What to read: Liane Moriarty, John Green, Allegiant, Insurgent and MORE!

248190_537582386299388_285614533_nWell now I just have an overall case of reader depression. I haven’t posted any book reviews on here since February and after updating Goodreads, I discovered I am actually three books behind on my reading challenge for this year. I would call myself a slacker but I know what the problem is (was). The problem was Orange is the New Black and Game of Thrones. But I am now finished with both. That’s right folks, I watched seasons three AND four of Game of Thrones over Fourth of July weekend. I am a WINNER. Nothing says America like a good television binge. Before you judge me as a lazy heifer, you should know I also worked out three times, had a great holiday cookout with friends for which I made homemade pimento cheese and ensured no vodka went to waste, went to a concert, decorated my back patio, started an herb garden and organized my jewelry (do you understand what an undertaking untangling necklaces can be?!) So THERE.

My biggest accomplishment out of all of this, however, was surviving the Red Wedding. You people have had like a year to recover. As I write this (I always let a post rest overnight before publishing) I’ve had all of one friggin’ day. I’m still traumatized. I need extra therapy after watching 20 episodes of that show in such a short amount of time. I am unfortunately going to have to now give in and read these books. If you know me well, you know that what will drive me up and down a wall faster than anything is NOT KNOWING. My innate sense of impatience and uncanny ability to be a nosy ass (the journalism degree wasn’t a coincidence) doesn’t allow for much “wait and see.” I have avoided reading these books much longer than the show has been on or its fans knew of their existence. The Song of Ice and Fire series was my ex-husband’s absolute favorite. Back in our happy days together (when they actually existed) and thanks to my love for Lord of the Rings, I read a lot of fantasy myself. I know what a ginormous project it is. I can pretty much kiss my reading challenge goodbye if I officially decide to do this.

In the meantime, I’ve read many other fabulous, non nerd alert (for the most part) books since I posted about Wild in February. If you recall, my primary literary mission was to read a lot of the books upon which many of this year’s movies are based. This already included Fault in Our Stars, Labor Day and Wild. There are several others listed here. I want to point out, due to the context of my full-time job, this post and anything else I write about related to movies is completely independent of my profession. I ain’t making money off of this, folks. At least not yet and never in relation to that aspect of my career.

As always, my comments on each book will be as brief as I possibly can be. There is this great world wide web of sites on which you can read full descriptions of each and reviews by people much more verbose and oftentimes more critical than myself. Seriously folks, lighten up when it comes to reading. It’s supposed to be for FUN.

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. A novel that appears to be the most perfectly casted movie in the entire history of books turned into films. I just saw on Goodreads that many of my friends have listed this as “to read.” Get on it, girls. If nothing else, this books is quite entertaining, even more so now that you have celebrity visuals for each character. About a highly dysfunctional family digging into their family drama while sitting shiva for their dead father, it’s rather reminiscent of dramatically interpreted version of Arrested Development. But that’s maybe because Judd Foxman, the main character, is VERY Michael Bluth-esque. Coincidence that Jason Bateman is playing Judd? Probably not.

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais. If you love to travel and you love to eat really delicious and fancy food (those two typically go well together) you’ll love this book. Helen Mirren, who can do no wrong, was also perfectly casted for this film. This story is centered around an Indian family who, due to various unfortunate circumstances, ends up settling in France and opening a boisterous Indian food palace one hundred feet away from a Michelin-starred French restaurant. It’s a very endearing story that should adapt well to the big screen. Though, because Hollywood can’t stop itself when it comes to this, it looks like the main love story is playing a much bigger role than in the book. Shocking.

