The Nest

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

“Leo was the only one who had never petitioned Francie for a loan using The Nest as collateral. Jack and Melody and Bea had all asked at one time that she consider an earlier dispersal, but she stubbornly refused.Until Leo’s accident.” -The Nest


Hey friends! So I know I’ve been really bad and haven’t been on here for a long time. Life has been insane. Along with the normal insanity of life, since my last post, I interviewed, accepted, and started a new job. Long story short I put the blog on the back burner for a little bit as I barely had enough time to read, let alone write. I am so excited for this new chapter in my life and excited to get back blogging as well, it has been too long.

So today I want to talk about another book I read for my book club, The Nest. I really enjoyed this one. I listened to it on audiobook from audible.com. The narrator was great and I would recommend that version if you aren’t going to buy the physical book. The story itself was good. I would recommend it if you are looking to read something with a little drama, a little humor, and an easy story line to follow.

The book is about 4 adult siblings who, awaiting a trust fund set up by their late father, must overcome their differences and their previous life choices when things don’t go as planned. The siblings were never particularly close, and are forced to meet up and confront their older brother, who jeopardizes their trust fund, the “nest”, when he gets into an accident only a few months from when they are eligible to get their money.

Sweeney developed the characters in a way that makes them funny yet frustrating as it seems every move they make is one that, personally, I would never do, and that almost further drives them apart and from any chance at fixing their money issues. That being said, as the story progresses, the characters (most of them) become more likeable and learn to like each other in a way that wasn’t possible in their pre-trust fund lives.

There is drama, heartache, and comedy– a  good combination to make a fun read. I wouldn’t say this needs to be the next book you pick up, or that it should shoot to the top of your list, but I did enjoy it, and if you enjoy books with a good amount of dysfunctional characters and a simple yet satisfying story line, you will probably like this one too. So while it might not be the game changing book that you have to drop everything to read now, it is one that I would add to your list and get to when you can, it was a fun read.

Have you read this book or one similar? Did you have a hard time connecting to or understanding the characters and their outlandish ways of thinking? Did you enjoy it, or is there anything that could have made it more compelling?

As always if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to comment here, or email me at coffeebooksandrainblog@gmail.com

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

FullSizeRender.jpg-1

 

 

The Gifts of Imperfection

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. -The Gifts of Imperfection


Hi everyone! I am sorry for the radio silence last week, turned out to be a pretty busy few days ending in Karl and I adopting a cat this weekend from the local shelter. Her name is Lucy and I have a feeling she will be a frequent reading/cuddle buddy. Keeping my fingers crossed. Her favorite spot currently is under our TV console so we’ll see how that goes.

Besides being busy with life, I was actually unsure of what to write about last week. I am currently in the middle of a reading a trilogy (which I will be writing about as soon as I am done with them—they are amazing so far) so I didn’t know what to write about now.

Then I decided, in the later part of the week, to pick up a book I had tried to start reading a few years back; a self-help book that supposedly was life changing. I am not big on self-help books. I have a hard time getting through them and retaining anything from them. I mean its hard to read a book which pretty much tells you everything you are doing is wrong, right? I was job hunting at the time, had just graduated college and The Gifts of Imperfection was recommended to my by a good friend as a way to get my head in the right place. She said it was a must read, and would really help me sort through some of my insecurities and fears. So at her recommendation, two years ago, I bought the book and dove in. Unfortunately I wasn’t ready to hear what Dr. Brown was saying. I made it through about three chapters before realizing that this book wasn’t just about how to love yourself and make everything in life perfect and peachy, but rather about exploring the dark parts that most of us keep hidden, and embracing all parts of yourself and your past, and that was just too much for me to handle at the time. I loved the idea of it, but wasn’t ready to take the steps needed to live, as Brown calls it, the wholehearted life.

Now, a little over two years later, my life is vastly different than it was (living in a new area, working a stable job, and in a serious relationship). I have opened up a lot about my insecurities and fears with my boyfriend, who is amazingly supportive. This opening up completely to someone you trust was part of Brown’s book and I thought maybe it was time I revisited her guide to living wholeheartedly.

