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.



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: July

What I Read: July 2015 >>> Seriously, Sarah?
I over-requested from NetGalley, so I spent most of July reading those novels, not that I’m complaining. I was able to read some new novels from authors I already liked, plus find some new books!

Most of these were audiobooks, which helped me read more novels. I’ve been extremely sick, so I’ve had a lot of time to listen!

Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know

You can read my full review here. The short synopsis is that I was very surprised to find that this was not a novel of a new writer once I finished the book. I liked it, but I would have expected a tighter plot from someone who has published many more novels.

Birds of a Feather

birds of a feather

I read a paperback copy of the first novel in this series as part of a summer reading challenge. Through my library, I was able to listen to this through Overdrive. I liked the first novel because it gave a ton of necessary background on Maisie Dobbs, but the “mystery,” in the novel wasn’t very great. This mystery was much more intricate, since space wasn’t taken up with background, of course.

I can’t wait to read more of this series!

Love May Fail

love may fail

Silver Linings Playbook is one of my favorite books ever. I’ve thought about reading some of his other novels, so when the Goodreads’ newsletter notified me that Quick had a new book coming out, I knew that I had to read it. I quickly put it on hold at the library and listened ASAP!

I read the book in two days. I absolutely could not put it down! I recommend it (AND Silver Linings Playbook, if you haven’t read it).

Pretty Baby


This was an interesting follow up to Kubica’s first novel, The Good Girl, which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can read my full review of Pretty Baby here.

Among the Ten Thousand Things

Among Ten Thousand Things

This is a beautiful novel about love, life that ruins love, family, and what’s leftover when life is done. You can read my FULL review here! This new release is definitely worth your time, even though there aren’t a whole lot of reviews on it yet. I got an early copy from NetGalley – but early by about two days. So, in my typical fashion, I used my accumulating Audible credits to pick it up because I was loving it, but my new medications have my sleep messed up.

I have a short window during the day that I can read physical books/ebooks before I start to lose the ability to follow along and need to lay down and at least shut my eyes. I don’t sleep at night, but I lay there for 8 or so hours before I finally get what I loosely term “sleep.” Therefore, having audiobooks to listen to while I close my eyes are the BEST. I don’t have bluelight messing up my sleep, not that I have the energy to navigate a computer, plus there isn’t much on TV/Netflix that I want to watch, especially in the middle of the night. Oddly enough, books make me feel less alone and sad.

So, since I had to put down the ebook one night, I got the newly released audible and thoroughly enjoyed every second of the book – even when I shed a tear or two.

I don’t know if other readers will appreciate this part like I did, but Simon, the 15 year old son, is a wonderful representation of a teenage boy. He reminded me so much of my moody, angry, teenage brother with a bad attitude! It made me laugh a lot.

The novel reminded me of the humanity in all of us. Parents are people. Kids see more than we know. And kids turn into adults who will perpetuate the cycle.

The Litigators

The Litigators

Average, average, average.

If you haven’t read BJ Novak’s short story about John Grisham, you need to. If you can listen the audio version where Novak reads it, even better. The Litigators embodies everything in Novak’s witty story.

Case Histories (Jackson Brodie #1)

Case Histories

I enjoyed this more than the regular police procedural mystery because it wasn’t neat and tidy. Not only was it a hell of a lot more complicated, there wasn’t a cliff hanger or an ending packaged with a bow.

I want to read more of the series to see how Jackson Brodie progresses, since I felt like some of his clients had such strong personalities/characters that they impeded my “getting to know” the main character. However, they were funny. If I read the novel correctly, and wasn’t just confused, Atkinson played with time, like she did in the only other novel that I’ve read by her, Life After Life. There were scenes that were written where I was like “ah! This scene is the scene that happened a few chapters ago…! And the characters overlapped.”

I will be reading more of the series and checking out the television series, if I can understand the accents 😉

Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs #3)

Pardonable Lies

I loved how this novel fully fleshed out the characters in the series more. Maisie took on more cases in this novel, which made for a much more interesting novel.

Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1)

Cocaine Blues

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the heroine of this series while she solved multiple mysteries. I enjoyed that she flies in the face of convention, which I know is easier to write from the future looking back, but it is fun to imagine someone like Phryne Fisher with an enormous intellect, unlimited funds, and a daring sense of social propriety solving mysteries, while genuinely caring about the neglected and poor. Oh, and a shoot out in a mystery novel with a female detective earned the author some bonus points!

Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher #2)

Flying too High

Long story, but I ended up reading the first, the third, and then the second novels in this series. While this novel still helped established who the main character is, the third was the most enjoyable because it dug into the mystery without wasting time on character development.

Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher #3)

Murder on the Ballarat Train

Phryne Fisher is an interesting character. She adopts abused children, solves crimes, and I can’t wait to see how she develops more! This is a really easy-listening series. I like to listen for 30 minutes or so before I try to go to bed.

Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher #4)

Death at Victoria Dock

I liked this follow up, but I’m still trying to adjust to that kind raunchiness in a story that takes place when women couldn’t even be doctors alongside men!

(The Grantchester Mysteries #1) Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death

The Shadow of Death

This novel was pretty good. I confused by how many mysteries Sidney Chambers solved during the one novel that weren’t necessarily related. I do plan on reading more of the series because I am interested in the main character as a character. I even watched an episode from PBS of the TV show they created from the novel. It was the exact same story, not like Amazon’s Bosch, which is an entirely new storyline, loosely based on the series.



The “meat” of the novel was good. The overall impression was horrendous. Every time I thought of the novel, I went back to Goodreads and removed a star.

A Duty to the Dead

A Duty to the Dead

I love Maisie Dobbs mysteries, but they have a touch of a new-ageness that kind of freak me out. Bess Crawford is the perfect answer to Dobbs! It’s much darker, though. Bess Crawford is not trained to solve mysteries in any way, but she’s a naturally curious and smart woman who who is a nurse during WWI. I’m interested in reading more of the series, which only has a few novels. Charles Todd, the author, is actually a mother and son team. They’ve written 17 or so novels in another mystery series. I just got the first novel from Paperback Swap, so I’m looking forward to seeing if I like Inspector Ian Rutledge!

If I Stay

If I Stay

This one made my cry. Really sobbed at first. I thought that it was rather though provoking for a Young Adult novel, which made me glad. I hope that teen girls read it and think harder about their own lives and why they live–and maybe even purse more things like art, music, and family time. I am looking forward to reading the second novel!

Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs #4)

messenger of truth

I enjoyed the mystery here more, plus a little more resolution on Maisie’s personal life. Had to read books 3 and 4 very quickly because I had them on loan from the library – audio version – on overdrive. There is someone who was one book ahead of me and VERY slow. I waited on hold forever for book 3, so while I was waiting, I checked books 4-6 out. Now, I’m ahead of this other person because I listen to books a lot faster than they do. That person took almost all 21 days. I was afraid they just checked it out and let it sit/didn’t know how to return it.

As soon as I finished book 4 (quickly), I returned it, so they could have it, but now I’m ahead. Boom!

An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs #5)

An Incomplete Revenge

This was an interesting look at how Londoners picked hops on estates with for two weeks each fall; while there, Gypsies were camped on the edge of the town. It was specifically interesting because the novel gave an insight into Maisie’s Gypsy heritage and hinted that it had something to do with her “third” sight.

Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness #1)

Her Royal Spyness

Obviously, I’ve started listening to and reading a lot more British (or Australian) mystery novels that take place around the World Wars. This was a cute story/mystery, so I think I will try out the next novel!

The Stories We Tell

The Stories We Tell

I enjoyed this novel because it takes place in places that I know and could picture. I liked this novel, but I didn’t love it.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon

The Girl Who Chased the Moon

This whimsical novel was a great read/listen for the summer. I haven’t read anything else by Sarah Addison Allen, but I have some on hold!

