Book Review: Thrive… By Arianna Huffington

Huff bookIt’s book review time again! The latest book I read is by Arianna Huffington entitled Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder. Despite the title being a real mouthful, I felt like this book had lots of offer.

Huffington is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. As a result of suffering a fall at work from exhaustion which left her with a nasty gash on her head, she began to wonder what the meaning of success was all about. Through personal stories she shares moments of her life that defined her and helped her remember what is really important in life. Money and power are traditionally the two metrics of success but Huffington goes on to explain how well-being is the third metric needed to keep us from toppling over on the “two-legged stool.” She offers research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sleep and physiology that show the effectiveness of meditation and unplugging from the online world. Being connected to social media 24-7 is slowly killing us. She also goes on to explain how giving to others will show us the way to revolutionize our community and our way of thinking in every aspect of our lives, home and workplace.

I have always been a fan of reading inspirational quotes and this book is filled with them. I enjoyed this read and found myself being uplifted by the time I finished it. The book flowed from topic to topic really well and I fully believe in the advice she offered in the book. This book will stay with me for a while and serve as a reminder to what is truly important in life: all the things that make us happy and fulfilled. I would recommend this book as an easy read to anyone looking for a book with a good message and tips on living a better life. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.Happy reading!

❤ Melissa

*Note- I received this book from in exchange for an honest review



Book Review: The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander

SecretsHi everyone, hope you had a great week! This Friday it’s book review time.

The Secrets of Life and Death written by Rebecca Alexander has two story lines that weave in and out throughout the book; one is set in modern-day England and the other is set in Krakow 1585. The book is a mix of dark fantasy mystery and historical fiction which is really out of my reading comfort zone. I have a really hard time getting into historical fiction books, but I thought I would give this book a try. The synopsis of the story seemed appealing to me: a professor who is called in to identify occult symbols that appear on a deceased girls’ corpse in modern-day and in 1585 an Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, Dr John Dee, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. I was interested to see how these two story lines would relate to each other, but I have to admit that I just couldn’t get my heart into the story and abandoned it by Chapter 8. I can’t really fault the story line nor the writing because it seemed to be written pretty well from what I read. Unfortunately I just wasn’t a fan of the historical parts of the story and found it difficult to connect to the characters when it bounced to and from time periods. It’s also partly because I started reading it before Christmas and because I had so much on my mind, I was easily distracted. 

I’m sure there are many other readers out there that would love this story and from the other reviews I’ve read there are. If you are a fan of historical fiction and don’t mind a story line bouncing from modern-day to olden day, then you might want to give this book a shot. I might come back to it one day and give it a second chance when I have some free time on my hands. 

I’m sorry I couldn’t provide a more detailed review but it’s time to move on to the next book!

Note: (I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.)

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend.

❤ Melissa

Book Review – Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

bittersweetHappy book review Friday and Happy Halloween!! Before you all go off trick-or-treating,  I’d like to share another book review with you.

Bittersweet is a story about Mabel Dagmar, an unprivileged, plain girl and her college roommate, Generva Winslow, the self-centered, beautiful, wild, privileged girl. Generva or ‘Ev’ as she refers to herself invites Mabel along to her family cottage in Vermont for the summer. On the land Ev’s family has owed for over a century, each family member owes a rundown cottage individually named after plants or trees; Ev’s cottage is called Bittersweet hence the book title. Mabel jumps at the chance to enter the world of this rich, secretive family for the summer, but definitely doesn’t get all that she bargained for. Ev’s outcast Aunt convinces Mabel to go spying on the other family members and searching through piles of old papers in search of a deep dark secret that will expose the family and take them down. Mabel agrees to find this mystery envelope which is said to hold all the answers and in exchange for finding it, the Aunt promises Mabel her cottage. As the story develops, more family twists and turns are revealed and Mabel finds herself in a mess of terrible discoveries. 

The synopsis of the book really intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to read it; however, the beginning chapters of this novel have a lot of descriptive narrative, which at times I found difficult to get through. There was so much detail written of the land, the cottages, the lake, etc that my mind was overwhelmed with images and couldn’t focus enough to get a clear picture. I actually skipped over quite a bit to start, but the author seemed to tone down the description as the characters and the story began to develop. I have to admit I was hooked on the story chapter by chapter thereafter waiting to find out what Mabel was going to discover in the Winslow’s dark past. The author did a pretty good job of keeping the suspense throughout the novel though some of the twists were a bit far-fetched. Nevertheless this was an excellent beach read for me as I lounged on the beaches of Maui for 11 days a few weeks ago. 

