I'm struggling a little bit with my thoughts and my final rating of this one. I feel like it's one of those books that is critically very good, but II'm struggling a little bit with my thoughts and my final rating of this one. I feel like it's one of those books that is critically very good, but I just didn't enjoy reading it like I hoped I would.
First, I enjoyed the world-building and descriptions of the settings. I felt completely immersed in the environment of Oasis, whether Peter was on the base or with the Oasians. The descriptions of the atmosphere and the rain were particularly evocative. I also loved reading about the Oasians themselves. As an alien race, there are aspects of their physiology and community that are familiar enough to make them accessible to the reader, yet different enough that they truly seem alien. It's not another "human" race on another planet, and they're not monsters.
As characters, I feel like the Oasian personalities develop for the reader just as they do for Peter. At first we don't know much about them, but eventually we can distinguish their personalities. This was well done. As for Peter, he is a deeply flawed character. Outwardly, he is a faithful missionary who wants to live by God's word. He tries his best to be an example for others and lives his life by the Bible. In reality, Peter is self-centered and is blind to his own prejudices. He shows little compassion for the hardships of others except as an excuse to spout Bible verses and platitudes. This is not a conscious thing for Peter. He genuinely feels that he is helping people but has no concept of how he comes off as condescending.
I also really liked reading about the failing relationship between Peter and his wife, Bea. It's the epitome of a long-distance relationship as she is still on Earth while he is light years away on Oasis. Along with the physical distance, there is a growing emotional distance because of Peter's inability to process events outside of his own immediate environment. I wish we would have had more about Bea's side of the story. I would really have liked more details about the crises happening on Earth and how she was handling them.
I'm only giving this three stars mainly because for long stretches of this book I was bored out of my mind. There are long passages describing the minutiae of Peter's life. More details than I needed or wanted. This book was much longer than it needed to be.
On a deeper level, this book raises a lot of questions. The end section of the book is an allegory with Peter's life as a parallel to the life of Jesus (temptation, resurrection, etc...). What is religion really? Is this how the story of Jesus came to be? What does it mean to have faith and be faithful?
I can see how readers who enjoy a philosophical read would enjoy this more than I did. I, however, read mostly for pleasure, and while I can appreciate the deeper questions, I was just too bored to rate this higher. ...more
This book. Wow, this book. This is the book I'll be recommending to anyone who asks me, "What should I read next?" It was very tough to read. I can'tThis book. Wow, this book. This is the book I'll be recommending to anyone who asks me, "What should I read next?" It was very tough to read. I can't remember the last time I was this uncomfortable reading a book but it is beautifully written, exciting, emotional, heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting. I truly cannot say enough good things about this book. Forgive me if I gush.
The two main characters, Vianne and Isabelle are perfect foils for each other. Vianne is the steady, responsible woman who wants only to keep her head down and protect her family. Isabelle is the younger impetuous sister who wants to be a part of the resistance no matter what kind of danger that puts her in. Isabelle thinks that her rebellion is worth the risk while Vianne is unwilling to step out of line for fear of bringing harm to her daughter. Vianne has a very quiet strength while Isabelle is outspoken. In the beginning of the book is seems that Isabelle is the stronger and braver woman for her willingness to confront danger for the the greater good. However, as the book progresses, we see the strength and bravery that it took for Vianne to live in an occupied village and the strength of will it took to keep her family safe. These characters were beautifully complex and I loved them both.
The scenery is described in amazing detail, from the actual buildings and countryside, to the overall mood of the people. As the book starts you get a clear picture of cheerful French countryside and village life as well as city life in Paris but as the book progresses, the countryside changes as bombs are dropped, neighbors are rounded up and paranoia sets in. The descriptions of settings really help to set the mood in a subtle way and the reader begins to feel the danger, devastation and fear that the villagers feel.
