What I’ve Been Reading Lately

 

As I said in this post, I got a lot of reading done during my unintentional blog break due to hurting my right wrist. So much so that I have quite the backlog of things to talk about but don’t feel like trying to squeeze in a bunch of individual posts about! So let’s get to some of these:

 

My Brilliant Friend series

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

About In A Sentence (ish): It’s about the ever changing friendship between Lila and Elena as they grow up in Naples, Italy in the 195o’s. (That’s totally simplifying it but there’s so much!!)

Thoughts: One of the ugliest covers I’ve ever seen. Truly. When I went to go read this I hadn’t heard much about it — it was a pick for a book club a new friend invited me to join! I went to get it from the library and there were like 140 something holds for it and I’m like WUT — I have NEVER heard of this book and it came out years ago. Come to find out it has become super popular recently! Anyways, this one was sooo slow to start and it was hard to follow at times — because it jumps around from stories from the girls’ childhoods and there are A LOT of people referenced and sometimes not a lot is actually happening. But then slowly I realized I was SOOO immersed in their story and couldn’t put it down…it just happened without me realizing how much I was falling in love with the story and these girls. The writing is incredible and her ability to construct these characters just impressed me so much. Their friendship is complicated (the competitiveness, the way they would come and go with each other at periods of time, the loyalty) and kind of toxic but I found myself fascinated by it and fascinated by where it will go.  I was fascinated (and saddened often) by all the dynamics working in their poverty-filled neighborhood in 1950’s Naples — which was a GREAT setting by the way! I definitely plan on getting to the next one because this one ends when they are 16 and I know A LOT is going to happen throughout the years…especially based on HOW the novel started. It’s honestly just such a smart book about A LOT of things, not solely a friendship, and I wish I could properly talk about it. It’s just such a masterpiece of a book that it’s so hard to explain what exactly makes it so great because it’s a lot of things!

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

 

 Sea Heidi R. Kling

Sea by Heidi R. Kling

About In A Sentence-ish: Sienna hasn’t flown since her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean so she reluctantly travels to Indonesia with her father’s team that plans to treat the PTSD of orphan children after the devastating tsunami. She meets a boy named Deni who finds out his father could be alive back where he used to live in the epicenter of the destruction and she decides to help him reunite with him.

Thoughts: This book had just come out around the time when I started blogging in June 2010 and I have meant to read it all these years so finally I grabbed it from my library! I liked it a whole lot though I feel as though maybe I would have LOVED it had I read it way back before I read a whole lot of contemporary YA because certain things about it didn’t really stand out to me…though certain things really did.

One of those things was the setting — so much so that the country of Indonesia FELT like a character to me. It was truly one of those transporting kind of reads. I loved the bits of culture and the armchair adventure we got to experience. The other thing that stood out for me was that it took place after a natural disaster — my heart just broke for all the orphans we met and how they were affected by the tsunami. My heart broke as the devastation was described. I loved the work that her father’s team was doing over there and I wish there would have been even more exploration of that than the instalove that happened. I didn’t really love the romance (everything with Deni was just so unbelievably fast for me and Spider was kind of underdeveloped) but I really loved the ending!!! The voice was a little young than I tend to like in YA these days and certain things I had wished to go DEEPER  but it was a really beautiful novel that seems to be pretty underrated.

Rating

RATING-LIKED

 

One Plus One Jojo Moyes

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

About In A Sentence-ish: A road trip to a math competition brings together single mom Jess who is struggling to keep it together and provide for her two children whose father has pulled a disappearing act and a millionaire named Ed who owns a tech company and finds himself in some hot water.

Thoughts: After hearing SO MUCH about Jojo Moyes I’ve finally read my first of hers! I really liked it! It made me cry a bit for sure because it was just such a beautiful and messy book about family and that’s totally my kind of book. It was funny and tender in all the right places and I really grew to care about these characters a lot. I loved the opposites attract romance because they had so much to learn from each other and I loved watching them get to know each other and respect the other in a time when they both experiencing troubling times — Ed with his situation and Jess with keeping it all together. Their romance was just so sweet. Jess is a fierce character who worked her ass off to do what she could for her kids and I loved the hell out of her — her determination reminded me of my mom. Nick, though, NICK was honestly my favorite character when it came down to it. His character BROKE me. Just broke me. But really all of the main characters made me fall in love with them so much because Moyes clearly just knows how to write these searingly authentic characters that make you feel ALL THE THINGS. Really enjoyed it and definitely recommend!

 

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

 

 

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think?!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I read My Brilliant Friend this month as well, and OH GOSH MY FEELINGS. Especially with the last quarter or so. I thought the setting was just brilliantly realized, and ugh I just love those girls and want them to be okay.

    • YESSSSS. That last quarter was just WHEW. I cannot wait to see what happens to them next!!! There’s only a waitlist of 60 for the second one so hopefully it will not take TOO long like the 140 for this one!

  2. I am so glad to hear that you loved My Brilliant Friend. I am living in Naples right now and I have been wanting to read it for the location alone. But I think I judged a book by its cover because it kind of turned me off. I think I need to read it now! And I am SO GLAD that you loved One Plus One. I loved that one too, but it’s not even my favorite book of hers! If you loved that one, you will love her other stuff. My favorites are Me Before You, The Girl You Left Behind, and The Last Letter From Your Lover. Great post!

