Archive of ‘Contemporary’ category

A Reading Funk

I could feel it coming. I would binge a few great books and then stare at my library pile with apathy. Indecision meant starting multiple books before setting them aside.

I was in a Reading Funk.

The fact that reading keeps me sane means a reading funk is no good. I picked up a few quicker romance reads and that kept me going for a few more weeks.

But then I was back to aimlessly staring at covers, my fingers slipping over the spines but ending up empty handed. It was time of the big guns.

The only thing that can save me from this situation is a good old fashioned reread.

Sometimes it only takes one more trip to Paris with Anna and Etienne to pull me out of my funk, but this time it felt bigger than that. I needed a series reread, but Anna wasn’t calling to me.

Sookie Stackhouse was calling to me instead. In the past few days I’ve read the first and second, and am starting on the third. I needed something fast, dramatic, and familiar, and this series gives me exactly that. I don’t know if I’ll reread the entire series (though that would surely help me recover from my lackluster beginning of the month) but I figure I’ll reread until I see an unread book on my shelves that jumps into my waiting hand.

What do you do when you hit a reading funk/slump? Power through? Take a break? Reread?

For the Romance Readers Out There

Lately I’ve been on a romance binge, dancing between contemporary and historical, some pretty H-O-T and some tame in the bedroom (at least tame in what is described on the page).

I know I’m one of the only WSR ladies that reads romance novels, so I thought I’d share a few of my new favorite romance series with our readers. Just in case any of our readers are looking for a steamy read or two. 😉

The Blue Heron series by Kristan Higgins. The first book is The Best Man. Another bookish mom friend recommended this series to me, saying I would love it. And she was right on the money. I devoured these books! You know, ignoring my family to read, hiding in the bathroom for a few more pages…that kind of thing. The next book comes out in December (I believe) and I’m already dying for it!


Hearts and Crafts by Nicole Michaels. First book is Start Me Up. Confession: Nicole is a local-to-me author and one of the nicest people I’ve met. Seriously. Which might surprise you when you read the steamy scenes in her novels! :) I just finished her newest in this series a week or so ago, and it was delicious and heart-warming. So. Good.

Love By Numbers by Sarah MacLean, the first book: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. I loved Sarah’s more recent historical series, so I thought I’d try her first series and I was not let down. I prefer her more recent series, only because of the gaming hell aspects, but Love By Numbers still brought the awesome heroines and those super sexy romances that only Sarah MacLean can do!

Review: Americanah

image

From Goodreads:  As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu—beautiful, self-assured—departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze—the quiet, thoughtful son of a professor—had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.

Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. But when Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their shared passion—for their homeland and for each other—they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.

Erin’s Thoughts:  This is the second novel I’ve read by Adichie, and I’m fairly certain I’m in love.  Adicihie has quickly become my favorite contemporary author.  Her writing is gorgeous, engaging, funny, and thought-provoking.  In addition to being an amazing writer, she’s just a smart, smart person who I could listen to for hours.  Her TED talk, The Danger of a Single Story,  is one of my favorites.  I highly recommend giving it a watch.

So.  About Americanah.  On the surface it’s a coming of age story, a love story, a finding yourself story.  That alone will be enough to make you love this novel.  But, the current that runs through this novel is race.  What does it mean to be black in Nigeria vs. what does it mean to be black in America?  How is race perceived differently?  What are the differences between being a Non-American Black and an American Black? Adichie manages to hold race up in front of our faces in an open, honest, experiential way.  She tells a story, but she also makes us think.  Reading this had me considering my own privilege in ways I’d never thought of before.  Considering the current racial climate in our country, this novel spoke to me in so many ways.  I have always loved reading fiction from cultures outside of my own because it can be such an eye-opening experience, a way to learn about our world, and a powerful way to reflect on my own values and beliefs.  I know not everyone does this regularly, but I not only highly encourage you to step outside of your reading culture every now and again, I cannot say enough times that this novel should be one of the steps in your literary travels.  Read it, and then let’s chat!

 

Review: Things We Know by Heart

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

From Goodreads: When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

Jennie’s Thoughts: When I was in high school, a friend committed suicide and his parents donated many of his organs, so from the moment I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. And once I picked it up from the library, I devoured it.

Jessi Kirby writes deep, heart-wrenching stories that are full of hope and love and amazing settings. And this book packed an even heavier emotional punch for me than her others. I loved Quinn and felt her devastation from the first page. I wanted to hug her, to shake her until her head hurt. And, from the moment Colton arrived on the page, I was hooked. The dynamics between the two created amazing tension!

I cried, I cheered, I cried some more. And I closed the book with a happy sigh. If you enjoy YA novels, I highly, highly recommend this one!

Review: Bone Gap

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

From Goodreads: Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

Jennie’s Thoughts: This was an unexpected read for me. See, up through the first fifty or so pages, I wasn’t sure I would even finish it. But then the magic of Bone Gap pulled me in and I read the rest in a mad dash. I had to know what would happen. I had to know what the heck was going on!

I don’t even know how to write a proper review of this, honestly. So, I’m going short and sweet: this might be an unexpected favorite of 2015.

It’s:
Creepy
Swoony
Crazy Intense
Feminism Hell Yeah
Bees
Sass
A kick ass horse
Love

Review: Saint Anything

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

From Goodreads: Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Jennie’s Thoughts: I’m one of the many who counted down to this book’s release date. I took my youngest for a trip to the “Train Table” at B&N as my excuse to use a birthday gift card on that wonderful Tuesday. And then I dove into Sarah Dessen’s words. It was like the hug of a hammock on a warm spring day.

I think I hit the 25 page mark and just new this was going to be a new favorite SD book, and that feeling continued through the entire thing. Sydney is a character to root for, to hug, to cry over, and more. Her emotional relationship with her parents felt honest as it felt tough. And, the Chathams were real, flawed and beautiful and I wanted to take a trip to the woods with them.

The scene when the cover image suddenly make sense: Dreamy and Perfection. I will read anything Sarah Dessen writes. I closed the cover on this one and immediately considered rereading it. It was that good.

Review: The Girl With All the Gifts

17235026

From Goodreads: Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Erin’s Thoughts: The description from Goodreads was all I had to go on when I picked up this book, but it was enough to intrigue me.  Well, that and a stamp of approval from Joss Whedon.

This is the story of a girl who lives in a cell.  Every morning she and the other children, also in cells, are strapped to wheelchairs while guns are pointed at their heads and then wheeled into a classroom.  There, the students are taught lessons by a variety of teachers.  Lessons that, as it turns out, they really never need to learn.

The main players in this tale are Melanie, her teacher, a military sergeant, and a medical researcher.  When their research facility is destroyed, these four find themselves hurled out into a dangerous world with little to protect themselves from the world around them or from each other.

A mysterious pathogen that is terrorizing humankind, real, gripping characters, a surprisingly touching story,  and an ending I never saw coming.  This book wasn’t about what I expected.  If a horror story can have heart, this is it.

1 2 3 11