Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I show you my books; you show me yours... vol.16

Life According to Steph

Jana & Steph , those successful podcasters (I can't wait to say "I was an early listener, before they were such podcast celebrities) are still sharing their time with us to host our favorite link-up...Show Us Your Books!  Oh, and that podcast I mentioned is The Armchair Librarians, and it can be found on iTunes (but, you probably already know that if you are reading this.)

1.  Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic - I recommend this one and wrote a full review here. 4.5/5

2.  Girl at War by Sara Novic - This book was nominated for a 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards in the debut authors category.  Horrific events occur during war. Innocents are killed (not just soldiers). We know this, but no one really likes to talk about it or think about the impacts on society, individuals, and especially the children who witness such events. What Ana endures is an atrocity so ugly that I had to remind myself that this was a work of fiction. Sadly, I remembered that such events do indeed occur. At one point, I sat the book down and said a silent prayer of gratitude for not witnessing such evil events of wartime and genocide. This particular conflict occurred when I was a teenager and a young adult. I think that made it all the more tangible to me.
I don't mind open-ended endings, but this one felt a little abrupt. That is my only criticism. If you like historical fiction, I recommend this book. 4/5

3.  People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks - Fascinating concept for a book that didn't work for me, but I'm in the minority.  Read my longer review here.

4. & 5. Paper Aeroplanes and Goose by Dawn O'Porter - You know how some people will read a book by a pseudo celebrity just because they like the person?  That's why I read these YA books.  Dawn O'Porter is a Scottish journalist and documentary-maker that is adorable and intelligent.  She is also married to the actor, Chris O'Dowd who is adorable and likeable as well. 
I could sum up these book in a variety of ways: funny, quirky, sad, absurd, provocative, poignant, endearing, silly, triumphant, and even annoying. That pretty much describes most teenage girls too, which is what makes these books feel so authentic. I gobbled them up. But...I still felt something was missing. At times, it felt a little too simplistic, while other parts, it felt so whole. I don't know. Maybe I'm not making sense, much like a teenage girl.

6.  Invisible by James Patterson & David Ellis - Judge me all you want.  I still enjoy James Patterson (and collaborators) books.  This one had an especially depraved bad guy.  It's a stand-alone (not a series), so if you've never read a James Patterson book before, enjoy a fast-paced thriller, then go ahead and give this one a try.  4/5

7.  All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner - A little while ago, Jana shared a post of authors she'll never quit.  Jana and I often feel similar about books we read, so I thought I'd need to give this author (who I'd never read before) a try.  For most of the book, the main character is a pill addict in denial...so...my criticism of the book is that it annoyed me sometimes.  But.  It's pretty legit to make a pill-popping in-denial addict annoying.  So, I don't know.  I bounce around between loving the reality of the book and enjoying the main character to being annoyed with her and the book itself.  3.5/5

8.  Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes - I was one of the few that wasn't "wowed" by Joe and by You (this book's predecessor).  I know, I know.  Grumble, grumble.  But, that didn't stop me from being interested enough to pick up this sequel. 
Ok. Don't hate me. Or, if you don't want to hear my negative review, then move along (I'll never know).  I feel like I could have an entire post dedicated all on its own to defend my reasoning for why I don't like this book, but let's just focus on the lead character.
I am in the minority, but I find Joe to be one of the most unlikeable characters I've read in a long time. The people that seem to really connect with these books think Joe is a fantastic character. I'm different. I'm alright with that.  I do not find him charismatic, witty, charming, or humorous. Just irritating, ridiculous, and annoying.  I will be a happier person if I never read another story about Joe Goldberg ever again.  I don't care what happens.  I don't care if he gets caught or stays in a relationship or moves somewhere else.  Joe and I are through (which means, I may be a target of his.  If I die, Joe did it.)
I should've set this book aside and not finished it. That's how much I disliked it.  But...I fell to peer pressure.  So many readers/bloggers realllllly like Joe and these books.  Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.
I probably gave You 3*s because I felt the pressure to score it higher due to how many others enjoyed it. I probably gave this 1* out of anger.

