I read A LOT. Any free time I have (when I’m nursing Peyton or during nap time/before bed at night), I read, read, read. I am going to attempt to review or just do some free thinking about the books I read. I realize I’m pretty late on the January books (8 in total!), but life has been happening lately and I haven’t had a ton of time to sit in front of the computer. Here goes!
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows
This was a cute little book (is that the proper way to review a book? Ha!). It’s comprised entirely of letters written among friends, set just after WWII. They bond over their love of books. The characters are clever and witty and it left me longing for a time before the loud hub bub of social media. It’s not that drama didn’t exist before social media (because it certainly exists in this book) but it just didn’t sound quite as loud. It made me want to find a bunch of people who were committed to writing letters, who have a great love of books and form my own Potato Peel Pie club. Maybe I will just move to Guernsey, it sounds like a lovely place.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
I read this book with my best friend Kayleigh (we’ve been reading books together, it’s so much fun) and this was such an emotional book for us, we both hoped, laughed and eventually cried. It felt odd, after the fact, that this was one of the books we chose to read, because we ended up losing a friend to suicide shortly after reading this book. The story’s main characters are Violet and Theo (aka Finch), Theo is battling a mental illness (he is Bipolar), but has such an amazing personality, he truly lives life to the fullest and on his own terms. Violet and Theo become friends (and then lovers), they wander around Indiana for a school project and Theo changes Violet’s life forever, giving her a new perspective about life she didn’t have before. Unfortunately, the demons Theo faced became too much, his mental illness goes untreated and he commits suicide toward the end of the book. This book very much reminded me of John Green’s novels. I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down.
The Dinner by Herman Koch
What. The. Heck. Plain and simple. This isn’t a terrible book, so maybe it deserves more stars, but the entire time I was reading it, I just wanted it to end. It takes place over a dinner between two brothers and their wives. They meet to talk about a terrible event that their sons perpetuated. It goes back and forth between the present and flash backs over several years. The characters were bizarre and not likable. I felt like the plot jumped around a lot and I was left with so many questions. I couldn’t tell if some of the events actually or if it was just in the main character’s mind. I was left with so many questions at the end of the book and thankful it was over (even though it wrapped up too quickly).
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
First off I must say, I completely disagree with the ending and the choice the main character (Will) decides to make. But this story was beautiful. This was another book Kayleigh and I read together. We were cheering both main characters (Will and Lou) on the entire story. We wanted Lou to break through Will’s tough exterior, to change his life, to make him believe that even though he hated his new circumstances (he can not walk, and has lost most function of his entire body), that his life is precious and worth living. I feel that the story between Will and Lou does prove that all life is precious but that the message is never received by Will, which is so unfortunate. He impacts Lou’s life in such a big way, he makes her stop just existing and makes her start living. He opens her eyes to the world and everything it has to offer. And she gives him back some of the life he felt he had lost. This book was addictive, so hard to put down. I’m looking forward to seeing this on the big screen and reading the next in the series to see what happens next.
Dead in the Water by Stuart Woods
This is the type of book I call a “formula book”. Woods’ has a series of books with the character Stone Barrington, who is a retired NYPD officer turned private detective. Although the story lines are all different, the books are essentially all kind of the same, with slightly different secondary characters or plot lines. It’s easy to guess what is going to happen. I’m not sure I will continue reading these books, they are easy reads but they don’t evoke much thought. I don’t even really want to go into what this book was about. It’s not worth your time.
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
This is the second book I’ve read by Hannah and while I didn’t love this as much as the first one (The Nightingale, which is amazing and you should stop what you’re doing and start reading it), it was still such a beautiful narrative. It did seem to start slow for me but I was eventually consumed by the story line. This book is really a story within a story. The three main characters (2 daughters and their mother) are on a journey of self discovery and self forgiveness. It is set in present day and flashes back to the mother’s early adulthood. It’s heart wrenching and has an incredible ending. I don’t want to say too much because it’s really such an intense story that it must be felt through reading the story, not by reading a mediocre summary by Isha. The lesson I learned from it: It’s never too late to apologize, to try to set things straight. Sometimes people aren’t what you think they are, you just need to take some time to listen to their story.
Friendship by Emily Gould
1/5 stars (although I would feel comfortable saying 0/5 stars)
Kayleigh, I am so sorry I suggested this book! Seriously. I don’t get it. It was just so blah. The characters are so into themselves, they are awful friends to one another, it was boring, it had no real plot line. It seemed to skip around. It wasn’t solid. I’m not going to waste anymore time thinking about it.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Another Kayleigh and Isha book club book. This was short and sweet, very to the point. The main character, Madeline was diagnosed with a disease in which she is allergic to basically anything, it’s hard for her to know what will set her off so she is confined to her home and has only her mother, a nurse and a teacher or two that she comes into contact with. But new neighbors move in next door and Olly comes into her life. I don’t want to spoil too much about the book, but it leaves you asking yourself, “Am I really living my life to the fullest extent?”
That’s it for January. Hopefully I can tackle February’s books soon!