2019 Reads and Reviews pt. 2

Week two of sharing my year of reads with you, and this week brings some absolute gems!

If you’ve read any of the books I review, or you’re planning on reading any of them, I would love to know your thoughts! My favorite thing about books is how differently they impact everyone.

Also, if there are any books that you think belong on my to-read shelf, please share! That list grows faster than I can keep up with, but recommendations typically end up on top.

As mentioned before, I don’t typically include a synopses in my reviews, just my opinion. You can click on the title or picture of the book to learn more about the actual premise!

As always, thank you so much for reading with me. Bookworms are, and will forever be, my favorite type of people!

~AT

Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson

4.5/5 Stars

In my opinion- Debut novel of the year. You guys, THIS BOOK. The research, dialogue, questions, and characterization… incredible.

Beyond the Point goes between the perspectives of three beautiful, power, and unique women during their time as West Point Cadets and the years following.

Set in the early 2000’s, this book is about war and sacrifice, but beyond that, it is about the existence of faith in a world that is simply too evil to make sense and the power of friendship to carry you through.

I laughed, I cried, and I truly felt as though I had the privilege of fighting alongside this group of friends as they battled their own wars both stateside and in the Middle East. I am DEFINITELY looking forward to more from this author!

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

4/5 Stars

This one is for my fellow music lovers- particularly those who have romantic longings for the 60’s era of rock and roll.

This book was written in a unique tone- acting as a long magazine interview- with a brilliant discovery at the end. Though this band and its songs are made up, reading this book allows you to ride alongside a fun and eclectic group of musicians through artistic differences, addictions, love, trials, and the power of connection through song. It’s a quick read with dynamite characterization, witty humor, and the reality of what goes on both on and off the stage.

Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

3/5 stars

I should preface this by saying- I was a HUGE advocate of Rachel’s previous memoir, Girl, Wash Your Face.

This one, however, just didn’t do it for me.

Positives- Hollis is a master motivator. She’s an advocate that you can do anything you set your mind to, as long as you are dedicated to put in the hours. This whole book was about standing firm in who you are, and not letting anyone else determine your worth. That’s something we can all stand behind.

Negatives- I think her last memoir really expressed how she got to where she was, and this one just kind of humbly bragged about it while asking you why you’re not quite on her level yet. It didn’t really accept that some people are very happy where they are, even if they’re not a super fit, power woman, mom, running a multi-million dollar company. Her suggestions on being a better {{bla bla bla}} also weren’t very practical for people who aren’t making millions a year (ie.- make time, hire a nanny, hire a house cleaner, stop wasting time on these things and instead pay someone to do it for you so you can do more important things.)

I could go on for days… but the bottom line was this book wasn’t for me. I hope that if you choose to move forward with it, you can get a little more out of it than I did. My copy was returned to Audible (which, did anyone else know you could do that?)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doeer

4.5/5 Stars

This was the year of Historical Fiction for me… seriously, I don’t think I came across a single book in that genre that I deemed a dud.

This Historical Fiction novel was no exception. It followed two very different stories during WWII. The first was a young German Boy genius who rose from the poverty of an orphanage because of his brains. It really explored the “other side” in this time, as the boy’s ticket out of poverty was to use his mind to help the Germans. This obviously leads to a significant amount of internal and moral conflict.

The second story followed a young French girl who fled Paris with a treasure she was determined to protect. She spent years navigating the war and German control, and she even participated in the resistance, but this is the kicker– this girl was blind. This posed all new thrill to an already stressful tale.

It was an incredible novel, with clear and thorough research, and two very unique perspectives making a WWII story (a subject many might see as overplayed) new and relevant.

Bear Town by Frederick Backman

5/5 stars

FIVE STAR ALERT !

I know I have one more month left, but I will go ahead and deem this as my favorite book of the year!

I don’t even know where to start: the characters, the story, the hockey, the rivalry, the politics, the emotion, the stress, the frustration, the morals. This book ripped me in so many directions.

Backman is a master at characterization, and beyond that, he is incredible at writing narrative that reveals simple, but overlooked, truth. This book, in particular, really explored the “god” complex culture tends to give to young athletes, and questions- not what this does to them as athletes- but what it does to them as humans.

Us Against You by Frederick Backman

4.5/5 Stars

This book obviously had a lot to live up to- and sequels can rarely be as good as the first, but this book came about as close as you can get.

The truth is, once you finish Bear Town, you probably won’t even need a review to convince you to read the sequel, but if you do, this is me telling you… read the sequel.

Us Against You picks up right where Bear Town left off. I loved continuing the journey with a few of my favorite characters. This book focuses on division in a town, the extremes that exist in rivalry, and that beautiful game of hockey that some how both divides and brings people together.

.

Verity by Coleen Hoover

3.5/5 Stars

I went back and forth when trying to decide how I felt about this book. The story is engaging and interesting, the premise and psychology of it all was absolutely fascinating, but I felt that the delivery was lacking.

There were parts of this book where I felt the author stopped showing me, and instead just started to tell me. This messes up the flow of a thriller. There were areas where creative and descriptive language would have kept the novel flowing, and the suspense building, but instead her use of blunt language ripped me out of the scene as it just didn’t fit with the way the story should continue.

That being said, this book still read very quickly and pushed me forward as I was always wondering what would happen next. You can’t complain too much about a book you finish in two days.

Until next week– may your blankets be thick and your to-read pile be thicker!


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