This One Italian Girl

Book Review – All The Missing Girls

Dec
08

Last month we read “All The Missing Girls” by Megan Miranda.  It was a mystery/suspense type of book.  Which happens to be one of my favorite types of books.  I like scary movies and murder mystery books.  What is wrong with me?  They are such page turner books though and the movies you just can’t look away.  Totally entertaining.  In a twisted kind of way.

Anyway, on to the book.  Overall, I did enjoy the book.  I thought the writing style was a little weird for my liking and the middle of the book was a little dry, but I enjoyed the story and it kept me wanting to find out more.  The story revolves around this girl, Nic, who is visiting her hometown to help clear out her Dad’s house to sell because he has dementia and is now living in an assisted home.  While she is back in town though, some stuff from her past keeps getting brought up that she has tried so hard to forget about.

Ten years earlier Nic’s best friend, Corrine, goes missing and they never did find her or figure out what happened.  While Nic is in town, this other girl has taken interest into the unsolved mystery and starts asking around, stirring up old history.  Well then this new girl goes missing and now the whole town is interested and cops are trying to interview Nic’s family for information to see if these two girls’ disappearances are linked.  Since Nic’s Dad has dimentia he starts giving away information to the cops about Corinne, and it causes Nic to freak out that he might say something that will be taken the wrong way.

The book starts with the second girl going missing, and the rest of the book is written backwards, each day before it, for the previous 2 weeks.  As the book goes on, you learn more about that night Corinne went missing and how exactly all of her friends played into it.  Which then eventually ties into how this second girl got involved and why she cares so much to figure out what happened.  There are a lot of characters including, Nic, her brother, her ex boyfriend, her current fiance, Corrine’s boyfriend, and Nic’s Dad.  Their stories are all intertwined and it isn’t until the last chapter that you really learn what happened on that night ten years ago at the fair.

Book Review – The Silent Sister

Oct
26

I skipped last month’s book review because I didn’t actually finish the book.  But sometimes that just happens in life.  The thing with being in a book club is we end up talking about the whole book, which makes it hard for me to go back and finish it later when I already know what is going to happen.  I didn’t really love that book anyway though, so it wasn’t that big of a deal to me.  This months book was different though and I loved it!  I was bad and didn’t start it until last weekend, but it was so good that I finished it in 3 days.  It was a mystery book which are my favorites.  The book we read was called The Silent Sister by Diane Chamerlain.

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The book was about this girl, Riley, who grew up her whole life believing that her older sister committed suicide as a teenager.  Riley was only 2 years old at the time so she doesn’t remember anything.  Twenty years later, her Dad passes away and she is forced to clean out his house.  It is there that she starts finding evidence that life may have been very different than she thought growing up.  Her sister is still alive.  And she is not exactly who Riley thought she was.  Why has she been in hiding all these years?  Her parents are both dead and her brother hates their older sister for some reason, so Riley spends the majority of the book trying to figure out the truth about her family and her past.

The author goes back and forth between the perspective of Riley and her sister.  When Riley is narrating, the story is being told in the present with her trying to figure out what happened to her family and why her sister has been a mystery all these years.  When her sister is narrating, the story is being told in the past of how she left the family and made a new life for herself, but also not completely letting go.  It was those slight connections the sister held on to that led Riley to her evidence of still being alive.  The book had so many twists and turns that made it hard to stop reading.  Although some of them got to be a little unbelievable, it was still really interesting and a well written book.  If you like mystery books, especially ones that revolve around families, then this is the book for you.

Book Review – The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

Jun
29

This month’s book club book was my choice since I hosted.  I chose, The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Mitchell McCale.  I had never heard of this book before this month, but after about a 20 minute search on Google for a good book, this is what I came up with.  It got good reviews and the story reminded me of the book, The Help, with it set in the south and revolves around friendship and relationships.

