Dear Thing by Julie Cohen {Review}

Dear Thing Book Cover

 

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this e-book from NetGalley for review purposes. No other compensation was given. 

I needed a light read for my cross-country flight and Dear Thing was a great pick. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the story of a friend (Romily) who volunteers to be the surrogate for her best friend (Ben) and his wife (Claire) was appealing to me.

Romily and Claire are from two different worlds, but both women are connected by Ben. Ben and Claire have tried for years to have a baby with no success and after a drunken night at the pub with Ben, Romily agrees to carry their baby. She is a single mom with an established career and no real desire for another child. She would do anything in this world to see Ben happy, so if carrying his baby is it- then she’ll do it.

What unfolds, though, is a rollercoaster ride of feelings- both old and new- that Romily never expected. She begins to struggle with the decision that she has made.

The book is titled Dear Thing because Claire encouraged Romily to write letters to the unborn baby throughout the pregnancy. The letters become a cathartic way for Romily to process her feelings. What she doesn’t expect is for Claire to stumble upon this journal and all of the events that occur in her life because of this.

Cohen has a way with words. She is extremely detailed and takes care to let the reader get to know each character both as an individual and as a part of this large puzzle.

I would definitely recommend this book.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter {Review}

Pretty Girls Karin Slaughter

Legal Stuff: I was provided with a copy of Pretty Girls for free from Harper Collins to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. 

Oh. My. God.

That is the best way for me to begin this review. I read the following snippet on Amazon:

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.”

I thought oOOooo that looks interesting.

About two chapters in I knew that this book was not going to be what I thought. I’ve never read a Karin Slaughter book and this one, I must say was great.

Slaughter has a way with words- she does an excellent job of describing things to a ‘T’- I knew how much an item being held weighed, what color it was, and even what it smelled like. Her descriptive writing pulls you in right from the beginning and if you are a visual person like me, it’s like you are right there with the characters- in the alley, in their home, at the police station.

Because of her eye for detail, I must say: Trigger Warning to anyone badly triggered by acts of sexual violence- there was a lot of it and Slaughter spared no details. She goes to some very dark places and the writing can be very intense during those moments. For this reason alone, as we got deeper into the book I had to put it down and come back to it the next day, reading it in bits and pieces. Someone with my history probably shouldn’t read books like this at all, but her writing is so good and you become so invested in the characters that you want to know what happens.

The suspense reminded me a bit of Gillian Flynn’s books- every time I thought I had a handle on what was going on, Slaughter would throw another curve ball into the mix. I found myself constantly asking “Is he involved? Is she involved? ” I could never really tell who our protagonist could trust.

I loved all of the strong female characters in this book, who although flawed, were still able to band together in the end. This is a wonderful story of sisterhood, family, deception, lies and ultimately finding the truth. Slaughter uses a great analogy from The Matrix- red pill or blue pill… How far would you go? How much would you want to know?

I wouldn’t hesitate to read another Karin Slaughter book in the future.

Girls.

Pea doesn’t own any dolls.

Well, I take that back, she has this one Elsa doll that sings “Let It Go” (much to my dismay) and she sits atop Pea’s toy chest- probably the same place she’s been for months. You know how that goes, they get a toy, they love it, and then they’re over it.

Now if she wanted dolls I would buy her all of the dolls in the world, but she doesn’t ask for any.

She likes to build Legos, play with her brother’s cars, read, draw & write , play Minecraft, ride her scooter, play basketball, chase geckos, and love on her mommy and daddy- among other things.

She’s currently plowing through the Magic Tree House series, is a great artist and storyteller, and God help us all that I gave in and bought her Minecraft. Can you say OBSESSED?

Dolls have never come up.

This past summer I had a conversation with someone that went something like this:

Her: “She doesn’t have ANY dolls? Not one?”

Me: “No.”

Her: “Oh my goodness! Are you for real? My daughter has 2,345,789.”

Me: ?

Cause what do you say? Hooray for you?

And I’ve had many of these conversations with moms over time.

Fast forward to yesterday- my mom called yesterday looking for ideas for Christmas gifts for the kids (hey, mom!) and I told her that she could probably just get Pea some Hot Wheels.

The question “what is she into?” is very easy to answer right now: “whatever her younger brother has.” I mean, seriously. If CJ gets a Paw Patrol toy for his birthday, she wants to play with it allofthetime, giving him no chances to play with his own toys. The VTech car set he got last Christmas? Hers. His light up Batman thingy? She’s all over it.

So, I don’t know what she’s into- but it ain’t dolls. Mom’s reaction?

“She doesn’t have any dolls? You had dolls when you were growing up…”

I love my mom, bless her heart.

Pea isn’t me. Or maybe she is, cause I think dolls are dumb. (Not hatin’ on dolls, because I think lots of other toys are dumb as well, but dolls don’t do anything.)

And maybe Pea doesn’t even think dolls are dumb. If she was at a playdate with someone who had 8 million dolls do I think she wouldn’t play dolls with that person? She probably would.

Dolls just… aren’t her thing.

And that’s okay- right?

Who makes the rules about what girls should like? What girls should do?

