Sunday, January 4, 2015

Reading - Books - Love

It's been a little over three months since I last posted the books I've read.  I think I may do this every six to eight weeks instead of every three months because as you'll see, October, November and December were very productive reading months.

Here's what I read . . .

1.  The Kept by James Scott
2.  The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
3.  Displaced Persons by Ghita Schwarz
4   Land of Dust and Tears (A Prairie Heritage) by Vikki Kestell
5.  Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
6.  Looking for Alaska by John Green
7.  Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
8.  What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
9.  The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
10.  The Pact by Jodi Picoult
11.  Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
12.  The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain
13.  One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
14.  The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
15.  Wild by Cheryl Strayed

And here's what I think . . .

The Kept - This book currently has a three star rating on Amazon.  I decided to read it because it had the historical element to it.  I would probably give it 3.75 stars.

The Good Girl - Reads almost like Gone Girl.  A definite page turner.

Displaced Persons - I found the topic of this novel interesting but it wasn't a quick read.  A slower book, mainly because there is no plot, per se, but a good read.

Land of Dust and Tears - This one was a freebie from Amazon.  I quickly discovered that it is offered free with the hope that you'll purchase the remaining books in the series.  As much as I liked the historical aspect of the book, I didn't like the book enough to purchase the remainder of the series.  (I am cheap too.)

Me Before You and One Plus One - Loved these!  Great character development, different topics, couldn't put them down.

Looking for Alaska - I was not a fan of Paper Towns but I decided to give John Green another chance as I did like his writing style.  After reading Looking for Alaska, I can say that I probably won't read any more of his books.  The plot lines of both books follow the same pattern and maybe it's because I'm old enough to be a parent of a main character but I felt like there was too much "young adult" going on.  I also don't like how the first part of the book is a build up of some great question/issue that needs resolving, the second part of the book is an attempt by the main characters to answer that question/solve the issue and then the ending is basically nothing.  Don't get me wrong - I think he's a talented author.  His books just aren't my cup of tea.

Hattie Big Sky - I forget how I found this book.  I think it popped up as recommended as I was searching for an available book through my library's website.  I had maxed out with books on hold and couldn't find a book without a wait list.  This was a quick read with the historical aspect, similar to Land of Dust and Tears, appealing to me.

What Alice Forgot and The Husband's Secret - Loved both of these!  They are page turners.  I really felt connected to Alice's sister and felt that the author does an excellent job developing the characters.  Although the secret in The Husband's Secret seemed obvious to me, I thought the ending was extremely clever.

The Pact - I like Jodi Picoult and have read several of her novels.  While I would rate this 4 - 4.5 stars, I didn't like the opening at all and felt the book would have been better off without it.

Mr. Mercedes - I've been a Stephen King fan for 25 years now and I really, really enjoyed this book.  It wasn't "classic King" but very well written and a page turner.  It did have that disturbing quality to it but because the character development almost explained it, it was more tolerable to me than the disturbing features in some of Gillian Flynn's books.

The Paris Wife - When I was in the sixth grade, my dad was stationed down in Key West, FL for two weeks.  My family spent that time down there on vacation while my dad worked.  My introduction to Ernest Hemingway came through touring his house and I went on to read some of his books.  Although at this point in my life, I can't remember which ones.  I liked The Paris Wife and found it to be quite intriguing.  I should note that this book is a slower read and I found the first few pages to be utterly confusing.  The book peaked my interest in Hemingway's novels but my library doesn't have any kindle versions available.  Someday. . .

The Handmaid's Tale - Excellent book.  What I found most interesting about this novel is when it was written/published.  It has almost become timeless in that it could have been written a few years ago.  Some of the negative reviews I read stated that this type of society could never exist.  Um, do you read the news?  Do you know what's happening in other countries?  If you do read this, be sure that you don't skip the last section titled "Historical Notes."  My kindle version told me that I was done with the book when I reached this point and a box popped up asking me to rate the book and gave me reading recommendations.  I clicked out of the box and happened to skim over a sentence in the Historical Notes, which is when I realized that it was actually a continuation of the book.

