Reading Roundup: February 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This was the only book I read this month that was not a Whitney finalist, and I totally loved it. This has been my latest 'favorite' book that I tell everyone about and insist that they read. I loved the layered aspects of the story--some reviews I read hated the 'fan fiction' parts, but I love it when authors create a world within the story that ties into the rest of the story. I love reading the characters' writing and figuring out how that helps tell their story and how it fits in with what's going on in the book. Although Cath's freshman year is very different from how mine was, I still could relate to her experiences as an anxious, geeky girl trying to find her way in the world for the first time on her own (heck, I'm almost 36 and I still feel like an anxious, socially-awkward nerd). This is a great coming of age book and I think most people would like it.

Deep Cover by Traci Hunter Abramson

I've read several of Abramson's Saint Squad books over the last few years for the Whitneys and at first I thought this was part of this series. It's not, but revisits a lot of the themes that Abramson has dealt with in previous books. I thought that some of the pacing in the book was a little off and some parts felt rushed, but generally I liked it. I particularly liked the main character and how her questions about her job and her life decisions were handled. Now I just want to know how I can get a handsome, LDS, genuinely nice, smart FBI agent to move in next door to me...

Ruby's Secret by Heather Moore

I really like this author and I enjoyed the other book from this series that I read last year, but I didn't like this book as much as I would like to. Too much of the action was telling rather than showing and it too often felt like events were just happening in order to move the book forward instead of creating actual change in the characters. Despite the fact that so much of the book took place in the main character's head I still felt like I didn't really get to know her very well. I had to force myself to keep reading because I had a hard time really caring about the protagonist.

Road to Bountiful by Donald Smurthwaite

This was the closest thing to an inspirational book in this year's group of finalists and I worried as I started it that I would feel preached to or that the characters would just be stereotypes. It surprised me by being a rather fun (and quick) read that was quirky and lovingly written. I particularly liked the characterization of Loyal, the older man--he did have a lot of wisdom to share, but he also grew and changed along with Levi.

Love Letters of the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist

 Reading this book was an experience in falling into another reality for several hours; I didn't want it to end because I felt like I was getting to know the world, and two particular people, in new and intimate ways. There were so many beautiful passages that left me nodding with agreement at their insight into life--family relationships, marriage, and the tiny details that bind us together. This is the kind of writing I love--layered details that keep my brain working to make connections throughout the book, realistic characters that feel like friends, and a feeling like I am really living in someone else's life for a time.

Where the River Once Flowed by Jennie Hansen

This book was OK, but had the problem of doing too much telling and not enough showing. It seemed to just move through the plot and not really get into the characters' heads much, and I found some of the action to kind of confusing, especially since a lot of different things happened that were all passed through rather quickly.

Esther the Queen by H. B. Moore

 I have really enjoyed all of Moore's novels that are based on scripture stories. She manages to add complexity to characters that aren't described in much detail in the scriptures, but still keeps their actions understandable given what we know from the scriptures. I like that she doesn't shy away from some of the more difficult details or update things so much that the stories don't fit into a historical context anymore. I enjoyed reading about Esther and feel a greater appreciation for her story now after reading this book.

The Mounds Anomaly by Phyllis Gunderson

I'm not sure why this book is in the historical fiction category in the Whitneys; I kept waiting for some kind of flashback or events set in the past, but there aren't any. I really liked the main character and thought she was quirky and interesting, but felt like there wasn't a lot of clearly developed conflict in the book and it ended abruptly just when I thought the action was getting started. 

Hearth Fires by Dorothy Keddington

I had more fun that I expected when reading this book. I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical before starting it and I did poke fun at the 'rugged cowboy attorney' that is the love interest. However, if you are in the mood for a fun romance and ready to suspend disbelief for a few hours, this is a great book. I thought the romance seemed a bit rushed, the ending particularly, but it was still a lot of fun. 

Comments

Marie Martin said…
Reading your reading list is way better than Good Reads!
jenniferquist said…
Thanks for the kind mention.
Th. said…
.

I'm reading Quist's book now. It's very impressive.

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