Wednesday, October 14, 2015

From the Bookshelf: Recently Read - October 2015 Edition

This month's Show Us Your Books! post might be a personal best for me. Somehow I managed to read 9 books since the last link-up! I'm not even sure how that's possible since I felt like it took me forever to read a few of these, but I'm really proud of myself. I'm now just a mere 4 books away from hitting my goal of 50 for the year!

Life According to Steph

I won't waste a lot of time with the introduction because we all know you're just here to see what I thought of the books I read most recently. As always, I've written a detailed review as well as a "TL;DR" summary at the end for those who prefer something a little less involved. (And linking up with Steph and Jana on the one year anniversary of this awesome link-up, of course!)

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The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman - 338 pages

Completed on 09/09/2015 - Read more reviews on Goodreads

This was a really difficult book for me to rate. Part of me felt like some of the situations were completely unbelievable and the characters were (mostly) unlikable.

But another part of me really enjoyed this novel. It's dark and disturbing (so obviously my kind of thing), and it really got under my skin (in the best way possible).

The Kingdom of Childhood is essentially all about infidelity. More specifically, it focuses on a relationship that blossoms between Judy McFarland, a married kindergarten teacher in her early 40s, and a 16-year-old boy from the Upper School (who happens to be friends with her son.)

At first I thought the relationship between Judy and Zach was the result of a woman's desire to be desired. Her husband is preoccupied with earning his Ph.D., and isn't exactly the sweetest guy when he does give her attention.

After finishing the novel, though, I'm not so sure. I think both of them have a similar need for escape, but they're both so fucked up and manipulative with one another that it becomes less of a relationship and more of an obsession. They're literally addicted to one another, and, no matter the consequences, grow increasingly bolder with their actions.

Rebecca Coleman managed to blur the lines with this novel: it's not as simple as "she's obviously a predator taking advantage of a young boy." While that's certainly part of it, Zach also uses any leverage he has to get what he wants.

I think this is why I like books like this so much. I think any author who can make me see things from different angles or write in a way that doesn't clearly define "good" and "bad" or "right" and "wrong" is amazing. The Kingdom of Childhood is a challenging read in all the right ways, and it lingers long after the last page.

My only criticism is that I wish Coleman had either stuck with third person narrative or first person (possibly shifting between Judy's and Zach's point of view). Instead, she used first person (from Judy's point of view) sometimes and third person (when focusing on Zach) sometimes. It was not only a little confusing, but also inconsistent (which may be why it was confusing).

Parts of the book were also a little slow, but once I got sucked in, I had a hard time putting it down. It took me almost a week to read it, but that was because I was really busy. If I'd had the time, I probably would have finished it in a couple of days.

Overall, I thought The Kingdom of Childhood was great. (I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, if you're curious.) It was thought provoking, and the type of novel I'd want to read and discuss in a book club.

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Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes - 436 pages

Completed 09/13/2015 - Read more reviews on Goodreads

I almost gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads, but I had to settle for 4. It was really good (on the verge of being amazing), but it took me a while to get into it and a couple of things kind of bugged me about the ending. (I'm anti-spoiler, though, so that's all I'll say about that.)

I think the reason it took me a while to really get into this book was because there were so many main characters. There's Detective Gabriella Versado, lead investigator on the newest set of horrific murders plaguing Detroit, and her daughter, Layla, a young teen who puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations. There's Thomas Keen (or TK, as he prefers to be called), a homeless man who will do anything to keep the people he loves safe. There's Jonno, a freelance journalist obsessed with learning (and sharing) all he can about The Detroit Monster. And, finally, there's Clayton Broom, an aging artist intent on bringing his vision to life ... No matter the cost.

Because there are so many major players in the story, significant portions of the novel are dedicated to getting to know each of these characters and their backstories. For the most part, Lauren Beukes only shares the details that are most important. Unfortunately, it makes for a somewhat slow start.

