Posts filed under ‘Book review’

Read this book!

Defending JacobAndy Barber is 1st Assistant District Attorney in the affluent Massachusetts town of Newton, a suburb that is rocked when a fourteen-year-old middle school boy is found stabbed to death in the local park.  Andy’s instincts point him the direction of local child-groper Leonard Patz as the killer.  He is pursuing that lead when he is stunned by news from his office: Andy’s own fourteen-year-old son, Jacob, is accused of committing the murder.

Did Jacob do it?  Andy tells us over and over that he is convinced of Jacob’s innocence.  Yet Andy has carried around secrets for decades, secrets that may plant a seed of doubt and hinder the acquittal of his son.

Part murder mystery, part psychological exploration, Defending Jacob explores the unraveling of a family as they face devastating truth head-on.  The story is told through flashbacks, bookended by Andy’s testimony during a deposition before a grand jury.

Author William Landay’s style reminds me of John Grisham’s best writing, with a touch of Jodi Picoult-ish storytelling thrown in.  (However, Landay’s style has much less handwringing and overtelling than Picoult’s latest books.)  I could not put this book down once I started reading it.  I highly recommend!

View it on Amazon.

February 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment

Read this book!

Gone GirlI have been craving a well-written novel lately.  Something that pulled me through the pages, something I couldn’t put down.

I got that with Gone Girl.

Amy Dunne has gone missing.  At first glance, it seems that her husband Nick may have been instrumental in Amy’s demise.  But can we trust the narrators’ versions of the story?

I downloaded this on Thursday.  And finished it on Friday.  Great summer read, especially if you like a story with a psychological twist and a good mystery.

Two thumbs up.

Order a hardcopy from Amazon.

Download it for your Kindle.

July 15, 2012 at 8:59 am Leave a comment

My monthly reading list.

Of all my 2012 goals, the goal that’s probably going to be easiest for me to accomplish is my goal to read 24 books this year. That’s an average of 2 each month.  I think I may need to up my goal, because I’ve already finished 5.  Don’t want to make the goal too easy or anything.

Here’s what’s been on the reading list this month:

Eat That FrogEat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
Brian Tracy 

I am a procrastinator.  I will push stuff right up to the deadline and then scramble to get it done.  Tasks with no due date may never get done.  I’ve had an item on my project list (“Finish Alissa’s baby book”) for nearly a year now.  It’ll get done.  Someday.

Problem is, all this pushing stuff back stresses me out.  Projects loom over my head, take up too much real estate in my brain.  Tracy’s book is for all of us who want to take charge of our task lists, make them work for us instead of against us.

The premise of Eat That Frog is simple: do the one thing you dread most or hate most first.  In short, eat the frog.  Have more than one frog on your daily list?  Then eat the ugliest frog first.  After that, everything else will seem like a breeze.

There’s nothing groundbreaking in this book; no incredibly new insights that I haven’t heard before.  However, Tracy presents his information in a motivating way.  The main things I take out of this book?  That I can’t do everything and be everything to everyone.  I have to hone my strengths and not focus on my weaknesses.  And forward motion – even slow forward motion – is progress.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who’s wanting to achieve goals, even if you’re not a procrastinator.

Hate Mail From CheerleadersHate Mail From Cheerleaders and Other Adventures from the Life of Reilly
Rick Reilly

Regular Sports Illustrated readers will recognize Rick Reilly, the popular columnist who wrote for the magazine for 22 years.  This book is a collection of some of his columns from 2001 – 2006.

I don’t usually read “sports books.” But Reilly isn’t your average sports writer.  Instead, he writes about people – people who just happen to be connected to sports somehow.  He finds the funny, the ironic, the poignant.  He skewers big-name athletes – including the baseball ‘roid heads – for their lack of morals and their “I Am On a Pedestal” attitude.  He tells us about people you wouldn’t normally hear about, including a father-son combo that’s part of a college marching band.  That would be an interesting story with just those details; we learn from Reilly that the son is in a wheelchair, and the father pushes him in the marching band formation at all the games.

Great book.  It made laugh and cry.  That takes a lot in a book.

The Hunger Games Trilogy
Suzanne Collins 

Okay, so technically I’ve already read these three books: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.  In fact, I did a recommendation of them last year on the blog.

But The Hunger Games movie is coming out soon.  The trailer looks AMAZING so I went back and read the whole series.  Cover to cover.  In five days.  Seriously, they’re that good.  If you haven’t read them, get them.  Get them NOW.

January 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

Read this book!

