Monday, August 27, 2018

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin - Book Review

"All We Ever Wanted" by Emily Giffin has three different character perspectives and follows the aftermath of a high school party. At the party, a terrible photo is taken of a girl who is nearly naked, she is passed out, and a racist comment is added to the photo, as well. That photo is then shared with lots of friends through Snapchat, and of course, makes it through the entire high school and the community. And so the book follows, Nina, the mother of the boy accused of taking the photo, Lyla, who's photo was taken, and Tom, her father. I flew through this book, like it was an enjoyable read, but it also felt like it was too relaxing, it was too casual and sweet considering the content. I just really wanted the author and the story to dig deeper - into the emotional lives of the characters, the ramifications of photos and choices like this. And in parts it did, but it just  could've done more. I can see reader's loving this book, or at least devouring it as quickly as I did. Have you read "All We Ever Wanted" by Emily Giffin? Comment below and let me know your thoughts about the book!

Saturday, August 25, 2018

American Gods by Neil Gaiman - Book Review

This book was so long! And the font was so small! "American Gods" follows Shadow who recently got out of prison, and his life is kind of a disaster. Shadow meets a man named Wednesday, who is actually a god ( of the traditional Norse gods, he is their leader). He has decided to battle the American gods like globalization and the media - it's a lot to unpack. On the one hand I totally get why people like this - it was unique and it was sharp. But I felt like I was missing "the joke" through a lot of it. I'm not very familiar with Norse mythology, and if you aren't either, just now that there aren't going to be that many hat tips in the book to let you know what's going on. I'm sure Gaiman was doing something clever on every single pahe, and I was missing it. I did appreciate parts of his writing style though, and look forward to reading other Gaiman novels in the future. Have you read "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman? Let me know down below in the comments what you reading experience was like for the book!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton - Book Review

"Lilli de Jong" follows a fictional story of a young Quaker woman who in 1883 finds herself pregnant, unwed, and abandoned by her partner. Lilli gives birth in a home that is for unwed mothers, and then afterwards really struggles to one, even keep her daughter, and two, provide a life for them. All while society works really hard to "teach her a lesson" and keep her in her place. The historical elements in this novel are so strong, and for that reason alone I would recommend this book. Some of the language in this book is a little cringey - the author does a really good job describing what it would be like it breast-feed in 1883, and also what it's like in 2018. The main character is a new mother, she is feeding her child, and she also becomes a wet nurse - so it makes sense, but I could see that theme being a little repetitive for some readers. Have you read "Lilli de Jong"? let me know what you thought of it below or let me know your favorite historical fiction novel that really left you concerned for the main character!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - Book Review

"The Handmaid's Tale" follows a woman that we know as Offred, or Of Fred ( her name relates to the main that "owns" her, yikes) she is a handmaid in a dystopian future where... and this book really doesn't make it clear exactly what has happened, we'll get more into that later, but through a combination of man made, and other circumstances, birth rates are down. And so this system has been put into place where women who are able to conceive and have proven that they can have children are basically used as machine for that purpose - it is awful. I think this story is fascinating and the messages within it are very important, but the way that it was carried out and my reading experience of it were just, meh. The way the world is built is so broken and implausible that it was really hard for me to enjoy the book in just a sense of learning and enjoying the metaphors for society. There were many quotable moments moments that I really enjoyed and I think the book is worth reading for that. Have you read "The Handmaid's Tale"? Let me know what you thought of it below!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck - Book Review

I don't say this lightly, because it's one of those things, but if you enjoyed "The Nightingale" I think you will love this book. "The Women in the Castle" follows three different women in the aftermath of World War II in Germany. All three of the women are widows because of World War II and they take shelter together in a castle that belongs to the family of one of the women. As their stories intertwine in the book, we see the constant daily struggle and reminders of the atrocities that were committed in Germany and by the German people. And how complex and complicated just even casual relationships become when you are not sure what your neighbor was recently capable of . These women fight to find the good amoungst them and within themselves. It is just such an emotionally complex book, and were it not for a small drag at the end, this would've been a five star read for me. Have you read "The Women in the Castle"? Let me know what you thought of it down below or your favorite World War II novel about women's lives!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli - Book Review

"Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" is a YA contemporary novel that follows a high schooler named Simon. He has been emailing secretly with a secret class mate, code named Blue. Simon is gay, and he knows that Blue is another boy at his high school, but he isn't sure who. One of his peers, named Martin, stumbles upon these emails. I will forever hate Martin for this, and really, people with the name Martin kinda start off on the wrong foot with me now. The blackmail the ensues and the decisions Simon has to make to protect his privacy and Blue's privacy were the driving force for the book, and definitely a page turner. I really enjoyed this book! Becky Albertalli is one of the YA authors, that as an adult I can read, and it doesn't feel cringy or contrived, it's just a good book. Was it a little slower or predictable at times? Maybe. But it was also so cute and deep during those times - that I kind of don't care! Have you read "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" ? Let me know what you thought of it below in the comments! 

