I’m a bit behind on my book round-up. I always try to do this the first week in April, but with vacation and then just trying to get back into my routine, I completely spaced. And now it’s almost the end of April, and I’m just getting to it.
While spring is finally here (it took long enough!), March was definitely still cold and gross. We had a couple of nice days, but for the most part, it was just yuck. Which meant I spent a lot of time reading. Not as much as I have in the past, but I certainly enjoyed sitting on my couch and reading a good book. I read some books for work as well, so I’ll only be discussing the ones I read outside of work.
Here we go!
Unsplash // David Mac
Everything Beautiful Began After – Simon Booy
Synopsis (From Goodreads): Rebecca is young, lost, and beautiful. A gifted artist, she seeks solace and inspiration in the Mediterranean heat of Athens—trying to understand who she is and how she can love without fear. George has come to Athens to learn ancient languages after growing up in New England boarding schools and Ivy League colleges. He has no close relationships with anyone and spends his days hunched over books or wandering the city in a drunken stupor. Henry is in Athens to dig. An accomplished young archaeologist, he devotedly uncovers the city’s past as a way to escape his own, which holds a secret that not even his doting parents can talk about….and then, with a series of chance meetings, Rebecca, George, and Henry are suddenly in flight, their lives brighter and clearer than ever, as they fall headlong into a summer that will forever define them in the decades to come.
Verdict: I was kind of in the middle with this book. I loved the story concept. I thought the descriptions and detail in the book was good. But the book kind of let me down. I think I had higher expectations for it (even though it was a $.99 find!) because the reviews were pretty good for it, but I found it just to be mediocre. I didn’t love it, didn’t hate, but probably wouldn’t recommend it.
Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult
Synopsis (from Goodreads): For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague. Hard questions and answers.
Verdict: I’m a big Jodi Picoult fan. I always have been. And this one did not disappoint. Perhaps I enjoyed it more because I work in a field where I’m surrounded by spirituality, mediums, and so on, but this book really struck a chord with me and I couldn’t put it down. It was a bit different for a Picoult story, but a good one none the less.
Survival Lessons – Alice Hoffman
Synopsis (from Goodreads): Fifteen years ago, Alice Hoffman received a diagnosis that changed everything about the life she’d been living. Most significant, aside from the grueling physical ordeal she underwent, was the way it changed how she felt inside and what she thought she ought to be doing with her days. Now she has written the book that she needed to read then. In this honest, wise, and upbeat guide, Alice Hoffman provides a road map for the making of one’s life into the very best it can be. As she says, “In many ways I wrote this book to remind myself of the beauty of life, something that’s all too easy to overlook during the crisis of illness or loss. There were many times when I forgot about roses and starry nights. I forgot that our lives are made up of equal parts sorrow and joy, and that it’s impossible to have one without the other. . . . I wrote to remind myself that in the darkest hour the roses still bloom, the stars still come out at night. And to remind myself that, despite everything that was happening to me, there were still some choices I could make.
Verdict: If I was going through a health crisis, or knew someone that was, I would definitely recommend this book to them. I had gotten this book when it was on sale. I didn’t realize it was short (under 100 pages) and more of quick thoughts, not an actual memoir, when I bought it. But, I’m happy it was the first thing I’ve read by Alice Hoffman because now I know more about her personal story, and know that she is a phenomenal writer.
Life in Motion – Misty Copeland
To read more on this book, check out my book review that was posted for Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club.
Life Among Giants – Bill Roorbach
Synopsis (from Goodreads): An exploration of lives touched by greatness and tragedy in equal measure, Roorbach’s latest novel traces towering Princeton graduate and NFL player–cum–restaurateur David “Lizard” Hochmeyer in his attempt to unravel the tangled conspiracy behind his parents’ murder in 1970. When his parents are killed in front of him at a restaurant, David believes the culprits are connected to his neighbor, the elegant ballerina Sylphide, whose rock star husband also died under mysterious circumstances, and with whom David has fallen heedlessly in love. As David trades a career in football for one in food, his sister, Kate, a tennis star with “tough girl” endorsements, slides into paranoia over their parents’ deaths. It is a soapy and thrilling indulgence, a tale of opulence, love triangles, and madness, set against a sumptuous landscape of lust and feasts, a sensory abundance that fails to mitigate the sorrows of David’s youth.
Verdict: I had a hard time with this book. The synopsis drew me in. It sounded so interesting. The premise was good, but it was almost too descriptive. And it bounced around quite a bit, which could get confusing. And I don’t get confused easily. Let’s leave it as this. There were parts I enjoyed. There were parts I just wanted to get through. And there were parts that were neither here nor there. Read if you wish. Perhaps you’ll like it more than me.
Help for the Haunted – John Searles
Synopsis (from Goodreads): It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping “haunted souls” find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church’s red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter. As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family’s past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years.
Verdict: Another book I thought sounded pretty incredible. Thankfully I wasn’t as disappointed with this one. I always love a good mystery/ghost story, and was thrilled to get my hands on this one. While it was a mystery of sorts, it didn’t have as much of the paranormal aspect as I had hoped. But, it was a good story nonetheless, and I enjoyed getting lost in it.
I hope you enjoyed the March round-up! April’s will be here before you know it! Guess I better get reading 😉
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