I Read A Classic For The First Time In What Feels Like Forever

Back in the day, prior to starting this book blog in 2010, I used to read and genuinely enjoy more classics. Once I began blogging, I started discovering new interests, mainly YA, and so my tastes were all over the place and I was too busy discovering new stuff instead of the classics on my shelves. Suddenly my TBR was out of control and I was reading from all sorts of genres and discovering new stuff I never knew I liked. Plus enter review books pretty early on. And, if we are being honest, forgoing chunky books or more difficult reads in favor of things I could read more quickly because I “needed” to get blog posts up. I knew I was doing it and that was okay with me. I was prioritizing where my reading tastes where in that moment.

But recently I’ve been wanting to get back into the classics that I still haven’t read. So I decided to pick up a Jane Austen book I haven’t read — Sense & Sensibility.

sense and sensibility

 

I think a statement Will made sums up part of the experience pretty well.

“You are still reading that? I feel like you’ve been reading that for forever.”

Me too, bro, me too. It wasn’t that I was disliking it or that it was a painful read. It was just way slooooowwwer than what I’ve been used to reading over the years. I can fly through a fast paced YA read or a fluffy romance in no time. Sure, I still read books that are a bit slower to digest like a ~literary fiction~ book or a dense fantasy book but this just felt abnormally slow to me.

It took more time. It took more concentration. It took more effort. As a friend put it, “it takes a different reading muscle.” A DIFFERENT READING MUSCLE. Yes. That was exactly it.

After finishing, I came to the conclusion that I think I needed to work out some different reading muscles — for myself, not saying EVERYONE needs to work reading muscles they don’t want to. I needed to slow down my reading a bit. Needed to allow my brain to read something that I couldn’t process as fast as what I mostly read. It allowed for a different reading experience for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was engaged but it was in a different way not being able to fly through the pages as quickly. There were times I had that same “OMG MUST FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED” but I couldn’t speed read like I’m in the habit of doing with books with more modern and straightforward language for me.

It reminded me of why I like reading and interacting with a variety of things and also why I don’t want to shy away from things that may be more challenging in different ways. Even if sometimes I don’t feel like I’m not quite smart enough to glean all the things I’m supposed to.

 

So what did I think of Sense & Sensibility?

I really enjoyed it! I always enjoy Jane Austen’s commentary on social issues, gender and class and Sense & Sensibility was no exception.

Considering one of my most complicated and best relationships in my life has always been my sister, who is a couple years younger than me, I really appreciated these sisters. I definitely related to Elinor in trying to keep all the shit together knowing that my sister was always the one who took things harder and I felt I needed to take care of her. Watching Elinor push back her own feelings and hurt reminded me so much of the role I took when my mom was sick and then after she passed. I always tried to be strong for my sister and rarely showed my emotions around her, which totally led to misunderstandings and such like in these sisters’ case, but inside was turmoil city. I loved how, like my sister and I, when some of these inner feelings were shared with each other there was an even greater bond. I often wonder had I been more open with her about that I was doing badly too if things would have been easier for me — but alas, I chose to try and ~be strong~ hoping that if she didn’t see me panic that she wouldn’t. It’s no surprise how much I related to Elinor and how much I saw my sister in Marianne.

After reading a lot of classics I’m always thankful for, even while acknowledging how imperfect our society is, that I didn’t live back then. The way marriages were like this business transactions and so may more factors that weren’t LOVE factored into them. How you could lose your family if you wanted to marry down. How you could love someone but a better match could be made based on money. How you could lose your home when your husband dies because inheritance that benefited men more. OOF.

I also really enjoyed that exploration of what goes into happiness in life. Do you marry someone you don’t love because you think money will make you happy? Do you marry for love but risk being miserable and poor? I think my whole life I’ve always thought about this in terms of your career. Do I do what might make me happy but struggle because I won’t have money to do things I want to? Or do I take the job that makes the money but makes me miserable and end up working long hours and having so much money but no time to do what I want? I had this vivid example of this dilemma in my parents — my dad and stepmom who lived more simple lives without a lot of money and my mom and stepdad who made a ton more money but watching my mom seem so stressed out and bring her work home with her but we could do vacations and fun stuff. I always found my dad to be more happy despite money struggles though I can’t say that I think my mom was always UNHAPPY. Tradeoffs to your choices I suppose.

