Reading Wrap-Up | August 2016

This month I managed to read 7 books, which makes August my best reading month in a while! I also checked out 4 books from the library this month and I read every single one. THAT NEVER HAPPENS. I hope I can keep this streak up, lol.

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

My Rating: 2/5

I felt pretty let down by this book. I was hoping this would be a new favorite thriller book of mine, but I just didn’t like it. The writing style was fine, but I thought the contents of the writing were too repetitive (perhaps on purpose, but I’m still not a fan). I also felt like the pacing was off and the climax lacked impact. (Full Review)

 

Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My Rating: 4/5

This is the best romance book I have read in a long time. It was a sweet story with just the right amount of squeal-worthy moments and just the right amount of depth. Taylor Jenkins Reid was an amazing find for me. I can’t wait to read the rest of her books because it seems like her other works seem even more popular and well-liked than this one. (Full Review)

 

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My Rating: 2/5

I had a feeling I wouldn’t be into this book and I was right. This book has had a lot of hype around it and it has been nominated for lots of literary prizes. After reading it, I am extremely puzzled as to why. The characters were one-dimensional, the writing was dry and overall, it just felt like a bunch of random scenes were slapped together with no rhyme or reason. Wouldn’t recommend. (Full Review)

 

We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge

My Rating: 4/5

I enjoyed reading this book a lot. The writing flowed really well and something about it made me not want to put it down. The Nymphadora parts that were set in the past ended up being my favorite parts to read. I think that Greenidge could have built a really interesting novel around that period of time alone. I did think that there were too many questions left about the mother, Laurel. We could have done with more chapters and insight from her perspective. I am still a bit confused about her motives, but overall I liked this book a lot. Greenidge seems to be a promising new author and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

The Girls by Emma Cline

My Rating: 3/5

This one was just okay. I was entertained enough while reading for the most part, but when I wasn’t reading it I didn’t think about it. And I didn’t have much urgency to continue reading on. The writing was nice, but a lot of them time it felt too flowery and overwrought for no good reason. I can see why some people would really like this book, but it was just “meh” for me, personally.

 

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

My Rating: 5/5

If you have read Between the World and Me by Ta-nehisi Coates (and liked it), but haven’t read this – GET ON IT! This book is a commentary on race around the time of the civil rights movement. While we have made some strides forward, it’s sad how much of this book is still so painfully relevant in 2016. He was dropping so much wisdom, I think I underlined something on almost every page. I instantly added it to my “favorites” list upon completion. Loved it.

 

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

My Rating: 5/5

If you have been here a while then you already know how much I love A Little Life. It’s my favorite book and my friend finally decided to read it so I said I would re-read along with her and we could discuss it. I loved it just as much as the first time and it was a great experience to be able to have 2 hour long discussions with my friend and share the book I love so much with her. It is a harrowing read with characters who will stick with you forever. It may be difficult, but it is rewarding to read. Of course, I recommend it to you if you haven’t read it yet. (Full Review)

 

Those are my brief thoughts on all the books I read this month. Have you read any of them? What did you think?

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Book Review | My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout: Disjointed Rambling

My Name is Lucy Barton - Book ReviewYeah, I didn’t like this one. If you keep up with literary fiction releases at all then you would have heard of My Name is Lucy Barton. It was selected for the Manbooker Prize longlist and it’s a pretty short book so I decided to check it out. All I can say is that if this book wasn’t so short I’m positive I would have DNF’d it.

I can see where she was TRYING to go with this novel, but the execution was horrible. A lot of this book is about the relationship between mother and daughter, a subject matter that is primed to pull at the heartstrings, but the writing was so dry and the characters so one-dimensional that I felt nothing.

My Name Is Lucy Barton just seems incomplete to me. It kind of felt like she had written out a bunch of different scenes in no particular order, then just mashed them together and called it a book. I don’t know if she was going for stream-of-consciousness, but it just seemed like aimless rambling.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout - Book Review

I can’t say I would recommend this to book to people, but if you decided to read it the upside would be that it’s short so you won’t have wasted too much time. The fact that that’s the upside of this book is incredibly sad, lol.