WWII is an era in history that I've learned about in history class and seen in the movies. I've heard about courageous men and the women who held the fort at home. I've heard about bombings and food shortages, ration cards and Rosie the Riveter. I've learned about the atrocities and the concentration camps. But everything I've learned has had a decidedly "American" slant to it. That is, being a U.S. citizen, almost all of the info I know about WWII is about our side of the story. I knew that other countries were occupied, but I knew next to nothing about what that actually meant. I knew that areas were bombed, but I knew next to nothing about how those areas would look. I never gave a second thought to the RAF pilots who were shot down in Nazi occupied areas and what would happen to them. I never knew that Nazi soldiers took up residence in French households. I knew that Jews were rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps, but I never knew how that was actually accomplished. I think as Americans, we are taught a very slanted view of history. A very self-centered version that revolves around us instead of around global issues. That's really a disservice to our children. But that's a topic for another day. Suffice it to say, The Nightingale opened my eyes to another facet of this time in history and it was absolutely riveting.
This book shines a light on the lives of women living in Nazi occupied France. I was completely oblivious to the subtle courage it took just to live. I was oblivious to the acts of bravery performed by women of the resistance. Kristin Hannah has written a real masterpiece that will teach you something while weaving a tale that is heartbreaking and gritty and poignant and beautiful and ultimately uplifting.
I'm gonna keep this one fairly short because this is a hard book to review without spoiling anything. The blurb is intentionally vague and this book iI'm gonna keep this one fairly short because this is a hard book to review without spoiling anything. The blurb is intentionally vague and this book is only about 140 pages long so there's not a whole lot to discuss. I read this in one sitting which is unusual for me because I have young kids at home. It grabbed me right from the very first page and had my captivated until the end - if you can call it an end.
Tarry Fisher wrote Charlie's chapters and Colleen Hoover wrote Silas's. They have very different writing styles but it works really well here. Many times, books written from multiple perspectives can become confusing or the "voices" are too similar and blend together. Here, they are distinct and it's easy to know which character you're reading. I won't go further into the characters because it will give away the basic plot of the book and I don't want to do that. You'll see what I mean if you read it.
As for the plot itself, the idea is an interesting one and I had absolutely no idea where they were going to go with it. It's a little but suspense, a lot mystery, maybe a hint of paranormal. The problem is, it ends so abruptly that the reader still doesn't have any idea what's going on or where the story is leading. It felt more like the first third of a book than a novella in a series. Usually, even in a series, some things are resolved while other questions are answered. Here, almost nothing is answered and you're left with even more questions than you started with.
Overall, this book was exciting, very different and compulsively readable. While the ending was not at all satisfying, it has definitely left me eager for the next in the series.
One other note: many people have classified this as New Adult. I think that's more because of the authors' other works than because of the content of this one. The main characters are both in high school and I would definitely classify it as YA.
POV: First-person through the main character, Sophie Insta-Love: No Love Triangle: No Cliffhanger: No
Sophie has MS and travels to LA to participate in aPOV: First-person through the main character, Sophie Insta-Love: No Love Triangle: No Cliffhanger: No
Sophie has MS and travels to LA to participate in a stem cell therapy trial. She can't drive and so hires Alejandro (Alex) to drive her around. It's an idea that has not been overused and has so much potential to be hopeful and poignant and a real tear jerker. Sadly, it is none of those things.
Characters: From the very beginning, I never really connected with Sophie. She's supposed to be this innocent midwestern girl with a lot of gumption who moves to the big city by herself. Instead, she comes off as a girl who thinks she knows it all and does really really stupid things. She's a damsel in distress more than once and the situations she's in are totally of her own making. There are multiple scenes where she refers to how great she is at controlling or rebuffing "Alpha boys." Those scenes really grated on my nerves, too, because most of what she did or said made no sense. Many of the things Sophie says and does are very immature. Her character is much more YA than NA.
On the other hand, I really liked Alejandro. He was sweet and kind and had a great head on his shoulders. Sophie refers to him repeatedly as an "Alpha" boy but I didn't get that at all. He wasn't overpowering or domineering. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why the heck he was so attracted to Sophie. Alex is definitely a swoon-worthy book boyfriend.
Dialogue: This is one of my biggest problems with this book. I love witty banter between a great couple. I didn't find that between Sophie and Alex. Some of the things said didn't seem to make sense and there never seemed to be a great flow between them.
