Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On Hallowed Ground by Robert Poole

When I finished Fifty Shades of Grey this past Monday, it was Memorial Day. I was on a mini-vacation and when we got in the car to drive home I needed something to read and I wanted it to be something a little "deep" since I just finished the trashiest book ever. I flipped on my nook and immediately saw On Hallowed Ground,which I downloaded on a whim from the library a couple of weeks ago. Since it just happened to be Memorial Day, I took this as a sign that I was meant to read this book. (Many times I will download things from the library and never get around to reading them before the are automatically returned).

On Hallowed Ground is an oral history of Arlington National Cemetery. This is a topic that is dear to my heart for many reasons but something I knew absolutely nothing about. The history of Arlington starts all the way from the beginning of the United States and this book takes on it's entire history, all the way until present day.

This book was extremely interesting and well written. For whatever reason, I'm never super interested in any non-fiction covering the revolutionary or civil wars, so the beginning sections dragged for a little. I'm sure this was just a personal preference thing because I very much enjoyed reading the present day sections.

This history of Arlington National Cemetery is very complex and On Hallowed Ground did a great job explaining everything. This was a good book, although it did not crack my top 10 non-fiction. It was  the perfect read for me on Memorial Day. Like many non-fiction, I wouldn't recommend this if you aren't already interested in the topic but if you are at all, I would tell you to pick it up around this Fourth of July or next Memorial Day!

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

So I finally got around to reading Fifty Shades of Grey. I held out for as long as all my friends would let me. I went out of town for the long weekend with friends and decieded this would be a perfect time to delve into this book and just get it out of the way.

As you can probably tell, I was not looking forward to reading this. I like chick lit in generel well enough but from what I heard about this book it's just all sex and I tend to gloss over those parts in the regular chick lit I read.

Fifty Shades of Grey was just sex, that's it. The plot was horrendous and made no sense. The whole thing was completely unbelievable and it was written terribly. That all being sad, I enjoyed reading it. I read some passages aloud to my friends and we all got a good laugh.

As far as this book goes, I don't recommend it but you know, read it if you want.

And, I hope they cast Adam Levine as Christian Grey in the movie. I'll be first in line.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Escape by Carolyn Jessop

I have a confession to make. I have a slight obsession with the LDS/ Mormon Church and more specifiably the fundamentalist sects they spawned. A couple months ago I read "Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer which is basically a book about the history of Mormonism intertwined with a story of a Mormon man killing his sister in-law. When I saw that Jon Krakauer recommended this book written by a former Mormon fundamentalist, I knew I had to read it.

Escape is written by Carolyn Jessop with help from Laura Palmer. Carolyn was raised a fundamentalist Mormon in the sect that was eventually taken over by Warren Jeffs. Without ruining too much of the plot, Carolyn has an arranged marriage at 18 into a polygamist and has eight children in the following 15 years. (All of this is covered in the prequel, which you must read!).  The story of abuse that follows is harrowing. This book is extremely disturbing so I don't want to say I "enjoyed" it, although I did very much. From the beginning of the book, you know she eventually escapes. Usually I hate knowing the ending of any story, but I think it was important in this case. It may me keep going, knowing eventually she'll get out.

Please read this book. I think that everyone should know what is going on right now in our very own country. The abuse happening in these sects is extremely disturbing. As you read it though, please keep in mind that these fundamentalist sects are absolutely NOT what the mainstream Mormon Church is all about. 

It is an extremely easy read, it only took me about 3 hours to read it, mostly because I couldn't put it down.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I have had The Night Circus in my "to-read" hopper for a while now. I added to to my "wish list" on my library's online library for a long time, waiting behind over 100 people to get it. I can't remember where I found the title or why I added it to my "wish list". Now, I'm going to believe it was just fate or magic because whatever it was lead me to find my new favorite book of all-time.

The Night Circus was the most beautiful book I have ever read. The writing was so fluid and each scene was so beautifully crafted. The book takes place mostly inside a wonderfully and magically crafted circus that was so detailed I could imagine myself in it. Many times when I'm reading other novels I'm annoyed with overly detailed scenery and gloss over it hoping to get to the next plot line. The circus is almost a character and not once did I find a single detail unnecessary.

Erin Morgenstern does such a wonderful jump with her scene changes. This book features so many wonderful characters and different points of view and not once was I upset when she jumped from one plot line to the next because it was so perfectly timed and wonderful. All of the characters and plot lines are just as interesting as the next. There was not a single unnecessary word, character or plot detail. I'm sure somebody else could have told this story if they thought of it but taking out or adding in one word would have changed it.