Anyways, to make a long story short. I enjoyed yet another Austen immensely and I’m glad I chose to pick it up despite it taking me so long to read. I loved the way I connected to the book in ways I didn’t expect and, like always, I loved the romance plots, the melodrama and that Jane Austen wit. But mostly I loved this story of sisters trying to find love and happiness even if their path to finding it isn’t the same.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

 

Happy Monday, friends! Let’s talk about a few things I’ve read recently! I have to say….these 3 books couldn’t be any more different which pretty much sums up my reading life — very eclectic.

 

The Deal Elle Kennedy

The Deal by Elle Kennedy

About In A Sentence (ish): Hannah, a girl with a crush on a popular football player at her college, makes a deal with Garrett, a hockey player with a reputation, in which he’ll help her get Justin’s attention and she’ll help him pass his Ethics exam so he’ll be able to stay on the team.

Thoughts: I’m super picky about the New Adult romance books I read so I always go into them pretty nervous. This one was soooo addictive and I really enjoyed it! Totally hooked! I love the hate to love trope. It’s one of my faves of all time. Plus the fact it started with the kind of “deal” that it did? I LOVE THAT KIND OF STUFF. When people who don’t mean to fall for each other do…SWOON. I didn’t always love Garrett but his character grew on me and, while he’s not my type, I found their relationship to be something I was so invested in — especially how they grew into a friendship during their study sessions and then into something more. Some of those parts were my FAVE. I loved their banter and their chemistry! I cannot wait to read the rest of the series because I’m so curious about the other guys they feature. Overall, I can’t really explain why I enjoyed this one so much — it was super fun and sexy. It wasn’t anything new or original in terms of tropes or storylines and it was pretty predictable….but none of that mattered because something about the characters and their stories hooked me. So happy to be able to have another New Adult romance I will happily recommend because I only have a few in my arsenal that I truly loved.

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

[Keep Reading]

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

[Keep Reading]

What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

Times have been busy so it’s time to just let you know what I’ve been reading with a little bit about what I thought!

 

 

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

About In A Sentence (ish): Theo is a talented ballerina who has been through a lot — the disappearance of her best friend and an eating disorder that landed her in a group facility. When her best friend returns, 4 years after he went missing, secrets that Theo kept make her realize maybe she held a piece to her friend’s disappearance all along.

Thoughts: This one was my book club pick for August as I had really wanted to read it. I really liked it but I definitely didn’t OMG LOVE IT like so many of my friends did. There’s a lot going on to make it a page turner — a friend who was kidnapped returned, eating disorders, competitive ballet and a big secret that Theo has been keeping. I read it in one sitting and really felt for Theo and all the secrets surrounding Donovan’s disappearance. Theo has been through a lot, as we learn, and I really liked watching her become more free from these things and help herself and others even though it takes her a lot of mistakes to get there. Well written and definitely emotionally grittier than I thought it would be when I started!

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

All The Light We Cannot See

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

About In A Sentence-ish: A blind young French girl and a young German orphan boy paths collide as they try to survive World War II — she having to flee to a relative’s home as the Germans invade and he trying to survive being thrust into the Hitler Youth as they sharpen his skills at fixing and making and dissecting radios and everything to do with them.

Thoughts: THIS BOOK WAS AS AMAZING AS EVERYONE SAID. Though I have to say I struggled with the first 50 pages. Kept falling asleep but it was probably my fault for starting a new book at night. I loved both of the main characters so much and their stories were just so well written and hit me right in the feels. Marie-Laurie is so strong and I loved her perseverance and her curiosity. Werner’s struggle with what he knew was wrong/right vs. trying to survive (while coming of age) is heart-breaking. I always seem to be drawn to WWII books even though they hurt my heart and this one is one of the best I’ve encountered! I loved the way it was told alternating between the beginning of the war and then the end when they are both in danger. The way their stories converge is just masterful. I was reading SO ridiculously fast to see what would happen next for our main characters and how their paths would meet. Just so pleased that this lived up to the hype for me!!

