At the end of 2014, I decided that I really wanted to read more; so I set a goal to read 5 books. By the end of 2015 I was pleased to report that I exceeded my goal and read 8 books!
For 2016, Sean suggested that I set a goal to read 12 books. I told him there was simply no way. I didn’t think it was possible for me to find the time to complete a new book every single month. So I didn’t really set a goal other than to continue reading.
Well, I can’t even believe I’m typing this…
In total…in 2016…I read 24 books!!!
Here’s what I read over the past three months.
The One-in-a-Million Boy
This one came on high recommendation from a blogger I follow. Sadly, I never understood how in the world she could love this book so much. I completely lost interest in The One-in-a-Million Boy about half way through and pretty much forced myself to finish it. The story seemed to drag on and on without much really happening and I never connected with the characters.
I also felt like the book jumped around too much and made the plot and characters extremely hard to follow. Each time I started a new chapter, I felt like I was starting the book for the very first time. It always seemed I was half way through the chapter before I could get my footing.
I did enjoy the unique theme of the world records and I thought the references to existing records was really interesting. I also enjoyed the clever way Monica Wood ended the book, but beyond that, I don’t have many positive things to say. If you’re considering reading The One-in-a-Million Boy in 2017, I would say skip it.
Secrets of a Charmed Life
I read this book in FOUR Days – the fastest I’ve ever read a book! I would say this was one of my favorite books of 2016.
The plot is fast paced and I really loved the characters. I’m sad to admit I was a lot like the main character at age 15 – bratty and selfish and a little too eager to take on the world.
The main characters (sisters) struggle their entire lives with decisions they make as children. That was particularly tough to read. But the good news is, the book does end on a happy note!
Susan Meissner has a lot to say about choices in Secrets of a Charmed Life and I really liked her central message. It was something I hadn’t thought a lot about, but I’m glad she brought it to life.
If you liked The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (which was also one of my favorite books of 2016 that you can read about in my What I’m Reading: April-June 2016 post), you will probably like Secrets of a Charmed Life. However, I would caution readers about reading these two books back-to-back or within a few weeks of each other. They are similar enough (both stories of sisters set in WWII) that you may feel like you are reading the same book twice.
I read Tallgrass for Book Club. It was chosen as the October book because of the “part thriller” aspect. We were all a bit confused because this book is NOT by any stretch of the imagination a “thriller.”
Apparently all of Sandra Dallas’ books are set in Colorado and as a Colorado resident, I loved all of the references to towns, cities and attractions in our state. However, beyond that, there really isn’t anything special about the book.
The book has a To Kill a Mockingbird vibe, but with very poor writing, terrible editing and sub par characters, plot and theme.
I’m fairly confident I will forget all about this book by this time next year.
The Woman in Cabin 10
Since Tallgrass created a thirst it couldn’t quench for a good thriller/mystery, I was excited to read The Woman in Cabin 10 even though I don’t typically reach for these types of books.
At first I had a lot of trouble connecting with the main character because I questioned her authenticity. Although she is British, she makes many references to things that are quintessential to American pop culture. However, I now realize that so many things in American pop culture (like the Kardashians) have become the world’s pop culture. So don’t let that be a hangup for you! The author is a legit Brit.
So moving on…most of the story is told through the voice of the main character. However, the author does throw in emails, chat room conversations and articles to help further the plot. I really enjoyed that! It definitely added some uniqueness and creativity to the book.
The plot is your typical “who done it” but on a cruise ship. Although I was never completely shocked by anything, it wasn’t one of those “I knew it the whole time” kind of situations either. I would say there is probably an equal amount of suspense and predictability, but it was enough to keep me reaching for the book.
Overall, I would say The Woman in Cabin 10 was a pretty fun way to spend an afternoon!
The Two-Family House
If the book Everything I Never Told You (that you can find in my What I’m Reading: July-September 2016 post) and the book Crossing to Safety (that you can find in my What I’m Reading: January-March 2016 post) had a baby, it would be The Two-Family House.
The plot centers around a big secret and even though you pretty much know the big secret from the very beginning (although most of the character don’t), the surprise of the novel comes in seeing how that secret directly and indirectly impacts each character and the choices they make as a result.
Sometimes I look at other families and think “how did things end up like that?” This book shows you. It takes you through every stage of the life of two families and you get to see the consequences of each decision made by the characters. You see redemption for some characters while the lives of others characters take a very negative turn.
The Two-Family House was a good reminder that although you may not be able to change your life circumstances, you can definitely choose the way you deal with them. And ultimately, the way you choose to deal with your circumstances determines the person you become.
The Two-Family House was a quick and interesting read that would make for a fantastic Book Club book…unlike Tallgrass, which was horrible! 🙂
Holidays on Ice
I’ve intended to read this book for the past few years and this Christmas season I finally decided it was time.
What a disappointment!
The first story (SantaLand Diaries) made me laugh out loud at a few points, but after that, I couldn’t wait to finish the book. I feel like David Sedaris had one good short story and then wrote a bunch of crappy ones so that he could have a whole book. I recommend you get this book from the library, read SantaLand Diaries, and then return it. None of the other stories are worth your time. They aren’t funny, feel forced and some don’t even have anything to do with Christmas.