The best thing that I can say about this book was that it made me FEEL. It was quite an emotional roller coaster, to the point that I found myself pre...moreThe best thing that I can say about this book was that it made me FEEL. It was quite an emotional roller coaster, to the point that I found myself pressing my palm to my heart more than once. The generally available plot description tells you what the story is about, but not what it's ABOUT. About how we change over the course of our lives and become people our younger selves wouldn't like or even recognize. About how the people we love will change too, and what happens when you grow apart. About how important our families are, no matter how much each member changes. About the things worth holding on to and the things you have to let go of. About what's real and what's important.
This was just a beautiful, thought-provoking, emotionally charged book. I would recommend it to any person of any age and any gender. It's powerful fiction that can make a reader rethink her outlook on life like this book does. I can't wait to read more by Moriarty.(less)
I hate to review this book because it seems I'm the only one in the world who just didn't adore it. Perhaps it was a matter of mindset. Because yes, t...moreI hate to review this book because it seems I'm the only one in the world who just didn't adore it. Perhaps it was a matter of mindset. Because yes, the writing was beautiful, and I love all things Iceland, and the plot was interesting, and the interior thoughts of the characters were worth pondering, but. I think it was just too depressing for reading it when I did (on vacation). Also, I wanted a lot more from it. It felt incomplete and ultimately unsatisfying. Of course I didn't expect a happy ending, but I just wanted more closure of some kind, I guess. I wasn't convinced of the final mental state of many of the characters. So I just don't know. I think it really was a good book but at the wrong time for me.(less)
I just fell right into this book and didn't want to stop reading for a second. I loved Don as a narrator. He was this completely refreshing voice of l...moreI just fell right into this book and didn't want to stop reading for a second. I loved Don as a narrator. He was this completely refreshing voice of logic and social awkwardness. His mannerisms and ways of dealing with friends, colleagues, and unexpected social situations were amusing and touching. His quest for a partner ("The Wife Project") leads him to help a young woman find her biological father ("The Father Project"), which eventually leads him to a personal project of reexamining himself and his life. And while the changes he makes might be inspired by a desire to succeed in The Wife Project, they're ultimately more about his being able to understand and enjoy life more -- without stepping TOO far out of the rigid boundaries of his comfort zone.
I went back and forth between giving this 4 and 5 stars. I think I just loved Don so much that I wanted his fun, heartfelt story to be more fleshed out. I have read a few reviews that suggested that the descriptions of his Asperger symptoms were oversimplified and perhaps stereotyped. Not knowing AS firsthand myself, I couldn't say. But I loved that there is a book in this world about a guy who's "wired differently" (his words) finding his way... in his own way.(less)
I haven't read any women's fiction in ages, because it's not really my thing. However, I saw a review for Freeman's new book, Lighthouse Bay, when I w...moreI haven't read any women's fiction in ages, because it's not really my thing. However, I saw a review for Freeman's new book, Lighthouse Bay, when I was looking for lighthouse books. It sounded good, so I looked into her other books, and voila... a book about a sheep station! Shades of McLeod's Daughters, my favorite show of all time. I had to try this book.
So, I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't too much in the way of station hand work and minimal Aboriginal culture despite a "blackfella" being a primary character, but otherwise, I was hooked. I just wanted more more more. I loved the parallel narrative so much that I started seeking out other books with that style. I liked Beattie and Emma for different reasons. I also liked that they were fundamentally good women yet they made bad choices -- and then had to deal with the consequences. They both learned about themselves through their experiences, and Emma learned about herself through her family history.
Oh, it's hard to describe. But the two women's stories were each good on their own, they were even better together, plus a family mystery, a touch of romance, and the Australian setting... I can't recommend it enough.(less)
This was so phenomenal I think it has to have 5 stars. I loved everything about it. The way it was framed as a man listening to tapes recorded by his...moreThis was so phenomenal I think it has to have 5 stars. I loved everything about it. The way it was framed as a man listening to tapes recorded by his deceased aunt, the way her story built and changed like a jazz song (she was a jazz musician), the exploration of American vs. Australian racism (plus being black in America vs. Australia and the nature of interracial relationships), seeing World War II from the Australian perspective and what it was like fighting in Pacific jungles, the treatment of "insanity" in the mid-20th century... It was incredible. I went back and forth between having to put it down because my heart was racing with worry for the main characters and trying to read as fast as I could because I wanted to know what happened to them. I cared about them and about their music too. (Both are sax players, and this book really made me want to pick up my sax again!) I was a bit disappointed when one plot twist at the end sort of gave away the next one, but I think it would have been hard to write any other way.
This book is everything. Musical, historical, romantic, suspenseful, beautiful, gritty, heartbreaking, thought-provoking, even inspiring. Just wow.(less)
I loved the idea for this book, and the setting was perfect, and the writing was beautiful. I enjoyed most of the book and would have given it more st...moreI loved the idea for this book, and the setting was perfect, and the writing was beautiful. I enjoyed most of the book and would have given it more stars, but I was very unsatisfied with the ending. It seemed too neat and quick for such an emotionally complex tale. I would definitely read something else by Sara Foster though... it's not her fault I'm so picky!(less)
This book was a HUGE struggle for me. It took me so long to read that my checkout expired and I had to wait to check it out again. I think the premise...moreThis book was a HUGE struggle for me. It took me so long to read that my checkout expired and I had to wait to check it out again. I think the premise was awesome, and I really enjoyed the first few and last few chapters. However, I found it very difficult to keep up with the politics in the middle section and was just thinking too hard to enjoy it. Also, military operations and intelligence strategy just aren't areas of interest for me, and probably 80% of the book revolved around just that. Don't get me wrong, it was well written, and if I hadn't recognized the merits I probably wouldn't have finished it or given it more than 1 star. I think it would be the perfect book for a certain kind of reader; I was just disappointed that reader isn't me.(less)
I was really torn about what to rate this one. On one hand, I thought it was very good. On the other hand, I found myself way too confused about sever...moreI was really torn about what to rate this one. On one hand, I thought it was very good. On the other hand, I found myself way too confused about several crucial plot points that should have been relatively simple. I really liked the characters, and they held the story together for me.The whys and hows of the kingdom being locked to them might have remained vague, but Finnikin, Evajalin, and Froi were very real to me. There was one big twist in the plot toward the end, but I saw it coming from a mile away (I was already anticipating it a couple of chapters into the book, in fact), so that took away from the ending a bit. It had promise, but I just feel like she didn't iron out the world-building details enough to make it 100% believable. Still, it was a pretty decent read.
Word of warning for YA librarians out there - there is a lot of somewhat graphic violence, frequent mentions of rape, and more than one suggestively worded mention of sex. (While there's no actual intercourse and the word "sex" or any synonyms are never used, I seem to recall Finnikin using a phrase along the lines of "wanting to be inside her," and that sort of thing.)Be careful what kids you recommend this to.(less)