recent reads

My husband got me a kindle for Christmas and I have to admit this is the most that I have read for fun in a long time. I don't know why it makes it so much easier for me to read, maybe it's that it's lightweight, that I can easily pack it while having multiple books downloaded, or that you can change the spacing and style of the words to make fonts larger and easier to read. Whatever it is I have been reading more than ever.

Enough about the kindle though, since we are mid-2021 I figured I'd share the books I've read so far and my ratings/thoughts. So here it goes...

Ready Player Two ⭐️⭐️

So I'll admit, I didn't read Ready Player One, mostly because I saw the move first, which was AWESOME! Although, I heard really good things about the first book, with some people even saying it was one of the best books they had ever read. I tend to not like reading books where I have seen the movie first because I feel like it stifles the imagination and I keep comparing the book to what I've already seen. But, when this second book came out I was so excited because there is no movie yet and I loved the premise of the first one so much I felt like this was going to be good. Cline has an easy to read writing style that keeps the story flowing, and the pop culture references were just as on point as the first story. However, I didn't like this book as much as I'd hoped.

I felt like the book was a little forced. A story that was wrapped up pretty well in Ready Player One (assuming the ending was the same in that book, which I assume it was based upon how this one started) was kind of dismantled in this book, at least that's how I felt. In this story there is a similar "Easter egg" hunt within the Oasis where they are searching for items on a mission to save the users that are trapped within. I found that the story dragged on and on, and some things that could have been skimmed over were focused on for pages. It was overall a good premise and a decent continuation of the story, but I think I was jaded by the fact that I felt the first story had good closure. I did enjoy the overall writing style though!

The Four Winds ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I loved Kristin Hannah's writing style, it was so good I felt like I was living in the story with the characters in Texas during the dust bowl and Great Depression. Her story was so vividly depicted you could feel the pain and tension that the main character of this story feels as she tries to provide for her children. This book was phenomenal and I'd recommend it to anyone. It was a story of survival and was perfect timing for an early 2021 read coming out of 2020, one of the roughest years of our lives. What I realized reading this book though was that as bad as 2020 was, how blessed I truly am. Not once have I had to worry about where my food was coming from, or dealing with a move across the country in search of work because there is no work in my hometown, or having to worry about the severe illness of my children and others that are close to me. This book was about being a mother and defying odds, and also about the Great Depression overall, which is depicted in such a raw and beautiful way. This book made me think of the photo by Dorothea Lange called "Migrant Mother", the mom with her hand to her chin, a face wrinkled and dirtied by pain/hardship and hard word, with her children clinging to her in a tent. This is what I pictured in my mind of Elsa the main character. Overall this was an excellent read, I love Kristin Hannah's writing and I give this book 5 stars!

Where the Crawdads Sing ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

OH MY GOODNESS, where do I start with this one, THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ! I wish every book that I picked up was as good as this one. And if you don't believe me, it has over 130,000 reviews on Amazon with 85% of those being 5 stars.

This is a story about a girl who survives on her own, abandoned by her family in the marsh on the coast of North Carolina. Kya manages to learn from the nature around her and she not only survives but grows up to become very successful, but I won't give away the whole story. There is some romance and heartbreak, and even a good mystery built-in, with an ending that will literally shock you to the core. This was the perfect combination of things for me, with it being so beautifully written, based in North Carolina, with so many nature references, and then a mystery that really surprised me. It was a page-turner and I read it in just a few days, it was an easy read and I wish I could read it over and over again for the first time.

If the Creek Don't Rise ⭐️⭐️⭐️

It was tough following Crawdads with any other book honestly because that book was just so good. This was my next read with my Book Club girls, and it was a decent story (although if you ask Brittnee she would say no it was not HAHA, she hated it LOL). This is about remote Appalachia during the 60s. Sadie Blue, the main character, is a girl who is physically abused by her husband that also caused her to get pregnant before they wed. It only takes a week of being married before he starts beating on her. The story circles around her abuse, a new teacher that comes to town, an odd medicine woman that befriends the teacher and Sadie, and also a mystery woman that has disappeared.

This book had a lot of potential to be great, but each chapter was written from a different character's perspective which was a good way of telling the story, but it wasn't always entirely clear how much time had actually passed. Additionally, a lot of the story focuses on the teacher that comes to town, but then very little is wrapped up with her story, so I felt like there were just some things that were missing. This one also had a shocking ending though and I did enjoy the mystery part of the book. I won't say I hated it, but it also had more potential that I feel like wasn't met, but could have been if some of the characters stories were completed. BUT...I always love a surprising ending, so for that reason it gets 3 stars.

In Five Years ⭐️⭐️⭐️

There's going to be a pattern here with these last three, lots of unmet potential. I was soooo intrigued by this book because it was such a good premise. A girl who is at the top of her game in her law career, recently engaged to her longtime boyfriend, living in New York thinking she has it all. Only she falls asleep to wake up five years in the future in a different apartment, on a different side of town, with a different man that made her feel so much more in love than she ever was with her current fiancé. The flash forward only lasts less than a day, but she spends the rest of the five years living up to it wondering how she gets to this point, and also trying to avoid it at all costs because she was happy with her life the way it was.

I so wanted to love this book, but I found the ending to be not really believable in how the "day in question" actually happens, at least not in my opinion. Further, the book has a pretty big shocker which kind of becomes depressing in that a main character ends up with a severe illness, which kind of puts a downer on the rest of the story. Overall, it had so much potential and was well written, but I just didn't like the ending. It was a very quick read though because it was written very well, which is why I gave it three stars instead of 2.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book was also kind of a let down, but not because the story wasn't good, but more because it was soooo long. This book dragged on and on for me, what started out as a great story ended up just repeating itself over and over for chapters on end, 450 pages of a lot of the same. The premise was extremely good though and had lots of potential, I think it could have been better though if about half of it was cut out.

Addie is living in the 1700s in France, in a small town and she feels her life is going no where. Betrothed to a man she doesn't love and afraid of living a stagnant life with no adventure she begs out to anyone that will listen, only the darkness is what answers her. She makes a deal with the darkness that she can live for as long as she wants but she gives up her soul. Only she doesn't realize until after the deal is done that another part of it is that no one will remember her. She meets people and as soon as they walk away they don't remember her. She has to learn how to live in the world while always being forgotten; with no ties to anyone or anything she can't hold a job, a home, or belongings for very long. At first she wonders if life is worth living without these ties, but then just to spite the darkness she continues on in life. Until one day she meets a guy that does remember her and she doesn't know why. This story has suspense that keeps you reading, but overall, I just felt like there were a lot of chapters that repeated themselves and were very similar. If the story were closer to 250-300 pages I think it would have been an excellent read with a somewhat twist ending.

Well that's all for now, I'm currently reading something a little more light-hearted, a romantic comedy by Sara Adams, one of my besties' favorite authors. This is the most books I've ever read for fun in 6 months, and I'm already a good ways through the next. I'll do another post maybe at the end of the year, hopefully I can find some good ones between now and then!