Currently Reading:  Extreme Prey by John Sandford

Don't forget!:  Check out the Read My Books Challenge; it begins June 1st, and you could win some Amazon $$$ (to buy more books, of course.)
http://texerin-in-sydneyland.blogspot.com.au/2016/05/read-my-books-challenge-coming-soon.html





39 comments:

  1. Girl at War definitely sounds powerful and my kind of read. I know people really like Geraldine Brooks, but I haven't read a book I liked from her yet.

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  2. I haven't read You yet, but it's on my TBR. I've seen so much love for it, so I'm a little nervous. Sometimes when everybody loves a book or character, it sets expectations too high. It's been a long time since I've picked up a James Patterson book and I might have to check this one out.

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  3. I'm always wary of books that everyone else loves. I read The Fault in Our Stars because literally everyone recommended it but I ended up not thinking it was that special. Meh.

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  4. I really liked YOU and Hidden Bodies. But, I really think that much of my enjoyment is attributed to Santino Fontana, the narrator of both audiobooks. A narrator's voice can make or break an audiobook. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Santino's voice. I have often wondered, given the fact that Joe is a seriously messed up individual, if I would have liked either book as much as I did had I read it in traditional print form. I kind of doubt that I would have. So sorry that it didn't work out for you, friend.

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  5. Okay, taking Hidden Bodies off of my to-consider list.
    I enjoy unlikeable characters a lot, but Joe was TOO unlikeable. Which barely makes sense, because I was on Dexter's side through all 7-8 seasons of that show.

    I'll consider Weiner's book. I think I've only read one other and it wasn't bad.

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  6. I want to read, but don't want to read Girl at War-- I think I need to be in the right mood. I'm on the waist-list for You right now and it's reaaally long, so I'm hoping it turns out to be worth the wait though I've heard so many mixed reviews.

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  7. I have had Invisible on my to-read pile for at least a year, it's one of the books I'm considering for your June challenge.

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  8. I love your 1* angry review! I appreciate a contrary view - after all, I hated Wild by Cheryl Strayed despite the fact everyone else loved it. I could rant about that for ages, too... But I'll spare you.

    And I don't think I've read any James Patterson before so I might give this one a whirl.

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  9. I really need to read Hidden Bodies to see what everyone is talking about. I am intrigued by the polarity of reviews :).

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  10. What I like about Jennifer Weiner is that I know exactly what kind of book I'm going to get when I pick up her books. I appreciate that. That, and I think she's a great writer and her advocacy for female authors is awesome.

    Re: Hidden Bodies. I think it's totally fine you didn't like it even though so many others (me included) enjoyed it. I will say that I found Joe annoying and irritating in this one and overall, YOU was a much stronger book. But I love how she writes him and I hope there's a third part. Just to tie it all together.

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  11. I'm so up & down myself about Jennifer Weiner. Sometimes I'm like, MEH & then the next, I love it. She at least keeps me guessing & coming back for more :)

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  12. I've already expressed that I'm with you in not loving You, so yeah, definitely not reading Hidden Bodies. I agree with Kristin's comment above about Dexter, that's who I thought of too when I thought "I do often like so called 'bad' characters" but Joe I did not like.

    I have All Fall Down on my to read list. Interesting to read your view on it.

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    1. I'm back to say that coincidentlly in this week's Lenny Letter, Caroline Kepnes has an essay "In Sickness, Health, and Bangs" that was very enjoyable. I'm still not reading Hidden Bodies, though.

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  13. Girl at War sounds like a book that would be so good, but that I would have to read in small doses, or I'd be sobbing. Still want to read it though!

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  14. I went to add Girl at War to my GoodReads list and found that it was already there :) Whoops!

