Book Review – Ask Again, Yes

Ask Again, Yes tells the story of two intertwining families who share a decades-long bond through their patriarchal careers, their being neighbors, their tragedies and a marriage. From their upbringings to their personalities to the events of their personal lives, the Gleesons and Stanhopes are forever tied to each other yet forever in contention given their differences and the events that unfold. Can they move on from where they’ve been? Can their children break the mold of the past? Will their children even understand their pasts as adults?

Another BOTM choice I passed up (for fear it was too similar to the many other books I’d been reading at the time), I also picked this one up as a prize from my library’s summer reading club. I voted for it a few times at book club in hopes that it would become our book, but it never won, and I finally just couldn’t wait to dive in because I knew I would like it.

Book 42:
Ask Again, Yes
by Mary Beth Keane

Genre:
Literary Fiction, Contemporary

Published:
May 2019

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, Ask Again, Yes tells the story of two intertwining families who share a decades-long bond through their patriarchal careers, their being neighbors, their tragedies and a marriage. From their upbringings to their personalities to the events of their personal lives, the Gleesons and Stanhopes are forever tied to each other yet forever in contention given their differences and the events that unfold. Can they move on from where they’ve been? Can their children break the mold of the past? Will their children even understand their pasts as adults?

Favorite Quote(s):

“They’d both learned that a memory is a fact that has been dyed and trimmed and rinsed so many times that it comes out looking almost unrecognizable to anyone else who was in that room or anyone who was standing on the grass beneath that telephone pole.”

– Mary Beth Keane, Ask Again, Yes

Awards (based upon my brief research):
None yet.

Pages:
390

My Overall Rating:
4.5 – This was an emotional read. The events that unfolded were large enough to keep me pulled in yet believable enough to require me to remind myself that it was a novel. I read it quickly – partly because I didn’t want to put it down, partly because it reads quickly and partly because I’ve been so tired that all I want to do is read.

I loved how the author had me rooting for both families despite the fact that the families are essentially combatant throughout most of the story. I wanted the best for all of the characters… even when they were doing ridiculous things. (Come on Peter, you’re better than that!)

While the things that happened between the Stanhopes and the Gleesons have largely never happened for me, to a different degree, I think we can all relate. We all have a family, an individual, a co-worker we disagree with and have had it out with in some way or another. We’ve all had moments where we’ve had to continue in relationships we’d rather not continue in. We’ve all had a difficult situation to navigate from childhood to adulthood. We’ve all been there…

I don’t think this book is a must read, but’s definitely a good use of time if read.

Book Review – The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler is the story of a single mom of two who finally catches a break when her ex-husband returns for a summer with the kids. Off to New York City for a convention, Amy reconnects with an old friend, meets new people, lets loose and learns a lot about herself and what she wants in life.

So, I had a baby, hence the Kindle purchase, because I am now a middle of the night reader in addition to a day time reader, because who needs sleep? One of the most exciting things I’ve found since being a Kindle owner/user is Amazon’s daily deals for e-Books. I pretty much check them every day. And then as a Prime member, I will choose no-rush shipping to get my digital rewards, and between my rewards and the daily deals, I’m getting free e-Books!

Book 41:
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
by Kelly Harms

Genre:
Chick Lit, Contemporary

Published:
May 2019

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, The Overdue Life of Amy Byler is the story of a single mom of two who finally catches a break when her ex-husband returns for a summer with the kids. Off to New York City for a convention, Amy reconnects with an old friend, meets new people, lets loose and learns a lot about herself and what she wants in life.

Favorite Quote(s):

“Some people have to practice forgiveness and will never be naturals. They’ll either do the work and get awesome at it but always have to think it over—or never do the work and die with a sack of hurts the size of an elephant.”

– Kelly Harms, The Overdue Life of Amy Byler

Awards (based upon my brief research):
None yet.

Pages:
328

My Overall Rating:
3.5 – Sure, I was half asleep while reading most of this book, but I also found myself continuing to read at 2:00/3:00 in the morning even after my kiddo was done eating, so… the book was good. However, had I sat down and read this during the day, I think I would have found that I didn’t love, love, love it. It was perfect for a pick-it-up-and-read-a-bit situation. It’s light-hearted. The story flowed easily. But mostly, I thought the story was really cute – a feel good read with likable characters the author sets you up to love. Cute doesn’t make me love a book, but sometimes cute is good, too.

Book Review – Cozy Minimalist Home

Cozy Minimalist Home is a self-help guide to gaining more style in your home with less stuff. Smith takes the reader, step-by-step, through the process of designing and/or re-designing a room to make it functional, purposeful and cozy.

Friends, I made a real leap into questionable territory – I bought a Kindle. Among the many benefits owning a Kindle boasts, I’ve got some additional reasoning for taking said leap, and I think I’m going to like it. However, I have to note that I will always be a true, hold-it-in-your-hands, turn-your-own-pages book lover. I even like the smell of books. And I hate that my toddler looks at my Kindle and thinks it’s my phone.

So my first Kindle read, and my 33rd book of the year, was one I got for free because of my Amazon Prime membership (something I love about owning a Kindle… eek!).

Book 33:
Cozy Minimalist Home; More Style, Less Stuff
by Myquillyn Smith

Genre:
Nonfiction, Self Help

Published:
October 2018

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, Cozy Minimalist Home is a self-help guide to gaining more style in your home with less stuff. Smith takes the reader, step-by-step, through the process of designing and/or re-designing a room to make it functional, purposeful and cozy.

Favorite Quote(s):

“Many people never know they are allowed to say the have enough. It almost seems un-American.”

– Myquillyn Smith, Cozy Minimalist Home; More Style, Less Stuff

Awards (based upon my brief research):
None noted.

Pages:
220

My Overall Rating:
3 – I really loved the idea of this book. I struggle with home decor – it is not something I would consider myself good at, and my husband often tells me we do not have enough of it because I just haven’t gotten around to decorating in the five years we’ve owned our house. Making my house cozy with a minimalist approach sounded like a great idea!

However, a lot of it Smith’s suggestions seemed elementary and would have been more beneficial if I was just moving in as opposed to just dreaming up a re-decorated space. I gleaned a few takeaways that I’ll consider as I look to my yet-to-be-decorated spaces and/or my why-did-I-decorate-like-this spaces, but as a whole, I think this book is actually for someone who’s, well, worse at decorating than I am.

Smith certainly does decorate beautiful spaces, though!