Review: The Brothers K by David James Duncan

19534Let me just start by saying I don’t agree with all the reviews that say you don’t need to enjoy baseball to enjoy this book. I suppose you don’t need to love baseball to enjoy the book, but I think you need to at least like baseball a bit to LOVE the book. At least I felt so.

I’m not a huge baseball fan. Now I live in England so there is NO baseball here…The book lost something in the translation for me…simply because I couldn’t really relate. I also felt this book was way too long. It wasn’t an epic read for me that deserved so many pages. Yes it was interesting, it just wasn’t that interesting to me. I’m sorry. I know it’s a highly rated book. I know it’s about family. However, I think there are many other books out there that do such a better job at it than this one does.

“The Prince of Tides”. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. The list is endless. This book didn’t make the list for me.

Yes, there were some great moments in this novel. I loved some of the things the father did and said. He did shine at moments. However, there just wasn’t enough of them to make me glad I had invested so much of my time reading this novel. Sadly, none of the many characters will stay with me.

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now The Brothers K by David James Duncan

Review: First Comes Love by Emily Griffin

first-comes-loveI’ve read many Emily Giffin books in my time…This was nothing like any of the previous books that I’ve read by her. If you’re looking for some silly lighthearted reading, this isn’t the book I would recommend to you.

I have to admit, I was looking for silly and lighthearted when I picked up this novel…so was a bit disappointed.

This is a hard book to review. Not just because it was different from I expected. I just found it extremely hard to get into. At about 20% I was wishing I hadn’t even started it. I can’t say there was much of anything I was enjoying. I didn’t like the characters. More so, I hated the way they treated one another.

At about 40% – 50% things turned around and I didn’t want to put the book down. However, I can’t stress this enough, I absolutely HATED one of the characters, and as much as I tried to make allowances for her behaviour, I simply could not set my dislike aside. Even as I finished the last page, I still was flabbergasted at an adult acting like she did.

I’m not sure if Griffin meant for me to feel that the character that was presented as the most unsettled and immature, in my opinion, turned out to be more mature than the majority of the others, including the one that was settled, smart, and level-headed. Perhaps it should be noted at this point that everyone that leads a *perfect* life might, in fact, be hiding just how messed up their life really is…and those that seem scattered, and unsettled, might in fact be solid, steady, and perfectly okay.

Yes, the second half of the book is really engaging and you’re invested in the characters, and was well worth the time of the reader…however, I don’t think it should take half a book for things to start being interesting.

The book is really full of some adults that over the process of 15 years seem to revert to selfish children. I don’t feel any of those things ultimately changed at the end of the novel…I wouldn’t want those type of people surrounding me in real life…and sadly, at the end of the day, I didn’t want them surrounding me in my literary life either…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now First Comes Love by Emily Griffin

Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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In spite of the wide range of tastes we Muses have in books, there have been several times two of us have read & reviewed the same book. But I do believe this may be the first threepeat.  And it’s one that’s well worthy of that distinction.

A nurse.  A new father. An up and coming attorney.  After the unexpected death of a newborn, their paths cross in a most unfortunate way.  Ruth has worked hard to get where she is, and as a much respected nurse she never expected to be on trial for murder.  But that’s just what happens when the white supremacist parents decide that she alone is responsible for the death of their baby.  Her only hope is Kennedy, a still wet-behind-the-ears public defender who has never defended a murder case.

If you’re interested in a story that just sticks to the plot outlined above, this is not the book for you.  But if you’re interested in something that goes deeper, to the very core of what we believe, then you’ll be pulled in from the very first page.  Whether you agree with the ideas presented by the author or not, it will no doubt make you question everything you believe.

Jodi Picoult never ceases to amaze me.  And she never shies away from controversial issues, taking them and weaving a story so compelling that you can’t put it down.  This one is no exception.  And as an aside, the Audible version of this one was outstanding with different narrators bringing the main characters to life for better or for worse.  A timely story from one of the best!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Small Great Things

Review: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

fine-balanceHow does one even attempt to review such a scopious novel? Seriously…I think I need to weep, but there’s just nothing left inside of me at the moment. Perhaps a bit of happiness, hope, faith restored…but only a tiny bit…and perhaps there is some despair, hatred, anger, even dubiosity….or maybe they all just cancel one another out and that is why I feel so much…nothingness…I want to be all of these things…I want to have all of these emotions…and I want to make sense of it all…but I just can’t…

Who can make sense of destiny? Who can think they know better than fate?

“..my life would have been so different today. But our destinies are engraved on our foreheads at birth.”

I think this novel has left me in shock…it gives so much hope in so many places, but just as real life often does, it snatches it all away in a blink of an eye. You want to be angry, but how can you? What gives you that right when the characters themselves handle their fate with so much grace and acceptance. How can you even attempt to place blame, when they themselves do not…How can you weep for them, when they do not weep for themselves?

As I sit here writing this review, I am not ashamed to say that as I sit here, trying to make sense of it all, that my numbness has turned to me openly weeping at this book’s ending…Nor am I ashamed to admit I do not know who I weep for the most…it could be any single one of these characters..they have all touched me in some way….or maybe I weep for myself…or all of humanity together…

Read this book…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Review: Always by Sarah Jio

alwaysI enjoyed this book…but it just wasn’t a great book for me. It felt a bit flat…More like an outline for a great book, but missing all the real meat of the story.

At the end of the day though I have to hand it to Jio. So often in love triangles, the author always turns around and tries to make one of the characters into some sort of villain or undesirable person to make it easier for the reader to accept the choices made. Jio didn’t do that. She kept it real. I really appreciate that. I wish more authors did so. Life isn’t always in black and white with clear-cut choices…so why should books be?

This book also made me miss Seattle a wee bit…okay….more than a wee bit…I knew all of the places mentioned.

I wish I had loved this book more. It was a great story and yes, I found it interesting. It was also a very quick read for me. I couldn’t wait to see what happened so I had a hard time putting it down. That happens less and less these days, so again, I give even more props to Jio.

I don’t wish to discourage anyone from reading this book. Please do pick it up and give it a try. It is a good book….but it did feel a bit like a lifetime made for TV movie.

Until next time…

Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now Always by Sarah Jio

Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

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For a long time, young adult novels pretty much ran the gamut from surviving a bully to falling in everlasting love.  Thankfully times have changed somewhat.  Today’s authors are giving us stories full of believable characters, not just those who fit into a stereotypical mold of the perfect teenager.

Libby has A LOT of things going against her.  She’s overweight, significantly so.  She’s never had a boyfriend.  Her mom is dead.  She’s been homeschooled for the past several years and is way out of touch with the high school scene. She has no friends and has been bullied in the past.  And, oh yeah, she achieved national notoriety when she had to be cut out of her house because of her weight.

But she also has a lot going for her.  She has a loving father.  She’s lost a ton of weight since that infamous incident.  She’s funny, kind, smart, and resilient as all get out.  And she’s back in school after so many years away.  Of course there are struggles, but Libby’s up for the challenge.

And then there’s Jack.  As one of the popular, cool kids he’s the exact opposite of Libby on the outside.  But he has his problems and insecurities, too.  His swagger and confidence comes from a place of insecurity and shame.  He’s covering up a secret that he’ll do anything to protect.

Although Jack and Libby seem to have nothing in common, they’re unwillingly thrown together as the result of a cruel prank.  They find friendship first, and then something more.  Is it possible that two such different people can actually be happy together?

This is kind of a sappy romance book, which I’m usually not a fan of.  But I loved Libby’s spunk and her spirit.  She’s strong and confident as she flies in the face of everyone’s idea of the perfect teenager.  I would only wish that all young girls could have such confidence.  It’s very good most of the time.  Granted, there are parts of the story that were highly unbelievable for me just because I know how society treats people who are different.   It’s certainly something to wish for, though.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Holding Up the Universe

 

Review: Night School by Lee Child

night-schoolQuickly…This Reacher book has lots of players in it. At times, I thought maybe a few too many. But Child has made it work. Many times in the past when Reacher is part of a team, it ends up being a book I am not a big fan of, however, I really enjoyed this book.

I was a bit disturbed by the ending. I didn’t dislike it, but it bothers me. The bit of fact layered in with the fiction has me unsettled. It’s gave me too much to think about really. One more reason to stay up late at night worrying about things I can’t possibly change. The choice that Reacher makes at the end….well…uffta….I won’t go into that…again, so many implications…

Finally, I need to say, I’ve been reading Reacher from the start. Nearly 20 years I’ve been waiting month after month, year after year, for new installments. A few of the later ones have…well…they haven’t exactly lived up to my high expectations.

When I started reading this one, at one point, I was like, “wow, this is like a modern-day marriage” I have felt like just walking away recently from Reacher. I’ve stayed out of loyalty to the past. At one point, I saw a glimpse of the man I used to love so much.

I feel like I’ve known all of Reacher’s habits, bad and good, that I’ve taken them for granted….and perhaps even been a bit annoyed with them.

Isn’t this what happens in long-term (hey!!! ALMOST 20 YEARS!!!! REMEMBER???) People change…they get bored…I’ve changed…and Reacher hasn’t…but that’s my side of the story. There are always two sides. Reacher has changed as well. And we’ve both remained the same…

So I really enjoyed this book…but now I question everything. Did I hate some of the others because I was in a dull spot in our relationship? Did I love this one because I’ve missed our relationship?

Yea, I know…I’ve went way off base here and tangents galore…but bottom line is, I’m glad I’ve stuck with Reacher…and I don’t plan on bailing ship anytime soon…I’m in it for the long run…even if sometimes I get bored…and annoyed…and I question his motives…I trust at the end of the day, Reacher is Reacher and just doing the things he does to provide his sort of justice…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Night School by Lee Child