Best Books of 2015

The only thing I regret about the books I read this year is that I didn't read more. There are many fun memories and Netflix shows to blame for that, so I am not complaining. But if I had to name my favorites, here is my list: 

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff-  
This was a doozie, and I know I am not the only person who was left moved by it- it's been at the top of all of the best reads for the year. Lotto and Matilde are a beautiful couple with their whole lives ahead of them and they're madly in love. Their story isn't anything out of the ordinary...they marry young and struggle as Lotto pursues his acting career, and later, his dream to become a playwright. First, you get Lotto's point of view of their life and then, Matilde takes over the narrative and the shocker of the novel is that their versions of their life together are two completely different stories...and the reasons why are riveting

Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - My runner up for the favorite of year the year, probably because it made me fall in love with historical fiction again, which I have strayed from in the past couple of years. Just like Sarah's Key, this book was beautiful and so well written, it was if you were right there in France, in the cold bitterness of the war. It's just the way Hannah writes that makes you really live with the characters, which makes it easy to feel for them and understand why they did the things they did and how they survived. 

The Girl On The Train - The perfect "Gone Girl" fix for 2015. This book was the perfect "horror" or thriller fiction because the story wasn't just strange and mysterious but so was the writing. Sometimes I felt like I myself was hallucinating, not just the characters. But I won't say anything more because it's a cliff hanger that needs the reader to be in the dark. 

The Husband's Secret- This was actually a book I had given up on a couple of times but because I really like her others (Big Little Lies and What Alice Forgot) I decided to give it another chance, and I am so glad I did. I think that Liane Moriarty is just a rare gem because she writes these romantic comedies with such great twists that it's like Carrie Bradshaw Meets Olivia Pope. You can beat that match up. 

Ruby by Cynthia Bond - This is the most memorable because it was so dark and the imagery really stayed with me. In one word, it was haunting. The whole story just really stuck with me and there were parts of the narrative that stunned me and I really just can't get it out of my head.  

And for the BEST book of 2015, the award goes to ...

Did You Ever Have A Family by Bill Clegg

I can't even begin to describe this book. I know It is certainly not rare for a book to make me cry. But this, this book made me bawl. I listened to it on Audible and I listened to certain parts over and over again. 

The characters in this book live in a small town in Connecticut. They are torn apart when a fire takes the lives of  several of their loved ones and suddenly, instead of the wedding they had all been planning for, they are planning funerals. It's just a beautiful story about human beings and family. About people that we all know in our own lives, whose stories had me thinking, "Oh God, how I know that feeling." 


All I want to do now is reread these stories, but maybe I will give it a little more time. For now I'll just troll the "you might also enjoy" recommendations on Goodreads. 

The new year may start off a little slow in the book department thanks mostly to a couple of rooms that still need painting in the house and the fact that I've discovered Jane the Virgin, The Making of a Murderer and Transparent and the binging struggle is real... and there are mountains of new toys and crafts thanks to Santa that are begging to be played with. 

Here's to 2016! 

For more amazing lists, checking out Life According to Steph and Jana Says' Link Up today! 

Book Round Up

Have you ever had a reading slump where you can't find that one book that holds your attention? That was me a couple of months ago and wouldn't you know, now all of the sudden there are so many books that I want to read, I can't keep up. 

Here are the books that I will be tackling during the holidays and the words in the descriptions that made me add them to my list: 

 "Heartbreak, brotherly love, human endurance." 

"Part dysfunctional love story, part poignant exploration of the mother-daughter relationship plus an ill-conceived Alaskan cruise" 

"The Middlesteins meets The Virgin Suicides, illuminating and whimsical"

"Wildly candid, poignant, intimate, and hilarious"

"A stylish psychological thriller bout marriage, murder and madness"

This weekend we finally got our Christmas tree up and decorated. I am so excited to finally have a real tree. It's absolutely beautiful and fits in our living room so perfectly. From the lights decorating the outside of the house to the garland on our mantle, I am so in love with our house this holiday season, I will never want to leave. Let alone take the decor down. At this rate, I may still have Christmas decorations up in May! 

Book Review: Did You Ever Have A Family

I knew I was going to love this book. Almost like when you know without a shadow of a doubt that the gift under the Christmas tree is the exact gift you have been pining after for months but you have to wait to unwrap it.

I saw this book in my "to-read" list for months and each time I saw it, a tingling started in the back of my brain in anticipation of reading it. I may have even prolonged reading it because I didn't want it to end, even before I had read the first page.

