Quick Lit: July 2017

I know it hasn’t been long since my last book post, but I’ve read almost 20 books already, so I decided to go ahead and give a quick rundown of those books!

Rating: 4 Stars

I loved this entertaining book, even though it leans towards the didactic side, as most “Christian” novels tend to be. However, I loved the Southern charm, the friendships, and how realistic the story could be. This could easily be anyone’s marriage.

And it got bumped from 3 stars to 4 stars because I actually cried during the story. That means that I was really feeling something for the character. And obviously it was good, because within the last month, I read another novel from the same author!

Rating: 5 Stars

This took me awhile to read because I wanted to savor each poem. While I liked all of them, a few stuck out in particular.

I think that everyone, especially women, can find something to appreciate in DeMulder’s work.

I mean, I don’t think of myself as someone who likes poetry, but if I liked it, then maybe other people who avoided the classes about poetry in college, like me, can like it, too. I would even say that I love it.

Rating: 2 Stars

I read this novel because it was recommended on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading List and I liked another novel that I read by Susan Meissner.

To be honest, this one was weird AF. First, there was the seeing ghosts or whatever the main character saw instead. Then, the main character goes on a quest that is contrary to everything that she’s ever done.

And all of that is on top of some spoilers that I won’t go into.

Finally, the book was meant to teach us all a lesson! Meissner is a great author, but this novel was not great, plus I have no idea how MMD put this on her list.

Rating: 2

I wouldn’t recommend this. The narrator is so self involved that it hurts. And it’s not one of those novels where the author does that on purpose. It’s like, get over yourself and quit thinking about what other people are like when they have sex. Having sex won’t make your life magically better.

Maybe having a real relationship would… but the author misses the point on that one too.

Rating: 5 Stars

I can’t even write a review of this novel. It was too large. It covered so much. I read it as part as Modern Mrs. Darcy’s online book club, so I got to ask a question about one of the characters that I found distracting and the author actually provided an answer! It was cool because I had started a topic on the message board for the book about Friendships just to ask about that character and most people thought what I thought, which was the opposite of what the author intended!

Anyway, the novel touches on racism, being biracial, white privilege, interacting with law enforcement as a person of color, the disparity in medical access, mental illness, access to equal treatment under the law, peer pressure, and a few topics that are very specific to the location to where the novel takes place.

It is amazing how much research went into making this historical fiction novel accurate. The novel goes back and forth between the 1920’s, as the Klan starts to come into Tulsa, and follows the son of a white man and a Native American woman during the summer leading up to race riots that actually happened (and will make your skin crawl), and 2017, where a dead body is found under a very old servants’ home during renovations, in the yard of a teenage girl who is the daughter of prominent white business man and a black woman who is a public defender.

The book is incredibly timely, even though the author took five years to write it. Sadly, even the story of what happened in the 1920’s is timely. I would have read it even without the juxtaposition of the two stories, which eventually dovetail together. Just being educated on the story of Tulsa in the 1920’s was enough. However, the novel was brilliantly written–I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the ending to the mystery brings up an entirely new topic to discuss!

Do yourself a favor and read this book.

I’m incredibly lazy and prefer audiobooks, but this was only available in hardback and ebook. It was good enough for me to read the real book!

 

Rating: 5

I sure wish that I had read this when it came out 6 years ago! So funny. Mindy Kaling is a total treasure. I am going to read her next novel before the summer is over, for sure!

It was really great to learn that Kaling was on the original writing staff of The Office. Finding out her background as a writer and actress was truly fascinating. I absolutely recommend this to people who love Kaling’s humor, regardless of if they like The Office or not.

And there were a ton of gems, in terms of quotes, too!

Rating: 4 Stars

I am really glad that I finished this book. I wanted to put it down at first, but I like Jenny Colgan, so I decided to keep reading, even though it didn’t grab me immediately.

After a little bit of pushing through, the story was so good that I didn’t want to put it down. I had to know what would happen next! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I hope that I will love it immediately, since I already know the characters.

Colgan wrote some amazing characters. I truly loved them and cared about them. They were human. They had faults, but they were likable. The book completely took me to the beach!

Rating: 5 Stars

I love anything with magical realism. I thought that this was a sweet story that was also wonderfully written. The way that stories that didn’t seem to go together came together in the end were amazing and rewarding for me, as a reader.

I know that my review is short for a book with 5 stars, but it’s just really good. Click the link to Goodreads at the bottom for a more complete synopsis.

Rating: 4 Stars

This book is outrageously funny. There are a lot of characters, but it’s worth keeping up with in order to enjoy the book. I highly recommend this novel! Right now, I am reading the second novel, which is also hilarious.

I honestly didn’t think that I didn’t think that I would like this novel or think it was funny.

Rating: 4 Stars

I don’t read a ton of YA novels, but since this was on MMD’s summer reading list, I picked it up.

It was a sweet love story that flips a lot of traditional YA on its head. The woman is strong, thinks outside of the box, and works really hard to be a good computer coder. It was cool to not see her be super needy and think through why she was dating–not just getting a boyfriend because that’s what girls her age did!

Rating: 5 Stars

This was on the longer side, as far as books that I read during the summer, but I read it in two days! I simply couldn’t put it down. The story follows a girl who finds herself pregnant and unmarried following the death of her brother, who returned from WWII with PTSD, but blames herself for his death.

As her mother takes her to Europe for an abortion, since she doesn’t even know who the father is, the main character takes a detour to search for her French cousin, who she had not seen since before WWII. With the help of a drunk woman, who slowly reveals her story, plus her ex convict chauffeur, the three unlikely friends travel across the continent in search of people from the past in order to free themselves from the past.

I loved it. It was absolutely thrilling. It made me incredibly sad. It made me incredibly happy. I recommend this to everyone!

 

Rating: 4 Stars

This story was about love and communication. Like McHale’s other novel, it can be a bit preachy. However, the premise is original and heartwarming.

From the publisher:

Jacey met the man of her dreams a year ago—and hasn’t seen him since. Finally relocating him as the pastor at her best friend’s wedding was the very last thing she expected.

A year ago, Jacey was trapped on a rooftop during a flood with perfect strangers, including a family and a man named Colin. After two days there together, she had no doubt that Colin was the man of her dreams. When they were finally rescued he tucked his phone number into her pocket. But an accident with the rescue boat left her hospitalized with amnesia and PTSD . . . and his number nowhere to be found.

Now, Jacey has still only recovered bits and pieces of her memory from that time. She clearly remembers Colin—but not his last name or any other details that would help her locate him. She’s trying to immerse herself in the joy of her best friend’s wedding . . . when she looks up at the end of the aisle only to discover Colin there in the minister’s role. Shock is an understatement.

The novel bounces back and forth between Jacey’s life and Colin’s life, even when they are not in communication. Jacey’s meddling friend and Colin’s pride keep them apart, but everyone learns a lot for an ending that made me cry. When you learn about what “The Sweet Smell of Magnolias” means, you might tear up, too. Honestly, it was a lovely, heartwarming story of redemption and love. I would recommend this book before reading McHale’s other novel, but I still recommend both.

 

Rating: 4 Stars

I read the first two novels of the series during 2015. I really shouldn’t have put down the series for 2 years because between time and the television, I was really confused. Sidney’s personal life is quite different from the television show, plus I think the year that the story takes place is later in time, but I could be wrong.

However, I enjoyed the mysteries. I didn’t like his wife, though. She is shrill, needy, and demanding. The character almost distracted from the story. I had to keep myself from adding to what was on the page with what I’ve seen in the TV series.

