I’ve read quite a few great books lately that I wanted to share with you…here it goes! (I’ll keep the reviews short so this doesn’t go on forever. 😉 )
The Shining by Stephen King
I forgot how creepy and scary this book is! (Sorry English teachers…I know I’m not supposed to end a sentence that way…but these posts will take me FOR-E-VER if I have to worry about that too!) If you haven’t read it in a while, give it another go. Or, if you’ve never read it, and like horror books, go grab it right now.
The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle
My Mom recommended this book to me and it was very good. So far I’ve read two of Kittle’s books and liked them both. Cam is a veterinarian whose husband has just left her. She is devastated and trying to figure out how to navigate life with her teenage daughter as a single mom. It’s definitely mainly a love story but it’s not too sappy and the ending wasn’t typical which I liked.
The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight
I really enjoyed this book. It was so different from any other book I’ve read lately. This is written by the same author who wrote Reconstructing Amelia. Wiley is an agoraphobic 16-year-old girl whose mother has just died in a terrible accident. She is miserable and trying to figure out how to make it through the day. Her best friend, Cassie, has gone missing. Even though they’re estranged, Wiley heads out with Cassie’s boyfriend to find her. They end up in a very messy situation that they were not prepared for at all. I can’t tell you much more without giving anything away. It was a quick read, exciting and unusual. Give it a try!
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Before you freak out like my BFF did, this has NOTHING to do with 50 Shades of Grey! She was appalled that I would recommend this book for her 14-year-old daughter until I explained that it has nothing to do with that other series. LOL!!! I will admit that it’s an unfortunate title! A bunch of my girls at school were reading it and said it was very good so I decided to give it a try. It is set during Stalin and Hitler’s reign of terror and follows 16-year-old Lina and her family through their deportation to a forced-labor camp in Siberia. It is a harrowing tale, to be sure, and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t like the ending at all. It’s very abrupt. You are involved in this family’s struggles and then, boom, it’s over and not really wrapped up. So, if you’re ok with a sudden ending, it’s worth reading.
Grace by T. Greenwood
I am embarrassed to say that my friend, Katrina, gave this to me a year ago to read during chemo and I put it in my chemo bag where it went to the bottom and was promptly forgotten about until I cleaned out my bag this spring! It was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s a web of different plotlines that all come together perfectly. Trevor is a 13-year-old boy who doesn’t fit in and is miserable at school. With the help of his sweet and caring art teacher, he discovers a love for photography. His mother has a bad habit of shoplifting when she takes her 5-year-old daughter, Grace, to the store. The store clerk, Crystal, is dealing with her own demons and can’t help but get obsessed with the shoplifting mom. It’s a fascinating and riveting story that has a great ending. You’ll love it!
The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen
This was one of the strangest, creepiest but best books I’ve read in a while. A family (Mom, Dad, Grandma, Brother, Sister and Boy) is living in a basement with no sunlight. They’ve been there for years. They never leave. Did I mention all but the Boy have been disfigured by a fire? The Boy (no one has formal names) was born in the basement and is struggling with wanting to stay with his family but also wanting to see what it’s like “out there”. When his sister has a baby in the basement, he starts to question all of the stories he’s been told by his family and becomes even more curious about leaving. I can’t really tell you much more than that without giving all the twists and turns away, but let me tell you it’s an awesome read. It got very creepy and scary in parts, so if that will bother you, give it a pass. But I enjoy that type of story so I loved it!
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
I started this book over the winter and couldn’t finish it. My friend read it and said it was worth reading so I gave it another try. I didn’t like it. It does have a very surprising twist in the middle but I still didn’t think it made it worth reading. Basically it’s a love story and a story on marriage from different perspectives. But I found it boring and very drawn out. Like I said, the twist and the ending are good, but I’m not sure it’s worth the rest just to get to that part.
The Widow by Fiona Barton
I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars. It was good, and worth reading, but pretty predictable if you’ve read a lot of books like I have. Jean Taylor’s husband has been killed in an accident and now she’s the focus of much media attention. Her husband was a suspect in the kidnapping and murder of a 3-year-old girl years before and, now that he’s dead, they are hoping to get the truth. Like I said, it’s interesting but predictable.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
This is a great YA novel about first love. Eleanor is a strange, fiery red-head teenager who is new to Park’s school and doesn’t fit in. Park ends up sitting next to her on the bus where they slowly fall in love. Eleanor’s life is very complicated and Park struggles to help Eleanor and understand her. It’s a simple love story that perfectly captures that first teenage love.
Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova
I typically love Genova’s books and definitely liked this one, although it wasn’t one of my favorites. The main character of the story, Joe O’Brien, is a 43-year-old police officer who discovers he has Huntington’s Disease. The book is about how a devastating illness affects the entire family. The character development is good, the story is interesting, but, to me, it felt too much like Still Alice and I was a little bored. It’s very sad but also hopeful.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Oh, how I LOVED this book. I am anxious to see the movie even though I doubt it will be half as good as this book. Will Traynor is a rich, handsome adventurist who is now a paraplegic and miserable. His mother hires Louisa, a quirky and loving woman, to be his personal caregiver. Unbeknownst to Louisa, Will has decided that he’s going to commit medically-assisted suicide in 6 months. His mother is hoping that Louisa will change his mind. Of course, Louisa and Will fall in love, but is that enough to make Will want to live? You’ll have to read to find out!