Happy Tuesday and happy Show Us Your Books link-up day! (Dang, it’s TUESDAY, which means it’s only been a week since election day! WHAT A WEEK!!!)
As usual, the Amazon links are affiliate links because cat food is expensive and I need those four cents I get if you buy a book from my link.
The Silent Patient
I heard from so many people that this was one of their favorite books in years, so I think I went in with expectations that were too high. It was good but not phenomenal. Worth reading – the writing is good and there’s just the right amount of suspense – but probably much better if you don’t go in with huge expectations.
Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
I requested this from Netgalley because I recognized the author’s name but could not think of what she wrote. (It was the Divergent series!) This is her first novel “for adults”, but it still reads very much like a YA novel with slightly older characters. I almost quit reading multiple times during the first 20%, but kept going in hopes it would get better. Every time I was about to put it down something just interesting enough would happen that I kept going in optimism. It felt like the author had created these interesting characters and then did nothing with them. The book takes place 10 years after the main group of characters saves the world, but of the allusions to things that had happened a decade before didn’t feel like slowly revealing backstory, but like I’d missed the first book in a trilogy and was trying to start with the second. And then… around 30% in something totally absurd happens. I read one more chapter before I realized I was just hate reading at that point and finally gave up. I very rarely do not finish a book, but this is going to remain forever at 35% unless I get very, very bored and decide to try again.
THIS BOOK. It tore me apart and put me back together again multiple times. I read like half of Love Warrior (her previous book) before my library ebook expired and it was good but not life-changingly good or anything. But oh man, THIS ONE. I highlighted so much. Part of it was the timing of when I read it a few months ago – my heart was in a very raw, vulnerable place so parts of her love story hit me harder than they normally would.
“When I was a child, I felt what I needed to feel and I followed my gut and I planned only from my imagination. I was wild until I was tamed by shame. Until I started hiding and numbing my feelings for fear of being too much. Until I started deferring to others’ advice instead of trusting my own intuition. Until I became convinced that my imagination was ridiculous and my desires were selfish. Until I surrendered myself to the cages of others’ expectations, cultural mandates, and institutional allegiances. Until I buried who I was in order to become what I should be. I lost myself when I learned how to please.”
“We sat down on my couch, and I spilled it all. I told her about how Abby and I had met, how we’d spent the past weeks falling deeper in love through emails, how our letters felt like blood transfusions. Each one I read and wrote pumped fresh life through my veins. I told her how ridiculous and impossible it all was.”
“Maybe Eve was never meant to be our warning. Maybe she was meant to be our model. Own your wanting. Eat the apple. Let it burn.”
I could quote the whole dang book here, but I’ll leave it at that.
One To Watch
Oh man, this is a hard one to review. I requested an ARC from Netgalley because I kept hearing how great it was, but my feelings went up and down. The story is about a woman who becomes the first plus-sized star of a Bachelor-style dating show. Much like watching reality TV, at times reading this was a lot of fun, sometimes it tugged at my emotions, and sometimes it just felt dumb. I almost quit reading after the first couple of chapters. I didn’t like the main character (that never really changed) or the format, which is a 3rd person narrative interspersed with articles, emails, tweets, podcast transcripts, etc. It got better after the first few chapters, but towards the end I found that I was pretty over it and kind of skimming.
All The Way To The Tigers by Mary Morris
I requested this book from NetGalley because I knew Mary Morris had written *something* that I liked, but as tends to be the case with me, I could not remember what. (It was “Nothing to Declare”, which sticks in my brain as the book I was reading when my dad died.) This is a sort of half-travel memoir that flashes between the author’s trip to India where she hoped to spot a tiger in the wild and the life-altering accident that she suffered a few years before the trip. It’s not action-packed, just good, solid memoir writing that makes me want to check out some of her other books that I’ve missed.
“We thrive when we have a positive goal to move toward, not just a negative state we’re trying to move away from.”
Confession: I requested this book from NetGalley like, last winter but kept postponing reading it in favor of other things I was more excited for. Then Brene Brown interviewed the authors on her podcast and the ideas were so interesting that I was super happy that I already had it and could start reading immediately! It’s an interesting, easy-to-understand book and I did pick up some handy info about processing stress from it, but if we’re being honest, I think that just listening to the podcast episode is almost as good as reading it. As with almost any book like this, some sections really hit home while others just didn’t resonate with me.
Goodreads * Amazon
I’ve really enjoyed some of Emily Giffin’s books so when I saw this one available on NetGalley I requested it immediately. I finally got around to starting it this week, and I was totally sucked in for about the first quarter of the book. However, around halfway through, the plot gets weird and the tone changes in a way that made me lose interest. I had a pretty solid guess about what the twist would be so I did a thing I rarely do and skimmed ahead to see if I was right. In the process of doing so, I saw just enough to know that the plot gets REALLY absurd along the way, and that while I didn’t totally call the twist, I was close enough. Seeing how unbelievable the plot gets turned me off from finishing it, so this is going to be a Did Not Finish. When I pulled up its Goodreads page just now to grab the link for this post, I half expected to see glowing reviews that would encourage me to go back and finish, but nope – tons of very low reviews at the top that also sound disappointed. (And dang, apparently there’s some big Emily Giffin controversy that I missed? Yikes.) Anyway, it’s weird to have too books I didn’t finish in one SUYB post since I finish almost everything I start, but I’m glad I didn’t devote more time to something that would have just annoyed me in the end.