Hola, readers! Most of my reviews lately have been for TLC Book Tours (which means they are a bit longer), but I finally have another set of mini reviews here for you today. I hope you like reading them as much as I like writing them...sometimes it's nice to keep it short & concise!
Alice & Oliver by Charles Bock
Random House, 2016
received from publisher for an honest review
I read this book and now I am broken inside. /review
Okay, I'll add a little more, but really, this book is heart-wrenchingly amazing. I requested it via NetGalley and quickly realized that the online description of the novel does not do it justice. Quickie synopsis: Alice and Oliver are happily married with a baby daughter, Doe, when Alice is diagnosed with cancer. Alice & Oliver is not only the tale of their physical battle with the disease, but also a penetrating look at what happens when relationships are pushed to the brink. It takes much more than physical strength and fierce mental fortitude to survive such suffering, and Bock's novel illustrates this better than any other that I've read on the subject. I loved Alice. I didn't love Oliver, but did come to understand him a bit more by the end. Together, they have a connection that is uncommon, but is still illustrative of the myriad ways that couples muck their way through difficult, seemingly impossible problems.
There are parts of this book are funny, unique, and thought-provoking. There are also parts that are harrowing, sorrowful, and difficult to read. Read it anyway. You'll likely be seeing this on my best-of lists at the end of the year.
All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld
borrowed from the library
This is the latest pick for my MOMS Club book club. I'm interested to see how our discussion goes in a few weeks, because this novel left me feeling half in awe, and half totally scratching my head. Jake Whyte is the female protagonist, currently a sheep farmer on an island off the coast of the UK. However, she has a shady backstory that goes back several years and thousands of miles. As present-day Jake tries to find out what is killing the sheep on her farm, the chapters also alternate back to her past, slowly opening the story of what brought her to the sheep farm, and what demons may still be lying in wait.
I was half in awe because this book is BEAUTIFULLY written. It's a fairly quick read, but there is not one wasted word on these pages. And I love how the chapters alternate between Jake past and present--the structure was perfect, as the action peaked in both timelines right at the end. Jake is a fantastic character, terrifically complicated--watching her develop is amazing.
BUT (my one "but"): the ending. Like really, what WAS that ending? I am all for not tying up the loose ends and giving the reader something to chew on, but this was too much. I could have used a little less symbolism and a little more closure. Still--I'm happy I spent the time on this one, because it's a stellar read, the final pages notwithstanding.
The Walking Dead: Compendium Two by Robert Kirkman & co.
Image Comics, 2012
borrowed from the library
I've already discussed with you my recent love affair with The Walking Dead comics (here). The affair has only grown as I finished the second compendium of the series. It has been awesome to watch the major characters grow and change, and to see how well many of the comic scenes were translated to TV. (And on the flip side, how many of them never even made it to TV.) Gotta say that one of my favorite characters so far is Andrea--what a bad ass! And that's hilarious, given how much I despised her TV persona. I'd say the one downside is that I think Rick's character waxes philosophical on the same topics a bit too much--it gets repetitive after a while. But beyond that, I'm loving this view of the Walking Dead world.
(And, for those who follow the show--this compendium ends just after Rick's group starts interacting with Hilltop. Um, I NEED to get Compendium Three before Season 7 starts!!! EEEEEKKK.)
What are your current reads? Do you have any 2016 reads so far that you think will be on your end-of-year favorites list?