February 2016 Reading Recap

I did not read as much as I would have liked to this month, but I still read 4 books in February. I didn’t put very much time aside this month for reading (I actually finished two of the books this weekend so I would have something to write about!), so that’s something I want to work on in March. In total, I’ve read 12 books this year and I’m ahead of schedule to finish my goal of 52 books. Since I only have a few books to review, I went in to a little more detail for some of them. :)

All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – 3/5https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1451445646l/18143977.jpg
I had really mixed opinions on this book. It follows the story of a young blind French girl, and an orphaned German boy in the Hitler Youth during WWII. It portrays what war does to people, how it affects and totally upheaves their lives, and the consequences of actions taken. It is set primarily in France, and really does not offer a whole lot more than what you may find in other novels about WWII. However, the storyline is fairly unique.

A big trend I’ve noticed over recent years is to write the chapters out of chronological order. So the first chapter will be set in June, 1939 and the next in January 1942. In mystery, suspense, or similar genres, I understand this. You’re presenting evidence out of order to create tension and to try to piece things together. In a complex, 600 page novel about WWII, it just didn’t make sense. It was confusing and made everything feel very disjointed.

The novel felt very long to me. It took me nearly a month and a half to finish – which taking a long time to read a book is not necessarily always a bad thing, but in this case it just seemed to drag. I was finding myself waiting and waiting for something big to happen, for the French girl and German boy to finally meet like you know it will, and nothing ever seemed to happen.

All of that being said, Doerr’s writing is absolutely beautiful. He clearly thought out every sentence and meticulously placed each word. The juxtaposition of ideas was flawless, and it really shone through the plot of the novel. The two protagonists were likeable and I couldn’t help but root for them throughout, even if their actions were not always the best.

So overall, a pretty mixed bag. Beautiful writing and unique plot that was not very suspenseful and sometimes confusing because of the unchronological order of the chapters. If you like historical fiction or in general just appreciate good writing, I’d recommend it. But for the average reader, I’d say pick a different book.

https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1340478576l/13624688.jpgThe Time Keeper by Mitch Albom – 4/5
I was on the fence about reading this book because it had rather mediocre reviews, but I really enjoyed it! It’s a rather simplistic tale centered around the man that “founded” time. Because of his meddling with God’s gift to creation, he was cursed and confined to a dark cave for six thousand years, and now known as “Father Time.” The only way for him to be released is to help two humans during the modern era.

The book was very simplistic; it reads almost like a fairy tale, with short sentences and clear prose. I found the storyline fairly unique. The novel alternates between Father Time and the two characters he is going to help, which keeps the story moving and helps hold your interest.

One of the main critiques I read about this book is that the characters are very archetypal – one a young, suicidal girl who gets dumped by her crush, and the other an old rich man who wants to be immortal. However, I found this suited the story. I had the mindset while I was reading that this was a fable – so I wasn’t looking for deep insights or vastly unique characteristics. The characters suited the plot and provided lessons that should be learned. I wasn’t deeply moved, but it was an enjoyable book. I’d recommend for an easy read, and the book’s pretty short so that’s a nice plus, too.

The Golem’s Eye (Bartimaeus Trilogy #2) by Jonathan Stroud – 3/5
This book introduced a new character to the trilogy named Kitty, who is part of the small band of Resistance members trying to overthrow the Magicians. Normally this type of plot would intrigue me, but I found Kitty and the rest of the resistance members totally unlikeable. They robbed shops and committed other petty crimes in the name of stopping the magicians, but their crimes were simply that: crimes. Nathaniel, the other protagonist, continued to grow more snooty and arrogant throughout the book. I understand that this is intentional by the author, but it made all of the characters in the novel simply put annoying, except for Bartimaeus. As always, his wit and sarcasm saves the day! I look forward to the third and final book, but this one was a bit of a disappointment.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – 3/5Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1)
This book was almost exhausting to read. I expected a light, funny read about what the title suggested: unimaginably rich Asians. What a got was a book packed full of gossip, tons of characters, and endless experiences, many of which left me practically fuming. The book follows Nicholas Young, the only son of the rich Young family, as he brings his girlfriend home to Singapore with him to meet his family for the summer. Rachel is not rich, nor does she come from an elitist family, and the family thinks she is dating Nick just for his money which results in a disastrous summer vacation.

I did find many parts of the book funny, and it was interesting to read how these people who have more money than small countries live their extravagant lives; but all of the gossip, the torture they put Rachel through, the crimes they are willing to commit to become more wealthy and save face, it was hard and tiring to read. And the ending really didn’t give any closure to all of the problems that built up through the story. It’s extravagant, outrageous, and mildly funny. I’m glad I read it, but I’m also glad I’m done reading it.

Happy leap day!

19 thoughts on “February 2016 Reading Recap”

  1. If the book is too drawn out like I had with the Byzantium book, then I give up on it. I’m glad you liked one book in that pile. :3

  2. I always hate when I take so long to read a book. I’ve been kind of lazy with reading lately. Always hate that.

  3. oh wow. i’ve never read anything by any of the writers on this post, but the time keeper got me curious. i always see that (along with crazy rich asians) in bookstores, but never bothered picking it up. also because i spend way more time in second hand book stores!

    but anyway, thank you for sharing your reviews. :) glad you’re having progress on your reading goals this year!

