Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, 204 Pages

I finished this one today, and I'm glad I read it. This was another one that I didn't love, but it was beautiful, nonetheless. This poetry by Kaur was definitely more sad than The Sun and Her Flowers,  but it is so neat to read as the author goes through her healing process. 

"We are all born so beautiful. The greatest tragedy is being convinced we are not."

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter, 396 Pages

Let me start off with a warning: this book is extremely dark and disturbing. I love psychological thrillers/horror, all that stuff... but this was a tough one to get through. 
That being said, I absolutely loved this book. I was reading this constantly, and when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. Karin Slaughter has quickly taken over as my favorite author in this genre. 

Sisters Claire and Lydia haven't spoken in over a decade, and are living completely opposite lives with one thing in common; both are still absolutely devastated about the disappearance of their older sister that took place over 20 years ago. Lydia is a struggling single mom and recovering drug addict. Claire is the typical "trophy wife", living an "ask and you shall receive" life. They are reunited when Claire's husband is brutally murdered. The sister's are forced to put their differences aside when they have to work together and dive into their past to help uncover some extremely painful, shocking truths. 

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur, 256 Pages

I read this one in another attempt to give poetry a chance. I've seen and heard so much about Kaur and her work, so I was anxious to read this one, especially after enjoying the last book of poetry I read so much. Unfortunately, this one fell flat for me. I didn't dislike it, but it didn't feel quite as relateable as the last book I read. I did bookmark a few poems that were absolutely beautiful, but overall, this one just didn't do it for me. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes, 391 pages

  I listened to an unabridged audio book version read by Emily Woo Zeller and enjoyed the experience.
  The novel spun a fictional tale of current and past events and characters resulting from the actual Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (when the U.S. Federal Government prohibited Chinese workers from entering the country and around which time people of Chinese descent in the Western U.S. were treated with hatred and even massacred). Being a Midwestern caucasion person from a different era, I had never heard of the legislation, and I had not known of the post-Civil War violence experienced by Chinese immigrants in the U.S. before I encountered this story. Guess I’m not surprised, but I am disgusted that people were hurt by such racial hatred.
  The story is worth listening to. In it, you will meet Mei Lein, a young woman born in Seattle to Chinese immigrants before the Chinese Exclusion Act and Inara Erickson, a recent graduate who inherits Orcas Island property a ferry ride from Seattle in the present time. Their stories are told separately but certainly intertwine. You’ll get a dose of mystery as Inara searches to learn about Mei Lein’s life in addition to a little romance and the adventure of remodeling an old house for new purposes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace, 156 Pages

I will admit- I've never been a big fan of poetry. I think the cause of this is all the "classic" poetry I was forced to read in high school. This just put a bad taste in my mouth for the genre all together, so I've avoided it ever since... until now. I've been seeing lots of buzz around this book, and then I assisted with a poetry display at my branch, which convinced me to give it a go. I'M SO GLAD I DID! This poet writes about love, loss, femininity and so many other topics, in extremely relatable context. The emotion is pouring out of the pages as you read it, and I really can't recommend it enough. 

In a Cottage In a Wood by Cass Green, 320 Pages

I received an Advanced Copy of this book a few months ago, but I've been attempting to get some books off my "To-Read List" for a while, so it's been actively collecting dust on my bookshelf. I finally got it last weekend because I didn't have anything else at home to read, and I'm glad I finally did! This book gets to the point rather quickly, and then keeps the excitement coming. 

Neve, to put it simply, is a mess. She recently lost her boyfriend, is working at a dead-end job, and moved in with her sister and her family. Walking home after making some iffy decisions, she encounters a mysterious woman on the bridge. The woman introduces herself as Isabelle, and after handing Neve an envelope, she jumps off the bridge. Neve's life quickly gets worse, and she is surprised when she is told that Isabelle left her a cottage in her will. Neve sees this as a blessing in disguise, and potentially a turning point in her wreck of a life. The only problem is, once she arrives to the cottage, this isn't a blessing in disguise, and could potentially be a nightmare. The cottage is run down, has bars on the window, and is holding very sinister secrets that are going to turn her life upside down. 

