Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson ~ #Fiction #BookReview

37561377This isn’t the type of book I would normally have chosen for myself. The description was kind of dramatic and cutesy and not at all suspenseful or mysterious, but it was one of the monthly free books offered by Amazon Prime, so I figured I’d give it a try.

To be honest, it was cutesy, but I found that I didn’t care. It was also sweet and funny and surprisingly enjoyable. It left me with a smile on my face and a desire for a friend like Blix.

The writing, characters and pacing were all good. The plot felt fresh to me, but that might be because I don’t often read this type of book. Whatever it was, this book worked for me! 5 stars!

Beartown by Fredrik Backman ~ #Fiction #BookReview

316757875 stars! Maybe it’s an odd way of starting a review, but in this case, it’s fitting. Every once in a while you stumble across a book that changes you. This is one of those stories. It’s raw and insightful and profoundly beautiful.

The themes aren’t particularly new. The plot isn’t astoundingly fresh. But what the author does with the words, with the characters, the way he somehow manages to display the actual hearts of the people he’s created as clearly as if he dissected them and pressed them between the pages (without the gore) is nothing short of amazing.

You don’t have to like hockey to enjoy this book. Actually, I wouldn’t even bother reading the blurb on the back. Just pick it up and read it and let it speak for itself. I’ll say it again – 5 stars!

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen ~ Fiction Book Review

The Things We Wish Were True by [Whalen, Marybeth Mayhew]Here’s another book that I got for free on my Kindle that turned out to be a score. It was a nice change of pace from my normal reads. No great mystery, no harrowing suspense, just a story about people – a story that I found very enjoyable.

While it could be considered a coming of age story, it would cover a coming of any age – not just the normal prepubescent range. The characters cover several different generations, the timeframe covers a summer, and the story covers a broad range of emotions to make you laugh and cry.

This book felt like a breath of fresh air amid the sea of doom and gloom I’m usually reading through. 4.5 stars!

The Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft ~ Fiction Book Review

23367927I have mixed feelings about this book. It was well written. It told a good story. It was emotionally compelling, crafted in a way that pulled at your heartstrings. It was relatable. It was easy to both identify and sympathize with the characters. But it was also based on an event that actually happened in the author’s life. So while I bought it as a work of fiction, I can’t help but feel that it is more a piece of creative nonfiction. And that leaves me feeling a bit cheated.

It’s not that I completely avoid nonfiction. I just prefer to chose the subject and add it to my reading diet when it  meshes well with my emotional appetite. I’m well aware that most fiction has roots based in real events, but the mere label of fiction allows me to distance myself and read it in an impassive state of  mind. Knowing that the story was based on something someone actually went through messed with my impression on the book.

Were my feelings appropriate? Was I supposed to feel more than I did? Is it strange that the only time I teared up was at the end when I read the author’s acknowledgement page? These are questions that I’m not supposed to have with fiction. That’s why I prefer to read it. I can cry when I want, laugh when I want, and judge the characters however I want because they’re not real. Reading this made me feel awkward and weird, but there is no denying that it was a good book. 4.5 stars.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff ~ Fiction Book Review

wpb9.jpgI loved this book in the beginning. I found the prose artful and engaging, abstract in that it tended more toward train of thought than adhering to the rules of proper grammar, which I really liked. (It wasn’t Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway train of thought – more like when you jot down ideas to get them on paper and don’t go back to edit them.) It was entertaining, insightful, well-paced . . . and then I entered Part 2.

The book is sectioned into Part 1, Fates, and Part 2, Furies. Both are the tale of a marriage, the first as seen through the eyes of the husband, the second through the eyes of the wife. I didn’t like the wife’s perspective as much. It seemed more focused on the way she viewed herself, the real her, versus the way her husband saw her, the way she wanted to be.

This book is very different from what I usually read. It was written in a different style, had a different subject matter, and was told in a different manner. I didn’t like the characters, but I liked the writing so much it didn’t matter. (I often don’t like the characters in books.) If the second half failed to please me as much as the first, it may have been due to the fact that it was a complete departure from what I was expecting. 4.5-5 stars.