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Monday, April 1, 2013

I read a book!

Several, in fact :)  I used to be a huge reader--it was not unheard of for me to read a book a day.  But kids kinda got in the way of my reading because there just isn't time.  Plus I tend to be a "once you start a book, you must finish it right now" kind of reader so I tend not to start a book if I only have a few minutes to read.  I am getting a bit better about that now, though, and have been trying to read a few minutes here or there and making myself put it down when I need to do something else.

But one positive about being in the hospital with Izzy and then needed to hold Ms Grumpy Pants a lot lately is that I have actually had time to read ;-)  I even took the time to write a review on Goodreads of one of the books I read.  And since I took the time to write it, I'm going to copy and paste :p

The book was War Brides by Helen Bryan I picked it up for my Kindle App with a giftcard I earned from Swagbucks (I love Swagbucks.  I normally end up using my giftcards on the kids but every so often I actually spend money on me).  I'm a bit of a history buff and over the years have read a lot of WWII stuff, fictional and nonfiction, so I was looking forward to this one when I bought it but it took me a bit to have a chance to read it :)  So here's my review:

Overall, I did really enjoy this one--I cared about the characters and for me, creating characters compelling enough to "hook" me makes up for some of the less desirable aspects of the book.

I do not think the framework of the novel worked that well--we start out in the present day and then the bulk of the novel jumps back to the War and then jumps forward again for the end. I think this format can work very well but with a smaller cast of core characters. There were just too many characters being introduced and it was difficult to keep them straight at first. They were not memorable enough at first introduction and I did not always connect the present day character with the past version right away. It would have worked better for me to just start in the past and use those extra pages at making the introductions and transitions between characters more compelling and memorable.

I also found the end of the book to be abrupt. It almost felt like the author wrote until she hit a predetermined page number and then said, well, best finish this up! The wartime section just came to a stop and then the present-day section felt rushed.

One of the things that was a positive for me was the fact that this book is not all sunshine and rainbows. You spend the majority of the book hoping that these women will have happy endings and some of them do. But it is wartime and just like life, things do not work out for some of them to various degrees. If all of them had gotten the storybook ending, the book would have been unbelievable. As a historical novel set during WWII, I would expect heartache and it is there. But there is also hope and joy and life.

For me, several of the characters bumped this up to four stars--Alice and Tanni in particular. I was invested in their lives and emotions and futures and that is what kept me coming back to the book in the beginning when I was still trying to get past the awkwardness of the choppy character introductions.

And here is my disclosure--no one paid me, no one gave me the book for free, Amazon was not involved in my decision to link there but since that is where I bought the book I linked it :p