Books Lately

I haven’t done a book post in forever! I’ve been reading plenty, but I just haven’t taken the time to do a post- -for some reason these posts take forever to write so they get put off. Anyhow, here’s a few of the books I’ve read in the last little bit and what I thought:

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The Lunar Chronicles (Books 1-4 {Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, & Winter}) by Marissa Meyer

About: The Lunar Chronicles is a loose retelling of four classic fairy tales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel & Snow White). It starts with Cinder, a pretty regular teenage girl who works as a mechanic and feels picked on by her obnoxious step-mother. But she’s also a cyborg. When she meets the prince of New Beijing she doesn’t expect to fall for him, but she also doesn’t expect to discover crucial information about the Eastern Commonwealth’s relationship with Luna all on the Prince’s android she just happens to be fixing.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️5 Out of 5 Stars: There is a LOT I could say about this series. First, let me say that I often choose books without reading their summaries if I see them around on social media enough. So I had no idea that this series was so very sci-fi, futuristic, fantasy, dystopian, teenage romance-y. But it is. So don’t let that surprise you. After reading Cinder I was not very impressed at all. The story had so many loose ends, it was pretty predictable and very out there, in terms of plot. But I decided to give the next book a try and I’m so glad I did! I ended up loving the series as a whole. I feel like if you go into the books knowing what you’re getting (YA sci-fi, romance, etc.) you’ll be able to enjoy them more. Here are some reasons I loved these books:

  • Meyer does a pretty good job keeping each story close enough to its fairytale that it’s recognizable but still exciting and (mostly) unpredictable.
  • Each book builds on each other so in Cinder you’re mostly reading about Cinder, but in Scarlet you read about Cinder and Scarlet. It keeps things progressing at a good pace.
  • The books are totally 100% clean! (imo)
  • I feel like so many books these days are written with hopes to become movies and it shows. I never got the hopes-to-be-a-movie vibe which was so SO refreshing. In fact, in an interview with Meyer at the end of my audiobook she said that her publishers were asking her to write a fifth book but she declined because that just wasn’t how the story went. Good for her!

Even though I totally loved these books, I wouldn’t recommend them to everyone. If you’re into the genres listed above, definitely give them a try! Also, I ended up reading Stars Above and truthfully I felt like I could take it or leave. There’s like a huge fandom for The Lunar Chronicles and I feel like Stars Above was written more for the diehard fans. Truthfully I’d say you could skip that one unless you fall into the diehard category. But I have heard Fairest is super good so that one is on my To-Read list!

 

Educated by Tara Westover

About: An autobiographical memoir about growing up with extremist, survivalist parents and what it took to break free.

⭐️⭐️⭐️3 out 5 Stars: This is the book everyone is talking about so I’m interested if any of you have read it and what you thought! For me, I really loved the first half of the book and then really struggled with the second half. The first part was so interesting and there were lots of crazy happenings that kept it going at a quick pace. Then the end got super repetitive and it seemed like Westover wasn’t quite sure how to end her story. There were a few main things that really bothered me about the book. First and foremost, I feel like there were a few occasions where Westover misrepresented the church I belong to  (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons). For the most part, she made it clear that her parents weren’t really teaching what was being taught at church but by the end of the book it was pretty clear that her interpretation of the church’s teachings is that women are inferior to men and ought to only have goals pertaining to motherhood and be submissive to their husbands. Yikes! I completely disagree! I’ve always understood (and been taught, I daresay) that men and women are equal. I’m really sad that she came to this conclusion, but reading about her parent’s relationship and some unfortunate conversations she had in college, I can understand why she believes this to be true. Another thing that bothered me was that, when I stopped to think about it, I realized Westover is only 4 years older than me. She’s barely into her thirties. And I feel like she’s written this book pretending to have a lot more wisdom than she actually has. Don’t get me wrong, the book is very well written and Westover has a PhD. But there wasn’t much closure in the ending and I just feel like maybe a decade or two plus a little more healing would have given a more satisfying ending. The book is pretty good, very intriguing and made me think a little about education (probably more about parenting). Is it a MUST read (as I’ve seen many people insist)? Not in my opinion., although I don’t consider having read it a waste of time.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

About: Leni is used to moving around a lot, but when her dad moves her and her mom up to Alaska something seems different. Dad’s never been the same since returning from Vietnam and for the first time in a long time Leni thinks things are turning up. That is until winter comes and she realizes she has more fear within the walls of her own home than out among the wild world.

⭐️⭐️⭐️3.5 stars out of 5: Unfortunately for me (and Kristin Hannah), after having this book on hold for months, it came available to me only a few days after our big earthquake. So as Hannah described some of the terrors of living in Alaska, I was a little wary if I even wanted to continue. But I did finish and I ended up enjoying it mostly. The first half drags as we see the same thing happen over and over again. But the last half is filled with so many plot twists that the story moves right along. My first response to the ending was kind of like, “Um…are you serious?” But then I just decided to like how it ended despite my qualms. I do have to say that this was my first Kristin Hannah book and I was kind of surprised that her writing style wasn’t anything to write home about considering how much hype surrounds her books. I think some authors are great writers and some are great storytellers and Hannah falls into the storyteller category. Even though I ended up liking it, this isn’t a book I would readily recommend to everyone because it’s very dramatic and a wee bit unbelievable.

Alaskan Courage Series by Dani Pettrey

About: Bailey vowed never to return to her hometown of Yancey, Alaska but when her aunt dies, she has to go back to get things in order. She’s surprised when she runs into Cole McKenna and even more surprised when he asks for her help in solving a mystery concerning two divers and a hidden treasure.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3.5 out of 5 stars: I read the first of this series (the one described above) when we lived in the bush. I just finished the fifth and last of the series and for the most part, they are pretty good books. They fit into the “Christian Mystery Romance” genre (yes, apparently that’s a thing), so they are very clean and can be very cheesy. In fact, I took a long break from them after the third one and when I picked up the fourth I was a little incredulous. Were they all that cheesy? Had I forgotten? But reading the fifth left me feeling better-it wasn’t nearly as sappy. So maybe Pettrey had a hard time writing the fourth book? I don’t know. Let the fact that the series took me several years to finish attest to the fact that they’re not super amazing books, but they are nice for a moderately exciting, know-what-you’re-getting-into (the book follows each of one of the 5 McKenna siblings as they fall in love and solve some sort of mystery), fun little read. The books are very Alaska-y and very adventurous.

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