Surznick Reads: March 2015 - The Surznick Common Room

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Surznick Reads: March 2015

The months are flying by at an ever increasing speed and it is freaking me out! Ok, sorry... dramatic, I know. We've had a fun month with lots going on (you can see more about some of that here). That being said, we still managed to squeeze in a bit of reading. Here's what we can share for our March reads!

Sarah's Reads!

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
From "Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?). Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all."

Big Little Lies was my book club selection for the month and I reeeeeally enjoyed it. Last year we read The Husband's Secret, so when this new book from the same author was released, we were all eager to read it. I don't really think this is a spoiler... but at the very beginning of the book, you find out that by the end of the book someone will die. So throughout the entire book you're trying to figure out who it's going to be and secretly hoping that it's not any of the characters you really like. Similar to The Husband's Secret, this story is told from the perspectives of three different women. I love that getting the story from each person lets you in on parts of the secret bit by bit until the end when it's like WHOA did not see that one coming. Overall, a super quick and enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.

My Rating: 5 Stars

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
From "Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. 'Jess and Jason,' she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut."

There's been a ton of hype about this book recently and I've seen it on numerous lists for "Books You Should Read if You Loved Gone Girl". It definitely has a Gone Girl vibe to it, but I have to admit that I didn't like it as much. The story started out much slower than I would have preferred and the "big reveal" was more of a gradual reveal that you figure out for yourself over several chapters. If my review of Big Little Lies is any indication, I wish they would just drop a big truth bomb that completely shocks me rather than slooooowly reveal the "big plot twist." Also similar to Big Little Lies, this book is told from three different perspectives. I thought this was really refreshing and needed for this story. Regardless, still a good read and at times, quite a page turner - I think you should give it a go.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide: Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best by Editors of Martha Stewart Living
From "It’s time to hit the reset button. This book emphasizes eating clean, whole, unprocessed foods as part of a primarily plant-based diet, with delicious and healthy recipes that make it easy to do just that. Refreshing juices and smoothies, savory snacks, protein-packed main dishes, and even delectable desserts will keep you satisfied all day long; among them are plenty of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and allergen-free options, each identified by helpful icons. Comprehensive, informative, and utterly satisfying, Clean Slate is the complete go-to guide for boosting your energy and feeling your best. More than just a cookbook, Clean Slate, from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, provides you with the nutritionally sound information you need to shop for and prepare food that nourishes body and mind. You’ll find guidelines for restocking your pantry with whole grains, beans and legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats; glossaries of the best sources of detoxifiers, antioxidants, and other health-boosting nutrients; and menus for a simple 3-day cleanse and a 21-day whole-body detox, with easy-to-follow tips and strategies for staying on track."

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for review. This is a cookbook, so I will admit that I didn't read it cover to cover, but the beginning of the book is full of valuable information about the benefits of eating clean and advice on how to adapt these changes to your life. Since Nick and I made the decision to cut meat and dairy out of our diet last year, it has been very hard at times to replace what we cut with vegetables and unprocessed foods as opposed to prepackaged veggie burgers and bread (so much bread). This book is packed full of recipes, many of which are vegan (or could easily be adapted to a vegan diet) and I know that we're going to put this book to good use. We actually made a delicious recipe from this book that we're going to be sharing with you shortly! In addition to the amazing recipes, menus, and additional information on eating a clean diet, this book is also full of beautiful photos that make every dish look mouthwateringly good. To learn more about this book or it's authors, visit the Random House website.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Nick's Reads!

Deception Point by Dan Brown
From "When a new NASA satellite spots evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory...a victory that has profound implications for U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election. With the Oval Office in the balance, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Milne Ice Shelf to verify the authenticity of the find. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery -- a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy. But before Rachel can contact the President, she and Michael are attacked by a deadly team of assassins controlled by a mysterious power broker who will stop at nothing to hide the truth. Fleeing for their lives in an environment as desolate as it is lethal, their only hope for survival is to find out who is behind this masterful ploy. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all."

This was certainly an entertaining book. I, of course, was a big fan of The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons, so I was fairly confident I'd enjoy this book as well. It was exciting, interesting, and pretty fast paced. That being said, I was pretty critical because I was so pleased with his other novels, and it didn't quite stack up. This is not part of the Robert Langdon books, so it's different in many ways, but overall still very readable and enjoyable. One thing I do want to mention is how unnecessary it is that Brown feels the need to add in little flits of romance or love. I mean, the world is basically coming to an end, and someone's hand brushes up against someone else's and we're expected to believe that just for a moment, all the chaos seemed to go away... yeah right.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Well, we're off to see one of our favorite bands tonight! (The Decemberists - woop woop!!!) Have a great first day of April and try not to get fooled!

Sarah & Nick


  1. I really liked The Husband's Secret too! I just finished Gone Girl (I know.. I'm late to the party) and also Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I loved them both! My favorite book so far is Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.. I wish it never ended!

    The Girl on the Train is on my list, but before reading that I'm going to read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. And then this lady convinced me to read Fifty Shades of Gray. I ordered it on for about $3, but I'm not sure I'll be able to get through the entire thing.

    1. I haven't read Gillian Flynn's other books yet, but I would like to! One of them (I can't remember which) is being made into a movie, so I think my book club is going to read the book and then see the movie when it comes out.

      I bought Me Before You for a friend but I need to read it! I've heard good things.

  2. The Husband's Secret is one of the ones on my "to read" list. I've heard so many great things about it. And so is The Girl on the Train. A lot of people said that one was just "okay". lol!

    1. You should definitely read The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies!