Book Review: ROOM

A week after reading this book, I find myself bringing it up in every conversation I have. A huge thank you to Mallorie for letting me steal 20 books off her kindle – this being one of them. This book has opened my eyes to the world, seeing everything that seems so ordinary in a completely new perspective. *spoiler alerts coming so stop now if you don’t want to know what happens *

ROOM is told through the eyes of a 5 year old boy named Jack. At first, it seems like Jack and Ma are perfectly content in their home, but slowly you realize that they never leave – there are no windows, there is barely any food, and the only visitor is a man Jack nicknames Old Nick. The pieces start coming together – the 5 years of Jack’s life was spent in this one, tiny room. He knows nothing of the outside world. Ma tells him that everything on TV is fake and he literally does not comprehend the idea of the other millions of people living outside the walls of his room.

When Jack and Ma escape from the room they were held captive in, Jack has to adjust to this new world – a world full of people, sunlight, wind, rain… He cries when the wind blows too hard and is amazed at the shape of the moon each night. His fascination with every detail of his new world made me both smile and cry. Can you imagine going 5 years of your life without sunlight? Or a shower? Or even with interacting with any person besides your mom? These are the issues Jack deals with as a 5 year old – and it’s both inspiring and heartbreaking.

ROOM was not an easy book to get through, emotionally and also deciphering what Jack means when he says certain things and trying to understand his view as well as his mom’s. If you’re looking for a light beach book, this is not it. If you’re looking for a well-written, eye opening novel – ROOM is the way to go.

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I’ll start off by saying that Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was a great book and I highly recommend it. The book discusses the story of a married couple, Nick and Amy, and Amy’s disappearance. To say that the book was a roller coaster is an understatement. Both #25hour bloggers (Shari and I) have read the book and we end with differing opinions. The real question is, who’s side are you on? I honestly can’t decide but below lays out some reasons that argue both. Spoilers below! Stop reading if you want to read the book and enjoy it! * Shari’s Note: This is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read and if you haven’t gotten your hands on it yet, you are severely missing out.

Amy’s Team by Cara

I’m going to start off by saying that I am well aware that Amy is one crazy bitch. I mean, she fakes her own death and ruins lives like it’s nothing. That’s not okay. HOWEVER (yes there is a however) Nick isn’t a ball of sunshine. First of all, Nick is a dirty cheater. He cheats on his wife and has no excuse for it! Not to mention he really doesn’t love her. He ignores her and treats her poorly and that can drive any women crazy, right? (Yes, it’s a stretch.) Part of why I take Amy’s side is because I get so confused between Real Amy and Diary Amy. You’re supposed to really like Diary Amy and you keep hoping that maybe she is Diary Amy a little. But she’s not. What I’m trying to say is that I sort of see her side… but she is still a crazy bitch and I don’t really like her in the end.

Nick’s Team by Shari

Poor Nick. He was fooled by a crazy BITCH!!! He fell in love with Amy, or who Amy pretended to be. Even though Diary Amy was fake, you had to believe some of those events took place, or else Nick wouldn’t have fallen for her in the first place. But he was deceived. As soon as Amy got bored pretending, Nick realized he made a mistake. Sure, he handled it poorly by finding a new girl to sex up, but I knew all in the first half of the book he couldn’t possibly be capable of murder. I almost wish Nick had the balls to kill her in the end. Amy’s antics literally made his current life a living hell and will make the rest of his life even worse. Her saved sperm, her saved frozen vomit, all her dirty tricks up her leave, left him no choice but to stick it out with her. He had no escape from her crazy (but admittedly brilliant) mind. I pity him.

Who’s side are you on? Neither? Me too… Share your thoughts below!

Book Review: The Age of Miracles

This book was recommended to me by a fellow co-worker and book nerd Nicole. I was hesitant at first, because it is written through the eyes of a 12 year old and I thought the book would be geared towards teens and would not be something I’d enjoy. The Age of Miracles, however, has a way of sucking you in with the scary realism of its plot line.

The book takes the idea of “the end of the world” and puts a really interesting twist. It focuses on what would happen if the world suddenly slows its rotation around the sun. If 24 hours in a day turned in 25, 26..42, 72… It is told from Julia’s point of view, reflecting on the year between her 11th and 12th birthday living in California when the Earth’s rotation ceases to steady.

The teens who read this book would be able to identify with her adolescent issues – her friendships waning, her crush, her parents’ marriage..  As a 22 year old, I was more focused on the core of the plot and I finished the book reflecting on the possibility of this happening. It really is not too farfetched of an idea. I found myself thinking if I would be susceptible to “the syndrome”, if I could live on “clock time” or if I would be shunned for wanting to live by “real time. I reflected back to 9/11 and was able to identify with Julia remembering all the details of the day the slowing was announced on the news. I wonder why it is we can remember such exact details of the most important moments of our life, but choose to forget what we ate for dinner 4 weeks ago. It is quite fascinating to me.

