Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Reading Roundup - October 2016

Book Day! [And Election Day in the U.S. - Please let the country not have fallen into shambles by the end of the day is all I have to say about that.] Somehow I managed to get through more than usual books last month despite all the life chaos due to moving and a busy work deadline. A couple of these were very quick reads though and I did have some extra reading time while traveling to and from Denver twice for work.


1) Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner. 3/5 stars. At one point in life my dream was to be an international businesswoman living in Paris, wearing Chanel suits and doing power lunches at famous restaurants. It turns out that lifestyle (and clothing style) was not for me. But I still mostly enjoyed this fictionalized version of Coco Chanel's life -  From her poor rural childhood, through her early days making a name for herself in Paris before and during World War I, and up to her exile in Switzerland after being suspected of a collaboration during World War II.


2) Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. 5/5 stars. I've read all Ann Patchett's books and the last four, since Bel Canto, have all been so, so good. I'm not exactly sure why I like them so much. The characters? The writing? The plot? All of the above. This book skips back and forth through time to tell the story of two intertwined families. At first I was hesitant because lately I've just wanted to read books that tell one story from start to finish. But she weaves it all together so well. All her books are the kind that linger in my mind for long after I've read them.


3) The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger. 3/5 stars. This is a typical Weisberger story about a nice "normal" girl who gets caught up in the glitz and glamour of the rich & famous lifestyle only to find herself making morally questionable choices in search of ever more popularity and "success." The main character in this book is a professional tennis player, and there was a little bit too much tennis in it for me. Also I wish that the real love interest had been developed more during the book instead being relegated to the epilogue.


4) The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. 4/5 stars. I don't read much YA but I decided to give this one a try based on recommendations from Kristen and Carly. It is typical of many YA books in the super-intense love triangle between extremely attractive people, but the plot (a retelling of Arabian Nights) and the setting (the Arabia of myth and legend) made it unique. Do I think it's a little silly? Yes. But have I already read the sequel? Yes.


5) More than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting by Serena B. Miller. 4/5 stars. This book is such a fascinating glimpse into the Amish culture. There is definitely something appealing in the slow pace and community focus of the Amish lifestyle, especially compared to the mile-a-minute, technology-driven world that most of us battle daily. Many of the Amish parenting "techniques" aren't tenable in an non-Amish (aka "Englisch") setting, but I appreciated the bullet points for Englisch parents at the end of each section with suggestions how to incorporate the ideas into "real" life. [Thanks to Brie for the recommendation!]


6) Lessons in Gravity by Megan Westfield. 4/5 stars. OK, I know that I'm not an impartial reviewer of this book because the author has been one of my best friends for almost 25 years, but I really did like it. It's a sweet love story about a rock-climber and a documentary filmaker in the emerging "New Adult" genre with a beautiful setting in the Yosemite valley. Go read it now! And look for her next book in 2017 with an equally adventurous plotline - Mount Everest!

As usual I'm linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books! I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has been reading lately.


29 comments:

  1. I'm hoping to get to your friend's book this month - I love the cover so much and it sounds like a fun read. I haven't read anything New Adult in awhile. I just can't seem to finish Bel Canto - I'm not sure why because I do find it interesting but I just don't turn to it so I'm going to try again in a month or two. I started Commonwealth but ended up having to return it before I could get into it so I'll put that one on hold again ;) The Wrath and the Dawn sounds good!!!

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    1. I hate it when I have to return books to the library before I can finish. Hopefully you'll have another chance at Bel Canto and Commonwealth someday!

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  2. I have never read an Ann Patchett book so I will add them to my list.
    i'm glad you liked the wrath and the dawn, did you also love the sequel? :)
    lessons in gravity is on my kindle! i will get to it one day lol

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    1. I enjoyed the sequel but not quite as much. The falling-in-love story is my favorite part and they're already IN love by Book 2. Definitely still worth reading, I wish there were more books in the series.