The characters in this book live in a small town in Connecticut. They are torn apart when a fire takes the lives of  several of their loved ones and suddenly, instead of the wedding they had all been planning for, they are planning funerals.

In their own words, mothers, fathers, lovers, friends and acquaintances share their stories of the loved ones they have lost. By coincidence, some of the characters end up in a tiny little hotel thousands of miles away and the story about how they are all connected made my heart do this funny little pitter patter as I read. 

And then just when you are wrapped up in the emotional roller coaster of everyone's sadness, you realize you also need to know how the fire started because you're looking for someone to blame for everyone's pain.

Just be warned. You'll need a comfy spot where you can read for hours because you won't want to put it down (or in my case, be able to stop listening to it) and also, because this book is sad, make sure you have Netflix on the ready so you can binge on some Friends or HIMYM to get your spirits back up. Warning, do not binge on Parenthood while reading this book. You will get a major case of the sads. 

But it's still worth it because I feel like we learn alot about ourselves when we experience another person's plight by listening to their stories. We put pieces together about things that are missing in our own lives or realize that our feelings aren't all together that different, which is comforting. 

It is always a good reminder that everyone else has a story and every person you pass in the grocery store is living a story you have no idea about, so always be kind. In my own life, this book made me take a deep breath in response to the things that I think are "going wrong" or the things/people that stress me out. In the long run and in comparison to the characters in this book, and the families who lose loved ones every day, my problems are minuscule. That is so grounding to remember. 

This is one of those books that makes me want to have coffee with its author and just listen to what led to the telling of the story and if there was inspiration from life behind it and what else he can tell me about the characters. So Bill Clegg, if you read this, let's grab a cup of joe and you can help me write my own powerful novel someday, what do you say? 

Show Us Your Books

Show Us Your Books: October, with Steph and Jana: 

Talk about your books, you ask? Well that's sure easy! Thanks Steph and Jana for having such a fun link up  and thanks to me, for FINALLY remembering to write a post for it. I seriously intend to recap the books I've read every month but I always forget and then face palm myself as soon as I see everyone else's posts. Seriously, this is the best way to add some great reads to your "to read" list so go check out the other bloggers' lists! 

This past month I found some really good ones, especially considered I spent most of the weeks leading up to Halloween reading  "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" with R1. Which I can't say I minded one bit! 

This doesn't really count since I just started it last night, but I wanted to share this beauty because I know I am going to love it: 

I'm super excited that she put some of ther quirkiness on a page. It's just a collection of her stories and memories about growing up in Hollywood. I think she is a truly grounded person who as flourished in her role as a mother. So far, sooo good! 

The Brockhurst File  I recieved from a blogger friend and I was super excited to get started on, mostly because I am addicted to shows like Forensic Files and 20/20. I have to say that even though I wanted it to sweep me away, just like How To Get Away With Murder does every Thursday, this just didn't do it for me. I think maybe it was the onslaught of several characters that you meet within the first pages that made it hard to keep straight. But if you can get thru the confusion of the first couple chapters, it has a creative storyline. 

After You by Jojo Moyes  - I literally flew through this one. You can read my review to get my full opinion but if you read the first book, Me Before You, then it's a natural progression to read the follow up story. I wasn't disappointed! 

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff: I listened to this on Audible. This is a book with 2 parts but many, many layers. It's a page turner with crazy twists that gives the reader insight that we unfortunately are denied in real life. The characters and loathing and lovable, an addicting combination. Great read.

I posted my review for Brooklyn yesterday. I was said to see it end and said that it didn't have way more details but I still loved it. I love the era, the setting, the characters. Everything. Seriously excited to see the movie! 

Life According to Steph

Life According to Steph  & Jana Says 

I can't wait to see what everyone else has been reading! 

Something I Never Thought I'd Say...

This picture is by far one of the my favorite serendipitous moments...

How put together I am, drinking my morning coffee on a calm, quiet morning, sitting at my clean kitchen bar, reading a book and all of the sudden, I look down and notice that my coffee mug and book match... How perfect is that?

Who am I kidding. We all know that I went searching for that exact mug in the cabinet and placed it perfectly next to my book and even held down the corner of the book because it was bent up and looked a little wonky. But dang it, is that not a cute as hello photo? 

But I really did drink the coffee and I really did sit and read, so that counts. 

Anyway... the point is, I read a book this week and wanted to share. Mostly because something has happened to me that has never, ever happened before.

