book review

The Running Man By Stephen King (as Richard Bachman)

The Running Man
The Running Man is set within a dystopian future in which the poor are seen more by the government as worrisome rodents than actual human beings. The protagonist of The Running Man, Ben Richards, is quick to realize this as he watches his daughter, Cathy, grow more sick by the day and tread closer and closer to death. Desperate for money to pay Cathy’s medical bills, Ben enlists himself in a true reality style game show where the objective is to merely stay alive.

I listened to the audio version of this.

Before I get started with this review, I feel the need to put in a disclaimer about the language in this book. Yes, I know, Stephen King is not just the King of Horror, he is also the King of Swear Words but aside from the normal four letter expletives…there’s quite a bit of racist slurs. So if you read my review and decide to go ahead with reading it, be forewarned.

That aside, this was not a good read (or listen). It was a short listen, so that was a plus, and there was a good amount of action so it would seem that it would be something to keep my attention but I lost the plot more than once and it would take me awhile to get back on track. This was not a complicated story either, so it shouldn’t have been such a struggle. But it was.

Before I spend this whole review spewing negativity, i will backtrack and focus on the positives of this book. First of all, I liked that this takes place in the future (four years from now, so at publishing much further into the future) and while King’s future is a lot more bleak then how it’s heading there’s enough elements that it almost seemed that SK predicted Donald Trump being in office, and his obsession with reality tv bled through society. So I did think King did well with imaging a future that was not too over the top but sadly, there was still elements that were way aged.

After the setting, there wasn’t much else that made this a worthwhile read. It was utterly forgettable. From one (super short) chapter to the next, I would space out and one event bled into the next. None of the characters, including Ben Richards, was distinguishable enough to stand out. Because of this, there was no reason to cheer for Richards, which added to the tediousness. King did make an attempt to give him a history but it did not do enough to see him as anything besides a straight up asshole.

I gave this a two out of five rating.

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book review

The Family Next Door: The Heartbreaking Imprisonment of the Thirteen Turpin Siblings and Their Extraordinary Rescue by John Glatt

The Family Next Door: The Heartbreaking Imprisonment of the Thirteen Turpin Siblings and Their Extraordinary Rescue
On January 14, 2018, a seventeen-year-old girl climbed out of the window of her Perris, California home and dialed 911 with shaking fingers. Struggling to stay calm, she told the operator that she and her 12 siblings--ranging in age from 2 to 29--were being abused by their parents. When the dispatcher asked for her address, the girl hesitated. "I've never been out," she stammered.

To their family, neighbors, and online friends, Louise and David Turpin presented a picture of domestic bliss: dressing their thirteen children in matching outfits and buying them expensive gifts. But what police discovered when they entered the Turpin family home would eclipse the most shocking child abuse cases in history. For years, David and Louise had kept their children in increasing isolation, trapping them in a sinister world of torture, abuse, and near starvation.

In the first major account of the case, investigative journalist and author John Glatt delves into the disturbing details and recounts the bravery of the thirteen siblings in the face of unimaginable horror.

I listened to the audio version of this book.

 Over the last few months that I have been home and not able to do much, I have been listening to a lot of podcasts, especially true crime. It’s a topic that I find equal parts terrifying and fascinating. The story about the Turpin family was a story that I remember hearing about when the case broke, but despite the many true crime podcasts that I have been listening to, it was not a story that I had heard covered. 

I probably would have completely forgotten about the case, but earlier in the year I read Girl A by Abigail Dean which, though fiction, reminded me a lot of the Turpin’s. Then I found this book on Scribd, and I figured that I’d give it a shot.

I have mixed feelings about this book. Initially, while reading it, I found myself completely engrossed with the story. It starts out with a well-researched history of David and Louise’s family, but as the book progressed, it seemed to repeat itself, to where a few times I wondered if the audio was messing up and skipping back to previous chapters. It also felt as though it ended abruptly, and going back and looking at the publishing date, it certainly makes sense. This book clearly was written quickly, intending to get released out into the world almost as soon as the court case was through. Because of this, the narrative towards the end suffered, and it almost felt as though it ended on a cliffhanger instead of with a solid conclusion.

I gave this three stars.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on
book review

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

In Five Years
Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny. 

I read a lot of books this year. Thanks to the pandemic, two separate injuries that have kept me out of work for weeks at a time, and a toddler who is increasingly learning to play independently…it has been a good reading year. The only problem is though, although I have read a lot and a good majority of those books have been solidly good to solidly great books…there hasn’t been one book that has completely destroyed me in the way the truly great books have. You know, the books that cause ugly crying. In Five Years ended up being that book for me. In fact, I ended up sobbing so hard that one of my cats ended up running to the living room to make sure I was okay.

I had put a hold on this title months ago, I am not even sure why. I had glanced over the summary and honestly, it didn’t really jump out at me as being a book I’d typically go crazy over but I liked the cover and based on the popularity I figured I’d give it a try.

I am so so glad that I tried it. While initially I thought I knew where the story was going to go, it completely threw me off guard and I ended up loving every single moment of this story and it ended up being the book that completed my marathon reading year. There’s still a few weeks of 2020 left of course, and there’s a possibility that I will end up reading another book to displace this book from the number one spot…but I doubt it.

book review

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Big Summer
Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most. 

I listened to the audiobook version of this.

I went into this book without knowing much about it and without much expectations. The last “new” Jennifer Weiner books were a bit of a disappointment and I didn’t want to be disappointed. I did know that despite the title and book cover it would be a little more deeper than a typical beach read thought.

I ended up really loving this. I love how Weiner wove together elements of friendship, romance, body positivity and mixed it all together with a murder mystery. If I had paid a bit more attention, then I probably wouldn’t have been shocked by the murder of Drue, but I think that going into this book blind was perfect. I was so busy soaking up the fun parts of a new romance, rekindled friendship and the beach that the murder completely threw me for a loop.

The second half of this was a straight up mystery with enough twists and turns that should be satisfying to most mystery fans. For me, the end came as a surprise, though, I’m usually not great at solving mysteries.

If I had one complaint though, it would be that Daphne constantly mentioned her “plus size”, and well, I understood where she was coming from but it did get to be a little too repetitive. It was a minor annoyance though and did not take away from the story enough that it affected my enjoyment.

I rated this four stars.

There are few books between my last review post and this one, but I have decided to jump ahead and skip those reviews because I just don’t have it in me to dig into my memory bank to review books that I read while in pain and/or on pain medications. I think I remember what the books were like and what I thought of it but I just don’t think I can do it justice. Maybe I will do a second mini review post for those books.



I am recovering from my surgery. The first few days were hard, I have been unable to sleep in my own bed and once I thought I was feeling better, I had my stitches out and given another knee brace which brings about a new discomfort that I wasn’t expecting. So I wasn’t feeling up to writing. But here I am now.

I haven’t been reading as much as I thought I would be, somehow the pull of the television and the appeal of mindless entertainment has caught my attention, but I have a few books to review and I am nearly finished with listening to Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner which I am really enjoying.


Surgery Tomorrow

I am scheduled for my knee surgery tomorrow. I was suppose to have it today, but there was some mix ups with scheduling so instead tomorrow is the big day.

Yesterday I was pretty anxious, especially as the day went on and I didn’t get a call about what time. Finally at 9p I called, then again at 11p but they still had no time for me. I then was directed to call at 7a and then 8a and finally at 8a I was able to get everything arranged. So today was spent between phone calls, watching tv and napping off and on.

I’m going to try to relax and get some sleep tonight.


Short Reviews

Since I fell so far behind in reviews these last couple of weeks, I am going to play a little catch up and write quick reviews for the books in my backlog.

A Long Way Home

Enjoyable memoir about an adopted man finding his family after he became lost in his home country of India. It was crazy how he was able to track them down, being that for the longest time he had very limited memory of where he grew up. The movie Lion is based off on the memoir and they are both worth checking out.

My Name Is Venus Black

This debut novel was very enjoyable. I thought the ending was kind of weak, but overall this kept me completely engaged and I hope to see more fiction from Heather Lloyd in the future.

