Book Reviews: In Her Boots, The Lioness , Shoe Dog & Family Remains

In Her Boots by KJ Dell’antonia

Goodreads blurb: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Chicken Sisters comes a delightfully entertaining story about a ruse that goes awry and a chaotic homecoming that proves that confronting your past can sometimes set you free.

Filling these boots is harder than it looks.

Rhett Gallagher’s adventurous life is imploding. Just as she turns the big 4-0, her long-term relationship collapses, and news of a tragedy forces her to return to the family farm. The only silver lining is that Rhett’s inspirational book, The Modern Pioneer Girl—written under a pseudonym—has become a wild success, so much so that in a moment of panic, self-doubting Rhett persuades her best friend Jasmine to step into the limelight as the famed author. But their prank turns into something more when the controlling mother Rhett hasn’t seen in two decades announces her intent to sell the farm Rhett loves and expected to make her own. To Rhett’s dismay, her mother is far more impressed by the fake author than she’s ever been by Rhett. To save her inheritance—and her identity—Rhett must concoct a scheme that will save the farm, and prove to her mother, and to herself, that she can stand on her own two feet.

This is an ARC review thanks to a gift from the publisher, the book comes out November 22nd, 2022

my take: 3.5 out of 5. A sweet take on friendship and female empowerment but with some glaring plotholes. What I mean is I loved the relationship between Rhett and Jasmine, and so many of the messages of the Modern Pioneer Girl, yet it defies logic how their plot did not unravel earlier, and that annoyed my rational self. IN any case it is still a really cute story of growth.

The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian

Goodreads blurb: Tanzania, 1964. When Katie Barstow, A-list actress, and her new husband, David Hill, decide to bring their Hollywood friends to the Serengeti for their honeymoon, they envision giraffes gently eating leaves from the tall acacia trees, great swarms of wildebeests crossing the Mara River, and herds of zebra storming the sandy plains. Their glamorous guests—including Katie’s best friend, Carmen Tedesco, and Terrance Dutton, the celebrated Black actor who stars alongside Katie in the highly controversial film “Tender Madness”—will spend their days taking photos, and their evenings drinking chilled gin and tonics back at camp, as the local Tanzanian guides warm water for their baths. The wealthy Americans expect civilized adventure: Fresh ice from the kerosene-powered ice maker, dinners of cooked gazelle meat, and plenty of stories to tell over lunch back on Rodeo Drive. What Katie and her glittering entourage do not expect is this: A kidnapping gone wrong, their guides bleeding out in the dirt, and a team of Russian mercenaries herding them into Land Rovers, guns to their heads. As the powerful sun gives way to night, the gunmen shove them into abandoned huts and Katie Barstow, Hollywood royalty, prays for a simple thing: To see the sun rise one more time. A blistering story of fame, race, love, and death set in a world on the cusp of great change, The Safari is a vibrant masterpiece from one of our finest storytellers.

my take: 4 out of 5. This is a really interesting book. Very different from what I expected but still really enjoyed it. Old Hollywood Glamour meets safari meets hostage situation and the three things work surprisingly well. I have to say it took me a bit to get into the story as I was doing audiobook and there are so many narrators but once i got the hang of it I was hooked. I would however recommend to read this one in paper, it might be clearer from the start.

Family Remains by Lisa Jewell

Goodreads blurb: Early one morning on the shore of the Thames, DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene of a gruesome discovery. When Owusu sends the evidence for examination, he learns the bones are connected to a cold case that left three people dead on the kitchen floor in a Chelsea mansion thirty years ago. Rachel Rimmer has also received a shock—news that her husband, Michael, has been found dead in the cellar of his house in France. All signs point to an intruder, and the French police need her to come urgently to answer questions about Michael and his past that she very much doesn’t want to answer. After fleeing London thirty years ago in the wake of a horrific tragedy, Lucy Lamb is finally coming home. While she settles in with her children and is just about to purchase their first-ever house, her brother takes off to find the boy from their shared past whose memory haunts their present. As they all race to discover answers to these convoluted mysteries, they will come to find that they’re connected in ways they could have never imagined. In this masterful standalone sequel to her haunting New York Times bestseller, The Family Upstairs, Lisa Jewell proves she is writing at the height of her powers with another jaw-dropping, intricate, and affecting novel about the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love and uncover the truth.

my take: 4 out of 5. Although in theory it stands as a standalone book, i don’t think its the case. I would read the Family upstairs before reading this book, as you get much more satisfaction out of it. actually had forgotten a lot of the details and ended up reading a summary of it. ITs a great book, just not one of Lisa Jewell’s best, maybe because we already knew what happened and it was more the development, versus her other books where the who dunnit is the big mystery. In any case, I would never miss out on a Lisa Jewell book.

Non Fiction:

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Goodreads blurb: In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands. In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his lime green Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed $8,000 his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of startups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all startups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognizable symbols in the world today. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, in a memoir that is candid, humble, gutsy, and wry, he tells his story, beginning with his crossroads moment. At 24, after backpacking around the world, he decided to take the unconventional path, to start his own business—a business that would be dynamic, different. Knight details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream—along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls the formative relationships with his first partners and employees, a ragtag group of misfits and seekers who became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission, and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything.

my take: 4 out of 5. A really great read on the start up feel of what is now one of the most well known companies in the world. My only reason not to give it a 5 – i kind of wish it went further in time. The last 5 minutes of the audiobook is a brush through all the modern history, but i kind of wish we had more details on the Jordan negotiation and some of the modern developments. The book stops at when they decide to IPO so there is a lot more I wanted to know.

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