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  3. I'm so excited to read Commonwealth even though I still have quite a few people in front of me on the hold list. A few of the other new fall releases I had looked forward to were duds, so I'm glad this one is getting good reviews! I have The Wrath & Dawn sequel on my iPad right now, but I think I'm afraid to start it and not like it as well as the first one, haha. More Than Happy sounds like it would be really interesting!

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    1. I am always a little nervous with highly anticipated new releases but Commonwealth didn't disappoint. I didn't love the sequel to Wrath & Dawn as much as the 1st book but it was still a fun read.

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  4. I'm definitely adding Commonwealth to my TBR list! It sounds like a great book, and if the jumping around in time is done well it really works for books. I've heard nothing but great things about The Wrath & The Dawn! I need to pick it up!

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    1. I hardly ever read YA but I really enjoyed Wrath & Dawn, You should check it out. Commonwealth too, I was really impressed at how well she pulled all the stories together in the end.

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  5. The Amish book sounds fascinating!

    I've never read Ann Patchett. I need to just start a list of all the authors I should read but haven't yet and commit to read at least one from each of them.

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    1. Parenting techniques aside, It was a really interesting glimpse into the Amish culture!
      You should definitely try Ann Patchett, Like I said I think the 4 latest book are better than the early 3 - Bel Canto, Run, State of Wonder, and Commonwealth.

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  6. The Wrath and the Dawn is already on my TBR. The intense love triangle makes me a little hesitant as that is one of my least favorite tropes ... and yet. Still going read it and somehow even more oddly excited to read it. LOL!

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    1. I think you'll like it, I hardly ever read books like that but thought it was very fun.

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  7. Commonwealth seems to be getting lots of points lately, may have to add that one to the TBR :)

    More than Happy sounds RIGHT up my alley...my family gets upset because I am mean about their attachments to their phones...

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    1. The Amish think iPhones are the #1 threat to their culture! Good for you to put your foot down about phone addiction. I have made a big effort over the last few months to use mine less.

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  8. I'm halfway through The Commonwealth right now. I *like* it. I don't love it. Hmmm...

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    1. I guess I forgot my usual caveat before my reviews: Just because I liked/loved a book doesn't mean you will. Obviously we all have different taste.

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  9. I am more interested in Commonwealth after reading your review. I have never read Ann Patchett before so it's a little daunting.

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    1. I think Commonwealth is one of the more accessible ones - You should give it a try!

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  10. I know what you mean about the love interest in The Singles Game, though I like tennis, so I enjoyed that part! :)

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    1. I was so irritated in the last chapter that she mentioned how they got together but we didn't actually get to see it happen!

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  11. I am fascinated by the Amish culture, so the Wisdom of Amish Parenting sounds interesting. I'm a NA fan and added Lessons in Gravity to my to read list. The Singles Game is already on my to read list.

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    1. It was a really interesting glimpse into the Amish culture completely aside from the parenting strategies. I hope you like Lessons in Gravity.

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  12. You know what, I've never read an Ann Patchett book and I'm not sure why?! Do you have a particular one you'd recommend starting with? I'm glad you enjoyed More Than Happy, too! I found it so fascinating and I took a ton of notes while reading it, thinking I'd do a blog post on it...which of course I never did lol. I feel like it's a book I could definitely revisit again. Lots of food for thought in that one!

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    1. Whenever I read a parenting or self-help book I want to do a blog post on it but I never manage to actually DO it.
      I might start with Commonwealth, I feel like it's the most "accessible" then if you like her style: Run, State of Wonder, and Bel Canto.

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  13. Bel Canto is one of my all-time favorites. I haven't read any of her other books yet though. I have The Magician's Assistant on my shelf at home though. I also want to read The Wrath and the Dawn. The parenting book sounds great. :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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    1. The Magician's Assistant is good too but I like the recent ones more (Run, State of Wonder). You should try The Wrath and the Dawn! It was a fun change of pace for me.

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  14. I hated Bel Canto. What are the odds I'll enjoy Commonwealth?

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    1. Hmm, It's possible! It's very different than Bel Canto.

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  15. I loved Bel Canto and a few of Patchett's others. I did not like Run but I'm still going to check out Commonwealth. The Wrath and the Dawn is on my list.

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