Recent Reads (Two Books That I Actually Liked But Also Hated a Little)

Here I am again with MORE BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS! This time around I read two books* that I actually like, even though I also hated them a little bit, too. I feel like most books are like that, you know? No book can be perfect. (*Full disclaimer – I actually listened to a third book but hated it SO MUCH that I’m not even going to mention it. That terrible. Ugh.)

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

I guess the trendy thing to do in books now is to have multiple narrators and multiple story-lines that kind of connect but are also separate but then all come together at the end. This book fell into that category. It was a lot easier to follow than ones that I’ve read in the past (like The Nest or Beautiful Ruins) and all of the characters were kind of fun to be with for short bursts. I liked that the story stayed in the present and it took the characters to France, but I did not like how  s  l  o  w  it was at first. I feel like the first half of the book should have been only like, a quarter of the book, and the last half of the book should have been developed more. Overall I liked it and I’d recommend it!

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

So I liked this book a lot… but I ALSO WANTED TO SMACK THE MAIN CHARACTER UPSIDE THE HEAD AND SHAKE SOME COMMON SENSE INTO HER and I often yelled NO NO NO NO NO STOP BEING A DUMMY at my book. But besides that, I really liked it! It’s so easy to see the mistakes that other people are making – especially a fictional character – and this girl, Lucy, made quite a few. It’s a beautiful story about a first love, but COME ON girl you’ve got to make some better life choices. *Spoiler alert* Like for example, she eventually marries somebody else and starts a family and is very happy, but then she still likes the Facebook photos from her ex-boyfriend and wants to keep in contact with him. No. Dummy. That’s literally never a good idea. How is that a good idea. Ugh. I liked the way this book was written, and I think that it was written really well. I do recommend this book, but with the caveat that you will get very frustrated by the main character now and then. Fair warning.


Recent Reads

After being out of the habit for the summer, I finally feel like I’m back in the groove when it comes to reading. For a while I just, well, I didn’t really feel like it, so I let myself take a little break. I still listened to a few audiobooks, but it was kind of nice to just give my eyes a little rest. But now I’m back on it and I’ve read a few interesting books that I wanted to share!

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

This book honestly seemed kind of boring for a while, but by the time I got the end all I could say was “UMMMM WHAT?!?!?!!?” It’s worth it just to get to the end, where all the pieces fall into place and everything finally makes sense. The story follows Mia, a young girl in Chicago who was kidnapped, but you don’t know why. There are multiple narrators and if you like suspenseful books, you’ll love this one!

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

This story was actually not my favorite, but I didn’t hate it… it was just… a lot. Usually I LOVE when there are multiple plot lines that all come together in a great way, but this one just seemed like there was almost too much going on. It takes place over multiple decades, in multiple countries, with multiple “main” characters. Imagine if Love Actually (which has a ton of great plot lines that all come together in a great way) was written in book form. There would be SO much going on and it would be kind of frustrating to not get much detail about each person, you just have to settle with surface level stuff.

Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet

Oh man. This book. I did not really like this book. I did not like the main character. I did not like the plot lines that happened. I did not like the ending. I just….no. I think that I expected a book about magical whimsical mermaids where they were magical and whimsical and had fun adventures, and instead I got a snarky protagonist who got kidnapped after seeing some mermaids and then tried to convince the world to let them be. There were no singing seagulls anywhere to be found.

Have you read any good books lately? Now that I’m back in the swing of things, I’m dying to get some good books under my belt!!

Read This If You Love Historical Fiction!

I’m slightly embarrassed that it took me SO LONG to figure this out, but I just recently realized that I can check out e-books from my local library and have them sent to my Kindle!! I have a VERY old Kindle so I didn’t think it would work, but it sure did! I was so excited and now I won’t necessarily have to wait for a book to be transferred from a different library branch for me to read it! I do really like the feel of a tangible book in my hands, but this is also a really great option. Especially for HUGE books that I don’t want to carry around, like the biography of Alexander Hamilton that I’m working my way through. I’m very glad I’ve got the electronic version of that one!

The book that I finished most recently (on my Kindle, from the library!) was The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and it will be right up your alley if you like historical fiction! It follows the romance and relationship between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, told from her point of view. You get to see how the two meet, go along their with them in their fast courtship, and see how their lives change when they move to Paris and Ernest’s writing career starts to finally take off.

I think what I appreciated most about this book is that the author really tried to stay as true to history as possible. Obviously it’s not possible to know every conversation that was had, which is where the fiction portion comes into play, but their story was pieced together from letters and memoirs and stories, and it absolutely broke my heart. (Spoiler alert, Hemingway had 4 wives in real life, so you go in knowing that it’s not going to work out…) I was so invested in their love story and their marriage, that when it started to unravel it legitimately made me sad.

