Tuesday, February 9, 2016

january books

I'm not ashamed to admit that I stuck with a lot of easy reads this month, and they were mostly enjoyable. However, I neglected to write this post as I went along, so let's see what I can cobble together based on some notes I took on my phone.

As always, audiobooks are marked (A). I still think I cut them more slack than I do when I spend time actually reading.

(A) She's Come Undone - I remember finding this book at Barnes and Noble years ago and wanting to read it, but not buying it. Something about a teenager spending her life in front of a TV resonated with me. Flash forward to now, and I read the book. It isn't focused on the teenager, but rather on one woman through the span of her life. One particular incident in this book was hard to stomach, and I found myself simultaneously rooting for Dolores and wanting to slap her silly for being so strange, but it still kept me interested. It's a book about one person's life and really nothing else. (3/5)

Bird Box - My feeling after reading this was a big, fat WTF. I kept reading because I wanted more explanation. I wanted the entire premise of the book to be insane and for the main character to find out she was mistaken about the state of the world all along, but no. Basically, something has taken over the world and if you see it, it makes you go crazy, kill people around you, and then kill yourself. People save themselves by living in homes with covered windows and never opening their eyes outside. I kept hoping it would get better and the storytelling was interesting enough, but the ending was too abrupt. I was left with a lot of questions. (2/5)

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry - I heard about this book and based on the info, I thought it had a fantasy element (a mysterious gift delivered to a bookstore that changed everything), so I didn't want to read it. While the premise is farfetched, it definitely isn't fantasy. I'm glad I gave it a chance because I wanted to live in that book's world for as long as I could. I loved the first half, but I thought a little too much was packed into the second. But, this is one of those books that will leave you smiling to yourself as you turn the pages. Because of that, I didn't agree with some of the author's choices for the ending, but overall, I loved the story. I never buy books but I wouldn't mind owning this one so I can share it with others. (5/5)

(A) Those Girls - I read a Chevy Stevens book a few months ago and I liked it, so I was excited to give this one a try. At first, it was okay. Stevens' MO seems to be to put a young female in an awful situation and make her realize her inner strength (along with some luck and ridiculous circumstances) to overcome it. I'm fine with that formula; however, in this book, anything that could go wrong went wrong. It was almost annoying and I totally lost my suspension of disbelief because there's no way I believe that any human would be dumb enough to put themselves in such ridiculous situations multiple times. That said, it totally kept my attention because I did want to see what happened, but I don't know that I would recommend it. (3/5)

Dumplin' - Okay fine, this book is very YA and a little silly, but it's also sweet. I was totally able to relate to Dumplin's insecurity in high school. It was nice that the bigger girl got the guy. But, the characters were a little flat and stereotypical. Other than the fact that it was Dumplin's story and we were supposed to like her, what made those guys fall for her? It was never quite explained. The story was good enough with a strong "You're great the way you are" message, but there's better YA out there, surely. (4/5)

(A) $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America - Sociology was one of my favorite college classes, so this book appealed to me. It was pretty dense in that it explained the welfare system and how it has changed over time, but it was interesting in that it provided stories about real people and how they are struggling to make it work in America. Basically, our system is flawed in that it doesn't help people who don't have a job but are looking to find one. Some people will of course cheat the system, but others want to work but don't have childcare, transportation, or access to jobs and have no course to better themselves. It was a really interesting look at an aspect of America that we often ignore (even if I did tune out some of the bureaucratic stuff). (4/5)

Everything, Everything - A sick teenager falls in love with a witty boy who loves her instantly. They go on a trip together and then someone gets sick. Does this sound familiar? This book felt so much like The Fault in Their Stars for the first two thirds. I got an inkling about what was going to happen at the end, and then it happened. THAT twist would have made for an awesome story. I didn't love this book, but the premise at the end was intriguing enough that I wouldn't hate a sequel. It was more of a 3.5, but I gave it a full 4/5 on Goodreads.

