New York Times Bestselling Author

Book Review: Nonfiction

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 | 0 comments

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart


Nonfiction > Memoir > Humor

This is a surprisingly inspiring book. Yes, it was inspiring to read about how he overcame a challenging childhood to become the only comedian in history to sell out an NFL stadium, but it was also jam-packed with motivational passages for anyone who is working toward a dream.

I read it the whole time from the perspective of my sister and myself—we’re both published novelists. Also, because of my sister, I know more than the average nonperformer about the world of stand-up, sketch, and improv comedy and what it takes to make it in these careers. But I think if your goal is to move up the corporate ladder, become a chef, have more success in relationships—including the relationship with yourself—you’ll also find much to keep you going through difficult times.

There were some very funny bits to the book, which should surprise no one. I already knew some of Hart’s biography from his own stand-up specials and from reading an article in Rolling Stone magazine. To write this memoir, Hart had the help of Rolling Stone writer Neil Strauss, who is also the author of eight New York Times bestsellers.

The highlights of Hart’s making-it-big story began with him growing up in a rough neighborhood with a drug-addicted father who would literally steal from his own son (Hart’s older brother Kenneth). Hart’s brother briefly veered into selling street drugs before joining the Army and cleaning up his act. Hart’s mother was so strict that no matter what your issues with your mom might be, you should probably go ahead and forgive her right now.

It was fascinating hearing how hard he worked for so long and all the mistakes he made along the way. Persistence is how he ultimately made it. “It’s okay to fail, but it’s not okay to quit.”

As I mentioned, what made this book worth the money was all of the inspirational bits I took away from it. I could quote a million passages, but I leave you with this.

Your dream is a huge boulder. It takes a lot of effort to get it moving. But if you can budge it just a few inches in the right terrain, then it starts picking up speed all by itself.”


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Book Review: Thriller

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 | 0 comments

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker


Thriller > Suspense

In The Fourth Monkey, Detective Sam Porter gets a call one morning that the serial killer he has been chasing for five years has been killed by a bus. The other detectives think it’s him because he’s carrying one of the signature things that have dubbed him The Four Monkey Killer.

Though this is mostly an excellent book, I had a few issues.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: The story is told from multiple perspectives, which I do like—it helped build the tension—but I genuinely could have done without the point of view of the kidnapped teenage girl. That was grueling. Unless you also want to feel like you’re being tortured and about to die, or you’re better than I am in not getting into character’s point of view, it could have been toned down. Also, until I looked J.D. Barker up online, I assumed he must be a much older man, because all of the major players were men. There was one female detective, but ALL the other cops, medical examiners, and IT folk were men. It was just strange to me. Last, and this is really a nitpicky thing, the author uses the word “rather” way too often. Either the cat is large or it isn’t. Please decide.

I did really enjoy this detective/thriller/suspense story. The last fourth of the novel was particularly fast-paced and well done, which is always fun. This is a well-written book by an author who is one to watch.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.


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