I did keep them apart, the best that I could, and I liked the book for what it was. I intend to read the next novels in the series far more quickly! No more 2 year waits between the books.

Rating: 4

Disclosure: I accidentally picked up the abridged version of this audiobook. It was slightly confusing because I didn’t know that it was abridged and I had seen the movie. I did like it and intend to read it again.

However, Netgalley just asked me to read the prequel to Practical Magic (yay!), so as soon as I read it, I will listen to the unabridged version of Practical Magic and put it all together. So, look forward to my review of The Rules of Magic, which is coming out in October!

Rating: 5 Stars

Wow. I love Elizabeth Strout. Any review that I write will not do it justice.

After picking up I Am Lucy Barton last summer, on a whim, and being blown away, I have been reading her other books. So, I was very eager for her summer release. I was even more excited when I found out that Anything Is Possible is a set of short stories that are related to the character of Lucy Barton. An interesting tidbit that I read is that Strout wrote Anything Is Possible in tandem with I Am Lucy Barton. I wish that I had known that when I was reading the novel. It makes it even more impressive that she could imagine this rich, full world.

I can’t imagine writing a fictional memoir, but Strout did a great job with that. Then, she wove together a set of short stories about the people who would have known Lucy Barton or her family in a beautiful way. The stories were brilliantly connected, beautifully written, and a powerful illustration about the human condition.

Five stars is not a strong enough rating. It’s amazing. It’s not very long. Read it! And if you are interested in finding your favorite new author, read I Am Lucy Barton first, but you don’t have to. However, I wouldn’t read them in reverse order.

 

Rating: 4 Stars

3.5 stars

This was a really cute mystery that I hope is the beginning of a great series. I love prohibition era novels. This one is a rags to riches to rags again story of a woman and her former cook who slip in and out of speakeasies, house parties, and glamorous department stores in New York City as they try to recover a film for a chorus girl, while the body count piles up!

This novel was definitely good enough for me to pick up the second novel in the series and plan on reading it as soon as I finish my pre-planned Summer Reading List!

 

Rating: 4 Stars

Too funny. It was easier to follow this time because I knew the characters a little bit better. I don’t want to talk too much about the plot, since the last book ended on a bit of a sad note, in my opinion.

However, unlike the first novel, which centered around Singapore, this novel was a lot more about Hong Kong. I listened to both the first and second novels. So, it may be that just the first novel’s printed version was the same as this second audiobook, but if not, I did like the change in the second audiobook. The audiobook kept reading footnotes, which were informative and hilarious!

I adore the writer’s style of moving back and forth between people in different people and writing in the first person. Sometimes the changes are abrupt, but it’s like a commercial break that makes me want to keep reading!

Anything Is Possible

The Alice Network

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1)

The Keeper of Lost Things

Dreamland Burning

Today Means Amen

Come Hell or Highball(Discreet Retrieval Agency, #1)

The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories

When Dimple Met Rishi

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

Losing It

A Bridge Across the Ocean

Don’t forget to check out what I read this past spring and add me as a friend on Goodreads!

Don’t forget to check out some of my other recent book reviews!

The Austen Escape

What I’ve Been Reading: Spring

What I’ve Been Reading: Series Edition

What I Read: January

Leave me a comment with what book I should read in August or a new release that you are excited about! 🙂

 

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , , , , ,
What I’ve Been Reading: Spring Edition (Part II)

Yesterday, I posted about all of the books that I read February-Present that were part of a series or multiple books from the same author.

Today, I am going to review the rest of the books that I that I read. I hope that this organization of reviews is helpful to everyone who is interested in my thoughts on books. Again, don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads, so that you can get real-time reviews. I’ve been told that they help people when choosing between which books to read next 🙂

 

A Portrait of Emily Price

Review: 3 Stars

The beginning was super rushed, which made me think that the whole book was going to be bad. Any book where a woman meets a man who is very similar to herself, but “hits it off,” with someone with her absolute opposite makes it seem like things will go awry, but instead the book had a greater moral message. I was glad that I stuck with it, though, because the end came together well.

However, I wouldn’t recommend this to my friends, unless I knew they had a very specific taste in books and a ton of time.

 

Abide with Me

Review: 5 Stars

After I picked up Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton, I knew that my reading life wouldn’t be the same. Somehow, though, I let her other books fall through the crack until I saw her 2017 publication on the shelves. While I was waiting on Anything is Possible to come in from the library, I decided to pick up with the rest of Strout’s cannon.
Abide with Me was the first novel by Strout, other than My Name is Lucy Barton that I picked up. Her insight into the human character, which she displays masterfully in the short, fictional memoir of Lucy Barton is also evident in Abide with Me. Additionally, the story, which follows the pastor of a small church in New England during the time when people began to turn from the church to psychology, gave the women of the story full, wonderful inner lives full of struggle, individuality, and even sexuality during an era when women were meant to be conform and be chaste.
For such a short novel, Strout uses her characters to touch on the topics of the meaning of life and death, the possibility of an afterlife, class differences, the complexity of marriages and families, and how to love, among so many other strong topics even though the community in which the story takes place is incredibly conservative and restrained.
I simply can’t get over Strout’s masterful, for lack of another better word, ability to bring complex characters to life through their inner lives, rather than dialogue.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Review: 5 Stars

This was a great re-read. I decided to read it again after I read a book about how the movie was made. I read this book again so that I can watch the movie and see the differences, especially since I watched the movie before I read the novella.

Every Secret Thing

Rating: 4 Stars

When Every Secret Thing was originally published, Susanna Kearsley used a pseudonym, Emma Cole. I am guessing it was because the novel is a departure from her usual time travel type novels. Every Secret Thing was even titled Book #1 of a series, but it has been enough years that it is clear that Kearsley isn’t going to follow up.

Honestly, I would have loved it if Kate Murray became the central figure in a series. Most of Kearsley’s other novels are very formulaic (not that it keeps me from reading them), but this mystery series took the journalist on a world-wide search for information to keep herself alive. Also, the body count was kind of high, so it would have made sense to give her more novels where people weren’t dropping like flies.

Anyway, it was really great. I would recommend it, if you like mysteries and WWII.

Every Wild Heart

Rating: 5 Stars

I read this in one day. I wasn’t sure if it was chick lit or a psychological thriller. I loved it, overall, but thought that maybe the author wasn’t sure what genre she was writing.

Another reader compared the mom in this novel to Lorelei Gilmore, which I totally see. The daughter wasn’t exactly a Rory, but there was overlap. There was a total Luke. However, there was an active father, etc.

I was surprised that this was on the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide when I’ve read other great books that have already been released this summer that were better. I guess it does have mass appeal.

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman

Rating: 4 Stars

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but this was a fascinating look at how a highly censored Hollywood took a very racy novella and turned it into an iconic movie with the classy Audrey Hepburn. Because, in all honesty, what Capote wrote has very little to do with what we see on the screen.

Additionally, the novel also talked about how Hollywood whitewashed other books or plays that were made into movies in order to get them around the censors, which was really interesting. There were a lot of censorship rules at the time that I wasn’t aware of! Also, the movie broke a lot of rules/pushed a lot of boundaries, even with things as small as using a little black dress.

The novel was really short, but I learned a lot about Audrey Hepburn, how the movie was made, how movies were made during that time period, and how much power the censors had over what people saw at the theaters!

