Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

April 2015 books

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Second reading 30 April 2015. Not as good as I expected the second time around. The implausibilities were so much more...implausible. I'd probably give it four stars now, but as a first-time read, five stars still stands.

O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy, #1)O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Third or fourth reading, April 2015.

Still one of my favorites. There's no other book like this one (unless you count Cather's other books...but even then, this one is the best).

This time around, though, I found myself wanting to wring certain characters' necks more than I remember wanting to years ago. For example: Carl, and Marie. Carl has always kind of bugged me, the way he was always down on himself. Like, be a MAN, Carl, and go sweep Alexandra the heck off her weary feet, you know? But I also appreciate their nontraditional romance.

Now, Marie. I don't know what to do with her. The Marie/Emil subplot was always so dreamy to me as a teenager, and it still kind of is. But the realist in me now feels more of the sadness rather than the dramatic tragedy of it all. So sad.

The scene with Marie and Emil in the gypsy tent is still one of the most understated but romantic scenes in literature, though, am I right??

The Royal WeThe Royal We by Heather Cocks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars. I am a big fan of GFY's recaps of Downton Abbey and other period television, so it was great to sit down with them for a few hundred pages. I loved their imagining of a William-and-Kate-ish courtship story.

WaveWave by Sonali Deraniyagala

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

DNF - I read 60%.

Do I feel like a horrible person for giving a negative review to a book about a woman's struggle to come to terms with the deaths of her sons, husband, and parents in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami? Yes. Yes I do. So I'll start with the positive.

Deraniyagala's story really is fascinating. If you're interested in reading a first-person account from a tsunami victim, this is a compelling one. I could not put the book down during the first section.*

Her descriptions of her mourning process were very moving, and, in some ways, really resonated with me. Her feelings of guilt for not worrying about her kids in the moments after the wave hit (she was being tumbled around and almost drowned at the time), her wondering if she was ever really a mother if she has no kids to show for it, her wish to die - wow.

But otherwise, she mystified me. I could not understand how a person could grieve to the point that they would leave their family home in London untouched for four years. FOUR YEARS. I am so sorry to be so insensitive, but literally my first thought when I got to that part was, "who on earth has been paying the mortgage/rent on this place, especially since she also says she's been on leave from her job??" Similarly, she gets mad at her brother for finally renting out her parents' home in Colombo, which, by her request, had been left empty for a few years. Again, I get that people need to grieve in their own way, but my goodness that struck me as being so...entitled? I feel awful for saying so, but there are lots of moments like this. It was really uncomfortable to read and to feel so judge-y but also so sorry for the person.

Ugh, I feel awful writing a negative review. This was a hard, hard book to read, and I think 60% was plenty to get the message, especially since other reviews say the remaining 40% is just more of the same.

I think the greatest takeaway benefit of this book is that it was a labor of love for the author. It's her tribute to her departed loved ones, and for that, I appreciate it. I could feel her love and sadness on every page.

*I actually did put the book down during the first section, about a year ago when I first tried to read it. At that time, my kids were almost exactly the same ages as hers, and I'd recently had a baby so my emotions were close to the surface, and I could not handle the tragedy of this book.

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this one more than Cinder. Less sitting around agonizing, more action.

And I KNOW Thorne is a total cookie-cutter generic pirate archetype but it turns out I love that particular archetype, so. He made every scene he was in better.

Miriam read this one before me so now I get to have a talk with her about the kisses in this book. Yaaaaay.

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)Cress by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my favorite of the series so far. The books really got better and better with each installment.

Take Sterling to work day

May 1st, outsourced