Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

PUBLISHER: Algonquin Books
PUBLICATION DATE: January 1st, 2006
SOURCE/FORMAT: Library book! 
KEYWORDS: circus, freak show, scary job yo
Jacob Jankowski thought he had a plan. He was about to graduate from an Ivy League school with his veterinary degree, and then he was going to partner up with his dad's practice. But when his parents unexpectedly die, and he learns that his father was working for trade on the pet's of Depression-crippled families instead of for money, he looses everything. So he does what any orphaned son would do in the 30's: he hops a train. But it's not just any ol' freighter, it's the train for the Benzini Brother's Most Spectacular Show on Earth! Jacob soon becomes ensnared in the world of workers vs performers, exotic animals, freaks, bootleg liquor, and the lovely Marlena. It doesn't take long for him to learn that the circus is just a big illusion, and you should never mix work with love. 
I love me a good circus story. I ate up GEEK LOVE by Katherine Dunn, and I am way too excited for the new season of American Horror Story. For some reason, I have just always been drawn into the world of circus' and freak shows, despite never having been to one myself. For some reason I wasn't sure, fully, if I wanted to read this. Mostly because it was sooooo popular a few years ago, and it's been made into a movie and I'll admit that I was definitely pleasantly surprised. I actually ate this book up in two and a half days. This book reads lightning fast, the pacing is really nice and the writing style is simple enough to just flow on and on and on. In each page there is a new revelation or piece of action that kept me glued to the page, and as I was reading it was playing like a movie in my head which I loved. There was super great descriptions, and Gruen does a fab job at pulling the reader into the world of a 1930's circus which I was OBSESSED WITH. 
That moment, the music screeched to a halt. There was an ungodly collision of brass, reed, and percussion--trombones and piccolos skidded into cacophony, a tuba farted, and the hollow clang of a cymbal wavered out of the big top, over our head and into oblivion.
Grady froze, crouched over his burger with his pinkies extended and lips spread wide.
I looked from side to side. No one moved a muscle--all eyes were directed at the big top. A few wisps of hay swirled lazily across the hard dirt.
"What is it? What's going on?" I said.
"Shh," Grady hissed.
The band started up again, playing "Stars and Stripes Forever."
"Oh Christ. Oh shit!" Grady tossed his food onto the table and leaf up, knocking over the bench.
"What? What is it?" I yelled, because he was already running away from me.
"The Disaster March!" he screamed over his shoulder.
I jerked around to the fry cook who was ripping off his apron. "What the hell's he talking about?"
"The Disaster March," he said, wrestling the apron over his head. "Means something's gone bad--real bad." 
That was on the second page. With a hook like that, how could you not get sucked into the action? As perfect as the pacing and world building was in this novel, I did take issue with one of the major plot lines which was the budding relationship between Jacob and the horse girl Marlena. Jacob gets adopted into the show as the circus vet, an easy in once he mentions he was about to have an Ivy League education. He's never worked on a circus, is unfamiliar with the lingo, and feels like giving up. Then he catches a glimpse of the liberty horses act, lead by the beautiful and delicate Marlena. After seeing the magic of her act and the love she has for the horses, he makes a pact to stay. For the animals, and because there's a big case of LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT for Jacob with Marlena. The issue with Marlena is that she is married to Jacob's boss August, the Equestrian Director. While their relationship was sweet sometimes, I didn't fully buy that she was worth the risk, and there are A LOT of risks when it comes to falling in love with your boss' wife. We see August being a terrible human/incapable of being a good husband to Marlena, but we don't really see what makes her so special. She didn't have much of a personality, despite her having such a large presence in the circus. 

