Chemo Reads

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Some days I’m too tired to read and that’s when I catch up on my shows or binge on Gilmore Girls. But most days I’m still able to read and for that, I’m thankful. Here’s the list of what I’ve read lately. (P.S. It’s long…)

The One That Got Away by Simon Wood

Zoe and her friend, Heidi, are graduate students set on partying in Vegas after working so hard. On their way home to California, they stop at a bar to live it up. Only Zoe ever returns to California. Years later, Zoe is in a funk. She didn’t finish grad school, she’s alienated her family and she’s working as a mall cop and she’s miserable. When a women is murdered in her town, and the signs all point to the same man she escaped from, Zoe is determined to find him and be rid of him once and for all.

This book was fantastic. Creepy, suspenseful and exciting. If you like murder mysteries, check it out.

Wreckage by Emily Bleeker

This book was worth the time. Very different from anything I’ve ever read. I guess you could say it’s a love story entwined with a survival story. Lillian is a stay-at-home Mom whose mother-in-law has invited her on a tropical vacation that she won from a yogurt company. Lillian is happy to get away from life for a while and enjoy the sun. The first week of the vacation goes off without a hitch, but when they set off for their second week on a private island, their plane crashes. Also on the plane are the pilot, a blockhead macho jerk, the stewardess, who happens to be the pilot’s former love, and Dave the yogurt company rep. After the crash, the survivors are stranded on a deserted island. It is a great story of survival and true love. I can’t tell you anything else without giving too much away. My sister loved it too. Go read it!

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

This book was on a Pinterest list of YA novels not to miss. It is a phenomenal book. In fact, I think it should be required reading for all high schoolers. The material may be too intense for younger readers, but it depends on the reader, I guess. Melinda is a well-liked, popular 8th grade girl enjoying her summer before high school. She and her friends attend a high school party right before schools starts and Melinda is raped. Melinda quickly turns from a bubbly, energetic 14-year-old into a mute, very depressed high schooler. Melinda loses her friends because they think she called the cops to tell them about the party. Melinda doesn’t tell anyone what happened and it eats her alive. She finds solace in her art class and spends the whole year in silence trying to feel better. She realizes that she’s not going to be able to get through this alone but she’s too afraid to…speak.

This was a very powerful story of date rape, depression, suicidal thoughts and how one teacher can make a difference. I just loved it even though it was difficult material. There’s also a full-length movie starring Kristen Stewart (who is really good because she doesn’t speak…hahaha…) on YouTube that was fantastic.

Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman
My friends, Jen and Stephanie, got me a two-month membership to Librify before I started chemo. I get one book a month and this was the one I chose. It was great. I love a good murder mystery! Two little 11-year-old girls, Alice and Ronnie, are on their way home from a disastrous pool party when they discover a baby on the porch in the stroller. They decide she’s been abandoned and take her from the house. The baby is found dead a few days later and the girls are accused and convicted of murder. The story picks up seven years later when the girls are released from prison. Toddler girls are going missing and the connection between these disappearances and the girls’ release can’t be ignored. This book was awesome. Twists and turns and great character development.

Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner

If you’re a Jennifer Weiner fan, you’ll love this book. I had only read a couple of her books before but really enjoyed this one. It’s not earth shattering or anything, but it’s a quick, fun, enjoyable read. This story follows Cannie Shapiro 13 years after her best-selling hot romance novel took the world by storm. She is now the mother of 13-year-old Joy and struggling through being a mom and a wife. Joy is struggling with the fact that her mother wrote a steamy romance novel and may never have wanted Joy in the first place. It’s a good, when-you-have-lots-of-time-to-read book.

You’ll Never Nanny In This Town Again by Suzanne Hansen

If you know me, you know I love anything pop culture related. I loved the Nanny Diaries and thought this one, with true tales from a Hollywood nanny, would also be a fun read. It did not disappoint. The author, a former Hollywood nanny, never really nannied for anyone super famous but did nanny for a major Hollywood executive and Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. She also had friends who nannied for Sally Fields and a few other stars and their anecdotes are in here as well. If you like having a glimpse into the lives of the rich and sometimes famous, then you’ll enjoy this book.

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

When I went to write this, I couldn’t remember what it was about. Then I looked on Amazon for the cover and went “Oh. Yeah. *Sigh*.” This was a heavy and sad book but very well-written. It follows two teenage best friends, Lizzie and Evie, in the summer as they swim and ride bikes and enjoy life. Until Lizzie goes missing. Evie is devastated and determined to figure out what happened to her best friend. The end is messy and upsetting but very real. I don’t necessarily need a happy ending as long as the ending is good. If you can handle a dark book right now, this thriller doesn’t disappoint.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I have been hearing non-stop about this book. Many compared it to Gone Girl and said it was a must-read. When my friend, Vicki, brought me a chemo care package, this book was in it so I decided it must be book fate. This was a great and exciting thriller. It is set in England, which I always love. I really want to visit England some day and books set there make me feel like I’ve visited for a while. I enjoy books told from different perspectives. This one is told from three different perspectives: Rachel, a down-on-her-luck alcoholic who’s obsessed with her ex-husband; Megan (aka Jess) who lives next door to Rachel’s ex-husband and who Rachel semi-stalks from the train; Anna who is the new wife of Rachel’s ex. Rachel loves to watch (a little creepily) Jess and her husband while she rides past their house daily on the train. When Jess goes missing, Rachel is obsessed with helping and winds up in the middle of a big mess. (That’s an understatement.) It’s a fast-paced thrillers that keeps you guessing. I loved it.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

I could write a poem about how much I love Jodi and her writing. If I could have just a tenth of her talent, I’d be so happy. I don’t know how she does it book after book. She writes with such ease, her characters are so perfect, she tells the story from different perspectives seamlessly and writes about interesting and fascinating topics. You fall in love with the characters, with the story, with her writing, so that, when you’re finished, you have to take some time to deal with your book grief. Does anyone else feel this way about her? She’s amazing to me.

Leaving Time follows Jenna, a 13-year-old who lives with her grandmother. Jenna’s mother disappeared when she was three and her father is in a mental hospital. Both of her parents were elephant researchers who ran an elephant sanctuary at the time of her mother’s disappearance. On the night her mother disappeared, another woman was trampled by an elephant at the sanctuary. No one really knows what happened. Shoddy police work and an indifference to what actually happened have left this case unsolved. Jenna is determined to find her mother once and for all. She enlists the help of an alcoholic, down-on-his-luck police detective, Virgil, who was on the case 10 years ago. She also enlists the help of a once-famous psychic, Serenity, to help her find clues to finding her mother.

Picoult weaves all of this in with the amazing story of elephants. I didn’t know much about elephants but, now that I do, I feel the need to save them all. I absolutely loved learning all about elephants, especially in their role as mothers. It was fascinating. This story is truly, at its heart, the story of motherly love and how much that love impacts our lives. Please go read this book and then come back and talk to me about it. I’m still mourning that it’s over. It’s one of those that sticks with you.

Oh and when you’re finished, you’ll probably want to find a real psychic too. Or is that just me?

What have you read lately?


2 responses to “Chemo Reads

  1. I just finished Speak and it was terrific, wasn’t it?

  2. I am reading The Girl on the Train. Glad you enjoyed it. I will check out your other recommendations as well.

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