Books I’ve Enjoyed Reading

Would you like to win yourself a copy of this fabulous new book? You can!

I recently finished reading a book by an author I know, Mari Passananti. The book was her debut novel, “The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken,” and I enjoyed it very, very much. I’m thrilled that she’s working on her next novel, due out this fall, “The K Street Affair.” I can’t wait to read it.

I found this book to be entertaining and funny, and yet it had that element of mystery that I so love in a book. I love reading along, trying to figure out what’s happening next and what will happen in the end.

One thing I loved about the story was the setting. A great deal of the story takes place at a head hunting agency in New York City, and that’s a profession I really knew nothing about, had no exposure to previously, and I found it thoroughly intriguing.

The trio of main characters consisted of a group of friends who had been friendly since college and were trying to make their way as thirty-somethings in careers that they’d chosen, or not. Sometimes they weren’t quite where they thought they were going to be by this point in their lives. How many of us can relate to that?! They often had some tough choices to make throughout the plot–also reminiscent of real life.

I loved the twists and turns that the story took as well as the choices the characters each had to make, and I was pleased with the ending, but I won’t tell you why!

This book has humor, mystery, romance, and friendship and Passananti pulls it all together in a very entertaining, page-turning, book.

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I love a good mystery!

The book I just finished was by an author I’d never read before, David Baldacci. My husband had read this book after my grandmother read it, and he thought I’d love it. He was right. This book was definitely a page-turner and definitely had my attention until the end.

Whenever I read a mystery I spend the entire time trying to make predictions as to “who did it,” and this book was no different in that regard. At one point about 3/4 of the way through I stated one prediction I had to my husband and it turned out that I was right, I’d figured out part of the mystery, but in reality I’d hardly figured out much of the bigger picture at all. I was still surprised at all the twists and turns that this book took.

The story is about two private investigators who get wrapped up in a serial killer case which overtakes a small Virginia town. There’s money and politics involved in this action-packed thriller, which always adds to a good mystery.

Since I started reading this book, I’ve received several others by Baldacci from friends and family and I can’t wait to read them all!

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Another mystery and although I really liked this book, the book group didn’t love it.

This was a book that we read for our book club and it was another mystery, “Before I Go To Sleep” by SJ Watson. I read the whole thing in three days; I really liked it, but the overall response of the group was that they didn’t love it.

The story revolves around a woman, Christine, who wakes up one morning not knowing who she is or where she is. She’s an amnesiac. Throughout the story you follow Christine as she tries to uncover the pieces of her life both past and present, as well as all of the characters in it.

Like I said, I really liked it and I couldn’t put it down. I think I wanted to know what happened to Christine as much as she did. To me, it was a page-turner.

I do think that one issue our book club had was that there were no questions to go along with this book, so our conversation was harder to start and to extend without the book club question guidelines to go with it.

I would definitely give SJ Watson another try if I found a book that interested me, and I’d be curious to hear whether any of you have ever read any of her work?

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You won’t believe the twist at the end of this story!

“Sister” was another book that my book club read. I read the book over a series of days, but towards the end I had to just sit for two hours straight and finish it. I couldn’t think of anything else. When I finished the book I realized I had been sitting there with my coat on still, the entire time I was reading. I was that into the book. The book had a definite element of mystery to it, which I love, but it also had a sadness to it as well, as it delves into the relationship between two sisters after one of the sisters dies. The end of the story shocked me and left me sitting there, stunned, when I finished reading.

Rosamund Lupton was not an author I was familiar with before book club, and this is one reason why I love being in a book club: the exposure to things you may not normally choose. Our book club discussion was a lively one after this book and there were questions to go along with it in some copies of the books, which helped our discussion as well.

I’m glad we read “Sister,” and I’d definitely try another book by Rosamund Lupton again.

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This book came highly recommended…by my daughter!

One afternoon my daughter went to a friend’s house. They watched a movie together, “The Last Song,” and she came home raving about it. “Mom, you *have* to read this book, you’d love it, you’re going to cry!” she told me.

Before I knew it, she’d requested the book from the school library on my behalf, and lo and behold one day she came home from school and handed it to me. At the time, I was reading my book for our next book club meeting (I’ll post that one next) and I had to wait to finish it up before I could start “The Last Song.”

I think she asked me every day if I’d started it yet.

Jump ahead a few weeks, not only had I started it, but there I was sitting in the car dealership getting my car serviced for two hours, and crying over this “teen romance” book. I was trying to read and not let anyone see me crying. I finally had to stop reading the book and pick up some magazine or other that was sitting there in the waiting room.

So yes, she was right. I did enjoy the book. It’s by Nicholas Sparks, and he’s known for his tear-jerker books and movies, so I knew I was in for it before I even started. He did not disappoint.

