Monday, August 11, 2014

July Reads

I was a busy little reader in July and I'm clearly going to meet my summer goal to complete 20 books over vacation, since I still have another three weeks left to go.

9. Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
If you've ever read a Nora Roberts book you know; they're cute and romantic, but totally predictable. This was no exception. You know exactly who is going to end up together in the end. That said, I still enjoyed it. The main character in this book was a cute, neurotic perfectionist so of course the man in the situation was messy and carefree. Roberts has a way with writing that makes you all emotional and attached to the characters which is something I always enjoy. Overall a good read, but nothing amazing.

10., 11., & 12. Waiting on You, The Perfect Match and The Best Man by Kristen Higgins
I found a couple Kristen Higgins books at the library this month which I was really excited for. The two I read this month are part of the "Blue Heron" series, so they both involve a lot of the same characters. I read them out of order, but honestly it didn't matter much except that one of the books gave away who the character ends up with in another book. Anyway. Usually I love Kristen's books, but the characters in these bothered me. Not all of them, just the three ladies who were the protagonists in each of the three books. They were all supposed to be adult women, but the often acted like spoiled teenage girls. Even more annoying is that instead of just swearing, they say stupid crap like "hemorrhoids", uh, yeah, no thanks. The thing is, the writing style and storytelling is just good enough to make me keep reading even when I hate the main character. So I guess that takes talent. I'm not saying I don't like her books anymore, but these three didn't do much for me. If all her books were like this, I would never have started reading her books. 

12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
If you haven't heard of it, this book takes place during the Revolutionary War. Since I teach that topic to my 5th graders, I wanted to read this book to see if it was a good one for them. I didn't personally love it, but it's pretty historically accurate and gives a good picture of what life would have been like in that time. I like how it's realistic to the war, but not overly graphic or gory as some books about war can be. 

13. Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult never disappoints. Her books are always so intricate and complicated and full of twists and turns. This one is about a family torn apart first by the father's infidelity and then by the daughter's claims of seeing God. In the book you get to see the situation from multiple character's perspectives; the way she gets inside the heads of each character and gives them a distinct personality and background is amazing. I'm always blown away by the depth of her characters. The only thing that I didn't love about this book was the very, very end. It was left a little too open-ended for me. Usually I don't mind that, but for this book I REALLY just needed to know exactly what happened. 

14. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
I could not put this book down. I think I read it in about a day. It's similar to The Hunger Games, The Selection, and Divergent books. It's a dystopian novel that takes place in Portland, Maine. As soon as I realized that I was hooked. I loved all the references Oliver made to things in Portland, it's rare that I get to read a book that takes place in Maine and actually mentions things accurately. Anyway, in this society, love has been "cured". You get the cure when you turn 18 and after that you're safe from it's potential horrors. The refer to love as delirium and scare the people into thinking that it will kill them. So, in true dystopian trilogy form, the main character, Lena, falls in love and starts to question everything she knows about life and the world around her. It's completely enthralling and addicting and I'm currently number 5 on the library wait list for the second book, Pandemonium, and I can't wait.

15. The One and Only by Emily Giffin
Initially I was unimpressed with this book. It started off slow and was a little obvious. However, after awhile I was really pulled into it and started to like the main character better and feel for her. I'm usually sucked into Emily Giffin books from the get-go, so this was surprising to me, but I still ended up loving it. The characters were complex and there were a lot of side elements to the story that add to the emotional element. 

16. The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau
This is book 3 in The City of Ember series, however it is completely different. It takes place with a whole new cast of characters and in a whole new setting. In fact, it's not until the last page that you actually see the connection between this book and the other Ember series books (though there are hints earlier on, it's not clear until that point). Honestly, I didn't really like it. It was very "doomsday is coming" and didn't have the optimism and emotion that I'm used to from this author. If you didn't read this book, you would still easily enjoy the rest of the series.

17. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
I think this was my favorite book this month. It was complicated and messy and full of emotion and drama. There are a LOT of characters in this book, and it was a little hard to keep track of them all at first. Once I got further into it though, I started to see all the complex relationships and emotions of each of them, Moriarty does an amazing job creating complex characters that you can relate to. The major part of this story is the secret of one character ("The Husband"). The secret is totally not something I expected, but eventually this secret affects every single other character; even when it's not initially clear how they're connected. Truly an amazingly well written book and I can't wait to read more of her books. If they're anything like this, I'm going to love them. 

18. The Giver by Lois Lowry
A classic. I've read this book at leave 6 times before, but it's been a few years. I love the subtleties of this book. The hints about the society and the ways in which Jonas doesn't truly fit. Every time I read it I notice something different and end feeling completely differently. They're making a movie based on it, and I was orignally excited, but I saw the trailer and I don't think I'll go see it. They're trying to hard to make it the next Hunger Games or Divergent, when this is a completely different style of science fiction.

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