Plot and Pacing: The general storyline is a good one. Sophie travels around LA looking for alternative therapies to deal with her MS. Alex drives her around and acts as her protector since she's new to the city and some of the places she needs to go are not in the nicest neighborhoods. She tries everything from massage to acupuncture to vision quests. I enjoyed reading about these and about the growing closeness between Sophie and Alex. There was an awful lot that I didn't like, though. Sophie seems to get in a lot of sticky situations and there always seem to be strangers nearby willing to help her. Many of these situations seemed a little too convenient. There were certain events that seemed to be thrown in just to spice things up instead of to really add anything to the plot and things were wrapped up a little too neatly in the end. Although, if you're a fan of HEA's, you'll probably love that. I like a happy ending, but only when they're realistically so.
Romance: The romance between Alex and Sophie seems to develop naturally. They are attracted to one another from the start but not in an overpowering "I must jump his/her bones right now" kind of way. They feel each other out and Alex tries to court her a little with these really cute gifts and gestures. They each have a secret. We know what Sophie's is and it's not hard to guess what Alex's is. There's no huge drama or hurt feelings over lies or deceit. They both come clean when the time is right. That was refreshing. There are no explicit scenes really. Any physical stuff is pretty PG-13.
Overall: I almost quite reading this book more than once. I really only continued because it was a pretty quick read, and by the time I was really fed up I was 90% done. I give this two stars instead of just one because there were some parts that I enjoyed, the romance was sweet and the general idea was good. I did not like or connect to Sophie even though every single person she meets in the book loves her on sight. I found her immature and the situations she gets herself into were borderline ridiculous. I also feel that the dialogue had a tendency to be a little jarring and didn't flow well. I was irritated and frustrated throughout most of the book. This just wasn't for me. There are a whole lot of 4 and 5 star reviews out there, though, so if you're a fan of romance, you may like this more than I did. ...more
POV: Alternating first person between Rachel, Anna and Megan
It's been a few days now since I finished The Girl on the Train. I waited to write this rePOV: Alternating first person between Rachel, Anna and Megan
It's been a few days now since I finished The Girl on the Train. I waited to write this review because I felt like I needed to mull things over, let things marinate in my head, before trying to write down my thoughts. My initial rating was four stars but this book has stayed with me. I keep thinking about it and remembering things and making connections. It's definitely a book that I would re-read and for that reason, I've since bumped up my rating to a full five stars.
Reading this book felt somewhat voyeuristic because these characters and their lives are completely raw and gritty and we see far beyond the masks they each wear day to day. That voyeuristic feel is apropos because Rachel, in turn, is also a voyeur who peeks into the backyards of her ex-husband and their neighbors while riding the train every day. All of the characters, and the narrators in particular are, by turns, sympathetic and also horribly disgusting human beings. Their personalities are each distinct yet they each have this pervading darkness.
The book blurb does a pretty good job of giving an idea of the plot without giving anything away so I won't rehash it here. This book will grab you right from the beginning. Rachel is like a train wreck and it's hard not to watch. As the book unfolds, though, you'll be sucked in even deeper and start to see connections everywhere. All three of the narrators are unreliable so with each chapter, the reader gets another piece of the puzzle and another suspicion.
This is not a traditional "whodunnit" kind of mystery, but suspicion does fall on just about every character at some point in the book. And none of them are ruled out until the very end. I had no idea where this train was going to take me until I ended up there. I think the comparisons to Gone Girl are deserved. Although the plots are not really similar, they both have flawed and unreliable narrators and a dark and gritty feel to them. They both are layered exceptionally well and you won't know what's going on until the author wants you to. ...more
This book tackles a lot of different issues. At it's heart, it's about betrayal, forgiveness and friendships. It also deals with mental illness, firstThis book tackles a lot of different issues. At it's heart, it's about betrayal, forgiveness and friendships. It also deals with mental illness, first loves and crippling self-doubt. These issues are all dealt with in very real and sometimes poignant ways. The characters are all well-drawn and complex. I didn't particularly like any of them, but I understood their feelings and motivations even if I didn't always agree with them.
In terms of plot, I found a lot of the book to be predictable. I almost always knew what was about to happen and what decisions Lulu would make. It seemed that despite the betrayal that haunts her, Lulu is actually a pretty lucky girl. Great opportunities seem to pretty much fall in her lap. That didn't sit well with me. This book is much more focused on the characters and their development than the plot. For many readers this will be just fine, but I found it a little lacking.