Despite the somewhat flat relationship between Jacob and Marlena, there were a lot of other solid relationships between friends and enemies. I felt like a fly on Jacob's shoulder as he navigated the world of caring for exotic animals, and learned the shady, shady ways of Uncle Al, the owner of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. There are a lot of characters that I really like, but I didn't trust a single person. This kept the tension high throughout the entire novel, and I didn't know what to fully expect. There is also a lot of drama of all kinds. Police raids! Sex with the cooch girl! Loving your boss' wife! Drunken brawls! The constant threat of being red lighted! At every page turn there was always something happening to push the story forward and keep things engaging.
I'm blubbering like the ancient fool I am, that's what.
I guess I was asleep. I could have sworn that just a few seconds ago I was twenty-three, and now here I am in this wretched, desiccated body.
I sniff and wipe my stupid tears, trying to pull myself together because that girl is back, the plump one in pink. She either worked all night or I lost track of a day. I hate not knowing which.
I also wish I could remember her name, but I can't. That's how it is when you're ninety. Or ninety-three. 
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS is told in two time frames. There is the young Jacob working for the circus, and there is the old Jacob, who is living out the rest of his life in a nursing home. Old Jacob's life is not that interesting, and the parts of his story as an old man were not as engaging to me. The big story is that there is a circus being set up in the parking lot across the street, and this is what spurs Jacob into thinking about the golden days. Even though this collision of his past and present was intriguing, there just wasn't enough happening. I would've preferred to read a whole book (and maybe a second) about Jacob's life on the circus and working with the animals. Also, the way the book ends made me give an eye roll of epic proportions. I just wasn't about it :(

Even though I was't a fan of the 'present' Jacob and his relationship with Marlena on the circus, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS was a truly engaging read that was hard for me to put down. I was fully immersed in the world of a Prohibition-era circus, and there was a lot of drama that made this a quick, quick read.
Have you read this book or seen the movie? What did you think? How does the movie add up? (I still need to see it!)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

PUBLISHER: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
SOURCE/FORMAT: Library book! 
KEYWORDS: celebrity, heiress, shit jobs, family
Lexington Larrabee is about to be a multi-millionaire, and she hasn't had to do an hour of work for it. Unless partying in major cities around the globe and being hounded by the paparazzi is work. She is the daughter of the Richard Larrabee, after all, and heiress to the Larrabee Media empire. She's been surrounded by money her whole life, but she is just days away from receiving her $25 million dollar trust fund check on her eighteenth birthday. She has big plans for this check. A summer cruise in Europe, and then getting the hell out of her lavish yet empty feeling home, and away from the critical eye of her rarely present father. Then, after a drunken night out, she crashes her $500,000 Mercedes into the front of a convenience store, and her father decides that enough is enough: if she wants her trust fund check, she has to work 52 low wage jobs, one per week, for a year. Before she knows it, her summer plans turn from partying in Europe, to learning how to assemble burritos and use a vacuum. If she didn't hate her father already, this is surely the final nail in the coffin. Or so she thinks.
Guilty pleasure confession time: I love the shit out of stuff like this. I keep up with the Kardashians. I'm sadly addicted to the Kim Kardashian Hollywood app. I read the entire GOSSIP GIRL series in high school. I watch Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. Etc. Etc. For some reason, I've always been drawn to the lifestyles of the rich and the famous, and when I read the premise of this book, I knew it was something I would probably eat up. It reminded me of that ol' classic show, The Simple Life, and after a particularly dark read, I needed some fluff in my life. 
