OSR: March and April 2012

It's been a while since I've posted about my reading! I have several reviews to post, some of books I loved and some of books that weren't my favorite.

(This first book I read because I got $10 from work to do so--does that make me a book slut?)

Letters in the Jade Dragon Box: A Historical NovelLetters in the Jade Dragon Box: A Historical Novel by Gale Sears
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an enjoyable book that gave me more insight into Communist China and the trials the Chinese people endured. This book read more like a young-adult novel to me, especially since the main character is a fifteen-year-old girl. I also found the development of Wen-Shan's relationship with her great-uncle endearing. I appreciated the notes at the end of each chapter, because going into this book I didn't know much about Chinese culture or Mao's years of power. It was also interesting to learn more about the LDS influence in Hong Kong.

AustenlandAustenland by Shannon Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was just what I needed on a rainy day. As long as you know you're getting yourself into chick-lit, you'll have a fun, easy time reading this book. Austenland is a fast read with just the right balance between silly love and angsty love and Jane Austen-love. Looking for a light beach read? Look no further.

Falling to Heaven: The Surprising Path to HappinessFalling to Heaven: The Surprising Path to Happiness by James L. Ferrell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book didn't do it for me. Few of Ferrell's insights were groundbreaking for me, and I really struggled with his writing style. Many people enjoy his work, but I am not one of them.

A Tree Grows in BrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It took me longer to get through this book than I expected, but only because I wanted to savor the writing. This story and its writing is uniquely beautiful; the characters are full, complex, and developed, their lives containing a good measure of both triumph and tragedy.

Francie's coming-of-age is no doubt a challenging one. My heart both ached and celebrated with hers. I loved her love of books and education. I loved her love for her father. I loved watching her grow up and define herself.

There was no part of this book that I didn't love. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn has found a permanent place in my heart, and I will be sure to revisit over and over.

Heaven Is Here: An incredible story of hope, triumph, and everyday joyHeaven Is Here: An incredible story of hope, triumph, and everyday joy by Stephanie Nielson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

NieNie's blog isn't my favorite, because I don't really connect with her writing very well; however, I did enjoy her book more than I thought I would. (Perhaps her edited writing is better than her blog writing?) Her story is intense and emotional, and I appreciated her honesty about her emotional healing process. Her husband-gushing (especially in the beginning) was a little too much for me, though I will admit that it's refreshing to see healthy marriages in the face of hardship. This wasn't my favorite memoir, but one that I don't regret reading.

Doing What We Came to Do: Living a Life of LoveDoing What We Came to Do: Living a Life of Love by Ardeth G. Kapp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Examining the role that love--God's love, our love, others' love--plays in each of our lives, this book was a little on the fluffy side. This book is filled with sweet sentiments and some touching stories, good for a quick, noncommittal read.

View all my reviews

I'm currently reading my 16th book of 2012, and I'm planning on putting together a post of good summer reads. What have your favorite reads been so far this year? Do you like James Ferrell's books? What about church books in general? Have you ever been a book slut?


Jeanette said...

I just finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which was especially good for someone who has worked in research tissue procurement, like me, but I think is a good read regardless. I also read Stardust, which I wanted to like, but it just wasn't quite doing for me... sad.

A Mitton said...

I'm with you on Heaven Is Here. The writing was much better in her book than on her blog. (A testament to the need for editors, eh?)

Also, the term 'book slut' made me laugh out loud. 95% of the time I'm a total book snob. But yeah, there's been some slutty reading too. Austenland among it.

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