After a few weeks away, I'm finally finding a spare moment to finish writing about "Before We Were Yours". After finishing the entire book, the main conclusion was that while the story was absolutely amazing it felt like I had just finished reading two totally separate books by two separate authors. Wingate chose to tell the story through three separate characters, swapping narrators with each chapter to advance the story a bit at a time.
The book is written in a multiple person format, which did take some getting used to at first, particularly as the switch between characters could be jarring at times between chapters. Interestingly enough, the story as told by Avery Stafford is stylistically written very differently than the story as told by Rill Foss and May Crandall . It's almost like reading two different books. So far, I have preferred the voice and narration of Rill and May. These characters feel very real and very grounded to me, like the author based them on someone she knew well. The story swells and builds around Rill and May, until your heart clenches and you're holding your breath with each page turn.
You guys! So you remember how excited I was to find out Ferdinand was being made into a movie? Well, the Little Man and I had a date to see Ferdinand last week and after a false start with a sold-out showing and calming down a pissed off child with an ice-skating adventure, we finally got to see my childhood fav up on the big screen. Whenever a favorite book gets turned into a movie, there’s a huge chance the director will take beloved characters and plotlines and turn them on their head (HP, Twilight, I’m talking to you). There’s also the chance the director will take the book and magically transform everything in your imagination directly onto the big screen. Wimpy Elijah Wood as Frodo aside, Lord of the Rings was fantastic for this. While it’s easy to see how they can turn chapter and series books into movies, it’s a bit harder to see how a director will stay true to a story from a children’s book that’s less than 20 pages, so I was very interested to see what they’d do with Ferdinand.
All in all, Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet started out strong and had the bones of a great story. Unfortunately, it was really disjointed. If you remove the random references to fairy tales, remove the random scenes of violence and remove the “I know everything but I can’t tell you” scenes, the book doesn’t have much to stand on. There were just too many things going on at one time that never knit the full story together. This books gets 2.5 stars from me as well as a recommendation for some sort of warm gingery wintery cider and a supply of cookies. The descriptions of lavender cake and gingerbread did not help curb the holiday eating at all.
While I do enjoy a good “adult” book now and then, the emotional strength needed for books like The Girl on the Train or Little Bee has just been too much for me this year. Even finishing The Maze Runner series proved too much emotionally, which led to a good browsing through the Kindle Unlimited section one night and an introduction to Kerry Lonsdale, a writer from California.
I just finished reading the 2013 novel, Little Wolves, by Thomas Maltman. After reading, I scoped out the reviews on Amazon and was completely surprised by 2 things: the very low number of reviews on Amazon for a book that is 3 years old (only 132 at the time of writing this post) all of the 4-5 star reviews For me, this book ranks a solid 2 stars. It is full of inconsistencies that disjoint and disrupt the flow of the story, starting with the title itself. Little Wolves surprisingly has nothing to do with Wolves.
After I've finished a good book, I usually head over to Amazon to check out the reviews and see if there were any insights or interesting tidbits that I missed or see if anyone else felt a certain way about this character or that event. When skimming reviews for Percy Jackson, I was blown away by how many people felt Rick Riordan had followed a bit too closely in J.K Rowling's footsteps. This was interesting, because while reading the book, not once did I think "Wow..this is just like Harry Potter". After discussing with my favorite bibliophile, we both agreed the reviewers panning Percy Jackson as a Harry Potter knock off had done a lazy comparison of the two books.
While waitlisted for the library’s copy of Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants”, I decided to check out Amy Poehler’s memoir, “Yes Please”. Poehler read her own book for the audio version, so I went into this book eager and excited to learn more about her, only to fall quickly into waiting for the good stuff. Throughout the seven hour audio book, Poehler droned endlessly through random haphazardly ordered stories and long (LONG) lists of all of the people she ever knew. Reading “Yes Please” was like reading a script while it’s still being written and simultaneously like meeting someone interesting at a party only to realize they’re incredibly boring and there’s no polite way to escape.
Spring time means spring cleaning! Everywhere you look lately, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo pops up. It’s been out for a little over 2 years now and still ranks in the Top 30 best sellers on Amazon. It was THE number one selling book on Amazon for quite a while, and no not just books on home organization or self help but number one best seller for the entire book category. Pinterest is on fire with Marie Kondo inspired checklists and tutorials. Bloggers are filling their posts with their own experiences with the method. I first came across the book on a friend’s blog and it wasn’t until after I’d read it and started googling more, that I realized this book was even a thing.
This weekend, I went on a bit of a book bender and read The House By the Lake and Everything We Keep. A historical fiction that bounces between pre-WWII Europe and San Francisco, The House on the Lake was a quick, if not totally satisfying, read.