I will say this, though: on Saturday morning, I was on page 142. By late Sunday afternoon, I'd finished the book. I don't consider myself a fast reader, so it says a lot when I can read almost 300 pages in just a couple of days. (And, trust me, this wasn't a "quick read" kind of book!)

Broken Monsters is interesting because it doesn't neatly fall into any one category. It's a crime thriller (though you do find out who the killer is early on, so it's not a true "suspense" novel), but it's also a novel about the power of the internet and social media. It also touches on things like mother/daughter relationships, friendships, and moving on from the past. And, just to keep things interesting, Beukes also threw in some supernatural shit. (And this is partly why I couldn't bring myself to give this novel 5 stars.)

Overall, I thought Broken Monsters was an entertaining read. Despite a fairly slow start (minus the first chapter, in which Gabriella sees the first very unusual body left by the killer who later becomes known as The Detroit Monster), it eventually picked up and I found myself completely hooked. And, while I wasn't frantically trying to move ahead to figure out who was responsible for the murders, I needed to know what was going to happen next.

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Last Train to Babylon by Charlee Fam - 335 pages

Completed on 09/16/2015 - Read more reviews on Goodreads

I liked Last Train to Babylon, but I wanted to love it.

Aubrey has just gotten the news that her best friend (make that ex-best friend), Rachel, has committed suicide, and she doesn't know how to feel. Mostly, though, she just feels bitter.

Although she doesn't plan to attend the funeral, Aubrey goes back to her hometown. But her return to Seaport stirs up the memories she's tried to repress for years: times spent with Rachel (both good and bad), her relationship with Adam, her high school boyfriend, and all the shit that led to the unraveling of her relationships with the two people who were once most important to her.

The thing about a novel like this is that it can stir up some intense emotions. I didn't cry while I was reading it, but I came close a couple of times. And those were the times when I felt like I was reading an entry in my old journal.

My experiences (thankfully!) weren't identical to Aubrey's, but I could definitely relate to so much of this novel. For the most part, Charlee Fam did a great job creating believable characters with believable experiences. There were times, though, when I thought, "I don't think anyone would really do this." I know I can't compare everything to my own life, but when I identify so strongly with something, I can't help it. And even in my worst, most self-destructive moments, I don't think I would have even considered doing some of the things Aubrey did.

It was a good book (especially considering it was a debut novel!), and I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. I enjoyed the story, and I liked the fact that it was centered around the loss of a childhood friendship (something I think most of us can relate to by the time we've finished college). I just didn't fall in love with it.

As I tried to figure out what kept me from loving it the way I thought I would, it suddenly clicked. This book sounded like it was written for me. And I realized that it kind of was ... It was just written for the girl I was about 10 or 11 years ago.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - 435 pages

Completed on 09/21/2015 - Read more reviews on Goodreads

I finally decided to check out one of Rainbow Rowell's novels, and I have to say that I wasn't impressed.

To be fair, I chose to start with one of her less popular books. I did this on purpose because I knew if I read something and absolutely loved it, I'd want to check out all of her other books. And if I started with something amazing and then read something that was just "okay," I knew I'd be disappointed.

After reading Fangirl, I have to believe that there's nowhere to go but up. I hope so, anyway. I mean, books like Eleanor & Park and Attachments don't get rave reviews for no reason ... Right?

I was looking for something light and fluffy to mix things up, and Fangirl certainly fit the bill. While I love dark and disturbing books, I'd been reading a lot of pretty heavy things lately, and I kind of just wanted to read something that was purely entertaining. Unfortunately, Fangirl really wasn't that entertaining.

Rainbow Rowell had some really good ideas, but I felt like the execution was kind of sloppy. And some of the writing. Oh God!

