Tag Archives: reading

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I have seen this book everywhere. Wal-Mart, the Library (of course), blog world, pinterest, Target…everywhere. So I borrowed it from a friend – I’m pretty sure she’ll never loan me a book again – upon returning her paperback it looked like it’d been in Oscar the Grouch’s trashcan for the better part of a month (it was only in my care for 2 weeks).

Here’s the synopsis (from Ransom Riggs’s website):

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Again this was a junior fiction – if not it really really felt like it. I was quickly reminded of Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants which also uses antique photographs to supplement, if not carry, the plot along.  Riggs’s story was interesting. This was a fantastical journey that included time travel and stretched my imagination. Fantasy isn’t usually my ‘thing’ but this book actually captivated my attention and kept it beginning to end. I’d say go for it, especially during Scare Month!

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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Picture Perfect

Another book? IIII KNOW, Right?! I ripped through several books from May-August (several by my standards anyway) just a few more for you and then you’ll be caught up on my latest readings.

Here’s the synopsis (from Jodi Picoult’s website):

As Picture Perfect begins, it is daybreak in downtown L.A. A woman suffering from amnesia is taken in by an officer new to the L.A. police force, after he finds her wandering aimlessly near a graveyard. Days later, when her husband comes to claim her at the police station, no one is more stunned than Cassie Barrett to learn that not only is she a renowned anthropologist, but she is married to Hollywood’s leading man, Alex Rivers.

As Alex helps Cassie become reaccustomed to her fairy-tale existence, fragments of memory return: the whirlwind romance on location in Africa, her major anthropological discovery, the trajectory of Alex’s career. Yet as Cassie settles into her glamour-filled life, uneasiness nags at her. She senses there is something troubling and wild that would alter the picture of her perfect marriage. When she finds a positive pregnancy test in her bathroom, she is flooded with dark memories. Trying to piece together her past, she runs to the other person she trusts to keep her hidden– Will Flying Horse, the policeman who had initially harbored her.

I can’t say this is my favorite of hers or even in the top 3. It was more like one of those made-for-TV movies you let run in the background while doing housework. I didn’t find it captivating or noteworthy; it was just a decent read.

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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The Fault in Our Stars

I this is my first John Green novel. I’ll fess up, I read it because the movie is coming out soon and well…I have a hard time watching the movie before I read the book. I was pleasantly surprised. Of course it’s junior fiction but, who cares?

Here’s the synopsis (from here):

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

It made me hug my spouse and wax nostalgic for the days when we first met – those long phone conversations, reading the same books, listening to each other’s music, just learning & discovering who the other person was. It’s a beautiful and unique tale of love, allowing yourself to be wooed – not just by another person but life itself.

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette

This book popped up in my Goodreads suggestion after my obsession with all stories/books Gillian Flynn left me with a giant gaping hole (and a lighter purse).  Rightfully so, it’s was along the same lines: female leads, a mysterious-ish plot, character development that leaves you thinking you could meet the main characters at the local Wal-Greens.

Unlike Ms. Flynn’s books this was much less gruesome and more lighthearted.  I chuckled out loud quite a bit – as in I had a hard time reading it in public. Because it was so interesting and fresh I neglected all housework and all other responsibilities until I finished. I think it was a 3 day read for me – that’s gotta be a Jessica record!  On to the book.

Synopsis from here (how hilarious is that doll?!?!):

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle – and people in general – has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence – creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a daughter’s unflinching love for her imperfect mother.

Maria Semple’s Bernadette Fox is a RIOT! to be honest, in my imagination she looks a lot like Jake’s Godmother… 🙂 I’d say if you’re looking for something humerus and different from the normal beach book or summer read, please pick it up!

 

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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A Long Way Down

How can I describe Nick Hornby’s writing style? ummm…take that oddball friend in your social circle, the one with the weird and slightly dark sense of humor, add a whole lot of sarcasm, mix this with that guy who always makes terrible moments laughable and throw waaay too much pop-culture knowledge…now you’ve got a pretty good description.  That’s how I see and read Hornby.

Here’s the synopsis (from here):

Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year’s Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper’s House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives.

In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Nick Hornby tells a story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances.

Intense, hilarious, provocative, and moving, A Long Way Down is a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life.

I liked this book. It was a ‘light’ read; surprisingly kept my mood light, given the topic that’s quite a feat. I’d say if you’re not easily offended and looking for a chuckle or two while looking at the depth of friendship, loneliness, and life as a whole pick it up.

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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Summer Reading

Reading was the 1st item on both of our Guidelines for Better Living this year.