I will give Bittersweet 4 out of 5 stars because of the overuse of description and the lack of character depth. I would still recommend it as a good read if you can read it lightheartedly and not take it too serious. You suspense story lovers out there should enjoy this one as a quick read.

As always, thank you for reading my review. If you happen to pick up this book, please let me know what your thoughts are and if there’s a book out there you think I should read, let me know. 🙂 Until next week! Have a happy weekend and happy Halloween!

❤ Melissa

Book Review – Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas

Mother-Mother-by-Koren-Zailckas Happy Book Review Friday! Hope all of you are doing well. I was away in Kelowna for a couple days last weekend, so I spent most of my time lazying by the pool and speed reading Mother, Mother, so I could post my review for you today.

The story is based on the Hurst family: Josephine- a narcissistic, manipulative mother, Douglas- an alcoholic, selfish father and their three children; Rose, the oldest and aspiring actress who runs away from home, Violet the middle child who refuses to accept her mother’s abuse and becomes to scapegoat and Will, the youngest son who loves his mother dearly. The story’s point of view switches between Violet and Will throughout the whole story.

I have to admit the story started slow for me and a few chapters in I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish the full novel. I’m not much of a psychological thrill reader, but by half way the book picked up twisted speed and I was so intrigued to see where it was going to go. I did enjoy the story being told by Violet and Will because they both viewed their mother very differently and it did help keep the suspense because you didn’t know whose perspective to believe. Once the story hit its climatic ending though, I was disappointed with the last few chapters. It jumps ahead by a few years in time and it almost seemed like Zailckas wasn’t sure how to end it, so she quickly jumped forward and tried to end every loose end. It’s hard to explain without ruining the ending, but I think she could have focused more on the aftermath right after the climax rather than right away jumping years in the future.

Overall I’d give her story 3 out of 5 stars. The writing itself was pretty well done; the story was great in the middle but left a little more to be desired in the end. It was entertaining to read about this dysfunctional, twisted Hurst family though it won’t, for me, be a story I carry with me.

If you are into suspense filled stories, I’m not sure this book will entirely satisfy your craving for drama and anticipation, but it was an easy read for sitting and relaxing by the pool.

So another book review complete, I’m off to find my next one on Maybe I will step out of my comfort reading zone a littler further and see what I can find.

Happy reading, happy writing, happy-happy weekend!

❤ Melissa

Book Review – The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson

The Opposite of MaybeHappy Friday my fellow word lovers. How are you? Hope the answer is good and if it’s not then I hope by next week it will be. 🙂 I am happy to be writing my first book review this week- care of Blogging for Books. I’m even more happy to say that it is a positive one.

The Opposite of Maybe is a story of Rosie and Jonathan, a couple in their forties who have been together for 15 years, leading a pretty mundane life. They are not married, have no kids and not a lot of money. They are the last ones of their friends living the so-called noncommittal life. There’s also the character Soapie: Rosie’s 88-year-old Grandmother who loves booze, cigarettes, sex and speaking her mind, but won’t admit she is aging and needs help. Everything changes when Jonathan decides he needs to move away to start a tea-cup museum with his new partner Andrew and Rosie moves in with Soapie only to find herself pregnant after a no condom mishap night with Jonathan. The story begins the unfold…

The best part of this book is the character development. Soapie’s character gave the story humor at the right times. She said and did things that you weren’t expecting a 88-year-old lady to say and do which I loved. As for Rosie, I really believed that I could feel what she was going through: the fear and doubt about having a baby at 44 on her own and second guessing her relationship with Jonathan and still wanting him to be a part of the baby’s life. Each chapter I became more and more attached to these quirky, loveable characters.

The Opposite of Maybe is perfectly balanced with wit, depth, and a refreshingly humorous perspective on what it means to be human. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was an easy, well written read and I will definitely keep my eyes open for other book written by Maddie Dawson.

 Thank you Maddie for sharing this endearing story and for making me think harder about the kind of characters I want to write in my own novel.

To those of you who decide to pick up this book and read it, let me know your thoughts on it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and I look forward to picking up my next book to review. Have a happy and safe weekend. Until next week… stay tuned for my big news! You won’t want to miss it!!

❤ Melissa