Reading Wrap-Up #02

As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it
  • (★★): Barely finished it

Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I also try to watch as many adaptations as I can, just to compare, so I will comment on all the ones I’ve seen.

Here is what I read since my last reading wrap-up:

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

36680980Rating: ★★★

Genre: Fiction, mystery

GoodReads rating: 3.96 / 5 (115,700 ratings)

Medium used: E-reader (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 8/1 – 11/1

Summary: Jenna’s mom, an elephant researcher, has been missing for over ten years. Now with the help of a disgraced psychic and former detective, Jenna retraces her mom’s research notes and personal life to figure out where she is… with a Picoult twist.

Thoughts: I’m sorry to say but if I didn’t love conservation and animals, it would have been rated even lower. Picoult has set the bar high with some of her other books like The Storyteller and My Sister’s Keeper, I’ve come to expect a bit more. The twist was interesting, but kind of required you to go back and re-read the book to fully appreciate it and I can’t be bothered.

Finders Keepers and End of Watch by Stephen King

1501142062Rating: ★★★ and ★★★★

Genre: Fiction, mystery, crime, supernatural

GoodReads rating: 4.04 / 5 (86,100 ratings) and 4.09 / 5 (65,900)

Medium used: Audiobook and e-reader (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 9/1 – 12/1 and 12/1 – 20/1

Summary: These books are #2 and #3 in the Bill Hodges trilogy, following Mr. Mercedes. With that, I will try  to limit spoilers to who lives, who dies and basic plot points relative to the other books. Finders Keepers follows a race to valuable unpublished work by a beloved author of great personal and monetary value. Morris has stolen these works and hidden them, but is put in jail for a different crime. In the meantime, young Pete finds them and uses them to help his father who was hurt in a tragic terrorist attack that happened in the first book. Once Morris is out of jail, Bill Hodges and co. help protect Pete and the priceless literature from the blood-thirsty criminal. In End of Watch, the terrorist from the first book awakes from a coma to find they have special abilities such as bodily possession and mind control. They want to exact their revenge on Hodges and co. by causing a suicide epidemic. Hodges races against his terminal cancer to stop the terrorist from hurting the ones closest to him.

Thoughts: My main criticism of Finders Keepers is that it had little connection to the first book other than Pete’s father being hurt in an attack in the first book. Hell, Hodges and co. didn’t even come into the story until halfway through. The book would have been fine as a stand-alone, but it failed to connect the dots with the first and final book both with the plot and character development. It was also kind of been-there-done-that with the crazed novel fan (Stephen King thinks really highly of authors, doesn’t he?) possessed by a love of a series that drives him to crime and murder. End of Watch, however, was great. King at his strongest with crime and suspense (a la the first Bill Hodges book) and the supernatural (a la The Shining and more) with unforgettable characters. This was my first time doing audiobooks and I was not disappointed! It makes going to the gym and long drives a lot more bearable. I didn’t know the narrator (Will Patton) is an award-winning narrator!

Other adaptations: I’m not going to watch two long seasons immediately after reading the books, but I did watch a few YouTube videos on it, skimmed a few episodes, and read the synopses. I’m sure there are plenty of other changes, but here is what I could collect so far: the first season seems to follow the close book quite closely with a few additional characters and subplots as to be expected. The second season seems to skip the second book entirely (probably a good idea) and goes straight to our reborn villain. There are more additional subplots I would be really interested in, such as the issue of taking our villain to trail in a questionable mental state and how the doctor came to administer the drugs that game him his powers. Harry Potter fans will be happy to know that Hodges is played by Brendan Gleeson a.k.a. Professor Moody. Although I think keeping his Irish accent for this role was… an interesting choice.

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley

81KCLYk2ASLRating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, autobiography

GoodReads rating: 4.48 / 5 (18,900 ratings)

Medium used: Audiobook and e-reader (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: A young Indian boy gets separated from his family and gets adopted by an Australian couple. In his adulthood, he retraces his steps to find his family and hometown in India.

Date started/ finished: 20/1 – 22/1

Thoughts: This book was incredible. A short and easy read but at the same time very captivating.

Other adaptations: The film Lion was inspired by this book and it, too, is amazing. It follows the story almost exactly and even includes clips at the end of the movie with the “real” Saroo (start spoiler) meeting his family after 25 long years (end spoiler). Dev Patel is fantastic (and extremely handsome) and child Saroo is adorable and convincing. The movie doesn’t miss a beat and is even more emotional than the book, have your tissues handy.

Have you read any of these? Which did you enjoy most?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.


1 Comment

  1. hauntedhistoryjaunts
    February 19, 2019 / 3:16 am

    I read the first two and I have to agree on the Picoult book. The Stephen King books, I didn’t enjoy them at first
    King is my favorite author and this was different for him. But I admit that when I went back reread at the end of last year, I loved them!

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