POPSUGAR has already released their 2016 Reading Challenge.
Title: Where Rainbows End (Love, Rosie)
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Genre: Romance, Chick Lit
From naughty children to rebellious teenagers, Rosie and Alex have stuck by each other through thick and thin. But just as as they’re discovering the joys of teenage nights on the town and dating disasters, they’re separated. Alex’s family move from Dublin to America – and Alex goes with them. For good.
Rosie’s lost without him. But on the eve of her departure to join Alex in Boston, Rosie gets news that will change her life forever – and keep her at home in Ireland.
Their magical connection sees them through the ups and downs of each others lives, but neither of them knows whether their friendship can survive the years and miles – or new relationships. And at the back of Rosie’s mind is whether they were meant to be more than just good friends all along. Misunderstandings, circumstances and sheer bad luck have kept them apart, but when presented with the ultimate opportunity, will they gamble everything for true love?
Where Rainbows End (also known as Love, Rosie or Rosie Dunne) is Cecelia Ahern’s second book, published in 2004 after her number 1 bestseller P.S. I Love You. The story is told through letters, emails and instant messaging about the ever changing relationship between the two main characters, Rosie Dunne and Alex Stewart. Reading about Rosie and Alex from age 5 to 50, it felt like I knew them their whole lives – which is kind of true.
Cecelia Ahern gave me a sleepless and probably the longest night of my life so far. It’s been so long since I’ve bookbinged a novel for an entire night without even a blink for sleep. I just can’t put it down! Many times I’ve wondered why Cecelia was torturing me. What did I ever do to her? 50 freaking years! Imagine that! But then, love moves in mysterious ways. And yeah, clichè as it may sounds, everything happens for a reason, eventhough sometimes I want to punch fate right straight into its face!
I love Rosie with all my heart. She, along with all the other characters in the story, made me ride in a rollercoaster of emotions all throughout, making me laugh at their witty lines and bawling my eyes out the next moment. But most of the time I want to slap Rosie and twist Alex’s arms in frustration. WHY CAN’T BOTH OF YOU JUST FREAKING CONFESS YOUR BLOODY FEELINGS AND GET OVER IT AND LIVE FREAKING HAPPILY EVER AFTER?
I may sound exaggerated, but Ahern’s work dethroned Jodi Lynn Anderson’s Tiger Lily at the top of my Books-I-Love-And-Hate-At-The-Same-Time list. Maybe because it felt like reading my own story: being a single mom and all, and having a bestfriend (who is also my boyfriend, by the way) named Alex. I just wish I don’t have to wait for another 30 years before I get my happy ending. 😀
P.S. The book already has its movie adaptation shown last 2014, topbilled by Lily Collins and Sam Claflin.
Title: A Painted House
Author: John Grisham
Genre: Suspense, Historical Fiction
Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers — and two very dangerous men — came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke’s world.
A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born … and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives — and change his family and his town forever….
“The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with three weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist-high to my father, over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a ‘good crop.’”
John Grisham is known for his legal thrillers and their film adaptations. The way he began his novel, A Painted House, it somehow told us it’s not one of his typical works. The novel is a historical fiction where there is no single lawyer involved but a lone policeman, set in rural Arkansas in 1952.
The novel is narrated in first person by Luke Chandler, a seven year old boy who sounded more of a teenage boy to me. The Chandler family are cotton farmers, and the novel chronicled their life from late summer to early fall, when they harvest their crop with the help of Mexicans and hill people. Luke is forced to grow up quickly, taking in responsibilities like waking up at the crack of dawn, picking cotton all day until his hands bled, and going to bed at almost midnight. This happens six days a week, Saturdays as exception since they only tend to the farm for half a day. We’ve experienced their simple joys like listening to a baseball broadcast while resting at night after supper, their despair with difficult harvest, their wariness of people from other regions, the town gossip and the ever present preachers. The farmers have to be tough, or they won’t survive.
Luke will hear things he shouldn’t hear and see things he shouldn’t see. These experiences will change him, as he battles between right and wrong. He realized that their farm where he grew up is not even safe, and that life is not as easy as he wants it to be.
Grisham introduced several characters that were engaging enough, although the plot did seem to drag a little bit. Throughout the book, I was pretty much on an everlasting search for the plot since the introduction at the back made it sound like it’s an interesting one.
After about six chapters, after Luke kept secrets after secrets, I thought that a concrete story will finally come around. But the author offered no resolution at all. I did finish it, because Grisham did a good job of making me really curious how it will all turn out. The ending made me feel that there’s a sequel to it, because there were so many questions that were left unanswered, like what happened to all the characters that the author introduced to the readers.
Grisham’s narration is easy to read and very descriptive. This not his typical work. If you’ve never read Grisham until this book – PLEASE don’t judge him by it.