Friday, May 31, 2013

Book 11, 2013 - The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

I liked this book.  Historical fiction remains one of my favorite types of books, and this book was no exception.  This book took place in the mid 1800's, and had lots of themes I do not know much about:  slavery, Underground Railroad, Quakers, the movement west in America.  Very interesting.  This was a book club selection otherwise I never would have chosen the story.  I'm glad I did!

I think I have only read one or two other books by Tracy Chevalier, and it has been a long time.  I am glad I got the chance to remember her again.  She writes great - concise, yet enough description for the reader to know exactly what is going on.  Normally her books seem to center around a piece of artwork, and fictionally, she writes about why that painting/ art got created, (i.e., Girl with the Pearl Earring).  This work was not like that.  It didn't matter - it was still a good book.

The book ran a bit off course for me toward the end...  the main character and I were having a difference of opinion, (hee hee) on a few things... but overall, I enjoyed the book and read it quickly.

I should say here that I realize there is absolutely no way I can accomplish my goal of all of this reading this year, but I'm enjoying keeping track of my books nonetheless.  Running a marathon, 3 kids, working, basement remodel are just getting in the way.  Oh well.

Did I like it?  I did.  Would I recommend it?  I would.  Rating?  4 out of 5 stars.

Book 10, 2013 - Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Hmmmm, what to say about this book.  I don't think Kristin Hannah is a phenomenal writer, but I was very drawn in by this book.  This book is truly a mother's worst nightmare, and as the mother of 3 sons, I guess I couldn't help but project myself out a few years and put myself in the position of some of the characters in the book.  Would I act the way they acted?  Hopefully, I will never find out, however, I felt a lot of the reactions that various characters of the book did not feel real to me. 

Something about the way Kristin Hannah writes is very distracting to me, and I can't put my finger on what it is.  Perhaps it is that she seems almost immature - like a high school writer?  The nicknames the kids call each other in this book were so impossible, (really, Zack Attack???), and generic-ness of the whole seaming together of the plot just felt very amateur.  I guess I would describe her as the Poor Man's Jodi Picoult.  I think they both like to explore the same themes, but Jodi's style of writing is far superior. 

I know I didn't say much about the book here, but didn't want to spoil anything either.  I wouldn't even say I wouldn't read more by Hannah - just have to know going in that I'm not going to be wowed by her either.

Did I like it?  Sure.... but sad.  Would I recommend it?  Sure... Rating?  3.5 stars out of 5.... I can't ignore that I couldn't put the book down.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book 9, 2013 - Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

This was the first book I ever "listened" to via a Playaway from the library.... And it certainly won't be the last!!  I haven't read a good ole Jodi in a long time.  There was a time there where I went to Jodi when I couldn't find anything else....then she wrote The Tenth Circle, which I just hated.  After that, I took a break from her.

I am training for a marathon and have lots of solo time on my hands and I thought I would try a Book on Tape to pass the time and not have music for a while.  I LOVED listening to a book....  But HATED this book.  I wanted to go back to Jodi and love her books again.  I was thoroughly disappointed.  I really did not like any of the characters...couldn't root for any of them.  As is typical Jodi, she tried to do a big surprise ending, a la My Sister's Keeper.  I just couldn't do anything but roll my eyes.  Very predictable and a bummer, to say the least.

Otherwise, can I ponder over what took me so darned long to find books on tape???  It is multi-tasking at its finest!!!

Did I like it?  Nope.  Would I recommend it?  No...  Older Jodi is definitely better.  Rating?  2 out of 5 stars.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Book 8, 2013 - The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Wow - what conflicting feelings I have about this one.   I don't usually love books that are just plain sad, and well... this book has very little happiness.  I was recommended this one by a friend of mine, saying she couldn't put it down, and I can see why.  As a mother, this book has so many things going on that go right to the heart of being a mother:  the desperate wanting of a child, the loss of children, the hope and wonder and infinite joy that children can bring to families.

I will not give anything away on this one.  Perhaps I was in the minority on not really knowing which way the book would go.  I was anxious to finish it however, because I felt so much nervousness and sadness for virtually every character in the book and just sort of wanted everyone to get out of their grief-stricken lives!  That doesn't make it a "bad" book at all - just well-written tragedy.  I am needing desperately something a bit more upbeat, but I think more books lately just deal with loss and grief.  Hmmm.

Did I like it?  I did...  Would I recommend it?  Definitely... it is a great debut novel.  Rating?  4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book 7, 2013 - Wild by Cheryl Strayed

It has been a long time since I have read a book that I did not want to end.  This was one of those books.  What a fantastic read.  I tend to prefer fiction books, but a friend highly recommended this book, and I am so very glad she did.  This book chronicles a woman's journey (an overused word, but the right one in this case) traveling the Pacific Coast Trail in 1995.  The things she does, people she meets, and amazing feats she accomplishes is awe-inspiring.  It almost makes you want to try it... Oh my gosh, who am I kidding?  It is really a crazy thing.

Did I like it? No... I seriously loved it.  Recommend it?  Without hesitation.  Rating.... Finally, 5 stars!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Book 6, 2013 - Big Ray by Michael Kimball

Ok, I admit it... I mostly chose this book because a. it was short and b. it had a great cover.  I thought I had heard of it in a book review in a magazine and heard it was decent.

That said, this book was very quick yet disturbing.  It is written in a series of what seems like diary entries by a man in his late thirties.  He is reflecting on his history with his father who has just died.  It does not take long to realize that the history between the main character and his dad is not a happy one.  As the book moves along, you realize how much of a monster the father was ....more gets revealed as the diary is written.  The writing was very simple but effective.  I am not sure you can really 'enjoy' this book because the subject matter is downright depressing.  However, I found myself sympathizing with all of those individuals who have had a lousy childhood and struggle their whole lives coming to terms with it.  Makes my life seem perfect.....  I should count my blessings far more often.

Did I like it?  Hard to say....  Would I recommend?  Probably not.  Rating? Three stars out of five.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book 5, 2013 - The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky

Another book I didn't love...  Hmmm....  On a roll that way, I guess.  I am officially done reading Delinsky's books, too.  This was the second one of hers I've read, and while the premise of each book sounds great, she bogs down the characters and story with too much extra "stuff" that is not relevant to the story.

This book discussed the telling of a lie and a subsequent coverup by a mom involving a car accident in which her fifteen year old daughter was driving, (with a permit).  The mother takes the fall for her daughter when the accident occurs.  The daughter struggles mightily with guilt and anxiety about their situation....  Interesting idea, when I consider what I would go through to protect my children.  However, the mother in this story gets preoccupied with her own relationship with her father, her ex husband, and her lawyer.  She considers a relationship with another man... Etc etc.  You get the idea.  If my daughter were struggling and I was the cause of it, I don't think I would be thinking about getting a boyfriend.  The plot was juicy enough.... Don't add the superfluous!

Did I like it?  Eh.  Recommend?  Maybe....if you're looking for something mindless.  Rating?  Two stars out of five.