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  15. I agree completely about Girl at War. It was a really powerful book, and disturbing to me that it all happened when I was in middle/high school. Like we think that we world is more civilized these days, and that is not at all true. It made me feel so very grateful that I live in a safe & free country.

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  16. i know we've talked about it but yeah i didn't hate you, i enjoyed it(ish) but i never liked joe. i don't have to like a character to enjoy the story, but i thought the story was okay. i really, really, really disliked hidden bodies (though i think i rated it a 3 when really it was like a 2 lol #peerpressure). girl at war sounds amazing and horrible. added it to my list. i don't know about the dawn o'porter books. i added them anyway. why would people judge you on james patterson? i've never read one of his books. but i can't believe you hadn't read any of Jennifer Weiner before that one! way, way, WAY back in the day before goodreads and that, i read good in bed and in her shoes and i LOVED them. like well before in her shoes the movie came out, so i was in high school. i think maybe they were more grown up than anything 12 year old me had read haha but i loved them. i'm scared to re-read them now as an adult/goodreads user, so you'll have to read them and let me know if you like them more than all fall down.

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  17. Girl at War sounds both awesome and too much for me. I feel like I already think about terrible things enough and should just use reading to escape but at the same time worry that I do myself a disservice.

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  18. Haha! Cracking up at your review of Hidden Bodies. I have no plans to read it, so I'm certainly not offended, but I definitely feel that peer pressure too. I had a few "classics" that I'd given 1 star (mostly John Steinbeck stuff, which I hate), and I ended up just removing my rating, because everyone else liked them and I didn't want them to know what an uncultured swine I was! And a part of me knows that the writing is skillful, but they just put me into such a blind rage at all the misery that happens that I can't even see it.

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  19. Hey, girl, I'm in the same boat with you on Joe, heading for another direction. He was obnoxious, a pervert, and stalk-y but not nearly enough, if you know what I mean. Everyone thought he was soooo creepy but I was like, com' on, there's GOT TO BE someone creepier than that. Maybe I'm jaded or watch too much SUV. Anywho, just want you to know, I feel ya. I didn't even bother reading Hidden Bodies.

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  20. Oh, I haven't heard of Girl at War, but I usually really like anything about the war. (Like is such a weird word to use when you're reading about something devastating, but you know what I mean ;)). I haven't read a Jennifer Weiner book since In Her Shoes (which I really enjoyed, although it's been years since I read it), and I even own several of her books lol. I should probably pick one up sooner than later!

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    1. I wrote my comment before I went and looked up Girl at War on goodreads...I was thinking it was about WW2 (which I like reading about). I didn't realize it was about the Yugoslavian war (although I should have known by the author's last name). Stories about that war touch close to home for me as my father and his family are from Croatia and I remember so well that time when the war was going on. I definitely want to read this book now, although I'm sure it's a hard read, like you say :(

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  21. Girl at War is already on my want to read list....however, I hate abrupt, open-ended endings! I still read James Patterson so I'm not judging! I wasn't a fan of Invisble though. I read Hidden Bodies this month as well and opposite of you, I ended up liking Joe more in this book than You. I have to go check out your Read My Books Challenge!

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  22. Would you believe I still haven't read You yet? So I skipped over what you wrote about Hidden Bodies. I think I remember Jana talking about All Fall Down. I like when I find an author that I can binge on in general.

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  23. I love myself a good James Patterson book too! I've read a few of his standalone books and really liked them, so I'll have to pick up Invisible. Girl At War sounds like such a great book, but definitely one that you need to be in the right mind set for. It's going on the list!

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  24. I really liked the book YOU but I didn't think Joe was likeable either. He was insane and a horrible person. I do want to read Hidden Bodies though.

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  25. So I actually liked You...but I seriously disliked all of the characters (Joe included)! When people were talking about how he's so likeable I was like...did we read different books, or are you secretly a murderer too? Hahaha. I'm reading Hidden Bodies now though and I'm liking it.

