Image Map

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Books I Read in May and Whether or Not You Should Read Them.

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

Plot: On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport.  Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding.  Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to get back East for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day.   When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection.   And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently.   And then the unthinkable happens.  The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness-- one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.  
As the days on the mountains become weeks, their survival become increasingly perilous.  How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever?
Both a tender and page-turning read, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us. via Goodreads

Favorite quote: 

“I think when two people really love each other...way down where the souls sleep and dreams happen, where pain can't live 'cause there's nothing for it to feed on...then a wedding is a bleeding together of those two souls. Like two rivers running together. All that water becoming the same water. Mine did that.” 

My thoughts: I'm a huge fan of Charles Martin's books, so it's no surprise that I thought this one was beautiful. What did surprise me was how much it caught me off guard--it went in a direction I didn't expect at all, and I loved it.

Should you read it? Absolutely yes.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Plot: Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

Favorite quote: 

“The future was one thing that could never be broken, because it had not yet had the chance to be anything.” 

My thoughts: I've talked before about how Sarah Dessen is my favorite, so whenever she has a new book, I buy it immediately. This one did not disappoint! She went in a darker direction that normal for her and explored what it's like to have a family member struggle with addiction and reckless living, and then have to live in their shadow. It was a beautiful portrayal of the realities of that.

Should you read it? Definitely!

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Plot: For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down. via Goodreads

Favorite quote: 

“Until then we're going to keep making memories like this, moments when we're the only two people in the whole world. And when we get scared or lonely or confused, we'll pull out these memories and wrap them around us and they'll make us feel safe. And strong.” 

My thoughts: This was the first Laurie Halse Anderson book I've read. I've heard people rave over her books, but I wasn't a huge fan. The writing was a little too obscure for a YA story-line, I think. It was beautiful, yes, but it took me awhile to get through it because I just couldn't get into it.

Should you read it? I know I will probably be shamed for this answer, but I wouldn't put it at the very top of your list.

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Plot: The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.

Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.

As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it’s a weeklong attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family. All of which would be hard enough without the bomb Jen dropped the day Judd’s father died: She’s pregnant.

This Is Where I Leave You is Jonathan Tropper's most accomplished work to date, a riotously funny, emotionally raw novel about love, marriage, divorce, family, and the ties that bind—whether we like it or not. via Goodreads

Favorite quote: 

“You never know when it will be the last time you'll see your father, or kiss your wife, or play with your little brother, but there's always a last time. If you could remember every last time, you'd never stop grieving.” 

My thoughts: This book was so inherently sad, and not in a sweet, sad story kind of way. It was a real, brutal story about life and death and family, and it left me feeling so sad. But I would also relate to the characters, and many times they reminded me of my own family. So I think that even though it's kind of a downer book (while also hilarious!), the author did the story justice by keeping things real and honest.

Should you read it? Yes. Maybe.

What have you been reading?


  1. I just watched the movie based on This Is Where I Leave You. It has Jason Bateman and Tina Fey. I really enjoyed it but it wasn't so much sad as it was funny. So it'd be interesting to read the book and see the differences.

  2. Ok, I'm completely with you on Saint Anything and This Is Where I Leave You. Dessen can do no wrong in my book, and This Is Where I Leave You left me sad.

    But I absolutely, 100% love The Impossibly Knife of Memory. It's my favorite Laurie Halse Anderson book. BUT I think part of what I loved about it is knowing how many students I have like Hayley - the ones who have horrible home lives but tried to hide it from everyone. I think this book has helped to open the eyes of some students who didn't ever think about what might be going in the homes of classmates.

  3. I watched the movie "This is Where I Leave You" and really enjoyed it. It was a lot deeper than I was expecting it to be, but it had its funny moments. It was sad, too, and I don't think it's one I'd watch again. I was wondering how the book matched up.

    I think I would really enjoy "The Mountain Between Us."

  4. Big Sarah dessen fan so that is on my list. You made me want to try the first one. As for this is where I leave you, I started it but I was too close to grief myself. I need to try it again

  5. I love Jonathan Tropper. He doesn't make things easy but he's real.

    I haven't read Sarah Dessen so she's on my list.