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager - Book Review

"The Last Time I Lied" by Riley Sager is a book I rooted for the whole time I read it - but did it measure up to my hopeful expectations? This book is a psychological thriller and it follows main character Emma. Fifteen years ago, Emma stayed at Camp Nightingale and while she was there her three room mates went missing, never to be found again - and if you read Riley Sager's last book, that makes Emma a "final girl". Present day Emma has been invited back to Camp Nightingale as a counselor and - that's all you get, any more plot will feel spoiler-y, and it's better to play it safe! Reading this book was tough for me because I kept giving it chances - I was so hopeful that the plot would eventually work, or that one of the many twists would grab me. Unfortunately though, this was a two star read for me and not one that I would recommend to other readers. Have you read "The Last Time I Lied" by Riley Sager? Comment below with your thoughts on the book, or tell me a book that you refused to give up on, but ultimately found disappointing! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin - Book Review

"The Immortalists" by Chloe Benjamin begins as a historical fiction novel set in 1969, and follows a family of children who visit a fortune teller. The fortune teller swears that she can tell them each the day that they will die. Each of the siblings after getting their "death date" have a slightly different reaction to the news - some are frightened, others are comforted or even ambivalent. The book then follows each sibling through their lives, and as a reader we are left to wonder did having their "death date" influence the decisions the characters made or was that date more than just a prediction? Just as an FYI, there is some pretty explicit sexual content at the beginning of this book, so just know that going in. Regardless, I started out really enjoying this book, it was a strong four. I liked the ideas presented and the thought experiment of that, but as the book continued on it was more of a three star read for me. I think the novel starts out a lot stronger than it ends, but because of the ideas in it, I still think it's a really interesting read. Have you read "The Immortalists" by Chloe Benjamin? Let me know what you thought of it below!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne - Book Review

"The Heart's Invisible Furies" by John Boyne follows a gay Irish man named Cyril through his entire life. And I can not think of an adjective that even touches on what this book accomplishes. It tackled so many difficult ideas and moments in history with so much grace and so much humanity. And I felt so many emotions while reading, I laughed out loud a handful of times and almost cried quiet a few times, as well. "The Heart's Invisible Furies" is a chunk of a book, and usually books this long are kind of a begrudging thing for me, and I just resent the book for being so long. That was not the case at all with "The Heart's Invisible Furies" - I am so glad it was 500 pages, and I would have gleefully read 500 more. I have a new favorite author, and this book definitely lives up to the hype. Have you read "The Heart's Invisible Furies"? Let me know what you thought of it down below or tell me your favorite book that tackles a difficult topic!

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan - Book Review

What happens when you go to the used bookstore just hours after watching Harry and Meghan tie the knot? THIS. This is about as much of a mood read as it gets! "The Royal We" follows and American character named Bex. She studies abroad one summer at Oxford, and while she is there she stays in the same dorm building as Prince Nick. They become friends, one things leads to another, then they fall in love, then things get complicated - it's pretty predictable and boring. Sorry. What is strange going into reading this and I'm still not sure I understand the trickery, but it's such a simple plot and yet somehow this book is over 400 pages long- and it did not need to be. To be fair, "The Royal We" filled a reading need that I had, so I have to give it credit for that. Have you read "The Royal We"? let me know what you thought of it down below! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Last Child by Jon Hart - Book Review

Have you heard of this book? Because I had not heard of it before reading it, but it has 28, 000 reviews on goodreads - isn't it weirdly shocking when I book is super popular and you've *never* heard of it!? "The Last Child" is a mystery novel that follows teenage main character, Johnny. Johnny's twin sister went missing over a year ago - no one can find her, the case is growing cold, there are no leads, so Johnny decides that he is going to launch his own investigation. The book also follows a character named Detective Hunt, he is the lead on the case - and in my opinion, a stand out character. The twists in this book are GOOD, the plotting is really good, the pacing is great - I can totally see why "The Last Child" has over four stars on goodreads. But this was more of a plot read for me, I didn't feel particularly attached to any of the characters and I wasn't overly fond of the dialogue. I really did get a kick out of Detective Hunt though, he is one of those no nonsense, overly committed to his job kind of cops, who is also constantly breaking the rules, and probably has a thing for your mom. If you're looking for a new twisty mystery to read, this is one to check out. If you've read "The Last Child" let me know what you thought of it in the comments, but of course, no spoilers!