Thine Own Self by Ryan Provencher. This one is out of left field, I know. However, in full disclosure, Ryan is one of my friends in Los Angeles and I couldn’t be more impressed with the chance he took to follow his dream and publish this book. I get nervous enough just hitting the “publish” button on this silly little blog, a whole book I could never do. (She says now). Thine Own Self is a very honest and touching coming out story. I highly encourage this read as a means of understanding what a difficult and heart wrenching process this can be for an individual. How anyone can still think that being gay is a “choice”, I’ve no clue.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. I am going to catch hell for what I am about to say about this book. Another full disclosure, this author is from the area in which the majority of my family lives and many of them are friends with her. Therefore, they read this series well before I read Hopeless. I was told they were absolutely fabulous. They’re sold under the guise of “romance”, which they ARE. However, I wasn’t warned it’s about kids in high school. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good YA book (we’re about to get to John Green and the Divergent series). But when I purchase a book in the “romance” section, high school kids is not what I’m expecting. Or want. I am an avid reader of Cat Johnson and Lorelei James (though I do know them personally as well). I am also one of those super ridiculous Fifty Shades fans. So the “romance” section comes with certain expectations. Two 16 year-olds do not meet those expectations. Nor should they. So needless to say, I was disappointed. That’s not to say it’s not entertaining, because it did have a nice twist to it, it just wasn’t what I personally thought I was getting into. If you don’t like the graphic nature of something akin to Fifty Shades and enjoy YA, then this is a great poolside read.

John Green. The first John Green book most people read, like myself, is The Fault in Our Stars. Because I loved his writing style so much I’ve now also read Looking For Alaska and Paper Towns. Though both of these still come with their own level of “wow that’s kinda depressing”, neither are nearly as wrist-slitting depressing as Fault, so have no fear. After reading so much of his work, I have to hypothesize John Green had a really awful case of unrequited love during high school. Bless his heart. The main object of affection and trouble in Paper Towns really and truly needs to be punched in the face, however. Margo is what happens now that we don’t spank children.

Divergent Series. I read Divergent at some point last year and naturally really enjoyed it. I couldn’t quite figure out if I liked it or Hunger Games better. I didn’t make that decision until I saw the Divergent movie and decided I actually liked it better. But who am I kidding, I just like Four better than ALL of it. I finally got around to reading Allegiant and Insurgent. Historically speaking, the second book of trilogies has always been my favorite: Two Towers of Lord of the Rings, Subtle Knife of His Dark Materials and Catching Fire of Hunger Games. (Side note: I AM A NERD). The same can’t be said here. I liked Allegiant, but Divergent is definitely my favorite of this trilogy. Insurgent…Insurgent is most definitely NOT my favorite of this trilogy. I give Veronica Roth mad props for having the balls to end this series unlike its counterparts, but I despise when a series switches back and forth between two POVs in the final book. Hello, Breaking Dawn. Ultimately I get why she had to switch back and forth between Tris and Four, but it still annoyed.

Now that Twilight is way over and the end is in sight (albeit still rather far off movie-wise) for Hunger Games and Divergent, I keep being asked what the next big series is. I actually have no idea…anyone?

Liane Moriarty. The Husband’s Secret kept popping up on my “recommended for you” lists based on all these other books I’ve read and the fact it was a 2013 fiction bestseller. I didn’t know anyone – at the time – who had read it and had never heard of the author, but I gave it a try. So glad I did. Not only did I just recently find out it will be a movie as well, I have now read every book by Liane Moriarty: What Alice Forgot, Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary and The Hypnotist’s Love Story. She is an Australian author so all of her books are set in her native land, which is fun and a change of scenery, if you will. She has an immense ability to keep you turning the pages. Very much like Dan Brown, the chapters are short enough and all end on mini cliffhangers, so you inevitably end up saying “just one more chapter” until you look over and it’s 1 a.m. or the bath water has gone completely frigid. What Alice Forgot is by far my favorite. Its main character passes out in spin class, falling off her bike and giving herself a confusion. After which she comes to and slowly realizes she’s forgotten the last 10 years of her life. If that couldn’t happen to me, I don’t know to whom it could.

So that more or less catches you up, Readers. I’ve also listened to two of the Longmire books, which you know how much I love those. Having been intrigued by the new trailer week before last and apparently tiring of feel good fiction, I am now reading Child of God by Cormac McCarthy (always the uplifting author!) and also listening to All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner. I love Jen, I really do. But this book might be the greatest form of birth control I’ve encountered in quite some time. That’s coming from someone with a five-year case of baby fever, y’all.

Xo,

Nikki

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