Lexington Larrabee is one sassy bitch, and I loved that. It's apparent that she has been raised in a rich household, in bratty and sad ways. When she first learns of her father's plans to withhold her trust fund check, she tries to skip town to her birthday bash in Vegas. Much to her dismay, her butler won't drive her to the airport. When she drives herself there, the pilot won't fly her, and her quick thinking is really put into overdrive. It was hilarious to read her inner tantrums over being met with resistance, and the way she comes to conclusions on how to do things. It is also painfully obvious that her father is not around much. Her mother died when she was young, and every 'warm' family moment with her father and his string of short-lived marriages is done for the benefit of a magazine photographer. Her strained relationship with him made me think this book should have been called 52 (MORE) REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER, just because he didn't seem to have any redeeming qualities, even before she had to start working. 
Bruce looks like he's stifling a chuckle, which manages to piss me off even more..."These jobs are...well, slightly less glamorous. Minimum-wage-type stuff. Intended to teach you something about life. To show you how the other half lives."
"What other half?" I snarl.
"The half that doesn't receive a five-hundred-thousand-dollar Mercedes convertible and then crash it into a convenience store the very next day."
...Bruce hands me a piece of paper. "Here's a complete listing of the jobs you'll be undertaking over the next year. You're schedule to start tomorrow."
I gruffly snatch the paper from his hand and glance over the list. It seems to go on forever. My eyes graze over words like janitor, waitress, dishwasher, fast-food restaurant employee, and gas station attendant, and I can't bear to read any further. I chuck the paper back in his direction. "No frickin' way I'm doing any of those things!"
Lexington is accompanied to each job by Luke, an intern for her father's company who ensures that she get to each job on time. Their relationship is strained, to say the least. Luke looks up to Lexington's father, and Lexington can't ever figure out why, especially because he's not much of a father. Also, Luke is the one who has to take her to the dreaded jobs which is bad enough as it is. It was funny watching Lexington try to keep up with her new jobs, and the overdramatic way that she handles her "bruised and battered" body from doing manual labor. Some jobs she genuinely loves, some jobs she loathes, and some jobs it's only her co-workers that make it something worthwhile. Each week she is also required to send in a progress report with what she learned from each job. Sometimes she takes this seriously, other time she just learns that cleaning toilets sucks. These progress reports were also a good way for us to read about her 52 jobs, without having to read about her going to all of them. I especially loved the reasoning for each job, which we learn at the end. It was actually a powerful message, and it really got through to Lexington. 
So this is what real families do.
They talk. Make each other laugh. Dole out warm smiles and tender looks as freely as the sun doles out light.
They sit together in one place. At one table. Sharing one meal. Without a photographer there to document it for the next issue of Time magazine.
And then, like an arctic wind, the reality of the situation hits me with an empty sting.
They're not the strange and unfamiliar ones. I am. I'm the one who doesn't fit in. I'm the one who no one can quite figure out. 
Being the reality-TV-pop-culture junkie that I am, I also enjoyed seeing 'behind the scenes' of a family like this. The glamorous parties. All of 'the help.' The strong presence of media manipulation and a hounding publicist who is obsessed with image. I really liked getting that perspective into this world. I also appreciated how much Lexington, and even her father, grows out of this experience. At first it seems like she won't make it the full 52 weeks, but there are small things that she takes away from each job that ultimately molds her. Honestly, out of the end I would have really loved an Undercover Boss type moment where she reaches out to people she worked with and 'blesses' them in some way, but I thought the end was still pretty darn touching. 

