On Reading: January – April 2017

I’ve decided to keep up with my reading in quarterly posts, because really, every month? But if for some bizarre reason you are totally into what I’m reading every month, then head on over to my Goodreads page and check out my bookshelf – I also have an author page on there! I try to keep my bookshelf updated with what I’m ‘currently reading’ and what I ‘have read’. I love, love the written word, so please join me in a discussion on a book I’ve read, or recommend your favorite one. You can also find me and friend me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter – I’d love to say hello. Hello! 🙂

So I’m going to admit to you that something happened to the reading list I had for this first quarter. Ok yeah – I was keeping the list on my cellphone and I did a dumb, dumb thing and lost all the info on it. Really we don’t need to go into all the sordid, little details about how that happened, it’s enough to know that I’ve had to reassemble my reading list from memory, and may have missed one or two. My bad.

Now without further ado…

January

Book One
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

This author, this book! What can I say? It single-handedly shifted my perspective on how Jan1I view characters, how I view female characters, and what genre I want to write in – this book for me was PROFOUND! to say the least. Really!
Here’s what’s up. This was the first time I was really aware of how beautiful writing flawed and morally ambiguous characters can be. All the characters in this book are flawed, I mean jacked-up, messed up, flawed. Even our main character Rachael is a hot, hot mess. And while I’m rooting for her, I’m also super frustrated with her for the endless list of stupid decisions she keeps making, and the drinking! For heaven’s sake lady, stop it! Omgosh (**Spoiler Alert**) When Rachel showed up at the Doctor’s office, the one that Megan had been seeing, I was practically yelling! (I love having strong emotional reactions to books, so this is heaven for me 😉 ) And Megan, while being the murder victim, yes, you soon find out was no angel. Really all the characters in the book, especially the female ones, are all villains in their own right, and I found myself rooting for some and repulsed by others. But I could see everyone having different feelings about different characters based on their perspectives in life. So fascinating, so good!
Lest we forget about the plot, the story, fear not. I thought it was very well done. There was tension, surprises, and when one question got answered, two more popped up in its place. Halfway through, I began to suspect I knew what was really going on with Rachel and Tom’s relationship, but was completely lost as to who the killer was! In turn I thought it was just about every character in the book ~ I know it’s him! No, no, maybe it’s her! Omgosh, could it actually be, no, surely not…her? ~ Seriously, every chapter moved the story forward, great pace, kept me on the edge of my seat and loving it for the entire novel. Well done Ms. Hawkins! I went ahead and put her upcoming novel Into The Water in my queue straightaway ::rubs hands greedily::

Book Two
A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston

So, So good. In fact, I found myself writing down quotes from the book to keep. I may beJan2 getting ahead of myself here, allow me to back up and just to make sure everyone is on the same page ~ haha, see what I did there? ~ this book is Mr. Cranston’s memoir, and it is so, so good. I was already partial to him as an actor and the characters he’s been, but this book sealed the deal for me. He does a wonderful job of bringing all the parts of his life story together in easy to follow sequence, while highlighting the parts of it that made him, him. He talks about his life from childhood up through having his own child ~ love the adventuring, wandering, motorcycle adventure he goes on with his brother. He talks about how he got his acting career going, what drew him to it and how he got to where he is today. And he adds enough detail about the roles/shows that made him a household name, Malcolm in the Middle, Breaking Bad, to feed the curiousness of what it was like to be on the inside of a show so many are big fans of. Really, Mr. Cranston did a wonderful job on this book, it’s interesting, moves, and feeds. For me, this book was so good and inspirational, I wrote down quotes from it. ~That’s how you know I’m in ♥ with a book!

