May 12, 2015

April Books

#21 The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult A
I did not want to like this book as much as I did.  But by the end, I loved it.  I kind of hated that I loved it for some reason.  It was certainly a story within a story within a story...within a story, I think.  I won't post much because just about anything would be a spoiler.  I admit though that, by the end of the story, my biggest concern was Eva the dog.  (I'm completely serious.)
I do admit that there seemed to be a lot of minor characters that never really developed and I wasn't sure of their purpose.
We can discuss if you have an opinion on it!

#22 The Janitor's Boy by Andrew Clements B-
Consider this your children's book for the quarter.  I read it with one of my small groups at school and they enjoyed it and I enjoyed it.  It actually deals with some adult themes and would be FANTASTIC if you are a military family with school-age children.  It goes into PTSD.  My favorite of Clements' will always be Frindle, but I liked this one.

#23 Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin A+
There are few words that explain how much I love this book.  I love trying to figure what kind of person I am and why I do the things I do.  According to this book, I am an upholding, questioning lark. A marathoning underbuyer who prefers simplicity and a finisher who likes novelty.  Scott is an obliging, questioning owl. A sprinting overbuyer who prefers abundance and an opener who likes novelty. (In other words, Scott and I are almost complete opposites in our habits...which might be why this marriage seems to work.)

On of my favorite things about Gretchen's books on happiness is that she includes lots of real examples and anecdotes.  Very reader-friendly.
I would consider this a must-read for just about anyone.

#24 The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman A
This story was fascinating.  I grabbed the audiobook at the library and it's narrated by Neil Gaiman himself in a light English accent, and that made the biggest difference.
This is actually a really dark story told from the point of view of a seven year-old boy.  I had assumed it was a murder mystery of sorts, but it's actually more science fiction.  It reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time.
It was a short "read" (5.5 hours to listen to) and I think it's one of those completely original stories everyone should try.  No matter your interests, you'll get something out of this book.
Gaiman won the Newbery medal in 2009 with The Graveyard Book, so I might try that next in audio form if I can find it. I attempted to read it a few years ago and couldn't get into it.
By the end of The Ocean, you'll realize that none of the characters (except 4, I believe) are given names.  That's part of what makes it so fascinating.

#25 Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman C+
I do admit that I haven't, until recently, watched Parks and Rec.  It was always that-show-that's-on-after-The-Office and sometimes I would catch a bit here or there.  However, I adore Ron Swanson.   This autobiography of Nick Offerman was interesting to me because, while Ron Swanson is just a character, Ron's kind of an extreme version of Nick himself. This is an autobiography and at times it's really funny and poignant.  At other times, it kind of drags on.  I really think Scott would like it because Nick talks about building things and wearing work clothes and all that.  Plus, Nick is from a small-town in the middle of nowhere Illinois and I can identify with that.
The theater talk wasn't my favorite, but I am fascinated by his relationship with Megan Mullally.  I love that they are so low-profile.
I do agree with the many reviewers on Goodreads who said it was overwritten.  And his constant jumping from one time period to the next kind of bugged me.  He barely followed a sequence of events and that kind of bothered me.

#26 The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant B-
It's really weird because I listened to this back in March but forgot to add it to the list.
I liked this book.  I kind of couldn't decide how I felt about it.  One minute I liked it, the next I was bored, the next I was interested, the next I was wondering why she kept talking about all these random people I didn't know. Like, she went on and on about this person and that person because the point of the "memoir" is that she's telling the story to her granddaughter. But I, for example, wouldn't have known the first names of my grandmother's friends from when she was 17.  Sometimes it confused me.  She jumped topics/scenes a lot.
It's a fictional memoir (which may have been the odd part) but I felt like it was a real memoir.  It could've been. I wanted it to be.
The second half was better than the first half.
It reminded me of Dreams in the Golden Country, a Dear America book.  Also, I felt like I connected a lot of it to The Storyteller, which I read a few weeks later.

#27 If I Stay by Gayle Forman C
*eye roll*
A kid was reading this book one day and she asked if I'd ever read it.  I said no but "isn't it a movie?"  She didn't know.  I thought it was.  So I borrowed the book from her, read it in a day, suffered much second-hand embarrassment because it's about a 17 year old, watched the movie online, suffered even more second-hand embarrassment because it was suspiciously like Twilight. If you are a teenager, the movie is probably okay.  If you have anyone under the age of 16 in your house who wants to read the book, I wouldn't recommend it.  It's pretty graphic with an accident scene and some language.  The movie leaves that stuff out though.  Maybe we can call this one 2014's The Fault in Our Stars?  Only not as bad.