52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER was the fluff I was wanting out of this read, but it ended up being much more than I expected! There's main character growth, a sassy narrator, and an inside look into the life of an heiress trying to earn a living like everyone else. I did wish that there was something about her father closer to the beginning that could help us like him a little before he dumps this on her, but he ends up growing by the end of this book, too. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
PUBLICATION DATE: April 15, 2014 
SOURCE/FORMAT: Library book! 
KEYWORDS: sister relationships, love letters, first loves
Every girl handles love lost differently. Some choose to cry it out over their favorite sappy movie. Others eat it away with a pint (or two) of Ben and Jerry's. And Lara Jean chooses to write love letters to the former objects of her affection. She doesn't ever send them, God no, she tucks them safely away in a vintage hat box in her closet. But then one day at school, Peter, one of the boys she's written letters to, approaches her with a note that looks mighty familiar. The impossible became possible. Her love letters, five of them exactly, have been shipped out to all of the boys she's loved before. As if she needed something else to deal with. Her hold-it-together big sister Margot has just moved to Europe, and now she has to take care of her dad and little sister, all while doing damage control for her letter. 

There has been a lot of hype around this book since it came out (on my birthday!) and I dragged my feet on picking it up for some reason. I don't know if it was the fact that this book is so highly praised or if it was because I haven't been in a fluffy reading mood, but now I regret that I waited so freaking long to pick this up! The best part was this book was not at all what I expected it to be. The general synopsis of this book pointed me in the direction of really awkward boy drama. Lara Jean is forced to confront these boys all of a sudden, some of which she has only communicated to through these love letters, so there is a lot of awkward drama, but that isn't what is at the heart of this story. 
I like to save things. Not important things like whales or people or the environment. Silly things. Porcelain bells, the kind you get at souvenir shops. Cookie cutters you'll never use, because who needs a cooke in the shape of a foot? Ribbons for my hair. Love letters. Of all the things I save, I guess you could say my love letters are my most prized possessions. 
I'll get into the boys later, because I kind of have to, duh. But first I want to talk about the amazing SISTERHOOD that is in this story. I loved that Lara Jean's older sister Margot, and younger sister Kitty, were the real stars of this novel, even before the boys. I wasn't expecting this book to have such a strong family presence so it was a pleasant surprise. Lara Jean goes through it all with her sisters. They've made pacts. They look out for each other. They lie for each other. They make compromises for each other. Each sister is also so full of personality, and Han perfectly executed what makes having a sister so special. I especially loved Kitty. She was so full of sass for being nine years old, and her timing of things to say was awesome. She is also notorious for holding a grudge, and Lara Jean has to crack the nearly impossible code of making her sibling happy again. The three girls live alone with their father, and their mother had died when they were younger. I loved that even with their mother not there, they did things to keep her spirit alive. Even their father wasn't there as much as an OB/GYN doctor, but when he was around, he got thumbs up. He is white, and does all he can to keep up with their Korean traditions, and tries really hard to be there for them.
It takes all of history class and most of English for my heart rate to slow down. I kissed Peter Kavinsky. In the hallway, in front of everybody. In front of Josh.
I didn't think this thing through, obviously. That's what Margot would say, including and especially the "obviously." If I had thought it through, I would have made up a boyfriend and not picked an actual person. More specifically, I would not have picked Peter K. He is literally the worst person I could have picked, because everybody knows him. He's Peter Kavinsky, for Pete's sake. Kavinsky of Gen and Kavinsky. It doesn't matter that they're broken up. They're an institution at this institution.  
Now for the boys. I was so torn on them. I think that the focus of this books synopsis being on them lead to me believe that there would be a LOT of boy drama, when really the drama was not that crazy. Of the five letters that get sent out, only two of them really stir the pot, and that is with Josh, and Peter. The problem with Josh is that he has been in a long-term relationship with Margot, even though Lara Jean knows that she is the one who loved him first. Peter is the ultimate boy to have a crush on in high school, who Lara Jean hasn't had feelings for since junior high. The boys were just fine. Each one had their own quirks and didn't fall into a stereotypical role. I also super appreciated the fact that Jenny Han did not make Lara Jean's love life predictable. I thought for sure that I had her fate pinned down, but it changes in a way that is realistic and surprising. 
I cross my arms. "I'd better still have enough flour."
"You look like a grandma," he says, still laughing.
"Well, you look like a grandpa," I counter. I dump the flour in my mixing bowl back into the flour canister.
"Actually, you're really a lot like my granny," Peter says. "You hate cussing. You like to bake. You stay at home on Friday nights. Wow, I'm dating my granny. Gross." 
I really enjoyed Lara Jean's narration. There are a lot of different sides to her that we get to see in action. She's quirky with a lot of cute interests like baking and scrapbooking. She orders clothes off of Japanese Street Fashion websites, and I imagine her having the cutest bedroom on the planet. She's not overly academic like her sister Margot was, but she's smart. She's half Korean, and when I thought about it, I don't think I've ever read a book with a Korean narrator ever? I liked getting little glimpses into the Song girl's culture, whether it's the bo ssam that their father tries and fails to make, or their holiday traditions brought into their world by their mother. Even though Peter (above) describes Lara Jean as a granny, I thought she was a wonderfully well-rounded narrator that was able to make me laugh, make me cry, make me shake my head, and teach me things. She was fabulous.

TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE is a book that definitely lives up to the hype that swirls around it. It is a quirky story filled with family bonds and the awkward world of getting involved with boys. I believe this is the first book of a new series, so color me excited for the next one! I definitely won't wait so long to read it :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bookish Street Art

One of my favorite things about my Chicago neighborhood is there is so much awesome street art. Today after taking our bikes in for a tune-up and my boyfriend getting a hair trim, we took a ride down a street that is full of art from some of the best around. This was a sweet surprise, so of course I had to take my picture in front of it. I LOVE it. Took me back to that time I saw some Maya Angelou street art last year. Officially adding "bookish street art" to the list of things I love.