In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II

Rating: 5 Stars

I love Rhys Bowen. Her series are some of my favorite. They are generally very light hearted; however this book felt much more substantial than previous novels.

The novel begins by introducing us to an obvious love triangle. Then, of course, a mystery during the beginning of WWII ensues! I absolutely adored every character. The main character, unlike Bowen’s two most prominent series, has a man for the main character. Her other novels show that women are capable of doing what men do, and there is a young woman in this novel doing that, also, but I liked the switch in perspectives because the main character wasn’t quite the cad that the love interests her main characters usually fall for.

While there is nothing to indicate that this novel was the first in a series, it ended in such a way that there is more than enough material to make it one. And it was so wonderful that in my greed, I hope it becomes one!

Jane Steele

Rating: 2.5 Stars

This one was a bit weird. I really don’t know how to review it.

It’s like Jane Eyre except… no. She’s a murder? Maybe? It’s very morally ambiguous. I don’t recommend it.

However, if you would like something more to go on, here is the synopsis/review that Book Riot Community left on Goodreads:

This Victorian novel follows Jane Steele, an orphan whose life mirrors that of her favorite literary heroine, Jane Eyre. Their paths diverge at this one fine point, however: Jane Steele is a serial killer. She uses her wit, nerves, and slight sociopathy to off abusive men, all the while wondering what would Jane Eyre think? This book scratched all my favorite itches: Victoriana, feminist rage, and excellent, gut-punch sentences. You’ll love this Jane just as much as you love the original.

 

I highly recommend following Book Riot Community on GoodReads. They never leave a number of stars on their reviews, but someone from their team always writes a good synopsis that lets you know if it would be if is a book that you would like. That being said, I liked that synopsis, but the book was weird AF.

The Dry

Rating: 4 Stars

I will begin by saying that I picked this one up because it was part of MMD’s Summer Reading Guide. I am a member of her online book club. I read it in a day, so I could participate in the live chat with the author. So, fun news if you like the book: Reese Witherspoon has purchased the rights to the book!

It is also the first book in a series. If you’ve read this, let me know what you think: would you prefer for the second book to take place in the same small, farming town or would you prefer for it to take place back in the city where Falk is now working? I have a definite opinion. I would love to know what other people think.

If you haven’t read it, you can probably tell that I did like it. It’s a strong 4 stars. I hadn’t read a thriller in a long time until I picked this up. It really pulled me into the story because there are two separate mysteries–one from the present and one from the past. Falk, who is a detective in a big city, returns home for the funeral of a possible current victim. He looks into what has been going on in the town to see if a crime occurred and how they are connected.

It was particularly interesting because it takes place in a rural farming town that is experiencing a drought. In Australia! So, the setting and culture are just different enough from what I’m used to reading to make it fascinating.

The Night the Lights Went Out

Rating: 4 Stars

Wow. Awesome novel. I would recommend this to all of my friends. I really didn’t know anything about it when I started the novel, other than I liked the cover. Yes, I judged the book by the cover.

I also wanted to read a novel by Karen White because she cowrote a novel with two other authors who I enjoy. Fortunately, this was a good place to start. And now, I want to read more of her novels!

One reason this is not 5 stars is because it isn’t really about revealing universal truths about the human character. It doesn’t explore anything thought provoking. It’s just highly entertaining. And some highly entertaining books are 5 star worthy, but this was not one of those.

Also, White tried to pack a lot of different writing techniques and even genres into the novel, which is why it was on the lengthy side. There were blog posts, which gave it the Gossip-Girl-esque feel and flashbacks to the landlord’s childhood and adolescence, which gave a hint of Kate Morton’s influence, since crimes were committed on the land and connected to the present day.

It was definitely a Southern novel because place was important. The land was incredibly important to the novel. It may have even had Southern Gothic elements, specifically in the flashbacks, which took place during the Great Depression and some could argue that the cottage that the main character rented was a character.

There was a romance throughout the novel. And White even threw in a bit of a psychological thriller there at the end (which I would have known about, if I had read what the book was about).

Overall, the characters were endearing. I rooted for them. It was nice to see the layers of the main characters unfold. 

Aside from the novel being a bit of soup made from everything in the fridge, which oddly worked, it was good. I found it a bit slow at the start because the blog posts were confusing, even though I think they were there for comedic effect. Once I committed to it, though, I REALLY couldn’t put it down. I was listening to it in the car, when I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep, etc.

The Story of a Brief Marriage

Rating: How do you rate this?

I barely know how to rate this, much less review it. I think that every person who reads this novel will take away something different. At it’s core, it’s about humanity.

The novel isn’t plot driven. It’s more about memories and living in the moment. It’s gut-wrenching when you think about the fact that people are actually living in these conditions. This isn’t a book to read for entertainment. It’s a book to challenge yourself.

I really didn’t know what this book was about when I picked it up. Someone mentioned it on the What Should I Read Next podcast, so I thought it would be a good read. It was. But I don’t feel comfortable assigning value to it. Just read a synopsis:

In the last months of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Dinesh’s world has contracted to an evacuee camp, where he measures his days by shells that fall like clockwork. Alienated from language, home, and family, he is brought back to life by an unexpected proposal from an old man in the camp: that he marry his daughter, Ganga. In the hours they spend together, Dinesh and Ganga attempt to awaken to one another, to reclaim their humanity.

Anuk Arudpragasam’s The Story of a Brief Marriage is a feat of stunning imaginative empathy, a meditation on the bare elements of human existence that give life its pulse and purpose, even in the face of atrocity.

Abide with Me

The Dry

Every Wild Heart

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman

The Night the Lights Went Out

The Story of a Brief Marriage

In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II

Jane Steele

A Portrait of Emily Price

Yesterday, I posted reviews of the other books (books in a series) that I read since January. Don’t forget to check those out. You can also read reviews of everything that I read in January here. Then you can get my take on everything that I’ve been reading so far this year. The year is basically half over!

Come back tomorrow for a full review on Katherine Reay’s newest book, The Austen Escape, which I received from NetGalley! You’ll be able to pick it up this fall.

And let me know what you’re planning on reading this summer in the comments because I have a long list that I don’t mind making it longer!

 

Categories: Book Review, What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
What I Read: January 2017


What I Read- January 2017

 

I didn’t read much in December, so I am combining those two books into this post, since they did not need their own post. Additionally, since I am participating in Erin’s Reading Challenge, I separated the reviews by books for the challenge and how many points they were worth and then books that I read for fun! If you read my post with my predicted reads for the challenge, you’ll see that I read almost entirely different books!

reading challenge

Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley
(Agatha Raisin #4)

agatha raisin

 

+ 5 points. Freebie book

 

Rating: 4

Review: Great mystery that didn’t differ much from the TV show, but I watched it so long ago that I had forgotten the ending.

Die Laughing (Daisy Dalrymple #12)

die laughing

 

+ 20 points. Homonym book

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Finally, maybe some new characters! I love Daisy’s new friends.

The Bookshop on the Corner

the bookshop on the corner

 

+ 15 points. Mostly green cover book

 

Rating: 4 stars

Review: I can’t figure out where the title came from. However, it was much better than I expected. It’s no great work of art, but the entertainment value was high.

I will add that the author’s forward is worth reading. It’s super cute and will resonate with all book lovers!

The Wrong Side of Goodbye

the wrong side of goodbye

 

+ 20 points. Favorite author book

 

Rating: 5 stars

Review: One of my favorite Harry Bosch novels!