The book, Brooklyn by Colin Toibin, is short and sweet. I knew half way through that it was too short to be a really great saga, which is what I love. The story had potential to be really intense and very involved.

So on to the thing I've never done before. I am never a huge fan of the movie editions of books. I am always the proprietor of reading the book first and seeing the movie just as a cherry on top. HOWEVER- this is a first for me. Even though this book was good, it was a little boring. For the first time ever, I am more excited to see the movie than I was about the book. Crazy, I know! Just watch the trailer to see what I am talking about: 

Eilis is a very traditional Irish girl in the late 1940s. She lives with her mother and sister and has just gotten her first job in a popular market store. I loved the descriptions of her job, the traditional Irish town, the dialogue and the storytelling. It was smooth, interesting and very easy to read. 

She goes with her friends one evening to a dance hall and meets a boy named Tony. He's Italian, funny, interesting and Eilis finds herself falling love. I really liked their fun courtship, it was cute in a way that all relationships in the 50s were what I imagined them to be. 

But then suddenly Eilis has the opportunity to go to America...a friend of the family suggests that there is better opportunity in New York and arranges her to live in a boarding house and work in a department store. And boom, she's off. A new life, a new future.

But I kept waiting and waiting for more...I kept waiting for Tony to fight more for her to stay. What a huge life changing decision to be made...and I thought it wasn't enough of a big deal in the book. 

She makes a life-changing promise to Tony before she leaves...and of course, as love stories go...her heart changes once she goes to America...

She flourishes in American and eventually begins to love her new life, her friends, her job...and of course, then comes a handsome man named Jim. 

I did still enjoy the book, because I wanted more details, I have to say, I'm going to enjoy the movie even more... 

What's next: Currently, I am reading Wildflower by Drew Barrymore and these 2 beauties I picked up at Target this weekend: 

Review: After You by JoJo Moyes

Let's talk about a really good book, okay? 
And you know what's better than a really good book? TWO really good books. 

There aren't that many great sequels in books. It's a lucky of draw, just like movies. 

A couple years ago, I sat crying my eyes out while reading Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, After that, I obsessively read her others, The Last Letter from Your Lover, One Plus One and The Girl You Left Behind 

I LOVED Me Before You. It was such a compassionate, non-traditional love story. I love the stories where you don't think love is even possible but then suddenly, it's there, right in front of the character and you're as happy for them as you would be if you yourself had just found the love of your life. 

After You was a little bit a curve ball, especially after the page turner of its precursor. I hated finding Louisa Clark so sad and broken at the start of the book, but I don't know why I expected any less. (I won't put any spoilers in this so you can read Me Before You, but I'll just say that you shouldn't expect flowers and sunshine right away.)

Louisa isn't fighting to be happy. She's being a bump on a log, as my mom used to say to me when I was pouting. She's just getting by. Gloomy. She's no longer the quirky girl with the interesting wardrobe. She's just sad. So it took a while for me to get into After You, but I am glad I stuck around because there's a curve ball that made things quite interesting. 

What would you do if life was asking you to keep holding on to something in your past? What if the one thing you were holding on to made it impossible for you to move on? 

I think Louisa is an interesting character because she's alive, but she's got this dead soul, and slowly, during After You, it starts stirring and slowly, you see her come back again. She was such an interesting character at the beginning of Me Before You. She's a very transitional character. It was such a relief to see her come back again in the sequel. 

Anyway, I feel like I am rambling but here's the deal. If you've read Me Before You and loved it, you'll need After Me to tie up the loose ends and check in on Louisa, because there's no way you didn't fall in love with her. If you haven't read it, then go ahead and tackle it, because it's just one of those love stories you need to read. 

Happy Reading! 

What's On My Book Shelf

What is this, a new post? How in the world did this happen? 

It's been 2 months since I've blogged..the longest gap I've ever had between posts in 3 years.

What's been going on around here? Life stuff, I guess. Stuff that just require my full attention and finding the time to do even my favorite things has been few and far between.

Moving into our dream house, work, work, work, kids starting's a wonder I get anything done around here.

I have manged to read a couple great books amidst the craziness, so I thought I would dive back into blogging with some recommendations of books I've read lately and what is up next on the reading list. 

If you have read any of these, let me know what you think of them, I would love to read your thoughts! 

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner- I always answer Jennifer Weiner when asked who my favorite author is. Jennifer W is, in the words of Lena Dunham, "the voice of our generation." She just speaks to me. So, as you do when your favorites come out with a new book, I pounced on it. And I am so glad I did. 

