Tuesday, May 10, 2016

what to read, what not to read

This was one of those months where a few books didn't work out for me so I gave all books a break. I also kept thinking two books would get better, and they didn't. I've been looking forward to this link-up as a reset of sorts so I can add a few new things to my list and get back into things next month for sure.

Maybe good for you, but not for me:

Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny - I'm not sure why I read this. I guess I thought it would be an interesting glimpse into Holly Madison's life with Hugh Hefner. There were a few interesting tidbits (apparently Hef is super controlling and the mansion is a pigsty), but it was mostly a story about a woman who didn't know how to be on her own who made excuses for why she lived a lie for a decade. I felt like Holly made a lot of excuses for her choices - I wanted to tell her to own them! I mean clearly she ended up doing well for herself. A lot of detail about what being Hef's main girlfriend was like was eliminated, so if you want to know how that situation worked, don't waste your time. I gave this three stars on Goodreads but that seems too generous.

The Truth and Other Lies - I could never remember the title of this book and it took me over two weeks to get through. I read at a decent speed and make time for books I enjoy, so this is unheard of. I was intrigued by the plot - it's about a man running from his past who becomes a famous author, only his books are written by his wife - but the writing felt stilted and abrupt. There wasn't enough characterization for me to really feel anything about any of the characters. The author is German, so it seems that this book was translated, and I think that was a big part of it. The plot twist that sets the action in motion was very interesting, and I wanted to see where everything ended up, so I kept reading, but I just couldn't focus for more than a few pages at a time, and then I felt like the book just kind of ended without wrapping up a few things that were alluded to. Maybe I missed something? Two stars on Goodreads, and that almost felt generous.

(A) Pretty Girls - I thought this would be an interesting thriller. I mentioned last month that it was twenty hours long; most books I read are closer to eight! This is the story of two sisters uncovering the mystery of their sister who was kidnapped twenty years before. The detail and the bad guy in this book are truly sickening. I could feel myself making faces while I was listening to it; I felt like it was unnecessarily gory and disgusting. It was too much and it could have been a lot shorter. I gave it three stars because I liked how all of the pieces connected, but I can't say I recommend it. The audiobook contained a short story written by the author that covered the day the kidnapped sister was taken, but honestly, I was so over these characters that I didn't finish listening to it. I totally blame this for abandoning audiobooks for most of the month.

Consider these:

What Alice Forgot - If you like Liane Moriarty, read this. If you don't, then stay away because it's like all of her other books. I liked that this took the three characters/three storylines formula that are Moriarty's trademarks and made them more subtle. Basically, Alice falls down and hits her head and has forgotten the past ten years of her life. Moriarty did a good job of keeping readers in the dark so they were as confused as Alice.  It was interesting to wonder about my own reactions if I had forgotten the past ten years, but this book wasn't exactly deep. This is probably my favorite of her books - four stars.

(A) Dollbaby - This is one of those books that I really loved and I'm not exactly sure why. The narrator for the audio version was fantastic. The first third has elements of The Help and To Kill a Mockingbird, but Dollbaby is its own story. It's the story of a young (white) girl sent to live with her grandmother in New Orleans in the early 60's and the relationship they have with the (black) maids - a mother and daughter - in their home. Social issues unfold, but they're more of a background to the characters. Even though there isn't much action, it was enjoyable all the way through for me and I rated it a four on Goodreads (but really consider it more of a 4.5).


I'm currently listening to All This Life and I don't know what I think about it yet, but I think these characters will stay with me. I have Dept. of Speculation waiting on my kindle since I just finished The Truth... last night. After listening to The Armchair Librarians, I definitely want to move Shotgun Lovesongs up on my list. Have you listened to them yet? Now I feel like Steph and Jana are in my head, reading their posts to me. Linking up with them because it's always fun. 



21 comments:

  1. Ugh, I didn't like Pretty Girls at all. I had it as an ebook from the library and I didn't finish it (or if I did, I don't remember).
    And yeah, I'm in a book-hole (like the "show-hole" I guess) and I stopped listening to a book the other day just because it wasn't what I wanted it to be...though it wasn't awful.

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  2. I adored Dollbaby.

    I'm really interested to see if I'll like Pretty Girls. It's been on my list for an eternity and I've read so many loved it/hated it I'm curious to see where I'll fall on the line.

    I read Big Little Lies and enjoyed it but I don't like that formula much and I know a lot of her books are the same. I don't think I'd be down with it a second or third or fourth time.

