I'm Reading Again!

For someone who loves reading so much I can't believe this is the first book review to ever grace my blog but I shouldn't be.  I'm sadly aware that I haven't done a whole lot of reading over the last five years.  Yes, FIVE.  I'm blaming MJ because the reading stopped the year we got married.  I was so distracted by my him and everything else that I didn't make time for it.  Then I was so occupied with blogging and trying to write my own book that I forgot how much I enjoy it.  I didn't make New Year's resolutions, but if I did read more would be at the top of the list and I'm trying to make that happen.  I checked out five books from the library over Christmas Break and finished four in January.  After one renewal I knew I was going to run out of time and that one would be going back to unread.  That last pick turned out to be my favorite one of the bunch.  When I returned them I limited myself to two because realistically, with work and everything else I figured that's all I'd have time for.  I already finished one!  Instead of choosing from just the 'free' or 'cheap' books off of Amazon I went to the library and found books I was really interested in reading so when I have spare time I reaching for a book instead of the remote.  And they are still free!  Project read more in 2015 is going good so far.

Without further ado, in the order in which they were read....

Best Friends Forever, Jennifer Weiner 
Addie Downs and Valerie Adler were eight when they first met and decided to be best friends forever. But, in the wake of tragedy and betrayal during their teenage years, everything changed. Val went on to fame and fortune. Addie stayed behind in their small Midwestern town. Destiny, however, had more in store for these two. And when, twenty-five years later, Val shows up at Addie’s front door with blood on her coat and terror on her face, it is the beginning of a wild adventure for two women joined by love and history who find strength together that they could not find alone. -Via Amazon

My thoughts:
I really liked it!  I was interested right from the start and that remained throughout.  Addie's friend Val was a super annoying character, but she was so annoying because that was her character and the author did a really good job of conveying that.  There was a really cute love story worked in there as well.

Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult
Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens--until the day its complacency is shattered by an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state's best witness, but she can't remember what happened before her very own eyes--or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show--destroying the closest of friendships and families. -Via Amazon

My thoughts:
I've never read a Jodi Picoult book I didn't like.  She had me at My Sister's Keeper and at some point I want to read everything she has written.  There are quite a few at my public library, with multiple copies even, so I should be able to get my hands on quite a few from there.  She is an amazing storyteller and my only critique about it is that sometimes she's such a good storyteller that the storytelling words go on longer than I wish they would.  Sometimes I just want her to get to the point and found myself skipping over a sentence or two to get there.  It does not prevent me from wanting to read more from her though.  There was also a lot of going back and forth between the past and the present which was confusing at first but I got used to it. The story line was really interesting.   We see the shooter as a monster and based on their actions they are, but there are two sides to every story and this book does a wonderful job of telling both.  We get some insight into what can turn a person into a monster and it is heartrendingly sad.  She makes the reader love him a little bit which is really hard to do because he has ruined so many lives and in the end I felt totally conflicted.  

Ladies' Night, Mary Kay Andrews 
Grace Stanton’s life as a rising media star and beloved lifestyle blogger takes a surprising turn when she catches her husband cheating and torpedoes his pricey sports car straight into the family swimming pool.  Grace suddenly finds herself locked out of her palatial home, checking account, and even the blog she has worked so hard to develop in her signature style.  Moving in with her widowed mother, who owns and lives above a rundown beach bar called The Sandbox, is less than ideal.  So is attending court-mandated weekly "divorce recovery" therapy sessions with three other women and one man for whom betrayal seems to be the only commonality.  When their “divorce coach” starts to act suspiciously, they decide to start having their own Wednesday "Ladies' Night" sessions at The Sandbox, and the unanticipated bonds that develop lead the members of the group to try and find closure in ways they never imagined.  Can Grace figure out a new way home and discover how strong she needs to be to get there? -Via Amazon

My thoughts:
It took me a while to warm up to this book and even half way through I still wasn't sure if I wanted to keep on reading.  I soldiered on because it's really hard for me not to once I start reading or watching anything.  The writing was a little bit repetitive in some places but overall it was a good story.  I was glad I stuck it out to the end, although I'm not sure I would recommend it just because it was so slow and hard to get into.

Girl in Translation, Jean Kwok 
When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition. Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles. -Via Amazon

My thoughts:
Out of all the books I read in that bunch this one was my favorite!  I read it in all in one day on one chilly glorious Sunday where I spent most of the day in my granny robe cozied up with this book.  The author is an amazing storyteller and captures Kimberly's experience so well.  I really enjoyed this character.  I was rooting for her so hard to make it and overcome the life circumstances that had been thrust upon her.  It's definitely a must read.


Carly Blogs Here said...

I have Girl in Translation on hold from the library and I cannot wait to read it! It's something I would have probably never picked out, but it kept coming up as recommendations after I would rate other books I like.

Lex R said...

Yay to reading! I decided to start reading more this year, and even started organizing a book club with friends! I'll definitely have to stay tuned to your blog for books to add to the list :-)

Miss Rachel M. said...

All of these books sound really interesting, especially the one by Picoult! I'll definitely be checking it out soon!

I used to read so much and to be perfectly honest, I can't pinpoint when exactly that stopped. Picking up a good book tonight.

Ameena said...

I really used to love Jodi Picoult but lately I haven't been able to enjoy any of her books, not sure if she's going the way of Danielle Steele (factory books). I'm going to check out Girl in Translation, after reading this post.

Anyway, I'm reading quite a bit lately as well, as work is not too crazy. I discovered JoJo Moyes and love her stuff. I highly recommend her!

Law_Fal said...

I love reading and try to make extra time just to make sure I can read atleast one book a month, even if it's just the selection for the book club I'm in. Have u ever tried the Goodreads app? It's a good way to keep up with all the books you've read and discover new ones that other people are reading. You can also set up challenges for yourself on how many books you want to read in a year.

Food, Booze, & Baggage said...

I've started to pick reading back up in the last several months. I use to read a ton, but than when started the blog it took a huge nose-dive :) Glad you found some books you are enjoying! I'm going to add Girl in Translation to my list!

Chic Therapy said...

I used to be an avid reader but fell by the way side. I'll try to get back this year.

Susannah said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I'm going to have to read some of these!

That Blue House said...

I am glad you did a review! I just hosted my first book club meeting yesterday and we picked our second book for next month. I look forward to reading more in 2015

Jessica said...

Reading is one of my favorite things to do. Several months ago my sisters and a very friends decided that we should start a monthly book club. We take turns picking the book and hosting, so we get together enjoy some great food and discuss books. It has been a blast. I am definitely interested in the first book you mentioned, so I will have to keep it in mind when it is my turn to host again.

Jessica @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

Kari | The Kari Diaries said...

Doesn't it feel great to pick something back up and remember why you loved it so much? That's how I felt when law school was finally over and I could read "just because" again. Glad you're back to reading again :) I haven't read a Jodi Picoult novel in years, but that one sounds interesting. I've heard a lot about Girl In Translation, may need to add it to the list!

The Lady Okie said...

I love Jodi Piccult! I read 19 Minutes a few years ago. I remember it being really intense.

Jenny said...

Thanks for all these reviews. I think I definitely want to give Best Friends Forever a read. I desperately need to get back in my reading grove.