Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What We're Reading #5

This month has been another productive reading month! I guess when you have good titles you just breeze through the pages.
What We're Reading #5
Non Fiction Reads
Seabiscuit by Laura Hildenbrand

Goodread Synopsis:
Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes:

Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to the western United States and became an overnight millionaire. When he needed a trainer for his new racehorses, he hired Tom Smith, a mysterious mustang breaker from the Colorado plains. Smith urged Howard to buy Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price, then hired as his jockey Red Pollard, a failed boxer who was blind in one eye, half-crippled, and prone to quoting passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Over four years, these unlikely partners survived a phenomenal run of bad fortune, conspiracy, and severe injury to transform Seabiscuit from a neurotic, pathologically indolent also-ran into an American sports icon. 

Author Laura Hillenbrand brilliantly re-creates a universal underdog story, one that proves life is a horse race.

Thoughts:
I'm not a big non fiction reader, I tend to get bored of the "dryness" that is a real account of a real event but Laura Hillenbrand sure made this an exciting read. Im also not an equestrian of any kind so I was relieved of Hillenbrand's layman's terms and explanations of the technical aspects of horse racing. And because I always read the book first Im now looking forward to seeing the movie (fun fact- a co-worker of mine was an extra on the set!)

Characters:
There were four major players and one was Seabiscuit himself. The human's were his owner, his trainer and his jockey. Each had a fascinating story and when they all came together, pure gold.

Stars:
5 out of 5. Yeah. Another great one.
Buy the book here/ movie here
What We're Reading #5
Fiction Reads
The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

Goodreads Synopsis:
A dazzling debut novel—at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story—about what happens when a fourteen-year old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.

Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.
 


Thoughts:
I'm an 80's baby so I loved the time period and all the references to the "good old days" ;) This is a coming of age story in the vein of a John Hughes brat pack movie (yes I compared a book to an unrelated movie but they're both set in the same era and it feels right.) And ironically, my little brother is a computer programmer, ha! This was also my first Book of the Month selection and it made me like the service even more. If you're interested in trying BOTM use my referral code and get in on the fun. 

Characters: 
Billy is the narrator and I really liked his awkwardness. I was totally an outsider in high school so it was easy to relate to him. His two best friends had just as many quirks so it was an entertaining trio. My heart just breaks for Mary, Billy's crush and fellow game programmer, and her dad. But for being a broken family, they are awesome.

Stars:
4 out of 5. Hoping John keeps on writing more 80's fiction for my enjoyment. Did I mention I finished this in a day?!
Buy here 

A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton

Goodreads Synopsis:
One unremarkable June morning, Alice Goodwin is, as usual, trying to keep in check both her temper and her tendency to blame herself for her family's shortcomings. When the Goodwin's took over the last dairy farm in the small Midwestern town of Prairie Center, they envisioned their home a self-made paradise. But these days, as Alice is all too aware, her elder daughter Emma is prone to inexplicable fits of rage, her husband Howard distrusts her maternal competence, and Prairie Center's tight-knit suburban community shows no signs of warming to "those hippies who think they can run a farm." 

A loner by nature, Alice is torn between a yearning for solitude coupled with a deep need to be at the center of a perfect family. On this particular day, Emma has started the morning with a violent tantrum, her little sister Claire is eating pennies, and it is Alice's turn to watch her neighbor's two small girls as well as her own. She absentmindedly steals a minute alone that quickly becomes ten: time enough for a devastating accident to occur. Her neighbor's daughter Lizzy drowns in the farm's pond, and Alice - whose own volatility and unmasked directness keep her on the outskirts of acceptance - becomes the perfect scapegoat. At the same time, a seemingly trivial incident from Alice's past resurfaces and takes on gigantic proportions, leading the Goodwins far from Lizzy's death into a maze of guilt and doubt culminating in a harrowing court trial and the family's shattering downfall.


Thoughts: This book came highly recommended from Desiree so I was anxious to begin. Let me say it starts off with $h!t getting real and never lets up. It is so beautifully detailed it is almost poetic. Jane Hamilton is my kind of writer. I'm only halfway through because it is super deep and emotionally charged that I have to take mini breaks between sessions. 

Characters:
This book centers on the Goodwin family; Howard a dairy farmer, Alice a part time school nurse, parents  to daughters Ella and Claire. One summer of their life is our time frame and all they experience within those few, harrowing months. It's both heartbreaking and surreal but all too real.

Stars:
I'm not sure yet but because of Hamilton's writing style alone I'm hovering at 4 out of 5 stars.
Buy here
What We're Reading #5
Now it's your turn! Add your book-related link below. Thanks for joining StephanieKeriWhitneyJustineCrystalJohannahHeather and me for What We're Reading Wednesday on the first Wednesday of every month! This will be my last month hosting this link up but I will continue with the book reviews! 


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What We're Reading #5

6 comments:

  1. I'm not really into nonfiction either. I love history, but I don't know. Nonfiction doesn't always capture my attention as well as fiction does.

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  2. I chose the Impossible Fortress from Book of the Month last month, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I look forward to reading it!

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    Replies
    1. Its a quick read so once you get to it you'll fly through it! I hope you like it :)

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  3. I LOVE Hildenbrand's writing, so I had no doubts that was a good one. I have yet to read it myself, but need to!
    I adored A Map of the World, and truly want to pick it up and read it again.

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  4. Holy moly girlfriend! You read a lot! I literally read... 0 books... last month, this month, and probably the last 40 months before that. Insert monkey covering eyes face here. I'm a terrible reader and much prefer reading blogs :)

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  5. I always love getting new book ideas! I haven't read any of these, nor have I seen Seabiscuit so that one is definitely going on my list. I'm only like a decade behind the times ;)

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