Overall, while I enjoyed the read, this is not a book that will stick with me long-term. I didn't really connect with any of the characters and I didn't feel fulfilled by the plot or the resolutions to the storylines. However, I think the themes explored and these characters will resonate with many other readers and this is definitely worth a read if this is a genre you like or if you're a fan of books exploring female friendships.
I was really disappointed with this book. There were a lot of plot holes and things that just didn't sit well with me. The setting and pacing were gooI was really disappointed with this book. There were a lot of plot holes and things that just didn't sit well with me. The setting and pacing were good, though. Many readers will love Sarah and will love the fast-paced action. It wasn't for me but the adventure here will be appreciated by others.
Also, I will note that although this is the third book in a series, it can be read as a standalone. It is not necessary to read this series in order.
My full review will be posted on my blog on 2/24/15. You can check it out here once it goes live....more
Overall: Much of the book details Darrow's battles to conquer Mars and as such there are some amazingly descriptive battles and a lot of action. ThereOverall: Much of the book details Darrow's battles to conquer Mars and as such there are some amazingly descriptive battles and a lot of action. There's a lot of futuristic technology used and space ships and sometimes I find it hard to picture those types of things but in this case, the descriptions were so good that I felt like I could envision everything. This book reminded me even more of A Song of Ice and Fire (a.k.a. Game of Thrones) than the first book. There is a lot of political maneuvering and a lot of deception. There were some really great twists and surprises as well. This book definitely had a different feel to it than the first. For most of it, I actually thought it was missing some of the emotional punch that the first book had. The last 75 pages or so changed that, though. The end of this book just about ripped my guts out! I had suspicions about certain plot twists but the reality was much more than I was expecting. It was horrifying and exciting and I don't know how I'm going to wait until the third book comes out. This book had a different feel than the first one but that's not a bad thing. I enjoyed it just as much. This is easily another 5 star read.
POV: First-person through the main character, Darrow
Romance: As in the first book, there are hints of romance but nothing explicit and it is not the focus of the book. Insta-Love: No Love Triangle: No
Pacing: As I mentioned in my review of Red Rising, the first half of that book was pretty slow and set up a lot for the rest of the book. In this second book, the action begins right away. There are some short lulls where a lot of intrigue is going on but then things pick up again quickly. There are some pretty amazing battle scenes and a ton of action.
Cliffhanger: Yes! Oh, the ending! It was absolutely gut-wrenching and I must know what happens next! Waiting for the third book is going to be a special kind of torture.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own. ...more
I love when you cook something low and slow. It may take a long time, but it's totally worth it in the end. All the flavors have mingled together andI love when you cook something low and slow. It may take a long time, but it's totally worth it in the end. All the flavors have mingled together and the meat is tender. This book is like that.
I really enjoyed this one. Although I wouldn't say the ending was a cliffhanger, it definitely left lots of loose ends and I look forward to reading I really enjoyed this one. Although I wouldn't say the ending was a cliffhanger, it definitely left lots of loose ends and I look forward to reading the next in the series down the road. The pacing was good, the world-building made sense and added to the overall feel of the book and I really loved Ivy as a strong yet vulnerable female lead. I would recommend to fans of YA romance or dystopia who are looking for something a little different.
I seem to be in the minority here amongst all these other 5 star reviews. I didn't love this but I also didn't hate it. There were parts of it I reallI seem to be in the minority here amongst all these other 5 star reviews. I didn't love this but I also didn't hate it. There were parts of it I really enjoyed - the male POV, the realistic romance component, the great character development - but I just wasn't a big fan of the plot here.
The Princess Bride is both my favorite book and my favorite movie so I loved reading about how the movie came to be. The stories about filming were chThe Princess Bride is both my favorite book and my favorite movie so I loved reading about how the movie came to be. The stories about filming were charming and funny. I found myself laughing out loud more than once. This book will definitely enhance your perception of many of the scenes and I recommend it to fans of the film and book alike. ...more
This is a tough one to rate. The ending (beginning?) actually surprised me. I did not expect all of the things that were revealed. I also liked the reThis is a tough one to rate. The ending (beginning?) actually surprised me. I did not expect all of the things that were revealed. I also liked the reverse timeline a lot. On the other hand, I didn't really feel any urgency or buildup of suspense. It was more like I was curious to see where it was all leading rather than I couldn't wait to find out what happened next.
Overall it was interesting and entertaining but won't be on my favorites list. ...more