Wednesday, November 4, 2015

what i read in october

September was one of the greatest reading months. And then came October to knock me right off the I LOVE READING train with all it's love-hate relationships. So, here's all my feelings for you: 

Audible recommended this to me as something I might like based on my Amazon choices. And Audible was SPOT ON CORRECT. I found myself deeply invested in the twisted-beyond-twist plot and the characters were so rich I ended up holding deep feelings about each of them. I worried part way through the novel that I'd grow bored with the possibility of mundane details as a day-to-day account of life is given, BUT Kubica switched between perspectives in a way that kept each page fresh and dying to be turned.

This could be dubbed "The Next Gone Girl" and I don't know that I'd blame someone for holding such an opinion; however, I think it's an unexpected upgrade from the insanity that was Amy Dunne. The nuances here are distinguished and haunting, while maintaining a subtly that reminds me much of life's ironic foreshadowing. Yes, this is a must read -especially for thriller fans.

I love Me Before You. I mean, I read it in five hours on a plane ride home from Costa Rica and I sobbed at the close of the novel. Moyes brought forth a beautiful, painful conversation about end-of-life care that resonated through the depths of my soul. Louisa Clark -her main character- captured my heart and soul as she developed over the course the pages of Me Before You. So, I was thrilled when I heard Louisa was making her return.

And then I read After You.

Disappointed might not be a strong enough word for this novel. I was devastated to find all the progress and maturity and goodness that happened in Louisa Clark and had me in tears at the end of the first novel missing from the onset of After You. She was a chaotic mess that lost all the feminine bravery that was her character previously. I wanted her to define herself, to grow and make something of the tragedy that befell her; but instead, she struggled and floundered. The woman who I identified with throughout Me Before You wasn't brought forward for me to cheer on.

The plot lines in this novel were criss-crossing and chaotic, they couldn't hold steady with one another and often felt a bit underdeveloped. I wanted to love this, really Clark and Moyes back in my life was going to be a dream, but I couldn't. I hardly made it to the end and, well, that was a heart-break in its own right.

I didn't understand how this got so many mixed reviews while I listened to the Eat and Pray portions of this novel. I know that many people feel Gilbert behaved as a matyr in the way that she was "suffering" while spending a year abroad exploring the culture and practices of other countries. While I understand that perspective, I adored the way Gilbert chose to do something so entirely out of her wheelhouse in the face of terrible grief. Yes, Gilbert was a part of the problem in her marriage the led to divorce, but in her grief she pursued the opportunity to grow and redefine herself.

And this redefining she really seemed to do. Until Love.

Love happened in Bali and while I enjoyed the first half of the section with her devotion to her guru and a local medicine woman. I was equally (if not more) disenchanted by the extensive conversation about her thriving physical relationship with her new boyfriend. Gilbert seemed to speak as though she was independent and completely fulfilled without him, but I just wish he wasn't there at all. The relationship seems all-consuming and exhausting. So, I skipped the last half hour of the audiobook and reminisced on the beauty that was the first two sections.

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.** 

I really, really wanted to love this. It seemed up my alley with the conversation about faith and God and small town life and, maybe that gave me unrealistic expectations. But, I spent so much of the book wanting things to move just a bit -and then a lot- faster. I wanted to know understand some of the characters deeper issues with religion and miracles. I wanted there to be bigger, bolder development in each member of the cast. But this deepness just didn't come.

The plot is interesting enough -though it felt familiar beyond the novel to me-, but I just couldn't be completely drawn in to this book. I don't know if I was distracted by the stutters of one main character, or the jerk-hole nature of her father, or the confusing jump around nature of the perspectives, but just, nope.

I read this for #Collaboreads and, well, we know how that turned out. 

And I'm going to be participating in the Semi-Charmed Life Winter Book Challenge again (because I love this business). Here's my preliminary list... I'll do all future updates on Megan's blog, but for now (and for reference's sake) this is where I will start!

5 points: Read a book that has between 100 and 200 pages.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (191 pages)

10 points: Read a debut book by any author. 

Whiskey & Charlie by Annabel Smith (336 pages)

10 points: Read a book that does not take place in your current country of residence.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (351 pages)

10 points: Read a book that someone else has already used for the challenge. 

To Be Determined

15 points: Read a book published under a pseudonym. 

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (345 pages) 

15 points: Read a book with “boy,” “girl,” “man” or “woman” in the title.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (323 pages) 

15 points: Read a book with a one-word title.

Herself by Madeleine L'Engle (384 pages)

20 points: Read a book with a person's first and last name in the title.

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks (400 pages)

20 points: Read a food-themed book. 

All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O'Neal (400 pages)

20 points: Read a book with a verb in the title.

Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting (334 pages)

30 points: Read two books with the same title (by different authors). 

Small Victories by Jeff Mercer (267 pages) and Anne Lamott (286 pages)

30 points: Read a nonfiction book and a fiction book about the same subject.

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall (307 pages)
Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres (384 pages)


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