Friday, September 19, 2014

Books Lately

I may have mentioned I love a good book. Who doesn't? I thought I'd share the books I've read lately.



If I Stay - Gayle Forman - 3 stars
amazon / goodreads

I wanted to love this book, and I did smile and laugh and overall I enjoyed it, but it wasn't what I was expecting. I cried, but I cry during hallmark commercials. It was a nice story, but I just didn't love any of the characters, a little too stereotypical and it was hard to relate. I mean, it was ok but not fabulous. 


Where She Went - Gayle Forman - 3 Stars

amazon / goodreads

I read If I Stay on the plane, and started Where She Went immediately after. Maybe if I hadn't, I wouldn't have been feeling a bit weird about If I Stay (I know that makes no sense, but spoilers). Partway through this book I closed it and opened something else on my kindle. Something about it bugged me. Felt like a slap in the face. I finished it, because I don't like to not finish books, and some of it made me teary, some of it made me smile, some of it made me cringe because of how cheesy it was. I don't know - sometimes there are books I can't definitively say yay or nay. 


The Opposite of Maybe - Maddie Dawson - 4 Stars

amazon / goodreads

I got this book from Sarah as part of the summer book swap. I'm not sure if I would have ever picked this book up for myself, or discovered it if not for the swap, so I'm very happy that I received it. This book took me a little while to get into, and then I couldn't put it down. Most of the characters were likable and well developed, though I didn't understand some of them and they annoyed me at times. Overall, I really did enjoy this book and giggled along and couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. And then it happens and the book ends so abruptly! I was very disappointed in that, I wish it had gone on just a wee bit longer. That was not enough of an ending for me!


The Paris Wife - Paula McLain - 2 stars

amazon / goodreads

I read this for the summer book challenge, and I struggled to get through it. Maybe it's because I forced myself to read it for a challenge, or maybe it's because I didn't know much about Hemingway beforehand. Either way, some parts were excruciatingly boring. I really didn't like either character, though their story did tug at a few heartstrings because I'm emotional like that. I think maybe if you are more into Hemingway and the other famous people who pop up, you might enjoy it, but for me it was boring, depressing and repetitive. 


The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty - 4 stars

amazon / goodreads

Another one for the challenge, and I loved how this one was an Australian author and it was set in Australia. I do think there were lots of Australian references that others might not get. I also think that the references to religion, or lack thereof, is not exclusively Australian persay, but the concept is more accepted in Australia than it would be here. I can understand someone very religious being offended by a couple of lines in the book. It took me a while to get into the book, but after the first chapter I read it in one sitting. I did enjoy it and it was compelling, thought provoking and well written. But something was missing, I really didn't love any of the characters, and some of the endings annoyed me.


Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen - 4 stars

amazon goodreads

I read this one for the challenge, because Carly did. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It made me feel like a teenager again, even if my life was nothing like that. I really enjoyed it, and it definitely made me want to read more Sarah Dessen. 

The Pioneer Woman's Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - Ree Drummond - 4 stars
amazon / goodreads

Another one for the challenge. My best friend loves the pioneer woman, as I'm sure a lot of people do, but I have never really made any of her recipes, or wanted to. However, this book was really cute, well written and I really enjoyed it. Maybe because I am not a follower of her blog I enjoyed it more, it read like fiction and it was such a cute story, the kind of love story we all want. They honeymooned in Australia, and I could have done without the cliche, insulting, stereotypical jokes, but I eventually got over myself. I am deducting a star because most of the story is available on her blog online, so it's a bit steep to buy the book for only 85 pages of new material. To me it was all new material, but it might matter to other people. I would give this one 4.5 if I did half stars.


Persuasion - Jane Austen - 5 stars

amazon / goodreads

I didn't even try and finish this before the challenge ended, but I was determined to read it. I couldn't very well call myself a Jane Austen fan if I have only read Pride & Prejudice, now could I? I picked Persuasion as my next Austen, because I had heard such good things. How could I not rate this 5 stars? 10 stars! All the stars! Of course I adored this book. No words, really. Oh, what a wonderful story. I can see this being a favourite. Such a beautiful story.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot - 5 stars

amazon / goodreads

Another that I didn't finish before the challenge ended, but I still wanted to read it, so read it I did. The storytelling is amazingly moving. Despite a lot of scientific information, in most parts it reads like fiction. The contributions of HeLa cells to science are absolutely staggering and cannot be overstated. The sections where the science was described were clear and easy to understand (for me). I do not normally enjoy non-fiction, but I did enjoy this and felt I learned a lot. It did take me a while to read, picking it up for a chapter every now and again because of how heavy a subject it was. The only way I can describe this book is as a fascinating, disturbing, thought provoking, moving book that you should absolutely read. 


The Giver - Lois Lowry - 4 stars

amazongoodreads

I hadn't even heard of this book before the movie came out, much to the shock of pretty much everyone. We didn't read it in school, so there you go. I enjoyed it, but maybe I read too many Hunger Games and the like to fully appreciate it. I can see if this was the first type of those books you had read, especially as a child, it would be absolutely amazing. It was definitely well written, I really enjoyed it, but something about the ending bugged me.


