a lot of potential and didn't deliver. However, I wouldn't say for sure not to read it - the basic story is a fun idea and just because I'm neurotic about time traveling, that doesn't mean everyone is. And hey, if people like the romance of Twilight, it's likely they'll like the romance of Overseas.

*for now...right? RIGHT?

heart (1)heart (1)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Review: Yes Please

Title: Yes Please
Author: Amy Poehler
Publisher: Dey St.
Genre: Memoir/Non Fiction/Humor
329 pages
Release Date: October 28, 2014

In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book is full of words to live by.
-taken from Goodreads

I love Amy Poehler with a love that is good and pure. I think she's hilarious and she seems so down-to-earth and good-hearted. Until this book, though, I didn't really know that much about her as a person - I knew her personas through SNL, Baby Mama, and Parks and Rec (a show that is near and dear to my heart) and I've watched her with my girl Tina.*

I loved how Amy allowed us a better glimpse of Amy in this book. She was scattered, she confessed she didn't think she'd ever finish, she had other people contribute, she wasn't coy about knowing what we wanted to hear about (i.e. Tina), and spoke freely about what was in her heart. That's what surprised me the most - how soft she is and how often she talks about people's hearts and her heart and she used lots of other big softy phrases.

I picked up this book because I love Amy Poehler and I knew it would bring me a good laugh. However, where Tina Fey's Bossypants made me laugh out loud on the subway, Yes Please made me cry into my pasta on my lunch break. (I'll confess, I mostly cried during the Parks and Rec chapter because she had the nerve to print the engagement and wedding scenes, which never fail to make me cry no matter how often I watch them.) The majority of Yes Please has an underlying poignancy to it that I wasn't expecting. I was highlighting so many little life lessons that Amy was throwing out and shaking my head over how honest she was about mistakes she'd made.

I guess all I can say to wrap this up is this: If you like Amy Poehler even a little bit, you will probably finish this book thinking she's one of your favorite people. And that you should probably watch Parks and Recreation if you haven't already. Oh and buy this book and start it right now.

*Fey, obviously.
heart (1)heart (1)heart (1)heart (1)heart (1)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: Dry Bones

Title: Dry Bones
Series: Walt Longmire
Author: Craig Johnson
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Mystery
320 pages
Release Date: May 12, 2015

When the largest, most complete fossil of a Tyrannosaurus Rex is discovered in Absaroka County, it would appear to have nothing to do with Walt. That is, until the Cheyenne rancher who finds her is found face down in a turtle pond. As a number of parties vie for ownership of the priceless remains, including rancher Danny Lone Elk’s family, the Cheyenne tribe, the Deputy Attorney General, and a cadre of FBI men, Walt must recruit undersheriff Victoria Moretti, Henry Standing Bear, and Dog to investigate a sixty-six million year-old cold case that’s starting to heat up fast.
-taken from Goodreads

I received this book as a part of Penguin's First to Read program. I usually request multiple books in the hopes I'll get picked for something...anything...and this one sounded good so I requested it. I have now learned my lesson. I should always research the book at least a little bit because Dry Bones turned out to be book #11 in a series! Whoops - I ended up with lots of wondering who people were and being given glimpses of past events that I knew nothing about. I have to hand it to Craig Johnson though, because he was not one to review copious amounts of detail from previous books and had I read the rest of the series, I would have been really happy about that.

As for the book itself, I did enjoy it. Johnson has a very dry way of writing in. He lays out the facts and tells you a story without cluttering up pages with long descriptive prose and emotions. I still felt like I connected with the characters and it made the book feel fast-paced and constantly moving forward.

I really like Longmire as a character - I love his dry sense of humor the most. It's written from his perspective and I actually chuckled out loud at some his inner thoughts about people. Johnson has an interesting way with phrases that was very entertaining for me. For example, when he said a man "looked like a bad smell." I love interesting writing that avoids cliches and overused phrases!

I definitely plan to start this series from the beginning some time in the future.

heart (1)heart (1)heart (1)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: Last Man Off

Title: Last Man Off: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Antarctic Seas
Author: Matt Lewis
Publisher: Plume
Genre: Non-Fiction
256 pages
Release Date: May 12, 2015

...a gripping true story of disaster and heroism...against a breathtaking backdrop of icebergs and killer whales. On June 6, 1998, twenty-three-year-old Matt Lewis had just started his dream job as a scientific observer aboard a deep-sea fishing boat in the waters off Antarctica. As the crew haul in the line for the day, a storm begins to brew. When the captain vanishes and they are forced to abandon ship, Lewis leads the escape onto three life rafts, where the battle for survival begins.
-taken from Goodreads

I was immediately interested in this book because of my fascination with Antarctica, which is a result of my fascination with whales (if you're not following, narwhals live in Antarctica) but that's neither here nor here.

The story grabbed me right from the start. Just the idea of being a marine biologist is fascinating to me, so I enjoyed reading about how Matt found his job and the steps he had to go through before finally ending up on a ship. He did a great job of relaying exactly what it's like to be onboard a fishing vessel and what the comraderie is like amongst the crew.

What took me by surprise was how much it made me think. I was taken aback by the actions of some of the crew and it really made me wonder how I would hold up in a life-threatening situation. I commend Matt for being a really good guy who somehow managed to take charge amongst a group of men who had loads more experience than he did.

I received this book from Penguin's First to Read program.

heart (1)heart (1)heart (1)