My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I had high expectations going into this novel, having heard great things about Jennifer Weiner, and these expectations were certainly met and exceeded. I truly enjoyed “Then Came You” and would highly recommend it. I didn’t know how I would fit into this novel–discovering what it means to be a “mother” and how the role of motherhood can mean numerous things–but as I allowed myself to live through the four women, it clicked. Weiner brings in women in all stages of life and illustrates how each can bring something special to a child’s life. While this novel deals with some serious issues, it is still light-hearted and humorous throughout. Weiner even finds a way to make the most wicked of characters real and lovable. In fact, she goes on to prove that there are more to people than the eye can see and even what a detective can uncover. “Then Came You” is a fantastic summer read for any woman 18+.
Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When I found a recommendation for this book, I (stupidly) did not realize it was the second book in a trilogy; I LOVE Richard Paul Evans, however, so I decided to read it anyway. Not having read the first book, I didn’t feel like I missed out on much and was able to fall right into the action. Miles to Go tracks Alan’s journey from Washington to Key West after the loss of his wife, business, and house; prior to the beginning of this novel, Alan’s walk is interrupted by a pretty horrible injury that delays his journey for the winter. Luckily for Alan, he meets certain people along the path to recovery and realizes that he has the power to help them, all the while healing himself.
I found Alan to be such a pleasant character–such a gentle and caring man–but possibly a little too perfect. (Or perhaps I just couldn’t believe that he wasn’t as flawed as the others.) The other characters were realistic and interesting to get to know. It was fascinating to see how each character helped one another heal.
What I loved most about this book was the life lessons shared that apply not only to Alan, but to readers. Each chapter features a quote or thoughtful idea from Alan’s journal. For example, one chapter says, “We plan our lives in long, unbroken stretches that intersect our dreams the way highways connect the city dots on a road map. But in the end we learn that life is lived in the side roads, alleys, and detours.” These quotes make me think about my own life, but it doesn’t detract from the story itself.
I found the last section of the book to kind of drag and the ending of the book abrupt, but that is only because it leads directly into the third book. I was somewhat disappointed that I couldn’t read this book as a stand-alone, but it made me look forward to another one!
I would recommend this book, but in conjunction with ALL of the books in the trilogy.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m having a hard time deciding whether or not I enjoyed this book. I chose to read this book after reading a brief synopsis; only after I checked it out of the library and saw the cover did I realize that it was the basis for the Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess film that was recently released. Having been to Scotland last year and intrigued by the idea of a couple meeting up every year on the same day, I was anxious to read the book. After I got into it, however, I was struck by how different this book was than I expected. The characters Emma and Dexter are starkly different; I enjoyed their juxtaposition and how they complimented each other and I appreciated author David Nicholls’ honest portrayal of them, never hiding their flaws, but rather making them likable. The book highlights one day a year for 20 years, a length of time I felt was too long, even though it illustrated each stage of life so accurately. I felt myself wishing that they would get on with it–fall in love already! All in all, I enjoyed reading about how Emma and Dexter’s lives intertwined and how life isn’t a fairy tale love story, but I closed the book with deeper emotions than I had anticipated or hoped for. If you’re looking for a deep insight into the complexities of life and love, this is a good book for you. If you’re looking for just a light love story, this may be a challenge to get through, albeit a worthwhile one.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I truly enjoyed stepping into Le Cirque des Reves. It was a magical book full of mystery, illusion, love, and fantasy. While each chapter began from a different perspective, it was a lot of fun to see how each person linked together in some fashion. The chapters were mixed in with excerpts of articles written about the circus, adding yet another layer to the reader’s enjoyment. I loved the circus as the setting of the novel, almost acting as a character itself. Without the circus, the book (and the characters) would cease to exist and flourish. I found myself rooting for Celia and Marco to make it together despite the odds against them. As someone who does not usually appreciate fantasy (except for Harry Potter and similar books), I happily allowed the magic to take hold and sweep me away. I would recommend this book to both men and women alike, ages 14+.