Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What I Read Wednesday

LaRose: A Novel
I was pretty excited about this book because I loved The Round House by the same author, but I struggled to get into this one. Landreaux Iron is out deer hunting when he aims at a buck and instead shoots and kills his neighbor's son, Dusty. In exchange for Dusty, Landreaux and his wife decide to follow the old customs and give their son, La Rose, to the neighbors in exchange for the life Landreaux took. While this storyline itself was solid and I felt could have carried the book, the author shot off in so many different directions that I struggled. You have Romeo, the town drunk, who grew up with Landreaux and his son, Hollis. You have an addicted mother and her daughter, trying to survive on the streets, as well as many other tertiary characters. I struggled to follow along and care, though I was interested in the storylines of the two main families.

Lies We Tell Ourselves (Harlequin Teen)
Sarah Dunbar is integrating an all-white school in the 50s. Following the integration of Little Rock Central High and other schools, she has no idea how difficult her journey will be. Compounding this journey is Sarah's own confusion about her sexuality, especially as she falls in love with the daughter of a very vocal anti-integration activist. I really enjoyed this book, especially having taught about school integration this year. I thought the sexuality struggle added an extra layer to Sarah's voice and made it more interesting.

The Square Root of Summer
I would call this book good, but not great. Following the death of her beloved grandfather, Gottie discovers wormholes and begins reliving days she has already lived. While this concept overall interested me, I didn't feel it was that well executed and ended up confused half the time as to what was really happening vs. what had already happened. Gottie's voice was strong and her struggle over her grandfather's passing, as well as her struggle reuniting with an old childhood friend and crush were believable and carried the novel, but the plot overall didn't engage me.

Katie struggles to fit in, but she does have one goood friend: Esme. Until Esme asks Katie what her biggest fantasy is and Katie responds by kissing her, causing Esme and her other friends to ostracize Katie. In the midst of this, a grandmother Katie never knew she had shows up and moves in with Katie, her bitter single mother, and her 14 year old mildly mentally disabled brother, Charlie. The book bounces back and forth between Katie, her mom Caroline and her grandmother, Mary. As the book progresses, you understand what motivates all the characters and why they are the way they are. I really enjoyed this book and felt the author did a fabulous job developing all of her characters.

What are you reading?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What I Read Wednesday

I only read one book this week. Partly because I'm so busy with baseball and school responsibilities that all crop up in May, but also because I'm still binge watching American Horror Story (2/3 of the way through Coven!).

A friend suggested this book and alluded to how dark it was. Although I am no stranger to reading the dark or the macabre, this book was very twisted. Michael Morrow lives in a cabin in the Appalachian woods with his family. So far removed from the rest of the world, no one hears the screams of the girls that echo through the woods, nor does anyone go looking when these girls turn up missing. Michael's parents, Claudia and Wade, have twisted tastes, as does Michael's brother Ray. Michael has no choice but to participate, but he doesn't enjoy it as the rest of the family does. As the book goes on, you learn more about Michael and why he doesn't quite fit in with the family. The ending was a bit abrupt and I wish the author would've told us more about Claudia and Wade, but overall, this one hooked me. Fair warning, though it is not supernatural, it does reveal to us that the real and worst monsters are human.

What are you reading?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What I Read Wednesday

I have 12 library holds right now, which of course means that while nothing is coming in at the moment, they will all arrive at once. I'm sure you all know that struggle!

There were parts of this book that I really enjoyed, for the drama and seediness of Judith's world. There were also parts that I questioned, where the main character's switch from Judith an office worker to Lauren a paid entertainer of men to, well, a twisted antihero out for revenge seemed a little too fluid for the major changes. Overall, though, this was a pretty darkly entertaining novel. It is a trilogy, though I honestly felt it could have been wrapped up in one book... but maybe the author has other plans to make the character shifts more realistic. Ultimately, I enjoyed it.

Somewhere Out There: A Novel
At the age of ten, Natalie found out she was adopted but was given no information about her birth parents. When her daughter has to complete a family tree, Natalie is again driven to find out about her biological mother--even if it means upsetting her adopted mother. In the process, Natalie discovers her sister, Brooke, a sister she never knew she had. Unlike Natalie, Brooke knew she had a sister and also unlike Natalie, Brooke was never adopted and grew up in the system. The two girls forge a sometimes strained, sometimes strong relationship and together set out to find their mother. This book is told from three perspectives: Natalie, Brooke and Jennifer, their mom. Although this dragged on a little bit for me, the author did an excellent job of fleshing out all three characters--their motivations, their joys and sorrows. Definitely a good summer or beach read.

What are you reading?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What I Read Wednesday

Um... nothing. How embarrassing is this? Not one single book in a week. In my defense, I had a lull in library holds coming in, plus baseball season started so I'm busy and tired.

But also, I finally started watching American Horror Story and binge watched the first season and started the second this weekend.

So, tell me what you're reading!

ps, did you see the trailer for Me Before You? I can't wait.