In the Unlikely Event

in the unlikely event

I absolutely adored this novel! I thought it was an odd summer release, since the majority of the action takes place in the middle of winter; however, I it is a great novel no matter the time of year because the story does take span over the course of the main character’s life – if you can call her that. The novel does follow a ton of characters!



Really preachy and not very entertaining. Maybe if I had done more research on the time period that it was written about, I would have liked it more, but I didn’t…

The Bostonians

the bostonians

This novel took a few tries. It wasn’t bad, but the first time that I tried to read it, I had to move it to “finish later,” because I just wasn’t in the mood for a James novel. You have be in the right frame of mind, I think. The thing is, though, is that there are so many Henry James novels to chose from!

And to be honest, I enjoyed the novel a lot more once I read a summary that told me that the novel was satire about the women’s movement. It made what seemed slightly absurd actually quite funny.

Friday’s Child

Friday's ChildI loved this novel a lot more than some of Heyer’s Regency Romances. It had the humor of novels like Arabella and Fredrica, but it was slightly longer with more substance than those novels. Friday’s Child didn’t stop at the marriage of an out of place woman in high society, but rather examined the ramifications of the marriage, which were not easy on either party, like I am most likely to imagine as some of Heyer’s books come to a close, and I move on to other novels.

Friday’s Child may move into my most recommended Heyer novel because the main character, Hero, who is aptly named, challenges social conventions, is true to her word, but also displays a depth of feeling that some other Heyer heroines lack.

Overall, this novel had the greatest set of well developed characters in all of the Regency Romances that I’ve read so far, and I’ve read quite a few!

April Lady

April Lady

Another tale of marriage between two people who don’t realize that they love each other and full of misunderstandings. I am glad that we get married a little differently now. Not my favorite Heyer novel, but I did like it.


cotillionThis is one of my favorite Heyer novels now! Like most novels, a naive woman asks an improper favor from a “rake,” but doesn’t realize it. He says yes, and it is fun to watch him slowly change… 🙂

Black Sheep

The Black Sheep

I liked this one, too! Surprise!

The Corinthian

The Corinthian

This was a good Georgette Heyer novel, but nothing to write home about.

read these

Love May Fail

Pretty Baby

Among the Ten Thousand Things

Friday’s Child – If you are a Heyer fan, pick this one up!

In the Unlikely Event

if you have time

Somebody I Used to Know – This was a fairly interesting interesting psychological thriller/love story.

Birds of a Feather – If you haven’t tried the Maisie Dobbs series, you should try it. I thought that this was a great follow up.

A Duty to the Dead

don't bother smaller

The Litigators



What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

June 2015
May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 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? 

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: , ,
Jazz Age January Round Up

Well, I don’t want to ruin any spoilers from my monthly round up that I’m posting next week, but I did read a bunch of books from the Jazz Age this month!

Jazz Age January

It was really fun to read a bunch of novels written during the same time period and compare/contrast them. I tried one novel written about the Jazz Age, but I couldn’t finish it. It was that bad. I also know I read a TON of Fitzgerald. I had planned to read some other authors, but I won’t have time by Friday to finish them. There was also one in particular, discussed below, where I couldn’t track down a copy! I need to go back to college, because my the local university had it, but they don’t let county residents get library cards!

The Beautiful and Damned

book recommendations the beautiful and damned

Rating: ***

I really wish that I had read this before I read a biography of the Fitzgeralds’ since it is semi-autobiographical. It was a little predictable because of that. I also wish that I had read This Side of Paradise first, since it was Fitzgerald’s breakout novel.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