Rating

RATING-loved-it

 

Not After Everything Michelle Levy

Not After Everything by Michelle Levy

About In A Sentence-ish: From old friends to opposite ends of the social hierarchy, Tyler and Jordyn are thrown back together when Tyler needs a job to pay for his basic needs after his mom commits suicide and he’s left to fend for himself with his abusive father.. So much has happened since they were friends all these years ago to change their life and who they are but they find a sense of comfort in each other.

Thoughts: Woah this book was intense! Poor Tyler — what a rough situation he is in. His mom kills herself and now he’s left with his abusive dad who has only gotten worse since his mom passed. My hurt physically hurt as his story unfolded. So much to bear. I really liked the relationship between him and Jordyn as it developed though I think I would have loved this book more had it just been a friendship (though I do love a good “from hate to love” relationship). I loved how they got to know each other again after so many years and so many changes in their lives and as people. I loved how raw and honest Tyler’s perspective was even if at times he came off as so rude and brash. You could feel the immense hurt and brokenness in him. Definitely an emotionally tough book to read but really good. Also I loved the moments with he and his therapist so much. Ehhh to some of the uber high school drama that seems soo Mean Girls like.

* I received this book for review consideration. It in no way affected my opinion on the book*

Rating:

RATING-LIKED

 

Fates and FuriesFates & Furies by Lauren Groff

About In A Sentence-ish: The story of a husband and wife — first half from his POV, second half from hers.

Thoughts: Oh man I almost put this down. The first half KILLED ME. Like I gave zero shits about Lotto and wanted him to just go away. And then I got to the second part and was floored and OH MAN. Seriously, the addage two sides to every story is all you need to know and Groff is masterful as she tells the other side in the Furies section. Oh how the story, literally being told in much of the same timeline but through Mathilde’s POV, changes once you see the story told from both sides. How you view success of relationships, careers, moments in your life, interpretation of events — all in the eye of the beholder and incomplete without knowing other sides to things. Very thought-provoking and well written. Glad the second half made up for the boring first half in the best way possible. Definitely will be reading more books from Lauren Groff. Very talented!

Rating:

RATING-LIKED

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

Book Talk: God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo

Book Talk: God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartoloGod-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on 2002
Genres: Adult Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Beatrice is a 29 year old living in Los Angeles where she makes high end jewelry and dates casually. She comes across a personal ad saying, ““If your intentions are pure I am seeking a friend for the end of the world”  and on a whim answers it — something she’s never done. This leads her to Jacob Grace — a 30-something free-spirited writer who is so full of life and passion. There’s a spark between the two that ignites a passionate romance between two people who have big ambitions and dreams that propel them forward away from the dads that have abandoned them.

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Wow. It’s been a while since a book had me up reading until 2AM and then rendered me unable to fall asleep until 4am because I was just feeling a lot of feelings that wouldn’t shut off. Thanks Estelle and Ginger for this solid rec and I’m only sorry I didn’t listen sooner when you told me years ago!

I don’t want to say a lot about this book although from the official summary on the book you can get a sense of it. It was a love story that kind of took my breath away from its whirlwind nature to start and its ability to be this quiet, fly-on-the-wall view of two people who are just falling deeply and madly in love and how energizing and all consuming that is — the attraction and sex, the intimacy in revealing who you are through your history and your secrets and your every day habits. There is beauty in that unraveling of layers that comes when you start to really KNOW someone. It’s exhilarating even in the quiet and mundane of daily life as habits and routines in the relationship set in. It just felt so real and like romantic in the normalcy of it? Reminded me how there’s just something so magical and romantic in your own love story.

It’s a book you are pretty certain you know how it’s going to end from the first page pretty much (especially if you read the summary on the book) but it takes your breath away anyways and knocks you flat on your ass like you never saw it coming. Like get-out-of-your-bed-in-the-wee-hours-of-the-morning-to-go-cry-in-the-bathroom-so-your-husband-doesn’t-hear-your-wracking-sobs never saw it coming at the end. I had this mounting dread and tension as I read wondering whether or not what is dropped in front of your face in the beginning had any bearing on the story or how it could be interpreted.

