Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Braving the Wilderness

Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand aloneBraving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brené Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you know me at all, you know I love Brene Brown. In fact, there's a good chance I've pressed one of her books into your hands and said "this book will change your life." That's how much I love her and her writing. Braving the Wilderness was just not my favorite of hers. Perhaps it's because the messages didn't resonate as much with my life or because I felt like her random political comments felt out of place and almost jarring with her normal eloquence. I'm not sure, but this is not her best. Rising Strong or The Gifts of Imperfection are both so much better.

All that said, Brene is the woman who kindly replied when I commented on one of her posts years ago and affirmed that I was not alone in one of my struggles. She lives what she preaches and makes the world a kinder place. I hope I can be more like her in the years to come, and if you still haven't read something by her or watched her TED talks, get on it. She's a game changer.

Happy reading--

Brave Enough

Brave EnoughBrave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love Cheryl Strayed. I gladly wandered with her in "Wild" (though I thought she was a touch crazy most of the time) and appreciate how authentically she lives her life. But while the concept of "Brave Enough" is great, the actual product is less than fulfilling. Rather than actual commentary, Strayed mainly has a series of her own disjointed quotes with more than one too many f-words. Out of context, she seems more adolescent than wise. That said, some of her words are still poignantly beautiful, but there are much better ways to access her writing. Skip this one and choose another quote collection or series of essays. You'll be more fulfilled because honestly the best part of this book was the YouTube fire I had in the background (yes I'm one of those), and the captivating introduction.

Happy reading friends. Hope you're enjoying the gorgeous fall weather-

Wonder

Wonder (Wonder #1)Wonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't remember the last time I read a book in a single day. That's how good Wonder is. It truly should be required reading for all middle school kids and their parents. Palacio does such a good job at capturing what it means to be human and why choosing kindness is always the right answer. The only thing I'm sorry about is that I did not read this book sooner. Read it. And then make your kids read it. And then when you're finished, talk about it. The messages are exactly what this world need right now.

Happy reading--

"Shall we make a new rule of life...always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?" ~J.M. Barrie

Friday, November 3, 2017

Turtles All The Way Down

Turtles All the Way DownTurtles All the Way Down by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We have been waiting such a long time for John Green to write another book that I now have three signed copies sitting within fifteen feet of me. The first, I ordered on Amazon when I heard Green was signing an unreal amount of the original printing. The second and third came from going to a fantastic book tour event put on by Green and his brother in Pleasanton. I love John Green so much, and I would read his thoughts on just about anything.

So about "Turtles" - it's an interesting book filled with real issues and authentically loveable characters. It's the type of book that describing the plot doesn't actually make it more appealing, but it's clever and unique. I love that he took on a main character with OCD and the experience of losing a parent, while still making you laugh and fall in love right along with the main characters. And true to Green's style, there are beautiful references to other writers and poignant one liners which means there are at least a dozen tabs sticking out of my book. Can't help it-

As always, happy reading. I'm off to find my next book...and to probably rewatch The Fault in Our Stars...again. 
Ps. This is my 600th post. Seems fitting to write about a John Green book and a night listening to a favorite writer for that. 

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10)Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first Agatha Christie, and while it was an entertaining read, it wasn't as magical as I was hoping. That said, Christie was ahead of her time and Dan Stevens is an incredible reader. He made the book. Can't wait to see the movie--

Happy reading and happy movie going.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Britt-Marie Was Here

Britt-Marie Was HereBritt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My feelings about this book could not be put down in ink, something that Britt-Marie would very much understand. They are too mixed to lean towards being in love with this book. There were whole chunks where I wondered what was happening and others where I was just hoping they'd move on and stop telling us about her bicarbonate of soda. That said, Backman's characters end up being so loveable. There are some amazing plot twists as the story progresses (something I would have doubted based on the slow beginning) and a fully satisfying, yet still surprising ending. If you do read it, you'll appreciate how much I adore Sven and Sammy. Backman has a way of tugging on your heart with the unlikeliest of characters, and so despite the pacing issues, I'll be back for more of his writing very soon.

Happy reading--

*For at least the tenth time this year, this one would be a solid 3.5. Goodreads - you are fully capable of letting us do half star reviews. I promise that your algorithms and averages will not be that hard to adjust.

The War that Saved My Life

The War that Saved My LifeThe War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was just wonderful. I love the characters, the message, and the way that it introduced characters that were not just another version of a character I've read about before. I'd love to introduce the tenacious Ada to a daughter someday. She has something in her of a Laura Ingalls Wilder or Jo March, and we know how I feel about those two.

Honestly, telling you more of the plot won't help hook you. The writing  and title alone will do that. The only thing you might care to know is that this is on the younger end of young adult fiction, sometimes referred to as middle grade. For some, I know that's a deal breaker, but I thoroughly enjoyed it regardless of the younger characters.

Anywho - happy reading and happy fall. We are on the edge of perfect reading weather. Cannot wait--