Friday, November 28, 2014

Books I Didn't Blog About: The Good Stuff

Well, I thought 4 stars was a very common rating for me, but I think I was forgetting about all the 3-star books I've been reading lately! I give a book this rating when it's not a favorite I absolutely loved (5 stars), nor is it a book I really liked (4 stars), but is definitely a step above just OK (2 stars). These are all books I liked -- ones I enjoyed reading, but I'm not that likely to re-read (there are exceptions, of course!) Here goes nothing...

Liked it (3 star reads)

ADULT FICTION

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook

A dark, twisty psychological thriller as promised, but the ending was SO unsatisfying.

* * * * *

Sharp Objects
by Gillian Flynn
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook

I liked this one a bit better than Gone Girl. It may have even been darker & twistier (with a far better ending), but it just wasn't as creepy as it should have been as an audiobook. I'm planning to read Flynn's third book Dark Places in print to see how I like her stories not on audio.

* * * * *

Bird Box
by Josh Mallerman
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook

Creepy for sure, but not actually as scary as I thought it would be. More a tale of survival, strength, and determination than anything else.

* * * * *

Heat Wave
by Richard Castle
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook

A fun read if you're a fan of Castle. Nothing particularly special though. Not sure if I will read the others or not.

* * * * *

CLASSICS


The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook / Classics Club
Goodreads

The basic jist of this story is such common knowledge at this point that I found the reading experience somewhat lacking. I imagine it was a very shocking tale at the time it was published though. If you are somehow a modern reader that is not familiar with the storyline, definitely give it a go!

* * * * *

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Panic
by Lauren Oliver
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook

Basically a book of high school hijinks. Hard to relate to as an adult, I must admit (not that I was the targeted audience!) I really only picked this one up because I liked Oliver's Delirium series, but this didn't live up to expectations for me.

* * * * *

Where She Went
by Gayle Forman
Purchased / Paperback
Goodreads

I was interested to find out what happened to the characters after If I Stay, but this sequel didn't quite live up to the first for me.

* * * * *

Grave Mercy
by Robin LeFevers
Won from Giveaway / Paperback
Goodreads

I had majorly high expectations for this one and was so excited it was a book club pick, but it just was not as good as I had hoped it would be. It took me a long time to get into and I wasn't all that invested in the main character. It also seemed much longer than it needed to be. I will continue the series though because the sequels focus on other characters and I have heard they get better from others who were also so-so about the first book.

* * * * *

Icons
by Margaret Stohl
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook / Re-Read
Goodreads

I re-read this one in preparation for the sequel, Idols. I really enjoyed it as an audiobook and should not have switched back to print for Idols (which you'll notice did not make the cut for this 3-star post!)

* * * * *

CHILDREN'S / MIDDLE GRADE

Instructions
by Neil Gaiman
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook + Hardcover
Goodreads

Just lovely! A short, illustrated book giving the reader "instructions" for how to make their way through a fairy tale. Also tried as a (super-short!) audio, but the illustrated book is much better.

* * * * *

The Wolves in the Walls
by Neil Gaiman
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook + Hardcover
Goodreads

An interesting, imaginative story. I am definitely a fan of Gaiman's books for younger readers. I tend to give them 3 stars which reflects my own level of enjoyment of the books, but I think they are even better when read by (or to) readers of the intended age range.

* * * * *

Fortunately, the Milk
by Neil Gaiman
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook + Hardcover
Goodreads

A fun, imaginative book with great illustrations -- I had tried it on audio first, but then also read the print book after I found out it was illustrated. Perfect for younger readers.

* * * * *

The Riverman
by Aaron Starmer
From publisher for review / Print Advanced Reading Copy

A unique story with interesting characters, but it took an odd turn at one point that really didn't sit right with me. I also didn't realize this is the first in a series which I wasn't too thrilled about. I don't plan to continue with the rest of the trilogy.

* * * * *

NON-FICTION

Cooked
by Michael Pollan
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook
Goodreads

My least favorite of Pollan's so far, but there is still a lot to learn about the history of food and cooking.

* * * * *

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery
by Robert Kolker
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook
Goodreads

I was intrigued by this title because I grew up on Long Island, but didn't really know much about the Craigslist murders. The book is very interesting, but it certainly has its limitations considering the case remains unsolved. I appreciated the author's approach of telling the story of the victims' lives rather than just their deaths, but I also had a very hard time keeping all the different stories and people straight.

* * * * *

Frozen In Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II
by Mitchell Zuckoff
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook / For Book Club
Goodreads

An unbelieveable true story. I cannot even imagine what it was like for these men in the frigid wasteland of Greenland -- it is truly remarkable any of them were able to survive!

