The title says it all, folks. And here we go.
Something Blue by Emily Giffin is the companion novel to Something Borrowed, a book I recently reviewed here. I went into Something Blue with a little trepidation, since the heroine is Darcy – a character I didn’t enjoy a bit in the first novel. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when Giffin managed to mold Darcy’s character into a personality I could really get on board with. She started out the book just as vapid as she was in Something Borrowed, but throughout the book she got her priorities in order and made an excellent (not to mention believable) transformation. I have to admit that the events in the novel were somewhat predictable (okay, very predictable) but I enjoyed the book nonetheless. It was a fun, light read that entertained me over the course of a few afternoons – exactly what I needed at the time I was reading it. So I’m now two for two with Ms. Giffin – hopefully the streak continues, as I’m about to pick up her third novel!
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender is one that I read on a whim. I’d heard so many good things about the book but the idea of reading it didn’t capture me until I realized I could download it to my iPod for my listening pleasure – this is when I decided to give it a try. The main thing that stuck out to me about this novel was the writing. There were some absolutely beautiful passages throughout the story – Ms. Bender certainly has an interestingly delicious way with words and I would be more than happy to read more of her work for that reason alone. However, if I’m being honest I’d have to say that the story didn’t wow me much. I liked the premise (girl can experience people’s feelings when she eats the food they cook) but the main character, Rose, didn’t do a whole lot for me and I thought the story meandered a little bit. Plus, I’m still confused about what the deal was with her brother George. The audio production was good, though, so if you’re interested in reading this one I can recommend listening to it for sure. The book just wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, personally.
Here’s one I loved: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. As with Shiver, I continued to enjoy the dynamics between Grace and Sam, I found the book to be extremely creative and very well-executed, and the plot definitely went places I wasn’t expecting. I also really enjoyed the addition of new characters’ voices. I LOVED the ending, although it was certainly not a happy one I thought it was just perfection and set up the third book so very, very well. This is a series I’ll continue to rave about to anyone who will listen and I’m anxiously awaiting the third book!
By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan is sadly another book I’m fairly ambivalent about. I really, REALLY wanted to love this book. Historical fiction about the Inquisition? Yes, please! I feel like I should have loved it – it has been getting rave reviews by many people whose opinions I value and trust. And I enjoyed the novel, it just didn’t have that “this is amazing” factor I wanted it to have. I’m fairly disappointed in myself, actually, as I almost feel like this was a user error – perhaps I didn’t devote the time and attention to the book it deserved. Whatever the reason, while I appreciate By Fire, By Water (especially the meticulous research that clearly went into it) I just didn’t love it.
Let’s end on a positive note, shall we? For Keeps by Natasha Friend was the perfect audiobook for me to listen to as I was working out, cooking dinner, doing household chores, etc. Josie is a sixteen-year-old girl who has never met her father – and is totally okay with that. Josie’s mom got pregnant with her when she was sixteen, and was subsequently abandoned by Josie’s dad, which created an extremely close relationship between Josie and her mom over the years. But one day, Josie and her mom find out that her father’s parents have moved back to town, which sends Josie’s life into a direction she never could have anticipated. Everything changes, and she is left to figure out who she is, what she wants, and what really matters in life. I really, really enjoyed For Keeps and would absolutely recommend it. Josie is such a fantastic character, such an accurate depiction of a teenage girl while still being an interesting character that continued to surprise me. And I LOVE the depiction of the families in this book – Josie’s best friend Olivia, for example, has two dads and this is completely normal, nothing that needs to be discussed, it just is. (As it should be, but rarely is in real life OR fiction.) I probably should have given For Keeps its own post, because it really resonated with me and I can think of a million reasons I’d recommend it, but I didn’t do that – so just read it. Natasha Friend has written a little book with a lot going for it.
I may do another one of these mini-review things soon because I really am behind. And I’m also feeling like I have nothing to say about anything I’m reading these days, which isn’t a good combination.
Enough about me, though – what have YOU been reading lately?