I feel like an asshole ripping apart someone else's work, but when you write things like "[Character's name removed to avoid spoilers]'s smile broke free and devoured his whole face. It started to devour her face, too." and "[Character's name removed to avoid spoilers] licked her mouth like he was trying to get the last bit of jam off the back of her throat" ... Well ... No. Just no. That's fucking terrible, and I have no idea if the jam thing is supposed to be awkwardly funny or sexy. (I really hope that's not her idea of sexy!)

So now that I've rambled on about how awful most of this book was, I suppose I should at least tell you what it's about.

Cath and her twin sister, Wren, (yes, those are their actual names) go away to college. Although they go to the same school, Wren has decided she wants to be more independent and experience things (like drinking and parties) without her twin. Cath simply wants to spend time alone in her dorm room, updating her very popular Simon Snow fanfic.

The very introverted Cath is suddenly thrown out of her comfort zone and finds herself trying to navigate her freshman year on her own, dealing with a roommate who may or may not hate her, her roommate's charming boyfriend (who always seems to be around), a creative writing professor who seems to expect a lot from her, and a cute guy from her class who either likes her or just wants her help writing stories. On top of all this, she's constantly worrying about her dad. He has some mental health issues and has never really been completely alone (her mom left the family when she and her sister were only 8 years old).

I actually gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads because it had a few redeeming qualities. Along with the terribly written passages, there were some really nice passages (mostly referencing what it feels like to write and create something out of nothing). Rowell also did a nice job reminding me what it felt like to be a freshman in college. (For the record, it was pretty scary at first. While many of my friends went to a local university, I went to a school 6 hours away ... And I knew no one.)

I also liked the fact that Rainbow Rowell is from Omaha. I've lived in Omaha for 6 years now (crazy!), and it was fun to pick out all the real life references in the book (Valentino's, Jacobo's, Guaca Maya, etc.). However, I did find it a little strange that she describes Lincoln in a way that makes it sound like it's really far from Omaha (it's only 45 minutes to an hour) and like it's in the middle of nowhere. I mean, Lincoln is a really small city, but it's not what I would consider "middle of nowhere Nebraska." You'd need to go a little further west in order to get to that part of the state.

Because she's from my area and because she's so popular, I want to give Rainbow Rowell another chance. If the next book I choose is as bad as this one, though, that's it. I don't want to waste that much of my time!

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Disclaimer by Renee Knight - 336 pages

Completed on 09/25/2015 - Read more reviews on Goodreads

When I started reading Disclaimer, I thought it was okay. I wasn't immediately sucked in, but I was curious to see if it would get more interesting.

I know that a lot of people will give up on a book if it doesn't immediately grab their interest (or at least grab their interest within the first 100 pages or so). I'm not one of those people. In most cases, it kind of sucks that I need to find out what happens in the end. I'm rarely satisfied, and I usually get annoyed that I forced myself to read something that wasn't that entertaining just because I "needed" to finish it.

When I came to the end of Disclaimer, I was reminded why I stick it out with books that aren't amazing from the start. Nine times out of ten, a boring and/or shitty book will end the same way it began: boring and/or shitty. But there are those rare books that kind of sneak up on you and deliver the kind of ending you were hoping for ... The kind of ending that made reading that novel worthwhile. Disclaimer was one of those books.

I originally picked this book up because the plot sounded really intriguing. Catherine Ravenscroft finds a mysterious novel, The Perfect Stranger, on her bedside table with no idea how it got there. She decides to read it, enjoying it at first ... Until she realizes the book is about her.

The Perfect Stranger describes a very specific event that happened 20 years ago. It's something she's tried desperately to forget and has, until now, kept secret. The only other person who knows exactly what happened is dead.

But Catherine isn't the only person who has received this book. Her 25 year old son, Nicholas, also has a copy. As time goes by, she begins to realize that maybe someone else knows the truth ... Someone who is very much alive.

This is definitely one of those books that requires you to suspend your disbelief. If you can't do that, you probably won't enjoy it at all. But, while it's not the most realistic story, it was fine for a relatively quick and easy read.

