The Practice House was a freebie that had been sitting in my Kindle list for months…maybe 6 months or more. I finally got around to reading it and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s set in the 1930s primarily in Kansas then in California. It follows a woman from Scotland, Aldine, who moves to America and winds up in Kansas as a teacher staying with a family. The family is split on their thoughts of her. The father, son, and youngest daughter adore her. The mother and oldest daughter do not like her and often show as much. But the woman remains until the family finally is forced to leave Kansas for California. There’s a drought and the youngest is sick and won’t make it there. The Scottish woman cannot go with the family so she stays behind. That’s mostly part 1. I’ll hold part 2 of the story to save the spoilers but it’s a true love story not just between a man and a woman but a family and a woman. It’s a good one despite being a lengthy book (almost 500 pages!). You get wrapped up in the story and often times don’t want to put it down. If you like historic fiction, this is one I definitely suggest picking up.
My goodreads rating: 4 stars
How I read it: Kindle
The Marriage Lie was loaned to me by my mother-in-law. She said she thought I’d like it and would I please share my thoughts when I finished. So I moved it up in my pile of books to read. It was a psychological thriller type. The premise is that Iris’s husband dies in a plane crash. Except, he wasn’t supposed to be on that plane. This leads to a pile of secrets and deception coming to the surface about her husband, the husband she’s just celebrated 7 years of marriage with and one she thought was perfect.
I really enjoyed this book. I swept through it quickly and thought about the story when I wasn’t reading it, trying to puzzle out what was going on. I also really enjoyed the characters. They seemed likable and I felt like I could see them playing out in a movie. In fact, I think this would make a great movie.
My goodreads rating: 4 stars
How I read it: paperback
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware was a book I’d been wanting to read but it wasn’t until my mother-in-law lent me a copy that I really moved it up on my “to-read” list. It was nothing like I expected but truth be told, I didn’t know much about it other than it was hot on the book club rounds.
It was a little slow and I found the main character, Lo, rather hard to relate to. While seemingly confident in herself to pursue her concerns, she seemed like a weak character and rather unlikeable. While Lo’s partner wasn’t a large part of the book, I found myself sad for him even at the end. I also found the characters on the ship to be so similar I had a hard time keeping track of who was who.
It wasn’t until close to the end the whole story became interesting enough to hold my attention for more than a chapter or two. But once the story really unfolded, it seemed predictable even though I didn’t see the twist coming.
My goodreads rating: 2 stars
How I read it: paperback
I was fortunate enough to devour two books in April (I’m hoping for that in May but we shall see).
First up was:
How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue
I was actually quite pleased with this book. It starts out as what I think will be two women reuniting a ruined friendship while they start a bakery together but it ends up in a mystery. It flipped back and forth between the mystery aspect and the friend aspect but not in a way that seemed distracting or disjointed. It was a great light read and if you’re a cupcake lover and/or baker like myself, you’ll enjoy reading about the different cupcake flavors that are mentioned. It’s a very illustrative book to read.
Next on the Kindle…
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
This was recommended to me by a friend. I went from laughing and agreement to anger and disagreement over and over with this book. I almost quit reading many times but I finished. I’m glad I did as it certainly made me think. I think her early years are more humorous as Moran documents her life but I think it shows how a woman can turn her life around and grow into a strong, independent thinking woman who can be funny in a “man’s way” but still be a woman. If that makes sense….
What did you read in April?
If you read (and liked) the Hunger Games triology, you should go get the Divergent triology asap. The movie based on the first book, Divergent, comes out in theaters today and I cannot wait to go see it soon.
Book 1: Divergent
I started reading this based on a recommendation. I kept saying, “yeah, yeah, I’ll get to it.” When I sprained my ankle and was reading like a fiend, I thought, “Why not now?” I finished it in 2 days. No joke. It’s very similar to the Hunger Games but it’s not quite as dark. However, in Book 1, I could tell it was leading toward something darker. Basically, the world takes place in a destroyed Chicago and society is divided into 5 factions. Each faction has a particular virtue: honesty, selflessness, brave, peaceful, and intelligent. At age 16, one chooses if they would like to stay within the faction that they were raised in or go into another faction. The main character, Tris, chooses her destiny…sort of. It’s a very thought provoking book to think about society split out like it is. It demonstrates that even if we’re in some forced group, we still depend on others to help us survive. It’s also fun to think about what landmarks in Chicago they’re describing if they’re not specifically named and to think about how strange some of our large cities would look if they were destroyed. After reading this book I though I might put off Book 2 but I picked it up because it was quickly loaned to me.
