Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Goodreads Summary

An enchanting and staggeringly original debut novel about one day in the lives of three unforgettable characters

Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, rebellious nine-year-old who also happens to be an aspiring jazz singer. Still mourning the recent death of her mother, and caring for her grief-stricken father, she doesn’t realize that on the eve of Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia's legendary jazz club The Cat's Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat's Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.

As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s endless possibilities over the course of one magical night. A vivacious, charming and moving debut, 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas will capture your heart and have you laughing out loud.

My Thoughts

I’m not really sure how I feel about this book.  Mostly because the ending was so confusing! I mean, what happened?!?!  I’m still very unclear…

I don’t think I actually liked any of the characters that much.  It wasn’t my fault though, I promise, they just weren’t very likeable.  I felt bad for Madeline but I still didn’t like that she was pretty much a brat most of the time.  There were too many story lines going on.  There were way too many perspectives to try to keep up with.  And, to be honest, I really didn’t enjoy reading from the perspective of a dog… at all.

I guess I’m not all that confused about my feeling toward this novel after all.  It wasn’t one that I would recommend to anyone and I wouldn’t want to read it again.  Not my favorite at all.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Never Said by Carol Lynch Williams

Goodreads Summary

For as long as she can remember, Sarah’s family life has revolved around her twin sister, Annie—the pretty one, the social one, the girl who can do anything. The person everyone seems to wish Sarah—with her crippling shyness—could simply become.

When Annie suddenly chops off her hair, quits beauty pageants, and gains weight, the focus changes—Annie is still the star of the family, but for all the wrong reasons. Sarah knows something has happened, but she too is caught in her own spiral after her boyfriend breaks up with her and starts hanging out with one of Annie’s old friends.

Annie is intent on keeping her painful secret safe. But when she and Sarah start spending time together again for the first time in years, walls start to break on both sides … and words that had been left unsaid could change everything

My Thoughts

Never Said was not at all what I was expecting.  At all.  I'm still kind of trying to decide if I liked it or not.  It definitely kept me reading, I finished it in one day, but I'm not completely satisfied with the ending.

I sympathized with Sarah and her struggle with shyness.  Thankfully, I didn't suffer near as bad as she did but I did deal with some social anxiety/awkwardness when I was younger.  I still feel it at times but I'm able to push through it so I found myself rooting for her.

The situation with Annie threw me a bit.  The problem that she was dealing with wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be...well, it kind of was...but kind of wasn't.  It's so hard to explain without spoilers!

Never Said wasn't the best book ever but it wasn't the worst either.  I would probably recommend it but I don't know that I would give it more than 3 stars.  I may need to read it again to be sure how I feel about it.  All in all, it was a decent book and a pretty quick read.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from BookLookBloggers.com in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

Goodreads Summary

A heartfelt and wondrous debut about family, fear, and skateboarding, that Karen Russell calls "A bruiser of a tale... a death-defying coming-of-age story."

Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember.  And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who panics at the thought of opening the front door.  Their world is rich and fun-loving - full of art, science experiments, and music - and all confined to their small house.

But Will's thirst for adventure can't be contained.  Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids, he finally ventures outside.  At his new school he meets Jonah, an artsy loner who introduces Will to the high-flying freedoms of skateboarding.  Together, they search for a missing local boy, help a bedraggled vagabond, and evade a dangerous bootlegger.  The adventure is more than Will ever expected, pulling him far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood, and all the risks that everyday life offers.

In buoyant, kinetic prose, Michael Christie has written an emotionally resonant and keenly observed novel about mothers and sons, fears and uncertainties, and the lengths we'll go for those we love.

My Thoughts

There were things I liked about this book and things I didn't like as well.  I was very interested in reading this book when I read the summary but it didn't seem to hold my interest.  Reading felt more like a chore than fun pastime, which makes me sad, so it took me quite a while to read this one.

The beginning of the book was super slow, the middle got pretty good, but then the end seemed rushed and anticlimactic.  There were too many story lines mixed in and I just couldn't keep up!  And then it just ended...as if the author was told to wrap it up.

If I Fall, If I Die certainly wasn't the worst book I have ever read but it wasn't my kind of book at all. I probably will not be recommending this book to many people but I wouldn't mind trying another book by Michael Christie if he writes one.  His writing style was good, I just didn't enjoy this story.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.