The story line was somewhat typical and predictable, but yet still enjoyable and I like that I could relate to my daughter on something she enjoyed. She was just thrilled that I was reading a book she picked out for me.

And now, we’ve reserved the movie at the library.

Someone get me the tissues.

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I have read every single Mary Higgins Clark book there is. I used to collect them all.

I love a good mystery! I especially love Mary Higgins Clark mysteries! I read them as soon as a new one comes out. I’ve even met Mary Higgins Clark in person when she came to our area to do a book signing years ago, probably a decade ago now. At that time she was signing and speaking about her book “Kitchen Privileges,” which I have and love.

This book, “I’ll Walk Alone” was her “new” book but I’ve since noticed that a newer one has come out since I read this one. I saw it on my last trip to the library, so that’ll be on my “to read” list soon!

I can never, ever figure out “who did it” in her mysteries, and I love the twists and turns that Clark weaves throughout her stories just to confuse us!

This story was a particularly touching story of a young woman whose child had been kidnapped several years earlier. The woman, Zan, was being framed for the kidnapping and throughout the story it becomes apparent that she is being impersonated as part of the framing.

I obviously can’t give away the ending, but I will tell you that as usual I had no idea who was behind the kidnapping, impersonating or framing until the very end when Clark revealed it.

If you are like me and you love a good mystery, I encourage you to try Mary Higgins Clark, and I highly recommend “I’ll Walk Alone” also!

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The Secret She Left Behind by Diane Chamberland

This was another book I couldn’t put down. I took it everywhere with me!

I received this book for Christmas from my mother-in-law, Mary Lou. The book was called “Secrets She Left Behind,” and it was excellent. Diane Chamberlain was an author I had not read previously, but my mother-in-law knew for sure that I’d like her, and she was right. The book was one I couldn’t put down. It had an element of mystery to it, which surprised me, since I had read the inside book jacket and it didn’t allude to the mystery at all. It was a page-turner for sure!

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Sarah's Key by Tatiana DeRosnay

This book was set during World War II and was based on true historical events.

I had been wanting to read this book for quite some time now. “Sarah’s Key,” by Tatiana DeRosnay¬† was a book I could not put down. Set during the Holocaust in WW II, the book was very sad, but also had an element of mystery to it as well, which made you keep on reading to see what happened next. Sadly, because the book is based on true historic events, it was quite a tragic story on many levels, but the book was outstanding nonetheless.

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As a huge “Wicked” fan, I am loving this memoir!

Felicia Ricci is a former Rhode Islander, and has played the part of Elphaba in “Wicked,” one of my all-time favorite shows, over 40 times. Her book is fascinating to me, a fan of the show itself and of live theater in general. Ricci provides the reader with a truly inside view of what happens from auditions to call backs, rehearsals to the performance itself, complete with laugh-out-loud moments. The quality of her writing is top-notch, as well it should be since she is a graduate of Yale University and the winner of the J.Edward Meeker Prize for nonfiction and the Louis Sudler Prize for the arts. She’s smart, funny, beautiful and clearly very talented!

Ricci backstage, turning herself green.

As someone who has only been in the audience for theater performances, I was amazed by Ricci’s account of what happens backstage, particularly the parts about costuming, which has always fascinated me. She speaks about going to the costume house for the very first time, to see if she even fit into the existing costumes and shoes, before being accepted into the role of Elphaba. She explains how the costumes are often layered one over the other, so that the quick off-stage changes can be done between songs, in just minutes.

I was amazed by the technical details of the show, how every single move even from one end of the stage to the other, is mapped out, and how intense the rehearsals are, leading up to the show. Ricci did a fabulous job creating a story that makes the reader feel as if they are right there with her throughout the story.

When she’s not covered in green, here is what Felicia Ricci looks like.

It was also heartwarming to read such an honest account of someone reaching for their dreams, and not being 100% sure they’ll get there. Ricci is clearly a very talented actress/singer/dancer, and yet throughout her memoir she is honest in portraying her very real fears and her lack of self-confidence. By the end of the book, I feel as if I know her, as much as I now feel that I know the ins and outs of show business.

Felicia Ricci as Elphaba in "Wicked"

Ricci as Elphaba in “Wicked”

You can read more about Felicia Ricci and her book on her website and see even more about her on her blog.

I’d like to thank Dr. Anthony Ricci for sending me a copy of Felicia’s book for me to read. It arrived unexpectedly in my mailbox one October day and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read it and I’m pleased now to be able to share it with you as well.

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What a concept: A parent book about sleeping, along with a companion child’s book!

