Recent Reads #5

in , , , by Kristen Woolsey, 6:00 AM
Whoops! Haven't done one of these in awhile! After reading a ton of books at the beginning of the year (you can read all my book reviews here!), I took a reading hiatus over the summer. Partly because of being generally more busy, and partly because I rely on the library for 99% of my books and for some reason they didn't add a whole lot of new books to the Libby app over the summer. 

That being said, I made a goal to read 12 books this year, and I'm on no. 24!

Recent Reads | www.kristenwoolsey.com

1 Star = Hated It -  2 Stars = Didn't Like It - 3 Stars =Liked It -
 4 Stars = Really Liked It - 5 Stars = Loved it




The 5th Wave
Plot: From Goodreads: After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
What I Liked: I flat out just enjoyed reading this book. It's YA and it reads so easily. It was interesting, mysterious and fun! Loved it.
What I Didn't Like: It's the first book in a trilogy and I tried the 2nd book and stopped reading almost right away. Just read the first book and pretend that's the end.
Rating: 5 Stars




Americanah
Plot: From Goodreads: Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
What I Liked: I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this. My favorite parts took place in Nigeria, but it was really interesting to hear the perspective of what a shock America was. I think most of us are just so used to life here that we don't realize it's different from how the rest of the world is. 
What I Didn't Like: I felt like this was dragged out a little bit. I also have made it abundantly clear in past reviews that I don't like reading about messed up marriages-and this one includes a perfectly fine marriage that someone tries to get out of-which is even worse. 
Rating: 3 Stars. I just liked it, didn't love it. 


Plot: From Goodreads: At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
What I Liked: Super interesting, mainly because I love hiking and I'd really like to do a big hike on the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian one day. Loved the quote: Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was. I think it'd be an amazing experience to conquer something like this alone. 
What I Didn't Like: Cheryl is an incredibly frustrating person. She has been through a lot and she makes the dumbest decisions throughout this book. Another example of a perfectly good marriage thrown away as well. Lots of sex and drugs in this story as well, fair warning. 
Rating: 3 Stars


Plot: From Goodreads: Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is her best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette vanishes. It all began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and surprisingly touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world
What I Liked: This was a really fun, light read. I loved the format of reading it through people's emails and notes. In fact, I don't think the story would have been as good told in a traditional way. I loved the virtual assistant storyline.
What I Didn't Like: Not much to say here, maybe it was a little far fetched? But I think you get that from the description.
Rating: 4 Stars

Plot: From Goodreads: Irene Steele’s idyllic life-house, husband, family-is shattered when she is woken up by a late-night phone call. Her beloved husband has been found dead, but before Irene can process this tragic news, she must confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death. He was found on St. John island, a tropical paradise far removed from their suburban life. Leaving the cold winter behind, Irene flies down to the beautiful Caribbean beaches of St. John only to make another shocking discovery: her husband had a secret second family. As Irene investigates the mysterious circumstances of her husband’s death, she is plunged into a web of intrigue and deceit belied by the pristine white sand beaches of St. John’s.
What I Liked: I loved reading about St. John! I went there once as a teenager, and it is absolutely the most beautiful place I've ever been. It was fun to read about a place I could picture. Overall the plot was interesting, and it was an easy read.
What I Didn't Like: So, a lot of people LOVE this author for her beachy reads, so I had high hopes. This was the first book in a series, so I can see why so much set up happened-but that's all this book was: Setting up. Nothing happened, really. It could have been half as long and the ending you could see a mile away. 
Rating: 3 Stars, just okay. 

Plot: From Goodreads:At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.
The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.
What I Liked: I loved the audiobook! It is narrated by Tom Hanks, and he is an amazing performer. This was truly a 'modern' fairytale. The house seemed like an actual character in the story too. The author did a great job with the descriptions in this story, so much detail!
What I Didn't Like: What I didn't like is hard to explain without spoilers. Basically I think they were a little too forgiving/trusting with a certain person. They all really needed therapy, but that obviously wasn't a thing at the time.
Rating: 4 Stars

Let's Discuss! Leave a comment below and tell me what you are reading, or want to read! Have you read any of the above titles? 
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