Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Review of “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle ~ 1/8/21

I have a thing for memoirs, just saying. When someone suggested to me that I should turn all my “stories” into a book, I guffawed. Underneath I was thrilled. But I digress. Back to topic: My review of “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle which just so happens to be a …

drum roll puhleese ….


At last count, I think she has written three.

“Untamed” is known to many being a New York Times Best Seller. Over one million copies sold!!! Me? I got mine from the library. The Libby app is bar none that best invention since sliced bread!! Again I digress. On to the review.

As I usually do with personal stories, I will not give a rating. Who the hell do I think I am to judge someone else’s steps without walking a mile in their shoes? Huh? Who? No stars and even no thumbs up, down, or sideways today. I will recommend you read the book though for the human connection. This one is relatable to anyone who has ever tried to be someone they were not or someone they thought they were “supposed” to be in order to please everyone but themself.

Instead of a review, this is a ramble. Shocking I know!! I will add a few quotes from the book that struck a chord with me. Then I will bid you a fond adieu.

First this is what I wrote on Goodreads: I got lots of good quotes for my common place book. I need to remember I’m a cheetah. Wild and free!

“Every truth is a kindness, even if it makes others uncomfortable. Every lie is an unkindness even if it makes others comfortable” Liz Gilbert

The remainder are from the author – Glennon Doyle.

Own your wanting.

Eat the apple.

Let it burn.

I have to set this one up a little. It was her turn to bring the bagels for the kids and another mom asked her to get more variety of cream cheese because last time little Sally or Johnny did not care for what was served. “Cream cheese parenting is the result of following our memo: Successful parenting is giving your children the best because we haven’t stopped to ask: Does having the best of everything make the best people?”

“Privilege is being born on third base. Ignorant privilege is thinking you’re there because you hit a triple. Malicious privilege is complaining that those starving outside the ballpark aren’t waiting patiently enough.”

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club: J-Dub’s Book Review of “Unspeakable Things” by Jess Lourey ~ 1/1/21

Some months ago “Unspeakable Things” by Jess Lourey was my free Kindle book of the month for being a Prime member. Ya I know, I sold my soul to the devil by becoming a Prime member and making Besos even more insanely rich than he already was but that’s a post for another day.

My reading has been off this year with March to June a dry desert until a re-read of “Andromeda Strain” pulled me out of my slump. With time off last week, I read for “just because” again and my free Kindle book was just the ticket. A plus was that “Unspeakable Things” was in the Goodreads books of the year contest. I got to see what all the hype was about.

No spoilers from me and this review is really just a ramble. The premise was that the author took a real life event and fictionalized it. She did the same for my December free Kindle Book “Bloodline” too. I started following the author to see if that is her gimmick but appears she has only done that twice.

Back to task … The setting was small town MN in the 1980s. A predator attacking young boys eventually killing one. There was quite a bit of sub-plots going on which made things hard to follow. Cassie the main protagonist was relatable to me having once been a teenage girl. Some universal themes going on throughout like haves and havenots, small town gossip, cliques in school, bully bus rides, friendships, hurry to grow up, love is love and “unspeakable things”. That part read to me as more 1970s key club than 1980s but some things carry over I guess. The end was abrupt but they got the culprit. Wonder if in real life the outcome was the same?

Anyhoo, I have forgone my star rating in favor of thumbs up or down. This book is two thumbs up. A recommended read. I finished it in less than 24 hours mainly because I was hostage at the car dealer while my car was being repaired. But I’ll take it. I need more days where “just because” reading is part of my life.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club ~ 10/16/20

We have two reviews today.

First up, I just finished reading Hullaba Lulu: a Dieselpunk Adventure Kindle Edition by Teagan Riordain Geneviene. What a wild ride on a magical dieselpunk train. I was taken away to other worlds and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. In all the fantasy, Lulu still made for a relatable heroine. As I read this book, I felt the action savoring every moment.

