Monday, October 3, 2016

Recent Reviews - Part 1

November 9November 9 by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

Oh, Colleen ... you have done it again. Broken my heart into tiny pieces and then slowly put them back together! Colleen never seems to fail me - I can always count on her novels to give me a strong story, engaging characters, heartbreaking moments and lots of great romance! This is a fantastic novel that yet again made me sob like a baby more than once! Such a good book! If you're a Hoover fan, you want to pick this up! If you haven't read her, pick this one up (or Ugly Love or It Ends With Us). SO. GOOD.

 You Will Know MeYou Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Megan Abbott and gymnastics ... YES, I am so in! No one writes about young people better than Megan Abbott so I could not wait to get my hands on this book since it centers around the world of gymnastics. The narrator perspective Abbott chose was an interesting choice here as it was not the teenage child but the mother. Ultimately, I think it worked well as it really helps the reader to get inside the head of a parent of an elite gymnast and the world they live in as a result of being a part of that world. The view into this very exclusive world was one of my favorite things about this novel. The depth of exploration in this novel was superb!

I love how Megan Abbott peels back the layers of what you think you know, unveiling how little we actually know. She is such a master at this peeling back! And I found the 'twist' or mystery at the heart of the novel to be quite good.

All in all, another great novel from Megan Abbott. Although this features a teen, I would not necessarily call this strict YA - it's very appropriate for teens AND adults. Pick it up! It's a great novel that will keep you on your toes!

NOTE: I received this novel from the publisher for an honest review.

Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life UnarmedCarry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I'm struggling a bit in reviewing this becaue I really loved it for the most part but there were aspects that didn't work for me. I love her overall themes of being honest, and taking ownership for your life. The essays focusing on her children, husband and sister were some of the best, in my opinion. The thing that fell flat for me was her focus on religion. I get it that religion is a big piece of her life and her story. Which is great. But, for those who are not 'religious' (me), it can get to be a bit too much. I'm quite spiritual but I'm not a Christian or a Muslim or a Buddhist, etc. I get the spiritual nature of her journey and appreciate her sharing it. In fact, I loved that she called out the fact that many Christians seem to forget the very teachings of Christ when they don't embrace other people whether they are 'good' or 'bad.' But, at one point, I foudn myself saying ok, I get it - you love God. You are religious. I GET IT. I wanted more of the other stuff about her life - which, frankly, speaks to her religion and it's impact in her life. Maybe it's just me but I wanted less overt religion and more of the day to day stories of her life.

So, I'm rating this one 3.5 stars because it didn't completely resonate with me. On her blog, I can generally skip the essays that are 'too religious' for me but that wasn't as easy in this book. However, I highly recommend this book overall. Very raw and real.

The MiniaturistThe Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so glad that I finally picked this novel up! It was even better than I'd expected. The premise didn't particularly grab me but the reality of the book is so wonderful! Jessie Burton is a great writer and she builds such wonderful characters in this novel. I loved learning about 7th century Holland and what life was like in that time. The story itself was quite well done - very nuanced and interesting. This novel explored a number of things that I wasn't expecting in a novel about miniatures (according to the premise) ... it's so much more than miniatures although that component is also an interesting part of this novel! There is definitely a gothic feel to this novel. Very creepy but not scary. The setting, the characters, the story .. it was all quite good. I definitely recommend this novel - especially if you're a fan of historical fiction or gothic stories!

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