I’ve never really read any of Hemingway’s works before, but a lot of this story encompasses him writing a few of his really well known novels (The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms), and so now I am drying to pick those up and see what they’re all about. But I need a break before I do that because like I said, this book made me genuinely sad about this couple that existed nearly a century ago.

If you like historical fiction, I suggest that you check this one out! It’s not actually that big of a bummer – it’s really well written and the story kept the pace of the book moving quickly.

What’s your favorite historical fiction book? I’m always looking for great recommendations! You can read about some of my other favorites here, here, and here.

Recent Reads

Every time I get a library book with folded corners, a little part of my soul gets crushed. Just use a bookmark! Or a piece of paper! Or the receipt that the library gives you telling you when the book is due! Don’t be a monster!!!

I seriously feel like my reading schedule has been all out of wack this summer. Busy work schedule means a busy home schedule, which means I was doing other things at home instead of reading. I did manage to finish a few books over the last few months (mostly on airplanes and in airports if I’m being honest), and I’ve started a few others. For instance, I started reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, but that thing is a big beast and there is no way I am going to finish that any time soon!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children || This book had been on my list for a pretty long time, and so I finally decided to give in and read it. It took a lot longer to finish than I’d like to admit, and that’s because I kept getting kind of bored. Me telling myself that I couldn’t watch the movie till I finished the book kept me going, though, and I’m glad that I read it to the end. Once the action started to pick up (in the last 1/3 of the book) I couldn’t seem to put it down. Now I want to read the other books in the series to find out what happens to these peculiar characters!

My Not So Perfect Life || This book was just adorable! I picked it because it took place in England and I read it during my trip to England, and it was the perfect light vacation read. The plot got a little bit ridiculous at some points, but the sweet relationships between the family made me love the whole thing. It wrapped up really well and had a nice message that real life isn’t as picture perfect as social media would have you believe, and that’s ok.

All Our Wrong Todays || This book was really interesting to read, and I highly recommend it! It was a little bit science fiction which kept it imaginative, and a little bit adventure which kept the plot rolling, and a little bit romance which kept me reading. Basically imagine if technology today was SO advanced that it made everything in our world easier and “better”, but someone went back in time and ruined everything (or at least the catalyst that made the advance of that technology possible) which left us with the “worse” today that we currently live in. Trust me, just read it.

Happy reading!!

Recent Reads: A Wife of Noble Character

When I was in college, I bought the book The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton from the bookstore. I’m not really sure why, but I had read Ethan Frome by the same author and this one was about rich people problems, so I thought I’d give it a go. Uhhhh should I be super embarrassed to say that it took me FOUR YEARS to finish it? Because it did. Four years. Four. Yeah. I just had a really hard time getting into it, and because it was written around the turn of the century, it took me a little bit longer to read and comprehend passages, and I would just start losing steam after reading a few chapters. So I’d read about 50 pages, read a few other books, come back to it, and then repeat the process over again. In the end I liked the story, but it just took forever for me to get to the end of it.

Without really knowing what it was about, I picked out the book A Wife of Noble Character from the library because I thought the cover looked kinda cool. And wouldn’t you know it- it’s a modern story that is loosely based on The House of Mirth!! Here’s the synopsis from the inside cover:

“Thirty-year-old Vivienne Cally is wealthy in name only. Orphaned as a child and raised by a cold but regal aunt, Vivienne was taught to rely on her beauty and Texas tradition, and is expected to marry a wealthy and respectable man who will honor the Cally name. Friends with Houston’s most prominent families, she’s a beloved fixture at social events, and suffers no shortage of access to the city’s most eligible bachelors. Preston Duffin has known Vivienne and her set since childhood, though he’s never shared their social aspirations or status. About to graduate from a prestigious architecture program, he is both fascinated and repelled by this group of friends he sits on the cusp of. He’s long admired Vivienne’s beauty, but isn’t sure he holds any place in so traditional a life. Intrigued by the extent to which Preston challenges the only way of life she’s ever known, Vivienne both courts his attention, and rebuffs his critiques of her antiquated values.”

I really enjoyed this story a lot! It takes place in Houston, which I loved, since my sister lives in Houston so some of the places were familiar to me. There was even a scene that took place a block from my sister’s house! Crazy! (I know it’s fictional, but it’s still fun!) I really felt for the main character, Vivienne, while at the same time being frustrated with her and her life. And her friends! The author really did a great job creating some real villains that you just want to punch in the throat.

Most of the story was in pretty close parallel with The House of Mirth… except for the ending. SPOILER ALERT – the main character in The House of Mirth dies in the end. The main character here did NOT die in the end. Knowing that original ending, I kept waiting for Vivienne to die tragically in this book, and it never happened. Which is fine, and I like the way Vivienne had her ending. Thought I must say, I’m not sure which ending I liked better… Probably the one where our heroine lives but… but… I’m just not sure!