This time around I loved the book. Like I said, I don’t do self-help books. But this one resonated. It just made sense. It isn’t only about exploring the darkness (which is as far as I had gotten the first time), but about loving yourself and your past and wanting to live life to the fullest as only you can, in a world that is doing its best to make you conform.

It is a self help book, so as to be expected, it is touchy-feely in parts, and if you are like me, sometimes those books are a little intimidating and quite frankly, boring. This one was different somehow. I do recommend checking it out. Brown explains that living wholeheartedly can’t just be implemented, but rather practiced and integrated into the rest of your life, a continuous process that will be immensely rewarding. Having only read this book this past week, I am not even close to living a fully wholehearted life, but tweaking things here and there, I have already noticed a difference. I plan to take what she has dedicated her life researching, and use it to make the most of my time here on this Earth.

Have you read this one? How have you implemented Brown’s guideposts in your life? Which parts did you find hard or easy? Having just started my journey towards wholehearted living I would love to hear if anyone else has had any success with dedicating your energy to bettering your life. Any other self-help books that you think are must reads?

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, happy reading!

FullSizeRender.jpg-1

The Stand

The Stand by Stephen King

Under the California desert and subsidized by the taxpayers’ money, someone had finally invented a chain letter that really worked. A very lethal chain letter. -The Stand


Happy Friday everyone! I hope your weekend brings you nothing but smiles, coziness, and good books 🙂

I want to talk today about an audio book I listened to recently. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I usually prefer reading a physical book, but lately audio books have been a real life saver (in the car, at work, etc). The book I listened to is a Stephen King favorite, The Stand. Now I realize that not everyone is into the horror genre, and I don’t blame you; some of King’s books are just downright creepy. I can’t say that this one is any less so, but it was a little different than other King books I have read. Another side-note before I delve into the actual book, there are a couple different versions. King first published this book in 1978. According to him, he was forced to cut out about 400 pages of content before publishing due to the inability to sell a book of that size at a cost that would be worth its production. So the first version is a little light on content. He was given the opportunity in 1991 to republish the book to the length of his choosing. He added back in much of the content he had previously taken out, reworked some characters and added others. I read the latest, unabridged version. I would recommend that one; having not read the first, I couldn’t imagine having the characters or story line be any other way. That being said, it is SUPER long. The audio version was over 47 hours and according to Goodreads, the paper version is 1153 pages, so be prepared to be in for the long haul. If audio books are your thing, I loved the narrator and would recommend doing it that way so that you can break it up and it doesn’t seem so daunting. He does a great (and not cheesy) representation of each character, making it easier to differentiate and follow the story. If you like a long challenge, then by all means brave the book!

So now to the actual story. The Stand starts off with a mega virus being let loose on the world erroneously. Unfortunately for the human race, it is fatal and spreads quickly. Good news: the virus doesn’t kill off everyone. People rally together to try and survive. Bad news: bad people survive too and evil rallies together as well. King follows several characters throughout the book, showing each person’s perspectives and trials as they adjust to this post-apocalyptic world. He follows both good and evil characters, giving the reader (listener) a very full, detailed view of what is happening to the survivors, on both sides. Each character struggles with something different and the character development is incredibly detailed. You really get a sense of who each person is (or is becoming).

Everyone in the post virus world is plagued with dreams. Terrible, horrifying nightmares warn survivors of an evil that has rooted itself in the West. Dreams of hope are also had, leading some survivors together in order to fight the evil that is growing.

