Recent Reads #6

in , , by Kristen Woolsey, 6:00 AM

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

Plot: From Goodreads:Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called The Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men."
What I Liked: This book is based on a real school for boys near my hometown of Tallahassee. It's been in the news a lot in the last few years because of the number of unmarked graves that have been found. It was absolutely fascinating/horrifying to read about something that took place so close to home. My grandparents lived in Tallahassee during this time period, and it was really neat to imagine the Tallahassee they knew and recognize places mentioned in this story. 
What I Didn't Like: Obviously, the subject matter on this one is really tough, and hard to read. 
Rating: 5 Stars


Plot: From Goodreads: Julie Andrews picks up the story with her arrival in Hollywood and her phenomenal rise to fame in her earliest films--Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Andrews describes her years in the film industry -- from the incredible highs to the challenging lows. Not only does she discuss her work in now-classic films and her collaborations with giants of cinema and television, she also unveils her personal story of adjusting to a new and often daunting world, dealing with the demands of unimaginable success, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage, embracing two stepchildren, adopting two more children, and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards.
What I Liked: Julie Andrews is just downright lovely. I really enjoyed reading tidbits about her more famous roles like Mary Poppins and in the Sound of Music. I learned a lot about her!
What I Didn't Like: So, it's hard for me to put into words why I didn't love this. I enjoyed the anecdotal stories a lot, but most of the book is just rattling off facts, not reading a story. Like, 'we got on a plane, shot a movie, I went home and cuddled my daughters'. Over and over. 
Rating: 3 Stars


Plot: From Goodreads: In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth "Evvie" Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn't correct them.
In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy's childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the "yips": he can't throw straight anymore, and he can't figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button.
When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie's house, the two make a deal: Dean won't ask about Evvie's late husband, and Evvie won't ask about Dean's baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken—and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more.
What I Liked: Super interesting premise right from the beginning. She was getting reading to leave her husband, and then he dies. (This all happens in the first few pages, so no spoilers.) I enjoyed reading about the relationship of two people that seemed realistic. Their conversations seemed totally plausible. 
What I Didn't Like: That being said, because it was such normal and realistic dialogue and pacing, I felt like this book was completely unexciting. It even dragged in some places. 
Rating: 3 Stars


Plot: From Goodreads: When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill. 
What I Liked: This was an absolutely fascinating read! We've all read/seen/heard so many stories from that awful day, but this was truly something I had no idea happened. All the other planes in the sky had to go somewhere. This was such an interesting peek into the past, and made me absolutely want to visit the little town of Gander.
What I Didn't Like: It might be the way this was written, but it sort of felt drug out and repetitive in a lot of chapters. 
Rating: 4 Stars

Plot: From Goodreads: Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.
What I Liked: I was so excited to pick this up before the movie came out! I read it, years and years ago, but wanted to refresh my memory. The characters, the story, it's a classic for a reason. (Still haven't seen the movie!)
What I Didn't Like: This book is LONG. It took me for-ever to get through, and I had to renew my hold at the library more than once!
Rating: 4 Stars

Plot: From Goodreads: In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy—only keeping her from meeting her goals—she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year.
What I Liked: Honestly, not a lot. This concept of not buying things for a year is amazing, and I'm impressed she did it. 
What I Didn't Like: This is not about buying less or anything I was hoping to read. This is a millennial girl working through and documenting her many issues. Obviously, changing habits is going to reveal some hidden problems, but that's all this book is about. There were no practical tips or really anything about living with less. 
Rating: 3 Stars

Leave a comment below and tell me what you've been reading lately! Any of the titles above?
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