My Book Reviews: You Will Know Me

You Will Know Me follows Devon, an ultra competitive high school gymnast and her family.  As a toddler, Devon had a toe traumatically severed by a lawn mower, and used gymnastics to recuperate.  Even then she was described as a natural, a protege.  Her parents can’t help but sacrifice everything to her talent: they take out a second mortgage on the home, they all but neglect Devon’s younger brother.  Every spare minute is dedicated to practicing, and soon talks of the Olympics arise.  In the midst of this cutthroat atmosphere, the boyfriend of one of the coaches is murdered.


Cabot weaves a dark and complex world of gymnastics worship, with Devon as its idol.

I meant to dip my toe in the world of competitive gymnastics, but Meg Cabot pushed me into the deep end–in a few pages, I was totally immersed.

I didn’t want to like this book; I am totally burnt out of murder stories.  I’m tired of everything being “the next Gone Girl”, or “the next big thriller”.  Often, I am left wanting.  I’m not thrilled by thrillers, not intrigued by mysteries.  I’m bored by all of it.

You Will Know Me was different enough to hold my interest.  The death of the boyfriend was an undercurrent; the over-the-top parenting drove the true plot.  Devon was a weird (in a good way), dark, troubled high schooler.  I loved how fleshed-out each character was.  Overall, this was a fast-paced summer mystery/thriller that I fully enjoyed.


For more about You Will Know Me, check out these links:

Interview with Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott discusses her writing process

Buy on Amazon

I’m having a great vacation and loving California.  I hope you all are having a great time, too!

happy reading


Delicious words

My favorite words from Stephen King’s The Shining
  1. Nimbus: a luminous vapor, cloud, or atmosphere about a god or goddess when on earth

2. Lassitude:  a weariness of body or mind from strain,oppressive climate, etc.; lack of energy;listlessness; languor

3. Verdigris: a bright bluish-green encrustation or patina formed on copper or brass by atmospheric oxidation, consisting of basic copper carbonate.

4. Denuded: to make naked or bare; strip


Oh, Sweet Summertime

I’ve been lucky enough to travel home pretty frequently while living overseas.  I love being able to take Teagan to meet my family and close friends that I’ve known for years.


More on the trip later–right now I’m busy soaking it all in.

happy reading


There aren’t many books that I love enough to read twice.  I’ve read every Harry Potter millions of times, and The Hunger Games was worth a second shot.  On my most recent flight, I panicked: I’d brought the fully charged Kindle, but had forgotten to load my current book.


Enter Stephen King.  Ahh, deliciously horrifying Stephen King.

During takeoff, I fed the happy baby and settled into one of my favorite stories ever: The Shining.  Is there anything better?

We experienced some airport drama on this trip, and after the first flight I was separated from my travel companion, Maureen.  Somehow, she ended up with my Kindle (and my snacks!), but I was already too far gone.  I ducked into the Hudson News and bought the hard copy of The Shining.  If I’ve already read it 4829084190 times, who’s to say I won’t read it 28482109 more?

What books do you love enough to read twice?  Which is your go-to comfort read?

Hope you’re all having as great of a summer as I am!


Weekend Update: Maureen is here!

When people make the effort to visit us here in Okinawa, I know that they must really love us.  It’s incredibly expensive, and such a huge undertaking to fly for almost 24 hours each way.


Maureen came out to Okinawa last week, and we’re having the best time.  I am loving having another pair of hands to help me with T.  I’m getting spoiled: I can shower for longer than thirty seconds without the relaxing sounds of a hysterical baby.  I have someone to share every mundane baby noise and movement with.  Sometimes I even get to eat with two hands!

35312066772_f02ac4fb18_o-1-e1498215051826.jpgHaving visitors always brings out the best in me; I have a reason to get out and see touristy things.  We’ve seen ancient castles, gorgeous beaches and waterfalls, and of course we’ve enjoyed ramen and sushi.  It’s so nice to be with someone I’ve known long enough to just be with.  Instead of shallow conversations about people at work, we have pointless talks about Harry Potter character development.


Today, I am thankful for good friends and good food.

My Book Reviews: With Malice

Short review: this book was not good.

The premise sounded somewhat interesting:  a girl is accused of killing her best friend over a guy while studying abroad in Italy, but has no memory of the trip.  Very Amanda Knox.

The writing was clumsy, the plot was boring and made no sense, the characters were flat.  I finished it mostly because I was bored.  Jill, the main character struggles with her amnesia, saying:

“I concentrated, trying to recall more, but it was like my brain was constipated.”

For real? You couldn’t think of any better way to phrase this?


Her characters don’t talk like real teenagers, it’s more like a grandma’s idea of how teenagers speak.  There are several segments featuring online chats where characters say “Gurl”,  “I M here 4 u” and “bee-otch”.  Come on, now.  This sounds like how people wrote emails in the dawn of the internet, when it was still called “the web” and we were all drowning in AOL free trial CDs.


This book was a nice try that fell flat.



Mon Claire Patisserie

I wrote before about my mission to stay local in Kin Town, where we live–this is on my mind more and more.  Each day, I find myself in negotiations with the tiny dictator who rules my life now.

Last week, she kindly allowed me to go to Mon Claire Patisserie, a bakery that Carl and I had walked to before.  With the suffocating wet Okinawa heat, I was happy to snag a shady parking spot and head inside for an iced coffee.


T was loving it!  I had a coffee and a raspberry pudding, she had milk (her favorite snack).  We leaned back and soaked in the cute decor while reading all about The Boss.  Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run reads like poetry, and I read it in little sips with pauses to decode and digest.

More than anything, I was just glad to be out of the house.  This place was amazing; I will definitely be back!


Weekend Update: Father’s Day

Is it Father’s Day (the day belonging to the Father), or Fathers Day (the day to celebrate multiple fathers)??  The internet recommends the first style.

DSC00788.JPGWhen I worked Labor and Delivery, seeing a dad hold his new baby for the first time was always emotional.  If the dad cried, my heart instantly melted.  Being a dad is such a special thing, and I am so lucky to have a great dad and a great husband who loves Teagan more than anything.

Father’s Day seems to bring out the most Neanderthal cliches:  according to stores, dads like beer and grilling meat.  They also like ties, but mostly meat and beer.  Even searching for gifts is tricky: how about a gift basket of beef jerky?  Does he like to golf?

Growing up, I’m pretty sure that every year we got my dad a package of new socks.  If he was lucky, we would make some artistic masterpiece at school out of macaroni and spray paint.  I’m also pretty sure that he totally loved the simplicity: to him, a gift card was perfectly acceptable.  That kind of thing would never fly on Mothers Day (Mother’s Day?)

Happy Father’s Day to all the golf-loving, grill-mastering, cigar-smoking dads out there.

Currently reading:

Beartown, Fredrik Backman


“You never have the sort of friends you have when you’re fifteen ever again. Even if you keep them for the rest of your life, it’s never the same as it was then.”


My Book Reviews: Tiger Lily

Have you guys heard of Overdrive?  It’s kind of the best thing ever: free Kindle books available to borrow through your local library.  Each area has a different Overdrive database, and the one I use belongs to the Navy.  I was a little skeptical when I first set this up; there are only so many Naval biographies you can read before you become so smart that your brain grows too big for your body.  Or something.

Anyway, the NKO (Navy Knowledge Online) Overdrive database has normal books, too.  With really popular books, you sometimes suffer through a waiting list like a real library, but the free e-Book makes it all worth it.

My NKO account has recently started to recommend books to me based on my browsing history, which is enlightening: a lot of Stephen King and random fluff books.  When I saw Tiger Lily on the list, I was both embarrassed and interested.

Do you know people who wear shirts that say “Disney is life”, and collect Tinker Bell keychains?  I’m not one of those.  I love Disneyland as much as the next girl, but I keep my love at normal levels.  I was skeptical about this book because of this: would reading it categorize me as a super duper fan?

Tiger Lily  is a creative retelling of the children’s classic Peter Pan with a focus on the character Tiger Lily.  Tinker Bell narrates.

“He even listened to more than her sounds, because Tiger Lily was a girl of few words. He listened with his eyes, watched her facial expressions, judged body language, and therefore read Tiger Lily better than anyone else.”

Welcome to Neverland where the natives never age, the pirates are more drunk and pathetic than romantic, and the mermaids are vicious man-eaters.  We meet Tiger Lily and her adopted father Tik Tok, both of them feared and misunderstood by the rest of the village.  When an English ship is wrecked on their coast, the tribe votes not to rescue the lone survivor; they are terrified of catching the “aging disease” that causes foreigners to slowly die.  Tiger Lily is the only person willing to go against the authority of her tribe and nurse the sailor back to health.


On one of her trips to tend to the sailor, she meets Peter Pan and his lost boys (lost because they were child slaves to Captain Hook, and he “lost” them when they escaped his service)  A complicated romance ensues.  Tiger Lily is stoic to a fault and Peter Pan is whimsical and noncommittal.  When a “Wendy-bird” lands on the island, all of their lives are shaken.

This book was probably YA fiction, but I enjoyed it all the same.  The plot followed the Disney movie just enough to be cute, but not over the top.  If you have time on your hands and like Disney at least a little bit, I’d recommend this book to you.  And if it’s available for free on Overdrive, it’s well worth the money.

happy reading.jpg


What Kind of Reader Are You?

Hanging out with a baby 24/7 has put me in an interesting situation:  I have lots and lots of time, but no free hands.  Teagan loves to be held, and even though banging pots and pans wouldn’t wake this sweet babe, putting her to bed by herself instantly has her screaming.  So I wear her in the baby carrier or hold her ALL. THE. TIME.

I’m Netflixing, I’m podcasting, I’m Kindleing like you wouldn’t believe.  This is a great problem to have–I’ve started reading new book blogs and listening to the podcast What Should I Read Next?  The guest they interviewed this week talked about how she was always the girl who refused to start with the second book in a series; she had to begin with the first or not at all.  She talked about how she just loves the smell of books and turning the pages of a real, physical book instead of an e-Reader.  She takes amazing care of her books and gets angry when friends return them to her damaged.

Because I’m weird, I started to get weirdly jealous of this girl.

If only I had the self-discipline to care about any of these things!  I read mostly from a Kindle because its lighter and easier to manage than a book, but if I forget to charge the Kindle, iPhone it is.  I’ve moved so many times that I own probably less than twenty real live books, and they are all too damaged for the library to accept.  A pizza stain at the climax of the book is my signature, because I’m classy like that.

Luckily, we were out on a stroller walk and I had time to digest these weird feelings of inadequacy.  I love reading, I love books, I love libraries so, so, much.  I love to swan dive into a story and not move until I’ve devoured it all.  I love history, fiction, poetry, adventure, mystery, romance.  I’ve been known to drop a book that failed to hold my attention and pick up another without a second thought.  I am happy to reread old favorites over and over again.

What kind of reader are you?

Are you slow and steady, someone who likes to mull over the themes of a book upon finishing?  Are you an eReader reader?  Do you love to read in libraries, or at home on the couch?

Picture of the babe just because:


I hope that you are all reading this from a pool chair in some exotic place.  Summer reading is truly delicious, isn’t it?
happy reading