I stop short of further explanation because I do not want to spoil the surprise for anyone else. I did that once in my first ever book review and have since gone to the extreme to underexplain. Let’s just say if you enjoy historical fantasy and/or steam punk fiction, then you’ll love this. Definitely two thumbs up!! Recommended read.

Next in two short days I read The Boy Between A Mother and Son’s Journey From a World Gone Gray by Amanda Prowse and Josiah Hartley. From fantasy to real life turned fantastical and completely upside down. It’s very hard to review someone’s personal experience so I won’t. Instead I filled up my commonplace book with quotes that spoke to me. Written in alternating chapters mother then son, I could relate to the ties that bind us.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club ~ 10/2/20

I started off 2020 with a modest goal of reading 12 books. One a month. Slow and leisurely. Then Rona hit. I was consumed and in shock with the state of being. I could not concentrate. I swear words leapt off the pages in nonsensical order. I’d read the same sentence over and over again always ending with huh? What did I just read? Then July came around. I was at semi-peace with life. Dare I say I had become accustom to the cliché “new normal”. I dusted off Michael Crichton’s “The Andromeda Strain” and Jilly was back.

Now a mention regarding my ever changing methodology. I have ceased the X out of 5 star rating in favor of the Siskel and Ebert two thumbs up rating design. I know we’re not at the movies and this isn’t TV but this also isn’t Goodreads or Amazon. My blog my rules. Hehe. I will also consistently title these entries are Friday Book Club ~ <insert date>. Rigid much? Well that depends 🙂

Today, on this second day of October, we have J-Dub’s Review of the following:

First up is Eternal Road: The final stop by John W Howell.

John W. Howell paints pictures with his words. He takes us on a page turning adventure with Sam and James bouncing through the afterlife. Sprinkled in are some notable historical events with a prediction for the future. I’ll stop here to avoid any spoilers from me. My rating: Two thumbs up and a recommendation that you read this little gem. You’ll be glad you did.

Second up (is that even a thing)? Okay, next we have Welcome to the United States of Anxiety: Observations from a Reforming Neurotic by Jen Lancaster.

Hey! I resemble that remark. This could explain why I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Yes I am the sun! All about ME!!! JK. Very relatable, witty, and clever observations about navigating social media (and life) in all it’s gory. Not a typo. <Ahem> okay all it’s glory :). I will come back and add some direct quotes but for now, I’ll stop with my rating of another two thumbs up and a recommendation to read. We all need a little levity these days and this book certainly fits the bill.

As always, more to come.

Friday Book Club ~ 9/18/20

On a roll with two to review.

First up, “The Boy” by Tami Hoag. Per Goodreads: A panic-stricken woman runs in the dead of night, battered and bloodied, desperate to find help. . . . 

I always enjoy a good whodunit despite being terrible at figuring out the clues. When a plot has me gasping, you know it’s a good one. Right out of the gate, the story grabbed me. Such vivid details had me running down the road with Genevieve looking for help. An exciting thriller that kept me guessing until the very end. I was so sure I knew who the culprit was but I was wrong. Themes of power, greed, high expectations, and judgments.

No spoilers here. My rating 4 out of 5 stars.

Next, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counter intuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson. Per Goodreads: In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

My review: Hogwash. I usually try and go easy on non-fiction. To me, the personal nature of the subject matter should be respected. In this case though, this is not a biography. This is simply one man’s opinion. Just once I’d like a book like this to show a broken person who is in continual struggle with good and bad days. That’s more realistic to me. Answers to life’s dilemmas are not that easy as picking what to give a f*ck about.

Here’s an anecdote for ya. When B had his accident, he went to a therapist for a mild case of PTSD. Yep, just once. The guy (much older than this author and before this book was published) told B that for anything he could not control, he should just say f*ck it. Then he should put it out of his mind and move on. To this day, B deals with his stuff using that method. And I admire that. If only I could learn to be the same way.

My rating, 2 of 5 stars. Much better self-help books are out there.

Friday Book Club ~ 9/4/20

For a while, after COVID, I could not read. Well I could read in the sense that I still knew how.

