Summer Reading

I wish I had a scenic place to read like this but I mostly read on the T
I always enjoy getting some fun reading in now that school is out and I feel I have plowed through a few books that are on my reading list, which feels great and I have been enjoying getting to know new stories and new authors. 

I will keep my list of books I have read here and a quick snapshot of my thoughts here...

I thought I would really like Stella Bain, I mean it seemed up to be up my alley, being about a woman who was in WWI, but sadly I did not find it that inspiring. WWI I felt was a background to the story and it was more about Stella gaining her life back after being a nurse at war, which is powerful but I didn't really feel invested in Stella. 

Divergent was great. At 28 years old I enjoyed getting lost in the teenage angst Tris faced as she made decisions about life and feeling what it meant to fall in love for the first time. I felt like I could really relate to Tris and I have a fictional crush on four. The only criticism I have of the book is things happened so fast I felt I had to go back and re-read parts to understand what was happening. But this was probably the fastest 470ish read I have gotten through and now I wait for the other books to come in from the library (oh the problems with reading popular books).
Lunch in Paris, is a memoir of Elizabeth Bard an American who decides to move to Paris and the culture shock that comes along with it. I haven't read many memoirs so I didn't know what to expect but I got lost in the word and the adventures of Elizabeth. I found myself laughing along with her insights of American in Paris. Followed her with heartache as she made decisions that seemed counter culture to everything she knew. Loved it from beginning to end and now I want to go to Paris even more so. 

Dear Mr. Knightley, I picked it because of a possible Jane Austen connection... kept reading because it was a lovely encouraging story about Samantha Moore who is a foster kid always getting lost in the world of books. She finds more comfort in book than real life (sounds familiar). The book is written in letter format as she writes to her anonymous benefactor "Mr. Knightley" and through the letters she lets her heart open up. It is a christian book but it doesn't hit you over the head with it. I think I lost my heart a bit to Samantha.
I just finished Somewhere in France, going back to my love of WWI this really satisfied my love of that time period. It is a grand story of Lady Elizabeth "Lilly" Ashford who leaves behind her world of luxury and elegance to follow her dreams of seeing the world. It is also told from the perspective of Robert Fraser "Robbie", though he is a doctor he comes a family as poor as dirt. Though there is an initial attraction between Lilly and Robbie they are pulled apart because of their class distinction. Soon the war breaks out and they separate further but fates bring them together again. There is one sexual scene that I was uncomfortable with. But for the most part the story is captivating and I loved the strength Lilly carried even when she feels the world is falling apart.

After reading Somewhere in France, I re-read one of my favorites Redeeming Love. It is a re-telling of the book of Hosea. It takes place in 1850's during the California gold rush.  Sarah "Angel" is sold into prostitution as a young girl and though she more beautiful than any other girl she is also cold to the world around her (makes sense with her background). Then one day Michael Hosea walks into her life telling her they will get married, she laughs it off, thinking he just has empty promises. But he comes to her rescue and though she agrees to marry him her hear is hardly in it. She runs away and Michael always comes to rescue her. Even though she starts to love Michael something inside her stops her from truly letting Michael into her heart. It is a great book to remind me of how deep and all consuming love for us.

I don't want to give anything away for those who haven't read Divergent yet. There is lots of action that kept me on the edge of my seat with a mix of heartwarming parts and some heart aching parts. My only criticism is that there were lots of characters and sometimes hard to keep track of.

I finished the Divergent series and I read it so quickly that when I finished I didn't know what to do. They are good quick reads but sometimes I wished I had read them slower so I could hold on to the story of Tris and Four. I don't want to give anything away so I will repeat what says about the book. What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected? 

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and forgot to post about it here...sorry.  The book is mostly about Grace and her great-grandmother Maggie, who survived the Titanic, but it also has other perspectives some that helped the story and one I found unnecessary. Overall it was cool to have a multi-generational story work so well... I have always wanted to write a story like this. Here is the link to my initial reactions of this novel "Remember to Live" (please read that).

I am continuing my current love of YA books with reading Fangirl . I picked this book up because I have had many fangirl moments this year and thought this would be a good fit. The main character Cath, rather live in a fictional world of wizards and vampires than the real world and I completely understood that desire of living in fiction over reality. The book is full of teenage angst, college crushes, first loves and discovering who you are outside of books (some of these sentiments I feel very deeply). There were times I hugged the book close to me and hoped I could hug Cath (though knowing Cath she would stand there and question why I am touching her). I recommend this book but I will let you know there are some F-bombs dropped that at first threw me off but then felt natural for the story.

I bought Mary Barton after I had my root canal as a little treat to myself. I haven't bought many books in the past as I have tried to save money but it was on a really good sale. I also have read two books by Elizabeth Gaskell so I felt comfortable in purchase of this book. But I must say compared to the other heroines of Gaskell's (Margaret Hale from North and South and Molly Gibson from Wives and Daughters) I found Mary very vain and I didn't really like her. Also it is a 600+ page novel and I felt like I was about 200 pages into the book before the action took place. A lot of the book was build up of the difference between "the masters" (the men who own the mills) and their employees. Mary is a daughter of a man who is always fighting for the underdog but she wants to marry rich particularly Mr. Carson. But on the side there is Jem Wilson who loves her. Then when Mr. Carson is shot down and Jem is the only suspect, secrets are revealed that could damage her whole world. (This was the action of the story.) I didn't like Mary at first (and she is still not my favorite heroine) but I started comparing her to my favorite book Emma who was vain but then had a change of heart and made a 180 in her life. And while I like the transformation it just seemed too abrupt. So maybe not a Gaskell I read over and over again.

I then re-read The Princess by Lori Wick, it was my 3rd time re-reading it... I don't think I have re-read any book minus my Jane Austens. The story is kind of sappy and corny but with all that I am going through I needed to escape into a book that is like a comfort blanket. It takes place in the fictional country of Pendaran where it is a strong tradition (almost law) that the prince has to marry by the time he is 26. Nikolai is still a grieving widow so he can't imagine dating another woman so he agrees to an arranged marriage. Through a friend of the family his parents find Shelby. After Nikolai and Shelby marry they have to learn how to be a true couple. I think the first time I read it, it was just a cute love story. But this time I got a lot if the scripture and biblical lessons out of it (read post Taking Time to Reflect) and I bet when I am married it will probably mean something more.

I bought this book back in May (thanks to Amazon gift card for my birthday) and I just read it. I recommend this book if you loved The Lizzie Bennet Diaries series on YouTube. I think people who have like Pride and Prejudice would like it but having watched and loved the series... I found this book a good behind the scenes of what was happening. While the series was great at updating Pride and Prejudice for the YouTube generation I feel the book goes a step further giving insight into Jane and Bing's relationship, some interactions at Carters bar and the infamous meeting between Wickham and Darcy. Also I like how the book used lines that were straight out of Pride and Prejudice. 

Though I love summer lasting as long as possible, I feel that is the end of my summer reading list. I have moved into my new apartment, and soon school will start again. But don't you worry I will still be reading. As my friend commented, when he was helping me move in, my T ride is going to be long to which I responded I love to read on the T. And I feel as long as I have to commute I am going to take that time to enjoy some fun reading.

Since I finished this list on a P&P note... I thought this meme was entirely appropriate.

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