2017 Books · march2017reading · Memoirs

Talking As Fast As I Can

Talking

Can Lauren Graham be my best friend??  I mean, seriously.  This book is like sitting down with her over coffee and learning about her life. I giggled my way through it but she also shares some bits of wisdom that I really valued.  Her chapter about her boyfriend, Peter, was also on what it was like to be single for so long as all of her friends got married and had babies.  I loved her advice that she gave at the end of the chapter.  Also, she basically IS Lorelai Gilmore.

Things I Liked:  It is hilarious (I read most of it during down time at work and had to struggle not to laugh out loud multiple times), Lauren is surprisingly unHollywood (discussing her personal dislike of doing nude scenes and plastic surgery), fans of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood are treated to some behind the scenes thoughts and stories (I could literally hear the last song playing from the end of Gilmore Girls as she described it and almost started crying), and it’s a quick and easy read.

Things I Didn’t Like: A couple of chapters ramble a bit and it probably would have been a bit better as an audiobook.

Four Stars

Recommended For:  Honestly, fans of Gilmore Girls are probably the only ones who will appreciate this book.  Otherwise, you would be completely lost during a couple of chapters.  Now, please excuse me while I go rewatch the entire series.  Again.

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2017 Books · march2017reading

Be Frank With Me

Be Frank

A young woman is hired to be the personal assistant to a famous author decades after her first and only book.  Her job mostly entails taking care of the author’s son, a precocious and odd 9 year old boy named Frank.  Not only born in the wrong decade (and dresses accordingly), Frank is smarter than pretty much anyone in the room and seems to have autistic tendencies (although this is never discussed in the book).

What I Liked: At times, Frank was unintentionally hilarious and if they chose an adorable child to play him in a movie, I can see myself liking him so much more than I did.

What I Didn’t Like: The storyline was rather slow and not much really happens in the book, almost every character was unlikeable at times (even Frank), and the story just seems to cut off at the end instead of having any real resolution.

Three Stars (although in hindsight, it is really more like two and a half stars, but Goodreads doesn’t allow halves)

Recommended for:  Fans of old musicals or movies from the 1930’s

 

2017 Books · march2017reading

A Mother’s Reckoning

Mother's

“I hated what he had done, but I still loved my son.”  This sums up this book in a sentence.  It is heartbreaking, moving, powerful, and a great addition to anyone who has already read Columbine by Dave Cullen.  Columbine was a fascinating book for so many reasons, but one that stood out to me was the complexity of the two shooters.  One was a textbook psychopath but the other was a shy, insecure, sweet guy who was completely in love with a girl he had never talked to and felt that he had nothing to live for.  I had so much trouble understanding how he became the guy who brutally shot people at the end of his life.  There are so many theories about this and we’ll probably never know for certain.

Things I Liked: The depths of a mother’s love bleed onto every page of this book.  It’s a beautiful thing to read, even despite all of the pain he has caused others, to see such unconditional love on display.  I also loved all of the stories and anecdotes she offered about Dylan that show his humanity while still acknowledging the devastating choices he made.

Things I Didn’t Like:  The book runs a little long on the suicide prevention information; it’s very important but it felt repeated over and over. In fact, it felt like several things and stories were repeated, which is more of an indication that she is not a journalist – just a mother sharing her story.

Four Stars

Recommended for: anyone who has read Columbine or is interested in the subject, anyone going thorough a difficult grieving process.

2017 Books · march2017reading · Psychological Thrillers

Behind Her Eyes

Behind Her Eyes

The marketing for this book was #WTFthatending and I completely get it now.  It’s the main reason I picked the book up.  I love a book that can really surprise me with a good twist, and this one certainly does that.  Although to be honest, I had about a dozen theories as the book went on and one of them turned out to be the ending.  But it was still a little shocking because it was so twisted.  A woman meets a man at a bar who turns out to be her new boss.  Then she becomes friends with his wife while carrying on an affair with him.  That alone is twisted.  Add to that the craziness that is this story, and it’s hard to wrap your mind around everything.

What I Liked: Surprises at every turn, it hooks you completely in (I read it in two days, I could barely put it down.  I just HAD to know what happened!), it’s easy to read.

What I Didn’t Like: It’s a little twisted and dark (for some people, that’s a positive thing though), and as shocking as the ending is, it’s also a little “out there”; definitely not grounded in reality.

Three stars.

Recommended for: Fans of psychological thrillers and supernatural elements.

2017 Books · march2017reading · YA Fantasy

Caraval Review

Caraval

Glittering, mysterious, topsy-turvy, magical… all words that spring to mind when I reflect back on Caraval by Stephanie Garber.  Two sisters held captive by an abusive father.  Scarlett dreams of a magical game her grandmother used to tell her about, in the hopes that they can escape their terrible lives.

Ok, things I liked: the romance, the descriptions of emotions as various colors (I constantly feel like I should rate my feelings at any moment now by a particular shade), the constant surprises, the fact that I never got bored or felt the story began to drag, the whimsical feeling throughout the whole story, and the absence of bad language and sex scenes.

Things I didn’t like: I could barely keep up with certain characters (one minute they’re good, the next they’re bad, then they’re an ally, etc) and the clues in the game didn’t really seem to lead anywhere.  I’ve read some reviews that said the person didn’t like the flowery, whimsical way the author wrote but personally, I loved that.  It made it all seem a bit more magical, even though it may not have made a whole lot of sense.

Four stars

Recommended for: anyone who liked The Night Circus or YA fantasy, in general.

february2017reading · Quick Lit

February Reading

Even though we’re into March and I’m dying to start my post about the book I finished last night, I just read too many great books in February not to do a quick round-up!

Queen of Shadows

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

This is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series.  I liked the first book, liked the second book a little more, starting loving the series with the third book, and then bam – the author threw in a romance out of nowhere that I personally hated and it ruined the book for me.  I think I’m in the minority because according to a lot of reviews I’ve seen, people didn’t dislike the romance as much as I did, although I did find a few fellow souls who hated it too.  Now, I’m torn between continuing the series and cutting my losses.  Time will tell.

Steal Like An Artist

Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

I read this for the MMD book club I’m in.  It’s short and sweet.  Lots of great quotes, but overall, nothing life-changing in my opinion.  However, I may not be its core audience, as I don’t consider myself an artist.  I just love beauty and creativity but I’m not actively trying to create much.

Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

THIS BOOK.  I haven’t given a book 5 stars on Goodreads in over 2 years.  But if there was ever a book that deserved all 5 stars, it’s this one.  Absolutely charming and beautiful story about a man who is sentenced to spend his life under house arrest in a hotel.  I fell in love with the characters (especially the count) but it was the writing that drew me in.  I don’t normally love “flowery” writing; I prefer dialogue and action, but this book was just lovely.

Dark Matter

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

This book was right up my alley.  A sci-fi book about alternate universes?  I mean, come on.  It was practically tailor-made for me.  I didn’t love the ending; it made me kind of sad, but overall it’s a fast-paced, interesting book that is full of action.

Columbine

Columbine by Dave Cullen

Hands down, one of the best books I’ve ever read.  I cannot even begin to talk about how fascinating this book was.  It sounds a little morbid to love a book about mass murder, but there are so many aspects of the book that make it so good.  From the myths perpetuated by the media to the families of all involved to the killers’ motives, this was just a remarkable piece of journalism.  I cannot wait to read A Mother’s Reckoning later this month by Dylan Klebold’s mother.

Well, that’s it!  It was a great month for reading.  Stay tuned for my review on Caraval!