Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Books I read: October 2017

I read a lot in October. I got back on the bandwagon of reading and I finished some great books. I met and surpassed my goal of reading 3 books a month this month. I read a total of four books. Here are my thoughts and reviews of what I read.

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

I was interested in this novel because of the movie trailer. It came out at the beginning of October and I was intrigued by the preview. After watching it I did some googling and found out that it was based on a novel. I also discovered that the setting is in the high uintah mountains. After reading the synopsis of the book on Wikipedia, I knew I had to read this book. The synopsis drew me in because it said that Ben and Ashley  found a scout camp and took shelter for a few days there. For those of you who don't know I worked at Camp Steiner for three summers of my life. Camp Steiner is located in the high uintahs. So being vaguely familiar with the area and having hiked many of the highest peaks I was intrigued with the idea of the book.

Good: His descriptions of the setting were pretty accurate. The scout camp he mentioned didn't remind me of Camp Steiner at all but that's okay, it's a novel so the author could have made up a new one if he wanted to. I loved the suspense of the novel and the premise of the story. Being stranded in the high uintahs in the middle of winter is not something I would want to do and his storytelling was really good. Ben is a doctor and so he did a lot of the story in recordings that Ben did to his estranged wife. These recordings were made just like a doctor makes his reports for his patients. Ashley is severely injured during the plane crash and until they get moving the first park of the book is about him trying to help her recover from the pain. Ben is very resourceful so he is able to make the most out of the situation.
Ashley isn't completely helpless and I like that. A lot of times heroines are often cast as women who can't do anything but she wasn't like that. She was strong and resilient in her  own way and I grew to really like her character.
The love story was unique and different and I was actually surprised at the end. I like when books do that so I wont say anymore about the end or the story in general.

Bad: The beginning part when they were still in the remains of the plane dragged on forever. The book picked up when they finally got moving down the mountain but it was just a long beginning. I liked how resourceful Ben was, but it was almost too good to be true in some parts. I wish they would have made him a little more human instead of this perfect Hero.

Overall it's a great read, very clean for those LDS readers. I loved the characters and was happy with the ending. I definitely recommend. It was also a quick read as I finished it in about a day and a half.

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan 

This was a fun read for this month. I really wanted something lighthearted and enjoyable. One of my piano students is reading the companion series to this series and reminded me about this book. I have seen the movie but I never read the books as a child.

Good: I loved the story idea. Each of the characters has a unique place in Percy's life, my favorite was his mom though. His mom sacrificed a lot for him, including living with a drunk to mask Percy's smell so the monsters don't get to him. Percy is a son of a God and so he has special powers. Monsters of the Olympian world are after him and he doesn't know about this. Anyway the story is great and the character development is also great. I loved that the movie actually stayed pretty close to the book. This would make an excellent read aloud book.

Bad: It is a children's novel, or middle school novel so it may seem too childish for some. Other then that, there isn't anything else bad to say.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Disclaimer: I know the underground railroad wasn't an actual train system. That is just the way this book portrays it as. This is a historical fiction novel.

This book! It's a Pulitzer Prize Winner and it is so good. Synopsis from Amazon: Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
     In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
     Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

Good: This book taught me so much more in depth about the racism that went on in the south. Living in the west, we aren't really exposed to it everyday, or every month and therefore it's hard to grasp what really happened. Most movies I have watched about the struggles have been inspiring movies like Remember the Titans with good endings. This book dealt with everything the slaves went through, rape (be forewarned), torture, kidnappings, having children taken away, health experiments, etc. Cora is a great main character because she has a strong will power, she isn't afraid to be outspoken even when the consequences (a lashing) are severe. Her story taught me to be more accepting of others, that bad things happen to good people but those people can rise above it and that everyone has worth no matter what. Being Christian that is a principle taught on a daily basis but when you read accounts like these it just opens up your mind to that lesson and really makes you think about it.

Bad: The author is very descriptive. Not overly graphic but some of the scenes may cause unsettling feelings. The rape scene, when she gets off the railroad in North Carolina there are bodies along the trail, etc. She is also in a house for about nine months hiding in the attic and witnesses hangings at the local park, and other things that are pretty bad. I skimmed through anything I didn't feel comfortable to read.

The message of this book is powerful and if you are looking for a good historical fiction novel about the south then this may be of interest to you. Just keep in mind those things I mentioned above.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by  Michelle Hodkin

 This cover totally has nothing to do with the book. I really hate when they do that.

Okay so this was my Halloween read that I did this month. I wanted something spooky but not all out scary. This really fit that for me. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:  Mara Dyer doesn’t know if she is crazy or haunted—all she knows is that everyone around her is dying in this suspenseful and “strong, inventive tale” (Kirkus Reviews).

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

After Mara survives the traumatizing accident at the old asylum, it makes sense that she has issues. She lost her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister, and as if that weren’t enough to cope with, her family moves to a new state in order to give her a fresh start. But that fresh start is quickly filled with hallucinations—or are they premonitions?—and then corpses, and the boundary between reality and nightmare is wavering. At school, there’s Noah, a devastatingly handsome charmer who seems determined to help Mara piece together what’s real, what’s imagined—and what’s very, very dangerous.

This fast-paced psychological—or is it paranormal?—thriller will leave you breathless for its sequel, The Evolution of Mara Dyer.

It's a typical contemporary romance thriller. It came out around the same time Twilight was super popular. I would probably classify this as a paranormal. It was a typical love story suspenseful novel. It was okay. I probably wont be reading the books in the series but I don't regret reading this either. If you want something suspenseful but not creepy this would be good for you.

Well that is it! I am headed on a vacation for November (without my baby ) so I know that I will be reading a lot for the trip as well. I am excited for some warm mornings!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for suggesting such amazing reads. I was looking for some amazing recommendations to plan my reads for the next month. Share some more suggestions would love to stay in touch