A Storm of Swords

Hats off to George R. R. Martin and his writing. I am blown away by his work. He has a way of holding the reader’s attention leading up to a big event. For myself, when I was about halfway through the book I sat back realizing something big was going to happen and I wasn’t bored in the time it took building up to it. Instead I was caught up in the imaginary world he created.

“A Storm of Swords” is the third installment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, AKA Game of Thrones. Both titles fit the books well, because of the various battles that seem to be taking place. There is the ongoing battle surrounding the Iron Throne that rules the 7 kingdoms. In the battle for the Iron Throne there are those who are in it to maintain power, others who seek power moving up through the ranks, and of course those who are trying to keep it in the family and will tell whatever lies necessary to accomplish this. The other battle, involving ice and fire is just starting to show itself. It has been revealed that the dead can come back to life, and there are things and magic beyond the wall that have only been told through stories.

The downfall of this series is that it is dangerous to be attached to the characters. It seems like every time I like one, or find myself cheering for them, something bad seems to happen. Or, the opposite could happen where something bad happens to somebody I don’t care for, and they change for the better. It’s safe to say that George R. R. Martin likes to keep the reader on the edge of their seat not knowing what to expect might happen to the characters.

It’s hard to talk about this book without giving much away, and I don’t want to spoil it for those interested. It’s full of blackmail, sword-fighting, death, plotting, sex, weddings, violence, and now there’s magic and mystery. It’s a sort of magical medieval time. The biggest thing that gets people is the amount of characters. It can be a lot, and the books take time to get through. But I think it is worth the commitment.

Dark Places

This is the second work I’ve read by Gillian Flynn, and I found this one a disappointment compared to “Gone Girl”. “Dark Places” was a mystery and thriller like “Gone Girl”, except the characters and plot were much different.

Honestly, I didn’t think I would finish the book. There were a few good things about it, but in my eyes the bad outweighed the good.

One of the biggest drawbacks for me were the characters. I found most of them rather annoying. At the same time, the style of characters Gillian Flynn had in this book may have been part of the point. If that’s the case, it tells me I just don’t care for that style of character.

I’ve seen people really enjoy Dark Places and other works by Gillian Flynn, but this book is starting to make me wonder if her writing just isn’t meant for me. After finishing the books I have read of hers, they haven’t left me feeling the best, so I don’t think I will continue to read her works.

Big Little Lies

First off, I have something to admit.  This is the first book to leave me with book hangover. It was such a powerful read that I didn’t pick up my next book until a day later. This is unusual because normally I can start another book shortly after finishing one.

“Big Little Lies” is a beautifully written, dramatic book that shows the impact of various forms of bullying. I didn’t realize this aspect of the story until about half way through the book. Some of the implications, and various parts of the plot were worked further into the story, which I felt led me to not realize the bullying aspect until later.

When I first started reading “Big Little Lies”, I got caught up in what I first perceived as just some good, juicy drama. Later on in the story, I found myself reading an article about the making of the book into a mini HBO series. This article opened my eyes to what was really happening. As I continued to get to know the characters I realized that most of them had suffered or were a part of some sort of bullying.

Liane Moriarty did a beautiful job with the characters of the book. From the beginning you could tell how unique each of them were, and that there was much to be learned about them throughout the book. The relationships between characters at times seemed unlikely, and exactly what they needed all at the same time.

In conclusion, this is a wonderfully written, powerful book that I recommend to anybody interested. I am thankful that I read this book and can’t wait to read other works by Liane Moriarty.

Little Earthquakes

“Little Earthquakes” is a fun chick-lit that was a nice change oMGSK3946f pace compared to the previous books I read recently. It follows the story of four woman after the birth of their first children. This story is filled with struggle, love, and laughter. This is the first book I’ve read of this nature and I found it enjoyable. It showed a different side of live shortly after children.
The book follows four woman in the time shortly before they gave birth, to the months following. Each of the woman are different, and seem like the most unlikely of friends, yet they have a strong, unique bond. They are there for support during the silly little things, and the big things that you only want your girlfriends there for. It’s a bond unlike any other.
With each woman the struggles and lessons are unique to them. There is the woman with the famous basketball player for a husband and she takes care of the baby while he is away. Another woman co-owns a restaurant with a friend, and has a wonderful husband and interesting mother-in-law. There is the woman who has to have it all, while doing all the work without rest. Finally, the woman who has a fabulous life until tragedy hits and her life is turned upside down.
This lighthearted, entertaining book was an easy and pleasant read. I recommend this book to anybody looking for a simple, yet pleasant book to read. It would probably even be good for the beach.

The Handmaid’s Tale

OQTS0538“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a simply written, thought provoking book. Margaret Atwood did a beautiful job writing a story that makes the reader wonder about a world created with such simplicity and purpose.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is set in a dystopian future where birth rates have decreased, and the Handmaids, like Offred, are able to leave the house once a day to do shopping, or for special occasions like births. The woman who are considered to be fertile are chosen for their role in society because the birth rates are so low.
Through Offred, readers are able to learn about the striking before and after difference of her world and how it came to be. As a result of this first person perspective the reader is able to have an idea of the impact of this new society and how one person feels about it. It may only be a part of the story, but it still tells a lot.
As I was reading I thought about what it would be like to be in Offred’s place. I’m pretty sure I would go crazy! There are times where the simplicity sounds nice, like less of a hassle than the present day. However, there are other things like the lack of individuality that I’m not sure I would handle well.
All in all I would recommend this book to anyone interested. For a simply written book there is a lot to the story and I plan on reading it again one day.

This is Where I Leave You

I picked up this bookWGLU2014 as part of my book to movie challenge. One day I was searching through my TBR list, reading the synopsis on books to decide on what to read next. I landed on this book for a couple reasons. The first, is that it will help in my book to movie challenge this year. The second, is that I was hoping for some laughs after reading the synopsis.

“This is Where I Leave You” is an odd duck of a book. The story line followed the members of the Foxmans, particularly Judd, the narrator of the story. At the time that it takes place the family is grieving over the loss of their husband and father. During the grieving process we are shown what makes this family so dysfunctional.

What makes this such an odd duck of a book for me would be the combination of the weird storyline and the author’s writing style. As I was reading, in some ways it played in my head sort of like a movie would, minus the buttery popcorn to snack on. This was in part because most everything was associated with the time it took place, which would be listed at the beginning like a header. The drawback for this was that there were a few spots I was left confused. I would finish a page on my Kindle, expecting there to be more, and when I turned the page the time changed. I actually went back to make sure I wasn’t missing something, because I was confused. It seemed like there would have been more writing on what was happening rather than a time jump to the next thing.

I did get some entertainment from this book, but it was hard to get much from it. Sure, aspects of the story may have been entertaining, or just messed up, so I had to keep reading to find out what would happen, but that was about all it had. I honestly feel like the plot for the most part was missing from this book. It was fairly easy to figure out where the story line would end, but I was curious about what the characters would be like compared to the beginning of the story, which wasn’t much of a difference.

“This is Where I Leave You” is a book I would recommend for somebody looking for entertainment involving grief and a dysfunctional family being forced to be together for the first time in years. If the reader doesn’t need much for a plot it’s even better. Honestly, the plot did feel empty to me. I would classify this as a mediocre tale, that would probably make a better movie.