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  3. I loved Pretty Girls, but there were definitely the disturbing parts I skimmed over so I can't imagine listening to it or it being 20 hours long. Dollbaby is on my tbr list, I keep hearing so many good things about it.

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  4. I liked What Alice Forgot because it felt like an original book idea and I too wondered what if that had forgotten the last 10 years. I found it an interesting read and I like Moriarty's style as long as I don't binge read her books.

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  5. I think it's way worse listening to a gory book than reading it, because you can't just skip over the bad bits without potentially missing details. I've struggled with that before, too and can definitely identify with the pulling faces! I'm sure I've yelled and pulled out my earphones before, too :)

    I really enjoyed What Alice Forgot, it was my first book by the author so I think I started strong!

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  6. I cannot wait to hear what you think of Dept. of Speculation. I read it last year and didn't get why people loved it so much. The best thing I was able to say about it was that it was short.

    Moriarty's books are very formulaic. I think if What Alice Forgot had been my first book of hers, I would have liked it better. But it was the third and by then, I was tired of all the books reading the same. That said, she still writes good books. You know what you're getting when you pick them up.

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  7. Thanks for the heads up about Pretty Girls. That was on my To Listen list, but I will just delete my OverDrive request.

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  8. I liked, but did not love Pretty Girls and I would have not liked it on audiobook. Like you said, there were some really graphic and disturbing part which you can skim as a reader and get the gist. I have not read anything by Liane Moriarty but it sounds like What Alice Forgot might be a good place to start.

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  9. What Alice Forgot was my favourite book of Moriarty's because I felt like I could relate to it the most (in a "what if" sense). Although her books follow a certain set-up, I still enjoy her writing a lot. I've had some months in the past like you described too...sometimes you just get in a reading rut until your new favourite comes along :)

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  10. I totally forgot Holly Madison wrote a book about her life at the mansion. I will have to pick it up; I do find her annoying though...

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  11. I loved What Alice Forgot and Dollbaby too! Such great books! Everybody has talked about how good Pretty Girls is, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'll definitely keep the gore in mind when I do read it. Holly was definitely not my favorite when she was on Girls Next Door, so I doubt that I'd want to give her book a try.

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  12. I've had What Alice Forgot on my TBR for so long-I need to move it up! :) Such a bummer about Pretty Girls. I think that an audiobook would have made the gore even harder to deal with.

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  13. I hate when celebrities write books and then skirt around all the stuff that you really want to know. My favorite so far that did not hold back was Craig Fergusons book. Maybe he did hold back, but the stuff he wrote about was pretty honest.

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  14. I really liked What Alice Forgot, even though it follows her formula for most of her books. I had added Shotgun Lovesongs after Steph and Jana gushed about it too. I listened to Down the Rabbit Hole and it did have its enjoyable moments but I am with you on how Holly talks an awful lot about how terrible it was to live there and how nasty the other girls were...but made constant excuses as to why she couldn't leave. It started to get on my nerves a little I wanted to be like girl stand up for yourself!! I remember Erin saying Pretty Girls was pretty gruesome and it sounds like you thought so too so I might pass.

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  15. I loved What Alice Forgot! And oh man, I have Pretty Girls on my hold list from the library, I will probably take it off now, I don't need to read anything gory!

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  16. I really liked What Alice Forgot, Moriarty is just a great go to author. Her next comes out in July and I am excited for it!

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  17. This post right here is a perfect example of why I enjoy reading others' perspectives about books they read. I enjoyed Pretty Girls (admittedly, I'm biased, because I'm a Karin Slaughter fangirl), but I felt "meh" about What Alice Forgot. I kept wondering what I was missing and why so many people adored it so much.

    I think different views on the same books exemplifies that we are all unique and take away a little something different from what we read. I love that!

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  18. I have Pretty Girls on my list because I've read Karin Slaughter and liked her but now... maybe not. I do love What Alice Forgot. That was my first Moriarty.

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  19. I really liked The Truth and Other Lies, but I can see how it might not be everyones cup of tea. Pretty Girls has been showing up around the blog world and i'm dying to get my hands on it!

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  20. Sorry you didn't like Pretty Girls. I agree that it was gory in places, which made it "easier" to read/skim rather than listen. Maybe that's why I don't like audio books. I can't skip parts easily.

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  21. i haven't read pretty girls yet but i am pretty sure i won't do the audiobook if i do read it, i can't listen to gory things like that, so thanks for the heads up. i absolutely adored what alice forgot, so i'm glad you enjoyed it :) dollbaby is on my list.

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