Quick Book Reviews for 2015

Here's some quick thoughts about the books I tackled this year. Here's hoping for another (mostly) good year of reading!

Beneath The Surface - John Hargrove
Hargrove was one of the former trainers featured on Blackfish and was the only one working at SeaWorld at the time of Dawn Brancheau's death. He managed to add a lot of perspective about some of the dangers at SeaWorld and wasn't nearly as repetitive as he could've been. A

The Princess and the Queen - George R. R. Martin
The Targaryens are so batshit. Seriously, all of them except Egg and Bloodraven. Okay, they probably were too but but they're my favorites. I thought this was a bit long, but I enjoy the world GRRM has made, so I didn't mind reading about the crazy Targs in all their glory. C

Captain America: Civil War - Mark Millar 
I figured I'd brush up on the comic so I could be reminded of how much they're going to change in the movie. Maria Hill was almost too bitchy in this, right? B

Life Sentences - Laura Lippman
Lippman is becoming one of my favorite authors. All of her books follow a similiar formula, but she knows how to write a crime novel, so I'm find with it. Although this didn't have the most satisfying ending, I didn't see the conclusion coming from a mile away, and that's always nice. B+

The Martian - Andy Weir
I devoured this book. I'm not the biggest sci fi reader, though my husband is constantly recommending books for me to read, I took him up on this one and I'm glad I did. I was very thoughtful and nearly gave me a heart attack at one point. A+

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
This is supposed to be a classic, but I find it severely overrated now that I actually got through it. It's a chunky marathon of a book that offers a good heroine, but not exactly an engaging story to match her. Smith gets almost too descriptive (yes, that can happen) and its 500+ pages might as well have been 1000. It felt that long. Francie deserved a better book than this. F

What The Dead Know - Laura Lippman
Another Lippman, and she actually reused some of the minor characters from Life Sentences, which was kind of cool. This was another one that didn't have a shocking ending, I figured out part of it very early one, but I have no complaints. B

To The Power of Three - Laura Lippman
This might be my least favorite of hers that I've read, but "Least favorite Lippman" is still high above some of the other books I've read. She uses the same minor characters from previous novels again, but this was the first time I actually felt like some of the points of view she used could've been completely cut out and it wouldn't have altered the story. Peter was worthless. Kat's dad getting back with his ex wife was pointless. Less time could've been devoted to Eve. At least the book offered more depth than it's summary suggested, because just reading that makes it sound awful. B-

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
I never read this book when I was in high school like I should've, so I decided while waiting for other books to give this a read, it's only a little over 200 pages. I would've loved this as a teen. I appreciate it as an adult. One thing that realy stood out to me was how poorly written it was at the start, like a 15 year old would actually write, then as Charlie got to be a better writer, it showed in his letters. That was a nice touch. A-

I'd Know You Anywhere - Laura Lippman
I know. Original, right? This was the first book of hers where she didn't alter between multiple characters until about 22 chapters in. Then it only stayed between 4. This also wasn't set in Baltimore, and I found how much I missed her writing about it. It's very different than her other books, but the characters in this one were very infuriating. It picks up pace towards the end, but it was hard to "love" this one. C

Room- Emma Donghue
It's an interesting perspective as it is told from the POV of a five year old, but at the same time that narrative makes it a bit awkward to read. I thought as the book went on, the adults started to sound exactly like the five year old did, and it's not that he got better with his speech, they got worse. It's definitely a slow burn, but a good one. B

The Luckiest Girl Alive - Jessica Knoll
The cover of this book will tell you it's like reading Gillian Flynn, only it isn't. It's like reading someone who wishes they could be Gillian Flynn. My biggest gripe on this book is a completely unlikable lead character in TifAni. At 28, she's about to marry a rich guy that will set her for life. She's entitled, spoiled, rude, and catty. Then it flashes back to her time in high school where she's...entitled, spoiled, rude and catty. The fact that she's suffered through two very serious acts of violence doesn't rub off on her at all. She has the same voice at 14 as she does at 28. It's a little sad when the best chapter in the book is the one with all the violence. And the more I think about it, this reminds me a lot of To The Power of Three, only not nearly as good. D

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
This book was one I had been waiting months to read (long waitlist at the library) and it was absolutely worth the wait. It's a proper mystery that handles alcoholism very well. Rachel, the lead, is very likable even when she's a complete mess. The ending does hit one fairly big cliche that I don't care for, but it was so engaging I can't fault it. A

Devoted - Jennifer Mathieu
Anyone who reads my blog knows I have a morbid fascination with religious fundamentalism and this piece of fiction was based off of the Quiverfull movement, (You know, the ones those damn Duggars are part of) It's strange to see all the things I've seen snarked about online written in this format. It was so good, and I really hope the author writes a sequel. A

Brooklyn - Colm Toibin
I went into this book expecting it to be entirely a love triangle and it was so much more than than. Eilis is a character that I felt I could relate to so much. It's such a quick read, only about 267 pages, but I enjoyed every word of her journey. A

The Price of Salt - Patricia Highsmith
I picked up this book since a movie I was looking forward too, Carol was being released. I can appreciate the fact that this was written in the 50's when gay relationships were very taboo and I think the author is brave for doing so, but the book was such a bore. The edition I was reading was terrible too. It was printed and spaced to where it was like reading a movie script and there were tons of spelling and punctuation errors. That may have contributed to me not liking it, but I wanted to so badly. D


  1. Nice list of books! I definitely have to read Girl on The Train before the movie comes out. The Martian is on my to-read list too since the movie was a big favorite of mine last year. The Price of Salt was a bore to me too. :)

    1. I felt bad about not liking The Price of Dalt because it's such a staple got LGBT novels written back then. It wasn't even a proper slow burn. Nothing happened.

  2. Glad to know you liked The Girl on the Train, it's such a great mystery novel. I didn't find Rachel likeable, but I liked how much I didn't like her, if that makes sense. As a character I loved her - like you said, it handles alcoholism very well, and her development is visual and realistic - however I didn't feel any sympathy for her, personally. But I liked that.

    1. Rachel is a good example of an unlikable character working. Ani in Luckiest Girl Alive is the polar opposite. I hated her and didn't even enjoy it lol.

  3. Great post! I see you've been reading a lot of Laura Lippman this year, too. :-) I *loved* Room. I haven't seen the movie yet, but the book is one of the most powerful novels I ever read.

    1. I hope you see the film, I actually liked it better than the novel, though both are good.

  4. I'm glad you liked The Martian, it's one of my favorite books I've read last year. I didn't bother finishing with Luckiest Girl Alive, all the character did was whine and boast about how better she is than everybody and clamoring to want to forget her past. I have yet to read Room and Brooklyn, I've been hearing good things about them.

    1. That's pretty much all she does in the entire novel. Even after you learn what happens, it doesn't get better.

  5. Gurl...the only book I've read here is the one you gave a fricking D too...and I couldn't agree LESS!!!!!


    1. Which one? I gave out two D's. I'm prepared to fight you. lol

  6. I think I'd like The Martian, and I really do want to read The Price of Salt, despite your review. ;)

    1. lol Drew liked it. If you do read it, I hope you find a better edition. The one I read was awful.

  7. I would like to recommend reading The Girl on the Train: A Novel.
    I just finished reading it today, and my conclusion is that its a really interesting book to read.


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