Books, Books, and More Books

I keep meaning to do a post on the books I’ve been reading — but instead I pick out another book and read it. So, I’ve developed quite the list! Here’s my review on all of the ones that have been keeping me busy. I definitely do not recommend all of them.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

NightCircus

Synopsis:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is calledLe Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

I read this for a book club meeting I didn’t end up attending (boo!). Too bad because this book was really interesting and I bet there was a lot of good discussion. The beginning was a little confusing (you are just immersed into the book without an explanation of the characters), but I quickly caught on and loved the background and build up of the circus. There are really two main stories being told throughout the book and I liked how they came together in the end. If you are looking for something that is a little out of the ordinary, but still captivating, this book is for you!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Perks

Synopsis:

Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is navigating through the strange worlds of love, drugs, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, and dealing with the loss of a good friend and his favorite aunt.

I read this book because I had heard so many good things about the movie and I have this thing about needing to read a book first. I still haven’t seen the movie, but I can see how it could be better than the book. The book wasn’t horrible, but it’s not necessarily what I expected.

For one, I thought I would relate to the characters a little more. The main character, Charlie, is a freshman in high school – the same year I was a freshman in high school. Instead, the book just made me feel old! The overall story was interesting (albeit a little depressing) – but the way to was written (as letters to an unknown recipient) was irritating, somewhat immature, and one-dimensional to me. Still, it was a quick read and I didn’t necessarily want it to end. In fact, I’d really like to know what Charlie is up to now.

A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

CasualVacancy

Synopsis:

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Another book club pick.

Don’t let the author on this thing fool you. Yes, I HATED this book.

A lot of people are reading and comparing it to Harry Potter — but I went into it expecting the opposite of HP. I knew there would be language and sex and everything HP was not. What I didn’t expect was a crop of characters I cared nothing for (I hated ALL of them) and a plot that seem nonexistent. Did an editor read this book??? So much of the story could been cut out completely. There were so many descriptions  and interactions of unimportant characters. Also: So.many.characters.

I read that they are turning this into some kind of TV show for the BBC. WHY???

Despite my disdain – I read every single word of this disgustingly long and drawn out book. I beg of you – do not do the same.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

SecretKeeper

Synopsis:

During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.

Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.

Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined.

I love historical fiction and I have pretty much loved everything that Kate Morton has written — and this book was no different. It exactly what I needed after reading A Causal Vacancy! Even though I predicted the ending, I really enjoyed the two stories that were told. It’s not as good as The Forgotten Garden, but still a good read and recommend it if you are looking for a little mystery.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

FaultStars

Synopsis:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

I was looking through various 2012 best books of the year lists – and this one was pretty much on ALL of them… AND it’s a Young Adult book to boot. Who says YA books can’t be well written? I have to agree – this is definitely one of the best books I read this year. It’s funny. It’s witty. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a reality check. I pretty much bawled my eyes out– but man, it was a good cry. Go read it.

Paper Towns by John Green

PaperTowns

Synopsis:

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge— he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues— and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.

As you can see, I kinda went on a John Green binge once I finished The Fault in Our Stars. This book actually takes place in Orlando (where John Green grew up up – he is a year older than me and probably went to middle school/part of high school with my hubby) and it’s part of the reason I was so drawn into the story. Orlando is one of the main players (I was amused about some of the places that he mentions — and how he changed the name of Baldwin Park to Jefferson Park. It was quite evident that’s the neighborhood Q and Margo live in!).

Like The Fault in Our Stars, this book is also witty and funny – but has a serious side to it (there weren’t any tears this time though!). The beginning of the book was better than the end (Q gets a little obsessed to the point were the story becomes repetitive), but it’s still a worthwhile read.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

LookingAlaska
Synopsis:

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

Yes, another John Green book. This is one of his first books (I went backwards) and the characters are very parallel to Q and Margo in Paper Towns (with a different plot). One thing I really enjoy about his books is how realistic he writes teenagers. He doesn’t dumb down the plot because he’s writing to a teenage audience. He writes about realistic events and emotions and doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. I recommend any of his books — but maybe not all in a row like I read them!

Since I got a new Nook for Christmas (I love the Glowlight, btw), I’m on a serious reading kick! I’m currently reading I am Charlotte Simmons (why haven’t I read this book?) and up next is  The Book Thief (again – another book I’ve been meaning to read).

What are you reading? Any recommendations?? Here’s to happy reading in 2013!!

Comments

  1. says

    I love a good book. I wish I felt like I had more time to read. I just finished reading Born to Run. It was a very interesting book and it really makes you look at running differently. I’m now reading Something Blue. It’s the next book in the series after the book Something Borrowed (I can’t remember the author). But, so far, so good. Next time I need a good book, I’ll reference this list. :)
    Ara recently posted..I’d Like to Thank the Academy…

    • says

      I really liked Born to Run and yes, I definitely looked at running differently — though I am definitely not someone who can just run and run and run. We may be born to do it – but it certainly doesn’t feel natural to me!!

  2. says

    I love reading book reviews for ideas! I am actually re-reading Harry Potter books right now but have “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh next on my reading pile. I read the reviews of “Casual Vacancy” on Amazon as I was excited when it came out but decided not to read it based on everyone not loving it…hate that it isn’t good. I also just looked at those books by John Green and now think I will add them to my TBR list. Thanks!

    • says

      I wish I could read for a living too!! I think you you’d really like The Fault in Our Stars. It made me wish we still had book club! Let me know if you read it

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