For my book lovers out there, do you ever feel as though you’ll never make it through that stack of books? Or do you ever buy books, even though you have plenty yet to get through…because, well, the book sounds delicious?! I do… I’m guilty as charged! In fact, several weeks ago, I was so fed up with the list of over 50 books in my “to-read” queue, that I made a promise to myself to STOP finding new books and focus on those I had to read. I’ve avoided the blog posts on books, the book aisles and Amazon! Talk about painful.
Today, I will share my book reviews of the last three very different books I’ve read! Enjoy 🙂
The Guernsey and Potato Peel Society by Mary Anne Schaffer and Annie Barrows is a historical novel. It’s a heavy story set in the time of the German occupation of the English Channel. Not only does it tell a sad (and happy) story, it tells in it an interesting way – through a series of letters written by a group of characters. Of course, there’s a main character – Juliet Ashton, a writer, filled with life and energy.
The entire book revolves around the story of Elizabeth McKenna, the founder of the society. A society that during the occupation meant the difference between awful days and okay ones. It brought laughter and happiness to its members and Elizabeth was to thank. She was daring and wild and worst of all, didn’t obey rules. As Juliet uncovers this history through a long series of letters, you’ll find the reason why World War 2, was just awful.
I picked this book up after a mentor recommended it. It’s good. But for me, it was a rough read. I couldn’t focus and keeping track of the characters seemed to take a while. One caveat, I read while walking most times…so I’m sure I’m somewhat distracted. On the other hand, I love World War II stories as both of my grandpas were in the war. They always take me back to the story of Anne Frank and I can’t help but be sad and empathetic for all those that were tortured, lost their lives or lost their families or friends.
In general, it reminds me of how scary people can be, and how much power a single person can have. On that note, remember, what you do – what you say…it matters. It’s like light, it bounces and reflects…it’s fast, can brighten and blind. Power,actions, words…they have the ability to be the greatest things ever…or the worst. Be the greatest.
After reading a book, I tend to check out the reviews and synopses, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything important. For this book, everyone seemed to be divided between loving the book and the books style…versus liking the book but not the books style. I will admit that I fall on the side of not enjoying the books style… it wasn’t a difficult read, but it seemed to take longer for me than a usual book about one of my favorite historical times. In fact, after seeing so many positive reviews, I think I’ll give this book a second go in a couple months (after I make some significant progress on the other long list of books I have to read).
Overall, if you’re going to read this novel, you have to be patient as you get to know the characters.
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed was a book I came across after deciding that in the next year, I’d go on a backpacking adventure. My other half went during his years of Boy Scouts and wishes to go again. So hey, why not!
Wild is the story of Cheryl Strayed….of course, Strayed wasn’t always her last name. But after divorce she was able to pick any name she wished to have as her very own. For her life stories, Strayed most certainly fits.
Cheryl faced many hardships through her life, but most of all it was the loss of her Mother – the one who meant the world to her. And it took her years of life mess-making to come to the decision to sell everything, save every penny for months and hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
Although she was an outdoorsy female, she did not have any backpacking experience. And the trip was hard. Not only physically hard – loosing a majority of her toenails – but also emotionally challenging…and eye opening. She met up with many wonderful (and a few awful) people along the way and each of them seemed to help her through some past experience (or teach her something).
All in all, her journey was neat to read about.
Like the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, it was a bit of a slow read…but not to the same extent. Cheryl is quite the character…and honestly, aside from the fact that she was going backpacking, I struggled to really relate (empathize, maybe) for much of the story…her life was filled with such adventures and rough patches!
In the end, this book is the story of a woman who lost her footing in life and regained it by pushing her mental, emotional and physical strength to new heights.
Good for those interested in turning over a new leaf.
Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear was the best read I’ve come across in a long time. Here’s why…
As a kid I adored Nancy Drew and historical journals kept by those during war. I lost myself in these stories, deciding that I wanted to be a detective. Clearly, my story of life hasn’t taken me down that path (yet). Even today I enjoy sitting down to a good mystery… a mystery with characters and dynamic growth..mysteries with facts, history and meaning.
Well, when I came across Maisie Dobbs, it hit the nail on the head. Remember how I mentioned that the first two books took such time? Well, not this one. It flew by. Literally within about 5 hours (or less) I was done and longing for the next book in the series.
So, you might be wondering about the setting and plot…
Maisie Dobbs grew up in the early 1900s with very little aside from her father. She was an incredibly bright girl, but her father simply couldn’t provide for her appropriately so he decided to send her to work as a staff member at the lovely Rowan’s place… (if you enjoy Downton Abbey, cue this setting as I noticed a great deal of overlap).
It was here that little Maisie worked hard not only in her difficult work around the estate, but also (upon finding a great library) decided it best to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to learn as much as she could…
After some time in this routine, she was caught by Lady Rowan herself and well, I’ll let you read how she fairs next.
The story starts with her as a detective of sorts in the late 1920s with a mystery surrounding the war (WWI), the plot returns to tell the story of her early life and then finishes with the mysteries conclusion.
The book takes place in London and surrounding portions in Europe (oh, how I long to go back to Big Ben! And my other favorite destinations in Europe). I loved this book, and cannot wait to finish my other stack of books and get onto the next in the series!!
So, what are your favorite books lately? I promise if you make note of any in the comments, I WILL check them out…it just might be awhile 😉 Stay tuned for the next round of book reviews!