And, She Was Reading…

I’ve been reading – a lot.  Right now it’s been quantity with a loose hold on quality.

So far, this year I’ve gone through. In no particular order:

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What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty – What a fun book!  My girlfriends and I reference it often.  So many times you wonder, “What if I had done this instead of that?”  Alice doesn’t precisely explore that but it is in the vein.  Alice has an accident and wakes up and 10 years of her life have gone by.  Poof! Three kids, in the midst of a divorce, and finally got in shape.  What’s lovely about this book is it isn’t a “what if” but it follows the story through, for better or worse.  A very unique perspective and the author has a great voice.

The Orchid House: A Novel, by Lucinda Riley  – This was recommended if you like Downton Abbey and multi-generational historical fiction, which I do.  I would say, the target demographic was spot on but I found the story a bit long.  There is no down time, it does not drag, there were just a few plot points that left Downton and swung through General Hospital.  Also, I didn’t really care for many of the main characters.  They just weren’t endearing.  Sometimes a book’s characters can really stay with you for a few days and you ponder what happened next.  I don’t really feel that for this lot.  I’m not sure I would return to this author.

The Perfume Collector: A Novel, by Kathleen Tessaro – It’s possible I was on a theme when I went book shopping. this is another multi-generational historical fiction, but I really liked this one.  The main characters were fun and different and the story had a lot of unique elements.  It starts with elements we’ve seen before with Grace trying to fit into the 1950’s London social scene, but the other half of the story is Eva’s which begins in 1920’s New York when she is hired on as a maid at a swanky hotel that caters to the rich and famous.  But where’s the perfume?  It’s in there and makes sense (get it? sense?  I’m here all week!).

Whistling Past the Graveyard, by Susan Crandall – I liked this one.  I wasn’t sure at first because it’s from the perspective of a nine-year-old girl but, the naivete of the point of view really worked for the story.  The story being little Starla runs away from home and ends up traveling through the South in 1963 with Eula, a black woman.  If you liked the way The Help dealt with issues regarding systemic racism in the 1960’s you will like the naturalness of this story too.

The Selection, by Kiera Cass – OMG! Fair warning, this is YA romance, y’all.  I like audiobooks for bedtime, they just put me right out.  So, I grabbed this one 100% based on the pretty girl in the awesome dress on the cover.  A review I read after I finished the book said it was Hunger Games meets the Bachelor.  I don’t think I could sum it up any better.  Our ingenue, America, gets chosen as the girl from her “state” to try to win the heart of the Prince and become the new Princess.  It’s dystopian, it has a caste system, a lottery, a monarchy, rebels, and hair-pulling.  If that’s what you are looking for it is done well.  If you’re looking for Hemingway then don’t pick up a book with a girl in ballgown on the cover! Like, duh!

The Elite, by Kiera Cass – Book two in the Selection series follows America as she stays in the running, but the field has narrowed from 35 girls to six.  What will happen? Who will stay? Who will go?  Who will end up being beaten on a pillory?  Yep.  If you like the first, you’ll like the second (and you’ll read the third).  However, by the end of The Elite, America’s wishy-washy teen-angst did get a bit annoying, but if the Prince sent her home the story would be over – so I get it.

The Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard- So, at face value it sounds like all the other YA out there (even the one above), but it has enough uniqueness to move past the dystopian future, caste system, rebels, blah, blah, blah.  In this one Mare (which is funny, because that was America’s nickname in The Selection series) is a Red (red-blooded), which is the lower caste, and ends up betrothed to a Prince, a Silver (with, you know, silver blood).  The Silvers have special powers and suddenly Mare reveals she has a unique ability at a time when the Silvers can’t have her quietly killed.  So, into the palace, she comes.  I don’t think I’m giving it it’s due justice.  Story-wise it definitely held its own and I will be reading the next one.  My one nitpick is the author used the phrase in some variation “something I didn’t understand” way too much.  Perhaps, I just noticed because I listened to it as an audiobook and in print, it wouldn’t be so obvious, but I was like, “Mare, maybe, this time, you can’t discern the situation, or fathom, grasp, interpret, perceive, catch on to!”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling – These don’t really need a blurb ’cause they are what they are and if you are going to read them I don’t think it will be because of me, but I will say if you are just starting them to get the illustrated version.  So far, it is only available for the first two books, but they are ah-mazing!

After this, I start my Summer Reading!  I really love lists!

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