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I didn’t hate the book, but lets just say if I had known what the book was really about I would not have chosen it for this month.  It was very well written and I did enjoy it, I just wasn’t quite prepared to read something like it.  About halfway through the book one of the main characters was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.  It hit real close to home and to be honest I almost didn’t want to finish the book.  But since I was hosting I couldn’t NOT read the book.  The rest of the book revolved around the characters dealing with the hard life decisions that come with such an illness.  It also involved the role that faith can play at a time like that.

While it was hard to read, and for the first time that I can remember I actually cried while reading a book, I am still glad I read it.  It definitely got me thinking about some things.  Faith and religion is still a touchy subject for me right now.  After I got the news about my Mom I wanted so bad to turn to my faith again.  I tried and it was working at first.  But then I realized I was only doing it to be there for my Dad and not completely for myself.  I was still carrying a lot of resentment and I am still dealing with the anger.  How could something so awful happen to someone so good?

My favorite thing about the book was how the author portrayed the three main characters.  They were all so different but it still felt realistic.  The main character struggled with her faith and with her friend’s decision on handling her illness.  She grew as a person throughout the story and had to learn not to be so selfish.  You can’t always control the situation.  Especially when it’s not about you.  I really enjoyed the deep bond between the three main characters.  They were best friends and grew up in a small town.  It really made me appreciate the friends I have and that you should never take that for granted.  Sometimes life is short and sometimes life is long.  You never know the hand you are going to be dealt.  So try to enjoy every day and make sure that your loved ones know just how much you love them.

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In honor of the book title I made some hummingbird cupcakes for the book club meeting.  I used this recipe and they turned out amazing.  They taste more like a banana nut bread than they do a traditional sweet cupcake.  Which I really liked because then I didn’t feel so guilty when I wanted to eat them for breakfast!

Book Review – The Road

May
25

I have been in a book club for about 1.5 years now with a group of girl friends.  We started because most of our Mom’s are in a book club together but we didn’t want to age ourselves too much by joining theirs.  Book clubs already get a bad rep for being for old women.  Well not ours!  We take turns hosting and meet up once a month to talk about the chosen book for that month.  Usually the person who is hosting gets to choose the book we read.  Our meetings always consist of delicious appetizers (with lots of cheese), some wine, and of course book talk.

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The book we read this month was The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  I had never heard of the book or the author, so I went into this very open minded.  The entire book was about this one man and his son’s journey across the waste land that has become the world for the hope to start a better life.  A tragic event happened before the book starts that left the world completely burned down.  The imagery from the book is very dark and gray with everything covered in ash.  The end destination for them is the coast in what is assumed to be for the hope of better resources or to sail somewhere else and start a new life.

I have to admit, this was not my favorite book.  I didn’t totally hate it because I did finish it, but I also wouldn’t recommend it to a friend.  It just wasn’t my style.  The entire book was depressing because the characters were constantly on the brink of starvation and death.  The dad was slowly dying and the son was always scared.  For the majority of the book, it felt like they were going nowhere.  They just kept walking and trying to find something.  Although it did get more exciting at the end, I thought the author could have included more action throughout their journey.

Another thing I didn’t like but found very odd was that the author didn’t give the characters names.  They were just referred to as Papa and the boy.  There was also no aspect of time in the book.  The author never described what year the tragic event happened, how long they were travelling to the coast, or even how old the characters were.  But I think because they had no names it made it hard for me to really get invested in them as characters.  One thing I did enjoy in the book was the constant inner battle of compassion.  Papa constantly referred to them as the ‘good guys’ and most everyone else as the ‘bad guys’.  Everyone else was bad because they would kill and eat whoever came in their way for the sake of survival.  Although Papa never killed anyone, he still made some debatable decisions in regards to his ‘good guy’ label.  It was interesting to read how the characters acted in such extreme conditions and what limits they had, if any, in their fight for survival.  I honestly don’t know what I would do in their situation.

This book was made into a movie in 2009, which I have not seen.  And I’m not too sure I want to see it.  I think I’ll leave the story to my imagination on this one.  Next month I will be hosting which means I get to choose the book.  Not too sure what I will pick yet, but I have a few options.