11/22/63

11/22/63
Stephen King 

In 2011, Jake Epperling is shown a portal into the past.  It’s a hole that leads directly to a small town in Maine in 1958.  This time-traveling opportunity brings an interesting question: could Jake go back in time and change history by stopping the assassination of JFK?  And more importantly, if he succeeds in his mission, how will it affect the future?

Ah, Stephen King.  His brain is unlike any other on this planet.  This is the second time I’ve recommended a book of his here at Blankies and Booboos; the first was Under the Dome, which I read last year.

11/22/63 is a fascinating look at the “butterfly effect,” the ripples that are caused by our actions, choices, and decisions.  Like most of King’s books, this one isn’t short, but it was a good read and I got through it in a weekend.  (Mostly because a) I couldn’t put it down and b) my greatest Christmas gift was time to read.)  This is one to pick up.

Click here to see it at Amazon.

December 26, 2011 at 8:46 am Leave a comment

Read this book! Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

UnbrokenI consider myself to be a fairly typical Gen-Xer when it comes to my knowledge of history.  I know about the atrocities performed in Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s.  I also knew (somewhat vaguely) about our fight against Japan during that same war.  I’ve never really thought much about it, however.  I mean, the war ended 30 years before I was born, so it didn’t really matter to me, did it?

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is the story of the POW camps in Japan during WWII.  Specifically, the story follows Louie Zamperini, a California kid who was an Olympic runner.  When he was 18, Zamperini competed in the Berlin games of 1936, where he participated in the 5,000 meter run.  His real distance was the mile, and he was considered to have the best shot at breaking the 4-minute-mile time first.

But the war came calling, and Zamperini was drafted into the Army Air Forces.  He became a bombardier on a B-24, and was scheduled for 40 missions over the Pacific in the war against the Japanese.  On a mission to locate a downed American plane, Zamperini’s plane was shot down.  His subsequent journey takes him over 2,000 miles, into the hands of the Japanese at several POW camps.  During his 2+ years of imprisonment, he is subjected to indignities and cruelties meant to destroy spirits and break men.

The book is historical non-fiction, but it reads like a novel.  Hillenbrand is also the author of Seabiscuit, for which she won several awards.  Her writing is a primer for how journalistic non-fiction should read.  The book paints a very clear picture of both the atrocities and the wonderful things that men are capable of during war.  It also takes a look at post-war psychology, examining the effect that WWII had on the men who served.

Great read, for historical buffs and non-buffs alike.  I highly recommend.

November 3, 2011 at 8:18 am Leave a comment

All Access: A photographic look at Kansas State sports

Okay, K-State fans, listen up: this blog’s for you.

There’s a cool new book out called All Access, an 8″x10″ coffee table book full of more than 200 images from K-State Athletics over the past decade.  Photographer Scott Weaver has put together this collection of images he has taken from the sidelines at various sporting events.

All Access

This would make a wonderful gift for a K-State fan in your life.  All the images in the book can also be ordered as separate prints in a variety of sizes.  Click here for more info or to order.

I should mention that the author’s wife happens to be a great friend of mine…so that’s even more reason for you to buy the book.  Go on, you know you want to.

September 15, 2011 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Read this book!

Made to Crave I like this book so much, I’m recommending it even before I’ve finished reading it.

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food is by Lysa Terkeurst.  Our church is currently offering it as a Bible study, and a friend mentioned she was taking the study.  Since I deal with horrible food cravings (especially sweets) I was intrigued by the book and checked it out from the library.

Eight chapters in, I’m convinced that this book was written especially for me.  It’s not a diet book.  You won’t find eating plans or exercise routines or any of that sort of thing here.  Instead, it’s a change-your-perspective kind of book.

God created us to crave.  Cravings are not a bad thing.  However, he created us to crave His presence in our lives and a relationship with Him.  Instead, many of us have filled those cravings with food.  Sweet food, salty food, fattening food.  In addition to cravings, He created the ability for self-discipline and self-control.  (Which I struggle with, I have to tell ya.)

Terkeurst is the president of Proverbs 31 ministries and has written several books.  She also has an entertaining blog that talks about everything under the sun.

Written in a direct, personal, informal manner, each chapter introduces a concept and is wrapped up with four or five questions for the reader to answer.  This would be a great book for a small group Bible study or reading on your own.

Tip: buy it on Amazon, because it’s much cheaper there.  And Amazon will give you free shipping when you spend $25.  Pick up this book and one of my other book recommendations while you’re there.

April 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm Leave a comment

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