Did Not Finish - My Sunshine Away - I wanted to like this but it was so boring. How does a male narrator make the rape of the girl who lives down the street all about him? I read some reviews because I was bored and many made me believe this wasn't worth my time. Did I miss something? Some of the writing is very pretty, but nothing really happens and the whole book seems like the narrator got distracted on his way to telling me about the crime.

Currently listening to Crazy Rich Asians (some interesting parts, some boring ones) and reading After You (does it get better? So far, I don't care about any of this) so I'm looking forward to finding some things to get excited about. Thanks as always, Steph and Jana!

Life According to Steph

17 comments:

  1. AJ Fikry was one of my favorite books that I read last year!!! I am glad that you enjoyed it too and gave it a chance :) I have Dumplin on my TBR list and I am happy to see another good review of it. I need to get around to that one! I feel like I probably cut a little more slack to audiobooks as well.

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  2. I read She's Coms Undone awhile and I remember really liking it but also thinking how weird Dolores was too!

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  3. I read She's Come Undone a long time ago and while I don't remember a lot about the book I remember having the same feelings you did.

    I'm glad you liked A.J. Fickry, your tastes run very differently than most readers I know so if you liked it too I know it was a pretty good book. :)

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  4. YAY! Someone else who read $2 a Day and likes those kinds of books!! I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.

    So many other good books on this list! AJ Fikry, She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb is an awesome writer. Have you read his other books?), Dumplin'. I like your style!

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  5. i loved AJ Fikry. i agree though, i felt like there was a lot going on in the second part of the book, it was much faster paced than the first half.
    after you..... um... well. i went into it not comparing it to me before you, or expecting much of a sequel. it really is almost like a stand alone book. i really did enjoy it, though not as a sequel.. if that makes sense? it does take a bit to get better.
    everything everything is on my list, i've heard mixed things but i still want to read it.

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  6. you read so many great books this month. she's come undone, fikry and dumplin are all amazing books!

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  7. I stuck with My Sunshine Away for the writing. I felt like it was a love letter to the south, and I appreciate that. I also do believe a man can make a girl's rape all about him even if he is on the periphery. Unfortunate, but true.

    I loved She's Come Undone when I read it as a teen. When I read it again in my early 30s, I had much less patience for Dolores. I'm not sure what that says about me. LOL

    I actually really liked Bird Box because of its WTF factor. So did my two coworkers.

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  8. I read She's Come Undone years ago and didn't enjoy it either.

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  9. Five books on your list are already on my "to read" list. I felt like I'd read your review and think to myself "I knew I needed to read that one." Bird Box is not my usual choice for a book, but a friend that I trust has convinced me to give it a try.

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  10. I've heard great things about Dumplin' and I'm totally excited to read The storied life of AJ Fickery! :)

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  11. SHe's Come Undone sounds interesting. Those Girls was a lot of evil and it was a hard read. Though I did like the overall story.

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  12. I read She's Come Undone so many years ago, and I wish I didn't have this terrible habit of forgetting plotlines almost instantly so I could remember what scene you're talking about! And I agree about AJ Fikry, I just wanted to be in that story forever. It kind of defies explanation; you can't pin it down as one type of book. I loved it though.

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  13. I've taken too long to read anything this year! I'm going to add She's Coming Undone to my list. I know it's on the low low at Half Price.

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  14. Went to add AJ Fikry to my list only to discover it's already there. Welp, should probably get on with reading it then! I'm all about the easy reads at the moment so I enjoyed your list :)

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  15. I've been so curious about The Storied Life of AJ Fikry-Glad to hear you liked it! :)

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  16. Seriously, so many people have recommended Dumplin', The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, and Everything, Everything! I feel like I need to go and pick up these right and get started on reading them!

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  17. AJ Fikry is on my list but I've been resisting it for some reason. Dumplin' is also already on my list. I managed to finish My Sunshine Away, but I really didn't like that book. Almost wish I hadn't read the whole thing.

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