It's told from the alternating view points of Rachel and Andy and their life long love story, which I love because you get in depth looks from both sides. Rachel struggled through her life as a child and teen because of a heart problem, which is how she found herself talking to a young boy in a hospital when she was 8. After the boy was gone, Rachel received a love letter from Andy and never really stopped thinking about it. Fate brings them together again years later. It's like a modern day Harry Met Sally, except everyone has better hair and there's no wool coats and plaid everywhere. You keep wanting them to find each other again. The story about whether or not they'll end up together is a satisfying, endearing and emotional story that I really really enjoyed. 

 Oh, and Jennifer Weiner herself likes my review so that means it's legit. 

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand - I know the summer is over but this is the ultimate beach read. So if it wasn't already September and if you had a beach, you would be set. It made me wish so bad that Desperate Housewives was still on TV. I need Gabby and Bree back in my life so bad, but this book was a nice little substitute. Two best friends Madison and Grace are roughing the waters of their rich lives, mansions and secrets. Rough, huh? Yeah right. But you do have to feel sorry for them a little bit. Madison is a novelist with a major case of writer's block that leads her to buying an apartment to get away and write. Someone sees her going into the apartment with the realtor and rumor number 1 starts. Grace shows up at a garden club event with a totally hot landscaper and rumor number 2 takes off. And then there is Grace's husband who has a secret all his own that no one sees coming.

It's just a great read you can probably finish over the weekend when you're relaxing and just want to get away to Nantucket for a little bit. 

Summer Secrets by Jane Green- What is it with me and these juicy summertime reads? Apparently I love them because that's the pattern I am on. This story, however, is a little moodier than the others. Cat is an alcoholic. What's worse, at one point, she doesn't even know it or won't admit it. This is the story of how Cat fights to live a normal life, and the story follows along as she tries to pick up the various pieces that her addiction leaves shattered in its path of destruction. 

Here's what I'm currently reading: 

Rising Strong by Brene Brown- I first fell in love with Brene Brown from TED Talks and now I love her books. You just need some soul food once and a while, you know?

Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott- I chose to this because it kept showing up again and again on my Goodreads recommendations and plus I really liked the cover. However, once I read the sample I know I had to read it- I didn't even know what it was really about I just loved the style of the writing so much. I love stories with several layers that all have something in common and are somehow connected. The connection in Infinite Home is Edith, a landlady who houses a collection of misfits in her apartments. They each have their own stories of struggle, love, disappointment, and need for human connection and comfort. They are living separate lives until they realize that Edith needs help. 

It's a beautifully written story that I am really excited to dive further into!  

And what's up next? I picked up a copy of East of Eden at a used book story because I've always wanted to read it so I figured if I had a copy of it in the house I would eventually find the time to read it. 

For even more great book ideas, head over to Life According to Steph for Show Us Your Book Tuesday 

When I'm not reading, I'll be happily putting up fall decor in our new house and hopefully painting our living room and bathrooms. I can't stopping browsing Pinterest for more floating shelf ideas and mantle decor tips. If you need me, I'll be here: 

Book Review: The Wednesday Group

This is the kind of book you'll want to read to feel better about whatever unfortunate event in life you may be facing. Because it could always be worse. 

The Wednesday Group (named such because of the day of the week a group of women meet for a support group) has all the makings for a great saga. 

These women's lives range from that of a high profile judge to a housewife but they all have something in common: sadness. 

They are seeking the help of psychiatrist Catherine to cope with the fact that their husbands are self proclaimed sex addicts. Some are addicted to porn, others are addicted to casual sex and others may or may not be gay, but all are struggling to save their marriages. 

How much unhappiness is too much? How many times can you go to bed crying? How long do you stay in a loveless marriage? These women are trying to discover just how much the heart can endure. 

What I liked the most about the story is that all of the the women don't know each  other at the beginning. They start coming to the meetings not knowing the others' stories or lives but slowly, they open up to each other and quickly find they are not alone. What an amazing feeling, suddenly realizing that the storm you've been experience is something others can empathize with and help you through. 

The thing I didn't enjoy about The Wednesday Group is the ending. It was one of those stories where I think the author wanted to leave the stories up to the imagination of the reader. But that's just not what I want in a book. Especially this kind of story, where I fall in love with the characters. They became my little sister, or aunt or dear friend. I needed to know if they were going to be okay in the end. And I didn't get that ending, so here I am, still wondering. But I guess that's the mark of a good writer, isn't it? Writing such a story that stays with the reader, so much so that they are left wanting more? 

