Looking for a good book? I can’t promise I read one this year you’ll be interested in reading, but below are short reviews of what I’ve read so far this year. If you’re still looking, check out what I read in:
I feel bad for J.K Rowling and the pressure that comes with releasing anything after the Harry Potter series. Clearly that’s why they tried to release this under a false name. As expected I wanted to love this the way I loved the HP series and it was just ok. Good, but not fall in love I’ll stand in line for the next one amazing. Will be interesting to see if there’s another story from detective Strike.
Oh this book, this wonderful book. The final paragraph of this book is so horrible and beautiful and evil and hopeful all at the same time. A must read.
Bad, bad, bad. Reads like a Lifetime movie.
I added this book to my to-read shelf a while back because I was in the throws of a Downton Abby marathon and I wanted more of this deliciousness in my life. This book is one that is recommended for Downtown lovers, and some places said some of the show is based off Rose’s account of a life in service. The book is indeed an account of service, and an account of a life spent taking care of a very spoiled and hot tempered Lady Astor, but it lacks the juice that Downton provides. I guess that’s not the book’s fault, but I was hoping for more. A solid 3.
Interestingly enough a book called Insomnia took me FOREVER to read because each time I’d try to read a bit at night I’d instantly be too tired to continue. It was a good book, but definitely not one of King’s top titles. The lead up to the real reason for Ralph’s insomnia took forever to reveal, and by the time the issue of being unable to sleep morphed into a supernatural reality I found myself not diving into the story as I sometimes do in King’s books. Overall it was an interesting enough read, really picking up most of it’s steam in the last 100 or so pages.
Where is the zero star choice? I bought this book on my Kindle because it was listed on a “Books If You Like Downton Abby” list, but what they didn’t say in the listing is that this book is a harlequin romance novel through and through. The only reason I finished it is because of the Goodreads Challenge. Uggh.
Weirdly enough I watched the movie first, and then read the book. After the movie my nephew said that the movie was way off the book and he was super disappointed, so I was prepared to read the book and suddenly hate the movie. And yet… I enjoyed it. The movie liberties weren’t that off at all (that’s what I get for trusting a 12 year old), and I generally enjoyed the story. It’s no Hunger Games, but I was entertained and looked forward to seeing what happened next in book #2.
When I went on a binge buying books people said I’d love because I loved Downton Abbey I expected so much more! And yet, here’s another “blah” book about a life in service. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, if you spent your entire life cooking and cleaning for others I doubt you had a lot of time to work on your literary skills, but man.
Since I saw Divergent the movie before I read the book, I was really looking forward to reading Insurgent and being able to be surprised and caught off guard as a read this time. Book two was equally enjoyable as book one, full of the tumultuous faction life and strife between the city. I’ll admit Tris’ lack of self preservation is getting a wee bit old by the end of book two, but I found myself invested and trying to read faster and faster to see what would happen next. Interested to see how in the world they plan to wrap up this series in the final book…
AHHHHHHHHHHH THE ENDING. WHY? WHY? WHY??????? It all makes more sense now, the sudden change in the style of both Tris and Tobias as our narrators. It all comes down to the ending. The ending I was shocked to see in a young adult novel. A realistic ending, but one as a guilty pleasure reader I didn’t want to happen. All my feelings about the book being slower than the other two, about missing the faction life and not being as interested in this world outside the fence kind of evaporate with that ending. I’m so curious to see how they’ll deal with it in the movies…
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and WWII is one of my favorite time periods to geek over so I was really expecting to love this book. Sadly it read so much like historical non-fiction, and not even a good historical non-fiction way like the Steve Jobs book, it read like a history text book and my god I was ready for it to be over. The only reason I finished it was because I am incapable of starting a book and not finishing it. Save yourself and do not read.
UPDATED: Turns out this whole time I was indeed reading historical non-fiction, not historical fiction as I had thought. No wonder it was so damn boring! [i’m an idiot]
It was short, and sweet, just like their lives. I thought for sure I knew how this book would end, and it surprised me in quite a few ways. I will admit the very “Dawson’s Creek” style of dialog irritated me in the beginning, there were a few eye rolls on my part because NO ONE in the history of EVER speaks like these two, but overall it created a world I was happy to slip into, characters I was happy to know, and eventually, grieve for. I can see why it’s the latest and greatest in the YA category.
