Book Reviews: January 2018

I mentioned this on Instagram already - I’m changing up my book blogs slightly for the foreseeable future. Instead of an individual post for each book, I’m going to do a monthly roundup. I’ve already been doing this a little the past couple months (grouping book club reads and celebrity memoirs, for example) because all the reviews take up a lot of time. I have some other things I’m trying to focus on right now and I don’t want reading to become a chore. I’ll still be saying something about each book, just with shorter reviews and less frequent posts! If anything this will help me be consistent with posting, since there’s just one a month.

In January 2018 I read only two books, mainly because I basically hibernate in winter and I did a loooooot more Nexflix/HBO-ing than normal. (The Office. Harry Potter. That’s all.)

No spoilers below!

 

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology is a collection of stories inspired by traditional Norse myths. Gaiman sticks close to the source material in a novel-ish format, culminating with an epic prediction of the world’s end.

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I know exactly zero things about Norse mythology, and close to zero things about every other kind of mythology. I enjoyed this, though. The myths were told in a classic style with sentences like, "Tyr found one-handed, but he fought bravely, and he slew his share of giants that day." So even if Gaiman took some creative liberties it still felt like I was reading mythology. This made me look forward to reading more of his work.

My favorite story was The Children of Loki - I really liked the Fenris Wolf stories - and Loki ended up being my favorite character. Tyr was a close second. I pictured Thor and Loki in my head as Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston...not sure if that's because I've watched the Marvel movies too many times or if those actors are just right for their roles.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

I have never done this on a review, but I need to add a trigger warning. TW - This book contains graphic and shocking violence against women, rape, and torture scenes. If you don’t like reading violence, this is not for you.

In Pretty Girls, sisters Claire and Lydia have been estranged for decades, ever since their sister disappeared. When Claire’s husband is shockingly murdered, the two reconnect and realize they might uncover the truth about both crimes.

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I thought this book was going to be a sort of Gone Girl or Girl on the Train type thriller, but with a different vibe since the main characters were sisters. I was not at all prepared for the graphic, violent scenes. There were so many descriptions of the violence I just started to skim those parts a bit as they were making me queasy and were just plain horrific. Honestly, if I had known it had such content I wouldn't have picked it up. I can handle the occasional murder mystery just fine, but this went beyond that. And the official book summary would never lead you to suspect it!!

Slaughter did a great job of pacing this novel; the book was long but it never felt redundant. There wasn't just one dramatic scene at the end but four or five parts when I was really anxious to find out what happened next. (Mostly because I wanted to see the bad/evil/heinous guy get what he so deserved.) Between the two sisters, I thought Lydia was more relatable - and her family was cute - but I liked their relationship dynamic overall. 

My husband was glad (and I was too) when I finished reading this because he could tell it was bumming me out. Still, I’m rating it higher because Slaughter is a great, suspenseful storyteller.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars