Since my last book report, I finished 7 books, 5 of which I read while on vacation in Bali, where the setting was usually some variation of this:
Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe / I actually listening to this as an audiobook from OverDrive, borrowed through my New Brunswick library account. This is the first time in years that I've listened to an audiobook and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially since it was read by Rob Lowe. It was wonderful to hear his story in his voice. It was so interesting to hear about his childhood and personal life and journey to being an actor, how he met other soon-to-be-famous actors, behind the scenes things from The Outsiders and The West Wing, and how he felt about the "Brat Pack."
Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand / This is a sequel to Winter Street, which I read last year and then re-read to make sure I was fully familiar with the characters. This series (I'm pretty sure there's a third coming next winter) is perfect to read around the holiday season. I found myself rooting for each of the characters and having sympathy for some I didn't think I would from the first novel. I feel like I know them.
Ape House by Sara Gruen / This is the third book I've read by Sara Gruen, after reading At the Water's Edge this fall and the super-popular Water for Elephants a few years ago. I practically slapped myself on the forehead thinking, Duh! Why didn't you check to see if she wrote more books the last few years? I highly recommend each of these three novels. They're each about completely different things, but all well-written and intriguing stories.
Serena by Ron Rash / I've had this one on my to-read list for quite awhile; I think I saw it recommended on a website or in a magazine a few years ago. The potential for a good story was there: Newlyweds in the North Carolina mountains, running a timber business in the 1920s, Serena not being the "typical" woman or wife of that time. I liked it, but didn't love it, although there was some suspense that kept me reading to the end.
The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand / Another one I liked but didn't love. I've read most of Hilderbrand's novels and this wasn't one of my faves. A good beach or summer read though.
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling / I was expecting a lot from this, probably because of who it's by. Obviously I knew it would be nothing like Harry Potter, but I thought it would be a story that I'd be super into. I wasn't. At least, not until almost the end of the novel. I probably shouldn't have kept reading when after 100 pages I still wasn't enjoying it, but in the end, it did make me think and made me cry, and when Tony reminded me that it's just a book, I told him, "But these kinds of things really happen! There are really towns and people like this!"
Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner / I've read all of this author's books and I think this is one of my favourites! It's a love story through the years and I sped through it! It didn't just focus on the characters as a couple though, but told their stories separately also, which I found really fascinating. One child grows up upper-middle class with a heart condition and the other grows up poor, but wants to be a world-class athlete. I think Weiner did a good job showing us that people are human, and we all make mistakes, don't know what we want, or fumble trying to get what we want.
I'm sure my reading will slow down now that I'm back to work, but I'm really hoping to do more reading and less social media-ing. I read 42 books in 2015, which is pretty good, but 2016 is a new year and I have plenty of books on my shelves and my Kobo!
What have you read recently and would recommend to me?