Monday, February 4, 2019

January 2019 Book Review

It's my first book review of 2019!!!! This is probably my favorite post to write each month, one of my favorite posts to read on other blogs, and the one I have the most interaction with others on. SO FUN.

Old picture but I'm at this level of excitement for book review time!!!!!

I'm also well into the POPSUGAR 2019 Book Challenge prompts, and I'm going to start noting when I picked a book specifically to fill a prompt. Right now I'm still largely reading books that I want to read and there are enough categories I can fit them in still so far {if that makes sense}, ha. Okay so with all that blabbing, let's talk about what I read {finally, sheesh!}.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Bachman - I've been meaning to read this book for a long time and finally got around to it. Ove is the perfect definition of a curmudgeon. Or so he seems on the outside. But he can't seem to keep helping the people in his community even though he doesn't want to. I fell in love with Ove and loved that this story shared his backstory in such detail and we got to understand why Ove was Ove and also understand why he was driven the way he was. This book was so good, I had all the feels!!!

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton - I posted a few months ago about Kate Morton being one of my favorite authors. I was antsy about this book because I had seen some reviews with people saying this one wasn't as good as Kate's other books. But I kept my hopes high given how much I love her other books. This story's main narrator is a the ghost of a woman {whose father was a clockmaker} whose spirit is trapped in the house in which she died in the 1860s. In the present, an archivist, Elodie, discovers a framed picture of a woman in the satchel of a famous artist from the 1860s in a box of stuff of the man whose archives she helps keep. She also finds a picture of a house, and she KNOWS it's the house her mother {a famous concert cellist who died when she was a little girl} told her stories about. Who is the girl? Why is this artist's satchel somewhere it shouldn't be? How does the house of her childhood stories fit with all of this? Through changing points of view, the story slowly {sometimes painfully slow} unfolds until all the questions are answered. When the story wrapped up I was very happy with how it turned out. I could have used more of Elodie's story/POV and less of the other minor stories {although I understand how they fit into the overall story}, but overall I was invested in the story and am glad I read it. It isn't my favorite of hers, but it was definitely NOT a bomb either.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris - This book is written based off interviews with Lale Sokolov, who was a Slovakian Jew imprisoned at Auschwitz during WW2. Because he spoke several languages, he was given the job as the tattooist, permanently tattooing the other prisoners with their assigned prison numbers. I thought this book could have been amazing {because the story behind it is}, but I thought it was just good. The writing lacked something for me - it was just very basic. Where there could have been much more description or story told, there were sentences like 'We rode on the train.' I'm guessing that because this was based off interviews with Lale, the author was limited on what she had for material, but I was just not overly impressed by the writing style. The story itself is an amazing recounting of overcoming the odds and finding love and beauty in the midst of horror, so I think it's worth reading. But I think it's important going into it to note it isn't the most well-written.

American Fire by Monica Hesse - My neighbor/friend, Karin, loaned me this book from her Book of the Month collection, and I had it for months before finally reading it. When I started it, I realized I read this author's other book, Girl in the Blue Coat, a few months ago. This is a true crime recounting of over 60 arsons set in the span of several months in a small town on the East Coast. I really enjoyed this one. It covered the fires and the players really well and moved at a fast enough pace to keep my interest {some true crime books can be based on a very fascinating story but be paced SO SLOWLY that I lose interest}. I also enjoyed that the capture and trial were covered as well. Really fun read.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before & P.S. I Love You & Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han - YA TRILOGY ALERT!!! This series follows Lara Jean who is a half-Korean high school junior in 'love' with her sister's boyfriend. She writes letters that she never sends to her major crushes but somehow they accidentally get sent out and she fakes a boyfriend when all her letter recipients come to her. Sounds cheesy but it was delightful. The first book started off a little slow for me, but then I PLOWED through the series reading #2 and #3 in a day each. I will definitely be reading more by this author. AND there's a Netflix movie of the first book and talk of a sequel, yay!

I think 2019 is off to a good start! Happy reading!


Natasha said...

Okay, so even though I have to leave for a work meeting in fifty minutes AND I'm still in my pjs, you know I have to comment. Ha!

I agree with A Man Called Ove and The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I just couldn't put my finger on why I didn't LOVE Tattooist but you summed it up perfectly.

Since I read The Girl in the Blue Coat during the readathon, I will definitely check out American Fire.

And I read To All the Boys I've Loved Before last week and am now waiting for PS I Still Love You to come in. I'm glad to hear that the next two are worth it because sometimes a trilogy tanks after the first one.

Natasha said...

ARGH... my library let me down and doesn't carry American Fire. Drat.

Emily said...

I was convinced I had already added American Fire to my library list when I saw it in your currently, but #mombrain I hadn’t. I just finished finished an awesome book and need a new good one (I have 4 others sitting in half read states but not wanting to finish them) and realized my local library has American Fire in stock so I don’t even have to wait for it to ship over. This is a terribly long comment just to say that I should have American Fire by tomorrow and am excited to read it. Also glad you live A Man Called Ove. I loved it so much and was so emotionally vested in all of it.

Kathryn Bagley said...

I'll have to check out your YA series and maybe catch the netflix movie! I finished the last 2 books after the Selection Series and I was kinda hoping she'd end up with Kyle but glad it worked out for her the translator. I was a little thrown off when 2 of the participants ended up together. I actually got in bed and read our BC book from Jan (Becoming Mrs. Lewis). I'm enjoying it. Feb BC is The wedding by nicholas sparks..yay!

Erika said...

So glad you finally read Ove!! I loved the Netflix movie of All the Boys but haven't read any of the books yet, so I will probably need to do that. Nothing like balancing all my war books with some quality YA!!!