Friday, April 28, 2017

ARC Review: One Good Thing by Wendy Wax

One Good Thing (Ten Beach Road, #5)Title: One Good Thing
Author: Wendy Wax
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley; April 25, 2017
Genre: Womens Fiction
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

From the USA Today bestselling author of Sunshine Beach, a story of four women trying to rebuild more than their lives...

Before you can fix it up, you might have to tear it down...

Embroiled in a battle to regain control of their renovation-turned-reality TV show, Do Over, Maddie, Avery, Nikki, and Kyra find themselves holding tight to the frayed ends of their friendship and relationships. Maddie must face the realities of dating a rock star once again topping the charts and deal with her hapless ex-husband, while Avery is caught up in family drama even as she attempts to transform a tiny cottage into a home for the newly impoverished heiress who helped bankroll their last renovation. Put on bedrest, a hugely pregnant Nikki can’t quite believe love can last, or trust in her own maternal instinct. And Kyra, who has secretly put Bella Flora at risk in an attempt to salvage Do Over, must decide whether to accept a desperately needed bail out from her son’s famous father that comes with far too many strings attached. But friendship is made for times like these, to keep each other—and their dreams—from crumbling...

My Thoughts:

Lately, I’ve ended up with books that are pretty late in the series. So, I was kind of worried that I might have some trouble following the story since One Good Thing by Wendy Wax is the fifth book in the series. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, and I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. One Good Thing was very much a story about love, loss, endings, and new beginnings. And guys, it was pretty fantastic.

One Good Thing is definitely one of those books that is driven by the characters. That’s what the book was primarily about but it does it in such a hopeful yet bittersweet way, and I found that completely compelling. Wax took such seemingly ordinary characters and expertly put them into situations that illustrated the potential highs and lows of life. The issues that many of the characters faced were done pretty well and gave a highly emotional aspect to the plot. It was more than easy to get into the story.

I actually enjoy multiple points of view in books, and this is just another good example of why it does work. There were a lot of characters that had their own perspectives, but honestly, I didn’t even mind. I liked reading from so many viewpoints and getting to see the different experiences and sides of the story, despite the characters being in the same environment. Each character had their own unique voice and I never felt like I was reading from the perspective of characters that were carbon copies of each other.

Despite getting such a late start in the series, I’m glad that I went ahead and read One Good Thing anyway, because it was a great story.

Rating 4/5

This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (Publisher) for this review, thank you!

About the author...

Wendy Wax, a former broadcaster, is the author of thirteen novels, including Sunshine Beach, A Week at the Lake, While We Were Watching Downtown Abby, The House on Mermaid Point, Ocean Beach, and Ten Beach Road. The mother of two grown sons, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and is doing her best to adjust to the quiet of her recently emptied nest...
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ARC Review: Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym

Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life UnstrungTitle: Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung
Author: Min Kym
Publisher/Publication Date: Crown Publishing Group; April 25, 2017
Genre: Memoir; Nonfiction
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

The spellbinding memoir of a violin virtuoso who loses the instrument that had defined her both on stage and off -- and who discovers, beyond the violin, the music of her own voice...

Her first violin was tiny, harsh, factory-made; her first piece was -Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star.- But from the very beginning, Min Kym knew that music was the element in which she could swim and dive and soar. At seven years old, she was a prodigy, the youngest ever student at the famed Purcell School. At eleven, she won her first international prize; at eighteen, violinist great Ruggiero Ricci called her -the most talented violinist I've ever taught.- And at twenty-one, she found -the one, - the violin she would play as a soloist: a rare 1696 Stradivarius. Her career took off. She recorded the Brahms concerto and a world tour was planned. Then, in a London cafe, her violin was stolen. She felt as though she had lost her soulmate, and with it her sense of who she was. Overnight she became unable to play or function, stunned into silence. In this lucid and transfixing memoir, Kym reckons with the space left by her violin's absence. She sees with new eyes her past as a child prodigy, with its isolation and crushing expectations; her combustible relationships with teachers and with a domineering boyfriend; and her navigation of two very different worlds, her traditional Korean family and her music. And in the stark yet clarifying light of her loss, she rediscovers her voice and herself...

My Thoughts:

A while ago, I mentioned that I was going on a bit of a hiatus from reading nonfiction. Well, that’s obviously over. It’s cancelled. I’m going to leave it at that, because when I saw Gone by Min Kym up for review, I was more than interested. Gone sounded like the kind of book I would love to read, and my initial assessment was right. Gone was truly a fantastic memoir that was worth the time I spent reading it.

I’ve read a couple of memoirs here and there, but Gone was something else. The subject dealt with music, which I rarely read about. Still, this seemed like such and authentic book because of the writing—which was engrossing—but also because Kym herself is the violinist. Min Kym wrote about her personal experiences. She talked about the expectations that were placed on her because of her obvious and natural skill with a violin and how her early lessons and learned habits ultimately affected her life. Gone detailed some of the most pivotal times in her life—both emotionally and professionally—and painted an honest picture. It was written from the perspective of a person who was a child prodigy from their perspective, not told by someone else. Gone was as much about the violin that was unjustly taken as it was the violinist behind the bow. And let me tell you, the result was powerful.

I could write more about Gone, but I’m not trying to summarize the whole memoir. There wouldn’t be a point to it. You’d have to read it to truly understand. That’s all I can say.

Now, I have looked up more about Min Kym and discovered that there is an album that was released as a companion to this book. I have listened to it. And it has reminded me of why I still, to this day, enjoy listening to classical music.

So, if you read the memoir also listen to the companion album too. That’s my recommendation. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have music to listen to.

Rating 5/5

This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (Publisher) for this review, thank you!

Monday, April 3, 2017

I watched Jean of the Joneses...

Title: Jean of the Joneses
Written by: Stella Meghie 
Produced by: Floyd Kane; Amos Adetuyi; Stella Meghie
Directed by: Stella Meghie
Watched/Channel: TV; TV One

My thoughts:

I don’t normally talk about the stuff I watch on TV, especially on Reading on the Rocks. However, I had a lot of thoughts about Jean of the Joneses, so I decided to write about it for the blog anyway.

You know, I really like when I happen to find a movie that totally surprises me, and that’s what happened with Jean of the Joneses. I literally knew nothing about this movie, but it happened to come on before I changed the channel I was watching. And, oh man, you guys, this movie was everything.

Jean of the Joneses is one of the best movies I’ve recently watched. There was something so real about the characters and how they handled and reacted to the situations in their personal and professional lives. A lot of the character development happened gradually, and was done in a way that really added emotional depth to the movie. There was an almost realistic authenticity to it that was pretty amazing, and that made the film entirely engrossing.

I absolutely loved Jean Jones. She was going through a lot of things in her life. She wasn’t a perfect character, but her story was far more interesting because of it. She was at an impasse in her personal life and career, and it was interesting to see how she handled things as they were thrown her way. Jean was a writer. I liked how that detail was ultimately handled because the film presented a different view on the life of a writer. The actress they got to play Jean, Taylour Page, was absolutely phenomenal at portraying such a complex character.

Another thing I particularly liked was the dialogue. It’s one of the reasons why I loved this movie so much. The conversations that went on were so freaking entertaining.

There’s one more thing I want to mention before I close out this post, and that’s the relationships. I’m not going to go into specifics, but I felt like that was something worth noting. This wasn’t the kind of movie that only showed the good. No, it got into the bad and the messiness often involved in truly emotional situations between family and people who love or no longer care enough about each other.

So yeah, Jean of the Joneses was a phenomenal movie. All the stars for this one.

Rating 5/5

Check out the trailer...

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