Tuesday, September 13, 2016

seriously good reads

I feel like this was my best book reading month of 2016 yet. So far this year, I think I've only rated one book 5 stars; this month, there are three 5s and one 4.5. Though there were two books that weren't for me, the books I liked, I really liked. Let's get to it.

The Underground Railroad - This book was part what I was expecting, and part not. Maybe the acclaim and putting Oprah's name on the cover made my expectations too high, but overall, I just didn't care about this book or its narrator at all. Stop reading if you mind mild spoilers - okay seriously, what was the point of making something surreal about the Underground Railroad? It was a book so deeply rooted in reality that making the railroad an actual railroad was jarring and unnecessary and downright confusing. (2.5 stars)

The Woman in Cabin 10 - This was the right book at the right time. I wanted something with more action and intrigue after The Underground Railroad, and this delivered. It isn't the best book ever, and it shouldn't be the next Gone Girl or anything like that, but the plot kept me guessing and the narrator's anxiety spilled over into me so much that I had to stop reading so close to bedtime. I was excited to discuss it as soon as I finished it - I just really liked it. I definitely recommend this one if you want a solid story that will keep you interested. (5 stars)

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg - I don't have much to add to this that Steph and Jana haven't already said. If you're the least bit interested, just read it. It's the Cliff's Notes of an awesome woman's life with insight into her nontraditional (for its time) marriage and all of the glass ceilings she broke through to become the second female US Supreme Court Justice. I love RBG and her principle that "We the People" means everyone and her constant work toward equality. My only complaint is that there is SO much stuff in the back of the book - an index, a glossary, footnotes, etc. - that if you're reading a digital copy, you'll be at like 68% when the book ends. I was really bummed because I wanted more. Also, can we talk about how I got to breathe her air and be in the same room with her a few years ago? (5 stars)

Girls on Fire - I had two days to read this before it went back to the library, so I committed myself to it on Labor Day. By the time I realized I really didn't like it, I was too far invested to quit, so I pushed through. I basically hated this. Stupid teenagers doing dumb things with zero payoff and being awful for the sake of being awful. I'm not sure who this is for. I should have put it down. (2 stars, and that feels generous)

The Sea of Tranquility - I saw this book on everyone's list last year and my library kept adding it to the digital collection and then taking it away. I didn't really know much about it, and I was bummed when I saw it was YA since I had just finished Girls on Fire. However, this is a far different book. I like the way the story unfolded and it was one that I wanted to read at every spare second. I didn't mind the changing viewpoints and the characters' actions mostly made sense. I liked the teen love story, though it was ridiculously farfetched. My only gripe is that in some moments, the characters were wise far beyond their years whereas in others, they seemed closer to 13 than 18. Nonetheless, it was a good YA story and none of the kids had cancer, which is always a nice change. (5 stars)

(A) One True Loves - Good ole Taylor Jenkins Reid. If you haven't read any of her books yet, do it now. I have listened to all of them, I think, and they're really enjoyable. Sure, the women nearly always make choices that I completely disagree with and just plain don't get, but TJR explains where they're coming from and how they make sense for that person. I liked the premise of this book - a woman's husband is presumed dead so she moves on, gets engaged to someone else, and then her husband comes back - and it definitely had me wondering what I would do in a similar situation. I think what I really like about these books is that the author always tosses in little details about the character's thoughts or the setting that sit with the reader and make the books feel more real and relatable. (4.5 stars)

It's going to be hard to top that many good books but I'm excited to try! Looking forward to finding new recs from Steph, Jana, and everyone else who links up.

26 comments:

  1. I was thinking about adding The Underground Railroad to my TBR after reading Jana's review but now I am not sure again. I am so picky about historical fiction. The Sea of Tranquility has been on my TBR for awhile and I really need to get around to it. I loved loved loved One True Loves and glad you enjoyed it.

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  2. i gave up waiting for sea of tranquility because i was on hold for SO LONG! i figure i'll try again next year, maybe by then the hoopla would have passed and i'll actually be able to read it.

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  3. I Loved One True Loves! It was the first one of TJR I've ever read but I want to read more! What do you suggest I read of her's next?

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  4. I was gutted by The Underground Railroad mostly because of the state of race in this country today. We have not come too terribly far.

    I still have not read TJR. I will get on that.

    I adored Sea of Tranquility so much.

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  5. I really loved One True Loves this month too. I definitely have to get to another one of her books soon!

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  6. yay for good reading months! that's awesome. i added the underground railroad to my list based on other posts today lol but now i'm unsure. i'll keep my expectations low!
    yay for the sea of tranquility! loved it. i agree with what you said, sometimes they were too young and sometimes seemed too old. i think that's the odd thing with some YA, because they are written by adults and although teenagers read them (i think, i don't actually really know any teenagers hahaha), they have to appeal to adults as well? when i read books that the teenagers are too teenagery it makes me dislike it. because you know. teenagers can be so annoying.
    i loved one true loves - i agree with what you said about the details she throws in.

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  7. I have not read any TJR and need to fix that. Sea of Tranquility is on my TBR and I didn't realize it was YA. I like YA but it's good thing to know in advance! LOL!

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  8. Totally agree on RBG; I loved the book so much and think everyone should pick it up. I've had The Sea of Tranquility on my list since last year too when everyone was going nuts about it, and it's actually sitting in my Kindle library waiting for me, but I hear it's quite emotional so I'm waiting for a good time to read it.
    I love YA, and will still reread my favorite YA stories (the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty), but I can really do without stories about bratty or unlikable teenagers. I don't mind unlikable characters in general, and I don't need to like a protagonist to love a story, but maybe it's because teenagers IRL already annoy me enough...I can't get on board with reading them.

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  9. Save for The Underground Railroad, we remain book opinion twins. I HATE that Oprah attached herself to it but I let it go just for this one.

    I haven't read Sea of Tranquility. But if you liked it, that clearly means I will, too :)

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  10. I really loved The Sea of Tranquility and One True Loves. I think I need to read Notorious RBG because I love all things Supreme Court!

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  11. I don't think I've ever even heard of Taylor Jenkins Reid? So that's definitely getting added to my list.

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  12. I've heard so many great things about Underground Railroad and One True Loves. Glad to keep hearing them, I've got to pick up copies! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  13. I've yet to read Taylor Jenkins Reid, but I feel like I need to see what I'm missing. Some day soon. Aren't good reading months the best?!

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  14. I have GOT to read some TJR! Pretty much all of your books this month are already on my list to read!

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  15. I'm so excited to read A Woman in Cabin 10-- I've been on the hold list forever, but am getting closer!

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  16. I keep hearing about The Sea of Tranquility so I'm bumping that to the top of my list. I get what you mean about the ages feeling a bit wrong at times but I probably wouldn't notice to be honest... I'm so glad you had a month of great books! Such a good feeling :)

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  17. Looks like you found a lot of good ones. I haven't read RBG yet, but it's high on my list.

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  18. I really enjoyed One True Loves and I listened to it while I painted the bathroom this summer. Her books are such great stories...it's like listening to a movie.
    LOVED The Sea of Tranquility. I remember staring at the wall, listening to the last hour of it, because I was so into it.
    Adding The Woman in Cabin 10 to my list...

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  19. I felt similarly about Sea of Tranquility and lol to not being about cancer kids! Quite true.
    After seeing so many reviews of One True Loves, I added it to my TBR.

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  20. I really loved The Sea of Tranquility and One True Loves! I can't wait to read The Woman in Cabin 10, it's been on my waitlist at the library forever!

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  21. I love your "none of the kids had cancer" comment. So true! And I seem to be one of the few people who found The Fault in Our Stars a bit meh. I have read much better tearjerkers (both YA and not).

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