Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Mini-Reviews

What a great week we had last week.  I worked two days and then had the rest of the week off.  It was a nice chunk of time off and I really did spend the majority of it relaxing.  Having said that, I'm so behind on reviews that I want to toss my hands in the air and give up!  I've decided to just own up to the fact that I've entered one of the busiest times in my life.  Between teaching school and online classes, taking an online course for professional development, and various other organizations I'm involved with, I'm always feeling like I'm spread pretty thin.  (Okay.  I'm not "thin"--geesh, I wish!) My time and energy is spread thin, but life is really good.  Honest.  I'm just especially thankful for any and all time off that I get!

With all that's going on, I've made reading my greatest escape.  Because of that, I need to get a bunch of reviews published!  Here are some of what I've read in the last several months:

Review for Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin:  As a sequel to The Nanny Diaries, I was eager to revisit Nan and see what she was up to.  Fast forward twelve years from the last time we met Nan.  Now married and remodeling a home in New York City, Nan meets back up with her former young charge Grayer X.  Today, he's an incorrigible teenager who is seemingly messed up by his distant parents, who also has a younger brother being raised in the same way.  Nan gets herself mixed back up with the X-clan and in charge of these two young boys.  Now what should she do, when they are in an even worse situation than when Nan met them before?

Although an interesting read to pick back up with Nan and Grayer's lives, I will admit to being pretty frustrated this time.  Before, we laughed at some of what happened to Nan because it felt like a horror story of a young woman.  Now, the story is of tragedy and loss, and the responsibility of these two kids feels way too daunting.  More than anything, I loved Nan's relationship with her husband, so dragging this past craziness into her marriage made me sad and overwhelmed.  The story was definitely engaging, but really weighty, considering how the past read felt.  I would have liked to have more of Nan's husband in this, and a bit more resolution.  Overall, not a bad read, but just different from the first book and one that felt more serious than I expected.

Review for Born to Be Brad by Brad Goreski:  Brad Goreski is the endearing, quirky-chic dresser that appeared first on The Rachel Zoe Project show on Bravo and later in his own show with the same network.  Who doesn't love a story of someone coming up the ranks from nothing to great wealth and success?  Brad's story is just that.  Having started off as a troubled teenager and adult, dealing with issues of his sexual identity as a gay man, Brad struggled to come out to his family.  His story of drug abuse and failed relationships feels like a real triumph when we fast forward to his successful, current relationship and amazing red-carpet-ready styling in Hollywood, but there is an in between story that his book delves into.  I loved reading about how he became confident and secure in who he was as a person, how he worked and took on opportunities for styling experience wherever possible (hello, Vogue?!?), and how he took risks in branching out and trusting in his own talents to become the stylist he is today. 

Some have critiqued the writing and layout/styling of the book as "frothy" or nothing new.  I didn't find any of that to really take away from the foundation, which was his story.  Honestly, I thought that his personal voice came through very well, which made the story candid and true to who he is as a person.  I also thought the styling fit him, with its bright colors and funny pictures, and matched what he had experienced.  For me, it was an interesting life story and one that I thought was inspiring and made me like and understand Brad a bit better.

Review for Stranger in My Arms by Lisa Kleypas:  Thanks to my good friend Tasha over at Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books, I was pushed in the direction of this romance.  I don't always have good luck with a decent romance that doesn't make me roll my eyes from annoyance, so I'm happy to say that Tasha led me in a good direction.  This was one of those romances that tore my heart out and kept me turning pages as fast as I could!

Lady Hawskworth's husband has supposedly been lost at sea.  That's what she believes until her husband, that she had no love lost with before he left, has returned.  With the return of her supposed husband, everyone is left scrambling to figure out if he really is Earl Hawksworth or just some convincing swindler? 

This was a really romantic mystery at the heart of it.  Is he her husband or is he not?  Was Lady Hawksworth so starved for real love that she just overlooked the real identity of this man now that he appears to value her more than before?  All of these questions are a constant throughout the story, so between these unknowns and the growing love between the characters, I couldn't stop reading this book.  Yes, it's a romance, so be prepared for some sex scenes, but it's not the crux of the story--thankfully.  Overall, I really got into this romance and was on an emotional roller coaster through a huge portion of the novel. 

Thanks Tasha!  This was a great read and I need to ask for more suggestions!  :)

Well, thanks for sticking with me through a slew of reviews.  I'm still awfully wordy and could have made these individual posts, but it's nice to get them all out of the way!  Now, off to a crazy week ahead.


  1. I had no idea who Brad was, but that cover is a lot of fun!

  2. Yay! I'm so glad you liked it. :) Lisa Kleypas is really good. Someone To Watch Over Me is another one of my favorites. Have you seen North & South with Richard Armitage? If you have you should read Dreaming of You.

  3. I am disappointed Nanny Returns is not as good as Nanny Diaries. Although to be honest it's been so long since I read Nanny Diaries I wouldn't remember what to expect anyway. I think I do remember it being a pretty light, fluffy read though. No good having the sequel be heavy.