Books

Books Lately

I love to read (that’s an understatement!).

Even when I was in elementary school, I remember begging my mom to go to the library so I would constantly have a new book to read. One summer I even read over 100 books!

It’s like an addiction for me.

I usually average a book or two per week, and lately I found some real winners. I’m talking about books so good that I scrap my to-do list and read for hours on end (This happens a lot more often than it should 🙂 ).

I thought it would be fun to share five books that I have read lately and give my review.

Just for reference, I use the website Goodreads.com to keep track of my books. It is amazing! It allows users to make lists of books they want to read, to read reviews from other people, and to look for suggestions of new books (basically a bookworm’s dream website!) You can see my current Goodreads bookshelf on the right column of my blog.

  1. The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain

midwife

I have had this book on my Goodread’s “to-read” list for a couple years. Our local library in Manhattan didn’t have it, and I finally signed up for interlibrary loan so that I could get it from another library.

Let me just say- it was worth the wait!

The book starts with two friends finding an unfinished letter written by their friend, Noelle, who has just committed suicide. The letter opens up secrets that Noelle kept about her career as a midwife and about her family and friends. The friends dig around to find out what the letter means and learn that Noelle wasn’t who they thought she was.

There are some definite far-fetched parts, but this book was a page-turner and kept me in suspense until the end. I recommend it for a quick read, especially if you like mysteries.

Rating: 4/5 stars

2. Hidden Wives by Claire Avery

hidden

This was another book that I have been waiting to read for awhile.

It is about a secret community of polygamist families in Utah (I watch the tv show “Sister Wives,” so I was intrigued). Fifteen year-old Sara and her sister Rachel have just learned that they are to be married off to men in the community who are much older. Sara is to become her uncle’s fifth wife, and Rachel is to marry a man in his seventies, the leader of the community. After meeting newcomer, Luke, who is around the same age as the girls, they begin to question this faith that they have been blindly following and decide that leaving is the only way for them to have happiness. The book follows their pursuit to escape and move on.

I was very disappointed in this book. Many parts were very hard to read (i.e. abuse situations) and the character development seemed inconsistent through many parts.

While I was anxious to keep reading to find out how their story ended, I would not recommend this one.

Rating: 2/5 stars

3. Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder #1) by Linda Castillo

sworn

This was a random grab a few weeks ago. Don’t you love it when random ones turn out to be a hit?!

This book is the first of a series of nine murder mysteries set in an Amish community in Ohio. Kate Burkholder, the main character, is the police chief in this small town and sets off to investigate a streak of murders, all with very similar style. She must dig up her own dark past in order to find the serial killer. There are elements of romance too as she learns to trust and accept help from the new detective in town.

This book had very graphic parts (i.e. description of murders, crimes. etc) that made my stomach churn, but the author did a great job of keeping me guessing on whether they would find the killer and in figuring out who the killer was.

I have since read #2 and #3 of this series and have enjoyed all three so far. They all seem to be very similar in terms of plot (so I would space out time between reading each one), but they are entertaining nonetheless. I’m planning on getting one to read on our upcoming trip to Maine because these books are guaranteed to hook me in!

Rating: 4/5 stars

4. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

matter

This book was one of the strangest that I have read in awhile, but…I liked it! It’s one of those that is so bizarre you just have to keep reading to see what happens.

It is about a man named Jason who gets kidnapped and wakes up in a life different from the one he knows. In this world, he has a new career, isn’t married to his wife, and his son doesn’t exist. Jason must comprehend what happened to him and try to make it back to his original life. The book makes you think about what would have happened in your life if you would have made different choices and explores the idea of true happiness.

I don’t usually read science fiction type books, but this is one I’d definitely recommend. The themes that play out in the story make you really stop and think about your own life, long after you’ve finished reading the book.

Rating: 4/5 stars

5. Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan

applewhites

Since I teach kids, I try to read at least a couple books a month that are geared towards young adults. My students have recommended some wonderful books to me, and I like to be able to have suggestions for them too!

I found this in our school’s library when I was looking for a book to go along with our novel, “A Long Way from Chicago.” I have groups in each of my classes called “Extension” groups for students who need an extra push and can go deeper in the material than the regular class. They work ahead on their own and read an additional novel for each unit. I didn’t end up using this one for my Extension kiddos, but I know that some of my students would still enjoy it.

In the book, Jake Semple is known for being a troublemaker, rebel, and awful student. When every school around him kicks him out, the only one who offers to take him is the Applewhite family, who homeschool their own kids. Jake quickly realizes that the Applewhites are a breed of their own- artsy, eccentric, and completely unphased by his tough attitude. Jake learns to fit in with the family and realizes that being bad isn’t all that cool, like he originally thought.

This book was a little slow for me, and Jake’s character seemed very unbelievable. For being a notorious “monster,” he transformed almost immediately and was never that bad. I think some of my students would be entertained by the crazy Applewhite family, but I wouldn’t say that this book is anything to write home about.

Rating: 2/5 stars

(All photo credit: goodreads.com)

Happy reading and have a good day!

 

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