Books #10

I’ve actually been reading lately! It’s just taken me awhile to read enough to write a post about them. So here are some books I recommend:

1 ) The Ex by Alafair Burke

Publishers really need to stop comparing every book to Gone Girl and Girl on the Train. It just sets books up to fail. However, this book was pretty good, even if I had high expectations because of the comparison.

Olivia is a defense attorney and her ex-fiance’s teenager daughter calls her for help. Her ex has been arrested for murder. Despite the conflict, she takes the case and does what she can to build a defense and clear him.

The book is well-written and moves quickly. The characters are well-developed and I enjoyed reading it. I didn’t feel like the “surprise” ending was all that ground-breaking but it was still a satisfying read.

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2 ) The Widow by Fiona Barton

Another book compared to Gone Girl and Girl on the Train. Publishers–stop doing this! Not every book is going to be like those two! And this book, while good, did not have a shocking twist at the end.

Jean is a dutiful wife who stands by her husband, Glen, when he’s accused of kidnapping (and worse) little Bella. The story is told from the point of view of the detective investigating, Jean, and the reporter trying to get Jean’s story. The story is nothing ground breaking but it is told in a unique way and I liked the book.

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3 ) The Wonder Weeks by Frans Plooij and van de Rijt Hetty

I’ve been using the Wonder Weeks iPhone App for a few months now after reading about it on a baby message board. I found it really interesting and pretty spot on for identifying the changes and development in my baby’s life. I decided to get the book from the library to read more about it.

The book is somewhat unnecessary if you already have the app. The app covers all the developmental “leaps” pretty well and in a more concise way. I felt like the book was redundant and as I read each chapter it was a lot of repeating. BUT if you don’t have a smartphone or don’t want to buy the app (I think it was $4 or so), the book is good enough to tell you what you’re baby is going through at each stage. It’s all very fascinating and cool to see in person!

 

4 ) The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World by Jennifer Baggett

This is a memoir about three friends in their mid-20’s who are at a crossroads, one I think many people have at that point in their lives. One is dissatisfied with her career, the other loses her job and another loses a relationship. So they decide to go on a trip around the world together for a year.

They go to South America (where they party like it’s Spring Break, and then realize they want more out of their travels), volunteer in Kenya, study at an ashram in India and then go to Asia. They stay in hostels, they backpack, they stay in nicer places too and meet all kinds of people on the road.

I love these types of books. I love exploration and travel memoirs and I had high hopes for this book. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book. It was just not quite as good as I had hoped it would be. Part of that was that the three girls were very–blah. I couldn’t tell the difference between the three of them or which story belonged to whom (like was Holly the one that got dumped? Or was it Amanda? Couldn’t remember!).

It was trying to have kind of an Eat Pray Love vibe to it but didn’t quite make the mark. So even though it fell a little flat and felt a little soulless, I enjoyed reading about the places they traveled and the things they discovered. The main “characters” just weren’t very compelling or memorable. Don’t let that deter you from the story, though.

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5 ) Lets Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell

I loved this book. It was written in such a beautiful, poignant way. The author’s writing style was just beautiful–but not in a flowery, pretentious way. It’s a memoir about friendship. Caroline and Gail meet each other because of their dogs and it turns into a deep, loving friendship that sadly gets interrupted by cancer. I wanted to share a few moving quotes from the book:

“What they never tell you about grief is that missing someone is the simple part. [pg 9]”

“Maybe this is the point: to embrace the core sadness of life without toppling headlong into it, or assuming it will define your days [pg 111].”

The themes of the book are friendship and grief. I think anyone could read this book and relate to it.

How dare you, the body and mind felt in furious accord. I’m in the middle of a life here. I was outraged because I had been working on this story line for years, and I knew it was not yet finished. [pg 111]”

“I know now that we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures [pg 182].”

The book does not feel negative or sad, perhaps a little bittersweet because of the heavy topic, but I never felt depressed reading about their journey. It was a really wonderful book.

 

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6 ) Leaving Blythe River by Catherine Ryan Hyde

I really really liked this book! Ethan is 17 and his life is thrown into turmoil when he and his mother walk in on his dad having an affair with his secretary (the 20-something secretary that Ethan had a crush on). His father moves from their Manhattan home to the middle of nowhere to live in a cabin in bear country! Unexpected circumstances happen and Ethan is forced to go live with him, even though he doesn’t want to.

His dad is an ultra runner and every day goes for long runs. Ethan is trying to adjust to living with his dad, whom he kind of hates, when his dad doesn’t come back after a run. After a day of waiting, Ethan is suddenly worried something is wrong. He contacts the authorities and Search and Rescue go out looking for him–unsuccessfully. So Ethan decides to go out with two neighbors to find his dad on his own.

It’s a really well-written book about relationships and healing, anger and overcoming fears. I highly recommend this book.

What have you read lately that really stuck with you?

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10 Responses

  1. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THESE TIPS!!!!!!! On Saturday I lost a very close long term friend to Cancer. I went to her when I needed a good book. Never failed, she always nailed it. I look forward to sinking my teeth into a couple of these. Again, thank you!!!! Say HI! to Logan. I just love that name. it is so unique and studly!

    All the best to you and your hubby,

    Jan

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. My heart goes out to you. You may really like the “Long Way Home” book at this time, then. It was about cancer, yes, but it was also about healing.

      Thank you for the sweet comments about Logan. 🙂

  2. I went to the library on Saturday and checked out 3 of the recommendations. After reading the book
    “Take Me With You” I was game to try another by the same author so I am reading Leaving Blythe River by Catherine Ryan Hyde getting close to the middle of the book so far I like the other book better but I am hanging in there. Looking forward to reading the other books as well. Thanks for the recommendations. My branch didn’t have “The Lost Girls” since you compared it to Eat, Love, Pray which I didn’t care for I decided not to try to read it.

    1. Blythe River wasn’t as good as Take Me With You but it was still really enjoyable. I just started another one of hers and like it so far. Her books are just easy to read and fast reads.

  3. Getting out my “to read” list again – thanks, Lisa! Glad you’re squeezing in some reading time amongst the obligations of baby, husband, pets, house, and that time-sucking thing called Work…

    I have a couple to recommend – hopefully I’m not sending back ones that I got from you!

    The Fireman by Joe Hill. I really enjoyed this one! It’s a thick book, but reads very quickly.

    I am also on the 3rd of the Robert Galbraith books and have really enjoyed all 3 – The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and Career of Evil.

    I didn’t read, but listened to, All Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. I love listening to her read her books. Her voice is just like honey butter to me. This one was interesting because the back story centers on female pilots during WWII – I like books where I can learn something and still be entertained 🙂

    I hope this helps pay back a little for all the great ideas you’ve sent my way!

    1. Awesome! Thank you so much for the recommendations. I added a few to my goodreads list. My book club read Fried Green Tomatoes last summer and I think that was by Fannie Flagg. That one you suggested sounds really good.

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