  6. As if my to-read wasn't heaving enough! Love the sound of the first two - they're being added and if I drown under the weight of it I know who to blame ;-)

  7. Thanks for sharing your book recommendations! I always love your taste. Keep being an avid reader and sharing your reviews!!!

  8. I felt the same about This Is Where I Leave You. I loved his writing and the story felt so believable but I was just down when it was over.

  9. I loved the movie for "This is Where I Leave You" - Bateman is at his best in that one.

    I look forward to these posts every time so I can add things to my list to read! So please, please keep doing them :)

  10. I always love your reviews! I read This is Where I Leave You a few years ago and didn't love it for some reason, but I can definitely relate to what you said about it being real.

  11. I have a huuuuge pile of books waiting to be read right now, and I think it just got bigger because now I want to read allnofnthese, too! Do you think This Is Where I Leave You is worth it, even though it's really sad?

  12. I have a huuuuge pile of books waiting to be read right now, and I think it just got bigger because now I want to read allnofnthese, too! Do you think This Is Where I Leave You is worth it, even though it's really sad?

  13. I'm excited to read Saint Anything. I mentioned before that I love and have read all of Dessen's books. I'm happy to hear she doesn't disappoint. Even better I'm curious about the darker direction as that's a new element to her normal plot lines.

  14. Its been awhile since I've read a Sarah Dessen novel, I'll have to check out Saint Anything!

  15. Hi,

    I saw the movie and read the book This Is Where I Leave You, I enjoyed both but I treasure the book. I did not find it that sad with the exception of the passage about what he says of his father not knowing when, etc. because I lost my AWESOME Father a long time ago and I still miss him. I loved the book more than the movie because it delved more into the dysfunctional relationship of families and the fact that all the disfunction can be if not resolved at least dealt and sustained with humor and a lot of LOVE. I am waiting anxiously his next book.
    I am an avid reader and of the books that I have read recently I would recommend:
    1. All The Light We Cannot See---MESMERIZING!!!!
    2. ANYTHING by Liane Moriarty, Tara French, Jodi Picoult & Carl Hoben
    3. In Spanish Anything by Carlos Ruíz Zafón, Isabel Allende, Mayra Montero and Almudena Grande, and Pequeñas Infamias by Carmen Posadas
    4. The Girl On The Train--waiting also for more books from her
    5. Although I don't like Stephen king on account of the genre I enjoyed immensely 11/22/63
    6. The Goldfinch
    7. The Miniaturist
    8. The Curios Incident Of The Dog In The Night -Time----MESMERIZING
    9. Eleanor & Park
    10. The 2 books by Allison Pataki

    I am currently reading Boy, Snow, Bird and I am enjoying it.
    From the ones that you suggest I think I will give a try to The Mountain Between Us.
    Thanks and take care!

    María Alba

  16. SARAH DESSEN. Wait, I love her and sort of blasphemously forgot about her and CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH I NEED TO READ HER STUFF IMMEDIATELY?

  17. I have Saint Anything sitting at home and need to read it soon! I... sort of feel the same way about Laurie Halse Anderson. I really appreciated Speak, but since reading that have read two others and... I didn't really care for either of them. One of them was about a pastor's family, so I thought that was what turned me away. I tend to hate stories that involve a pastor's family because, while in some cases I'm sure they are realistic, I find that they tend to lean in the direction of stereotypes and there are so many families of pastors (and daughters of pastors) that don't fit the stereotype, so that always bothers me. So that was my biggest issue with one of her books, but that took any enjoyment or appreciation out of it for me. The other book that I read just didn't grab my attention at all.

    I just checked out the first book that you mentioned from the library! It sounds so good, that quote is beautiful, and you really seemed to enjoy it!

  18. Um, I totally agree with your assessment of The Impossible Knife of Memory. It was just blah for me. Although, I have liked her other books that I've read much better!!


say whatcha need to say.