Thursday, November 10, 2016

Erin's Book Challenge 5.0 - Reviews!

Reading provides knowledge. Knowledge is power. It also allows me to experience a world different than my own. To get to know and love characters that I might have never met. Reading is a wonderful thing. I signed up for Erin's Book Challenge 5.0 to give myself a push to read outside my comfort zone. Some of the categories were a stretch for me (I'm looking at you published over 100 years ago category) while others were right in my wheelhouse (hello historical fiction and book to movie categories). It proved no easy task, but I managed to finish all ten books (that was A LOT for me!) in the four month window. I enjoyed the majority of them - learning something about myself as well as my preferences along the way.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan 
(freebie category)
Highly Recommend

I selected this book because it was also my "J" choice for the ABC Reads challenge that Mia and I host. As I mentioned in my ABC Reads post, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one. The storytelling pulled me in pretty quickly. I also enjoyed gaining a better understanding of the Asian culture through this account of four families and their transition to American life through the eyes of two generations.

Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman
(letter "R" title category)
Skip It

I added this book to the mix when one of the members of my NYC book club chose it. Honestly, I had an extremely difficult time getting into this one. It is incredibly long and drawn out. The story itself is fine, but it just took SO long to get there. I actually had to switch over to audible for the last half of the book to get through it all. I did find it much more interesting once I made that switch. Not sure if it was the more passive listening option that helped or if the story just ended up getting a little more interesting at that point.

The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen
(5 word title category)
Skip It

This selection served a dual purpose as my "U" ABC Reads Challenge book. I highlighted in my previous review, that I didn't particularly enjoy the book as a whole. However, the characters were a lot of fun. I enjoyed the development there, but the story lacked a bit from my perspective.

We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride
(mostly blue cover category)
Highly Recommend

I listened to this book entirely on audible, but I want to purchase a hard copy. It was a fantastic story interweaving characters and social themes throughout. Even though I pegged the ending fairly early, I managed to become completely engrossed in the characters and discovering how they were all connected. I love the message of the story. The way it honestly portrays the real life struggles and issues of the current day made it completely compelling.

The Silent Twin by Caroline Mitchell
(twins category)
Skip It

As someone that really loves twins (at least the conceptual idea of twins), I was excited for this category. Unfortunately, I didn't make a great choice. The book was more of a murder mystery whodunit than anything else. I was bored to tears initially, but it did pick up a bit throughout. By the end, I was hooked on finding out the culprit. After I found out who and why, I was a bit disappointed. I kind of want a do over on this category so if you have any good twin book suggestions, please pass them along to me!

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
(book to movie category)
Worth A Read

I listened on audible to this one. It had me hooked from the start. I had seen the movie previews so I had a general idea of the story. I enjoyed going along with Louisa on her personal and professional journey. It was tough to imagine the circumstances completely, but the author did a phenomenal job of creating feelings of anger, pain, and understanding. I was completely wrapped up in this one from beginning to end. And I'm looking forward to reading the sequel in the coming months. I did manage to catch the movie shortly after I finished the book. As usual, it wasn't quite as detailed and left a bit to be desired on my end.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
(country you want to visit category)
Worth A Read

Another audible read, but a very intriguing one. I have enjoyed other Liane Moriarty books in the past so I was familiar with her back and forth style of writing. The characters were all well developed and the story (while somewhat predictable at points) was quite interesting. I particularly loved how she tied everything up in the epilogue. Nice to have a bit of a peek down the line after I had invested so much time in the characters at that point. 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
(historical fiction category)
Highly Recommend

I managed to knock out three birds with this stone - Erin's Challenge, a book club selection, and my "N" ABC Reads Challenge choice. As I mentioned in my ABC Reads review, I was completely consumed with Vianne and Isabelle's story. Completely. I love the parallel life it painted with strife and struggle at both ends. A phenomenal story. One of my favorites of the year actually.

Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song by Sara Bareilles
(related to music category)
Highly Recommend

I'm not sure there is another solo artist that I enjoy listening to as much as Sara Bareilles so this selection proved an easy one. It also helped that I had personally required myself to read her book before purchasing a ticket to Waitress (her FABULOUS show) on Broadway. I provided my full analysis of the book and show last month, but let me just say I couldn't have asked for anything more with either.

Persuasion by Jane Austen
(published over 100 years ago category)
Skip It

Saved the most impossible for last with this pick. I attempted twice (once in hard copy and once on my kindle) to read this book before I gave up and moved to audible. I am certain that I would not have made it to the end without listening. While it was interesting to see how far women (and dating) has come since this time period, I did not really enjoy this one at all.

What have you been reading lately?

Andrea :)

No comments:

Post a Comment