Friday, November 9, 2012

Recent Reads

Remember when I was going to blog about the books I've been reading?  Yeah, so obviously it didn't happen. I mean, I wanted to, but.... Here's the reason I'm not a very good blogger - I let really little things stop me in my tracks. I feel like a book review is worthless without a picture of the cover. And last time I did book reviews, I had to hunt down the pictures, copy stuff out of different tabs from Goodreads, blah dee blah. I'm so lazy. But anyway, tonight I noticed a helpful little button on Goodreads that was new to me called "Blog Your Review." So book reviews are BACK!

I'm still aiming for 50 books in 2012. Goodreads says I'm 4 books behind, but I might sneak in some YA quickies to catch up! Shhhhh.... a legitimate reader would care more about the literature than the goal, but my competitiveness will win out over, well, everything every. single. time.

I've been reading pretty great stuff lately. Unfortunately (fortunately?) one of them was my favorite book of the year, The Fault in Our Stars, and after reading that, nothing else seemed very good. I finished it a few weeks ago, and since then nothing can compare (2 U!).

So here are my latest reviews. I kind of hate it when book reviews on Goodreads spend all kinds of time summarizing the plot, so sadly, you'll have to hunt down the plotlines yourself, but these are my thoughts on my latest reads...

 The Soldier's WifeThe Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Though at times I found myself skimming over the descriptions of the beautiful Guernsey islands, I loved this book's description of Vivienne, a wife and mother who tries to find her way during the German Occupation of WWII. It was so easy to recognize myself in her relationship with her daughters, and I found myself wondering how I would react in the situations with which she was presented. Good moral questions, interesting characters, and rich relationships between then. I very much enjoyed this book and would read it again, even though it was a little bit slow at parts.

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The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Started this book at 9:30 tonight. Started tearing up about halfway through. Started actually sobbing with like 100 pages still left to go, and didn't stop. Finished the book at 12:30am with red, puffy eyes and soaking wet sweatshirt sleeves. Not a spoiler, I hope - the book is about teenagers that meet in a cancer support group - you know it's going to be sad.

This was a heartbreaking, unflinching story about a teenage girl with terminal cancer. Her perceptions on how her eventual death will affect her parents about ripped my heart out. Her love story with Augustus is beautifully written. The characters are a little bit ridiculous in how they speak, in a Dawson's Creek, pretentious, wanna-be adult kind of way, but honestly, I grew up with some kids that talked like that, so it didn't feel fake to me.

I've thought a lot about how to write a love story, how to show in writing, that compatibility, that comfort, that perfect fit. And John Green's got it figured out. I loved the love story, loved the relationships of the two main characters with their parents, just kind of all-over loved it. One of my favorites of the year.

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Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Gone Girl" is the story of a husband and wife with a strained marriage, which comes under scrutiny when the woman comes up missing.

I thought both main characters were well-written and believable, as was the disintegration of their marriage. I felt the issues they struggled with, and they way they handled them were believable. The plot kept me interested, and took twists and turns I didn't expect.

Part of me wishes I'd read the book earlier, before hearing that it was everyone's favorite read of 2012, because I think my expectations were a little too high. But I did enjoy it. I'd read it again if I came across it on vacation or something - and that is actually a compliment, since I really never re-read books. :) The book did have frequent strong language and swearing, so it's probably not for more conservative readers.

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The Thirteenth TaleThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a story going back and forth in time between the narrator, and the life story of the woman she is interviewing. I loved the woman's life story, but I felt that when the story when back into "real time" that it interrupted the magic. Overall, not a favorite. I finished it because I wanted to find out what happened to the twins, but I ended up doing a lot of skimming over the interviewing parts.

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Tell the Wolves I'm HomeTell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I feel like I'm missing something by not loving this book, as it's on so many "favorites" lists. I kept waiting for a plot point to suck me in, and it just never happened. I've read many other reviewers saying that they were sobbing throughout the story, and I didn't even get teary-eyed. Maybe I couldn't get into it completely because I read it over the course of a week or two, when normally I read books in a night or two, or maybe it was because I just read "The Fault in Our Stars," which seemed much, MUCH sadder to me, but for whatever reason, I didn't love this as much as everybody else did.

I liked the characters, I liked their relationships - I loved reading about the relationship between Greta and June. The storyline just wasn't very interesting to me, for whatever reason.

I wouldn't mind a re-read next year to see if maybe I like it better, because it sure seems like everybody else does.

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