Books I Done Read: November/December 2014

6:33 PM

I didn't realize I had read so many books this month until I pulled together the pictures for this post. If you are reading this blog for the first time, I hope you will check out other books I have reviewed: a few memorable books HERE and September/October books  HERE.

While I had read a couple of these books before leaving, the majority of these were read during our two-week trip to Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota over Thanksgiving. One of the best things about two weeks of traveling in snow, ice, and single digits is the amount of reading you get done while buried under a mound of blankets in your motel room trying to keep blood flow to your frozen extremities. The weather outside was frightful, but a few of these books were delightful.

(Sorry, I went there.)

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

This was my pick for the best I read this month. I could see the ending coming, made my prediction, and thought I was right. Then I finished up the last couple of pages and was totally wrong! I honestly didn't see the ending coming and I love when that happens.

The book was not like Gone Girl, but if you like the back-and-forth of alternate voices that you hope will eventually solve a mystery, you will probably enjoy it. I found the development of some of the characters to be a little weak. Although her sister was mentioned several times, she was mostly ignored in the story and you never get to know her.

I would still recommend this one. It will probably be a movie someday.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This book is about a bookstore owner that finds (and keeps) an abandoned baby. I ordinarily wouldn't have picked this one to read, but it was another book club's pick so decided to give it a go .

Parts of it were entertaining and funny. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of other works of literature. My only complaint was that it was pretty predictable and not very believable. I also found it a little too borderline "romance novel" for my taste.

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

If you enjoy books by Jodi Picoult, you will enjoy this author. Like Picoult, she usually takes something from the headlines and spins a story around it. This one is about the tragedy of a social worker who makes a mistake and is suffering the consequences not only through her personal devastation, but also through the media's pursuit, the law, and the social services system. The story is intertwined with another child who is desperately trying to avoid being trapped in the social services system. While it isn't totally believable that the two would intersect nor are the two separate stories seamlessly integrated, they do keep you reading. 

It's a good book, but not written nearly as well as Gudenkauf's previous books. To be honest, I have never felt this author is as talented a writer as Jodi Picoult, but she still knows how to spin a story that keeps you engaged. My favorite book of hers still remains The Weight of Silence.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

This book is a Young Adult novel pick and also a relatively new movie. I read it because I like to keep up with the popular teen reads. Sometimes the YA books wind up becoming a part of pop culture (Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight, Harry Potter) so when a book grabs the headlines and a movie deal, I usually read it. It wasn't a bad read and, if you look past the "teen romance" element of the book and remember the audience it is targeting, it is actually a well-written YA novel. The story is rather simplistic, but I do admit to sticking with it to see "if she stays".

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

This is a hard book to review. It horrified me. It was extremely graphic in language, violence, and sexual situations. It is also one that I couldn't put down and will never forget. This is the author's breakout book and she certainly exploded onto the literary scene with a hard-hitting topic. It is set in Haiti and describes what happens when the "haves" and "have-nots" collide. Aside from the graphic horrors of what it is like to be kidnapped, assaulted, and held ransom, this book also illustrates what societies become when poverty and lawlessness is the norm.

When this author gets a bit more polished, she will be one that is going to rise to the top. In the meantime, I will not be traveling to Haiti.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

I couldn't wait for this book to come out because I adore Jodi Picoult when she reaches into headlines and brings out issues for us to examine in a new light. 

This one fell flat for me, but it is at the top of the New York Times Bestseller list so I will let you decide. As a matter of fact this one was so far off from what I expected it to be that I wrote my first scathing review on Amazon and slammed it here on the blog. 

Yes, it disappointed me so much I actually gave an entire blog post to it.

You can read my unkind review of the book HERE.

I would love to add some great titles to read in 2015. If you want to be the Elf on my Bookshelf, all recommendations are appreciated.

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