book recommendations lady chatterley's lover
This novel was very interesting because I read it immediately following The Beautiful and Damned. The novel takes place during the Jazz Age, also, but it takes place in the UK. It dealt a lot with social classes, like The Beautiful and Damned, but it referred to World War I and the class changes a lot more than Fitzgerald. Money was discussed at length in both novels. Lady Chatterley’s Lover is much more explicit with sex than The Beautiful and Damned, which danced around the topic much more. Honestly, I was completely shocked that this novel was published in the 1920’s, due to the explicit nature of some of the scenes and language. Lady Chatterley’s Lover does mention jazz, dancing, and bobbed hair in passing, but it more about what love, sex, and intimacy means to men and to women. Lawrence wrestles with the three (love, sex, and intimacy) to see where and if they overlap with each other, plus how men and women might view them differently! Women and aristocratic women, specifically, are held to a different standard in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, as opposed to The Beautiful and Damned, where the men seem to be falling over themselves to make the American women happy.

This Side of Paradise

this side of paradise

Rating: ***

I wanted to read this novel because it was the novel that gave Fitzgerald his start. Again, not my favorite book, but I can appreciate it for what it was, a portrait of the “lost generation.”

The Sound and the Fury

the sound and fury

Rating: **

Ok, I love Faulkner. Sanctuary and Absolom, Absolom are two of my favorite novels ever. This one, however, I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe I’ll try it again some day!

Benjamin Button and Tales of the Jazz Age

tales of the jazz age

Rating: ***

It’s hard to rate a collection of short stories because I loved some more than others.

This collection contained some of Fitzgerald’s best stories from the Roaring ’20s. Included were the classics “The Jelly-Bean”, “The Camel’s Back”, “May Day”, “Porcelain and Pink”, “The Diamond as Big as The Ritz”, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Tarquin of Cheapside”, “O Russet Witch!”, “The Lees of Happiness”, “Mr. Icky”, and “Jemina”.

I thought that “The Camel’s Back” was absolutely hilarious! I never saw the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but from what I understood, it was kind of a love story. The short story is anything but a love story. There was no love lost between Benjamin Button and his wife as she aged and he un-aged. It seemed like he couldn’t be any happier to go to the dances in town because he was finally feeling and looking young. While some of the stories were humorous, the story like “May Day,” highlighted the lost generation’s differences. Some men were still partying with their college fraternities, even though they were well past college, but other men couldn’t let the war go, so they protested against socialist newspapers. The story contrasted high society with the working class. And like many other characters in Fitzgerald’s work, there was the man who was straddling the line between being upperclass, but not having the money to afford the lifestyle.

Couldn’t Finish

This is a new category for me. I had to quit a book about half-way through this month.

Call Me Zelda

call me zelda

This novel was marketed as a fictionalized account of Zelda Fitzgerald’s life after she was institutionalized.  The story is told from the point of view of a nurse who is taking care of her. The nurse’s story was distracting, but what was worse was the fact that there was no new information. Because I had read other novels about Zelda Fitzgerald, I knew the general gist of her life. Most of those books, though, end once she is sent to the psychiatric hospital. Instead of this novel telling me about what it was like for her there, the emphasis was on Zelda rehashing her past, as she worked on her autobiographically based novel, Save Me a Waltz. At the half-way point, I decided that it wasn’t worth my time.

Overall Thoughts:

I am so glad that I chose to participate in Jazz Age January! It was great. I actually have a bunch more books from the era that I would love to read. I have already read most of the recent popular fiction that is set during the Jazz Age, so I had to go back and read writers from the time period. During my research, I found a few new-to-me authors from the time period that I want to read, a historical fiction novel set during the Jazz Age by Phillipa Gregory (I loved the Cousins War Series last year!), and specifically a book called The Green Hat, which was a best seller and provocative for the time. I couldn’t track it down in an e-book or through my library. I hate buying new books, so I’m patiently waiting to track it down on Thriftbooks or Paperbackswap.com sometime soon. If I run out of books, I’ll break down and buy it.

What I Read

You can read my past monthly round ups for more:

December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
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 or even grab a few of my books off of Paperback Swap here (or check out my unlisted, but available deals here).


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: link up, Reading Tags: ,