This is a great quick read if you are between books that are really intense. It was a great book to listen to on audio book because the individual stories about the women make it go by really fast. It really helped passed the time of my commute. 

Happy Reading! 

Lately, I've been reading...

Need a new book? Look no further because I've read some great books lately that I know you will love! (Plus one that you can probably skip, so you can save your time!) 

Here's a quick summary of the books I've read lately: 
Side Note: For a TON of great book round ups, check out Life According To Steph's Monthly Show Us Your Books link up!)

When I heard that Judy Blume was writing another book, the Margaret and Deenie inside me shouted with glee. This book didn't disappoint. There is much less talk about periods and teen angst but it still was a winner for me (my tastes have thankfully matured since the 1990s) 

In the Unlikely Event is based on the true story of numerous plane crashes that plummeted in Blume's home town in the 1950s. Her story looks into how those events effected several different characters.  Her descriptions of the crashes, including news stories and police reports, as well as various characters' personal recollections gives this novel multiple dimensions. Ruby, Christina, Merri, Cathy and more..they all tell a side of the story that the other didn't see and I love how all of it connects in one way or another. It was also really interesting to see how people in the 1950s dealt with tragedy. What a difference from the media circus that occurs in our lives now. These disasters were still felt by other miles and miles away but the stories are told in letters and phone calls and limited news coverage so they are much more personal. Most memorable moment: Realizing a character I loved had died in one of the crashes. I was so involved. It was a riveting story. 

I listened to this family saga on audiobook and I have to say, I just wasn't thrilled. How boring was it, exactly? Enough that I can't remember any of the characters' names. The story has splendid potential: family drama, love triangles and wine. LOTS of wine. What could go wrong?  It's just that this book was everything I hate my wine to be. Bland. Boring. Watered down. And no matter how much I drank, I just needed a little bit more. 

Oh, this book. I'm telling you what. You have to read it. 
It's like Dateline meets True Life meets Intervention. I know for a fact this will probably become a movie at some point. The main character is haunted by ghosts of a past no one should ever have to experience. As a teenager in a privileged life, Ani is revisiting the place where her life changed forever and there is a lot of soul searching she needs to do before she does it. There's a lot of hurt involved in Luckiest Girl Alive, you can see the scars of the characters from miles away. You can tell that Ani is deeply traumatized and the author pulls you in so deep, you'll be captivated all the way to finding how what happened that shattered her life. And that's really just half the story. I feel like I should give you more but  I don't want to ruin any mystery, it is what makes this book so awesome.

I'm currently reading: 

This book, from new author Kate Michaels had me hooked just from the cover alone. It's like the Devil Wears Prada plus the cute girl from SkinnyGirl cocktails. Booze and books. Two of my favorite things, so read it I will! 

Plus, it's about a twenties New Yorker slumming around in a classy way, Sex and the City meets Lena Dunham.  Her first year of living in the big city had plenty of intrigue and possibilities, but the stranger in her bed and the walks of shame aren't living up to her expectations. I can't wait to see how this stories plays out. 

I'm also currently listening to

A judge, a psychiatric nurse, affairs and illicit chat rooms. Don't let he cushy cover of this book fool you.  This raunchy look at what happens when people don't think they are being watched is just the kind of book I'll need to help me move on since I'm done binge watching Orange is the New Black. 

After you've put your book away, I also highly recommend you watch UnReal on Lifetime. You can watch the first 4 episodes online and then catch up on Monday nights. It's a scripted show about producers of a Bachelor type reality show and boy, is it juicy! Just a little heads up for anyone who loves a good show to binge like I do! 

What are you reading?

Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

What do I love about a great book? 

I love the simplicity of a story that passionately needs to be told. 
I think that happens anytime someone tackles a fictional novel about World War II. 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is one of those stories. 

The Nightingale is a story about two sisters, Isabelle and Vianne, who are living in France in the late 1930s. Vianne, a mother and wife, quietly enjoys life in the French countryside with her husband and daughter. Her best friend Rachel is next door. They are charmed and happy. Isabelle is Vianne's spirited younger sister who has a history of getting expelled from various boarding schools. She's passionate, reckless and brave. With their mother gone and their father lost to alcoholism, the sisters have no family except for each other, but sadly, they are not close.

But that was before the war. 

Vianne finds herself alone after her husband leaves to fight for France. Soon, there's a German soldier living with her who has taken over her home and requiring her to cook for him. I learned a lot more about the war in this book. What I thought was interesting about Hannah's portrayal was that she created a German soldier that was a likable character. 

