Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What I'm Reading {Five Favorites}

Since I took a winded break during the summer, I'd like to share with you all my top favorites from the books I devoured the past few months. And when I say devoured...clearly the understatement of the year. And when I say my top favorites...clearly a very hard decision, which left me second-guessing myself for a week as I prepared this post.

For my adult book, HANDS DOWN, I'm choosing Go Set a Watchman. Harper Lee's second novel.... I don't even know where to begin with my feelings for this one. Two and a half stars is what I wanted, desperately, to give this at first. OH MY GOODNESS. The last 20 pages were the book's saving grace. I was about to throw it in the front yard.

So much to say, this could be a post in itself, I don't know where to start. Viewing this book apart from To Kill a Mockingbird, I completely understand why the publisher asked Lee to write a beginning/background, per se, to Go Set a Watchman, which, in case you didn't know, was actually written prior to Mockingbird. WOW. I went through quite a roller coaster of emotions while reading this (I can see why Lee never wanted it to see the light of day). There was one point I was so upset I had decided to read it, afraid it would forever ruin my beloved Mockingbird. BUT, as I said, those last 20 pages.... I can understand it. I can understand what happened and why. Not saying anything more, as to not give anything away, I UNDERSTAND. My advice to those considering reading Watchman, keep going. Don't put it down. Finish it, and then sit back and think on it for a while. Think on the time period it's about, the time it should have been published.... Reading or re-reading Lee's first work is a must, I suggest, before reading this one. I might even go back and re-read To Kill a Mockingbird again for the second time this year. But then, I'll just think on this one a little more. And that's the best thing about this novel. You want to see someone get fired up? You want to see an intense debate? You want to see a room divided? Bring up this book! I love hearing and having discussions centered around Harper Lee and her second work.

One more thought: I think Go Set a Watchman might have had it's own success if it had been released on the heels of the acclaimed To Kill a Mockingbird. It could've started another civil war. It could've been the South's saving grace. Who knows.... WOW.

Candace Cameron Bure's (aka D.J. Tanner) book, Balancing It All, is my recommended title for my beloved Christian genre. As the title implies, it digs into God's Word in relation to our chaotic lives, how to balance it all in a godly way. I like how Bure mentions, and often, how when things get a little too hectic, unbalanced and overwhelming, we need to take a moment and reconnect with God. To make sure we are following His plans for our lives and not our own. She delivers this message in an encouraging and non-condescending way, which makes it a great book to pick up.

For my audio book, I have to say my favorite listening experience belongs to The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It was definitely a five-stars audio. I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. I'd been putting it off, but I don't know why. I have the movie at home and haven't watched it because I wanted to get through the book first. And, yes, there were tears...many, many tears. Yet, here's the best part: the whole time I was reading with my ears, I kept thinking my friend Jessica would enjoy it, and I should recommend it to her. Well, I had just finished it and was ready to give her my full suggestion and opinion the next time we phoned each other. Lo and behold, she had a book to recommend to me; it was The Time Traveler's Wife. We are two peas in a pod, I tell ya! And this isn't the first time something like this happened. Way back in college, during summer break, I called to tell her I just bought a new car. Before I could get it out she blurted out she had just purchased a new car. Like I said, two peas in a pod. It's why we're best friends, ya know? So anywhooo...the phone conversation turned into a small book discussion. And I just LOVE when that happens.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson is my pick for my recent young adult favorite. Actually, I just finished this one not too long ago and I spent most of the book reading through tear-filled eyes. Even though some of the story lines were a bit predictable, I couldn't wait to get to them to feel what the characters were feeling. The plot made sense, felt realistic, broke my heart, and had me smiling through the tears. It was beautifully done, and I really, really enjoyed it. In a nutshell, Taylor's summer plans are cancelled when her dad gets some devastating news, and her parents decide the family will spent one last summer at their old lake house. However, five years ago, the last time Taylor was there, Taylor didn't really leave things on good terms and is distraught about returning to face the consequences. As you can guess, it's all about second chances and desperately battling a ticking clock.

And of course, my guilty pleasure over the last few months has been the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. And when I say over the last few months...clearly I mean over the course of a few weeks, because that is how quickly I DEVOURED this series. It came as a complete surprise. To me. To my coworkers, who know me oh-so-well. (There were actually comments along the lines of "Brindi?! Wait. Brindi is reading that?") A little background on this and why I was so shocked I couldn't put it down: I don't read books like this or this paranormal romance genre, at least not usually (and any I have fall under the category of young adult, mainly). Secondly, it wasn't really my choice to read this. For one of my *many* reading challenges, I was to use the Good Reads recommendations tool and add a genre that I didn't normally read (i.e. paranormal). Then I had to select a book from that particular listopia. I didn't like any of the titles, or story lines, but this one was a little more appealing than the others. I began it, reluctantly. Within 24 hours, I DEVOURED it. I couldn't put it down. And before I knew it August was known as my Fever month (I made it to book five, plus the graphic novel, but I had to put them down or I was never going to read anything else. Oh, and book five is a great stopping point, in case you're wondering. Also, I had no idea how BIG this series was/is). WHO KNEW? It's crazy the good reads one can stumble upon when giving a book a chance. And while I would love to divulge more of the story line, this post is long enough. So if it's piqued your interest, check it out! With that, I'll leave you with two words: JERICHO BARRONS.

With Love and God Bless,

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