What She Knew

what she knew

 

  • 10 points. Starts with a “W” book

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: 3.5 at best. It’s not one of the better psychological thrillers that I’ve read. I chose to read this because I haven’t read a thriller in awhile. Unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment. While the ending was a surprise, I just didn’t care.

The author didn’t make me care about the mother or the detective. By including two narrators and barely flushing out the detective, I hated the police force.

I only finished it because I needed it for a reading challenge.

The Things We Wish Were True

The Things We Wish Were True

+10 points. Six word title book

 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: Strong 3.5. I didn’t rate it a 4 because that’s for a book that I would think about a lot. This was above average, though. I loved the way the author connected everyone in the neighborhood–even through hardships. Maybe redefining family.

other novels

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

 

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Wow. What an amazing story. I thought it was a bit slow going at first. I didn’t love parts of it, but I was probably identifying with Arthur, who wasn’t loving parts of it either! In the end, it’s a story of enduring love and his journey to realize that. And although he may have lost someone, he gains many more people in the end. That’s not a spoiler. And it was inspiring.

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

spinster

 

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: While I don’t share the same worldview as the author, it was interesting to a) learn a lot about famous women of the past and b) how they shaped her worldview. In fact, I couldn’t be much more different from the author, other than my love of reading and writing. The author is a proud Yankee who has had several serious relationships in her life, but now that she is in her 40’s, she is unmarried. I am a month shy of 29, dated a bunch of guys not seriously and married my first real boyfriend when I was 25.

I didn’t take away a lot of facts and dates about the authors she researched. Instead, I took away an overall impression that a woman can be herself, artisticly or otherwise, with or without a relationship–despite what the author might have been trying to communicate.

Modern Lovers

modern lovers

 

Rating: 3 stars

Review: I wanted to love this novel, but I cringed a lot. It was like… get it together people! Why are you all so spoiled and self indulgent?

Along the Infinite Sea (Schuyler Sisters #3)along the infinte sea

 

Rating: 4.5

Review: I couldn’t put this novel down! While it was supposed to be about Pepper, it is mostly about an American who grows up in France and then marries a Nazi. I like that all three Schuyler Sister novels have different formats. Book one vacillates between the past and present, and this third book picks up where Pepper left off in Tiny’s story of book one; book two is a straight forward narrative; book three is finally the furthest in time, around 1966, but is mostly filled with the memories of a woman that Pepper meets.

The tangential connection between the Nazis, Germany, and France is that the woman that Pepper meets has American cousins, who are the very political family that Tiny married into. I loved the story, but I would have loved a novel that centered more on Pepper, since I love reading about the Schuyler sisters!

I’ve never really explained my thought process behind the criteria below, so here it is.

Read These: These are books that I would recommend to almost any friend or person without knowing much about their reading habits.

If You Have Time: These are books that I would recommend to someone, if I knew about what he or she liked to read. These books are more genre specific or niche books. Or, they are books that I would not tell people not to stay away from, but they aren’t high on my recommendation list.

Don’t Bother: These are books that I would never recommend to a friend. They are usually books that I wish that I hadn’t finished reading!

read these

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

Along the Infinite Sea (And the entire Schuyler Sisters series)

if you have time

Daisy Dalrymple Series

Agatha Raisin Series

The Bookshop on the Corner

don't bother smaller

What She Knew

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

Modern Lovers

 

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Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , , ,
What I Read: November 2016

What I Read November 2016

 

The Vicious Vet (Agatha Raisin #2)

the-vicious-vet-agatha-raisin-2

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I enjoyed this quick little story. It is nice to read one of these every few novels.

The Girls

the-girls

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: I absolutely loved this novel. I am kicking myself for waiting months to get it from the library instead of just buying it, considering the glowing reviews that my friends were giving it. Do yourself a favor and buy this. If you’ve ever been a teenage girl/woman navigating the dating scene or interacting with men in the workplace or really men in general, so much of this novel will resonate with you. Cline’s observations are spot on. Her thoughts are beautifully woven into an interesting tale of a 1970s cult and murder.

Elizabeth Is Missing

elizabeth-is-missingRating: 3 Stars

Review: I started reading this because I was in the mood for a thriller, which is a genre that I have not read and I have while. This is a touching and sad story, it is not a thriller. It’s a good book, but it would not be one of the first that I would recommend to my friends. If you are in avid reader who reads widely and is running low on things to pick up, then pick this up.

I was definitely disappointed because it had been on my list for you while and someone on MMD’s podcast said it was one of their current favorite novels, so I was expecting something a little more spectacular.

Scrappy Little Nobody

scrappy-little-nobody

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Review: So funny! The reading guide at the end was a treat! I listened to the audible version that Kendrick read herself, which made it even better! I could write an entire post on this book, but I don’t want to give away the good parts. Just read it.

Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener(Agatha Raisin #3)

agatha-raisin-and-the-potted-garden

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: Loved this little book. I can’t quite remember, but I think it has a different ending than the TV show, which I watched first, so that was even better.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

hillbilly-elegy

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: Do yourself a favor and read this. I don’t really want to give anything away, but I love how the author started his memoir with grandparents and their early lives and then followed his own life. He ties his own story into a larger narrative about people from Appalachia, using studies, statistics, and anecdotes.

Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters

take-six-girls

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: Very thoroughly research. It was an interesting look at the sisters, as well as the time period. I would recommend reading Nancy Mitford’s novels before picking up this book, but it is by no means necessary. Two of her later and more popular novels are sitting on my bookshelf unread, and I did not know that they wore her later novels or even her more popular novels before I read this biography. I do think I would have appreciated the story more, though, if I could have drawn on the plots of her novels, which are thinly veiled stories about her family.

However, the author of this biography does a wonderful job of taking snippets from all of her novels, which I would never take the time to read or probably be able to get my hands on, and interjects them into the narrative of the biography.

When I do read Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love, The fiction will mean a lot more to me than it would have before. Also, I am inspired to track down a few of her earlier works. Additionally, other sisters did write, so you could always pick up one of their books.

read these

The Girls

Scrappy Little Nobody

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

 

if you have time

Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters

Agatha Raisin Series

 

don't bother smaller

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month
What I Read: September and October 2016

It’s been a long time since I’ve done any book reviews. I thought that I would talk about the books that I read in the last two months! Then, I have a few more ideas for book posts on my favorite summer reads, series that I’ve been reading, etc. I won’t try to review everything that I read this year.

what-i-read-september-october-2016-resized

As usual, I am breaking up the novels between Contemporary and Classics for the Classic Book Reading Challenge!

Contemporary

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

the-storied-life-of-aj-fikry

Rating: 5 Stars

Wow! I don’t know how I left this sitting in my audible queue for so long! What a touching story about books. If you don’t mind a happy cry, a sad cry, and all the emotions in between, and are a true believer in the power of books, you have to read this. Pick this up ASAP–if you are on the late train like me!

Be Frank With Me

be-frank-with-me

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: One of my favorite books this year! Touching, funny, and a bit eccentric. I HIGHLY recommend this novel.

The Idea of Love

the-idea-of-love

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! It was a light, but more complex than I thought it would be. In fact, when I thought it would be over, it got even more complex! Again, this one has been on my Kindle for almost a year, and I can’t believe that I waited so long to pick it up!

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6)

the-trespasser

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I picked this up the day it came out. While it wasn’t my favorite in the series, I am still glad that I read it. The twist in the plot was VERY unexpected!