These books are written by a fellow Cranston author, Rebecca Jackson, and her parents, Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, LICSW and Dr. Robert Pressman, Ph.D. When I tell you, I wish I had these books when my 12 year old was born, I kid you not. I’m sure many new parents can relate to my story of trying to get my daughter to sleep, of trying everything. We held her, we rocked her, we rubbed her back, we tiptoed in and out of the room, we cried it out (I cried too), we gated the room and watched her try to go over the gate, under the gate, eventually pass out from exhaustion and sleep on the floor in front of the gate. We did it ALL. What we didn’t have was the guidance and step-by-step help that Good Night gives parents in their book, and we didn’t have any way to tell our daughter what our expectations were, other than GO TO SLEEEEPPPP!!!!

Rebecca Jackson, a mom of both a ‘tween and a now three-year-old, had similar sleep issues with her daughter, and didn’t know where to turn. She felt isolated, thinking she must be the “only one” having such issues at home with sleeping, issues which were affecting the rest of her day as well as the night. One of my favorite things about “Good Night” and “Matilda & Maxwell Good Night,” is the fact that the books are written with a mom’s perspective in mind. In fact, “Good Night” has the “Mommy’s Perspective” throughout the book, which makes a mom instantly feel like they’re not the only one in this situation. As you read through the book, it’s easy to see yourself making some of the same mistakes that the parents in the book are making, but the book reassures you, too, like in this quote from the “Good Night” book:

“Every parent we have described is a good parent. Every parent we have ever known -including ourselves- has made choices we wish we hadn’t. But, as we said earlier-we have never met a perfect parent.”

Although the “Good Night” book gets rave reviews from me, the mom, the “Matilda & Maxwell Good Night” book for kids gets a rave review from my own kids, and to me, that says a lot. To have a story in kid language that gets the rule across in a funny, friendly, non-screaming GO TO SLEEEEPPPP method, is exactly what I needed ten years ago, and I know it’s exactly what lots of my friends still need tonight, come bedtime! Even better, it’s illustrated by a local illustrator, and I just love that!

If you’d like to take a look at the books, you can go to the GoodParentGoodChild website and check out the books, Rebecca’s blog, and other news. The books are also available on Amazon as well.

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“The Digital Mom Handbook” and is written by Rhode Island’s Audrey McClelland (of MomGenerations.com) and Colleen Padilla (of ClassyMommy.com), two internet savvy moms who have created their own brands, one post at a time, and now they’re showing other moms how it can be done.

Here’s a book I found last week in Barnes & Noble. I’m devouring it page by page!

I saw the book as I was “just browsing” through Barnes & Noble last Friday night, and I picked it up and then put it right back down. I was NOT supposed to be shopping. However, being a writer, I’ve always been into blogging and sharing information. As most people know, I love Facebook and I’ve had some amazing experiences with it, both personally and as it has related to my work.
So, I went back to the book and picked it up again. I haven’t been able to put it down since. I take it with me everywhere I go. It has some great ideas in it that I’m looking forward to trying, and I’ve been taking lots of notes, underlining lots of important points. I’ve already shared it with another mom blogger that I know.

Although I bought my book at Barnes & Noble, I know it’s also available on Amazon. If you’re interested in more blogging, vlogging, Facebooking or Twittering, I highly recommend this book!

7 Responses to “Books I’ve Enjoyed Reading”

  1. Sue Meyerson April 17, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    I loved Sarah’s Key, even though it was sooo heart wrenching! And, I made the mistake of reading it after I read the Book Thief, another heart wrenching Holocaust book (but good!) and, The True Story of Hansel and Gretel (equally heart wrenching!)
    …AND…that was ENOUGH for a while!!! I needed something light hearted after that!!!
    PS one of my favorite books is The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.. You would really like it!!!

    • thewholebagofchips April 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

      It’s on my list of books I want to read!! Every time you mention it, I think to myself that I HAVE to read that book!

      • Sue Meyerson April 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

        I didn’t mind Before I Go To Sleep…it just wasn’t one of my all time favorites, like The Help, or One Thousand White Women or Shadow Divers or The Color Of Water…..

      • thewholebagofchips April 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

        or Water for Elephants or a Reliable Wife or The Kite Runner…..

  2. Karen Shore February 15, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    Have you seen the film version of “Sarah’s Key”? I liked the book and had a couple of issues with the movie, but Kristen Scott Thomas was very good.

    • thewholebagofchips February 16, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

      I haven’t seen it! I don’t get to see a ton of movies. I’ve wanted to read other books by that author though. Right now I’m reading The Book Thief, which I’m loving, thanks to my oldest daughter’s recommendation.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Reminder! Don’t forget to enter the Good Night book set giveaway! « The Whole bag of Chips - November 15, 2011

    [...] What I am reading right now [...]

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