Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (audio)

"I think grief is like a really ugly couch.  It never goes away.  You can decorate around it; you can slap a doily on top of it; you can push it to the corner of the room - but eventually, you learn to live with it."

I listed to this as an audio book and really enjoyed it.  I felt that it took a different path than Picoult's usual style, but still kept many of the same characteristics of her as an author.  The book focused a lot on mother/daughter relationships that was incorporated with elephant behavior.  I found the parts about elephants really interested and gained a new perspective of animal behavior in general.  

I also really liked how Picoult developed the characters throughout the book.  Without giving too much away, I wasn't too sure about the main character of Alice but I grew to really like her as the story progressed.  I love how the details of the story unraveled slowly enough for readers to process both the characters and events.  I was set to give the book 4 1/2 stars - or maybe even 5 at some points - but the ending took me by surprise.  I'm still not sure how I felt about the it.  I didn't see it coming at all and it was a little to unrealistic for me (at best), but I still loved the book.  It was beautifully written and I couldn't put it down!

This book was #9 on my top ten list of 2015.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen (audio)

"The monster - if there was one - never revealed itself to me again.  But what I have learned over the past year was that monsters abound, usually in plain sight."

After reading (and loving) Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants several years ago I was really excited to read this!  Sadly, I was rather disappointed.  

The author is a great storyteller - I love her creativity and description of language.  But, in the case, the story was not at all appealing for me.  It felt like she was pulling from too many different angles.  There were marriage problems...and an identity crisis...and the was...and then throw in the lochness monster into the mix and it was all a little too much for me.  And then there were the characters. Ugh. I find hardly anyone in the story even remotely interesting or find myself caring about what happened to them.  

There were some ok parts that I enjoyed, but overall I was expecting a lot more from the book.  I finished the book a little over a week ago and I honestly can't remember what happened at the end.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

★★★★ 1/2
"Madness is a wonderful excuse, don't you think?"

When Ruthie's most mysteriously disappears, she and her sister must find a way to get her back.  In doing so, they discover the hidden diary of Sara Harrison Shea from over a century ago - and they suddenly find themselves in a modern-day ghost story of their own.

Part history/thriller/horror/mystery - this novel has everything needed for wonderfully engrossing page-turner that I couldn't put down.  Luckily my husband was up north hunting all weekend and my daughter went to bed early so I was able to stay up way-to-late finishing it!  The writing was beautiful and brilliant and I loved the historical aspects.  And it completely freaked me out more than a couple of times.  There goes my dream of wanting to live in the middle of the woods. Eh.

This book was #8 on my top ten list of 2015.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Selection by Kiera Cass (audio)

★★ 1/2
"True love is usually the most inconvenient kind."

This one has taken me awhile to read - and I'm glad that I ended up deciding to listen to it because I'm not sure that I would have finished it otherwise.  I'm not going to get into what this book was about, but it was pretty much equvilent of watching The Bachelore while reading The Hunger Games books - rich, but super hot guy has televised contest for finding the love of his life.  Except their in this dystopian world.  Or something like that.  

The story was sort of cute (ish) and kept my attention (most of the time).  I enjoyed reading it and am mildly interested in what happens next.  But probably not interested enough to actually read the rest of the series.  

It wasn't an awful book.  It just wasn't super amazing or anything.  Every time I would think I knew what was going to happen, I was completely wrong.  Not sure if that was a good thing or not.  And the world building was very much lacking.  Their decades (or more?) into the future, but hardly anyone has a cell phone?  Highly unlikely.  I felt like the technology just stopped developing in the 1990s. Um, no. And the prince was just sort of dumb.  He was so oblivious.  Which I guess was probably the point, but it still annoyed me.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

"What an unequaled gift for disaster you have."

This enchanting tale tells the story of Agnieska -  a young girl taken from her quiet village to serve the Dragon for ten years time.  No one knows what happens to the girls he takes, but they come back changed.  Agnieska was never suppose to taken and finds her self in a world of magic and mystery as she attempts to figure out what the Dragon wants from her.  And the she has to save her family - and the entire village - from the evil Wood that is slowly destroying them.

The book draw me in from first couple pages - the first couple of sentences actually.  I loved the writing style and the perfect mix of fairy-tale and humor.  My favorite thing about the book was the relationship between Agnieska and the Dragon as they learn to work together and (surprise!) fall in love.  It was essentially an more adult and developed version of Beauty and the Beast.  Both of the characters were so charming and together they created this unexpected, but wonderful chemistry.  The book was also extremely funny.

I would have loved for the book to continue to focus mainly on Agnieska and the Dragon's relationship.  The author did an amazing job, but I felt like there was so much more to explore.  I also would have enjoyed learning about the other girls that the Dragon took.  But, alas Agnieska had to develop her magical powers and go save the world from the evil trees and corrupted royal family (or something like that...).  That's where the book sort of lost me and I lost interest for awhile in the middle.  But, overall I thought it was a wonderfully written story and I'm always a sucker for fairytales.  I also thought the ending was pretty much as close to perfect as you can get!