* * * * *


Bad Feminist
by Roxane Gay
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook
Goodreads

I have heard nothing but praise for this book and I did find it quite thought-provoking, but it just didn't speak to me in quite the same way it has to others. I wholeheartedly agree that it is better to be an imperfect feminist than to abandon the movement altogether (because feminism IS important -- for both men & women). However, for someone who says she is an imperfect feminist I found Gay to be critical in the extreme of some things I think have room for gray areas. The essays run a wide gamut though and I think there is a little something here for just about everyone.

* * * * *

Not Becoming My Mother and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way
by Ruth Reichl
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook
Goodreads

A quick read that was nice to listen to around Mother's Day.

* * * * *


Letter to My Daughter
by Maya Angelou
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook
Goodreads

Lovely narration by the author herself whom I've been meaning to read more of, especially since learning of her passing. Angelou never had a daughter, but writes this book to all women. In sharing her own experiences, Angelou imparts the wisdom and lessons she has learned over the years. I think I might need to give this another read to fully appreciate all it has to offer.

* * * * *

Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness
by George Saunders
Borrowed from Library / Audiobook

Short & sweet with a good message for graduates -- or anyone!

* * * * *

Phew! That was a lot of books. There is a light at the end of the tunnel now though -- I haven't read many 1-star, 2-star, or DNF books so when I share those, it will be a short post that finally catches me up on all of my recent reading. Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!

_____________
Reading Challenges:
New to Me
Audiobook
Book to Movie
Prequel & Sequel
Foodies Read
My Kind of Mystery
Rewind
Nonfiction
Back to the Classics
The Classics Club (Review #7)
Scotland
Review Pile
Re-Reading
Chunkster
Lucky No. 14
Diversity on the Shelf
Historical Fiction

12 comments:

  1. You read (and listened) to so many books whilst on your blogging break! I'm loving reading the reviews as a bunch of the books featured I've been eyeing for some time.
    :-)
    Bits & Bobs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, it's been kind of ridiculous (and amazing!) to read so much. I don't think I will be able to set my goals and such quite so high for next year -- though I do look forward to rediscovering children's books :) I hope you get a chance to check out the books you have your eye on!

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  2. Great overview! I'm glad to hear your thoughts on all of these books. Sometimes a short and sweet summary is more effective than a long review. :)

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    1. Glad to know this approach is effective! I didn't really mean to accumulate so many, but sometimes a few thoughts is all I really have, especially when reading more prolifically -- so better for me to just get to the point instead of babbling on :)

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  3. Edit: Typed the coment and hit "Sign out"... how I hate that! Luckily, either my computer is really slow or I have really fast reflexes, I managed to "copy" right before the actual log out. Great success.

    Looking forward to 1- and 2-stars :) I gave 3 to Gone Girl as well, though in my case I found the ending was about the only decent thing about it, hehehe :) Interesting thoughts about Bad Feminist - I think I'll give it a go at some point, it seems like the whole world has read it by now.

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    1. I hate it when that happens! Glad you saved your comment though -- losing what you've typed out is so annoying. You know, the more I think about it, the more I think there couldn't really have been any other logical ending, but it still felt anti-climactic while I was doing the actual reading. Looking forward to your thoughts on Bad Feminist -- definitely lots of food for thought in that one.

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  4. We thought the same thing about Gone Girl and Panic! I'm glad I'm not the only one that thought they only deserve 3 stars.

    I swear I will read a Neil Gaimen book soon. (How many times have I said this? I suck.)

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    Replies
    1. Yea, I still am very interested to check out more of Oliver's new books (particularly her adult stuff), but Panic was just kind of meh for me. OH! And I can't believe I forgot to mention the audio was narrated by Dr. Kepner from Grey's Anatomy! OK I know that is not her real name, but it threw me for a bit of a loop. Didn't make or break the story though.

      I have heard mixed reviews about Gaiman's adult stuff, but have found the younger stuff just enchanting. I'm not sure how much of my enjoyment is the narration by Gaiman himself, but I do think the stories are good in general.

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  5. I have read all of Flynn's books and I think you will enjoy Dark Places. It was awesome! I agree about Bad Feminist. It was only okay for me and Roxanne Gray came off a little preachy at times.

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    Replies
    1. I'm definitely looking forward to Dark Places and then I can actually say I finished an author's whole backlist -- which doesn't happen often, but helps when they've only written a few books! And I did like parts of Bad Feminist, but glad to hear I'm not the only one it was a 5-star read for.

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  6. *sigh* Blogger ate my comment.

    The short version: I read Heat Wave years ago and was unimpressed. It was just an inferior imitation of the show. Mildly entertaining, but I never felt any desire to read the rest of the Nikki Heat series.

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    Replies
    1. It's seeming like I probably won't continue either -- I enjoyed the audio narration, but think I would have had even more issues with it if I had read it in print.

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I'd love to hear what you think :)