February Reads | The Life of K: February Reads

Friday, March 6, 2015

February Reads

I'm happy it's Friday and happy it's the weekend, but J leaves on Sunday for two weeks so there's a black cloud over me even with all this sunshine. It's okay though, we have the weekend, and the kids and I will be just fine over the next two weeks. I probably won't get as much reading done though.

I didn't read as much in February as I did in January, but I'm still plugging away in hopes of reading 50 books this year. My favourite was I'll Give You the Sun which is a young adult fiction about twin teenagers. I loved the story and the language and how it all came together in the end.

What have you been reading?

8. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

From Goodreads: Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

My thoughts: I was seeing this book everywhere and knew I needed to get my hands on it, this mystery compared to Gone Girl. A girl on the train thinks she sees a crime happen, but she's consistently too drunk to remember exactly what happened. She inserts herself into the investigation, clumsily trying to help but mucking things up for everyone. The book kept me up late at night, turning page after page to find out what happened.

9. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

From Goodreads: Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now. Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn't expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

My thoughts: I really enjoyed Rowell's YA book, Eleanor and Park, so I had high hopes for this book. I was enjoying the story about a busy woman whose husband leaves. She tries to figure out what actually happened - whether he left for Christmas holidays or left her - while trying to focus on a very important task at work. She avoids her empty house by staying with her parents instead and is able to talk to her husband on the phone every night, only the landline is a *special* landline. This is where I lost interest. I'm not much for the supernatural. She was talking to her husband in the past. I really wanted to like this book, and I still cared about what happened to the characters, but I wasn't able to suspend my belief enough to lose myself in the book. I'll still try Rowell's other book, Attachments, and her other YA, Fangirl.

10. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

From Goodreads: Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

My thoughts: This is another YA book which are typically quick and easy reads. I'll Give you The Sun was no different. I got completely caught up in the story of the twins. I loved reading about the things they shared and how awful they were to each other over the years. I loved their art - Noah's drawing and Jude's sand sculptures. I loved their friendships - NoahandJude, Noah and his friend, Jude and her grandmother's ghost. I'm a bit of a hypocrit, because the fact that Jude talks often to her dead grandmother didn't bother me one bit. It fit so perfectly for the characters and into the story. I loved the language and the imagery and how the twins often described how catastrophic things were like teenagers do.

11. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion


GREETINGS. My name is Don Tillman. I am forty-one years old. I have been married to Rosie Jarman, world's most perfect woman, for ten months and ten days.
Marriage added significant complexity to my life. When we relocated to New York City, Rosie brought three maximum-size suitcases. We abandoned the Standardised Meal System and agreed that sex should not be scheduled in advance.
Then Rosie told me we had 'something to celebrate', and I was faced with a challenge even greater than finding a partner.
I have attempted to follow traditional protocols and have sourced advice from all six of my friends, plus a therapist and the internet.
The result has been a web of deceit. I am now in danger of prosecution, deportation and professional disgrace. 
And of losing Rosie forever.

My thoughts: This is the second Don Tillman book (I read The Rosie Project last year) and I liked it about the same. The main character makes me a little crazy because he's just so weird. The story moves along on its quirky, curvy path.

12. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

From Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable. 

My thoughts: My second book by this author. I still liked I'll Give You the Sun better, but this was a good read too. I got completely drawn in and read this book quickly, enjoying the play between the characters the most.

13. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

From Goodreads: Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

My thoughts: I'm a little meh about this book. I found it moved pretty slowly and I didn't care as much as I should have about the characters. I wish Jandy Nelson (author of I'll Give You the Sun and The Sky is Everywhere) wrote this because I liked her style much better. Still a good story, but not as well written.

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