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.