It’s been a good month for reading! I have lots of great books and movies and tv to share with you today.
The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
Rating: 5 stars
This book, you guys. Wow. It’s a memoir, but written as a novel from the perspective of five year old Ruthie, the 39th of her father’s 42 children, living in a Mormon polygamist colony in Mexico. The story follows Ruth, her mom, her immediate siblings, and her step-dad through about 12 years of her life. And it is fascinating. The book is focused on their family life and the struggles they have growing up incredibly poor with resources spread way too thin among the men’s many families. Nothing I say will do this book justice, so just read it and trust me. I’ll never forget this story. And all the more because it’s true. This is a very powerful read.
We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen
Rating: 4.5 stars
This book is told entirely through letters sent between male and female best friends in the girl’s first year away at college. I’m always a sucker for books that have letters in them and this was no exception. I loved how incredibly well they could fill in almost all the gaps of seeing their real lives just by the letters they wrote each other. But near the end, I really, really wanted them to ditch the letters and have a few chapters in person. I thought the final letters to each other were very rushed and lacking after all the words that flowed so freely in the rest of the book. I wasn’t entirely satisfied after finding so much delight in the rest of the book. But still good!
Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa
Rating: 4 stars
So I’m also a sucker for dystopian fiction, and this was a good one! It’s about a future society that only allows families to have one child. It’s the story of a hidden “second child” who finds a chance to escape and find a clan of other second children. There were a few literary things that irritated me in this book – constantly referring back to things that happened only a day or two ago and acting like it’s been going on for months, and many times when actual dialog was skipped to just summarize what was said between people. But besides that, it was a good book. It didn’t have an entirely complete ending, so I’m hoping a sequel will be coming out soon!
Salt to the Sea by Ruth Sepetys
Rating: 5 stars
Another amazing look at an aspect of WWII that I was completely unaware of. Salt to the Sea follows the journey of a group of teenagers, an old man, and a boy that make their way by foot across Germany in winter to the Baltic Sea, hoping to catch a ship to freedom. The journey is harrowing and incredibly sad. It was fascinating, but also extremely heavy. It’s another of Sepetys’ books that will stay with me for a very long time.
Food Anatomy by Julia Rothman
Rating: 5 Stars
This is just a fun book to keep on your coffee table and flip through when you’re bored. It’s the third in a collection of her books made up of interesting facts and hand drawn illustrations. This is my favorite because it pertains the most to things I’m interested in. It’s also where I found that awesome butterscotch recipe!
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Rating: 4 stars
I passed this book up many times last year when I kept seeing it all over the internet. It just didn’t sound that great to me. But then I happened to see a trailer for the movie they’re making of it and I wanted to read the book immediately. It was worth it! A very interesting story about a girl who has to spend her entire life inside her germ free household. It’s about her relationship with her mom, her nurse, and eventually the boy who moves in across the street. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending of this book and I’m really looking forward to the movie!
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Rating: 3 stars
Donoghue’s Room is one of my favorite books of all time, so of course I was thrilled to read another written by her. Well, this was a far cry from the other’s captivating story. I think I stopped reading this twice because I was so bored. SO bored. Then I’d look it up online again and see that it’s called a “psychological thriller.” Yeah, I didn’t see that. But about halfway through things really picked up. Again, I was very surprised by the ending. But in the best of ways. I wouldn’t recommend the book, but I’m glad I stuck with it.
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Rating: 4 stars
I admit that I spent most of this sequel trying to remember if I had actually read the first book. I just looked it up and I read it in 2014, which is why the vast array of characters were so hazy in my memory. So read My Life Next Door before you read this one! I won’t spoil it, but this story line strayed so far from what I expected it to be about. I found it to be quite endearing. But that being said, I also had a hard time connecting with the female character. It was an okay YA read, but not one of my favorites.
The Edge of Seventeen
I really wanted to see this in the theater, but didn’t get a chance, so I was desperate to see it asap when it came out. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It was good, but it was so, so full of teenage angst. Which was the point, right? But I don’t think I could ever sit through it a second time. But I still enjoyed it the one time.
The Chronicles of Narnia
One of our family movie night movies.
I know I’m probably in the minority here, but I did not like this movie. Two hours of Amy Adams’ heavy breathing and facial closeups. I was bored and thought the whole story line was pretty bizarre. Not my kind of movie.
Don’t Think Twice
I probably shouldn’t add this because we only watched about 20 minutes of it. I wanted to see it because of Chris Gethard, from the podcast Beautiful Anonymous that I used to listen to addictively. But this movie – oh so uncomfortable. I think I just hate improv. Anytime people are trying too hard to be funny is just so cringe-worthy. I can’t stand to watch it. So we gave up! No time for bad movies.
Keeping Up with the Joneses
Probably also unpopular opinion here, but I liked this movie! It was ridiculous, but also funny. A few one liners that had me laughing pretty hard. It was a nice light movie after a tough week.
TV – Together
SUPERSTORE – Have you seen this show?? I don’t know how I never knew it existed. We binged the first season in a couple of days. So funny! It’s very similar to The Office, but in a superstore environment. I loved it, though.
Homeland – Always a good show, but always so serious and heavy. I’m really liking this season, despite my favorite character Peter Quinn’s setbacks. The most current episode was amazing.
Riverdale – I really like this show! Maybe just because Archie (K.J. Apa) is like the most adorable high school kid ever. I watch for him lol.
The Flash – Good, as always.
Arrow – Eh, okay. Kind of over it.
TV – Alone
Jane the Virgin – Um…WHAT THE HECK??? I am NOT happy with where this one went. I was going to give up, but I’m still intrigued. It’s not one of my favorites, but I like it enough to keep going.
Quantico – I’m still unsure of what’s happening here half the time, but I like the characters so I keep watching.
This is Us – I’m definitely not as hyped up about this show as most of the world. I like it well enough, but it doesn’t come anywhere near Parenthood status!
Shameless – I caught up! Sad, sad. This really was a great show that I can’t believe I never even heard of until a few months ago. I’ve watched seven seasons since then and haven’t regretted it.
The Mindy Project – Always love this one! Mindy is annoying as ever, but I love the rest of the cast.
I think that’s about it for my month of book and tv entertainment! What have you been reading or watching??