What it boils down to is good versus evil. Religious rhetoric and imagery governs the narrative, classically pitting God versus Satan, represented by characters in the story. Disclaimer, this book can be gruesome and gory at times. If you have read any of Stephen King’s books (or even seen any of the movies that have been made based on them) you know that his imagination is pretty twisted at times. If you haven’t had the pleasure of being scared out of your mind or creeped out by Stephen King, this might be a good opportunity to do so. Despite being repulsed and horrified on several occasions, I found this story very compelling. There are so many stories within this one that you really get attached to some of the characters. There is love, redemption, revenge, suspense, and hope all wrapped up into one big book. He really takes the time to develop the characters and story line in such a way that you get pulled in. That may seem like a given for a good writer, but if you are going to invest your time to read or listen to this long of a book, in my opinion, it better be very well developed and worth it; this one does not disappoint.

If you like this genre, or enjoy the occasional Stephen King, or really just like those good old good versus evil stories, and you don’t mind an enormously long book, pick up (or download) The Stand. For being as long and creepy as it was, I really enjoyed it, and would venture to say this is my favorite Stephen King book I have read.

Has anyone read this one, or the originally published version? I would be interested in hearing what the differences are between the two. Any other Stephen King fans out there have any other must reads by him? I have read a couple, and don’t read them that often, but would gladly take other recommendations!

As always, thank you for stopping by and happy reading!

FullSizeRender.jpg-1

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


Ove stomped forward. The cat stood up. Ove stopped. They stood there measuring each other up for a few moments, like two potential troublemakers in a small-town bar. Ove considered throwing one of his clogs at it. The cat looked as if it regretted not bringing its own clogs to lob back. -A Man Called Ove

Hi everyone! So today I want to talk about one of the most heartwarming books I have read in a while. It was originally written in Swedish and translated in 2014 and is an incredibly charming novel; A Man Called Ove is a must read if you are in the mood to laugh and cry from beginning to end.

This was another one of my book club’s picks and admittedly I did not want to read it at first. It was a little bit out of my normal genre, and for some reason I didn’t want to give it a try. Luckily I did end up giving it a chance, and let me tell you, I am so glad I did!

This is a story about a disgruntled old man who keeps failing to kill himself. He is angry and intolerable and finds faults with everyone he comes into contact with. From the very first sentence,Ove establishes himself as the grumpiest man you could imagine. As the story unfolds, the reader is slowly granted insight into Ove’s mind, past, and feelings, creating a more complete understanding of his character and the reasons behind his grumpiness. As Ove becomes more and more involved with his neighbors, who he believes all to be idiots, the reader learns to love this grumpy character more and more and appreciate him for more than what he initially appears to be.

I love reading and I love most genres, but there is something about a book that makes you tear up and laugh out loud that really holds a special place in my heart. Between Ove’s wonderfully dysfunctional relationship with his neighbors and the stray unruly cat (easily my favorite relationship in the book), this story line is sure to make you laugh. But as you learn more about Ove, you fall more in love with his character and his quirks and it may cause a few tears along the way as well.

This story hilariously outlines all the reasons we shouldn’t “judge a book by it’s cover” while giving you likeable characters, a charming story line, and a ton of laughs. If you want an easy to read, easy to follow book that is sure to give you all the feels, pick this one up, it wont disappoint.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Have you read any other books that similarly teach you a lesson in humility while making you laugh the whole time? Please share what you think! I would also love to hear if anyone else loved the cat as much as I did, Ove and its relationship had me laughing out loud the whole book!

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

FullSizeRender.jpg-1

The Midnight Watch

The Midnight Watch by David Dyer


“On the starboard bridge wing he saw the captain standing alone, erect and still, pulling his cap tighter on his head, lest it be blown off by the wind. ‘I told him,’ Stone whispered to himself. ‘I told him.‘” -The Midnight Watch

Hey guys! So I’m in a book club (I know big surprise right?) and The Midnight Watch was our January pick. This haunting novel illustrates the story of the Titanic and the Californian. For those of you who are not schooled in Titanic history (which I most certainly was not when I picked this book), the Californian was the steamer who allegedly watched idly, as the Titanic sank the night of April 14, 1912 after striking an iceberg.

This is, in my opinion, a strikingly well written piece of historical fiction. I find the subject of the Titanic fascinatingly tragic and reading Dyer’s re-imagined tale of what may have been happening aboard the only steamer which could have realistically saved everyone aboard the Titanic, makes it even more-so.

Now I would like to add a disclaimer that while finding this book incredibly compelling, I also battled extreme frustration along the way. Let me explain. I found this book to have  one of the worst cases of dramatic irony I have ever encountered. Granted, it is historical fiction, so it’s loosely based on actual occurrences (that we know the ultimate result of), but the way Dyer writes it takes it a step further. You are given a glimpse into several characters’ experiences that night and the days/weeks/years that follow, giving a complete view of what was happening in all aspects of the timeline from several different perspectives. So while one character has no idea what is happening to another, you as the reader are acutely aware of every fault and mistake that was made along the way.

With a story such as the Titanic’s, it makes it so much more sad to imagine that had only one or two things been done differently that night, history may have had one less tragic tale to tell. But such is life. The frustration, I admit, did compel me to continue reading what was overall a great novel.

The Midnight Watch is very well written, giving the reader a tragic, suspenseful, page-turning experience that, if you have any interest in the Titanic or historical fiction (or just an overall good book), I would highly recommend.

I would also like to add that I listened to part of this as an audio book, downloaded off of Audible. As much as I prefer to read a physical book, sometimes it is not possible/practical to do so (I get carsick, so reading on car rides is impossible). The one that I bought off of Audible.com was very good. I find that sometimes the narrators make audio books hard to enjoy, but I felt this one did a great job. Just food for thought if audio book is more your style or you’re going on a long roadtrip or something.

Have you read this one? What did you like or dislike about it? I don’t expect everyone to share my views on it, so please comment, even if you hated it. I always love to hear how other people view books that I have also had the pleasure (or displeasure) of reading. And as always, I am constantly in search of a new book, so please feel free to share suggestions as well!

Happy reading!

FullSizeRender.jpg-1

Red Rising SAGA

Since this is my first post, what better starting point than to get you acquainted with the last few books I have been read this year which happened to be part of a trilogy*.

Red Rising Trilogy* by Pierce Brown

This New York Times Bestselling trilogy* (Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star) was an absolute delight. They were loaned to me by a colleague who shares my love of a good dystopian novel. These books focus on a somewhat dystopian, post-apocalyptic world after humans ruined Earth and had to spread to other planets to survive.

This new world is made up of a Society made of Colors; Gold on the top, Red on the bottom. You were born into your color, and you lived your life according to what that color was assigned to do.  While I believe it does books a vast injustice to compare them to more well known series’, if you enjoy The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, or the Divergent series, you will probably enjoy this one as well. The divisions in this society would be comparable to the “Districts” in Hunger Games or the “Factions” in the Divergent series. Like I said, these books absolutely stand alone and are not just another Hunger Games, but it helps to know what you are getting yourself into.

As you can imagine (considering it’s a trilogy and no one wants to read three books about how nothing changed) this Society is practically begging to be challenged. In this tale, the protagonist Darrow, a low red, has to fight his own beliefs, urges, and prejudices in order to bring his world to justice and fix a broken and unjust society. Not unlike many protagonists, Darrow has his flaws and mishaps, and it is up to him and the few he learns to trust, to bring about a revolution that isn’t solely driven by hatred and vengeance.

In a world based on prejudice and separation of classes, Darrow and his friends must find a way to reconcile their differences and find common ground. This is a story of love lost and found, friendship and betrayal, war and peace.

It has everything! Action, romance, suspense… everything you can ask for in a series. I laughed, cried, and couldn’t tear myself away from these. They’re easy to read, easy to follow, and easy to love.

Have any of you read these? I would love your opinions on them (good and bad)! Feel free to comment or email me!

**UPDATE**

So I have heard a rumor that this trilogy is actually going to be a SAGA coming this October. The colleague who suggested I read these, informed me today that there is supposedly a fourth one coming out called Iron Gold! Not sure at all what this one is going to be about, but I will be sure to read it when it comes out and update you all!!

FullSizeRender.jpg-1