Posted in Book Reviews

Final Five Books of 2016

It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.

-Mockingjay

Hooray! And with this, I finally finish my 2016 reading posts. I’m looking forward to telling you about what I read last year because I read some really good ones!

If you didn’t get the chance to read my previous posts, you can find books 1-5 of 2016 here, books 6-10 here, books 11-15 here, books 16-20 here and books 21-25 here!

*SPOILER!* I may include some of the book’s plot/content in my reviews for them, so if you haven’t read one or more of these yet and want to read it without spoilers, then you can just skip down. *

26. * Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – As I mentioned in the previous post, you can find a very detailed review of this trilogy (which I wrote for Literature Approved) here.

27. Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace – This is the fifth book in the Betsy-Tacy series, but the first I happened to read. This series was written in the 1940s (though it actually takes place in the very early 1900s) and so I very much enjoyed the vocabulary and enchanting writing style. Like me, Betsy is a writer, but unlike me, she has a burning desire to be popular. I have a feeling I would have loved watching Betsy and her best friend Tacy grow up in the earlier books, but by the time I jumped in the series, they were starting high school and all Betsy could think about was: boys. Tacy, on the other hand, has no desire to catch a beau and only wants to have a good time with her friends. Unfortunately, though I relate most to Tacy, she is not the main character. Being unable to relate to Betsy’s immature struggles was definitely an obstacle to enjoying this book. While I loved her little family and their traditions and habits, so much of this book centered around Betsy’s desires for a beau, that I soon grew tired of it. (She’s only 14 for crying out loud!)

28. * Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park – Another sweet book by Linda Sue Park that we listened on audiobook during a road trip. Two brothers are working together to design and build the best kite Korea has ever seen and win the annual kite competition in their town. However, with one brother good at designing and the other good at flying, they slowly end up fighting not only who gets to fly the kite in the competition, but who will win their father’s favor. This story expertly demonstrates the struggle between the older and younger siblings in the hierarchical Korean culture and how all any of us wants is to make our parents proud.

29. Love, Lies and Typewriters by Heather Blanton – This novella had a really great premise. After Lucy gets rescued by a handsome man she used to know as a child, a nerdy reporter is told to follow their story. But when Lucy and Dale start a tour selling war bonds, retelling their romance in hopes of raising patriotic spirit during World War II, things start to get out of hand as the couple aren’t really in a relationship. And this is where the story begins to deteriorate for me. There were many things that bothered me about this book, so I will only name a few. For starters, as Lucy is a Christian, telling these lies to hundreds of people across the nation should bother her–and it does–but not enough to stop doing it. After all, “the ends justify the means”. (insert sarcasm) Needless to say, there is never any real regret for telling these lies besides what she loses personally in the process. Another complaint I have is that besides the tour the two “lovebirds” went on to sell war bonds, there was no real connection with the war in the story. I felt that the World War II setting was just a way to make the story seem like there was more to it than romance–which, by the way, it failed. And this leads to my next point: the entire novella from end to end centered on the love triangle. Each scene had something to do with either the handsome hero or the nerdy reporter and Lucy’s current feelings toward each. There was no other plot. I also greatly disliked Lucy’s approach to the reporter’s disbelief in God. After he admitted to his atheism and how he felt about religion, she only nodded and maybe said something about God being loving. Never in the book did she try to explain the Gospel to him or why it was important to understand. Not only that, she feels no qualms about falling in love with him later on in the novella, even though they would be unequally yoked, which is very clearly against what the Bible teaches. Her relationship with God was very surface-level, to say the least. So overall, an easy read that could provide entertainment (if you weren’t thinking about everything as deeply and cynically as I do 😉 ), but nothing truly edifying about it.

30. Betsy In Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace – This is the sixth book in the Betsy-Tacy series. Unfortunately, there’s only more of the same. One thing I liked about this book, however, was that Betsy’s vanity eventually becomes her downfall and the one boy she can’t have pushes her to try harder and become a better student.

* Books that I highly recommend have a * next to them

And that wraps up my mini book reviews for 2016!

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