Friday, January 5, 2018

50/50 Friday (66): Best/Worst Book Read in December


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!


Today's Topic: Best/Worst Book Read in December


Best:

Standalone to date

Blurb:
"A luminous cross-generational story that recalls the works of Jane Smiley and Isabel Allende, this sweeping debut novel tells the stories of four women who dare to challenge the boundaries of their circumscribed lives

It’s 1958, and Hazel’s peaceful world has been upended by the tragic death of her husband. It’s harvest time and with two small children and a farm to manage on her own, this young mother is determined to keep her land and family intact. As she grows closer to the neighboring Hughes family, she realizes the tradeoff for some freedoms is more precious than she expected.

In 1890, we see Hazel’s young mother, Louisa, recently married and relocated to Illinois to what will become her family’s farm. Life in the country is dictated by seasons, so too is Louisa ruled by her “weathers” of good and bad spells. What keeps her grounded is corresponding with her sister, Addie, a Christian missionary in China. The same adventurous spirit that brought Addie to China with her new husband now compels her to leave again. However, with the Boxer Rebellion underway, and violence erupting between Chinese and their unwelcome Christian intruders, Addie’s life takes a mysterious and haunting turn strongly felt by her sister, Louisa, back home.

At the end of the twentieth century, Juanlan returns to her parents’ home in Heng’an after college. With her father falling ill, a new highway being built, and her sister-in-law soon to give birth, Juanlan feels frozen in place, though everyone and everything seems to be rapidly changing. In the search for an outlet for the live wire, a little burning blue coil she feels buried inside, she starts up a love affair with a high-ranking government official.

From rural Illinois to the far reaches of China, these four women are interconnected by actions, consequence, and spirit, each brilliantly displaying the fleeting intensity of youth, the obligation of family, and the dramatic consequence of charting their own destiny. A vibrant story of compassion and discovery set against a century of complicated relations between China and America, Rebellion celebrates those who fight against expectation in pursuit of their own thrilling fate and introduces a rising literary star."


I've read quite a few 5 star books this month but this was my only true 5 star first time read.  I loved the connections between the four separate stories and the mysteries and betrayals in each.  Basically, there are four different stories that follow four different people from mostly different time periods and in the end, you're able to put all the pieces together which was my favorite part of the whole deal.  I actually went to an author event that featured this author and I was able to get a copy signed for a giveaway!  My review and that giveaway will be coming soon!


Worst:

Hercule Poirot #19

Blurb:
"Among the towering red cliffs of Petra sits the corpse of Mrs Boynton, a tiny puncture mark on her wrist the only sign of what has killed her. Hercule Poirot has only 24 hours to solve the mystery.

A tyrannical old martinet, a mental sadist and the incarnation of evil. These were only three of the character descriptions levelled at Mrs. Boynton, the matriarch who kept her family totally dependent on her. But did she really deserve to die on the excursion to beautiful Petra? Hercule Poirot hears about the murder and feels compelled to investigate-despite the family's request not to do so. Do they have something to hide and, if so, can they keep it hidden from this master sleuth?"


I love most of Agatha Christie books but this one wasn't one of my favorites (rating - 3 stars).  It just brought in a totally out-of-left-field element to solve the crime and it kind of felt like a cop-out.  My review will be coming on this shortly!




Hercule Poirot #22

Blurb:
"An elderly stroke victim dies without having arranged a will...Beautiful young Elinor Carlisle stood serenely in the dock, accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard, her rival in love. The evidence was damning: only Elinor had the motive, the opportunity and the means to administer the fatal poison.Yet, inside the hostile courtroom, only one man still presumed Elinor was innocent until proven guilty: Hercule Poirot was all that stood between Elinor and the gallows..."


This is another 3 star book for me.  I don't know, it just didn't feel like Hercule Poirot.  It's a slightly different format as Hercule is just trying to prove the suspect innocent instead of proving someone else guilty.  There's strong insinuation but the whole book just takes another angle which, while it was different, ultimately didn't endear me to the book.  Review to come!





Have you read any of these books?  What did you think of them?  What were your best and worst reads of December?  Make a post and link up down below!



Next Week's Topic: Best/Worst Book Read in 2017

12 comments:

  1. Even your “worst” book didn’t get that low of a rating. That’s good!

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    1. Right?? I've been on a roll, lately! Thanks for stopping by, Jenny!

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  2. Whoops, I forgot to make a post for this week's meme! I read many books last month and I'd say that my favorite reads were More Than Kisses by Renee Ericson and The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. The worst reads (and there many of them last month) were Joy by Celina Grace and Virtually Scared To Death by Gillian Larkin.

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    1. I also read The Good Girl this month and I loved it!! I still have to write a review (I may have to reread it to do that) but I'd say it was one of my favorite mystery books. I'm sorry to hear you had more negative reads that positive ones. Hopefully this one will be better! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I know that the point isn't the cover but I really love the cover of Rebellion! I haven't read any Agatha Christie books but I saw the film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express and I enjoyed it

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    1. Haha the covers of books are like half the reason I read them, as terrible as that sounds. A good cover is half the battle. I still haven't seen that movie but I really want to! Murder on the Orient Express is one of the first Agatha Christie books I ever read and it's still one of my favorites. Thanks for stopping by, Wren!

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  4. I'm about to give 3/5 stars to another Agatha Christie, an archaeological memoir of her time in Syria, Come Tell Me How You Live. It's a pleasant enough read, but very much of its time and I'd have liked deeper insights.

    Stephanie Jane @ Literary Flits

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    1. I haven't heard of that book before but I'd definitely be interested in reading it. I think, though, that like you I won't like it as much as her mysteries. She's just really good at mysteries and controlling plotlines but when it comes to real life, her grip may slip a little. Still, I'd definitely like to read that soon! Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!

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  5. I have never heard of Rebellion before, but it really sounds good! I will have to check it out. It's been ages since I last read an Agatha Christie novel, but I would like to reread her books at some point--and catch the ones I missed. I guess they all can't be winners, can they? Thanks for hosting! Have a great week, Laura!

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    1. It is! I hadn't heard of it either until I heard that the author would be doing an event (which is kind of rare where I live) so I knew I had to read it and if it was good, I'd get a copy signed. Luckily, I loved it :) Agatha Christie novels are so good! I have a mission to read all of her Hercule Poirot series by the end of this year (and hopefully finish all her books by the end of 2019). But yes, there are some that just aren't my favorites. I've generally liked all of them though! Thanks for stopping by, Wendy!

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  6. That's really cool that the four stories about diff people all come together like that! I don't think I've read anything like that. Sorry the other books didn't work for you, but hey, at least your *worst* reads were still 3 stars since that's not bad, right?

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    1. I thought so too! I always love those kind and then you get to figure out in the end how they all connect whether it's through themes or otherwise. Haha that's so true! It's always a good month when your 'worst' reads are still pretty good :) Thanks for stopping by, Kristen!

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