I never know how much I want to say about the actual plots of the books because I do not want to ruin the story for anyone. Maybe this doesn't make what I'm doing "reviews" or maybe it does. I'm just not sure. I hope someday I can figure it out and possibly come back to this book and give my opinions about the actually plot or characters but I don't even want to say a word about it. Instead I want everyone to be able to discover the characters and plot exactly how the author intended them to. I don't want to ruin a single moment of this book for a single person.

If you enjoy reading at all, which I'm assuming you do since you're reading this blog. Please, please go purchase or get this book from your library. Then, carve yourself out a day or two that you have nothing else to do and absolutely dive into this book. Please, you will absolutely not regret it.

One last note, I looked to see if this was being made into to a movie and of course, it is. I can't decide if I'm excited or not. This book is so visual I am afraid I will be disappointed or not. Oh hell, I'm excited, I can't wait. I just hope it does the book justice. It will break my heart if it doesn't.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult was just like every other Jodi Picoult book. Something bad happens, we hear about it from multiple character's points of view. Then something from the past comes out and we are shocked. Then everything works out, blah blah blah.

I'ts not that I didn't like Lone Wolf, I really did. It was great. It was great like every other Jodi Picoult book. I also enjoy her books while I'm reading them but afterwards they all start to roll together. I think about  her books I've read in the past and they all blur together.

There's not much I can say about this book. Like I said, I enjoyed it, I always enjoy her books. But honestly, I'm getting a little annoyed with them all being the same. If this was the first Jodi Picoult book I read I would probably be raving about it. But it wasn't and I'm not.

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

Ah, Nicholas Sparks, you did it again. I like to pretend that I don't like romance novels are cheesy books. But, like I've said before in this blog about young adult books, I'm really just lying to myself about that. Nicholas Sparks, I love you and your cheesy romantic novels.

I picked up The Lucky One from the library a couple days ago after a long wait. I was extremely excited to read it, because I'd been waiting to read it before seeing the movie. (I have absolutely no qualms about loving cheesy romantic movies, I just pretend not to like the books).

The Lucky One was absolutely everything it promised to be. Romantic, easy to read and interesting. Nicholas Sparks has this way of putting people in impossible positions, giving the readers a twist they don't see coming (even though we should) and working it all out in the end. It's always slightly hard to connect with any of the people in his novels because he makes them so interesting and different in some way.

Although this had all the makings of every other Sparks novel I've read, it was also different in ways. I really found myself caring bout these characters and racing to see what would happen to them. I don't think I even once rolled my eyes in my head, although the cheese factor was just as strong as the other novels. It may have had something to do with main male character being a former marine but I don't know if I've ever rooted for someone in a book to have a happy ending like I did here.

If you have any interest at all in this book, or where on the fence at all on whether or not to read it, read it. It was entertaining and a perfect "on the bus" read for me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Official Book Club Selection

Well, it finally happened. I started a book I could not finish and I'm so disappointed! I was so excited to read Kathy Griffins book , The Official Book Club Selection. Kathy is amazing and I love her show and stand-up but, this book was awful!

The content and stories were funny but, it was so poorly written! Most celebrity books have some sort of ghostwriter; clearly this book did not. It was so hard to follow and the sentence structure was just bad and frustrating.

I'm just going to forget about this book and try to pretend it never happened!

I just got The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks from the library. I've been waiting in the reserve list for about two months; clearly I'm excited to read it! This will be my next review.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

Wow. This book was amazing. I started Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes this morning before work and I just finished it. I read it on the bus, while walking around at work, during lunch and during my workout today. I seriously could not put it down.

"Staying fat..."is a young adult book about at young boy and his troubled friend. I wouldn't consider myself a fan of young adult fiction but, I may have to start getting used to calling myself based on some titles I've read lately. Like I said in my previous post, this book was recommended to me by a high school english teacher as one of the books they teach in their cirriculum. And honestly, it should be and I have no idea how I managed to miss reading it in school.

The main character, Moby is a formerly fat high school swimmer whose best friend, Sarah Byrnes is a severely disfigured high school girl. When we meet her she is in a mental health institution and is refusing to talk. We learn through flashbacks and their friendship was based everyone around them rejecting them in one way or another. While Moby eventually loses weight, Sarah can never overcome her disfigurement, burns all over her face.

As the book goes on we learn more and more about their lives. The narration by Moby is witty and touching. It makes you long for a friend like him in high school. He is compassionate yet tough and is willing to fight for Sarah and does many times throughout the book.

