Tag Archives: novels

Book Review: The Fifth Wave series, by Rick Yancey

Does anyone else love YA literature, even when they’re (kinda far?) out of that age bracket? I know that it’s supposed to be for people younger than me, but I almost always find the reads quick, easy, and quite fascinating. Dystopian novels in particular can be favorites of mine, and Hunger Games is at the top of my list. I have a particular affinity for series (as I mentioned here) since they go on a little longer than a couple hundred pages. And so, much of the YA lit is right up my alley. Everyone loves a good story that doesn’t end too quickly.

I have read Hunger Games too many times to count, and have also read the Maze Runner series and loved it. I first heard about the Fifth Wave series from another mother/writer friend, who was loved it for the same reasons I love it: only so much brain power can be attached to the books I’m reading at the moment (can you say three kids?), so the more attachment I form to the story, and the simpler the difficulty, the better.

The Fifth Wave and the subsequent two books were a refreshing break from the non-fiction I had been reading. They immediately caught my attention, however initially confusing it was that every few chapters, the first person tense switched characters. I wasn’t too keen on the “alien invasion” idea, but the books had a magnificent twist that not only was unexpected, but a little relieving for my stuffy, “there’s no way that’s real” perspective.

The first main character Cassie has a charge to keep her younger brother safe in a world turned upside down, and she finds friends and help in the strangest of situations. It could be pretty violent at times – much of the story was taking place in an army boot camp of sorts, but the soldiers were all children. Nonetheless, I enjoyed finding out how all the stories had woven together by the end, and the final twist had me in tears.

If you need a read that won’t go by too quickly, but will hold your attention, this series is a good one for you! I downloaded it on my Kindle, and it was special pricing when I downloaded all three of the books at once. If you read it, or have read it in the past, let me know! I’d love to pick your brain about a few things!

A Reading Resolution

I love the sound of reading challenges. Once upon a time, I would’ve blown them all out of the water. One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was read. Late at night with a flashlight, in the middle of the afternoon in the summer, or all day on a Saturday. But now that things are busier, I find it hard to keep up with a reading list. There are less and less uninterrupted, quiet minutes in my day, and so reading (especially reading things that take much thought) can fall to the way side. 

I’ve set my yearly reading goals too high in the past, only to realize by the time summer comes that I’ve got to re-imagine the goal if I’m going to get anywhere close to completing it. Which sorta defeats the purpose of a goal, right? So this year, instead of choosing a huge number of books, or a strange combination of books, I choose this: 

I’m going to read for pleasure every single day. I will always be reading something,  And, perhaps most important, if I’ve read the first couple of chapters of a particular book, and I’m not that into it, I’m going to put it down and start something new. 

I don’t feel like these are too lofty, or unrealistic goals. But I also don’t feel like they are too easy. Days go by where I haven’t picked up a book (or my kindle) quite often. I’m either busy or doing something else instead (here’s looking at you, Netflix). But I want to read every day- to stretch my perspective, to sharpen my eyes and mind, to set the example of a love of reading for my kids. 

I’m open to all suggestions of books to read, and I love borrowing books, also! If you have something for me to read, pass it on! Non-fiction is the only genre I haven’t done much in. I’m almost done with LOTR (I know- it’s shameful how long it’s taken me) and I think my fresh start in 2017 will be with Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass series. I also have a few historical fiction novels on deck, courtesy of my mother in law. So it won’t be for lack of content if I don’t reach this goal! Who’s with me?!

Will You (Actually) Be My Friend on Goodreads?

I’ve been a member of Goodreads for several years now, but I don’t think I’m using it to its full potential. Are there any huge Goodreads fans out there? (Come on. Raise your hand, fellow nerds.) Partially, I haven’t been reading as much as I have in the past. You know, becoming a mother and all eats up a lot of your time to read for pleasure. But I also just can’t remember that Goodreads exists. For instance, the other day I logged in from my computer (what?!) and responded to about 75 friend requests from the past nine months. Yep. Nine months. So, if you thought I was weirdly unfriendly on a nerdy, fringe social media site, I promise I wasn’t. I just forget about it altogether. 

But recently I’ve committed to reading more, and that means I need to be seeing the books that other people are loving and recommending so that I can build my list. Truly, new books excite me. But I’ve been in a slump because I’ve just been slowly laboring through LOTR for months now. I’ve commuted to blasting my way through the Return of the King (it’s not like I don’t know how it ends, right?) so that I can start something fresh and new. 

There are several things on my immediate list. First of all, I borrowed the Golden Compass books from a friend, and I want to finish those first. Next, I took a (year-long) break from the Outlander series after Dragonfly in Amber, so I’d like to start back and see what Claire and Jamie are up to. But sometimes I get in a rut when reading series, and I need to break them up with a short, easy to read novel in between them; beach reads, humor, light mystery, or romance are my favorites for this purpose. 

That being said, I’m looking for suggestions for my reading list. I’d love it if you could comment with your trusty favorite, your recent love, or the one you’ve heard is great but haven’t read yet. And seriously, be my friend on Goodreads. 

This post is part of my NaBloPoMo, where I publish a piece each day in November. 

Loving Frank – A Book Review

I finally finished Loving Frank by Nancy Horan – so excited! It definitely moved a bit slowly in the middle (well, maybe I just didn’t have time to devour it as quickly) but the end was a giant, quick surprise.

A little recap on the book: Mamah Borthwick (wife, mother, and early feminist) writes first person about her love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright, at the height of his architecture career. Both are married when the affair begins, and we follow them (and their families) through years (and countries) of loving each other during scandal and respite.

Just to prove that I read this book in print, and not on my Kindle!
Just to prove that I read this book in print, and not on my Kindle!

I loved the way Horan took Mamah’s feelings, described them well, justified them a little with the “free love” writings of Ellen Key, and brought her full-circle into a more realistic and whole view of the man she still loved. I was actually surprised to do some Googling, and see how close to actual history Horan stayed when writing about the affair, Wright’s travels and work, and even Mamah’s relationship with Ellen Key. She must’ve done extensive research and followed it with careful planning to construct such a well-written love story and true-to-life account of the facts.

Like I said, the middle was a bit slow, possibly just because that was a less exciting time in the main characters’ lives, or perhaps because I didn’t know Ellen Key or her writings in advance, but I truly loved the book as a whole, and would definitely recommend it!

Now I’m into Yes Please by Amy Poehler, to satisfy the “memoir” category on my reading challenge. I’ve read Tina Fey’s Bossypants and loved it, so I was nervous for Amy to keep me as interested… and she did it! So I’ll let ya know how that one is when I finish it!