February has been a slow start. I think I was a bit worn out from January. But I got my groove back with my second book Wonder. It was a quick and very good read and sort of set the pace from there on. I got the chance to finally dive into a highly anticipated book – it had been on my short-list TBR since last year. I even broke my no-spend/shop your own shelf promise to purchase Never Let Me Go. I also got around to reading Krysten Ritter’s debut – another book I was super looking forward to. I have a total girl-crush on Krysten Ritter. She knits, she writes, she reads, and she is oh so sarcastic. Swoon!
Happiness (Aminatta Forna) ♠♠♠
I had been looking forward to this novel for a while. The fox on the cover, the snowy scene really drew me in. The description sounded magical. Unfortunately, the book didn’t live up to my hype. At times it felt like Americanah. At times it felt like The Trees. Both books were amazing and both had super important messages. Happiness had all that but somehow Forna failed to execute it in a memorable way. I had to trudge through the story at times. Honestly, I can’t put my finger on why I felt so underwhelmed because the individual parts were good – complex characters, every-day life situations, great writing, and a purpose. I wonder if I read this book again another time if I would feel completely differently about it?
Wonder (R.J. Palacio) ♠♠♠♠♠
This book is special. I believe everyone should read it, no matter their age. We can all learn something from it. I tip my hat to Palacio for being inspired and writing this novel.
Wintersong (S. Jae-Jones) ♠♠♠♠
Gah, Erlkönig. I’ve loved you since middle school! Goethe’s poem was one of my favorites we discussed in class. I am such a sucker for the dark and romantic nature of antiheroes/villains. I love me a good story about someone I should be scared of, but deep down admire. Jae-Jones did a great job taking German folk tales and weaving them into her novel. Her characters are complex and different. Her writing has an ethereal nature to it. Big thumbs up! You should read this book.
Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) ♠♠♠♠
This book was highly anticipated by me. I had received several recommendations for it and had originally planned to read it for the Popsugar Challenge 2017, but never got around to it. When I saw it in my local bookstore right before a weekend planned to be spent at a remote cabin, I couldn’t help myself and just had to buy it. And I am glad I did. I really enjoyed this story. It was different. Although it is technically sci-fi, it reads much more like a character study. The novel itself has some of my favorite features: unreliable character √, weird dystopian society √, a wide variety of emotions √, and some beautiful scenic descriptions √. This is a slow paced book. We only learn about slivers of the narrator’s past here and there, but that really kept me engaged. I definitely understand why Kazuo Ishiguro was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. I can’t wait to read more books by him. I also added the movie to my to-watch-list. I’ve heard good things about that one as well.
Bonfire (Krysten Ritter) ♠♠♠
Confession time. I have a HUGE, HUUUUUUGE (I tell ‘ya) girl-crush on Krysten Ritter ever since Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. I wish there would’ve been more seasons. Anyhow, ever since then, I’ve followed Ritter’s IG account like a lovestruck puppy. The fact that she knits (one of my big obsessions) made everything about her better. When I heard she was working on her first novel, I couldn’t wait to get my grubby little hands on the book. And yes, it took me actually a while to read it once I received it in the mail because I was nervous that I would be disappointed. Well … It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it also wasn’t the worst. Bonfire is a fluff read – it’s fast and entertaining but not memorable. I think my major issue with it is that Ritter, in my opinion, missed two important opportunities. 1) She could’ve broken the mold and made one of the female characters the main villain (what a trope that the one I am talking about in the end only did what she did for affection from a man, gag!) and 2) she should’ve let the heroine die. At the point of the almost-fatal incident, we, the readers, already know everything about the crime and the crime motives, but letting the heroine die would’ve made for a good unresolved feeling without being left completely in the dark. Had Ritter done those two things, I could’ve easily overlooked the somewhat immature writing and often told, rather than shown, storyline. In fact, I would’ve thought this book to be very relevant for today’s society. Too bad that didn’t happen and as such this novel is rather a poolside, guilty pleasure read than a critical literary piece. But hey, we can’t be perfect at everything, right? My swooning for Ritter has not diminished.
Final Girls (Riley Sager) ♠♠♠
I feel like I’ve heard people hailing this thriller in the lines of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train – I loved the first and hated the second. So, yeah, this was kind of a predictor for this book, because I just feel meh about Final Girls. I can’t even really put my finger on why except that the pace was too slow for a gripping thriller and that I found myself wishing on several occasions that I’d rather be reading the actual story about what happened at the cabin to Quincy than the flashbacks to it. Her current life was boring. The friendship with the other final girls was implausible. The only saving grace was toward the end when the twists and turns sped up a bit, although none of them really came as a surprise. I am not saying you shouldn’t read the book. I’m just saying you should read it as a fluff read, without expectations.