I will say that I found some of the writing to be a little awkward and clunky, but it was Renee Knight's debut novel ... So that's probably to be expected. I also wished the characters had been a little more developed. I assume Knight was deliberately trying to keep Catherine at a distance because she wanted to keep her readers wondering whether they should like and trust her, but, unfortunately, it made me care a lot less about what happened to her. (And, really, I felt the same about all of the other characters as well.)

And while I didn't think the twist was mind blowing or overly original, I thought she did a nice job tying it in with the rest of the story. I liked the fact that she basically flipped the reader's original perception of the events Catherine tried to keep hidden. It made for a much more interesting book, especially since I was pretty disappointed when parts of that time in her life were revealed near the middle of the book. (At that point, it was like, "Whomp whomp. Your so-called 'dark secret' is pretty lame.")

Although Disclaimer wouldn't fall under the "must read" category, I thought it was decent. It didn't live up to the hype for me, but it had a really interesting premise and the ending didn't disappoint. I wound up giving it 3 stars on Goodreads.

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon - 306 pages

Completed on 09/28/2015 - Read more reviews on Goodreads

I think I may have started this book with ridiculously high expectations. I thought it could potentially be another book like The Sea of Tranquility ... A book that would literally make me feel almost every emotion, and end with me ugly crying for a long time after the final page.

It didn't.

I liked Everything, Everything, but I didn't love it. I thought the overall "Life is a gift, so don't waste it" message was great (and a great reminder!). I also liked that Nicola Yoon included illustrations in the book. It made for a quick read (I probably could've finished this in a single day if I hadn't been so busy with other things), and I thought it was a pretty unique idea. Additionally, I really liked the main characters.

Before I go any further with my thoughts, though, I'll summarize what this book is about.

Madeline is a teenager with bigger problems than finding a date to prom or stressing out about a midterm. She has SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), a rare disease that forces her to stay indoors at all times and have limited contact with others. She's accepted her life as it is, finding enjoyment in books, game and movie nights with her mom, and chats with her nurse, Carla. She's mostly content ... Until a new family moves in next door and changes everything.

She begins chatting with the boy next door, Olly, online. He's smart and attractive and different, and Madeline suddenly doesn't feel like her mostly solitary life is enough anymore. She knows it will likely end in disaster, but she can't help it ... She's falling in love.

Nicola Yoon does a great job describing the thoughts and feelings of a person falling in love. But, although it was a cute love story, I felt it lacked some substance. Maybe I'm a bitter, jaded old lady, but I found several parts of the novel completely unbelievable. I won't share them here (because spoilers), but I felt like Yoon kind of cheapened the story by throwing in some things simply to move the plot forward. If she'd chosen to add more realistic elements to the story, I think I would have enjoyed it a little more and been a little more invested in the outcome.

I'll admit that I did tear up a bit at the end, but I didn't get overly emotional because, as I said, I felt a little less invested in the story once things started to seem a little too over-the-top. I understand why the author chose to do some of the things she did, but it still ruined parts of the novel for me.

That being said, I enjoyed the book and gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. If you're looking for a (mostly) fluffy, quick read, Everything, Everything would be a great choice. If, however, you want to read something with a little more substance, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

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The One That Got Away by Simon Wood - 289 pages

Completed on 10/04/2015 - Read more reviews on Goodreads

I actually requested that my library purchase The One That Got Away after seeing it pop up as a recommendation on Goodreads multiple times. They don't purchase every book I request, but so far they've purchased 4 of them (including The Sea of Tranquility). Obviously since I requested it, I was pretty excited to start reading it.

The novel begins with a bang: Zoe Sutton wakes up naked and alone in an unfamiliar toolshed in the desert. Her hands and feet are bound, and she feels pretty out of sorts, as though she's been drugged. She also realizes that two letters have been carved into her hip: I and V. Although she doesn't have all her wits about her, she manages to find and use some tools in the shed to cut apart her ties so she can escape.

As she's leaving, she sees light coming from another building nearby and she decides to check it out to see if she can find her friend. (The two girls were driving home from Vegas together, and Zoe hasn't seen any sign of Holli since she woke up.) When she looks inside, she sees her friend hanging by her bound wrists from a hook in the ceiling. She wants to help her friend, but knows they'll both be dead if she attempts to save her from their attacker. So she does the only thing she can: she hops in her car and drives away in search of help.

Fifteen months later, Zoe hasn't shaken her survivor's guilt. She's changed everything about her life and cut herself off from everyone she loves. She's also begun taking self defense classes. But what she doesn't realize is that she's going to need that training. Her abductor hasn't forgotten about her ... To him, she's the one that got away.

Reading this book was kind of like watching an episode of Criminal Minds or something similar on TV. Simon Wood tells readers who the abductor/murderer is pretty early on, but he more slowly reveals his motivations and history. Wood also focuses on the detectives investigating a new murder that quickly becomes linked to Zoe's abduction, as well as on Zoe and her struggle to come to terms with what happened to her.

Unfortunately, the book wasn't without its flaws. For one, I wished that Wood had developed the friendship between Zoe and Holli a little more. While it's easy to imagine that someone would be wracked with guilt if they had to leave their friend in a dangerous situation in order to survive, it's difficult to care much about Holli because Wood doesn't tell his readers much about her or her relationship with Zoe.

Additionally, a lot of things seemed to just conveniently fall into place. I know it's fiction and some suspension of disbelief is required, but it's more difficult to do that when the author has written a book that's supposed to be a little more realistic. I mean, this wasn't a story where supernatural forces were at work ... This was a story about a woman who is struggling to move on after escaping a violent death and the abductor/murderer who has not forgotten about her.

I also got a little annoyed with the abductor/murderer. It kind of felt like Simon Wood had watched one too many episodes of Dexter and wanted to create a similar kind of character. Dexter Morgan is a much better character, though, and I feel like his motives actually make sense. In The One That Got Away, the abductor/murderer's motives kind of make sense after readers are given more insight into his history, but they still seem kind of silly.

Despite its problems, The One That Got Away was an okay way to pass the time. I felt like it took a surprisingly long time for me to get through it, though, despite the fact that it was under 300 pages. While some parts grabbed my attention, other parts were just kind of "meh." I couldn't decide if I wanted to give it 2 or 3 stars on Goodreads, but it was probably more like a 2.5 or 2.75, so I rounded up. It's definitely not the best book I've read recently, but it also definitely wasn't the worst.

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The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty - 394 pages

Completed on 10/10/2015 - Read more reviews on Goodreads

I'm going to begin this review by saying that I was a little disappointed in this book at first. After reading (and loving!) Big Little Lies earlier this year (my review can be found here, if you're interested), I expected to once again be sucked in immediately. I pictured at least a couple of long nights spent tearing through the novel, too engrossed to be bothered with going to bed at a reasonable hour.

But ... That didn't happen. Well, it didn't happen immediately, anyway.

After several days of managing to only get through a few chapters, I wondered if I would ever possibly make it through this book. It felt like it was taking forever, and it really wasn't holding my interest.

And then, suddenly, Liane Moriarty decided to slap me in the face with her story. It was as if she wanted to say, "See, Kristen? This book is worth reading after all! I wouldn't let you down!"

As with Big Little Lies, Moriarty has assembled a rather large cast of characters in The Husband's Secret. She first introduces us to Cecilia, a wife and mother of three beautiful daughters who manages to inspire envy with her perfection. She seems capable of doing anything and everything, and making it look completely effortless.

We next meet Tess, a wife and mother of a young boy. Moriarty begins her introduction of this character with a bang: her husband, Will, and her cousin, Felicity, have just told her they've fallen in love.

