Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Books, books, books!

It's time again to talk about my favorite subject: BOOKS! Which ones I've read, which ones I want to read, the one's I loved and the ones that weren't all that great. Currently I'm joining up with several bloggers who also love books and some fun little challenges/collaborations they have going on throughout the summer (#scsbc15, #collaboreads, and #thebookishsideoflife) (ALL THE BOOK HASHTAGS) that help me keep my reading goals in check. 

My main goal this month was to finish reading the Outlander book series, and I'm currently reading the seventh, An Echo in the Bone, which is set during the American Revolution and Scotland 1980's. You can read what I thought of the first four books here. Reading these books has been tough! I love the story, but with an average of 1000+ pages per book, it can get a little challenging. I've been trying to finish one book, then read a "light" book or two before I start the next one and that has really been helping to keep my mind from getting bogged down in all the words.

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For the month of July, the #collaboreads challenge was to read a book with someone's name in it, I chose Madame Picasso by Anne Girard. As I've said before, I'm a big fan of historical fiction, especially when it has some recognizable characters. This book was based on the love story between Eva Gouel and Pablo Picasso, a fictional story due to Gouel's preference for living a highly private life but it still follows real life events. 

Now for the R.E.A.D.S. review: 
RIVETING 
What part of the book could you not get enough of? 
I loved the romance of living in Paris in the early 1900's: the Moulin Rouge, going to Gertrude Stein's famous Salon, the poetry and artistry of the times - it made me wish I was living the Parisian/bohemian lifestyle. I love that Eva moved there with little more than a cent to her name and a dream to make something out of herself (without a husband, thank you) - such a wild notion for the times!
ELEMENTS
How did you relate to/care for the characters? What's your thought on the plot line and twists and turns? 
I really related to the main character, Eva, who also went by Marcelle Humbart, a name she chose that sounded more "Parisian" and sophisticated than Eva. She left home at 23, unmarried (gasp!), and without her parents blessing to start her life in Paris. She refused the offer of marriage from several men because she didn't love them - she was a true independent woman. The plot was pretty simple and followed a third person narrator style, which was nice, as many of the books I've read have been in the first-person, multi-narrator style. There were a few twists and turns that kept me on edge - Eva's friendship with Fernande, Picasso's long-term lover being the main one.
ASSOCIATE
What other books are like thisone? If none, did it remind you o a particular TV or movie with it's themes and characters? Does it serendipitous-ly line up with the things going on in your life or the news right now?
Of course, the only movie it reminds me of is one of my all time favorites, Moulin Rouge! (starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor) (if you haven't seen it, stop what you're doing and watch it now!) obviously because it focuses on the same bohemian lifestyle of many people living in Paris in the 1910-1920's.
DESIGN
What did you think of the cover? How did it relate to the contents of the novel? Admittedly, I was first drawn to the book because of the cover - I mean, how many books do you see with the silhouette of a naked woman's backside?
It definitely related to the themes/contents of the book - being that it was mainly surrounding Pablo Picasso and his lovers. 
STARS 
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It was a good read, but not the best, and of course I detested a few of the characters and their actions, but it's hard to be perfect. I would definitely recommend this book!

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Books I've also recently read: 

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: 3 out of 5 stars - not great but not awful. Of course, I'm spoiled by the Disney version of events, but the writing style in itself just wasn't for me. Peter was also kind of a brat.

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica: 2 out of 5 stars - I barely made it through this book. I really wanted to stop reading it, but I forced myself to finish because (1) it was only one of two books I had for vacation and needed to bide my time and (2) because I'm a weirdo and I hate not finishing books. Even the bad ones. The characters were annoying, the dialogue was even worse, and the big "gotcha" at the end was hardly even worth it.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn: 4.5 out of 5 stars - great, just like the other two books by Flynn that I've read (Gone Girl and Sharp objects). Out of the three, I think I liked this one the best - I thought I had the whole mystery figured out but of course there was something in the end I wasn't expecting! 

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This also marks the end of the Semi-Charmed Summer Reading Challenge, and even though I didn't get ALL the categories - I did better than last year! I completed nine out of twelve categories (145/200 points) and I read 5953 pages, which doesn't include three of the Outlander books that wouldn't fit a category. All in all, I've read over 7,000 pages since May 1st - I'd say that's quite an accomplishment.

My goal was to read 30 books by the end of the year and I'm somewhere around 17 - over half way finished! What are your reading goals for this year?

12 comments:

Rachel Gault said...

I wasn't too impressed with The Good Girl either. You're doing great with your reading challenge. I need to step my reading game up!

Rachel Dawson said...

So glad you've joined us for #collaboreads! I haven't heard of this one but it sounds like something I would love so I'm definitely going to look for it soon!

Leah Van Ert said...

I've never heard of this one! It sounds so good! I love how thorough you are in your review. Bravo!

Amber Thomas said...

Ok so I'm a big fan of historical fiction, add the art history in and I just about want to die. This is definitely going on my To Read list... Especially because I'm a bizarrely devoted fan of Picasso.

(Also, confession: I have never seen Moulin Rouge.)

Mia @ The Chronicles of Chaos said...

I LOVE Moulin Rouge! Such a great movie. I haven't heard of this book before, but if it reminds you of MR, then I'm sold. :) I really think 1900s Paris would be a fascinating time period to travel back to, if I had a trusty magical time machine. :) Thanks for sharing this book!

Dana @ Slow and Steady(ish) said...

I love the R.E.A.D.S. review system! Very cool :)

Lindsay Hess said...

I am obsessed with Outlander (I'm only on book 4 though), and I loved Dark Places. We are kindred book spirits.

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

My #collaboreads book with a Name in the Title was also set in France - and focused on the artist theme - Lisette's List. Interactions between the artists and the paint seller with far reaching outcomes, I really enjoyed my read and the history and atmospheric French country life conveyed.
Rhys Bowen's City of Darkness and Light is another of the same theme that ties in with each of ours - part of my #BookishSideofLife July reading as well and #ParisinJuly
Glad to hear you're well underway to reaching your year's goals. I'm happy to be close to reaching mine as well as having enjoyed the journeys :)

Kels @ BlonderSide said...

You are so not alone when it comes to finishing horrible books. I do the same thing and then everyone gives me a hard time and tells me to put it down. I just can't though so thanks for the heads up on a book to avoid! lol

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