 

February

Book One
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Feb1This book isn’t my normal reading fare, but I’m always looking to branch out and when I stumbled across the movie and wanted to watch it, I decided to read the book first. Good choice! The movie was pretty well done, but nothing near as good as the book. I have to say I admire writers who can seemingly write a book about no specific thing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, she is writing about specific things. It’s just so different from the genre I normally read and write, that I’m not sure how I would even come up with an idea for a story like this! That’s a compliment btw, to be able to weave such a magical story from an idea as seemingly simple as: a young girl runs away and ends up staying with 3 amazing sisters who keep bees. Seems simple enough, right? Well, there is a reason this book spent over 2 years on the NYT best seller list. It’s a very well done story. Magical, sweet, simple, endearing, and fun to read. I would recommend. I also watched an interview with Ms. Monk Kidd about her writing journey, and her story is a good one, well done Ms. Monk Kidd! ♥

 

March

Book One
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

After reading and being blown away by The Girl on the Train, I remembered how much I enjoyed reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn a few years ago. This made me go back andMarch1 start really looking into this genre of writing and reading, and the female authors responsible for them. ~I am being totally inspired to move my writing in a different direction because of these two ladies! Because of this I decided to go back and read all of Ms. Flynn’s books prior to Gone Girl, of which there are only two. Sharp Objects is her very first novel, written in 2006, and is currently being made into a TV series with Amy Adams. I’m not as big a fan of movies and tv series as I am the books they come from, so while I may not watch, I would def recommend this as a read. For me this book isn’t as good as her next two novels, but it is her first novel after all, and I think there is a noticeable progression in her writing – they keep getting better! Although I’ve read a few reviews that think the other way around, but hey – that’s the beauty of books, you’re allowed to like whichever ones you want 🙂 Anyway, Ms. Flynn does a good job in this story. It’s got depth, the mystery unfolds at an okay pace, it moved a bit too slow for me in parts, and I never connected to the MC. That’s just me though, and that does sometimes happen, no big deal. On the other hand, the I did find the story engaging, and Ms. Flynn does do a good job with her characters, great depth and she likes to make her women oh-so-good at being bad ~gosh I love that!~ I mean I really love it! Def worth checking out if you like her writing.

 

April

Book One
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

I read this one on the heels of Sharp Objects, and oh my goodness, it’s SO good. Man! Ms. April1Flynn’s writing really just gets better and better, and imo this book had some big improvements over her first novel. It switches view points and jumps around on the timeline, but I didn’t have a hard time following any of that. In fact, it let her write in some cliffhangers that had me going – NO! while reading it, because some little detail had just been revealed and then – ah! she would change POV. I like that in my reading though, keeps me engaged and entertained. Plus – such a good mystery! And such a good story, great characters, stories within stories, how I felt about Ben in the end (a bit confused and gut-wrenched), and oh-yeah, Ms. Flynn is developing a signature here with her oh-so-good at being bad female characters. Again, a viewpoint I find refreshing and inspiring in my own writing. I think Paula Hawkins did a fantastic job with this VP also, SO GOOD! Anyway, if you got me talking about either of these authors and their book IRL, you’d be in for a rather long conversation. Def recommend this read! I did also find out that there was a movie based on this book with Charlize Theron, which I tried to watch, and could NOT finish. Probably not the movie’s fault so much, I just have a hard time moving from how I’ve pictured the characters while reading, to Hollywood’s version of them and the story…I usually find the transition quite yucky.

Book Two
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I had some trouble with this book. Again, these types of books, this genre is not what I April2usually read, but I liked The Secret Life of Bees novel so much I thought maybe I’d like everything Ms. Monk Kidd writes. I was mistaken. Now, don’t get me wrong. She’s a good writer, and she did a great job on this novel. It was just that, for me, it moved too slow and nothing would happen! for chapters and chapters. I am aware this is a fictional account of an actual figure in history, but I just think if I was going to fill in some blanks and write a fictional, albeit slightly historical novel. I’m going to add some big events into the story; bigger conflict, edgier edges, just something more to make it all move, and make me really care about the characters and bring home the point of a the story. I did care, just not enough, and I did like the story, just not enough. I had trouble finishing this one, and podcasts became preferable to having to listen to this audio book in the evenings. Which is an actual shame because this book was well done, and I could see it being truly enjoyed by those who read these types of stories more. For sure.

Well those were the one I could remember, promise my list for next quarter will remain intact. Thank for reading, pun intended, and come back to see me soon.

-xo

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