Duh! Jilly, just move on.

Alrighty. Moving on …

I was too distracted and stressed to concentrate. I seriously could not keep a thought in my head when it came to reading for pleasure. A task that was once my go-to “self-care” me time thing to do.

Now I am happy to announce, I’m back! Woo to the Hoo!

Andromeda Strain broke the curse back in July.  I marked two more off the TBR queue in August.  Thank you SAPL online goodness.  Time to review them now.

“Ask Again Yes” by Mary Beth Keane per goodreads: A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.
How much can a family forgive?

My Review:  Acceptance and forgiveness are central themes. Love conquers all for childhood sweethearts Kate and Peter.  Lots of little stories within the bigger arc.  Each of them showed the flaws of humanity but also what can be overcome.

No spoilers here. My rating 4 of 5 stars.  

“An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones per goodreads:  Newlyweds, Celestial and Roy, are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is artist on the brink of an exciting career. They are settling into the routine of their life together, when they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. 

My Review:  This could be ripped from the headlines.  Powerful stories of relationships and the power of living through adversity that changes you to your core.  Demonstrates strength and what one can bear. Something good rises from the ashes.  Left with a sadness for what might have been.

My rating 4 of 5 stars.

I am batting a 1000 with the above choices.  I am 2/3 of the way through “The Boy” by Tami Hoag.  I’ll  report back on that one another random Friday.  


J-Dub’s Review of “The Andromeda Strain”

Welp, no spoilers because the book has been out for ages.   Michael Crichton’s 1969  “The Andromeda Strain” was cutting edge.  In fact, I read in the Wiki that he started the genre of techno-thriller with this book.  For me this is take two or three.  Still as good as ever.

A quick easy beach read.  Yeah, I said beach read.  Not that the subject is all rom-com chick-lit but the pace was quick and easy.  I could picture myself lounging on the beach.  In my favorite chair, under an umbrella with drink in one hand (plastic only or course) and Kindle reader in the other.  Well I can sort of picture myself lounging and reading on the Texas Riviera.  Ya see the beaches here are closing up again.  Dang mo-fo’s couldn’t wait to be back out there again and this happens.  Failed re-open attempt. But I digress …

Or do I digress?  Ya see in this story written 50 some odds years ago, space crud hits the fictional town of Piedmont AZ.  Everyone but two die.  The old Sterno drinker and a baby boy.  A response team of scientists/doctors set up years before for this type of emergency is called in to save the day.  Lots of stuff happens and eventually they do just that … save the day.  The ending is heart racing, we are on the edge of our seats wondering can he stop the detonation in time?  The space crud which caused a town’s demise mutates to a harmless blob and floats up, up, and away.  If we switch space crud with Rona then Bingo! no longer fictional and we are in 2020 instead of 1969. Woo to the hoo.  Ha!

I was going to quote a line but since my book was a loaner from the online library on my Kindle which has since been returned, I will have to paraphrase.  This single utterance struck me since this was written all those years ago.  Somehow like Kreskin, Michael Crichton is a soothsayer.

“The president doesn’t like scientists” so-and-so said.  He simply doesn’t trust them.

Well, well, well what have we here?!?!?

Solid 4 of 5 star 💫 rating.

As always, more to come.

On this day ~ From FB 6/19/15 to 6/19/20

I fancy myself the movie critic … I know, I know, don’t quit my day job. Despite me likely being in the minority for my opinion, I’ll still give an assessment of “Jurassic World” … WITHOUT any spoilers

In my opinion, the movie was just very good but not great, certainly not record breaking over $500M in the opening weekend kind of great. The ending obviously left the door open for another sequel for more moola eventually.

My verdict is out on Opie’s daughter as the lead. I’m not sure she was strong enough to carry it. Perfect hair and heels in the jungles of Costa Rica… puhleese. D’Onofrio, BD Wong, and Chris Pratt played their parts well. I guess I’m just spoiled by Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and the first big screen adaptation. Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Richard Attenborough, and Jeff Goldblum, I mean come on!! How can you top that talent ?!?!??

