Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Two Book Reviews

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.

Neil Gaiman

Choosing which book to bring on vacation is one of the hardest parts of packing for me. Clothes? Toiletries? No problem. Picking just ONE book? Hours of contemplation.

I’ve recently read two books that really stood out to me, both for completely different reasons. In case you’re a blog post skimmer, I’ll start with the good so you can see it, find it, and devour it. If you stick around long enough, hopefully I can save you some grief. Don’t worry, no spoilers here!

Thumbs Way Up

This photo originated on the Goodreads website.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is one of my top 5 books I’ve read this year. To date I’ve read over 50 so that’s saying something. This thriller is a perfect amalgamation of psychology and originality that sucks you in from the start. From the very beginning, the lives of Alicia and Theo are instantly interesting without the plot or characters being overdone or thrown in your face. There’s a subtlety to the entire story that glues the book to your hands.

Murder begins the story and becomes an underlying tone throughout the story. You think the book is building up to one ending, when another hits you like a freight train and keeps you up reading into the middle of the night. Murder, mystery, psychotherapy, and unmistakably unique plot lines and character arcs make this a must read, even if you aren’t stuck in an airport or on a long haul flight.

I never had any specific intention to read this. I happened across it on my Goodreads account and thought, “why not?”. From its appearance and my first impression of its blurb I thought it was going to be like any other murder mystery. Predictable but interesting. I cannot express how happy I am that I checked this out of the library on a whim. I devoured it and I still want to read more. The premise might be simple, but the execution of the story was perfection.

Thumbs (Unfortunately) Way Down

This photo originated on the Goodreads website.

It pains me to say this, but I just couldn’t do it. The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles was flaunted as an inspiring story of female friendship that transports you to another era and country. I was intrigued…until I started reading it.

Now don’t get me wrong, the book is well-written. Unfortunately, it was a well-written snooze fest. I wanted so badly to love this book and 100% inhale it. A book about two young girls, one poor and the other rich, forging an unlikely friendship and transforming their lives through the power of music and perseverance? YES PLEASE. It just didn’t deliver for me.

Normally, I give every single book I read, even if it’s painful, to at least page 100. It took me over 3 weeks to force myself to page 50. It was slow and the plot went almost nowhere. The characters seemed one dimensional and there was nothing that even whispered to me to keep reading.

Now I know there are hundreds of people who have read this book and thought quite the opposite and I’m so happy you found something in it. All I found was a great sleeping aid.

Book Recommendations

Have you read any incredible books lately that made you want to contemplate staying awake all night and calling out of work just to finish? Let me know! Found a book that you had high expectations for and just couldn’t get into it? I want to know too! Let’s help each other keep our noses in books when we’re not traveling the world!


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