Schools been out for a little more than a month now, and as usual, I have thrown myself into summer reading. Unfortunately, much of it has been a textbook that makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon. I have managed to squeeze-in a few novels, but I simply don't have enough time to do a full review on each. Thus - the "mini-review"!!
Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill
I had a real love/hate relationship with this book. While it was an interesting glimpse into the life of Camelot, I didn't feel any emotional connection with Jackie. It felt to me more like a simple retelling of the day to day activities of the First Lady. A few funny moments, but overall, not a fabulous read....especially knowing how it's going to end.
Three out of five stars.
Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
I'm not a fan of acronymns, but this book literally left me "ROFLMAO." How is it possible that one person can be so ridiculously warped? The book was almost too funny...perhaps even a little hard to believe in a few places. However...if I EVER find a Hamlet von Schnitzel...I will be the happiest girl in the world!
Four and a half out of five stars
Calico Joe by John Grisham
this is not your typical John Grisham book. There are no lawyers, no spies, no hidden schemes or plots. Calico Joe is a simple, but gut-wrenching story of jealousy, spite, and redemption. I haven't read anything that made me feel such contempt and disgust in a long time. This is a MUST READ for baseball fans, and a good choice for non-baseball fans.
Four out of five stars
I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern
Like it's prequel, Sh*t My Dad Says, this book left me laughing out loud and giggling uncontrollably at night, trying not to wake my sleeping husband. Halpern is a master of the memoir, frighteningly honest, and unafraid to share his own humiliation again and again. I would recommend this book to anyone who can read. I even read a few chapters to my 11 year-old, and he giggled like a school girl.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
A good friend of mine recommended this book several weeks ago, but I didn't really get interested until I saw the movie trailer (which looked fabulous, BTW). I downloaded the book and devoured it in less than 48 hours. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on this one. Chbosky's story is a psychological coming-of-age story of a 15 year-old boy struggling with his identity and the suicide of one of his close friends. The characters are interesting, but I just didn't find the narrator believable. I just don't know about this one.
Two stars....but I may change my mind later. ;)
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffengaugh
I definitely liked this book, although I thought some of the characters were undeveloped and one-dimensional. Victoria is an 18 year-old foster child who has just been "released" from state custody and must make her way through the world on her own. She'd rather sleep in a flower bed in the park than in a real bed, and she'd prefer to avoid all emotional connections with human beings.
But she is really, really into flowers. If you want to know why - check out the book.
Four and a half stars
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
Another book recommended by a friend and so far, one of the top reads of the summer. This retelling of the classic Cinderella story was refreshing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book once I got past the first few slow and extremely sad chapters. This is a book I would love to use to teach perspective and point-of-view. I recommend this book, but only if you have a dictionary app. Maguire is very proud of his ridiculously over-developed vocabulary.
Four and a half stars
The Front Porch Prophet by Raymond Atkins
If any book I've read this summer is deserving of an entire blog of itis own, this is it!! I read this book last summer at the urging of my friend, Sarah, and I completely fell for it. If there was ever a male version of "Steel Magnolias," this is it! The Front Porch Prophet is a story of friendship, heroism, love, malice, family, greed, and secrets. Atkins is a master story-teller, letting the story unfold bit by teensy bit with snarky humor and wit along the way. His descriptions are vivid, making his characters lovable and unforgettable:
"Rufus' lineage was unclear, but he appeared to be a cross between a Great Dane and a bear...his hair grew in patches around scar tissue...AJ likened the dog to a creation by Dante on LSD. He was a hound from hell, and AJ had no doubt that if Rufus ever got a hold of him, there wouldn't be much left to bury, exept maybe a half-eaten shoe or a few small pieces of the Louisville Slugger."
'Hell, AJ, the man wore me down. Had some of those hot lights shining on me. Beat me with a hose. I confessed. He also made me admit that I was the second man on the grassy knoll and he may have me pegged on the Lindbergh baby."
This is a book that I could read again summer after summer. It's been a long time since a novel has inspired such a large range of emtions in me as this one did, and I know I'll keep coming back to it. After I read it TWICE, I went back and re-read all the places I'd highlighted just to experience it all over agin. You know those books that make you really sad when you finish reading them? Not because they're sad books or have sad endings, but you're just generally broken-hearted that they're over?? Yes...this is one of those. Double-up on the happy pills....
I'm currently reading Slammed by Colleen Hoover, and so far, I'm not really digging it. I'm assured it will get better, and that I'll be instantly downloading the sequel, but thus far, I'm not really convinced...but it is better than reading my textbook!!