    • Ahh you are living in Naples?! Very cool! Will be curious what you think about the setting! But girllll I would have NEVER picked this up because of the cover either…thank god it was for a book club. It just looks awful.

      I can’t *wait* to read more Jojo!!

  3. I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes ages ago and loved it (even though it made me cry!), and I’ve been meaning to read One Plus One and the sequel to Me Before You for ages! I even have the book of One Plus One, so hopefully I’ll get to it soon. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  4. That cover is so cringey! But it’s whats on the inside that matters, haha. Although I can’t help myself when it comes to judging books by their covers tbh. I really really want to read a Jojo Moyes book! Especially since the Me Before You movie is coming out soon BUT I know what happens at the end and I don’t know if I want to put myself through that sort of pain! *sobs*

    • RIGHT? So awful!! I would have never even looked to see what this was about had I just seen it at the bookstore. Like I care way more about the inside but woof sometimes it’s hard to get past the outside.

      YAS I’ve heard Me Before You spoilers too sooooo EEEEP. I wlll probs still read it soon before the movie is out bc I’m a glutton for punishment!

  5. I just read my first Jojo Moyes book over the weekend. ‘Me before you’. Totally loved it and sobbed over that too! !

  6. I haven’t even HEARD of any of these. Also, though I’ve been following since your goodreads days (hello, college group!!) I don’t know if I’ve ever read one of these posts – my point is that I LOVE your rating graphic xxx haha Hope your wrist is feeling better though! x

  7. I haven’t heard of Sea before but it sounds really good! Instalove is my top bookish pet peeve but I still love the premise, so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for that one! 🙂

    • Yeahhhh…I’m so-so about instalove. Like it has to be *right* for me and then I will totally be okay with it. I will say the instalove in this isn’t AS bad as others I’ve read. I can’t explain it because I don’t want to spoil but it’s def not an unbearable kind of instalove — just wasn’t a romance that swept me off my feet because it was so fast! But definitely pick this up if you get a chance and are craving something fairly quick!

  8. WOW that Ferrante cover is ugly! I wonder if that will impact the book’s sales. I’d wouldn’t even pick it up if I saw it in a bookstore.

    • Yeah I wonder too! Though the last book in the series was on the NY Times 10 best books of 2015 so who even knows! It’s such an awful cover but I was surprised at the 140 holds for the first one so maybe people are just getting over the cover and trusting the press it’s gotten/word of mouth? I hope they change the covers!!! I think it would appeal to sooo many more people if they stumbled upon it and it had better covers.

  9. I don’t read a lot of contemporaries, and I thinm it has been years since I read my ladt one but I have been meaning to read Jojo Moyes only because of the movie coming out. I’m actually quite afraid of the FEELS and UGLY cry, which is one of the reasons I am not reading contemps.. 😊

    • Hehe I am like the queeeen of feels and ugly cries. They are like my book crack. I think start with One Plus One..it’s not as emotional from what I hear. I can always give you contemporary recs if you want stuff that won’t make you cry when you are in the mood for a contemp!

      • Yes, please! Something that’s not ugly cry worthy but still good!

        I remember the last contemp YA I read: The Fault in Our Stars. I didn’t cry that much, and I really thought I would. Anything related to disease, cancer… just touches something in me that makes me ugly cry. Maybe because I’m a nurse? I

  10. I had never heard of My Brilliant Friend before this month, and now you’re the third person I know to have read and loved this recently! I am definitely going to try and pick it up soon because it sounds so good! And I’ve only read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, but I have wanted to read more so One Plus One might have to be the one I pick up next (because she has so many books that I just give up when I try to pick another one up to read).

    -Monica @ Tomes Project

    • I will be sooo curious to know what you think if you pick up My Brilliant Friend, Monica!

      One Plus One is so delightful! I hope you do!!

  11. oh, Jojo. Every single book of hers has made me SOB. Like, snot-running-down-my-face, full on ugly crying. This one didn’t make me cry as much, but still..it’s Jojo. I’m thrilled you’ve read one of her books and now you have to read the rest thanks.

    So I know Elena Ferrante is supposed to be a BIG. DEAL. but I honestly hadn’t heard of her until last year. Your mention of the insane wait list made me curious and I just checked my library’s site – every single one of her books (including audio and ebooks!) has a wait list!

    • There were so many emotional parts in One Plus One!! It was just so great and I can’t wait to read her others!

      NO SERIOUSLY RIGHT?? I feel like I’m pretty up to date with books and have at least HEARD of stuff (YA and adult alike) but I had literally never heard of this. I was SHOCKED when I went on my library account to see it. I was like WHAT THE HELL THIS BOOK HAS BEEN OUT FOR YEARS AND I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF IT. I soooo want you to read it because I want to know what you think!

  12. Ooh, I have really been wanting to read Jojo Moyes!

    Also – have to say that I love your summaries! It’s sooooo hard to take a book down to it’s base elements and still make it sound interesting. Nailed it.

  13. I read Jojo Moyes for the first time last year. I am looking forward to this one!

  14. My Brilliant Friend – That cover is ugly! Someone checked it out at the library the other day and I totally judged that book by its cover. I am glad it was so good!!!