I have been reading The Bloggess for years, so I knew I’d love the book as well. I think if you’re already a reader and a fan of Jenny the first half of the book is probably your favorite. I liked hearing more details about Jenny’s life, about how she met Victor (I always wondered about that hilarious pairing) and I never knew how hard they tried to have Hailey. The first half of the book was such a welcome look into the parts of The Bloggess we don’t really get on a day-to-day, and as a reader, the second half of the book was fun, but if you’ve been reading The Bloggess for a while it’s all stories you’ve already heard. Frankly, I hope her next book is just about her childhood because honestly, that’s the weirdest life I’ve ever heard of.
I first fell in love with Ursula Hegi’s writing when I read Stones From The River. Thankfully Salt Dancers was equally beautiful. Although a small book, it’s a thoughtful book. One of loss and memory, heartbreak and family that feels real in its unjustness, difficulty and struggle. When I read the final paragraph I closed the book and just sat with the words. A small, but powerful read.
I know this series has received a lot of acclaim, which is why I decided to read the first installment, but I simply couldn’t get into it. Maybe it was the translation’s effect of providing a dry account of events, or the slowness to start the story, but I found myself just wanting it to be over so I could move on. I wont be moving on to any of the other books in the series.
When I was little I thought I wanted to be a vet. Then I got older and realized how much math and chemistry was involved in actually becoming a vet, and I quickly turned another direction.
Jeff Wells’ book is a look into what it means to be a mixed animal vet, dealing with everything from crazy house calls to unusual animal encounters. The fun, the sad, the odd that comes with taking care of pets and their owners on a daily basis. It’s not a deep book, definitely would make a fun blog, and overall a fun quick read. If you love your pets, or ever thought of being a vet it’s an enjoyable summer read.
I honestly think the thing I hated the most about this book was the cover, and how embarrassed I felt having this cover displayed on my nightstand/desk/table while I was reading the book. Couldn’t we have chosen something that didn’t scream “CHICK LIT”? I digress. The book was indeed chick lit, not terrible, but not something I’d tell someone else to run out and read. The whole becoming bff with a famous celebrity who also has body issues was definitely when I felt the book jumped the shark. Sure I mean we all wish we could magically become friends with a celebrity, but COME ON. Even in a book I can’t believe that one.
I did enjoy Cannie as a narrator most of the time, and the book was definitely a fast read, but it lacked believability. Definitely a summer read kind of book where you finish it and leave it on your chair at the pool for the next person…
I have a weird obsession with polygamists. Books, tv shows, radio, if it’s about polygamy I’ll be there. The Lonely Polygamist didn’t dissapoint. The struggles of following the principle, managing multiple wives, more children than you know what to do with, coupled with the struggle of normal life come together in a fantastic read. Brady Udall gives the reader a wide look into Golden’s family, not choosing to simply focus on life from Golden’s perspective or a single struggling wife. The messiness of this family is comically, and heartbreakingly shared with the reader, and you can’t help but want to know more.
As always, I find myself loving Stephen King’s work up to the last page. The start of Tommyknockers is typical King. It’s slow, detailed, laying the groundwork for relationships and characters, while the reader wonders when it’s going to shift into the terrifying or bizarre. King always makes sure you’re fully in his fictional world before he starts to sneak in the scary. By the time half the town has turned into aliens you are fully invested and there’s not a doubt in your mind this could totally happen. The entire time I read the book I just kept thinking, “Someone should make this into a movie…”
A King classic.
Nothing that I expected. Well written. Smart. Terrifying. Twisted. Fantastic plot. Wonderful yet frightening characters. Super fast read. Can’t put down. A ‘WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?!?!’ ending.
All things I’ll say about Gone Girl.
This book made me miss Alaska. Although I never came even a little bit close to living the way Seth Kantner does in Shopping for Porcupine, the way he speaks of the land, the way he describes being alone in the Alaskan wilderness, and the way he grappled with the fact that technology is changing Alaska spoke to me. Although I could never live the kind of true subsistence lifestyle Seth and his family lead in the book, I can’t help but be drawn to it. A good read for anyone who loves wild Alaska and wants to make sure it stays that way.
A tiny little thing, Spirit of Steamboat Is Walt Longmire through and through. Unbelievable, going well beyond the call of duty, pulling on your heart strings as the manliness of Walt and Lucian shine through. It isn’t terribly deep, but it’s a fun little ride for Longmire fans.
Such a Dan Brown book! But in a good way. There’s intrigue, scandal, science, mystery, love, terror, and in the end as you’d expect, a bit of over the top-ness Dan Brown is famous for. Until the last 50 pages I was following along in the believability realm of the story and eating it up. Things jump the shark there a little in the end, but it’s such an engrossing read up until that part you sort of accept the insanity as part of the package. A fun, quick, suspenseful read.
I was dying to read Crazy Love after listening to Leslie Morgan Steiner’s Ted Talk. I wanted to know more, hear more, know all I could about how she found herself in such a terrible place, and more importantly, how she finally got out.
Unfortunately most of what she talks about in her Ted Talk is pretty much what she covers in the book, so there’s not a ton of new pieces (sort of like reading a book and then seeing the movie), but it’s well written and overall a gripping account of a relationship that turns deadly. I checked it out from the library on Saturday morning, and finished it late Sunday night. I just couldn’t put it down.
The best parts of Small Feet, Big Land are the stories of Erin and Hig navigating the sort of life I wish I had the courage to live. I loved hearing about their life living as close to the Alaskan land as possible. Having lived in Anchorage, Alaska’s “big city” I always wondered about people in Alaska living so close to me from a geographic perspective, but essentially living in a totally different world. The stories of their adventures with two small children were some of the best parts of the book. It seems so impossible, and yet, they push through. They’re exposing their children to this amazing life, and this beautiful world, and still having adventures as a family.
The undertone of the book that focuses so strongly on global warming definitely makes this a book only a small percentage of people will love. Which is a shame. Even though I am aligned with Erin and Hig politically in regards to their worries about climate change, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear about. I wanted more about life in the Yurt, about the changing of Seldovia and how the lack of new children being born in their town is affecting their community as a whole. I wanted to know more about their community. How it functions, how it is to live a life cut from the mainland. I wanted to hear more about their adventures with two small children, about animal encounters and gardening in a world where the clock is against you. I just wanted to hear more about this different version of life they lead and how the challenges us readers read about with mouth-agape is simply another day for them.
I think without the climate change portion of the book, stories like these could take the book from niche readership, to Wild size readership. But at the end of the day, I’ll read anything about Alaska I can get my hands on…
This book is exactly what I expected. I finished it almost in a single 2 hour sitting and it was delightful. Brandi’s brash voice and oversharing is all over the book, and for fans of hers it’s a look into the drama behind her destroyed marriage before the cameras started rolling. Would have been perfect to read by the pool or on a long flight. #TeamBrandi
For anyone who read and loved Little Women, Geraldine Brooks’ title March is a must read. Brooks takes readers into the world of Mr. March, loving father to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March during the year in the book he finds himself away from the family serving as a chaplain during the Civil War. Unlike most Civil War or slavery based titles, this one is not written from the side of the slave owner or the slave, horrid stores we’ve read time and time again. This book takes a look at the Northern chaplain finding himself in the middle of the war in Mississippi. The struggle between doing what’s right for one’s conscious as well as one’s family, in the middle of a world filled with injustice. The book does a wonderful job of weaving together bits of Little Women and the imagined life Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy’s father lead in the year he was away from them. Geraldine Brooks does a wonderful job weaving together factional accounts of Civil War life as well as Little Women, and it is a wonderful read.
Want to know EVEN MORE about the books I’ve read, am reading, and even maybe the ones on my to-read shelf? Then hop over to my goodreads account and lets be book nerd friends!
Dying for even more Accidental Olympian book nonsense? Well, would you like to hear a funny story about how goodreads made me look like an idiot? You do? Great. I hope you enjoy every minute of my humiliation.