Monday, April 4, 2016

March Reads

Another month gone, another month of reads.

Me Before you (Jojo Moyes)- Lou Clark is a twenty-something who has settled for her small, ordinary life in a her small town. Her world gets shaken up when the tea shop she works at closes and she has to scramble for a new job placement. Enter Will Traynor, a man who used to live life large but after an accident has to live life from a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. Clark takes a job as his day caregiver. When Clark finds out that Will has shocking plans for his future, she sets out to show him that life can still be accessible and wonderful from his chair. Okay. I can't go into much without giving away a lot but this is one of my top 5 favorite books of the past year. Loved it. I didn't really expect to! I thought I'd be tough but it broke through my icy heart and I need to own this book asap. I've heard a lot of people critique this book as perpetuating this idea that a disabled life is not a life worth living but I feel like it's the exact opposite of that. I think it is about living life to the fullest, being inspired, being loved and loving and making hard choices and how relationships can affect us. I can understand the ableism critique of this for sure but I don't think it's as prevalent as some people have seemed to make it.

Allegiant (Veronica Roth)- The faction based society that Tris has lived in her entire life has been shattered. Hoping for a new life of peace, Tris, Four and a handful of friends venture outside the wall to find out what waits on the other side. What they discover is more lies and twists as they navigate human nature once more and try to save their loved ones. Mehhhhh. The first like half of this book was really bleh. I hated the dual perspective. Once again Four and Tris' relationship got on my NERVES. The end was full of action but wasn't really surprising. I felt like you saw it all coming. Or at least I did. It was very bland to me. I wanted to think Tris was brave and daring and whatever but mostly I just felt like they were all asses.

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? (Lorrie Moore)- A grown woman looks back with nostalgia at the summer she was 15. Berie and her best friend Sils worked together, stole liquor from their parents together, went out dancing together and seeping the fun out of their small town lives. Everything is carefree until Berie realizes Sils really does need her help and that's when everything changes. I loved this book. An easy read but full of complicated characters and situations. The bittersweet retelling of Berie's youth from the perspective of middle age Berie is beautiful and touching. It was kind of heartbreaking but the story telling was so beautiful that it was worth it.

Dept. of Speculation (Jenny Offill)- The character simply referred to as 'the wife' ruminates on the consuming love of motherhood, the day to day droll of marriage, the highs and lows of a long lived relationship and the seduction of art. Another love. I couldn't put this down. It is written in short, staggered paragraphs and the feelings jump off of the page and right into your lap. I could feel the fierce love, I could feel the rage and confusion, I could feel the longing and the pain and the need and it was very reflective and engaging. It is perfectly done. A beautiful piece of literature. The piercing emotional insights will last long after you are done reading. I've been thinking about this book for days.

The BFG (Roald Dahl)- Had Sophie been carried off by any other giant in the middle of the night she would have been swallowed up immediately. As it is, she is taken by the Big Friendly Giant, a dream blower who travels around England bringing happy dreams to little children. When Sophie learns that the other 9 giants are galloping off to eat their fill of human beans, she knows they must do something about it! Ahhhh, this book is magical and wonderful and perfection. I loved it so much. My son loved it and laughed out loud constantly. It is whimsical and fun and scary in parts and full of adventure. I'm very excited to see how the movie interpretation is later this year!

Song of the Wanderer (Bruce Coville)- Cara must travel through the wilderness of Luster, the land of the unicorns, to find her way back to Earth and save her Grandmother, the Wanderer. A surly dragon, vicious delver attacks and dangerous terrain make for a hard road and all while Beloved, the enemy of the unicorns, is watching and waiting for the opportunity to attack and steal the amulet that will let her enter Luster and finish the slaughtering of the unicorns that she began so many hundreds of years before. This book started out as a chapter book with my little girl but she wasn't super into it (the beginning was very LoTR, just walking around and talking to people about what needed to be done, so I don't blame her for getting bored) so I finished it on my own and I'm glad I did. I read the first book of The Unicorn Chronicles as a little girl and loved it but never knew there were more books until very recently. Holy plot twist that I did not see coming.The beginning is a little slow but the pace picks up quickly and the adventures are many.

 Dark Whispers (Bruce Coville)- Cara must travel to the Valley of the Centaurs in pursuit of a mysterious story that could hold the key to the survival of the unicorns. The 3rd book in The Unicorn Chronicles and it wastes no time diving into the adventure in this one. In this novel the point of view changes practically every chapter and that usually bothers me but I felt that in this book it made sense and it kept you guessing and antsy for what happens next. I appreciate these middle grade fantasy novels.

Over Sea, Under Stone (Susand Cooper)- The Drew children discover an ancient map in the attic of the home they are holidaying at by the sea. Quickly it is discovered that this map is special and the key to finding a powerful source to fight the evil Dark. The children, with their mysterious Great Uncle Merry, begin a perilous journey of seeking out the grail. This is a fantasy series built around Arthurian legend so naturally it is wonderful. I was captivated by Great Uncle Merry and this ancient struggle between Good and Evil and the legends behind it all. It's a lovely little read.

The Fairy Rebel (Lynne Reid Banks)- Jan is sitting in her garden when she gets the biggest surprise of her life- a fairy is earthed on her toe. Tiki the fairy puts herself in terrible danger by helping Jan, who is desperate for a child, have a baby. After the Queen of the fairies discovers that there is a fairy child they must rise up against her darkness and evil. This is one of my favorite books of all time. I adore this book. It leaves me so happy and I can ride that happy book high for days. It's a great story, cool illustrations and the perfect little something when you need a fairy tale.

The Silver Chair (C.S. Lewis)- Eustace and Jill escape their school bullies through a door in a wall and come out the other side into Aslan's land. Aslan himself has a task for the children. Through dangerous adventures with serpents, giants and dark tunnels they must find the lost Prince and restore him to Narnia. I've yet to read a Narnia book that doesn't make me all goose bumpy. The end made me cry. Like a lot.

Living Dead Girl (Elizabeth Scott)- Strong sexual assault trigger here. I have a lot of feelings about this. This was an unfinished book for me because I got about a third through it and just could not. It read like torture porn for me. I understand that there is a place for things like this and as a sexual assault survivor myself I think talking about this is important but I just did not like the interpretation of assault that I saw or how frequently (like every few pages in the part that I read) it happened. Not to mention that I also didn't enjoy the writing at all. Even if the subject matter hadn't been hard for me and the subject not broached the way I would have liked it, the writing just wasn't great and I didn't enjoy the format.

The Siren (Kiera Cass)- Here is the goodreads page for this book if you'd like a summary. Another started but didn't finish for me. Womp. It just didn't grab my interest. I thought the idea of a siren story sounded super neat and in the first 50 something pages I hadn't gotten into the story yet so I decided to give it up.

The Lost Hero (Rick Riordan)- The first book in the Heroes of Olympus series follows 3 new heroes- Jason, Piper and Leo - as they discover their godly parentage and set off on a quest to (what else?) save the world. I really enjoyed this! The ending definitely made sure I'll come back to read the rest. The first born and I started this wayyyyy back in January and we finally finished it. It's not that we weren't into it, it is just super dense and a lot of pages to get through. I loved the story told from the perspective of all 3 heroes. I felt the character development was beautiful and intentional and really noticeable. The story being woven is exciting and mysterious and I'm anxiously waiting on the next one to arrive at our library. 

That's a wrap for March! Happy reading. 

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