Monday, April 25, 2016

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (Read 1/27/16)

This was my Feburary NNCC book.  It was so good that I sat down and read it in one sitting.  And then I read it a second time right before our meeting.
This is told from he point of view of Mia, who has been in a tragic accident, she is in coma and having an out of body experience.  She watches her loved ones watch over her and must decide if she wants to stay or if she wants to go.
I don't know why this book was so amazing, but I loved it.  I am seriously considering buying the actual book.  Some of the characters were unrealistic and the story line was a bit flimsy in places, but something about the writing drew me in and made me love it.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Orphan Train by Christina Barker Klein (Read 1/10/16 to 1/27/16)

This is my January BOTM read.  The tale is told from two points of view.  Molly Ayer, and almost 18 year old foster child.  She is just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, as a last ditch effort she takes on a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her attic to avoid juvenile detention and homelessness.
Vivian Daly, the elderly lady, has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine but her attic is full of her memories and her past, which was not always as quiet. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly and Viviane forma  remarkable friendship.
I really liked the book from the very start.  Viviane had a really rough childhood, and it made me sad hat she was taken advantage of the way she was.  I liked both characters Molly and Vivian, and I found the parallels in their lives fascinating.  Parts of the book made really angry, especially when it came to the treatment Vivian received as a child.
The ending feel a little unfinished.  But I think Kline did that to leave things up the reader's imagination about Molly and Viviane's future.  I like to think it was a happy one, but I would have liked it to end a little more on the tidy side.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Rancher by Kelli Ann Morgan (Read 1/22/16 to 1/23/16)

This was a quick filler book for me.  A quick romance to fill some space between my book club books.  It was a pretty typical romance, just set in the wild west of Colorado.  There is a girl who can ride and shoot better than any man she’s ever met, but when the threat of losing her ranch forces her to find a husband. What she didn't expect was to find a husband that makes her want to be a lady.
 And there is a man guild ridden over the accident that claimed his best friend, then he discovers there was nothing accidental about it. So he sets out for Colorado, to fulfill his friend’s dying wish and to flush out his killer, the last thing he expected was to find was a bride.
It was a quick read, the writing was good, and it filled a need I had at the time for some romance.  Plus there was the murder mystery portion.  I liked Abby and Cole, they were a little flat, but again its a typical romance and the purpose wasn't to build complicated characters, it was to build the idea that romance and love are possible and for you too like the characters enough to want them to be together and get their happy ending.  Which Kelli Ann did wonderfully.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Guided Ashes by Rosamund Hodge (Read 1/11/16)

This was a short story I picked up as a filler between my book club books. It was a super quick read, novella length. I choose it because I liked Hodge's other book Cruel Beauty.
The story is about Maia (i.e. Cinderella).  Maia's dead mother haunts anyone who hurts her, and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother's approval.  Then Maia become the messenger for her stepsister trying to win the love of Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis.  Of course nothing goes as planned but maybe there will still be a happy ending.
I liked this story, it was nice to see the Cruel Beauty world again, and the demon king still was granting wishes that were not what the person expected.  It was a fun read, I still prefer Cruel Beauty, but it was a nice filler story.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell (Read 1/13/16 to 1/21/16)

This is a book I received in one of my Book Riot Boxes.
The book takes place in London in 1976. I had to keep reminding myself hat it was the 70's and technology want as it is today, no cell phones etc.  London is having a record-breaking heatwave, and Gretta Riordan’s newly retired husband has cleaned out his bank account and vanished. Which brings all three of Gretta's children home for the first time in years. Michael Francis is a history teacher whose marriage is failing.  Monica is an unhappy woman whose past has driven a wedge between her and her younger sister.  And Aoife, the youngest, whose new life in Manhattan is elaborately arranged to conceal a devastating secret.  This book is full of secrets and misconceptions that finally are revealed and accepted or not.
I liked the book, it was a nice light read. I wasn't so engrossed that I couldn't put it down, but it was a nice filler book.    The character I care most about was Aoife, I wanted to know how her storyline turned out more so than the others.  I was a little disappointed by the ending as I didn't feel it was resolved.  I felt like the character were moving down a path of resolution, but we don't get to see it and only have our imaginations to fill in the end.  I used to enjoy those types of endings, where the author leaves it up to the readers imagination, but I have noticed of late that my taste has changed and I want the author to wrap it up already.  I feel like, I paid for this book give me a conclusion not just an ending. But other than my changing taste, I liked the book. The story was interesting and light.  Good enough to keep me reading, but not so deep I had to stop being a parent to finish the book.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (Read 12/30/2015 to 1/9/16)

The description is "At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society.  Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so.  Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a "pretend extrovert."
This was a great read.  I'm an introvert myself, although after reading the book I believe I am a highly reactive introvert, which means I can play the role of an extrovert when there is something I am passionate about.  I felt the research and write up of the research on personality types was interesting  and easy to read, unlike some books were the research portion puts me to sleep, Cain wrote in a manner that kept me interested and awake.  There were many parts of the book where she was describing introversion, and I went "Ah  yes, that is me"  or "Ah yes, that total sense."  There were some great tips on how to get along in an extroverted world, but to still be true to your introverted self.  Remember, Introversion doesn't mean Anti-Siocial, it just means limited dosages or smaller portions of social interactions.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Christmas Cottage/Ever After by Samantha Chase (Read 12/28/15 to 12/30/15)

This was a book I received in my December Lit-Cube Box.   The description is "THE CHRISTMAS COTTAGE:  Lacey Quinn does not believe in happily-ever-after or the legend of the Christmas Cottage. But her best friend does, and she’s the one getting married. It’s Lacey’s job to make sure everything at the cottage is perfect for the newlyweds. Instead, she finds herself snowed in with the best man, and she begins to wonder if fairy tales really can come true.
EVER AFTER:  Ava Callahan wants desperately to believe in love everlasting. But when Brian McCabe walks back into her life and upsets her carefully organized world, her commitment to perfection makes it hard to accept the love that’s right in front of her. Will it take a night in the Christmas Cottage for Ava and Brian to find their happy ending?"
I am not normally a romance reader, but it was christmas time and after the Fisherman I wanted something I knew would have a happy ending, and Romances have a formula that include a happy ending, so this was my next read.  This fit the bill pretty perfectly.  The two stories are intertwined, and flow together very nicely.I forget how perfect romance novels make love seem, that once in love all the troubles go away because love conquers all.  It was a nice change of pace.  Enjoyable and an easy read.