It’s the kind of book that reminds you of the most exuberant and thrilling feelings you can feel in this life mingled with the most bone-crushing and soul-shattering ones we know we are destined to feel at some point in this life. The weight of all that honestly made me curl up in a ball and cry in bed. I didn’t know how I felt —  maybe contemplative, depressed, thankful, understood, small, distraught, in love with life? Other things I couldn’t put into words?

 From a non-feels standpoint, I also really LOVED the writing and the voice. It felt refreshing and it was funny, too! I wish it hadn’t been the libraries copy because there were sooo many passages I just wanted to dog-ear.

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, feels, characters, romances
nothing

Re-readability: Yes!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes I want to dog-ear the crap out of it!

a8It’s a magnificent love story but it’s so much more. It’s about longing to be understood, loneliness, finding your path in life that fulfills you and the way we all go about filling up that void, or that “God-shaped hole”, inside us all that yearns for so many things. So many poignant things in this book. So many emotions felt. I will be thinking about this for a long time.

review-on-post-it

god-shaped-hole

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

2 Adult Fiction Books I’ve Read Recently

Before I started this blog in 2010 I used to primarily read adult fiction (pop on over here if you are interested in my reading history). I clearly went full force into YA but I still do read adult fiction here and there (some I loved recently: here, here, here, and here). I’m definitely craving adult fiction even more these days (I’d love some recs in the comments) so here’s two I’ve read lately.

 

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Amazon // Goodreads
Published: 2007
Big thanks to Racquel for recommending and gifting me this book!

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: 14 year old Liberty moves to a trailer park in Welcome, Texas with her single mother where she meets her first love and the guy who is always in the back of her mind as she grows up. Liberty comes of age in that trailer park and is faced with some things that make her grow up faster than her peers. Soon she finds herself in Houston, as a twenty-something, struggling to make the life she wants happen and she meets a older, powerful man named Churchill who changes everything for her — even her understanding of things that happened in the past.

When I first added this to my TBR I thought it was a straight up romance novel (which remember! I like now!). When I let Racquel know I was starting to read this one she mentioned that it’s part romance, part women’s fiction. After reading it I can say it’s a totally apt description. I REALLY liked this one and could not put it down! We meet Liberty as a teenager and the book spans to her early twenties (good one for YA lovers wanting to try out some adult). I LOVED LIBERTY. She is one tough chick and I loved watching her coming of age story. Life has definitely NOT been easy for her (grows up poor, tragedies, etc.) and she grows up way too soon because of some THINGS. My heart just broke for her but I also felt super proud of her for how she handled it. Her story made me super emotional for MANY reasons — everything she endures, how her past finds her years later, the things she learns, etc. OKAY and let’s talk about the romance? (SIDENOTE: Southern men are so swoony).  HARDY CATES. Her first love. Their romantic tension was INTENSE and I felt the heartbreak she feels when he leaves (somehow I missed that part in the summary). Kleypas writes their relationship so well. SWOON. But the romance with another character later on? SWOON AGAIN. I loved how Liberty has to reconcile this first love that she doesn’t want to let go with the prospective of new love. AND THE ENDING. PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT. This book was heartwarming even though it made me cry a couple times. And the characters? Lisa Kleypas creates the most wonderful main and secondary characters. I JUST WANT TO HUG THEM ALL.

RATING

 

RATING-loved-it

 

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Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Amazon// Goodreads
Published: March 2014
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way influenced the opinions shared.

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: It follows the friendship and lives of a group of guys from a small town through flashbacks and in the now as they are in their 30’s and life has taken them in very different directions as they’ve all made a life for themselves. They are reunited for a wedding and have to face the ways they have changed AND their friendships have changed  despite their attempts to hold on to what they had. Secrets, betrayals, struggles and the passing of time that has changed them all put a strain on what they had.

