Connect Through Reading 2012 – 3 Book Reviews

Reading hasn’t happened as much as I had hoped this summer (in fact, my last Connect Through Reading post was in May! I’ve read three more since that post, and thought I’d take a moment to share my thoughts with you.

Up first is the legal thriller, Defending Jacob by William Landay. I’ll start off by telling you I’m giving this book 5 stars, which is something I didn’t think I’d do for a legal thriller. Defending Jacob is about a family struggling to hold things together when their teenage son is accused and charged with murder. The question at the core of this novel is… “How far would you go to protect your child?” It’s a heart wrenching, edge of your seat, can’t put down kind of book with twists and turns all along the way that keep you intrigued. I’ve never really been into the legal thriller genre, but Landay’s incredible way with the written word has made me an instant fan. He’s a really great storyteller. I can’t wait to see what other books he has that I can delve into. If there anything close to Defending Jacob, I know I won’t be disappointed!

The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March is one of those perfect, summer read kind of books. In the same tradition of books like The Friday Night Knitting Club, The Meryl Streep Movie Club is about friends and family bonding and delving into some of lives most difficult situations, all the while meeting weekly for Meryl Streep movie. This book started out slow for me but before I knew it I was pulled in, attached to the characters and anxious to find out how their lives ended up. If Goodreads had a half rating system, I’d give it 3 1/2 stars. I enjoyed the book and also have a desire to start a similar movie club of my own.

I own The Meryl Streep Movie Club and would be happy to pass it on via mail to anyone interested. First one to comment with interest gets it!

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld received 3 generous stars from me (closer to 2 1/2). I had really high hopes for this book as I’ve heard from several friends that they enjoyed it, but it didn’t do much for me. In general, Prep is about a high school student who goes to prep school on a financial aid scholarship. The story follows her through the years as she struggles to find her place and fit in. I had a very hard time liking the main character and never really felt pulled in enough to honestly care much about what happened with them. As I said before though, I know several people who have read this book and really enjoyed it… it just didn’t do a whole lot for me.

Up next on my To Be Read list:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

If you love to read, remember to connect with me on Goodreads so we can share book recommendations and reviews with each other!

What great books have you read this summer?

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  1. says

    Dang … I’m leaving the country tomorrow, otherwise I would love to have gotten my hands on the book (Meryl Streep) …

    I’ll add them to my reading list though! Thanks for the reviews!!

  2. says

    The Night Circus looks really interesting… it’s a different concept from what’s out in the book market. I’m always looking for new reads, so this is going on my list. Thanks for this great post!

    • says

      I’ve heard so many great things about it… can’t wait to delve into it!
      Are you reading anything great right now or have you read anything good lately?

      • says

        Besides the occasional James Patterson novels (more suited for tuning out on the beach), I’ve actually started reading a nonfiction book called ‘What Israel Means To Me’. It’s a great collection of short essays, poems, etc. answering the title question. A lot of it is very meaningful since I’m living in Israel until October and also gives a multitude of opinions. It’s great to read something that isn’t so biased or in the least one-sided. One fiction book that I recommend checking out (if you haven’t read it already) is ‘Five Quarters of the Orange’. It’s about the discovery of a French family’s secrets during WWII as seen through the daughter’s eyes after she returns to her hometown. I’ll be looking out for more recommendations from you!

  3. Christine says

    Thanks for the reviews. I’ll have to look those up on my Nook- the William Landy and Mia March books of course.

  4. says

    I would love to have the Meryl Streep Movie Club book. My kind of read and perfect for pool or lake side. Hope you are surviving this crazy heat.

  5. says

    I loved Defending Jacob. You rated it a bit higher than me (I gave it 4.5/5 stars), but it’s a great thriller. Now to read his backlist.

    I listened to the audio of The Night Circus, narrated by the wonderful Jim Dale. Great novel! The nonlinear narrative is a bit confusing, but stick with it.

    If you haven’t read Gone Girl, I strongly suggest you add it to your list. Fantastic read! And Wild by Cheryl Strayed is a great nonfiction memoir.

    Happy reading!

  6. says

    I’m so glad that Night Circus is next on your list!

    I read Defending Jacob as well and really enjoyed it. And, at your recommendation, I just joined Good Reads. I fear what it’s going to do to my reading list…which is already quite long.

  7. Pat Wogan says

    Pack up the book with any others you think I would like and send them to me. :) I am ready for some good reading to pass the hot summer days. While you are at it, you might put that sweet little girl (any one of the three) in the box and send her along, too! Love

    • says

      I just downloaded 4 new books, all highly recommended, on the Kindle! That should tide you over for a day or two 😉 The Night Circus, The History of Love, The Island and Saving Max. :)

  8. says

    Hi! I’m glad that I read this post.. I’m always looking for new recommendations and I happen to LOVE legal dramas so Defending Jacob is added to my Nook wish list!!
    I also have to say, I totally agree with your review of Prep. It wasn’t a horrible novel but I’m not sure I’d recommend it. It was slow and I never loved any of the characters enough to qualify it as a book I just couldn’t put down.

    • says

      If you love legal dramas, you’ll really love Defending Jacob. It’s so good!

      I couldn’t put Prep down.. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I just really hoped to get more from it since so many people liked it before me? I agree with your assessment!

  9. says

    I didn’t really care for Prep as much as I had hoped either.
    I can’t wait to try some of the other books you mentioned here though, mainly the Meryl Streep Movie Club. I want some light summer reading and that sounds perfect.

  10. says

    Thanks for posting! As I was reading your post, I put Defending Jacob on hold at the library. I’m about to start reading Mockingjay by Collins. I know – kind of cheesy, but I think it’ll be a good summer read. And I’m reading a non-fiction, The Knife Man. My parents read it and passed it along to me. It’s a fascinating look at the beginnings of scientific surgery. I love book recs! Thanks again!!

    • says

      I read The Hunger Games this past winter and although I really liked the first two and thought the last one was ok, I’m really glad I read them. They are fascinating!

      Thank you for the recommendation. I love non-fiction books! Off to check out The Knife Man!

  11. says

    I’m currently nearly finished two books by the same guy (what, I’m reading through my bookcase, of course they’ll be one after the other) because I was almost finished the first one and didn’t want to take an almost-finished book on my trip. The books are Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist. You might recognize Let the Right One In – it was made into a movie, first in its native Sweden (saw that one – really good) and then in an American remake, which I haven’t seen. They’re both about “scary” things – Let the Right One In about vampires and Handling the Undead about zombies – but in a totally different way, especially Handling the Undead. It isn’t your typical “braaaaiiinnnnsss” type of story at all.

    • says

      You always have the most interesting recommendations – love adding your books to my TBR list!
      Hope you had (are having?) a great vacation, Camille!

  12. Melissa says

    Hi! I need to throw The Innocent by David Baldacci out there! Best book I’ve read so far this summer-anything by him is usually great!

  13. says

    I felt the exact same way about Prep, even though all my friends liked it! Your review of defending Jacob sold me – even though i’m not a legal thriller type of gal, I definitely need an edge-of-my-seat book in my life right now. And I also have The Night Circus on my list…

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