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon 11 Goals & Updates!

Bout of Books
I am so excited for the Bout of Books read-a-thon! When I did it in May, I was actually a little surprised by how much I enjoyed pushing myself to read when I typically wouldn't. I also super loved connecting with other bloggers in the Twitter chats, and participating in the different challenges. These read-a-thon's also always seem to come at the perfect time when I'm in a bit of a reading slump, or not reading as much as I would typically like to. Without further ado, here are my goals & updates for the week! Check back to this post to see how I'm doing on my challenges and progress :) 

Time Devoted to Reading

My goals for reading are much like my goals during the last read-a-thon. I want to dedicate my commutes to reading. I commute via bus and train about 40 minutes each way, so that's a perfect opportunity! I would also like to commit at least half of my lunch break to reading. I started a new job last month (which I LOVE) and I get an hour long lunch break. the other half of my lunch break will be like...spent eating. I would also like to try to go to bed earlier so I can read a little before I fall asleep. 

My Goals

  • Read three books. Last year my goal was to read 2 and I read more than that, so I wanted to challenge myself more ;) 
  • Participate in two twitter chats. 
  • Participate in the challenges every day.

Books to Read

  • To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. I've already started this, but I'm only twenty pages in. 
  • One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
  • Scott Pilgrim #4 by Bryan Lee O'Malley
  • The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky


Books read today: 
   Completed: 0
   Pages read: 86
   In progress: 1, To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Total number of books I've read: 0
Book Scavenger Hunt hosted by The Book Monsters. Follow me on Instagram @kittenroar to see my finds!

Bookish Playlist hosted by Lulo Fangirl! I loved this challenge! It was supposed to be a book we are reading this week, but a playlist is easier to make when you know the vibe of the story, so I chose one of my favorites :)

Books read today: 
   Completed: 1, To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
   Total pages read: 310
   In progress: 1
Total number of books I've read: 1
After much thought, a new OTP came to mind in the OTP challenge hosted by Infinite Ink
And I had a lot of fun creating book spine poetry! Hosted by My Little Pocketbooks:
This is where I leave you: 
in the casual vacancy
across the universe
when you are engulfed in flames

Books read today: 
   Completed: 1, Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together by Bryan Lee O'Malley
   Total pages read: 515
   In progress: 1
Total number of books I've read: 2
Challenge: No challenge :( But I had a blast in the twitter chat! 

Books read today: 
   Completed: 0
   Total pages read: 568
   In progress: 1, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky
Total number of books I've read: 2
Challenge: Too lazy today :( 

Books read today: 
   Completed: 0
   Total pages read: 675
   In progress: 1, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky
Total number of books I've read: 2
Book Chain Challenge hosted by Christian Bookshelf Reviews in which we link four books by the last/first word of each book! Here is my chain: 
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Illuminated Poems by Allen Ginsberg
Poems by Maya Angelou

Books read today: 
   Completed: 1, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky.
   Total pages read: 827
   In progress: 1, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody
Total number of books I've read: 3.5
Challenge: Eeeeeeeep

Books read today: 
   Completed: 0 
   Total pages read: 948
   In progress: 1, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody
Total number of books I've read: 3.5

Wish me luck! xo

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Review: The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison

The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Page Count: 326
Source/Format: Library book! 
Keywords: marital problems, miscommunication, affairs, murder
Jodi has always prided herself on not being the jealous type. She knows her husband, Todd, runs around and takes lovers. As long as he provides for her, though, keeps her comfortable in their Chicago high-rise condo, and allows her to carry on with her very particular routine, she is satisfied. There's no point in causing a fuss, in being the nag. But then, Todd crosses the line, and she learns very quickly that she will do anything it takes for her to keep what is hers. 
This book has been on my radar for a while now. Last year I read and loved Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and have been looking for a similar book since. In Gone Girl, I really loved the dual perspectives, the twists and turns, and the two characters I loved to hate. The Silent Wife has been touted as being 'better than Gone Girl' or for fans who enjoyed it. Naturally, I had high expectations, and sadly those expectations were not met. Not even close. 
At forty-five, Jodi still sees herself as a young woman. She does not have her eye on the future but lives very much in the moment, keeping her focus on the everyday. She assumes, without having thought about it, that things will go on indefinitely in their imperfect yet entirely acceptable way. In other words, she is deeply unaware that her life is now peaking, that her youthful resilience--which her twenty-year marriage to Todd Gilbert has been slowly eroding--is approaching a final stage of disintegration, that her notions about who she is and how she ought to conduct herself are far less stable than she supposes, given that a few short months are all it will take to make a killer out of her. 
Like Gone Girl, The Silent Wife is told in dual third-person perspectives, alternating between husband and wife. Where as Gone Girl's multiple perspectives pushed the story forward and kept me gripped with characters I hated, I could not find myself caring about Jodi or Todd or anything that happened to them. Jodi is a character built in routine, and we get every minute of this routine down to the very minute A lot of what we learn about Jodi's life just seemed extraneous. I didn't want to read about every time she walked the dog, served a smoked fish on crackers, perfectly fanned her magazines, or pressed her clothing. The author did a lot of work to let us know how BORING and PREDICTABLE Jodi was, so that when things started to come to a head we would be shocked and surprised. What happened, though, was I became numbed to Jodi and it made me expect something 'unpredictable.' As for Todd, he was your every day misogynist, and he didn't have any redeeming qualities that I could grasp onto that would allow me to care about what happens to him. 
He returns to his pint and his musings, trying her at intervals, finally remembering that it's Jodi he meant to call. There's a reason why he needs to speak to Jodi. He's going to tell her the news before Dean can beat him to it. But he needs to preserve his mood of celebration, and in keeping with this, instead of making the call, he buys a round for the house, which is filling up as five o'clock approaches. People around the room life a glass to him, saluting his generosity...When a group at a nearby table raises a cheer on his behalf, he says with earnest candor, "I'm just hoping that my wife doesn't know." Leaving the well-wishers to puzzle this out for themselves. 
The all around lack of communication in this novel is what mostly got to me. Jodi prides herself on her approach to marriage. She's a therapist, so she feels like she has a pretty firm grasp on how she can react. She is fully aware of her husband's affair, and yet she says absolutely nothing about it, which is frustrating because she learns A LOT about her husband in this novel and I can't imagine a woman on the face of this Earth who would have this knowledge and not say SOMETHING. There is a lot of conflict in this novel that is avoided in general with lack of dialogue and a quick summary in prose later on. There are some conversations that we see the start of, but not the finish, and we know that some shit was going to go down but we never get to hear it! Even between Jodi and Todd, the one time that they actually fight about it, we don't get to hear what they actually say to each other. We just read that Jodi is embarrassed by the scene that is created in public and her hair gets mussed up. If we had actually gotten to read what Jodi says to her husband, and other characters that create conflict in this story, this book would have been so much more riveting! We actually get more dialogue between Jodi and a professor/therapist of hers from years ago than we do between her and Todd.
And then he gets it. She's intentionally giving the occasion a commonplace twist. This is not something that can happen only once, not a special event but a staple, something to be repeated. She wants them to go on as usual, behave as if nothing has changed. Making him dinner is part of ordinary life, and routine pleasures have always been her mainstay, the crux of her happiness, the theme of her existence. A bottle of wine, a homemade meal, the delights of the domicile, predictable diversions, dependable comforts. He sees exactly where she's coming from. It's almost like a game.
He's been guilty of underestimating her. 
I will say that I was slightly surprised by the ending, in a good way, there was a twist that I had not fully expected. It avoided conflict, much like the rest of the book, but it was the one thing that I did not see coming, and I appreciated that. It was what kept this book from being a one star rating for me. Perhaps this book would have been better if it hadn't compared to Gone Girl so much, I think that the direct comparisons really had me hoping for something that this book just wasn't. There is some beautiful prose, but the constant miscommunication, lack of conflict, and unlikable characters kept me from fully enjoying this one.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bout of Books 11!

It's that time again, y'all! Bout of books! I did my first readathon back in May and had the best time connecting with other bloggers and carving out more time in my day for reading. I couldn't wait for the next one and now it's finally (almost) here!

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Is anyone else doing Bout of Books 11?