I liked this one but not as much as I’d hoped! It also may have been that it took me forever to read it because it was on my kindle and my kindle died and I kept forgetting to charge it. The main thing for me that I LOVED about this one is how it explored male friendships. I loved the friendship of these guys from this small town even despite how the dynamics shift through the years as they grow older and their lives get even more complicated. It’s really rare for me to read a book that gives me these tender male relationships and I really grew to love Hank, Ronny, Kip and Leland and their bond even when things get complicated amongst them. I loved learning about their early friendship contrasted with the men they have all become as two have left and two have stayed. Marriages, tragedy, betrayals, financial troubles, shenanigans…they endured it all. It’s definitely a quieter book and I really liked the character development and the prose. Every character captured my heart some way or another as they were all so complex. It was interesting how we see what  success and happiness is challenged in these very different men. They all seem to think they want what another has or might pity another but they learn the grass ISN’T always greener and things aren’t always as they seem (YEP CLICHES FOR THE WIN HERE). Also, such a great book that reminds you GET to pick who your family is and what HOME really means to a person. Plus, the setting and feel of small town life? SPOT ON. It reminded me so much of where I used to live. It’s funny because I KNOW groups of guys from that small town I used to live in that remind me SO much of these guys. My problem? As distinct as the characters were through the eyes of the others, sometimes I struggled with the actual voices of who was narrating and would get confused with the multi-narration and the shift to the past/present.

RATING

RATING-LIKED

 

 

 

Have you read either of these? I’d love to know what YOU thought!! If you haven’t read them, do you think they are something you are interested in?

Halloween Reading Round-Up (Mini-Reviews)

I only read 3 of the 6 Halloween-ish books I set out to read in October. That makes me 50 % successful (see — glass half full thing). Part of it is being a mood reader and also this weird thing I’m going through. I really enjoyed the books I picked so I decided to round them up in one post and, at the end, talk about if I think they were good Halloween reads.

 

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs:

What It’s About In A Sentence: Jacob’s grandfather has always told these tales about his life growing up that were filled with strange and unusual things but, when his grandfather dies, he realizes maybe they were not tall tales and embarks on a journey to find the orphanage where his grandfather grew up.

What I Thought: This book was delightfully strange & wonderful. The cover made me think it was going to be kind of scary but in fact, honestly, the bottom of my purse right now is probably scarier — this is more of a fantasy/supernatural-y kind of story. I really enjoyed this one and really marveled at the brilliant writing and storytelling and it’s a book I would hand to people who think that YA isn’t well written. Despite the fact this book wasn’t scary like I thought it would be, it still had a perfect Halloween vibe. The photographs that are scattered about the book really added to the story,  the depth of the characters and the general feel of this extraordinary adventure. There’s magic, strange happenings and this mystery that is just woven so carefully and so smoothly that you can’t help but find yourself mesmerized. I didn’t know what to expect at first and was curious about these tall tales that Jacob’s grandfather seemed to tell and then when Jacob starts questioning if they are made up stories I was just absolutely enchanted by this life he lived. I cannot wait to see what the sequel holds in this incredibly unique series.

 

RATING:

RATING-loved-it

 

 

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

What It’s About In A Sentence: Madeline’s family, The Ushers, are cursed — they are plagued with strange illnesses, are not able to leave the house that seems to haunt them and watch their every move and nobody knows how to free them from it.

What I Thought: This one was creepy but not scary! It’s inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of The House of Usher and I was a little familiar with it but not enough to really know what was going to happen. The writing was fantastic and I was drawn in immediately to this sinister house and its history though there were points that were kind of slow for me..like really slow. If I’m honest I’m still a little confused as to what happened at the end for sure and also I THINK I get what was behind everything but also maybe not? As far as atmosphere goes, this book had it. PERFECT book to curl up with on a cool Fall day and just get lost in the life of a girl who lives in this house where strange things happen and whose family has this mysterious illness that eventually kills them. The house became its own character really. I will say that sometimes, while interesting, the storytelling — the chapters alternate from Madeline at different ages — was hard to keep track of and I’d have to flip back to double check what age we were at. This book would definitely be a great movie and when I kept reading I was visualizing so many scenes and the setting of everyone room and of the exterior of the house and outside of the house. Very creepy and I’m glad I read it around this time!