Anyway, this book definitely stood out from those I have read this summer. It is an easy read and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone!

Have you read The Age of Miracles? Did you like it? Comment below.

The Key To A Good Business Book

Ever since the invention of the Kindle, I have become an acid reader. Pre-Kindle I read Harry Potter and nothing else, but now my taste has expanded. I love fun fiction books just as much as the next guy but from time to time I actually enjoy reading a business book. My job has exposed me to many and I have read the good, the bad, and the dreadfully boring.

Listen up authors! I’m about to give away the secret to writing a great business book. The key to a good business book in my opinion are action items. So often do I see business books that share with you the overarching stategy, the best practices, and the cliches. When you write a book that’s entirely case studies you are helping nobody.

I’m not saying don’t include case studies. Case studies are actually really great! However, it’s not fair to have us read 300 pages of stories and then make us draw our own conclusions. As the author and the expert, we want to hear what you think the key learnings are. Learning from successul businesses is valuable but we have likely heard these stories before. If we knew how to repliate their successes we would be the ones writing the book. The question is how do I apply this success story to my business. You as the author should help build that bridge for me. When you share a great story and the give no explanation you actually make it more complicated. This leaves me with even more questions than when I started. I bought the book because I want answers.

A good book has you feeling motivated afterwards and excited to get started. A great book leaves you with a clear vision on what to do next. The more you spell it out, the more useful your book is. Think about including a check list or steps for implementation. A true expert is someone who can take complicated theory and explain it in a way a smart high school student would understand.

Some of my favorite business books include:

Like any good business book, this blog will end with clear action items for what makes a good business book (so I’m not a huge hypocrite!)

  1. Finish each chapter with a checklist of things to do next.
  2. Write a fictional story that can explain your action items in a relatable scenario.
  3. Use case studies to show your theory in action but then follow up with key learnings immediately after.
  4. Focus your topic and avoid the use of any popular cliches.
  5. Create a model in which others can apply their business to.
What do you think makes a good business book? What are some of your favorites? Share below!

‘One Day’ The Movie Versus ‘One Day’ The Book

I’m about to state the obvious; the book was better than the film. But isn’t it always? This was pretty bad though. I really enjoyed the book and watching a relationship grow and change over 20 years. In the movie I felt rushed, anxious, and often confused. The story is about two people who have been in and out of each other’s lives for the past 20 years. Every chapter records the same day of the next year. What a difference 20 years makes! I’ll break down both for you and let you decide. Spoilers below!

The Book
As like any life, people make mistakes, do things that annoy you, etc. As you watch Dex and Emma throughout the years you are just waiting until they get together, and stay together. Sometimes they are best friends, other times they are not speaking, they date other people, live in different cities, etc. but all you really want is to see them get together. It was quite a journey getting there but they finally do. Dex has had a rough life with fame, drugs, isolation, divorce, etc. He annoys you but you want him to be happy. Emma has lived a life of loneliness, unemployment, crazy exes, and more. Even though Dex is annoying, he makes her happy so you want them to end up together. AND THEN SHE DIES. WHAT THE HELL. How completely unnecessary. Emma was finally happy and then she can’t even live to enjoy it. Dex is so messed up in the head that he will never recover. It is ridiculous. I was a tad unhappy…

The Movie
So then I saw the movie. Casted to perfection, Anne Hathaway IS Emma and Jim Sturgess IS Dex. I was happy about that. And I had high hopes. Boy was I disappointed. I get that it’s a movie and there really isn’t time to go through every year but they skipped around a lot. The movie was very rushed and I thought they chose weid years to focus on. Because the gaps in the years were so large, it was confusing to watch if you hadn’t read the book. Last year they were best friends and three years later they don’t speak and one of them has a kid. It’s hard to keep up. Sadly, the movie was also kind of boring. I wasn’t really drawn to either of their stories and I didn’t connect with either. In general, this was not my favorite book adaptation. In fact, just read the book and skip the film this time.

Have you read/seen One Day? What did you think? Share below!

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Book Review: My Sister’s Keeper

First of all, don’t see the movie. Seriously. It was awful and it will ruin the book for you. Even if you read the book first and then the see the movie, you will be extremely disappointed. The plot was dumb, they left out important parts, it was completely miscast, uch. Okay, now that that’s out of the way… Spoiler alert! Seriously, I’m about to ruin this book for you if you haven’t read it.

