April Mini Reviews

Monday, July 13, 2015

So I read a bunch of books during the Dewey Read-a-thon in April. Then I got through a good number of books when we were lounging on the beach for a week in May. Unfortunately lots of reading means I’m now way behind on reviews. So I’m going to give a few super short thoughts on a few of the books this week to finally catch up. If the review is short it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book! 

All The Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr

This novel, set during World War II in Europe, tells the parallel stories of Marie-Laure and Werner. She is a young blind girl who lives with her father in Paris. He is a German orphan with a skill for building and fixing radios. Both tales are rich in their own right, but they build towards each other throughout the book.

The writing was wonderful. I felt myself running my hands over the miniature city that Marie-Laure’s father builds for her. I flinched alongside Werner when the fellow boys in the Hitler youth program beat one of his friends senseless. All along the way we hear about a famous jewel that curses the life of its owner in horrible ways. All these details are significant.

BOTTOM LINE: A great read. This one didn’t make me fall in love with it in the same way that The Book Thief did, but it was a beautiful book

The Big Fight
My Life In and Out of the Ring
by Sugar Ray Leonard

This one isn't my normal kind of book, but I read it in order to prepare for my interview with the author. Leonard’s path to the ring makes for a great story. I hadn’t realized he was an Olympic gold-medalist and that he’d battled addiction throughout his career. It was interesting to learn more about the boxer's life, but it wasn't something that will stick with me.

Blood of Olympus
(Heroes of Olympus Book 5)
by Rick Riordian

This is the final chapter in the Heroes of Olympus books. It was a good way to wrap up the series. I felt like each of the characters got closure.

My main complaint about the series as a whole is that is always felt more driven by action and plot than by character development. Every time I got truly invested in a character’s storyline, a huge god or giant would pop up and there would be a battle. I wish we’d gotten to spend a little more time seeing those relationships unfold. I particularly loved the interaction between the demigods and their parents. I wish there had been more of that.

BOTTOM LINE: Glad I read it, but it’s not a series I think I’d return to.

The Tiger Rising
by Kate DiCamillo

This book hits some heavy issues from the first page. A young boy has lost his mother. His father is cold and distant. They move from their home state to live in a motel in Florida. He’s being bullied by his fellow sixth grade classmates. He meets a girl named Sistine who becomes his only friend. DiCamillo is a talented author and in this book she tackles the danger of ignoring your grief and sorrow. When we ignore our hurt or bury it, it never goes away.

BOTTOM LINE: I enjoyed this one, but if I was giving it to a younger audience I would make sure I followed the reading with a discussion of the issues.

“Ain’t nobody going to come and rescue you. You got to rescue yourself.”

“Rob realized why he liked Sistine so much. He liked her because when she saw something beautiful, the sound of her voice changed.”


Anonymous said...

The kids and I read the original Percy Jackson series together, but I've never felt compelled to go on to the Heroes of Olympus series. Maybe someday, though. I do really want to read All the Light We Cannot See.

Jeanne said...

I agree with you about All the Light We Cannot See. It was well written and interesting, but I didn't fall in love with it.

thecuecard said...

Yeah All the Light We Cannot See is quite visual. I agree with you too. Here are some of my thoughts on it at http://www.thecuecard.com/books/all-the-light-we-cannot-see/#comments

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Carrie - The second series contained a lot of the characters from the Percy series, which is fun, but I didn't love any of the books.

Jeanne - It's that undefinable quality, you can't put your finger on it, but you know when it's not there.

Thecuecard - Which is funny since it's a book about radio and a blind girl!