The Sword of the Lady by S.M. Stirling, 496 pages

  After finishing this book, I’m officially mad at the author of this series, and I may or may not get beyond my frustration enough to continue to the next book.
  I’m mad because when I start a series, I trust that the author can be a reliable guide who knows where he/she is going and that I will return from the adventure I’ve stepped into. Right now, I have no faith that the author will ever provide sufficient closure.
  The Sword of the Lady is the seventh book in S.M. Stirling’s Emberverse series, all of which I’ve read in addition to a companion set of three books (that stopped with no closure) that share the same starting point but that branch out in a different time dimension than the series that The Sword of The Lady plays out in.
  I’ve clearly enjoyed the books or I wouldn’t have now read ten of them over the last five years. The beginning premise of both series stem from one incident called "The Change," one day in 1998, when unexpectedly, immediately, and simultaneously, the entire world loses power. All electrical and fossil-fuel powered engines cease functioning and gunpowder stops working. Chaos and death ensue, eventually followed by emerging new societies of survivors.
  The Sword of the Lady takes place in 2022, twenty-four years after the change, focusing on a specific group of first generation young adults who have existed only in their post-apocalyptic areas of what used to be the United States.
  It appears that at least another seven books have already been written to follow this book, and another is due to be released in the fall of 2018. I don’t know . . . I like the story . . . I like the characters . . . But at the moment, I’ve completely lost patience because I have no intention of being lost in one fictional series for the remainder of my life. I think I’ll stop reading, hope the books eventually reach a satisfactory conclusion and are turned into a TV series that I can binge watch some year on Netflix to better use the real life I’ve been granted.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, 518 pages

  I’ve read the book and seen the movie and hope to do both again one day after enough time has passed for me to forget.
  This story certainly doesn’t glorify time travel; rather, the time travel happens because Henry has a Chrono-Impairment, a disease, that he lives his life in spite of. Only his body goes through time . . . which means no clothes, jewelry or anything else that he might wish to take goes with him. He has no control over the time period within the span of his natural life that he will jump naked (and often vomiting) to and no warning about what age he will next be. Whatever age he finds himself, he is unaware of what life will be like for him as he ages, even if he has been older during some previous time jump.
  The time jumps that make up this book center around the out-of-chronological-time relationship of a husband and wife. Clare meets Henry when she is 6 and he is 36. They marry when she is 22 and he is 30. Henry meets Clare when when she is 40 and he is 28. Clare lives her life in a regular order, never knowing when she'll next run into Henry or what age he'll be when she does. Sometimes they run into each other when only one of them knows who the other is because they have not yet met. 
  No big surprise: the timeline of the story is pretty jumbled, but no more jumbled than the lives of Henry and Clare. 
  Clever. Interesting. Fun. Bittersweet. And not as difficult to follow as it sounds!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch, 393 pages

  This is the story of three Proctor brothers outside a small New York town, from 1932 to 1990.
   For the most part, their world consists of the tiny home they were born in, each other, and their piece of rural property. None of them is gifted with intelligence, and one of them is intellectually and emotionally challenged to a greater extent than are the other two. The story begins when they have reached old age. One of them dies in bed overnight, and the other two are investigated for murder.
  The story pieces itself together through short chapters. Each chapter is narrated by a voice of someone who has known the Proctor boys in different ways over the years. As the book progresses, the narrators share different tidbits out of chronological order as memories tend to come to a person when trying to make sense of the present. In the days following Vernon's (the oldest brother's) death, the narrative voices share insight into understanding men who, for the most part, have not wanted to be known.  
  As someone who was raised in the country, rural folks’ extreme desire for privacy and independence is no surprise to me. The book challenged me to consider (not for the first time) if it might be best to leave families alone or if society has an obligation to help, stepping uninvited and unwanted into intentionally isolated households, imposing society’s culture. The answer may seem simple enough at first thought but can be complex and heart-wrenching when the people in question become real.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney, 262 Pages

This was a fantastic, quick read. There were multiple twists that I had to re-read a couple times to completely comprehend what was happening. My jaw basically hit the floor more than once during the last few chapters!

Amber Reynolds wakes up without any knowledge of where she is. She hears the voices of everyone around her, and quickly realizes she is in a hospital, in a coma, and unsure of how she got there. She is almost certain that her husband is at fault. The story alternates between the week leading up to her accident, the present, and a series of journals written 20 years ago. In her current state, Amber is an extremely unreliable narrator and makes it very hard to determine what is the truth, and what is a lie.