Finally, we become acquainted with Rachel, an elderly widow living a life consumed by a tragic event that took her daughter's life nearly 30 years ago. Although she has a son, Rob, (who is married with a young son of his own), she doesn't seem able to give him the love and attention he deserves.

All of these women barely know one another and lead seemingly very different lives. However, after Cecilia discovers a letter her husband had written to her that is meant to be opened only after his death, their stories become intertwined.

Although I had pretty much figured out what John-Paul's secret would be, I really appreciated the twists Moriarty threw in near the end. I was so captivated by what was happening that I couldn't bear to put the book down until I was completely finished. (Luckily, I was reading this on a Saturday afternoon when I had absolutely no plans!)

Through the majority of the novel, I had a feeling I'd be giving it 3 stars on Goodreads. I liked the story and most of the characters, but it wasn't something I looked forward to picking up. But once I got to a certain point in the book ... Wow. I can't give it 5 stars because it wasn't as amazing as Big Little Lies, but it definitely earned a solid 4 (maybe even 4.5) stars by the end.

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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng - 292 pages

Completed on 10/12/2015 - Read more reviews on Goodreads

I knew going in that I would probably like this book. The story sounded exactly like something I'd enjoy reading, and it received a lot of positive reviews on Goodreads. But I had no idea that I'd completely fall in love with everything about it.

Everything I Never Told You is the story of a mixed-race family of five living in small town Ohio in the 1970s. The novel begins with the death of the middle (and favorite) daughter, Lydia, but don't be fooled ... This isn't a suspenseful thriller.

From that moment on, Celeste Ng begins to reveal, bit by bit, all of the things that brought the Lee family where they are today. The successes, the failures, the inability to fit in, the expectations, the dreams that were never achieved. It's an incredibly moving portrait of a family coming apart at the seams, seemingly held together only by the fragile thread that is Lydia. And after Lydia's death, everything changes.

This is one of the most beautifully written books I've read in a long time. It's amazing that this is Ng's debut novel! Her characters and so much of what they experienced were so real.

Initially I was drawn in by the beautiful writing and the dramatic opening: "Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet." As I continued reading, though, I became more and more invested in these characters and how they could possibly move on from the tragic loss of their daughter and sister.

Because Ng chose to tell the story in a nonlinear way, the reader is also given insight into who Lydia was. The novel jumps around in time quite a bit, but I thought it flowed incredibly well. This was probably one of the best nonlinear novels I've ever read, actually. Ng does an amazing job using this device to develop her characters and give readers the background they need to begin really caring about them.

And, man, did I care about them! I sobbed through pretty much the entire last chapter. I haven't cried this much over a book since I read The Sea of Tranquility (and many of you know exactly what a heartbreaking book that is!).

Basically what I'm saying is this: if you haven't read Everything I Never Told You, you need to. I gave it a very enthusiastic 5 stars on Goodreads, and I'm now looking forward to more work from this amazingly talented author!

"TL;DR" Summary:

Despite the large number of books I've read recently, only one of them managed to receive a 5 star rating from me on Goodreads.

Everything I Never Told You is one of the most beautifully written novels I've read in quite a while. It's a family drama, but its brilliance lies in its realism. The characters are dealing with some very heavy issues, but the story never feels over-the-top. If you read only one book from this post, read this one. 

I also highly recommend The Kingdom of Childhood, Broken Monsters, and The Husband's Secret (though I'm sure many people have already read this one). 

The Kingdom of Childhood is a little disturbing when you consider the subject matter (a teacher/student relationship), but I thought it was very thought provoking. I was still thinking about it days after I finished it. 

Broken Monsters is an interesting blend of crime thriller, drama, social commentary, and supernatural horror (among other things). I found it difficult to put it down after I hit a certain point in the novel, though I was a little annoyed with a couple of things in the end.