 

RATING

RATING-LIKED

 

 

Rooms by  Lauren Oliver

Rooms by Lauren Oliver:

What It’s About In A Sentence: A family comes together to clean out the house of estranged patriarch and secrets and the past hurts come unearthed as the ghosts of the house, wrought with their own secrets, watch on.

I really liked this one! Lauren Oliver is such a great writer and I think her adult debut was very solid. It’s definitely different than her YA and I think those looking for exactly THAT could be disappointed as this is definitely more character driven and more of a slow paced story but it really worked for me. It was NOT scary at all if that matters to you. There are ghosts but it didn’t feel like a typical ghost story and definitely explored some emotional things. The family dynamics were fascinating — a family comes together to clean out the house of house of their ex-husband/estranged father. All 3 of them are carrying their own burden and secrets and then the other two perspectives we get are the two ghosts that inhabit the house who have their own secrets they can’t let go of.  The multi-POV’s can seem daunting at first but I really enjoyed the perspectives from the family members and also the ghosts because ALL of their threads in the story were SO fascinating to me and I got swept up in them and the ever so slightly unraveling mystery. Lauren’s writing is just so haunting and beautiful and so full of depth.

RATING

RATING-reallyliked

Overall Scare Factor Of My Halloween TBR reading:

So none of the books I read were super scary. The Fall definitely was creepy and atmospheric but not scary — definitely takes the cake for “scariest” out of these . Rooms wasn’t at all creepy or scary and the ghost element wasn’t of the scare variety. Miss Peregrine’s was delightfully strange and all the magic and supernatural elements made it a great Halloween read. They all, though The Fall & Miss Peregrine’s more strongly than Rooms, had that FEEL of a good Halloween read.

I will say next year I’m hoping to add an actual SCARY book into my reading experience (hit me with recs in the comments!!) but I’m really pleased with the books I chose for my Halloween reads! So if you want solid, non-scary books but still have that FEEL for your Halloween reading I’d check all of these out!

 

What books have you read so far in your Halloween/October reading? Any REALLY scary books to recommend to me for next year (or just good recs in general)?

Before I Blogged I Read: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

There’s a lot of books I read before I started this blog in June of 2010 and I figured it might be fun to spotlight those! They won’t be an actual review because OMG YOU GUYS THAT WAS SO LONG AGO but I’ll just note a few things about it, if I enjoyed it and what my Goodreads rating was. So thus “Before I Blogged I Read…” was born. Because you know…I’m so original with my names for things. Check out PAST “Before I Blogged I Read” posts.

 

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

(Amazon | Goodreads )
Rating: I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads
Date I Read it: September 2008
Genre: Literary Adult Fiction

What it’s About:

Nice year old Oskar is precocious, bright an inventor and someone who definitely sees the world with a different lens. Oskar has also just lost his father who was killed during 9/11. After his death, he finds a key that was his father’s and he is certain that finding what it goes to will solve some sort of mystery and will maybe help his mother in her grief. He sets off to find what the key belongs to and how it relates to his father and meets people all across the city. Other chapters are letters telling another story that gives a bigger picture to the members of Oskar’s family.

THOUGHTS:

1. THIS IS ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS & I FELT ALL THE THINGS READING IT:  This was the book that got me back into reading in general (you should check out my reading history to get an overview) after not having read much in high school and college. It was one of those books that was the most all-consuming experiences that I hadn’t felt in a LONG time when I did read books here and there. I DEVOURED IT. I lived it. I bawled. I belly-laughed. My heart tore and twisted in ways in the way that only a special book can do to you. I’m honestly afraid to reread it for the reason I explain here. I mean, I got a lot of other people to read and love it but a close friend of mine read it and was like, “that was the most pretentious boring book I’ve ever read.” DAGGER TO THE HEART I TELL YOU. But, for me, this book was everything and more.

2. Oskar will be one of the most memorable characters ever. Oskar is just one of the best characters that always makes my heart flip flop when I think of him. Precocious and honest and funny. I just adore him and my heart broke for him as he tried to solve this puzzle. I loved the way he saw the world. I loved his phrases and made-up words. I will still always use the term “heavy boots” for how I’m feeling some days.