Sadly we’ve dropped the ball. As of today I have finished only 2 books and I Jake’s still working through the first.

The ball is on the court, sadly rolling away.

This week we’re pickin’ it back up and have dreams of jaw dropping slam dunks by December 31st.

Here are the stacks on our nightstands:

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Jake’s Guidelines for Better Living

This year I’ve talked Jake into setting (and sharing) his Guidelines for Better Living too!

Here’s what his Guidelines for Better Living in 2014 look like:

Read 10 books — (win for me he’s starting in on Dark Places by Gillian Flynn!)

Enjoy my HobbiesPhotography & design.

Become Healthier

Focus on Who I am rather than what I own or how much I make

We’re working on formulating measurable outcomes for each of these. Those last two are a little tricky. However we have been doing this “No Spend First Quarter“. We’re only purchasing the necessities, nothing extra (no video games, no restaurant food, NOTHING) to hopefully bring value back to what we already have like that SNES we have packed away or the Nikon D600 that’s been in it’s case far too long or that MOUNTAIN RANGE calling our names.

Did you make any resolutions (or ‘Guidelines for better Living’)? What were they and how are they coming along?

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Jessica’s Guidelines for Better Living

I haven't read her blog through yet but I'm gonna start!

There’s something horrible about the word Resolution in my opinion. So committed and firm. It’s truly no wonder to me why I rarely encounter a person who has carried theirs out. Which is why I call mine “Guidelines for Better Living”. It’s all in the phrasing.

GUIDELINES: much less resolute or finite, gentler if you will.
FOR: the articulation of purpose; these guidelines are intended to be used.
BETTER LIVING: Shifting the focus off the ‘rule’ or commitment and on to the desired result.

In my brain it sounds less intimidating. This becomes easy to carry out because it takes me somewhere, while allowing me to make the decisions as they come. The first year I implemented the phrase change I carried out every one of my guidelines. Paying off credit card debt once and for all and significantly paying down a student loan. Every month the bills came in as did my paycheck. I chose each week whether to set aside and extra 10, 15, or 20 or spend it on other stuff. I had the power and control. It wasn’t begrudgingly done because I knew where that decision would take me…toward better living.

Here’s what my Guidelines for Better Living in 2014 look like:

Read 14 books –I’m a terribly slow reader and I truly hate non-fiction. In 2014 I’ll be taking it up a step from 2012 and complete at least 1 piece of non-fiction.

Daily MeditationOn scripture, God, and the good things in my life.

Become Healthier –I kinda hate having this on here because this seems like one everyone does but…I’ve not been treating my body well lately AND I’m THIRTY ALREADY! which is really REALLY intimidating!

Climb a 14er –In Colorado there are around 58 mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet, locally they’re referred to as 14ers and EVERYONE climbs them like they’re hills in Kansas. I hear things like “I took a 14er on Saturday and revamped my basement on Sunday” This year I’m going to tackle one of these peaks.

Be More Kind –In 2014 I will let kindness win. I’ve got a container full of stationary and an arsenal of kind acts I will be spreading at least once a week.

Notice how each of these are measurable? I can count 14 books. Measuring a daily task is easy peasy. I can check one nice deed off a list once a week. Calculable. As for becoming healthier, if I tackle the 14er without passing out or having a heart attack, I think that will be proof I’m much healthier than I am today!

Each one moving me toward a better life.

Did you make any resolutions (or ‘Guidelines for better Living’)? What were they and how are they coming along?

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Sharp Objects

Gillian Flynn did it again, another amazing plot twisting mind bender that kept me interested from page one thru the epilogue.

Here’s the synopsis (from Gillian Flynn’s website):

Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.  Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.
I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who’s in for a good quick read.

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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Dark Places

Never, ever, EVER has an author jumped to my top 3 in under half a book. Gillian Flynn is a first. After devouring ‘Gone Girl‘ I HAD to read another. Again l forgot meals, a sane bedtime, and social interaction for the week it took me to finish this incredible book. And again there was NO. putting. this. book. down! Immediately after I finished I tossed her other book into my hold list at the library.

Here’s the synopsis (from Gillian Flynn’s website):

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

Another whirlwind plot, more brain melting twists: I LOVED IT. This book should’ve come with a ‘don’t read in bed’ warning for me, it plays out like scenes from a horror film.  Unlike Gone Girl I wouldn’t really recommend it to just anyone as it’s a little on the darker side. If you enjoy bloody gore and suspense go for it!

Have you read it? What’s your take?

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