Last Light over Carolina, by Mary Alice Monroe
Rating: 3 stars
I borrowed this one from my mom, and it was pretty good. A solid 3-star book - nothing great, but a very enjoyable and easy read. I loved all the boating and fishing stories since they reminded me of my dad and all of our fishing trips out on the boat. However, the book was based around a guy who gets lost at sea and is injured and alone on his boat, which makes me a little nervous for my dad but since he fishes for fun and not a career -although I'm sure he would if he could!- I don't think he'd head out to the ocean in terrible weather by himself just to earn a few bucks for the day. The entire book is about this one day he is lost at sea, and brings flashbacks of his life to him, his wife, their daughter, and her ex-husband. They all come to realize that despite what the past holds, love wins against everything else and they are all willing to risk a lot to save that love.
Rating: 3.5 stars
I really, really liked this book until the very end- it just didn't end the way I thought/hoped it would. It's told from the perspective of Susie, a 14 year old girl who is now in heaven after being raped and murdered by her neighbor. (So much for the lighter books, huh??) In times of tragedy, I feel like most families either come closer together or fall apart - and hers definitely fell apart after her death. The mystery of her death especially consumes certain characters for years afterward; meanwhile Susie is in her own heaven but is still deeply attached to everyone on earth. And even though she is not physically with her friends and family, she is very much present to each of them, and her memory and spirit brings friends and relationships together that may not have otherwise happened. It was a very emotional book and I felt drawn to several of the characters throughout the entire story, but I'm not so sure I'd want to see the movie.
Rating: 4.5 stars
I got this book at the library because I thought it would fall under the chick-lit category that Bo is slowly forcing me to wean from our bookshelves. And although it's definitely a girly book, it wasn't your typical, predictable book about a relationship coming together, falling apart, or leading to a relationship with someone else (which I feel like pretty much every chick-lit book is about). I really liked this book - it tells the stories of four women who are all very different but their stories come together as India wants a baby but is unable to conceive, Annie needs the money for her family and had no problems in her two previous pregnancies so she volunteers as a surrogate, using a donor egg from Jules who needs the money to attempt saving her dad's life by putting him in rehab. They all want to help other people with the means they have. Meanwhile, India's step-daughter Bettina thinks that India is not who she really says she is and only wants a baby for more money from Bettina's extremely wealthy father - and could potentially ruin everything for everyone. It touches on a lot of very personal issues (even more so than you would expect from reading the short description on the back of the book), some which are pretty controversial, and a few of their stories really hit home with me since I have a few friends going through similar situations. I wish I had bought this book because I could definitely read it again.
Rating: 1 star
I did not like this book at all. It was our March book club choice, and because I have abandonment issues I cannot move onto another book without finishing the current one first. It was a very short book, and each chapter was only 2-3 pages to discuss each conspiracy. It was just barely enough to pique my interest but not nearly enough detail for me. So many of them were inter-connected with each other that it became very repetitive to me. I wasn't really expecting much anyway since I bought the book for only $2. It's not usually a good sign when shipping costs more than the actual product. It was also a weird book to take with you around other people - for example on an airplane, or at the dentist where the hygienist really wanted to talk about the aliens and UFOs I was reading about at the time; meanwhile I thought they were ridiculous and especially glad those chapters were just a few pages! (Side note: does anyone else think it's really rude when you are reading a book [whether you like it or not] and people just keeping yammering on?? Hello, I'm reading. I do not want to talk to you, random stranger.)
Rating: 3 stars
This was yet another enjoyable, light read. It's a collection of essays about his childhood memories growing up in Raleigh, North Carolina. They ranged from hilarious to odd to sad to awkward. Overall, pretty entertaining! Throughout his stories, he dives into detail about his obsessive-compulsive disorder, realizing he is gay, dealing with an overprotective father and a mother who is dying of cancer, and finally ending up in a cheap nudist colony. I liked it a lot, I just prefer books with more of a plot and conclusive ending. I know a lot of people who really enjoyed it, but for me it was a good library choice. I have another book or two of his on my "to-read" list that I might get to in a couple years, at the rate my list is growing!