Thursday, February 26, 2015

review: rich bitch by nicole lapin

In my quest to most efficiently pay off my students loans (my only debt) while keeping the rest of my life on track, I've read a lot of financial advice books, blogs, etc. Nicole Lapin's Rich Bitch is among the best. She is not one to tell you to give up your latte! Lapin knows a person still needs to have some fun. In keeping with that, Lapin's approach is fun (lots of good anecdotes) and uses layman's terms, but I really appreciated that she doesn't just regurgitate the conventional wisdom; in fact, Lapin ends each chapter with the conventional wisdom followed by her own thoughts. She also admits to the many mistakes she made as she navigated the financial world on her own (her parents believed in cash only).

My favorite section was on home ownership. I'm pretty committed to renting, but people are constantly trying to convince me I'm "throwing away money on rent." I generally shrug and point out that every career advancement I make requires moving (like Lapin, I work in television) which makes owning less practical. Rich Bitch gives me even more of a reason not to buy a place. Lapin points out that buying a house for $50,000 in 1970 and selling it for $300,000 today does not actually mean you made a profit. There's inflation to account for as well as all the repairs you likely made. So now when someone tells me about their $900 mortgage to my $1150 rent, I can point out that my rent covers all repairs and groundskeeping (plus extras like pest control, a fitness center, and two pools)!

Another great section in Lapin's book addresses whether one should first pay off debt like students loans before saving for retirement. I was a bit surprised that Lapin said yes here, but it makes sense as she explains it. Everyone's situation is unique (including the issue of owning a home; as Lapin states, it makes sense if you're going to stay for decades), so I think I'll continue to go against her advice my contributing a small amount to my 401(k) given the low interest rates on my student loans. (Note: Lapin got in touch to let me know she meant paying off credit cards rather than student loans.) On every other point, I agree wholeheartedly with Lapin, especially when she says it's alright to include some fun expenditures because I really like buying shoes!
5/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

review: the third twin by c.j. omololu

Wowzer! The Third Twin hooked me right away. I raced through it because I was absolutely desperate to find out if my theory was right (I'd say I was about 60% right). Years ago two infants were found at a restaurant and the owner took them in. Unfortunately his wife took off, but one of the restaurant workers stepped in as housekeeper and nanny. The girls have wanted for nothing, but that hasn't stopped them from creating an alternate personality who's a bit wild. "Alicia" goes out with boys Lexi and Ava would never date and generally is a party girl. Lexi, the more studious of the two, realizes the danger in their game when one of the boys tries to take things too far. She requests they stop playing Alicia, but it seems someone still is. The boy who nearly assaulted Lexi is found dead and there's security camera footage of someone who looks a lot like the girls. The situation escalates as the police show up wanting to talk to Alicia and yet another boy Alicia dated dies in the same manner. C.J. Omololu has created an excellent thriller with high stakes and loads of twists.
5/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

review: wake by anna hope

Focusing on three women living in Europe shortly after World War I, it takes Anna Hope a while to bring it all together in Wake which makes the start of novel slow and unfocused. Once the three women become connected through Captain Edward Montfort, the story starts to pick up though it was still hard to connect with the characters due to the scene shifting so frequently. The perspective here is interesting, but Hope then fails to provide any sort of conclusion after revealing a secret that has been kept from one of the women. That should have been the story.
3/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

review: all fall down by ally carter

Grace is convinced her mother was murdered three years ago; after all, she witnessed it but everyone says she's confused. Grace has tried to go on, but she's back to looking for her mother's killer when she spots a man who looks just like him. Unfortunately the man works for one of the many diplomats of the Embassy Row where Grace is now living with her grandfather. In bouts of recklessness with the help of other teens from Embassy Row, Grace goes on the hunt. All Fall Down has all the intrigue of Ally Carter's previous novels, but diverges from the usual formula by making Grace an unreliable narrator. All Fall Down is a great start to a new series from Carter.
5/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.