The Sugar Queen

the-sugar-queen

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I love Sarah Addison Allen! Her books are like magic. They are magic. This novel is about Josey, who is a Southern Belle, who hasn’t moved out of her mother’s house, so she is there to take care of her all of the time. Josey, who has never had a close friend before, bonds with a new friend, and struggles with romance along the way.

Like all of Allen’s novels that I’ve read so far, I recommend this one completely!

Commonwealth

commonwealth

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I love Ann Patchett. While this was no Bel Canto, it was a great novel. There were so many characters that I had a hard time tracking the story at first, since I listened to the audiobook. However, I did like story and how it came together as a whole.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

the-secret-history-of-the-pink-carnation

Rating: 3 Stars

Review: I picked this novel up because I read all of Lauren Willig’s novels and I loved them. Once I ran out of her stand alone novels, I started in on this series.

I loved this novel–I read it in two days. I will read the next one in the series. I deducted a whole star for gratuitous sex scenes. Historical novels with gratuitous sex is so cliche. I want the history and mystery, just like this novel. I even love the romance. Just stop the awkward sex.

With that being said, I am going to read the second novel in the series and give it another chance.

The Lola Quartetthe-lola-quartet

Rating: 3 Stars

Review: Not my favorite novel. I really loved Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven so much that I picked up another novel that she wrote. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed. I really loved the dystopian feel of Station Eleven. However, I do want to read the rest of the novels.

While this wasn’t my favorite, you might like it. So, read the synopsis on Goodreads and figure out if you might like it!

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin #1)

agatha-raisin-and-the-quiche-of-death

Rating: 3 Stars

Review: I loved this novel. It’s not bad, but it’s not fantastic–I would recommend this series to anyone who loves cozy mysteries. I was a huge fan of the TV series and this was different and good.

My Name is Lucy Barton

my-name-is-lucy-barton

Rating:5 Stars

Review: Do. Not. Read. This. When. You. Are. Already. Sad. Or tired. This is so beautiful and haunting.
Like a short version of The Gilead. It’s interesting to have someone write a “biography” for a fictional character.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

the-curious-incident-of-the-dog-in-the-night-time

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: Why did I wait so long to read this?! This novel is amazing. Aside from laughing so hard that the chapters were all numbered in prime numbers, the entire story was terrific! The story was entertaining, plus the underlying message was so touching. To read about a young man who struggled to connect with his divorced parents, plus deal with Asperger’s, left a tear or two in my eyes while I also laughed a lot.

Heartburn

heartburn

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: This was the first novel by Nora Ephron that I had read. It wasn’t very long, but it was very full of emotion! I totally recommend this!

When to Rob a Bank

when-to-rob-a-bank

Rating: 3 Stars

Review: Since I don’t read the Freakonomic’s blog and I only just started listening to the podcast, this was a great way to catch up on what the authors have been thinking about since the first book came out. It’s not a work of genius, but it poses some great questions. I particularly liked the guest post about what real former gang members thought about The Wire. I loved the first season, but never finished it!

Mistletoe and Murder (Daisy Dalrymple #11)

mistletoe-and-murder-daisy-dalrymple-11

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I love this series! I won’t give any of the plot away, but like usual, Daisy helps her husband Alec, solve a murder! Who is glad that Daisy and Alec are finally married?! Me!

That Summer

that-summer

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: More of a 4.5! It wasn’t a great work of art, but I really loved the story. It also didn’t have the “everything works out for everyone” quality that a lot of the popular non-linear novels have. The people where more flawed and love was bittersweet. But I really couldn’t put it down!

The Life We Bury

the-life-we-bury

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: A college student who doesn’t have many relatives, shows up at a nursing home hoping to write a biography for a class assignment. However, most of the residents are senile. There is one resident, though, who isn’t. The college student, Joe, meets Carl Iverson.

Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran–and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

Joe’s life is never the same after writing the story of Carl’s life. And The Life We Bury challenges us to look at life differently, too.

Pick. This. Up.

The Peach Keeper

the-peach-keeper

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I love the magical quality of all of Allen’s novels, but this one, which touched on the relationship between grandmothers and granddaughters was quite special.

classics

Lady of Quality

lady-of-quality

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: I love Georgette Heyer novels. Like all of romance novels set in the Regency period, this one was wonderful. If you like her novels, read this. It wasn’t my favorite, but it’s good.

Little Women

little-women

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: This classic novel is always a great read. I reread it for book club.

read these

The Life We Bury

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

Be Frank With Me

My Name is Lucy Barton

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Heartburn

if you have time

That Summer

The Idea of Love

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6)

The Sugar Queen

Commonwealth

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin #1)

don't bother smaller

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

The Lola Quartet

When to Rob a Bank

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
What I Read: January 2016

Well, I read a lot of Phyrne Fisher novels, since I want to catch up with the TV show. I tried out a new series. And I picked up a few new authors, too!

what i read january

 

Contemporary

Some Luck

some luck

Verdict: A great look into the 1920’s to 1950’s. Must read for saga-lovers.

I loved this novel. I can see why it Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize winner. Not only was the story highly entertaining, but the prose was beautiful. The story was amazing! It followed so many people, who went through so many changes. During the time of the novel, America went through a ton of changes. Since the family started on a farm, but slowly integrated technology.

The Book of Speculation

the book of speculation

Verdict: Not what I expected. Great for learning about circuses.

I thought that this novel would be more about books. It was about a librarian, but a former librarian. The novel is really more about how an old novel intertwines with a family of circus performers. While I liked how the novel was written, it wasn’t what I was expected. I was thinking something more along the lines of Charlie Lovett’s novels.

The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher #5)

the green mill murder

Verdict: Another fun, quick, mystery.

The Green Mill Murder was interesting because it was based on Phryne’s attendance at a dance-a-ton. It reminded it me a little of that Gilmore Girl’s episode where Rory dances with her mom and that thing happens with Dean… but at least there wasn’t murder there!

Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher #6)

blood and circuses

Verdict: A fun Phryne Fisher novel where she leaves the life of luxury.

Phyrne leaves the life of luxury to help her friends in the circus to find out what keeps hurting the circus. Along the way, Phryne has to pick up a new name, learn a new trade, exchange her clothes for used and mended ones. It was nice to see how she acted with a different place, with a different personality, and not in a position of authority.

The Longest Night

the longest night

Verdict: Williams made a statement, but it lacked entertainment value.

I couldn’t fault the great statement that Williams made about morality standards imposed by society, but it lacked entertainment value. It was dry, boring, and I couldn’t quit cringing. The novel skipped around among narrators as it followed Nat, an Army wife, her husband, Paul, a young Army Specialist, and his boss and his boss’s wife. The most cringe-worthy moments were in the young husband’s mind. I am hope it was meant to be slightly cringe-inducing when he describes meeting his wife and thinks of her as loose, but then over the course of their marriage, never gets a chance to know the real her and why she acts the way he does. His temper flares whenever Nat does anything that embarrasses him, even having fun in front of strangers. The shame follows her wherever she goes, even when he is gone.

Overall, the setting, which is in the middle of nowhere, and involves nuclear energy, radiation, cover ups, affairs, Indian reservations, and apparently a lot of Mormons, who are all new and confusing to the Army people, was also bizarre and slightly off putting from a reader’s perspective. I ended up getting the audio-book from the library, so I heard a different voice for every narrator, so that could have influenced my perception.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ebook copy to review.

American Housewife

American Houswife

Verdict: Smart, biting, and funny. Must read for women with a sense of humor.

I couldn’t put this down! I thought that it was quick, funny, and insightful. My favorite story was about the reality show. The final story almost felt like a horror story. I had the audio version of this novel from my library, which was fantastic. There were several narrators who were familiar because they read books that I listen to a lot.

I let my husband listen to a few of the stories, which he loved, too.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing an ebook copy to review.

The Crossing

the crossing

Verdict: A must read for Harry Bosch or Lincoln Lawyer fans.

I look forward to Michael Connelly’s fall release every year. This year didn’t disappoint. Harry Bosh worked as an investigator for his brother, defense lawyer Mickey Haller. Bosh was torn about working for the defense, but like any good homicide detective, he didn’t want to just prove that the defendant was innocent, he wanted to find the guilty. It was made more interesting because the guilty party was very dangerous.

Since Bosch is now retired and Connelly combined Bosch and Haller in a single novel, I have to wonder if Connelly will move to just write about The Lincoln Lawyer.

Austenland

austenland

Verdict: Great entertainment for Austen fans who are looking for light fun and romance.

It’s not a genius piece of writing, but it’s incredibly entertaining. If you like Jane Austen (like you can recall the plots to all of her novels), plus quirky main characters and romances, this is for you. You can easily read it in a day or two. I had a lot of fun finding the parallels, which were sometimes laid out by the author for less well-versed readers, but the entertainment value is certainly high. I think I need to read the sequel!

Murphy’s Law

Murphy's Law

Verdict: Great for people who like mysteries who keep you on edge!

I fell in love with Rhys Bowen’s mysteries when I read the Her Royal Spyness series. So, I picked up this series about Molly Murphy, who is on the run from Irish authorities and found a way to America. Unfortunately, there was a murder that complicated her entry, but it introduced her to a handsome detective. I loved Molly’s determination to find the actual person who committed the murder and make her way in New York City.

Death of Riley

death of riley

Verdict: Great follow up!

If you like Murphy’s Law, Death of Riley is a great follow up! Molly finds herself learning from a real private investigator and living with the artsy crowd. I loved it! I can’t wait to keep reading the series. I had to make myself read other novels, or I would have finished the entire series within a week or so!

Eight Hundred Grapes

eight hundred grapes

Verdict: A great light read!

I read a lot of reviews that were 50/50 on this. Some people hated it, but others loved it. I liked it. I thought it was a touching story about family, figuring out what matters, and making the life you want.

Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher #7)

Ruddy Gore

Verdict: A big change for Phryne

I have been reading as many Phryne Fisher novels as possible, so I can watch the television show, since the shows are not in the same order of the books. I can’t wait to finish watching the show, since it is so well done.

This novel was a big change because Phryne actually finds a man that she seems like she wants to keep!

The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

The Poisoner's Handbook

Verdict: A must read!

I have wanted to read this novel for a long time. I love the Jazz Age, but this novel gives an amazing look at the underbelly of society. It also talks more about how life really was for most people, not just the glamorous people, of the Jazz Age.

On Netflix, I watched a documentary based on the novel. The documentary puts pictures and videos to a lot of what went on in the novel, However, the novel was redundant, since the documentary focused more of a few of the cases touched on in the novel, while the novel expanded greatly on the fight against prohibition, since the bootleg liquor was killing so many people, as well as gave insight into other parts of how hard Dr. Norris and others fought to legitimize forensic sciences.

Thornwood House

Thornwood House

Verdict: An haunting search into the past

I couldn’t put this novel down. I would dare to put this novel into the Gothic category. Since it was Australian, I thought that made it more interesting. The main character, Audrey, inherits an old house on an enormous amount of land in a small, quiet city from the father of her child and the only man she ever loved, after he commits suicide. However, she didn’t even know that he had the property or any living family. She moves there with her 11 year old daughter. There, Audrey becomes obsessed with the house and the surrounding property. She becomes enthralled with the home’s former resident, who appears to her in dreams, as she tries to find out if he really killed his wife.

Normally, I wouldn’t have touched a book like this. And as I read this novel, I kept asking myself why I was so enchanted with it. Finally, I realized it was Gothic and Southern Gothic literature is my favorite. If I could have my dream job, it would be as an English professor, specializing in that. So, that’s why I think I found Thornwood House so enthralling.

classics

The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1)

The Warden Anthony Trollope

Verdict: The shortest Trollope novel that I’ve ever read!

This isn’t my favorite Trollope novel, I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

 

read these

American Housewife

Austenland

Eight Hundred Grapes

Some Luck

if you have time

The Poisoner’s Handbook

Murphy’s Law (Or the entire series!)

don't bother smaller

The Longest Night

The Book of Speculation

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

December 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

 

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading?

 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Book Review, What I Read Last Month Tags: ,
What I’ve Been Reading

I have been too sick to read as much as I wanted the past few months. In fact, I watched the entire Gilmore Girls series and Fringe, until it got too weird. So, I decided to wait until now to sum up November and December together. It really breaks my heart that I was so sick because sharing what I read each month is the post that I look forward to the most!

2016 What I've Been Reading

Girl Waits With Gun

Girl Waits With Gun

Verdict: I wanted to like the novel.

You can read my full review here. My quick summary:

I wanted to like this novel. I was so excited to read it, but I could only chip away at it, 30 minutes a night for a month.

Overseas

overseas.jpg

Verdict: High entertainment value, yet cheesey

A bit cheesy, I still couldn’t put it down. I read it during every opportunity, which says a lot for the entertainment value! It was a nice book to read after reading some slow, arduous reads.

Pretending to Dance

Pretending To Dance Review by Back to Carolina

Verdict: An interesting novel

I wrote an indepth review here. This is a quick summary:

If you are a Diane Chamberlain fan, you should definitely pick it up. Otherwise, it is kind of a run of the mill fiction novel that employs the popular technique of slowly unraveling a story by switching back and forth between the past and the present. It certainly wasn’t innovative.

Secrets of a Charmed Life

secrets of a charmed life

Verdict: Didactic, yet a good read.

I cried a lot at the end, but it was a beautiful ending. While the moral of the story was VERY directly spoken by the characters, it was still nice. The rest of the novel didn’t feel too didactic.

The Lake House

the lake house

Verdict: A must read for all Morton fans!

You can read my full review here! Here is a quick summary:

My favorite Morton novel yet! While it was highly complex, and I did complain to a friend about that at first, it proved to be worth all of the subplots because they came together beautifully in the end. There was one that I would have liked to have flushed out more, but the novel was so long that I definitely would have chosen to leave it out, too.
And, for what it’s worth, I’ve been taking about a month or so to listen to much shorter novels, but I finished this one within several days because the characters, mystery, and overall story were so compelling. I couldn’t put it down.

Named of the Dragon

named of the dragon book cover

Verdict: Kearsley fans will pick it up.

I wrote a full review that you can read here. Here’s a summary:

Not my favorite Kearsley novel, plus I would only rate this as an average or slightly below average fiction book. I’ve read worse. At least this novel was note resting enough to keep me reading, and at a rather fast pace, because I was sure it was going to get better. And the ending didn’t suck.

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

Verdict: I read it in a day. That says a lot!

You can read my in-dept review here, but this is a quick summary:

I listened to the audiobook in a single day. It was such an inventive scenario. I’ve never read anything like it – and I wasn’t expecting it, but it was a pleasant surprise. I highly recommend it!

After You

after you

Verdict: The perfect follow up!

I wasn’t sure how to feel about this novel. Me Before You felt like it was perfect, but Moyes nailed it again with the ending of this novel. The meat of the story was interesting, plus the way the story finished couldn’t have been more fitting.