Girls Be Yourself

This doesn’t just apply to young girls, but women as well.

I’ve gotten the side eye and the “joking” from grown women who don’t understand why I don’t own shoes… like dressy shoes.

I like sneakers. I’m sorry, let me go back- love sneakers.  sneakers are my life. I have Nikes, TOMS, and clogs in my closet (don’t hate on my love for a good pair of Sanita or Danskos- I work on my feet). So if we’re talking about heels, my clogs are as high as I go.

I like flats.

I’m also clumsy as shit. I would fall just standing still. My husband jokes about this all of the time with me. If Pea trips going up the stairs he’ll say something to the tune of “I wonder where she gets that from…” Guilty as charged. I’m not really clear how I’m a runner and how or why I haven’t hurt myself yet. (Knocks on wood).

I get absolute anxiety when I think about having to “dress up” and shopping makes me wanna puke. If there was a picture next to low maintenance it would be mine.

I shop like this:

“Ooo, those jeans/that dress/that shirt are/is my size. Can we go?”

My husband makes me try stuff on because he knows that if I get home and it doesn’t fit the way that I want the chances of me finding the time to do a return or exchange are zero.

Now if you took me into the Nike or Under Armour store? I could be up in that piece all. day. long. But even then, I know what size I wear in sports bras or compression pants or running socks or shoes- I don’t need to spend forever in there. It’s just that everything is so pretty… I want to spend forever in there.

Pretty. Girls should feel pretty, right?

Who says it’s the shoes or the dress or the skirt that makes us feel pretty?

I am the first one to compliment another woman if she looks uh-may-zing in an outfit. Skirt, dress, short- whatever. I’ll say it.

So why does the conversation get weird when I say that I don’t own any dresses? I mean except my 1 signature black funeral dress and my go-to black/white maxi dress (thank you, Target) I don’t have any. I don’t actively seek out dresses, not because I hate them (I would wear maxi dresses every single day because they never seem to need to be ironed), I just…

I feel pretty in a nice pair of jeans and the right pair of Nikes with a t-shirt on.

I feel pretty when I’m working out and I’ve had a good run or just got through a good round of strength training. Well, really, I feel strong- but somehow feeling strong makes me feel pretty, so…

I feel pretty when my hair is done.

I won’t paint my fingernails, but I will get me a pedicure because painted toes are e-ver-y-thang.

I must get my eyebrows done. This is not a question or a statement, I cannot pass go or collect $200. The only time that you will see me start to grow a forest on my forehead is in September. In my preparation for my birthday month I wait- for eyebrows and hair, then I go get it done and feel like a Queen.

I digress.

How about instead of lifting an eyebrow or poking fun at girls or women for not being into the stereotypical stuff that girls and women should like or do, just accept that person for who she is.

I’m not really sure what the deal is.

Pea doesn’t like dolls. I don’t like wearing skirts.

We’re girls.

We’re smart, funny, interesting, studious, pensive, curious, well-read, athletic, amazing, wonderful

girls.

Pea&MeCollageJustGirls

Running In The Dark

A few weeks ago after an early morning run, I posted this on Instagram.

 

Road ID Dark Runs

 

All jokes aside, running in the dark is one of my biggest fears. I always feel like I’m conquering something when I go out for a run in the dark… and then another part of me feels like I’m dumb and I should probably just go back home and run on my treadmill.

Our neighborhood is fairly safe, but still- my nerves.

Running in the Dark

 

Before I go out I grab the three things:

  • My reflective belt (so that people can see me)
  • My shoe pouch (because I need a place to put my keys) &
  • My slim band (which I try to never leave home without because it has my emergency info on it)*

The first item is the most important things for me when I’m running in the dark. We don’t have very many street lights in our neighborhood and surprisingly, there are a lot of cars on the road at 5 am, so making sure that I can be seen is important.

My husband hates that I go out at all. I thought that getting a treadmill would be the answer the my problems of needing to run before work, but really I miss being outdoors. I miss the fresh air, I miss my feet hitting the pavement, I like not feeling confined to my garage.

Now, I’m not saying that the treadmill was a horrible purchase, because it gets a lot of use, but sometimes- just sometimes I want to be outdoors.

I also feel like the fear of someone attacking me (or a coyote or a rabid raccoon) shouldn’t be enough to keep me in the house- am I wrong for that?

I know common sense is a factor that should come into play here, but sometimes I guess, I like to tuck it in my back pocket (along with my paranoia).

Running before work is amazing. Do I love getting up at 5 am when my alarm goes off? Hell no. Do I ever regret the run when it’s done? Absolutely not. It gives me a boost that when paired with caffeine can usually set me up to have a great day, no matter what is thrown at me.

So on the days that I get up and decide to hit the pavement, I try to do everything that I can to make sure that I’m safe.

What about you? Are you a morning runner? What are your thoughts on running in the dark? What do you do to make sure that you’re safe (from cars, animals, humans- whatever)?

*All of the items mentioned are made by Road ID and I have received promotional items from them in the past, but none of that inspired this post or my opinions of how helpful their products are. *