September 23, 2016

Adoption, Apparitions, Abuse, Amnesia & Anthropomorphism

Somewhere Out There by Amy Hatvany

Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Washington Square Press
Pages: 344 pages
Source & Format: Publisher; Paperback
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Brief Thoughts on Somewhere Out There
I had Amy Hatvany on my radar after Cassie kept raving about her, so I was thrilled when a copy of this book showed up on my door. What perfect timing! I was immediately intrigued by the first sentence of the summary: What happens when two sisters who were torn apart when their young mother abandoned them -- and grew up in tragically different circumstances -- reunite thirty-five years later to find her? Doesn't that sound traumatic? I immediately dove in and finished the book on the same day. I was so caught up in this story of two sisters, Natalie and Brooke, and the ways their lives are forever changed once they're separated. It was absolutely heartbreaking! I was angry at so many people in this book - at different times and for a variety of reasons. So, I can definitely say that I was emotionally invested in the story. I was glad that it focused on family and sibling relationships because that made it stand out from a lot of what I typically read. It was a heavy story, and I probably would have given it a higher rating if not for that ending. The abruptness felt unfinished to me, so I ended the book feeling frustrated instead of satisfied. It was probably the most realistic way to end it, but I still didn't like that part of it.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review. 



Release Date: May 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins; Harper
Pages: 400 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Kindle e-book
Series: Libby Lomax #1

Brief Thoughts on A Night in with Audrey Hepburn
I love the Golden Age of Hollywood in general, but Audrey Hepburn will forever and always be my favorite actress from that time period. When I spotted this cover while browsing Goodreads one day, I was intrigued. I noticed that it went on sale for Kindle one day, so I figured I should give it a shot! A Night in with Audrey Hepburn is the story of Libby Lomax, a down-on-her-luck wannabe actress. In the middle of watching Breakfast at Tiffany's for the millionth time, she notices Audrey Hepburn sitting beside her on the couch - offering wisdom on how to get her life in order. The premise obviously requires you to suspend your disbelief, but it sounded cute to me. I was hoping for a fun, frothy beach read, and it was that to an extent. But, unfortunately, it ended up lacking enough substance for me. The heroine was just a bit too immature, and the secondary characters all seemed very one-dimensional. The romance was annoying, but that's partly because Libby was blind to the fact that the right person for her wasn't the shallow but hot actor she just met. As for the addition of Audrey Hepburn, I wanted to love it but it just didn't work for me. I don't imagine her being anything like the way she's portrayed in this book. So, sadly, this one didn't work for me.


Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Atria Books
Pages: 373 pages
Source & Format: Publisher; Paperback

Brief Thoughts on It Ends With Us
I'd never read anything by Colleen Hoover before, but I'd been curious about her books for a while. When a copy of this arrived at my door, I figured it was meant to be. It Ends with Us tells the story of Lily Bloom. You get two see two aspects of Lily's life - the present day where she falls in love with a man named Ryle, and the past where she meets her first love, Atlas. In the present, she's opening a business, making new friends and working to overcome her difficult childhood. In the past, you'll see what made her home life so painful - and why everything went wrong with Atlas. Honestly, I had a bit of a rocky relationship with this book. I read the first 100 pages and set it down. The dialogue made me roll my eyes, the romance seemed a bit too "instant," and some of the plot made me cringe. But curiosity got the better of me, and I picked it back up. I wanted to know what happened next! I finished the book the same day - racing through the dramatic story inside. I'll give Hoover props for a gripping and emotional plot, but I still felt like the book was uneven overall. I couldn't get over how unrealistic many things seemed (Ryle as an expert neurosurgeon, for one) and how weird the dialogue was (do people really talk this way?). I admire what Hoover was trying to do with the subject matter and can see why readers get swept up in her stories, but I have more issues with it the longer I think about it.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review. 


Release Date: June 2011
Publisher: Penguin; Berkley
Pages: 496 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Paperback

Brief Thoughts on What Alice Forgot
I'd already read two of Moriarty's books, The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies, and liked both of them. I thought they were addicting reads, but neither one left a lasting impression on me. They were cleverly plotted and well crafted, but they were missing that special something that makes a book a favorite. So, I wasn't intending to read anything else by Moriarty. But I couldn't resist What Alice Forgot when I found it for $3 at the used bookstore. The premise intrigued me too much to pass it up:
Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice's surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to a hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over -- she's getting divorced, she has three kids and she's actually 39 years old. (from Goodreads)
I'm so glad the summary made me pause because this was my favorite Moriarty! Unlike the other two books I've read by her, I felt like I was able to develop more of a personal connection with this story. I liked that it primarily focused on Alice since Moriarty's books usually have a larger cast of characters. There are other perspectives in this book, but Alice was always at the heart. I think that helped me become more engaged, and the fact that the story was more relatable made me more emotionally invested. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next and couldn't stop thinking about it after I was done. It made me think about my own life and imagine how I'd feel in Alice's shoes, which is usually the sign of a good read. I'd recommend this book if you're looking for something enjoyable and thought provoking!


Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 320 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Kindle e-book

Brief Thoughts on Lily and the Octopus
I had no interest in this book until I noticed it was on sale for $1.99 for Kindle. What can I say? Sometimes I'm impulsive, especially when the price is right. This is the story of Ted and his dachshund Lily. One day, Ted notices an "octopus" on Lily's head, and it acts as the catalyst for everything that happens next. I don't want to describe the way the book is written because I feel like it will sound even weirder than it is, so I'd recommend reading at least a chapter to see for yourself. The story is more about Ted than Lily, and he did get a little tiring at times, but I found it quirky and moving overall. However, there was one point where I completely lost interest in the book. When they searched for and battled the octopus, I was scratching my head and trying to figure out how long that section was going to last. It was just too far fetched for me and, yes, I realize I'm saying that about a book where the dog can "talk" to its owner. That scene and the sheer number of times Ted refers to the octopus (it got so old after a while) were my two biggest issues with the story. My favorite moments were the ones where Rowley truly captured the unique bond between a human and their pet, like when the narrator muses:
To focus, I think of how dogs are witnesses. How they are present for our most private moments, how they are there when we think of ourselves as alone. They witness our quarrels, our tears, our struggles, our fears, and all of our secret behaviors that we have to hide from our fellow humans. They witness without judgment.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I'd be most likely to recommend it with reservations if you're an animal lover or are in the mood for something a little quirky that will tug at your heartstrings.

1 comment:

  1. I've got two Liane Moriarty books on my shelves that I really need to get around to reading! My sister actually read Big Little Lies and enjoyed it enough to buy The Husband's Secret, so between that and you liking What Alice Forgot (and the other two being fairly good for you), I'm definitely planning to give her a shot.

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