3. Some of my all time favorite passages and quotes come from this book:  The way that Jonathan Safran Foer conveys even the simplest of things just really resonated with me and I dog-earred so many pages. I read the funny bits out loud to Will. The emotions and the little truths just really hit me. I really loved this author’s writing style and read his other book, Everything Is Illuminated, and enjoyed that too though less than this one.

Favorite Quotes:

 

“I like to see people reunited, I like to see people run to each other, I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories that the mouth can’t tell fast enough, the ears that aren’t big enough, the eyes that can’t take in all of the change, I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone.” ”

 

“We need enormous pockets, pockets big enough for our families and our friends, and even the people who aren’t on our lists, people we’ve never met but still want to protect. We need pockets for boroughs and for cities, a pocket that could hold the universe.”

 

“Why didn’t I learn to treat everything like it was the last time. My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.”

 “It was one of the best days of my life, a day during which I lived my life and didn’t think about my life at all.”

 

Have any of you read this one? Did you like it/not like it? Tell me what you thought!

More reading:

Before I Blogged I Read: Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
Before  I Blogged I Read: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Before I Blogged I Read: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Book Talk: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Talk: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins ReidAfter I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Washington Square Press on July 1, 2014
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Adult Contemporary Romance
Also by this author: Maybe in Another Life
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

 

A1

Lauren and Ryan have been together since they were in college. Now, many years into their marriage, it’s all fallen apart. In an attempt to figure out what to do next, they decide to take a year off from their marriage — no communication at all — in the hopes that spending some time apart they would fall back in love again or figure out what their future is. They both end up on a journey of self-discovery and that year questions what they think about love and marriage and their ideas of it.

a2Should I wake Will up to talk about this book now or wait until morning?! (I chose waiting because he might receive all my THOUGHTS better if I don’t wake him up). Also, CRAP it’s 1:30 in the morning and I have to be up early!!

a4Oh my soul. OH MY HEART. OH MY THIS BOOK. This is a must for anybody who is married for sure but even if you aren’t married it’s a great story and there is so much to glean from it regarding relationships — especially romantic ones. Estelle and Hannah both raved about this book and THEY WERE 100% RIGHT. It’s freaking amazing. No seriously.

1. As a married lady, this book resonated with me in more depth than I could have imagined: It was a lot like Landline by Rainbow Rowell in the way it made me think about marriage and relationships but this one affected me even more so to be honest. Will and I have been happily married for two years this month and this book made me want to vow to never stop talking, never let apathy lead the way and resentment to build and SO MANY OTHER THINGS because this story broke my heart in ways and I don’t want my marriage to ever get to the point this one did. There were little things that were in this book that scared the hell out of me because some of them I could see happening to us if I’m being honest. The beginnings of things that don’t look like a big deal but ARE.  I’d recommend this to everyone but ESPECIALLY YOU MARRIED PEOPLE. It was Thinking Book for sure and I am so thankful for it.

2. From page 1 I was just captured by this story: We know from the start that they are in a bad place so it’s super bittersweet when we get the story of them falling in love. Despite that, I loved learning how they met, their engagement and then life as newlyweds and then we get these chapters of these small cracks in the foundation and then each little section gets progressively sadder and worse with their relationship. I could FEEL the resentment and the anger there. And then we get into the present where they are deciding to separate from each other for a year. I found myself furiously reading because I HAD TO KNOW how it would turn out. I enjoyed watching what Lauren was learning in her year away from him and I just was so nervous to see what would happen at the end of the year. They both learned a lot about themselves/their marriage but would they be able to fix it? I HAD TO KNOW.

3. This book made me WEEP multiple times: There were just so many things about this story that made me emotional — especially the ending. But watching them leave each other, witnessing the sad moments and the loneliness, the doubt, the realizations of where things went wrong. It all just killed me and there were these perfectly written moments that just stirred up something in my heart so forcefully. And when the ending came…I was just a mess. It was just so unflinchingly honest and poignant that my heart couldn’t handle it.