One issue I sometimes have with young adult books is the need to have secondary characters be cookie cutter people. The main character in many books will have the brainy friend, the hippy friend and the big jock friend. This book is a happy exception to that. All of the secondary characters including the friends, teachers and parents are all complex and interesting and really bring something to the story.

Without giving anything away, because I hope you all will read it, the whole story was amazing from start and finish with no dull points are uninteresting subplots.

If you are looking for a quick, but interesting and thought-provoking read I highly recommend Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. 

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyessy of Pat Tillman

It's time for my very first book review! The first book I'm reviewing is Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Path Tillman.

Why did I choose this book? The author! I absolutely love Jon Krakauer. I've read three of his books; Into Thin Air, Into the Wild and Under the Banner of Heaven. They were all fantastic and I highly recommend them all. My friend Lee also recommended I read it, knowing my love of the author.

I went into this having huge expectations of this book. I had just read Into Thin Air and Under the Banner of Heaven and was having a love affair with Jon. While I have to admit I liked the two previous books a little better this was always amazing and well worth a read.

The subject matter was extremely deep and a little controversial, (which is why I shouldn't have chosen it for my first review) and took me a little longer to read then I expected. For those of you unfamiliar with the Pat Tillman story, let me give you a run down. Pat Tillman was a player in the NFL who after 9/11 left behind a multi-million dollar contract to join the army because he felt a sense of duty. Without ruining anything if you are going to read the book (it is known from the very beginning), Pat gets killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire. For the time being, I'm going to stay off of my soapbox and not not talk about what happens after this. If you decide not to read the book, please look into and form your own opinions.

As far as the book goes, it was an absolutely fascinating read. Jon Krakauer is an absolutely amazing writer. He weaves the story of Pat in with the story of the war in Afghanistan in a seamless way that is nothing short of genius. He pulls from Tillman's own diaries, stories from his family and extensive interviews with people who knew him including his brother he deployed with him.

I highly recommend this book; it is extremely inspiring and just fascinating. If you decide not to read it, I would BEG you to please read something about Pat Tillman. He is an modern day hero no matter how you look at it and everyone should know a little about his story.

The next book I'll be reviewing is Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher. I have high hopes for this book since it was recommended to me by a friend who is an high school English teacher. It's a very short young adult book so I'm sure I'll be finished soon!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First Book and Reccomendations

Hello Again!

I thought I would let everyone know what I'm reading now in case you want to read it with me! Right now I am reading Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer. When I decided to start this blog, I had already started this book. If I had a little foresight about my desire to start blogging about my reads, I probably would not have chose this title to start off with for a couple of reason. First of all, it's a very politically charged book which is really no way to start off a blog, especially  since I do read lots of light, fun books! Secondly, it's about an extremely sensitive topic and is pretty intense. If you know the story of Pat Tillman, he was an NFL that joined the army after September 11th. I am about half way through and so far it is extremely though-provoking and wonderfully written. If this sounds like a topic of even the slightest interest to you, I highly recommend starting it soon. It will be the first book I review!

Now, on to the fun part! I would LOVE to get any recommendations from anyone of books that I should read and review here in my new blog. I have a couple on the back burner already but am always looking for new books to read. Like I've said, I enjoy books from all genres and will be happy to give anything a shot! I should also say, I've never started a book and not finish it, and I promise to read almost anything you recommend!

Happy Reading!

Let me introduce myself...

Hi! My name is Sarah; I live in Columbus,Ohio and my favorite thing to do with my time is read. Ever since I can remember I've always had a passion for reading. I don't discriminate, I will read anything. I've read classic novels, current non-fiction, science fiction, history and pretty much anything else that picques my interests. I love it all.

 I wanted to start a blog to review the books I read for a couple of reasons. Someone asked me the other day how many books I've read over the past year. Honestly, I had never thought about keeping track of these things but I realized I wish I had some kind of list of the all the books I've read in my past. I would love to re-visit some books I didn't give enough time to, or read when I was younger as an adult. I can never do this when I can't even remember a good portion of the books I've read in the past. Another reason I wanted to start a blog was to be able to talk to people about reading. Whenever I finish a book, I always want to know what other people thought of it and have some dialouge with anyone that has read it before. I've also been known to be slightly opiniated and really want to be able to get my opinions out there.

 I'm hoping to update the this blog every time I finish a new title. I'll also update what books are coming up so anyone can read along with me! Thanks for visiting and be sure to check back often for updates!