Tuesday, January 12, 2016

December Books

Rating System
5- Loved it! All the feels and flails. New favorite
4- Really liked it
3- Decent
2- Would not recommend.
1- Did not like.  Didn't finish. Gave book away.
I just want to point out that this is the first time in weeks that I have posted more than once in a week. I read one really good book this month and several ehh books. Three of the five books read this month were short and probably equaled one normal size book put together but whatever.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Rating 4.5
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
Ohhh, this book...it was so beautifully written and I just fell in love and connected with so many of the characters. It took me a little bit to get into it even though the chapters were short. This book was so different than any book centered around WWII that I've read.  While the war was at the heart of the story, it was not the focus, if that makes sense? All the Light definitely lived up to all of the hype and recognition.

Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris

Rating: 2
What a letdown this book was. I've had this book sitting on my shelf for a while and I figured with the holidays, it would be the perfect time to read it.  I've read most of Sedaris' books and think they're good but I don't think there was one story that was funny or kept my attention.

Blood Roses and Psyche In A Dress by Francesca Lia Block

Rating: 2.5
Blood Roses is made up of short stories that connect and Pysche was about modern day Greek myths playing out in LA. I have been a fan of Block in the past and read a lot of her in my early teens but maybe I've outgrown this author? I do still enjoy her magical realism type of writing that is in all of her books but the stories just weren't there for me. If you've never read Block, I would recommend her Weetzie Bat series. She has an erotic, fantasy sort of theme going on with her books which are generally set in or around the California Valley. They tend to be about broken girls who transform in some way or the other.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Rating: 3-3.5
“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
I don't know if I had too high of hopes for Never Told You but I slogged through it. I couldn't help thinking that everything could have been avoided if the Lee family had just talked to each other. And I thought that James, the dad, was pretty mean to Nath, Lydia's brother. I felt terrible for Hannah, the younger sister.  This whole book was just depressing and quite frankly, boring. I did like the ending but it was too little, too late. Tell me, what am I missing about this book?! I read so many positive reviews.
Love It: All The Light We Cannot See
Leave It: Holidays on Ice

Life According to Steph


  1. For me, with Everything I Never Told You the lack of communication was terribly frustrating but extremely relatable for me. I come from a family that did NOT communicate for decades. I ached for the family because as an outsider, we could see that if they would talk about even some simple feelings, then so many painful experiences could be avoided.
    All the Light We Cannot See has been on my tbr for a while. I need to get to that one.

  2. I enjoyed all the light, but some of my book club hated it... I was surprused because I thought it was beautiful, delicate at tones, and thoughtful. Definitely something I hope to keep on my shelf :)

  3. I feel like we've discussed All the Light We Cannot See and Everything I Never Told You. If not, those are high on my list. I was actually looking at them both in B&N last night. I need to win the Powerball so I can buy all the books.

  4. Everything I Never Told You frustrated me because the family just didn't talk. If they'd talk, they wouldn't have had the problems. That said, I quite enjoyed it. I thought it was a different, interesting look at a family.

  5. okay, i think all the light we cannot see is next on my list. we'll see. i haven't read everything i never told you, though i have heard tons of conflicting reviews so i don't know if i will. but i know what you mean about 'tell me what i'm missing?!' because i have definitely felt that way about a few popular books.

  6. I recognized the greatness of Everything but also felt like I was slogging through it at times. I really liked the portrait of the family, but some of it was so frustrating.

    No desire to read All the Light.

    I think I read David Sedaris's first and second book? I'm done with that now.

  7. I love WWII stories so much, and after reading everybody's positive reviews on it, I'm adding that to my TBR list, and hopefully I'll get to it soon! I've heard mixed reviews about Everything I Never Told You. I might have to check it out, just to see.

  8. Everything I Never Told You has been on my to read list. I really liked All The Light We Cannot See.

    1. Glad to hear that you liked All the Light. Hope you liked Everything I Never more than I did. I know some people loved it.

  9. I didn't really know what All the Light We Cannot See was about, but I've seen it popping up on lots of blogs lately. I think I'll add it to my "To Read" list.

    As for Everything I Never Told You, I loved it. I sobbed like a baby, gave it 5 stars, and listed it as one of my favorite books of 2015. I think I liked it for some of the reasons you didn't, though. It was heartbreaking because so much could have been avoided if the family had bothered to communicate. Certain things were relatable for me personally as well, so I think that made me a little more invested in the story. I also felt like the writing was beautiful, and, for the most part, the characters seemed very realistic and well developed.

  10. All the Light is on my TBR list, it might actually be on my book challenge list, so I'm excited about getting to it.
    I felt the same way for EINTY. JUST COMMUNICATE PEOPLE! I just don't understand how that happens, but then again, I'm a comm major and I make people communicate, especially when they don't want to. My poor boyfriend.

  11. I agree about Holidays on Ice - I'll forever love "Me Talk Pretty One Day", but some of Sedaris's other books are really hit or miss. I do find that getting the audiobooks makes a difference.

    I feel like I read Psyche in a Dress at some point, but I remember almost nothing about it, which I guess is pretty telling! The whole Dangerous Angels collection of stories is just so great that it's hard for anything else to live up to it!

  12. I tried really hard to read All the Light We Cannot See but I just couldn't get in to it. Perhaps I will try to pick it back up another time. I hate when a book is a let down.