Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Story Reviews

I previously mentioned that I am not much a nonfiction reader. I feel bad about it. I can only blame myself  my dad. I grew up with a mother who devoured non fiction. My dad on the other hand is all about true stories. This includes movies. I am the same way. So I categorized my 10 book reviews into two parts. I was going to do fiction and non fiction, but it was too uneven. That is why I am calling this category "stories" because even if they fall under non fiction they are in story form. As I promised  yesterday, I will also rate how family friendly (or conservative-christian-mom friendly) they are. Don't hold it against me if you think that I am off on some of the details here. I am just going from my memory and it's been a while since I read most of these. 

Alright, here are my personal opinions on 5 of the stories I read in 2014. 




1. The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green  

There was such a buzz about this book. I couldn't avoid hearing about  it, so two years after it was published I actually snuck in reading it cover to cover just before the movie was released.I actually liked this book. The young adult side of it was hard for me to relate to personally and made me roll my eyes here and there. Call me heartless, but I did not cry, and what's crazy is that I am a cryer. I even enjoy crying sometimes. I might be vague here to avoid spoilers, but I thought the ending was brilliant except for one part, which was actually modified in the movie. So as far as that one little part I liked the screenplay better, other than that I liked the book better. 

I would rate it PG-13 just like the movie. It is typical high school stuff. There are some theological views that are touched on. It also has a few sexual things in it and some language. 

2. Divergent 
by Veronica Roth

Here goes. Despite what it may look like from this list so far, I am not usually into YA books. However, since I did enjoy the Hunger Games trilogy and what I already mentioned about Fault in Our Stars I thought I would jump on the divergent band wagon. For those that have read it you'll know what I mean when I say I must not be dauntless because I couldn't stick the landing with this book and ended up falling off the wagon. I finished the first one and I intended to continue on to the rest, but honestly, I probably never will. 

Mom Rating: PG-13. Again just like the movie. It was a clean book, but I wouldn't listen to the audio version in front of my young children for what it's worth. 

3. Glitter and Glue 
by Kelly Corrigan 

This book is the memoir of a women telling how her adventurous exertions to Australia get hijacked when she had to get a job as a nanny for a young family that lost their mother. It's kind of like sitting down with this woman and hearing her story. It's not that complicated, but I liked it. It's the kind of story that mother's are going to relate to in at least one way or another. If you are familiar with Surprised by Motherhood, it is a very similar theme. A women disenchanted with the idea of motherhood, suddenly finds herself "reconsidering her relationship with her mother, turning it over in her hands like a shell, straining to hear whatever messages might be trapped in its spiral." 

Mom Rating: PG-13 I know you think you see a pattern here, but I may surprise you at the end! This book is very clean, but it is written from a secular perspective and there is some language and innuendos. I feel like such a prude for even saying that, but I know some of you are like me and would like to know up front. 

4. Unbroken 
by Laura Hillanbrand

You have probably heard of this book or movie by now. It's the true story of an Olympic runner who became an airman in World War II which led to crashing at sea only to be rescued by the enemy. I'm not saying it is a book everyone would love, but I'm already fascinated with the World War II era. This is me at the Historic Union Terminal in Cincinnati for 1940's weekend. I know, I am such a nerd! 



 So add that to my love for true stories this is book quickly won my attention and raced its way to the top of my personal charts as my current FAVORITE book. And I don't just have a bunch of favorites, so it's a big deal for me to say I love, love, love this book! It's written by the same author as Seabiscuit and it's just incredible how she paints the picture using TONS of historical and military facts accompanied with a 3rd person narration, and yet the whole time it reads like a novel not a text book. It's incredible I tell you. 

 I saw the movie too. I go to the movies maybe once a year, but I loved the book so much I knew I had to see it. As someone who read the book I felt like the movie was a great supplement to the reading material. I like the book better, but I feel like the casting and the accuracy of the movie was great! Although, I've heard complaints that it was slow, or that they never felt like they really felt a connection with the main character. I can understand that. It's slow because it was a really long time to be in captivity! There is a lack of dialogue because that's the nature of what he went through. I don't really see anyway around this. In other words if you are looking to have your entertainment bone tickled this may not be the movie to see. However, if you want to see a factual depiction of the heroic Louie Zamperini then yes, check it out. 

Mom Rating- R. Unlike the movie which is PG-13, I give this book an R rating. Only for violence though. The man the book is about was a devout christian. It is truly a redemptive and inspiring story, but it is intense. There were times I felt like I couldn't take anymore of the gruesome depictions, but then the story would move on. I recently came across this young adult adaptation. This seems like it would be a nice alternative if you have older children that are interested in reading the story, but you aren't sure about all the graphic details of torture in POW camps. 

5. The Time Traveler's Wife 

I know, I know, I am over a decade late to the party on this best seller, but I polled instagram to see what I should read and that one came up, so I thought I would see what all the hype had been about. 


This book is a romance, but it's also Sci-fi. It's written from two perspectives and many different years. It bounces around all over the place. The male lead (Henry) was thirty-six when he meets the other main character Clare as a six year old girl, but when they get married Clare is twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. This is all explained because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder which means he randomly without warning travels through time. Every chapter starts off with what year it is and how old the characters are because you don't know if it's going to be Henry from the past, or future, or present time. I found the story to be unique, intriguing, and engaging. I can see why it captured so much attention. The first half, or first three fourths, were definitely better than the last if you ask me. I felt like it could have ended MUCH sooner. After reading it I checked out the movie because I was curious how it would be interpreted and portrayed. In my opinion it was lame. I couldn't even finish it. So there you have it, I enjoyed the book more than the movie.


Mom Rating- XXX. Maybe that's extreme, but there is no way they could show the book in it's entirety in a movie form because it would have to be unrated. Most of the book was fine, or I would not have finished it. This isn't 50 Shades of Grey or anything, but the erotic scenes that it did have (and they were a very passionate couple, ahem) where super graphic. It's probably nothing to a lot of people, but I have pretty high standards and so for me it was just unnecessary and some of it really grossed me out. Let's just say it involves his future self time traveling to his past self when he was a bored. Yuck. There was also plenty of foul language peppered throughout.




So if you were curious about any of these books, I hope my little blurbs helped. Tomorrow I'll do part two, exclusively non fiction.

5 comments:

debrajan1517 said...

If you loved Unbroken, read Boys in the Boat - here is my blog on it - I loved it as much.
http://100bookengagement.blogspot.com/2014/10/boys-in-boat.html

Barbara London said...

Love your picture with your review on "Unbroken"...I have not read the book or seen the movie; but it is the next book I will read after finishing book 6 and reading book 7 of the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. I like to read (period)...autobiographies; fiction; non-fiction; Christian; romance; historical...just reading! And most times I finish what I start; but have put down a few because of language that I refused to finish!! Thanks for sharing!

{amy} said...

Chris saw Unbroken, but the rest of us haven't seen it yet. I read The Time Travelers Wife years ago, and I remember not being so happy with it and not caring to see the movie (though I was slightly curious).

{amy} said...

I forgot to say that I totally know what you mean about Naomi's Elizabeth...so grown up!! And I thought it was cute that Cody's friends used Elly as the cute girl in the scavenger hunt. Glad you enjoyed that, too! :) I'll catch up with you after India!!!! :) :) :)

Jessica @ Barefoot by the Sea said...

Shamefully, I haven't read or seen any of the books on your list except Divergent which I thought was good enough but nothing spectacular. The picture of you is so retro and cool, I just love it! Like your parents, mine grew up devouring every book they could… I need to be better about that. I recently finished Unglued which I found helpful! Trying to start 2015 on a good note!