One Step Too Far

one step too far

Verdict: Interesting storytelling technique!

I really had to pay attention, since the narration switched between the first and third person, also switching who each chapter was about. Furthermore, the narrative jumped back and forth in time, but it made for a really interesting way to tell the story. I thought it was an interesting story that was made better through the narrative technique.

I loved the way that the main character’s secret slowly unraveled and made sense to the reader through telling the story out of sequence and switching narrators. I wish I had the talent to tell a story like that!

read these

After You

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

The Lake House

if you have time

One Step Too Far

Secrets of a Charmed Life

don't bother smaller

Girl Waits With Gun

Named of the Dragon

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading?

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , , ,
What I Read Last Month: October 2015

What I Read October 2015

So, I kicked last month off with the last published novel in my favorite series, (it took me 10 days to start reading, though). After that, though, I kicked off a huge spree on another series, so bear with me! Then I didn’t read very much because I totally dragged my feet on a final book.

Contemporary

A Dangerous Place

a dangerous place

Verdict: Maisie has a lot going on in her life.

A lot happened between the book before A Dangerous Place and A Dangerous Place. Her life was completely altered, so she was getting it back together. It was interesting and full of new characters, so it wasn’t the same old, same old. But, part of me longed for a book about what happened in between or the same old, same old that I get whenever I pick up a Dobbs novel.

Royal Spyness Mysteries 3-9
royal spyness 1

 

Royal Flush (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #3) 

Royal Blood (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #4)

royal spyness 2

Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #5) 

The Twelve Clues of Christmas (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #6)

 

royal spyness 3
Heirs and Graces (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #7) 

Queen of Hearts (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #8)

malice in the palace
Malice at the Palace (Royal Spyness #9) 

So, I sure read a ton of these novels last month! Really, a lot of them. I liked the first two that I read, but I was really caught up in the Maisie Dobbs series. Once I finished those, I had to pick up Her Royal Spyness again. The romance in them kept me reading and reading. I can’t wait for the next release!

Summer Secrets

summer secrets

Verdict: Average summer novel

Not much to say other than I learned a little bit about alcoholism and addiction. I listened to the novel read by the author. I wouldn’t recommend that you rush and put this at the top of your TBR list.

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3)

career of evil

Verdict: A great 3rd novel in the series!

I enjoyed this novel a lot more than the second novel in the series. I loved the first one, but the second one bothered me. It was all sorts of weird. It takes a lot to weird me out. This one was released at a great time, right before Halloween!

So, I spent many, many weeks reading another novel, so I never got to more novels. Plus, pain had me watching more TV than normal. I meant to read some classics… oops!

read these

The Royal Spyness Series

if you have time

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3)

don't bother smaller

Summer Secrets

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

September 2015 


August 2015
 


July 2015
 


June 2015
 


May 2015
 

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations  based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading? 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
What I Read Last Month: September 2015

What I Read September 2015

Well, I really didn’t read as much as I wanted to last month, plus this post is much later than I expected it to be! I only read a few, and by read, I mean listened to books! My symptoms are getting really bad, so I’m burning though TV shows and movies like crazy. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve seen that I went to a cervical dystonia conference at the beginning of October, so, the end of September was spent slowly packing and then watching more TV.

So, as my health deteriorates, I watch more TV and read less. I hope that October’s report will have a few more books. I am hoping to get better treatment soon.

Contemporary

The Sisters of Versailles

The Sisters of Versailles

Verdict: I was glad to read something other than British historical fiction…

I wrote an entire post, which you can read here!

Leaving Everything Most Loved

leaving everything

Verdict: Another great addition to this series

This novel won’t stand alone, but if you are a fan of this series, then I would recommend it!

The Rose Garden

the rose garden

Verdict: A different kind of time travel.

This novel was another Kearsley novel centered around the Jacobites (so far, both novels that I’ve read by her were written about that time period), but her twist on time travel made the romance novel suspenseful and fun.

We Never Asked for Wings

we never asked for wings

Verdict: For people who like good books.

I don’t write that verdict lightly. You can read my full review here!

Everybody Rise

everybody wise

Verdict: I cringed a lot.

I don’t know if the cringing was because the writing was really good, so I could feel the embarrassment for the character, or if the scenarios were like an I Love Lucy episode, minus the punch line. There was nothing funny about this book, but I did like the ending. A+ on the ending.

The Royal We

the royal we

Verdict: A lot more involved and complex than I thought it would be!

I really liked this novel, honestly. I thought it would be light-hearted and fun, but it was more complex and long. The novel was a coming of age story that dealt with things like class, money, and trust in relationships. It was really more of a relationship complicated by royalty than a fairy tale, which I liked. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, but it was still good, and I would still recommend it.

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

Verdict: An interesting narrative non-fiction piece!

I love narrative non-fiction novels. I don’t want to give anything away, but I loved the way that everything came together in the end. The story was so intriguing, and the fact that it is based on real life, since it seems so fictional, makes it even more sensational!

An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford #2)

an impartial witness

Verdict: An average second installment of another World War mystery series.

I don’t love and I don’t hate Bess Crawford mysteries. They are pretty vanilla with tons of loop holes. Like, how does this lay person, just a nurse, happen to stumble across so many mysteries and solve them? If I worked for the police, she’d be my suspect!

The Ashford Affair

The Ashford Affair

Verdict: For fans of Kate Morton

I haven’t read a ton of Lauren Willig’s novels, but this particular one should be a hit with Kate Morton fans! I enjoyed it.

classics

Why Shoot the Butler?

why shoot the butler

Verdict: Mystery + Love Story?

I won’t lie, I had higher hopes for this one. As a huge Heyer fan and a huge mystery fan, I thought this would be perfect. However, unlike her Regency novels, which can be downright hysterical, this one was cold and a bit scary. I have another mystery novel that she wrote that is part of a different series (with a different investigator) that I will try out, before I write her mystery novels off all together.

read these

We Never Asked for Wings

if you have time

The Ashford Affair

The Royal We

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

don't bother smaller

The Sisters of Versailles

Everybody Rise

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

August 2015
July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations  based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading? 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

 

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading, Uncategorized, What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
What I Read Last Month: August


What I Read August
So, I did not read many classics in July – at least ones that weren’t written by Georgette Heyer. This month I didn’t read a single classic novel, but I’m almost at my goal of 50 novels in 2 years, but it’s only been about 8 months!

Instead of star ratings, I’ve put “verdicts” of read or don’t read under each novel. Star ratings are too subjective for each reviewer! I’m still ranking the books at the bottom for definitely read and read if you have time. It’s hard to rank novels that are parts of series, too. So, I hope you’ll get some ideas. I’m really indebted to some bloggers for rating novels from series, though, because I’ve found tons of hours of entertainment.
Contemporary

Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs #6)

Among the Mad

Verdict: Read if you like the series!

This novel was a slight departure from the normal narrative. While we didn’t know who the “bad guy” was during the novel, there were excerpts of him writing to himself in his journal. I likened it a little to when you know who the unsub is in a Criminal Minds episode. Not as good. However, the overall message about war ravaging the mind hit home. Although, I am not sure if the author is beating a dead horse at this point. PTSD is a huge problem (and was after all wars, even when it wasn’t recognized), but I wish she would find a mystery for Dobbs that doesn’t involve shell shock.

I will say that the further I read into the Maisie Dobbs series, the less New Age it seems. There just isn’t room for all the weird stuff from the first few novels.