2 Stars!

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Title: My Name is Lucy Barton
Author: Elizabeth Strout
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: January 12, 2016
Pages: 208
Find On: Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

Book Review | Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maybe in Another Life - Taylor Jenkins Reid Book ReviewThis is the Chick Lit I have been looking for! This is the Chick Lit I deserve! Oh my gosh, it’s been a long time since I read a good romance. This one had the right about of cute/squeal-worthy moments and just the right amount of depth. I actually listened to this one on audiobook and it was really entertaining to listen to. Sometimes audiobooks get a little monotonous and I stop paying attention, but I didn’t have that issue with this one at all. One part even made me scream while driving because something happened that I didn’t expect, haha.

The main character of Maybe in Another Life is Hannah Martin. Hannah is 29 years old and still figuring out what she wants to do in life when it comes to her career, where she wants to live, her love life, etc. She ends up moving back to her hometown where she settles in at her best friend Gabby’s house. They go out and run into Hannah’s old boyfriend, Ethan. At the end of the night Hannah has 2 choices: Go home with Gabby or stay out with Ethan. This is where the book starts.

From there we get to see where each path leads Hannah and those around her. This is done quite masterfully through alternating chapters. I have never read a book like this, so for me, it was refreshing and unique. This is a hard book to talk about without giving things away, so I won’t say much more about the plot.

Maybe in Another life is quite thought-provoking. You will find yourself thinking about pertinent choices you have made yourself in life and where you might have ended up if you had chosen differently. This book also explores ideas like soulmates (do they exist?) and fate (will things end the same way no matter our choices?).

I found out about Taylor Jenkins Reid from someone I follow on Goodreads. This person doesn’t particularly read Chick Lit or Romance, but they enjoyed another book by her. I thought she must be pretty good if that person liked her work (they gave her novel, After I Do, 5 stars). Maybe in Another Life doesn’t even seem to be this author’s most popular work, so I am very excited to explore the rest of her books. I have a feeling I will like them just as much, if not more!

4 Stars!

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Have you read anything by Taylor Jenkins Reid or perhaps have a favorite? Tell me all about it in the comments!


Title: Maybe in Another Life
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Contemporary – Romance – Chick Lit
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Pages: 342
Find On: Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

Book Review | Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh: Underwhelming

Eileen is a sick, disturbing individual. I found her to be interesting at first, but eventually she became monotonous. She would very often mention her “lacking appearance”, calling herself plain and thin. There are also many moments where she laments having small breasts. I don’t think there’s one chapter of the book where she doesn’t mention one of these things.

I am trying to read as much of the Manbooker Prize longlist as I can, which is why I picked up this book. Eileen is supposed to be a thriller novel, but nothing about it thrilled or excited me. It just made me gag a couple of times because Eileen is gross as hell. While reading, I kept wondering where we were going and what the point was, and when I reached the “climax”, it didn’t feel like the climax at all. Also, I want to briefly mention the character, Rebecca. She felt really slapped together and there were many moments that I thought were OOC for her.

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

Overall, I thought Eileen was flat (no pun intended) and underwhelming. The only good thing I can say about this book, is that I liked the writing style. The content just wasn’t there.

So should you read this book? I wouldn’t recommend it and I am honestly puzzled as to why it was chosen for the Manbooker longlist. Like, what are the criteria? LOL

2 Stars~

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Have you read Eileen? If so, what did you think. I’m curious if anyone has similar feelings.


Title: Eileen
Author: Ottessa Moshfegh
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Penguin Press
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Pages: 272
Find On: Goodreads | Amazon

Synopsis:
So here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you know me. I was twenty-four years old then, and had a job that paid fifty-seven dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a private juvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it now as what it really was for all intents and purposes—a prison for boys. I will call it Moorehead. Delvin Moorehead was a terrible landlord I had years later, and so to use his name for such a place feels appropriate. In a week, I would run away from home and never go back.

This is the story of how I disappeared.