Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Latest Three

The Latest Three

It's time for me to round-up and tell you what I thought of the last three books I've read.
Summer break is over now, but I am the lucky chick living in Santa Barbara, where September is usually the hottest month of the year. When I first visited last year, towards the end of November, it was a good 82 degrees. So, at least I won't have to cry too much for the loss of another summer break. I've got sunshine and beach time still coming my way. 
With the accident and the pressure to find myself a job, I didn't read nearly as many books as I was hoping to read, and, if you recall me mentioning such a thing, my supposed re-reading kick never actually got a proper kick-start. But I will remedy that with at least one title as next I'll be re-reading Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater, and the two final books in the trilogy,Linger and Forever, that, for whatever reason, don't ask me how, I haven't gotten to yet. So excited!
But yes, for now, here are The Latest Three!!!

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery
"Where can one find more noble distraction, more entertaining company, more delightful enchantment than in literature?"
I have done it. I have finally done it. I have included a quote from a book I read, here on the blog, and this occurrence has been brought on by the fact that this book was pretty darn filled with good quotes, ones that made you, after reading them, re-read and re-read. This book also has a HUGE vocabulary, sometimes overwhelming, but always impressive.
While this book was based on the relationship of an old, fat, and ugly hotel concierge, Renee, and a small, rich, genius, and suicidal twelve year old girl, Paloma, it felt much more to me that it was about the relationship between Renee and Monsieur Ozu, a wealthy and kind Japanese man. While I as disappointed in the lack of relationship between the two different females (they didn't meet till half way through the story, which I don't often like), I did quite like the relationship between Renee and Ozu, somewhat of a Cinderella story that is the best kind of heart-warming.
In the end, I really enjoyed this novel. A different, engaging, thought-provoking story. At times, I felt it was a bit pretentious, but when you get to know the characters you realize that just sort of comes with the territory. And trust me, there were some moments in this book that really shined. I won't likely forget them. I love it when moments in literature are strong enough that they can carry on with me.
Great characters, great writing style, fun, unique setting (fancy French hotel where people be so rich, they buy out the whole floor, damn!)

In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters
This was a debut new release I was really looking forward to, and let me just start off by saying that I loved it! I think one of my favorite aspects of this book is it's fright factor, which, for me, was done expertly. Now, if you are all into blood, guts, and gore scare factor then this book is likely not for you, though there certainly is some blood in this book. The frightening bits are like the kind where you sit in bed, alone, in the dark or under a flickering lamplight, and wonder. That's it. You wonder and your imagination does all the work for you. Well, Winters definitely fills in some of the gaps herself, but the build up to those moments is beautiful. Not overdone at all, so much so that you start to believe that she's not going to take you there...and then she does. Not that I was sitting freaked out in bed at night from this one, per say, but it was enough to stick with me after reading it. Kateri like.
I also really appreciated the romance in this book. Though you know before reading it, assuming that you read the summary inside, that Stephen, our mc, Mary Shelley Black's, young sweetheart, is killed in the First World War, you still get the whole falling in love roller-coaster, only with twice the heart-break because, well, he dies. But he's not gone.
AND he doesn't just come back for a little smoochy opportunity with Mary Shelley, not that there's not any of that either, but it was truly believable that this was a ghost, a spirit, an in-human and therefore unpredictable and unstable entity, which made things believable and so much more interesting.
Great setting, great characters, great creepy, eerie atmosphere!

Along for the Ride, Sarah Dessen
I was SO READY to get to this book for two main reasons. A) I LOVED The Truth About Forever and Just Listen. B) What's summer without a fun, summer read, right? This book, I'd have to say, is pretty much one of the best summer reads out there, if you ask me. It's about the summer that changes everything. I've certainly had a summer that changed everything (if you saw my last post), and I certainly learned a lot from it as well. So it was great to read a book in which the main character goes through the same thing. I totally got the small beach town setting. The major emotions Auden, the mc, goes through were very believable and basically, well, kept me along for the ride.
It was hard for a bit, handling Auden's parents, neither of which I liked very much. But of course parents, as all people are, are flawed. Her's just happen to be so in a way that made their relationship more dysfunctional. Even the part where Auden starts to separate herself from her mom for the first time, as I believe all women do to a certain degree at some time in their lives, was relatable for me. The boy, as I know you're sitting there tapping your feet saying,"OK, Kateri, but what about The Boy?", is awesome. Even he's flawed, but then again, I guess that's what the book is sort of about. Flaws, and dealing with accepting them. That, and second chances. That, and learning to take first chances. I mean come on, after all, it's summer. And summer only comes once a year.
You probably knew this was coming...
Carpe Diem.

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