Overall: 3/5 for the book, 4/5 because I love Harper Lee
SRP Goal: 12/20
I finished Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee and it took me over a week (which is a long time for me) and I don’t really know how I feel about it. I absolutely love To Kill a Mockingbird and in no way did Go Set a Watchman change that- it actually enforced it. I know have a deeper appreciation for TKaM and its underlying narrative, issues, symbolism, and overall feeling. I’ve read TKaM over and over (at least 5 times) and each time I find something new/different to enjoy. GSaW is NOT a sequel, in the truest sense, to TKaM- yes it takes place after TKaM, Scout is grown up and the characters have evolved with the times but it’s a drastically different story. I had a hard time keeping the two separate- I didn’t want to compare them, TKaM is wonderful and I don’t think GSaW could ever truly compete with it. The biggest issue I had with GSaW is the time jumps, the entire book is set within a week (or less) but there are flashbacks to Scout’s childhood. The flashbacks got so confusing- there was no indication of when (in time and in the book that) they were happening- the only indication was Jem's participation. I struggled with how many stars to give this book- 3 or 4? Three because I enjoyed it but I probably won’t read again anytime soon. Four because I love TKaM and Harper Lee. I ultimately settled on four because I love TKaM.
Overall: 3/5 for the book, 4/5 because I love Harper Lee
SRP Goal: 12/20
Short review today...
I fell in love with the TNT tv series- Rizzoli and Isles, I’ve watched every episode and can’t wait for more. So naturally, I decided to read the books that inspired the tv show (why I didn’t read them first, I don’t know- that is so un-librarian of me). I read the first in the series, The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen and was surprised by how different it was (though I guess I shouldn’t have been- it’s a trend Hollywood tends to follow). I enjoyed the book once I got over expecting to read the plot of the tv series in book form.
Book Rizzoli (BKR) was a minor character compared to TV Rizzoli (TVR)- she was timid and unsure of her place in the Boston Police Department. She wasn’t the strong, independent, forceful, woman that she is on TNT- but that means she has room to grow throughout the book series. Maura Isles isn’t even in the first book (sadly, she’s one of my favorite characters) but according to the synopsis for the second in the series, I’ll meet her soon! I definitely enjoyed the backstory to Hoyt and how he “learned” his signature serial-killer ways. He plays such an integral part to the TV series and while they give you enough history to understand his mentality and issues, you never truly learn how he came to be “The Surgeon.” I think I will continue reading the series (this was a fast read- I finished it in two days)- I really want to see how Rizzoli becomes “Rizzoli” and I really want to meet Dr. Isles!
SRP Goal: 11/20
I want to know who decides how to market books because sometimes they are right on the nose and other times they aren’t even in the same universe….
I just finished Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll and it is marketed as crime-fiction, thriller, suspense, mystery, “the next Gone Girl or Girl on the Train” and while yes it does have a crime in it and have some horrific moments, a small mystery and a bit of suspense- it’s not exactly the same (at least in my opinion). No two books will be exactly the same, there may (and will) be some similarities and I don’t see very many between Luckiest Girl Alive and GG/GotT. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like Luckiest Girl Alive- I did but I think I would’ve enjoyed it more had I not been expecting something along the lines of Girl on the Train. Luckiest Girl Alive was a coming of age-dealing with your past-accepting yourself for who you are type of story- not a thriller.
Ani (TifAni FaNelli) reinvents herself after a horrible (and I mean horrible) high school experience. She’s engaged to one of New Yorks wealthiest men and is working as a writer/editor for a magazine- a far cry from the “poor” girl of high school. A TV studio approached her about producing a documentary about her high school experience- she says yes, much to the dismay of her fiance. Through flashbacks (the novel is told entirely from Ani’s POV) we find out what exactly happened to her during high school. Her fiance doesn’t support/believe/care/trust/want his “image” damaged by her past so he tries to get her to hide certain aspects of what happen from the producers/public. All of this drama culminates (not a very big climax in terms of plot but more along the lines of personal growth) for Ani and she ultimately has to decide how much of her past deserves to be heard.
At first I found Ani an annoying bitch- she judged people based on looks and how much money she thought they had but after learning/reading about her past, it became obvious to me that that was the only way she knew how to deal with people who were “better” than her. As the novel progressed, she didn’t grow or have an “ah-ha” moment where she realized she shouldn’t judge people for what they look like but she did realize that she should stop punishing herself for things she had no control over and that ultimately is what she’s judging people on- the things they/she can control: looks, money.
After writing this review, I think I will reread this book and, now that I know not to expect GotT, I might actually enjoy it a lot more than I did initially.
SRP Goal: 10/20 (half-way there!)
