Monday, April 17, 2017

March Wrap-Up (Better Late Than Never)

Reading this month has been a real mixed bag..  My first book that I read entirely in the month, I really enjoyed, but most of the others were sadly lacking something.

Pachinko, I read mostly in February, but finished in the first few days of March.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

I originally got this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book was published earlier last month and I borrowed the audio version to listen to instead. As many have said Part 1 is excellent and Part 2 is good, but Part 3 is where the book really went downhill for me. Also, way too many characters are introduced and keeping track of the characters is extremely difficult. Their was an excessive amount of swearing, which was not always necessary. At times, yes, but at other times it was not necessary to the story. Also, I felt there was more sex in the story than necessary and that some of the sexual scenes were placed in there just because the author felt there should be LGBQTIA issues included in the story. Some of it came out of nowhere and was not needed to further story. All in all, I was disappointed by the book and although on Goodreads, I gave this a 2.0, it really deserves more of a 1.5 to 1.75 star rating.

The Polygamist's Daughter by Anna LeBaron

I enjoyed this book that I received as an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. Anna LeBaron endured a lot and was a very brave woman/girl. She was able to do at 13 what many who are older and stuck in that or a similar cult couldn't do. Although it is hard to believe someone who came from such an existence was able to end up living such a relatively normal life later on, it shows that with the right support system that one can get through a lot. I have been under the weather lately and do not think that I am writing very good reviews at the moment, but hop[e to be back to writing well thought out reviews soon. I did enjoy this and recommend this book, especially if you enjoy books about women who escape polygamous cults.

4 stars

Black Stars of the Civil Rights Movement

It's surprising how little of this history was taught back in the eighties; even in my college years during the late eighties. I found this book in our children's library, but other than the names of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, many of the names were either unknown or just merely recognized by name and not by their accomplishments.  This may be marketed as a children's book, but I found this rather interesting and hope that many, if not all of these fampus African-Americans are talked about in history/social studies class/

3 stars

The Innocent (Will Robie, #1)

While listening to this on audio, I Kept finding myself thinking that this would truly make a really good movie, maybe starring Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt. The audio version was really well done in that they included sound effects of gunshots and explosions that really enhanced one's enjoyment in listening. The story did get somewhat confusing at times, but overall was enjoyable and fast-moving. This audiobook might be very good for a long roadtrip, although not for young children. Although, I don't think there was bad language in here for the most part, it might be better for teenagers or even just adults.

3 stars

The Roanoke Girls

I had hoped that waiting a few days, I would be better able to decide on a rating for this book, as well as a review for it, but I'm still undecided for the most part on whether to give it 1 or 2 stars. Although I did not really enjoy the story, I did continue on to the end because I wanted to know what happened and the book is actually well written. It is the author's 1st adult novel , but she has written at least two young adult novels, previously, of which I have not read as the subject matter didn't interest me. But this book is definitely an entirely different genre from her previous books.

There is a family secret that is disclosed very early on in the story and therefore mentioning it is not a spoiler and can actually be beneficial for those who do not for whatever reason want to read about (view spoiler). Therefore although not graphic, it is an uncomfortable book to read. Even the two main characters in the story, Lane and Allegra, two of the "Roanoke girls" are not truly likable characters. This book is definitely not for everyone, but if you read and enjoyed Flowers in the Attic, you may like this one, Although I enjoyed that one a lot, at least back then I did , how I would feel about it now I don't know. and this one not all that much.

2 stars

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

This is my most highly anticipated book of 2017. In fact, I've been anticipating this book since shortly after Lisa See's last book, China Girls came out in 2014. To say , it was a disappointment is kind of an understatement. I have 3 of the 4 Lisa See books that I read and the adoption angle in this book really had me intrigued, but unfortunately even the adoption story was not enough to win me over on this one. This story went too into the technical aspects of tea production and just did not hold my interest in that regard. Whenever the story seemed to start getting good, Ms. See started back on the technical and historical aspects of tea. The historical aspects of tea in China and among the minority group, the Akhas, would have been fine and it is evident that much research was done, but every aspect of tea making that was learned did not have to be explained to us. Ms. See's stories are well loved for their historical storytelling and character development. I felt the although the characters were pretty well-developed and most of the storytelling was well done, it could have been so much better. The ending seemed rushed, like the length of the story was realized and an ending was quickly written. I don't want to get into the ending anymore, because I don't want to spoil the story. Although, I am glad to have read the story, I just find there to be something lacking from this story, but I do look forward to Lisa See's next book.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a ARC.

3 stars

Child of the Civil Rights Movement (Junior Library Guild Selection)

This is a very short, but good book of just under 50 pages and perfect for children in grades 3- 6 or so. The author's parents were very involved with the civil rights movement and knew Martin Luther King, Jr. personally.

3 stars

Somebody's Baby (Darling, VT #3)

I really, really liked this book. It was just what I needed after reading quite a few average books This is the third book in the Darling, Vermont series, but the first one I've read, Oaklee Ferguson and Rory Gallagher have known each other ever since Rory and Oaklee's brother were friends back in school. In high school, Oaklee had a huge crush on her brother's best-looking friend, but Rory, several years older, just thought of her as his friend's kid sister, back then. They both went away to college and recently she returned to her hometown to work as the town's social media guru, while Rory has been working as a veterinarian at the town's veterinary clinic. They've both loved and been burned and of course, neither are even looking for love in the least. As they say, that is when it most likely happens, You know when you have a veterinarian in the story, he's going to be a great guy and of course, there is a dog in their that Oaklee fosters until they find him a permanent home. This is the makings of a great story. Stories with dogs usually are winners in my book and this one is no exception. This book is just under 300 pages and is a pretty quick read, This is a sweet romance that I thoroughly enjoyed and that I whole-heartedly recommend.

4 stars

This month was such a mix of books based on my enjoyment of them.  I'd easily say the least favorite book that I read this month was Pachinko.  The last section of the book really did it for me.  As for my favorite book, that's a bit harder, nothing totally stands out, but I'd say The Polygamist's Daughter kept me reading and was the book I liked best during this month.

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