What I Read: December 2017

Reviewing books can be an undertaking. I mean, I know you (my loyal readers) appreciate them… I have so many people who run into me at school or on the street and tell me that they just started reading that book I just finished reading because they saw it on my blog. And I LOVE THAT!

But it’s hard to find the time to review every book I read, and it’s even harder to find the motivation when a book isn’t spectacular or noteworthy or made me think or made me hate it. So, this mini-review roundup was born.

This December was really about wrapping up my Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge. Of course, I saved some of the hardest (or most boring) prompts for the end of the year, which means that I didn’t read many books that WOW’d me this month. Don’t get me wrong; I did enjoy most of these. But they were mostly books I had been putting off reading. I’ve already written about my Best Books of 2017, if you’re interested in seeing an overview of my favorites for the year.

Books are listed in the order they were read. For more mini-reviews, check out my What I Read tag.

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Premise: Two sisters experience family tragedy together, but one runs away and one stays put. 28 years later, the family is brought back together by another (equally awful) tragedy, and they must figure out how they fit together again.

Thoughts: This book was so surprising! It took me on twists and turns, and really made me love (and hate and love-to-hate) the characters. The relationships between the characters (between the sisters, between each sister and their father, between husband and wife) were all really captivating and layered. It just felt REAL. I’ve been reading a lot of mystery/thrillers, and this one was one of the good ones. For a full review, look here.

Who Should Read It: Anyone who loves family drama. Anyone who loves a good legal thriller. Anyone interested in dual timeline stories.

Ice by Sara Beth Durst

Premise: Based on traditional folklore, Ice is about a girl (Cassie) who promises to marry the Polar Bear King to save her mother from a terrible fate. When Bear gets stolen by trolls, Cassie sets out on a quest to save him.

Thoughts: This was… adorable. It was weird at first, because I really had to suspend some disbelief and stop trying to categorize this book. It has a big font, and it’s written really simply, but I wouldn’t say it is a kid’s book. The themes, the sacrifices, that Cassie has to make are really adult, and I think it would appeal way more to adult readers than children.

Who Should Read It: Anyone looking for a new fairytale. Anyone looking for a quick, deep read. Anyone who liked A Monster Calls.

Couldn’t Keep It to Myself by Wally Lamb

Premise: This collection of short stories features short narratives written by women in prison. Wally Lamb, who is a New York Times best-selling author, went to York Correctional Facility and taught essay writing to the inmates. Years later, he compiled their stories.

Thoughts: This book was INTENSE… It’s really no surprise that I had it as “Currently Reading” on Goodreads for 2 full months. The stories are heartbreaking and poignant and, occasionally, laugh out loud funny. Most of the women chose to write about their childhood, most of which was horrifying and terrible. It gives a great look into our prison system and really made me think.

Who Should Read It: Anyone looking for a collection of short stories. Anyone interested in prison reform. Anyone looking to cry a bit.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Premise: The animals on a farm overthrow the farmer and establish an animal-only farm. They are prosperous for awhile, but the pigs are deemed “more intelligent” and eventually take over the farm. They establish a totalitarian rule, and they reign over the other animals.

Thoughts: This is a classic I probably should have read ages ago, since it is short and quick. The allegory is evident, and the quiet way that the pigs take control is bone-chilling and a bit too relevant for me. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t an awful read.

Who Should Read It: Anyone who reads for symbolism and allegory. Anyone interested in government. Anyone who has told people they read it when they actually haven’t.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Premise: America, a girl who is in a low social caste, is chosen to participate in Prince Maxon’s bachelor-style competition to choose a wife. Through this competition, she’s forced to leave the guy she loves, but her and her family rise in prominence. It’s up to her to decide who she wants to be with.

Thoughts: I read this book start to finish in 6 hours. The writing was simplistic, but the story was entertaining. This book is definitely the first of a series, in that it spends a lot of time setting up the story line and the characters. Towards the end of the book, though, it really picked up speed, and it ended on a total cliffhanger, so if you get the first one, you might as well get the second one in the series as well! All in all, it wasn’t as strong of a series as some of the other dystopians I have read, but it wasn’t a bad way to pass the time.

Who Should Read It: Any fans of YA dystopias (think Divergent or The Red Queen), although this one is definitely more romance-related than those are.

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