I read Mr. Crichton’s book first like I usually do and while the movie deviated a bit from the novel, the 1993 Jurassic Park is classic. I think I’ll dust off my copy and re-read it and after that I’ll re-read the Andromeda Strain. Summer is almost here after all. I’m going to pretend I’m a kid trying to meet my quota for the summer reading program at the McCreless branch library. I want my T-shirt and book bag 

Surprise Find & Book Review in Place of Twofer Tuesday

I am still listening to “Bad Monkey” by Carl Hiaasen.  I have to say I LOVE this book.  Perfect plot for an audio version.  Arte Johnson is superb.  He’s doing voices same as I did when I read to my kids.  LOL.

Bedtime stories for adults during the daily commute.  I am not commuting this week but I am mobile so as I go out and about frolicking in the Spring Break fun amid the Covid-19 plague, I hear snippets.  The whole section on the bad money’s aka Driggs origin and family lineage scene has me in stitches.  Too cute that he was related to the monkey from Friends and a few other monkey descendants that were part of Ace Ventura Pet Detective.  Driggs himself has a stint as the monkey from the Pirates of the Caribbean.

On more than one occasion I have laughed out loud despite the sometimes mature theme.  I won’t spoil the surprise but Chapters 22 and 23 … wow.  I did not see that coming.  I am mid way through CD 7 of 9 meaning light at the end of the tunnel.  Not that I want the light to come on.  In fact, this is Mister Toad’s wild ride and I have enjoyed every single minute.

Therefore I am using this post as my pseudo review.  I am purposefully vague in my reviews any way after the “We Need to Talk About Kevin” debacle.  I will never ever again ruin a book for someone.  I surprised myself being able to follow along and actually think I got more out of listening.  I am at times guilty of speed reading always getting more out of a book when I read it more than once.  As far as ratings, I give this book two thumbs up or 5 stars.  A typical detective caper at its’ heart made ever more entertaining thanks to the late great Arte Johnson and his narration.   Go on read it or listen to it.  You’ll be glad you did.

Oh and the surprise find is completely unrelated to the book.  I have two shoe racks in my closet and usually recycle the shoe boxes.  I hung onto two for Operation Shoebox 2020.  As I was putting up clothes today, the what I thought were empty shoe boxes came tumbling down.  Out pops a brand new pair of navy blue Sketchers with gray bottoms … my new thing that I do because OCD does not allow me to have white bottomed shoes anymore.  They get too dirty; same as non-white soles but at least the dirt doesn’t show.   The receipt was still in the box.  Deeply discounted and use of rewards made the total a whopping $17.98.  Date on the receipt was October 16, 2016!  Sacribleu.  And I’m walking again which means I was about to buy new shoes.  Now I don’t have to.  Yay for me!!

As always, more to come.


Decisions Decisions of the Book Club Variety

The pace of my reading is dramatically reduced in 2020 but I knew that going in.  My goal for this year’s Goodreads challenge is only 12, one per month.   I am behind schedule thus far despite book club suggestions (one of which I did not finish ).  Life’s too short to waste on bad books she said as a former must read to last page or I will die type reader.

Each month I get the Prime freebie.  I’ve quite a collection to break into since each month I download a pick but I haven’t read any of them in a while.  For March, my choice was “The Club King: My Rise, Reign, and Fall in New York Nightlife” by Peter Gatien. I’ll report back sometime later.  The offerings were stellar this month, adding the following to my TBR queue:

  • “Rain Will Come” by Thomas Holgate
  • “The Last Bathing Beauty” by Amy Sue Nathan
  • “The Other Family: A Novel” by Loretta Nyhan

Too cheap to pay but maybe the library will have these gems eventually or perhaps a Goodreads giveaway.  I keep going for those.  Filling up the Want to Reads.  Ah, now that’s the sweet stuff.

As always, more to come.