Time for a whirlwind update on what I’ve been reading in 2013 thus far! I’m not what you’d call an avid reader of books… I love them, but find myself spending far more time reading online than in paper form, though I always seem to think this will change. But I’m a Goodreads addict (join me, won’t you? Let’s be book buddies!) and want to share my recent hits and misses.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: By now, nearly everyone’s had their say about this book. I’m not sure I have much new to add. This was a great thriller novel about a wife who went missing and the process of her husband finding out what happened to her. This story provided gripping insight into a very dysfunctional relationship between a husband and wife and I couldn’t put it down, but I found the ending highly disappointing. Still, a good engrossing read. 4/5 stars
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker: This is a coming-of-age story set in a dystopian future in which the earth has begun to slow its rotation, thus continually lengthening the days and nights. This impacts the earth and its inhabitants, human and otherwise, in crazy ways and causes rampant uncertainty about the future and polarized views about how The Slowing should be handled. But amid this upheaval, Julia is still dealing with normal day-to-day life… her parents’ fractured relationship, falling in love for the first time, and changing school friendships. It’s such a great premise for a book, but I actually had a hard time feeling really connected to the characters and understanding how Julia’s personal story mattered in the context of The Slowing. 3/5 stars
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: Oh, how much I loved this book. This is a YA historical novel set in England & France during the Second World War. Perhaps my obsession with European World War historical novels plays into my love of this book, but the characters and the writing were also exquisite. This is the story of the wartime friendship between Maddie & Julie, and it opens with Julie having been captured and detained by Nazis after the plane that Maddie was flying, in which Julie was a passenger, crashed… killing Maddie. Julie is trying to buy time with her story while mourning for Maddie. The story has so many plot twists, I won’t say anything more, but read this book! 5/5 stars
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman: I loved this historical novel set in the 1920’s off the coast of Australia. This is the story of a lighthouse keeper and his beloved wife who live alone on and island in the lighthouse, and struggle with multiple miscarriages trying to have a child. Heartbroken, one day they find a wailing newborn baby washed up on shore in a wrecked boat with a dead man. This is the story of the choices made in the wake of this discovery and the lives it irrevocably affects along the way. I had to suspend my disbelief over the actions taken at times, but this is a lovely and thoughtful novel with interesting characters. 4.5/5 stars
The Sisters by Nancy Jensen: Another historical novel, this time set in 1920’s Kentucky. With their mother dead, sisters Mabel & Bertie live with their sinister step-father and take comfort in their love for each other. On the proudest day of Bertie’s life, Mabel sets out to improve things for the sisters, but a series of staggering misunderstandings alters the course of both of their lives. The book takes place over the course of several generations of Bertie & Mabel’s families so you truly see the lasting effects of this single day. I found most of the characters relatable and believable, if not likeable. 3.5/5 stars
Requiem by Lauren Oliver: The third and final book in the Delirium trilogy, so of course I can’t say a damn thing without giving away spoilers from the first two books. But I’ll say this: the trilogy is a dystopian YA series based on the premise that in the USA, love has been classified as a disease called deliria nervosa for which there is now a cure, administered at age 18. After receiving the cure, people don’t feel emotions anymore. They are paired with an appropriate match as their life partner, and live their live as they’re told without stress. But before age 18, teens are susceptible to the deliria and of course there are resisters to the controlling regime who leave society to live in The Wilds, uncured and free to love whomever they choose. These resisters are a threat to the controlled society, as they are “diseased.” It’s such a great premise for a story, and well-written with fantastic characters. Sort of like the next Hunger Games, if you ask me… 4.5/5 stars
Room by Emma Donoghue: One of the most creatively written novels I’ve read in a long time. Jack is 5 years old. He was born in a small room and has never been outside it in his life. His mother was kidnapped 7 years ago by her captor & rapist Old Nick (who is Jack’s biological father), and she is locked into this room where she lives with Jack. She is desperate to escape back into the world of course, but she’s built a life for Jack within this four walls with games, activities, stories, chores, and lessons. To Jack, Room is the whole world and it’s pretty great. The story is told from Jack’s point of view, in the voice of a child who doesn’t understand that there is life beyond the four walls of his home. It’s incredibly thought-provoking. 5/5 stars
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling: Yep, the same Mindy who wrote The Office and now has her own show called The Mindy Project. Mindy’s a gifted humour writer, but for me that humour translates better onscreen than on the page. Ehhhh, it was funny. But I definitely didn’t love this book. A good & fluffy beach or airplane read, nothing earth-shattering in here though. 2.5/5 stars
That’s what I’ve been reading lately. I’m currently working away at another light beach read and a non-fiction book for a change. What’s the best book you’ve read lately?