Phew! That was a lot, but really it was July, August + some of September, so... not that much.
As always, any recommendations? Throw 'em at me.

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44 comments:

  1. The opposite of maybe sounds interesting, and I haven't heard of the Giver either. I have been in a reading slump with too many lackluster books lately. I need to read a really good one soon.

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  2. i have wanted to read the henrietta lacks one! if i stay is sitting on my kindle. haven't read yet. Elle Sees

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  3. I love the Pioneer Woman! I read her blog religiously and watch her show on the Food Network. She just seems like a real person to me and very down to earth. I read that book a couple years ago and enjoyed it. :)

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  4. This post reminds much I really fell behind with Summer reading! Blogging is so time consuming lol. Thanks for the recs girl!

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  5. So glad you liked Persuasion!! I loved the Giver when I read it as a kid, but I feel like it would be totally different reading it now. Love reading your book reviews!

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  6. Im reading the husbands secret now. I on chapter nine, i think, and im just now starting to get into it. Also I love The pioneer woman's show but Ive never read her blog so I might enjoy the book...

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  7. Oh I adore Persuasion! I think it may be my second favorite Austen novel (behind Pride and Prejudice of course) But everything of hers is so perfectly written, it's hard to choose!

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  8. There are two more books after The Giver. The Giver has been one of my favorite books since I read it in school. It would be really weird to read it for the first time as an adult. But it is one of the books that I would love to be able to read for the first time again.

    I love all of Jane Austen's books. Persuasion is a favorite, but I think Mansfield Park is my absolute favorite ... maybe even more than P&P.

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  9. WOW, that's alot of books, way to go!

    I was not a fan of the Paris Wife either...felt she was such a whiny wife and never stood up for herself. I thought the Husband's secret was okay, but wasn't thrilled by it like others were.

    I need to read teh giver!

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  10. I'm not a big reader but I read The Paris Wife a couple years ago and loved it! But I don't know if I liked the book so much as I liked learning about Hemingway and that time period.

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  11. I've been thinking about Paris Wife but after your review I dont think I'll be reading it! Have you read Gone Girl...I think I may be the last person on the planet that hasn't and I want to see it before the movie comes out lol!

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  12. Thanks for these recommendations! I've read a couple.. Looking forward to adding the others to my list!

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  13. Nice list! I've bookmarked it for when I have time to read again... My mini-me squashed that! I try before going to bed and wake up with a book in my face a few hours later. Someday! Someday, soon...

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  14. Henrietta Lacks was one of my favorite books I've read! I read it years ago. I may need to re read it now. I couldn't get through The Paris Wife either and I was sad bc I had heard good it was. You need to read Big Little Lies next!!

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  15. Great list! I've been looking a for a new book to get into for my commute to and from work.

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  16. I read The Giver as an adult, too--I hope to make it out and see the movie! The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has been on my To-read list for a long time, but your review makes me want to bump it up to the very top of my list!!

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  17. I completely agree with you on The Paris Wife. I usually like historical fiction books like that (The Aviator's Wife was so much better), but I thought The Paris Wife was so boring. Plus, I'm not a huge fan of Hemingway in the first place so that didn't help. I used to love reading Sarah Dessen as a teenager. I might have to pick up one of her books again! :)

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  18. My oldest wants to read If I Stay. But she needs to finish The Fault In Our Stars (she won't because there's cusswords in it LOL).

    I need to finish a few books. I haven't been in the mood at all lately.

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  19. I miss reading and enjoying a good book. I am finding it hard to keep my eyes open these days every time I try to read something. But when I do I know who to ask for a recommendation:)

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  20. I love Liane Moriarty and have read several of her books recently.
    I haven't read any of Gayle Forman's books - maybe I will try them!!!

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  21. Totally agree with "If I Stay".

    I haven't read "Persuasion" but "Emma" is my next fav Austen book (the BBC miniseries is super cute!). "Sense and Sensibility" isn't too bad. Will have to do "Persuasion" next.

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  22. I loved the Husband's Secret as well. Her new book is on my list of things to read.

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  23. I'm currently reading "Son of Holmes." Enjoying it so far. A pretty quick read, but I love me some regency, historic, mysterious European shiz, so there you have it. LOVE this list and the reviews. Always on the look out for new reads. :)

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  24. I still have to read Where she went.. & I also just bought The Giver to read. We never read that in school either - I heard it was banned. #stupid

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  25. Ummm how do you find time to read so much inbetween blogging and working?! You're like super reader woman! I've been seeing the movie previews for If I Stay and it looks so sad! You know how I feel about sad haha! I'm telling you Gone Girl! Put it on the list!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeatsoles.blogspot.com

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  26. It's funny that everyone is agreeing on their dislike for the Paris Wife - I read it about a year ago I think and didn't even finish it... definitely disappointed because I was expecting it to be good. :( Hate when that happens!! I liked Persuasion as well. :) Thanks for all the review, I'll definitely be adding some of these to my list!!