  4. That is so great that you are on track with your reading list. It’s really cool that you can read so many books! :D

    The book The Time Keeper is one I had not heard about and I want to read it when I get a chance. :D

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. You have some interesting book choices there. I probably couldn’t read any of those but then again I’m super picky with books and the genre for some reason. I’m currently reading Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. It really interesting so far but my lack of free time gets in the way of reading more of it. DX

  6. I still can’t get over the fact you have time to read and study and do homework! I’m finding it a bit difficult to pick up fiction books due to the hectic schedule I have this semester. I have to read two chapters of C# and ASP.NET and that takes up a LOT of time. Also, my English class takes up a lot of time as well. This Friday (tomorrow), we will be starting our first essay on the television show “The Big Bang Theory.” I’m actually excited about that.

    I’m currently trying to read Stephen King’s The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Rag Doll, Elizabeth Wyke’s book “Call It Fate” (which she gifted to me for free), and some others. I’m slowly getting back into fiction, but it’s so hard with my schedule as stated above. However, I will try to read more than just fiddling around on Social Media during my breaks.

  7. The Time Keeper sounds really cool. I’ll have to see if my library has a copy because I’d definitely like to read it!

    I read 9 books in February: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong; Death Note 2 by Tsugomi Ohba, The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong; Death Note 1 by Tsugomi Ohba; You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day, The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong; The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong; Across A Star-Swept Sky by Diana Peterfreund; For The Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund,
    and I’ve read 17/90 books this year, 2 books ahead of schedule :)

    1. Woot! You rocked February! How did you like You’re Never Weird on the Internet? I’ve heard some mixed reviews but I think I’d like to read it!

  8. I’m intrigued by both The Time Keeper and The Golem’s Eye.

    I’m very embarassed to admit I haven’t read anything this month. My health has been appalling and I’ve not had the attention or concentration to read more than a couple pages. I’ve been off work for like 6 weeks too, and I do most of my reading while commuting.

    Hopefully March will be better for me, reading-wise!

  9. Yay books! I have a few lined up – I’m about the start the sequel to Pat Barker’s Regeneration (an amazing book) which is called The Eye in The Door, and then there’s a final book in the trilogy to read. I just read Fatherland, which I adored. Check it out if you can!

    When I worked in Waterstones (British equivalent of Barnes and Noble) All The Light We Cannot See was very, very popular. It’s a shame it’s hard to follow. :( I was thinking of reading it, but it sounds like it will just drive me up the wall. I agree that time shifts are hard to follow and it doesn’t seem like they’re necessary unless it is a mystery.

  10. 4 Books in February is pretty good! Hope you can keep up the 1337ness throughout the year! It’s interesting to see how people lived throughout certain periods of time. I can imagine the hardship that people had to endure- but glad that they’re making the best out of what they have.

    The range of characters from The Time Keeper reminds me of The Wizard of Oz. I’ve heard a lot about of Crazy Rich Asians lately. Speaking of which, a lot of them go to my school X’D. The story has a dark truth attached, there are some families in certain countries (I suppose all over the world, not just Asia) doing some shady things for money. I need to give this a try!

  11. The Time Keeper sounds really good. It’d definitely be something I’d pick up. I tend not to read many book reviews before I read something, so I’m rarely put off enough to not read something. If someone recommends something I’d probably just agree and read it. Though I have ended up reading a lot of boring books because of that, unfortunately, but there’s been good ones too.

    I’ve just read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, and Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. I couldn’t put either of them down, they were so good. I love young adult fiction, even though I’m probably out of the intended age group now. I just can’t get enough!

    I’m doing so badly at my reading challenge. I think I read two books in February, which I’m not too pleased with. However, I’ve read two books in the last four days, so I think I might be redeeming myself. I hope I’ll have a lot more free time in March, now we’re done with all the moving stuff. Hopefully!

  12. I’ve heard of the Time Keeper! Thanks for your recap of it, I’m going to go and pick it up or borrow it from the library at least. Wow, that “Crazy Rich Asians” one, the title is catchy and initially I had the same thoughts like you… but after hearing that, I will steer clear from it!

  13. I set a really ambitious goal of reading 50 books last year. Suffice to say, I failed that. I’ve set a more realistic goal this year of 20 books and it’s going well so far. I LOVE reading, it’s just finding the time and energy to sit down and immerse myself into one. I usually read on the way to work, but it’s way too early in the morning then I definitely can’t concentrate. It’s a catch-22.

    Thank you for these reviews; I’m always looking for books to add to my never ending list. I recently visited a charity shop and ended up buying 3 books, like I’m not reading 2 at the same time already. Lol.

  14. Ugh Stop making me feel lazy. I am way, way behind you and, honestly, I will be happy if I end up finishing 12 books by the end of next year, heh.

  15. Wow! So many books! I have just completed 4 books this year in my 52 books challenge of Goodreads! and here you are with such an awesome haul and with 12 books already down!
    you take books for review too?

    1. I usually can get a good head start in January because I time off from school. However, I haven’t been doing as reading as much so if I don’t pick it up I’m going to fall behind!

      What do you mean? Like do I take suggestions? As long as I can get it from my library I am not opposed to them. :) No one has asked before, haha!

  16. I find it funny that you thought Crazy Rich Asians was tiring and exhausting to read. I feel like it definitely must have captured the reality of Asian families – heaps and heaps of aunts and uncles, endless cousins, and way too much gossip for anyone’s head. Traditional Asians love gossip – I’m probably just generalising here but I think you should have a good laugh now that you are done with the book, and be glad you probably don’t have a family like that. ? I find my own family tiring sometimes.

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