Days of Awe

days of awe

Verdict: Don’t Read

Ambiguous endings can be perfect. However, I think there needs to be some type of moral or life lesson/takeaway from the ambiguous ending. Without some type of lesson-learned for the main character, it’s just a shitty way of ending the novel quickly. You can read my full review here…

Luckiest Girl Alive

luckiest girl alive

Verdict: Read

Luckiest Girl Alive is the perfect foil for Days of Awe. While it seems like Luckiest Girl Alive would be super trashy and smutty, it wasn’t, and neither was Days of Awe. The difference is that while neither had neat or tidy endings – and you really aren’t sure what the main character of Luckiest Girl Alive is going to do, you do know that she learned something about herself and life from her experiences. I don’t want to spoil the other book, but I just wanted to return it to the writer and demand more. I wanted to know what Iz learned about the nature of life, love, relationships, or even just herself. But the ending was a cop out. Obviously, I feel personally offended because I thoroughly enjoyed everything up until the last page. Wink

The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs #7)

The Mapping of Love and Death

Verdict: Read if you like the series!

I particularly liked this installment of the Maisie Dobbs series because Maisie is learning more about herself, solving more complex mysteries, and my brain works overtime trying to keep up, which is fun, since a lot of mystery novels can be fairly trite.

A Desperate Fortune

A Desperate Fortune

Verdict: Read

My mom recommended this novel to me. I’ve seen tons of Kearsley novels pop up on book review link ups, but I’ve never read one. I frequently read phrases like “Kearsley is an automatic buy for me,” so when my mom mentioned that I might like the historical mystery being solved in the present, which is slightly reminiscent of a Morton novel, I had to say yes. I enjoyed the ensemble of characters. The main character was quirky, sweet, and endearing, and the rest of the characters range from domineering to completely laid back. I like that Kearsley can create such a variety of characters. Also, the mystery and history were fascinating.

Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night (The Grantchester Mysteries #2)

Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night

Verdict: Check out this series and read it!

I actually got my husband to listen to this one in the car! We are watching BBC television series, where they turned the first novel into a six part, I think…, series. I’ve read that this novel is currently in production! I definitely loved the follow up!

A Royal Pain (Her Royal Spyness #2)

A Royal Pain

Verdict: Give this quirky series a chance!

This was a funny follow up to the first novel in the series! I am looking forward to reading more because I love how the main character is developing, and of course, I want to see how her love life develops, too!

The Fifth Gospel

The Fifth Gospel

Verdict: Don’t Read

I wanted to like this novel. I really did. I liked Caldwell’s first novel so much! This novel was so long. If I hadn’t been listening to the audio, I would have put the paperback down. I was confused a lot because I don’t know much about the hierarchy of the Catholic church or their internal justice system. It was really, really tedious in parts.

Go Set a Watchman

go set a watchman

Verdict: Read

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this novel. It was a lot to process. It can probably mean a lot of different things to different people depending on a lot of different factors. Personally, I thought the novel was a nice way of saying that idealism sounds good and we should strive for a better world, but it doesn’t happen overnight. But, for a short novel, barely more than a short story, there was a lot there.

Dexter Is Dead (Dexter #8)

dexter is dead

Verdict: Undecided

I was always a fan (I watched the whole series!) of Dexter on TV. When this novel came out, I read that you could read it without reading the rest of the series, if you’d seen the TV show. There are some major discrepancies between the show and the TV series, based on reading the last novel, so I want to go back and read the series. I read the novel because I wanted to know how the author wanted the series to end, rather than the TV writers/producers. Overall, I have to say, I’m more of a fan of the personality of the TV Dexter than the book Dexter. It’s interesting how the the show interpreted the character (maybe made him more likable?) than the novel. I am only basing this on one novel, though.

Trunk Music (Harry Bosch #5)

trunk music

Verdict: Read if you like the series!

So, I’ve been reading the Harry Bosch series out of order for years. I decided to fill in some gaps. Now, as I write this post, I realize, I’m juggling a lot of series! I just watched all of the Harry Bosch series on Amazon, which is much different than the later Harry Bosch novels, so that rekindled my interest. I plan on reading/listening to many more! I always look forward to the fall/winter of each year, when Connelly seems to be alternating the release of a Bosch or Lincoln Lawyer novel.

A Lesson in Secrets (Maisie Dobbs #8)

a lesson in secrets

Verdict: Read if you like the series!

I waited almost the entire month for this novel to come in from the library! It was a departure from the normal Dobbs mystery. Instead of taking of a client, she worked for the government in the capacity of a spy, but of course, she couldn’t help but solve a murder too. I liked the advancements in her personal life, too!

The Murderer’s Daughter

kell__jkt_all_r1.indd

Verdict: Don’t Read

I really thought the title was misleading. Not bad enough for me to quit reading, but not good enough for me to recommend. I wrote a full review here, if you want know more, in case you do want to read it.

A Window Opens

A Window Opens

Verdict: Read

Wow! I felt like I was back in college… I read this novel for Netgalley, which meant that it archived on August 25. I waited a bit late to start reading, but I was rewarded. The novel started slowly, but, it sped up and got better! Read my full review here!

The Secret History

the secret history

Verdict: Read

This novel took me a really long time just to listen to, so I can’t imagine reading it! I mentioned to a friend how much I enjoyed The Likeness by Tana French, so she suggested this novel. I also happened to already have enjoyed Tarrt’s second novel, so this was on my TBR list.

Bream Gives Me Hiccups

bream gives me hiccups

Verdict: Read

This novel of short stories was hilarious! I read an advanced copy from Netgally, but I couldn’t stop thinking how funny the novel would be on audio, read by the author! When I looked at Audible, I saw that Jesse Eisenberg would be reading it, when it gets released.

I was laughing a lot at Eisenburg’s use of stories told through different mediums, like emails, text messages, and restaurant ratings. My full review will be coming soon! The book will be available September 8!

Angels Flight Harry Bosch #6

angels flight

Verdict: Read if you like the series!

So, I’m reading more Harry Bosch novels to fill that void left by the end of the Amazon television series and to catch myself up to where I was. Don’t you hate when you read series out order? Especially over the course of years?

Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs #9)

elegy for eddie

Verdict: Read if you like the series!

This was a touching story of Maisie finding justice for a friend with whom she grew up. Sadly, along the way, time is passing and WWI is getting further away and England is getting closer to entering WWII. Anyway, as I am continuing to battle this fever, this series is an easy listen (I’m so glad that my library has all of the novels on Overdrive!), plus Maisie’s personal life is shaping up, so it’s also something to keep me interested in the series! I was never much of a series person before, but now I like learning to love characters as they grow, plus each novel has an interesting storyline.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Verdict: Read!

Ok. I know I am REALLY late reading this novel, but wow! I loved it. I laughed. I cried. My heart was full by the end of the novel. I know this novel was published years ago, but I missed reading it. First of all, I absolutely love reading novels written in the epistolary style. Secondly, this book was funny, and full of love. I wanted to live on the island (after the Germans left, of course).

read these

Go Set a Watchman

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Secret History

Bream Gives Me Hiccups

if you have time

Luckiest Girl Alive

A Desperate Fortune

A Window Opens

don't bother smaller

The Fifth Gospel

The Murderer’s Daughter

Days of Awe

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

July 2015
June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations  based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading? 

(My TBR List has 500+ books on it… and I keep picking up more books. Do I have a problem?!)

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month