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  27. The Giver was one of my favorites as a kid, and I actually just re-read it myself over the summer. Haven't seen the movie yet (doesn't look like it will be up to my standard of the book, honestly :/ ) but I probably will once it's on Netflix or something. It's definitely a big deal if you grew up with it, but I could see how being so used to dystopian lit with the Hunger Games could make it lose its edge a little bit. If you want more like that though, I recommend you check out Anthem by Ayn Rand. Also one of the "modern originals" so to speak but a bit more action, I'd say. Anyway, some of yours are definitely on my to-read list as well (As soon as I finish HP of course; starting book 4 today as soon as I get my hands on it) so thanks for sharing these reviews!

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  28. The Giver is the only book from your list that I've already read. It's been one of my favorite books since I was 11. It's still horrifying to me as an adult, perhaps more-so because of what I know now and have experienced. I'm not even sure it can be called a dystopian novel because for all intents and purposes the world described in the story is a utopia. No differences, no extreme emotions, and none of the trouble that can result from those things. But being who we are and living in this world, it seems like a nightmare. Still, everyone was taken care of; no one wanted to fight the systems in place because they worked. It was only when Jonas was introduced to what he didn't already have that he started wanting more. The Hunger Games is most like Battle Royale (a Japanese novel by Koushun Takami that was probably the inspiration for THG; that one is brutal) but I can totally see how you'd get a similar feeling reading The Giver and The Hunger Games. The ambiguous ending bugged me, too, when I read it the first time. But now, I choose to believe he made it :) I have to read Persuasion!
    ~ Gianni ~

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  29. Oh I've been wanting to read 'The Giver' and "Gone Girl', might have to go buy those soon

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  30. Great list, now I will have a purpose next time when I visit library:)

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  31. I loved the Pioneer Woman book! So sweet! I just bought Gone Girl but so far I can't get into it.

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  32. I loved The Paris Wife, but am admittedly a bit of a Hemingway fan and knew a lot about him beforehand. That certainly helped.

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  33. The Husband's Secret is on my list to read after I finish the 21st book in my series. Haha!

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  34. I've read about half of these and totally agree with you on most. I really liked If I Stay, though, but Where She Went really lacked the same feeling I got from If I Stay.. pretty disappointing.

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  35. I've heard good things about The Giver, but never actually picked it up. Maybe I will now! Thanks for the book reviews!

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  36. I needed this post to get me back into reading! So glad you loved Along For the Ride-- now you need to read This Lullaby and Someone Like You :)

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  37. I just finished both If I Stay and Where She Went. For me, it hit on a lot of emotions that stemmed from losing a loved one a few years back, which I think made it much more profound than it actually was. Haha. :) It's a decent read, but the characters could have been developed better. As for The Husband's Secret, I agree. It was a little hard to get into at first, but it was very compelling. I can't recall any characters that I actually loved though. I read The Giver in middle school and really liked it. I kind of want to re-read it now as an adult though. I'm sure it would be a completely different experience. Now on to the really important book, Persuasion. :) I love this book! I have all of Jane Austen's books, and of course this is one of my favorites.

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  38. I am so glad you didn't like The Paris Wife because now I can stop reading it! I'm so bored and hating it, but it has gotten so many positive reviews that I felt like I must be missing something.

    I have Opposite of Maybe on my list already so excited to read that, and like you I loved The Giver, Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and totally agree with your critiques of The Husband's Secret.

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  39. the Paris wife was such a great read, I need more about that era!

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  40. I can't even tell you how long I've been eyeing The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. For some reason, I never add it to my bag/cart/whatever. You've gotten me even more curious though!!!! Maybe I'll add it to my Christmas wish list (it's getting so fucking long btw, hahaha!)!

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  41. So glad you liked Persuasion, it is my fave Austen book. I really want to read The Husband's Secret so I think that might be my next book! I quite liked the Paris Wife but I can see how it would not be everyone's cup of tea! :)

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  42. Definitely going to be checking out your 5 star pick! I FINALLY finished a book.. The Fault In Our Stars. I'm like the last person on Earth to read it!

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  43. Oh! So glad you updated about The Husband's Secret! I remember you saying you wanted to read it and I said you should. So I'm glad you take my advice about SOMETHING. LOL. I agree it was a quick and easy read. I also felt the same in that I didn't feel strongly connected to ANY of the characters. Usually that is a dealbreaker for me, but I still enjoyed this story enough to make up for it. I read the Giver and don't understand the fuss. At all. The ending was so anti-climactic to me! Right now I'm onto so non-fiction psychology stuff. IDK if that would be your thing, though. :) And I'm reading like one chapter per week so my summer reading streak has come to a screeching halt!

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  44. I am currently reading the husband's secret and I feel the same as you do! I am not in love with any of the characters and I actually find a couple of them quite unrealistic if I'm honest. I do appreciate some of the Aussie references now that I am here though!

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