The Sun Down Motel

I listened to the audio of this and I cannot say enough good things about it. This was one of those thrillers that keep you on your toes until the very end. I’m still finding my way around audiobooks, but its a safe bet to see this is my favorite genre to listen to in audio form.


This was a disappointment. I loved Bel Canto, I read it years ago but I still remember having an almost religious experience reading it. Something about the writing gripped me in a way that completely took me out of myself and since then I have been chasing that feeling. Sadly Commonwealth very nearly ended up a TBR for me but I managed to get through by skimming a few times.

In Her Shoes

This was a reread for me and I am really happy that this stood up to the passage of time. I originally read it in my early 20’s and although I am nearly a decade older than Rose, I still loved Rose and Maggie and was glad to see that my fond memories of this story were still the same.

Bird Box

I finished this at 5am this morning (I have been having a lot of sleep issues since my accident). This was a fast and exciting read. I didn’t mind the movie that much, but this book was definitely better, especially because it was a lot more to the point from the movie.


Housework, if you do it right, can kill you. —Erma Bombeck

So last Saturday when I was at work I was carrying a big load of laundry up stairs. Got to the very top of the steps, lost my grip on the basket, stepped backwards and next thing I knew I was laying at the midway landing between the two floors. Somehow the super important parts of my body (head/neck) were unscathed but the bulk of the trauma was to my right knee. I managed to sit up but as soon as I tried to move my leg I knew I was screwed. I yelled for my coworker and he called 911.

Warning: This next bit is probably not for the squimish. I am writing it in white text so if you want to read it, just highlight the following paragraph.

When the paramedics got there they tried to get me to stand and as soon as they helped stand me up any any hope I had left completely died. As soon as I put the most minute weight on my leg I felt a pop and yelled out “that frigging hurts!”. So after that the paramedics realized I was NOT going anywhere on my own accord.

The ride to the hospital and the ER itself was pretty lowkey. I had an xray and cat scan done, I was put in a temporary splint and sent home with instructions to follow up with an orthopedic surgeon.

Almost a week after my tumble, I finally was able to get seen by ortho. They took one look at my films and was told that I need surgery on my knee ASAP, so this time on Monday I should have the surgery behind me and a brand new set of hardware in my knee. After that my recovery will span three to six months. During that time I will be non weight-bearing so it’s going to be a long time before I am able to get back to work, if I’m able to go back.

Over the weekend I’m going to try to do a quick review of the backlog of books I have yet to review on here. If there’s one silver lining of this whole thing is that because I can’t do much else, I am getting lots of reading done. I’m also doing a fair amount of tv watching (so if anyone has suggestions for Netflix or HBO Max I am here for it, but I’m definitely looking forward to making a healthy dent on my bookshelf.


Stick Figure by Lori Gottlieb

Growing up in Beverly Hills in the 1970s, Lori Gottlieb learned the lessons her culture had to teach her—for example, that “no one could ever like a girl with thunder thighs.” Lori took those lessons seriously, and saw her world fall slowly apart as she developed a fierce reluctance to eat—winding up hospitalized when her “diet” took over her life. Fortunately, she recorded the journey in her diary, and her story is funny, slyly insightful, and surprisingly universal. A Los Angeles Times bestseller, Lori’s story is being made into a motion picture film by Martin Scorsese’s company, Carpo Productions. 

This memoir was written from Lori Gottlieb’s old diary entries when she was just a preteen. When I first realized this, I thought that it would feel juvenile, but the opposite was the case. Although there was the expected insights about school, peers (especially the “mean girls” and her family but the insights in this book surprised me.

Lori spends a lot of time observing the people around her, especially the women in her life. In the late 70’s, diet culture was huge and Lori observed her mother, her friend’s and their mother’s in their relationship with food. Over and over again she saw how women saw food as the enemy. The women in her life almost always showed some type of disordered eating so it was easy to see why Lori at first became interested in those behaviors and as an overachiever, taking the behavior to the extreme.

This was a short book, just over 200 pages, but I took my time reading it as there was a lot to process. I understand all to well what it’s like to grow up in a household where I was privy to disordered eating (though, of a different type) and it made me realize just how much kids observe. I hope I remember this as my daughter gets older and it’s super important for her to be surrounded by body positivity.