Our journey as gardeners started with one small potted plant, but things did not go as planned. Turns out, trying something new isn’t always easy, but sometimes, it’s the hardest work that leads to the greatest reward.
What I thought
I read this lovely little book before coming into work today, and it put me in such a good mood that I’m sitting here wondering whether I should read a picture book every day before work. I do like to read picture books from time to time. The best ones are kind of soothing for me, and plus, I hope to have kids one day.
Anyway, I first saw this book at Target (duh), and thought it looked sweet enough to add to my to-read list. And it totally was! Spring is here in PA–even though there’s not much green, the birds are chirping, and the days are getting longer. This was the perfect book to read on a spring morning. The story was adorable, and the illustrations were quite charming. I loved the lesson to stay hopeful & positive, despite setbacks, and I loved that this actually teaches children some of the basics of gardening.
All in all, this was a lovely, whimsical book that left me with a smile. If you need me, I’ll be here, daydreaming about the coming spring and building a garden.
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser Publisher/Year: Penguin, 2009 (orig. 1925) Format: E-book (Libby) Pages: 1363 Rating: ⭐⭐ Goodreads
The classic depiction of the harsh realities of American life, the dark side of the American Dream, and one man’s doomed pursuit of love and success…
What I thought
Okay. So. Here we go. Where to begin? This book was a struggle. Ultimately, I’m glad I read it–partly because it is a classic and partly because I’m feeling a little proud of myself for sticking with it. I even struggled with what to rate this. One star didn’t feel right because even though I can say that I did not enjoy my read of this, I can appreciate what Dreiser did here. So, two stars it is.
Like I said, I “get” what Dreiser was trying to do here. And it’s obviously compelling enough to keep me reading to the end of this brick of a novel. There’s much here to contemplate and discuss–hence, its status as a classic. However, for really the entirety of this book, I just felt like I was slogging through it. I have read for more reasons than just enjoyment, but there were just too many things as a reader that I struggled with here.
First and foremost, I don’t care what anyone says–this book was TOO LONG. I do not need to know which direction this lake lies from that lake and which members of the law posse went this direction and which went that. It was TOO MUCH. My eyes were drying out in my head, which was getting hit over and over with the point Dreiser was making.
Also, I just really did not mesh well with Dreiser’s writing style. It felt very uneven to me. It would go from short and sweet (if campy) dialogue to these long expositions with sentences that had 45 subordinating clauses. Maybe that’s to someone’s taste, but unfortunately not to mine. I prefer writing that flows. Flowery prose I can handle (Dickens is my fav), but those clauses were painful. (You know what else was painful? Sondra’s baby talk–GAG.)
Finally, I just have to say that I did not like a single character in this book. Well, okay, I take that back–I did feel for Roberta, but she was more wet noodle-y than I can stand. But Clyde–oh, Clyde, how I abhorred you. I can appreciate an unlikeable character. When done well, they can be a testament to humanity. Clyde was a whiny, selfish, self-indulgent jerk, with literally not one redeeming quality. In his final moments in this book, I felt more pity for his mom than for him. Clyde was just the worst. I know I’m supposed to feel the tragedy of what unavoidable fate deemed to happen with the rise and fall of a man, but I just don’t. Maybe I’m heartless (it’s probably that), or maybe this just isn’t my book.
So. I’m glad I finished. I’m glad I checked this out from the library. I’m glad I can now enter discussions about this book. But mostly, I’m glad I am finished.
Blink / Safe with Me by K. L. Slater Publisher/Year: Grand Central Publishing, 2019 Format: Mass paperback Pages: 723 Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ Goodreads
What if the person you love most in the world was in terrible danger…because of you?
Three years after her then five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared on her way home from school, desperate mother Toni refuses to believe her daughter is gone. As she begins to piece together her blurred memories from that tragic time, she comes to the devastating realization that Evie’s disappearance might not be random.
Trapped in a world that is constantly trying to silence her, Toni knows that the only way to save her daughter is to do the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard.
Blink is a compelling, gripping thriller with a breathtaking twist that will keep you awake until the early hours.
Includes the bonus novel Safe with Me: Thirteen years ago, someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even.
What I thought
My copy of Blink also includes Safe with Me, but as I’ve just finished with Blink, I wanted to jot down a few quick thoughts. For starters, I enjoyed this one! Even though I took forever to read it (haven’t been doing too much reading), this was a quick, suspenseful read that kept me guessing. It was enjoyable enough, but nothing spectacular. I have nothing against the use of unreliable or unlikeable narrators, I just really didn’t care for Toni and had a hard time getting past that. And for as high as tensions ran throughout the story, the ending was a little disappointing. But overall, I did enjoy my time spent reading this one and would recommend this to thriller fans. I’m looking forward to reading Safe with Me next!
Safe with Me
Looking back at my review of Blink, I have to admit, I’m actually a tad bit surprised–my thoughts about Safe with Me are almost identical. This was an enjoyable read that didn’t wow me, even though I did like it enough to keep reading. For me, the two weakest spots were the same: an intensely unlikeable narrator and an ending out of left field that felt somewhat rushed. I have absolutely nothing against characters–when done well, they are a testament to deeply flawed humanity. But for as much as I didn’t like Toni in Blink, I didn’t like Anna here either, and it made it difficult for me to want to pick this up and read it. One thing I have to give props to the author for, now having read two of her novels, is that she is extremely talented at building tension through her writing. Both of these books had me feeling so uncomfortable at times, which is just what you want from a good thriller. Overall, I did enjoy this one, even though it wasn’t a favorite, and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a psychological thriller!