Monday, May 18, 2015

Bout of Books Wrap Up

Last week I participated in the Bout of Books Read-a-thon. I tried to put the phone down more and spend more time reading. For me, I had a pretty good reading week. I read four books. A total of 1,284 pages. Two of the books have been on my To Be Read Shelf for quite awhile, so I'm especially excited to have finally enjoyed them. 

1. Whiskey & Charlie by Annabel Smith

Whiskey (William) and Charlie are identical twins who have grown estranged over the years. A tragic accident will bring them back together and force Charlie to face his feelings and admit his own role in their demise of their relationship.

With writing that can only be described as beautifully honest, Whiskey & Charlie by Annabel Smith examines the sibling relationship. Her characters are complex and dynamic and at times very unlikable. Yet, their sincere desires make them sympathetic and characters worth rooting for. I especially love how Smith, shows that one character's perception of events and feelings is not always accurate and other characters see the same event differently.

The novel is very readable and the writing style invites the reader to continue turning the pages. It's an open window into the lives of a family with secrets, painful scars and tender memories.

Whiskey & Charlie by Annabel Smith is published by Sourcebooks Landmark and released in April 2015. 

2. The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Kitty Miller is 38 years old and the co-owner with her best friend of Sisters, a bookstore. However, when she falls asleep she is Katherine, the wife of Lars and the mother of triplets. Kitty is perfectly happy in her own life, but she finds the dreams to be all consuming as she starts to search for the people who inhabit her dream world.

The Bookseller had a lot of potential and the bare bones of the story are sweet, sentimental and I did enjoy it. I liked the characters and the twists in the plot, however predictable. The novel seemed passionless, especially when Kitty is talking about books that she supposedly loves. Her asides about books don't really seem to fit or advance the story. Swanson has done a lot of research to bring 1960s Denver back to life.

The Bookseller is a quick read and one of the She Read Book Club choices for this spring. It's published by Harper and released in March 2015.

3. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Before I Go To Sleep has been on my shelf since 2011. I've been wanting to read it since then but it the Netflix disk of the movie showed up at my house this week and I had to read the book before we could watch the movie. It has to happen in that order.

Every morning Christine wakes up and is confused as soon as she looks in the mirror. She has aged at least twenty years but the pictures placed around the mirror and her husband help to assure her that she has forgotten her memory. Every day she wakes up with no memory of the day before. Her therapist suggests that she keep a journal and as she begins to recall some memories and with the help of her journal, she becomes suspicious of her husband. Is he telling her everything? 

Though a bit repetitive at the beginning, Before I Go to Sleep becomes very intense. Written tautly and with plenty of foreshadowing, I devoured this novel. I really could not put it down and read constantly. It's been awhile since I've been completely entranced by a thriller and I do love a great psychological thriller. 

Before I Go To Sleep is published by HarperCollins and released in June 2011.

4. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Since I had so much fun pulling a book off my overflowing shelves, I allowed myself another.

Olive Kitteridge and the other citizens of Crosby, Maine are featured in the delightful and insightful novel by Elizabeth Strout. I love a good character study and the people and their stories take center stage. Olive is cross and honest and brusque and turns off most people that she knows but I liked her. Her emotions were often raw and bare and entirely human.

Strout points out plenty of human nature--frailty and honor, suffering and love, deceit and service. I loved meeting these characters and spending time with them.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize. It is published by Random House and released in March 2008.

**I received complimentary copies of The Bookseller and Whiskey & Charlie. All opinions are my own. No compensation was received. I bought copies of Before I Go To Sleep and Olive Kitteridge.**

No comments: