Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What I read in May!

I seriously powered through some books this month.  It really helps when you're not distracted by TV.  I really felt disappointed by 2 of the books that I really wanted to be good.  I felt unsatisfied this month, like the literary world was failing me...  Until I read the last book I've reviewed here, which completely rocked my world.  There's totally a reason that people bandwagon.  On to the reviews!!

Life According to Steph

Rating scale:

1/5 - Hated it, didn't finish.
2/5 - Tolerated it on principle to finish.
3/5 - Eh, didn't love it, didn't hate it.  Had some good parts/kept me interested/finished it on principle.
4/5 - I liked it.
5/5 - I LURVED it and I'd read it again.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Johnathan Safran Foer  1.5/5
Even though I greatly disliked this book, I still finished it, which is why it got a 1.5 instead of 1.  The twist took me too long to get to and maybe it was my book format or it was actually just me not being able to figure it out, but I struggled when the narrator changed and I didn't understand the connection between the characters and I still have no idea who Anna is.  Honestly, this book has been on my to-read list for years.  After I found out it was post-9/11 book, I was definitely interested.  I started reading it in 2014 when I started on my gym kick and didn't get through the first 50 pages before I lost interest and just stopped reading.  This time, I (again) wanted to stop reading by page 50 but pushed myself to finish the book because I'd heard such good things.

TL;DR: I usually enjoy "confusing" books where multiple storylines come together and make a pretty bow on top of the package.  That did not apply with this book.  It was difficult to sort out who was narrating and I wasn't getting enough hints to help me put together the puzzle to make me want to keep reading.  Lesson: if it hurts, stop.

The Martian by Andy Weir  4/5
(May contain spoilers) I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book at first.  That is because I assumed it was from the perspective of the stranded Mars-man and I was going to get bored with that very quickly.  Once communication with earth was established, I was pleased.  Once communication with earth was lost, I was hooked.  I just had to get to the end to see if Mark was saved.  I enjoyed his dirty humor and general commentary.  Then again, I'm easy to amuse, so there's that.  The only weird part was the omnipotent narrator that magically appeared to tell details that couldn't have been given from the perspective of a character.  But still though, is the rescue successful?  Please God, don't let their be a sequel.  I can't handle that money scheme after something that I enjoyed this much.  I'd rather just imagine my own happy ending.

TL;DR: It's not completely from the perspective of the man stranded on Mars and despite the first 50 pages of mathematics, it gets better.  The main character's one liners and sense of optimism carry you through the story and keep you entertained.  But will he be saved???

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes 4.5/5
I very much enjoyed this book.  I was only disappointed because this is the 3rd book by Moyes that I've read and this follows the same formula of Me Plus You, which feels very Nick Sparks-esque, so I'm hoping that if I read another of her books, the storyline is different.  I give it a 4.5 because I loved this book, but I doubt I would read it again (mostly because of the length of my to-read list).  I got the happy ending that I was hoping for, because after reading such "deep" books recently, I just wanted a story that at the end, all the loose ends were tied up and everything was put into a pretty box and the end.  I read fiction because I want to be entertained and that includes happy endings.  I think part of this is reflective of how much Gone Girl fucked with mind and I'm still disgruntled about it.

TL; DR: Poor girl, rich guy, both have big life problems, something throws them together, they fall for each other, drama means something keeps them apart, they end up together and you get the happy ending you read this book for.

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick  2/5
I expected this book to be more about the author's stance and research on Spinster-hood rather than about her female literary role-models being married/single.  I wanted this book to be more about the research and her commentary than about women of the past.  Granted, they provided a good mirror, but I really didn't care for the history lesson.  There is a part of me that wonders if I'll be a "spinster" what with being on the verge of 30 and no prospects in line for my hand (yes I went there).  I went into this book looking for similarities between Bolick (a "spinster') and myself and while there were a few, I wanted to be reassured I wasn't a freak for being unmarried and only being semi-worried about it.  The reviews on Goodreads are on point IMO.

TL;DR: If you want a history lesson about single (and sometimes not) women in the literary world of the 19th and 20th centuries, read this.  Don't read this if you're pushing 30 and you've never heard wedding bells and you're wanting to feel better about the fact that you're unmarried.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins  5/5
After suffering through Spinster, The Girl on the Train was my rebound book... if you can "rebound" from books like you do relationships.  I was intrigued quickly, I wasn't left wondering about huge plot things.  There were different narrator perspectives, which is one of my favorite things.  The story revolves around who killed the girl and I didn't see the twist.  I wanted to predict who it was, but I couldn't.  At first I couldn't figure out why the main character was going about things as she was, and even that was covered.  Hawkins did an AMAZING job at keeping me interested and informed.  Truly, I started this book for real on Friday at the gym and finished it Sunday afternoon.  THAT GOOD.  I actually brought Teh Flamin' Kindle with me whenever we went out in the hopes that Mr. Scrooge would ignore me and start looking through his phone so I'd have an excuse to read (he didn't, for once).

TL;DR: Despite how awkward the beginning may seem (and how tedious the drinking of the main character is), it's worth the read.  Just jump on the bandwagon with the rest of us, you're in good company.

In progress:
Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
Five Years in Heaven: The Unlikely Friendship that Answered Life's Greatest Questions by John Schlimm
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell


  1. The Girl on the Train is on my wait list at the library and I just accepted the Spinster for review so I'm so disappointed it wasn't better!

  2. The math is hard to get through, but once you do, the payoff is worth it! Loved The Girl on the Train as well.

    Attachments is probably her best book. I hope you like it!

  3. So sad you didn't like Extremely Loud. I thought it was a decent book. I LOVED The Martian!

  4. I definitely believe you can rebound from books. And in fact a series of bad rebounds will throw me off my game. LOL

    I loved both The Martian and The Girl on the Train. No desire to read Extremely Loud.

  5. I keep seeing a theme with The Martian and Girl on a Train. If only they weren't permanently on hold at the library....grrrr...

  6. The Martian is next up for me! I can't wait to get into it. I also really love that Megan McCafferty series!

  7. I have The Martian read to start soon. You Plus Me and all those books are on my list to read. I LOVED Attachments!!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  8. I cannot wait for my copy of Girl on the Train! I can't wait to read it! I am glad I read your review of a Spinster as I was on the fence about it anyhow! I will have to see about The Martian!

  9. I've heard so many good things about The Girl on The Train and plan on reading it as soon as my mom is done with it! - Svetlana @ Life with a Side of Wine

  10. I love JoJo Moyes. And I read The Girl On The Train. I was intrigued, but I hated all the characters.

  11. I'm glad you loved Girl on the Train! The other books you liked this month are already on my list. I'm kind of leery of The Martian, but if so many people loved it, even with all the math, I need to give it a try.

  12. I really enjoyed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close...but I like quirky characters and several storylines at once. I get that it's not for everyone. I totally agree with you about The Martian. I almost quit it (and I RARELY quit books) because of all the math and science. But, when he made contact with Earth, I was hooked.

  13. One Plus One is on my list to read. The math and science of The Martian freaks me out but then I saw the movie trailer and now I want to read it.

  14. I agree that The Martian got better. For me, it was when the perspective changed from Mark to NASA (those on Earth). The omnipotent narrator was weird for me as well. I just assumed that he made it back to Earth....PS I can't wait for the movie! So glad Jana shared the trailer.


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