I can’t believe it’s already fall, I feel like the summer went by so fast! Who else is excited for fall? I’ve already gotten a terrible cold and unfortunately I didn’t get much reading done because I slept for three days. But thankfully I got quite a bit of reading in before the cold. And I’m excited because I’m going to finish Erin’s Book Challenge this round! I started reading my last book this week! As always, don’t forget to link up with us for Reading Lately at the bottom of the post! Don’t forget to join our Reading Lately group on Facebook and follow me on Goodreads!
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
I’m not going to recap the story, I think that most people have watched the movies. I’m in the small minority that has never seen any of the movies.
This book took a while to get through, it definitely had some slow moments. But after finishing the series, I really appreciate the long, descriptive parts a lot more. All the descriptions of the scenery/landscapes and everything really makes you feel like you’re there and seeing those things. I can still envision this whole world and I really respect all the slower parts now for it. The battle essentially comes down to good vs. evil. And I was surprised there was so much content after the battle ended, but I liked seeing how characters changed and grew. I also liked finding closure in all characters and their stories.
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Anna’s older sister Kate is sick with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL). Their parents conceived Anna in a lab to be a perfect bone marrow match and therefore a perfect donor for Kate to help cure her. At 13 years of age, Anna has undergone numerous procedures to help save her sister’s life. As Anna questions her own identity and her future, she decides she doesn’t want to be Kate’s donor anymore. When her parents ask her for a kidney, she decides to sue for medical emancipation from her parents, even if it means the loss of her sister. As Anna fights for the freedom to make her own decisions, Kate fights for her life.
I found it interesting to have read another of Picoult’s before this, see my review of Small Great Things here. The structure of the stories is the same. They both take a complicated issue, bring it to court, tell the story in alternating perspectives, and include a major twist at the ending. I really liked this story. It’s interesting and gripping, and pulls you in right from the start. The family dynamics are a really interesting part of this story. Kate’s illness affects everyone, especially her siblings. So seeing their behavior and how they’ve grown up and dealt with her illness is interesting. Having recently lost my mother to cancer, I found the book relatable and hard to read. I didn’t like this twist at the ending either, it’s just too much for the story.
I found some of the characters irritating and hard to like. But saving Kate’s life forces everyone to make difficult decisions. What is the right answer? The story is heart breaking, but it’s very well written. I do think I will get tired of her stories if they’re all told in the same structure. 4/5 stars
Slightly South of Simple
When Caroline’s husband tells her he’s leaving her, she’s six months pregnant and it turns into a very public affair. Humiliated and alone, Caroline doesn’t know what to do so she returns with her 9 year old daughter to a place she swore she’d never go again. Her mom welcomes her home to Peachtree Bluff with open arms. Coincidentally, her sisters all move home at the same time. And as they all struggle with living together again and cope with their own problems, they realize the importance of family.
This is a really fun, easy read. I love the drama between the sisters yet their undying love for each other. I always wanted a sister (sorry brothers), so it was fun to read. The story had a strong message of Caroline finding her independence, so certain decisions at the end of the book kind of took that all away. So I don’t like how some things wrap up. But I love the themes that life is too short and family is important. 3.5/5 stars
P.S. From Paris by Marc Levy
Mia is an actress in London, costarring with her philandering husband. She’s tired of pretending to be a happily married couple for public appearances. When he goes away for the weekend and ignores Mia’s calls and text messages, Mia decides to leave. She goes her best friends house in Paris. While in Paris, she meets Paul, an American author struggling for success after his one hit wonder novel. As the chemistry builds between Mia and Paul, both attempt to remain friends as everything pushes them together.
This book is also fun and easy. I like Mia’s independence and strength in escaping for a break. But the book starts off slow and then rushes to a sudden ending. The circumstances in which Mia and Paul meet is hilarious. And I really enjoyed their interactions as the story went on, but the dialogue just felt off to me. It wasn’t very realistic or believable. While it’s a romantic comedy, there are definitely some twists in there too. Overall I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. 3/5 stars
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Enzo isn’t just any dog, he’s racecar driver Denny Swift’s dog. Together they have faced many challenges of life, from relationships, to kids, to saying goodbye. Enzo is a deep, philosophical thinker and believes that he will return as a human when he dies. As Enzo gets older, he looks back on his life with Denny. He recalls the ups and downs of their life together, telling the story from his perspective.
I like the story but had some issues with it. I found it to be slow at times, especially the long passages about racing and famous race car drivers which I ended up skimming over. The story of Denny’s life is pretty believable. I think it’s a cute and intriguing idea to narrate it this way, because we don’t really know what goes on in their heads. Enzo’s tangents on his favorite actors and tv shows were cute, but didn’t really add much to the story. It’s not how I imagine my dog thinking. I also didn’t really like how Enzo was omnipresent at certain points, telling parts of the story which he wasn’t present for. But the book definitely made me snuggle my dog a little closer! 3.5/5 stars
What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments. Also let me know if you decide to read a book based off my reviews, I like knowing I’ve convinced you to read something 🙂 If you’re joining us for the Reading Lately linkup, please add a link to a recent blog post below. If you want to add our linkup button to your blog, we appreciate that as well!
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