Overall I really liked this book. It was a quick read and it was a really great story. Thankfully, it is fiction because while it is a good story, it is a tragic one. This story is about a family who has a very sick daughter and can only survive with a series of transplants. Their daughter is so sick that they decide to genetically have another baby who will be a perfect match for transplants. As the younger child grows up, she decides she doesn’t want to keep giving her organs to her sister and sues her parents for the rights to her own body. Now the family not only has a very sick daughter, but another daughter suing them. Oh, and a neglected son turned arsonist.

There are a lot of different thoughts going on in this book. There are five family members plus the people involved in the case. Written as a narrative this would be confusing but thankfully the author is constantly changing perspectives. We can view the story from every side. From the eyes of the mother, lawyer, brother, sister, guardian, etc. I loved seeing and hearing how everyone felt through the whole ordeal. It was original.

The book had a pretty ironic ending. After all they went through with their oldest daughter being sick and dying, the younger sister ends up tragically dying in a car crash. I have to admit, you don’t see it coming. After all the stress and heartache this family has been through you finally feel like things will be right. The older daughter accepts her fate and the younger is free. Of course after the car accident her organs are free to be used and it was sad but at least one sister survives.

The one part of the book that really killed me was prom. This poor girl is so sick and has never lived a normal day in her life. And then she meets a guy who also has cancer. She gets a boyfriend. Falls in love. Has her first kiss and all that jazz. It makes you happy because you’re not really sure if she’ll ever have this chance. And then they go to prom and it is magical. Afterwards he stops calling and she can’t understand why. Eventually they find out he has died. I don’t know what’s worse… being dumped by her first love or not being able to say goodbye after finding out he has passed away. I may or may not have started crying at this point.

So I can’t say that this is a feel good book. It is emotional and controversial and I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend this if you haven’t read it already!

What did you think of this book? PLEASE tell me you didn’t watch the movie instead…. Let me know below!

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Hermione Granger Is Smarter Than You

Duh. The sky is blue. Everybody poops. Hermione Granger is smarter than you. These are all common facts of life… you would think. As I re-read the Harry Potter books (again) it annoys me how often people don’t listen to her. Everyone gets mad at Hermione so often and of course she takes the high road. Maybe it’s because she knows she’s right or maybe it’s because her besties (Ron and Harry) and the world’s most stubborn people. Who knows! All I know is that she is right, and you are wrong.

Times When Hermione Is Right
The half blood prince is dangerous.
Sirius sent Harry the firebolt.
Harry’s dad did not save them from Dementors.
The beast in the Chamber of Secrets is a basilisk.
Every time she raised her hand in class.
Wingardium LeviOsa, not LevioSA.
Study occlumency so Sirius doesn’t die.
Horcruxes, not Hallows.
Crookshanks didn’t kill Scabbers.
She didn’t abandon Harry in the woods.
Saving Buckbeak and Sirius with the time turner.

Times When Hermione Is Wrong
When she thought the Deathly Hallows was fake.

Can you add to this list? It’s not hard! Share more below.

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A Hunger Games Parody You Won’t Want To Miss

If you were a child of the 90’s you know all about the magic of Beanie Babies. Why they were popular, I don’t know. I do know that I still have the Princess Diana Beanie Baby sitting in my mother’s china cabinet because one day it will be worth something, right?!? Well, some people don’t feel that way and have decided to put their Beanie Babies to good use and I must say… I approve!

Since The Hunger Games is the biggest thing since sliced bread at the moment, there is no better way to pay homage than to create a parody using… Beanie Babies! Please take 11 minutes to make your life a little happier. Even if you haven’t read the books, you can still appreciate this. (Yes, President Snow is played by the Princess Di BB)

Thanks Megan McFace for bringing this to my attention!
Are you reenacting the Hunger Games with your Beanie Babies as we speak?
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Book Review: A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

After 18 years of captivity Jaycee Dugard escaped her kidnappers, reunited with her family, and lived life raising her two children. If that wasn’t brave enough, she then wrote a memoir retelling her story. I was a little nervous to read this book because the horror story was true but I figured if she went through it, I could at least read about it. A Stolen Life was amazing. It is unreal the experiences that Jaycee went through and how she has grown up to be such a well functioning human being in society.

The writing style is very easy to read. She writes how she would think or speak and she does not have the best grammar. But considering she was kidnapped as a child and wasn’t able to finish elementary school, this was pretty good. While the writing style won’t amaze you, the honesty will. Jaycee takes you step by step through her experience and her though process. There were times when she could have gotten away or contacted her family, but she didn’t. As you read you want to scream and tell her to run but because she has let you inside of her head you understand what she is going through and why she did what she did.

The story is slightly graphic and pretty unbelievable in the sense that you can’t believe someone actually lived this. I recommend everyone to read this book. It is eye opening and really makes you appreciate things in life.

Sorry if this blog got a little deep, but seriously go read this book!

Have you read A Stolen Life? Would you recommend it to others?

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