Tuesday, October 18, 2016

4 Reviews: Unique, Ridiculous, Likable, and Creepy

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Oh my. This was not anything like I was expecting. Let's just say it FAR exceeded my expectations. This was not a children's novel like I thought but still, this is the most unique story I've read in a long time. It's about a 13-year old boy who's mother is dying of cancer and he has these repeated nightmares that keeps him up at night. Then one evening a monster does come. But not the monster he's been dreaming about. This one wants the truth.

I was totally blown away by this book. The illustrations are amazing, the telling of the story felt real though most of it is imaginative. And I was crying at the end which is saying something. It's a multi-layered story in my opinion that gives you a lot to think about.

A couple of things I learned:
-It's okay to be honest with yourself and when life is tough, don't pretend that it's not. Take it for what it is. Hiding the hurt sometimes make it worse. Allow yourself to be healed. And you can survive it.
-Quote from the monster: "You do not write your life with words...you write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do." And the monster's advice to Conor is to tell the truth. Because that's the only way for him to be healed.

I loved it.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Emma and Jesse are high school sweethearts and have been together for over 7 years. They get married by the day before their anniversary, Jesse takes this helicopter flight on an expedition for work but then his helicopter crashes and he's presumed dead. Emma obviously torn apart, goes back home to Massachusetts. After 2 years of Jesse being gone, she falls in love with Sam (high school friend) and get engaged. But then 2 months later, Jesse is found alive and he's coming back. Now Emma has to decide which one to choose.

This started out pretty good but then 1/3 of the way through it was starting to sink and never got back up. I thought the characters were flat and just a lot of ridiculous that deemed normal to the author and apparently to the readers. It just seemed so weird. It's hard to tell much more than giving away spoilers. I didn't particularly like the writing either. I was done with the characters by the end, especially Emma who was the narrator. Reading this type of book was also bad timing as my week as been kind of of a dud so this did not help. I'm guessing this is more of a beach read feel. Not worth your time in my opinion.

These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

This has been on my list for a long time to read but just never got around to it. I finally buckled down and started this book and even though it took me a little bit to get into (and her language), I was swept up in the story. Sarah is a pioneer woman in the late 1800's in Arizona and the whole book is her journal entries from 1881-1901. I think it was loosely based off of Turner's ancestor and her experiences. Either way, it felt real and you got to see how hard it would be to live back then.

Every time I read stories like this I always think that I was not cut out for pioneer life and how easy I have it with all my luxuries. There were some hard and sad moments as you can imagine. One of the things I loved about it was Sarah and Savannah's (sis-in-law) relationship. Each had their own unique qualities about them that each admired and looked up to. It seemed like the pinnacle of what you imagine a sister-to-sister relationship would be. 

And Jack Elliot. He's going to be one of my top male characters (up there with Gilbert Blythe). He wasn't necessarily typical as the hero of the story but you love him anyway. There were also some great laugh-out-loud moments that just made me want to read more and more. Definitely worth reading!

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Dan Stevens won me over when we listened to Murder on the Orient Express so I was anxious to listen to his narration on And Then There Were None. This is part of my fall reading list and this one seemed to fit the bill most of all: creepy, intense, and full of mystery. And I was right. 

Austin and I went on a road trip for his grandma's funeral and we decided to listen to this in one sitting. It wasn't such a good idea when we got to the last person's death (no spoiler-look at the title) and we pulled up to a empty rest area at night. It was chilly and dark and just the whole thing made my spine shiver. I told Austin, "we're using the family bathroom!" Let's just say we got a good laugh and a great memory to go with this book. Of course, highly recommend the audio.

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