4. I’m so used to reading books about people FALLING IN LOVE that it was refreshing to read something different: Sure, we see the beginnings of their love story but then we start to see this unraveling of it. And I liked that I really didn’t KNOW if they were going to get back together in the end. To watch how hard sometimes you have to work at love was just really refreshing because like the tagline says, “falling in love is the easy part.” And I honestly was glued to this unraveling but then this year of self love and reflecting on the marriage and the love for each other.

 

a6RATING-beyondloved

factors+ plot, characters, FEELINGS, how it made me think
NADA

Re-readability: YES!!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I got this out from the library and I REALLY want a copy for myself now!

a5readers of contemporary adult fiction, people who like reading about messy love, people who liked or were interested in Rainbow Rowell’s Landine, married folk because it’s super relatable (even if it you AREN’T married it’s great)

a8I highly recommend After I Do and I can’t wait to pick up Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut novel next. I loved this story and how I connected to it and the characters. It was definitely a book I NEEDED to read and hit me right in the heart with how it dealt with the complicated nature of love and marriage. As I approach my 2 year marriage anniversary, this was just the right book for me at the right time.

 

review-on-post-it

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* DID YOU WEEP AT THE ENDING IF YOU READ THIS BOOK??
* Married ladies, did this one hit ya right in the feels?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt | Book Review

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt | Book ReviewTell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Published by Random House on June 2012
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Adult Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads
four-stars

 

 

 

 

book synopsis Fourteen year old June’s uncle Finn, her best friend and the only person who gets her, passes away from an illness that her parents are hush hush about and seem ashamed of. As she tries to grapple with the loss of the one person that means everything to her she finds a stranger reaching out to her — a stranger who knows Finn almost as well as she did..maybe even more so. June reluctantly spends time with him and together they try to heal from their mutual loss.

good books to read

Oh, this book! My heart. Do you ever read a book and feel like the weight of the world is just sitting on your heart the whole time? One of my favorite expressions to describe how I feel, from one of my all time favorite books, is as having “heavy boots.” Tell The Wolves I’m Home was excellent and completely made me feel a whole array of emotions.  Thank you, Margot, for letting me borrow it and pushing it on me!

It’s an adult fiction novel but the narrator is 14 years old and I found this just to be a most beautiful and heartbreaking coming of age story set in the 1980’s. There were so many things about this book that I loved that I feel like I can’t even begin to tell you about it all — the characters, the writing, this weighty grief that June has to work through and so many other little aspects of the plot.

Watching June deal with the grief of losing her Uncle Finn was so emotional because it was just all so complicated within the family and the public perception of Finn because of how he died! Finn died of AIDs and it’s back in the 80’s so everything is very hush hush and not as much public knowledge about it. Her and Finn were so close and June’s feelings towards him are kind of complicated and intense. Then she meets Finn’s boyfriend Toby, whom her parents kept a secret from her because they blame him for Finn dying, and from Toby she learns even more about her Uncle Finn — to the point where she feels like she didn’t even really know him in some ways and she hates having to had shared him with someone. I loved learning about Finn through June but also through Toby and Finn really became such a real character to me. I could feel the love just emanating from them.

While June and Toby’s friendship was one of my favorite parts of this novel, I also really loved the relationship between June and her sister even though I wanted to kick her sister in the face so many times. I love complicated sisterly relationships and this one was a thread throughout the story I was fascinated by.

It’s honestly just so hard to explain what I thought about this novel. It was just brilliant, touching and got me all choked up. I loved it! It’s a quieter novel but it moves along at a good pace and hooks you with the compelling characters and their dynamics.

book reviewsI loved Tell The Wolves I’m Home. It was just one of those really touching, complicated stories that broke my heart but also mended it in ways. I think it could be a good novel for YA readers who also like adult fiction — good crossover material! This book left a searing impression on my heart and I won’t soon forget it.

short book reviewTell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

 

for-fans-of-bookadult fiction, character driven books, coming of age stories, family dynamics + secrets, stories about grief, books that make your heart explode

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

four-stars
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