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Recently Read: Reviews

Recently Read: Reviews

I’m really happy with how much reading I’ve been doing this year (well, reading itself makes me happy). There’s too many books for me to dedicate a single post to each; at the rate I’m posting, I’ll have enough content for the next few years! But also, not every book I’ve read has been worthy of a whole post. So I thought I’d try something different and periodically do short reviews of books I’ve recently read.

How to Stop Time, by Matt Haig

How to Stop Time
I love the cover. I love clocks and the concept of time, and everything about this cover is calling to me. The design is absolutely perfect.

How to Stop Time is about a man named Tom, who has a condition that causes him to age extremely slowly (at about 15 years to one normal person’s year), making him currently in his 400s. He’s struggling to find meaning in his extremely long life, after all the history he’s witnessed. The book flips back and forth between today and all the centuries he’s lived.

I wanted so badly to love this book. The concept of living through history is so full of potential. Unfortunately, I feel like a lot of that potential was unmet.

The jumping back and forth between time periods was a bit aggravating. I would rather the author finish a memory and move on to the next, but I can understand that this is trying to mimic reality. How often do we have the luxury to stop what we’re doing and reminisce? We’re usually reminded of bits and pieces as we go about our daily lives. Also, perhaps the author was trying to illustrate how slowly time moves for Tom, but the plodding pace and lack of urgency is a bit too slow for the reader.

The ending wrapped up rather unexpectedly. Not in that it was a surprise twist (though you can argue that it was), but in that the book wasn’t going anywhere at all, so we had no idea where it was going to end up. It wasn’t a very convincing ending.

That said, I didn’t hate or even dislike the book, and I am definitely excited to see a movie adaptation with Benedict Cumberbatch!

My Lady’s Choosing, by Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris

My Lady's Choosing
I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy a historical romance here and there, and I absolutely LOVED the choose-your-own-adventures books as a kid! (When you’re a kid and don’t have much autonomy in life, every little thing counts.) So when I saw this, I absolutely had to read it.

My Lady’s Choosing positions you as a poor companion to a horrid old lady who mistreats you. You accompany your employer to a ball that can change your life. What fate will your choices bring you?

This book is definitely tongue-in-cheek, almost on the precipice of parody. If you come in expecting a serious romance novel, you might be disappointed, but if you accept it for all its exaggerations and grandiosity, it’s a lot of fun, and super funny!

I tried to go through every possible storyline, and I think I got close enough. The adventure takes you all over the UK, and even to Egypt. There are at least seven different love interests for you to pursue/end up with, across different classes, genders, and ethnicities.

I loved that there was so much adventure in it; you’re not a helpless woman waiting to be rescued. Some of the actions taken don’t make complete sense; the continuity and character motivations were sometimes a bit shaky. But other than that, I laughed (out loud) quite a bit for a romance novel.

The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn

I picked this up because I read somewhere that it was like Hitchcock’s Rear Window, and I LOVED Rear Window. There was so much suspense in a movie that was essentially without action (or at least, that’s how I remembered it – I should watch it again).

The Woman in the Window is Anna Fox, a recluse who spends her days watching old black-and-white movies and spying on her neighbors. One day, a new family moves into the neighborhood, and Anna witnesses something no one else believes. As she tries to prove it was real, someone else is working to shut her up.

Doesn’t that sound like a great story? I was so excited for it, and it fell very short of my expectations. Rear Window this is not. Anna’s journey is the selling point to this book; the rest of the characters are valuable only in how they helped her progress along her journey.

The ending wasn’t believable. It felt like it was dropped in deus ex machina to wrap up the book. Personally, I like thrillers that drop hints throughout the book, especially when those hints implicate more than one character, leaving you guessing til the very end. I don’t feel like there were any hints dropped in this book, but since it was told in the first person, I suppose we were only seeing what Anna was seeing.

Thoughts

These were three books I was very excited to read, and I’m sorry I can’t say I loved them all. I think, of the three, The Woman in the Window will fade first from memory; if I remember any part of it, it’ll be the bad parts I didn’t like. How to Stop Time had a lot of lessons scattered throughout the book, but I’m not sure how strongly those lessons will resonate with people. Even though it’s very apt for our times. And if you are a fan of historical romance, and like comedy, I would definitely recommend you check out My Lady’s Choosing.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

 

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