The Husband's Secret started off very slowly for me, but then, suddenly, I was completely captivated. I spent almost an entire Saturday finishing this up because I couldn't stand the idea of not knowing how everything played out in the end. I'm definitely quickly becoming a Liane Moriarty fan!

I also really enjoyed Last Train to Babylon, Disclaimer, and Everything, Everything

Last Train to Babylon is a pretty heavy story, but it's handled beautifully. The only reason it didn't earn a higher rating from me is because I didn't connect with it the way I thought I would (or maybe even should, since I could relate to a lot of the things in the book). It's definitely still worth reading, though.

Disclaimer is iffy for me. I thought a lot of it was kind of slow and very "blah," but then the ending really delivered. If you're the type of person who is likely to quit a book in the middle if it's not holding your attention, this probably isn't the book for you. I'm glad I stuck it out, though.

Everything, Everything is a really cute and unique YA love story. Unfortunately, I found it lacking in substance, but I did enjoy it overall.

I only somewhat enjoyed The One That Got Away. If you're a fan of shows like Criminal Minds, you might like this book. However, if, like me, you have a hard time getting through a book when things just conveniently fall into place, you may find it to just be "okay." It's definitely not a book I'd recommend highly, but I wouldn't tell someone not to read it either.

The only book I really didn't enjoy this time around was Fangirl. I was really disappointed because I wanted to love it ... Instead I found myself constantly rolling my eyes and wondering how quickly I could finish it and move on to something better. I know a lot of people love Rainbow Rowell, so I haven't given up on her completely, but this book just didn't do it for me.


  1. E&P and Attachments are WAY better than Fangirl. But if you want to read Carry On, Fangirl is sort of a prerequisite.

    Everything Everything is already on my TBR, and I loved Everything I Never Told You. The Husband's Secret was good. Not amazing to me, but good. I'm adding Broken Monsters since it seems like my kind of book.

  2. I'm intrigued by The Kingdom of Childhood.

    The only Rowell book I liked is Eleanor & Park. I don't get the appeal of the others.

  3. I haven't read Fangirl yet. But. I LOVED Attachments & E&P. Love love loved. But, I read Attachments first and then E&P. I've also read Landline, didn't love it as much.
    I read The Husband's Secret before Big Little Lies, so it was good but not great. If I had read it after Big Little Lies, I would have hated it haha because it totally does not compare!

  4. This: "I think any author who can make me see things from different angles or write in a way that doesn't clearly define "good" and "bad" or "right" and "wrong" is amazing." I totally agree. I have my own personal experience of being involved with a teacher (I blogged about this, if you're interested). I think it may be the only subject matter that I'd have a difficult time reading a book about the topic. I would have a difficult time separating my personal thoughts and experiences from the sotry.

    I don't often read something with a supernatural element to the story, but I think I'd give Broken Monsters a try.

    Everything I Never Told You made me want to shake the characters and say "communicate!", "talk!", "don't let this happen!"...those emotions made for a good response to a book for me.

    For Fangirl, I'm on record saying I liked the book, but I thought Reagan the roommate was the best part.

  5. I loved Everything I Never Told You and a lot of people didn't. I like how it was written. It was haunting, in a way. Totally agree on Fangirl and I liked Eleanor & Park a whole lot more - I'm glad I gave her another shot! I can't keep Liane Moriarty's books straight since they all follow the same formula (three stories at once, something to intertwine them, shocking revelation near the end) but I think I did find this one more predictable than the rest!

  6. I LOVED Everything I Never Told You. It stuck with me for weeks after I read it. I just read Everything Everything and felt the same way as you. It was cute, but didn't wow me. I also didn't love Fangirl. Nothing compared to Eleanor and Park for me by Rainbow, but I keep on reading her books. Haha!

  7. I love how in depth your reviews are. The Kingdom sounds interesting. I like the creepy factor and the cover but sometimes cheating scenarios can sound forced in books. Sad you didn't like Everything. Also sounds like I need to read Everything I Never. Seems like everyone likes it.