August Book Reviews

August Book Reviews

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier 3/5 Stars
I was excited to read this after reading this in the book summary:

“Around the turn of the 19th century on the eastern coast of England, young Mary Anning is struck by lightning. Afterwards, she discovers she possesses a rare gift—the ability to “see” and locate fossils buried deep in the cliffs near her village.”

I thought this would have a magical realism element but Mary does not actually have any special ability to find fossils. I spent most of the audiobook bored and wondering if I should stop listening but kept going. I wish the summary had included a few of the notes included in the Author’s Note in the back, like that these characters are based on real people. Knowing that going into it would have made the book much more interesting. The points-of-view would go back and forth between Mary and Elizabeth, one of three spinster sisters living together on the English coast. I read this book following The Forbidden Orchid, hoping to find another more like that one, but it fell painfully short. This is a slow, mildly-interesting read that may be of more interest to those with a greater knowledge or interest of fossils and the early discoveries in this region of England.

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Vérant 4/5 Stars

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 3/5 Stars
I don’t usually read books that are very old or classics, but I kept seeing this one recommended repeatedly (more than other classics anyway) and decided to give the audio book a try. It took me a while to get through this book because of the subject matter- pedophilia- and I could only take so much listening at a time. It is definitely weird and creepy but it is written in such an interesting and unique way that it is also kind of captivating. I like the writing style. In the second half of the book it feels like there is more rambling and it was more difficult to hold my attention. I took a star off because I didn’t enjoy reading about how sexy twelve-year-old girls are and another for the tangents. I loved all of the Annabel Lee references, it makes me want to go read a few Poe stories after this. There are also quite a few simple French phrases that would be impossible to know (maybe there are footnotes in print or e-copies, but the audio book didn’t translate them) the meaning of unless you know some basic French.

The Last Flight by Julie Clark 5/5 Stars
WOW! I got this book through BOTM on a whim with some free credits. It is definitely outside of my reading wheelhouse but it seemed interesting and I’m so glad I gave it a shot. I was instantly hooked and read it in just over 24 hours. This book follows two different women, both trying to disappear from their lives and create a new identity. I love that Claire’s story is in the present and Eva’s covers her past. My favorite thing about this book and I think the reason why I usually don’t like mysteries/thrillers is that the characters make smart, thoughtful decisions. There was no wanting to throw the book against the wall because nothing they did was logical and there was no pull-a-resolution-out-of-the-air-that-doesn’t-make-sense ending. Beautiful writing with some really thoughtful quotes. I also really appreciated that current social issues were mentioned but they weren’t shoved down your throat. I think that fact makes this book accessible to and enjoyable for readers from any background. I highly recommend this book no matter what you usually like to read.

Writers and Lovers by Lily King 4/5 Stars
Overall I enjoyed this read but it wasn’t all smooth sailing for me. Casey is a writer by early morning and waitress by afternoon and evening. Aside from four days at KFC which don’t really count, I’ve never worked in the food industry so the details of that world without much explanation kind of bogged down the story for me. Once I got through the initial chunk that took place in the restaurant it read a lot easier for me. I liked how real this story felt; you can easily imagine yourself or a friend in place of the main character. Despite liking the book, it’s not one I’ll keep a physical copy of because I probably won’t feel the need to reread it.

Ocean Anatomy by Julia Rothman 4/5 Stars
I’ve been on a huge marine kick lately. I wanted easily accessible non-fiction about the ocean so I looked into kids books and this is one of the first that came up. Everything is presently simply yet interestingly and it definitely held my attention, despite also being great for kids. I learned a lot of neat things and look forward to reading Rothman’s other books. I took off one star because not all of the information is presently consistently; for instance, if ten types of one animal are listed only 8 have weight averages listed. Some of these inconsistencies left me questions after reading.

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