Tuesday, May 12, 2015

april books

My cat goes through different phases of behavior. This month, it was laying on my head the second I laid down for the night. Instead of drifting off with a book in hand, I had to twist and turn my neck to breathe through Bauer's fur. Eventually, I would find a comfy position and his warmth was actually quite nice. But, it made it nearly impossible to read.

This month, I've listed the books in the order I liked them (favorites come first) rather than the order I finished them:

(A) Dark Places - In Gone Girl, I thought that Gillian Flynn, who wrote both books, made Amy start as a likable character and then revealed who she really was. In this book, Flynn paints her main character as a total jerk from the beginning. As I was reading, I loved to hate her. I thought the twist ending was a good surprise and loved that teeny tiny clues were placed throughout that I realized at the end. In the audiobook, the female voice (voices?) were fantastic but the male voice was terrible and sounded like he should narrate a science video or something.

(A) That Night - A recent high school graduate and her boyfriend are convicted of killing the woman's younger sister. The book takes place both in the present, as the woman is getting released from prison, and in the past, during her high school years, and touches on a lot of time in between. Other than the fact that the mother of the girls is a completely ridiculous individual and some of the other characterization was a little flat, I liked this book. It kept me entertained and I really wanted to find out what happened That Night. It takes a while to get there, and some of the plot points are a little silly, but this was a book I always looked forward to listening to. 4.5 stars, if Goodreads would allow it.

Wonder - Though it was a YA choice, the cover sucked me in. I liked that this story was told from different perspectives. The incredibly short chapters made it hard to put down and I flew though it. Great reading for a middle schooler with a good lesson on kindness, tolerance, and bullying, but I don't think it's a must-read for an adult. The characters were likable, though, so it got four stars from me.

The Rosie Effect - This book was very sitcom-y. Whereas The Rosie Project introduced us to Don and made his quirks somewhat endearing, this book made him look like a buffoon who learned nothing from his previous experiences. Everything that could go wrong went wrong, and while I don't expect a book like this to be grounded in reality, the complete idiocy of so many of the characters was ridiculous. Plus, part of the fun of the first book was the interaction between Rosie and Don, which was almost completely gone this time around.

(A) About Alice - This was a super short audiobook (less than two hours!) that started out as a piece in The New Yorker. It was written and read by Alice's husband, who was also a writer. He apparently gave readers a sense of who Alice was through his works. Had I read something of his previously, I would have likely felt a strong connection and loved this peek behind the scenes at their real lives. Since I was unfamiliar with them, I found this an interesting reflection on a long marriage. One could hope to be remembered for such simple things so fondly after they've passed away.

Girl in Translation - I breezed through this book in a night because I thought I had another book at the library waiting for me. It was meant for a younger audience, which isn't always my favorite. It was an interesting perspective - told from the POV of a teenage Chinese immigrant living with her mother in deplorable conditions and spending all of her free time working in a factory. I thought the part of the story that could have been the most interesting - the high school years - were completely glossed over and the character became flat, boring, and typical. The end was interesting...  I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it, either. I gave it three stars on Goodreads, but the more I think about it, the more I kind of think it should have been 2.5.

Fangirl - I don't know why I trudged through this book because I kind of hated it. The fan fiction and excerpts from the book series that the main character was obsessed with was completely pointless. Once I realized that, I skipped those parts. The story was pretty weak; many of the main character's problems could have been solved by doing what she knew was right and actually talking to people when she had a problem. Perhaps others live life like that, but I just can't relate to knowing how to fix something and not trying to fix it. I'm also not a fan of chick-lit-esque, idealized men who are total doormats who just pine away after some woman. Maybe I've been in the real world for too long, but that's neither attractive nor something to look for in a partner. Should I bother with the other Rainbow Rowell books on my list?

The Happiness Project - It was my turn with this book when Bauer was at the peak of his face-laying, so I didn't get to finish it before my time expired! I thought a few of the points were interesting - at work, how do you strike a balance between striving for more (which makes you unhappy since you aren't where you want to be) versus accepting where you are (which can make you feel like settling)? The author was a seemingly upper-middle class woman so I was often wondering what she had to work on being happier for - her life seemed pretty good. I don't think I'll bother waiting for another turn with this one.

I'm currently listening to The Art of Fielding, which I mostly love- the narrator for the audiobook is fantastic. I have Stolen ready to go, which someone recommended in last month's link-up. I really like seeing what other people are reading, and even if I don't comment, I definitely add people on goodreads and add some of their favorites to my list.

Many thanks to Steph and Jana for hosting...

Life According to Steph


  1. I read That Night last month and reviewed it as well. I had very similar opinions to you and it's funny that you also read Dark Places because that's the book I compared That Night to. When I read Fangirl, I skipped over all the Simon Snow parts because I couldn't stand them. The story in between the fan fiction was decent, but the book definitely did not capture me the way E&P and Attachments did.

    I need to reread The Happiness Project. I read it a few years ago and I'm in a different place now so I might get something else out of it.

  2. I didn't even finish The Rosie Effect, it was so disappointing!

    I just read Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat and I think it might be something you would enjoy. It's a book of essay type antidotes from a mother and daughter team. I laughed out loud several times while I was reading.

  3. I loved Dark Places.

    I think I'm going to try That Night.

    BOO to The Rosie Effect. It sounds like what I liked about The Rosie Project is totally lacking in the second.

  4. Every book on your list I've either read or intend to read. I'd say we have similar tastes in books. Everyone seems to be slightly disappointed with The Rosie Effect. Sad, but good that others have gone before me, so I can expect a little disappointment.

  5. The first two are on my list to read soon! I may have to reconsider reading fangirl. I think it is was on my list awhile ago but haven't gotten around to it yet, sounds like it's not worth it.

  6. I'm sad you didn't like Fan Girl but I really liked it. Glad you liked Wonder though because it was an easy book to read that touched on some hard topics.

  7. I really loved Wonder and feel like it should be mandatory reading for middle schoolers. I liked Fangirl, but have to admit, I skimmed the fanfic stuff. If you haven't yet, read Rowell's Eleanor & Park. Attachments was better than Fangirl too. I felt the exact same way about The Rosie Effect as you did. I won't read another book in this series, if it comes out. I just added That Night to my list!

  8. I almost got Fangirl so I'm glad I saved my money.

  9. A few of these books have been on my list to read forever so I am glad you shared your thoughts. Dark Places wasn't high on my radar but now I think it is!

  10. I liked Attachments by Rowell, Fangirl didn't strike me as a story I would really like...glad you confirmed it :) That Night sounds interesting and I had just added it from Jana's review. Dark Places was my least favorite out of Flynn's 1. gone girl & 2. sharp objects. When I manage to finish more than 4 books I'm excited...I need to start reading before bed more.

  11. i also hated fangirl as well. eleanor and park was ok but not awesome like everyone said. i loved wonder! i read that in three hours :)

  12. You've been a reading nut!! I love it! I really liked Still Missing by Chevy Stevens so will need to check out That Night.


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