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Category: Books

Book Review: Girl On The Train


sooooo I think I might be the only person who didn’t like this book. Here’s how I saw it.

main girl: drunk and a hot mess, ruining everyone’s lives

mystery girl/couple that main girl sees from train: super boring

main girl’s ex husband and his new fam: I couldn’t get interested bc I was wondering why main girl isn’t in mandatory rehab yet

main girl’s roommate: yo, I felt way bad for this chick. she felt bad for main girl and let her live in her apartment and main girl keeps barfing and peeing everywhere

obviously I stopped halfway and looked up the ending. I’m not even shocked by how it all turned out. I felt like it was trying to hard to be Gone Girl but without me being invested in anything that was happening.

This article goes into the idea of why adding the word “Girl” into a book title adds to the marketing and thrillers that we love.

my review: 2/5 , because I appreciate creativity

average review on goodreads: 3.8/5

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Book Review: The Martian

Yall I did not want to read this. Mostly because I kept seeing Matt Damon’s mug everywhere. Yes I love Matt Damon too but seriously I can’t take this seriously:

The movie looked silly and I thought the book couldn’t be much better. That is until I read this review and my mind did a 180.

The Martian by Andy Weir centers around Mark Watney who is accidentally (serious bad luck man) left on Mars after his crew thinks he is dead. He needs to survive on the planet with limited resources for 4 years until the next mission. Question is, how? For Mark Watney the answer is clear: potatoes.  Guys, without Watney’s crazy thoughts/inner dialouge this book (and I assume movie) would be nothing.  Some might ask why is this dude cracking all these jokes when he’s going to die fo’ sho? Wouldn’t you? I could only hope I was as funny as this guy when I’m stranded on an alien planet!

Favorite Quotes from my main man Mark:

“Fear my botany powers!”

“Godspeed, little taters.”

The Martian is a surprisingly quick read! I became so invested in the main character I didn’t mind all the sciencey talk. I would have loved a longer ending but I get that it’s just not the style the book was about and you got to stick to what is true to the book. The Martian is hilarious! I definitely recommend, especially if you plan to watch the movie!!

Goodreads Average Review: 4.38

My Official Review: 4/5

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Happy Holidays my blog family!

How was your Christmas? Houston was unusually hot this year at 82 degrees, I’ve been sleeping with the fan on all week. We celebrated with way too many tamales and Santa’s questionable presents.

Every Christmas my work does a wreath auction to raise money for charity (sometimes with holiday vacations included) and I love walking down the hall to see what people made. Last year there was 11 Frozen themed wreaths. Seriously. (This year only two, thank goodness)

Here were my two favs!

IMG_6667IMG_6656This year over $23,000 was raised!! Proud mama moment :)

And now for the Christmas highlights…IMG_6771My favorite present I got! My cousin gets me :)

My mom/Santa got me a paint by numbers as requested, and decided to go in an interesting direction of wild horses..?


I wore this outfit to every holiday party #gonnagetmymoneysworthMy oldest sister got engaged! She’s too cool for school and announced it via emojis like a boss.

Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal ;)

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Top 5 Books of 2015

Top 5 Books I Read in 2015

Some of these were published in 2015 and are brand new, yay! And some are really old and only just now have gotten on my radar. Most (all) “Top Books of 2015” lists only include books published in 2015, but I say why limit yourself? Cheers to another good reading year! May 2016 bring many more great reads :)

1. Assassination Vacation

murder! suspense! U.S. presidents! historical musicals! Everything I never knew I wanted in a book.

2. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory

“A girl always remembers the first corpse she shaves.” ((first sentence)) whaaaa educational yet ever so morbid. Done and done.

3. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt


4.  A Court of Thorns and Roses

Because sometimes I need to feed the inner YA in me and no one does it better than Sarah J Maas. (ok except for Sarah Dessen, obviously)

So timely! I will never think about the internet/people  the same way again. Maybe not the best written book out there, it is definitely one that has stayed with me and kept me thinking all year round.

What’s on your list?

xx Saryah

PS. Check out these Book Reviews! Me Before You and Wrath and the Dawn

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Book Review: The One & Only

As much as I don’t want to talk about this book, we have to.  I picked it out from the library because I remembered the author, Emily Giffin, had wrote the book which the Kate Hudson film, Something Borrowed, was based off of. This should have been an omen as I hadn’t liked the movie because I thought that all the characters were crappy people/friends to each other. But I needed an easy read between reading the more denser ones on my list, enter this horror fest.

The Plot: the main character is Shea, a 33 year old football enthusiast and wannabe sports writer. Her bff’s mom died and the book opens with the funeral. And Shea’s overconcern/suspicious behavior to her bff’s dad, the town’s legendary Coach Clive Carr (alliteration amirite?).  I was all “nahhh surely not. nope, she isn’t gonna go there”. yall. she went there. spoiler! a romance develops. I have straight up never felt so uncomfortable reading a book. why oh why did Emily Giffin think this was an appealing book that many people would connect to? Here is a “reputable” review of the book:

“To fill your Friday Night Lights void: A tale of die-hard love in a diehard Texas football town from the bestselling author of Something Borrowed.”—Cosmopolitan

Excuse me Cosmo, that is an insult to both Friday Night Lights and all of Texas. As much as I only want to review my fave books and give yall great recommends, I want to be honest about what I read. the good and the bad! Here’s to the next book being wayyy better.

My official review score: 1/5

Average score on Goodreads: 3/5

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Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See

All The Light We Cannot See takes place before/during/and just a wee bit after WWII. I would categorize it under historical fiction with an undercurrent of fantasy or otherness, which is actually a bomb category if there was one! At first you aren’t sure if the if the before is flashbacks or what you think is the present is flashforwards so it’s a bit confusing. I like the way the author ties all the individual tales together in a not obvious way. It’s a lovely novel.

And yet.. I couldn’t help but feel I had been here before. To me All The Light We Cannot See is a lesser version of The Book Thief. A way less emotional, leave me because I have no emotions left version. So while it’s a good and weirdly fast read, if you have read The Book Thief I would say you can pass this one for another on your book bucket list.

Overall rating: 3/5


Book Review: Rising Strong

Brene Brown is a bad ass bitch. I can say that about a PhD professor and Oprah’s new bestie right? If you haven’t heard about my girl Brene you have been living under a rock. Her TedTalk went viral, The Power of Vulnerability and it’s a life changer. Quickly after she wrote The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly and another TedTalk: Listening to Shame.  She’s from Houston and is a huge deal in the yoga community (and everywhere else, hello she’s friends with Oprah!). We are always referencing her and I even used some of her insights when I taught a public speaking class. Anywhooo on to her newest book!

I went up to Austin for a signing because the Houston event was sold out. I got such a great seat! FullSizeRender (1)
I promise all those seats were filled after. Brene is a great story teller and I left inspired! After I finished the book I felt a little bummed though. You know when all the good bits were in the trailer? That’s how I felt happened at the signing, she was too good at speaking that without her the book fell flat and I wanted to watch her TEDTalk instead. I was too bored.

The two main ideas/takeaways I got from Rising Strong are

  1. “The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness- even our wholeheartedness- actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the fall”. You can see why Oprah loves this girl.
  2. “I assumed that people weren’t doing their best so I judged them and constantly fought being disappointed, which was easier than setting boundaries.” AHA moment! The whole idea that people are actually doing the best they can. That changes everything doesn’t it?

I looked up some of the reviews on GoodReads and some people mentioned they liked her other books more than Rising Strong and how this one felt more self help.  I haven’t read her other books so I can’t say personally but I want to agree.

Official rating: 3/5

Looking for more book recs? I just discovered this great blog and am in love!


Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn


Please note the positive blurb from Marie Lu, who wrote the awesome Legend Series.  Every book i’ve read that she has reviewed has ended up being less than great. Is she a bad luck charm??

Back to the book. The Wrath and The Dawn. I got an ARC, advanced reading copy, from this years Texas Library Association annual meeting. I may have skipped an entire day of seminars to stock up..

It weirdly reminded me of the story of esther, in the way girls were rounded up for the king’s picking. except in this story each girl becomes his bride and each bride dies/is executed in the morning.  Enter Shahrzad. Her best friend was one of the brides. Shazi is there to take revenge for her friend’s murder. excepttttt will she realize there is something more to this mystery? fall in love? make some waves? The answers are obvious.

I didn’t really love any of the characters or become invested in the story. It was a good way to pass the time and I was curious to see what happened.

I rated the book at first 3 stars with the review “I like it and will probably foreget all about it by the time the next book comes out” (it’s a trilogy bc everything is these days).  My sister rated it 4 stars. Then my Erica rated it 4 stars and wrote a glowing review and I wrote saying I wanted to read this book asap it sounded so good! I looked it up and realized oh wait.. I already did. ha! my review came true! self fulfilling prophesy?! I’m a seer. After that I lowered my rating to 2 stars because it obviously didn’t leave me with an impact and no spark to continue the story for two more books.

The average rating is 4.22 on goodreads.  My official rating: 2/5.  Read and decide for yourself!

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Book Review: Me Before You

Lemony Snicket is one smart dude.  I usually pull a Rory Gilmore and carry a book around with me because sometimes I need a break from facbook stalking on my phone, ya know? This past week I reread Me Before You by JoJo Moyes in anticipation for the Best Cast Movie of All Time. Trust me. I started following Emilia Clarke on instagram when I realized she and Neville Longbottom were going to be costars ha.

Because I love books so much I want to share whatever I’m currently reading with you! I know you are so lucky :)

Truth Time: I judge books by their covers. Everyone does secretly right? Going off the title I thought it was some sad girl book where she’s looking for love after some bad break up.  Spoiler: it’s not.  Also I have this weird thing about not reading the summary if I can help it because I think it gives too much away (which makes this whole me giving reviews so ironic/challenging, i want you to be surprised!).

I had recently gone through a No More Books phase because I had wayyy too many but on this particular day I hit up Barnes and Noble and went crazy (3 books).  I was using my GoodReads app (download asap!!) on my phone, scanning all the bar codes in to see which had the best ratings. kinda felt like i had one of those metal detectors at the beach looking for some change buried in the sand.

Yall this book is so good. It follows Lou after she loses her job that her entire family depends on for income.  Lou is wacky and likable, and wears strange leggings.

Will is living this outrageously awesome life until he is injured critically in a motorcycle accident.

Watching their lives converge was fascinating in a way that was totally believable. Sometimes you know the author wrote the story just to be marketable and make some money, this is the exact opposite. This story is so real and honest.

Jojo Moyes has an excellent voice and a gift for storytelling. Warning: beware the ugly cry.

What book can you normally say is even better the second time around? This one!

Official Rating: 5/5