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Dec 22, 2015

Benz's Book Club: What To Do With Your Holiday Gift Cards Edition

If you're like me, I feel like I spend every holiday season constantly reminding people that the only gift that makes any sense for me is Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift cards.  I go through about a book a week on average.  Sometimes I'll go through long phases of not reading, but I more than make up for it pre, during, and post holiday season.  I guess I'm kind of a hermit when it gets cold out, so I'm like "hey, family, just give me gift cards so I can buy books.  OK?".  If you need a book for your flight home for the holidays, or need some recommendations if you're raking in the gift cards, here are few goodies.  

Brother by Ania Ahlborn 
I'm clearly a fan of the mystery/suspense/thriller genre, much to the dismay of anyone who has ever lived with me and knows that I am scared of EVERYTHING.  I have to say, this is one of the most messed up books that I've ever read.  I wouldn't even call it "dark", because that is about the understatement of the year.  That being said, it was an epic read.  I tore through it.  I couldn't put it down.  If you don't like books that are a little dark, then this is not for you.  If you are into the twisted stuff (think Gillian Flynn times ten), then I seriously recommend for you.  If you're griping about your family during the holidays, take a quick trip inside the minds of the Morrow family in this book, and know that your family is not so bad.  Though I must say, if you are going home to the middle of nowhere for the holidays... maybe wait until you get back to your home city before reading.  Some of the happenings of backwoods mountain folk will leave you deeply unsettled.    

Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon
I'm sorry, friends, but this book is not out until February 23, 2016.  Trust me, it's worth pre-ordering now.  This book was, of course, of the dark and suspenseful variety, but was also very thought-provoking for me.  It's the perfect combination of a whodunnit and a book that makes you question your own existence.  Amy Stevenson, who has been in a coma for 15 years, will have you thinking what if that were me?  What would I want to happen?  Would my family and friends be by my side?  All the while you're routing for our heroine, Alex Dale, who is a hot mess of a human being, to figure out who put Amy Stevenson in the hospital.  Can this woman who has thrown her whole life away help this woman who was left for dead?  They're an unlikely duo, but a well-written duo for sure.       

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
One of the best books I've read in a long time.  This was one of those books that has you staying up late, not caring how you show up to work the next day, just so that you can finish the story. Normally, I can peg the villain in a story sort of early on, not that it makes it any less fun for me to read the stories.  This book, however, through me for many loops.  I did not see a lot of it coming. Ok, ok, I didn't see ANY OF IT coming.  You have a girl that goes missing as a teenager, and her two sisters who stop speaking after.  When one sister's husband dies almost 20 years later, they are forced back together to hash out their feelings, and to try once and for all to figure out what happened to their sister all those years ago.  This story is not for the faint of heart, but it's sure exciting.  

Radiant Bride by Alexis Wolfer
Ok, I realize the above books are way dark, and that's not what everyone is into!  So let's turn to a more positive note: weddings!  Personally, I thought I was done with having approximately 1,000 weddings to attend per year, but evidently 2016 is going to be another big wedding year for me.  Never fear, this book has everything a modern bride can ask for; diet tips, fashion advice, and just about all the beauty tips you can ever want.  (And, hey, even if you're the bridesmaid, it's a great book about looking and feeling your best).  Out on January 5th, this is fellow beauty writer Alexis Wolfer's second book.  This book is a refreshing take on bridal, because Wolfer's M.O. is inspiration rather than pressure.  Women feel so much pressure to look/act/behave a certain way all the time, but wedding madness can take all that pressure to the next level.  It's nice to hear from an author who doesn't buy into stereotypes of what a woman should like look on her big day, but rather encourages women to be healthy leading up to their wedding day (and after).  It's about empowering women, rather than making them feel small.           

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