Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock

My rating: 1.5

I am the outlier....again. The writing was wonderful and it felt like I was reading a lot but the story wasn't going anywhere. For me, it was way too much detail about every single character that it dragged.  It was also really dark.

I really wanted to like this book but every night when I wanted to sit down and read I would almost groan out loud realizing what book I was reading. Reading should be a pleasure, not a struggle.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen

My rating: 4.8

Kelsey's mother was killed and she was raised by guardians till the age of 19 years old. Then men came for her to take her to be Queen of the Tearling.  If you can overlook some questionable character development (when Kelsey goes from being a very sheltered teenager to suddenly being a very strong confident Queen) this is a fabulous story that kept me enthralled all the way through.

Harper Collins has not marketed this as a "Young Adult" as their is cursing and the female lead is 19 years old.  Still, I have classified it under my 'Young Adult' labels as I think anyone who has read Harry Potter or the Hunger Games would love this series.  I am looking forward to continuing reading this trilogy.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Evil At Heart by Chelsea Cain

My rating: 4.6

This is the third book in the Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell series. It is as twisted and thrilling as the first two. I am never entirely sure if I am rooting for Archie to break free from Gretchen or not.

I definitely think the narration is perfection and adds to this book so get the audio book from your library if you can.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

My Rating: 4.6

This is the follow-up novel to "You".  When Joe's new relationship ends up taking an unexpected twist, he moves from New York to LA.  Joe is still twisted, cynical and judgment and a totally lovable serial killer (did I really just type that lol!)

This didn't have as much tension as the original novel but I still found it to be extremely enjoyable and I will definitely be waiting for the next one in this series. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Martian by Andy Weir

My rating: 4.8

Picture "Castaway" on Mars.  Mark Watney gets abandoned on Mars. I won't tell you any more than that, other than to say that Mark Watney is a hilarious lovable guy that made we want to continually come back to this book.  So enjoyable!  We will definitely be watching the movie.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel

My rating: 1.0

I know others have said the first section was the most trying but, I just couldn't get through it. I am the outlier....again.

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

My rating: 1.5

In 1631 Sara de Vos is the first woman painter to be admitted to the Guild of St Luke’s in Holland. It’s the Dutch Golden Age, the time of Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals. This is the story of Sara's painting In The Edge of the Woods.

I know so many loved this book and I hate being the outlier but, I didn't care for it at all. I didn't find any of the characters were likable and the story line dragged.  I got half way through and decided to stop torturing myself and move onto other books I would enjoy in my queue

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Great Santini by Pat Conroy

My rating: 4.8

This is about Bull Meecham, a Marine fighter pilot, and his family.  As is typical of the Marine lifestyle, they move all too often which is difficult on his four children and his wife. Bull is "the best damn fighter pilot" and expects all of his children to be the best too. Bull Meecham is a very complex character and Conroy captures him so well. He is lovable, volatile and controlling - and whether you love him or hate him (or both!) he will stay with you.

I loved the Prince of Tide's and Pat Conroy's writing is equally as beautiful in this novel and, as always, his love of South Carolina shows through.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

My rating:  4.8

I read this previously but I picked it for an upcoming book club and wanted to reread it. I loved it just as much the second time. A tense and haunting novel following four people - Arrow, Kenan, Dragon and the Cellis - all trying to survive war-torn Sarajevo.

After a mortar attack kills 22 people waiting in line to buy bread, an unnamed cellist vows to play at the point of impact for 22 days. Arrow, a young woman sniper, picks off soldiers; Kenan makes a dangerous trek to get water for his family; and Dragan, who sent his wife and son out of the city at the start of the war, works at a bakery and trades bread in exchange for shelter. All the while, the cellist continues to play.

With wonderfully drawn characters and a stripped-down narrative, Galloway brings to life a distant conflict. It makes you feel what it would be like to have war come to your city.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

My Rating: 4.4

It is 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom to escape the advancing Red Army.  Four teenagers paths converge as they are making their way to the Wilhem Gustloff ship that promises to take them to freedom.

I loved Sepety's Between Shades of Gray so was looking forward to her latest novel. Sepetys writes great historical fiction and I enjoyed that it was about something I knew nothing about - the single greatest tragedy in maritime history. There were a couple characters that didn't have as much substance as I would have hoped but, that could have been due to the portrayal in the audio version.