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  26. I started Hidden Bodies today. Haha. I'm not very far in (less than 100 pages), but so far I'm enjoying it for what it is. I don't think it's as good as You (so far, anyway), and I'm kind of annoyed because I don't remember You as well as I feel like I should ... So all the references to things that happened in that book have me going, "Wait, what? When did that happen?" But ... I do like it so far. The thing with Joe is that I do find him unlikable, but also kind of likable (which makes no sense, but it is what it is). I think he can be funny at times with his social commentary (or maybe I'm just an asshole?), but I don't think he's creepy and never thought of You as a "thriller." These books sort of remind me of American Psycho ... There's a lot of dark humor and sometimes I'm thinking, "What does it say about me that I think this is hilarious?" but to call it a "thriller" (which I think a lot of people do and so readers begin to expect that) is a bit of a stretch. And, like American Psycho, not everyone is going to like it. I think it's fine that you powered through it (I mean, I always do that haha), but I also think it's totally fair to give a book 1 star if you couldn't find any redeeming qualities. I'm just sorry that you wasted your time on it.

    Anyway ...

    Resurrection Bay and Girl at War are already on my list (because of your prior recommendations!). All Fall Down is also on my list. I've never read anything by Jennifer Weiner, but she seems to be pretty popular so I'm interested to see what the fuss is about. I'm adding the two Dawn O'Porter books.

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  27. I just bought my first Jennifer Weiner book and I'm definitely interested to see how I feel because her books seem to get mixed reviews. Girl at War sounds right up my alley!

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  28. I added Resurrection Bay and Girl at War and I do love me some James Patterson. I like Jennifer Weiner, but I don't think I've read All Fall Down. I haven't read Hidden Bodies yet, and I will, but I don't know that it can live up to You.

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  29. Haha I was a You lover, but I recommended it to my SIL and she was like "why did you like this?" So there's something for everyone! Totally looking into your first two recs more as I haven't heard of either. All Fall Down is on my audiobook app and it's always available, so I have considered it a few times but it has mixed reviews. Glad to hear it has some good points and may be worth a listen.

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  30. Girl at War sounds like it would be right up my alley -- I'm definitely going to check that one out!

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  31. All Fall Down was such a unique read, it was so interesting to read about someone who was obviously an addict but hadn't realized it yet.

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  32. so this is the book your tweet was referring to! haha!
    I have very similar views as you about Joe! I found You to be pretty awful. I thought Joe was unlikeable and I thought Beck was even more unlikeable. I think I gave You 2 stars. I have to say, I liked Hidden Bodies a lot more. I like that HB wasn't written in the second person like You was, and I found Love to be a likable character. If there's another book I'll probably read it, but I won't be shouting to the high heavens to recommended it like everyone else seems to be doing.

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  33. I haven't read any Weiner books but I do have a couple on my shelf including All Fall Down. Girl at War is definitely being added to my list.

    I haven't read You so Hidden Bodies probably won't be on my list.

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  34. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who despised Joe's character. I didn't think he was funny. I thought it was obnoxious and creepy and couldn't take a hint, and the worst part is that I've encountered people like this before and it's scaryyyyy. I was worried that I was missing out on not reading You 2, but after your review, I feel validated in passing it up. Everything about the book made me angry (which is probably a good call-to-action type thing), so I just felt like avoiding the sequel would be for the best.

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  35. Girl at War sounds really interesting. Adding it to my list!

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  36. Ugh I hate feeling pressured to rate books higher just because everyone else like them. I've definitely gone back and changed ratings after a few days of reflection haha. Anyways, I was interested in reading You and I'm pretty curious to read it now after seeing your thoughts on it. I've been meaning to read James Patterson, just haven't gotten around to it yet! Girl at War looks really good, I'm definitely adding that to my list. As well as the Dawn O'Porter books.

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