Reading wrap-up #26

I know it’s been a minute since a good ole’ fashioned reading wrap-up, I’m working in Alaska and spend my downtime hanging out with co-workers rather than reading. But with COVID-19 and all the bars and restaurants in Dutch Harbor closing (all three of them), I have more downtime to myself, so expect more regular wrap-ups again!

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

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Liked it enough
  • (★★): Didn’t care for 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 no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. Finally, you can always check out my book review index page if you’re looking for my extremely important opinion on any book in particular.

Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman

Image result for aquamarine book coverRating: ★★

Genre: Young adult, fantasy

GoodReads rating:  3.45 / 5 (4,800 ratings)

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

Summary: When their last summer together is coming to an end, best friends Hailey and Claire make a discovery in their community pool that will bring them closer than ever: a real life mermaid.

Thoughts: Full disclosure: at first, this book was going to be a part of a challenge I made for myself to read the five lowest rated book on my TBR, but after struggling through this short book and not even finishing another, I decided to quit. Anyway… I liked this movie when I was younger, who doesn’t dream of being a mermaid? But this book really fell flat. We hardly got to know any of the characters before the plot advanced so I didn’t feel invested. And the most interesting part, the date with Raymond, was completely glossed over even though it was central to the plot. I just felt like nothing mattered in this book and the author was struggling to meet a deadline or something.

Other adaptations: The 2006 movie fared okay, just another teen-girl movie.

Four Fish by Paul Greenburg

Image result for four fish book coverRating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, sustainability

GoodReads rating:  4.03 / 5 (5,000 ratings)

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

Summary: Using four fish (salmon, cod, bass and tuna) the author outlines the past, present and future of the last wild food and how important to maintain it.

Thoughts: I took particular delight in the cod and salmon chapters as it talks about Alaska fisheries in which I work. It was interesting to hear about the bigger picture and what’s going on outside the hard data I collect as well as learning more about fish farming.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Image result for circe book coverRating: ★★★

Genre: Fiction, Greek mythology

GoodReads rating:  4.28 / 5 (243,700 ratings)

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

Summary: Exiled to an island for her witchcraft, Circe must cope in solitude with mortal and godly visitors, both friend and foe, family ties and her own abilities.

Thoughts: I liked this book alright but feel it’s very overrated. It dragged on at parts and the writing felt robotic. Being a huge Percy Jackson fan I thought this more adult read would be up my alley, but I’m afraid it didn’t live up to the hype. I didn’t dislike it, but I also wouldn’t exactly recommend it.

Other adaptations: An HBO series was ordered in July of last year, not much else has been said.

Beneath the Surface by John Hargrove

Image result for beneath the surface book coverRating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, animal rights

GoodReads rating:  4.25 / 5 (4,600 ratings)

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

Summary: World-class orca trainer outlines what it was like to live in the throes of the deaths of whale trainers and the conflict, both public and personal, surrounding them.

Thoughts: I’m a big fan of Blackfish and The Cove, two popular documentaries about orca whales in captivity and dolphin hunting respectively. Blackfish made it big on Netflix and cable television and animal rights activism seemed to spread like wildfire. When I saw this book I thought it might have been just riding the coattails of the documentary and unnecessary, but I couldn’t be more wrong. The writing is amazing, the story gives an inside look to the thoughts of fellow trainers and their internal conflicts long before the popular incidents. This trainer outlined what it took and how although he knew something was wrong with the whales, he didn’t want to sacrifice how far he’s come in the only dream he’s ever known. I truly felt his uncertainty.

Other adaptations: Definitely check out Blackfish if you haven’t already, the author does a few interviews for it.

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.

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