I read Hugo & Rose by Bridget Foley last week (sadly this isn't about Ron and Hermione's kids) and I didn’t have very high expectations (nothing against this book, just not my normal genre) and I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed this book- it wasn’t a page-turner but it did keep my attention and I did was fascinated by the intricate (yet not) plot. Rose, a wife and mother, is disappointed with her life. She feels ordinary- especially compared to her extraordinary life she leads in her dreams. Every night, Rose dreams about an adventurous island she shares with Hugo- a boy who she’s grown up with in her dreams. BUT when she accidently meets him in real life, what happens when dreams and reality collide? “Their chance encounter begins a cascade of questions, lies, and a dangerous obsession that threatens to topple everything she knows. Is she willing to let go of everything she holds dear to understand their extraordinary connection? And will it lead her to discover who she truly wants to be?” (From Amazon)
I struggled figuring out whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars. I ultimately landed on 3.5 and only because I related to Rose so much- I may not have kids but I’ve been in the position where I’ve questioned my life decisions and if I was who I was supposed to be, if I’ve ended up where I was meant to be or if I’ve taken a detour and this (encounter, issue, person, job, school, major, etc.) is supposed to get me back on track. Its something everyone deals with and this novel depicts it perfectly. Rose struggles with her decisions, she loves her family, but she’s not happy with herself. She’s unfulfilled and doesn’t feel satisfied in her decisions - so when her “what if” comes along, it throws Rose for a loop and she starts to question her life. I may not have enjoyed every aspect of this novel but overall, it was a good story and very relatable. Every person (woman or man) can relate to Rose and her situation (even if you’re not a wife/mother/homemaker)- if you’re not satisfied in your life and wondering what would happen if something changed or if it was meant to be different- Rose embodies these feelings perfectly.
SRP Goal: 9/20
I finished Disclaimer by Renee Knight and was satisfied with the overall story and ending, though at times the pacing as a tad slow. The concept (a tad Inception-y) of a book within a book was interesting and could've gone either way- really horrible or really well. It landed towards the really well end of the spectrum. The main character, Catherine, finds a copy of a book The Perfect Stranger on her bedside table and picks it up to read, not knowing that it is a re-telling of one of the darkest times in her life 20 years ago. The only other person who knows about this is dead- who wrote the book?!
The entire book is told through multiple points of view- its starts out with just two (Catherine and the Author) and then two more are added about half way through the book (Catherine's son and husband). It got kind of confusing- there wasn't a huge difference between the voices so until you got to a name or place, it was hard distinguishing who was telling that particular aspect. It also time-hopped and that just added another level of confusion because at first it started out as a memory but then it became present tense and towards the end of the flashback it became a memory again but nothing changes textually (though in hindsight, I guess this is how it happens when you're talking about memories- it starts out past tense and then you get into the moment and switch to present tense).
I was very satisfied with the plot twists and the ending- by the end of it I wanted to punch a specific character (I won't say who so I don't give anything away) but lets just say he/she is an ASS.
SRP Goal: 8/20
I read Magonia in one day… and that is not because I couldn’t put it down. It was because I wanted to put it down but I also wanted to see how it ended so I skimmed a few pages here and there to get to the ending faster. I just could not get into this book- I thought the main character was whiny, self-entitled, and unrelatable. Maybe because I’m not a teenager anymore or maybe because I’m not typically into fantasy but either way- I just didn’t like this book.
The premise sounded really interesting (though who decided to compare it to The Fault in Our Stars needs to be fired):
"Maria Dahvana Headley's soaring YA debut is a fiercely intelligent, multilayered fantasy where Neil Gaiman's Stardust meets John Green's The Fault in Our Stars in a story about a girl caught between two worlds . . . two races . . . and two destinies.
Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.
Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who's always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.
Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza's hands lies fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?"
But the execution of the story/plot was done horribly. Like I said, the main character was relatable and whiny which made the book hard to get through. The fact that she felt the need to tell the reader that she was dying or was supposed to die soon on every other page got so frustrating that I started to wish she would die just to get some relief. I did tear up when she died but not because SHE died but because of the way the author portrayed her family during the process. Having lost someone close to me, I felt every emotion Aza’s parents were feeling and it made it that much more real. Though when Aza woke up alive on a floating ship in the sky, I thought she would’ve matured or at least death would’ve made her less whiny- but nope. All she wanted to do was “go back home, go back to her boyfriend, see her family.” I get it- you got ripped away from everything you ever knew but you need to learn to ADAPT- YOU’RE ON A FLYING SHIP IN THE SKY! THERE ARE WHALES MADE OF CLOUDS FOLLOWING YOU AROUND! THIS SHOULD BE AWESOME but instead Aza makes it sound like it is the worst thing that could ever happen to her ever.
SRP Goal: 7/20
I finished The Rook by Daniel O’Malley last night (June 29) and I fell in love or really strong like- I haven’t decided which yet. I had been hunting for this book for awhile (in a previous post, I mentioned how I went to 4 Barnes & Noble stores and 3 Half Price Books to locate a copy of this title) and finally got to it in my pile. I was super excited to read it but I didn’t have my hopes up- I’ve been let down way too many times by recommendations based off my love of The Night Circus and Harry Potter. I went into this story with reservations and thinking it wasn’t going to live up-to the hype but I was wrong. This story is AMAZING. I adored the main character Myfanwy Thomas- especially after she woke up as a new person, the “old” Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) sounded rather boring and meek- not strong enough to carry this story. I loved the supernatural secret service- which is saying something because I was very weary of this aspect. I am definitely not a fan of the X-Files and from the blurb on the back, that’s what the supernatural aspect sounded liked it was going to be and even though it was similar, The Chequy is a way more sophisticated entity than the FBI in the X-Files.
There were so many details about both Myfanwy and the Chequy but because of the pacing, I never felt like I was being bogged down with all the information. I never wanted to put this book down- it grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go! I will definitely re-read this before the second one in the series comes out.
SRP Goal: 6/20
Short and Sweet
I am a Reference Librarian at a community college and an avid reader. These are my thoughts, reviews, ideas, comments, and everyday musings.