Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a solid thriller that kept me guessing and reading until its surprise ending. The story is told by three very unlikeable women muddling their way through miserable lives all based on egos, lies and alcoholism. They are characters that would be hard for anyone to care about, but they are expertly developed and their individual twisted points of view combined with the bizarre murder makes the story a compelling, suspenseful read. It loses a star for unnecessary bad language, but the audio version is so well done it gained that star back. The voices for Megan and Rachel were awesome. I loved their accents and I think they did a phenomenal job. Anna's voice, however, was annoying.

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Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

dysyopian novels. . . meh. I never quite got into this and wanted it to end sooner than it did. There are many finely crafted characters, a scattered band of survivors, but many of them just disappear from the main storyline. The relationships between those who survive are neatly but not too tidily woven together.

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If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)If I Stay by Gayle Forman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is emotional YA fiction that deals with some serious issues, but Gayle Forman is able to write about it effortlessly. The characters are well developed and their individual stories really make them seem real. I breezed through it wondering what would happen. I liked it and will read the sequel.

quotes from book:
“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.”
"I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard."
“I'm not sure this is a world I belong in anymore. I'm not sure that I want to wake up.”
“Don't be scared...Women can handle the worst kind of pain. You'll find out one day.”
“People believe what they want to believe.”


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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Night to RememberA Night to Remember by Walter Lord
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A factual account of the Titanic. A journalist's detailed reporting of what happened according to the survivors. Very thorough. Not my cup of tea, but I am glad I read it. History and nonfiction lovers will give this 5 stars.

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The Land of Mango SunsetsThe Land of Mango Sunsets by Dorothea Benton Frank
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quick, light, humorous and predictable romantic fluff about midlife crisis, strengthening family relationships, importance of forgiveness, and reinventing oneself after divorce, life threatening illness, sexual abuse, death &/or other life crises, all of which occur in this very short novel. Unfortunately it tends to give a stamp of approval to casual & unprotected extra marital sex and would hardly inspire any reader to strengthen or renew any spiritual or religious affiliation. Dorothea Benton Frank is a gifted writer, I've read & enjoyed several of her low-country tales and am disappointed she does not use her talents to uplift and strengthen the moral fiber of society. The overall message of the book is: everything happens for a reason, y'all. Absolutely.

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All the Light We Cannot SeeAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this deeply moving and enthralling tale of hope, determination and survival. It is the story of two adolescents growing up during WWII: one a young boy, Werner, who is living in Germany during the rise of German fascism, and the other, Marie-Laure, a blind girl who lives with her father in France during the birth of the French Resistance. Werner is driven by a deep love of science while Marie-Laure is inhabited by the power of books. The story is skillfully crafted as it jumps between perspectives of the two different paths their lives take until their stories and destinies converge.

A philosophical coming-of-age fable, it is a novel that constantly oscillates between the moral uncertainties of life and the chiseled precision of the natural world surrounding both its characters, and its readers. The language is so fantastically precise, and lyrical that the visual images it arouses are astounding. Anthony Doerr does things with verbs that make entire paragraphs sing. It is one of very few novels I've ever read that touches on the horror of war for BOTH sides. It shows what can happen when good people encounter evil, which in itself could have been a depressing, tragic and bleak story under less deft hands, but Doerr guides the narrative into a raw and honest yet uplifting tale of hope, survival and life. I "read" the audio version....excellent.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Nowhere But HomeNowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fun, easy, light read, not great literature but what I call a guilty pleasure read.

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David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling GiantsDavid and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The title of this tells you exactly what it is about-- what happens when ordinary people face giants. Whether a Malcolm Gladwell fan or not, this book will not disappoint.

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The Kitchen HouseThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Awesome book with a haunting, believable storyline and credible characters! Well done audio version.


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The Pale KingThe Pale King by David Foster Wallace
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A book about boredom, in which the author discovers, and shares with the reader, the secret to surviving and succeeding within a bureaucracy. There are some very funny parts, but primarily there is a plethora of tedious chapters about the IRS, all of which I skimmed. In fact I skimmed most of the book.

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