Captain Beck comes in Vianne's house but isn't cruel to her. And we've all heard the horror stories of the German soldiers. But there's a companionship that forms between Vianne and Captian Beck that I wasn't expecting. It was the only saving grace about the war for Vianne. For a little while, anyway. Vianne learns how to survive the war, following the rules and keeping her daughter safe. 

Isabelle, on the other hand, was a different story. She's too brave for her own good. She begins aiding American pilots escape the German soldiers and eventually becomes a force to be reckoned with. She was on the run constantly and was one of the most wanted people during the war on France. German soldiers knew there was someone instrumenting the escape of Americans but they couldn't find out who and they most certainly didn't suspect a 19 year old girl. 

The story of Isabelle's bravery and what her sister must do to survive the war makes this book a page turner that I didn't expect. Normally, historic fiction about World War II makes me wary. Let's face it, they are terribly sad. (The most moving books I've read: Sarah's Key, Unbroken) But there is so much fight in this book. Vianne and Isabelle evolve into survivors with every chapter. They change the course of their lives, choosing to fight, refusing to succumb to the tragedy that was befalling their country.  

I think the most amazing part of this story is the resilience of the characters. Despite the execution of their innocent neighbors, the seizing of their homes and the dangers ripping apart their villages, they still manage to protect their will to survive. Vianne has to make decisions that no woman should ever have to face. Isabelle takes risks that make no sense, until you come to understand her brave spirit and respect her drive to not let the war win. 

Both women are able to hold on to a certain part of their hearts that allows them to go on after the war ends. The story begins and ends with one of the woman telling her story, looking back on it from 1996. I pictured Rose from the Titanic, telling Bill Paxton that she dropped the necklace into the ocean in the end. 

It's the perfect way to begin such a saga and then end is beautiful tied together. It's increadible that two women could  go through so much. Tragedy, torture, loss, and yet they still find the capacity to not only love, but to continue to sacrifice for the people they love the most. 

Read it. Read it because it's about the type of history we need to know about. Read it because it's about family and love and bravery. You won't be disappointed. 

Book Review: Ruby by Cynthia Bond

This book I am going to tell you about is not just any book. It's Oprah's Book Club book, which whether you like it or not, you know you're going to appreciate the writing and quality at the very least. It's going to be beautiful and moving. It's Oprah. 

"The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her—this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction."

I think the only way for me to describe this book to you is to use the word haunting.

Like, you have to close the book because you're afraid to continue. Not haunting like there's ghosts. Haunting because the sadness seeps into your bones. 

This book contains the most beautiful prose I have ever read. 

The book is a little cryptic and some of the imagery is hard to follow. 
First, there is Ephram. He is a black man in his 40s with a past that causes him to hang his head. He lives with his sister, Celia, who he calls Mama because she has practically raised him. 

Because his real mama ran naked through their church picnic years ago and died in a mental hospital. Because his daddy was hung from a tree in the woods. 

Ephram is in love with Ruby, a woman he barely knows, one that he has known from afar except for a short encounter as children. I honestly couldn't tell in the beginning of the book where the story was going. It's very cryptic, but the gist of it is this: We all have demons, but how powerful those demons can become depends on our ability to overcome them. 

 People who think that because someone's skin is a different color or because a person is a woman, they are less. There is a lot of "adult" content in this book. There were times where I was cringing. Other times, I had to stop completely. But I had fallen in love with the characters so much that I felt protective over them so I had to keep going to make sure they were okay.

Ruby's character was the hardest. She was forced into prostitution at the age of 6.  In adulthood, the woman who Ephram sees walking the roads day in and day out is a shell. She's haunted by so many demons she's barely alive. The amazing author spares no details in Ruby. You get all the details on Ruby's experience in a brothel as a young girl, her struggles with the ghosts of her babies that never made it into her arms, the terror that follows after years of abuse and mistreatment, have turned into demons that haunt her where ever she turns. As the story unfolds, the answer to where and who those demons originate from shocked me, as I am sure they will you, as well. 

Throughout the entire story, I wanted Ephram and Ruby to connect just so that they could protect each other and help each other heal but stories from the past that kept coming up made me realized how utterly tragic their lives were, it seems impossible that they would ever overcome them.  

 I know Oprah chose this book because it is so big. The sadness is so big, the characters are so big

Read it if you don't mind reading about a little sadness. But thankfully, you'll also read about human resilience and love that reaches beyond tragedy to give hope.