Book 2, Insurgent
So, I read this book in 3 days. Clearly, it’s terrible. Ha. This book gets more into the the fall out of what happens in Book 1. I think it focuses on what people think about when figuring out where they fit in society and what they think of society as they know it. It really is a coming of age book for Tris, even more so than Book 1. There’s a love story, there’s overcoming grief, learning how to forgive, learning one’s identity, and discovering the world is run by politics and power. After I finished this book I immediately wanted Book 3. While I almost downloaded it on my Kindle, I knew if I simply waited 24 hours I could borrow Book 3. But I kid you not that once I got my hands on Book 3 I was reading it within 10 minutes and didn’t put it down for the first few short chapters.
Book 3, Allegiant
On to Book 3. I have to say, this book was easier to put down. Quickly into the book it gets to the “point” of the world you’ve been in for the previous 2 books. It was an interesting concept but not one I really could get behind. However, if I allow myself to indulge in sci-fi, I could maybe see it happening in the world but not quite what I expected. But with that said, I still read this book in about a week and I enjoyed it for what it was.
So again I say, if you enjoyed The Hunger Games, read this series. Let me know what you think!
I read a lot in February. I’m going to show 3 books here but I actually read 4. My plan for the 4th book is to review an entire triology at once.
So let’s start with Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman.
I simply liked this book mainly because it was something different and I felt like it told a really true story and didn’t come across as a story written by a ghostwriter. While the topic is serious, it’s a light read. It also, if accurate, shows how women can embrace each other even if they’ve done something to land themselves in federal prison. It shows the true heartache of a woman separated from her family and one who truly regrets what she did to get into prison. It shows how one can befriend others but keep a low profile and just “do the time.” It also shows how while in some instances we think inmates are catered to, it’s a really inconsistent system in terms of how one is treated across facilities and even within. However, with all of this said…I’m not sure I really want to watch the series. People I know have raved about it but I kind of feel like now that I’ve read it, I think the series will ruin it for me. You know?
Next up is The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot.
I adore this series by Cabot. I read them all so quickly so I was very excited to see the latest in the Heather Wells series was out. While I really liked it, I didn’t love it as I did some of the others. This plot seemed a little more crazy than some of the others. It seemed like it was stretching a bit more, however, it seems somewhat possible if you think about pressures students are under…I suppose. There was also just a LOT going on in this book in terms of side plots. But I love love love the romance between Heather and her hunky PI, Cooper. I may have teared up a little at the end. And by may, I mean I did. I think this may the last book in the series and while I’m sad to see it go, I think it’s time. But it did seem like Cabot could take one side plot and spin it into another series featuring Heather, which would thrill me to no end because I love her character and little band of friends and family.
Finally, Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster.
I mentioned this book a few weeks ago. I liked it more once I finished it. But I still just gave it 2 out of 5 stars. It seemed like it was way too similar to Here I Go Again. The main character basically worked for Oprah. No, it wasn’t referenced but it might as well have been. This book seemed like it had some holes in the story and it pulled entirely too much from her other books for my taste. If more of her fiction works are like this, I’m going to be screaming for her to go back to more of her own life story telling because that’s essentially what her fiction works are. I know they say, “Write what you know” but this book took it to an extreme and it wasn’t extremely good.
In January I only finished one book: As Seen on TV by Sarah Mlynowski.
From the publisher:
“Packing up and leaving behind friends and a promising career in Florida to move in with the boyfriend in NYC doesn’t epitomize the modern-day woman. But for 24-year-old Sunny Langstein, the decision is a no-brainer, especially when she is given the chance to star on Party Girls, a new reality-television show. The only catch: Party Girls have to be single. If anyone finds out about Steve, she’ll be off the show. No problem there – Sunny is good at pretending. But TV stardom is addictive, and before long, Sunny loses track of where she ends and her alter ego, Sunny Lang, the Uber Single Superstar, begins. Torn between celebrity and Steve’s unexpected marriage proposal, Sunny finds her life beginning to unravel in dramatic style.”
This was an interesting read. I have to say, I didn’t love the main character even at the end but the plot kept me interested. I don’t like reality TV but this book pokes fun at it and I think shows how things can unravel if you allow yourself to get wrapped up in material things. I gave the book 2 out of 5 stars. I didn’t like it but I didn’t really dislike it either. It was just “ok.” I would say read it if you need something silly and fluffy. It’d probably be a great beach/pool read.
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been doing a bit of reading so I thought I’d catch up on some of the books I’ve read. I’ve read quite a few so let’s just cover what I read in October through December 2013.
Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield
This was an interesting book to read. It focused on Japanese women living in California who dealt with the fallout of the Japanese population after Pearl Harbor. It also contained a murder mystery element. Overall, it was engaging and interesting. While it was fictional, it definitely seemed to have elements of truth of the history at that time. If you’re looking for something a little different, I would recommend you read this book…but it is a little heavier at times.
Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark
This was a murder mystery as well. It’s based in Amish country but not all the characters are Amish. But this book completely wrapped me up and had me thinking about how difficult modern world problems have to be so difficult for a population that doesn’t embrace the modern world. This is a very different book than I tend to read but was lent to me by a friend. I’m so glad it was recommended to me because I loved it! If you’ve ever been to Amish country or know anything about their culture, this book is something you should read.
Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews
I love Mary Kay Andrews. Her books are always a lot of pages but they read like summer reads to me. I eat them up. This book didn’t disappoint and actually included characters from another favorite book, Savannah Breeze. I didn’t want to put this book down and wanted to read and read and read. If you’ve ever read Mary Kay Andrews, go pick up this book. If you haven’t read Mary Kay Andrews, go read some of her books, just read Savannah Breeze before reading this one.
Monkey Business by Sarah Mlynowski
It’s been quite some time since I’ve read any books by Mlynowski but from what I remember this book fits her style. This was an interesting book in terms of the characters and what they were each going through. It follows a group of students in business school and how they’re really a band of misfits, even the “normal” one. I wanted to read this book in one day but at the same time I wanted to pace myself so it wasn’t over so quickly. While it was different, it kept me entertained in a very good way.
It’s finally Friday. It’s seemed like a very long week, yet a short one all at the same time. I was stuck inside most of Sunday and didn’t emerge into the outside world again until Thursday morning. All due to a sprained ankle. I was getting a little stir crazy, even though I knew it was cold outside but we’ve had some sunny skies, despite a little snow. So yesterday, K drove me to work before he went to work, which meant I was in the office by 6:15a. Yeah. I didn’t leave work until about 4:30 since I had a meeting I really wanted to do in person. Fortunately, there was iced Dunkin coffee for me and a dinner date at Chick-fil-A. But that meant we weren’t home until almost 6:30p. Long day for someone who hasn’t been out of the house in days. I “quickly” showered and then propped myself up on the couch with the fella to watch Capitals hockey. I made it through the first 2 periods before I just had to lie down. My foot/ankle was throbbing and I just couldn’t get the right angle to prop it up. So I went to lie down and read Jen Lancaster’s Twisted Sisters. (It’s only $2.99 on Kindle for the next week or so. Go buy it!)
I love Jen Lancaster’s books and Twisted Sisters is the only one I haven’t read. I didn’t realize it at the time of purchase but a character in this book connects to one in Here I Go Again. So…I will say, if you didn’t care for that book, you probably won’t like Twisted Sisters. But this is a good fluffy read. I’ve been reading a lot of books lately so I know I’m due for a review of them. I don’t think I’ve reviewed anything I’ve read since September! So I’ll get on that. To preview what I’ve read since the new year:
So I’ve been delving into different genres but they’ve all been good. I should finish Twisted Sisters this weekend and I’ll likely start up Insurgent this weekend as someone is loaning the hard copy to me and well, it’s not like I can go do a whole lot…like run the 5K I had planned for tomorrow. Bummer. But I’m going to cheer on friends who are doing it in the cold without me tomorrow…and by cheer on I mean from my couch with my foot propped up. I’m not feeling crazy enough to go in person. 😉
I hope you all have happy Fridays and happy weekends!
Confessions of a Serial Dater. I started reading this book because I really enjoy Michelle Cunnah’s writing (particularly Call Waiting). This was a nice chicklit read and a good change from the books I’ve been reading recently. Unlike some chicklit books, it didn’t annoy me by some of the characters being weak (even if only at the start). I really liked Rosie. She seemed like a perfect example of a woman who was coming out of a break-up and then facing what it would be like to be alone. But she was a strong independent business woman at the same time. The only thing I’m not sure about it the title. I never really did understand how the title connected to the story. If you want a fun, quick read…I highly recommend this book!
I love Mary Kay Andrews. Her books are large but they’re very fast reads. This one admittedly took me a bit of time to get into because I got very frustrated with the main character seeming so weak in the beginning of the book. But she pulled through quickly enough that I could read happily and then be sad the book was over.
I’m currently reading Garden of Stones so tune in at the end of October with an update: