Friday, June 19, 2015

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

When I was a kid The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were big reads, especially among the boys. They were classics and for some unknown reason, I avoided them. No explanation, really. I had always intended on reading them. Eventually. 

I went to see the first Hobbit movie with some family
and immediately after I had to read the book because I was dying to know what would happen next.

Of course the book was just lovely. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. I was still in school while I was reading it and I was making a point of reading bits at a time before I got down to studying. 

I took lots of notes when I was reading and I pointed out all the parts that weren't quite the same but it didn't really matter. I loved both the book and the movie. No idea why I haven't seen the other movies yet. I am terrible at actually going to the show to see something that's on. 

The fact of the matter is I loved this book. The writing was rich and colorful. My imagination had no trouble keeping up. The characters were full of life. Just a really superb read. I loved the cover I bought too. Something about it I really love.

Recommendation: Read the book. Watch the movies. No questions needed.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I came across this book towards the end of last year I believe, around the time the editions with the movie tie in covers were hitting the shelves. All I knew of it was that it was a mystery with a crazy twist. 

I was a little late to the party so I had spoken to a couple people about the book, and for the most part, they said that it was rather slow going at first but it really picked up again by the end. I was told the twist ending was worth reading the book. 

Honestly, none of that deterred me. I often find myself enjoying books where others have said they were slow or boring so I went into reading this book with a totally open mind. Well, except for the fact that Ben Affleck was starring in the movie and I'm not really a fan of his. 

I came across a deal and bought the book. Took me about three hours to read it, and I finished it in one sitting. Then I very nearly threw it across the room. 

I utterly and completely disliked this book. Why, you ask?

It was predicable. It was unrealistic. The ending was entirely improbable. There was a whole slew of bits in the middle that were unnecessary to the plot in my opinion. I won't go into more detail because I never want to spoil any book, even one I didn't like, for you the reader. 

I can appreciate what the author was trying to do with the story, and the concept was pretty neat, but it just made me mad. Her writing was perfect and I do not doubt her talent, its just it wasn't what I would have wanted. It just wasn't for me. 

The end though... I don't believe anyone, anywhere would live that way. Sorry. It could have been so much more, really. The twist was like a huge firework that shot into the air to only puff out a couple dull sparks and fade away. It was not enough. Maybe I was so annoyed with this book because it wasn't tied up neatly in a bow that sparkles and lets you know everything is all right. I don't know. 

No, I haven't seen the movie. I know things can appear differently on screen then in a book and maybe it works better as a movie. Who knows. It just didn't work as a book for me. 

Recommendation: See the movie, maybe?  I don't know. It was a total miss for me. 


Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Everywhere I look, I see photos, copies, comments, and posts about this book. Its super popular and its supposed to be the same kind of thriller some have compared to Gone Girl. 

I found it for $10 off the cover price a couple weeks ago so I snapped it up to see what all the fuss was about. We all know the synopsis by now about the girl who rides the train and sees something happen. That there's a couple in a house she always watches from her seat and a story unfolds from there. I won't say any more.

Basically it is a story told from the point of view of a couple of the main characters. It is set up with morning and night tidbits. It reads exactly how someone would think it, meaning that there is a lot of things which don't come out right away since this is the kind of story without too much foreshadowing. It is full of twists and turns and with facts being revealed all the time. It really does keep the reader on their toes.

I read this in one day, in one sitting actually. Took me about 4 hours I believe. Half way through I couldn't put it down and I just had to find out the result. I even recounted most of the story to my guy that night.

I wouldn't list this as an all time favorite, but I did enjoy it. It's one of those books that forces you to look inside the more tawdry, salacious sides of peoples lives. It tends to leave the reader feeling sort of exposed by the end. I couldn't really connect too much with any of the characters though, but I did understand them.

For the mystery type thriller that it was, it was great. I didn't figure out the who did it until the author told me which I like. It's more fun when I can't tell for sure. All in all, it was good.

Recommendation: If this book caught your attention then by all means read it and find out what all the fuss is about.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This book came into my life on a whim one day when I was looking for something different. The title sold me before I even read the synopsis. How could you not? Its just too fantastic!

This book is written in letter form between the inhabitants of the island of Guernsey and a writer during the German occupation in the 40's. It's a totally magnetic story. It drew me in immediately and I found myself becoming utterly absorbed in the characters. I laughed with them, I sighed with them, I really found myself getting wrapped up in everything they did.

There are some of you out there who might feel that it being written in letter form could be annoying but honestly, I really didn't think so. I think it was just plain magic. I loved how different it was from my usual reads and I found the whole experience quite refreshing.

My usual modus operandi was always to avoid any novels surrounding any war that didn't happen in medieval times. I just don't enjoy them. But, this one wasn't exactly like that. It was not what I expected but I was very happy with it.

I count this book among one of my absolute favourites. I honestly think this one slinks by unnoticed even with the amazingly interesting title.

Recommendation: If you get your hands on this one, give it a read. It's going to be unlike anything else you've read and I can almost guarantee you will love it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

For a while now I would pass this book on the shelf at the bookstore almost every time I was there. The cover is beautiful and the title was interesting to me, but I always passed it up. On average I prefer to spend no more than around $10 for a new book. Anything more than $15 and I pass them up. Why? because I know I can find it later at the used book store or the thrift store if I wait for a lot cheaper. Or I can find it online for a lot cheaper too. Either way, this book wasn't coming home with me until it was a great deal. As it turns out, I didn't find it for a cheaper price, instead when I was browsing a table of books one day at the store, I came across it again and it was signed. No way I could pass that up!

I had the usual preconcieved notions going into this book. It sounded like the usual witch who doesn't know she's really a super power who meets a dark mysterious vampire who is quiet but super protective without knowing her at all. They were going to complete some mission together and fall in love. Don't get me wrong, I do really enjoy those books. And yes, this one had all those elements just like I thought, but it also had a whole lot more. 

Everything about it felt a little different. The story really morphed and evolved into something I really wasn't expecting. It was beautifully written and it left me wanting more. There was a lot of interesting historical referenes and details that did not feel dumbed down like in some other books. It was lovely. It actually took me a lot longer to read than I thought it would. I didn't mind though it was a very interesting read.

The characters were written so well. There was depth to them, vulnerability, and strength which you don't always see in this type of story. I found it quite refreshing. My preconceived notions that would have turned into a complaint were dashed by the end. Now I am hooked. I am so happy that this is the first of three in a series and that all of the books in the series are out already so I won't have to wait too long to read the rest!

Recommendation: I highly recommend it. If you like stories about witches and vampires who fall in love and save the world, then read this. I know you will love it too!