Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Romi's Reading Round-Up for February and March 2017

Since I wrote my last reading round-up in January, I have read some amazing books – and some really bad ones. As you get ready for Spring Break, Easter, or Passover, I figured it would be great to have a new book to enjoy! Here is the rundown of my latest finds.

Books I Loved

When last we chatted in January, I had just started The Sleepwalker from Chris Bohjalian. This book was a bit different than many of his others, but it was a fascinating look at sleepwalking and the havoc it can create…and it had a great surprise ending.

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue was incredibly appropriate in the Trump world. It’s a story of American immigrants who have overstayed their welcome and what happens to them. Beautifully portrayed. 

News of the World by Paulette Jiles is an excellent, short read about an aging man in 1870 who rides around Texas reading the news to people, and is tasked with getting a white girl captured by Indians back to her family. Really good read.   

Another fantastic book is Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. Now, I don’t like magical realism much, and I don’t know what possessed me to buy this book. With that said, wow was this a trip! It’s a beautifully written tale filled with magic, but it’s also a story about family and finding where you belong. 


The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson was a really nice surprise. It’s the story of a high-powered divorce lawyer whose whole life goes for a tailspin when someone shows up on her doorstep. The main character was very believable.

Books I Enjoyed
There are always those books that you don’t absolutely love, but that you enjoy while you’re reading. So, Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh was one of those. It was an interesting look at three women who were all married to the same man at different points in his life and what became of them. 

Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy was hysterical and adorable. It wasn’t the best book ever, which is why it’s not in the section above, but it was definitely fun. America's West Coast is about to be obliterated when a massive meteor hits the Earth, and the 17 year old Russian boy-wonder is brought in to save the day. Certainly not the typical read for me, but it was adorable and creative. 

Pennies from Burger Heaven by Marcy McKay isn’t a book I would recommend lightly. It was the very sad story of a 12 year old homeless girl and what she does when she realizes her mom has disappeared. It was quite gory, which was the main thing that turned me off, but her character was well-developed and I cared about what happened to her. 

The Rage of Plum Blossoms by Christine Whitehead was a mystery and I don’t usually read this genre. Now, it was highly, highly entertaining but so incredibly far-fetched and ridiculously drawn that I was shocked by the high ratings on Goodreads when I finished it. As long as you suspend all disbelief and just enjoy a fun ride – it’s entertaining. 

I could have enjoyed The Book of Moon by George Crowder more. It was slow reading at times, but it was a nice coming-of-age story of a boy growing up in LA dealing with his parent’s divorce and his own development.

Books I Threw Across the Room
Let’s start with Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. Seriously. If you’re going to describe your book as one that is body positive and that celebrates every woman where she is – then maybe you should write a book where the main character likes herself and her body. Hmmmmm. I finished about 10% before I threw it down. 

Judy Blume – Oh Judy...I expect so much more from you than Smart Women had to offer, since none of the women in the book appeared to be smart. Rather, they were whinny, annoying middle-aged women and at about 40% I realized that I didn’t care what happened to a single one of them. Shame. 

I love Wally Lamb, so when Yakir found a copy of She’s Come Undone next to the trash and brought it to me with a huge grin on his face (how cute is that?), I figured I’d read it again. I rooted for the heroine the whole book and kept hoping she was going to pull her life together, but when she did so about 92% of the way into the book, did Lamb really think we would still care what happened to her?

I was also disappointed by Fannie Flagg with The Whole Town’s Talking. I’d love for the whole town to be talking if Flagg is on her game with her endearing characters and funny mishaps. But the town seemed to be talking about nothing…absolutely nothing. 

I’m never sure whether to bother with Anne Tyler, and when it comes to Back When We Were Grownups, I know the answer. Wow, this was boring. I finally let myself put it down at page 100. 

Finally, sometimes I don’t know what to do when Goodreads gives a book a 4.16 rating and I give it a 1. Forever is the Worst Long Time by Camille Pagan definitely proved the point that forever feels like the worst time when you’re reading this book. Enough said!

Next Up
I’m currently juggling a few books. I’m in the middle of The Handling and Care of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway which I love so far. I’ve started Following Atticus: Forty: Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog and an Extraordinary Friendship which is very sweet. 

I’m putting Atticus down, however, for the library book that just came off the waiting list, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. I’m not sure how I’ll do with this book because I can’t keep track of tons of characters and centuries of history…so I’ll let you know how that goes!
And what are you reading?

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