Oh, I’ve got so many mini reviews for you guys today! I was going to do each of these in individual posts, but then got sidetracked with life, and I realized that if I didn’t put them all in one post, I may not ever get to posting them, and so here they all are!
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The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #6)
A delightful Agatha Christie mystery! I really enjoyed this Hercule Poirot mystery that involves a train, a jewel thief, and many suspicious characters. We have several characters with believable motives for murder, and the opportunity to commit the crime. I really enjoyed all of the red herrings in The Mystery of the Blue Train and the plot in general. I liked all of the characters, they kept my interest and I only figured out whodunit close to the reveal, so Christie kept me engaged in the mystery.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
I couldn’t get through Lilac Girls. There wasn’t anything specifically wrong with the book, but the subject matter was a bit too intense for me at the moment, and I wasn’t connecting with the characters. I also set the book down, didn’t pick it up for a few weeks, and felt zero desire to pick it up again, so I decided to put the book aside. I got about 120 pages in, and in those 120 pages were multiple rapes, and I just thought, nope, I don’t really want to read this. Lilac Girls has very high ratings on Amazon and Goodreads, and it certainly sounds like it would be a compelling and emotional read, but it failed to draw me in at the start. Maybe someday I’ll come back to this book, but not right now. It tells an important story, and I hope to one day pick it up again.
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
I enjoyed this, but didn’t love it. I didn’t connect with the characters of Mitza, or Einstein, so never felt an overwhelming urge to read The Other Einstein. I felt that Mitza made too many excuses for Einstein, so it was frustrating to read in parts. While the mystery of Mitza’s involvement with Einstein’s work was an interesting concept, I just didn’t connect with the characters or physics in general for this book to really move me. It’s definitely readable, and many will really love this book, I just didn’t connect to it.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
The first part of Man’s Search for Meaning is a memoir of Viktor Frankl’s time in a concentration camp during WWII. This was a very powerful section. The second section however, reads more like a textbook. While the second part was still very good, it was more of a clinical approach, so I felt a bit removed while reading and felt my eyes glazing over in the drier parts. But, all in all, this was a powerful book with a lot of wonderful quotes.
The People With No Camel by Roya Movafegh
A fascinating tale of one family’s escape from Tehran because of their faith. I was caught up in the first part of the book, which details the escape, and as this part is told through the eyes of a ten-year-old girl, there were some details that I wished had been included. While those details (like what exactly is the Baha’i faith) were missing, they would’ve felt out of place in the narrative of a ten-year-old. The second part, which starts at page 161 of a 199-page book, is more of folklore, and I found myself losing interest in this section. It was fine, it just felt like a separate book, and I never figured out how it tied to the main story. While this is a book that was interesting, and some parts were moving, I would’ve rated it higher if the story hadn’t gone the way of folklore at the end. It just felt too separate from the rest of the book.
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
I should’ve loved this more than I did. After all, what’s not to love about a book about a book club? Well, unfortunately, I never felt compelled to read The End of Your Life Book Club. It was interesting while I was reading, but I’d set the book down and then not think of it again until I sat down to read at the end of the day. The author seems to come from money (just an observation from scenes in the book), so he came across as pretentious and obnoxious occasionally, but in that way where he absolutely does not realize this, and so I would get annoyed while reading sometimes. The book actually turned out to be far more religious than I was expecting, and it also talks a lot about refugees as well. While I didn’t love The End of Your Life Book Club, I did add a lot of books mentioned (and there are a LOT of books mentioned!) to my TBR!
Ariel by Sylvia Plath
I don’t usually read poetry, but after reading The Bell Jar last year, I wanted to read some of Sylvia Plath’s poetry. And I really loved some of these poems! Some I didn’t understand at all, but others I loved right away. My favorite poem was “Lady Lazarus”. Many of the poems were dark, and I was able to pick out recurring themes within the poems, and I think it would be fun to study these poems in depth.
Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith
I had every intention of writing a full review of this book, this modernization of Jane Austen’s Emma, and while I do remember going into this read with very low expectations, this pleasantly surprised me! I enjoyed the humor in the book, and thought parts of it were cute. But, the character of Emma here felt much harsher to me than Austen’s Emma. She comes across as being exceedingly snobbish, vain, and unlikeable, whereas in Austen she just comes across (to me) as misguided. It’s not perfect (the romance between Emma and George is very bland here), but it does have some humor. I particularly enjoyed how the author portrayed Mr. Woodhouse and Miss Taylor.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Oh my word, this book is full of so much cuteness!! A lovely YA novel, which is about you guessed it, a girl named Dimple, meeting a boy named Rishi. This book put a smile on my face, and it’s an adorable read that doesn’t require much concentration. The book cuts back and forth between short sections from the point of view of both Dimple and Rishi, and this quick back and forth makes for a fast read. I usually don’t enjoy much romance, and even though this felt a bit overdramatic at the end, I did enjoy this one quite a bit.
And whew! Now I’m totally caught up on my non-ARC reviews. I’ve got some ARC reviews coming in January, and I hope to (knock on wood) now be back to writing full reviews for everything I read. It’s been a struggle these past few months, and I’ve missed being able to talk and write about books!
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?