2017 Books · april2017reading · Murder Mystery

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

the Wife

I read this historical murder mystery for the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club.  So far, I’ve noticed that I’m rather lukewarm about a lot of the monthly picks.  They aren’t necessarily picked because they are books we will all LOVE but because they offer good discussions.  This is based on a real life unsolved murder of Judge Crater in 1930.  This book is the author’s creative take on what could have happened but is most likely far from the truth.

What I Liked:  The ending had a pretty good twist and I loved that it was all based on real life people and events.  My favorite part was at the very end where there is a section with each character and a description about whether that was factual or embellished for the story.

What I Didn’t Like: Most of the story felt pretty slow (especially the first half), even though many of the characters were sympathetic, I didn’t feel a huge connection to any of them, and much of the ending was confusing (in the book club, everyone is constantly trying to figure out exactly what happened and why).

Three Stars

Recommended for: Fans of murder mysteries and historical fiction.

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2017 Books · march2017reading · Quick Lit

March Reading

Time for a quick round-up of what I read in March!

This is How

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

I read this for the MMD book club and have so many thoughts about it!  On the one hand, it was well-written, engaging, and had interesting characters.  On the other hand, I didn’t agree with everything that was taken for granted as true in the book.  For example, it was assumed that if your five year old boy feels like a girl, then he IS a girl regardless of what gender his body actually is.  Then, all of the storylines built on that premise.  However, I can’t say that I agree with that (controversial, I know!) and so several of the conversations and decisions veered into an area that I didn’t think was always best for the child.  However, it was very clear that these parents loved their child and wanted what was best for him, and I enjoyed reading a book that I wouldn’t have otherwise picked up.

Caraval

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

When everything is a part of a game, how do you know what’s real?  This book was cute, colorful, and magical.  The storyline wasn’t perfect but it almost didn’t matter because I had such a great time it.

Behind Her Eyes

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

This page-turner was a fast-paced thriller with a bizarre and unpredictable ending.  It was twisted and strange but I love books that can surprise me and I thought this one did a great job of it.

Mother's

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold

And my Columbine obsession continues!  I loved Columbine by Dave Cullen so much last month that I have started reading everything related I can get my hands on.  First up was this memoir by the mother of one of the shooters, Dylan Klebold.  Dylan was unquestionably fascinating in Columbine because his journals and personality seemed so different from the boy who murdered his classmates, and this book expounds on that.  What Dylan did genuinely shocked his family to their core and it was heartbreaking to read.  However, the unconditional love Sue still has for her son was also quite beautiful.

Be Frank

Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

What can I say?  This one really didn’t do it for me.  My best friend loved it and called it charming so I went in with high expectations.  However, I found it to be very sad and the storyline slow.  I didn’t like any of the characters and I didn’t think the ending was very satisfying.  Definitely my least favorite of the month.

Talking

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

I ADORE Gilmore Girls and by extension Lauren Graham so I knew that unless this book was truly awful, I would enjoy it.  It would have been better as an audio book, I think, because the writing comes across as rambling sometimes.  However, if Lorelai Gilmore had been reading it (and Lauren basically IS Lorelai), it would have been even better.  Perfect for fans of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood.

Overall, it was a fun month for reading!  I’m hoping to keep this pace up so that I can finish my Goodreads goal of 50 books this year.  So far, I’m on track. 🙂

This post is linked to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit.  Head over and see what others are reading!

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.

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.