October 2014 Book List
Relativity by Cristin Bishara (3.5 stars)
After moving cross-country with her dad and in with a stepfamily she barely knows, Ruby is burdened by all the losses she can’t change. Her mom died in a car accident when she was young, and now she’s lost her best friend and secret love, George. When her scientific curiosity is piqued by a mysterious tree near her new house, she discovers it’s a portal to nine alternate universes. As she finds surprises in each one, she feels more and more driven toward the perfect universe – one where her mom is alive and she and George are together. But she might lose them all in the process. This was a refreshing story, and I liked how unapologetically smart Ruby is. Get it, girl.
God’s Creatures: A Biblical View of Animals by Susan Bulanda (4 stars)
I downloaded this book months ago when it was a Kindle daily deal, and now that I’m dealing with the sudden loss of my cat, I was interested enough to read it. This is a pleasant, well-researched summary of everything the Bible says and implies about animals. Bulanda has a lot of good insights that I hadn’t heard before, and a lot of reassurance about God’s care for and value of His creatures. I found it really comforting and will probably reference it again in the future.
Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline (4 stars)
I read this for the Red Couch Book Club (but, as usual, too late for the discussion). I knew it would change my perceptions about the fashion industry in ways I might not like. Cline examines our society’s growing addiction to fast fashion and ever-lower prices, and shows us how it’s affecting the whole world. She illustrates the decline of quality clothing over the past hundred years and goes into Chinese sweatshops and Dominican fair-trade factories. Overdressed is a more engaging read than I expected, but it’ll make you uncomfortable. I was already trying to be more mindful about my clothing purchases and this gave me a big push.
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols (3.5 stars)
At fourteen, Leah decided flying was her ticket out of the trailer park. Now eighteen, she has her first pilot’s license and is still working at the same small airport. The kind man who taught her to fly has died suddenly, leaving behind two grieving sons to keep his aviation business together. Grayson, the more rebellious of the two, has always intrigued Leah – but he threatens to fire her if she won’t date his brother Alec, no questions asked. This novel is a (slightly disturbing) love story, but it’s also an unflinching look at the realities of serious poverty, and how much ambition and luck you need to get out of it. I’m slowly reading all of Jennifer Echols’ books and continue to be impressed by her range.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (4 stars)
Two years ago, on her family’s private island, something terrible happened to Cady. Ever since, she’s been crippled by severe migraines and has lost most of her memories of that summer. When she finally returns to the island, her two favorite cousins, and her true love, she’s determined to piece the mystery together. That’s all anyone should know about this going in. I’ve heard so much hype about it that it couldn’t possibly have lived up to my expectations, but I was hooked and duly impressed.
The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer (2 stars)
It pains me to say so, but with each Moon book, I’m wishing I’d stopped at Life As We Knew It (which is still amazing). This fourth volume is the bleakest yet. Little brother Jon, now seventeen, lives in a safe enclave with his stepmother and half-brother, while the rest of the family lives as slave laborers in a neighboring town. The entire story is a Lord of the Flies-esque downward spiral of class warfare, inhumane treatment, and horrific deaths. I do think we need occasional reminders that we could all turn savage under the right conditions (so we won’t), but this was so awful that I almost gave up on it. There are glimmers of hope, but in their world, they wouldn’t be enough to keep me going. (Apparently Goodreads agrees.)
Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor (4 stars)
When she was ordained in the Episcopal Church, Barbara Brown Taylor envisioned a long, fulfilling life of ministry. With fatigue setting in after about ten years in an urban congregation, she takes a church in rural Georgia. But even in a peaceful town, her soul becomes increasingly troubled and exhausted. This is the story of how a woman in love with God and His Church ends up with more questions than answers, and has to deconstruct her faith to find it again. I recommend it to anyone in professional ministry or any believer feeling disillusioned. If nothing else, you’ll find reassurance that you are not alone.
Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Anna Whiston-Donaldson (4 stars)
I reviewed this here.
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (4.5 stars)
When we left Cassie at the end of The 5th Wave, her rebel alien boyfriend had blown up the aliens’ military compound, allowing her to escape with her brother, her high school crush, and their platoon of child soldiers. The bulk of The Infinite Sea centers on Ringer, one of the platoon who goes on a scouting mission from their new “base” and ends up in one impossible situation after another. This sequel didn’t grab me quite as much as the original, but it was compelling and ended with a twist I thought about for days. Well played, Yancey.
Books for October: 9
2014 year to date: 63
About Brenda W.Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
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