I attempted:
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.  I didn't really like it.  I probably could've finished reading it but it was due back at the library and I didn't really care, so I stopped about a quarter of the way through.

Recommend a book!  Summer vacation is so close I can taste it and many books will be read.

Linking up with Jana and Steph!


  1. I still haven't read any of Gayle Forman's books but people seem to love them or hate them. lol! I read Dark Places and Sharp Objects and thought Dark Places was a little bit better than the other.

  2. I'm glad you liked the storyteller, however reluctantly. i do agree about the minor characters as well - like the sisters, and what were the point of the names? and the guy that worked in the bakery. and i have forgotten anyone else, but seriously i hope the dog is okay :)
    that gretchen book looks interesting - that's funny about you and Scott. KC and I are opposites as well, but I'm Scott and he's you in our marriage. Lol.
    I didn't mind If I Stay. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. I read the sequel immediately after (on a plane) and really disliked that one which in turn made me dislike If I Stay even more. I watched the movie over the weekend and it wasn't fabulous either lol.

  3. Ocean at the End of the Lane was fascinating! It took me a little while to get into it and it was definitely different than what a typically read, but by the end I was amazed at how masterfully done it was! I didn't realize until the end that most of the characters weren't given names either!

  4. I love Jodi Picoult books, I always feel the same way at the end I really don't want to like a book but end up loving it lol.

  5. It saddens me you didn't like Dark Places.

    I felt the same way about If I Stay. It irked me. I borrowed the sequel from my sister and haven't gotten around to it yet. One day. I LOVED The Storyteller and I need to put Gretchen's new book on my list. I'm not sure if I'll like The Boston Girl but I think I have it as a to-read.

  6. I want to check out Better Than Before simply because I loved The Happiness Project so much.

    Gillian Flynn's books are so hard to get into and they leave you feeling dirty in a way. Ha.

  7. Looks like you read a good mix of books. Several of these I've already had on my to read list. Guess I need to get to some.

  8. I really need to read Gretchen Rubin's new book. I've read her others I really like her writing style and her message!

  9. Boo to Nick Offerman's book.

    MFD and I are also complete opposites.

    I thought Ocean at the End of the Lane was weird as hell but I liked it.

  10. Better than Before is now on my list. The Ocean was already on my list but now I really want to read it after reading your review. LOL "this year's TFIOS but not as bad". I didn't like TFIOS either!

  11. I've never read Picoult and everyone recommends The Storyteller as my first. I need to get on it already! I felt exactly the same as you did about Nick Offerman's book. That said, I will still probably read his new book when it comes out. He and Megan are just good people.

  12. I was *thisclose* to getting Nick Offerman's book to read. Then I read some reviews (most people hated it), and watched his Netflix comedy special, and decided nope. His stand up is actually really dirty...and not funny dirty. Just awkward and gross dirty. I have to pretend I didn't watch it otherwise it taints my love of Ron Swanson too.

  13. So many books!!! My husband and I are probably really similar on a few things...then complete opposite on everything else haha! We might both be overbuyers though, oops! I listened to a few of her podcasts and some I found entertaining and great...others got on my nerves. I will have to consider this book! I think Ocean at the End of the Lane sounds really interesting.

  14. I am lucky if I can finish one book a month! Go you!

  15. I read the Neil Gaiman book for a book club with friends. It was out of my comfort zone, but I ended up really liking it. The writing style and choice of narrator really are fascinating.

    I tried to read that Gayle Forman book but couldn't get into it.

  16. I stopped reading Dark Places too... I don't really like Gillian Flynn's style.

  17. Oh, and If I Stay... It wasn't that phenomenal. Maybe I expect more out of my books lol

  18. I really liked The Boston Girl. Did you read The Red Tent? She wrote that as well and its one of my favorite books.

  19. I wasn't a fan of Dark Places either and except for a twist that I kind of predicted, I half wish that I didn't bother to finish it. You didn't miss much! I was disappointed because I loved Sharp Objects SO much.


Comments make my day!