Wild - I had come across this book earlier in the year but didn't think I would like it and it had somewhat mixed reviews.  It popped up again in early December while I searching my library online and I decided to pass by it again but about a week later, I happened to catch an interview with Reese Witherspoon on 60 Minutes.  Hmmm, I didn't even know the book had been made into a movie.  Yeah, I don't get out much.  So the interview peaked my interest and I checked the book out from the library, especially after seeing that a good lot of the negative reviews it had received seemed ridiculous.  Almost like when a traveler gives a hotel a one star review on Trip Advisor because it rained during their vacation.  Anyway, I could not put this book down.  I also didn't know much, if anything, about the Pacific Crest Trail and found that aspect of the book fascinating.

So . . . what have you been reading?  Anything good?


Erin said...

I am not typically a historical fiction fan but I loved Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole. It is a fairly quick, easy read as much of the book is letters and dialogue. I also recently read both The Paris Wife and Mrs. Hemingway. Mrs. Hemingway is nice because it details each of his 4 wives whereas The Paris Wife just focused on his first wife.

Katie said...

Both of the Robert Gailbraith (aka JK Rowling) books are really good.

They're detective mysteries. The plot to the first book is better but Rowling has such a good writing "voice" and compelling characters that both books were highly enjoyable and totally worth reading.

Lily said...

I read "Wild" too. Loved Cheryl's voice!
I agree with your thoughts on the Pact. Maybe it was just too sad for me to even consider enjoying!

Ashlee said...

I love that you do these! I'm just catching up on my reading (both blog and book -I passed all four exams!)

I just added a few of these to my list, including Wild since I've passed by it quite a few times also.

I finished Emma & Me by Elizabeth Flock, it was hard to read (the content, not the actual reading) but good. Now I'm onto the Divergent trilogy!

Sarah said...

Thank you for the suggestions - I've found some great books/authors from your comments.

Ashlee - CONGRATS!!!! that is so awesome. You must feel so happy to be done!!!

Lauren M said...

Just finished Girl with a Pearl Earring and it was really enjoyable and a really quick read! Now I'm in the middle of a book called Shadow Baby which I'm really liking, but I can't wait to start And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Housseini, I think all of his books are just fantastic!! Happy reading
~ Lauren

mel brouard said...

I am currently reading The Invention Of Wings and was going to recommend it but saw you had already read it. I am loving it! I am going to a talk by Jodi Picoult in 2 weeks. She comes to South Africa evety 2 years or so. Here are my recommendations.
The Book Thief
The Lovely Bones-Alice Sebold
Room - Emma Donoghue
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Bean Trees
Pigs In Heaven (follow on to The Bean Trees (
The Storyteller-Jodi Picoult 8

Lexi Haas said...

thanks for posting these! I'm always looking for good new book ideas. had to put most of them on hold at my library, but can't wait :)

Kathleen said...

A good classic is "To Kill a Mockingbird." Always a favorite.

Sarah said...

Lauren - I read Girl with Pearl Earring a looong time ago and agree that it's good. I also read The Kite Runner and thought it was an excellent book - I didn't realize he had other books- I need to check those out.

Mel - I recently read The Book Thief and The Lovely Bones - both great books. Thank you for the other suggestions - I'll have to look into them!

Kathleen - I know I've read that before but I can't remember when or details. I may have to re-read.

Ashlee said...

Thank you! It does feel amazing!! I haven't quite figured out what to do with all of my extra time!

I wanted to second Mel's suggestion Room was really good! And I also liked Defending Jacob (I can't remember if you read that one)

Christi said...

I got a Kindle for Christmas and now I'm reading like crazy. Like you I thought I'd only like "real books" but it's so convenient to have in my purse.

I just read Wild too. I liked it but I would have like to have learned more about her adjustment back into real life.

If you like mysteries, check out Resolved by JJ Hensley. My favorite book of 2014. I really liked The Language of Flowers, Delicious! by Ruth Reichl and The Rosie Project too.

I also agree with the recommendations for Room and Defending Jacob from other posters.